December 7, 2014 -- Below is the rush transcript of "This Week" on December 7, 2014. It may contain errors.
ANNOUNCER: Starting right now on ABC's This Week, new details this morning about that daring rescue attempt. U.S. special forces swooping in to try to save an American held captive by al Qaeda. How the operation went down and what went wrong.
Outrage in the streets: allegations of the police using excessive force in New York, Ferguson, Cleveland. Mayor Bill de Blasio here live exclusively as ABC News tackles race, justice in America.
And gas prices plunging: the lowest levels in more than four years, saving Americans hundreds of dollars. What's behind this dramatic drop? And how low will they go?
From ABC News, this week with George Stephanopoulos begins now.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, HOST: Good morning. We begin with that desperate raid gone wrong. American journalist Luke Summers killed during a last minute rescue attempt held by al Qaeda in Yemen for more than a year. His captors a promise to kill him this weekend. So U.S. special forces swooped in, but they were discovered at the last moment. And ABC's chief investigative correspondent Brian Ross here with the details. Good morning, Brian.
BRIAN ROSS, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, George.
U.S. officials say the president gave the OK for the raid after intelligence reports indicated al Qaeda was about to carry out its threat to execute the 33-year-old Luke Summers.
ROSS: It was a high-risk mission to begin with, launched under an almost full moon from a U.S. air base in Djibouti around 1:00 a.m. local time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a very dangerous and complicated mission, but like always in these efforts, there's risk.
ROSS: Some 40 commanders from the elite SEAL Team 6 landed about six miles away from the al Qaeda hideout to avoid being detected by the aircraft noise.
The team made its way on foot to within 100 yards of the objective when a U.S. counterterrror source tells ABC News one of the al Qaeda guards who had gone outside to relieve himself spotted the team.
What ensued was a fierce 10 minute gun battle in which most, but not al Qaeda guards were killed with none of the U.S. forces injured.
But U.S. officials say one of the attackers was seen racing inside the building and is believed to have shot both Summers and a second hostage.
One of them died from his wounds being flown out to a U.S. navy ship offshore, the other died in the ship's medical facility.
Summers, who grew up in Sacramento, had worked in Yemen as a photojournalist until he was kidnapped 14 months ago. U.S. officials denounced what they called his brutal murder.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will be relentless in our efforts to bring to justice those who have caused this death. Some already have been brought to justice in the raid, but there's much more to do.
ROSS: The other hostage killed was a South African teacher Pierre Korkie. The group he worked for said they had negotiated for him to be released today and home in time for Christmas, George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: That's a tough one. OK, Brian, thanks very much.
We're joined now by our security analyst Matthew Olsen. Until recently, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center. Welcome.
Boy, this mission about as difficult as it comes.
MATTHEW OLSEN, FRM. DIR. NATIONAL COUNTERTERRORISM CENTER: This was extremely dangers and risky. You had AQ operatives who were armed. And they were on alert given the prior rescue attempt. This is a very remote and rugged area of Yemen. And it looks like U.S. special forces lost the element of surprise. So, yeah, this was extremely difficult and risky.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And you noted, this shows something new for al Qaeda. They seem to be adopting the tactics of ISIS.
OLSEN: Right. The question that folks are going to have to watch is, is al Qaeda in Yemen or are other al Qaeda elements going to adopt what we've seen ISIS do in Syria, that is executing hostages.
STEPHANOPOULOS: They hadn't done it before.
OLSEN: Not in this nature, not in this way. And so they've asked for ransom payments. So that's something that folks are going to be very careful in watching in the coming days.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And all of this is happening the back drop of the expected release this week of the Senate torture report, which has officials around the world -- U.S. officials -- on really high alert.
OLSEN: Right. So the interrogation report coming out looks like this week. The issue there from a counterterrorism perspective is does this increase the risk to U.S. personnel, particularly some of the details in the report. And the concern is over our military forces, our diplomats and other officials around the world, particularly in areas where there are hot spots in the Middle East and North Africa.
STEPHANOPOULOS: OK. Matt Olsen, thanks very much.
We're going to turn now to the crisis of confidence in our justice system, especially among black Americans. Thousands of protesters marching again overnight, turning violent in Berkeley where at least one police officer was injured.
So much anger over those grand jury decisions in New York and Ferguson and of course that little boy shot in Cleveland while holding a toy gun.
All week long, ABC News will be tackling the questions of race and justice in America. And we begin with senior justice correspondent Pierre Thomas.
PIERRE THOMAS, ABC NEWS JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: New York City, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Seattle, Los Angeles, thousands outraged by allegations of excessive force by police, especially white officers against blacks.
New chants joining "no justice, no peace" as part of a modern-day civil rights lexicon. And new symbols ignited by these searing images: Eric Garner dead at the hands of the NYPD, Michael Brown, unarmed, shot in Ferguson, Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy with a toy gun, shot by police after a two second confrontation in Cleveland.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People are outraged at what we see. And we cannot stand, and we refuse to watch.
THOMAS: And this week the Justice Department accusing Cleveland Police of systemic misconduct.
UNIDENTIFIED: The Cleveland division of public police engages in a pattern and practice of using excessive force.
THOMAS: In one case cited by federal officials, Cleveland police fired more than 130 rounds into a car, killing an unarmed black man and woman after a high speed chase.
In the last five years, the Justice Department has opened more than 20 investigations into police departments across the country. Justice officials are enforcing 15 agreements with law enforcement agencies, often to correct unconstitutional policing practices.
Now, President Obama is calling for body cameras on officers. In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio wants police retraining and raised eyebrows with this comment about the police and his son who is biracial.
BILL DE BLASIO, MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY: We've had to literally train him, as families have all over this city for decades, in how to take special care in any encounter he has with the police officers who are there to protect him.
THOMAS: But those who support law enforcement suggest that the levels of police bias are being overstated.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think interjecting race into the conversation is hugely problematic for the country, to paint the masses of hundreds of thousands of law enforcement officers who have a very difficult job to do, to paint them all with one brush, is a mistake.
THOMAS: By all accounts, an unhealthy situation, old wounds proving difficult to heal, with more tense days to come -- George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: No question about that.
OK, Pierre, thanks very much.
STEPHANOPOULOS: We're joined now by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Welcome to this week. Your first appearance here. Thank you for joining us.
What a difficult week here in New York City. And back in August, you promised to ensure a fair and justified outcome in the Garner case. Do you believe the grand jury's decision met that standard?
BILL DE BLASIO, MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY: George, I make it a point not to talk about any element of judicial process per se. I'd talk about what we have to do to fix the relationship between police and community.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Others are willing to, why not you?
DE BLASIO: Because as an executive in public service I think it's important to respect the judicial process...
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you respect the grand jury's decision.
DE BLASIO: Respect the process.
But the point here is we have a whole series of things we have to do to change the dynamics in our city. This is true all over the country. We have to retrain police forces in how to work with communities differently. We have to work on things like body cameras that would provide different level of transparency and accountability.
This is something systemic. And we bluntly have to talk about the historic racial dynamics underlie this.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you respect the process, but not the decision?
DE BLASIO: George, the point is we in public service who have an opportunity to change policies and approaches have to do that. This is not about one case, it's about something bigger that has to be addressed. And part of what I tried to say the night of the decision is that we have to have an honest conversation in this country about a history of racism. We have to have an honest conversation about the problem that has caused parents to feel their children may be in danger in their dynamics with police when the police are there to protect them.
We have to transcend that. And in this city, we've tried to begin that process in earnest with a series of policy changes that will really reach people on the streets.
STEPHANOPOULOS: There's a lot of people at the beginning of that conversation is making sure that justice is done in individual cases. As you know, as you've said, a lot of people don't believe that's been done here. So the civil rights case is going to proceed at the federal level. You do support that?
DE BLASIO: We are absolutely cooperating with the federal government.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And do you believe that there was a civil rights violation here?
DE BLASIO: I am first of all not a lawyer, but more importantly I respect that the federal government will have its own investigation, NYPD will have an investigation as well and will come to its own judgment. But the cases, individual cases of course they draw our feelings, they mean so much to people and we relate through them personally. But what we have to do is change the fundamental relationship between police and community.
Our police keep us safe, and yet there's been, as I said not just decades of problems, a history of centuries of racism that under gird this reality. We can transcend that. We believe in New York City. Retraining our entire police for. It's going to make a huge difference. This is something our commissioner Bill Bratton is fundamentally a believer that if you train the police in a different approach to the use of force, in a different approach to communication with the community, a different approach to building relationships with the community you won't see these tragedies.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And as you point at that, police misconduct in New York City has actually gone down in recent years.
You just said the statement, "Our police keep us safe." But you did draw a lot of response with your comments about your son, Dante, the other day, when you asked, was he safe each night, and not only from crime, but also from the police. It drew a very sharp reaction from the head of the police union.
Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PATRICK LYNCH, PRESIDENT, PATROLMEN'S BENEVOLENT ASSOCIATION: What we need is a mayor to stand up with and for us, as well. What police officers felt yesterday after that press conference is that they were thrown under the bus.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Throw the police under the bus?
DE BLASIO: No, of course not. I have immense respect for the men and women who protect us. In fact, what we're trying to do is make everyone safer in this equation. We're trying to protect all of our communities and protect the people who do this important work.
To do that, we have to draw on police and community together. And you can't achieve that if you're not having a real conversation about what's happening.
Of course people respond when they see a tragedy like this. They see it through their own eyes, through their own prism of their family. And we can't deny that and act out that isn't the reality and we're seeing it...
STEPHANOPOULOS: (INAUDIBLE) your son is at risk from your own police department?
DE BLASIO: Look, I want to say it the right way, because I think there was so much misunderstanding here. What parents have done for decades who have children of color, especially young men of color, is train them to be very careful when they have a connection with a police officer, when they have an encounter with a police officer.
It's different for a white child. That's just the reality in this country. And with Dante, very early on with my son, we said, look, if a police officer stops you, do everything he tells you to do, don't move suddenly, don't reach for your cell phone, because we knew, sadly, there's a greater chance it might be misinterpreted if it was a young man of color.
What we're striving for is a day when every child can be told equally, not only are the police there to protect you, but they're going to assume that the young person is an innocent, law-abiding young person. That just is not always the reality today. And it's something we have to overcome so we can actually draw police and community closer together.
But, look, I -- in terms of response, I'm just saying what people are actually experiencing and have been for decades. I've talked to a lot of families of color, well before this time, because I've said things like this before. And they've said to me over and over and over again that they appreciate someone finally acknowledging that they have that conversation with their sons. It's a painful conversation. You can sense there's a contradiction in that conversation.
We all want to look up to figures of authority. And everyone knows the police protect us.
But there's that fear that there could be that one moment of misunderstanding with a young man of color and that young man may never come back.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But how do you...
DE BLASIO: And that's what parents are so worried about.
STEPHANOPOULOS: -- as you know, you're -- (INAUDIBLE) Mayor Rudy Giuliani has been talking about what he says is another reality, the reality of black on black crime.
Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDOLPH GIULIANI, FORMER NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: I think just as much, if not more, responsibility is on the black community to reduce the reason why the police officers are assigned in such large numbers to the black community. It's because blacks commit murder eight times more per capita than any other group in our society.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: He also said that not recognizing that is racist and that comments like yours are trying down respect for the criminal justice system.
DE BLASIO: I think he fundamentally misunderstands the reality. We're trying to bring police and community together. There is a problem here. There is a rift here that has to be overcome. You cannot look at the incident in Missouri, another incident in Cleveland, Ohio and another incident in New York City all happening in the space of weeks and act like there's not a problem. There's something fundamental we have to get at here.
And it's not going to be helped by accusing either the community or the police of having bad intention or not doing their job. In fact, I think everyone is trying to do their job.
Of course, communities want to keep themselves safe. Of course parents want to teach their children to be law-abiding. Of course, police are protecting us.
But there is a disconnect that has to be overcome. I think body cameras are part of the solution, because they'll create a sense of accountability. I think retraining the police to show them how to deescalate, use less violent approaches when possible, work more closely with the community.
These are the ways forward.
But let's face it, a lot of voices on both ends of the spectrum want to keep us mired in a history that hasn't worked for us.
What we're trying to do in New York City -- and I think Commissioner Bratton has been absolutely visionary on this front -- is say you know what, there is another phase ahead. We can stay safe and draw political and community closer together. There's some place we have not yet been that we have to get to.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Before we go on and broaden it out to some other issues, you've been raising that the Democratic Party -- you wrote a piece in the Huffington Post right after the reaction, saying Democrats need to grow a backbone...
DE BLASIO: Yes.
STEPHANOPOULOS: -- and you went on to say, "Too many Democrats in the midterms lost sight of those core principles of the Democratic Party, opting, instead, to clip their progressive wings in deference to a conventional wisdom that says bold ideas aren't politically practical."
You've also called for a blueprint to revitalize the party.
What is it?
DE BLASIO: Talk about income inequality. Talk about the economic crisis that is the pervasive reality in American life right now.
About a third of Americans today are living at or near the poverty level. Here in New York City, that's 46 percent, in fact, at or near the poverty level, the greatest income disparity in this country in 100 years. That's what we're experiencing.
In the 2014 cycle, Democrats did not speak bluntly about it. They did not honestly say to the people of this country, here's a crisis and we're going to do very specific things about it. We're going to be willing to take on those who are wealthy and ask them to do their fair share. We're going to be willing to take on corporations that are not being fair to their workers.
If the people of this country heard Democrats enunciate a clear vision for economic fairness, I think you would have seen a very different result in 2014.
STEPHANOPOULOS: (INAUDIBLE) you were once Hillary Clinton's campaign manager...
DE BLASIO: Yes.
STEPHANOPOULOS: -- running for Senate.
Does she need to stiffen her spine?
DE BLASIO: I think the world of Hillary Clinton. I think she's an extraordinarily capable person. I would say this to all Democrats running for any office, that we have to talk about economic reality and we have to talk about economic fairness. And if we're not blunt about it -- by the way, it's very much similar to what we just talked about. If we're not blunt about a history where there's been racial problems in this country, if we're not blunt about income disparity, how do we expect the people to hear in us as leaders the ability to change anything?
How are they -- how are they going to believe we're going to fix anything if we're not blunt about the problem?
I think what happened with a lot of Democrats this time, in the absence of a real message and a real vision, even their own Democratic voters stayed home because there was nothing to latch onto.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, we will see if she takes your advice.
Mayor De Blasio, thanks very much for coming.
DE BLASIO: Thank you.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And Governor Kasich joins us now. Welcome to this week, Governor Kasich. Good to see you again.
I want to get to the broader issues with the Republican in a minute, but let's start out with these issues of police violence. The attorney general this week said he found probably cause of a pattern of excessive force in the Cleveland police department. Do you accept the conclusion? And what can you as governor do about it?
JOHN KASICH, GOVERNOR OF OHIO: Well, George, the mayor of Cleveland, Frank Jackson, has done a great job. He's working closely with the Justice Department to make sure that they are able to comply with the kind of things that the Justice Department has seen.
As you know, just on Friday where three African-American women -- Senator Nina Turner is kind of a lead on that. I've agreed to create a task force to look across the state at what we can do to be able to respond to people who are increasingly frustrated and feel shut out.
Now this is not something that we just stumbled upon. I've been thinking about it, an agenda for our minority community for awhile, but this kind of rises to the top.
And I think, you know, what it gets down to is when there is a significant of our percentage of your country that believes that the system is not working for them, that can be working against them, they need to be listened to and they need to be responded to.
And George when you think about it, in our country today there's too much division, too much polarization -- black-white, rich-poor, Democrat-Republican. America does best when we're united, Ohio does best when we're united as a family.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Is this a bipartisan moment around this issue? We just heard Mayor de Blasio lay out his agenda for this. Is this something where you can have common cause with people like Mayor de Blasio, President Obama?
KASICH: There isn't any question that when you have a big chunk of the community that says we've been left out -- and look we've been addressing that in the four years I've been in. For example, as you know there's a great road between downtown Cleveland and the Cleveland Clinic. We're going to spend $300 million, $400 million fixing that, improving that road. And we've set aside 20 percent of all those dollars for minority contractors to be able to become a majority contractors, to promote entrepreneurship.
So, this is something that we have been aware of for a long time, because in Ohio I think what works best is when everybody feels as though they have a chance, that everybody who has grievances can be heard and that's what we're doing in the state, trying to lift everyone whether you're a minority, whether you are disabled, whether you are mentally ill we want everybody to at least have the sense that somebody listens to them and that there's a place for them in our society. It's I think what the lord wants us to do, George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You just said -- we just heard Mayor de Blasio lay out a blueprint for the Democrats on their economic agenda. You talked about leading a movement of hope not only in your state, but around the country after your reelection in November. Lay out the blueprint for Republicans nationally.
KASICH: Well, first of all it does start with jobs. I just spoke to a group of people who are involved in the community in fighting infant mortality. And what I said right after the bat is everybody has to have a sense that they can get a job, everyone has to have a sense that their life can be better.
When I look at economic development, whether it's tax cuts or deregulation or whatever, economic group is not an end unto itself, economic growth is terrific, but it should lead to helping people who live in the shadows and that's exactly what we've done in Ohio.
So we help the drug addicted, we help the mentally ill, we help the working poor. We're reforming welfare so that people just don't get help without some responsibility -- personal responsibility and the ability to move beyond their condition to prosperity.
To me, it's just that simple.
One other thing I would say, we will never be great in America when we tear down the successful to build somebody else up. I mean, that's not my thoughts that's Abraham Lincoln, so the fact is get economic growth going, create the sense that you can get a job, but then move beyond that when you have more prosperity to help people to get on their feet.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You've been at odds with other conservatives on a number of issues -- expanding Medicaid in your state, supporting those Common Core education standards, expressing some openness to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and you've won big in a key state. Is there a lesson there for the GOP?
KASICH: Well, George, I think there's just -- forget just about the GOP, let's just talk about leaders. Again, as I said at the top here, when people don't think they're included, when people don't think they have a chance, it creates divisions. Our country is strongest when people are united -- simple -- it's the bottom line.
Now on Medicaid expansion, I'm able to bring Ohio money back to Ohio, which -- because I know what they do with it in Washington, and I can use it to treat the mentally ill. I can use it to help the drug addicted. Why wouldn't I do that, George? That's common sense to me.
So that in our state, I'm -- you know most Ohioans now have a positive outlook. I want to double down on that and to make sure that we're not weak. You know me, I can fight with the best of them. But at the end of the day, leaders have to unite not divide.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You know, I've got to ask you about possibly running for president. When you're asked about it back in March you had a pretty blunt answer. You said I'm just not interested in it. Is that still true?
KASICH: Well, George, well, look, you know, you were never going to get a good answer out of me here today.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, I didn't get a yes.
KASICH: Let me just say this, George, let me say this, you've risen to the top of ABC. I want to see whether you're going to run for president because I know how tough you'd be. Look, bottom line is, we're doing infant mortality now. We're doing our task force on race. We've got 1,000 things we're doing and a budget that's going to be comprehensive, that's my focus at this point in time.
STEPHANOPOULOS: That's your focus. But you're not repeating that you're not interested in running for president. I'll take that one to the bank.
And before you go, big win for the Buckeyes last night, 59-0 at Wisconsin. Are they going to make the college football playoffs?
KASICH: Well, let me tell you, you know when I talk about uniting, if we don't get in that will be a ripoff. So to the committee, pick us please. Pick us. We deserve it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, governor Kasich, thanks a lot for your time this morning.
The roundtable is next. They'll weigh in on the fallout from Ferguson and New York. Will all this anger bring real change?
And what's behind those bargain prices at the pump? What it means for your wallet and the world's. We're back in just two minutes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JON STEWART, HOST, DAILY SHOW: I think what is so utterly depressing is that none of the ambiguities that existed in the Ferguson exist in the Staten Island case and yet the outcome is exactly the same -- no crime, no trial; all harm, no foul.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Jon Stewart said he didn't know what to say after that. No problem for our roundtable. They are here right now: ABC's political analyst Matthew Dowd; Van Jones from CNN; the editor of the National Review Rich Lowry; and Democratic Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez. And you just told us your daughter got married yesterday. Congratulations.
REP. MIRANDA SANCHEZ, (D) CALIFORNIA: Thank you very much.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's begin with this fallout from both Ferguson and the Garner case, Matthew Dowd. It was striking to me to hear John Kasich just there talk about the chances of working across party lines here. Is this a bipartisan moment for action?
MATTHEW DOWD, ABC NEWS POLITICAL DIRECTOR: I believe it's a bipartisan moment for action, but it's been thrown into a partisan mix of all this. I think it looks incredibly disturbing and troubling about all this is I think obviously there's racism in America and no one deserves -- no human being deserves to die. And I don't care what you did, what your criminal action was, no human being deserves to die.
The problem I think in the cauldron that we had where there's been a breakdown in almost every institution, now there's questions on all sides about the justice system in America. And when we now question the results of a law enforcement and justice system in America, we're at a very, very troubling point.
And I think at some point -- and I think you're right -- we have to figure out a way to come together on this, because if now all that's doubt, the actions of the law enforcement or justice system in the country, I don't know what we'd do.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And one of the things that complicates this, Van Jones, is that you see this real concern that's expressed in the streets across the country, but it's against the backdrop, at least the statistics I've seen, of misconduct by police going down over time across the country as crime goes down.
JONES: Yes, well, it's interesting, we got a couple of things here. First of all, I think there's been a false choice here. You hear a lot of people saying, well, what do you want, no policing?
I think African Americans need to be heard here. We're saying we want better policing. We want effective policing. We shouldn't be tossed in between street crime and street violence or police violence. And so I think we've been talking past each other a lot on some of these topics. I was very proud to hear de Blasio sticking to his guns.
I had two African American boys. We have had that conversation with them -- and they're 10, OK? So 10 and 6. We've had that conversation. We are concerned that there's such a stereotype now that the police of young men of color that is was also violence against them.
And let's not forget --
STEPHANOPOULOS: -- statistics overall really back that up?
JONES: Well, first of all, you got 95 percent of African Americans who are not involved in crime at all as victims or as criminals. Ninety-five percent of us are just law-abiding and yet there is this view that we think of the law enforcement that you're guilty until proven innocent.
And until we get to that, get down to that, guilty until proven innocent a fear we're not going to make any progress.
LOWRY: I think obviously we should support any measures that increase accountability and transparency consistent with public safety. But I think also we have to maintain some perspective here. We're city police, just to look at this city, arrest something like 200,000 people a year in misdemeanor arrests.
How often does something happen like the terrible tragedy with Eric Garner?
Even Eric Garner had repeated been arrested for that same offense without incident and I find it utterly fatuous of the mayor of New York to say that arrest was a product of centuries of racism. Look at American history. Chattel slavery, Jim Crow, the arrest of Eric Garner, one of the things is not like the other.
JONES: I just -- we're talking past each other. This is exactly the point that I think we've got to get past now if we're going to have a real conversation.
Some people are now saying, well, listen, because that one officer, he didn't take, at that moment, a racial epithet so therefore race is not involved. We're missing each other. We're talking about a much bigger -- a much bigger set of statistics that show African Americans -- just on drug use alone -- 14 percent of African Americans use drugs; 37 percent of the drug arrests are black. That's the problem we're talking about.
STEPHANOPOULOS: -- in here.
Is (INAUDIBLE) president in the beginning of the week say need more money for body cameras, need to focus on training?
SANCHEZ: Well, first of all, remember that this is an individual case. And individual cases are -- must be based on facts and when we run into the problem is when we (INAUDIBLE) -- we get this into the general overall issue of what's happening here.
And emotions fly and facts are no longer important to what is going on there, because it is really hitting us. But let's remember one of the exciting things about seeing this is that this is crossing racial lines; this is crossing demographics. This is not a South-North thing or an East Coast-West Coast thing.
People are saying we need to make changes. And how do we do that? How do we address that?
First and foremost, we have to make sure that we hold police accountable by the facts, by the individual facts.
DOWD: I just want to say that I think that what happens when we throw the race gauntlet down and then all of a sudden it's all -- we all spike off of the face gauntlet and whether or not it is.
Let's say it comes back in these instances and they say it wasn't about race. Oh, (INAUDIBLE) everything's fine. Well, it's not. In my view, this just raises two huge questions in it. Just first is the militarization of the police force in this country. And we basically dress up officers now as if they're machines.
DOWD: That's just my problem with the camera. We're going to put more equipment, bigger guns, bigger machines and all and then we expect them to act like human beings. We dress them up like a machine and then we -- and so what happens is they confuse power with force.
Most of the officers in this country do a great job. But when we militarize the police force and treat the like machines, they act like machines.
SANCHEZ: That is one way where Congress can fix that. We have to look at it, that outcome from 9/11 of militarizing our --
SANCHEZ: -- and maybe pull back from that.
And maybe we do use new technology. Maybe we put the money in for new technology. I'm not saying that is the solution. But we have to have accountability and hold those accountable when the facts say yes and possibly --
SANCHEZ: -- pull back on that militarization.
LOWRY: -- have a certain modesty, though, because always reform is maybe worthy, maybe the federal government shouldn't be giving so much armored cars and other materiel to the police. But that had nothing to do with the incident in Ferguson.
It would have had --
LOWRY: And you have to be very careful with the statistics because people throw them around. I could be arrested for a minor crime; someone else could be arrested with a minor crime. I have no record so I get a less of a sentence than someone, the other guy, that has a big record. And then you can say, oh, (INAUDIBLE).
JONES: I do want to talk about one reform that I think can -- everybody can agree with. We need to have special prosecutors in these places. It is not fair to expect police and prosecutors to police themselves. It is not anti-cop to say that.
It's not anti-cop to -- it's not anti-butcher to say you want to have meat inspectors. It's not anti-construction worker to say you want building inspectors.
No human system that does not have adequate checks and balances and oversight will avoid being subject to corruption.
DOWD: -- into this and it's automatically going to be doubted and mistrusted and --
JONES: -- a special prosecutor in Ferguson, we would not have to have the outcome that we had.
STEPHANOPOULOS: We've got to take a break right now. And I'm not positive about that though. More roundtable coming up. We'll take a look at the consequences of these plunging oil and gas prices. Great news for consumers. And the holiday spirit displayed there by President Obama and it inspires our powerhouse roundtable.
So here goes, guys.
What will the average American spend on Christmas gifts this year? We'll be right back with the answer.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Back now with our Politics Buzz Board and the midterms wrapping up Saturday with a bayou bust for Democrats.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARY LANDRIEU (D), LOUISIANA: It has been nothing but a joy to serve this state for over 34 years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Mary Landrieu's landslide loss was no surprise. National Democrats wouldn't even invest in the run-off.
Then Congressman Bill Cassidy's big win gives the GOP a boost in their battles against the president's veto pen. They're heading into the new year with 54 Senate seats and with Landrieu out, the Democrats all but wiped out in the Deep South; every senator and governor now are Republican.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Matthew Dowd, the roundtable is back. LBJ prophesied it in 1964. Here in 2014, a Democratic wipeout in the Deep South.
DOWD: Yes, it's come true. And it's -- it's gone from a regional party that was a Democratic Party to now a regional party that's a Republican Party. Every single statewide official in the Deep South is now Republican.
I mean, I was thinking of Dandy Don Meredith, the former quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, turn out the lights, the party is over. I mean it's a huge problem.
The other problem, when you look at those results, George, it is a huge racial divide, speaking of what we were just talking about. You have 90 percent of the voters -- of African-American voters voted for Mary Landrieu and 75 percent of the white voters voted for Bill Cassidy. That's a problem in this country.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You're nodding your head.
JONES: Yes, no, it -- it really is. And, you know, of course I -- I love the Landrieus personally. I thought that there at the end, the desperation play around Keystone, all this sort of stuff, you know, you got away with -- you get -- you get some -- give your base a reason to come out. And I think what you saw with the Democrats this year, there is economic pain at the base of this party. You have the African-American community in economic freefall. And you just don't see Democrats, even Landrieu, whose fate was in the hands of that community, really going for issues that...
JONES: -- that motivate the...
STEPHANOPOULOS: -- you have 95 percent of the...
STEPHANOPOULOS: -- you're not getting any white votes in the South.
JONES: Well, and -- and I think that's a problem for both parties.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And now -- now we're seeing you've got 54 Senate Republicans right now, a bigger majority in the House. But it was interesting to see the Republicans playing it a little safer on immigration, not shutting down the government.
Is that what the future looks like in the House?
SANCHEZ: Well, the House has become more Republican, as you know. And so I think that Speaker Boehner is going to have a very difficult time, because they -- the problem in the House has been amongst the Republicans themselves.
What I'm excited about is, again, this younger generation that actually is getting mobilized on the issues across party lines, across racial lines. And that is really where a politician of the future has to focus and understand, they have to be based on the issues.
And one of the problems, quite frankly, that we had in this election with Democrats is that not enough of the issues were placed forward. And the Republicans did a good job. They pushed some very, you know, they...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- like Obama...
SANCHEZ: But, you know, the -- they did emotional-based rather than...
SANCHEZ: -- issues based.
LOWRY: I'm sure Chuck Schumer took no pleasure in this result, but it's further confirmation of his idea that ObamaCare was a political disaster. The Democratic Party now has, I think, 14 fewer senators than when they first voted on ObamaCare.
And you look at Landrieu, she did what so many red state Democrats try to do, which is go home and say I'm an independent voice, an independent player, and then in Washington, they're always there for President Obama and the national party when the chips are down.
LOWRY: You're going to see these red state Democrats trying to forge a genuinely independent...
DOWD: George, it's troubling...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).
DOWD: -- what's troubling about this is we -- what President Obama has demonstrated, he's very good at winning his own elections, but in modern times, he has lost more members of the House and more members of the Senate than any president ever has lost in that.
And now we have a House that is more Republican than it's been since World War II. That should be a troubling thing for Hillary Clinton...
STEPHANOPOULOS: We've only got a couple of minutes left.
I want to move on to one other subject. It's kind of remarkable. We saw "Rolling Stone's" big expose what they said explosive story about sexual assault, gang rape at the University of Virginia. That is the original story right there.
This weekend, the story appeared to collapse. "Rolling Stone" apologizing. Their editor Tweeting out, "The fact that there's a story that appears in "Rolling Stone" in which I don't have complete confidence is deeply unsettling to me. We made a judgment, the kind of judgment reporters and editors make every day. In this case, our judgment was wrong."
Rich Lowry, based on -- on a woman who said she was assaulted at the UVA, the story did not appear to add up. "The Washington Post" did a lengthy expose. And you were one of the first reporters to call out "Rolling Stone" on this.
LOWRY: Well, when something is so explosive, you have to be certain it's right. And "Rolling Stone" didn't do basic fact checking here, I believe because they had an agenda to portray UVA as this bastion of white male privilege where, basically, rapists rule the social life. And the damage will never be undone.
And I think if there's any justice in the world, "Rolling Stone" would have to give up covering music and become the alumni magazine of the University of Virginia.
DOWD: George, my biggest fear out of this is the dam -- the biggest damage, to me, that's been done in this is that women who finally have the courage to stand up and say this happened to me -- and no woman, if you think about the history, no woman has ever gained fame or fortune by falsely accusing a man of rape or sexual assault. No woman has ever gained from that. It takes courage.
And my fear is people are going to now doubt what everybody says. I believed there was still sexual assault, whether it followed the facts of the case. But that's my bigger fear.
SANCHEZ: For me, a bigger issue and the issue that sort of gets buried in this is, should a university be handling the investigation...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.
SANCHEZ: -- of sexual assault?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely right.
SANCHEZ: I mean if it was a murder...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely.
SANCHEZ: -- would the university handle it?
It -- it's like they're saying that sexual assault is not a crime.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely.
SANCHEZ: I mean this is the biggest issue that we've had in the military. What we have hammered home...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely true.
SANCHEZ: -- that sexual assault is a crime. And so...
JONES: Regardless of the -- and regardless of this one story, George, the statistics are there and they're shocking. It's -- it's literally one out of five that...
LOWRY: No, it's not.
JONES: -- that this...
JONES: Let me...
JONES: -- let me finish.
LOWRY: That's completely bogus.
JONES: First of all, it's not bogus...
JONES: -- and, frankly, one of the things I think is really unfortunate is that when you do have young women who are courageous enough to step forward and they then point to other young women, you get this -- this sort of attack. And I think this mistake on the part of "Rolling Stone" actually emboldens people who want to attack young women's credibility when they come forward.
LOWRY: That's not -- his statistic is based on a survey that includes attempted forced kissing as sexual assault. That's not...
JONES: Do you want me to...
LOWRY: That's not...
JONES: -- kiss you? Can I kiss you here -- (CROSSTALK)
LOWRY: -- that the police are going to be involved in and prosecute.
JONES: That's an assault.
SANCHEZ: That is a sexual assault. If I go like this at you, that's a sexual assault.
STEPHANOPOULOS: We're going to have to stop it right there. That is going to have to be the last word. You guys (INAUDIBLE).
Up next here, why are gas prices plunging so far so fast?
What does it mean for you and the world?
Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman explains.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And now to those plunging gas prices. Back there at $2 a gallon, in some states, still falling. It all starts from a surprise drop in oil that's sending shockwaves around the world.
And we're going to analyze what it means for our economy and security after this background from ABC's Rebecca Jarvis.
REBECCA JARVIS, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is the gift that keeps on giving to American consumers -- gas prices now down for 73 straight days and still heading lower. Oklahoma and Texas the first in the country to see prices dip below $2 a gallon this week. And six other states poised to see prices below $2 before new year's.
All of this the result of a dramatic 40 percent plunge in oil prices.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The falling oil prices around the world have helped set a new low for drivers.
JARVIS: One of the biggest reasons for the drop, the U.S. is drilling and fracking, supplying record amounts of oil and gas, this year surpassing Saudi Arabia as the world's top energy producer.
The biggest question now, who are the winners from the price plunge?
Americans now saving $250 million a day on less expensive gas, about $1,100 a year for the typical family, savings that could go toward everything from food to travel to holiday gifts.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of motorists I've talked to have said that the average income is going right under the Christmas tree.
JARVIS: It's also accelerating auto sales. November the strongest month in more than a decade, Americans back to buy SUVs. Sales of the eight-passenger Lincoln Navigator up 88 percent. Who are the losers? Top oil producers like Russia or Vladimir Putin admits bottoming oil prices could shock the Russian economy.
And Saudi Arabia, even Iran, which is in the midst of high-stakes nuclear talks with the U.S.
But perhaps the biggest question, how long with the price plunge last? That could depend on who blinks first, the big oil producing countries in OPEC which may consider cutting production to boost prices.
Or U.S. companies which may be forced to cut production if prices get too low.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The way will continue to be producing (INAUDIBLE) in 2015, jobs (INAUDIBLE) be filled next year. At what pace, what kind of activity, that's going to depend on the price of oil.
JARVIS: Historically, oil prices start ticking higher in March, just four months away -- for THIS WEEK, Rebecca Jarvis, ABC News, New York.
STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, (INAUDIBLE) with our experts now, Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman from Princeton and "The New York Times;" and Meghan O'Sullivan. She served on the NSC with George W. Bush, now professor of international affairs at Harvard's Kennedy School.
Welcome to both of you.
And Paul, let's start with you. You know, obviously this drop in gas price is an immediate booster shot to consumers.
But how do you analyze the broader global impact?
PAUL KRUGMAN, ECONOMIST: Well, there's winners and losers. Most advanced countries are big winners, except possibly for us. Most --
KRUGMAN: Yes, that's the funny thing. Obviously Russia loses; Saudi Arabia loses; Venezuela loses. We're - consumers here gain. But we -- a lot of the reason why this is happening is the U.S. oil boom, the fracking, and the trouble is from our point of view that that has itself been a boost to the U.S. economy because it generates a lot of investment.
And that's going to come down now that the prices are down.
STEPHANOPOULOS: -- the prices of oil letting off now it's going to start to hurt those states receiving the highest growth, Alaska big producer as well.
KRUGMAN: Yes, no, it's actually -- it -- there's a significant number of projects that are either already underway or on the books that are not profitable at these prices. So it actually does the U.S. nascent - our shale, oil fracking industry -- is going to take a hit. And I think overall it's still a plus for us but less than almost any other rich country.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And Meghan, let's talk about some international -- in fact, of course, it does put pressure on Putin. The big question is goes in the poll back or lash out?
MEGHAN O'SULLIVAN, HARVARD KENNEDY SCHOOL: Well, I think that some people will look at Russia and will say, well, in the past, a low oil price has really moderated Russian foreign policy. But I think today the politics in Moscow are very different from most times, say the Kosovo war.
Today, I think that we should be more concerned that Putin would be more meddlesome because of these low --
STEPHANOPOULOS: The nationalism card?
O'SULLIVAN: Play the nationalism card to kind of boost his own legitimacy within Russia. But also keep in mind if you're desperate to increase oil price, the quickest way to do it is to create problems in the Middle East. And certainly Russia hasn't been helpful in the Middle East per se. And we could only expect that kind of Russian recalcitrance, say, in Syria to continue, possibly Iran.
STEPHANOPOULOS: -- mention Iran as well. I mean, it's hard to answer this question. But does this drop end up looking more like we would cooperate underneath (INAUDIBLE) talks or not? Or do we even know?
O'SULLIVAN: Well, it certainly doesn't make it less likely. But I do think it's too easy to connect a low oil price with moderation in foreign policy. But the Iranians have already demonstrated a willingness to really take on some serious economic hardship in exchange for pursuing enrichment of uranium.
So I think that it makes them more likely but still I wouldn't make the assumption that it will push them over the edge. But unquestionably going to be dealing with a tougher economic environment.
But is it going to be tough enough to convince the regime that it's under threat? Its own survivability is under threat, which is really might push it over the edge.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Paul Krugman, you may remember Bob Rubin, the treasury secretary, said the stock market was up, the stock market goes down. And there's been these cycles in oil as well. Is it another normal cycle or are we seeing something very different?
KRUGMAN: This is -- if you look at the chart of U.S. oil production, it looks like (INAUDIBLE) at the end. So this is something new. This is a pretty big deal. I mean, I've been saying that it overstate -- people overstate what it means for the U.S. economy because we're too big, too complex for energy to really drive our economy.
But in terms of everything energy related, this is a transformative event. Something has happened that is really, you know, the price may come back up some. Maybe a lot. The thing -- the world that we thought we'd be living in is not the world we're now living in and fracking is an important part of that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And we see as a result a weaker OPEC.
How low do you think they're going to allow these prices to go and what does that mean here?
O'SULLIVAN: Sure. I think at this point it's really a distraction to think about OPEC as a collective organization that is going to band together as it did in the '70s and change the oil price. I think the place to really look is Saudi Arabia. What is going to influence Saudis' decision? And right now, they're fairly comfortable waiting to see how the low price settles out, how different countries react to it.
I think this morning the price is $69 for brent. I think if it goes considerably lower than that, the Saudis will start to get nervous about the possibility of political instability in the Gulf, which is actually something that the Arab Spring has not brought political instability to the Gulf. And if low oil prices threaten the ability of Gulf states to maintain their high levels of spending, then I think Saudi Arabia might take some action.
But I wouldn't expect anything any time soon.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And then we'll see how (INAUDIBLE) they are.
KRUGMAN: I think a lot less than they used to be, because they no longer control all the key source of oil.
STEPHANOPOULOS: OK. Paul Krugman (INAUDIBLE), thank you very much.
That was interesting.
Looking ahead to today's (INAUDIBLE) college football right after this from our ABC stations.
STEPHANOPOULOS: (INAUDIBLE) now to a big day for college football. We're about to find out which four teams managed the first-ever championship playoffs, semifinals on New Year's Day followed by the title game on January 12th and ESPN's Jesse Palmer here with the previews.
So Jesse, welcome.
JESSE PALMER, ESPN: Thank you.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Six teams in contention. Let's take a look at them, Alabama, Oregon, Ohio State, Florida State, Baylor and TCU. You see them all right there. Anyone a lock?
PALMER: I think Alabama's going to be a lock. I expect them to be number one. They play in the toughest conference in college football in the SEC. Five times, they beat a team that was ranked at the time they beat them. I think they are the most talented team in the country top to bottom. And I expect Oregon to be number two. They are the PAC 12 champions. They did lose earlier this year to Arizona. But in that game and really the start of the year they had a lot of key injuries on the offensive line. Since they've gotten healthy, they've been completely dominant.
I think the committee forgave that loss and they had the best player in the country, Marcus Mariota.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Then it gets tough.
Four teams, two slots.
PALMER: Yes, and I'm going to go with Florida State at number three. They've struggled in six of their last seven games. But they always find a way to win. They're undefeated, and that's what good teams do. They've never lost a game over the last two years with James Swensen (ph) and I've got Baylor at number four.
PALMER: --champs , they beat Oklahoma, they beat Kansas State.
STEPHANOPOULOS: -- Ohio State?
PALMER: And I've got Ohio State on the outside looking in, even though they are the Big 10 champ. They scored 59 points against Wisconsin in the title game with a third string quarterback. But they lost to Virginia Tech. That's the worst loss of any of the six teams we're talking about. And I don't think the Big 10's a strong a conference as the Big 12. So I've got Alabama, Oregon, Florida State, Baylor.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Bold prediction there. We'll all be watching ESPN --
PALMER: It's going to be confusing.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Jesse, thanks a lot.
And we're going to pause now to honor our fellow Americans who serve and sacrifice.
STEPHANOPOULOS (voice-over): This week, the Pentagon announced the deaths of two service members supporting operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
And that's all for us today. Thanks for sharing part of your Sunday with us. Check out "WORLD NEWS TONIGHT" and I'll see you tomorrow on "GMA."