‘This Week’ Transcript: John Kerry

ByABC News
February 28, 2014, 1:41 PM
PHOTO: CNN's "Crossfire" Co-Host Van Jones, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R) Illinois, National Review Editor Rich Lowry and ABC News' Cokie Roberts on 'This Week'
CNN's "Crossfire" Co-Host Van Jones, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R) Illinois, National Review Editor Rich Lowry and ABC News' Cokie Roberts on 'This Week'
ABC News

March 2, 2014— -- Below is the rush transcript for "This Week" on March 2, 2014 and it may contain errors. STEPHANOPOULOS: Welcome to This Week.

Brink of war: Russian forces take Crimea. Parliament authorizing a strike on Ukraine. With the world on high alert, will Vladimir Putin expand his invasion.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine.


STEPHANOPOULOS: But will those costs be? Does President Obama have the power to prevent war? This morning, answers from Secretary of State John Kerry and our experts. Plus live reports from the danger zone.

Culture clash: that hot button bill in Arizona. The governor's veto (ph), a watershed moment in the fight for gay rights. Our powerhouse roundtable takes on that debate and all the week's politics.

Plus, Mr. Affleck goes to Washington.

And staff guru (inaudible) cracks the Oscar code all right here this Sunday morning.

ANNOUNCER: From ABC News, This Week with George Stephanopoulos starts now.

STEPHANOPOULOS: As we come on the air this morning, America and the rest are facing the most perilous confrontation with Russia since the Cold War. President Obama spent a tense 90 minutes on the phone with Vladimir Putin yesterday warning him to withdraw forces from Ukraine.

The UN security council has been meeting in emergency session, but Russia is not backing down. Its forces on the move in Crimea surrounding Ukrainian military bases. The new Ukrainian government has put its forces on high alert too. It is a high stakes and dangerous standoff.

And we begin our team coverage with ABC's Alex Marquardt in Crimea.

ALEX MARQUARDT, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: George, when the U.S. says Russia has invaded Ukraine, this is what they mean. These pro-Russian troops are patrolling the streets of Crimea. They have taken over government buildings and the airports. They will not say a word to us, but their message is loud and clear.


MARQUARDT: A dangerous standoff in Crimea -- these well armed professional troops in full combat gear lining the outer wall of a Ukrainian naval base. No one going in or out.

At another base, this commander told us he'd been ordered twice to surrender, but he said his orders were to hold the base and added he was ready to fight.

Russian marines had been seen on the move in Crimea, a region of Ukraine which is home to Russia's Black Sea Fleet and a mostly Russian population.

The U.S. says what is happening is a Russian invasion and occupation and is demanding that their troops withdraw. The UN security council met yesterday in an emergency session.

SAMANTHA POWER, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UN: It is time for the Russian intervention in Ukraine to end. The Russian military must stand down...

MARQUARDT: During a 90 minute call on Sunday, President Putin told President Obama that Russia has the right to defend its interests and Russian people.

Other international leaders have joined with the U.S., British Prime Minister David Cameron saying there's no excuse. Canada recalling its ambassador from Moscow.

This, as pro-Russia fervor sweeps eastern Ukraine. Flags torn down from government buildings, pro-Russia protesters savagely beating those supporting Ukraine's new government. Ukraine now more divided than ever and the prospect of war growing ever closer.


MARQUARDT: Now it is a waiting game. Will Russia complete its takeover of Crimea and possibly other parts of Ukraine? Or will it bow to American and international pressure -- George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That is the big question.

You know, Vladimir Putin's intervention in Ukraine, that goes previous military moves into former Soviet republics like Georgia. And this is the latest in a series of challenges to America and the west.

So what is behind these moves? And where will he go next? ABC's chief foreign correspondent Terry Moran has more on that.


TERRY MORAN, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: In just a few dramatic days, Vladimir Putin has shown the world two sides of his dominating leadership style as ruler of Russia. First, there was Sochi. The Olympic games were Putin's personal project, seven years of work, $50 billion spent all to send a single overriding message as he told George Stephanopoulos just before the games began.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): I would very much like during the Olympics for the athletes, visitors, reporters and those who will follow the Olympics on TV through the media for people to see a new Russia.

MORAN: Then came Ukraine. After revolution in Kiev, Russian tanks, choppers and troops moved into Crimea, an older, darker image of Russian power. But Putin has done this before. 2008, Russian troops invade the neighboring nation of Georgia. Putin declares he is defending ethnic Russians there, the same rationale for his moves in Ukraine. The U.S. and European allies object, but six years later Russian troops remain in Georgia.

Now, Putin has put the world on notice he is willing to use military force in Ukraine and risk another conflict with the U.S. and the west.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are (inaudible) cold war, but we are on the edge of (inaudible).

MORAN: Here's why, Ukraine is a divided nation. Kiev and the west in the country yearn to join Europe and the U.S. and forge a different future while in Crimea and the east where so many ethnic Russian live, they look to Moscow. And Moscow has used Crimea as a major Russian naval base for 200 years.

On Friday, Obama tried to send his own message to Putin.

OBAMA: That there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine.

MORAN: Hours later, Russian troops were on the move and Putin was authorizing more.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: It's pretty clear that maybe the president of the United States has been a bit naive about Vladimir Putin and his ambitions.


MORAN: To be fair, George W. Bush did no better managing Putin even though he declared he'd looked into his soul. The fact is, Putin cares more about being feared than loved in the world and he cares most about restoring Russia's greatness through pageantry or raw power. His next move, it's clear, solidify control over Crimea and make sure that Ukraine never moves too close to the west or else -- George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Thanks, Terry. We are joined now by Secretary of State John Kerry. Mr. Secretary, thanks for joining us this morning. We’ve got these reports now, Russian forces surrounding Ukrainian military bases in the Crimea. Ukraine’s prime minister says we are on the brink of disaster. Is he right?

KERRY: Well, we hope not. We hope it’s not going to be a disaster. What has already happened is a brazen act of aggression, in violation of international law and violation of the UN Charter and violation of the Helsinki final act. In violation of the 1997 Ukraine-Russia basing agreement. Russia is engaged in a military act of aggression against another country, and it has huge risks, George. It’s a 19th century act in the 21st century. It really puts at question Russia’s capacity to be within the G-8.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I understand (ph) it’s a violation, sir. So what’s the penalty for what Russia has already done?

KERRY: Well, we are busy right now coordinating with our counterparts in many parts of the world. Yesterday, the president of the United States had an hour and a half conversation with President Putin. He pointed out importantly that we don’t want this to be a larger confrontation. We are not looking for a U.S.-Russia, East-West redux here. What we want is for Russia to work with us, with Ukraine. If they have legitimate concerns, George, about Russian speaking people in Ukraine, there are plenty of ways to deal with that without invading the country. They have the ability to work with the government, they could work with us, they could work with the UN. They could call for observers to be put in the country. There are all kinds of alternatives. But Russia has chosen this aggressive act, which really puts in question Russia’s role in the world and Russia’s willingness to be a modern nation and part of the G8.

I think there are, you know, they are inviting the possibility of very serious repercussions on trade, on investment, on assets, asset freeze, visa bonds (ph). The potential of actions by the global community against this unilateral step.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, let me (inaudible), specified. Is the United States willing to impose sanctions if Russia does not back down? Are you willing to go to Ukraine and show solidarity with the Ukrainians if Russia does not back down?

KERRY: Absolutely. And the United States and the president is currently considering all options. They are all on the table. We will call on Congress immediately to the degree that they are prepared to be helpful that they immediately lay down with us an economic package in order to assist Ukraine. We think it’s very important for the international entities, the OSCE, the UN, NATO, the North Atlantic Council, the EU Foreign Affairs Council, which will meet tomorrow, all need to weigh in. And I believe they will weigh in heavily.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So let me just pin you down on that. You say that Congress is considering military aid to Ukraine. You want Congress to pass military aid to Ukraine. But do you want to impose economic sanctions – economically, excuse me. Do you want them to impose economic sanctions on Russia?

KERRY: They welcome that we would have to engage in that kind of activity, absolutely. I think all options are on the table. There’s no question but that Russia needs to understand this is serious, and we and other friends and allies engaged in this are all deadly serious about this. You cannot behave this way in the 21st century and sit around the table with the normal entities and pretend that life is as usual. It is not going to be as usual, but we believe there is an alternative. We call on Russia to engage with the government of Ukraine. We’re prepared to work very closely with Russia in order to address whatever legitimate concerns may exist. We believe there are many alternatives before you get to an invasion, and none of those have been tried at this point in time.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But the invasion has already happened, sir, hasn’t it?

KERRY: The invasion of Crimea has already happened, that’s absolutely accurate. And we believe that President Putin should make the decision to roll it back, and we will continue to press for that, as well as for his legitimate engagement with the current government of Ukraine in order to avoid further increase in the tension in the Crimea.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Sir, are there any military options on the table? During the crisis with Georgia, President Bush moved military warships to the region, sent humanitarian aid on a military aircraft. Is the U.S. prepared to do that now? Anything more?

KERRY: George, the hope of the United States and everybody in the world is not to see this escalate into a military confrontation. That will not serve the world well, and I think everybody understands that. The president has all options on the table, but the president’s preference was clearly stated yesterday in his hour and a half conversation with President Putin. President Obama made it clear that we are prepared to work with Russia. We understand that Russia has interests in Crimea. The Ukraine government is prepared to respect the base agreement. Nobody threatened those Russia interests. And we are prepare to stand up against any hooligans, any thuggery, any individual efforts with Russians in order to create stability in Ukraine and allow the people of Ukraine to make their choices for the future.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But do you have any indication at all that President Putin is taking heat (inaudible) as President Obama is saying?

KERRY: Well, they just had the conversation yesterday, and the president invited in to engage with the government. I understand there may have been one phone call. We’re going to continue to engage diplomatically. This is a time for diplomacy, and we will engage diplomatically as much as we can in order to steal this away from the increase in the tension of the level of the crisis. Nobody wants this to spiral into a bad or worse direction. The fact is that there are many options available to Russia, by which Russia can see its interests met. And the most important thing to remember here is, this is not or should not be East-West, Russia-United States, Russia versus Europe. This is about the people of Ukraine, people who stood up against snipers, firing at them from the roofs, who are fighting against the tyranny of having political opposition put in jail. And President Putin I think needs to think carefully about Russia’ real interest here. You know, Russia may be able to invade Crimea, but in the end, Russia will isolate itself, there will be a cost to the economy of Russia, cost to Russian businesses, cost to Russia individuals, and ultimately I think Russia will isolate itself on a global stage that it just spent $60 billion through the Olympics to try to present a different face on. It seems to me that if Russia were to step back and look at where its interests are, we ought to be able to work this out through the diplomatic process. If Russia chooses not to, there will be serious repercussions.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Do those repercussions include the U.S. not going to the G8 summit in Sochi come this summer, sir?

KERRY: It is a distinct possibility. We would hope rather that Russia will choose to engage with us, to work with the government of Ukraine, choose a different direction.

Russia has cooperated with us on the START treaty ,on Afghanistan, on Iran. It ought to be possible to find legitimacy in this particular moment in order to be able to deal in a way that serves the world much better than this choice they’ve made. We’re open to that. We encourage that. President Obama made it clear he prefers that. But the choice is really up to Russia at this point.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Mr. Secretary, thanks very much for your time this morning.

KERRY: Thank you. STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's get some quick analysis now with ABC's chief global affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz and Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger, a member of the House foreign affairs committee.

And Martha, let me begin with you. just heard the secretary say boycotting the Sochi summit a distinct possibility. Everything else (inaudible) on the table, he says. But I know you've been working your sources on this. What is realistically possible? What options are really being considered right now? And will it make any difference?

MARTHA RADDATZ, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: It's very clear the options are limited, George. You don't want to provoke Putin, but you do want to be strong.

You know, we imagine Putin as this hammer-handed old bear, but Russians are very good at chess. He knew the reaction of the world and he took that risk. Major Russian interests are there in Crimea, including those military bases. The threat of not coming to the G8, I can't imagine he's all that concerned.

He's also heard U.S. threats before and nothing happened. And nothing happened to stop them in Crimea. It's a fragile new government with financial woes. Will he stop there? We don't know.

And as Terry pointed out, Russian troops are still in Georgia and he still got the Olympics. Options are limited.

STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, let me talk to Congressman Kinzinger here, a member of the House foreign affairs committee. You have a meeting on this Tuesday. Here is Secretary Kerry asked congress to pass economic aid to the Ukraine. Also seemed open to the idea of sanctions. So, what's House going to do?

REP. ADAM KINZINGER, (R) ILLINOIS: Well, look, I think you're going to find a House that's very cooperative with the administration on this.

First off, we have to accept the reset with Russia is over. So let's just get that on the table.

And now it's time to respond with strength. I think it's important to talk about economic sanctions. It's important to talk about aid to the Ukrainian people to get on the record, have congress on the record supporting the inclusion of Georgia into NATO.

So talk about the fact, look, Russia if you want to threaten your neighbors, including the Ukraine, we're going to go ahead and talk about the expansion of NATO, which is obviously something is obviously something very important to the Russians.

So, I think it's important for congress, and I think you'll see this, to stand very strong with the president and saying, look, we may not be able to respond militarily, but we're going to make it clear that Russia is a pariah state and not just for the next year, but for the next decade or two going forward. There's going to be huge costs.

STEPHANOPOULOS: ...begin this week. OK, congressman, stick with us right now. We're going to switch gears, it's about culture clash in Arizona despite so much reaction this this week over a bill that would allow businesses to refuse services to gays and lesbians by invoking the right to practice their religion.

Governor Jan Brewer resolved the issue in her state by vetoing the bill, but as ABC's Cecilia Vega reports that will not end a spiriting nationwide debate.


CECILIA VEGA, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: It was the Arizona bill that ignited a national firestorm.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nobody rides at the back of the bus (inaudible) lunch counter. We fought that battle once. And that's what this battle is.

VEGA: With polls showing a public shift on gay rights, a majority of Americans now support same sex marriage, the pressure for Arizona Governor Jan Brewer to veto the bill was fierce. Major American companies came out swinging, calling Arizona's law bad for business.

In the end, Brewer vetoed the bill.

GOV. JAN BREWER, (R) ARIZONA: Religious liberty is a core American and Arizona value, so is nondiscrimination.

VEGA: This as some of the most conservative states have become the new battleground in the same-sex marriage war. A federal judge just last week striking down Texas' ban. So-called religious freedom laws, like the one so fiercely debated in Arizona now seen as yet another weapon in the fight by supporters of the bill.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We want for people to be able to have their belief systems respected without the threat of being sued. What about the (inaudible) system.

VEGA: The sexual orientation, the identity of an entire community. Where's the respect come in for that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There needs to be some sort of mutual respect here...

VEGA: Proponents of the failed bill are still hoping to push it forward in other states, while gay rights supporters predict the same outcome.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE; I think there is a serious miscalculation on the part of our opponents. And I'd be surprised if any of the (inaudible) gained real traction.

VEGA: For This Week, Cecilia Vega, ABC News , Phoenix.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's get the roundtable out.

Congressman Kinzinger is back, along with Rich Lowry of the National Review, Van Jones from CNN's Crossfire and our Cokie Roberts. And Cokie, let me begin with you. You know, the veto one more sign of how swiftly the culture is changing. There was so much pressure on Jan Brewer to issue that veto.

COKIE ROBERTS, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: The only surprising thing was how long it took her to do it. The business community was all over her. Marriott Hotels basically saying, you know, nobody will ever go to Arizona again. And the whole country, really, was up in arms.

Now Arizona continues to do these things. You know, they've done it with immigration and they've done it with all kinds of issues.

VAN JONES, CROSSFIRE: Dr. King's birthday.

ROBERTS: Dr. King's birthday, exactly.

So, you never knew what they were going to end up with. But they finally ended up in a place that's not only economically sensible for them, but much more sensible for the Republican Party.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Rich Lowry, you called the veto foolish.

RICH LOWRY, NATIONAL REVIEW: Yeah, this -- if you get to the facts of this, the law was the subject of a tsunami of poorly informed indignation. It was two minor changes to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in Arizona, which has been on the books for 15 years, was modeled on a federal law, championed by Ted Kennedy, signed by Bill Clinton. And all it says is that if you're going to substantially burden someone's exercise of their religion, there has to be a compelling governmental interest at stake.

So the idea of (inaudible) anti-gay (inaudible) was completely false.

JONES: Let me say a couple of things about that. First of all, that so-called minor expansion when people looked at it, it actually opened up a whole Pandora's box. More importantly, the only justification for doing it were anti-gay justifications. And that's what really blew thing up. They didn't say there's 57 problems, they said the problem has to do with gay (inaudible).


JONES: I'm going to tell you one thing, I'm passionate about this, and a lot of people are. The one great achievement of the last century, we took out of American lexicon six words, "we don't serve your kind here." We took those words out. It took the civil rights movement to do it, Dr. King got killed trying to do it, "we don't serve your kind here" is not acceptable anymore. Those no blacks allowed signs came down. We don't want to see no gays signs allowed in this country. And it's a very emotional...

LOWRY: That's not what this law would have done.

JONES: It absolutely would.

LOWRY: If you ever run a coffee shop and you refuse to serve a gay person, one, you're an idiot. Two, you're not going to have a defense under this law, because serving someone coffee is not a burden on your religion.

What -- the cases we're talking about that are relevant here is bakers, florists, photographers who say -- the evangelical Christians or Catholics who say I don't have any problem with gay people, but I don't want to participate in a gay wedding, because I have conscientious objections to it. And there have been cases where people have been punished, Van, for that, reported to the authorities for sanctions or fines. That is wrong, and that's what is trying to be addressed here.

ROBERTS: One of the reasons that it's so important to draw these lines is that we have some cases right now in the Supreme Court, which are saying that people who are business owners, not religious institutions and not religiously affiliated institutions like Catholic Hospitals, for instance, but business owners saying they don't have to provide contraceptive coverage because we disagree with it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Congressman, do you think most of our colleagues and the House Republican colleagues were relieved by the veto?

KINZINGER: Well, look, I think what's very interesting about all of this -- and as a federal guy I try not to always get involved in other states (inaudible)...

JONES: Good luck.

KINZINGER: I'll tell you what's -- yeah -- but what's interesting is the politics of this. I mean, if you look at something became rather unjustifiably or justifiably a very big deal, it -- you know, you had the NFL threatening to pull out. You had bans being threatened. It's interesting to see how the politics on this issue works now where you can bring, in essence, the free market into...


STEPHANOPOULOS: Someone said the Fortune 500 is becoming the most effective lobby for gay rights.

Now let me press you on this Van, you made a passionate case right there. What about those who argue that how about live and let live? If, you know, a florist doesn't want to work at a gay wedding, then the couple can go somewhere else?

JONES: A couple of things, first of all this idea that you can blame religion for bigotry, I heard that growing up. I had White adults tell me god separated the races after the flood, after Noah's arc, god said said therefore it's a religious obligation for us to maintain segregation.

You can't -- look, if you want to be a bigot on your own time, that's fine. But if you want to extend that to your LLC, to your business that you own and hold out for public, you can't point to god to excuse your bigotry.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Rich, you get the last word on this.

LOWRY: Yeah, it's different than the situation in the Jim Crow south where you had state sanctioned system of discrimination that was flatly unconstitutional. And there was a governmental interest in ensuring that African Americans could travel in the south, which you couldn't do -- if no hotel and no restaurant would serve you.

In this case, the (inaudible) in the street is no bristling with hostility to gay people. You're dealing with the occasional baker or florist who has a genuine conscientious objection. And if they do, you can find another baker or florist.

STEPHANOPOULOS: We've got to take a quick break. We're back in just two minutes with President Obama's call to action for young African-American men. Magic Johnson, Colin Powell and our experts weigh in.

And later, (inaudible) than Barack Obama in this year's campaign trail? The Tea Party turns five. The powerhouse roundtable takes on all the week's politics.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Barack Obama is one of the most buttoned up presidents, but his raw feelings were on display this week when he spoke of the young black men whose path he admits could easily have been his own. Outraged by the fact that young black men are more likely than other Americans to drop out of school, but sent to prison or end up murdered.

He launched a new initiative called My Brother's Keeper. ABC's Pierre Thomas was there.


PIERRE THOMAS, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: 22,000 -- that's the number of African-American men murdered in the U.S. during the first four years of the Obama presidency, 22,000.

President Obama met these young men on a trip last year to his hometown Chicago. This week, they brought stories of their stark reality to Washington.

Tell me what each one of your want to be. And then I want you to tell me what the greatest obstacles are.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to be an architect and design buildings. And the obstacle is, like, the streets, like the neighborhoods I go through -- shooting, stabbing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to be a criminal profiler for the FBI. The violence, because they make me not even want to go to school.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to be a prosecutor. It's sad, man, that you can't even walk down the street. It's like you've got to pick and choose the right time to leave the house.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just the other day, somebody tried to rob my brother with a gun at a gas station.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's like very stressful, that's the most overwhelming thing ever.

THOMAS: The young men joined Obama to launch his My Brother's Keeper initiative and in tying together the nation's best mentoring programs and providing educational and economic opportunities to at-risk youth.

For the president, this is clearly personal.

OBAMA: When I was their age I was a lot like them. I didn't have a dad in the house. And I was angry about it. I made bad choices. I got high without always thinking about the harm that it could do. I didn't always take school as seriously as I should have. I made excuses.

I can see myself in these young men. When I made a mistake, the consequences were not as severe. I had people who encouraged me. They never gave up on me. And so I didn't give up on myself.

THOMAS: The president is hoping that $350 million in private donations and commitments from leaders from all walks of American life will help parents and young men break the cycle of violence and poverty.

These problems have been longstanding around a long time. What is it going to take to truly make a difference?

EARVIN "MAGIC" JOHNSON: Well, I think the most powerful man in the world saying that we have a problem, that's President Obama, and then now getting people involved, getting corporate America involved.

THOMAS: Some of the critics have been calling for this earlier. Is this something the president wanted to do? Should he have acted earlier?

VALERIE JARRETT: When the president took office, just remember what was going on -- banks were on the verge of collapse, people were losing their homes, the economy was in a freefall, we had two wars going on. And now that the economy is growing, now is the point where we have to make sure that every child has an opportunity.

THOMAS: Colin Powell said the crisis should not be a partisan issue. But he acknowledged that the first African-American president has to walk a tight-rope lest he be perceived as playing favorites.

COLIN POWELL, FRM. SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, I think he threaded the needle very well. He made it clear that he was concerned, as he has to be as the president of the United States, with all Americans. But when you have a particular unique problem that has historic roots to it, and those historic roots continue to contaminate the present, in order to prepare for the future you can't hide from this problem.

THOMAS: Obama called the fight of so many young people an outrage. 22,000 dead.

For this week, I'm Pierre Thomas, ABC News, Washington.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Thanks to Pierre Thomas.

For more now from our experts, Van Jones is back along with Dr. Gail Christopher from the WK Kellogg Foundation, Heather McDonald from Manhattan Institute.

And Dr. Christopher, let me begin with you. The Kellogg Foundation, you attended this week at the White House. Kellogg Foundation very actively involved.

But put some meat on the bones of what Magic Johnson was saying. What specific difference will it make to have the president calling this meeting and launching this initiative?

DR. GAIL CHRISTOPHER, WK KELLOGG FOUNDATION: We are -- the Kellogg Foundation is one of many foundations that have stepped up. Adding the voice of the president of the United States is unprecedented and extremely important, not only to mobilizing other resources, but also to the young men.

We all want what's best for our children. And imagine the experience of every day knowing that people have permission to use deadly force against you, even if you aren't armed, you know, to be exposed to schools that are under-resourced, to live in fear.

So we're very excited that the president has said the norm is not acceptable anymore. I think that's the real power here.

And don't get me wrong (ph) --


STEPHANOPOULOS: (INAUDIBLE) some of the president's words, particularly his words about fathers and their responsibilities as fathers, we would save more money isn't necessarily the answer.

HEATHER MAC DONALD: Well, I think there was a revolutionary initiative, waiting to get out of this speech, George, that never quite made it, the two most important moments were President Obama's moving declaration of the overwhelming sense of responsibility he would have for his son if he had one, to keep him out of trouble and give him a sense of compassion and respect for others that he would need to succeed.

And the other important point was President Obama's observation that nothing keeps a young man out of trouble like a father who takes an active role in his life. And that should have been the theme, how do we (INAUDIBLE) family and make sure that more children are raised by their fathers, because the data is clear.

Children who grow up in fatherless homes are five times as likely to commit a crime or be poor, nine times as likely to drop out and 20 times as likely to end up in prison.

How do I know this? President Obama said so in 2008 when he was running for the presidency. There's no more important gap than the fatherlessness gap. And if affects all Americans, but it's especially acute for young men of color. And that's what we should be worried about.

JONES: Well, that's one of the things we should be worried about. But as a dad and somebody who's -- my father was in the home and it made a tremendous difference for me.

I think, though, we -- it's important that we hold these young people to high standards and we hold the adults to even higher standards. It's very hard to climb a ladder out of poverty if it doesn't have any rungs on it. And we've got to begin to put those rungs of opportunity back up for these kids.

And, listen, everybody else who got in trouble in America, Wall Street got in trouble, we were there for Wall Street. The auto industry got in trouble. We were there for the auto industry. We got a whole generation of young kids who are clearly in trouble. I'm so proud the president finally stepped forward.

STEPHANOPOULOS: How do we know if this is working?

CHRISTOPHER: Well, like all social interventions, you know we have ways; we have metrics we can follow, whether the jobs have increased, whether the graduation rates have increased.

We certainly can track the number of young people who actually have mentors, have people in their lives to guide them. And these, you can count these.

JONES: Can I say one more thing? I do think -- I agree with what you're saying about fatherhood. But sometimes -- and my fear is that people will say, well, it's just up to the dads. Dads got to do more. But we have this many kids in trouble, we all have to do more. And it shouldn't be either/or. We've got to be able to do both.


MAC DONALD: It's not the chance that we're going to say that. I mean, nobody's been saying that. That's the problem. We have been doing programs as we should with compassion and concern for three decades. They haven't made much difference because nobody's willing to talk about fathers and say they're not an optional appendage to children.

There's wonderful single mothers there who are trying to do the best by their kids. But kids need their fathers. (INAUDIBLE) --


MAC DONALD: -- there's nothing more important --

JONES: It's one of many -- it's one of many --

MAC DONALD: 73 percent of all black children are born to single mothers (INAUDIBLE) 29 percent of white kids.

JONES: These --

MAC DONALD: We've got to close the gap.

JONES: These statistics you're talking about are heartbreaking for every African American. Do you think that you need anybody to tell us how terrible this is? We work on this every day. But we also need corporate America to step up; we need the president to speak out. We need more things than just dads doing better.



CHRISTOPHER: Julius (ph) Wilson framed this decades ago: when work disappears, marriage declines. And as long as we have communities where there are no job opportunities, where the education systems are failing, you will not have an increase in marriage rates. Obama (INAUDIBLE) fatherhood discussion and isolate it from the reality of the economic --

MAC DONALD: Obama has said there's too many fathers who are acting like boys, not men. And nothing prevents you from marrying the mother of your children. That is within your own personal choice. And we have to say that fathers are essential to their --

JONES: Amen. I agree with you.

STEPHANOPOULOS: We'll have to revisit this debate. Thank you all very much (INAUDIBLE) --

MAC DONALD: Thank you.

STEPHANOPOULOS: -- discussion.

Up next, the Tea Party turns five gaining traction and losing steam, (INAUDIBLE) on that.

Plus the mission Ben Affleck says changed his life. We're back in less than two minutes.




TED CRUZ: I think the Tea Party is the most exciting political development in decades.

STEVE KING: We're going to restore constitutional rights in America.

MICHELLE BACHMANN: We are the adults in the room when it comes to dealing with our budget. That's the Tea Party.

TIM HUELSKAMP: While we're talking about (INAUDIBLE), isn't it high time we retired John Boehner?


STEPHANOPOULOS: A lot of passion there at the Tea Party fifth birthday party this week. We're back with the roundtable right now.

So, Cokie Roberts, Tea Party turns 5 this week. You heard that call for John Boehner to go. They have not been successful in that.

COKIE ROBERTS, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: And John Boehner, in some ways, I think, is stronger than he's been because -- because Congress did consider a lot of what we're talking about, this -- the government shutdown did affect the Tea Party. They understood that this was not working for them.

But they had a five-year anniversary that they liked. And I would look closely at what happens in the primaries coming up to see what their strength is.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That's what I want to talk about. It does appear that, you know, there are a lot of Republican primaries; I think the most recent -- the best one coming up is Texas on Tuesday.

And it does appear Rich Lowry that, in some ways, an establishment Republican to say that (INAUDIBLE) is learning its lesson, that the establishment Republicans showing great strength against Tea Party challengers this time around.

RICH LOWRY: Well, yes. I think probably the incumbent who has the most to pierce Thad Cochran down in Mississippi a long time appropriator, big-spending Republican, has very smooth talking Tea Party candidate who's a state senator down there to worry about.

But a lot of these Tea Party challengers had rough weeks or two. You know, down there in Mississippi, Chris McDaniel (ph), the challenger, got wrapped around the axle on whether he supported Katrina funding or not. You've had Matt Bevan, Tea Party challenger, to Mitch McConnell got wrapped around the axle about whether he supported TARP or not. And opposition to TARP was one of the, you know, key pillars of his campaign.

So, so far these incumbents are looking pretty safe.

ROBERTS: Except in the House, and that's where you have to look at it. And Texas has a big primary coming up this week. And these are safe Republican districts that are empty, where the people have resigned and so then what you have is a Republican against a Republican. And in those situations you tend to have the more conservative Republican --


STEPHANOPOULOS: And what difference is that going to make in the House, Congressman Kinzinger? Because it does appear as Cokie was saying that you know, the Tea Party had to -- they wanted a confrontation over the government shutdown. They seemed to have lost that.

And that seems to have liberated John Boehner and other Republicans as saying no more to the Tea Party.

KINZINGER: Yes, having 2013 was probably just a low point in terms of House politics in general. Let's keep in mind this isn't just Republicans doing this. I mean a lot of times Democrats have refused to engage with us on anything.

But the Tea Party brought and brings a lot of energy to the Republican Party. But I think where the difference is is the idea of tactics.

So you know, it's a very monolithic party; we believe the debt's too high, too much unemployment, smaller government, et cetera. The question is, as a minority position in government, do you shut down the government and compel the other side to action?

And when we tried that, I think the American people and even our base saw, OK, the shutdown idea's not going to work.

And I think it's -- if you look at what we've done in the first couple months this year, we've achieved a lot of things that may not have made a ton of news, from farm bill and a budget deal and everything else. I think we're on a much better path today.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And a clean path, then, Van Jones, for the midterms. And to pick up on what Rich Lowry was talking about right there, it does appear that for the most part in these key senate races, and the senate control is up for grabs in November, that the Republican nominees will not be as easy targets as they were in 2010 or 2012.

JONES: Darn. Darn. Yeah. In fact -- first, let me just give President Obama little bit of credit. When he stood up to the Tea Party and said, listen, we're just not going to do this, he helped to defang the Tea Party, which actually I think helped the Republicans. It definitely helped Boehner. Boehner is in a stronger position now because Obama refused to go along with the nonsense in the fall. I think that's probably good for the Republican Party.

I think from our point of view, I still don't think the Republican Party looks like a party that's ready to govern. People to want narrow it down to the Tea Party -- this is not just a Tea Party problem, this is a Republican Party problem. They look like the party of obstruction, the party of no and the party of pain.

STEPHANOPOULOS: They also look like a party that's going to pick up a lot of seats in the Senate, don't they?

JONES: Listen, we have been banking on them making dumb mistakes. And I have been telling Democrats for a long time just because the other guy is dumb doesn't make you a genius. They are learning. But I still think that when you look at the overall positions that they take, the Republican Party positions are unpopular on minimum wage, unpopular on unemployment, unpopular on a number of issues. I think Democrats have a shot.

ROBERTS: The only way they don't take the Senate is if they do screw up with the nominees, saying things like legitimate rape. But they're working very hard to keep the nominees from doing that.


JONES: If they don't shoot themselves in the foot.

ROBERTS: And if the Democrats get out the presidential year voters. And that's a very difficult thing to do in an off year.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Very hard to do.

LOWRY; Obviously the Republicans had some weak Senate candidates over the last couple of cycles, but they've also some very strong ones. And this new generation of conservatives brought into the Senate because of the Tea Party -- Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, these are people who will have an impact for decades.

And I want to half or maybe quarter or one-fifth agree with Van, I don't know how to calibrate it, but obstruction was very important to stopping the Obama aggrandizement of the state, but a positive agenda in this new phase is really important as well. And that's where I think the most valuable player on the Tea Party right is Mike Lee who recognized that the party has to be bold, but has to be constructive and positive.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I want to get to maybe the most valuable player on the Democratic side this time around, we saw Bill Clinton this week going out and campaigning for Alison Lundergan Grimes. She's running against Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader of the senate right there.

And Cokie, I want to bring this to you. It does appear that he's going to be much more popular in Kentucky, in Arkansas, in North Carolina than Barack Obama who likely won't go there and campaign.

ROBERTS: No. I don't think they don't want him -- the Democrats don't want him in the states. And he's fine with that. I mean, presidents understand that. George Bush was in the same position.

But Bill Clinton must be in ecstasy. Because, you know, Al Gore would not let him campaign for him in 2000. And Clinton was just chafing at the bit, and now he's the most popular guy in the Democratic Party.

JONES: In American politics.

LOWRY: The problem is he's not the president. The guy who is the president, his approval rating nationally the low 40s. And then you go into the red states, or the key battleground and the Senate, and he is even lower than that.


KINZINGER: It's always amazing to me is that you look at George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, they get out of public life and go away and be statesman.

And, look, I think Bill Clinton's probably a great guy, he's a great campaigner. But it's always interesting to see the dichotomy, the difference. The Democrats need Bill Clinton to be effective because President Obama just isn't going to be. And he's good at raising money and money...

JONES: First of all, I can't let that one go.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You get five seconds.

JONES: I don't think George W. Bush going away, painting pictures of being a statesman. I think Bill Clinton on the world stage -- Bill Clinton has been on the world stage -- has been on the world stage...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you attacking Bush's paintings, man?

ROBERTS: They're all doing good things. The ex-presidents are doing good things.

STEPHANOPOULOS: It would be that easy to get out of it.

Before we go, quick "powerhouse puzzler" this week. And here is the question for everyone, "who is the only American president to head a labor union?" We'll be back in two minutes with the answer.

ROBERT: I got that one.(CROSSTALK)

STEPHANOPOULOS: I think our question might have been too easy this week. Who is the only president to have headed a labor union?

Rich Lowry.

LOWRY: Ronald Wilson Reagan.

KINZINGER: I represent his boyhood home in Dixon, Illinois. Ronald Reagan

ROBERTS: Reagan, the Screen Actors Guild, which is very appropriate for Oscars Day.

STEPHANOPOULOS; That's right. Not happened before, everyone got it right. Way to go.

JONES: And he was also on the right side of an anti-gay ballot measure in California. So, good for Reagan.

STEPHANOPOULOS: One more point.


STEPHANOPOULOS: We'll be right back.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Ben Affleck scored some bipartisan praise on Capitol Hill this week when he joined the U.S. special envoy to Congo, Russ Feingold, in a bid to leverage his star power for aid to that war ravaged country.

The Oscar winner traveled there nine times for his Eastern Congo Initiative. And as he told Martha Raddatz, that mission has changed his life.


MARTHA RADDATZ, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Of all the Hollywood stars who used their celebrity to focus cameras on a favorite cause, Ben Affleck, who has dedicated himself to war torn eastern Congo, is one of the most well-respected.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: You are eminently qualified to give us the benefit of your experience and knowledge.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We admire your acting, but we admire your activism even more.

BEN AFFLECK, ACTOR: I am, to state the obvious, not a Congo expert. I'm an American working to do my part for a country and a people I believe in and care deeply about.

RADDATZ: The numbers from Congo are mind-boggling -- 5 million dead since 1998, almost 3 million still displaced from their homes last year.

AFFLECK: Targeted investment and promising Congolese-driven solutions can and will drive economic growth and will create jobs.

RADDATZ: But Affleck doesn't just talk about it, he has been there nine times with his organization, Eastern Congo Initiative.

AFFLECK: It's not that people don't care about Africa or about terrible crises like this, it's just like you don't to want hear about it. It's so vile. The way it's presented is so difficult. And you can't take it in. How many millions of people. I can't even understand that.

It really struck me, you know, why is this child's life worth any less than own my children? Why is this woman's life worth less than my wife?

RADDATZ: What would you say to Americans about why they should care about this?

AFFLECK: This is who we are as Americans. We believe in helping others who are down, who are suffering, who are being exploited. Those are our values. And we are a little weary because we have been involved in several conflicts overseas that have maybe sapped some of our will and we have become perhaps a bit disillusioned with engaging overseas. But I don't think that we should give up on our core values.

RUSS FEINGOLD, U.S. SPECIAL ENVOY TO CONGO: It's really a model for the way the United States needs to approach this. He's given it sustained attention. And that's my motto for what the United States is trying to do here.

RADDATZ: I think I heard something on your website that your life didn't have much meaning until you did this.

AFFLECK: Before you engage in some issue, people sit down and you go this is all you're doing? Is just being a celebrity, you're not giving back anything in the world? I thought, I haven't really done anything substantial, aside from my work, that I can look back on and say I contributed to society in a way that was commensurate with the blessings that I have.

RADDATZ: There is rare good news out of the Congo after more than a decade of fighting, a major rebel group surrendered last November and a special all-Africa-led UN peacekeeping team has had success reducing the violence.

Still, Affleck and Feingold say the U.S. should press the young Congolese government to do more, like hold fair elections and fix the police.

FEINGOLD: Without those things, yes, it becomes very fragile, and we can lose the progress we've made.

AFFLECK: It's not about spending money, it's not going to cost our government a lot of money, it's getting the attention of the secretary and the president and the Senate and the House to say this is a priority for us. That in and of itself can kind of move mountains.

RADDATZ: Affleck will continue his work, but with a pause for tonight's Oscar ceremony.

Let me ask you one question that you weren't asked on Capitol Hill? So, what are you doing for the Oscars?

AFFLECK: My wife is presenting. I am not. But I'll probably sneak along with her and then we'll have a date night and go to a few of the parties and have a good time.

RADDATZ: His wife, Jennifer Garner, in the Oscar-nominated movie "Dallas Buyers Club."

AFFLECK: "Dallas Buyers Club," yes, my heart is with my wife's movie, which she's so great in it.

RADDATZ: Your prediction, senator?

FEINGOLD: I'll be watching it on television.

AFFLECK: Senator, maybe you ought to come with me.

FEINGOLD: Oh, now you're talking.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Of course, it will be hard for Affleck to top last year, when his film Argo won best picture. And as we look ahead to the Oscars, tonight, we wanted to see if there's a secret those winners share.

ESPN's stat wiz Nate Silver and his Fivethirtyeight Crew teamed up with our pop culture wiz Lara Spencer to come up with some surprising answers on what it takes to be in the running for best picture.


LARA SPENCER, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: What makes a best picture nominee?

NATE SILVER, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, FIVETHIRTYEIGHT: The academy has always liked kind of classic Shakespearian themes maybe with just enough contemporary setting thrown in that they feel like this is hip and relevant.

SPENCER: ESPN's Nate Silver and his research partner, Walter Hicky from FiveThirtyEight studied data for every best picture nominee since the dawn of the Oscars.

CLARK GABLE, ACTOR: Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn.

SPENCER: All right, so let's break it down. What do you see in term was location?

WALTER HICKEY, GENERAL EDITOR, FIVETHIRTYEIGHT: Sure, so New York is the most common location.

LEONARDO DICAPTRIO, ACTOR: My name is Jordan Belfort.

SPENCER: It turns out the Big Apple is Oscar's favorite with 20 percent of best picture nominees based there, followed closely by Paris and London, with D.C. and L.A. lagging behind.

HICKEY: So you kind of see an exit from L.A. recently

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown.

SPENCER: What are winning movies usually about? While relationships between women are less likely to get the nod.

SALLY FIELDS, ACTRESS: Well, I must have missed the passage in Emily Post that said all abuse is heaped on the mother of the bride.

SPENCER: The most common, relationships between a husband and wife, then a father and son, followed by a mother and son.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You should have thought about that years ago and worked for it.

SPENCER: Is there a doctor in the house?

ROBIN WILLIAMS, ACTOR: I'm Dr. Theyier (ph).

SPENCER: If so, you may have a good shot of being nominated. Turns out doctors, singers and dancers are the top three favorite movie professions come Oscar time.

HICKEY: It was followed by reporters and lawyers.

JUDY DENCH, ACTRESS: You're a journalist.


DENCH: A Roman Catholic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Well, no, I used to be.

SPENCER: What was the number, when you did all the Oscar math, that surprised you both the most?

HICKEY: Face slap.

SILVER: How often movies that have been nominated for best picture contain literally a slap in the face.

CHER, ACTRESS: Snap out of it.

HICKEY: For best picture winners, in fact, around 31 percent of best picture winners involve a scene where somebody's slapped in the face.

SPENCER: So how does all this math add up for this year's Oscar front runners?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can I speak of what did not occur?

SPENCER: "12 Years a Slave," what did you find?

HICKEY: so, "12 Years a Slave" again kind of adheres to those really monumental themes -- a husband and wife relationship is a core element of the plot, there's loss, there's death, there's folks overcoming adversity. So, it really does kind of have a very signature Oscar appeal package.

SPENCER: "Her," to me this seems most out of the box in terms of your data.



SILVER: I think that's right. I think it involves very few of the themes that are classic and maybe that means, you know, we're not trying to predict too much here,but that means its chances maybe aren't quite as good.

SPENCER: So, let me get this straight, if I'm making a movie and I set in New York, it's about a doctor and a husband, it's about a husband and wife relationship, she gets infuriated and slaps him in the face, so far I'm cooking.

HICKEY: If you see a bunch of face slapping films nominated next year, right, then we'll know...

SPENCER: We'll thank you.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Glad we solved that.

Lara and Robin Roberts kick off our Oscar coverage with their red carpet special tonight at 7:00 pm Eastern followed by the Oscars at 8:00 right here on ABC. We'll be right back.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Some welcome news from Afghanistan this week, no deaths announced by the Pentagon. And we end on that happy note.

Thanks for sharing part of your Sunday with us. Check out "World News" with David Muir tonight. And I'll see you tomorrow for our GMA Oscar show live from L.A.


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