WASHINGTON, May 22, 2011 — -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR (voice-over): This week, a line in the sand. PresidentObama lays out his vision for peace.
OBAMA: We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should bebased on the 1967 lines.
AMANPOUR: But Israel digs in.
NETANYAHU: We can't go back to those indefensible lines.
AMANPOUR: In his first interview since resigning as Middle Eastenvoy, George Mitchell speaks out.
MITCHELL: It's very difficult right now.
AMANPOUR: Plus, my exclusive interview with an Arab leader whoplays a critical role in any solution, Jordan's King Abdullah.
(on-screen): Do you feel that there might be another war?
(voice-over): And back here at home...
(UNKNOWN): You're an embarrassment to our party.
(UNKNOWN): Stop the hate.
AMANPOUR: ... politics are getting very messy and personal.It's a classic recipe for disaster: sex, power and politics.
ANNOUNCER: Live from the Newseum in Washington, "This Week" withChristiane Amanpour starts right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Welcome to our viewers here and around the world. Andthere's lots to discuss today on the world stage and the campaigntrail.
But first, we want to catch you up on some news since the Sundaymorning papers, a major development today in the Republican race forthe White House. In a midnight e-mail to his supporters, IndianaGovernor Mitch Daniels has announced that he will not run forpresident in 2012. Daniels had quickly become the most buzzed-aboutnon-candidate in the race, but his wife, Cheri, had veto power. Andthe governor acknowledged it in his statement today, saying, quote,"Simply put, I find myself caught between two duties. I love mycountry; I love my family more." And there's much more on this storycoming up.
And huge plumes of smoke over Iceland this morning. Thecountry's most active volcano is erupting and spewing clouds of ashinto the sky. You'll remember a year ago another volcano in thatcountry forced Europe to seal its airspace, stranding 10 milliontravelers, and now Iceland's largest international airport is closed.
And President Obama is preparing to address AIPAC this morning,the country's largest pro-Israel group, just a few hours from now,this after stirring up a hornet's net on Thursday when he outlined hisvision for Middle East peace.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): The speech was billed as PresidentObama's response to the winds of change blowing through the MiddleEast. Instead, it set off a firestorm of criticism, both in Israeland from Republicans.
Governor Mitt Romney said, "President Obama has thrown Israelunder the bus." Majority Leader Eric Cantor said the speech"undermines our special relationship with Israel." And Mike Huckabee,"President Obama has betrayed Israel." And Newt Gingrich caused it"disastrous."
The cause of all this uproar? Obama became the first U.S.president to so publicly endure something that's been the basis ofnegotiations for the last decade, also a key goal of the Palestinians.
OBAMA: We believe the borders of Israel and Palestinian shouldbe based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps so that secureand recognized borders are established for both states.
AMANPOUR: What he's talking about is this. These were theborders of Israel before the 1967 Six-Day War. The decisive Israelivictory then put the West Bank and Gaza, with its large Palestinianpopulation, under its control.
Since then, Israel has annexed large parts of Jerusalem and theWest Bank and built thousands of settlements, where nearly 300,000Israelis live among more than 2 million Palestinians, beyond the '67borders.
Late Thursday, after the president's speech and as Prime MinisterBenjamin Netanyahu was heading to Washington, he endorsed plans foranother 1,500 new settlement houses.
The United States going all the way back to President Nixoninitially called settlement activity illegal. The Reaganadministration softened that a bit, saying settlements were notconstructive. Bill Clinton allowed for natural growth. And in 2004,President Bush added the U.S. now recognized the new realities on theground.
At a tense meeting at the White House Friday, Netanyahu demandedthat the White House return to the Bush position and flatly rejected areturn to the '67 borders.
NETANYAHU: These lines are indefensible because they don't takeinto account certain changes that have taken place on the ground,demographic changes that have taken place over the last 44 years.Remember that before 1967 Israel was all of nine miles wide. It washalf the width of the Washington beltway.
GOLDBERG: What we saw on Friday was an Israeli prime ministerlecturing the president in public about the course of Middle Easthistory, the course of Jewish history. Barack Obama knows thismaterial. And I have to imagine, just looking at the body language,that he probably had places he'd rather have been.
AMANPOUR: Obama visited Israel before his election, but has notreturned since becoming president. According to polls there, thenumber of Israelis who believe President Obama favors the Palestinianshas been steadily growing since his speech in Cairo, where he talkedabout a more even-handed approach to Middle East diplomacy.
OBAMA: If we so this conflict only from one side or the other,then we will be blind to the truth.
AMANPOUR: In his speech Thursday, he was tough on thePalestinians, as well, assailing the recent unity government betweenthe Palestinian Authority and Hamas, which is considered a terroristorganization. And he warned the Palestinians not to unilaterallypursue recognition at the United Nations.
OBAMA: For the Palestinians' efforts to delegitimize Israel willend in failure. Palestinian leaders will not achieve peace orprosperity if Hamas insists on a path of terror and rejections. AndPalestinians will never realize their independence by denying theright of Israel to exist.
AMANPOUR: In an interview with the BBC after his speech,President Obama tried to smooth some ruffled feathers and emphasizedhis unshakeable commitment to Israel's security.
OBAMA: You're going to have two states. And the basis fornegotiations will involve looking at that 1967 border, recognizingthat conditions on the ground have changed and there are going to needto be swaps to accommodate the interests of both sides. That's on theone hand. On the other hand -- and this was an equally important partof the speech -- Israel is going to have to feel confident about itssecurity on the West Bank.
AMANPOUR: So the big question now: Will the president'sdeclaration jump-start the peace process? Or is it broken beyondrepair?
For answers, I turn to former Senator George Mitchell, theadministration's envoy to Israel and the Palestinians until just thispast Friday. And this is the senator's first interview since hestepped down.
AMANPOUR: Senator, a huge flap has arisen over the world "'67"in the speech by President Obama. Was the president signifying amajor shift in U.S. policy?
MITCHELL: No, he wasn't. It is a significant statement. Thepresident said, the United States' commitment to Israel's security isunshakeable. And it is. Our security cooperation is the best it'sever been. The president didn't say that Israel has to go back to the '67lines. He said "with agreed swaps." Those are significant. Swapsmeans an exchange of land intended to accommodate major Israelipopulation centers to be incorporated into Israel and Israel'ssecurity needs.
"Agreed" means, through negotiations, both parties must agree.There's not going be a border unless Israel agrees to it, and we knowthey won't agree unless their security needs are satisfied, as itshould be. The proposal was identical to a proposal made by theIsraeli prime minister just prior to Mr. Netanyahu. Ehud Olmert wasthe prime minister until 2009.
AMANPOUR: So why the flap, then? Why has Prime MinisterNetanyahu and his supporters behaved as if this was a major change andreally threatening Israel?
MITCHELL: I don't believe it is threatening Israel. And a majorobjective of this initiative, among others, is to prevent a disasterfor Israel from occurring at the United Nations General Assembly inSeptember, when the Palestinians have said they will see a unilateraldeclaration of statehood.
The president spoke out strongly against that. We oppose it.And the way to prevent that from occurring is to provide analternative in direct negotiation that would foreclose or make notnecessary that option.
AMANPOUR: You've just handed in your resignation after just overtwo years of being the special envoy. Are you more optimistic or lessoptimistic than you were when you started this?
MITCHELL: Well, one has to have optimism to undertake thisassignment. I knew, of course...
AMANPOUR: When one resigns, what does that mean?
MITCHELL: Well, it means just what I said when I resigned. WhenI met with the president initially, I said to him, Mr. President, Ican't do a full four-year term. I said two years. And he said that'sfine.
AMANPOUR: That's very nice and very diplomatic. On the otherhand, many of your friends and allies and colleagues in this endeavorhave said that George Mitchell is a decent and good and honest man andhe is faced with a process that is going nowhere.
MITCHELL: Well, it's indisputable that we have not made as muchprogress as we would have liked.
AMANPOUR: Let's go back to the beginning of thisadministration's endeavors on this decades-long crisis. PresidentObama made it very clear that the end of Israeli settlements would bethe condition for new talks, but he also wanted the Arab countries tomake faith-building, trust-building maneuvers towards Israel. Thatdidn't happen. The Arabs didn't step forward. Do you think in retrospect it was a mistake to insist thatsettlements remained the precondition for talks?
MITCHELL: It was not a precondition. The mistake was to notmake that as clear as we could have. The president's position wasthat Israel should stop new settlement construction activity and, atthe same time, that the Palestinians should agree to come in to talks.They were not stated as preconditions, although, unfortunately, theywere then adopted as preconditions.
AMANPOUR: Certainly the whole world took it as a preconditionand that...
AMANPOUR: ... it was a new position by the United States.
MITCHELL: Well, as I said, we should have made that more clear,but we never stated it.
AMANPOUR: Why should anybody think that there is a way out ofthis? You know, what is the definition of insanity, doing the samething over and over again?
MITCHELL: Yeah, well, there's another definitions of insanity,and that's to give up on a valid goal because you've gottendiscouraged and you can't succeed.
AMANPOUR: So, qualified optimism from Senator Mitchell, but theadministration is still grappling with fallout from the president'sspeech. So let's bring in ABC's chief Washington White Housecorrespondent Jake Tapper and Aaron Miller, a long-time veteran of theState Department, where he toiled over the peace process with sixsecretaries of state, and he's now a fellow at the Woodrow WilsonInternational Center for Scholars at Princeton.
Thank you both very much. So, behind the scenes, what was this'67 line about? And did they expect it to make such a problem?
TAPPER: I don't think they expected it to be as big a diplomatickerfuffle. Obviously, they knew it would ruffle feathers, but I don'tthink that they thought it would be interpreted as, President Obamawants Israel to go back to the indefensible '67 borders, which is not,of course, what he said, but is how it's been interpreted by manysupporters of Israel and many opponents of the president's.
The goal was to, in some way, jump-start the process and also, asSenator Mitchell pointed out, to try to avoid this U.N. vote inSeptember about Palestinian statehood.
AMANPOUR: Is it going to jump-start the process?
MILLER: No. Jake's right. They did this for all the reasonshe's identified, but they clearly -- and I'm empathetic, sympatheticwith this. This is -- you know, Truman described this as a 100-yearheadache. That's exactly what it is.
But the reality is, how can you give a speech the day before theprime minister arrives, a guy you don't have a relationship with, aguy who sleeps not with -- just with one eye open, as most Israeliprime ministers, but two, when it comes to Barack Obama, and you openup an issue, June '67, which for Palestinians means redemption and forIsraelis the way it's pitched means national suicide the way theyinterpret it.
MILLER: And as a consequence, you do it at a time when there areno negotiations, where Abbas has just made a deal with Hamas, againstthe backdrop of a very charged political environment. Theconsequences of this were, I would argue, predictable.
AMANPOUR: So you talked about no relationship. I mean, theyhave a frosty relationship at best, right, Jake?
TAPPER: There's no love lost, I think it's fair to say. And Ialso think it's fair to say that when Bibi in the Oval Office didsomething I've never seen happen...
AMANPOUR: I was going to ask you...
TAPPER: ... which is -- which is this little history lesson onthe Jewish people and suffering, that did not endear him further tothe White House.
AMANPOUR: Were you -- were you stunned by that? I mean, it didlook like a public lecture.
MILLER: Yeah, I mean, it was -- it was pretty unprecedented. Imean, Begin used to lecture Carter, but it was done privately. Beginwas too polite to do it publicly. Netanyahu saw an opportunity. Hewas clearly upset. I mean, he feels that he was set up. So this waspayback.
And it was payback at a time when the prime minister feels prettyself-confident that the peace process is going nowhere. And he has anumber of cards to play. I'm not sure, however, for an Americanaudience, you want to be in position of lecturing your only reliableally.
AMANPOUR: Even Jeffrey Goldberg, who is one of the most reliablefriends of Israel in print and in all sorts of way, said that he wasoffended to see -- to see the Israeli prime minister basicallylecturing the president of the United States and that Netanyahu had,quote, "gone out of his way" to alienate this president.
TAPPER: You know, what's interesting is what's Netanyahu -- whatNetanyahu is doing in front of the cameras and really what they'reupset about behind the scenes. What they're upset about behind thescenes is the Israelis acknowledge, yes, obviously the '67 borderswith mutually agreed-upon land swaps is the basis for territorialnegotiation, but that's always been behind the scenes. Now this isthe official U.S. position for the first-time ever, yes, by the way,but in the past, but now it's the official position.
And what that does is it gives away a chip at the negotiatingtable, so now the Israelis don't get to exact a concession from thePalestinians in exchange for that agreement.
MILLER: Jake's right. And there's something more. It's notjust the principle that concerns the Israelis. It's the next step,that the administration is now -- having laid the principle -- goingto take a position on a number, because the swap is somewhere between2 percent -- which the Palestinians assert -- and anywhere from 8percent to 10 percent that the Israelis, Olmert, 4 percent to 6percent. The next step is this process I'm sure from Israel'sperspective is, "This guy's going to actually put a number on thetable. That I can't deal with."
AMANPOUR: Well, let me ask you. You mentioned Olmert, and sodid George Mitchell, the former prime minister of Israel. And he didgive quite a wide-ranging offer to the Palestinians. And at thattime, Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian leader, did not step up and takeit. And he was still prime minister.
MILLER: You had different guys, different circumstances.
AMANPOUR: No, no, but he was -- yeah.
MILLER: But, look, Woody Allen -- it was Woody Allen who said 90percent of life is just showing up. He's wrong; 90 percent of life isshowing up at the right time. And the reality is, right now, with nopeace process, no prospects of one, a Fatah-Hamas deal, the Arab worldin a modified form of chaos and uncertainty, now is not the time tolaunch an initiative. And the president...
AMANPOUR: You mean the president?
MILLER: He got the worst of both worlds. He's annoyed theIsraelis, clearly, and at the same time he sent a message to thePalestinians -- if I were a Palestinian sitting in Ramallah, you knowwhat I would conclude? It's working. Our U.N. initiative has sofrightened the administration that now the president took a positionon borders. Maybe next week he'll say something on Jerusalem.
AMANPOUR: All right. Quickly, Jake, what does he have to do, doyou think, to -- I don't know -- walk this back or not or...
TAPPER: Well, he's not going to walk it back.
AMANPOUR: ... move it forward?
TAPPER: But -- but there will be some, you know, low-level talksbetween the Israelis and Palestinians. That will continue at thequartet level. The envoys will talk about what next -- what's next.And then, obviously, they're going to try to fend off that vote inSeptember at the U.N. But a big issue right now becomes, what isFatah going to do about this alliance with Hamas, a terrorist groupthat has called for Israel's destruction? AMANPOUR: And you bring me to my next segue. We are going toask King Abdullah of Jordan right after a break, so up next, a monarchof the Middle East answers the wake-up call for the Arab spring anddiscusses this Palestinian issue. I sit down with key U.S. ally KingAbdullah of Jordan.
And then, Newt Gingrich's mea culpa tour. Damage control on the2012 campaign trail, as sex scandals rock politics here and abroad.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Those shouts of human dignity are being heard across theregion. And through the moral force of nonviolence, the people of theregion have achieved more change in six months than terrorists haveaccomplished in decades.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: President Obama on Thursday in his first major speechon the uprisings in the Middle East. Israel, of course, though ate upmost of the headlines here, but in many respects, the Arab uprisingpresents the White House with a more immediate and urgent set ofpolicy questions.
The revolution is happening now. And my guest today is caughtright in the middle. He is King Abdullah of Jordan, a key Americanally and the author of a new book, "Our Last Best Chance: The Pursuitof Peace in a Time of Peril."
I sat down with him earlier this week.
AMANPOUR: King Abdullah, thank you for joining us.
ABDULLAH: Thank you, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: How do you describe what's going on? Is it a wake-upcall for yourself and other world leaders in that region?
ABDULLAH: Definitely it's a wake-up call. And this is a new anddefinitely defining moment for the Middle East. Which way the MiddleEast goes, I hope, reaching out to the aspirations of the youth, thiswill be a good story when we look back on it years from now.
AMANPOUR: What is it that you are being asked to wake up to?And what can you do about it?
ABDULLAH: Well, there's two aspects to this. Obviously, whenthis was started in Tunis, was because of the world economic crisis, alarge portion of youth in the Middle East that are suffering fromeconomic hardships, that want a better life. So it was economicfrustration and -- and desires that led, I think, to politicalawakening, that they want to be able to chart their own destiny.
AMANPOUR: The latest polls say about two-thirds, maybe eventhree-quarters of Jordanians want democracy. What are you as KingAbdullah going to do to realize that dream?
ABDULLAH: From right at the beginning of -- of this, we broughtall sectors of society together. We created what we called sort ofthe national dialogue to all sit around the table and decide what itis that Jordanians want. The committee has embarked on two laws, anew election law and new political party law, which is I thinkcritical for the future of Jordan. We'll have new elections at theend of the year, and it will be the start of new democracy in ourcountry.
AMANPOUR: In Jordan, 13 percent of the people polled say theyhave a positive view of the United States. Americans are concernedthat a new democracy in your country and elsewhere could be anIslamist scary future. Do you feel that that is possible in Jordan?
ABDULLAH: Not in Jordan. It could be possible elsewhere. In myparticular position, I have the responsibility to lead the debate inthe right direction. And I think Jordan will move towards the light;I have no worries about Jordan.
I don't know how in other countries they're developing. And eachcountry in the Middle East is different. You alluded to the UnitedStates not being very popular, but, again, we've got to remember, thereason I think for the most part where America is not popular isbecause its perceived lack of ability to move the Israeli-Palestinianprocess forward.
AMANPOUR: In your book, you're pretty relentless aboutcriticizing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Is he an obstacle topeace?
ABDULLAH: Well, in my discussions with him -- and they've been,I think, very thorough -- when he speaks to me, I see his vision ofpeace for the Palestinians, peace for the Arabs, and I've always leftthose meetings feeling very optimistic.
But unfortunately, the circumstances that we've seen on theground for the past two years does not fill me with much -- much hope.I just have a feeling that we're going to be living with the statusquo for 2011. And as you well know, whenever we -- we accept thestatus quo, we do so until there is another war. And so that is oftremendous concern to me.
AMANPOUR: Do you feel that there might be another war?
ABDULLAH: Well, if you look to the past 10 years, every two totwo-and-a-half years there's either the intifada or a war or aconflict. So looking back over the past 12 years, my experience showsme that if we ignore the Israeli-Palestinian issue, something willburst.
AMANPOUR: Israel is saying that it cannot have peace talks witha group like Hamas, who they deem is terrorists. America, as well,deems Hamas to be a terrorist organization. And yet before everybodywas saying we can't have peace talks because the Palestinians aredivided. How to get beyond that?
ABDULLAH: Well, look, if I can play the devil's advocate here, Iwish that our Israeli colleagues would, you know, pick one argumentand bloody well stick to it, because, you know, the past couple ofyears, the Israelis were saying, well, you know, Abbas is not apartner for peace because he doesn't represent the Palestinian people.Therefore, we're not prepared to move forward.
Abbas has now made reconciliation with Hamas, does represent thePalestinian people, and the Israeli argument is, well, we can't dealwith him because of Hamas. Abbas had been very clear that Hamas willnot be part of the government. They will not have any role in thesecurity apparatus in the West Bank, which is important for the UnitedStates, it's important for Jordan, because we worked tirelesslytogether to train the Palestinian security forces.
You know, Christiane, it's always easy to find an excuse why notto do the right thing. And if we continue along those lines, then wewill never solve this problem. And at the end of the day, it's goingto be the Arabs and Israelis who are going to pay the ultimate price.You have seen our region. For how many decades have we suffered fromthe Israeli-Palestinian conflict? So we need leaders with courage totake the tough decisions and solve this once and for all.
AMANPOUR: Let's talk about some of the neighboring states.Syria is obviously in a pretty bad state right now. There's violentrepression of people who want democracy. Many people thought thatBashar al-Assad was a reformer. Would you say he's a reformer?
ABDULLAH: Well, today he has a major challenge of, how do youreach out to the people and bring them in on the table? That hasn'thappened in Syria. And I think to turn things around and bring commonstability, dialogue, national reconciliation, outreach is the only waythat you can do so.
AMANPOUR: Is Bashar al-Assad, the president of Syria, in charge?
ABDULLAH: I've talked to him on several occasions to see whatJordan can do to bring stability and, obviously, calm to Syria. Andfrom my discussions with him and from what I hear, he is in charge,yes, and he is calling the shots.
I think Bashar needs to reach out to the people and get peoplearound the table. I learned from his late Majesty King Hussein...
AMANPOUR: Your father.
ABDULLAH: ... my father, is to keep as close to the people aspossible. And on a weekly basis, I go out and visit different sectorsof society. I sit down with people from all walks of life. And wediscuss all the issues that are relevant to them.
AMANPOUR: The queen, Queen Rania, has been rather viciouslyattacked in Jordan. In your book, you write that you have an equalpartnership. Why is she being attacked? And are there any merits tothe grounds that there have been land grabs that she's organized forher family or other corruptions?
ABDULLAH: Everything that I've heard is absolutely ludicrous andvery sad, when many, many Jordanians know what she has done for women,for children, not only in Jordan, but across the region and furtherafield. I think we're in an atmosphere where anybody that wants tolook at destabilizing Jordan and having a go at me, looking at aweaker link. And having a go at Rania I think has been very, very sadfor all of us that people would stoop to that level.
AMANPOUR: Does she have any powers to pick certain ministers orcivil servants or anybody?
ABDULLAH: She has never, ever gotten involved in the government.Her mandate, if there is any, has always been education, education,education. And I'm hoping that our society will wake up to this andput a stop to this, because it's become so destructive in Jordan, notjust Rania. Many, many people have been accused by people that justfeel that they can get away with it.
AMANPOUR: Your majesty, thank you very much, indeed.
ABDULLAH: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And up next, big changes in the Republicanpresidential field. Trump is officially out. Pawlenty is almostofficially in. And Newt Gingrich is struggling to stay afloat. Whohas what it takes to win the nomination? Answers from our roundtablewhen we return.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(UNKNOWN): You're an embarrassment to our party.
GINGRICH: I'm sorry you feel that way.
(UNKNOWN): Why don't you get out before you make a bigger foolof yourself?
GINGRICH: I'm sorry you feel that way.
(UNKNOWN): Feel the rainbow, Newt. Stop the hate. Stop anti-gay politics, dividing our country and not fixing our economy.
GINGRICH: Nice to live -- nice to live in a free country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Scenes from a very bad week. Newt Gingrich is on anapology tour, trying to explain why he denounced Paul Ryan's budgetplan as, quote, "right-wing social engineering." Will the candidatebe able to turn the page?
Let's now bring in our roundtable, ABC's George Will, MatthewDowd, former campaign strategist for George W. Bush, Democraticstrategist Donna Brazile, and ABC senior political correspondentJonathan Karl.
Welcome to you all. But first, the breaking news. Governor MitchDaniels has said in a midnight e-mail that he is not going to throwhis hat into the ring. And you spoke to him, George, last night.What did he say?
WILL: I did. He's a friend of mine and of my wife, and hecalled to say this. He made an immensely civilized decision. It's anold axiom. It's the late David Broder's rule, that anyone who will dowhat you have to do to become president shouldn't be allowed to bepresident.
We have now had three top -- potentially top-tier candidates,Mitch Daniels, Haley Barbour, and Mike Huckabee saying, "I'd rathernot." And that's not a moral failing. You have duties to yourcountry, you have duties to your family. All that said, this caps an excellent week for one person, andthat's Tim Pawlenty. Huckabee out puts in play the evangelicalChristian vote, which is almost half the vote in Republican primaries.So Tim Pawlenty is well positioned.
AMANPOUR: Well, we'll get to that, but I just want some of theback story. What do you think went into the Mitch Daniels' decision?I mean, he said his family. But is it because his wife didn't want todo it?
KARL: Yeah, this was certainly a personal decision. Daniels wasgetting urged by everybody to get in this. And up until just a fewdays ago, George, top Republicans in this town were thinking that hewas going to go and were pushing very hard, saying, "You have to dothis. You are the candidate." You know, he becomes the default anti-Mitt Romney candidate, the establishment choice, and I totally agree.Now is Tim Pawlenty's moment. And what timing, he announces tomorrow.
AMANPOUR: Did he say that about his wife?
WILL: He did not. He -- he talked about his entire family,which means his children. He has four daughters.
DOWD: Well, you know, to me this is indicative that thesecandidates are making more news not running than running. At a time,actually, when the president is as vulnerable as any president hasbeen going into a re-elect in recent memories. His numbers are in thehigh 40s. He is immensely beatable right now.
And all of these credible candidates are not running. It remindsme, right, a little bit of the "Seinfeld" show where it's -- likeright now, the Republican nomination is about nothing right now, withall these candidates coming in and out, Huntsman. But I think it'sreally indicative of a Republican field not quite knowing where to gowith this.
AMANPOUR: Good news for your side?
BRAZILE: Well, first of all, I think it's good news for theRepublican Party, because they clearly have to figure out who will betheir standard bearer? A year from now, we may not know theRepublican nominee because of the nominating process, which will forcethese candidates to compete in one of the four early states -- Iowa,New Hampshire, South Carolina Nevada. They have to come in first.They don't have to win all four.
But then you go -- you get to a situation where it's inproportional representation. They're winner-take-all in the month ofApril. It will be drawn out. And because there's no front-runnerright now, it means that the Republicans will have to compete againsteach other for the next year or so. That will give President Obamaenough what I call leg room to go out there and fix this economy,which will put him in a better position to win re-election.
DOWD: And I think one of the things that you're going to see isthere's been some surprises of people not getting in. I think manypeople, as Jonathan said and George said, thought Mitch Daniels wasgoing to run. He seemed like the right candidate, governor from theMidwest.
AMANPOUR: And people were sort of holding their powder back,right, waiting for that.
DOWD: So surprises -- surprises of not running. I think whatyou're going to see in the next four or five months are of surprisingcandidates who are going to get in who are not mentioned right now.
AMANPOUR: For instance?
DOWD: I actually think that Governor Perry in Texas is probablygoing to reconsider. It seems it will be a good moment for a guythat's very popular among Tea Party, he's very states-righty, veryanti-federal government, can raise a ton of money. I think GovernorChristie in New Jersey is going to be pushed to reconsider this. Ithink there's going to be some surprising entries into this race.
AMANPOUR: You think so, too?
KARL: You're clearly seeing a push now, with -- and throw JebBush in there. I mean, they've all said no, but there will be a pushfor them to get in. But, remember, we've seen this before. Wes Clarkgot in, in September. Fred Thompson got in, in September. It is veryhard, no matter how big a name you are, to get in that late in thegame.
WILL: I think, Donna, you may be wrong about this. I know theRepublicans have strung out their calendar in the hopes that no onewill run the table and you'll get a better test, but I don't reallythink that might happen. You might have an early coalescence, becauseyou're now down to so few people, get down to two people in Februaryand settle it in March.
BRAZILE: Well, you know, Herman Cain -- Herman Cain, who justannounced yesterday that he's running, he could come in second, likeHuckabee, and become the flavor of the month come March. But thenagain, if you don't have an establishment candidate, George, then theRepublicans may have to go the entire distance, and that may notproduce a real...
WILL: Donna, there is no Republican establishment. It diedbefore the Herald Tribune did in New York in 1966.
AMANPOUR: Let's talk about who we know is, and one of them isNewt Gingrich. He has spent the whole week, as we've said, trying todig himself out of this hole that he established last Sunday. Has hedone it? Or has he not? Let's play this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GINGRICH: So let me say, on the record, any ad which quotes whatI said on Sunday is a falsehood, because I have said publicly, thosewords were inaccurate and unfortunate.
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AMANPOUR: OK, so everybody here has collapsed in giggles.
DOWD: Well, I think what many people forget is we -- he hasn'tbeen in the public eye, really, in 13 years. And if people reflectback at the time he wasn't blasted in the public eye reallyconsistently, these days he's been in bits and pieces. He says somecommentary on a show and then he's off. But this is the first time in13 years he's been in the public eye. It's very much a reminder ofhow he used to be 13 years ago.
AMANPOUR: Is he the great hope for the party? And does he --has his mea culpa done the trick?
WILL: Newt Gingrich? No, I said last week right here that hewas not a serious candidate, and he went out and spent the weekvindicating me. No, it's over. He may not know it, but thatcandidacy died in its first week.
AMANPOUR: All right.
BRAZILE: He blew himself up last week.
AMANPOUR: And certainly, the White House loves it. We've seenthis Twitter from Dan Pfeiffer in which he back then said the biggesttakeaway from the Gingrich flap, ending Medicare as we know it is thenew GOP litmus test. Do you think that's what it's going to boil downto on this -- on this run?
KARL: Not necessarily. We've only seen one of the potentialRepublican candidates fully embrace the Ryan Medicare plan. That'sJon Huntsman, the candidate that in all other categories would seem tobe the moderate candidate in the race, so I'm not sure.
You know, we're going to have this special election on Tuesday inthe 26th District of New York. Watch this election, because this is asolidly Republican district. Carl Paladino beat Andrew Cuomo in thisdistrict. And now the latest poll actually has the Democraticcandidate winning. This will be seen in some quarters as a referendumon the Ryan Medicare plan. It's not exactly fair. It's not a fairthing, because there is a Tea Party candidate in this race.
WILL: There's something to watch. Here's someone to watch.Watch Senator DeMint of South Carolina. He's as close as theRepublican Party has to a kingmaker. He supported -- in all importantSouth Carolina last time, he supported Mitt Romney. This time, he hassaid, I would never consider re-supporting Mitt Romney unless headmits that what he did in Massachusetts in health care was a, quote,"colossal mistake." Now, he has -- instead of doing that, he hasdoubled down on that. So the fact that he raised impressively $10million in one day... AMANPOUR: Which he did. It was sort of like a shot across thebow this week.
WILL: Which he did. That's right. And if money settledeverything, Meg Whitman would be governor of California. Moneydoesn't determine everything.
AMANPOUR: What about then -- you mentioned Jon Huntsman. You'vespoken to Jon Huntsman.
WILL: I have.
AMANPOUR: What about that? I mean, also, George Stephanopoulosspoke to him. Let's just run a little bit about what he said abouthis positions to George this week.
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STEPHANOPOULOS: For a lot of Republican primary voters, thenumber-one question is, does he have a chance? He worked for Obama.What's the answer?
HUNTSMAN: I worked for the president of the United States. Thepresident asked me, the president of all the people. And during atime of war, during a time of economic difficulty for our country, ifI'm asked by my president to serve, I'll stand up and do it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you'd do it again?
HUNTSMAN: I'd do it again, of course.
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AMANPOUR: Will that be enough to win over the skeptics?
DOWD: To me, this is his biggest problem, his biggestvulnerability. Even Roger Clemens went from the Red Sox and went toCanada for two years before he went to the Yankees. This guy is goingdirectly from working for Barack Obama and trying to run for presidentagainst Barack Obama. At a time when the Republican Party wantspassion and wants the vilification of the president, he is a moderatevoice. I think it's going to be very, very difficult...
BRAZILE: ... percent of the -- the caucusgoers in Iowa aremoderate Republicans, and somebody is going to have to get that vote.He may not win the Republican nomination, but he will have stayingpower.
WILL: He's not even going to Iowa, because he says...
KARL: He's skipping Iowa, yeah.
WILL: ... in fact, I detest subsidies, which means he doesn'tworship at the church of ethanol, and therefore, he's not even goingto...
AMANPOUR: ... from the Bush family. He's got an audience -- sothere must be some who are hoping to put their money behind him.
KARL: Look, there is definitely space in this race for amoderate candidate. There's money out there for a moderate candidates(inaudible) there are glowing editorials to be written about themoderate candidate, and there's also a chance to come in fourth orfifth in the race. I mean, there really isn't a path to victory asthe moderate, especially not this time.
BRAZILE: Look, he's flip-flopped on health care. He has aRomney problem on health care. He's flip-flopped on climate change.I mean, the problem with Huntsman is that he's going to have to, likeRomney, run against himself for a couple of weeks.
DOWD: Yeah, he's an impressive guy. He's just running at thewrong time in the wrong party.
KARL: ... speaking roles? He had a speaking role, a prominentone, in the convention in 2008. Do you remember what it was?
KARL: What was it?
WILL: Nominating Sarah Palin.
KARL: Nominating Sarah Palin, who he called a "beacon for ourparty," "a beacon of light for our party."
BRAZILE: And we haven't event talked about her today.
WILL: The adjective to describe today's Republican Party -- andparticularly the nominating electorate -- is hot. He is cool-handHuntsman. He is low-key, moderate. He appeals to all those peoplewho say he'd be the ideal candidate if only Republicans weren't sovery Republican.
AMANPOUR: Let's switch topics, similar politics, but we're goingto add sex in and potentially abuse of power here. The formergovernor of California has admitted to fathering a child while he wasmarried. The public, though, knew some of these issues. They werebrought up. They seem to be voting anyway. Will this, do you think,make a difference now that this scandal is coming out in publictolerance for these kinds of affairs?
DOWD: Well, to me -- to me -- and, first of all, I'm -- I workedfor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and I am very good friends with MariaShriver.
AMANPOUR: As many of us here are. DOWD: Yeah, and we obviously -- our hearts go out to her and herfamily in this time, and her children, especially her children, whoare suffering through this. These -- all of these scandals this weekare not really about sex. This is not sex scandals, and it's notreally a scandal about infidelity, which the public, I think, isgenerally forgiving about. Things happen in people's lives and allthat.
These scandals, I think, are related in that they're not aboutthat. They're not about sex. They're about power. They're aboutcontrol. They're about humiliation.
If you look at the specifics of this, it's not really, as I say,a sex scandal. It is a scandal about, really, corruption at a reallypersonal level, in my view.
BRAZILE: There's arrogance of power, but there's also sex, andit's also abuse of authority at a time when the public is calling on,you know, politicians to restrain spending and also tellingpoliticians to really set a better example for the country.
AMANPOUR: And on that note, thank you very much indeed. Andwe're going to take a sharper look at the Schwarzenegger scandal andalso at the sexual assault indictment of the former head of theInternational Monetary Fund. When these -- what do these cases revealabout men and women, sex and politics? All of that is coming up.
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SAWYER: Former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger making a publicadmission...
STEPHANOPOULOS: ... that he fathered a child with a member ofhis household staff more than 10 years ago.
(UNKNOWN): The disgraced former head of the IMF, who is now outof jail...
(UNKNOWN): ... an alleged sex attack on a hotel maid here in NewYork City.
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AMANPOUR: Extraordinary falls from grace for two larger-than-life politicians this week, Arnold Schwarzenegger and DominiqueStrauss-Kahn, both involved in sordid scandals. When it comes to sexand politics, very little shocks us these days, it seems, but thesestories have struck a chord, and we want to sort out the implications.
ABC's Cokie Roberts and her husband, journalist Steve Roberts,joins us. And joining us from Paris, Elaine Sciolino of the New YorkTimes. Her book is called "La Seduction: How the French Play the Gameof Life."
Thank you all for joining me.
I want to start by saying, obviously, these are two verydifferent issues. One is an alleged crime; the other is a full-blownsex scandal. So on the alleged crime, Elaine, I want to go to youfirst, because you've written this week that this is France's AnitaHill moment. What do you mean by that?
SCIOLINO: Anita Hill challenged Clarence Thomas when he was upto become a Supreme Court justice back in 1991. She claimed that hehad sexually harassed her. He was confirmed, but the episode openedup a discussion in the United States. Sexual harassment laws wereexpanded, and there were new laws of conduct that were imposed in theworkplace.
The same thing is happening in France. This is a moment in whichall French -- I mean, everybody from the commerca (ph), the merchantin the store, to the top politicians, are saying, is this the way weshould be behaving? Is this a moment of truth for us, consciousnessraising? Should we indeed think about changing our own rules?
AMANPOUR: Well, that's interesting, because everything thatwe've heard over the last week is that the French were pretty much upin arms about seeing him, the famous perp walk, saying that he wasvictim of a conspiracy plot. So have they changed the dialogue then?
SCIOLINO: There is an evolution day by day. This is why I don'ttrust any polls on this subject. The first reaction was defiance,disbelief, shock. It can't possibly be that this man we knew couldhave been guilty of such a crime, sort of like the first stage ofgrief.
Then came incredible anger when the French saw him in handcuffspublicly, which is against French law, and even worse, when heappeared in a court of law unshaven and, quelle horreur, without atie.
Finally, as few of the details have started to come out, moredetails, there is a questioning of, you know, where are we? Was acrime committed? Was this a consensual act? What does crossing theline mean in France? Should we be thinking about what is normalflirtation in the workplace and what is sexual harassment? And whendoes sexual harassment become a crime and, in this case, potentially aviolent crime?
AMANPOUR: So, Cokie and Steve, you've also written this weekthat, in fact, the Dominique Strauss-Kahn situation here hasimplications for the United States, as well.
C. ROBERTS: Well, I -- one of the things that Elaine's point isso well taken on is that we really did change after Anita Hill, and itmade a difference in terms of electing women to office, all of that.
And one of the things that we have been way too slow to changeon, but finally slightly getting there, is listening to women whenthey make these complaints. And the fact that this fancy French hotelpaid attention to a chamber maid instead of the powerful Frenchman isreally a change that is very, very welcome.
AMANPOUR: And yet in the article, and as we know, through allsorts of investigations, this does continue a lot in Peace Corps, inthe military, everywhere.
S. ROBERTS: You're right. There have been a number of Americaninstitutions very slow to respond in the way that Cokie's talkingabout. Peace Corps, over a thousand complaints of rape, that womenhave been subjected to. And one women said the treatment by the PeaceCorps was worse than the rape, because they were so disbelieving andso critical in the way they handled it. Military even worse. So,yes, I agree completely.
AMANPOUR: Let me move over to Arnold Schwarzenegger, which is ascandal, a sex scandal. But the point here is that there were peoplewho wrote about some of his past history. He apologized in generalbefore being elected governor, but he was nonetheless elected. Andone of the reporters who did a lot of investigation said, but, look,we put this out there and you elected him anyway. So does it make adifference?
S. ROBERTS: Well, it happened -- you know, it's veryinteresting, because what happened was the Los Angeles Times did a biginvestigation of him when he was running for governor. And they triedvery hard to make sure they knew what they were talking about, andthey got affidavits from a number of women who swore that he hadharassed them. On the eve of the election, it didn't make muchdifference, you're right. But he, in some ways, I think a lot ofpeople said, well, that was Hollywood behavior. It was not politicalbehavior. I think there's a different standard in terms of someonewho wants the public trust.
C. ROBERTS: Also, it's just -- look, it's just different to haveher be pregnant at the same time as his wife is pregnant, to be in thehouse -- I mean, Steven would be dead. You know, he would not beliving here right now. You would not be interviewing him. He wouldbe in the -- in the grave.
AMANPOUR: But even Newt Gingrich, who's had affairs and severalmarriages, is a legitimate candidate. So my question is, does itmatter in today's political social culture?
C. ROBERTS: Well, different voters -- different voters havedifferent responses to this. And some say, you know, what they do intheir private lives doesn't matter. To me, it is a question ofcharacter. And when you're talking about president of the UnitedStates, every single thing about that person matters.
S. ROBERTS: And, look, what's happened with Newt Gingrich isthat, when you run for president, even someone as experienced as NewtGingrich, you have no idea how white-hot the intensity of scrutinygets. And things that were accepted, things that were OK, things hesaid, things he did as a commentator on Fox, fine. You run forpresident, different standard. And I do think it will matter in hiscampaign. AMANPOUR: All right. Thank you very much, Steve and CokieRoberts, Elaine Sciolino from Paris. Thank you so much for joiningus.
And up next, "In Memoriam" and the Sunday funnies.
AMANPOUR: And now, "In Memoriam."
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SAVAGE: Oh, yeah, dig it.
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AMANPOUR: We remember all of those who died in war this week.The Pentagon released the names of nine soldiers and Marines killed inAfghanistan.
We'll be right back.
AMANPOUR: And now the Sunday funnies. No shortage of materialthis week.
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MEYERS: Donald Trump insisted Monday that if he had stayed inthe race, he would have won the primary and the general election.Pretty bold when you consider the fact that he's not even winning histime slot.
LENO: Well, at a book signing in Minnesota, a gay rightsactivist dumped glitter all over Newt Gingrich. He wants Newt to stopbeing against gay marriage. But Newt is consistent in his position.He believes marriage is a sacred bond between a man, a woman, hismistress, and the other woman he's seeing on the side. That's all...
FERGUSON: Now, it's not just male politicians that do this,though. Plenty of examples of female politicians taking advantage,too. For example...
All right. Men are pigs.
(END VIDEO CLIP) AMANPOUR: And that's it for our program today. For all of ushere, thank you for watching. And you can follow me all week onTwitter and at abcnews.com, and be sure to watch "World News withDavid Muir" later tonight. We'll see you again next week.