-- THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT FOR 'THIS WEEK' ON October 16, 2016 and it will be updated.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Attacking his opponent and his accusers.
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TRUMP: They will lie. It's a total setup.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Team Clinton calling Trump out.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will Clinton capitalize and put the race away?
And in this campaign of surprises, what will we see next?
And with just three weeks to go, our brand new poll -- how much did the turbulence on the trail shake up the race?
From ABC News, it's THIS WEEK.
MARTHA RADDATZ, ABC HOST: Good morning.
It's a fundamental challenge to a pillar of democracy -- free and fair elections, shaking confidence in something we all take for granted -- the peaceful transition of power.
It's not a new theme for Trump, but over the last 72 hours, Trump has dialed it all the way up, his anger rising with the volume of accusations from women who say he groped their bodies, kissed their mouths against their will.
Before hyped up crowds, Trump now casting himself as a victim of corrupt politicians, global financial interests, and the press, all conspiring to tear him down and rig the election.
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TRUMP: There's a whole sinister deal going on. The candidates are criminals, remember that, they're criminals.
The election is being rigged by corrupt media pushing false allegations and outright lies but we are going to stop it. We are not going to back down.
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This hour, we'll talk to Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine and to one of Trump's most astute political analysts, former House speaker Newt Gingrich.
But first, what's behind Trump's fury is one of the worst 10 day stretches of any campaign ever, sparked by that tape, the accusations of sexual aggression and that powerful repudiation by the first lady.
OBAMA: A candidate for president of the United States has bragged about sexually assaulting women. And I have to tell you that I -- I can't stop thinking about this. It has shaken me to my core in a way that I couldn't have predicted.
RADDATZ (voice-over): Fourteen hundred miles away, at a sweltering South Florida fairground, there was Trump, sounding victimized, wounded.
TRUMP: These false attacks are absolutely hurtful. To be lied about, to be slandered, to be smeared so publicly, and before your family that you love is very painful.
RADDATZ: That speech marked a turning point, his rallies getting wilder, mocking his accusers.
TRUMP: Believe me, she would not be my first choice, that I can tell you.
RADDATZ: Unloading on Clinton.
TRUMP: Hillary Clinton should have been prosecuted and gone to jail for what she did.
RADDATZ: Rolling out the theory she took drugs for the debate.
TRUMP: I think we should take a drug test prior to the debate. I do. Because I don't know what's going on with her. But at the beginning of her last debate, she was all pumped up at the beginning.
RADDATZ: All this as a series of national and state polls show Trump's path to victory looking less likely with every passing day.
Beyond the traditional battlegrounds, Trump showing surprising weakness in deep red states, like Utah, Texas, Alaska. But our new poll shows that while Hillary Clinton is holding onto her lead, Trump supporters are sticking with him. Among likely voters, Hillary Clinton is beating Trump by 47-43 points. That 4 point advantage essentially unchanged from her 2 point lead a moment ago.
And this surprising finding -- Clinton's lead among female voters is actually falling -- off 11 points as white women without college degrees rally to Trump,
And while Republican lawmakers, especially those in competitive races, may be running away, the party base is as much with him as Democrats are with Clinton.
Her support among Democrats 89 percent; 86 percent of Republicans are with him.
As for those accusations of sexual aggression, 68 percent of voters say he probably has made you wanted sexual advances toward women, which he's denied. But 84 percent of Republicans say it won't affect their vote.
RADDATZ: With those brand new poll numbers, let's go straight to the Democratic vice presidential nominee, Senator Tim Kaine.
Good morning to you, Senator Kaine.
SEN. TIM KAINE (D-VA), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Good morning, Martha.
RADDATZ: I want to start right off with that new ABC News/"Washington Post" Poll out this morning. Secretary Clinton at 47 percent, Donald Trump only 4 points behind, at 43 percent.
Your opponent has lost the support of dozens of elected officials in his party, is facing a rash of sexual assault accusations and is talking about conspiracy theories on the campaign trail and you're still within the margin of error.
I know you've said before you always that it would be close.
RADDATZ: But after all this, why doesn't your ticket have a bigger lead?
KAINE: Well, you know, Martha, you're right, I -- I have always said this was going to be close. And I really believe it. I'm campaigning in Florida, a very close state. I come from Virginia. All of our races are close and I've just assumed that from the very beginning.
And we've just got to keep making our case over the next three plus weeks.
We like where we are in the polls in the states that matter, but we're not taking anything for granted, especially in the last couple of days, as Donald Trump has kind of started to go wilder and wilder. I think after -- by all accounts, losing the first two debates, he started to make wild claims, kind of scorched earth claims about the election being rigged, etc.
So we have to keep putting out a message and we need to call on everybody to speak out about the -- the fact that -- that we run elections and we run them well here. He shouldn't be engaging in those scare tactics.
And so we're needing to push that message. And we ask the GOP leaders also to stand up for the integrity of the American electoral process.
RADDATZ: Senator Kaine, I -- I do want to say, his campaign just announced a new fundraising record of $100 million, they say comes from small donors. That would say something about his grassroots support.
KAINE: Well, we don't have any doubt that he's going to have some grassroots support. I mean that's -- that's why he won the GOP nomination. In a field of a lot of candidates, the GOP decided that he should be the nominee.
You -- you point out correctly that a lot of leaders have had cause to really regret that and have abandoned Donald Trump over these sexual assault allegations and some are speaking out. Speaker Ryan yesterday spoke out against his claim that this would be a -- a rigged election.
But he's got support and so, you know, if anybody looks at our schedules, they will know we're not taking anything for granted. We are really pushing very, very hard because, look, we've got a different vision for our country in policy than Donald Trump that we're really proud of. But also, when somebody is saying that the election is rigged and questioning the integrity of our election, Hillary and I stand up for the integrity of our elections. Hillary and I stand against Russian efforts to meddle in -- in an American election.
Now, there's a lot of reasons even beyond policy and vision for the country why we have to do everything we can to make sure that the result is as clear as it can be come the evening of November 8th.
RADDATZ: Senator, can you point out that the Trump campaign has said that the Clinton campaign is in collusion with the media, the election is rigged and the women making accusations are all rigged and sent forth by the Clinton campaign or the media?
Can you say unequivocally that the Clinton campaign had nothing to do with getting these women to come forward?
KAINE: Absolutely. These are -- these are folks who, frankly, saw Donald Trump look America in the face when you and Anderson Cooper were engaging in the debate last Sunday night. And when he was asked directly, listen, you're caught on tape saying the grossest stuff about the way you treat women, did you actually act that way?
And he didn't want to answer the question, but you kept pressing and he eventually said no, those were my words, but I didn't act that way toward women.
As soon as he looked folks in the face and said those were not my actions, that was essentially the invitation to people who knew otherwise to come out and say wait a minute, I've had an experience with Donald Trump.
That’s what’s going on. It’s not because of our campaign, but it’s very characteristic of Donald Trump that now he’s blaming these women.
He’s making weird claims that, no, I couldn’t have assaulted this person; she’s not attractive enough to assault.
How bizarre is that?
He’s blaming the media, he’s blaming the GOP, he’s saying that America can’t run a fair election. He is swinging at every phantom of his own imagination because he knows he’s losing.
RADDATZ: Well, let’s -- Senator Kaine --
KAINE: And this is what bullies do.
RADDATZ: -- let’s talk about the accusations.
Let’s talk about the accusations against Donald Trump. I want to start by reading a statement.
"There’s no question that it’s disturbing, but to come to any judgment now is definitely not something that I think is timely."
That’s from the National Women’s Political Caucus in 1998, reacting to the scandals facing President Bill Clinton, two very different series of accusations. And obviously President Clinton is not on the ballot next month.
But do you believe Mr. Trump also deserves the benefit of the doubt when it comes to these allegations?
KAINE: Martha, here’s what I believe -- and I don’t draw a conclusion about a particular allegation.
But I think you need to look at the whole context of what Donald Trump has said about women from the very beginning of this campaign. And then the tape that emerged was not somebody else; it was Donald Trump in his own words describing how he treats women.
And so I think the American voters can look at this and reach their own conclusion.
But, remember, this is a pattern of behavior --
RADDATZ: So you don’t believe he deserves the benefit of the doubt there, based on all that --?
KAINE: I think he -- I think -- I think Donald Trump needs to be judged on his own words and his own behavior and the American voter is getting ample evidence on which they can make that judgment.
RADDATZ: Let’s talk about the hacked e-mails of the Clinton campaign chair, John Podesta, the WikiLeaks hack.
One of the things in those e-mails that she apparently said in a Goldman Sachs speech, she said, "People who oppose immigration are fundamentally un-American."
KAINE: Well, look, we’re a nation of immigrants. And if you look at the Declaration of Independence, when we broke from England, one of the Bill of Particulars against King George is we’ve got to be independent because King -- the king won’t let us have a working immigration system.
We are a nation of immigrants. We have to have a functioning immigration system. And for anybody whose family, you know, probably came from somewhere else a few generations to say, OK, but now we’re going to put up the drawbridge and not let anybody else in, I don’t think that’s in accord with the values of our nation.
Now we ought to have rules --
RADDATZ: So it’s -- so it’s un-American?
KAINE: -- and regulations and that’s what Hillary and I want to do.
RADDATZ: So it’s un-American?
KAINE: To say that there should be no -- to say that there should be no immigration, yes, that is definitely contrary to the best values of our country that were laid out in the Declaration of Independence and since.
RADDATZ: I want to get to another e-mail that shows campaign communications director Jennifer Palmieri talking about Catholicism with a Democratic strategist, who denounces what he calls the religion’s "severely backwards gender relations."
She responds that some conservatives are only Catholic because "they think it is the most socially acceptable political conservative religion."
Many took offense to the perceived mockery of Catholicism. You’re Catholic.
Should the campaign apologize --
RADDATZ: -- for these messages?
KAINE: Well, Martha, let me first say this -- and this is a really important thing. I don’t give credence to any of these dumped documents because I don’t even know if they’re accurate. And they are part of an effort by the Russians and WikiLeaks to --
RADDATZ: -- I just want to say the writer of this e-mail said he said he sent this e-mail.
KAINE: Yes, but I -- this is an important topic that everybody needs to know about these e-mails.
One e-mail has come up with my name in it and it’s completely inaccurate.
Now was it inaccurate because the sender didn’t know what he or she was talking about?
Was it inaccurate because it was doctored?
I have no way of knowing.
On Catholicism, I am Catholic. I’m very, very serious about my Catholicism and Hillary views that as a real asset. And we’ve talked about our faith lives, as she asked me to be on the ticket with her.
So in terms of what Hillary Clinton, who’s running for president, thinks about Catholics and the value more broadly of having a faith background, I can tell you she views at it as a plus, just as she views her own Methodism as a plus.
RADDATZ: An apology?
KAINE: You know, again, you -- we all have opinions and I don’t think you need to apologize for your opinions. But, in fact, that’s a great thing about our country and even about being Catholic, we have plenty of opinions.
So you don’t need to apologize for an opinion, but in terms of respect for the church and people’s faith lives, Hillary Clinton has that respect, because it’s what motivates her.
RADDATZ: Thank you very much for joining us this morning, Senator Kaine.
KAINE: Thanks, Martha. Take care.
RADDATZ: For more on Trump's bruising week, let's turn to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a top Trump supporter and author of the new book, a novel, "Treason."
Welcome, Mr. Speaker, it’s glad to -- we’re glad to have you here this morning.
You heard Tim Kaine talk about his concerns over charges of a rigged election, but Mr. Trump has been continuing to ramp up the rhetoric in tweets and speeches. Senator Jeff Sessions joined the chorus yesterday, saying they are attempting to rig the election.
So who are "they" and how are they doing this?
NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: Well, I think they are the news media. This is not about election officials at the precinct level. This is about last Friday, when the networks spent 23 minutes on the Trump tape and less than one minute -- all three networks combined -- less than one minute on Hillary Clinton’s secret speeches that were being revealed on WikiLeaks.
And you look at that and you say -- I mean, I think it’s amazing that Trump is as close as he is right now, considering the one-sidedness of the news media barrage.
And the best description of it is by Barry Castleman in his blog, where he said this is a coup d’etat. He said 14 million citizens and private ballots picked Donald Trump, 20 TV executives have decided to destroy him.
RADDATZ: But you say it’s not at the precinct level. But Trump has also told people to monitor polling stations.
GINGRICH: They should. You look at Philadelphia, you look at St. Louis, you look at Chicago -- I mean, again, I’m old enough, I remember when Richard Nixon had the election stolen in 1960. And no serious historian doubts that Illinois and Texas were stolen.
So to suggest that we have -- that you don’t have theft in Philadelphia is to deny reality.
RADDATZ: So you really think this election could be stolen?
Do you believe that, if Mr. Trump loses, it will be because of a massive conspiracy or fraud, not because more Americans voted for someone else?
GINGRICH: I think that, without the unending one-sided assault of the news media, Trump would be beating Hillary by 15 points.
I think when you look at WikiLeaks and you look at all the things she has said, when you look at the deals in Russia that Bill Clinton made and that The Clinton Foundation made -- I mean, all this nonsense by Kaine about Russia, it’s Clinton, Bill Clinton, who got a half-million dollar speech.
It is the Clintons who got money for The Clinton Foundation from Russia. It is -- it is Podesta who was on a Russian company advisory board that was apparently funded by Putin.
So the news media’s one-sidedness is the worst I’ve seen in my lifetime and I’m old enough -- that’s a fairly long statement.
RADDATZ: I want to go back to what House Speaker Paul Ryan said through a spokesperson.
RADDATZ: You were Speaker of the House, as we know. He expressed confidence in the electoral system. He is a Republican.
"Our democracy relies on confidence in election results and the Speaker is fully confident the states will carry out the election with integrity," Ryan’s national press secretary said in an e-mail.
GINGRICH: Well, if Ryan --
RADDATZ: You just simply disagree with Paul Ryan?
GINGRICH: No. Well, first of all, Paul Ryan’s from Wisconsin, where they actually have honest elections. I think if Ryan would go and look at the history of Philadelphia, including four years ago, the intimidation --
RADDATZ: I assume he’s probably looked at other elections and he’s talking about the whole electoral process.
GINGRICH: Well, I’m just saying to you there are clearly cases where you clearly have intimidation. There are cases where you clearly have theft.
There are cases where you have people -- there’s a guy in California who was voting 24 years after he died. I mean, so to suggest to us that people who are concerned about honest elections are somehow nutty, I think, is a mistake.
Second, Trump’s major complaint about the election is not polls -- it’s not at the poll level. It’s at the news media level. This election is being rigged by the national media, who are doing everything they can to suppress bad news about Hillary and everything they can to maximize bad news about Trump.
RADDATZ: You just heard me talk about WikiLeaks with Tim Kaine.
GINGRICH: Yes, you spent how long of that session on Trump and sex?
And then how long on -- I’m just suggesting to you --
RADDATZ: Let’s talk a little bit about his language this week.
RADDATZ: And that certainly did get a lot of news media attention. It’s also stirring something in people, who openly talk about assassination or revolution. Let’s listen to this.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If Hillary Clinton gets in, I, myself, I’m ready for a revolution because we can’t have her in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If she gets into government, I’ll do everything in my power to take her out of power, which, if I have to be a patriot, I will.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It sounds like you’re saying that it would be acceptable to assassinate a president.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If she’s corrupt, why should she be able to stay in office?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RADDATZ: He basically said it would be OK to assassinate a president.
Governor Mike Pence was quick to rebuke the first voter.
But are you concerned about all that talk of violence --
GINGRICH: First of all --
RADDATZ: -- if Secretary Clinton wins?
GINGRICH: First of all, to suggest that it’s OK to assassinate a president, I think is a felony. And I think that it should be. You can’t talk about attacking or assassinating the President of the United States and you shouldn’t be able to. And that guy’s a fool.
But I think If I were to look for the most foolish Clinton supporter and ask you to give them equal time nationally, I could find you some pretty nutty people who are for Hillary Clinton.
RADDATZ: But with things you're saying right now, that the election is rigged, Senator Sessions is saying the election is rigged, Trump is saying --
GINGRICH: It is (ph).
RADDATZ: -- are you concerned what will happen if Mr. Trump loses and millions of his voters are told that the election was rigged?
GINGRICH: I believe the news media has done -- but I believe the rigging is the level of national establishment. I don't think it's at the level of stealing votes at the precinct level, although I do think that --
RADDATZ: But you talked about that a little bit.
GINGRICH: Yes, but I think -- I think there's no question that everything possible is being done to stop Donald Trump and you're seeing a case study in how hard it is to be outsider and the double standard of the national media, particularly if you're a conservative outsider.
RADDATZ: Let's --
GINGRICH: I mean, how do you --
RADDATZ: I want --
GINGRICH: How do you explain 23 minutes on his tape and less than a minute total on the WikiLeaks speeches by Hillary?
RADDATZ: There was a lot of attention on that tape; there's been a lot of attention with what Mr. Trump has said since about the women who were accusing him of assault. I want you to listen to one of them.
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TRUMP: Believe me, she would not be my first choice, that I can tell you. Man. You don't know; that would not be my first choice.
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RADDATZ: He appears to be attacking these women's looks. Is that appropriate?
GINGRICH: No, I think it's stupid. And I'm -- look, I'm --
RADDATZ: Is that way the coverage continues?
GINGRICH: No, the coverage continues because you want it to continue. The fact is, Trump did not set out to get 23 minutes against himself and less than a minute on -- and I think that's a devastating number. Which came, by the way, from "The Hill".
But here's my point, and I've said this publicly, there's a Big Trump and there's a Little Trump. The Big Trump is a historic figure. The Big Trump beat 16 other people for the nomination. The Big Trump is creating issues that make the establishment very uncomfortable. The Little Trump frankly gets out -- is stupid. I mean, that comment just then is dumb. And I don't defend him when he wanders off; I've told him over and over. You know, presidents have to be disciplined, and in that sense Hillary is probably better trained to be president, just because she's the most corrupt person to ever get the nomination of a major party.
RADDATZ: But you've got a little over three weeks left in this election, and Donald Trump is saying things like that again and again.
GINGRICH: Right. And you have three weeks left in this election, Hillary Clinton is lying again and again. So the fact is we have two very deeply flawed candidates, and I think it's amazing that after a week-long barrage by the media, the total shift was two points from your earlier poll. Think about that. After a week-long beating him up, the total shift is two points.
RADDATZ: So what does he have to do in these next three weeks? Clearly you're saying discipline.
GINGRICH: I think in a disciplined way, using text that have thought through, he should outline the scale of corruption that permeates this city and make very clear to the American people they have two choices: they can continue the corruption with the most corrupt candidate in history, and that's Hillary Clinton, or they can vote to clean up the city, which by the way will lead to the kind of problems Scott Walker had in Madison. You try to clean up Washington, you're going to have huge forces, starting with the unions, trying to stop you, which is what happened to Walker. He had death threats --
RADDATZ: And this will attract the voters that Mr. Trump needs, not just his base?
GINGRICH: I think -- well, first of all, I think it will attract a lot of Democrats, when they look at the scale of the corruption, will decide it's intolerable.
RADDATZ: And in the debate, quickly, what does he need to do?
GINGRICH: Be calm and firm and pleasant, and just continue to say the things he believes.
RADDATZ: Thanks very much for joining us --
GINGRICH: Great to be with you.
RADDATZ: -- this morning, Speaker.
Coming up, you've heard from both sides, but what are voters making of this dark week in an already ugly election? My trip to a key swing state brought some surprising answers, next.
Plus, on the eve of the most important battle against ISIS, I'll go one on one with General David Petraeus about the war on terror and the challenges facing the next commander in chief.
RADDATZ: So much of this campaign has been sickening to many Americans struggling with bitter party battles and divisive nominees. So together with our partners at SSRS we asked how the race is impacting your daily life. Nine out of ten Americans say they discussed the campaign either very or somewhat often. Nearly 40 percent say political discussions have caused tension between them and their family or friends. And with an election that's been often been rated R, 29 percent think it's not appropriate for children to pay attention to the campaign.
Our roundtable weighs in on this wild week when we return.
RADDATZ: At this dramatic moment in the election, it is important to note that shifts in voter attitudes move slower than the news cycle. Our new poll is a case in point. Despite the emotion of the last week, Clinton's lead hasn't changed all that much. The impact of the Trump tapes and the latest accusations seemingly modest.
But what we are starting to see is a dip in enthusiasm -- the percentage of Trump backers who say they're enthusiastic about him falling 12 points in a month. If that's a trend, it will hit Trump hardest in the battlegrounds, places like those all-important Philadelphia suburbs where small margins matter.
So we went back there, our forth trip to the swing state that could determine Trump's election day fate.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's been kind of wishy washy but it's starting to look more and more like Hillary Clinton.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was more towards Trump initially but now I'm just kind of undecided.
RADDATZ (voice-over): From undecided to Clinton. From Trump to undecided.
But we also found a surprising and consistent response to the "Access Hollywood" tapes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The tape on the bus, yes, I mean I don't know. No comment. I mean, you know, he made some locker room comments, right?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think anyone I knew was really surprised by it at all.
RADDATZ: In the end, the lack of surprise seems to have led to a lack of outrage.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I just think that people are like, oh, they're so offended by what he said. But I think that's talked about a lot. I think that men talk that way and I think women talk that way, as well.
RADDATZ: We heard that attitude again and again.
(on camera): Did you see the tape?
Did that bother you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I actually thought it was funny.
RADDATZ (voice-over): She's undecided.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He shouldn't be saying anything.
RADDATZ: But even Holly Watkins, a strong Clinton supporter...
HOLLY WATKINS: No, that's a personal decision that he chose to make. It has nothing to do with performance.
RADDATZ: While Washington and the Democratic base are roiling, folks here are rolling with it.
If you were for Trump before...
(on camera): Still Trump probably?
DAVE ASHWORTH: Yes.
RADDATZ (voice-over): Dave Ashworth thinks the debate was...
ASHWORTH: It's just a clown act.
RADDATZ: And yet...
ASHWORTH: For me, the election is about the Supreme Court and not necessarily the president. Like, marriage equality and pro-choice. Those -- I don't believe in those things.
TRUMP: Even if people don't like me, they have to vote for me. But they have no choice.
You know why?
Justices of the Supreme Court.
RADDATZ: Many of Trump's backers agree. Maybe they're a little less excited to pull the lever, but Trump aligns with their beliefs.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Honestly, it's kind of just a lot of mud slinging both ways. But I -- I still side with Trump on most issues.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I'm a big Second Amendment guy.
RADDATZ (on camera): Did you see the tape?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I did.
RADDATZ: And what did you think?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that that happens a lot in society today.
RADDATZ: But the fact that folks here aren't shocked doesn't necessarily mean good things long-term for Trump in Chester County. He's trending down statewide.
The man who can no longer shot (ph) may be a man these voters no longer want to send to the White House.
RADDATZ: So let's bring in our Powerhouse Roundtable. Republican pollster and ABC News Kristen Soltis Anderson; ABC News contributor and co-host of ABC News "Straight Talk," L.Z. Granderson; "Washington Post" chief correspondent, Dan Balz; and "New York Times" reporter, Yamiche Alcindor.
Welcome to all of you.
And, Yamiche, I want to start with you.
After -- after watching those voters, you saw that the people I spoke to didn't seem that concerned about the tape. In fact, it's also reflected in our poll, that finds two thirds of registered voters says it's not a factor.
Is the media overblowing this?
Do people care?
YAMICHE ALCINDOR, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": I think people definitely care, but I think there is this idea among voters that this is something that's not new -- and it's something that -- and something that really doesn't surprise them.
I also spent the whole week talking to voters, both Clinton supporters and Trump supporters. And they both told me that they felt like multiple men would speak like this and this was something that they thought that was consistent with what they thought of men. When they were alone in buses, this is what they talk about.
But I should say that what I think is really important is the fact that Hillary Clinton, in this -- this poll with ABC, that she's down 11 percent with women. And that, to me, tells me that she's still struggling and that -- that's to be problematic, the idea is that with all that's going on, with all that -- that -- all these controversies, his statement that he could really do anything and still keep his supporters, I think, still rings true. And that, for the Clinton campaign, I think is very problematic.
RADDATZ: In that, Kristen, Trump has shown no sign of changing his message. Even though it may not make a difference, the tape on the bus and -- and women accusing him -- we don't know that yet -- but he's still going and going and going and the media keeps covering that.
Is there -- that the right way to approach this?
KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON, "THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER": I think for Donald Trump, if you look in this poll, the best news for him is that he is still running evenly with Hillary Clinton on the issues. On the economy, on immigration, on terrorism, three issues that he talks about a lot. This is where voters tend to be pretty split.
And you have a lot of voters who I think are looking at this election and saying, as Speaker Gingrich did, these are two deeply flawed candidates, but at least Trump is the one I agree with on the issues.
And that's how Trump is still able to sustain keeping this at only a 4 point race in this poll despite a week of bad news.
RADDATZ: And -- and L.Z., just your overall view of what -- what happened this week and these polls.
L.Z. GRANDERSON, ESPN & CNN CORRESPONDENT: I mean, I am most shocked by -- and -- and a lot of the numbers you can kind of parse (INAUDIBLE) this group, this makes sense, this is a tactical vote, this makes sense.
What I don't get are the Evangelicals and the Catholics, who continue to support Donald Trump because you would think if any voter base would be affected by what they heard, it would be the Evangelicals.
But he hasn't lost that support, either, which...
RADDATZ: And a lot of them will say forgiveness. I mean you heard Mike Pence say he forgives him.
But how do you -- how do you forgive someone who then immediately goes out and continues to offend?
I mean talking about the way that a woman looks as justification for why he wouldn't be sexually harassing her is not necessarily a -- some -- the signs of someone who's asking for forgiveness, but rather they're digging in their heels.
RADDATZ: And -- and, Dan, the -- the rigged election -- he talks again and again about the rigged election. You -- you heard Speaker Gingrich accuse the media of rigging the election. That's where they're focusing.
Is that a -- is that a good strategy?
DAN BAL.Z., "THE WASHINGTON POST": Well, it's a dangerous strategy, as we know. And part of it is this is the way he is motivating his base.
But everything we've seen, really, before the tape came out, but more so afterwards, is that he is trying to do everything he can to bring out a much bigger vote among his supporters than might be there otherwise.
I mean he's -- he's counting on the fact that there are millions of people who would be in his camp who have not voted in the past or who have been unlikely to vote in the past.
He's trying to bring all of them out.
But I mean the -- the interesting thing about the -- the new "Post"/ABC Poll, the 4 point margin is, as you've said, the best news in the poll for him. There's all kinds of other things that suggest that he still has a ceiling. I mean there's almost six in 10 say he's not qualified to be president. That hasn't moved. It hasn't moved in his direction.
Temperament, most people, a majority, don't think he has the temperament to be president.
And so it -- Donald Trump is in a situation right now who has to pick up, he has to gain ground. He can't leave this election where it is.
I mean let's say it is a 4 point margin. That would translate to an electoral majority and probably an electoral landslide for Hillary Clinton.
So he has to do something to find new voters who aren't there with him yet.
RADDATZ: And Yamiche, I want to quickly go back to the supporters, because Trump has been ramping up the rhetic -- the rhetoric about how the election is rigged. And we're starting to see that language echoed by his supporters. One "Boston Globe" headline going viral, "Trump Supporters Talk Rebellion, Assassination At His Rallies."
You saw the sound bite we ran earlier.
You've been to these rallies.
How -- how dangerous is this?
ALCINDOR: It's dangerous, I think, in the future for this -- in some ways, for our country. People are really feeling like this election is going to be rigged. I mean I think that this was not just something that Donald Trump kind of created. There was this idea that there was the primaries with Bernie Sanders where Bernie Sanders was saying over and over again that the economy was rigged. And I think a lot of people, it's not hard for them to make the jump to say well, if the economy is rigged, then the presidential election could also be rigged.
And you have this drip, drip, drip of WikiLeak emails where you have people feeling as though the -- the Clinton campaign was helped out by the DNC.
So there's this idea that people really don't -- aren't going to -- may not trust the -- the -- the results of this election. And, of course, the idea is when I go to rallies, people, as a member of the news media, people -- as soon as I say "The New York Times," people are very, very angry at the media. They really think that we are the ones that are kind of putting our -- our thumb on this.
And then, really quickly, I should just add, when L.Z. was talking about this idea of the Evangelicals and Christians, I spent all week talking to people like that. And they really are talking about the -- the Supreme Court and the voters that -- that you interviewed, the idea is that they're like I don't want Hillary Clinton to be picking the next justice. So I think that's also really important.
RADDATZ: And -- and -- and L.Z., has Clinton been able to avoid talk of WikiLeaks?
Would it be much, much bigger if not for Donald Trump's continuing dialogue about the women?
GRANDERSON: From what I've read so far -- and I haven't gone through all 1,100 emails that were just released, but if tried to go through as many as I could before today, this would have been very damaging to her if this was during the primary against Bernie Sanders, extremely damaging.
But because this is coming out now, she can manage and she manages by, one, sending out her surrogates; two, not saying anything which is why -- why we don't see her. I know there's -- that the campaign is saying she's preparing for the debate. I think she's also avoiding these questions that you asked Tim Kaine earlier.
And then three, she needs to be able to, when she reemerges, to not talk about WikiLeaks.
So what do you do?
You talk about the economy, you talk about immigration, you talk about the area where you're completely split with Donald Trump to remind people of the issues. The more you talk about the issues, the less people are going to be focusing on the WikiLeaks and the more her surrogates are going to handle the (INAUDIBLE) in terms of the video and him being a sexist.
RADDATZ: OK, and -- and you brought up the debate, so -- so I'm going to go to a little section from "Saturday Night Live" last night about the debate, something apparently doesn't like, the "Saturday Night Live."
Let's look -- take a look at that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE," COURTESY NBC)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hello and welcome to the second and worst ever presidential debate.
I'm Martha Raddatz.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I'm Anderson Cooper.
And before we get -- begin, we just need to do one last thing.
ALEC BALDWIN, ACTOR, "DONALD TRUMP": Martha, tonight I'm going to do three things. I'm going to huff, I'm going to puff and I'm going to blow this whole thing …
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RADDATZ: OK. That's a pretty strange feeling, watching somebody play you. But this is what Donald Trump said about it.
"Watch 'Saturday Night Live,' hit job on me. Time to retire the boring and unfunny show. Alec Baldwin portrayal stinks. Media rigging election."
There, we're back to that.
But we've got another debate, the final debate, coming up on Wednesday.
What do both of them have to do, Kristen?
ANDERSON: I think for Hillary Clinton, she needs to make the case to the slice of voters, who say I'm voting for Donald Trump but I don't think he has the temperament and the background to be president and say, you know you shouldn't vote for him.
I think that's going to be the message that she's going to try to drive. The "You may not agree with me on all the issues, you may think that I am corrupt. But because my last name is Clinton, you associate me with scandals. But, please, I'm the only one here that's genuinely qualified to be president."
I think for Trump, he needs to get up and say, "You know what, you agree with me on things like the Supreme Court. Voters out there who think that the Clinton administration would just be more and more and more corruption, more and more of the same, I am something different. It's time to shock the system. Send me to Washington."
RADDATZ: And Dan Balz, I was reading your piece last night about the challenges she especially faces in this next debate.
BAL.Z: I think the least of her challenges is to try to discredit Donald Trump. I mean, she's done that in two debates and had certainly great effect in the first debate on that.
I think, for her, there are two things. One is she's going to have to answer some of these questions about the WikiLeaks. And I suspect that Chris Wallace will add some tough questions for her about that.
But I think the second thing she has to do is she has to think about the fact that she now is in a stronger position to be the next president than Donald Trump. And she has to think about the country that she's going to inherit, if, in fact, she does win this election.
And she needs a more positive and affirmative message to try to bring the country together.
RADDATZ: OK. And we'll all be staying tuned for that.
When we come back, I'll talk with retired general David Petraeus on the U.S. role in the fight against ISIS, as coalition forces prepare for the biggest battle with the terror group yet.
RADDATZ: Right back with retired general David Petraeus, who commanded multinational forces in Iraq and was the architect of the surge.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RADDATZ (voice-over): This morning, the final preparations are being made for an all-out assault on ISIS' last stronghold in Iraq, coalition troops are massing on the outskirts of Mosul, backed by powerful American airpower and artillery. It could be a critical turning point in the war against the terror group but it could also unleash a new wave of chaos in Iraq and beyond.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RADDATZ: No one knows potential for chaos better than General David Petraeus, who commanded U.S. Forces in Iraq and drove out ISIS' predecessor, Al Qaeda in Iraq. General David Petraeus joins us now.
Great to have you here this morning.
GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: Good to be with you.
RADDATZ: We have spend many years in Mosul, from early in the war throughout the war. It must be so painful for you to even watch what has gone on there for the last 2.5 years. But the effort to take Mosul, take back Mosul, is imminent.
What will that look like and what are the complications in holding it?
PETRAEUS: Well, it's going to be orders of magnitude larger than any fight that the Iraqis, with our assistance and the coalition support, have taken on. There will be a ring of fire. They've already lit it supposedly. There will be dug-in troops, there will be tunnels, there will be suicide bombers, improvised explosive devices.
But at the end of the day, the Iraqi forces, with our assistance, are going to prevail. There's no question. The Islamic State fighters in Mosul are dead men walking and I think they increasingly know it. They're even trying to desert and they're being executed.
So there's no question about the outcome of the fight. The challenge here is actually after the fight. It's governance.
Can a government be established that is representative of and responsive to the most complex human terrain in all of Iraq?
That's Nineveh province, for which Mosul is the capital. That is a huge challenge. And that will determine the outcome here.
RADDATZ: And you've got just to go back to the battle, this is an urban area. This is an urban fight.
PETRAEUS: It's two million people.
RADDATZ: Right, you've got two million people inside it. I don't think people realize howdifficult that is and how different it is from just a conventional battle.
PETRAEUS: No, again fighting in cities is a totally different endeavor than obviously fightingout in the open. And that it has all kinds of inherent difficulties. And indeed there has been two years of preparation that's gone on here to make this as difficult as possible.
But with our drones, with our precision strike, our intelligence fusion, our advice, assistance, and Iraqis who are increasingly experienced fighting on the ground -- again, the outcome is not in question. The question is what happens afterward.
There are a lot of grievances. There are Sunni Arabs, Shia Arabs, Turkmen. There are Kurds from three different political parties. You've got Yazidis, Christians, Shabak. A lot of grievances, scores that may be settled. And in that kind of complexity, governance is going to have to emerge or else you'll start preparing fields for the planting of the seeds of Islamic State 3.0. And by the way, the real fight is in Baghdad where the prime minister is focusing the attention of the country on Mosul while a coalition is against him that has taken down through votes of no confidence his minister of defense and minister of foreign affairs.
RADDATZ: As far as the Americans, the U.S. presence in Iraq, we have about 5,000 or more troops there now. Would you advocate for them staying there or increasing the number over the next few years?
PETRAEUS: Well, I would advocate listening to now Lieutenant General Steve Townsend, very experienced commander, was on the ground during the surge as a brigade commander, knows Mosul. He fought there as well as in Baghdad and elsewhere.
And again, he has authorities that he needs right now. He has not been hesitant as I understand it to express need for additional capabilities when that's necessary. But we want the Iraqis to do the fighting. We need a comprehensive campaign without question, but we don't need to do all of it.
And indeed I'm actually somewhat in awe of what has been done here, because is a new way of fighting. And what's important about it is that it's much more sustainable in terms of blood and treasure than obviously having our forces have to do it.
RADDATZ: And let's look ahead to Syria. That's a real problem. We don't have a lot of ground troops there. We have Aleppo. We have Assad. We all watched that tragedy. When you look at Assad, what should be done about Assad? What should be done about Aleppo?
PETRAEUS: Well, in the bigger picture...
RADDATZ: Remembering that these are Russian backed Syrian forces.
PETRAEUS: They are. The complexity there is even orders of magnitude more than that in Iraq as challenging as that is. You have many different fights going on. We're trying to fight and defeatthe Islamic State and other al Qaeda affiliates. Many of the Sunni Arabs want to fight Bashar al-Assad, Sunnis that we're supporting. You now have Russia, Lebanese Hezbollah, the Revolutionary Guards Quds force propping up Bashar al-Assad and really changing the battlefield.
The issue here is that as it's often said that there is no military solution to the challenges of Syria.
RADDATZ: So, let's use your phrase. Tell me how this ends.
PETRAEUS: Well, I'm not sure that Putin and Bashar al-Assad got that memo, because they seem to think they can, indeed, have a military solution and they're trying to do that to 275,000 people trapped in Aleppo right now as an example.
And you may buy that there's no military solution, but absolutely if you do not change the military context on that battlefield there's not going to be any meaningful diplomacy. And that's the situation we're in now.
There are talks. My hat is off absolutely to Secretary Kerry and his indefatigable efforts. But unless you change that context you're not going to see results. And the way to change the context is to give additional weapons, to give anti-tank guided missiles and indeed some anti-aircraft missiles to the opposition. If you want Arab special forces with them to make sure they're shot at those fighters, not at civilian aircraft, or what have you, a safe zone.
Turkey has declared one. We had a no-fly zone for over a decade to protect the Kurds in northern Iraq and the marsh Arabs, the Shia, in southern Iraq. Again, I think it is time that we undertake these without being absolutely provocative in what we do to Russia, but be firm.
RADDATZ: And I want to talk about Russia. Where are we with Russia? What is Putin up to?
PETRAEUS: Well, I think Putin wants to recreate as much of the Soviet Union as he can through a variety of different means. He's invaded parts of Georgia, took Crimea, southeastern Ukraine, bases in other countries.
RADDATZ: are we in danger of a conflict with Russia?
PETRAEUS: Well, I think we have to show again in a skillful way, not provocative, but we have to show a degree of firmness that is going to be unmistakable to him -- and by the way, in cyber space as well. But certainly in Ukraine, certainly in NATO has taken steps to do this, for example, with positioning forces in the Baltic states and eastern Poland. But that's what's going to have to be demonstrated in addition to the other tools, sanctions, continuing those, deepening those and so on.
RADDATZ: And we have about 20 seconds left, but I want to get to Yemen where the rebels have been firing on U.S. ships in the Red Sea.
PETRAEUS: Big threat to a strategic maritime artery of the global economy. Look, with respect to Yemen, we have to distinguish between flawed friends and adversaries. Saudi Arabia is a flawed friend, but they are taking the fight to Iranian-backed Houthis who are trying to get at the point of a gun what they could not get at the political tables in the capital of Yemen. And again they made a big mistake. They have acknowledged it this past week. But we have got to look at how we can help them to avoid those kind of mistakes. And indeed to ensure the freedom of navigation through a very, very important strait.
RADDATZ: Thanks so much for talking to us this morning. And please come back again.
PETRAEUS: Thanks, Martha.
RADDATZ: We'll be right back.
RADDATZ: With just 23 days left until election day, remember you can catch all of our political coverage with the ABC News app and live stream breaking news reports from the campaign trail straight to your mobile device.
We will be right back after this from our ABC stations.
RADDATZ: And we will have complete coverage Wednesday night for the final presidential debate. Be sure to turn to ABC, our entire powerhouse political team will be here at 9:00 p.m. Eastern. You won't want to miss it.
That's all for us today. Thanks for sharing part of your Sunday with us. And everybody, have a great day.