'This Week' Transcript: General Martin Dempsey

ByABC News
October 12, 2014, 10:28 AM
PHOTO: ABC News Contributor and Democratic Strategist Donna Brazile, ABC News Contributor and The Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol and ABC News Political Analyst Matthew Dowd on 'This Week'
ABC News Contributor and Democratic Strategist Donna Brazile, ABC News Contributor and The Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol and ABC News Political Analyst Matthew Dowd on 'This Week'
ABC News

October 12, 2014 — -- Below is the rush transcript of "This Week" on October 12, 2014. It may contain errors.

MARTHA RADDATZ, HOST: On ABC THIS WEEK, breaking right now -- Ebola emergency. A health care worker in Dallas tests positive for the killer virus, the first possible transmission of Ebola on U.S. soil.

How did it happen?

Are we at greater risk than we thought?

Full analysis, all the breaking details, from our Dr. Besser and on the ground in Dallas.

ISIS gaining ground -- new fears for the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.

Is the terror group about to score a major victory?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're not going to allow that to happen.


RADDATZ: The chairman of the Joint Chiefs weighs in.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've got a piece to speak.


RADDATZ: Mr. Smith goes to Washington, the Hollywood classic turns 75. How it influenced the country and the commander-in-chief.


RADDATZ: Good morning.

I'm Martha Raddatz.

And as we come on the air today, we have breaking news from Texas, the first possible transmission of Ebola in America. A health care worker who treated Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan has now tested positive for the virus. That word coming just hours ago. And it's raising so many questions this morning.

ABC's Tom Llamas has the very latest -- good morning, Tom.


And we just got new information on this case.

Health officials in Texas speaking just moments ago. And what's most troubling, they say this health care worker was wearing the full protective gear while treating Mr. Duncan and still got infected.

This morning, health officials in Texas say they're very concerned.


LLAMAS (voice-over): Overnight, dangerous developments in the fight against Ebola. A health care worker at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital testing positive for the deadly virus.

If confirmed, this would be the first person infected inside of the US.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The patient's condition is stable. A close contact has also been proactively placed in isolation.

LLAMAS: Samples taken from the latest Ebola victim have now been transferred to the CDC in Atlanta for further confirmation.

The infected worker cared for Thomas Eric Duncan, the first Ebola patient diagnosed in the US. Duncan, a Liberian, started showing symptoms on September 25th, but was sent home by the hospital. It's still unclear why.

He then returned when his condition worsened. Duncan died on Wednesday, after 10 days in treatment.

Texas health officials released no information on the identity of the patient, but they say the health care worker reported a low grade fever Friday night and was then isolated.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That health care worker is a heroic person.

LLAMAS: In a statement, the Texas Health Department commissioner said, "We knew a second case could be a reality. We are broadening our team in Dallas and working with extreme diligence to prevent further spread."

This second possible Ebola case coming the same weekend that new airport screens for passengers flying from Ebola infected West African countries began. Enhanced screening including taking passengers' temperatures, started Saturday at JFK Airport in New York.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No matter how many of these procedures are put into place, we can't get the risk to zero.


LLAMAS: And they're now working to track down anyone who had contact with this health care worker.

They are decontaminating their apartment, alerting neighbors and even testing this person's pet, because the person had a pet inside of their home.

We also know this health care worker is outside of the 48 people being treated, so that pool is now growing -- Martha.

RADDATZ: Thanks so much, Tom.

Now let's bring in ABC News Radio's Jim Ryan, who is on the scene at the hospital in Dallas.

He joins us via Skype -- Jim, I thought they seemed to be saying the same things they've been saying for weeks, which has to rattle people.

JIM RYAN, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think you're right. They're -- they're issuing the same advisories but the same comfort, in a way, saying that you can't catch this from being sneezed on, you can't contact this from just coming into close contact with someone. It has to be the bodily fluids of a person who is actually showing symptoms of Ebola. That's what was repeated today by the Texas County judge, by the Dallas County judge, and by the mayor, as well.

They do issue those advisories, but I can tell you, here in Dallas, people are a little on edge about this, feeling that, are you absolutely positive about that?

And I think that's why they keep saying that to us.

RADDATZ: Right. And that's the problem, they keep saying the same things and yet you have this new patient. They, themselves, even seemed rattled to me, in the press conference.

RYAN: I think you're right. I mean it is early. This is new information to them, certainly. But I think there was that sort of sense of unease.

It's important to note -- and as you heard there, that this person was wearing the protective gear, but was treating Duncan on his second visit here, when he came in critically ill, not the first time, two days earlier, when he came in just feeling a little bit sick.

RADDATZ: When -- when they knew he had the disease at that point.

So let's take this to our experts, our chief medical editor and former acting director of the CDC, Dr. Richard Besser, who's made two trips to Liberia covering the Ebola outbreak for us. And Dr. Anthony Fauci from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Let me start with you, Dr. Fauci.

How could this happen with someone in protective gear?

That's what is so alarming about this.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Well, certainly there have to have been an inadvertent, innocent breach of the protocol of taking care of a patient within the personal protective equipment. That extremely rarely happens. We've been taking care of Ebola patients since 1976. Groups like Doctors Without Borders who do that almost never have an infection because of the experience of doing this.

So this happened certainly because there was -- and the CDC is trying to find out now just what that breach was.

But there was a breach in protocol, unfortunate for this very courageous health care worker. RADDATZ: And do you know anything about this health care worker, what the job was?

FAUCI: We know that the person did have direct contact in taking care of the patient. RADDATZ: Was it a nurse?

Was it...

FAUCI: I'm not sure -- I'm hearing it's a nurse, but no, I don't have direct.

RADDATZ: You talk about it being inadvertent.

Dr. Besser, can we even trust that it was an inadvertent problem?

I mean do -- is it that fragile, these -- these suits...


Could something have broken?

BESSER: Well, what -- what concerns me, having -- having suited up and gone into an Ebola ward in -- in Africa, is that it's -- it's not something that health care workers in the United States normally -- normally go through. I was suited up by two people who have specialized training in that, who helped me get in the suit, but also, coming out, they decontaminated me in a -- in a specialized way.

This -- the -- the comments from CDC early on...


BESSER: -- that this could be done in any hospital that is used to doing isolation just doesn't ring true to me. Groups like Doctors Without Borders, they have incredible training in this and they practice it. And it's the practicing that ensures that you don't have a slipup.

For -- for our first patient in America to lead already to a health care worker getting sick really raises concern to me that -- about treating these in regular hospitals. RADDATZ: So should the CDC make changes?

Is this enough?

BESSER: They...

RADDATZ: If something can happen like this, it doesn't seem like it is enough.

FAUCI: Right. What -- what the CDC is right now doing, first, they're going to be reviewing this particular incident to find out, try and find out exactly how it happened. But then to fortify, as Rich says, the protocol exactly what you need to do to make sure people are doing it precisely according to the protocol, because we do know that when you do follow that protocol, it works.

RADDATZ: Let -- let me talk about public trust. And that's what I was trying to get at with Jim, as well. We have heard all of this. You know, you'll be fine. Everybody will be fine. We're very professional. This isn't West Africa.

The public trust has to be eroded right now, saying wait a minute, someone who wasn't even at high risk got it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, but Martha, I think that we need to separate it into two issues. One is the public trust of we're not going to have an outbreak in this country because this country is not West Africa versus taking care of a specific patient under a protocol that might, unfortunately, get a health care worker infected. Those are really two different things, because the contact tracing that has gone on now regarding Mr. Duncan has actually put umbrella over the people who came into contact. They're being followed.

The system worked in this woman, as tragic as it is if someone gets infected. She was on voluntary self-monitoring. She found she got infected and she immediately did what she was supposed to have done, was to be reporting it.

So even in this troublesome situation, the system is working...

RADDATZ: I -- I understand...

FAUCI: -- regarding preventing an outbreak. RADDATZ: -- the system so far is working there.

FAUCI: Right.

RADDATZ: But I'm talking about public trust because you hear public officials saying we know how to handle this, they have protective suits.

BESSER: I -- I think whenever there's -- there's something like this that -- that happens, the -- the trust becomes an issue. And it spills over into areas where -- where I agree. The risk of this spreading widely is -- is zero.

The possibility of additional cases is -- is real.

But -- but when there's a statement that -- that you can do this safely in any American hospital and the first hospital that tries has a problem, that -- that can impact on trust. That is a problem. RADDATZ: And just go forward a little bit here. In the coming, next couple of days, what will we see?

BESSER: We're going to see them doing exactly what happened with Eric Duncan, in terms of identifying all her contacts and -- and tracking those people. They'll be monitoring fevers for -- for 21 days. They'll be -- as they were -- as they were saying in the conference, they'll be decontaminating the place where -- where she lived.

And those steps will help ensure that this doesn't spread further.

But -- but we've not seen the last of Ebola in America. We're going to see this elsewhere.

RADDATZ: And -- and you've got health care workers right now who, I'm sure, are pretty worried, as well.

Stand by for just one moment.

As you know, this latest news comes as U.S. troops are heading straight for the hot zone this weekend, the center of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. We'll get our experts to weigh in on their mission shortly.

First, here's ABC's Steve Osunsami in Fort Campbell, Kentucky.


STEVEN OSUNSAMI, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: It's an enemy many U.S. soldiers have never seen before, already claiming more than 4,000 lives in West Africa. And now hundreds of American troops are heading straight for the hot zone to fight it head on.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Inspect your gloves, inspect your mask.

OSUNSAMI: Major Jim Wade is one of 1,400 soldiers at Ft. Campbell in Kentucky leaving for Liberia next week to help fight the deadly virus.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How does it feel? Good?

OSUNSAMI: Trading the dangers of bullets and IEDs for a pathogen you cannot see.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How many people have done a deployment?

OSUNSAMI: Like most of the young men and women here, this husband and father of two has already left his family twice, serving two combat tours in Iraq with the 101st Airborne Division.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're still separated. There's still going to be that -- the missing family, but when it boils down to it, it's our mission.

OSUNSAMI: How long are you guys going to be gone?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They gave us six to nine months.

OSUNSAMI: In all, the Pentagon is sending 4,000 troops to this international effort to build health care facilities for the sick and move supplies.

Commanding General Gary Valesky (ph) will lead the mission, well known for leading some of the most difficult missions in wartime.

The training was direct. It's not a good idea to shake hands, keep a comfortable distance when talking with people on the ground, and treat all animals as if they're infected.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're only supposed to eat MREs, so something could be harming, water that's provided by the army, nothing from the local population.

OSUNSAMI: Already, the World Health Organization says 8,400 people have gotten sick, but among the troops we talk with, no fear or apprehension, just focus on the missions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If any country is prepared to stem the tide of Ebola, it's the United States. And those people need help.

OSUNSAMI: And every soldier here plans to return home health.

For This Week, Steve Osunsami, ABC News, Ft. Campbell, Kentucky.


RADDATZ: Our thanks to Steve.

And back now with Dr. Besser and Dr. Fauci.

I know those troops will go over there and do the best job possible, but I have no doubt that this morning some of their families, after hearing this news, are concerned. Should they be concerned in this case?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, the troops are not going to be directly taking care of patients. So we shouldn't misinterpret that. They're a medical personnel from the Department of Defense being there. They're going to do a very important job of logistics, engineering, command and control and setting up the field hospitals.

Certainly, going over there they could indirectly get in contact, but their primary mission is not to take care of patients.

RADDATZ: I realize, but that -- but there is some possibility of indirect contact?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, right now we have a situation -- and this is one of the reasons why they're going over -- a situation where only 20 percent of patients with Ebola are being treated in treatment units. And so there are a lot of people who have Ebola who are not in a protective environment so the possibility of a soldier getting Ebola is very real and something we have to be ready for.

RADDATZ: And I know talking to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but he said that they are prepared for that possibility and they do have a plan in place. Thanks very much to both of you.

Up next, our exclusive interview with the president's top military adviser. Are airstrikes against ISIS working?

Campaign controversy, why some say this new TV ad goes too far.

And later, if Hillary Clinton runs, could this be her choice for vice president? We've got Julian Castro's surprising answer back in just two minutes.you succeed.


RADDATZ: Now our closer look, our exclusive interview with the president's top military adviser, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey.

This week he's holding urgent meeting with his counterparts from 20 countries, all focused on the fight against ISIS following news that the jihadist army is gaining ground. There are fears they could now completely take over Kobani, a key border town, despite U.S.-led airstrikes trying to hold them off.

This morning, new images coming in of the fierce battle for that city, but I started off asking General Dempsey if ISIS was within striking distance of an even bigger prize -- Baghdad.


GEN. MARTIN DEMPSEY, CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: ISIS is blending in to parts of the disenfranchised Sunni population. So for indirect fire, the answer is yes. Heretofore, we've been successful -- mostly the Iraqis have been successful -- in keeping them out of range. But I have no doubt there will be days when they use indirect fire into Baghdad.

RADDATZ: But perhaps most critical right now, keeping the Baghdad Airport out of the hands of ISIS. The chairman revealing a recent fierce battle near there between ISIS and Iraqi forces, where for the first time the U.S. had to call in Apache attack helicopters to prevent the Iraqi forces from being overrun.

Those helicopters fly low and at a much greater risk than fighter jets.

DEMPSEY: The tool that was immediately available was the Apache. The risk of operating in a hostile environment is there constantly.

RADDATZ: That was righty by the airport.

DEMPSEY: Well, this is a case where you're not going to wait until they're climbing over the wall. They were within, you know, 20 or 25 kilometers whereÉ

RADDATZ: Of Baghdad airport?

DEMPSEY: Sure. And had they overrun the Iraqi unit it was a straight shot to the airport.

So, we're not going to allow that to happen. We need that airport.

RADDATZ: Then, there's the battle in Kobani near the Syrian border where the U.S. has launched airstrikes to try to push back ISIS. And the Kurds now warn up to 5,000 people could be slaughtered if ISIS takes over.

DEMPSEY: Whether there are still 5,000 people there or not is a matter of conjecture at this point. But I have no doubt that ISIL will conduct the same kind of horrific atrocities if they have the opportunity to do so.

RADDATZ: Is there more the U.S. and the coalition could be doing?

DEMPSEY: We do think that there's more that the coalition could do inside of Syria.

RADDATZ: Can you see setting up a no-fly zone?

DEMPSEY: If you mean have I been asked to do it, the answer is no. Do I anticipate that there could be circumstances in the future where we were -- where that would be part of the campaign? Yeah.

RADDATZ: It's something the Turks have been pushing for. Meanwhile, since the bombing campaign began, ISIS has been changing tactics, making targets harder to identify with reports that only 10 percent of warplanes are actually dropping bombs.

Is it harder to find targets? Is that an accurate figure?

DEMPSEY: Yeah, sure. Yeah. I don't know if that's the right percentage precisely, but that wouldn't surprise me if that's the right number. An enemy adapts and they'll be harder to target. Yeah, they know how to maneuver and how to use populations and concealment. And so, when we get a target, we'll take it.

RADDATZ: On the one hand, you say you've disrupted or contained them, on the other hand if they're going in and blending in to the population and changing their tactics, that seems kind of a wash.

DEMPSEY: Sure. You have to be able to look at right now and you have to understand what it's going to take over time to deliver a campaign objective.

It wasn't so long ago that we were talking about the imminent fall of Irbil, the capital of the Kurdistan regional government. It wasn't so long ago when the U.S. embassy was actually feeling threatened in Baghdad. None of those are part of the landscape right now.

RADDATZ: What is it like inside Mosul and Fallujah where ISIS controls those areas?

DEMPSEY: Extraordinarily strict interpretations of Shariah Law, punishments -- you know, crucifixions and beheadings of a nature that the world hasn't seen in hundreds of years.

RADDATZ: That's still going on.


But ISIL is also clever to give the enemy its due. They are also providing basic goods and services. They seek to reach out to children to influence the next generation.

RADDATZ: It was, of course, Dempsey who testified some weeks backÉ

DEMPSEY: If we reach the point where I believe our advisers should accompany Iraq troops on attacks against specific ISIL targets, I'll recommend that to the president.

RADDATZ: This, after the president had said there would be no American combat boots on the ground.

Would we be more effective against ISIS if we had U.S. troops on the ground spotting targets, if we had those ground control?

DEMPSEY: Yeah, there will be circumstances when the answer to that question will likely be yes. But I haven't encountered one right now.

RADDATZ: What kind of point would that be?

DEMPSEY: I've actually used the example of -- you know, Mosul will likely be the decisive battle in the ground campaign at some point in the future.

RADDATZ: When the Iraqi security forces have to go back and try toÉ

DEMPSEY: Yeah, when they are ready to back on the offensive. My instinct at this point is that that will require a different kind of advising and assisting, because of the complexity of that fight.


RADDATZ: And instant analysis now from our ABC contributor Steve Ganyard, a former marine corps fighter pilot and State Department official. Good morning, Steve.

I want to go right to what General Dempsey said. He said my instinct at this point has said that it will require a different kind of advising and assisting because of the complexity of that fight. What does he mean by that? What kind of soldiers does he mean?

STEVE GANYARD, ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I think he's comfortable with a recommendation he had made to the president that for now this static defensive positions that we have are fine the way we're doing it, but when they start going on the offense, when the Iraqi army moves back to retake Mosul that offensive combat operations are going to require U.S. boots on the ground, combat advisers, people up there working to pick out targets to get coalition air power into the fight.

RADDATZ: Let's talk about Baghdad. There is a lot of pressure on Baghdad. News overnight there are suicide bombings, they're moving into al Anbar Province. Let's take a look at the map so you can see exactly what we're talking about in terms of Baghdad and where ISIS is moving.

GANYARD: So I think that one of the interesting things here is you see that ISIS is beginning to create a circle around Fallujah. One of the extraordinary things that was -- that the general mentioned today was that there was really two Apaches between ISIS and the Baghdad Airport. We were the last line of defense.

So it tells you how tentative the defense around Baghdad is. And you continue to see these attacksÉ

RADDATZ: Is Baghdad really threatened right now? He seemed to say no.

GANYARD: He seemed to say no, but if there's only one set of two Apaches that are stopping all of ISIS from what he said was a straight shot to the Baghdad Airport, that's concerning, shows you how truly weak the Iraqi military is.

RADDATZ: And very quickly, Steve, if you can broaden it out. We know about Kobani. He thinks it will fall. He fears it will fall. And what you're seeing across that swath of land there.

GANYARD: Right. So Kobani, frankly, is a bit of a sideshow. What's more important this week is Anbar has continued to deteriorate. We're seeing Hit, Ramadi, all these places that are out in the Anbar Provinces that are beginning to be overrun. We have Iraqi army troops are cut off. And so Anbar, losing Anbar and that whole supply system coming out of Syria would be very, very terrible blow to the effort.

RADDATZ: And it seems to get more serious every day. Thanks very much for joining us, Steve.

Up next, were ISIS terrorists caught sneaking across our southern border? Why one congressman's claims are raising alarm.

Plus, who is trying to be Mr. Smith now? Remembering a Hollywood classic back in just two minutes.



RADDATZ: Trending right now: our Facebook find of the week. What's burning up news feeds? A high stakes faceoff over the ISIS threat.

California Congressman Duncan Hunter alleging members of the terror group were apprehended trying to sneak across our southern border.

REP. DUNCAN HUNTER, (R) CALIFORNIA: I know that at least 10 ISIS fighters have been caught coming across the Mexican border in Texas.

RADDATZ: A stunning claim, but is it true? Not according to the Homeland Security Secretary

JEH JOHNSON, SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: We have no credible, specific intelligence to that effect. Let's not unduly create fear and anxiety.

RADDATZ: But Hunter insists he's right. His spokesman firing back, "it makes sense that the left hand of the DHS doesn't know what the right hand is doing. It's been that way for a long time."

Did Congressman Hunter go too far with his new claims? Let's take on our Facebook find of the week.


RADDATZ: And the roundtable is here. Bill Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard. Democratic Strategist Donna Brazile. And ABC political analyst Matthew Dowd. Welcome everyone.

No one seems to have any evidence to back up Hunter's claims. Is he just seizing on people's fears? They are pretty high this morning.

MATTHEW DOWD, ABC NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, yeah, they're very high this morning. And I -- I don't want to conflate the two things with Ebola and this, but many times fear doesn't have to be real to be powerful. And in the context of it, we don't often have to have facts to back up our fears. We respond to our fears.

I think everybody has the right to say what they want to say, but they have the responsibility to say what may be they believe to be factually correct. The congressman says he believes it to be factually correct. But at a time like this with terrorism and, as you say, with the Ebola thing, we should counsel our fears and look for the fact sets.

RADDATZ: And let's -- a quick comment from both of you about the fears of Ebola this morning. This is a pretty serious major development that really is going to scare people.

DONNA BRAZILE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, the president said it's a national security priority. And I think the administration has been right to try to contain it in Africa. And also to put in place real strong measures here with the five airports to screen passengers coming from these affected countries. But we have to do more to make sure that we don't invent more fear.

RADDATZ: Airports enough?

BILL KRISTOL, WEEKLY STANDARD: Look, I mean, you and I watched that press conference this morning. That was not reassuring. And I don't mean to blame people who are operating under a lot of pressure, public officials, who are trying to adjust to change in circumstances, but one doesn't have the feeling that they're ahead of the curve in dealing with Ebola when it's a feeling they're running to catch up.

And they're spending too much time telling us, don't worry we've got it under control. We did this, this and this over the last week, instead of being honest about how much -- how little they know, and I'm afraid how, you know, much potential there is for real bad things to happen.

RADDATZ: And let's turn to ISIS as well. We've been hearing for many months now that the airstrikes --and you heard General Dempsey say that, you know, they have been contained and degraded. But where does this go from here? This is a pretty serious development, all this with al Anbar and Kobani.

KRISTOL: Yeah, I don't even know that -- we've degraded some little bits of -- parts of ISIS. I wish we had degraded more. But they are on the offensive, that's the big -- unfortunately the big picture -- a couple of months ago the President of the United States said we're taking on ISIS. We're going to degrade and destroy them, two months later they are threatening genocide in a town on the Syrian border, and probably more importantly strategically, as you and Steve discussed, they have now opened up a huge supply line from Syria almost to Baghdad. They apparently were going to have free run into Baghdad if we hadn't deployed Apache helicopters.

This is not fixed wing aircraft, you know, dropping bombs from 30,000 feet. We basically are engaged now. And for the president to sort of still resist saying, OK, we need to send in real troops in there to win this, I think is a little mystifying.

RADDATZ: And -- and what happens if, as -- as Colonel Ganyard was staying and General Dempsey was certainly implying, I think, you send in ground troops on -- on the ground, real combat boots, according to the definition that President Obama has?

KRISTOL: Slight accent

DOWD: Well, boots are already on the ground, it's just a question of whether they're wearing loafers or boots of tennis shoes. They're already on the ground.

RADDATZ: Or barefoot.

DOWD: Yes. I mean to me, this is -- this highlights a bigger problem, which is, is we constantly are debating the tactics, of what tactics we should use for ISIS or what tactics we should use in the midst of Africa.

Is President Obama using the right ones or not?

And Republicans say that he's not using the right ones or he needs to use more.

We really need having to paint over the strategy, the broad strategy, our foreign policy strategy and what is our foreign policy vision?

The American public...

RADDATZ: Use of drones.

DOWD: The American public does not think we have a real foreign policy vision. And I think that's the debate we should have, not tactics.

RADDATZ: And -- and, Donna, this week, we saw another of President Obama's former cabinet members -- and this was Defense Secretary Leon Panetta -- come out and criticize the president.

Let's listen.


LEON PANETTA, FORMER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE/DIRECTOR OF CIA: The first four years and the time I spent there, I thought he was a strong leader on -- on security issues. But these last two years, I -- I think he kind of lost his way.


BRAZILE: Well...

RADDATZ: Has he kind of lost his way?

BRAZILE: No. Look, the president selected a great group of advisers, Hillary Clinton, Robert Gates, Leon Panetta, and many, many more, with strong experiences. I mean they came to the table with strong opinions, with great experience. And there's no reason to suspect that Leon Panetta, who, after all, left the Nixon administration because President Nixon wasn't enforcing civil rights strong enough, he criticized President Clinton and his administration and it's OMB director.

Leon Panetta is a very honest public servant. And he said a lot of great things about President Obama in that 512-page book. I haven't read it all, Bill, sorry. Watching football too much.

But you know what...




RADDATZ: But they know what parts people will read. They know that...


RADDATZ: -- what parts are interesting.

BRAZILE: They cherry-pick out the bad stuff, but he said, you know what, when it comes, you know, to making decisions, he's thoughtful, he's deliberate. And that's what you want in a commander-in-chief.

RADDATZ: He says he's helping the president.

KRISTOL: Look, it is very damaging, and not just politically, but really worrisome, from the country's point of view, that Leon Panetta, Hillary Clinton and Robert Gates all have basically cast a vote of no confidence in the president's current foreign policy. They want to say in the first term, they were able to keep some of the president's inclinations in check. But now he, in the last couple of years, I do think the world has gotten more dangerous and Leon Panetta deserves credit for telling the truth about it.

DOWD: I think -- I think that's...


DOWD: -- this puts a really bad thing on who are you going to hire in the future in your cabinet...


DOWD: -- because if you write books while you're in the -- out of the president's office, it doesn't set you up well for the future of who are you going to want in your office.

RADDATZ: And you don't talk honestly...


DOWD: You need a...


DOWD: -- you need a prenup.

RADDATZ: Yes. Yes.


RADDATZ: A prenup or some better vetting, at least.

Well, coming up, Paul Krugman's big change of heart about President Obama.

But first, our Powerhouse Puzzle.

There were two winners of the Nobel Peace Prize this week, including 17-year-old Malala Yousafzai, who we've been profiling on this show. They inspired our Puzzler. Name the four presidents who won the Peace Prize.

Back in two minutes with the answer.


RADDATZ: So, which four presidents were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize?

Let's see what you all came up with. Teddy Roosevelt, Obama, Carter, Coolidge. Obama, Carter, Roosevelt.

DOWD: Obama, Carter, Roosevelt, Wilson.

RADDATZ: OK. I'm -- I'm going to look at the notes here. Teddy Roosevelt...


RADDATZ: Woodrow Wilson, Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama.



RADDATZ: There you go. What a scholar.




RADDATZ: Very, very good.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Roosevelt. Roosevelt.

KRISTOL: And Obama didn't deserve it.

RADDATZ: OK. And we'll be back...


RADDATZ: -- in just a couple of minutes.


RADDATZ: Back now with our Politics Buzz Board. topping it off, with 23 days left, a critical North Carolina Senate race debate, with George moderating a candidates' clash over Obama's agenda.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're proud of the fact that you voted with the president 96 percent of the time.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A hundred percent of the time Speaker Tillis' policies have hurt North Carolina.


RADDATZ: It wasn't a great week for Democrats in The Bluegrass State. Republicans pouncing on this awkward video showing Alison Lundergan Grimes refusing to say if she voted for President Obama.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you vote for President Obama in 2008 and 2012?

ALISON LUNDERGAN GRIMES (D), KENTUCKY SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: You know, this election, uh, is -- isn't about the president. And...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you vote for him?

GRIMES: I respect the sanctity of the ballot box.


RADDATZ: And a stunning ad in the Texas governor's race. Democrat Wendy Davis accusing Republican Greg Abbott, disabled 30 years ago, of hypocrisy.

ANNOUNCER: A tree fell on Greg Abbott. He sued and got millions. Since then, he's spent his career working against other victims.

RADDATZ: Abbott called the ad offensive.

So ad it up, Nate Silver and his team over at FiveThirtyEight now give Republicans a 58 percent chance of taking the Senate, down one point since last week.


RADDATZ: And now we hit the road with HUD Secretary Julian Castro. He's just 77 days into his new job, but ever since his swearing in so many Democrats have skipped ahead trying to figure out what's next for the rising star. Could he be on a presidential ticket in 2016?

Here's ABC's Jim Avila.


JIM AVILA, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: President Obama called him an all-star and made then 39-year-old Julian Castro the youngest member of his presidential cabinet Housing and Urban Development Secretary.

JULIAN CASTRO, HUD SECRETARY: American cities are growing again and housing is at the top of the agenda.

AVILA: But with a rapidly growing Latino voting population, few believe he left his job as mayor of San Antonio, Texas just to run a Washington bureaucracy. So this may surprise you.

CASTRO: I'm not running for president, you know. I guarantee you that I'm not going to run for president and so -- probably ever.

AVILA: The Texas Democrat, picked by Barack Obama to keynote the 2012 convention, was groomed by his political activist mother to break down racial barriers, urging him to run for city council while still at Harvard Law School. And he's backed by his equally political twin brother, congressman Joaquin Castro.

JON STEWART, HOST, THE DAILY SHOW: Well, the Democrats have not only a rising Latino star in San Antonio Julian Castro, they have an extra one of him in case he breaks.

AVILA: They are identical. Julian older by just one minute, and still frequently confused for one another.

CASTRO: I always tell people that I'm the better-looking twin. My brother might disagree.

AVILA: The congressman says if anyone runs for president between the two, it will be his older brother. Their mother seems to agree.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He would make a very good president or vice president.

I will support him.

AVILA: Of course, any mother can say that.

But Julian says with a straight face he does not have White House ambitions.

CASTRO: I have never woken up in the morning and seen in my future when I look in the mirror and said, oh, I think I'm going to be president.

AVILA: And, he says, talk about him being on a Hillary Clinton ticket as the Latino to bring out the crucial Hispanic vote in 2016, goes way too far.

CASTRO: I don't believe that I'm going to be vice president.

AVILA: Are you in Washington, D.C., have been brought here, are you at HUD because you're being groomed?

CASTRO: I'm here at HUD, because the president asked if I would be interested in serving in this role. There's tremendous upside in terms of satisfaction of the work that we do.

AVILA: Castro, who just turned 40, is now in charge of 8,500 employees. The first HUD secretary to run the very federal housing projects, where his father was raised.

CASTRO: And I see folks who live in our public housing units as folks who have the same dreams, the same ambitions that's part of what drives my work to create greater opportunity for them.

AVILA: This week in Providence, Rhode Island, one of 11 cities he's visited since taking over HUD, he toured neighborhoods he aims to revive with grant money for low-income housing.

CASTRO: Is that right? In that house over there?

AVILA: Castro is pushing mortgage banks to loosen credit restrictions that have stalled the housing market.

We're still afraid of what happened in the bubble.


AVILA: That some people got houses they couldn't afford because mortgages were too easy.

CASTRO: The challenge now is that the pendulum has completely swung in the other direction. In fact, we estimate that there are about 13 million folks who would be able to access credit for a home that today are basically shut out.

AVILA: Castro says he plans to stay in Washington through the rest of President Obama's term. And then it's back to San Antonio, because while he may have never looked in the mirror and seen a president, he does admit to catching a glimpse of another reflection.

CASTRO: There were definitely mornings when I woke up and wished that there were a different governor of Texas, that's fair to say.

I'm 40 years old right now. And so I feel like I have a lot of time to figure out where the opportunities are.

AVILA: A political sprinter who has made it far and fast, acknowledging the marathon ahead.

CASTRO: Hi. How are you?

AVILA: For This Week, Jim Avila, ABC News, Providence, Rhode Island.


RADDATZ: OK. And back now with the round table.

Donna, are you one of those Democrats who sees a star rising there or we just getting way ahead of ourselves.

BRAZILE: No, no question. I have a button, you know, there's no question, Castro for governor 2018. He is a rising star. He is the future face of not just the Democratic Party, but American politics. He's a great public servant.

I was in San Antonio the other day and people want him to come home and run for governor.

KRISTOL: The fact that Donna has that button shows that she's giving up on the Democrat Wendy -- the much heralded Wendy Davis, who was going to take Texas back this year and now she's running this disgusting ad out of desperation?

RADDATZ: What about that ad?

BRAZILE: That ad is not -- look, let me just say this, the greatest hero of the Democratic Party Franklin Roosevelt was in a wheelchair. So we respect anyone with any disability.

It's about his character. It's about Greg Abbott's character.

It may - look--

KRISTOL: Oh, come on, you know (inaudible) that ad is appropriate, Donna.

BRAZILE: I'm looking at -- look, I'm not talking about the (inaudible) to wheelchair -- the point she's making, it's a fair point about Greg Abbott's record of saying to others that they shouldn't get the same treatment that he received.

Look, I'm saying that I would not have used that wheelchair. But the fact that Greg Abbott is in a wheelchair, that is -- and he has been in a wheelchair in an ad. So I'm not saying that this is--

RADDATZ: Matt, there's got to be something in between there.

DOWD: Well, living in Austin, Texas I'm going to have to vote in this race ultimately. And I've watched a lot of these ads. To me, there's always three signs that a campaign is in great peril and about to lose.

First is when the campaign starts saying we're not taking in account all the turnout models. We're going to change the turnout.

The second when they say the only poll that counts is on election day, you know the campaign is in trouble.

And the third is, and when they do an ad like this. She didn't do an ad like this from a place of strength, she did a place from weakness. It's only going to make it worse for her.

RADDATZ: Yeah, how will that go over. Donna, do you think that ad will go over well?

BRAZILE: Look, that is not the ad I would have run, but we're talking about a candidate who is in a wheelchair--

RADDATZ: I know, so do you think that ad will work in Texas?

BRAZILE: I don't -- I mean, she's coming from behind. I don't know if that ad is going to put her over the top. Some people say it's a sign of desperation, some people -- I saw it in a newspaper, it's ballsy, it's a sign of inspiration. I don't know how that ad will cut, but all I know is that we're talking about the ad and not the message behind the ad, which says that it's not a good ad.

DOWD: She was going downhill and now she's in a ditch. This ad took her into a ditch.

RADDATZ: So let's talk about -- we've got three weeks ago until the mid-terms. High expectations that the Republicans will take the Senate. What if they fall short?

KRISTOL: The Republicans will be despondent, donors will be dispirited. I'll be despondent. I've been critical of the Republican strategy -- I'm generally a pessimist, but I actually they will win the Senate. And I think they'll win it with a few seats to spare.

It does seem like it's breaking in a Republican direction. You see a fair amount of desperation among Democrats around the country in Colorado, in Iowa, in Kentucky where Alison Grimes couldn't just say of course I voted for President Obama, I'm the Democratic Senate candidate, but I'm my own person, et cetera. That's an easy -- but when a candidate freezes up like that and is unwilling to give the obviously correct answer, it's a sign that her polling is collapsing. And I think that's generally happening around the country.

And I think Republicans have an outside chance in states like Virginia where they've been counted out and now I think Ed Gillespie is really gaining on Mark Warner.

BRAZILE: But he forgets to mention Kansas where Republicans are, you know, now scrambling to see if they can save Pat Roberts, and the state of South Dakota where, again, Republicans are nervous about their candidate Mr. Rounds and whether or not he's going to be able to break 30 percent.

Look, I still think it's a 50/50 chance that the Democrats will retain the Senate. And the reason why is because in Louisiana, yes, Mary is still having a tough time with two Republican candidates. We know that we might spend some time in Louisiana during Thanksgiving.

North Carolina, Senator Hagan is doing quite well, because she's running against a Republican candidate that cut education.

So overall, I think it's still a 50/50 chance that the Democrats will retain control, but it's not going to be easy.

RADDATZ: Let's talk about Kansas and South Dakota, those races, because something no one really expected, and that's independents.

DOWD: Well, I think what we're seeing now -- everybody talks about these elections, they're base elections. We need to turn out the Republican base and we'll win, we need to turn out the Democratic base and we will win. I think what we are finding more and more is this huge rise in independents. It's been going on for 20 years. If you look at like decline to state in California, it's now at the verge of leading the number of voters there.

And you look at Kansas, we could elect an independent. We could have three independents as United States senators in the Senate next term.

And so I think that's what this is reflective of. I think it's guaranteed -- here's a 100 percent prediction, Republicans will misread the results of this election and think it means more. And Democrats will misread the results of this election and think it means less. That's what's guaranteed to happen. They will both misread this election.

RADDATZ: You've got 10 seconds Bill Kristol.

KRISTOL: I'm the one who always misreads everything, but I think Republicans will win--

RADDATZ: You're only going to take five seconds.

KRISTOL: Republicans will have--

BRAZILE: Turnout, turnout, turnout. For Democrats to win, we need a good turnout. And that is--

DOWD: You need independents.

RADDATZ: And I wouldn't guarantee that. We'll have to see. But thanks everyone.

Up next, Paul Krugman takes on President Obama.


RADDATZ: Now Paul Krugman and the tale of two headlines. There he is on Newsweek's cover in 2009, an Obama critic. The headline, "Obama is Wrong." Fast forward to this week, Krugman on Rolling Stone's cover, "In Defense of Obama."

While the president has been under fire from former members of his own administration, the New York Times columnist is now rushing to his defense arguing he's one of the most consequential commanders-in-chief in history.

Here's chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl.


JONATHAN KARL, ABC CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: You're offering the most full-throated defense of Obama from basically anybody who is not on the Obama payroll right now.

PAUL KRUGMAN, NEW YORK TIMES: Right. And it's funny, because I was critical. But that's the point, in a way. People who had this idea that Obama was going to bring a transformation of America I thought were being naive, but my god we got health reform, we got a significant financial reform. We are getting the environmental action is not everything you would have wanted, but it's more than anyone else has done for decades.

KARL: So put it in context, what are you saying? He's one of the most successful -- FDR, are you putting him in that category?

KRUGMAN: No, FDR is in a different league, right.

KARL: OK, so where are you putting him?

KRUGMAN: In the end, Reagan did not leave the structure of American society particularly different. He did not, in fact, change the basic legacy of Lyndon Johnson and FDR. I think if my ranking of consequential presidents, at least in modern history, would probably be FDR, LBJ, Obama and then Reagan.

KARL: So, Leon Panetta, who serves as both the CIA director and his Pentagon secretary says that Obama too often relies on the logic of a law professor rather than the passion of a leader. Does Panetta have a point?

KRUGMAN: I am allergic to this kind of does he have the leadership quality thing--

KARL: Well, this is an important thing when it comes to a president.

KRUGMAN: Obama is pretty professorial. I've had a couple of meetings and I and other academics are there and sometimes think, oh, he's more professorial than we are. But look at -- again, look at what he did.

Bill Clinton is an incredibly gifted politician. Bill Clinton is a room and it doesn't matter how many people are in the room, you think he's talking to you. But in fact Bill Clinton was not a consequential president. And Obama, although clearly not the natural politician, he is a consequential president.

KARL: I think you would acknowledge that the least convincing part of your article is the one on national security.

KRUGMAN: I don't think there's any way you can call him a great national security president. I don't think you can call him a terrible one, either. And what I say is, look, he's basically fairly typical for a post-Vietnam presidents. He hasn't done anything really stupid. And that is a big improvement over his predecessor, right.

KARL: So, you're saying it's not so bad. You have to grade him on a curve. It could have been worse. This is not a ringing endorsement.

KRUGMAN: My ranking is health care is a huge achievement. Financial reform is a much bigger thing than people think. Environmental policy, there's some good stuff that is not getting enough credit. Economy could have been worse.

KARL: So, it's--

KRUGMAN: But this is--

KARL: And national security wasn't a disaster.


Not everything is wonderful, but some big achievements and no really huge disasters.

KARL: But does that really add up to one of the most successful presidents in American history?

KRUGMAN: Who is better?

KARL: Bill Clinton would say, you know, eight years of prosperity and deficits coming down--

KRUGMAN: But no real legacy in terms of policy whereas Obama really has left the world -- you know, has left America a different place.

KARL: All right, Professor Krugman, thank you very much. Appreciate it.


RADDATZ: And our thanks to Jon.

See more of that interview at ABCNews.com/ThisWeek.

Back after this from our ABC stations.


RADDATZ: Now we shine our Sunday spotlight on a Hollywood classic, "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington." 75 years after it premiered, Jimmy Stewart's cherished character, a man who unexpectedly becomes a U.S. Senator, is still having an impact on some real life politicians. Here's ABC's John Donvan.


JOHN DONVAN, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: He's every elected officials ideal self, a senator who existed only in make believe. "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," a movie packed with idealism and flag waving and what some would say corn ball.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look, there it is.



DONVAN: If it weren't for the way it also shows Washington as a place where cynicism rules.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a man's world, Jeff, and you've got to check your ideals outside the door like (inaudible).

DONVAN: And where the press is fine with lying.

JIMMY STEWART, ACTOR: Why don't you tell the people the truth for a change?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, the truth, the man wants the truth.

DONVAN: And where a good man very nearly loses his faith in America.

STEWART: An honorary stooge like me against the tailors and pains and machines and lies.

DONVAN: It's surprising to me how dark it is. The happy ending comes really in just the last 90 seconds of the movie. And things are tremendously bleak leading up to that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Jefferson Smith.

DONVAN: Quick synopsis, James Stewart plays a naive outsider picked for a vacant senate seat who some corrupt politicians frame as corrupt himself.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's trying to black mail the senate as he tried to blackmail me.

STEWART: Great principles don't get lost once they come to light.

DONVAN: In the famous filibuster scene, Mr. Smith talks 24 hours straight to get the truth out, but 90 seconds before the movie's end, he finally runs out of gas, believing himself defeated. Suffice to say, there's a surprise ending just after that, which is more optimistic.

But when the movie had its premiere in the nation's capital, official Washington hated it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They did this grand opening, and you know, suddenly you know people were walking out. There was stunned silence.

DONVAN: Why? Why?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think because it did not reflect well on the permanent political class of the 1930s.

DONVAN: But most of America loved the movie. And in time, politicians learned to love to identify with Mr. Smith. One of them in particular.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ronald Reagan really was the crystallizing figure in that he talked about it. He was actually an actor. He pulled off the outsider, the folksy, the aw shucks role that Jimmy Stewart sort of embodied, you know, perfectly in the movie.

And ever since then, it's been a ground swell.

DONVAN: Some other examples--

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Barack Obama fashions himself as an outsider. Sarah Palin did it. Ross Perot did it. The bumpkin shtick, which I don't know nothing about how things work here in Washington, but I'm just talking for the people.

DONVAN: Indeed, Democrat Ned Lamont went so far as to cut himself into the movie when he ran for Senate.

NED LAMONT, DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE FOR SENATE: I'm going be there to fight for the people of Connecticut.

DONVAN: He ultimately lost, maybe because the one thing missing from his scene, the real Mr. Smith who, after all, only existed in make believe.

John Donvan, ABC News, Washington.


RADDATZ: And we close with good news. The Pentagon did not release any names of service members killed in Afghanistan this week.

That's all for us today. We'll see you back here next week. Have a great day.


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