‘This Week’ Transcript: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu talks to ABC's Martha Raddatz

ByABC News
April 5, 2015, 9:21 AM

— -- The following is a RUSH transcript. It will be updated and may contain errors.


ANNOUNCER: ON ABC's This Week. Terror unleashed, the chilling new threat from that jihadist group that attacked a college campus.

Plus, that massive al Qaeda prison break. This morning, why authorities are so worried.

Iran blowback.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL: Israel will not accept an agreement.

ANNOUNCER: Why Israel's prime minister insists the landmark nuclear deal might ignite a dangerous new arms race.

Epic drought: California's governor mandating unprecedented water cuts. Just had bad will it get? Governor Jerry Brown is our exclusive guest.

And new era? On this opening day, baseball's commissioner emeritus speaking out about one of the game's biggest black sheep.

From ABC News, This Week with George Stephanopoulos begins now.


MARTHA RADDATZ, HOST: Good morning. On this Easter and Passover weekend, I'm Martha Raddatz.

As we take a look at thousands flocking to St. Peter's square this morning to celebrate with Pope Francis. And we'll have new details on his visit to Philadelphia coming up.

But we start off with the new terror threats from Yemen to the U.S. that have officials so concerned right now, including a new threat from the Jihadist group that launched that deadly attack on a college campus this week.

Kenyan police now saying one of the gunmen was the son of a government officer.

Chief investigative correspondent Brian Ross tracking all of it. Good morning, Brian.

BRIAN ROSS, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, Martha.

American officials this morning are analyzing this new set of terror threats after an unsettling week of attacks, arrests and anarchy that raised questions on whether the anti-terror strategy of the U.S. and its allies is up to the task.


ROSS: The new threats come from the same al Qaeda connected terrorist (inaudible) who this week killed 148 people, mostly students, at Garissa University College in Kenya.

Christians were executed on the spot, according to survivors.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The gunship (ph) continued and this made us to run to the fence of the (inaudible) and get our way out from the school.

ROSS: The massacre was carried out by the group called al Shabaab that the U.S. has been targeting for years in its home base of Somalia, but the scenes of carnage made it clear whatever is being done to stop al Shabaab has not succeeded.

At home, the FBI is claiming it's succeeded after the arrest of two young women in New York who agents said idolized al Qaeda and ISIS, studied bombmaking online and wanted to be part of what they told an undercover agent would be the last war, the big war, Armageddon inside the U.S.

Neighbors in Brooklyn expressed shock.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's incredible. I can't believe it.

ROSS: But nothing this week concerned U.S. officials more than the anarchy in Yemen where al Qaeda carried out a massive prison break, freeing some 300 of its fighters. One of the escapees even posted pictures of himself inside a plush palace office in the area.

No group poses a more direct threat to the U.S. than the al Qaeda in Yemen network. Its evil genius bombmaker has repeatedly targeted U.S. bound aircraft with bombs hidden in shoes, underwear, printers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So there's no reason to think that that hasn't stopped. In fact, given the situation in Yemen, I think we have to be concerned that they're able to make those arrangements, make those plans without any real interference from Yemeni security forces because of the chaos inside that country.


ROSS: All of this in Yemen, in Kenya and here in the U.S. highlights the serious limitations faced by the U.S. in trying to stop the dangerous spread and reach of radical Islamist groups prepared to kill anyone who serves their agenda, or gets in their way -- Martha.

RADDATZ: Thanks, Brian.

Let's take this on now with Michael Leiter, former director of the National Counterterrrorism Center for both president's Bush and Obama and Congressman Adam Schiff, top Democrat on the intelligence committee.

And I want to start with you, Congressman Schiff, and tell us what you know about the latest concerning Yemen and Kenya.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF, (D) CALIFORNIA: Well, in Yemen the news is really all bad. Just as we feared in the chaos between this fight with the Houthis and now the Saudi intervention, al Qaeda has had a resurgence, they've taken over the fifth largest town in Yemen, sprung al Qaeda operatives from prison, a couple hundred people. We're still trying to ascertain just who was released in that prison break. They've also taken over part of a bank and now have added financial resources.

So that chaos is providing just the kind of fertile ground and environment for AQAP to grow again.

RADDATZ: Is it a safe haven now? It seems like it certainly is.

MICHAEL LEITER, FRM. DIR. NATIONAL COUNTERTERRORISM CENTER: Oh, it's absolutely safe haven. It was a safe haven before. And now it's more than a safe haven, it's really wild. And it's not just wide open for al Qaeda, but it really is a new battlefield for sectarian tension in the region.

And I think what that means is we're not going to have this under control for quite some time with the outside forces now playing...

RADDATZ: And we have to remember, this is truly the most dangerous place for terrorists as far as America is concerned.

LEITER: This is. This is the group that has been most sophisticated, most advanced and most focused on attacking the United States. It was the underwear bomber. It was the printer cartridge bomber. This is a very sophisticated group that is committed to fighting outside of Yemen, not just in Yemen.

RADDATZ: And our counterterrorism policy, Congressman Schiff, is it the right one? The administration keeps defending it even in Yemen, which is complete chaos now.

LEITER: It is complete chaos. You know, it's the right one when compared to the alternative of a massive American occupation. We're not going to do another Afghanistan, we're not going to fully occupy Yemen or every other country where there's a significant terrorist problem.

That doesn't mean that the administration's strategy is flawless, however. And I think had we put greater emphasis and resources in trying to deal with the governance issues in Yemen, this might have been prevented and might -- there's no guarantee here.

But it just shows that we need a kind of a whole of government approach. It can't be simply counterterrorism. We have to look at some of the underlying tribal and governance problems as well.

RADDATZ: And let's go to Kenya for a moment here, Michael, the thing that's astonishing about Kenya is how few gunmen it took to kill so many people.

LEITER: Well, Kenya is better off than is Yemen in terms of having security forces that can combat al Shabaab, which aligned with al Qaeda several years back. But ultimately you still have really ungoverned areas south of Somalia is controlled by this al Qaeda oriented group and that Kenyan border and Kenyan police and Kenyan security services just don't have the ability to protect the nation the way they need to.

And what we're seeing in Kenya, what we saw in Yemen, whenever you have these ungoverned places, whenever you have corruption in government, you can with just a few people, really cause disastrous havoc.

RADDATZ: And let me jump to Syria. This is -- the whole world is really in trouble in that part of the world -- in Syria, you've got ISIS taking over a huge refugee camp.

SCHIFF: It's really unimaginable what the people in this refugee camp must be going through. There are reports now of the beheading of people there.

This camp was already I think in very dire straits with a variety of Islamist groups taking over. You had an al Nusra presence already. You had other rebel fighters there. Now you have ISIS taking over. Really probably because this is low hanging fruit for ISIS, not very well secure, not very well guarded, and they can wreck their mayhem there.

It may be a sign, though, also that ISIS is under increasing pressure in Iraq as we see with the defeat in Tikrit, but also in other parts of Iraq and Syria.

So this may be a way of showing they're still powerful, they're still dangerous and they are.

RADDATZ: And Michael, very quickly just what do you do?

LEITER: Well, first of all now that things are so bad throughout this region it's much harder, but what we see is our Sunni allies being much more forceful, taking the lead, frankly, without the United States. I think we have to re-win their confidence. We have to reengage. And we have to accept that we can't keep these things isolated inside the borders. It is bleeding out throughout the region. and that's a huge problem for the United States' security and for our allies.

RADDATZ: Thanks very much to both of you.

Turning now to the global fallout over the Iran nuclear deal. This morning, America's ally Israel is fiercely denouncing President Obama's agreement with Iran. At the same time, top Republicans here in Washington insist the world is about to become a much more dangerous place for America.

We'll talk to the Israeli prime minister shortly. First, ABC's Jon Karl with the latest.


JON KARL, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: While the deal was greeted with cheers in Tehran, back in Washington it's a much harder sell. President Obama made his latest pitch this weekend.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's a good deal, a deal that meets our core objectives, including strict limitations on Iran's program and cutting off every pathway that Iran could take to develop a nuclear weapon.

KARL: The president has been working the phones, calling congressional leaders in both parties, and a half dozen heads of state trying to convince them this is the best way to keep Iran from getting a nuclear bomb.

Many Republicans, and some Democrats, say the deal leaves too much of Iran's nuclear program in place.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This deal is going to threaten America's national security interests and it's going to lead to a nuclear arms race in the most volatile region in the world.

KARL: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is basting the deal, too.

NETANYAHU: Such a deal does not block Iran's path to the bomb, such a deal paves Iran's path to the bomb.

KARL: So what does the U.S. get? Unprecedented inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities, a reduction in Iran's existing supply of nuclear fuel and limits on Iran's ability to make highly enriched uranium.

In return, Iran gets relief from economic sanctions, although exactly when those sanctions are lifted is still to be negotiated.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says this deal is a first step towards more cooperation with the rest of the world.

But first things first. This deal isn't even signed, it's just a framework agreement with lots of details still to be worked out.

For This Week. Jonathan Karl, ABC News, The White House.


RADDATZ: Joining us now, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Prime Minister, why do you think President Obama and John Kerry would want an agreement that, as you say, threatens the survival of Israel and paves the path to a bomb?

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: Well, I'm -- I'm sure they think it's a good deal, but we differ. I think this is a -- a bad deal. It leaves Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure. It lifts the sanctions on them fairly quickly and enables them to get billions of dollars into their coffers. They're not going to use it for schools or hospitals or roads, Martha, they're going to use it to pump up their terror machine worldwide and their military machine that is busy conquering the Middle East now.

And third, it's a temporary deal. That is, whatever restrictions are placed on Iran's nuclear program, they're removed after a few years and Iran will be free to have a vast arsenal with which to, uh, ultimately produce many nuclear bombs.

I think for the preeminent terrorist state of our time to have a free pass, an easy pass to nuclear weapons endangers Israel, it endangers the region, endangers the world, it endangers everyone listening to me right now.

RADDATZ: Do you think President Obama is just too trusting?

I mean it's a legitimate question.

Why in the world would they do this if they thought the survival of Israel was at stake?

NETANYAHU: Look, I think we have a legitimate difference of view. And I think that it's not only my own concerns. I think that the real concerns in the region, whatever is stated publicly as such, that if Iran is given this free path to the tomb, a deal that doesn't block Iran's path to nuclear weapons, but actually paves it, what will happen is that this will spark a nuclear arms race among the Sunni countries in the Middle East. And that would have -- a nuclear-armed Middle East, I think that's a global danger. I think it's very, very bad.

RADDATZ: What will you do to try to stop this?

What will you do for the next three months?

NETANYAHU: Well, first of all, I think there is still time to reach a good deal, a better deal. And I think what is required is to hold firm, to increase the -- the pressures until a better deal is achieved, one that significantly rolls back Iran's nuclear infrastructure and one that doesn't lift the restrictions on Iran -- on Iran's nuclear program until they stop their aggression in the region, until they...

RADDATZ: Well, that hasn't really been decided yet...

NETANYAHU: -- stop their terrorism worldwide.

RADDATZ: -- has it?

The U.S. Says -- the United States says it will be phased in. That hasn't even really been decided.

NETANYAHU: Well, it's not even been on the table, nor have ICBMs, intercontinental ballistic missiles, that they can use to propel their nuclear weapons to any part of the world, including the United States.

Nothing has been asked of Iran, to change its aggressive and terrorist policies, nothing. And I think it's important to change the deal, to toughen up the deal, to get a better deal, because we all...

RADDATZ: But how can you...

NETANYAHU: -- prefer to find a solution...

RADDATZ: -- how can you get...

NETANYAHU: -- but it has to be the right one.

RADDATZ: -- how can you get a deal that Iran would accept?

The U.S. And others who have been dealing for years -- and -- and you've got other players involved in this now.

How can you get a deal that they would accept?

NETANYAHU: Martha, I think that what they don't accept today, they can accept tomorrow. If I told you two years ago that Syria's Bashar al-Assad would accept a deal that takes out all the chemicals for Syria, that takes out all the chemical weapons from Syria, just takes it out, not leave inspectors or beefed up inspectors to -- to inspect what is there but actually take out the whole stuff, you would have said that's unrealistic. And you know what...

RADDATZ: So -- so would you consider...

NETANYAHU: -- two years ago, it was unrealistic.

RADDATZ: Prime Minister, would you consider...

NETANYAHU: But here's what happened, Martha. Just...

RADDATZ: Would you consider unilateral air strikes?

NETANYAHU: Well, first, let me say that we prefer a peaceful solution.

How did you get a peaceful solution in Syria?

You ratcheted up the pressures. And when Syria saw that that -- those pressures were raining down on them, they agreed...


NETANYAHU: -- to what was not agreed before.

RADDATZ: -- part of that pressure was the pressure...

NETANYAHU: The same could be true with Iran.

RADDATZ: -- of air strikes.

So would you threaten unilateral air strikes to Iran?

NETANYAHU: I -- I never talk about our military option or anyone else's. The United States says that it has a military option on the table. But equally -- and I think no less effective -- have been the crippling sanctions that have only been applied since 2012, crippling financial and economic sanctions, especially on the oil sector.

And with the drop in oil, those sanctions have become even more effective. That's what got Iran to the table in the first place.

And then, once they're at the table, why let up on those sanctions?

In fact, that's the time to increase the pressure and to get tomorrow what you can't get today.

RADDATZ: OK, thank you very much, Prime Minister.

Coming up, California's disastrous drought -- is it spreading?

Why other states may be about to feel the pain.

Our exclusive interview with Governor Jerry Brown.

Plus, on this Easter Sunday, we're one-on-one with the man planning the pope's first ever visit to the US. We've got the fascinating inside details.

Back in just two minutes.


RADDATZ: In today's Closer Look, the punishing drought in California. This morning, the starkest water restrictions in the history of the state are being implemented. But even with the big cutbacks, many are wondering just how bad this water emergency will get.

We'll talk to California Governor Jerry Brown shortly.

First, ABC's Kendis Gibson takes us to one of the towns already hit the hardest.


KENDIS GIBSON, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's a stark new reality for Californians, a four year drought so bad, for the first time, mandatory water restrictions are now in place.

GOV. JERRY BROWN (D), CALIFORNIA: The idea of your nice little green grass getting lots of water everyday, that's just going to be a thing of the past.

GIBSON: These startling images show how quickly and severely drought conditions expanded in two years. Before and after pictures show the reality -- places where water was plentiful now no longer.

(on camera): He's a perfect example of the problem. The water line for this lake just north of LA used to be way up there. Now, take a look -- it is all the way down there -- 135 feet lower.

(voice-over): The drought a living nightmare for residents of Porterville, many who rely on private wells. No water to do dishes, shower or even flush toilets.


GIBSON (on camera): How long did -- how long ago did it run dry?


GIBSON: Ten months?


GIBSON (voice-over): The city now delivers water rations once a week.

(on camera): You're their lifeline.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I guess you could say that.

GIBSON (voice-over): State officials trying to prevent those extremes from spreading. Californians now ordered to reduce water consumption by 25 percent. Golf courses and other large landscapes forced to restrict watering or face hefty fines.

But critics point out, the agricultural industry responsible for 80 percent of California's water consumption left mostly spared by the new restrictions.

For THIS WEEK, Kendis Gibson, ABC News, Porterville, California.


MARTHA RADDATZ, HOST: And joining us now is Governor Jerry Brown.

Do you think this will be a real wakeup call?

GOV. JERRY BROWN (D), CALIFORNIA: It is a wakeup call and it should be for everyone, because this executive order is done under emergency power. And it has the force of law. Very unusual. And it's requiring action and changes in behavior from the Oregon border all the way to the Mexican border. It affects lawns. It affects people's -- how long they stay in the shower, how businesses use water.

RADDATZ: And -- and how do you really enforce this?

BROWN: Each water district that actually delivers waters -- water to homes and businesses, they carry it out. We have a state water board that oversees the relationship with all these local districts. There are hundreds of them. And so if they don't comply, people can be fined $500 a day. The districts can go to court and get a cease and desist order. There's -- the enforcement mechanism is powerful in a drought of this magnitude, you have to change that behavior and you have to change it substantially.

RADDATZ: Governor, one of the criticisms of this executive order has been that you did not make the same demands on the agricultural industry, which certainly has enormous political clout in the state.

Look at a couple of headlines. "Los Angeles Times" -- "Brown's Drought Plan is Light on Growers." "Sacramento Bee," "Growers Largely Spared in New Water Restrictions."

And a few factoids floating out there. Agriculture uses 80 percent of the winter, but accounts for less than percent of the economy. More water used for almond production than is used by all residents and businesses in San Francisco and Los Angeles combined.

BROWN: I'm glad you used the word factoid, because it certainly has that character.

Look, the farmers have fallowed hundreds of thousands of acres of land. They're pulling up vines and trees. Farmworkers who are at the very low end of the economic scale here are out of work.

There are people in agriculture that are really suffering. We're providing food...

RADDATZ: But we know they're suffering...

BROWN: -- housing units (INAUDIBLE)...

RADDATZ: -- Governor, but let me look at those. Again, 80 percent of the winter used by agriculture, but accounts for less than 2 percent of the economy.

Is that true?

BROWN: Yes, you bet it's true. But by the way, they're not watering their lawn or taking long showers. They're providing most of the fruits and vegetables of America to a significant part of the world.

RADDATZ: But is there something wrong there?

Should using that much water for almond production -- let me read you something else from "The Economist." "If water were priced properly, it is a safe bet that they would waste far less of it and the effect of California's drought would not be so severe."

BROWN: Most of that is true in the sense that anybody who's wasting water in their -- in -- not using the latest technology, that's not very smart.

But farmers are getting zero allocation from the federal central water project. And that's a big deal. That hasn't happened before.

Now, of course we can shut it off. If you don't want to produce any food and import it from some other place, theoretically, you could do that. But that would displace hundreds of thousands of people and I don't think it's needed.

There are farmers who -- who have senior water rights. Some people have a right to more water than others. That's historic. That's built into the legal framework of California. And, yes, if things continue at this level, that's probably going to be examined.

RADDATZ: Governor, what does this mean in terms of food prices for the rest of the country?

BROWN: Well, there is a global market in -- in many food commodities and that will tend to set the price.

But remember, the weather that's happening in California, that weather will be reflect and show up in other parts of the world.

And I can tell you, from California, climate change is not a hoax. We're dealing with it and it's damn serious.

RADDATZ: Governor, thanks so much for joining us.

BROWN: Thank you.


RADDATZ: Next, Ted Cruz kicking off the 2016 ad wars. Plus, we're behind the scenes in Philadelphia as they prep for the pope's visit.



RADDATZ: Back now with our politics buzz board. Topping the list, 2016 Republicans kickoff the week weighing in on that firestorm over Indiana's religious freedom law.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No one here is saying that it should be legal to deny someone service at a restaurant or at a hotel because of their sexual orientation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor Pence has done the right thing.

RADDATZ: But with critics calling it a license to discriminate, Governor Mike Pence backtracked and changes were made. Our Facebook sentimeter showing the uproar didn't hurt Pence on the site.

Let the ad wars begin. Senator Ted Cruz releasing his first 2016 commercial this weekend.

SEN. TED CRUZ, (R) TEXAS: And that is why I'm running for president of the United States.

RADDATZ: And Hillary Clinton's second run looking more inevitable, signing a lease in this Brooklyn office building, a likely campaign headquarters. On a Brooklyn visit, reporters asking will she be back?

HILLARY CLINTON, FRM. SECRETARY OF STATE: All in good time. All in good time.


RADDATZ: You just heard it's been such an explosive week for Indiana. And with the Final Four underway, how are fans in Indianapolis reacting to the controversial law? Let's check in with ABC's Alex Perez for the very latest from college basketball's biggest event. Good morning, Alex.

ALEX PEREZ, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Martha. Everyone is still talking about that big upset. Wisconsin wiping out Kentucky's perfect record. The stage now set for the big championship showdown here Monday night. Wisconsin taking on Duke.

Now there could have been an entirely different focus here if Indiana lawmakers had not rushed to pass changes to the state's new Religious Freedom Restoration Act to ensure businesses were not granted license to discriminate against gays and lesbians.

Now Republican Governor Mike Pence wasting no time approving those changes Thursday after days of protest and after major corporations threatened to stop doing business with the state.

Even the coaches from the Final Four teams issuing a joint statement and putting pressure on the governor to act.

And while the revisions to the law have been lauded by many, demonstrators are not done here. About 500 gay rights activists taking to the streets outside Lucas Oil stadium before the semifinals yesterday.

Now those demonstrations expected to continue as we look forward to that big championship game Monday night -- Martha.

RADDATZ: Thanks, Alex.

And the roundtable is here. ABC political analyst Matthew Dowd, Democratic strategist Donna Brazile, associated press White House correspondent Julie Pace, and our own White House correspondent Jonathan Karl. Good morning to all of you.

And I'm going to start with you, Matt Dowd, you wrote this week that the religious freedom is fascinating, disturbing and sad. But let me read you what Ron Brownstein wrote in the National Journal. He thinks this could be the biggest landmine facing Republicans.

He said "Pence's agonies underscore the challenge Republicans face, reconciling the demands of their culturally conservative base with the evolving realities of an America steadily growing more diverse, secular and tolerant. That widening gap may be the biggest obstacle to Republican hopes of recapturing the White House next year -- agree?

MATTHEW DOWD, ABC NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: I think it makes it difficult when you get involved in a cultural war. It makes it easier for a primary, but more difficult in a general election and where the country stands today.

To me the reason why I thought this was both fascinating and sad and disappointing is that these issues drop into the body politic and because there's this underlying boiling going on that we don't see, they drop in and then everybody gets polarized.

And to me the thing that disturbed me the most about this is that you couldn't be -- people couldn't say -- you could be a person of faith who goes to church, who, you know, prays to god and tolerant and compassionate at the same time.

And the other part of this that I think was disturbing to me was how big business responded in some what I think a hypocritical way. They criticize Indiana, but they do business with China and Saudi Arabia. To me, it's ultimately, if you're going to do that then do it worldwide and not just in Indiana.

RADDATZ: And Donna, yeah.

DONNA BRAZILE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I think it says a lot that the Republican candidates rushed to embrace a law that on its face looked discriminatory. And then, you know, the governor himself had to back pedal. So I think the old ways of doing business and doing politics with having these cultural wedge issues, those old days are over. And now these candidates have got to embrace it. This is a different America, an America that wants to be more inclusive, more diverse. And there's no place for discrimination at the table.

RADDATZ: And Jon Karl, the Washington Post -- just back to those cultural wars -- said a debate the GOP wanted to avoid, Indiana controversy draws 2016 contenders back into those culture wars. No more foreign policy -- a lot of that going on to.

KARL: Yeah. And they look terrible.

And the problem here is this divides the Republican coalition right in half, evangelicals on one side, the business community on the other, exactly what they can't afford to happen in a general election.

But I will say this, Martha, what is the end result of all of this? You will now have in several states civil rights for gays and lesbians codified into law as a result of the backlash over what cultural conservatives tried to do in Indiana. Not exactly what they wanted to see happen.

RADDATZ: And Jon, quickly on Jeb Bush, he seemed to backpedal on this during the week.

KARL: He was exactly where Pence was. So fully supportive of the initial signing of the law and fully supportive of the revision to the law. So you get to both be seen as intolerant by some and as a squish by others.

RADDATZ: And Julie, Matt mentioned big business. Now traditionally you've got business supporting the Republican Party, but this time Wal-Mart -- and it made a huge difference.

JULIE PACE, ASSOCIATED PRESS: Big business is what I think drove the changes that you saw in Indiana and then in Arkansas.

RADDATZ: And George's interview.

PACE: Exactly. Exactly.

I mean, that was a fascinating interview, though, to put someone on the spot like that over and over again and not see a clear answer.

And I think that we saw this with business, also on the immigration debate. Big business's willingness to speak out against things that the Republican Party is doing that they think are counter to their goals here. I think the question we have to ask and what we have to watch going forward is what will that do in terms of who the Republican Party nominates? Because we've seen business push back and yet candidates who may be closer to the Tea Party wing, the more conservatives wing, still can emerge.

But big business is showing that they are not going to put with this.

RADDATZ: And back to you Matt Dowd, every Republican in the latest Washington Post/ABC Poll has higher unfavorable ratings than favorable ratings in this latest poll. Doesn't look so good. You don't really want to start out that way, huh?

DOWD: Well, it's a really interesting thing I think the dynamic that's being laid out for 2016, because on one side you have whole series of Republican candidates. Right now I still think there's an opportunity, because of those numbers you read that another candidate or two is going to get in this race, because nobody has coalesced it.

So you have that -- you have Republicans who look like they can't get elected running against likely a woman Hillary Clinton who looks like she can't get elected because of the environment she's in, because of Barack Obama's low approval ratings, because two-thirds of the country think we're on the wrong track, because two-thirds of the country think we want different policies.

So, we have these two forces not -- unelectable Republicans versus an environment that doesn't favor Hillary Clinton. And somebody has to win.

RADDATZ: And on that -- and on that, Donna, let me give you the latest on Hillary Clinton's popularity. January 2013, 67 percent, March 2015 49 percent. In other words, she had a 67 percent favorability rating as secretary of state, but it's dipped down to 49 percent.

Is she a different person -- I covered as secretary of state. She's back in campaign mode for sure.

BRAZILE: Well, you know, that reflects the polarization in the country. And, you know, if this was a People Choice award, she would win hands down in comparison to the Republicans.

Look, Hillary Clinton is likely to be a candidate. We know that. She is going to have to draw sharp differences with her Republicans as well as make sure that no one comes from the left to challenge her on the Democratic side.

If she's ready and not rusty and ready to talk about these issues, her numbers will only go up.

RADDATZ: And Julie, but she has been embracing President Obama's policies it seems. Good strategy?

PACE: She has. I mean there was a lot of discussion over the past couple of months that she will be looking to run away from the president. She's actually aligned herself both on foreign policy, both on the economy, the economy is getting stronger.

I think she will show some breaks with him. I think the Iran deal is going to be fascinating to watch how she tries to maneuver there.

But if the economy...

RADDATZ: And her relationship with Benjamin Netanyahu, certainly.

PACE: Absolutely. I mean, there's a huge amount of politics involved in that. But I think that if the economy stays strong. We saw a rather weak jobs report last week, but if the economy stays strong, I think you will see her align herself more with the president.

DOWD: But she has no choice in the primary to do this. Even if she doesn't have one, she -- you know, President Obama's approval rating may be low overall, below 50 percent overall, but among Democrats it's sky high. If she wants to prevent a challenge in that primary, she has to fully embrace the president.

RADDATZ: Jon Karl I want to turn to Iran very briefly here, but also to Senator Robert Menendez who was indicted on corruption charges. He pleaded not guilty to counts of bribery, corruption and fraud. And he is temporarily stepping down as the ranking member of the Senate foreign relations committee right as Iran comes up.

He was the principal critic of the president on Iran.

So what have...

KARL: If you had...

RADDATZ: -- will it make a difference?

KARL: Well, if you had written this in a "House of Cards" script, it would have been thrown out as he, you know, and the idea that the president's most prominent Democratic critic, most powerful Democratic critic of the Iran deal goes down, indicted just before the deal was announced, nobody is suggesting there's a connection, but it sure does have an impact and it will make it harder for Republicans to get a veto-proof majority to challenge this Iran deal, no question about it.

RADDATZ: And, Julie, so what does the White House do now?

PACE: I think you're going to see a very aggressive campaign. You've had several administration officials calling lawmakers. There's going to be briefings.

The biggest thing that the administration did for themselves that is going to help them is that the -- the agreement, the framework that we saw, is broad. It has specifics in it. No, it's not just an agreement to continue talking.

And you've seen a lot of people who had -- who had been on the fence on this or even opposing the talks coming out and saying this is actually better than we expected.

You're going to -- you're going to just see constant contact with the Hill, trying to hold off a vote.

KARL: But this is going to be...


RADDATZ: And Donna...

KARL: -- this is going to be a big challenge for this, because the president will go to the United Nations right after a deal is done to get U.N. sanctions lifted. And he won't be going to Congress to get a vote.


KARL: That's going to be a political...


BRAZILE: I want to say on Robert Menendez, there should be a presumption of innocence until all of the facts -- even politicians deserve to be -- deserve to have their moment in court. I know it's a tough issue.

But on Iran, I think this president is going to consult with Congress. If Congress decides they don't like the framework, they want to derail it, they want to repeal it, then it's -- the onus is on them.

But what we do know is that the American people are war weary. They don't want another war. They want diplomacy to work.

And so I think this deal has some time to marinate. And hopefully, it's a good deal for the country.

RADDATZ: As we know, sometimes you get wars even if you don't want them.

BRAZILE: That's true.

Coming up, Jonathan Karl's interview with former baseball commissioner, Bud Selig, and with opening day here, we're pitching you a baseball Puzzler.

Selig told John he thinks Babe Ruth's 1927 Yankees were the best team of all time.

So here's the question -- name the team the Yankees swept in the 1927 World Series.

Right back with the answer.

I'd be looking for John.


RADDATZ: So which team did the 1927 Yankees sweep in the World Series?

Let's see what you all came up with.

DOWD: I wrote Chicago Cubs.

RADDATZ: Cubs. Cubs. Cubs.

DOWD: They never win.

RADDATZ: Cubs. St. Louis.

You know, I thought you'd get it. You did this big baseball interview. Come on.

KARL: You're putting me on the spot, Martha.

RADDATZ: It was the Pittsburgh Pirates.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of course it was.


RADDATZ: Our assignment editor, George Sanchez, got it but it's OK, you didn't get it.

Now to Pope Francis and his highly anticipated trip to America. A key stop, Philadelphia, where the city is preparing to roll out the red carpet. The man setting up the trip gave ABC's David Wright some behind the scenes details.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much.

Happy Easter to you.

WRIGHT (voice-over): Easter tends to be the busiest time of year for prelates the world over, except when a rock star pope is about to arrive on your doorstep.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's going to be even busier in September.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I -- I think you're right.

WRIGHT: Archbishop Charles Chaput is hosting Pope Francis in Philadelphia, the pope's first ever trip to the US. And he's hugely popular her. The open air mass on the Ben Franklin Parkway expected to draw as many as two million people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The altar for the mass will be up near the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

WRIGHT (on camera): The Rocky steps.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Rocky steps. That's right. Yes. That's right.

WRIGHT: Are you going to play the music?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not during the mass. No.

WRIGHT: Of course not. No.

(voice-over): But this pope does, in some ways, fit the Rocky theme -- an unlikely fighter who came out of nowhere to become a champion, now fighting to change the face of the world's largest church.

(on camera): What are you looking forward to showing him in Philadelphia?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I'm looking forward to showing him an active, vibrant Catholic Church of the United States.

WRIGHT: We saw he got a pizza in Naples.

Are you going to get him a cheese steak?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I haven't thought of that. Perhaps we should do that.

WRIGHT: In terms of rebuilding the church here in Philadelphia and across the United States, how much can Pope Francis' visit help?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was the -- the bishop of Denver, Colorado in the period right after the World Youth Day where Pope John Paul II came to Denver. And that was an extraordinary transformative moment in the life of Denver, the broader community.

And I am hoping and with -- and with reasonable expectation, I think, that the visit of the Holy Father here will be the beginning of a new Evangelical energy in the church in Philadelphia.

WRIGHT: Pope Francis is thought of as a bit of a reformer, maybe a liberal, even.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, he certainly is a reformer. Pope Francis is calling all of us to reform our personal lives in relationship to God, but also to, you know, in a more obvious way, care for the poor.

WRIGHT (voice-over): The main event for Pope Francis in Philadelphia is a huge Catholic conference, The World Meeting of Families, and it comes at a time when Francis has signaled a wish to bring lesbian and gay Catholics, as well as divorced and remarried Catholics, back into the fold.

But there's been staunch resistance from hardliners, Archbishop Chaput among them.

(on camera): Is there change afoot?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I -- certainly, I think there is evolution in our culture. There's no doubt about it. You know, the change of public opinion regarding same-sex marriage is just extraordinary.

WRIGHT: Reformers have pointed out that the church might even be harsher toward gays and lesbians and divorced and remarried Catholics than toward murderers. A murderer can go and confess his sins, get absolution and be, again, in full communion with the church.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So can someone in a same-sex relationship.

WRIGHT: Through abstinence?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, they have to give up the relationship, yes. You know, when Jesus was forgiving toward the woman caught in an adultery in "The New Testament" story, he criticized the crowd that was condemning her.

WRIGHT: But he was about (INAUDIBLE) cast the first stone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cast the first stone. But then he also said to her, uh, go and sin no more.

WRIGHT (voice-over): Archbishop Chaput showed me a new painting that he commissioned ahead of Pope Francis' visit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, usually I don't like having pictures, just mom and dad and the baby. One of the things Pope Francis has emphasized from the beginning are the significance of the grandparents in the lives of families.

WRIGHT: Yes. You know, I never thought of Jesus having grandparents.



WRIGHT: I know he did on one side, at least.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He did have grandparents, yes.

WRIGHT: What's your Easter message?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a message of hope that God is rampant (ph), that life overcomes death. There's reason for us to have confidence, even in difficult circumstances.

WRIGHT: Well, Happy Easter.


WRIGHT: For THIS WEEK, David Wright, ABC News, Philadelphia.


RADDATZ: Our thanks to David.

And back now with the roundtable.

In just these last couple of minutes with you, I just want some -- some closing thoughts on religion and politics and how this goes forward.

Donna, I want to start with you.

BRAZILE: Well, yesterday was the 47th anniversary of the assassination Dr. King. When I think about religion and politics, I think of men like, men and women who believed in the spirit of -- of love and who tried to preach love.

I am a -- a Catholic. I'm a Vatican II Catholic. I'm a "Sermon of the Mount" Christian. And I'm also -- but I'm a "Gettysburg Address" American.


BRAZILE: So I believe religion is to serve the common good, to help people, and not to divide people.

RADDATZ: And it has been so contentious.

DOWD: It has. But I think there's an incredible opportunity in America today for somebody to rise up and bridge this divide that seems to exist between faith and compassion and faith intolerance.

I think part of the problem, I think, in America today in politics and in religion that we have is that ideology and theology becomes more important than humanity. And I think this pope -- I am a Pope Francis Catholic, because I believe he's the one that sort of says we don't need to worry about the rich. We don't need to worry about the people in power. What we need to do is worry about the people that were the outcasts, which is what Jesus did.

RADDATZ: Julie, any -- anybody out there to lead that (INAUDIBLE)?

PACE: Oh, I think -- I think that's a -- a tough -- a tough act.

RADDATZ: Very optimistic.

PACE: I know.


PACE: But I think Pope Francis' role in American politics actually has been really fascinating. He was deeply involved in Obama's efforts to open Cuba.


PACE: The president was in -- was at the Vatican last year. The pope is going to be here, coming to the White House. I -- I'm really fascinated to see how both parties at the -- in the -- at the height of a presidential campaign, will be embracing Pope Francis this fall.

KARL: And I would say the events of the year in Washington will be Pope Francis addressing the joint meeting of Congress.

RADDATZ: I think that will be a big one.

Thank you, Jon.

Coming up, baseball's season opener is tonight and we have Bud Selig and Keith Olbermann in the batter's box after this from our ABC stations.


RADDATZ: Back now with our Sunday Spotlight on the commissioner emeritus of baseball with a season opener just hours away. Bud Selig speaking his mind about some of baseball's biggest controversies after spending decades as the sports top man.

Jon Karl is back with the candid interview.


BUD SELIG, BASEBALL COMMISSIONER EMERITUS: Didn't I promise you I'd autograph...

KARL: We caught up with Bud Selig out at spring training in Mesa, Arizona. For the first time in 22 years he is here as baseball's commissioner emeritus.

Is it a little weird?

SELIG: Well, it's different. I will say that. It's been different.

KARL: He was to be a temporary commissioner. Instead, his tenure was the second longest in MLB history, taking baseball through the dark years of strikes and steroids towards a brighter and much more profitable future.

There's some big changes to the game under your watch. Did you leave any unfinished business?

SELIG: You know, I don't really think so. We -- my greatest joy came, number one, in the economic reformation of the game. We couldn't go on in the way we were in 1992. We had 25 teams that really couldn't make the playoffs no matter what even if they were extremely well run. And...

KARL: And now you have 20 teams coming in to spring training thinking they have a legitimate shot.

SELIG: Oh, more than 20. And they do.

KARL: The latest change, batters must now remain in the batter's box. No more walking around between pitches. A rule designed to speed up the game.

Some hitters, like David Ortiz, have blasted it.

DAVID ORTIZ, BOSTON RED SOX: It don't matter what they do. The game is not going to speed up.

KARL: But Selig points to some other greats.

SELIG: Henry Aaron constantly reminds me that in his 23 year career he never got out of the batter's box.

KARL: Is that right?

SELIG: Yeah, never got out of the...

KARL: Hank Aaron never got out of the batter's box?

He did OK.

SELIG: There was a game last year, the Yankees and Tampa, 1-0 game it took three hours and 28 minutes.

KARL: 1-0.

SELIG: And it drove me crazy. I'm home watching it. And I'm so angry by the end of the game I can't see straight.

KARL: Then there's Pete Rose. Selig's successor Rob Manfred says he's going to look again at Rose's lifetime ban for betting on games.

This is one of the greatest players in the history of the game, one of the fan favorites. Is Pete Rose ever going to be back in baseball, ever be in Cooperstown?

SELIG: Well, Rob is a judge...

KARL: Now you're not the judge so you can...

SELIG: No, I'm not, but I still have the same strong feelings that gambling rule has been on the books for forever. And the job of a commissioner is to always under all circumstances protect the integrity of the sport. And I would say that Rob's theory is the same as mine. He's the judge. And he'll have to make whatever judgment.

KARL: Well, that means he'll be looking at the same set of facts you were looking at.

SELIG: Well...

KARL: Which would suggest...

SELIG: Yeah, the facts haven't changed. But that's -- look, that's up to him now.

KARL: You have the whole steroids era. You had people that were really essentially cheating the game by taking steroids. Here you have Pete Rose, you can't say anything against him in his career as a player.

SELIG: A great player, absolutely great player, no question about it.

The steroid issue, I'm proud of that, because we dealt with it.

KARL: Selig insists the game has never been cleaner. And after a lifetime in America's past time, he's never been more confident about baseball's future.

I understand you're working on your memoirs. Is this going to be a tell-all book?

SELIG: It's going to be the story of my career from 1960 to the present.

Well, it's been so amazing about it, it's just taken me everywhere.

One thing about being a commissioner, you're in every arena. And I guess I'm going to try to tell that story as best I can.

KARL: For this week, Jonathan Karl, ABC News, Mesa, Arizona.


RADDATZ: That Jon Karl is all over the place.

See much more of Jon's interviews ABCNews.com/ThisWeek.

Now let's bring in our friend Keith Olbermann, host of Olbermann on ESPN 2. Good morning, Keith.

KEITH OLBERMANN, ESPN: We have to stop meeting like this every 32 years, Martha.

RADDATZ: I know. We worked together as colleagues at our great affiliate WCBB.


RADDATZ: Let's get on to baseball.

You have been very critical of Bud Selig in the past. What do you think his legacy is?

OLBERMANN: I don't think he's going to have one. I don't think you could name -- the average fan could not name three ex-commissioners. Ten years from now, I don't know that they'll be able to name him.

Those of us who study baseball history will look at the 1994 season when there was no World Series and said Bud Selig had a hand in that. He just mentioned steroids, that's going to be, if anything is remembered in this 20 year period it's going to be steroids for Bud Selig. But I mean, seriously, it was one commissioner between 1951 and 1965. And that should have been your trivia question before. I don't think anybody would get who that was.

RADDATZ: They certainly wouldn't if they didn't get what team in 1927.

Let's talk about baseball and the game tonight. And attendance is up, viewership not so much. And it's the younger viewers who aren't watching. They seem to prefer football, hockey, basketball. Can baseball change that?

OLBERMANN: There are lots of ways they can make incremental changes. There's nothing that's going to fix that completely.

But the major problem, I think Martha, that they have, is that unlike the other sports there are very few national teams. And so if the World Series is played and your team is not in it, you're not likely to watch it. That's not true in the NBA, the NFL, certainly everybody watches the Super Bowl. They may not even know when the game is on and when the commercials is on, certainly which is more interesting than the other, but the idea of two baseball teams drawing an audience consisting of people other than their own fans has been lost and all the steps they need to take should be addressing that point.

RADDATZ: Well, we are seeing these efforts. You heard them talk about that a bit of speeding up the game. Will that make a difference if it's a two-and-a-half hour game as opposed to a three hour game?

OLBERMANN: Well, again, as many people pointed out, and I like to do it, too, it's not a question so much of total running time of the game as it is how fast the game runs.

You can have a five hour game that leaves you breathless and you can have a two hour game that is boring as sin. The question is those dead times between activity, between the excitement of the game. If they get too long it becomes unbearable.

And one of the big things that's working against fixing this problem -- I know from having sat through a couple of exhibition games in dugouts in spring training with the Red Sox, I've had the privilege of doing that a couple of times -- I thought at the end of one of these games that the game had taken two hours and in fact the man managing Red Sox at the time Terry Francona said, look at your watch it was three hours.

And that's literally the case in the dugout. The players, the managers, everybody involved in it on the field think the game is going about 50 percent faster than it looks to the fan.

RADDATZ: And Keith, we have about 15 seconds for this. But I want your take on Pete Rose. You think the ban should be lifted?

OLBERMANN: Absolutely. And the problem that Rob Manfred is going to have as commissioner that Bud Selig did not is that Mr. Manfred has expressed willingness to address the possibility of formal betting on baseball by fans. And if that's going to be the case, what does he do about a guy who is banished for betting on baseball?

RADDATZ: OK, Keith, it was great to see you again and thanks for joining us this morning.


OLBERMANN: Always a pleasure, my friend.

RADDATZ: Now a program note. Since 2003 we've been reporting the names of U.S. service members killed in Afghanistan and Iraq each week. And while we still have U.S. forces serving in those conflict zones, we are happy to report there have been no American deaths since the official end of combat operations in Afghanistan last December.

So going forward, instead of weekly, we will honor any U.S. service members killed overseas on the first Sunday of the month.

That's all for us this Sunday. Thanks for sharing part of your day with us. We'll see you right back here next week. Check out World News Tonight. Have a great day. And have a great Easter.


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