'This Week' Transcript: Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush

ByABC News
December 6, 2015, 10:28 AM

— -- THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT FOR "THIS WEEK" ON DECEMBER 6, 2015 and it will be updated.


ANNOUNCER: Starting right now, a special edition of THIS WEEK, act of terrorism in the homeland -- the brand new details about the killer couple who may have been inspired by ISIS, as stunning revelations emerge about the parents turned cold-blooded terrorists. The new indications she could have masterminded the massacre.

With the country shocked by the deadliest terror attack in America since 9/11, how do we keep the homeland safe?

This morning, Hillary and Jeb here live, taking on that critical question.

Plus, are tougher gun laws needed?

And is it time for boots on the ground to take on ISIS?

Clinton and Bush right now, exclusively on THIS WEEK from ABC News, a special edition of THIS WEEK WITH GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS begins now.



As we come on the air, ISIS has now claimed that the massacre in California this week, the deadliest terror attacks here since 9/11 was carried out by soldiers of its caliphate.

President Obama will speak to the nation from the Oval Office tonight.

With the latest on the investigation and what he'll do to defeat ISIS and keep America safe. And we have complete coverage here this morning -- exclusive interviews with Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush.

Senior justice correspondent Pierre Thomas starts us off -- good morning, Pierre.


The FBI investigation involving hundreds of agents is at full tilt, as the law enforcement and intelligence community wrestles with a new, unpredictable phase, where a potentially deadly homegrown terror threat is growing.


THOMAS (voice-over): The moment urgent j the president of the United States huddled with his top national security advisers in the wake of the San Bernardino massacre.

While the FBI and White House are not yet ready to officially say the attack was inspired by ISIS, that is a growing concern after we learned the female member of the killer couple swore allegiance to the leader of ISIS.

ISIS, meanwhile, seizing the moment, calling the killers supporters.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ISIL and other terrorist groups are actively encouraging people around the world and in our country to commit terrible acts of violence.

THOMAS: This morning, the race is on to find out more about the plot. The FBI continues to try to exploit phones and computers left behind by the suspects, even though they took great efforts to try to destroy evidence.

Family, friends and associates being interviewed, with the investigation international, as the FBI focuses on trips abroad, including to Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So far, we have no indication that these killers are part of an organized larger group or form part of a cell.

THOMAS: But if this couple was truly inspired by ISIS, it marks a dangerous evolution in the U.S. terror threat. The FBI director has been warning for months about ISIS' unprecedented social media campaign, urging potentially thousands of followers here in the U.S. to attack.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's as if a devil sits on someone's shoulder all day long saying kill, kill, kill.

THOMAS: An ISIS-inspired attack narrowly averted in May, when two men armed with assault rifles targeted a Texas cartoon conference about the Prophet Muhammad.

In the last two years, the FBI has identified or arrested nearly 90 suspected ISIS supporters here at home, average age only 25; at least 20 teenagers, 13 females. Fifteen of those arrested accused of trying to launch murderous plots inside the US. And now possibly this couple, who left behind a six-month-old baby to go on a vicious killing rampage.


THOMAS: George, it's not lost on anyone that the U.S. government got caught off guard and had no warning that a suburban couple had such lethal intentions. The FBI director has warned that the ISIS social media campaign has targeted a young audience of troubled people who are buying in, a lethal new dynamic that we're only beginning to understand -- George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And we'll hear more on that from the president tonight.

Let's get more on it now from Secretary Hillary Clinton, back on THIS WEEK for the first time this presidential campaign.

And a reminder for everyone watching, I worked for President Clinton, made charitable contributions in the past to the Clinton Foundation.

Welcome back.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Is it time to declare war on ISIS?

CLINTON: Look, we are definitely in conflict with ISIS and I think we need a new update of military authorization. The AUMF, which was passed after the attack on 9/11, should be brought up to...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Why not declare war?

CLINTON: Well, declare war is a very legal term, as you know so well. I think what we want to do is make sure we have every tool at our disposal to, number one, destroy there would-be caliphate in Syria and in Ra -- in Iraq.

Number two, do everything we can to dismantle this very effective virtual jihadist network that they are using on the Internet.

And number three, do whatever is necessary to protect us here at home.

STEPHANOPOULOS: What are you concerned about in the declaration of war?

CLINTON: Well, I think that the legal experts say that if we -- there are a lot who say that we already have the authority we need to go after ISIS or any international terrorist network, including al Qaeda and anybody else in the AUMF.

I think it is important, though, for the Congress to vote on behalf of the American people and to make sure that we are updating it to take into account the new authorities that that risks.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You put -- you've also been reluctant to say we're fighting radical Islam. And I wonder why not.

Isn't it a mistake not to say it plain, that the violence is being pushed by radical elements in that faith?

CLINTON: Well, that's a different thing. Radical elements who use a dangerous and distorted view of Islam to promote their jihadist ambitions, I'm fine with that. I say it all the time and I go after Islamic, too.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So what's the problem with radical Islam?

CLINTON: Well, the problem is that that sounds like we are declaring war against a religion. And that, to me, is, number one, wrong but...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Even though the qualifier radical is there?

CLINTON: No, because, look, that -- you know enough about religion, you've studied it. And there are radicals, people who believe all kinds of things in every religion in the world.

I don't want to do that because, number one, it doesn't do justice to the vast numbers of Muslims in our own country and around the world who are peaceful people.

Number two, it helps to create this clash of civilizations that is actually a recruiting tool for ISIS and other radical jihadists who use this as a way of saying we're in a war against the West. You must join us. If you are a Muslim, you must join us.

No. If you're a law-abiding, peace-loving Muslim, you need to be with us against those who are distorting Islam.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Can you say today that we're winning the fight against ISIS?

CLINTON: I could say today that we have a new set of threats. You know, if -- if you go back and look where we were with al Qaeda in 9/11, there's no doubt bin Laden and his lieutenants were planning to carry out additional attacks, if they possibly could. And they did in places like Madrid and London, etc.

So we have dealt with that threat. It doesn't go away. We haven't eliminated it, but we've dealt with it.

Now, we have to turn our attention to the very sophisticated propagation of this new threat from ISIS.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So we're not winning that battle yet?

CLINTON: Well, we're not winning but it's too soon to say that we are doing everything we need to do. And I've outlined very clearly --

STEPHANOPOULOS: -- so if you --

CLINTON: -- we have to fight them in the air. We have to fight them on ground and we have to fight on the Internet. And we have to do everything we can with our friends and partners around the world to protect ourselves.

STEPHANOPOULOS: If you were in the Oval Office tonight, would you be announcing a new strategy?

CLINTON: Well, I think what -- that's what we'll hear from the president, an intensification of the existing strategy and I think there's some additional steps we have to take.

If you look at the story about this woman and maybe the man, too, who got radicalized, self-radicalized, we're going to need help from Facebook and from YouTube and from Twitter. They cannot permit the recruitment and the actual direction of attacks or the celebration of violence by this sophisticated Internet user.

They're going to have to help us take down these announcements and these appeals --


CLINTON: -- they get up.

STEPHANOPOULOS: How about Apple? No more encryption?

CLINTON: This is something I've said for a long time, George. I have to believe that the best minds in the private sector, in the public sector could come together to help us deal with this evolving threat. And you know, I know what the argument is from our friends in the industry. I respect that. Nobody wants to be feeling like their privacy is invaded.

But I also know what the argument is on the other side from law enforcement and security professionals. So, please, let's get together and try to figure out the best way forward.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Some of your potential rivals on the Republican side say we have to do more overseas as well. Ted Cruz says we have to carpet bomb ISIS.

CLINTON: Well, that's an easy thing to say, you know. He's never had any responsibility for trying to figure out who the bad guys are and who innocent civilians are. Clearly we have to have a much more robust air campaign against ISIS targets, against the oil infrastructure, against their leadership. I think you'll hear that from the president. And part of what I have been arguing for, for quite some time now, is that we've got to do a better job of getting back the Sunnis on the ground, along with the Kurds, who can be the fighters who will actually take back territory with air cover and with targeted attacks on ISIS infrastructure. We still are going to have to have people fighting.

Now I do not believe those should be American combat troops --


STEPHANOPOULOS: Absolutely not; is that an absolute --

CLINTON: Where I sit right now, I think it would make things worse not better; I do believe we have to up our special ops numbers. The 50 that have been authorized need to get there. And then we need to take stock of what else we need. I think the more than 3,000 Americans that we have on the ground in Iraq, who are advising, assisting and enabling the Iraqi military have to be given the flexibility and support they need.

And I believe strongly we should perhaps ask some of our current and retired military officers, who dealt with the Sunni sheiks in Anbar and elsewhere to once again reconstitute the fighting force that they put into the fight against Al Qaeda in Iraq.

And that was one of my biggest complaints about Maliki, because what he did was to basically not only destroy the military because of his sectarianism but also he went after those Sunni leaders in Anbar and we know from reporting that some of them are supportive of ISIS, some of the former Ba'ath military officers under Saddam Hussein.

STEPHANOPOULOS: As you know, some of your Republican rivals have also criticized you for focusing on gun control after the San Bernardino attacks. Marco Rubio points out that France has some of the strictest gun control in the world. That didn't stop the Paris attacks.

California has some of the strictest gun control laws here. It didn't stop those attacks, either.

So what law would have stopped this?

CLINTON: Well, first of all, what happened in San Bernardino was a terrorist act. Nobody is arguing with that. The law enforcement, FBI have come to that conclusion. And let's not forget, though, a week before we had an American assault on Planned Parenthood and some weeks before that we had an assault at a community college.

So I don’t see these two as in anyway contradictory. We have to up our game against terrorists abroad and at home and we have to take account of the fact that our gun laws and the easy access to those guns by people who shouldn't get them, mentally ill people, fugitives, felons and the Congress continuing to refuse to prohibit people on the no-fly list from getting guns, which include a lot of domestic and international terrorists, these are two parts of the same approach that I'm taking to make us safe.

And, yes, the NRA's position always is, you know, if you can't stop everything, why try to stop anything? That's not the way law works. I mean, we have laws that are going to govern our speed limits on roads, knowing some people are going to violate it or people are going to drive drunk. But we still have laws. We need to have comprehensive background checks. We need to close the gun show loophole, close the online loophole, go after what's call the Charleston loophole and end the liability for gun sellers.

STEPHANOPOULOS: On this no-fly list, the critics of that vote say that you know, you look back at this; it's indiscriminate and they go back 10 years and say 2,000 people on the watch list actually did buy guns; government hasn’t found any of them committing a crime with a gun.

CLINTON: Well, again, that's like proving the negative. We have a list; if you are on that list and you believe you should not be on that list, we have a process to actually raise your objections about being on that list.

You get on the list because there is some credible evidence you belong on the list. Now obviously, that --

STEPHANOPOULOS: Some mistakes sometimes.

CLINTON: -- some mistakes, of course. That's why there's a process for people to be able to raise their concerns about being on the list and then to have a process that could even lead to a legal action to remove yourself from the list.

But I, for one, am a lot -- I took the shuttle from New York. I'm a lot happier having a list that keeps people off planes that there's any question about their intent or their potential behavior.

So I'm not -- I can't take anybody seriously who's going to begin to chip away at the no-fly list.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Donald Trump and yesterday Jerry Falwell Jr. say the answer is for more good people to have guns. Mr. Falwell urged his students at Liberty University to actually arm themselves, get concealed carry permits.

Your response?

CLINTON: Well, he also went on -- and don’t forget he said this, George. He said, that way, we can take out the Muslims.

He said that, OK?

This is the kind of deplorable, not only hateful response to a legitimate security issue but it is giving aid and comfort to ISIS and other radical jihadists.

With respect to the gun issue, it' s legal to buy guns in America if you are eligible to buy a gun, you can go buy a gun and hundreds of thousands of people apparently are in the aftermath of what happened in San Bernardino.

I just want people to understand some of the threats we now face, whether it's the guy in Charleston, who should have never have been given a gun but the universal background check was not fast enough, didn't find the fact he was prohibited, went into the church and killed nine innocent people, we should be able to approach both of these with some sense of, you know, unity about how we prevent terrorist attacks and how we prevent the wrong people from getting a hold of guns.

STEPHANOPOULOS: We have to take a quick break. Stand by. Much more from Secretary Clinton later. Another live exclusive, one of the men by the taker on from a Florida governor, Jeb Bush.



JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think you're looking at the next Republican nominee. And here's -- and here's what I promised to you, should I win this nomination I will take it to Hillary Clinton and I will whoop her.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Jeb Bush there. Hillary Clinton here right now.

And as he's hoping, he's going to come up live in just a little bit hoping to take you on in the general election if you get the nomination.

I want to get into some of the issues that may come up in a general election. One of the things you're seeing Republicans really take aim at is your spending and investment programs.


STEPHANOPOULOS: On the show right here, proposed about $1 trillion...

CLINTON: Over 10 years.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Over 10 years in spending proposals that a lot of questions on whether you can actually pay for it by focusing tax increases only on the top 3 percent. Here's a Washington Post editorial. They say there is simply no way that the federal government can meet its current fiscal commitments plus the increased demands of an aging population and provide the new forms of middle class relief and business tax relief Mrs. Clinton promises while tapping only the top 3 percent of earners. Your response?

CLINTON: Well, I just respectfully disagree. And that's why I've laid out very specific plans about the kind of investments that I think Middle Class families particularly need that we have to have to, you know, grow our economy. And I've been very specific about how I will pay for each of those. And that is part of the, you know, underlying principle of presenting the...


CLINTON: But I think it's a little bit amusing that the Republican National Committee would go after me, since all of their candidates and their party philosophy is massive spending cuts and massive tax decreases for those at the very top with no thought to how to pay for it or the trillions of dollars it would add to the national debt, you know.

I do come from the Clinton school of economics. And when my husband ended, we had a balanced budget and a surplus. Then President Obama inherited the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. I don't think he gets the credit he deserves for digging us out.

So, we're standing. And now we've got to start moving into the future again. It is going to take good fiscal responsibility, that's what I'm promising. But I'm also promising that the wealthy are going to start paying more of their fair share and help to fund some of the investments that I'm paying for.

STEPHANOPOULOS: They're also saying no tax increases at all anyone earning under $250,000. Is that a rock solid "read my lips" promise?

CLINTON: Well, it certainly is my goal. And I've laid it out in this campaign. And it's something that President Obama promised. It's something my husband certainly tried to achieve, because I want Americans to know that I get it, that a lot of the losses that they experienced because of the great recession are still really pulling them down.

You know, $13 trillion in family wealth was destroyed by the great recession. People lost their homes, their 401(k)s and IRAs, their college funds. So, we've got to rebuild the middle class. If we expect to have broad based prosperity, that doesn't come from...

STEPHANOPOULOS: So, it's your goal, but what if you can't get the revenue in other ways. What if the spending comes in more than it is. Will you then raise taxes?

CLINTON: You know, George, I'm going to tell you what I'm going to do. And I'm going to continue to stick with what I'm going to do. $100 billion a year in these new investments all paid for I think is a responsible approach to getting our economy creating good jobs again.

You know, I have an infrastructure plan that's on top of what the congress just passed.

So, I'm going to go out there and I'm going to defend what I'm doing. And I'm also really going to defend the Middle Class, because a lot of these proposals would have a very bad effect. Either it would raise taxes on the Middle Class or it would undermine the kind of growth and structure that we need for the Middle Class to take off again.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Another challenge you could face in this campaign, a majority of Americans question your honesty. Some GOP rivals and family members of the Benghazi victims are saying you lied to them in that hearing.

They point to emails that you sent the night of the attack, one to your daughter, Chelsea Clinton, saying -- I'm going to have to put my glasses on here to actually read this. "We were silent...two of our officers were killed in Benghazi by an al Qaeda-like group." Another one to the Egyptian prime minister, "we know that the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack, not a protest."

But the family members, as you know, say you told them it was by a filmmaker, you'd go after the filmmaker. Here's what they said.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She lied. She absolutely lied. Her daughter was able to be told differently that it was not the video, it was something else. Now if her daughter could be told, why can't I?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Either she was lying to the prime minister, or she was lying to me and to the American public.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Did you tell them it was not the film? And what's your response?


You know, look I understand the continuing grief at the loss that parents experienced with the loss of these four brave Americans. And I did testify, as you know, for 11 hours. And I answered all of these questions.

Now, I can't -- I can't help it the people think there has to be something else there. I said very clearly there had been a terrorist group that had taken responsibility on Facebook between the time that I -- you know, when I talked to my daughter, that was the latest information. We were giving it credibility. And then we learned the next day it wasn't true. In fact, they retracted it.

This was a fast moving series of events in the fog of war. And I think most Americans understand.

STEPHANOPOULOS: How about more generally. Do you think there's something you can do to get a majority of Americans to believe you're trustworthy?

CLINTON: Well, you know, obviously I don't like hearing that, George. But I think people who have worked with me, people who voted for me twice in New York, people who I've had a very long relationship with and working on their behalf are going to know what I do and when I say I will do it I will move everything I can to get it done.

And I believe the American people who are looking for somebody who is a fighter, who will stand up there, just as I did, tell you what I will do, tell you I will do everything to make it happen. And I think my values have been consistent over the years. And the results that I've gotten are ones that I'm going to take to the American public.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Immigration going to be a big issue in this campaign?

In the past, you've said that undocumented immigrants would not be covered by your health care proposals. Here's an exchange we had in 2007.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Would illegal immigrants be covered under your plan?

CLINTON: Illegal immigrants would not be covered. No. They would not be covered. I will continue to have a safety net, which I think is in the best traditions of our country and also for public health reasons absolutely necessary.

But we did not cover them in '93, '94 and my plan does not cover them now.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Now you say that undocumented immigrants should be able to buy into the exchanges. So why the shift?

CLINTON: Well, because number one the kind of plan that was passed in the Affordable Care Act gives you a market-based way of getting into the insurance market. So, if you can afford to buy a policy, you can. You don't get, however, any of the subsidies that American citizens get.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Martin O'Malley says they should. Why not?

CLINTON: Well, I disagree with him. I think part of comprehensive immigration reform should be looking at all of these issues. But as things stand right now, under the Affordable Care Act, if you have the money and you are undocumented, you can buy into it, but without the subsidies. That's why it's important we continue to support community health centers, we continue to support our hospitals because those are often the places that undocumented people and poor people go.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And what's the reason for not going further?

CLINTON: Because I don't think legally you can. I mean, that is not something that we can legally support. The law is very clear about that.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Donald Trump. Last few days he's opened up -- you're laughing again.

CLINTON: I'm sorry. I can't help it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: He's opening up a new line of attack on you. Here it is.

CLINTON: Oh, dear. A new one, huh?


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: She'll do a couple of minutes in Iowa, meaning a short period of time, and then she goes home and you don't see her for five, six days, she goes home, she goes to sleep. I'm telling you. She...


TRUMP: She doesn't have the strength, she doesn't have the stamina.


CLINTON: Oh, goodness gracious.


CLINTON: You know...

STEPHANOPOULOS: I guess you don't agree.

CLINTON: Well, who can agree with anything he says that is, you know, subject to one second of fact checking?

Look, if he gets the nomination, I will be more than happy to campaign against him.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Is he the one you want to run against?

CLINTON: I don't really think about it that way. I don't have any influence over who they nominate over there and, in fact, he's not the only one saying things that are deeply distressing. A lot of the others are kind of Trump 2, you know?

Oh, whatever Trump says, maybe we won't go quite as far, but we'll get as close as we can.

So the Republicans, in their presidential nominating process, have a lot to answer for.

STEPHANOPOULOS: How do you explain why he's doing so well?

CLINTON: I don't know, because he's a -- he's a reality TV star. I mean tens of millions of people have watched him for more than a decade on TV and he is part of the celebrity and he will stay whatever he wants to say and if he's held account, that -- it's not true, he just brushes it off and he goes on. And I think that, you know, there's a certain attractiveness to people that here's a guy who says exactly what he believes, untrue as it may be, inflammatory as it certainly is.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Finally, you said you're getting better at learning from your critics. They tell you things that your friends won't.

So what have you learned from your critics in this campaign?

CLINTON: You know, I've said for a long time, George, that I try -- I try to take criticism seriously but not personally. And by that I mean, look, if somebody says, hey, you know, you didn't do -- or she didn't do a good job answering this or, you know, I don't think that that, you know, adds up, whatever they might say, I will take that seriously.

But I really try not to take it personally and I think that's a big distinction that you have to begin to draw when you're in the public arena. You know, one of my favorite Americans, Eleanor Roosevelt, said for any woman in the public arena, you have to grow skin as thick as a rhinoceros and, you know, I try to put lotion on it, but I have...


CLINTON: -- I've had to grow a lot of thick skin over the years.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Thanks for joining us today.

CLINTON: Thanks, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And we'll be right back with the view from the Republican side. Governor Jeb Bush is here live.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The threat to America is real. One man is tested. Jeb is ready to lead.

BUSH: We are at war with radical Islamic terrorism. It is the war of our time. America has had enough of empty words. President Obama doesn't see a reason to change course. Hillary Clinton said that her foreign policy would be no more aggressive or forward-leaning than his.


STEPHANOPOULOS: And Governor Jeb Bush joins us live right now from Florida.

Governor Bush, thank you for joining us this morning.

That's an ad being run by your super PAC, Right To Rise, in New Hampshire right now. And you did just hear Secretary Clinton. She believes that it's not the time to declare -- formally declare war on state or radical Islam.

Why do you think she's wrong?

BUSH: I -- well, look, I think whether you -- the semantics of a declaration of war is on the relevant point, the point is that they are at war with us and we need to have a strategy to not contain them, but to destroy them.

And the Congress should be a full partner in that, for sure. But this president hasn't had a strategy. And it is creating a caliphate the size of Indiana. It wins every day that it exists. It garners energy from the fact that it exists and controls that kind of territory.

We have to take the lawyers off the war fighters' backs and let them go do the job and do it in concert with the neighborhood, Arab leaders, of course...

STEPHANOPOULOS: What does that mean, take the lawyers off the war fighters' backs?

BUSH: Well, the president has created directives from the White House that -- that creates all sorts of bureaucratic challenges for -- for airstrikes. Up until recently, 75 percent of all the sorties that left the base came back without dropping their ordinances, because there was such a concern about making sure that there were no civilian casualties.

The United States will always adhere to the international standards of war, but this administration has imposed even greater challenges.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So would you go as far as Ted Cruz, carpet bomb?

BUSH: No. No, I -- that's a -- we need a strategy. Carpet bombing is not a strategy. We need to have -- we need to train the Iraqi military. We need to garner support, again, with the Sunni tribal leaders. I found it interesting that Secretary Clinton was talking about re-engaging with the Sunni tribal leaders the surge, which she opposed was a -- was a great success, that created a fragile stability in Iraq. And when the Obama administration left Iraq -- she only went there once -- the void was filled by ISIS.

And so we have to create a full strategy, directly arming the Kurds, which this administration refuses to do. A no-fly zone in Syria. Creating safe havens in Syria, a Syria safe haven so that the refugees don't feel compelled to leave. Training and arming a local force that can destroy ISIS as well as bring about regime change.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But Governor Bush, if I can -- if I can interrupt you right there, Secretary Clinton is for a no-fly zone, I believe. She's called -- you just heard her call for engaging again with the Sunnis and the Kurds on the ground and for more intense airstrikes.

So where are you different from her on strategy...

BUSH: How can you...

STEPHANOPOULOS: -- going forward?

BUSH: -- how can you trust her if she, in fact, was opposed to the very thing that she's now supporting and she has said that the president has done a great job as it relates to his efforts in Syria and Iraq.

I just don't believe -- I think she's kind of a focus group person. She just focuses on what the sentiments are at the time and the net result is that we don't have a strategy and she's not prepared to offer one up.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you have any specific differences with the strategy just outlined today?

BUSH: Yes, I'd -- the first one would be that -- call it for what it is, the idea that this is not radical Islamic terrorism or that there or that somehow there are Buddhist, radical Buddhists, radical Christians. The simple fact is that the Left has a hard time recognizing what this is. This is a fight for Western civilization. They've declared war on us and we need to be much more serious about creating a strategy to take them out.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Before San Bernardino, you called Donald Trump's idea for monitoring mosques "abhorrent."

Do you think that has to be rethought right now?

BUSH: No, I don't. I think there's -- we have all of the capabilities to monitor people that are in our country trying to attack us. I'm not suggesting we -- that already exists and I think that's more than appropriate.

The director of the FBI has made it clear that there are hundreds of cases that they're monitoring. And we should redouble our efforts in that regard. We don't have to target the religion. We just have to target those that have co-opted the religion and make sure that we're fully aware of the radicalizations taking place, not just here but all around the world.

STEPHANOPOULOS: How about this issue of the no-fly list? You believe that people on the no-fly list should be able to buy guys?

BUSH: I mean, Ted Kennedy and Stephen Hayes (ph) the journalist and Cat Stevens, I mean, this is not a list that you can be certain of. The first impulse of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama is to have gun control. But the first impulse in my mind is let's have a strategy to take out ISIS there so we don't have to deal with it here.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That is -- the Democratic leader, Harry Reid, pointed out this week that the FBI terrorist suspects now who pledge allegiance to ISIS can still buy guns in America.

Is that OK with you?

BUSH: I don't think it is -- it's appropriate if they haven't, you know, we're tracking them and if the FBI knows that someone's in our country and they're tracking them, they shouldn't be able to get guns for sure.

But the no-fly list is a much broader list. It's not an accurate list to be able to use for restricting gun rights for law-abiding citizens.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But so you're saying that if the list were more refined then you would --

BUSH: Yes.

Yes. I mean, if you have -- if you're tracking someone who you believe may be a terrorist, of course they shouldn't get guns.

The FBI has that capability right now.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But right now, according to the law, someone could pledge allegiance to ISIS and that wouldn’t necessarily be disqualifying.

BUSH: It should be. And I think it is. I think if the FBI is aware of -- if they're tracking someone, they have the ability to look and see and then notified when someone tries to purchase a gun.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You also heard Secretary Clinton on the issue spanning, she said it made her laugh the Republicans were criticizing her that your proposals would increase the debt by far more.

BUSH: That's wrong. My proposals, first of all, create far higher growth. The middle class has had a $2,300 reduction in disposable income from the day that Barack Obama was inaugurated. And those policies of more spending and more taxes and more regulation will stifle the middle class.

The proposals I've laid out will create higher growth, more income for the middle class and we're restricting the growth of spending in my proposal just by shifting Medicaid back to the states and allowing it to grow in inflation, you would save hundreds of billions of dollars over a 10-year period.

That's the kind of thing that we need to do. We need to take power away from Washington, shift it back to families and back to states and allow for 21st century solutions to these problems.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But analysis endorsed even by your own adviser says that your plans would increase the debt by over $1 trillion over the next 10 years.

BUSH: The tax reform proposals that would increase income for Americans is what the objective is. But we would control spending at a far greater rate than the $1 trillion reduction over 10 years. It's not their money, George. This is the money of the American people. And if we want to stimulate high growth, we need to make sure the middle class gets a pay increase for the first time in 15 years.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's talk about your campaign more generally right now. You're in about 5th place in Iowa, 5th place to been in the public polls. I know your internal polls may be different in New Hampshire.

And I want to go back to when you started out this campaign about a year ago, when you said how you wanted to run it. You said, "I kind of know how a Republican can win, whether it's me or somebody else. And it has to be much more uplifting, much more positive, much more willing to be lose the primary to win the general without violating your principles."

Is Donald Trump proving that statement wrong?

BUSH: Donald Trump is not going to get the nomination. I have enough confidence in the Republican primary voters in these early states and beyond. I'll trust them to make that decision.

I know for a fact that a conservative is not going to win unless they have a hopeful, optimistic message and after all, our ideology is much more hopeful and optimistic than the progressive Left. And so I'm sticking to my guns on that. It's who I am. I need -- you need to be authentic when you run.

I believe we're on the verge of the greatest time to be alive. But we have to fix these really big, complex things that people are deeply and correctly frustrated by --


STEPHANOPOULOS: -- it seems like Donald Trump is succeeding right now, at least, with a darker tone.

BUSH: He's succeeding right now for sure. He's a gifted politician. But he's not a serious candidate. He's not offered anything serious as it relates to the fight against terror. He's not offering any proposals as it relates to dealing with these structural challenges we face going forward.

But he's a gifted politician. He connects with people's angst and their anger. But over the long haul, we need to have productive, constructive ideas to lift people up.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You heard Secretary Clinton. She says he's succeeding because he's a reality TV star.

BUSH: He's just a gifted politician that is appealing to people's anger and frustration that is quite legitimate. Look, Washington is broken. And the good news is that I have a proven record in Tallahassee to disrupt the old order there and I can tell that story and I do it each and every day all across the early primary and caucus states. And it's working.

And so I have --


BUSH: It's working. George, come on out with me. It's working. And it's going to show -- it'll show at the time that it matters, which is February 1st in Iowa and New Hampshire beyond that. We're making good, steady progress.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Donald Trump is also making some of your biggest supporters quite angry. Mike Fernandez, biggest single supporter to your super PAC, is taking out full-page ads right now, where he compares Trump, suggesting that he's -- that he's like Mussolini and Hitler.

Do you think that's appropriate?

BUSH: No, I don’t. I think that people are going to see that Donald Trump is not a serious candidate, that his message of division is not what we need. We've had a president that has not been a commander in chief; he's been a divider in chief. Our side doesn’t need to mimic that.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And your -- Mike Fernandez went on to say that if Trump gets the nomination, he's going to support Hillary as the lesser of two evils.

You're committed to supporting Donald Trump. I know you don't think he's going to get it. I know you think you're going to be the nominee. But you're committed to supporting Donald Trump if he's the Republican nominee?

BUSH: I have pledged to support the Republican nominee. And Donald Trump is not going to be the Republican nominee.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So walk us through how you get from here to there. I know you're meeting with your donors in Miami this week and you say your message is working out there on the stump.

But you've already spent about -- at least the super PAC has already spent about $30 million on television. It hasn’t moved the needle so far.

What is the strategy that gets you to victory going forward?

BUSH: Out-work, out-organize in these early states -- it's exactly what we're doing -- and make progress. At this time in the previous elections, the election wasn’t decided. And it won't be decided until we start the process in February and go to March, where a majority of the states will have their primaries and caucuses.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Can you get to March if you don’t win one of those first three, Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina?

BUSH: Don't forget Nevada.


BUSH: Yes. I think I can. But I'm going to do well in those.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Are you going to win?

BUSH: I'm going to work as hard as I can and I think that people are going to be drawn to our message that is more hopeful and optimistic and by a messenger that actually can do the things that he says he wants to do.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You've also suggested out on the stump that you would pick a female for your vice presidential running mate if you get the nomination.


BUSH: Well, I didn't say that -- I didn't say that, but I do -- I do believe that our team has the broadest bench of really talented women that are in office already and the selection for a vice president will be -- will be an exciting one for whoever wins the nomination.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Governor Bush, thanks for joining us this morning.

BUSH: You bet.

STEPHANOPOULOS: We have heard from the candidates.

The power -- the Powerhouse Roundtable weighs in on this earth-shaking week right after this.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Extraordinary scenes this week. You see the news media there live on television, going to the house of those sus -- of those killers in San Bernardino the day after. A lot of questions about that this week. So many things we have not seen before we did see this week.

Let's talk about that on our roundtable now.

Matthew Dowd, our chief political analyst, is here. Jennifer Granholm, former governor of Michigan, a strong supporter of Hillary Clinton. Georgetown University professor and MSNBC political analyst, Michael Eric Dyson. And Alex Castellanos, the chairman of Purple Strategies, founder of NewRepublican.org.

Welcome to all of you.

And, Matt, let me begin with you.

You know, we talked about this after Paris, how much is this going to change the presidential campaign, San Bernardino, even more?

MATTHEW DOWD, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I think all of these incidences that we're seeing, I think part of the problem right now is the vast majority of the country doesn't feel safe. They don't feel safe worldwide and they don't feel safe domestically.

And the facts don't seem to matter in relation to the policy. It's that sense of fear they have in the course of this.

I think both sides haven't -- haven't addressed this in the right way. I think President Obama and the Democrats have skipped right over people's fears and says we've got the solution, we'll fix this.

And I think Republicans, and especially in the Republican primary, have only appealed to people's fears.

But I think, in the end, you have to understand why people are upset, understand why they're safe and then base whatever policy we're going to do based upon what the facts are, what's in people's heads as opposed to their fears.

STEPHANOPOULOS: What do you need to hear from President Obama tonight?

JENNIFER GRANHOLM, FORMER GOVERNOR OF MICHIGAN: Well, I think, actually, you know, Secretary Clinton laid out a bit of I -- what I expect we'll hear, I hope we'll hear from the president, which is how to control ISIS here and abroad and on the Internet. She laid out a comprehensive strategy. My guess is he'll be doing something like this.

But to your point, I mean the -- the Democrats are laying out specifics. She asked for Congress to reauthorize mili -- the use of military force and to update is so that they can attack.

But why haven't they done that?

The president has called for them to do it.

Why hasn't Congress given the president the tools to be able to attack ISIS?

ALEX CASTELLANOS, CHAIRMAN, PURPLE STRATEGIES, FOUNDER, NEWREPUBLICAN.ORG: The president is going to throw more words at our problems and I think that is the concern that a lot of Americans have, that somehow he has grown distant from this country. He doesn't share our fears. He's become that cool, aloof Obama and we see the Democratic Party talking about terrorism. Well, let's pass some gun control laws and it's really caused by global warming.

And that distances that party from the fear that Americans have, and it is a big fear. It's not just about terrorism, it is that the -- the seams of the entire planet seem to be coming apart.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Is there an empathy gap on this issue of fear?

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Not with President Obama. I mean because what we're missing here is that while all that stuff is going on, Laquan McDonald was going on, as well, so that -- and what happened in Colorado. The domestic terrorism.

But even when we disaggregate the data on the domestic side, when you've got police who are representatives of the state engaging our citizens, especially citizens of color, there is an incredible sense of fear.

So that joins in ways that we don't often speak about, our concerns about international and global terrorism, which are real, along with the kind of domestic expression.

So Obama is not distant from that. He has to balance the concerns of security and fear.

He's got to also talk about the degree to which, you know, throwing the traditional Republican let's just bomb the hell out of them, that will not work when you've got...


DYSON: -- the Internet being (INAUDIBLE).

STEPHANOPOULOS: But -- but, Matthew Dowd, one of the things that Donald Trump points out is that the more he does that, the better he does.

DOWD: Well, I think Donald Trump, right now, in today's day and age, if you take a look at all the polls and everything you look at, the dominant characteristic that sets apart the winners on each side right now, Hillary Clinton on the Democratic side and Donald Trump on the Republican side, is who is the strongest candidate?

Right now, people want the strongest candidate. Even if strong is wrong, they'll pick that over (INAUDIBLE)...

GRANHOLM: Except for that what he is doing is stoking fears. I mean there is fear out there, but he is...


GRANHOLM: -- breathing oxygen...


DOWD: But he does...

GRANHOLM: -- like a dragon into that.

DOWD: -- but he does represent a great fear out there.

GRANHOLM: He represents it, but then he uses that fear to divide the country by groups and he uses it to create language that actually...

DYSON: Well, there was a great president...

GRANHOLM: -- empowers our enemies.

DYSON: -- there was a great president who once said we have nothing to fear but fear itself, so that stoking those fears may boost you up in the polls but it doesn't alleviate the pressures and the realities of terror that created...


DYSON: -- in the first place.

CASTELLANOS: But there's a sense in the country that Washington's elite and the news media are all making themselves feel better and superior by hell, we don't have to respond to brute barbaric evil...

GRANHOLM: But no one is saying that, Alex.

CASTELLANOS: -- and with strength...

GRANHOLM: Nobody is saying that.

CASTELLANOS: -- because they don't understand that...

GRANHOLM: I totally disagree...

CASTELLANOS: -- no, but that's the message that I think America is hearing, that Washington has grown distant -- hey, we have this, you little...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Do -- do you agree...

CASTELLANOS: -- and you sit down and we've got it under control.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you agree with Jeb Bush that Donald Trump cannot be the nominee?

CASTELLANOS: No. No, I don't. I think it's entirely possible that Donald Trump is the nominee.

DOWD: Do you think it's likely?



CASTELLANOS: -- do think there's something better coming out of all of this. But no, I think it's possible Ted Cruz wins Iowa, we go to New Hampshire to validate an alternative. The field is crowded. And a crowded field, by definition, is going to take longer to reduce. And you can see that Cruz-Trump dynamic...

DOWD: George, the amazing thing...

CASTELLANOS: -- Trump may become the establishment candidate.

DOWD: -- the amazing thing about the dynamics today is that -- that both candidates on each side are leading in the polls on each side, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, who are the most disliked, distrusted politicians today, disconnected, in their view, voters' minds from the average values and the most polarizing people in America today are Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, are the most pol -- and they're leading their party's nomination.

If that's presented to the American public, there is going to be a -- a -- a response to that that our system no longer works in the way...


CASTELLANOS: By the way, Hillary Clinton is the candidate of strength?


CASTELLANOS: Just on the Democratic side, too, just like Donald Trump is.

DOWD: Yes.

GRANHOLM: Donald Trump is going to win -- if the CNN poll this week is to be believed, Donald Trump is going to win the nomination. So get ready for it...


GRANHOLM: And unless -- unless -- wait a second.


GRANHOLM: Unless two things happen. One is the non-Trump candidates consolidate a ground -- around one person.

And, two, they start taking him down. And it can't just be Chris Christie's super PAC or Don -- or, you know, Kasich's super PAC.

DOWD: And ultimately...

GRANHOLM: They have got to...

DOWD: -- their solution is not to take Donald Trump down. I think that...


GRANHOLM: I know. And so therefore, they are...


GRANHOLM: -- going to allow him to win.

DYSON: When we talk about a war between civilizations, let's talk about a war within this country, a kind of internal civil war, where Donald Trump appears to xenophobic passions...


DYSON: -- racist and biased against all others who are not part of the narrow white mainstream...

DOWD: That's...

DYSON: -- versus...

DOWD: -- that's...


DYSON: -- a party that is...


CASTELLANOS: -- a very real fear.

DYSON: -- versus a party that is serious about diversity and the complex organization of different constituencies working together. Either you believe in America as a possibility your you don't.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Alex, what about this -- this prospect that Hillary Clinton and some of her supporters raised, that by creating this bidding war, to be the absolute strongest on the Republican side, the Republicans are guaranteeing a Goldwater style election in 2016?

CASTELLANOS: I think if we end up getting someone like a Ted Cruz, that would be true.

But let me offer you an alternative here, Marco Rubio needs to be tested. Barack Obama was tested by Reverend Wright, by an economic meltdown. And we saw him grow and mature. And he became president because he was tested.

Imagine what happens if a Marco Rubio -- he needs to be attacked by Jeb Bush. He needs to be attacked by somebody. He needs to stand in front of a nuclear blast and he will either melt down or gain super power.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Matthew, we were talking about...


STEPHANOPOULOS: You think if he does that, he becomes super formidable candidate.

DOWD: I think Marco Rubio -- if Marco Rubio goes through this process and becomes the Republican nominee he beats Hillary Clinton, it's not going to even be that close in my mind in the course of this, because the American public right now wants a change from the current administration and believes we're off on the wrong track.

The question right now is we keep talking about Donald Trump and he's this and what he's this. He only is behind Hillary Clinton by three percentage points in a general election. I'm not saying Donald Trump would win a general election, but the fact his demonstration of what he's doing demonstrates the weakness also on the Democratic side in the course of this election.

Hillary Clinton is not a dominate candidate that's going to walk away with this election...


GRANHOLM: ...thinks she is the strongest. That's all voters. I mean, she is a dominate candidate.

DOWD: ...voters don't trust her.


GRANHOLM: And how many don't trust Donald Trump.


DYSON: The Republican side has said for the last two elections that the American people stand against. And the American people voted Barack Obama into office.

Clearly, that kind of polling doesn't really begin to get to the internal mechanism and fear and hatred...


DOWD: Which party today represents more people in the country today? Which party holds the congress, holds the Senate, holds 30 governors...


DOWD: The only thing the Democrats right now have in their bailiwick is to win the presidency. If they were to lose the presidency...


DYSON: You know what, when you get the big guys, the other things matter, but they don't matter as much.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That's all we have time for today. That was a great conversation everyone. And we'll be right back after this from our ABC stations.


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

In the month of November, one service member died overseas in Iraq.

And before we go, a moment to remember Bob Clark. Long before this week began, Clark hosted our Sunday morning broadcast issues and answers. He was one of the first Washington correspondents hired by ABC News in Dallas the day President Kennedy was shot, covered congress for years. Bob Clark died at 93.

That is all for us today. Thanks for sharing part of your Sunday with us. Tune in tonight at 8:00 Eastern for our live coverage of President Obama's Oval Office address. And I'll see you tomorrow on GMA.