'This Week' Transcript: Gov. John Kasich, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Reince Priebus

This is a rush transcript for "This Week" on April 3, 2016

ByABC News
April 3, 2016, 9:09 AM

— -- THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT FOR 'THIS WEEK' ON April 3, 2016 and it will be updated.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Starting right now on THIS WEEK WITH GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, Trump's terrible week -- the billionaire frontrunner down big in Wisconsin, after seeing his top adviser arrested, sparking a firestorm over abortion and getting slammed on his foreign policy.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm not sure which is worse, dealing with the party people or dealing with the press.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, is Trump more vulnerable than ever? and could a Wisconsin loss make a convention clash inevitable?

The Republican Party chair and Trump rival John Kasich are both here.

Plus, fed up and feuding...


HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And I'm also a Democrat. That's kind of important.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As Bernie Sanders gains in the polls, the Democratic fight for the nomination gets heated.

Bernie Sanders joins us live.

From ABC News, it's THIS WEEK.

Here now, chief anchor George Stephanopoulos.


GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC HOST: Was this week the tipping point for Donald Trump?

Imagine any other candidate enduring the week he had. Imagine one dealing with it the way he did.

It began with a battery charge for campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, after surveillance video proved he grabbed reporter Michelle Fields at a Trump rally last month.

Now, most candidates would discuss the staffer. Not Trump, he blamed the reporter.


TRUMP: She didn't almost fall to the ground. She -- he -- he got in her way. And by the way, she was grabbing me.

Am I supposed to press charges against her?


STEPHANOPOULOS: Then there was Trump's trouble with abortion.


CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST, "HARDBALL": Do you believe in punishment for abortion, yes or no, as a principle?

TRUMP: And the answer is that there has to be some form of punishment.

MATTHEWS: For the woman?

TRUMP: Yes, there has to be some form.


STEPHANOPOULOS: After the predictable firestorm...


SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Being pro-life is not only about defending the unborn children, it's also about defending the mothers.

CLINTON: Donald Trump is showing us exactly who he is and we should believe him.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Trump forced to backtrack.


TRUMP: The laws are set now on abortion and that's the way they're going to remain.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Another clarification followed. Only the late night comics seemed to be happy with how it ended up.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So at this point, Donald Trump has to be pro-choice because he's made all of the choices.



STEPHANOPOULOS: And on foreign policy, Trump shattered more than half a century of security policy by hinting at how he would use nuclear weapons and suggesting Japan and South Korea should considering building nuclear arsenals of their own.


GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You wonder about his hand or his thumb getting any close to the critical button that presidents are in charge of.


STEPHANOPOULOS: President Obama weighed in, too.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The person who made the statements doesn't know much about foreign policy or nuclear policy or the Korean Peninsula or the world generally.


STEPHANOPOULOS: And with a crucial vote in Wisconsin just two days away, Trump appears to be taking a hit. Two polls now show a double digit lead for Ted Cruz. But in Eau Claire last night, Trump was in top form, defiant and optimistic.


TRUMP: I think we're going to have a very good day on Tuesday.


TRUMP: To be honest.



STEPHANOPOULOS: So let's talk about this now with our roundtable.

We're joined by our political analyst, Matthew Dowd.

Let me ask the question I posed at the top of the show, was this week a tipping point?

MATTHEW DOWD, ABC NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think it was the tipping point to showing us that Donald Trump has a great capacity to harm himself. I mean this is a man of great strengths, very great ability to read the electorate, but unbelievable amount of flaws. And normally, in the course of these campaigns, people grow. As you know, George, people grow and they grow into it and they learn to change the behavior and they learn to adapt to the -- to what's going on.

Donald Trump doesn't seem to have a capacity to do that. And this week, I think, showed that it's going to be very difficult for him to win the majority of the delegates before the convention.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Before the convention.

But one of the things we've seen, Hugh Hewitt, talk radio -- talk show host here, for Salem now -- excuse me. We've seen him be able to come back before, make mistakes before, still hold onto his voters.

HUGH HEWITT, HOST, "THE HUGH HEWITT SHOW": And Ivanka will be back and that is always calming. But I'll say, I've taught three 15-year-olds how to drive and we had fewer wrong turns and car crashes than this week had for Team Trump. It was a very bad week, when you roll the cards that often and you begin to show this way, with that clip reel, he's going to lose Wisconsin. Ted Cruz is going to win Wisconsin.

The question is, by the time he comes here, to your hometown and his hometown, can he put it back together again?


Donna Brazile, meantime, he's taking a huge hit, especially with women.

DONNA BRAZILE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Absolutely, George. Look, there's a new poll out, Marquette University, 70 percent of women in -- in Wisconsin disapprove of Donald Trump. But for Republican women, it's 45 percent. You cannot win without women. Women are the majority of voters, not just a demographic group.

If Donald Trump loses in Wisconsin, and there's indications that he might be falling behind, it will fundamentally change the narrative of this race.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Meantime, Juan Williams from Fox News, we saw something rare from Donald Trump this morning in an interview with Maureen Dowd in "The New York Times." He actually suggesting that he shouldn't have done something, re-Tweeted out that photo of Heidi Cruz.

JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: But, see, that's part of the problem with women. I mean you stop and look back, and Romney was minus 11. With women, Trump looks like he's going to triple that. I mean he's going, you know, the whole way here.

The problem is not just the Twitter feed, it's the abortion, the idea of punishing women. This crosses political lines and, of course, it's totally anathema to the anti-abortion line that we're not about punishing women, we're punishing doctors and we want to save children.

So at this moment, it's "The Empire Strikes Back," George. You have terror forces, the establishment forces, able to concentrate on Wisconsin. They're arrayed there. They're far outspending Trump in the state. They've got the governor in addition to, you know, gosh, you could go on and on.

Who isn't now saying I am opposed to Donald Trump on the Republican side?

Plus, the Planned Parenthood people and some of the Democrats. You heard from President Obama, Hillary Clinton in your reel. They're speaking out against Donald Trump in a way that they haven't spoken before.

DOWD: I think the fascinating thing about this bad week for -- really bad week for Donald Trump is his support has not dropped at all. It's not dropped in Wisconsin...


DOWD: It's right at 32, 34 percent. It's not dropped. It's been there since last year. And it's dropped -- his support nationally has not dropped off in the course of this.

I don't think it so much is -- is that the anti-Trump movement has done this. I think Donald Trump has cast himself in an ability to win a general election. It's made it very difficult. And the ability to expand his support.

But his supporters are still really strong.

STEPHANOPOULOS: He has a concrete floor and maybe a concrete ceiling, as well, at least that's the question.

Stand by.

We're going to come back to you guys in a little bit.

But we're going to turn now to the candidate who's banking all his hopes on a contested convention.

I spoke to John Kasich from Wisconsin Saturday afternoon.

And we began with the topic Donald Trump put front and center this week, abortion.


KASICH: Well, George, I hope they -- they do repeal "Roe v. Wade" and then, you know, it will be up to the states to decide how -- how they want to proceed. It will be up to them to figure out what they want to do. And that's precisely what we would do.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But you said there are legitimate and constitutional restrictions that could be put on abortion.

What are they?

KASICH: Well, George, I don't -- you know, when you say constitutional restrictions or whatever (INAUDIBLE)...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Those are your words.

KASICH: -- the only thing I would tell you is I've been -- yes, well, I don't -- I don't know when I said it or why I said that in particular. It's probably out of context. But, look, I am opposed to abortion in except the case of rape, incest and life of the mother. I hope "Roe v. Wade" will be repealed. And -- and then it will be turned to the states and the states will have to figure out exactly what the restrictions ought to be, period, end of story.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So but if -- if you believe that abortion is taking of an innocent life, how would you enforce a ban on that activity?

KASICH: Well, that will be up to the states to figure out what they want to do. And, you know, obviously, when we have seen these comments that have come out earlier this week, it's the first time I've seen the pro-life and the pro-choice people come together to say, you know, that we'll have to basically work this out and trying to punish a woman would not be the appropriate way to behave.

And I think it's going to take people, in a reasonable way, working through it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But why isn't it appropriate? If you believe that abortion is the taking of innocent life, why shouldn't a woman who makes the choice to take that life face some kind of punishment or sanctions?

KASICH: Because I think it's difficult on her to begin with, that's the way I feel about it, George. And that's the end of it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Even if it follows that a woman is making the choice to take a life?

KASICH: Look, I've said what I have to say about the subject, George. You know how I have behaved both as a legislator and as a governor, and I would like to have those exceptions. I would like to leave it to those exceptions. And it'll be up to the states to decide how they want to handle this.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you believe doctors who perform abortions should be punished?

KASICH: We're going to leave this up to the states to work this out the way they want to, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So, you're not going to take any position on doctors facing punishment?

KASICH: Right now -- let me just put to you, this way I'm not. Today I'm not. I've just told you how I feel about it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So, if you're still governor of Ohio, what would you seek to do?

KASICH: Work with the legislature to figure out is a good consensus to do. In Ohio, we have made sure that we have transfer agreements. These are things that we have done. And I've been very careful about making sure that we don't pass something that's going to cause a constitutional conflict, which is I think what you were referring to so that the restrictions that we put in place are going to be fine. And I think we've behaved there and conducted ourselves appropriately.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me move on to the situation in Wisconsin. You've been facing some ads run by a super PAC supporting Ted Cruz. Here's what they're saying.


ANNOUNCER: The John Kasich playbook. Holding for a last second shot and blocking out the grass roots. But that's classic John Kasich. Millionaires working side by side with George Soros are bankrolling his super PAC, while Kasich votes against the Second Amendment and expanded Obamacare in Ohio, costing taxpayers billions.


STEPHANOPOULOS: What do you make of that?

KASICH: I think it's funny.

Look, George, you know, you know politics. You've been in it. You've been -- you're a very smart strategist. It's what you put up with in a campaign. And of course that distorts virtually everything. And in fact the Wall Street Journal in an editorial the other day said it was actually a smear.

But, you know, look I've spoken out. I've said what I want to say, but frankly I'm interested in talking about my record of job growth, of creating security for people in the work place, getting better wages and making sure our kids have a better future and a better tomorrow. And that's where I'm going to live.

You know, I've had some pretty strong things to say a couple of days ago in regard to Trump and some in regard to Cruz. But I don't live in that lane. I live in a different place, because I have a record of accomplishment.

You know, interesting in Wisconsin, you know that they did a survey the other day and 38 percent of the people in Wisconsin have no opinion of me. They still have not heard much about me, which shows that we have so much room to grow. And we're concentrated in those areas where we think we can do well.

And we are very excited about heading to New York where I've learned not to eat pizza with a fork. And where we're running first or second in virtually all the congressional districts. And we're virtually tied with Donald Trump in Pennsylvania. We're starting to get to more home turf for me.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You still have won only one state, however it is. You know under the current rules of the Republican National Committee, you're only hope is to get to a contested convention. But under the current rules, you wouldn't even be eligible for the nomination, because you haven't picked up a majority of delegates in eight states. It doesn't appear that you're going to be able to do that.

So how do you intend to get that rule changed?

KASICH: Well, first of all, George, I'm not going to spend time on process. I have some of the best process people, you know whether it's John Weaver or Charlie Black or Stu Spencer. But there are no rules governing the next convention. The rules have not be set. And we'll what a rules committee decides to do. But I expect that we're going to be gaining momentum, picking up delegates and heading into the convention.

And George, look, the strongest -- there's two strong things I have going for me. Number one, I beat Hillary Clinton in virtually every poll. I'm the only one that does it on the Republican side. And secondly, when they look at the record, when they look at the record of job growth, the record of international foreign policy knowledge and experience, I believe that a convention will look at somebody like me and that's why I think I'm going to be the nominee. We just have to keep going. And we're going to have an open convention.

And George, you're the guy that gets open conventions. It's going to be so much fun. Kids will spend less time focusing on Bieber and Kardashian, and more time focusing on how we elect presidents. It will be so cool.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I thought you liked Justin Bieber.

But you say it's going to be fun, but we just heard from Roger Stone, an ally of Donald Trump, who says he's going to be organizing what he calls days of rage protests to prevent the convention from stealing the nomination from Donald Trump.

Are you worried about what could be a violent protest or days of great unrest in your home state?

KASICH: Well, George, you know, look we prepare for all occasions. But let me also tell you I went to a convention in 1976 as a young man and actually worked directly with Governor Reagan at the time. And when delegates go to a convention, they're old hands. Some of them are legislators. Some of them have worked in the (inaudible) helping people to get elected. And when they go into the convention, something magical happens to them. They begin to feel the real weight of decision-making in regard to who wins in the fall. And secondly, this one is serious, who could be president, because they begin to realize that they are going to be held accountable. And they are responsible for making sure we pick somebody who can be commander-in-chief, leader of the free world and can beat Hillary Clinton in the fall. And I'm the only one that consistently does it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I think we're hearing the pitch you're going to make at the convention if you get there. Governor Kasich, thanks for joining us this morning.

KASICH: I'm going to get there, George. We'll go together. And I'll be running, and you'll be reporting. We'll be there.


STEPHANOPOULOS: And let's get more on this now from the chair of the Republican National Committee Reince Priebus. Mr. Priebus, thanks for joining us again this morning.

You just heard John Kasich there saying the convention -- a contested convention would be magical. But I wonder what you make of this call from Roger Stone, an ally of Donald Trump, putting out a call for days of rage protests in Cleveland.

REINCE PRIEBUS, CHAIRMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Well, you know, nothing can get stolen from anyone. We have rules in place that if a candidate gets to 1,237 delegates, those delegates are bound and they will vote that way on the floor. And if they don't vote that way on the floor, which they will, but if they don't the secretary will read the vote as if they were bound regardless.

So, this -- we will know where everyone stands on delegates on June 8 after the June 7primaries. There will be no mystery over who has the majority, or if someone doesn't whether it's going to be an open convention.

If it's an open convention, then we're going to have to be clear, open and transparent on what the rules say and how they're administered. And it will be very clear and there will be a camera -- cameras at every step of the way.

So, there will be no mystery.

STEPHANOPOULOS: No Mystery, but what about the rules? You just heard me talk to John Kasich about that rule 40-B that in the last convention required a candidate who had won the majority of delegates in eight states. Will that be the rule for this convention?

PRIEBUS: Well, I mean, look, even if it is the rule, it wouldn't prevent a nomination later on in the process when delegates are unbound.

So, I mean the fact is there's a lot of people interpreting rules that really don't understand the rules.

The eight-state rule was put in place after the 2012 Romney delegates changed it. So it is true that the 2016 Rules Committee will review the rules and they will decide on what the rules are for the 2016 convention.

That all being said, you know, major changes to the rules are very -- are not very common. So I think you have to look at both the history of rule-making --


STEPHANOPOULOS: But let me interrupt you right there --

PRIEBUS: -- and the fact -- sure.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Is it fair to say, though, that after a first ballot, there really are no rules?

The delegates to the convention decide whatever they want to decide; if you’ve got a majority in the convention, they can create any rule they want to create.

They can nominate anyone they want to nominate.

PRIEBUS: Generally, everyone is bound on the first ballot. In some states, they’re bound on a couple votes.

But you’re right that, on the second or third ballot, more and more delegates are unbound and they can vote for who they want.

Now you still would have to get a certain amount of states and delegates in place in order to be nominated and so that’s important. You can’t just have one person out there nominating a candidate.

But generally your premise is correct. But there are rules in place to prevent, you know, 50 people getting nominated. You have to demonstrate a certain amount of support in a certain amount of states in order to get nominated.

That all being said, all of this goes away if a candidate gets 1,237 delegates before Cleveland. And right now Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, they have a possibility of getting to that number and all of this is put to bed.

If it’s not to put to bed, George, then we’re going to have an open convention. It’s going to be administered properly and we’re going to have a vote. And we’re going to have a multi-ballot convention.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That pledge you got all the candidates to sign to back whoever got the nomination seems to be falling apart. Donald Trump said this week he’s not bound by it and he told Chris Wallace of FOX News that he’s still open to running an independent bid.

Now that he says he’s not longer by bound the pledge, what are the consequences from the Republican National Committee?

PRIEBUS: Well, look, I mean, we expect that when candidates make commitments to the principles and values of our party that they would keep it. Yes, if they don’t --



PRIEBUS: -- they need to tell us.

But I don’t -- they all -- listen, I think candidates are also posturing. I think they’re posturing for the possibility of an open convention. I think some candidates think that, you know, there’s leverage to be had over making these kinds of statements.

There’s no leverage over us. We’re going to administer the convention the same way. And if the candidate can get to a majority on their own, then they’re going to be nominee. But no amount of leverage and statements are going to change it.

The second thing, George, is that these -- this statement -- this -- of loyalty is in exchange for data and resources from the RNC. This is not like some sort of magical paper that we were running around with. It’s the same commitment, George, that candidates made in 2012. It’s the same commitment that candidates made in 2016.

If you want the resources of the RNC --


STEPHANOPOULOS: So are those resources

PRIEBUS: -- a whole lot -- $100 million worth --

STEPHANOPOULOS: -- to Donald Trump right now because he’s --

PRIEBUS: -- of data --

STEPHANOPOULOS: not backing the --

PRIEBUS: -- not -- listen, we’re not -- I’m not making that statement.

I had a very good meeting with Donald Trump and I had a good conversation yesterday with Ted Cruz and I’ll meet with John Kasich’s people next week.

I think some of this is posturing, George. And I think, after talking about this subject continually for the last eight months, I would think that people in the news media would understand that it’s posturing as well.

STEPHANOPOULOS: It’s posturing but words have meaning and he said he’s not bound by the pledge anymore.

PRIEBUS: They do.

STEPHANOPOULOS: At the same time, you know, you see the kind -- Donald Trump’s week this week: battery charge for Corey Lewandowski; that back and forth on abortion. And you add it all up. It seems to be taking a huge toll with women -- 74 percent unfavorable in our latest poll.

And Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the top woman in the House Republican leadership, says this is hurting the whole party.

Is she right?

PRIEBUS: Well, look, I think tone and tenor matter. We’re the party of the open door; we can’t grow by subtracting and dividing and telling people to leave the room. I’ve been saying that for years now.

Certainly tone matters. And I do think that what candidates say matter.

But you know, to your -- to your point earlier about the party and loyalty and all of that, look, these folks are running to be nominee of the Republican Party. And if you -- if -- what you say matters, because the party --


STEPHANOPOULOS: Donald Trump says he’s open to an independent bid.

PRIEBUS: -- the delegates and the voters -- right, but -- and those kinds of comments, I think, have consequences. And so when you make those kinds of comments and you want people to fall in line for you, it makes it more difficult.

And so I think that candidates get that. And certainly, you know, if you were running for president of the Kiwanis Club or the Boy Scouts and you said you don’t know if you like the Kiwanis or the Boy Scouts, I think that makes your challenge even greater to ultimately win those kinds of posts. It’s no different for the Republican Party.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Reince Priebus, thanks for joining us this morning.

PRIEBUS: You bet.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Bernie Sanders is coming up.

Is he about to win again in Wisconsin?

What will that mean for the big prize of New York?

Plus more from our powerhouse roundtable and we’re live from Wisconsin next.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Up next, we're live from Wisconsin with the talk radio host who took Donald Trump by surprise this week.


CHARLIE SYKES, TALK RADIO HOST: Mr. Trump, before you called in to my show, did you know that I'm a #NeverTrump guy?

TRUMP: That I didn't know.


STEPHANOPOULOS: And a closer look at the next big contest with the experts who know Wisconsin best.



SYKES: Is this your standard, that if a supporter of another candidate, not the candidate himself, does something despicable, that it's OK for you personally, a candidate for President of the United States, to behave in that same way?

I mean, I expect that from a 12-year-old bully on the playground, not somebody who wants --


TRUMP: -- Abraham Lincoln. Again, I didn't start it. He started it. If he didn't start it, it would have never happened.

SYKES: We're not on a playground. We're running for President of the United States.

TRUMP: I agree with that 100 percent. And my views are not playground views.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Donald Trump with Charlie Sykes earlier this week up in Wisconsin. And Mr. Sykes joins us now along with Craig Gilbert, chief political reporter for the "Milwaukee Journal Sentinel" and Congressman Sean Duffy from Wisconsin's 7th Congressional District, Republican Congressman Sean Duffy.

And, Mr. Sykes, let me begin with you. You had that pretty remarkable -- I guess about 17 minutes -- with Donald Trump earlier this week. He came on your show, despite the fact that you and your fellow talk radio hosts up in Wisconsin have been quite tough conservatives on Donald Trump.

Why do you think Donald Trump has turned out to be such a poor fit for Wisconsin, according to the polls right now?

SYKES: Well, I think it's the culture and I think it's the politics of this state. We actually do -- and I was trying to tell him this -- we value decency and civility and rationality and reasonableness, none of which is really associated with Donald Trump's campaign.

I think that he's misread the culture; I think he's misread the political landscape.

Here in Wisconsin, we're actually used to dealing with substantive conservative ideas. We're used to listening to people like Paul Ryan, watching the reforms of somebody like Scott Walker. So when this political Music Man comes into Wisconsin, he's actually coming into a town where we kind of see through his scam.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You see through his scam.

And Craig Gilbert, in some ways, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz have actually made this a referendum on the leadership of Scott Walker and, to a lesser extent, Paul Ryan.

CRAIG GILBERT, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, "MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL": Yes, I think this is the home of Reince Priebus, Scott Walker and Paul Ryan. I think his attacks on the Republican establishment don't resonate as much hear with Republican voters because it's kind of a cohesive Republican Party that's really kind of been at war with Democrats for many, many years now.

It's a conservative Republican electorate, you know, and activists I know kind of liken it to, in Trump's case, the sort of hitting a cheddar wall in Wisconsin, when you look at the conservative activists, conservative media, political establishment, governor, all these forces. And a Republican electorate, particularly in southeastern Wisconsin, where he's deeply unpopular and where Republican primaries are decided.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I like that, the cheddar wall.

Meanwhile, Sean Duffy, you're from northwestern Wisconsin. And you said earlier this week that there -- you believe there are a lot of quiet Trump supporters in your district. And you have the largest district in the state.

Did you see anything this week?

Or do you think they saw anything this week that would shape that support?

REP. SEAN DUFFY (R), WISCONSIN: Yes, I have a third of the state in land mass. I have Central and Northern and Western Wisconsin. And though Charlie Sykes and conservative talk radio have a huge influence in Southeast Wisconsin, they don’t have so much of influence in our district.

And so what you've seen is the Donald Trump get a lot of energy and enthusiasm in our -- in our part of the country. He had two rallies in Wisconsin in our district yesterday. And it was amazing. I -- you mentioned the polls earlier, George. He had women and young people that were out there, enthusiastically supporting him. He was over capacity, thousands of people who were out in the cold listening to him give a speech.

So I think there's a -- there is a very powerful Trump movement in the center and northern part of the state. But I've got to tell you, the Ted Cruzes of the world have put together a great campaign. He's knocking doors; he's making phone calls. But he doesn’t have the same kind of enthusiasm because Ted Cruz was not out as everyone's first choice. Scott Walker was the first choice or somebody else.

So Ted Cruz is the second or third choice of folks who are supporting here in Wisconsin.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Charlie, (INAUDIBLE) see you shaking your head there.

SYKES: Yes. I think there's a little bit of a delusion there because this is very clearly not Donald Trump territory. In fact, you come in to southeastern Wisconsin, where people have been paying attention, where the voters have been battle tested and he is deeply, deeply underwater. And he's being hammered among conservative Republican women, not just on the issues but they're repelled by his treatment of women, by his attitude toward women.

And I think you're going to see that played out. And also at least in the areas where I am and Craig Gilbert are, the crowds for Ted Cruz have been very, very enthusiastic and, in part, that's a backlash against what I've described as the weapons-grade stupid decision by Donald Trump to attack Scott Walker in this state.

If this is a referendum on Scott Walker in Wisconsin, where he has an 80 percent approval rating among Republicans, Donald Trump is going to be annihilated.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So, Sean Duffy, what do you tell your constituents here, ask you, hey, what do you think about Donald Trump?

DUFFY: Well, first of all, we're in two parts of the state, Southeast Wisconsin is far different. And I think Charlie's right when he talks about Southeast Wisconsin. But I'm in the North Woods of Wisconsin. And, again, a lot of people, they look at -- they look at Donald Trump and he's someone who isn't talking about ideology; he's talking about America. These are people who feel like they've been left behind. They want the economy to grow; they want more opportunity. They want America to defend her border and decide who comes in and who comes out. They want a leader who's going to destroy ISIS. And so --

STEPHANOPOULOS: Is Donald Trump that guy?

DUFFY: -- Donald Trump has really spoken to their hearts.

Well, I think for -- I -- we're pretty split up here. He speaks to a wide swath of folks who normally don't come out and engage in the political process, where Ted Cruz has that traditional conservative Republican element. And it's divided. And I think -- I mean, if I was to hedge this thing on the energy side, I think in my part of the state Ted Cruz is -- I'm sorry; Donald Trump is probably going to win. But Ted will get a close second.

But I think Ted Cruz will win with flying colors down south.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Finally, Craig Gilbert, in your latest column, you write about Wisconsin's record of picking winners in their primary. Every nominee in both parties since 1988. Expect that to hold this time?

GILBERT: No, I don't. I mean, there's a good chance that Wisconsin's streak of not just picking eventual nominees, and picking frontrunners, they're in danger in both parties Obviously in Donald Trump's case and on the Democratic side. I think it's a competitive race but it's a very good state for Bernie Sanders in two big respects: it's a very white state and it's an open primary so independents can vote and he's got a big base of support around Madison and Dane County. Big source of votes. So that streak could easily -- is very much on danger in Tuesday.

STEPHANOPOULOS: We will be watching on Tuesday. Thanks very much to all of you for your insight.

And we will be right back with Bernie Sanders.



SANDERS: Some of you know I'm Jewish. My dad came -- my father came to this country at the age of 17 from Poland. He came over; other people in his family did not come over. Most people died. Children died. Relatives of my father.

So that is in my heart to see what a lunatic can do by stirring up racial hatred. And we're not going to allow that to take place in this country.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Bernie Sanders in Milwaukee last night. He joins us live this morning.

Senator Sanders, thanks for joining us this morning. We've talked to you many times about Donald Trump. You've called him a liar, you've called him a nutcase. Now comparing him to Hitler?

SANDERS: Oh no, no, there's nothing to do -- no, that's not right. What I talked about there was a Muslim woman there next to me, and she is telling me that, what is true, is that people in the Muslim community are very fearful now. She was describing a kid who now locks the door at night.

And what I was saying is I'm going to do everything that I can to kind of stop those Islamophobic attacks so that kids in this country who happen to be Muslim are afraid. No, I did not compare Trump to Hitler. But I will do everything that I can to stop this type of hatred and hate talk that we are hearing.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You have been on a roll so far. Some of the latest polls show you up in Wisconsin. You've won six out of the last seven contests as well. Hillary Clinton was speaking last night in Wisconsin as well, and she pushed the line that you're not a true blue Democrat. Let's listen.


CLINTON: I'm also a Democrat and have been a Democrat all my adult life. And I think that's kind of important if we're selecting somebody to be the Democratic nominee of the Democratic Party.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Your response?

SANDERS: Well, my response is I think the Secretary is getting very nervous, that poll after poll shows us doing much better against Trump than she is. The last CNN Poll had us up by 20 points. Here in Wisconsin, I was 19 points ahead of Trump, also a significant margin better than she is.

So what we are saying is I believe I am the strongest candidate to take on the Republicans and the fact that I have been the longest serving Independent in the history of the United States makes my candidacy even strong.

You've got a lot of Independents out there.

So I think we can get virtually all of the Democratic vote. I think we can get a lot of the Independent vote. I think we've got a lot of young people's vote, working class people's vote. I think we're on the way to a victory if we can win the Democratic nomination.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You've also been engaged with the Clinton camp in a debate over debates. Secretary Clinton said this morning she's confident there's going to be another debate ahead of the New York primary.

Are you confident?

SANDERS: Yes, I am. Look, she has proposed three dates. We have proposed four dates. She has a difficult schedule. I've got a difficult schedule. You know, one of the debates proposed was the night of the NAA -- NCAA finals. It didn't make sense to me.

But I think that we will reach an agreement. People of New York deserve to hear us discussing the important issues facing that state and facing the country. I suspect it will work out.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I hope it will. And one of the debates proposed and one of the debates that Secretary Clinton accepted was actually on "Good Morning America," on either the 14th or the 15th. And earlier in the week, your campaign signaled that they were going to accept that. And then once she accepted it, you're now saying it's no longer OK.

Why is that?

SANDERS: Well, I think what we want is to look at the maximum viewing audience, uh, and any time and any venue that works -- that has that viewing audience will be good. So we're looking at a lot of options right now. But I think at the end of the day, George, we will have a time and a place. There will be, I suspect, a very spirited debate about why the middle class continues to decline, why we have so much wealth and income inequality in this country and whether or not we are being as effective as we should be in addressing the crisis of climate change, which we must deal with.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So you're not ruling out that debate right now?

SANDERS: No. We're looking at a number of options. The goal for me, and I would hope for the Secretary, would be that option which gives us the largest viewing audience.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You know, Secretary Clinton also said this morning that she doesn't believe that there are any constitutional rights for the unborn.

Is that your position, as well?

SANDERS: All I know is that I will fight as strong as I can to defend a woman's right to choose. I believe that it is an outrage that Republicans who tell us how much they hate the government now want to tell every American -- every American woman what she can and cannot do with her body. And I do agree with the Secretary. I don't believe there's any constitutional protection for the unborn.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Are you for any restrictions on abortion?

SANDERS: I think that decision ultimately has got to be made by the woman. I have a 100 percent pro-choice voting record throughout my career. That decision must be made by the woman, must be made by her family and her physician, not by the federal government, not by the state government.

And let me tell you something. If elected president, I will not only fight to protect "Roe v. Wade" and a woman's right to choose, I will take on the Scott Walkers of the world and the other right-wing governors who are trying to restrict and limit that right.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You may -- you mentioned "Roe v. Wade." You've said that where a potential Supreme Court nominee stands on -- on the campaign finance case, Citizens United, would be a litmus test for your choice for the Supreme Court.

Is "Roe v. Wade" a litmus test, as well?

SANDERS: Of course. It's very important for me. I mean all that I have said is right now, we have a corrupt campaign finance system as a result of "Citizens United," where billionaires are now trying to buy elections and democracy is being undermined. And I fear very much about the future of this country if we do not overturn "Citizens United" and restore one person, one vote democracy in America.

But obviously, as somebody who has fought his whole political right -- life to protect a woman's right to choose, that issue is of enormous concern to me. And people can be assured, I will not be nominating a justice who will not support that position.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Finally, you have been on a roll, as you mentioned, but you're still far behind Secretary Clinton in both pledged delegates and especially those super delegates.

I know you said you believe that many of those super delegates will switch if you continue to win states.

Have any told -- have any of them told you that?

SANDERS: Well, what we have begun to see already is when we are winning states by large margins, and as you've indicated, we've won the last six out of seven caucuses and primaries, it is very hard for super delegates in a state, say like Alaska, I think, where we won 82 percent of the vote, not to go with the will of the people in that state.

In addition to that, as I think we demonstrate, that we are a strong -- our campaign is a stronger campaign against people like Donald Trump. The last CNN Poll, we were 20 points ahead of him. Here in Wisconsin, the last poll they had out just in this state, we were 19 points ahead of Trump.

I think as many super delegates look out there, what they are saying, yes, well, I like Hillary, I like Bernie, but most importantly, we've got to beat Donald Trump and I think they will see that Bernie Sanders is the strongest candidate to do that.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Sanders, thanks for joining us again this morning.

SANDERS: Thank you, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And we're back with more roundtable, right after this.



CRUZ: Here this weekend, you all are going to be electing 28 delegates. It is entirely possible the men and women gathered here will decide this entire primary, will decide this nomination. I am here asking for you to stand with us to elect delegates who are supporting me, to stand with us together because if Republicans unite, we win.


STEPHANOPOULOS: There is Ted Cruz in North Dakota last night, trying to get those delegates -- the 28 delegates from the state of North Dakota. Twenty-five will be picked today.

We're back with our roundtable now, joined by Hugh Hewitt from the Salem Radio Networks, ABC's Donna Brazile, Democratic strategist, and Matthew Dowd, Independent, and Juan Williams from Fox News, also the author of a new book, "We, The People." Congratulations on that.

WILLIAMS: Thank you.

STEPHANOPOULOS: There we see it right there.

And Donna, let me begin with you.

You've counted delegates on the Democratic side at a lot of different conventions.


STEPHANOPOULOS: I see you working it out right there.

BRAZILE: Yes, right. Yes.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But let's talk about the Republicans. You've got this big contest coming up on Tuesday in Wisconsin.

Most people look at Wisconsin and think if Ted Cruz wins big there, the chances of a contested convention go through the roof.

BRAZILE: Well, I think there's a chance of a contested convention because for Donald Trump to be able to get into Cleveland with 1,237 he has to accumulate 55 percent of the remaining delegates on the table, about 848...

STEPHANOPOULOS: That's before Tuesday.

BRAZILE: That is correct -- 848 delegates still available on the Republican side. We have more than 2,000 on the Democratic side.

The Republican rules are temporary rules, meaning until they actually -- and I heard the chairman -- until they actually put that gavel down, some of these rules can be changed. So, if Donald Trump is unable to march into Cleveland with the requisite number, you're looking at a contested convention.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And that's the question I want to bring to Matthew Dowd, is it really Donald Trump? It's really first ballotor question, isn't it?

DOWD: I think Donald Trump's highest number will be the first round of voting. That'll be his highest number he ever gets a convention, which he knows why he needs to get 1,237 in the course of this.

I think the odds of a contested convention dramatically rise if he loses Wisconsin. It's going to be a little bit like Robert Frost -- we'll be down a road less traveled when that happens. Diverged in Wisconsin.

The fascinating thing to me -- everybody points at history in a contested convention. They say, well, it happened here. It happened eight times. It happened there.

This is fundamentally different, because we have not had a contested convention when two things mattered. First, media. People -- everybody has a smart phone, this idea that you can make decisions in back rooms is gone, 24 hour cable, everything, it'll be completely transparent. We've never had that before.

And the second thing we've never had before is when we had primaries and caucuses leading into a contested convention. Every other time before 1972 or 1968 it basically was chosen by party leaders and they would gather together.

You now have millions of people who have voted who are going to watch a contested convention decided by delegates. And we've never had that before.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And Hugh Hewitt, the contest has already begun. We're seeing that fight in North Dakota right now. They're fighting for each congressional district in Colorado this week. There are fights in the state of Tennessee over who is going to be seated at the convention; state of Louisiana, state of South Carolina. This is a battle that has already begun.

HEWITT: Oh, it is. I think in Cleveland you're going to see Juan's book "We, the People" and they're going to put a posted over it, "we, the delegates" because that's actually it's about 2,743 living, breathing human beings.

And there are three strategies. Trump says it's 1980 and I'm Reagan, I'm going to win the big map. And you've got Cruz saying, no, it's 2004 and I'm going to turn out our base and win the narrow map. And you've got John Kasich saying, no, it's 1988 and I'm going to win the George H.W. Bush strategy of changing things around.

They each have a plausible argument, but they are running into the reality of these 2,473. And they're saying it in the green room. If someone comes up with an app to track the social media feeds of those 2,473 people, they will have 20 million followers, because that's -- the delegates are the...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Someone out there trying to make a lot of money right now.

Are you pretty sure there's going to be a contested convention?

HEWITT: I've been predicting it since May of 2014 in The Weekly Standard. It's happening.

STEPHANOPOULOS: It's happening.

Meanwhile, Juan Williams, your Fox News colleague Karl Rover, of course strategist for George W. Bush, said that this convention could easily turn to what he called the fresh face. And they want to turn to a fresh face, not one of the candidates in there right now. And you did see Reince Priebus right there concede in the interview, once you get past that first ballot all bets are off.

WILLIAMS: That's true. In fact, my theory is that there's an invisible name on the ballot in Wisconsin, and that's Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House, the highest elected Republican official in the country. And I think someone who has already tried to say Trump's kind of politics not to my taste. He won't do it by name, he won't go after Trump directly, but he's doing it.

And I think you're going to see he was a vice presidential pick behind Mitt Romney...

STEPHANOPOULOS: He keeps saying it's not going to happen.

WILLIAMS: Yeah, not going to happen. But believe me once you get to an open convention, then the question becomes well who is the fresh face that you mentioned, George? Who could possibly stand in? And I think then you get to lots of issues. You could -- for example, Scott Walker, another Wisconsinite is going to be there. Could Scott walker, who had success, be someone of a rebirth of the Republican Party. Paul Ryan is a very fresh face.

And then you go into some of the other governors that are around the country. Are they looking for maybe a woman, more diverse, look to the Republican Party, which we saw Reince Priebus, another Wisconsinite, call for in his...

STEPHANOPOULOS: And then that gets to your point there's been a lot of voters who have already put their, you know, put their hearts on the line.

DOWD: This is the problematic situation I think the Republican Party is in. Do they go for somebody new and fracture the party? Do they go for the leader, Donald Trump, and fracture the party? Do they go for Ted Cruz who has a very difficult time winning a general election and fracture the party?

I think the fascinating question will be is do the delegates decide differently than the voters, which means is -- to the voters, electability has not mattered, whether you can win a general election has not mattered.

The two leading candidates for the Republicans right now, Donald Trump, and Ted Cruz really can't win a general election for all intent's and purposes. Will they go for somebody that can actually win a general election? And that's actually John Kasich's strategy is get to a convention and tell people you're the only one that can beat Hillary Clinton.

BRAZILE: You know Donald Trump has to win New York, and win New York big. As you know, there are 12 congressional districts in and around New York City. He has to win all of these congressional districts, plus try to pick and choose a couple of places upstate in order to I think go into the convention -- maybe 50 delegate short.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And there's an important point about New York. If he falls below 50 percent -- he's above 50 percent in the polls right now. If he gets above 50 percent it's winner take all. He gets all of the delegates, if not it's going to be divided.

BRAZILE: It's divided. And George, let me tell you something, their rules are so strange on the Republican side that right now in Georgia, Ted Cruz is picking and choosing congressional districts where he can win some of Donald Trump's delegate slots. Because remember you have slots, not delegates, until you actually go through the process. And that's why I think this week Mr. Trump hired Paul Manifor (ph), somebody who is seasoned at knowing how to deal with a very contested convention in order to begin tracking his delegates.

But it might be too late in about six or seven states.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Hugh Hewitt, I talked to Reince Priebus also about this pledge, fraying completely. It kind of fell apart this week.

You've been saying you would support the nominee even if it is Donald Trump.

HEWITT: I'm a Republican. I'm going to support the nominee.

I thought the chairman made a lot of news with you, though, when he talked very candidly about the rules being -- it's not rule 40-B, which I spent some time talking to Rove about and talking to John Kasich about this week, here are no rules. And the rules will be whatever the rules committee says. 112 people meet the week before, two from every state, two from every delegation.

And there are a lot of people out there waiting to see what does that rule committee do. I was thinking about it. I had dinner this week with Matt Parlow, who is a dean at the Marquette School of Law. He's coming up to be the dean at Fowler Law at Chapman. And he says in Wisconsin that the surge to Ted Cruz is so enormous, because Scott Walker is leading it. So if you get to a convention, it could go as one...


HEWITT: To either. They're both very interesting potential.

STEPHANOPOULOS: How could Scott Walker get picked by the convention after he got knocked out so early.

BRAZILE: Because rule 26 to 42, they are temporary. And rule 12 basically invalidate rule 1-11.

I read the Republican -- we have to really tell those rules. Their rules can create the scenario that...

STEPHANOPOULOS: But I'm talking politics, not rules.

DOWD: I just don't -- I see no way that Scott Walker. I can see a window where Paul Ryan could, but again that's going to cause lots of fractures in the party between the anti-establishment and the establishment.

The other thing I think is important in this process is we've had all this talk of Donald Trump and the contested convention, what Bernie Sanders has done in my view is just as significant, or more so, than what -- against Hillary Clinton in the course of this campaign. And how he's conducted himself. And the fractures he's revealed in the course of the Democratic Party.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I want to bring that to Donna. You know, Wisconsin, it does look right now -- you can't know for sure -- that Bernie Sanders is going to do well, may win. The big state, though, is New York. If he beats Hillary Clinton in her home state...

BRAZILE: It shifts the narrative.

I mean, look, can I go home now? We're already looking at a process that will take us until June 14 on the Democratic side, because the District of Columbia will get the last word. And given the fact that we have a lot of delegates in the District of Columbia, super as well as regular.

Bernie Sanders should do well in Wisconsin. It's tailor-made for him. It's an open primary. Independents can come and play in the Democratic or the Republican primary.

And he -- and it's also -- it also has a progress tradition, Dane -- Dane County, Madison.

So Hillary has to do -- has to keep it competitive in Wisconsin. But she's got to come to New York and like -- like Donald Trump, she has to win all of these what I call Congressional districts, but she also has to do very well upstate.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- do very well. I mean, look, she is -- she was the senator from this state, New York State, eight years, reelected. Remember.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And remember, she lives here. So this is her adopted home state. There's no indication, given the makeup of the population of Democratic votes here that she is going to -- that Bernie Sanders can come in and take the black and Hispanic vote away from Hillary Clinton.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I would say this...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- Hillary Clinton right now, it seems to me, not only is she doing to do well in New York, Bernie Sanders would not only have to win New York, George, he'd have to then go out to California and win California.

STEPHANOPOULOS: He's got a long way to go.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And then he'd have to...


HEWITT: Thank you for pressing Senator Sanders on the Hitler analogy. He did make a Hitler analogy. He walked it back when he talked to you. And that's part of the -- Donald Trump is not Hitler. Donald Trump is not Mussolini, like other people have written. He's -- he's a very amateuristic, sometimes campaign. He -- but he is not that. And you pushed him and Bernie walked it back, today, this morning.



STEPHANOPOULOS: And that is all we have time for today.

A great discussion.

Thank you all very much.

We'll be right back after this from our ABC stations.


STEPHANOPOULOS: And now we honor our fellow Americans who serve and sacrifice.


STEPHANOPOULOS (voice-over): This month, in the month of March, one service member died overseas supporting operations in Iraq.


STEPHANOPOULOS: 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."

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