'This Week' Transcript: Secretary of State John Kerry

Secretary of State John Kerry is interviewed on "This Week."

ByABC News
April 12, 2015, 9:58 AM

— -- Below is the rush transcript for "This Week" on April 12, 2015. It may contain errors and will be updated.

ANNOUNCER: On ABC This Week, breaking right now just minutes away from Hillary's big announcement, the biggest frontrunner in history, the Clinton machine hitting high gear.

Plus, Rand Paul is now in, Marco Rubio is next. So, which Republican has the best shot against Hillary? Complete insights and analysis on all the breaking 2016 news from our powerhouse political team.

And from Mike Huckabee, the GOP contender who knows Hillary best.

And deadly shooting, the new video and mystery eyewitness in that stunning case of a South Carolina officer charged with murder. How does a routine traffic stop turn deadly.

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

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, HOST: Good morning. A generation away from her family's first White House bid, Hillary Clinton kicks off her second run for president today.

It will look and feel a little different from last time out, but has she learned the right lessons? Can Democrats hold the White House for a third term? How will the GOP take her on?

Our team here to analyze all those questions this morning and our Clinton correspondent Cecilia Vega starts us off from Brooklyn where Team Hillary is based. Good morning, Cecilia.

CECILIA VEGA, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: George, good morning to you. A beautiful morning out here in Brooklyn. And that campaign is already in full swing mood.

But let me tell you about what this announcement is going to look like today, now just a few hours away.

You know, these big political rallies that we've seen from candidates in the past? You're not going to see the balloons, you're not going to see the signs of supporters from Hillary Clinton today, what you're going to see is an announcement on social media, probably on Twitter. We also know that there will be a video, which she has already filmed.

After that announcement today, Hillary Clinton will then head to Iowa where we understand she's going to be meeting with voters, but they're going to be small meetings, what's being called one on one sessions, these kind of private discussions.

Her supporters are ready for this fight, they are already out there rallying. We saw a rally here in New York City yesterday called the Ready for Hillary rally. And they are ready to kick off this race.

George, this is a really well-oiled machine. And they say they are intent on not repeating the mistakes of the past.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Hey, one of those mistakes in past campaigns, Team Hillary has been kind of wracked by infighting. Her new campaign manager Robby Mook, young campaign manager, is laying down the law on that.

VEGA: Yeah, that's right, he sent this memo out to staffers yesterday. And we got ahold of it. And essentially this outlined some of the general principles of this campaign. And the implication really is that there will be -- they will try to have less infighting. I want a quote from a couple of his lines of this memo, because like I said we got ahold of it.

So, Mook tells the staffers, "when we disagree, it's never personal. Once a decision is made, we execute it together." He says, "this campaign is going to be about strategy and not one-offs," George. So I think it's pretty clear here we go, 2016.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's see if they can hold to that.

OK, Cecilia, thanks very much.

Now I want to bring in Jon Karl to lay out where Hillary stands as she's ready to launch. And Jon, almost by any measure she comes into this race as the most dominant non-incumbent ever to run.

JON KARL, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Oh, no question about that, George. But there's a new Bloomberg poll out this weekend that shows that nearly three-quarters of Democrats and independents say it would be a good thing if she faced a serious challenger for the Democratic nomination.

But there is just zero indication that is going to happen. She is the biggest nonincumbent frontrunner we have ever seen.

Take a look at these numbers, 66 percent of Democrats favor Clinton. The only other two that show up more than a blip are Joe Biden, who has made no step towards running, and Elizabeth Warren who says definitively she is not going to run.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But on a personal level, she -- her personal numbers have taken a hit since she left that apolitical perch as secretary of state.

KARL: Her popularity has taken a beating since then. If you look back then when she left office as secretary of state, 67 percent favorability. Now that is below 50 percent. The biggest factor driving her popularity down is the issue of honesty and trustworthiness. Right now, about as many people say she is not honest as those who say she is. Clearly, Benghazi and that email scandal have taken a toll.

STEPHANOPOULOS: It is also so tough, Jon, for any party to hold a White House for a third term. And I actually talked to President Obama about that back in November. Let's listen to this.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think the American people, you know, they're going to want that new car smell. They want to drive something off the lot that doesn't have as much mileage as me.


STEPHANOPOULOS: So what's your sense of how she's going to manage that dance between when she separates from President Obama, when she hugs him?

KARL: Well, she's joked with friends that she has to distance herself from two presidents, both her husband in some sense and also President Obama. She can't run for a third term.

But I am told that she has sent a direct message to her senior staff that there is nothing to gain by trying to create distance or to criticize Barack Obama. She will not be doing that, certainly not in the early phase.

Remember, President Obama is about as popular as he has ever been among Democrats. And that's who she is right now.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And they have to hope that as popularity climbs overall as she gets closer to election. OK, Jon Karl, thanks very much.

I want to go straight to Donna Brazile right now, because Donna, you ran a campaign much like that you ran Al Gore's campaign in 2000 seeking a third Democratic term. What were the lessons from that? And what lessons do you think Hillary has drawn?

DONNA BRAZILE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, first of all, she's not the sitting vice president and therefore she's not involved in the day-to-day operation of the White House. We had a hard time separating the campaign from what was going on in the White House. That's a positive for her.

Secondly, she's not going to run like the 2014 Senate campaign. She's not going to distance herself from this president. She knows that this president and this administration has done a good job on improving the economy, but she has her own ideas. And in the video that she will release later today she will talk about why she wants to be president and what she can do to make this economy even better for the middle class and others.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Tavis Smiley, radio and TV commentator, also have a new book out "Our Journey With Maya" look forward to reading that. But you're one of these Democrats, one of these 72 percent of Democrats, who thinks she does need a real challenge.

TAVIS SMILEY, RADIO COMMENTATOR: I think the announcement was obviously predictable, the nomination may be inevitable, but this campaign is not invincible. And I think we learned that the last time around.

What would make her a better candidate is a challenge. And for some of us, she is not -- and I love her -- but for some of us she's not progressive enough, for some of us she's too hawkish. And being pushed from her left flank makes her a better candidate.

Left to her own devices we see what the Clinton's do and that is move to the center. And a lot of people are going to be disappointed in that.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Already drawing fire from Republicans

Here were several of them at the NRA convention on Friday.


SEN. TED CRUZ, (R) TEXAS: So now is this the Ready for Hillary gathering?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then people like Hillary Clinton who seem to think that you measure success in government, by how many people are dependent on the government.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wonder what her slogan is going to be? I suspect it won't be four more years. But somebody back there got it right. It may be what difference does it make. We'll see.



Kristen Soltis-Anderson, Republican, consultant, I know you've been talking to a lot of the campaigns. What do you think that their prime take is going to be on Hillary Clinton?

KRISTEN SOLTIS-ANDERSON, POLITICAL CONSULTANT: Republicans feel ready for Hillary Clinton. And I think they're excited to move into this next phase of the campaign for two reasons. One, they're excited to begin drawing contrasts with her. They're excited this week to begin talking about foreign policy.

President Obama's foreign policy job approval has also taken a hit over the last two years. And so a lot of Republicans are eager to contrast their views with what they view is the failed foreign policy of this administration.

But they also believe that in the second phase of this actual phase of the campaign that she'll have to answer questions in a way that she didn't have to answer as private citizen Hillary Clinton, she'll have to answer questions about things like her emails, things like her record, things like Clinton Inc. the family foundation et cetera.

So they're eager for this next phase of the campaign to begin.

STEPHANOPOULOS: They are going to press on that. I think they're going to hope the press does the job there as well.

Let me bring this to Bill Kristol, because it's also a delicate dance for the Republican Party here. The Clintons have thrived when their opponents have overreached.

BILL KRISTOL, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Yeah. And I think they should pretty ignore Hillary Clinton. She's extremely well known to the American public. And they should make their own case. I think the natural tendency will be to change parties after eight years in the White House. I don't think her numbers are that great given how well known she is. So the Republicans just need to make the positive case for their conservative reform agenda at home and very much stronger foreign policy abroad.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You're shaking your head.

SMILEY: The problem with that is that we can talk about this -- pardon the pun George -- this week, next week and every week from now until November 2016.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Always on This Week.

SMILEY: Always on This Week.

But if -- no matter what week it is -- that the Republican Party cannot figure out a way to expand its base, this will not happen. And so I laugh sometimes at all the analysis and all the prognostication. It's simple, if you cannot expand the base of this party, Bill, you all are in trouble.

KRISTOL: Yeah, so we can expand the base.


KRISTOL: Hillary Clinton is the easiest candidate against whom to expand the base.

SMILEY: But the only person on your side...

KRISTOL: Marco Rubio, Scott Walker...


STEPHANOPOULOS: We're going to talk more about them coming up. I want to stay on Hillary here for a second. Donna Brazile, not the natural political athlete her husband is, has had some clunky moments. Do you think that has changed?

BRAZILE: Yes. I believe she understands that retail politics is the path to victory this time. We forget, Bill, that in 2008 she received 18 million votes, and that's more votes than any other American has received in a contested primary. So, she understands that she has to reach out to expand even the Democratic base, because there are more independents out there.

But the big thing, George, is the currency of ideas. And right now we don't see any ideas from the Republicans. The only thing that's holding them together is their criticism of Hillary, but she's going to talk about the economy. She's going to talk about foreign policy where she has a lot to say, a lot of accomplishments, because Republicans seem to have forgotten the mess that they left this administration in.

So, I think this is going to be a vigorous campaign. And you know what, it's going to happen on the Democratic side. We're going to see more Americans excited to get out and vote this fall.

STEPHANOPOULOS: We'll see if that happens. I want to go quickly around the horn. What's the biggest challenge facing Hillary Clinton?

SOLTIS-ANDERSON: Convincing Americans that they can trust her to be the president of the United States and to look out for their interests and not her own.

BRAZILE: The unknowns are always impossible to predict, but I think she's ready for all of them.

SMILEY: The era of inevitability is over. You have to earn it.

KRISTOL: She will be challenged from the left in the Democratic primary and there will be a moment -- she may not be defeated -- but there will be a moment where she will not be the inevitable nominee I think.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Wow, that's a big prediction right there.

So real quickly, then, what are the chances she's not the nominee?

KRISTOL: Oh, one-in-three.

STEPHANOPOULOS: One-in-three? Wow, OK.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Slim to none, and slim is out of town.

BRAZILE: Yes, Slim was not born yet. She is strong but she understands the weaknesses of her previous campaigns and this one is going to be different.

SOLTIS-ANDERSON: In a moment of bipartisanship, I will agree with Donna.



STEPHANOPOULOS: -- going to be back later.

Now this weekend's other breaking story, that historic handshake between President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro, the first face-to-face meeting between an American and Cuban leader in five decades as both countries move step by step to a more normal relationship.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: After 50 years of a policy that had not changed on the part of the United States, it was my belief that it was time to try something new.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Secretary of State John Kerry also at that meeting in Panama. He joins us now.

Mr. Secretary, thanks for joining us this morning.

So President Obama says it's time to turn the page with Cuba. His critics, like Senator Marco Rubio, say that's, quote, "ridiculous" because Cuba hasn't changed its way.

So has Cuba changed?

And what exactly will they have to do for a full relationship with the U.S.?

JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, the purpose of changing the policy, George, is in fact to encourage change and transformation. We've had this policy in place for, you know, ever since the late 1950s, since the revolution and Castro came into power.

And frankly it hasn't had the impact that people wanted. The belief is very powerful that by beginning to engage, by beginning to have greater travel, greater ability to move, greater ability to visit, ideas and opportunities will grow that the Cuban people themselves will have a greater opportunity for expression and for exchange of views. And that is what will promote a transformation over a period of time.

But we have to begin somewhere and the president has courageously decided to change a policy that hasn't worked and to move us down a different path. It will begin slowly. The first thing is diplomatic relations. Then we will move towards a process of normalization.

And we had a very good meeting. I met with the foreign minister in Panama for several hours. We discussed the modalities of the diplomatic engagement. And then, of course, the president met with Raul Castro, the president and we now go forward from there.

That's going be a process of transformation.

STEPHANOPOULOS: We're also seeking a new relationship with Iran. You called that framework deal on the nuclear program historic.

But the more we hear from the Iranian side, the less it sounds like a real deal at all. I want to -- we saw Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader, speak out this week on the deal.

His office put out a tweet that says, "Hours after the talks, Americans offered a fact sheet, but most of it was contrary to what was agreed. They always deceive and break promises."

And there do seem to be big differences. The ayatollah says that the sanctions will be lifted as soon as the deal is implemented. The United States says no, it will only come after Iran takes those steps and it's verified by the IAEA.

So is there a deal on that question or not?

KERRY: George, the facts on which the parameters are based are facts. And yesterday, the Russians issued the statement saying that the fact sheet or the facts as expressed by the United States are reliable and accurate information.

Now, you can go back to the interim agreement and we have the same kind of dueling narratives. You know, they're going to put their spin on their point of view and obviously they'll allege that we're putting a spin on our point of view.

But I will stand by every fact that I have said -- stated publicly. And you have to look to the interim agreement, where they likewise put out a different set of interpretations.

But when it came time to implement the agreement, the agreement that was implemented was the agreement that we had articulated and it was the agreement that has been kept.

And to Iran's credit, Iran has lived up to and lived by every requirement in that agreement.

So I'm going to let the facts speak for themselves. I don't want to get into a back-and-forth publicly. I don't think it serves any purpose.

I'll be consulting Congress tomorrow, the House and, on Tuesday, the Senate. I will lay out in full our understanding of this agreement and if it -- if it isn't the understanding, George, we're not going to sign an agreement.

I mean, we will come to these next 2.5 months open to trying to improve still, you know, perhaps finish on a few -- not perhaps, definitely finish in a few areas that were clearly left unresolved. And that's going to have to happen for a full agreement to be put in place.

STEPHANOPOULOS: When you go up to Capitol Hill, you'll probably encounter your old friend and colleague, Senator John McCain, who seems to be saying -- suggesting that the ayatollah has his interpretation right.

He calls you, quote, "delusional." And he went on to say this.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I can't blame the ayatollah because I don't think they ever agreed to it and I think John Kerry tried to come back and sell a bill of goods, hoping maybe that the -- that the Iranians wouldn't say much about it.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Are you selling us a bill of goods?


KERRY: I think President Obama spoke very, very powerfully to Senator McCain yesterday and I'll let the president's words stand. I also stand by every fact that I have laid out. It's an unusual affirmation of our facts that come from Russia, but Russia has said that what we've set out is reliable and accurate. And I will let the final agreement speak for itself.

STEPHANOPOULOS: As you know, your predecessor, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, announcing for president today. And already, her tenure as secretary of state is in the crosshairs.

Marco Rubio is calling her the architect of a failed foreign policy. Ted Cruz, "the Obama-Clinton foreign policy disaster." Jeb Bush says, "It's a mess."

You said you had big heels to fill when you took the job.

What's your response to these critiques?

KERRY: Well, George, as you know, the secretary of state happily is able to not be involved in the presidential hurly-burly. I'm not going to get involved in it now.

It's important for me to be able to speak to both sides of the aisle and talk about our foreign policy without being involved in partisan politics.

And so I'm not going to get involved in it now.

But I will say that Secretary of State Clinton did a terrific job of rebuilding alliances that had been shredded over the course of the prior years. She spent a lot of time, as you know, working on a number of different issues, including the beginning of the effort with Iran, as well as the Gaza cease-fire and other things.

She will defend, I know, her own record for herself. It's not my job to do it.

But I wish her well in this race and I look forward to being able to stay well away from it.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Is she your candidate?

KERRY: I beg your pardon?

STEPHANOPOULOS: Is she your candidate?

KERRY: I'm not in the race, as I just said, George. I'm out of the partisan politics here.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Mr. Secretary, thanks for joining us this morning.

KERRY: Thanks.

STEPHANOPOULOS: When we come back, we'll talk to the Republican contender who knows Hillary best, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee.

And up next, that horror in South Carolina, an unarmed black man shot in the back, the white officer charged with murder.

Will this be the tipping point in a national debate on race, crime and justice? We're back in just two minutes.



STEPHANOPOULOS: When we come back, we'll talk to the Republican contender who knows Hillary best, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee.

And up next, that horror in South Carolina, an unarmed black man shot in the back, the white officer charged with murder.

Will this be the tipping point in a national debate on race, crime and justice? We're back in just two minutes.




STEPHANOPOULOS (voice-over): In this week's closer look, that horrific police shooting in South Carolina. So much of the country shocked by video of Officer Michael Slager killing Walter Scott with eight shots to the back.

His funeral in North Charleston Saturday and ABC's Steve Osunsami is in that city now united in grief -- good morning, Steve.


This morning, one family is waking up having just buried a son and another is hoping their son will regain his freedom.

At Walter Scott's funeral yesterday, his family said they aren't sure if race played a role in his killing, caught in this cell phone video seen around the world of North Charleston Police Officer Michael Slager shooting Scott as he runs away. Scott's family says it looks like an execution.

In police reports, Officer Slager said he thought Scott was going for his stun gun and feared for his safety.

His lawyers say they will be conducting their own investigation.

But now, state police say they were suspicious of Slager's account from the start.

Police have also interviewed the unidentified passenger who was in Scott's car during the traffic stop that began this, but did not see the shooting.

We're told he doesn't want to speak publicly.

To ease concerns here, North Charleston Police are buying body cameras for every single officer on their police force.

It is not lost on anyone here that the narrative of this shooting would have been entirely different if it weren't for that cell phone video -- George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: No question about that.

OK, Steve, thanks.

This shooting the latest, most chilling in a series of police confronts that have spun out of control.

Why is it happening so often?

Will this video make a real difference?

ABC's senior justice correspondent, Pierre Thomas, reports.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, you (INAUDIBLE) with you.

PIERRE THOMAS, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The FBI has launched an investigation that will dissect every aspect of the killing of Walter Scott, frame by frame.


THOMAS: But the critical question they must resolve is why?

Why did the officer fire those shots in Scott's back?

Did he have a legitimate reason to fear for his safety or that of others?

And why did this routine traffic stop escalate and turn into a deadly confrontation?

Questions that have emerged time and time again recently, as controversial police encounters with minorities caught on tape are shown in stark detail.

July, 2014, Eric Garner choked after being confronted for allegedly selling cigarettes illegally.

September, 2014, a black man pulled over in South Carolina for a seat belt violation shot repeatedly after reaching for his license.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why did you shoot me?

THOMAS: Watch what happens to this family in Indiana during another traffic stop. Window smashed, father tased.


CEDRIC ALEXANDER: It does make us back up and it does make us wonder what is going on in our environment as it relates to men of color and police officers, uh, across this country?

THOMAS: Cedric Alexander serves on a recently formed presidential task force that has called for a number of changes, including increased community policing, better use of technology and improved training and education.

ALEXANDER: We have to better train police officers and we all have to be very much also very conscious of what our implicit and explicit biases may happen to be.

THOMAS: Critics of police say those biases may account for more force used against minorities. While there's no complete data on officer-related violence, one group estimated that while African-Americans make up only 14 percent of the population, they were 40 percent of unarmed deaths at the hands of police in 2014.

Coming on the heels of Ferguson with more violent encounters between police and minorities now caught on tape, law enforcement and civil rights leaders say we now stand at a critical moment.


STEPHANOPOULOS: And Pierre joins us now, along with our legal analyst, Dan Abrams, and the long-time police commissioner here in New York City, Ray Kelly.

And Commissioner Kelly, let me begin with you.

I was struck by what one New York City cop told "The Washington Post." He said, "The cop down in South Cur -- South Carolina also shot all law enforcement in the back."

A lot of cops feel that way.

RAYMOND KELLY, FORMER POLICE COMMISSIONER, NEW YORK CITY: Yes. It looked to a lot of cops this past week and they're uniformly sickened by it. Unfortunately, it's seen as suspicions confirmed and in a lot of communities (INAUDIBLE)...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Especially with that object dropped near the body.

KELLY: Absolutely, because that's what's been said. Not only is it an inappropriate use of force, there's evidence that's planted.

So here we have the 72nd video that lays out that whole scenario, a video that we'll be seeing a lot of for years to come.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And it's actually -- I know you've been on the floor and you were skeptical of the body -- body cameras, you know, universal body cameras.

KELLY: Yes. Yes, it has changed -- changed my mind, because we have to assume that this officer would not act the way he did, if, in fact, he had a body camera that was -- that was recording. I mean it just -- you have to use logic in this.

So I think what you will see -- I think it is a game-changer. And what you will see is a movement now by many more police departments to -- to go to -- to cameras.

There are issues with it, there are problems with it, but this trumps all of those problems.

STEPHANOPOULOS: The video changes everything.

KELLY: Right.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Dan Abrams, you believe he still would have been indicted, but it would have played out in a very different way.

DAN ABRAMS, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Oh, very different. I mean, look, there would have been a fight over exactly what happened, and, yes, there would have been bullets in the back, right, which would have been incredibly important evidence, and numerous bullets in the back, which this officer would have to explain.

But the tape provides the road map for the entire prosecution. If there had not been the tape, you would have had a battle over each and every one of those bullet wounds, saying, well, wait a sec, we were fighting here and there was a battle there and I was turning and you would have a battle of the experts.

The tape makes it easy.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And this takes the plea bargain for manslaughter off the table.

ABRAMS: There -- there will be no plea bargain offer by these prosecutors. They can't, as a -- as s political matter, they can't as a practical matter. You watch that videotape, this is going to be a murder case.

Now, whether a jury hears all the evidence and then says, you know what, we believe it may have been heat of passion, he was worked up, this officer, etc. Maybe he gets a manslaughter conviction. That's possible.

But there is no way these prosecutors are going to deal.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And, Pierre, let's dig into the question you raised in your piece. We're seeing this again and again and again, seemingly routine confrontations spin out of control.

How can training address this?

THOMAS: The primary thing, and I've seen it in many cases on run-alongs with police officers, the best officers seek to de-escalate situations. And training often teaches officers to do that.

Um, I think what people have been very concerned about in these videos is the notion that something routine, a traffic stop, escalates to the point that violence is used on the victim in these ways. It's just stunning.

STEPHANOPOULOS: What's the key in training, Commissioner?

KELLY: Well, there's a lot of reasonably good training done throughout the country. There's a lot of regional training centers. I think you have to focus more on screening -- who's being hired for -- for these jobs?

It's not easy, because there are lots of civil service laws and rules, but I think the standards have to be raised throughout America.

ABRAMS: And these cameras are going to change everything. I mean I think what the Commissioner was saying a minute ago about this idea that the police are going to think twice, look, I think it's both -- it's -- it's a problem for them and it's also helpful to them to have these cameras. It can also defend them in other cases, where people say, well, look, this guy was beating me up.

OK, let's go look at the video camera.

I think that the cameras, in all of these cases, will ensure a level of decorum and following of the law because they know that everything is on tape.

THOMAS: And one to -- thinking back on what Ray said earlier, a lot of people in the African-American community have been saying for a while, this kind of thing does happen. And a tape is the hard evidence that it does occasionally happen.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Boy, it sure does.

Thank you all very much.

Up next, the GOP candidate who says he can beat Hillary because he knows her best. Mike Huckabee is live in just two minutes.



STEPHANOPOULOS: You probably know the Clintons better than any other candidate in this race.

How do you assess her candidacy so far?

MIKE HUCKABEE (R), FORMER ARKANSAS GOVERNOR: Republicans underestimate Hillary Clinton at their own peril. She's a brilliant woman, brilliant intellectually, and she's brilliant politically. I will tell you that Hillary Clinton will be a very strong candidate across America, because she knows how to win.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Former Arkansas governor, Mike Huckabee, back in 2007, the last time Hillary ran.

He joins us now.

He's looking at a presidential race, as well.

So you had a lot of nice things to say back there in 2007, Governor.

Has your view changed at all?

MIKE HUCKABEE, FORMER ARKANSAS GOVERNOR: I think the -- well, Hillary's going to be a very formidable candidate. There's no question about that. But she's got a lot to deal with this time that she didn't before. She's tied to the Obama administration. I don't think that is a plus for her. And recent polls show that there's almost an overwhelming demand for people to undo a lot of Obama's policies, both domestically and in foreign policy. She's going to have to explain how she's not going to be Obama's third term.

STEPHANOPOULOS: What do you know about beating Hillary Clinton that others don't?

HUCKABEE: Well, every time I ever ran for public office in Arkansas, George, every time, I really ran against the Clinton political machine that had been developed for about 15-20 years before I ended up winning office. Every race I ever had, I ran against their machinery. I ran against their money. And frankly, both Bill and Hillary Clinton came back and campaigned personally in the state for every opponent I ever had.

Now to be fair, as Michael Corleone would have said, it wasn't personal. It was just business. But it was tough business. And you know the Clintons very well. They play to win. And anyone who thinks that she's going to get into this halfheartedly, well, they've never ever encountered the will, the spirit, the heart and the determination of the Clinton political machinery.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Rand Paul taking her on own most directly, say he's going to hold both Clintons accountable for what he calls their shenanigans. He called Bill Clinton a sexual predator.

Is that the way to go?

HUCKABEE: I don't think that's going to be necessary to get into a lot of personal attacks. I've never felt that that's really a wholesome way to enter politics. I think the issues are far more important than some of the personal issues. At least if you're a candidate running against another person, now you're not going to be able to stop the press. You're not going to be able to stop the bloggers. There are going to be plenty of people bringing that sort of stuff up whether it's about her or about every other candidate.

But some of us have got to decide that we would like to have a campaign about the future of America, more about the future of America and about white people who are getting busted in the gut by these economic policies that have left a lot of middle class people working harder with less to show and that really needs to be the focus, not on what someone once did years ago.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Foreign policy also an issue, where you just heard Secretary Kerry talk about the new opening to Cuba and President Obama's calling for lifting the embargo, which kind of matches the position you had back in 2002, when you were governor.

You wrote that, "U.S. policy in Cuba has not accomplished its stated goal of toppling the Castro regime. Instead, it has provided Castro with a convenient excuse for his own failed system of government. I urge you to join me in lifting the failed embargo."

If the embargo was failed then, I know you've changed your position. If the embargo was failed then, why keep it now?

HUCKABEE: Well, George, I have to admit. I think I was wrong about some of those positions. I do think we need to hold Castro -- both Raul and Fidel -- more responsible for the fact that they kidnapped people. They stole their property. They murdered people. They robbed them of their human rights.

And if you look at it strictly from an economic standpoint, you might be able to make the case that lifting the embargo could be healthy for farmers, healthy for certain people. But I'm not sure you can say that it's going to be healthy for democracy unless there is a complete repudiation of the policies that have left political prisoners in place in Cuba.

So until there's some recognition of basic human rights and some reparations made for those who have been run over by the Castro machine, no, I don't think that sitting down, making nice and yukking it up with Raul Castro ,who was personally involved in the shooting down of the Christian brothers airplane and involved in some murderous activities and kidnappings of Americans in the '50s, really makes a lot of sense right now.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You won Iowa back in 2008. But your chairman in Iowa then, Bob Vander Plaats, said you can't take support for granted this time around and it really looks like Ted Cruz, who got in a couple weeks ago, is going after your voters there.

He just announced the super PACs aligned with him have raised an astonishing $31 million since his launch.

Can you compete with that?

HUCKABEE: Well, I did the last time. I was outspent 10:1 by both Romney and McCain and I beat Romney and came in second in McCain. We're going to have a lot more money if I run this time. There's no doubt about that. That's very clear to me and very evident by the amount of support that I'm seeing committed.

Whether I'll have as much as some of the other people, I may not. But I think Americans ultimately don't want a candidate that's just the best finance candidate. They want one with the best ideas and particularly they want one that understands that the economy is not recovering for a lot of people.

When people can give that kind of money, they're probably in pretty darn good shape.

But what about the people who can't give $1 million? Who's fighting for them? That's going to be, I think, a focus that people like me are going to be talking about.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You wrote in your book that people shouldn't be able to hold office and run for another office at the same time.

Does that mean the three senators who look like they're in the race right now, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio getting in tomorrow, you think they should resign their offices?

HUCKABEE: Well, it's ultimately up to them.

But, George, how do you do an office, do your job if you never show up? And why should taxpayers be on the hook to pay people for a job they're not doing? And essentially subsidize their campaign with federal taxpayer dollars? Guys like me, guys like Rick Perry, others who have left office, you know, we're not going to be able to live off the taxpayers.

I was a governor 10.5 years. I can tell you this, as a governor, that's a full-time job. It's a 24/7/365 job.

How do you say I'm going to run for president full-time and I'm also going to serve, whether it's a governor or a senator or a congressman, I just don't know how a person can pull that off.

And if you want a different job, I know this, during the time that I worked for Roger Ailes over at FOX, if I had been consistently going over to ABC and asking you guys for a job and never showed up at work at FOX, I don't think Roger would have kept me on the payroll. I'm pretty sure he would have turned me loose as he should have.

So I just believe that people -- if they want a new job, be honest about it and say this one isn't satisfying to me. I really don't want this one anymore. I'm going to resign and I'll go after the job that I really want, which is President of the United States.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And we'll be looking for your announcement soon.

Governor Huckabee, thank you very much.

We'll be right back with the roundtable's take on the GOP field.

Plus Jon Karl talks with Laura Bush. First lady's in the news, inspiration for our "Powerhouse Puzzler." This is it.

Name the former first lady who mused on her life in the White House -- here's the quote -- "The vice president's wife can say anything. Nobody cares. The minute you say one thing as president's wife, you've made the news."

We'll be right back with the answer.



STEPHANOPOULOS: OK. Which first lady said nobody cares what the vice president's wife says, let's see what y'all came up with.

There's a Barbara Bush, Lady Bird Johnson -- two good guesses.

You have a million guesses -- Barbara Bush, Mamie Eisenhower, Lady Bird Johnson.

Barbara Bush it was. Barbara Bush is here, right there. We're going to be right back.



STEPHANOPOULOS: In This Week's politics buzz board Rand Paul launches his campaign with a tough speech.

SEN. RAND PAUL, (R) KENTUCKY: We've come to take our country back.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Some testy squabbles.

PAUL: No, no, no, no, no, no, no. Listen...

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, TODAY: But the people -- but let me make the comment...

STEPHANOPOULOS: And a promise to change.

PAUL: I will have to get better at holding my tongue and holding my temper.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Overall, our Facebook sentimeter shows that Ted Cruz's kickoff generated far more buzz.

Scott Walker's promise to scrap the Iran nuclear deal drew a rare personal rebuke from President Obama.

OBAMA: It would be a foolish approach to take. And, you know, perhaps Mr. Walker after he's taken some time to bone up on foreign policy will feel the same.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Walker fired back.

SCOTT WALKER, GOVERNOR OF WISCONSIN: This is a guy who in the last year called ISIS the JV squad.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And tomorrow, the next official candidate, Florida Senator Marco Rubio steps up to challenge his political mentor Jeb Bush. A GOP family feud in Florida.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's talk about all this now with our roundtable. Kristen Soltis-Anderson, I want to begin with you and talk a little bit about this Rand Paul launch. You had a couple of tweets out there suggesting he might figure out a different way to deal with especially women interviewers.

SOLTIS-ANDERSON: I don't necessarily know that it's about women interviewers, I think it's about when you're on a television program, presumably the people watching that show like the host. And so, you know, lecturing that host on how they do their job is maybe not the best way to always handle an interview.

I mean, I think Rand Paul and a lot of these folks, it's their first time running for big national office and so learning how to deal with the pressure and learning how to, you know, hit back when it makes sense to hit back in a way that makes sense is they're going to go through this learning process. But I think by the time we get a nominee come next summer they will have figured it out, will be battle tested and ready to go.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I think there's no question about that.

I was also struck, though, by a new poll number that came out on Jeb Bush this week. It was Bloomberg poll, which shows that 42 percent of Republicans would never consider voting for Jeb Bush. I think the only ones higher in that poll were George Pataki like 45 percent and Donald Trump at like 66 percent.

Bill Kristol, that is -- that puts some kind of a ceiling on Jeb Bush if it's true.

KRISTOL: Unless he can convince some of those people that he's, you know, he's Jeb. He's not just another Bush. And he may be able to do that. For years, the Democrats have fallen in love, the saying goes, and Republicans have fallen in line. Republicans always nominate the presumptive heir, the person who ran second the last time.

This year, Democrats are falling in line, really to an extraordinary degree, I think, behind Hillary Clinton who lost eight years ago. And it's Republicans who seem to have an appetite for someone new and different.

So, we're ready for Marco. Donna is ready for Hillary, but I'm ready for Marco.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Marco Rubio, of course he is going to announce tomorrow. A Senator from Florida, what 44 years old. I'm going to be talking to him tomorrow right before the launch as well.

He is getting a lot of good buzz, Donna Brazile. And he has a tough profile for Democrats. He is young. He is Latino. He is from the key state of Florida.

BRAZILE: 29 electoral votes, announcement from Freedom Tower. But he has a complicated path to victory. There's no question that he's a fresh face on the Republican scene, but at the same time, George, his position on immigration, for example, where he was part of the bipartisan group of senators that pushed this comprehensive immigration reform, and then he began to steadily walk back from it.

I think Marco Rubio is going to be a compelling candidate, but you know what I wouldn't give him the nomination too soon.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Which candidate scares you the most right now?

SMILEY: I'm really not scared of any of them, but I agree with Donna that Marco Rubio does have a conflicted past. And I think it's an insult to Hispanic voters to suggest, to even infer, that they are one issue voters. None of us are one issue voters. I don't think they will be either. So I don't think it's a foregone conclusion that just because he's Latino he pulls a huge...

STEPHANOPOULOS: But that does matter. It really does.

SMILEY: It matters. It matters. I'm just saying I don't think we ought to make the presumption that Hispanics are one-issue voters, number one.

But we talked earlier in this program, quickly George, about inevitability where the Clinton campaign is concerned. And I think obviously Mr. Bush is going to figure out as well that the era of entitlement is over.

But speaking of inevitability, Dr. King once said that change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability. And Republicans would do well to remember that back to the point I tried to make earlier.

If you can't figure out a way to expand your base you're in trouble.

The only person who is interested in talking about issues beyond that traditional base is Rand Paul. He's talking about the drone program. He's talked about criminal justice reform. And they're Swift Boating this guy already.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But he's flipped back on a lot of national security issues.

KRISTOL: Yeah, that's not true. Marco Rubio has articulated a conservative reform agenda. I think he is interested in expanding the Republican vote. And he did it in Florida. Florida is a state that Barack Obama carried twice. And last I looked, Marco Rubio won that state with, what 51 percent of the vote I think against two candidates, including the sitting governor Charlie Crist.

So -- and Scott Walker won Wisconsin, a blue or purple state. So Republicans have a chance to nominate people who have a real record of winning independent voters.

STEPHANOPOULOS: We're also seeing something new about the power of individual donors in this race.

Kind of astonishing that Ted Cruz in just a couple of weeks, his super PACs able to raise $31 million. That immediately puts him in the top rank of contenders.

SOLTIS-ANDERSON: I think there's -- at a certain point there's diminishing returns, though. I think you're going to need a lot of money to play in this primary, because there are so many potentially really strong contenders.

This most recent poll that came out tested 18 different names on the Republican side. Now some of them were Donald Trump, and I don't think he's likely to be the nominee...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Although he's hiring staffers in Iowa.

SOLTIS-ANDERSON: This poll shows I think a majority of Republicans said they wouldn't consider him, so I'm fine saying that I don't think he'll be the Republican nominee.

But in this race with so many people in the field, you'll need a lot of money to make a splash, to get your name heard, but you also need to have a vision. You need to have a message that makes you stand out, that makes you somebody who is unique, that expresses how you plan to expand the base of the party, how you plan to hold the party together, to build that coalition. I think that will matter much more than who raises the most money at the end of the day.

BRAZILE: I still believe at the end of the day seeing Rand Paul become disheveled at some of the questions that he received from the journalists, reminds me that he may not just be ready for president at this time. I mean, his father ran for president numerous times.

But Rand Paul is interesting. I like the fact that he's reaching out. I hope he breaks his arm reaching out to voters, because we need that in this country. On these big issues like criminal justice reform we need a bipartisan approach.

But if you can't handle Savannah Guthrie, how are you going to handle Angela Merkel?

SMILEY: Or George Stephanopoulos?

STEPHANOPOULOS: We haven't talked much about Chris Christie lately, but his team putting out the word that he's not given up. He's still looking at the campaign. We're going to run something like a John McCain strategy last time around, lots of town meetings in New Hampshire -- viable?

KRISTOL: He's a talented political figure. He's been a pretty good governor. I very much agree with Kristen, you need a message though. I can't just be, hey, I'm Chris Christie, I won in New Jersey twice. I think at this point, Ted Cruz has a real message, Marco Rubio has a message, Scott Walker has a message based on his record, Jeb Bush will have a message. I think he understands he can't just be the third Bush. Rand Paul has a message. I don't think it's going be a winning message, but he has one.

That's really a challenge, I think.

STEPHANOPOULOS: One final question for each of you, who is the most promising Republican candidate not in the race yet?

SOLTIS-ANDERSON: Oh, gosh, not in the race yet? Well, almost none of them are in the race yet. I suppose Jeb Bush. He does the best in the polls and hasn't officially announced anything. So I'd give him as my answer.

BRAZILE: You know, I go back to Mitt Romney. I mean, look, you don't like old faces, but you know what he did run a good game last time.

SMILEY: It sound strange, but I still can't figure out why John Thune hasn't looked at this more seriously.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Oh, that's interesting.

KRISTOL: If they get to nominate Hillary Clinton, why don't we get to nominate Dick Cheney/ I mean, he has a much -- he has a much better record...


KRISTOL: He has a much better record...

SMILEY: God help us all.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Thanks a lot. I'm going to go with John Kasich.

And when we come back, this man is best friends with three presidential candidates. So how will he decide? Senator Mike Lee and his new book "Our Lost Constitution" is next.



SEN. MIKE LEE (R), UTAH: I'm Mike Lee and I'm running for the United States Senate.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Mike Lee shook up the GOP establishment when he rode that Tea Party wave to the U.S. Senate back in 2010.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Rand Pauls, the Marco Rubios, the Mike Lees...


STEPHANOPOULOS: Unlike his best Senate friends, Lee is not running for president. But he does have a new book, "Our Lost Constitution," where he reimagines the lively debates of our founders to make the case that today's Washington ignores what the founders wrote then when it clashes with what lawmakers want now.


STEPHANOPOULOS: And Senator Mike Lee joins us now.

Welcome to THIS WEEK.

LEE: Thanks.

STEPHANOPOULOS: It is in read -- you know, reading the book, listen, you really had a lot of fun writing it, getting yourself back in the heads of the founders.

What do you think they'd be most surprised by now?

LEE: I think they'd probably be most surprised by the fact that Congress has been so willing and even eager to delegate so much of its legislative authority. As I explain in my book, Alexander Hamilton tanked his political career, making it impossible for him ever to become president, by actually proposing a monarchy at the Constitutional Convention in 1787.

Now, the -- that idea went over like a lead balloon, as should have been expected. But they rejected it because they were very afraid about what would happen if one person got too much power. And I think they'd be surprised that we have given so much power to the executive...

STEPHANOPOULOS: So what's the...

LEE: -- with Congress delegating the power.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Just wave your magic wand.

What's the single biggest change you'd make right now?

LEE: The single biggest change I'd make, especially to deal with that problem, would be to pass something like The Raines Act, which has passed the House of Representatives for three years in a row, would require that all new major rules, major regulations adopted by executive branch bureaucracies, would have to be passed by the House and by the Senate and then signed into law by the president, as contemplated under "The Constitution."

I talk about that in my book and talk about other solutions for restoring our lost "Constitution."

STEPHANOPOULOS: And it's a -- it's a great read.

I do want to ask you, though, about this upcoming presidential race. You are in a unique position. Three close friends all in the race -- Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio. It puts you in a little bit of a delicate position.

How are you going to balance this all out?

LEE: Look, I -- I -- I love all three of those guys. They're -- they're among my best friends and closest allies in the Senate. And I think that among them and among the other candidates, whoever emerges as the most principled and positive and proven candidate, with an affirmative conservative agenda, is going to win -- is going to get the nomination and has the best chance of beating Hillary.

STEPHANOPOULOS: "The Weekly Standard," we show it right here, says that Marco Rubio is winning the Mike Lee primary.

Is that true?

LEE: I'm sure what the Mike Lee primary is, but I haven't endorsed any of them and I don't intend to get involved, because I -- I can't endorse one of them without endorsing against the others.

So for the time being, I want to be as helpful as I can to all three of them.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Just give me one thing that people need to know about each candidate quickly.

Rand Paul.

LEE: Uh, Rand Paul is a -- a lifelong devotee of limited government. He understands the risks that accompany too much government intervention. He has the ability to expand the tent of the party.


LEE: Ted Cruz is passionate he memorized "The Constitution" when he was about six months old. You will not find a more impassioned advocate for constitutionally limited government than Ted Cruz. And he brings a lot of people into the fold because of his passion for this issue.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And finally, Marco Rubio.

LEE: Marco Rubio can speak in a way that conjures up emotion and a great love for our country. And he -- he brings to the table a degree of natural political talent that is truly remarkable.

STEPHANOPOULOS: All three of them are going to want you.

Mike Lee, thanks very much.

The book is called "Our Lost Constitution."

And Laura Bush is in our Sunday Spotlight after this from our ABC stations.


STEPHANOPOULOS: There was another former first lady in the spotlight this week, Laura Bush getting the Wonk of the Year Award from American University for her work helping women and girls around the world.

She talked about that mission and a little 2016 with Jon Karl.



JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We caught up with Laura Bush on a rare trip back to Washington, the city where she first took on the cause of women's rights around the world.


KARL: While first lady, she made three trips to Afghanistan, where girls were forbidden to go to school.

More recently, she hosted the new first lady of Afghanistan at The Bush Institute in Dallas.

BUSH: She said that things are a lot better in Afghanistan than it looks to us from the outside.

KARL (on camera): Are you worried, though, that those gains are going to be lost as...

BUSH: I'm not...

KARL: -- America pulls out?

BUSH: -- well, I don't want America to pull out too soon. I think it's very important, as they develop their democracy. I don't want to waste the years that we've spent there and the time and the treasure and -- and the lives that people have devoted to Afghanistan.

KARL (voice-over): Mrs. Bush also visited Africa five times as first lady, becoming a big proponent of her husband's $15 billion initiative to fight HIV-AIDS, credited with saving some 7 million lives.

BUSH: I think it's a great tribute to the generosity of the American people.

KARL: So what do you say to those who say that America shouldn't be giving out foreign aid?

Rand Paul has said eventually all foreign aid should be eliminated.

BUSH: We're a very wealthy nation. We're a blessed nation. And I think it's morally improper for us not to save lives if we can.

Nothing prepares you for this role.

KARL (voice-over): Since leaving the White House, Mrs. Bush has worked with First Lady Michelle Obama on a program that aims to help first ladies around the world empower women and children.

I think it's a great example to the rest of the world, the no matter what our party is, we're Americans, and that we work together and use the influence that we have.

KARL (on camera): And the friendships we've seen between the Bushes and the Clintons have been something else.

Is that friendship able to endure another presidential campaign that pits...

BUSH: Well, I don't know about that.

KARL: -- a Bush against a Clinton?


BUSH: We'll see.

There's been a lot of speculation about a certain brother-in-law of yours running for president.

BUSH: I'm for him.

KARL: I -- I understand. If he were to get elected, you would have a husband, a father-in-law and a brother-in-law elected president.

It's a family business. And we can see that from the Clintons, as well, from their side of it. It -- it really is.

And I do think if you grow up like George did, with a parent who's interested in politics, that you become very interested in politics.

KARL: So when Barbara Bush said...


BUSH: I was shocked.

KARL: You were shocked.

Now did you tell your mother-in-law that you disagreed, that a -- that she was wrong.

BUSH: No, believe me, do you think I would tell my mother-in-law something?

KARL: That must have sparked an interesting discussion in the family.

BUSH: Well, it did, but no one would tell Bar that.

KARL (voice-over): Well, if she's watching, now she knows.

For THIS WEEK, Jonathan Karl, ABC News, Washington.


STEPHANOPOULOS: That is all for us today.

Thanks for sharing part of your Sunday with us.

A shout-out to our CBS colleague, Bob Schieffer. What a spectacular career he has had at "Face the Nation" and at CBS.

Also, Happy Easter to my fellow Orthodox Christians.

I'll see you tomorrow on "GMA."