‘This Week’ Transcript: Donald Trump and Sen. Marco Rubio

ByABC News
September 20, 2015, 9:19 AM



ANNOUNCER (voice-over): Starting right now on ABC, THIS WEEK, Trump under fire. The GOP front-runner taking heat for what he didn't say. The bombastic billionaire is here, revealing why he's not backing down.

Plus: after the big GOP showdown, could new stars emerge to shake up the race? We'll ask Marco Rubio.

And Hillary Clinton's back on offense.


ANNOUNCER (voice-over): Dancing on the rope line with reporters.

Plus the growing debates over the Democratic debates. Should there be more?

And the pope makes history. His landmark trip begins and we're right there with him as he makes his way to the U.S. for the first time.

From ABC News, THIS WEEK with George Stephanopoulos begins now.


GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC HOST: Good morning. You are looking live at Cuba, Pope Francis there this morning ahead of his first trip to the U.S. this week. We're going to have more on that later in the show.

But we being with the race for the White House after a second record-setting debate this week, Carly Fiorina on the rise; big night, too, for Marco Rubio and Donald Trump, now facing new questions. We're going to talk to Trump and Rubio live.

First, Jon Karl on the latest controversy Trump is stirring.


JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Even after a rough-and-tumble campaign week, Donald Trump is still the king.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the future President of the United States of America, Donald Trump.

KARL (voice-over): Welcomed last night by the homecoming court at an Iowa high school.

TRUMP: I love you all. Have a great dance tonight.

KARL (voice-over): But the latest Trump firestorm is not over something he said but what he didn't say when faced with this inflammatory question in New Hampshire.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: … problem in this country. It's called Muslims. We know our current president is one. You know he's not even American.

TRUMP: We need this --



KARL (voice-over): Trump didn't challenge his supporter's false claim about the president's background.

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If someone brought that up at a town hall meeting of mine, we'd say, no, listen, before we can answer, let's clear some things up for the rest of the audience. And I think you have an obligation as a leader to do that.

KARL (voice-over): But Trump has no apologies. He recited his Twitter account for an Iowa crowd on Saturday.

TRUMP: So I started by saying, "Am I morally obligated to defend the president every time somebody says something bad or controversial about him? I don't think so."


KARL (voice-over): So is Donald Trump playing with fire? Or simply playing to his base?

A recent poll shows more than half of Trump's supporters believe President Obama is Muslim and 28 percent of Republicans think the president wasn’t born in the U.S. Even Trump has admitted his conspiracy theories over the president's birth are part of his appeal, as he told me two years ago.


KARL: You don't acknowledge that you went overboard on this whole birther stuff?


TRUMP: Actually, I think it made me very popular, if you want to know the truth, OK? So I do think I know what I'm doing.


TRUMP: More energy tonight, I like that.

KARL (voice-over): Meanwhile, the GOP front-runner still target number 1 at the second GOP faceoff.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, you should ask him questions in detail about the foreign policy issues our president will confront because you'd better be able to lead our country on the first day.

KARL (voice-over): Trump continues to draw crowds, another record TV audience for the last debate.

But can he continue to take the heat?

For THIS WEEK, Jon Karl, ABC News, Washington.


STEPHANOPOULOS: And Donald Trump joins us now.

Mr. Trump, thank you for joining us this morning.

That is the question: are you feeling the heat?

There's a new CNN poll out this morning that shows you're still in the lead at 24 percent but you've dropped about 8 points.

TRUMP: Well, some other polls just came out, George, where I actually went up. I went up very substantially and I think some new ones are coming out likewise, where I went up. And a lot of people say I won the debate based on Drudge and based on everyone else that did polls of the debate itself.

So generally speaking, I think I've gone up since the debate. But we'll see what happens. I think those polls are all coming out today and tomorrow.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's get into this controversy that's come up over the last two days. I saw your tweets yesterday, where you say you didn't have a moral responsibility when that questioner got up and said those things about President Obama.

But this is getting a lot of attention in part because you've raised questions like this in the past.

So for the record, was President Obama born in the United States?

TRUMP: Well, you know, I don't get into it, George. I talk about jobs. I'm talking about the military. I don't get into it. I mean, he asked that question and I just want to talk about the things because frankly it's of no longer interest to me. We're beyond that. And it's just something I don't talk about. I want to talk about the military. I want to talk about the vets and how badly they're treated. I want to talk about jobs. I don't get into that, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But the way to get beyond it is to answer yes or no.

Do you believe -- ?


TRUMP: Well, that's possible. But I don't get into it. And I just don’t talk about it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So -- and even though you've raised questions and you've investigated it in the past, you're still ---

TRUMP: Well, you know, people thought I should have defended. Some people thought I should have defended the president in terms of the question that was asked the other night. And my attitude is, would he have done that for me? If somebody said that about me. And you know, he's been -- he -- he's very capable of defending himself, believe me.

So we'll see what happens. But I think the tweets really covered it very well and very accurately. Somebody said they were excellent. They covered the subject.

And I actually -- it was very interesting because I got in hot water over not saying anything. The first time it's ever happened to me.


TRUMP: I didn't say anything and everybody was going crazy over the weekend. And this is something where I didn't even say anything.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But I take that point. But you've raised these questions so often in the past, why can't you just say definitively yes or no --

TRUMP: Well, I haven't raised the question.

STEPHANOPOULOS: -- Obama was born in the United States. You've raised it many times. And he's not a Muslim.

TRUMP: George, you have raised the question. I haven't raised the question. I don't talk about it and I don't like talking about somebody else's faith. He talks about his faith and he can do that. But I don’t talk about other people's faith. It's not appropriate for me to talk about somebody else's faith.

STEPHANOPOULOS: The other big premise of that question was he said that Muslims are a problem in this country.

Do you agree?

TRUMP: Well, in some cases, George. We can say no and you can be politically correct and say everything's wonderful. But I haven't seen people from Sweden going back and leaving after the bombing of the World Trade Center. So certainly it's a problem and there is a problem --

STEPHANOPOULOS: What is the problem --


TRUMP: -- and at the same time, excuse me, at the same time, we have fabulous people living here, Muslims. And they have done fantastically well. But certainly it is a problem. You look around the world, it is a problem. And you know, if I want to say, oh, no, not at all, people would laugh at me.

Now it may be the right thing to say and I really don’t care what the right thing to say is. Certainly what's happening with some Muslims and, you know, the terrorism and everything else, it seems to be pretty much confined there. So it is a problem and we can say no. But it is.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So then what specifically is the problem with the Muslims in the United States that you would want to address as president?

TRUMP: Well, only that there seems to be, to a certain extent -- and this is not all -- most are fabulous and I say that number one point, most are fabulous. And I have friends that are Muslims.

And by the way, they say there is a problem with certain militants that obviously you report on every night on your newscasts. But there is a problem with militancy and it is something that is going to have to be solved.


TRUMP: And I don't mean a problem here. I mean this is a worldwide problem.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's get to that worldwide problem, because we now also learned over this week that Russia has now moved combat aircraft and surface-to-air missiles into Syria.

TRUMP: Right.

STEPHANOPOULOS: What do you think Putin is up to? And what would you do about it?

TRUMP: Well, he's trying to take over parts of the world that he was not in -- and he was there long ago and now he's trying to go back. And the problem is that we have a president who he does not respect. He has absolutely no respect for the president. And maybe he has no fear of the United States any longer, because of the fact that we're letting things go.

Our military is not the same as it was, obviously. It's being depleted. I see it in the real estate business all the time. I'm getting listings for army bases and naval bases and everything. They're selling so much -- so many things in so many places. And I say to myself, what's going on?

But you see it. All the time.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But let's drill down on this, though. If -- if President Putin has decided it's in his national interests to move into Syria, to move into Ukraine, what could you say to him that would get him to turn around?

TRUMP: Well, I think it's all about leadership. It's about getting along with people. And, you know, I gave an answer that I thought was very good on the debate the other night. And a lot of people loved that answer and they agreed with that answer.

And that's that you get along with people...

STEPHANOPOULOS: But just because...

TRUMP: And I...

STEPHANOPOULOS: -- he gets along with you, that doesn't mean he's going to do (INAUDIBLE)...

TRUMP: No, no, but you...

STEPHANOPOULOS: -- against his national interests?

TRUMP: No, no. It's called -- do you know what it's called, George? It's called respect. I mean he has no respect for the president. He doesn't talk to the president. They have absolutely no relationship. And you see the body language when they're together. The body language is absolutely horrible.

Now, as far as Syria is concerned, it looks like he's trying to build up in Syria. And, you know, it's very interesting because with ISIS, we're fighting ISIS and yet ISIS is fighting Assad.


TRUMP: And Assad is probably saying, wow, isn't that nice that the Americans, that the United States comes in and they're taking care of our enemy?

You know, we have people that don't know what they're doing. But militarily, we're fighting ISIS and ISIS now is fighting us instead of fighting Assad.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I'm trying to figure out...

TRUMP: And Assad is -- hey, George, we're the best thing that ever happened to Assad.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I'm just trying to figure out what you would do. I mean, are you saying that President Putin would actually do something against his national interests, if he perceives it that way, pull out of Syria, just because he gets along with you?

TRUMP: I'm not saying get along. George, the word isn't get along. The word -- the word is respect. He has no respect for our country and our leadership at this -- at this moment. And, frankly, he's doing things that are very aggressive. And the reason he's doing them is because he doesn't have respect.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So what is the single most important thing you would do to get him to respect you and turn around?

TRUMP: Well, first of all, you get -- you have to get to know people. There's no communication. They have no communication whatsoever. I have it all the time in business. I get along with people that -- and, frankly, there are some people, George, that I don't get along with and -- and there's no chemistry or whatever it may be. And then you find the people that do get along with them.

But you have to -- it's a chess game. Life is a big fat very high level chess game. You have to know what you're doing.

Now, I can tell you, I don't think you'd want to start World War III over Syria. I'm pretty sure you're not going to say that, because, you know, a lot of people said, oh, we want to confront them and we want -- I'm not sure that you want to start World War III over Syria, that's for sure.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I still haven't heard exactly what you're going to do, but I want to move on to some more politics.

Carly Fiorina surging in this CNN poll, up to 15 percent. You had some exchanges with her the other night. Did you underestimate her?

TRUMP: No, look, she did a terrible job at Hewlett Packard. She did a terrible job at Lucent. I mean those companies are just a disaster and she destroyed Hewlett Packard. And still, the other day, on the front page of "The Wall Street Journal," 25,000 additional people were let go and that was because of the remnants of what she did.

The Compaq computer deal was one of the worst deals made in business history. And she destroyed the company that she was at before then.

I mean she's been terrible. And, you know, she's got a good pitter patter, but if you listen to her for more than five minutes straight, you get a headache.

So I -- I am not concerned with Carly. I hope she does well. I'd like to see her do well. I think she's a nice woman, although I don't know her. But frankly, you know, but I don't -- I didn't see the poll. I know -- I think I'm still way in first place.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You're still ahead. You're at 20...

TRUMP: Is that correct?

STEPHANOPOULOS: Yes, you're at 24, she's at -- she's at 15 right now. You're still in first place (INAUDIBLE)...

TRUMP: And is she in second place, George?


TRUMP: Because I really don't know.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Ben Carson -- Ben Carson is in second place.

Marco Rubio -- excuse me, Fiorina is in second place, then Ben Carson and Marco Rubio moved up a lot, as well.

Let me ask you something else, coming out of the debate. You had that exchange with Jeb Bush about casino gambling in Florida. You said it was totally false that you tried to get casino gambling...

TRUMP: No, I never spoke to him, I -- is what I said and what I mean. I never called him and said, would you do it? In fact, unle -- the governor that -- that was after him ultimately approved it. But I never spoke to Jeb.

I never called up Jeb. And I said, Jeb, would you do me a favor and approve?

If I wanted it, I would have done that.


TRUMP: He was the governor.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So you're saying you were -- you're -- you're accepting that you were trying to get casino gambling there, because the (INAUDIBLE)...

TRUMP: We -- we -- we're looking at deals all over the world. I'm doing deals all over the world. And, yes, we were looking at Florida. But the -- ultimately, Charlie Crist, the next governor, approved casino gambling, right after Jeb.

But I never called Jeb. The question was did I call him? I would have called him if I wanted it so badly at that time. It was very premature. It was very early. There were other steps that they had to take and it would have been premature. But I would have called Jeb and I think he might have done it for me, because I did help him.

But I never called him and therefore I think I was 100 percent accurate in my answer.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Donald Trump, thanks very much for joining us.

TRUMP: Thank you very much.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let’s go to Marco Rubio, Senator Marco Rubio from Florida. Good morning, Senator and thank you for joining us this morning.

RUBIO: Good morning.

Thank you.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I just -- I just was talking to Senator -- to Donald Trump about that new poll coming out on CNN...

RUBIO: Right.

STEPHANOPOULOS: -- showing a big move for you, as well.

Do you think this is your breakout moment?

RUBIO: No, these polls don't really mean anything at this stage, George. You're a veteran of campaigns and I'm not sure the mid-September winners are where you want to be.

Obviously, you want to do well and they're relevant because they're deciding who gets on the stage. But they're not going to decide this election. And I've always said that.

So obviously, everyone is happy when they see a poll that shows there's some movement, but it doesn't really mean anything and it won't alter the course of what we're doing.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You've still got, though, these outsider candidates in the top three positions -- Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina, Ben Carson.

RUBIO: Right.

STEPHANOPOULOS: What do you think that's about and what can you do about it?

RUBIO: Well, it's about the fact that the disconnect between Washington and our people has never been larger than it is right now. I mean people feel like political leaders in both political parties are completely out of touch with their lives.

And you saw some of it referenced in the debate the other day. And I'll -- I don't think it's limited to the politicians. It's also the media. We had a three hour debate, no discussion about the national debt, very little about the economy. It was con -- it was a constant he said/she said, what do you say, because so and so called you this name or that name.

And quite frankly, it might be entertaining for a few minutes, but there are people out there living paycheck to paycheck. There are young Americans that owe thousands of deals in student loans. None of that was discussed last -- the other night.

And I think it's disappointing to people that while they are struggling, the political class, Washington, the media and everyone else is focused on some of these other things.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Hillary Clinton is going to join that debate this week. It's reported that she's going to go on the offense on ObamaCare, a strong defense of ObamaCare.

You and -- and the other Republican candidates called for a repeal of it.

Do you believe that's going to be a liability?

RUBIO: For her?


RUBIO: Absolutely. Oh, no. I mean I -- I don't want to just repeal it, I want to replace it. There is no doubt we have a health insurance issue in America. I've outlined exactly what we wanted replace it with. And that is a plan or a program that allows every American to control their own health insurance money, whether it's a refundable tax credit or it comes from their employer and they can use it to buy any health insurance they want anywhere in the country. It would make it portable. It would allow them to buy across state lines. We would have high risk pools for people with pre-existing conditions that are chronically ill.

We've outlined a proposal that is much better than what we are seeing now, which is increasing premiums, limiting coverage and discouraging businesses from hiring people.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You just heard Donald Trump. He's not going to weigh on whether President Obama was born in the United States, whether or not he's not a Muslim.

I see you shaking your head.

RUBIO: Well, I'm just tired of the -- this has nothing to do with the future of our country. These issues have been discussed ad nauseum over the last few years. It's a big waste of time. Barack Obama will not be president in a year and a half. It's time to start talking about the future of America and the people that are at home.

And every time we spend -- I mean I'm more than happy to answer your question, but every time that we discuss these sorts of things, we're not talking about the family who's out there trying to make it. They don't know if they're going to make it to Friday before a check bounces because they don't have enough money in the -- in the checking account.

I mean those are the issues I hope we'd focus on.

But I'm sorry, go ahead.

STEPHANOPOULOS: No, no, so I take it from your question you accept that President Obama was born in the United States and is not a Muslim?

RUBIO: Yes, this is -- of course it...


RUBIO: -- he's born in the United States. He's a Christian. He's the president of the United States for the next year and a half and we're going to move on. This country is going to turn the page and this election needs to be about what comes next...


RUBIO: -- what kind of country will we be in the 21st century?

STEPHANOPOULOS: Big geopolitical challenges, as well.

You talked about Syria and Russia on Wednesday night, as well.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me ask you the question I asked Donald Trump.

What exactly would you do about the fact that Vladimir Putin has now put combat aircraft and surface-to-air missiles in Syria?

RUBIO: Well, first, let me say, I mean I've listened to Mr. Trump discuss it on a number of occasions. It sounds like he thinks if we just have someone who gets along better with Putin personally, things are going to work out better. It sounds a lot like the reset with Russia that the president tried to do. I guess he's advocate for a reset with Putin.

Vladimir Putin has a very clear plan. And that is to reposition Russia as a geopolitical force, at least at the same level as ISIS the former Soviet Union. This is part of that plan. He senses a vacuum in the Middle East. He talks to the Egyptians, the Saudis, perhaps even the Israelis and others, who feel like America is retreating from its commitment to the region, a lot of it being because the president says so, that we're not going to get overly engaged or -- or entangled, as he has said in the past, in the region.

And he's taking advantage of that. So he's positioning combat aircraft in Syria. You will see them fly combat missions soon. And then I think you will see -- I believe even before the end of this month, when the General Assembly meets, you will see Vladimir Plut -- Putin -- go to the U.N. and tell the world that he is going to lead the anti-ISIS coalition.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So what would you do...

RUBIO: And that's (INAUDIBLE).

STEPHANOPOULOS: -- about it?

RUBIO: Well, first of all, we would lead. I mean that's the point. He's trying to fill a vacuum. All of those countries would prefer to work with the United States on an anti-ISIS coalition and -- but -- but they -- they see that we're not really committed to it. They see these airstrikes that are not, quite frankly, as vibrant as they should be. They haven't seen the United States bring together a Sunni force to confront them on the ground.

They see this lack of clear plan and strategy with regards to what to do with Assad and Syria.

And the result is this vacuum has been created. Vladimir Putin is filling it.

If I were president, we would fill that vacuum. And I am comforted that if given a choice between American leadership and Putin leadership, that region will choose American leadership. But given the choice between no leadership and Putin, they're going to choose Putin.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You've been...

RUBIO: That's what's happening now.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You've been taking some questions at the debate on your Senate attendance record, missed votes. And you were pretty clear that you're missing votes because you're running for president.

So how do you respond then, to Mike Huckabee, who said that senators like you don't show up for work because you're running shouldn't get paid by the taxpayers?

RUBIO: Well, first of all, my -- my work is not just showing up to the Senate floor and voting. You know, we have constituent services that we continue to provide. There are committee hearings, all sorts of other functions. This is -- the voting is just one part of the overall job of the Senate and all those continue unabated in our office.

Second of all, here's the bottom line. When you run for president, you're going to miss some votes. That's been true. We tried very hard to be there as much as possible.

For example, the other night, we had a vote in the Senate on Monday or Tuesday, the night before the debate. I had to fly across the country for the debate the next day. We did that because it's important to be there. We'll be there again this week for key votes.

But ultimately, I'm not out playing golf. I'm not out vacationing with my family and missing votes, I'm running for president. I am trying to do something for, you know, and on -- I'm running because I'm trying to do something to change the direction of this country.

And I've concluded that we're not going to do that without the right person in the White House. And that's what I want to do for the country.

And so that's why I'm running for president. And it will require me, from time to time, to miss a vote here or there in the Senate.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Pope Francis coming to the United States this week, his first visit to the United States, the first pope ever to speak to the Congress.

I know you agree with the pope on the issues of abortion and marriage. Many conservatives have criticized him for his views on climate change, income inequality. Rush Limbaugh even suggested he's a Marxist.

One, do you agree with that criticism?

And what do you hope to hear from the pope this week?

RUBIO: Well, I'm a Roman Catholic. For me, the pope is the successor of Peter he's the spiritual head of the church, who has authority to speak on matters, doctrinal matters and a -- and theological matters. And I follow him 100 percent on those issues, otherwise I wouldn't be a Roman Catholic. And so I believe that deeply.

The pope, as an individual, an important figure in the world, also has political opinions. And those, of course, we are free to disagree with. He obviously opines about this views of the church's role or the -- what we should be doing with the climate or things of this nature, on the economics.

Those are issues that -- that the church talks about as regards to their social teachings, or their j sorry, the -- the way you balance government with society.

On the social teachings, essential issues, like the sanctity of life and things of this nature, those go deep to the theology of this -- of the faith. And I do believe -- those are binding and I believe strongly in them.

On the economic issues, the geopolitical issues, the pope is just trying to bring people together. That's his role as a spiritual leader. And I respect that very much.

I have a job as a United States senator to act in the best interests of the United States and of our people. And from time to time, they -- that may lead to different opinions about different things.

But I have no problem with the pope and I wish he would meet with dissidents in Cuba when he's there this week, but I would reserve judgment to see what he says when given the chance to address the public there.

My hope is that he will discuss human rights and freedoms.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Rubio, thanks for joining us this morning.

RUBIO: Thank you.

STEPHANOPOULOS: More politics ahead on our Powerhouse Roundtable. What really changed this week in the race for the White House?

Plus we’ll be live in Cuba with Pope Francis, and behind the scenes as officials here prepare for a historic week.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Up next, we're live in Cuba with Pope Francis. His historic journey to America is coming up this week. A lot more politics ahead as well with our powerhouse roundtable.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Pope Francis is in Cuba this morning. Huge crowd there for his mass as he calls for reconciliation ahead of his first trip to the United States this week. ABC News is going to cover all the big moments. And we begin with Terry Moran who traveled from Rome with the pope. He is in Cuba right now. Good morning, Terry.

TERRY MORAN, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, George. A steamy morning here in Havana, but really a beautiful scene here. The pope has just finished his homily to this throng of Cubans on the subject of service to the poor. And here are thousands upon thousands of Cubans who have turned out here in the face of decades. They've kept their faith in the face of decades of official discouragement and oppression of their religion, but really -- and we've just seen here, just three dissidents have been arrested while they tried to approach the pope and hand him leaflets.

Really this is not a political moment, though. They are here to hear this Argentine pope, their fellow Latin American, with his radical advocacy for the poor and the disenfranchised, preach a very different kind of revolution.


MORAN: This historic trip began with a flourish, a salute and a gust of wind that lifted Pope Francis's white zucchetto into the air. So bare headed he met Cuban President Raul Castro, two veteran Latin American leaders with much to discuss like the diplomatic breakthrough Francis helped broker between Cuba and the U.S. last year. President Obama making clear when he announced the deal in December how crucial the pope's role was.

OBAMA: I want to thank his holiness Pope Francis whose moral example shows us the importance of pursuing the world as it should be rather than simply settling for the world as it is.

MORAN: So, one of Francis' goals on this trip to both Cuba and the U.S. strengthen that deal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Florida straits is to this papacy what the Berlin wall was to the papacy of John Paul II. So, a wall of mistrust, of suspicion, of hostility. He wants that wall to come down.

MORAN: On board the papal plane, Francis joined us briefly and spoke of his hopes for peace, urging the media to be a force for good.

Build bridges, he told us, make a big bridge for peace.

Already, the U.S. embassy here is open for business. And the White House this week lifted more travel and commercial restrictions.

Cubans are hoping Francis' trip can help spur change here. Tens of thousands turned out along the roads for him.

While in the United States Americans are getting ready. Pope Francis will make stops at the White House and Congress, New York City and the world conference on families in Philadelphia. He's already reaching out with a rare English language message.

POPE FRANCIS: I will be there, because you will be there. See you in Philadelphia.

MORAN: The pope is said to be studying and practicing his English, but really even just spending a few minutes with him on the plane you get the sense this is a man who is a gifted communicator in many ways. His words, his gestures, and especially the whole challenge that his papacy represents to the powers that be here in Cuba and in the United States as well.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Right to the White House and the Congress. OK, Terry, thanks very much.

And we'll be back with that remarkable behind the scenes efforts to keep the pope safe.

And coming up, our powerhouse roundtable weighs in on all the fallout from this week's big debate. Has Trump peaked? Does Carly have staying power? And is the GOP any closer to finding its nominee?

ANNOUNCER: And later, the powerhouse puzzler brought to you by Voya Financial.


STEPHANOPOULOS: When Pope Francis arrives in the U.S. this week, he'll be met by President Obama, both houses of Congress, the U.N., millions of Americans, a trip generating so much excitement and a fair amount of concern for the safety of the pope and the crowds he'll greet.

New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton took me behind the scenes for a look at the extraordinary effort to protect the pope.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Inside the command center, 8,000 cameras.


STEPHANOPOULOS (voice-over): Five thousand officers will be on duty, unprecedented security sparked by a swarm of VIPs.

(on camera): You've got the pope's visit. You've got President Obama coming. You've got the U.N. General Assembly.

Have you ever seen a challenge like this?


STEPHANOPOULOS: What's your biggest concern right now?

BRATTON: Well, we have no -- at the same time, as we're talking, no specifically identified threats directed against any of these events.

STEPHANOPOULOS: The pope will visit St. Patrick's Cathedral, the U.N., Harlem. There's a procession through Central Park, a mass at Madison Square Garden.

The commissioner will watch it all from his mobile command vehicle.

(on camera): And you can do anything in here?

BRATTON: It's all (INAUDIBLE) protected.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You'll have your helicopters in the air, too?

BRATTON: We've got seven helicopters and 42 boats in our harbor unit.

STEPHANOPOULOS (voice-over): Working hand in hand with the Secret Service, their agents drilling on evasive driving and responding to motorcade attacks.

Director Joe Clancy briefed our Pierre Thomas.

PIERRE THOMAS, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: And knowing what ISIS is about to do, to disrupt and do a terrorist attack, how are you factoring that in?

JOE CLANCY, DIRECTOR, SECRET SERVICE: We're all about being preventative. We have a whole division that monitors the intelligence world out there.

STEPHANOPOULOS (voice-over): We drive to the 9/11 Memorial, another of the pope's stops. Inspector Steve Deleese (ph) coordinating security for a pope who likes to get up close and personal with lots of people.

(on camera): And he's going to want to get out. He's going to want to meet people. He's going to want to touch people. And you have to be ready.

BRATTON: We will benefit from the many experiences we've watched closely as he's traveled around the world, that -- how he's done it in the past and how they have dealt with crowd surge, the unexpected.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Are you ready?

BRATTON: We're ready.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Got some smiles there.

We're joined now by NYC's mayor, Bill de Blasio.

OK, your police chief is confident...


STEPHANOPOULOS: Right now, are you confident everything is under control?

And what's your biggest concern going forward this week?

DE BLASIO: Absolutely confident. A great partnership between NYPD, Secret Service, FBI. We're ready. We have the personnel. We have the equipment. We have the planning.

My concern is simply that there's a lot of moving parts, but we know how to bring them together. We have, as you heard, over 170 world leaders and His Holiness. Never happened before at the same time, but the NYPD is absolutely ready.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And you say this trip is a tremendous moment for New York.

What are you most excited about?

And I wanted you to respond. You heard Senator Rubio earlier in the program...


STEPHANOPOULOS: -- talking about the pope's trip, making a distinction between the pope's teaching on social issues and his teachings on economic issues.

DE BLASIO: I would strongly urge Senator Rubio to go back and reread "The Sermon on the Mount." Clearly, the core of Catholic teachings and Christian teachings talks about the economic realities that people face, and has for thousands of years.

So I was very surprised to hear them make that separation.

Let me give you two sentences from His Holiness, talking about trickle-down economics he says, "This theory, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and the sacrolyzed (ph) workings of the prevailing economic system, meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting."

That's Pope Francis talking about something that's been at the core of Catholic teachings for 2,000 years. I'm surprised Mr. Rubio doesn't understand that.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But what do you say to those conservatives about this, who says this is not the pope's area of expertise?

DE BLASIO: I think the church has always devoted itself to talking about fairness in every sense, including economic fairness. I think that's one of the foundational concepts of the religion. And His Holiness has captured the imagination of the entire world, Catholic believers and non-believers and people of all faiths, because he's talking about what a moral structure looks like that actually is inclusive.

That's the power of this pope. Yes, he is an incredibly compelling personality and communicator. But it's his ideas that are actually calling people to a different kind of world order.

And I think, when he comes here to a country he's never been to before and talks before the United States Congress, I think it's going to be one of those moments we look back on and say this was a moment where American society and politics are to change.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's talk about politics for a minute. You have not endorsed a presidential candidate yet. And I wonder if you're caught between your head and your heart.

You worked for Hillary Clinton. But you line up, as I said earlier, with Bernie Sanders on a lot of the big issues.

So how are you going to decide? What more do you need to know?

DE BLASIO: Well, first of all, I'm very proud to be a Democrat right now because the Democratic field is talking about income inequality, talking about how to help working families, how to restore the middle class, talking about the rest of taxation, I think, quite honestly and forthrightly. The Republican field is not only attacking each other, they're offering very divisive visions about this country that I think are actually going to turn off a lot of the American people.

So the Democrats are in a strong solid place right now. I think --


STEPHANOPOULOS: -- Hillary Clinton's been declining --

DE BLASIO: -- see, I don't -- I don’t buy that theory at this moment because I think she's running a very good campaign because her vision is getting stronger and stronger. That is what essentially will determine the outcome, in my view. The people of this country -- a middle class that's been stalled and stuck for a couple of decades now economically.

People looking for a strong vision. There was an incredible ""New York Times" poll back in June that showed about 67 percent of the people in this country want income inequality addressed. They want to see a more just progressive taxation system. They want to see things like child care opportunities for people and paid sick leave.

This is what Hillary Clinton's talking about. That's what Bernie Sanders is talking about. The entire Democratic field.

So I think the contrast is extraordinary --

STEPHANOPOULOS: How are you going to decide?

DE BLASIO: It's like any other endorsement decision. Look at the individual, look at the facts, look at the capacity.

Hillary Clinton's an extraordinarily capable person. I know this from personal experience. There are a few more areas I want her to flesh out in her vision but I think she's been doing a great job.

Look, I think the issue of wages and benefits we need to hear a little more on, certainly on the trade issue. But I do want to say, since she announced, she has consistently put forward a stronger and stronger vision, literally each week, and that's very encouraging.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And you don’t think Joe Biden should get in?

DE BLASIO: I think we have great candidates right now, I really do. I'm very comfortable with the candidates we have. I think the Democratic debate is a constructive, positive one. I think with the candidates we have, we'll do very well.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Mayor de Blasio, thank you very much. Good luck this week.

DE BLASIO: Thank you. Appreciate it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: We'll be right back with the roundtable, all their insights and analysis after a dramatic week on the campaign trail.


STEPHANOPOULOS: We are back right now. We're probably going to see a little bit of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire. We did and we're right here with the roundtable --


STEPHANOPOULOS: -- ABC contributors Matthew Dowd, Cokie Roberts and in honor of Republican, Donna Brazile, Democrat.

And I do want to start with the Republican debate in the fall from the Huffington debate (ph) and this new CNN poll first debate poll, first poll out since the debate. Look at this right here. You see this movement, Donald Trump down about 8 points from 32 percent to 24 percent, big shift for Carly Fiorina. She's up to 15 percent right there from 3 percent in early September; Ben Carson taking a little bit of a drop; another big move for Marco Rubio. Bush stays the same.

Look at that, though, for Scott Walker, goes from 5 percent in early September to less than 0.5 percent right now in asterisks.

So, Matthew Dowd, how did this debate change the race?

MATTHEW DOWD, ABC NEWS SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, we've discovered that debates matter more than anything else, the first debate got Carly into the main debate in this one and now this debate has launched her into the top three in the course of this race. So they matter. And we've got millions of viewers in the course of this.

I think what this has shown -- this a troubled situation right now, I think, for Donald Trump because in the course of this race, he's only risen -- and this is the first time he's dropped.

And as you know, George, in politics, is the test that you, of your campaign and your candidacy, when you --


DOWD: -- bleeding numbers. And what do you do to recover from that? That's a problem.

COKIE ROBERTS, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: And you know, the largest number of people also said in this poll that he did the worst. So you know, it's -- he keeps having this funny dichotomy of people saying we're for him but two-thirds of them saying he's not qualified --

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, and that gets to the question I've been -- sort of what you were going at, Matt, was he doing well because he was doing well? And if he stops doing well, does he -- does the whole bottom fall out?

Ana Navarro, you are close to Marco Rubio, close to Jeb Bush as well. You see some move there from Marco Rubio but also this big, big surge for Carly Fiorina.

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think Donald Trump did Carly a favor by attacking her looks. He gave her an opening. And when you give Carly Fiorina an opening, she takes it and she makes it wider. That's what we've seen. Not only did she prove that she'd be long in the main state; she proved that she could do very well.

And you know, amongst the outsiders of their being called -- Ben Carson, Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina -- Carly came prepared. She knew her facts. She knew policy.

The reason Donald Trump did so bad is because this was a very policy focused debate. He went 37 minutes without speaking at one point. That's probably the first time in his life --


NAVARRO: -- the pope. That, I think qualified as a minor miracle.


STEPHANOPOULOS: -- for a second. Now that she's doing much, much better in second place in this poll, she's going to get a lot more scrutiny, yes, her business record, especially.

DONNA BRAZILE, VICE CHAIRWOMAN, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE: No question. Well, not just her business record, but I also think some of the facts that she mentioned on stage last week did not add up.

The fact about Planned Parenthood, that video did not exist. And the fact that she also could not mention a woman and say that women were not special interests and yet could not --

STEPHANOPOULOS: I thought that was a strong moment for her --


BRAZILE: -- but why was that a strong -- well, no, it's not a game, George. I mean, the fact is, women have contributed to American history. Women deserve to have --


BRAZILE: -- deserve to be mentioned --

DOWD: Her answer was actually better than the other two --


DOWD: -- foreigners as the people they wanted to --


ROBERTS: -- or my mom and my --

DOWD: -- I think we've reached the stage in the -- in this cycle now, where people want leadership modeled. They want to see what a leader looks like in the course of this.

And I think that what happened with Donald Trump -- and we've had this conversation, George -- is that his mannerisms, his manner and all of that, which used to be an asset, is now a question in people's mind, is that what we want in a leader?

I think Marco Rubio showed up and that debate and he looked like he could be a leader. He was knowledgeable. He was well-spoken.

Carly Fiorina looked like she could be a leader in the course of that.

But there needs to be a second act for all of them. And I think that's the modeling they're going to have show --


NAVARRO: -- Marco in this debate is consistent. He also had a very good first debate. I think Marco's going to have great debates every time. He is the most eloquent and the guy with the best political skills up there.


DOWD: You worry that his youth is make -- the comparison to Barack Obama, somebody with limited experience, is about to take --


BRAZILE: -- did not show up in this debate and that was John Kasich. John Kasich is a tough candidate and, for whatever reason, he faded. He was not --

NAVARRO: He didn't have -- because he didn't have the hometown crowd.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But it's almost like there's two different campaigns going on at the same time. You've got -- you got Trump, Fiorina and Carson, all going for that outsider vote.

You've got Kasich, Bush, Rubio all looking to be the establishment candidates.

ROBERTS: And the problem that they have is that their whole campaign is their record, you know. My record as governor, my record in the congress, and the voters don't want to hear that record. There is...

STEPHANOPOULOS: But won't that shift over time?

DOWD: The fascinating thing is we've talked about six months ago where we said that we thought this was going to be Midwest and Florida, right, because Scott Walker strengthened the Midwest and Jeb Bush's strength in Florida and coming into the country.

It's now looking like it's Midwest and Florida, but it's Marco Rubio instead of Jeb Bush and John Kasich.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That gets to one of my questions, what happened to Scott Walker?

ROBERTS: He didn't have it. He never had it. I never thought it was going to be Scott Walker, because he just doesn't have the gravitas.

NAVARRO: He was very good in the minor leagues, he just can't cut it in the majors.

BRAZILE: Time to get on that Harley.


NAVARRO: He's been painted -- he might as well have been painted into the background in both debates. And I think what he's really going to feel it now is donors. We've already read this...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, it made me think about the last time around Tim Pawlenty, Minnesota governor, strong record as Minnesota governor, performs poorly in debates, gets out in the summer. Is that going to happen to Scott Walker?

DOWD: Well, I think Scott Walker is going to be out, in my view, before the next debate. I mean, right now he's an asterisks in the polls. He doesn't want to be eliminated by somebody else. I would expect he's probably going to get out of this race, because he has no...

NAVARRO: Not only is he an asterisks in this CNN poll, he's the last asterisks in the CNN poll.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I want to switch to the Democrats right now. Cokie, you're talking about you were watching the candidates at the New Hampshire sate convention.

ROBERTS: That is really geeky. Saturday night watching the candidates at the New Hampshire...



NAVARRO: I was watching the pope in Cuba.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I just heard Mayor de Blasio...

DOWD: I was watching football.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I was listening to Mayor de Blasio...


STEPHANOPOULOS: And what he said, Cokie, was more praise for Hillary Clinton right now, but she has had a bad run in these polls. Every single poll the last six weeks shows her dropping. Bernie Sanders moving up strongly in Iowa and New Hampshire.

ROBERTS: She has had a bad run, but last night she talked about all kinds of things the voters actually care about. And she did talk about caregiving as a big problem in families. Boy, if she takes a message like that out to the voters, that would be very powerful. And part of that is that she has been listening. She has been listening to actual people's real problems. And so if she can, if she can make people believe that she is the person who can help fix their problems, that goes a long way.

DOWD: And I think that's a big step that she's going to have to overcome.

The interesting thing about Hillary is that every time before she gets in a race, the theory of Hillary is always much better than the actual reality of Hillary running for president. It happened in 2007 and '08. Everybody loved her. She got in the campaign, they ended up disliking her.

This year she got in. Before she got in, everybody loved her. She gets in this race, and her numbers drop.

I think she's going to have to figure out -- she's got to confront two things: the majority of people dislike her, and the majority of people distrust her. And both of those things, you can't run a winning effort...


STEPHANOPOULOS: And Donna, I want to ask you something like that, though, I mean because there's this talk inside the Democratic Party -- oh, yeah, she's behind in Iowa. Oh yeah, she's behind in New Hampshire, but she can lose both those. And Bernie Sanders isn't strong in the south.

Is that happy talk? I mean, can somebody really lose the first two?

BRAZILE: You know, I'll never forget the pressure I was under as Al Gore's campaign manager when Bill Bradley came on strong, when everybody was saying people didn't like him. He wasn't loose and all this other great stuff.

But you know the truth is you have to win everywhere. You have to go out there and compete for every vote. And I think she has faced this turbulence with grace. I think she's going to come through it. She's going to be a stronger candidate. She is changing the way she campaigns.

And Matt, the truth is the American people hate politicians. They dislike politicians. They don't trust them. She's in that same category -- and when she ran for Senate, she was down. Again, non-candidate she's up, become a candidate she goes down.


NAVARRO: I'll tell you who the American -- the American people dislike politicians, that part is true. But I'll tell you who they like is Joe Biden, a guy that comes across always as authentic, nothing but raw human emotion. I bet you we see him play big this next week, because he is...


NAVARRO: ...the uber Catholic of the administration.

BRAZILE: Ted Cruz criticized him almost the week he was burying his son. Republicans like him because he's not a candidate. He gets into the race, he's going to get the same Hillary treatment.

DOWD: They'll keep liking him until he moves ahead of Hillary.

ROBERTS: He's the highest -- I think he -- so since that appearance on Colbert where he was so affecting, I've looked at every poll taken since then, and the highest he gets is about 22 percent. Now -- and as Matt says, you tend to be higher before you even get in the race.

And so I think it would be a mistake for him.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I want to bring that to Donna, what is really going on here? You know, I check in with the campaigns as well, and it appears that there -- it's hard to know whether there's more or less here than meets the eye.

On the one hand his team is doing everything they can to make sure he's in place if he decides to run, but on the other hand it sure seems to me that he truly has not made up his mind about whether he's going to get in or if he gets in when he's going to get in.

BRAZILE: It's almost we're about to play football and the cheerleaders are all there waiting in the stands, ready for him to run, and yet the quarterback, the coach, he's not there yet.

There's something about this game, this contest, that Joe Biden is still hesitant about.

But I do believe he's going to hear from a lot of people. There are those who want him to run. And there are a lot of people, including some...


NAVARRO: He's been so, so, so transparent about this. He is a father in mourning who doesn't know if he's got the emotional gravitas to be able to do this and if his family has it. I think he has been very honest with the American people.

I hope he runs, because I think that it will be good for him. It'll be cathartic for him. And I think he'll be -- bring some fun to the race.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Ana Navarro wants him in, Bill de Blasio doesn't want him in. We've got to take a break. First our powerhouse puzzler inspired by Pope Francis who is -- here's the question: who was the first pope to visit the United States. The answer after this from our ABC stations.


STEPHANOPOULOS: OK. So who is the first pope to visit the United States as we look at Pope Francis. Let's see what you all came up with.

DOWD: Paul VI.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Paul VI, Paul VI, Paul VI, Pious. Everybody but you Cokie.

ROBERTS: I'm sorry.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Paul VI 1965, October 1965.

NAVARRO: And Cokie is our resident Vatican experts, too.

ROBERTS; I thought that he had made it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, let's talk a little bit about this trip, though, Ana. Right now, Pope Francis coming to the United States. It is going to be his first trip. He's the first pope ever to address congress. And we have a new ABC News poll about the pope. It shows great support for the pope and the United States, and especially among Catholics. Nine out of 10 have a favorable opinion of him.

And that here's why. We show this poll right here that say 56 percent now believe that he's actually staying in touch with the people. That's a big shift, Cokie.

ROBERTS: A huge shift.

He -- instead of seeming to be this out of touch, ermine draped person in red shoes walking inside the Vatican with Swiss guards around him, he's as natural as they come, smiling out among the people, delighted when children are there, calling on parishes all over Europe to take in refugees. And this is (INAUDIBLE) the last thing before he left the Vatican, seeing the family that they had taken in and -- and talking about that on the way over.

And just seeming to be a regular person, not...


ROBERTS: -- not somebody who's so completely removed from (INAUDIBLE)...

STEPHANOPOULOS: A regular person. And I was struck by a -- a column you wrote this week actually comparing Pope Francis and Donald Trump?

DOWD: Oh, yes.


DOWD: Well, there's -- I have -- there's a reason for that. Obviously, they're on diametrically...


DOWD: -- on narcissism versus modesty and what...


DOWD: -- fears of -- problems of wealth and somebody that celebrates wealth and somebody that has his name all over the place and somebody that plays mo -- plays modest.

I think there is a similarity in this, as these institutions, these hierarchical institutions have begun to crumble, the Republican Party, in some ways, in politics, big personas arise.

The pope is a big persona that has actually, in the midst of a change in the hierarchical church, he is pushing power outward.

I think the other thing that this pope is coming into, George, is a political environment in the United States which is a presidential campaign going on where there's all this conflict and divisiveness and all that. And he's coming in as basically not only a spiritual leader, but a political leader that everybody is going to have to, in the course of that, respond to in that, whether it's on environmental issues.

And then the other thing, George, I think is fascinating is he took the name of a saint...


DOWD: -- who basically reached out to Muslims...


DOWD: -- in the midst of the Crusades at a time when all of this conversation is going on about whether (INAUDIBLE)...

STEPHANOPOULOS: I wonder, though, what we're going to see -- and we saw a little bit from Marco Rubio, Ana, and a little bit from Mayor de Blasio, Donna, politicians cherry-picking parts of the pope's message.

NAVARRO: But what...

BRAZILE: Of course. Of course.

NAVARRO: -- that's what we've been doing. That's what politicians have been doing forever...

BRAZILE: That's exactly right.

NAVARRO: -- and ever.


NAVARRO: That's what's -- that's what's happening.


NAVARRO: I will -- I will tell you this...


NAVARRO: -- this notion of comparing Pope Francis to Donald Trump...


NAVARRO: -- makes me question your sobriety.




STEPHANOPOULOS: What about that?

NAVARRO: I just, you know...

DOWD: Look broadly. Look broadly.

NAVARRO: Look, I -- I -- I really think that we need to depoliticize the pope's visit. He is the pope. He's never even set foot in America.


NAVARRO: Can we stop arguing as to whether he's a Democrat or a Republican

He's not running in 2016. He's not endorsing in 2016. He is the spiritual leader. He means so much to Catholics of every ilk. And I think we need to take all the good lessons that the pope is going to give.

DOWD: Yes.

NAVARRO: He's going to say things we like and some that we dislike. He's the pope.


BRAZILE: The part of Christianity...


BRAZILE: -- that I believe in -- and I think we all do -- is whatever you (INAUDIBLE)...

NAVARRO: We're all Catholic.

BRAZILE: -- the least of these -- you did for me. And this pope personifies what I believe is the essence of Christianity, love, hope...

DOWD: "The Sermon."..

BRAZILE: -- and forgiveness.

DOWD: "The Sermon on the Mount."


NAVARRO: And mercy.


NAVARRO: And mercy.


BRAZILE: And mercy.

DOWD: And I think that acts -- he showed that acts are more powerful than words.



STEPHANOPOULOS: We're going to see so many of those acts this week.

And we're going to have complete coverage of the pope's history trip all week long, starting with his arrival at St. Andrews -- at Andrews Air Force Base, St. Andrews.


STEPHANOPOULOS: I've got it on my mind, as well, on Tuesday.

Thank you all.


STEPHANOPOULOS: That is all for us today.

Thanks for sharing part of your Sunday with us.

Check out "WORLD NEWS TONIGHT" and I'll see you tomorrow on "GMA."