-- THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT
Hillary's bad week. Donors, defecting. Her poll numbers, dropping. Can she turn her campaign around?
And, gun debate firestorm. This morning, the clash over how to keep America safe heats up.
From ABC News, THIS WEEK with George Stephanopoulos begins now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Somehow this has become routine. The reporting is routine. My response here at this podium ends up being routine. The conversation in the aftermath of it. We've become numb to this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: You think he was being a divider?
TRUMP: I think he was. I think he was actually being a divider because, you know, George, no matter how you cut it, you have people that are mentally ill and they have problems and they're going to slip through the cracks. And no matter how you do it, no matter how you try, and if you go back 2,000 years and if you go forward 2 million years, you're going to have problems. And it may not even be politically correct to say -
STEPHANOPOULOS: Yeah, but every country has mentally ill people, not every country has mass shootings as frequently as we do.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So what would you do about it? You sound pretty passive.
TRUMP: No, I don't. I'm not passive at all. I can tell you that people say, oh, were going to stop it. It doesn't work that way. This has taken place whether it's this type of crime or other crimes, taken a place forever, from the beginning, and it's going - you go out a million years from now, you're going to have problems. And even if you have a very tough system, you're going to have people that slip through the cracks. And it's a very sad situation and you have to - great vigilance. I mean you have to show great vigilance and watch and be careful and security and everything else. But no matter what you do, you will have problems and that's the way the world goes. You can have -
STEPHANOPOULOS: That's your answer, were going to have problems -
TRUMP: Yes, you're going to - now, George, I could say, oh, were going to do this and that and it's never going to happen again. You have sick people in this country and throughout the world and you're always going to have difficulty. That's why you have newscasts.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But you're Mr. Fix-it. You're Mr. Can-Do.
TRUMP: I know that. I know that. And I think I'll do a fabulous job. And I will make things a lot better. No matter what you do, you're going to have difficulties. People are going to slip through the cracks.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So no new laws, no new gun laws?
TRUMP: Well, the gun laws have nothing to do with this. This isn't guns. This is about really mental illness. And I feel very strongly about it. And, again, politically correct, oh, we're going to solve the problem, there will be no problem, et cetera, et cetera. You're always going to have difficulties, no matter how tight you run it. Even if you had great education having to do with mental illness, you educate the community, it's - still, you're going to have people that slip through the cracks. And these people are more than slipping through the cracks. These people want to slip through the cracks. So you're going to have problems. It's unfortunate.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's talk about your tax plan.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Everyone gets a tax cut.
STEPHANOPOULOS: More and more Americans will pay nothing at all. But the Conservative Tax Foundation says it will increase the deficit by about $10 trillion over 10 years.
TRUMP: What do they know? George, what do they know? I mean they've been doing this stuff for years.
STEPHANOPOULOS: They run the numbers.
TRUMP: Can I tell you what? They've been doing this stuff for years. They're so off. You look at their past projections, they are so far off. People - this is a very dynamic plan.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So it's not going to increase the deficit?
TRUMP: People are going - well, if it works the way I want it to work it's not because we're going to bring back jobs. I am going to bring back so many jobs. One of the things that we're coming out with in the next three or four weeks is cutting. And the cutting is a big part of my plan.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you're going to come up with cuts that will close that hole?
TRUMP: We're going to come up with very substantial cuts and -
STEPHANOPOULOS: Give me one.
TRUMP: The Department of Education. We're going to do cutting. And the economy is going to grow exponentially.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You also said that this tax plan is going to cost you a fortune.
TRUMP: It will cost me a lot of money.
STEPHANOPOULOS: How do you get there?
TRUMP: Well, I'll tell you what. I have carried interest, like a lot of other people do, and carried interest is a wonderful thing, but it's unfair -
STEPHANOPOULOS: But - but - but - but that's -
TRUMP: And rich people are getting -
STEPHANOPOULOS: That's $20 billion over 10 years for everyone who has it. That's a small -
TRUMP: But it's psychologically so important. If the economy grows, we all make it up. I mean, frankly, the job producers make it up.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's -
TRUMP: The economy has to grow.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Dig into this (INAUDIBLE).
TRUMP: And, by the way, we have to bring back jobs. Also part of my plan.
STEPHANOPOULOS: According to your financial disclosure you made, what, about $250 million in the last year?
TRUMP: 605 million.
STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, 605. The top rate goes from 40 percent to about 25 percent.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Capital gains comes down from 23 to 20.
STEPHANOPOULOS: That's a huge - that's tens of millions of savings for you.
TRUMP: Everybody's going to save, according to my plan, and that money - you know where that money's going?
STEPHANOPOULOS: That means you're not going to be spending - you're not going to be paying more taxes though.
TRUMP: That money is going back into other things.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But you're going to get a tax cut?
TRUMP: I don't know because I have very big deductions that are frankly some of them are ridiculous. You're entitled to deductions. So I don't know that I am. I think -
STEPHANOPOULOS: But not 605 million dollars' worth.
TRUMP: I think that probably I'll end up paying more under this. To be honest, I don't think I'm going to. If you look at all of the kinds of deductions that people are allowed to take, that you're not going to be taking anymore, including carried interest, that's just one of them, I think I probably don't do as well.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But where your family would make potentially hundreds of millions of dollars, eliminating the estate tax.
TRUMP: Well, the estate tax is a different thing. The estate tax is a very, very horrible weapon that has destroyed many families. In particular, farms and things where they make an income and they have a certain value and they have to go out and borrow money and they put mortgages on their farms, they -
STEPHANOPOULOS: Twenty farms in the last year.
TRUMP: It's a big business. George, if you have a business, and let's say it's a business that's not very liquid, and people have to go out and borrow against the business, you are having travesty. And the other thing is, it's a double taxation. The tax has already been paid. I mean you've been hearing this argument for many years.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So your family would benefit but you're saying it's just wrong.
TRUMP: No, no, I say it's a double taxation. It's a - it's - the death tax is an unfair tax because the tax has already been paid.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Bottom line, you do accept that you are going to make out well under your tax plan?
TRUMP: I don't know. /I mean if the economy is good, if the economy is great, everybody makes out well so.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Getting any closer to releasing your tax returns?
TRUMP: Well, I'm thinking about it. I'm thinking about maybe when we find out the true story on Hillary's emails -- you know, I've been saying that for a while, let's find out the true stories...
STEPHANOPOULOS: Yes, that's been your line, but she's been putting some out.
TRUMP: But you know what? I'm very honest with my tax returns. (INAUDIBLE)...
STEPHANOPOULOS: What is your tax rate?
TRUMP: I'm not going to say it, but at some point I'll release it. But I pay as little as possible, I'm very proud to tell you. And I will say this, if this country were properly run, where the money wasn't in shambles, where the deals that they make aren't the Iran deal, where we're giving Iran 150 billion dollars and the deal is a disaster in every single possible way, where everything we do is bad, including ObamaCare, which is, by the way, the premiums are up 55 percent for some people.
If our country was properly run, I'd almost feel much better about it, and so would a lot of other people.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's talk about what...
TRUMP: But I just want to say, I fight like hell to pay as little as possible. I used to watch Romney - who, by the way, really let us down because he failed to win an election that he should have won easily. I used to watch him try and get his number as high as possible. It's not the way it works. I mean I fight because that's a very big expense. And one of the problems and one of the reasons I fight so hard is because I hate the way our country is spending my money and everybody else's money.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's talk about foreign policy.
We've seen Russia go heavy into Syria this week, at least two days...
STEPHANOPOULOS: -- of airstrikes. Yesterday, Hillary Clinton; today, John Kasich; both say we should establish a no-fly zone in Syria.
Would you do that?
TRUMP: I don't think so. I think what I want to do is I want to sit back -- and this does not sound like me very much -- but I want to sit back and I want to see what happens. You know, Russia got bogged down, when it was the Soviet Union, in Afghanistan. They thought that would be quick and easy and they'll go in and they'll clean it up, they can...
STEPHANOPOULOS: You think he's falling into a trap?
TRUMP: Well, I think it's a -- I think it's not going to be great for them, if you want to know the truth. But let's just -- look, they got bogged down. It destroyed the Soviet Union. I mean they essentially went bankrupt. They -- it destroyed the Soviet Union, Afghanistan.
Now they're going into Syria. There are so many traps. There are so many problems. When I heard they were going in to fight ISIS, I said, "Great.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But they're
TRUMP: Let them.'
STEPHANOPOULOS: -- not bombing ISIS.
TRUMP: Well, not yet. But they don't want ISIS going into Russia, either. So they're not bombing them yet.
And the other thing I look at is Assad. Assad's a bad guy, but they're all bad guys. We're supporting rebels. You know, they talk about the Syria Free Rebels. We're supporting rebels. We don't even know who they are. I spoke...
STEPHANOPOULOS: So it's better the devil you know?
TRUMP: Well, I spoke to a general who's very, you know, much on -- he said, "Mr. Trump, we have no idea who these people are." They may be worse than Assad. So we're going to spend all of this effort, all of this -- we'll probably have to go against Iran now. I mean and Iran, we're making Iran rich and powerful. You notice Iran now is coming in with the ground troops.
They have 150 billion dollars. All of the sudden they're rich. The sanctions are gone. Everything's gone. What we've done with Iran is one of the most incompetent things I've ever seen.
So now, we have this and we don't -- we -- we're going to fight for people that we don't even know who they are. Now if you look at Libya, you look at Gadhafi, you look at what's gone on there, you look at Iraq, with Saddam Hussein, I mean do you think we're better off now, because I personally don't?
STEPHANOPOULOS: We still do have this huge refugee situation. And a few weeks back, you said we'd have to take some in on humanitarian grounds. But just this week you seemed to reverse it. You said you're putting people on notice -- I want to quote you here -- "If I win, they're going back."
So what changed?
TRUMP: Well, ABC was at my speech the other night in New Hampshire. A totally packed house, 4,000 people. It was a beautiful thing to see.
And I gave a explained -- a very, you know, detailed explanation.
STEPHANOPOULOS: That's what I want, the explanation.
TRUMP: And I'm going to give it to you right now.
When I heard that -- I saw the migration. The migration was strange to me, because it seems like so many men. There aren't that many women. There aren't that many children. It looked like mostly men and they looked like strong men. These looked like physically strong people.
And I'm saying, "Where are all the women? Where are all the children?"
OK, and a lot of people...
STEPHANOPOULOS: Half the refugees are children.
TRUMP: By the way, excuse me. A lot of people have said the same thing.
But when I heard we were going to take in 3,000...
TRUMP: -- which was the first number, as you know, then I heard we were going to take in 10,000, I sort of said "Well, OK."
Now I hear we want to take in 200,000. We don't know where they're coming from. We don't know who they are. They could be ISIS. It could be the great Trojan Horse. I mean this could be one of the great Trojan Horses ever, since the original. We don't know where these people -- they have no documentation. They have no paperwork. There's no way they can prove where they're coming from.
And I'm saying we're going to take in 200,000 people that we have no idea where they come from?
And I said I would absolutely not do it. I have a bigger heart than you do, OK, believe me. I have a very big heart and I understand the whole thing with migration. It's a horrible thing. It should have never happened in the first place. We screwed up. This country has screwed up the Middle East so badly, with breaking up Iraq. We have so destabilized the Middle East. It is a mess.
So I said there's no way they come in. If they do come in, if I win for president, they're going out. And I tell them up front if I win -- now, I may not win. I may not even get the nomination, even though even you will admit I'm leading big league in every poll. But I may not. I mean a lot of things happen.
If I win, they're going back. We are not going to take responsibility.
Now are they ISIS?
Probably not but nobody knows. And many of them...
STEPHANOPOULOS: Even the kids?
TRUMP: Look, they shouldn't take them In. Europe should take some probably, because you have the Gulf States. You have Saudi Arabia. You have Bahrain. You have -- you have Qatar. You have the -- some of the richest countries. They're not taking any and they're right there,
So we're supposed to take 200,000 people that we have no idea who they are?
STEPHANOPOULOS: Two final questions.
Your wife Melania, a lot of the country saw her for the first time this week, "People" magazine.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Talk about what kind of a first lady she would be. We've seen a lot of different models -- Michelle Obama, Laura Bush, Hillary Clinton all had their own styles.
Where does she fit?
TRUMP: So Melania is a very beautiful woman both inside and out. She has got a tremendous heart. She feels so strongly about the women's health issues, in fact, she knows how strongly I feel about that and she's always pushing me on women's health issues.
When Jeb Bush said he's not going to fund women's health issues, that was a terrible -- she couldn't believe it. And she told me about it when I got home. He then said he misspoke and he made a mistake and he's going to.
But she couldn't believe it. She would be so great on that. And so would Ivanka, Ivanka Trump. She feels the same way. And they both want me -- they said, dad, you have such respect for women, and they say, you cherish women. You have such respect for women, you've got to speak more about it, because there's nobody that cares more for women than you. My mother was one of the great people ever in my life that I've ever met. And I have just amazing admiration and respect for women.
I think Melania would be unbelievable for women and for the country.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Finally, you talked about the polls. A lot of good polls. You're still in the lead. Ratings breaking records every time you go on television. And this let Dan Hettinger, a "Wall Street Journal" columnist yesterday, who says you're a master of timing. He said it in Atlantic City and says, this is as good as it gets for you. Quote, "Mr. Trump should retire the sky box and enjoy what he has wrought."
TRUMP: Well I've had a lot of fun doing this and I guess it's more fun when you see the kind of polls that I'm getting. And I think they're now higher than ever. And a lot of that is dissent. I mean people are very, very unhappy with what's happened with politicians, how badly they're running the country. They're all talk no action. I've dealt with them all my life, believe me. You know that because you've covered me in my previous life.
STEPHANOPOULOS: A long time.
TRUMP: You've covered me for a long time.
But I'm really enjoying what I'm doing. And I think we're having a very big impact. And one thing I'll say, a lot of people are watching that would not be watching. When you look at the debates, when you look at CNN, with 23 or 24 million people, they may have had a couple of million or four million, maybe. You look at Fox, with 24 plus million people.
So I think I'm doing a great -- I think I'm doing a great service.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But you've also said that you're not a masochist. So if the polls do start to turn around, do you get out before you get beat?
TRUMP: Well it's not a question of polls. If I felt that I was doing badly, if I felt that the polls were -- and I think polls are reflective, I mean right now I love polls because I'm winning everything -- I'm even winning-we just got one from Florida, I'm killing the governor and the senator from Florida I mean it's been amazing.
Texas winning. Winning everything, winning every state, winning every national poll and big lead. If that changed, and that went in a different direction and if I thought that I wasn't going to win, like there are numerous people running, they're not going to win, okay? I would certainly want to get out. I'm not a masochist. I'm not somebody that needs to do this for other reasons. If I thought I was doing poorly I would think I would want to do it.
Now, I will say, right now I'm loving it, I'm having a lot of fun. And the most important thing is it's not a question of like, it's a question, I want to make America great again. We can make it great again George. And I think we can actually make it better than ever before. I've never said that but I think we can make it better than ever before. And that's what I'm most excited about. Not polls, I'm excited about the endgame, the endgame is making this country great again.
STEPHANOPOULOS: All right, thanks to Donald Trump.
Much more ahead on This Week, will anything change after America's latest mass shooting. Chris Christie is here live. And after another tough week for Hillary, can comedy help her turn the corner.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Every month, another mass shooting. Our roundtable reflects a soul numbing cycle of violence in just two minutes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There's been another mass shooting in America. We may never understand what leaves anybody to terrorize their fellow human beings like this. Such violence, such evil, is senseless.
We've endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years. And each time I learn the news, I react not as a president, but as anybody else would as a parent.
I've had to make statements like this too many times. Communities like this have had to endure tragedies like this too many times. I hope and pray that I don't have to come out again during my tenure as president to offer my condolences to families in these circumstances.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: That's President Obama speaking out for the 15th time, 15 mass shootings on his watch.
Let's talk about it now on our roundtable. Joined by Greta Van Susteren from Fox News, Matt Bai, national political columnist for Yahoo News, and two leading members of congress Republican Tom Cole, Democrat Keith Ellison.
And Greta, let me begin with you. You saw the president so angry, so frustrated on Thursday. He said this is a political choice that we make to allow this to happen every few months in America.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS: Well, it is -- I don't think it's a political choice, but it's now become a political issue.
Look, everyone is on the same page on this...
STEPHANOPOULOS: Everyone is on the same page?
VAN SUSTEREN: No, no. To the sense every single person wants this to stop, this violence. Every single person. And so some call for gun control. And I think that's in some ways unrealistic. When I practiced law in the District of Columbia, very strict gun laws. And every single one of my clients could get a gun. The guns are out there. They are all over. And you can create all the laws you want, but all the guns are out there. They're going to be coming in through black markets. And so we're not being very realistic that all of a sudden putting -- changing the laws is going to change anything.
The guns are there. If you really want to regulate you've got to be a little bit smarter, maybe regulate ammunition so that people can't use their guns. That's the smart thing.
But I think we're being a little bit unrealistic about this. There -- and part of the problem is that the politicians on both sides of the aisle -- due respect, sir, both you gentlemen -- is that they take sides. They're not looking for solutions. Everyone wants to fund-raise off this. The anti-gun people want to fund-raise and the pro-gun want to fund raise --
STEPHANOPOULOS: Any change coming out of this?
COLE: You know, I hope the changes in the mental health area, quite frankly. My friend, Tim Murphy, who's a congressman, has a great piece of legislation --
STEPHANOPOULOS: Mental health professional as well.
COLE: -- doctorate in psychology, but you know, he has a great saying. He said the problem's not what's in their hand; it's what's in their head.
And we have a -- not taken advantage of the amount -- the billions of dollars we spend --
STEPHANOPOULOS: How do you answer the question?
Every single country in the world has crazy people.
ELLISON: That's right. That's right.
Absolutely. I mean, look, we are leading the world on these -- in these gun deaths. And we're not doing anything about it. And people argue that, because we can't stop every gun death, we can't stop any. That's not true.
We could do background checks. Ninety percent of Americans believe that we can. We can eliminate these high-capacity magazines that allow people to -- allow them to spray a whole theater or something like that.
There's a lot of things that we can do that we need to do.
We let -- should let the CDC give us statistics on how bad this gun carnage is.
VAN SUSTEREN: What are you going to do about the fact that there's so many guns out there, that there's such a huge black -- I'm not getting into laws. We're so strict against my clients, but they always find (ph) guns.
ELLISON: Because we -- because they come across the boundary, that's what. So we've got to have --
VAN SUSTEREN: But they're still going to.
ELLISON: -- so we've got to -- no. That's -- we've got to do more than just city by city. This is something where we need a national policy, and we've got to treat it like it is a health issue, a disease, which it is --
STEPHANOPOULOS: Matt Bai, the president did something there that, I mean, it does seem to be almost a ritual that we all participate in after this kind of violence, you know, we see the sides break down. We give it the coverage. We talk about who the shooter was. We focus on the victim. Nothing changes.
BAI: Nothing changes because in partly because we're having the wrong debate. This is the wrong debate to me. I mean, it -- there -- we're conflating a couple of different issues, because there's this debate about gun safety and what do you with guns, regulating ammunition, gun crime. There's things you can do around that and the gun lobby's blocked it and maybe it would have some effect.
This is a very specific thing. This is what we saw in Arizona; it's what we saw in Connecticut. It's what we saw this week. It is a clearly mentally ill person who has signaled violence, has access to a lot of weapons, who, for some reason, gets to keep those weapons, either because the people around them and the people who see it feel powerless to stop it or just won't do anything about it or are in some kind of denial.
And in this case, right, when we talk about civil liberties, say post 9/11, we have -- we've had a very robust debate about civil liberties versus national security. This comes down to an issue of civil liberties.
How do you balance them? The clear mental instability of someone who has access to guns against civil liberty laws, they keep you from going in and taking them away. That's the debate we need to have --
STEPHANOPOULOS: We saw the shooter's father lamenting yesterday about how he -- how could he possibly have 14 guns? And you're talking about --
VAN SUSTEREN: But he hasn't seen his son in 10 years. He's not a very attentive father.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Two years I think it was. But if you're going to focus on mental health, what could be done? Should there be forces -- ?
COLE: -- legislation, you know, in Congress right now. And that's -- we should begin in places where we can agree. You know, Republicans and Democrats don't have to fight about mental health. They can agree on mental health.
You know, I would argue, picking up Tim Murphy's -- you know, which would be the first significant federal legislation in this area in decades and moving that forward in a bipartisan way, that's a real --
ELLISON: I think we should move ahead on mental health. But I think we should move ahead on it with the idea that we're going to solve some of the problem with that and there's other things that we can do. And throwing up our hands and saying that this is not just fate and it's in the hearts of human depravity and will never be fixed is just a defeatist attitude and it's wrong.
VAN SUSTEREN: You know, I think we're underestimating the fact that there's a lot of evil out there. You know, people are sort of, you know, (INAUDIBLE) excuse and say it's mental health, there's an awful lot of --
ELLISON: -- everywhere --
VAN SUSTEREN: -- well, no, no; I'm saying this. But I'm saying this --
ELLISON: -- an American problem. We're worse than nobody on --
VAN SUSTEREN: I'm not saying that. But I'm saying you know this, that, you know, this is also there's an awful lot of evil. We -- and look at even, I mean, it's glorified in our culture, but you look -- you turn on the TV or video games and the big hero's coming in with a shot -- or with the assault weapon --
BAI: -- call it evil, call it mental health, when somebody signals they have violent intentions and deep depression and they have 15 guns and access to 15 guns and nobody takes them away and nobody says anything, you have a problem, there ought to be a policy, yes, there ought to be a federal policy effort to try and fix that problem because it just keeps happening.
STEPHANOPOULOS: That's the last word for now. We're going to come back in a little bit. Chris Christie here live as well and the roundtable later is going to take on a tough week for Hillary Clinton and the top candidate for House Speaker.
Plus Bill O'Reilly on his new best seller, "Killing Reagan."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping.
Why? Because she's untrustable (sic).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today, here, I am announcing my intention to run for Speaker of the House of Representatives. We were entrusted by the American people with the largest majority the Republicans have ever had since Babe Ruth was swinging a baseball bat. But they didn't send us here to perpetuate the status quo.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Brand new polls this morning show Bernie Sanders continue to gain on Hillary Clinton.
So did she turn the corner on "Saturday Night Live"?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All anyone wants to talk about is Donald Trump.
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Donald Trump? Isn't he the one that's like, ugh, you're all losers?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think he'll win the primaries?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He must. I want to be the one to take him down. I will destroy him and I will mount his hair in the (INAUDIBLE).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: And when we come back, the roundtable weighs in on that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: There is record rainfall on the East Coast this morning. You see the dangerous flooding there in South Carolina, one of six states declaring emergencies, including New Jersey.
I'm joined now by that state's governor and presidential candidate Chris Christie.
Thanks for joining us this morning, governor.
And, of course, those images bring Sandy to mind. Are you ready for this one? And what's the biggest lesson you take away from that experience?
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, we - we were ready. We're lucky we dodged a bullet in New Jersey this time that we didn't dodge three years ago. The biggest lesson you learn is, George, you cannot prepare enough and you cannot prepare soon enough. You need to get provisions in place. You need to get evacuation plans set. You need to get yourself resilient and protected against loss of power and loss of major governmental function. We did all that. We learned that from Sandy and we were ready.
But, believe me, I'm glad I was ready and nothing happened. I've been through when it happened.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's talk about this gun debate and so tragic coming out of Oregon. You just heard Donald Trump say, you know, sometimes people fall through the cracks. And he also questioned whether tough gun laws make a difference. But look at your state. It has some of the toughest gun laws and one of the lowest murder rates. Isn't there a correlation?
CHRISTIE: I don't - George, I don't think there is. But I'll tell you this, I'm very concerned about the mental health side of this and I put forward a proposal to the legislature last year and then again just about seven or eight weeks ago in response to a bill they sent saying, let's do some tough things on mental health. Let's make involuntary commitment of people who speak violently easier for doctors.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you would do that?
CHRISTIE: I would. And I - and I've heard doctors in my state say, the laws are so difficult and murky. Let's work on those kinds of things. I think that makes sense.
But let's remember something else, in many of the places around this country where they have the toughest gun laws, they have the highest violent crime rates. And we focus on a tragedy like this. It's an awful tragedy. It's terrible. But it is the exception to violence in America. Violence in America that's happened on our streets in our cities, like Chicago, up 19 percent, the murder rate. New York, up 11 percent. And you have some of the most aggressive gun laws in cities like that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But - but -
CHRISTIE: So let's enforce the law. There's lawlessness out there, George, that we are not enforcing the law in the (INAUDIBLE) ways we should. And as a former prosecutor, I believe we should.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But there's no question the pace of mass shootings is accelerating, happening more frequently than anywhere else. If it's not the gun, then what is it? What is the answer? What is so unique about American culture and American psychology?
CHRISTIE: It's a really complex problem, but I think it's about the mental health issues, George, and I don't think we're as aggressive as we should be. And that's why I put the proposals for New Jersey. And here's the bad thing about the politics of this. I heard our congressman on here before saying we should be able to agree on that. I've put this proposal forward twice and my legislature, a Democratic legislature in New Jersey, has ignored it. You know why? Because it doesn't create headlines. It's not taking away anybody's guns. It doesn't create a headline. So they don't want to deal with it. They tried to override a veto of - of a bill that I put forward when my substitute bill was to get tougher on mental health. Maybe this morning the legislature in New Jersey will see what happened in Oregon and get tougher on the mental health issues to help these folks. We don't want to involuntarily commit them, to put them away. We want to protect others and get them the help they need.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's talk about Syria. Vladimir Putin going in aggressively this week, two or three days of air strikes. You heard Donald Trump right there. He sort of says, maybe it's OK, maybe to have Putin go in and do that, fight. You heard President Obama also this week. He believes that Putin's making a mistake and could fall into a quagmire. Are they right about that? If you were president, what would you do?
CHRISTIE: Well, Donald should be concerned that he's agreeing with Barack Obama, because just when you think it can't get worse, it does. And just when you think this foreign policy can't cost more to the American people, it does. We don't need to be friends with Vladimir Putin and we don't need to be worried about whether he's in a quagmire. After 40 years, we allowed Russia back into the Middle East. And now who are they partnered with? Iran.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So how do you push them out?
CHRISTIE: Oh, listen, you should be - first, they should never be. But now that he's there, America's got to re-establish its presence in that area. We should be the ones leading the fight on ISIS. And by the way, we know Putin's not fighting ISIS. Putin's there to prop up Assad. After he told him -
STEPHANOPOULOS: Would you put in a no-fly zone?
CHRISTIE: Absolutely. And I'll tell you this, there's now 300,000 nearly dead in Syria because of Assad and now Putin is going in and teaming with the Iranians to prop up Assad. Only Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton could mess up this foreign policy that badly. And anybody who agrees with allowing the Russians into the Middle East is just painfully naive.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Showing a little progress in the campaign. You had a good performance at the last debate. New polls out this morning show you picking up a couple of points in both Iowa and New Hampshire. We're going to show you this from the (INAUDIBLE) poll. It came out just this weekend. It shows an interesting trend line asking Republican voters what they want. Back in March, it was kind of - it was split evenly, those who wanted someone with experience and a proven record, some with new ideas and a different approach. Look what's happened since the campaign began skyrocketing for new ideas and a different approach. What does that tell you and can you meet that test given the fact that you've sort of been running on your experience and record?
CHRISTIE: No, I haven't been running on my experience and records. George, in fact, I'm the most detailed person with future plans in this campaign of anyone. You know this. We've given five major policy speeches that laid out specifically what we do, because you know what, the people out there in the audience, they don't care about what I've done. They care about what I'm going to do for them going forward as president of the United States. It's like I said at the debate, they don't want an agreement between Carly and Donald about who declared bankruptcy more, who's lost money more, who's gained more money. They're all successful. That's great. Congratulations. But for the 45-year-old unemployed construction worker out there, you know what he wants to know, how are we going to improve this economy, how are we going to keep his family safe from terrorism? And those are all about those things. Campaigns are about tomorrow, not about yesterday. My campaign is about tomorrow and a greater America tomorrow. That's why we've laid out the plans we have.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You heard Donald Trump there. You think he's in for the long haul?
CHRISTIE: Who knows? You know, I mean, listen, the - who would have ever thought Scott Walker would have dropped out already. So these campaigns, as you know, are very personal in nature, as well as being a national event. That every candidate has to make that decision for themselves. When have they had enough? Are they willing to continue to push forward? Here's what people know about me. I say what I mean, and I mean what I say every day. And I've done that for six years as governor and seven years before that as U.S. attorney.
And of all the people on that stage, I guarantee you, George, you'd agree with this, no one has been more tested than me. No one.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You've had a lot of tests.
There seem to be two different campaigns going on. You have the outsiders Carly Fiorina, Donald Trump, Ben Carson. You, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, John Kasich who have all served in government. What sets you apart in that second group?
CHRISTIE: What sets me apart is that I've worked in one of the most hostile areas you never work as a Republican in the state of New Jersey where every day I wake up as an outsider.
And you know what I've done? I've not only gotten things done like pension reform and tenure reform that people said could never get done, but also I've vetoed more than 400 bills. And every one of those vetoes has been sustained. That shows I can keep the Republican Party together. Maybe they should send me the House caucus to try to help them with that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You're not running for speaker now, are you?
CHRISTIE: I am not, sir, no. I would rather jump off the Brooklyn bridge than be in congress. And secondly, Americans for Tax Reform just said this, George, two weeks ago.
I've vetoed more tax increases than any governor in American history. And because of that, and every one of those vetoes being sustained, taxes are better. What people want in Washington is someone who knows how to do two things at once: stand up and say this is where I am, who I am, to say what I mean and mean what I say. And then also to be able to get people in a room and say, OK, now that we've set that out, let's get something done.
And that's what I'll do. That's what I've done in New Jersey. Everyone else has had Republican legislatures on that list. I'm the only guy with a Democratic legislature that's brought people together.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Chris Christie, thanks very much.
Coming up, the battle over speaker of the house. Did front-runner Kevin McCarthy throw Hillary a lifeline this week? Can she stop the Bernie Sanders surge. Our powerhouse roundtable weighs in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY, (R) CALIFORNIA: Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she's untrustable.
REP. JASON CHAFFETZ, (R) UTAH: Today, here, I am announcing my intention to run for speaker of the House of Representatives. We were entrusted by the American people with the largest majority the Republicans have ever had since Babe Ruth was swinging the baseball bat. But they didn't send us here to perpetuate the status quo.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Chris Christie not running for speaker, but there are two candidates right there: Kevin McCarthy and Jason Chaffetz.
Let's talk about this on our roundtable right now.
Congressman Tom Cole, you're a supporter of Kevin McCarthy. We just saw that comment got so much notice this week where he seemed to be saying that the Benghazi committee was working because it's driving down Hillary Clinton's poll numbers.
COLE: Oh, it probably wasn't his most artful moment as the speaker, but frankly...
STEPHANOPOULOS: Not speaker yet.
COLE: ...as a tempest in a teapot, I really do. I don't think it's going to change what happens in terms of what people decide. And I just think...
STEPHANOPOULOS: Aren't your colleagues concerned about it, though, your Republican colleagues?
COLE: No, I don't think so. I think some people are using it as an opening to get in the race. That's fine. This is politics. Hardball sport. But I don't think it's going to change how anybody votes.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Matt Bai, you pointed out this week in your column that in some ways the Kevin McCarthy is running for a different job than speakers used to run for, that the parties in the House have become oppositional.
BAI: Yeah, I mean now the wave keeps sweeping in -- parties opposed the president. And what you have is instead of a speaker who is traditionally literally speaking for the House and acting the will of the House in negotiations with the White House, you have speakers who are essentially who are at the pinnacle of resistance. They seem to be resistance leaders.
And there's a conflict. If you're a guy like John Boehner or I think Kevin McCarthy who has some aspiration to governor, you find yourself in a position where your main job is to stop an agenda or roll one back. I think it's almost impossible, as I said in that column, to do the job and to keep it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And this congress, Greta, as another government shutdown could be looming in December.
VAN SUSTEREN: Oh, yes. President Obama has said that he does not intend to sign any more short-term spending bills, either, which creates a problem for the House as well. Although I think that he will if one is put on his desk.
But let me just talk about that Kevin McCarthy statement for a second is if you step back for a second, look at Chairman Gowdy, he's a pretty straight arrow.
STEPHANOPOULOS: The Benghazi committee.
VAN SUSTEREN: Of the Banghazi committee about which Kevin McCarthy speaks. Chairman Gowdy is a straight arrow. So far he has -- I think he'd take -- I think he would disagree with Kevin McCarthy about it being political. He has requested documents. And he's asking questions of people.
So I think while there's criticism of Kevin McCarthy's statement, which was not a good one, is I think you've got to look at how Chairman Gowdy is conducting the committee so far.
ELLISON: This thing is political from the beginning to this moment, $4.5 million we've spent on this thing.
Hey, look, let's shut it down. Let's shut it down now. It is improper. And if the one member were to use their office to campaign, to try to drive somebody else's numbers down from the congressional office, that would be an ethics violation...
STEPHANOPOULOS: I think you'd concede it's not going to get shut down (inaudible) when Hillary is going to have to go before that.
ELLISON: The American people should demand it be shut down right now.
VAN SUSTEREN: But wait a second, you've got to understand is that in order to get to the bottom of it, you have to have all the documents. And the State Department has not provided all the documents.
ELLISON: ...the documents from a ruse select committee from the very beginning? Documents for what?
COLE: No, it's not. I mean, (inaudible) produced and found important information. We wouldn't know about the server if it wasn't for this. They're continuing...
COLE: ...it's been systematically, appropriately and properly run by the chairman. There have been no complaints about this.
ELLISON: If Democrats did this, there would be outrage. This is a fishing expedition.
VAN SUSTEREN: Congressman, it's got to be transparency on all these issues. I don't know how the chips are going to fall either way. Congressman Gowdy, Chairman Gowdy, has the obligation to do it right.
I don't know, it may come out exonerating -- it may exonerate.
ELLISON: It is not serious, by the admission of the majority leader.
STEPHANOPOULOS: It does give Hillary a talking point when she goes and testifies on October 22. And coming after this week, she is going to need something. We saw these incredible crowds for Bernie Sanders again. Last night 20,000 people in Boston, Massachusetts, raised almost as much money as she did the last quarter. Does it cause you to revise your view at all on his staying power and what could do to this race?
BAI: Not that much. Look, I've always been, you know, a little more skeptical about her chances than other people. I think it's a tough race.
But, look, I think if you're Hillary Clinton, and I do think it's a flawed campaign and she's a flawed candidate, every night you go to sleep and Bernie Sanders is the guy who is your main competition you've having a good day, because there is a tradition of Democratic frontrunners having very ideological, not necessarily electable, you know, opponents who rile up the base and give them a good run for their money but can't win nationally. And I think Bernie Sanders probably fits into that category. He's not Barack Obama.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Is it a good day if he exposes enough weakness to drive Joe Biden into the race.
BAI: Well, no, that's a very bad day. And that -- I think if you are the Clinton team that is -- has got to be your greater concern. You are always going to have a challenger, you are always going to have a base in rebellion at some point. If Bernie Sanders is the instrument for that rebellion you've got to consider yourself...
STEPHANOPOULOS: What do you think of that argument?
ELLISON: Well, here's what I think of that argument, I think that -- I like the idea that Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton and O'Malley and Biden are all competing to help out the American worker, the American family. I like that. I mean they all are -- I mean Bernie is doing because he's talking about the economic -- the bread and butter issues that people are feeling every day. Hillary is trying to do the same thing.
I mean look at the other side. They're competing on do you like Mexicans a lot, you know, should Muslims be the president, all this kind of crazy stuff.
I think the field, the competition is a good thing. I think it brings out the best in all of them. I think it's going to actually help Hillary Clinton. And I think it's going to happen Bernie...
ELLISON: -- whoever we end up with.
VAN SUSTEREN: You know, the thing that -- Hillary Clinton, though, has a -- a huge weapon come this debate if she can drive it home to the American people that Senator Bernie Sanders has been talking about this stuff for the last 30 years but done -- but accomplished zero on it. And that's important, that he hasn't accomplished anything, that he's a big talker.
I think that's a problem for Senator Bernie Sanders...
ELLISON: You know, speaking...
VAN SUSTEREN: -- (INAUDIBLE).
ELLISON: -- speaking to people's reality is doing something, in my opinion. I mean Bernie Sanders has done a tremendous service to this race by talking to what people feel.
No matter who the nominee is...
VAN SUSTEREN: But has he actually...
ELLISON: -- I mean...
VAN SUSTEREN: -- delivered on anything?
ELLISON: You know...
VAN SUSTEREN: -- is in a far better position than Bernie Sanders.
ELLISON: I think that's a reasonable thing to argue, but I also think that this is a primary nominee race and the issue is to put things on the table that are important to people.
ELLISON: People will make choices.
VAN SUSTEREN: You've got to be able to deliver.
STEPHANOPOULOS: -- you've got (INAUDIBLE) over on the...
COLE: Well, I'm heading up Republicans for Bernie Sanders for the Democratic nominee. So it would be, I think...
STEPHANOPOULOS: But how about, if you look at the polls right now on the Republican side, Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina, Ben Carson, one, two and three.
Are any one of those three going to be the nominee?
COLE: In my opinion, I don't -- I honestly don't know. I've never seen it this volatile. But I think this idea that they're -- those three merge into one is very unlikely. I think there's a big difference between a Ben Carson supporter and a Donald Trump supporter and a Fiorina supporter. They're very different styles...
COLE: -- very different kinds of candidates.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And what does it tell you that -- that Donald Trump has held on, on top for so long?
COLE: Well, I think he's tapped into something that's real out there, which is anger at the political establishment, frustration that Washington seems gridlocked. And, you know, the guy clearly is a gifted communicator, a flamboyant figure. He attracts attention.
So he's got a lot of skills.
The real question is whose second choice is he?
Who will move toward him in these other camps?
And I think there's an assumption out there that the other outsiders will. I just find that hard to believe. I think they'll move in different directions.
VAN SUSTEREN: And it sure shows how pundits are wrong, because they said that Trump would be out.
VAN SUSTEREN: Boy, I'll tell you, it sure...
VAN SUSTEREN: -- it's an indictment of pundits who have said that Trump was out.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And he is still on top.
We've got to take a break right there.
Up next, dangerous new developments in Afghanistan this week. Two experts here to weigh in on that.
Plus, Bill O'Reilly and his new best-seller, after this from our ABC stations.
STEPHANOPOULOS: New and tragic developments from the war in Afghanistan this morning. There you see the destruction from U.S. bombs that hit a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders in Kunduz. Nineteen people, including three children, killed in the strike. The Afghan president says the U.S. has apologized. President Obama promising a full investigation. Another blow in a week where the Taliban claimed control of that city.
We're joined now by two experts who served the U.S. in top foreign policy jobs. Meghan O'Sullivan for President Bush, now with the Council on Foreign Relations; and Anne-Marie Slaughter at the State Department under President Obama and now president of The New America Foundation and author of the new book, "Unfinished Business." Congratulations on that.
Let's begin with Afghanistan.
Anne-Marie, let me begin with you.
You've seen these Taliban advances this week, another tragic error with this air strike.
Is the United States going to have to rethink the withdrawal timetable?
Meghan, could you hear me?
MEGHAN O'SULLIVAN, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: Oh, yes, I could hear you. Sorry. I -- I thought you were directing that to Anne-Marie.
The short answer is yes, this is a tragedy that we saw in Kunduz, but it's one that has broader implications. It underscores what the Pentagon -- a Pentagon report concluded just a few months ago, and that is that the Afghanistan troops are going to struggle to maintain their positions without coalition support.
And that is the sort of assessment upon which we should base our withdrawal or our staying in Afghanistan, not an arbitrary political time line.
So what I'd like to see is the president keep the capabilities that the United States and the Afghans need to protect our interests there in order for the next president to be in a position to continue to do that, because that will be necessary out from 2017 and beyond.
STEPHANOPOULOS: The president has been so reluctant to do that.
ANNE-MARIE SLAUGHTER, PRESIDENT, NEW AMERICA FOUNDATION: Well, I have to say, I think I agree with him. This has been our longest war, in Afghanistan. We've had thousands of Americans killed, 20,000 wounded and hundreds of thousands of Afghans.
And we aren't going, in the end, to be able to save the Afghan government if they can't fight it for themselves.
The worst thing about this kind of an attack is that it loses us the support of the Afghan people. And without that, the Afghan government can't win and we can't win for them.
STEPHANOPOULOS: We also saw this week, of course, the president showing great reluctance to go in in a new and heavy way into Syria, as well, exposing a bit of a split between him and your old boss...
STEPHANOPOULOS: -- Hillary Clinton, who's for a no-fly zone.
Who's right on that?
SLAUGHTER: Hillary Clinton is unquestionably right on that. I've been calling for this for three years. Look, Russia is in there propping up a government that that has killed hundreds of thousands of its own people and we have to have actually act in a way -- the no-fly zones will reduce the bloodshed, because it will stop barrel bombs, it will reduce the flow of refugees, because you're -- you've got corridors for them to be in no-fly zones.
And, critically, it will force Assad to the negotiating table, and then we can get a political solution. And it will give Russia something to think about, because right now, Russia has got open season.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you agree with that?
O'SULLIVAN: I agree with that completely. And I would say we need to look at this development on the part of Russia beyond simply the context of the Syrian conflict, which, for all the reasons Anne-Marie suggested, we need more forceful action.
But we need to see this move in the context of what it means in the broader region.
This is about the United States in some large part. This is the most serious and direct challenge to America's global position in decades.
And the United States needs to see it in that context and it needs to see this as Russia's beginning move to try to establish itself...
STEPHANOPOULOS: But now Russia, as the president said, acting out of weakness?
O'SULLIVAN: I do not see that -- I don't agree with the assessment that I've heard from the administration that this is going to necessarily or inevitably work out badly for Russia. That's possible, but that's certainly not a conclusion that we can come to at this point. And to assume that this initiative is going to collapse on its own weight is to really disregard an important strategic moment that demands an American response along the lines that Anne-Marie mentioned.
STEPHANOPOULOS: The president used that word quagmire.
SLAUGHTER: Yes. But Meghan is absolutely right. I mean it may be a quagmire over the long-term, but over the long-term, this war is spilling into Turkey, into Jordan, into Iraq. It is basically engulfing the Middle East.
We can't just stand by. We have to act in a way that gets a political solution.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And that's going to have to be the last word today.
Thank you both very much.
And in today's Sunday Spotlight, Bill O'Reilly, the Fox News star, has hit number one on the best-seller list again, this time with "Killing Reagan," a new look at how that failed assassination attempt by John Hinckley dramatically transformed the Reagan White House.
RONALD REAGAN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I, Ronald Reagan, do solemnly swear.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Reagan was on a roll.
REAGAN: There you go again.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was elected president. He defeated Jimmy Carter. He's in. They love him. And then he's on his back on a gurney and he doesn't know whether he's going to live.
What happens after that was kept from the American public.
STEPHANOPOULOS: What was kept?
BILL O'REILLY, HOST, "THE O'REILLY FACTOR": Reagan was profoundly changed, psychologically and physiologically. His health was affected and so was his mind. And this -- the come back that he made is startling. And the things that happened in that White House were kept shrouded from the public.
And everybody felt he was OK. You saw him in his bathrobe with Nancy cracking wise and everybody was ah, he's going to make it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And people loved seeing that.
O'REILLY: Right. But behind the scenes, everything changed. On his good days, he was as brilliant and much smarter than the public thought he was.
On his bad days, he couldn't even come down from the residence. He was watching (INAUDIBLE).
STEPHANOPOULOS: How do you square your theory with -- I remember reading when it came out just a couple of years ago, "The Reagan Letters." And over the course of the presidency, they show a man who was still a clear, at times brilliant, writer. He seemed to be there.
O'REILLY: There's no disparaging, because on his good days, he was all of that. But it was the bad days that people didn't know about. And there came a point in the second term where they might have removed him. Baker was the chief of staff. James Cannon investigated whether the president could still carry out his duties. And then there was this -- and that's the linchpin of the book -- this meeting. Reagan came down and they actually gave him a quiz. And if he hadn't passed it, they were going to move against him.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Play that out.
So what if he didn't pass?
What would have happened?
They wouldn't have moved (INAUDIBLE)...
O'REILLY: I think they would have moved.
O'REILLY: They spent a lot of time on this investigation and James Cannon complied a lot of data about Ronald Reagan and his failure to lock in on Iran-Contra and other things that were happening. And they were very concerned.
And they loved him. And they were so relieved when he took over. And I believe it was the communist thing that brought him back.
REAGAN: Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.
O'REILLY: I mean he was so adamant about defeating the Soviet Union.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Tear down that wall.
O'REILLY: He had to defeat them. And that gave him the motivation.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You know, the family is not too happy with you. Michael Reagan, on Facebook, "It would have been nice if O'Reilly would have consulted the Reagans who were there when our father was shot. Just saying."
O'REILLY: Michael Reagan wasn't there. He wasn't there. And I like Michael Reagan contrary to...
STEPHANOPOULOS: You love don't this, don't you?
O'REILLY: Oh, it's great. It's great. I'm a historian. I taught high school history. I love history. And now, I'm writing it so everybody reads it. And I'm the luckiest guy in the world.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Bill O'Reilly, thanks very much.
O'REILLY: All right, George.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
STEPHANOPOULOS: And now we honor our fellow Americans who serve and sacrifice.
In September, two service members were killed overseas supporting the fight against ISIS and the Taliban.
And 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."