'This Week' Transcript: Gov. John Kasich

ByABC News
December 27, 2015, 10:01 AM

— -- THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT FOR 'THIS WEEK' ON DECEMBER 27, 2015 and it will be updated.

ANNOUNCER: Starting right now on ABC's THIS WEEK, the year of Trump. This morning, Jon Karl's exclusive face-to-face interview with the brash billionaire on the heels of yet another controversy, this time for that graphic slang.


ANNOUNCER: We shouldn't let anybody bully his way into the presidency.


ANNOUNCER: How Donald Trump shook up the campaign in 2015.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you, even you, think that you would dominate the field the way you have?


ANNOUNCER: And what he's planning for the new year.

Plus, one-on-one with the Republican who's taking on "The Donald" like no one else -- why he's now stepping up his attacks on the frontrunner.

And as the year ends, our special look at a stunning year on the trail. Plus, the big predictions about where the campaign is heading in 2016.




I'm Jonathan Karl.

George and Martha have the holiday off.

And if you weren't paying attention to presidential politics this holiday, we can't blame you. But while most of the candidates have been quiet, Donald Trump used the holiday to go on a Twitter tirade against rivals on both sides, Tweeting, "Remember when failed candidate Jeb Bush said that illegals came across the border as an act of love? He spent $59 million and is at 3 percent."

And overnight, Tweeting, "Hillary Clinton has announced that she is letting her husband out to campaign. But he's demonstrated a penchant for sexism. So inappropriate."

I've been covering Trump's presidential ambitions from the start, all the way back to 2013, when no one thought he would actually run.

And this morning, a look at the year of Trump.

Our roundtable is standing by with their insights.

And we'll even ask a Supreme Court justice what he thinks of Trump's proposals.

But first, we went on the trail this week for an exclusive interview with the man who has transformed the race for the White House.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are going to make America great again. I love you. I love you. Thank you.

KARL (voice-over): As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump turned the Republican primary into a blockbuster.

TRUMP: I will be the greatest jobs president that God ever created, I tell you that.

KARL: We caught up with Trump this week before a rally in Michigan to talk about the year that was.

(on camera): When you first got in, you were kind of dismissed, you know, maybe he'll be a flash in the pan.

But did you -- even you -- think that you would dominate the field the way you have?

TRUMP: Not to this extent, Jon, and not this quickly. I mean really, it's very quick. I mean we're -- we're doing so amazingly well. And we have such a big lead. And I want to keep the lead, because ultimately, what difference does it make if a -- if you're not going to keep the lead.

But, you know, it's a very strong domination. And it's a very, very big lead. So I didn't think that we would have that. You know, I expected to win, otherwise I wouldn't be running. I like to win.

KARL: You thought you would win the nomination?

You thought you...

TRUMP: I thought I would win. I thought I had a very good chance of it.

KARL (voice-over): In fact, we were there with Trump for his first foray into Iowa more than two years ago, when almost no one believed he would actually run.

(on camera): You're not really thinking about running for president, are you?

TRUMP: It's far too early. You have a long time to go.

KARL: Could you be taken seriously as a presidential candidate?

TRUMP: I know that I've built a great company. We have a tremendous net worth and beaten a lot of people that are very smart. And that's really what the country needs.

It's a company like this country should look.

KARL (voice-over): When we met with him a year later in Washington, a Trump presidential run still seemed highly unlikely.

(on camera): You're not thinking about running for president, are you?

TRUMP: Well, I'm going to look at it. I'm going to give it very serious consideration.

KARL: Are you really?

TRUMP: That I can tell you.

Of course.


TRUMP: We're going to see what happens. We may surprise you. You would be surprised (INAUDIBLE)...

KARL: I would be shocked.

(voice-over): Fast forward to this summer, an announcement like a Hollywood premier, including a dramatic entrance by escalator.


TRUMP: Well, you need somebody because politicians are all talk, no action. Nothing is going to get done. They will not bring us, believe me, to the promised land.

KARL: Trump has cast himself as an action hero in an epic battle against career politicians and those deep pocket donors who pay for access.

(on camera): So is that what you've tapped into?

Is that the appeal?

People think that politics has gotten all corrupt, it's the money industry...

TRUMP: Well, politics is corrupt and I think people know that. I think that if it's not actually corrupt as a definition of corrupt, it's certainly influenced by a lot of bad forces.

When you look at some of the deals that we make with these countries and with companies and with other places and other people, they're not that stupid. The reason they're doing those deals is because of special interests, lobbyists, people like that, where they give millions and millions of deals to candidates.

And Jon, they're making it because these candidates are controlled 100 percent by the people that give the money.

KARL (voice-over): He sometimes casts his own party as an enemy, refusing for a while to rule out running as an Independent before finally pledging allegiance to the GOP. He hasn't held back since day one of his campaign, launching a series of insults, first at Mexican immigrants then John McCain and POWs then women. But it was his call for a temporary ban of all Muslims that sparked the harshest condemnation. Leaders from both parties calling him racist and downright dangerous, even un-American.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was proposed yesterday is not what this party stands for and more importantly it's not what this country stands for.

KARL (on camera): President Obama did an interview where he said you were exploiting those angers and fears of people that have been left behind by the economy.

TRUMP: People are angry. They are angry. I'm not tapping into the anger, but -- and some people have said I'm doing that. And certainly I'm not doing it intentionally. I just know it can be turned around. It can be turned around quickly.

But I'll tell you what, if you have another four years of like a Hillary with that kind of mentality and thinking, we're not going to have a country left.

KARL (voice-over): And Trump ended the year the way he started it, drawing fire for using a crude sexual term to describe how Hillary Clinton lost to Barack Obama in 2008.

TRUMP: She was going to beat Obama. She was favored to win. And she got (EXPLETIVE LANGUAGE). She lost. I mean she lost.

KARL: But with each controversy, Trump's ratings have only gone higher. Debate viewership shattering records, with 20 plus million watching, rising poll numbers, magazine covers and hosting "SNL."

TRUMP: I don't have to get specific. With me, it's just works, you know. It's magic.

KARL: This week, PolitiFact gave Trump's campaign misstatements it's Lie of the Year award, saying they couldn't pick just one, but controversial statements and false claims that would typically disqualify a nominee, like saying thousands celebrated in New Jersey on 9/11, haven't made viewers tune out.

TRUMP: I don't, frankly, have time for total political corrections. And to be honest with you, this country doesn't have time, either.

KARL: And though many rivals wrote him off as just a summer stunt, they have been forced to take him on, often at their own peril.

JEB BUSH (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is a tough business to run for president.

TRUMP: Oh, no, you're a tough guy, Jeb.

BUSH: And we need to have a leader that is...

TRUMP: You're tough.

BUSH: You're never going to be president of the United States by insulting your way to the presidency.

TRUMP: Let's see, I'm at 42 and you're at 3. So, so far I'm doing better.

BUSH: Doesn't matter. Doesn't matter.

KARL: After first laughing him off, the Democratic field is now aiming their fire at Trump as they did during last week's New Hampshire debate.



HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Bringing Donald Trump back into it.

KARL: Trump insists he'll do even better against Clinton then he is against the Republicans.

TRUMP: I'm winning. I'm beating everybody. And in my opinion, beating Hillary is easier than beating these people.

KARL: Since the Trump show began, he's maintained a double digit lead over the GOP field in every ABC News/Washington Post poll, more than 5 months on top.

Now, Senator Ted Cruz is polling neck and neck with Trump in Iowa. Could the man who thrives on being the winner handle a loss in the state that votes first? We asked him about Cruz before he headed into his jam-packed rally in Michigan.

The guy that's giving you the toughest time now is Ted Cruz. And you've given him a pass so far.

TRUMP: He's not giving me a tough time. He's a very nice guy. He's been very respectful. He's back me in every position.

You hear those people? I have to go get them.

KARL: The biggest question now, can Trump turn all these supporters he captured in 2015 into votes in 2016. We'll all be tuning in.


KARL: We turn now to the man who has positioned himself as the Republican anti-Trump, Ohio Governor John Kasich. No other GOP candidates still in the race has been more vocal in criticizing the Republican frontrunner. Governor Kasich, thank you for joining us this morning.


KARL: I want to get right to the news this week that we hear that the Obama administration is considering a plan to increase deportations of illegals, of those that are undocumented immigrants here, specifically those that have run-ins with the law. Trump tweeted about this saying does everyone see the Democrats and President Obama are now, because of me, starting to deport people who are here illegal #politics.

So, let me ask you, are we seeing already a Trump effect even of the Obama administration?

KASICH: Well, you know, I don't know about that, Jon, but what we know is if people have violated the law and they're here in this country, everybody that I know says they ought to be deported and they ought to be imprisoned. In fact, it was my old colleague Bill O'Reilly that started this movement a long time ago.

So, I think it resonates with people.

And look, in the very first debate, I pointed out that Trump has touched on something, and I'll tell you what it is, people are afraid they're going to lose their job, or if they're 51 years old and they lost their job they can't find one, their kids have too much debt, they think the system is a rip-off. They think the lobbyists control everything.

So, I absolutely can understand why people are so worked up.

But there's an interesting thing that Trump said. He said none of the politicians will get this done. Well, let me tell you about our state. We -- I'm the seventh largest state in the country, 11.5 million people. If you want a job, you're likely to get one. If you're worried about your wages, ours are going up. If you're in the minority community you've got a chance at entrepreneurship. If you have a son or a daughter that's autistic, you can get insurance.

See, what we've done in Ohio, which is what I would want to do in the country, is offer specific solutions to problems. And we have done it. And that's why the people of the state are in such a positive mood.

What Trump does is he complains about everything. And, look, these attacks on women, the attacks, you know, on Hillary not getting back to the stage on time, the attacks on Hispanics and Muslims -- look, we haven't started the vote yet, Jon, I mean it's a really good top of the story, you know, Trump is rising and everything. Wait until we start voting. And then we're going to know. We're going to know where people are.

KARL: But let me ask you, on this issue of the 11 million undocumented immigrants who are in the United States right now, you now have a situation where not just Trump, but also Ted Cruz, the two leading candidates right now in Virtually every poll for the Republican nomination, both say that those 11 million undocumented immigrants should be deported. This is something that for years you and most Republican leaders said what was simply impossible, was wrongheaded, are you -- are you and others out of touch with the grass roots of the party?

Yeah, but what's happened. Why do so many Republican grass roots...

KASICH: As you know, Jon -- look -- well, they don't. Look, I've done 45 townhall meetings in New Hampshire. I've done more townhall meetings than anybody running for president, and I'm surging as you know. I'm now running third in the poll, just 1 point behind second place, and really not that far behind Trump.

So, you know, when the voting starts we're going to find out.

And I do town halls. People ask me my plan. I said finish the border, have a guest worker program, and for the 11.5 million that are here, if they haven't violated another law when they've been here, then they get a path to legalization. And they've got to pay a fine.

And I don't have anybody squawking back at me.

Look, it is completely ridiculous to think that we're going to go in the neighborhoods, grab people out of their homes, split up families, and ship people back to Mexico. It's not going to happen, Jon. And so don't get all -- you know, what everybody is all hyped up about these polls, we're going to know in another 30 or 40 days.

And remember how many people win Iowa only to go on to New Hampshire to get blown out. We never heard from them again.

So, I'm very optimistic about New Hampshire myself. And I don't think that's where the party is, Jon. The party is not for deporting 11.5 million people. I'm sorry, I don't believe it.

KARL: So, we're getting down to it. So I want to ask you a question you were asked before on this show. You didn't give a direct answer, but we are getting closer now, I would like no dodge, direct answer from you Governor Kasich, if Donald Trump wins the Republican nomination...

KASICH: You're not going to get it.

KARL: ...do you support him?

I'm not going to get an answer to that?

So, you're saying it's possible...

KASICH: Let me tell you this, I made a pledge. I made a pledge. And I've been listening to him lately. And you notice he's toned down the rhetoric. I listened to your six minute coverage of him, and he's toning it down. And I'm just hoping that as we go forward he's going to be a unifier.

Because I'm going to tell you, I -- you can't win the White House without winning Ohio. If we have a candidate that comes into Ohio who is a divider, there's no chance they're going to win it.

People in Ohio want somebody that is going to look at problems and solve them. They don't want a bunch of wind bags. They don't want people to make promises. And I would agree with Trump, they don't want lobbyists telling the elected officials what to do. They've never told me that in my entire life, and I'm not about to begin listening.

But I will tell you this, for no problem, whatever your problem is, if you're working poor, you're going to get health care. If you want to see faster economic growth you move to Ohio. You know why? Because we take everything on with solutions to problems, we just don't pontificate and have a bunch of rhetoric. We're realistic and we're fixing problems.

KARL: So you mentioned 40 plus town hall meetings in New Hampshire that you've done. Do you have to win the New Hampshire primary?

KASICH: I have to do well enough there, Jon, so that I'm the story coming out of New Hampshire. And I think I will be.

And I will tell you if I come out of New Hampshire -- people are finally -- you know, everywhere I go people say you need more time on a debate stage. People need to hear you.

I come out of New Hampshire, and as you know, you've known me for a long time, I'll catch fire. And if I catch fire, I think the sky is the limit.

And, you know -- but you have to work at it.

45 town hall meetings, and I'm hoping to get to 100, even if I have to do town hall meetings after the primary.

KARL: Now, it looks like Fox Business is pairing down the next debate. You may not be on that mainstage of the next debate. Rand Paul is in the same position. He's saying he won't participate in one of these undercard debates. Where are you on that? Will you do it?

KASICH: Well, I think we'll make the main stage. And like I say, we just had a poll. It's 600 -- it's the most accurate of all the polls because it actually samples a greater number of people.

And I'm one point out of third place. So it's all about how they want to pick stuff. And I'm hopeful that we'll be on the stage and be able to participate.

But what matter in New Hampshire is not so much debate. What matters in New Hampshire is what you have on the ground. And we have the best ground game with John Sununu and Tom Rath (ph) and Gordon Humphrey. These are the best.

And we got people that are all combing the state. And that's what wins elections, Jon. You know that. What wins elections are what you're doing on the ground, coupled with some of what you do on the television advertising.

And I feel very, very good and I’m -- in fact, I'm heading to New Hampshire tomorrow. I'm breaking up my Christmas vacation with my family. My wife just had a birthday yesterday. My kids are with me.

But I'm up to New Hampshire for a day and a half and back down to spend a little bit more time with the family.

KARL: All right. Well, happy birthday to your wife and, Governor Kasich, thank you for joining us.

KASICH: Yes. And Happy New Year and God bless to everyone who's watching. America's going to be stronger. You count on it.

KARL: All right. Thank you.

Governor Kasich.

Let's bring in the powerhouse roundtable now. They'll be with us throughout the rest of the program, looking back at 2015 and forward to 2016.

We're joined by Matthew Dowd; ESPN senior writer LZ Granderson -- LZ and Matt co-host the ABC digital show "STRAIGHT TALK WITH MATT AND LZ," must-see viewing -- editor of "The Weekly Standard," Bill Kristol and our ABC News congressional correspondent, Mary Bruce.

Welcome to all of you. We'll be back with all of you in a moment.

But first, quick question to you, Matt. You -- I looked back at the tape. Back in September, right around Labor Day, you predicted that as it was -- stood there, Donald Trump would be the Republican nominee.

What could derail it between now and Super Tuesday?

What could bring him down?

MATTHEW DOWD, ABC NEWS SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: The only think I think that can bring Donald Trump down now is himself. It has to be self-inflicted wounds on himself. And I actually think there's two debates left in January before Iowa. Those are the points in time at which Donald Trump -- he's not going to be brought down by television ads. He's not going to be brought down by speeches by other candidates.

Donald Trump has to bring himself down. And we still don't know if he loses Iowa or if he finishes second in Iowa, what effect that could have on the totality of the race.

But Donald Trump is the only candidate in this race who's constantly risen in the courses (ph) and never dropped off.

KARL: And if debate -- one of them is with Megyn Kelly, a rematch --


DOWD: -- a rematch with Megyn Kelly. But Donald Trump rose after the first debate.

KARL: He sure did.

All right. We're just getting started. When we come back, the full panel weighs in with our predictions for 2016. The state of the GOP, who'll be left to take on Trump and can the brash billionaire actually grab the nomination?

Plus the future of the Democrats. Can Bernie Sanders regain his momentum in the new year or is Hillary Clinton inevitable? Our surprising predictions ahead in just a few minutes.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is time for us to elevate this debate from divisive name-calling, from sound bites without solutions and start discussing how we will make the country better.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm being called to lead by helping to clear the field so that the voters can focus on a limited number of candidates who can offer a positive, conservative alternative to the current front-runner.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We spent a lot of time developing detailed policy papers and given this crazy, unpredictable election season, clearly there just wasn't a lot of interest in those policy papers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The future of the country will be in your hands if you're President of the United States. This is not a game show. This is not a reality show.


KARL: GOP governors and senators left by the wayside in Donald Trump's wake, all taking a parting shot at the Republican front-runner.

We're back now with the powerhouse roundtable, taking on where the GOP stands now and where we are headed to 2016.

Bill, how is it -- why is it that, despite this relentless series of attacks on Donald Trump, none of it has stuck?

In fact, the guys that hit him hardest are gone.

BILL KRISTOL, "THE WEEKLY STANDARD": The Republican primary voters don't like the media. So Trump's wars with the media helped Trump. They don't like the Republican establishment. They don't like the Republican congressional leadership. They've really talked themselves into a -- I mean, I think there's plenty to criticize in both the media and the Republican leadership. But they really -- a certain chunk of Republican primary electorate has talked itself into disliking the Republican establishment as much as -- almost as much as they dislike President Obama or Hillary Clinton.

And Trump has capitalized on that. The question is is that 25 percent of the Republican primary electorate? Is it 35 percent? Could it be 45 percent? And could he be the nominee?

KARL: But you've been predicting his demise for months.

KRISTOL: I have. But I'm sticking with it, you know.


KRISTOL: What's the point of changing now?

I'd look pathetic.


KRISTOL: If I'm right, I can say I was early. And if I'm wrong…

Yes, I won't get any credit for capitulating here in late December.

No, I still think -- I think he will lose Iowa. And I think once he loses Iowa, that is a big moment. That'll -- so much of Trump's appeal -- and he said this, too -- depends on his mystique --

KARL: "I'm a winner. I win."

KRISTOL: -- "I'm a winner," I'm ignoring or transcending the usual rules of politics. If there's an actual result in Iowa and you see the vote on the screen and it's, I don't know, you know, Cruz, 47,000 and Trump 31,000 and maybe even Rubio or someone else close to Trump, I think at that point, the mystique is gone and then it's a regular race and Trump has to be a candidate just like everyone else.

But at that point, I think he's very vulnerable.

KARL: Mary?

MARY BRUCE, ABC NEWS CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You think Trump can be a candidate like anyone else?

I think the big question is what does happen.

If he does lose Iowa, what's his play book?

Because he doesn’t really seem to have one, not that bucking tradition has necessarily hurt him so far.

But what does he do next?

He doesn’t seem to be the fundraising a lot. He certainly is not spending a lot on ads. He's not hiring pollsters.

What does it look like when he goes past February?

KARL: And, in fact, when you go to Trump headquarters -- they're on Fifth Avenue in Trump Tower, there's almost nobody there.


KARL: I mean he's got a campaign manager, he's got a very able press secretary, but I mean this is a -- this is a -- a shoestring campaign.


KARL: And a winning campaign so far.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A shoestring by a billionaire.





UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- the billionaire is the one who's...


GRANDERSON: -- a small loan of a million deals and he made it to the top.

I have been really amused at watching the Republican establishment try to like bring it back to some sort of normalcy. Like to me, watching Trump is just the chickens coming home to roost, because back when he was talking about birther and he was challenging President Obama's grades in college and he was saying all these different things about the president, you didn't hear all of this he's out of line.

When they were saying he was a Muslim, you didn't hear the leadership say Muslims are Americans, too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ignore him. That was the playbook.

GRANDERSON: They ignored him.


GRANDERSON: But -- but they also embraced the energy that he was feeding.

And so now the chickens have come home to roost and they can't bring it back down, because he's now inspired this group of people and they're going to listen to him more than they will to the establishment.

KARL: OK, I want to go -- I want to put all of you guys on the spot. Sorry about this, but I want to hear specific predictions for Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina.

Matthew Dowd, who wins Iowa?


KARL: You -- you guys love to do this.


KARL: -- so like you...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And we will keep the tape.

KARL: We're going to play a tape...


KARL: -- we're going to play a tape back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First, I want to say, before I do that prediction, is the thing that's driving this election more than anything else, it's not issues, not really even personalities, per se, is that American public and GOP voters are looking for strength. And Donald Trump conveys that in a way that's bullying and bravado and bombastic, but he's the only candidate right now. And until somebody else conveys that strength in that same way, he's going to lead, in my view.

So Iowa. I think this race right now comes down to two candidates right now. It is Ted Cruz and Donald Trump. And I couldn't tell you right now how's going to win that race.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will say I side with Ted Cruz winning it, just because of his support among social conservatives...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But I think another interesting story, well, who will show in that?

Will Rubio -- who will show in that race?

So the third finisher in that race could be very important going into -- into Iowa -- into New Hampshire.

KARL: New Hampshire.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think Donald Trump wins New Hampshire.

KARL: South Carolina.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I think Donald Trump wins South Carolina.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have Cruz, Trump, Trump.

KARL: Cruz, Trump, Trump?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think Cruz wins Iowa. I think one of the governors could win New Hampshire, either Christie or Kasich, whichever one gets momentum with a better than expected showing in Iowa or conceivably Rubio. But I -- I don't believe Trump wins either of the first two.

Then just to confuse that point, he'll come back and win South Carolina, just the way Gingrich did in 2012.

KARL: Right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Remember, what was he, fifth or something in Iowa and New Hampshire and then he won South Carolina?

So I think a split result, which means the race goes a long way. I think the -- the one thing I've been wrong about -- many things I've been wrong about, but one of the things I've been wrong about is this notion that, you know, the Trump bubble will burst.

That's not how it's going to work. He's in for the long haul. He has more of an organization than people think, incidentally. I ran into an advance guy very (INAUDIBLE)...

KARL: Certainly in Iowa...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In Iowa, in New Hampshire...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But I think a little bit, if you go to the headquarters and what you see is what he lets you see.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are other floors of the Trump Tower in New York...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- that are full of P.R. guys getting him on the ballot. He's got -- you know, it's not an amateur campaign.

KARL: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So Trump is in it for the long haul. Cruz is in it for the long haul. And one or two of the Rubio-Christie-Kasich (INAUDIBLE).

KARL: Mary?

BRUCE: I'm going to go against all of you in Iowa, just because it's no fun if everyone agrees, and say Trump. And part of the reason why is because I was at a Trump rally a couple of weeks ago and I asked a lot of his supporters this question, would you be willing to switch your allegiance to Ted Cruz?

It was right at the time that Cruz was really surging.

And I couldn't find anyone who would say yes. And, in fact, a lot of people were almost furious at the notion that -- that Cruz would come in and beat Trump in the state.

Now, when it comes to New Hampshire, I'm going see. And I think his retail politic skills will -- will show really strong there. I think no one can pull off a town hall quite like Chris Christie.

South Carolina, I'm going Cruz.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If Trump wins Iowa, he runs the table.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If Trump wins Iowa, I've got to start that third...





UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- pretty quickly.


KARL: -- when will we know -- when will it be clear that we have a presumptive nominee?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I -- I disagree slightly with Bill on this. I think what happens is, is this is a national race until we get to Iowa. Then for 30 days, it's a state by state race, four states. And then it becomes a national race again on March 1, because we have 20 states in eight days.

I think by mid-March, we'll pretty much know who it's going to be. They may not have the delegates they need, but this will be a national...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- if somebody with an overwhelming lead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Twenty states. Somebody is going to win 16 of them and then it's pretty clear who's the nominee.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just have a hard time believing that anyone is going to overtake Trump at this point. I really do. In large part, you said earlier, Matthew, that you thought that Trump could stop himself.

Well, it seems as if he had been trying to stop himself for months.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It seems like he's been trying to stop himself for months, saying these really bombastic, highly offensive things.

KARL: So when do we know?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think we already know.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- we just don't want to accept it.

KRISTOL: One of the interesting things about the polls, if you want a glimmer of hope for the -- we do not want Trump to be the Republican nominee, types like me, is Trump does very well on these national polls and he's continued to tick up. In actual state polls, in the early state polls, where they're more focused on the race and where they're actually thinking about voting, he's weaker. In Iowa, he's behind Cruz in most polls and he's in the 20s.

In New Hampshire, though, he's ahead. He's in the 20s.

So I think as voters get more serious, there is some falloff from Trump. It doesn't -- he doesn't disappear. He doesn't go away. He has a core of support. But that's why I think Trump will not be the nominee...

KARL: This is...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- a hope and a prayer.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- a hope and a prayer.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is wrong with hope and prayer?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nothing. Nothing. But...


KARL: When does he go down?

When does he go down?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- through the SCC primary on March 1st through March 15th. If he doesn't win either...

KARL: Convention?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Could be. But I think there will be a nominee some time who -- down to two or three in late March. March 15th has Ohio and Florida, winner take all, winner take all.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're both very interesting states this year, because Kasich is from Ohio.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rubio and Bush from Florida. That could be -- if someone could sweep those two states, that would be very interesting.

BRUCE: I think it -- you could have something of a free-for-all, especially if they split Iowa and New Hampshire.


BRUCE: I think it could go all the way to the convention.

KARL: To the convention.

Thank you, Mary.

BRUCE: And then...

KARL: That's what we want.

BRUCE: You're very welcome.



BRUCE: And then the man to watch, of course, is Paul Ryan.

KARL: Paul Ryan will be...

BRUCE: -- because then he has...

KARL: -- the one providing...

BRUCE: -- to be the kingmaker.

KARL: -- over the convention.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good luck finding brokers CLINTON:


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- at the convention.


KARL: OK, all right.

Before we go, a special Supreme Court Puzzler with Justice Stephen Breyer. I had a rare interview with him. We'll see that coming up.

But right now, here he is with our Powerhouse Puzzler.


STEPHEN BREYER, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: How many Supreme Court justices in history previously served as Supreme Court law clerks?


KARL: All right, back in just two minutes with the answer.

And later, our powerhouse predictions on the Democratic side.


KARL: So how many Supreme Court justices previously served as law clerks to another justice?

Matt and LZ --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'd say seven. I know Breyer, Kagan, Roberts and Rehnquist were. But I don't know --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, that's pretty impressive, 112 or one or happy -- OK. We'll have to go with the --




KARL: That's not very specific.

GRANDERSON: Yes, Matt's --


KARL: OK. Here is Justice Breyer (ph) again with the answer.


STEPHEN BREYER, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: The answer is six. There is Elena Kagan, there is Chief Justice John Roberts. There is me and also there is Byron White, Chief Justice Rehnquist and John Paul Stevens.


KARL: I am impressed with Matthew Dowd on this, solid.

Much more from Breyer ahead.

For the first time, the Supreme Court justice weighs in on Donald Trump's proposed ban on Muslims entering the country. Stay with us.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Unfortunately, I believe we're out of time, the time necessary to mount a winning campaign for the nomination.

But while I will not be a candidate, I will not be silent. I intend to speak out clearly and forcefully to influence as much as I can where we stand as a party and where we need to go as a nation.


KARL: And we're back now with the powerhouse roundtable on the current state of the 2016 Democratic race and our big production -- predictions for the New Year.

So let me ask you the big question now is, as we get to the home stretch in Iowa and New Hampshire, Bernie Sanders, his momentum seems to have stalled a little bit, LZ.

Can he regain that momentum?

Can he actually win in those states?

He has to, right?

GRANDERSON: I think it's pretty much the done deal. Just as I'd say before the break, that I think we already know (INAUDIBLE) on the GOP side, I think we all know what's going to happen on the Democratic side.

Everyone likes the idea of Bernie Sanders. But when you start really breaking down what he's asking, what he wants to do and how much it's going to cost, rational Democrat in the boom-boom (ph) middle are starting to go, Hillary's the safer bet. There's really nothing that Bernie can do to his narrative to change that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If this -- if this hadn't been the year of Trump, this would have been -- we would be talking about this year of Bernie Sanders.

What he's done in the course of this taking on the establishment, Hillary Clinton, he said -- let's keep in mind. He said the same percentage that Donald Trump has among Republicans he has among Democrats.

And the fact that -- that he -- that he is doing that well in the course of this, being a Democratic Socialist, as he calls himself, is amazing. I think the only way he cracks this open and possibly has a path he has to win Iowa and win New Hampshire and hope a whole race breaks.

But it does show --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What happens if he does?

What happens if he -- he -- look, he's in --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, then I think -- then I think Joe Biden regrets his decision of not having --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- I think he should anyway because I think he didn't -- not need to put a Gore (ph) organize together like everybody thought he did.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- Biden can't jump in and --

KRISTOL: No, he can't. I think Hillary Clinton then slogs it out. She's already an incredibly weak general election candidate because of how people perceive her. She becomes even more weak in that process. And the only thing the Democrats hope for is that after that long slog, she wins the nomination after that long slog.

I agree with LZ. It's highly unlikely. He probably loses Iowa and this race is pretty much done after New Hampshire.

KARL: But, Mary, I mean, he has taken off in a way that none of us -- none of us -- predicted.

BRUCE: Absolutely. And even if he does go ahead and win Iowa and New Hampshire -- remember, he -- tradition, history says you have to win one of those.

But even if he does, remember, the last time a Democratic lost both New Hampshire and Iowa and went on to win the nomination --


BRUCE: -- was a Clinton. And so it's highly possible that you could see another Clinton pull that same thing off.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the big story is how weak Hillary Clinton is and how pathetic it is that the Democratic Party couldn't produce --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you mean seriously?


KRISTOL: She is an -- look, the Republicans, as you are very happily chortling about, about this Trump fiasco going on for six months, in every matchup, in every reputable national poll, Hillary Clinton now loses by a point, two or three, to Marco Rubio, who's a pretty unknown first-term senator.

She's tied with Ted Cruz in the last national poll. She is an unbelievably weak --


KRISTOL: -- underwater. And the fact that Biden couldn't beat her, Elizabeth Warren couldn't beat her, Bernie Sanders probably can't beat her. But I think if he does win, I think Mary makes an important -- it's an important question that Mary raises. I mean, if Sanders were to manage -- he could beat her in New Hampshire pretty easily, I think.

Iowa is the question.

KARL: Let's take a look.

KRISTOL: If he beat her in Iowa and New Hampshire, I think it could be a Gary Hart-Mondale situation where the frontrunner almost falls apart. Hard to know whether Sanders could actually win.

KARL: Let's take a look at the very, most recent national poll. Donald Trump versus Hillary Clinton matchup.

Take a look at those numbers. This is within the margin of error. Right now, CNN poll, they are tied.

KRISTOL: And every other Republican is stronger against Hillary, right.

KARL: And Trump in that poll does worse than any of the other Republicans.

GRANDERSON: First of all, I do not speak for the Hillary Clinton campaign, nor have I fully made a decision who I'm voting for -- not fully anyway.

KARL: That race you might know, right.

GRANDERSON: I think what we're looking at right now is something that Jon Kasich -- Governor Kasich talked about earlier, which is polls schmolls, right. What happens is once you actually get people in the booth and start voting. And I just have a strong belief that once Millennials see the decision between someone who supports discrimination and someone who doesn't -- and believe it or not, it's going to boil down to that for a lot of young voters, you have someone who is a possible racist, someone who says horrible things about women, and someone who may support taking against gay rights to marry, versus someone who is not going to do those awful things, they're going to go for...

KRISTOL: The only Republican Hillary Clinton can beat is Donald Trump.

DOWD: I think the two weakest Republicans that she will win against are the two leading Republican candidates right now -- Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. She is going to win in those races. And one reason is there will be a third party GOP type candidate will run if Donald Trump or Ted Cruz is the nominee.

KARL: I think Kristol will be there with them.

KRISTOL: I used to think Cruz couldn't beat Clinton, but I'm really struck by these polls now. I think everyone but Trump beats Clinton.

KARL: OK, so I want to get to a prediction. I want to skip ahead.

Let's just assume that Hillary Clinton wins the Democratic nomination, who is her running mate?

DOWD: I think it's going to be a white male that can appeal to the working class voter, somebody from the Midwest or from the west. And so I would put on that list, Governor Hickenlooper from Colorado, which is a key state who can appeal to the working class voters there, or Senator Brown of Ohio, which is probably -- he's going to be top on the list. She's not going to go a Latino. She's got to bolster her working class base.


GRANDERSON: I'm thinking she's going to wait as long as possible to see where Cruz or Rubio falls. Even though when you understand -- you know, the Hispanic and Latino community, you can't just assume because someone is Cuban-American they're going to be influenced by Mexican-Americans.

With that being said, she's going to go Castro.

KARL: Julian Castro.

GRANDERSON: Or, she's going to with Kaine.

KARL: OK. Not Raul Castro.

GRANDERSON: Not, Raul, no.

KARL: Or Fidel, he's still around.

KRISTOL: More suitable, though, that would be for the Democratic Party.

I think Sherrod Brown of Ohio or Tim Kaine of Virginia.

BRUCE: I'm with LZ, I say Castro. And he checks off a lot of boxes: Hispanic, young, male. That said, he doesn't have a ton of experience, but it's also...

KARL: The answer is Tim Kaine.

Next, a rare interview with a supreme court justice in this landmark year for America's highest court.

Plus, the powerhouse roundtable on the year of the activist. And 2015, seismic shifts from race to same sex marriage.


KARL: Following an historic year for the Supreme Court with landmark decisions upholding same-sex marriage and President Obama's health care law, I had a chance to visit the Supreme Court for a rare interview with Stephen Breyer.

You can say Breyer is the court's true swing vote. In the court's most recent term, he voted with the majority 92 percent of the time, more than any other justice.

He told me that while the justices may have their differences, they aren't nearly as partisan as people think.


BREYER: People think a lot of different things in the country. What is so terrible that nine judges of this court do disagree about a certain number of things.

What's good about it is they'll resolve their differences under law despite disagreements. That's the strength of the country. That's called the rule of rule of law.

KARL: But doesn't it erode confidence when you see so many of these high profile cases, beginning with Bush V. Gore I mean as the ultimate example, breaking down 5-4 along ideological lines?

BREYER: You think it's ideological, in fact, there are 50 percent are unanimous. We're talking about 20 percent...

KARL: I'm talking about the high profile...

BREYER: I know that you only want to talk about the ones -- the 20 percent that are 5-4. Those more likely reflect differences of philosophical outlook, if you like, rather than differences of politics. Politics to me is who has got the votes. Are you a Republican or Democrat? Are you popular or are you unpopular? I don't find that here.

KARL: Breyer is author of the new book, "The Court in the World," which argues that on many issues the court should look beyond our borders as it shapes American law. Take his 40 page death penalty dissent this year, arguing capital punishment maybe flat out unconstitutional.

You pointed out in those 40 pages that there are only 22 countries that carry out executions in 2013, and only eight countries that did more than 10. One of them is the United States. Why is that relevant? Why is it relevant what other countries are doing?

BREYER: Remember the words of the eighth amendment. It forbids a cruel and unusual punishment.

Now does that word unusual mean unusual in the world or does it mean unusual in the United States? Some people think it means the world, and therefore it's highly relevant. And others think it's just more limited to the United States.

KARL: Among the toughest issues Breyer and the court have wrestled with is finding a balance between national security and civil liberties.

BREYER: Cicero 2,000 years ago, more, "in time of war, the laws fall silent."

Now, that was the court's attitude for a long time. And that led in World War II, to 70,000 American citizens of Japanese origin, being removed from their homes and put in camps. And this court in 1944 upholding that without any evidence whatsoever.

They upheld it because they're thinking, well, we can't run the war so Roosevelt has to.

KARL: And this is a case you've written about extensively. Do you think it could happen again in the United States?

BREYER: That they put 70,000 Americans? I doubt it.

KARL: Why?

BREYER: Why? This country has developed a stronger tradition of civil liberties...

KARL: So what do you think when you hear Donald Trump come out and say that you know proposed a ban on one religious group coming in to the United States...

BREYER: What do I think when I hear that? I think every person in the United States has a right to an opinion on that which you can express publicly except for me.

KARL: You have no opinion...

BREYER: A judge -- a judge has to do his best not to have an opinion on a political matter like that, which is highly political. And if I have an opinion, I might talk to my wife about it, but I'm not going to...

KARL: Have you talked to your wife about that one?

BREYER: Do I talk? I'm not even going to answer the question of whether I talk to my wife about it. And that isn't because there isn't an answer.

KARL: Well, (INAUDIBLE), one more on this. It's interesting, Trump, in making the case for his ban on Muslims coming into the country, cites FDR's internment of the Japanese.

What do you make of that?

BREYER: That's his affair.

KARL (voice-over): Appointed by Bill Clinton in 1994, Breyer will be 78 when the next president is sworn in. Three other justices will be over 80.

KARL: Don't you take in as a factor who is the person that will be nominating my replacement?

BREYER: The question you're really asking me is if this person is president, would you not retire?

KARL: Right.

BREYER: If that person is president, you would retire.

KARL: Donald Trump, he's President of the United States. Ted Cruz is President of the United States.

You wouldn't decide, you know what, I was thinking about retiring but I'm going to stick around for a few more years?

BREYER: It's a highly personal decision. You have to be able to do the job. I tend to think, though it's in my self-interest (INAUDIBLE) that I tend to think that experience does help.

KARL: But I'm asking you just --

BREYER: I know you --

KARL: I'm asking you a direct question, you will -- will who is president be a factor in --

BREYER: I know you're asking me a direct question and I'm giving an indirect response --


BREYER: -- which --

KARL: Fair enough.



KARL: All right. You can see more of my conversation with Justice Breyer at abcnews.com/thisweek.

The powerhouse roundtable is back with me now.

I want to get to -- this is, in many ways, an -- the year of the activist, the year of the movement, whether it be Trump, Bernie Sanders and you know, one of the most prominent groups, Black Lives Matter.

LZ, what is your sense on the impact that Black Lives Matter has had and where are they going?

GRANDERSON: Well, I'm glad you went to the black person first. It's very important to do that.

Everyone's all uncomfortable, like going, ooh, (INAUDIBLE).

Here's the thing. The important thing about Black Lives Matter is that it got white people to pay attention. And what I mean by that is you've all known that racism is still out there in theory. Now you have video to see that it's actually operating in practice.

And what I saw in Ferguson versus what I saw (INAUDIBLE) and what I've seen over these last few weeks in Chicago with Laquan McDonald is because when you have something on video, it becomes more undeniable. And what Black Lives Matter has been able to do is help position through social media these images for the greater society, for white America, so you can see black folks haven't been making this stuff up. This has been happening to us for decades and it's -- I'm glad to see in 2015, into 2016, more people having this conversation about criminal justice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that, LZ, that's a really good point because I think there's been movements, obviously, throughout American history and they pop up and everything that matters in pushing on civil rights.

But I think what's been added is a change in technology. And the fact now that we have a technology allows anybody to record anything at any time and so no longer can police cover for each other, no longer can courts cover for each other.

It's basically a confrontation now that a movement uses in order to express what they want to see happen. And I think that's fundamentally changed how we are as a country.

KARL: Bill?

KRISTOL: Look, I think it's the message of Black Lives Matter is that the main problem blacks faces in the United States is police departments, I think that's a bit wrong message. It's not true.

Many more African Americans are killed, obviously, by routine by crime and (INAUDIBLE) police -- tough policing has saved a lot of black lives over the last 20 years. Rudy Giuliani and Mayor Bloomberg and Bratton and Ray Kelly have dropped the murder rate in New York from 2,000 a year to 200 a year. And a lot of those victims were black.

So in fact, the effect in the real world of Black Lives Matter is to lessen tough policing, that will be bad for blacks.

BRUCE: You're going to see race relations continue to be a big issue in the election and in the campaign and part of the reason is not just that you see the continued use of this technology. You see and learn about more cases but also consider Baltimore. I covered those riots in April; you have to remember that you have five more cases. They're spread out, that tension in that city has not been fairly been addressed. And you could easily see that boil over once again.

KARL: Very quick last word.

GRANDERSON: I just have to say that always going back to black-on-black crime, which is pretty much what you're saying, it's the de facto use of what white people do when they want to face reality. The fact of the matter is is that no one in the black community is saying police are the sole problem.

What we're saying it's part of the problem that's been ignored.

KARL: All right, last word from LZ.

When we get back, I'll introduce you to Tony Jones, an Army veteran who's been homeless on the streets of Washington, D.C., for nearly six years -- after this from our ABC stations.


KARL: In our "Sunday Spotlight" this morning, a look at a fight to end veteran homelessness. The Obama administration's made that a priority but despite a dramatic decline, there are still more than 47,000 veterans living on the streets this holiday season.

I met up with one of those vets.


TONY JONES, HOMELESS VETERAN: This is my tent. The leaves and stuff was falling off so I put these trees in front of up -- this is front of it --

KARL: This has been home?

JONES: Yes. Right here.

KARL (voice-over): Tony Jones knows a thing or two about camouflaging a tent. He learned it in the Army.

JONES: If it wasn't for basic training, I wouldn’t even be able to do this stuff here. But that's how I learned how to do this trenching and -- around the tent. So --

KARL: This is stuff you learned in the Army?

JONES: (INAUDIBLE) I learned in the Army.

KARL: Did you ever think you'd end up like this, homeless?

JONES: No, not in a million years. Not in a million years.

KARL (voice-over): Tony lives in this small patch of wilderness in Southeast Washington, just a few miles from the White House. For the past six years, he's been homeless.

JONES: Oh, I've been looking for this.

KARL: What's that?

JONES: Poetry I write.

KARL: I didn't know you were a poet.

JONES: I didn't know I was a poet, either.


KARL: This is your handwriting here?

JONES: Yes, yes.


Can you read me a couple lines here?

JONES: Just sit here, in my cell, yes, though I am not alone. But yet I am lonely for my other half and it is not near or by me, where I am the lonely one.

KARL (voice-over): He served in the Army for two years as an indirect fire infantry man. Today, his most prizes possessions are his books.

JONES: I like Dean R. Koontz and I like Stephen King and I like Sandra Brown.

KARL (voice-over): But he cherishes one book above all.

JONES: That's my mom's Bible there. Only thing I wanted when she died was her Bible.

KARL: But she didn't know you were homeless?


KARL: You didn't tell her?

JONES: Nobody in my family know I'm homeless. Nobody don't know.

KARL: Why didn't you tell her.

JONES: I don't know. I guess -- I didn't want them -- I didn't want no sympathy from nobody and everything. I'm a grown man. I can take care of myself.

KARL (voice-over): Finds inspiration from one verse in particular.

JONES: "For a living dog is better than a dead lion."

KARL: What does that verse mean to you?

JONES: It means this dog is still living and the lion ain't got nothing going on.


JONES: That's what that verse means to me.

You know, sometimes, feel like giving up sometimes and be so miserable and cold and sometimes I feel like everything going against me. But I think about that Scripture all the time. It pull me right on out of there.

KARL: There's too many homeless veterans --


JONES: -- yes, there's so many of us --

KARL: Why are there so many homeless veterans even now?

JONES: Well, my case was I was just too scared to ask for help and I was embarrassed about it. I ain't know what to do. I ain't know who to ask for help and I ain't know none of that stuff until Emily sent me in the right direction.

KARL (voice-over): Emily Buzzell is a caseworker with Miriam's Kitchen, an organization dedicated to ending homelessness in Washington, D.C. She helped Jones apply for a Veterans Administration voucher, which will pay for his rent.

EMILY BUZZELL, CASEWORKER, MIRIAM'S KITCHEN: Housing comes first and then once somebody gets a roof over their head, the other things fall into place a lot easier.

KARL: What's it going to mean for you to get your own apartment again?

JONES: Just like moving from a dungeon to a castle, and I ain't lying. I'm telling you now. Yeah.

There it is.

KARL: For the first time in years, Tony walks into his home through a door.

JONES: Please come in my castle.

BUZZELL: Tony can now take a shower and put on a suit so he can go to a job interview. You know, when he's sleeping out in a tent, that's a lot harder to do.

JONES: I can't even express in words how I feel right now. I just know I feel great. I feel good. I feel like James Brown. I feel good.


JONES: Love Tony Jones. And you can see more of my conversation with him at ABCNews.com/ThisWeek.

Thanks for joining, sharing us as part of your Sunday with us today and all year long. 2016 will be a wild ride. We're excited to be right here with you every step of the way. And before we go, on behalf of George, Martha and our entire ABC News on air team, another big thank you to everyone here behind the scenes who bring you This Week every week.

And we leave you with a performance from the United States Army Band Pershing's Own.

Have a happy and healthy New Year.

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