Trump 'has a lot of ground to make up with just a few weeks to go': Rachel Scott

The Powerhouse Roundtable debates the news of the week on "This Week."
14:23 | 10/11/20

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Transcript for Trump 'has a lot of ground to make up with just a few weeks to go': Rachel Scott
I'm feeling great. I don't know about you. How is everybody feeling? We're starting very, very big with our rallies because we cannot allow our country to become a socialist nation. We cannot let that happen. We have had more enthusiasm right now, right now, this year than we had four years ago by a factor of three times, and we had a lot. President trump back at it yesterday. Let's break it down with the round table. ABC news white house correspondent Rachel Scott, associated press Washington bureau chief Julie pace, former Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel and Lonnie Chang, a fellow at Stanford's Hoover institution. Got to start with that Eric Trump interview. I want to ask you, Lonnie, we have a new ABC news/"washington post" poll that shows a 12-point national lead for Joe Biden. It's the latest in a series of polls that show the same thing. The battle ground state polls showing a significant edge for Biden. Did Eric sound like somebody who thinks they're losing? No. He definitely did not sound like someone who thinks they're losing. The big question is what is going to be the narrative this last 20 some odd days in this campaign that's going to help change the dynamic for the trump campaign. If the public polling is to be believed nationally, as well as the battle ground states, they have a lot of ground to make up. Every day the trump campaign is fighting about covid and the covid response and questions about the president's health status, those are not good days for that campaign. If they're talking about fracking and whether the tax cuts that they passed will be repealed and that leads to a tax increase, those are better days. This coming week with the Amy coney Barrett confirmation hearings, those are opportunities for the trump campaign. It's a question of what this campaign is going to be doing, what they'll focus on. The more they talk about issues relating to covid, the more challenging the environment will be. It's going to be hard to find the game changing opportunities they need to turn this campaign around. Rahm, what did you make of that performance? When I look at this, Jon, it's a referendum of Donald Trump. He has never changed the there's two types of re-election. What Ronald Reagan and bill Clinton did or what Barack Obama and George Bush did, making a binary choice. Trump has not done that. He's made it about himself. His entire four years have been about himself. The American people have actually issued a judgment about the way he's handled covid, the economy, bringing the country together rather than dividing it. In my view with 27 days they still don't have a vision for the future and it's self-evident and that's why groups that used to vote for Republican and for Donald Trump are recoiling from the character of his presidency. They want change. That change is a return to normalcy. I'm basically -- it's a -- it was a microcosm that this is a referendum on Donald Trump. They have no message on the future. The voters have issued their judgment about that. Julie, I thought it was interesting that Eric said his father had taken a vaccine which is obviously not true. I mean, at this point with all the discussion -- I don't know. What did you make of that? Yeah, that caught my attention as well. Certainly there is no vaccine that's approved. It appears as though Eric was misspeaking and referring to therapeutics and the treatment the president had which the president is touting and tried to focus on those as opposed to a vaccine because it doesn't appear the vaccine will happen before the election. That's one of those things the president has been promising. Now the focus is on getting Americans the treatment he had. That treatment is not available for most Americans. We're dealing with apples and Oranges when it comes to the president's treatment. He's the president of the united States. You would expect him to get exceptional health care. It's not the health care available to most Americans who are suffering from this virus right now. In fact, the regeneron treatment, only ten people in the country have taken it. Maybe the president is number a little unclear. Rachel, they're clearly trying to do a reset for the campaign. I mean, he's got a busy schedule of travel we know about for the next few days. What do you see ahead for trump? It's going to be a very busy and aggressive campaign schedule for the president. Sources tell us he plans to be back on the campaign trail every day this week. The messaging that I've been hearing from campaign officials is what we heard from Eric Trump today. The president is a fighter. He's beat the virus. Now he's going to go on to recover the nation's economy. The fact of the matter is the president is returning to the campaign trail when he's down in the polls by double digits. His handling of the pandemic is under fire, the majority of the Americans disapproving of his handling of the pandemic and when his campaign is strapped for cash. The single best issue for the president is the economy. Even more so than the pandemic, registered voters in our latest poll say that issue, the economy, is the most important issue for them. He has a lot of ground to make up with just a few weeks to go. It was reported he wanted to have a Superman suit on, to rip out and reveal a Superman shirt on underneath. Jon, I think the white house event became a super spreader and a metaphor for what's untangled and unbound about this presidency. He undermined everything -- confidence that people have in the president, the administration to handle a national pandemic health crisis and also, therefore, the economy. It became a metaor where they realized and had given up on the president and his administration for handling -- whether it's the economy or not. The big issue for the American people is moving forward. The fact they held an event that's being dubbed a super spreader event underscores everything the American feel insecure about with a second trump administration. That event will be the biggest footnote about his presidency and why he lost the election. You can say the economy is number one. What's underpinning it is whether he has a steady hand on the till. That event and disregard for science will become what undermines his presidency, or continues to. Julie, on that you have the president is going to be out at campaign events. They'll be packed events I'm sure. We saw what we saw at the white house, although people were wearing masks. Is there any chance this debate on the 22nd doesn't happen? Do Biden and the commission really agree to an event in person if the president continues to go the way he's been going? Look, I think based on the way the last couple weeks have gone, it's hard to predict what happens a couple weeks out from now because everything hands so tumultuous. I think this is something that the Biden campaign is going to be watching carefully. If trump is out having these large events, what does that do in terms of staff, putting his staff at risk, other people around him who would be at this event? Joe Biden is not a young man. There are concerns about keeping him safe through the duration of this campaign. I think everything, when it comes to the debates and these two men being on stage together, we should consider up in the air until the moment they step on to those debate stages. Lonnie, how worried are Republicans down ballot? We saw Mitch Mcconnell come out and say he hasn't been at the white house in more than two months. We saw representative Cornyn say some critical things about the way the president has handled this. Martha mcsally refusing to say whether that's proud of her support from Donald Trump. Are you starting to get a sense that Republicans are starting to get nervous and distance themselves from the president? This has been the fundamental challenge for Republicans running in these contested statewide races. On one hand you have to ensure the trump base, those who support the president, they turn out to support you. You're not going to win a campaign if you're Joannie Ernst in Iowa, or Martha mcsally in Arizona, you need that base to show up. The more closely you tie yourself to the president the more challenging it's become to gain the support of undecided voters, swing voters, some of the voters you interviewed in Arizona who have gone between it's more challenging for them. You have to make a decision. Do you continue to tether strongly to the president or do you not? In some districts you're seeing people do that. You're seeing some tying themselves very closely to the president. In other places, mcsally, Joannie Ernst, you have those who are running good campaigns otherwise, who are good candidates, they're making the decision we're going to run to be a leader of a particular state. They're trying to be more independent of the president. That probably is the right strategy given what they're seeing in the numbers and the president's weakness on covid. That does seem to be an overriding issue. You'll continue to see over the next 20 days as this campaign winds down these candidates make an effort to say don't worry about the president. Don't worry about the Republican party. Think about if you want me as your incumbent. I think that is going to be the compelling message for some of these candidates down the stretch. Jon, can I bring up one point that's relevant in our poll? You have one of the biggest gender gaps ever recorded for a presidential election. Look at two events this week -- three actually. One is the president of the United States calls kamala Harris a monster. Second, in that debate vice president Mike pence continues to interrupt senator Harris and not allow her to finish and also does that to the moderator. Third, when the governor of Michigan, her life is threatened, rather than reach out to her and see if she's okay and thank the FBI for great work the president of the united States attacks the governor of Michigan. They have a massive gender problem and they are doubling down on that problem by continuing to attack women who have accomplished a great deal. I'm surprised what they have done in the last week. You can see it in our own poll. You have the largest spread ever. There's a hostility to women who are in elected office or in business by this administration and their exacerbating what is clearly a problem. Not just on the policies, but a culture way that have alienated women voters of all economic, educational of ethnic and racial background. It's self-evident. Rachel, we have supreme court confirmation hearings beginning this week. Do you have any sense that the campaign is trying to make that more of a central issue? They haven't succeeded. It's obvious the controversy over the decision to go forward. We don't hear much from them. What will they do to make that an issue instead of coronavirus? This is an issue the campaign was trying to rally their base around. Remember the chants of fill that seat 24 hours after Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away. There were chants of that at one of the president's rallies there. Look, the campaign wants this to be a central issue for the president's base. They want their supporters to believe the president is pushing forward, trying to cement this conservative majority. There are questions lingering about abortion and roe versus wade. We saw the vice president not committing on whether he would like to see roe versus wade overturned, even though that's something he had said in the past. He said that in 2016 in a fox News interview and even some vulnerable senate Republicans trying to create distance on that front. A lot of it has to do with public polling. When you look at a CBS news poll from June, 49% of Republicans say they want roe versus wade stay as it is. They want the focus to turn away from this pandemic and more to issues like cementing the conservative majority on the court. Rahm, I got to ask you. What is with the nonanswer on packing the supreme court? I mean, why doesn't he answer this question? How is it okay to say I'll tell you the day after the election? First of all, I know the vice president. He was former chairman of the judiciary committee. He's trying to restore the legitimacy of the court. Unpack the court. You have five members of the supreme court nominated by presidents who never won the majority of the vote. Democrats should be talking about we'll expand the lower courts on the federal level and restrict what the supreme court look at what they did on lily Ledbetter and voting rights. They started to legislate from the bench. Democrats have to step back and look at the first bill president Obama signed regarding lily Ledbetter. It was a legislative reaction to the supreme court decision. Jon, it was -- Lonnie, jump in here. Let me finish. You haven't answered the question. This court is going to put women back in alleys and gays back in the closet and workers back in the -- Lonnie, I want you to step in here. Democrats don't want to answer the question. The Barrett confirmation hearings are important. By the way to bring -- Thank you to our round table. We're out of time.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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