'This Week' Transcript: O'Donnell and Coons

Transcript: O'Donnell and Coons

ByABC News
October 17, 2010, 5:00 AM

October 17, 2010 — -- AMANPOUR: So to discuss all of this, I'm joined now by our roundtable, with George Will; Meghan McCain, the daughter of Senator John McCain, who recently published "Dirty Sexy Politics," her own take on the future of her party; political analyst Matthew Dowd; and ABC "Nightline" co-anchor Terry Moran.

Thank you all for being here.

Has the Tea Party gone one step too far with Christine O'Donnell? I mean, this was a safe Republican seat.

WILL: Presumably, and they probably did. But I don't think that's going to make the difference between controlling the Senate or not. And the Senate -- the story of the Senate is already written in stone, and that is that Mitch McConnell is going to have 47, 48 Senate seats, which means he's going to have 41 votes for anything, which means nothing shall pass that he doesn't want to pass.

AMANPOUR: Matthew, do you think that that's right? Because everybody there was saying the Republicans would have to look elsewhere to get a seat to gain control of the Senate.

DOWD: Well, obviously, this is -- if you're wanting to win, Christine O'Donnell does not help that cause. Any time you run an ad that says "I am not witch," you know you've got problems in a campaign, even if it's Halloween this month.

But I think the real thing here that she has identified is that there's a huge passion in this country right now, that's a lot of anger and a lot of frustration. It's not helpful that she got nominated, but she is evidence that that is not going away. And the only party benefiting from this in this year's election is the Republican Party, which is probably why they will take the House back, which is why they'll probably gain seven or eight seats in the Senate, even if they lose Delaware, because they have the passion and enthusiasm behind them.

AMANPOUR: And what about -- a lot of sort of things are coming up just this week, sort of some of the unvetted -- like she. She was an unvetted, untested -- although she's run now three times for the Senate, things with Joe Miller, things with West (ph). Do you think that that is a risk for the Tea Party movement, that there are these personal issues that are coming up?

DOWD: Well, I think that it's just like (inaudible) to passion. And they're like crime of passion, that in the aftermath you think, "Maybe I shouldn't have done that." But in this -- in the middle of a time when the country is so angry at Washington, they don't want the Democrats, they turn to candidates that are so outside that many of those candidates are either nuts or are somewhat off or not competent.

But in the end, if you had to switch places with the Democratic Party or the Republican Party, the Democrats would switch places with the Republicans in a minute if they could in this year's election cycle.

MORAN: In the election. After the election, the vetting, that's when it's going to happen in some ways. It's going to be Mitch McConnell who's going to find out exactly what these new senators from this movement believe, what they will do to the Republican conference in the Senate, and I think that's the real challenge happening.

AMANPOUR: You said "nuts." And, you know, as you know, Karl Rove said that Christine O'Donnell has been saying some nutty things. And then he got the sort of FOX-Beck-Palin bandwagon, and he quickly came back into line. I saw you just as we were looking at that piece, sort of holding your head in your hands. What is your view on where the Republican Party and the Tea Party is right now?

MCCAIN: Well, I speak as a 26-year-old woman. And my problem is that, no matter what, Christine O'Donnell is making a mockery of running for public office. She has no real history, no real success in any kind of business. And what that sends to my generation is, one day, you can just wake up and run for Senate, no matter how lack of experience you have.

And it scares me for a lot of reasons, and I just know (inaudible) it just turns people off, because she's seen as a nutjob.

DOWD: Well, the good news is, the system is going to work, because the Republicans, which they can do -- they can nominee anybody they want -- they nominated somebody that's not qualified, that's probably incompetent, that has said some crazy stuff. And the -- the great news is, the Delaware electorate is probably going to send her packing one more time.

AMANPOUR: Let's raise -- let's put up what Sharron Angle in Nevada and Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, said to each other and about each other during the debate this week.


REID: We have now almost $2 billion worth of work going on in Nevada with renewable energy jobs, and that's a result of tax policy, incentives to have them do that. Harrah's, as a result of language in a bill there, we've saved 31,000 jobs at Harrah's alone. All these things I've talked about doing, my opponent is against those. She wouldn't do that. My job is to create jobs.

ANGLE: Harry Reid, it's not your job to create jobs. It's your job to create policies that create the confidence for the private sector to create those jobs.


AMANPOUR: So where is that race going to end up? I mean, it's pretty much neck and neck right now.

WILL: Harry Reid -- Harry Reid's challenge has been to get to 45 percent, because he pretty clearly can't get above that. After three terms representing that state, that's his ceiling. So they've got a whole bunch of people on the ballot you can vote "none of the above," in which case your vote doesn't count for anything, but you can't vote for one of the candidates.

The most remarkable number out there right now, Christiane, is the fourth -- third quarter fundraising by Sharron Angle, $14.3 million.

AMANPOUR: It's huge.

WILL: I -- I got some facts here. Her filing on this quarter with the Senate -- report on her earnings, 9,112 pages. It weighs 103 pounds. She got 194 contributors, average contribution $73.

AMANPOUR: So why isn't she further ahead? Why is it so close?

WILL: Well, because, A, it's a swing state right now; B, she's running against the most powerful senator; C, she's made a lot of mistakes; D, she wasn't vetted by these people. However, she has the great Republican narrative this year, which is people say, "Well, these people are from outside the system," and they say, "Damn right we're from outside the system. Don't send Washington to fix Washington, the same people who messed it up."

AMANPOUR: When you say great Republican narrative, I mean, there's been a long and venerable tradition of conservativism in this country. You can go back at least to Ronald Reagan, William F. Buckley, all of that sort of intellectual conservativism that lasted about 30 years. And people are saying that right now it's really gone to the extreme, people are looking at the Tea Party and saying, "This is not conservativism as we knew it"...

WILL: Which is -- which is...

AMANPOUR: ... "but it's extreme."

WILL: Which is exactly what they said about Bill Buckley and Bill Buckley's candidate, Barry Goldwater, who is supposedly representing the paranoid...


AMANPOUR: Reagan had moderates on his -- as vice president and in his cabinet.

MORAN: A different Republican Party. Hard times make anxious people do extreme things sometimes. If you look at the Tea Party constitution, if there is such a thing, at Joe Miller in Alaska saying unemployment compensation is unconstitutional, the emphasis on the 10th Amendment, which is a very vague amendment which they want returned power -- power returned to the states, this is going to be a real challenge for the Republican Party going forward. And it's born of this anxiety.

DOWD: Well, all movements in this country start out with people on the extremes. And the success of those movements over time are either -- are when one of the parties co-opts that movement and the tactics and the message is then moderated.

It started -- it was Barack Obama who sits in the White House was the -- was the beneficiary of a very extreme movement that started in -- after the Iraq war, which was very few people were protesting the war. In the end, that became a majority in this country, and Barack Obama got elected based upon that movement.

The conservative movement -- Ronald Reagan was not considered a moderate when he ran against Gerald Ford in 1976. He ran against moderates. He then ultimately mirrored the country and he got elected. All movements start out that way.

AMANPOUR: So you think, then, that what they're saying right now is not going to be what they say if they get elected?

DOWD: No, what I'm saying is, is that if somebody co-opts this movement, which is an anti-Washington, anti-federal government movement, and then -- then takes that movement and then puts a brand of politics on that, that moderates -- and can appeal to younger voters, it will have a huge amount of success in this country.

AMANPOUR: OK. Well, let me ask you, Meghan McCain...

MCCAIN: It's not possible.

AMANPOUR: ... because -- well, you represent younger voters, and particularly younger Republican voters. And in your book, you have talked about the Republican Party, saying that rather than the party of openness and individual freedom, it's now the party of limited message and less freedom. Along with ideological narrowness, an important P.R. battle is being lost. Rather than leading us into the exhilarating fresh air of liberty, a chorus of voices on the radical right is taking us to a place of intolerance and anger.

So radical right?

MCCAIN: I wrote this out of personal experience. I know how I'm vilified on an absolutely daily basis. No matter what the Republican Party wants to think about this Tea Party movement, it is losing young voters at a rapid rate. And this isn't going to change unless we start changing our message.

Maybe we won't care. But I still care...


WILL: Twenty months ago...

AMANPOUR: She has a point, right? Young voters are the future.

WILL: Well, that's -- that's...


WILL: Yes, that's tautology, but not -- not...


WILL: Not a political point. No, 20 months ago the question was, does the Republican Party have a future? In the last 20 months, we've had two things happen. A, the Tea Party movement has energized the Republican Party, and the Democrats are trying to hold onto one house of Congress right now. I don't think that's the sign of a party that's in trouble.

DOWD: And I think Meghan's right, but you have to also make the counterpoint. As Barack Obama won younger voters by 30 points. He as of right now has a difficulty getting any of those voters to a rally who have lost -- a great deal are disappointed in what's happened...


AMANPOUR: Is that about the economy?

DOWD: I think it's about two things. It's what they thought, like many people did, that Barack Obama and the Democrats were going to come to Washington and were going to change things, and they feel like -- in my view, they feel like it's politics as usual.

So now you have a Republican Party that's gone off on too many social issues, too many issues that's not in line with the younger voters. They're very disappointed, and my guess is there's a lot of younger voters who are totally fed up with both political parties at the time and are looking for something else.

MCCAIN: Of course. I mean...

WILL: But the Tea Party -- what the Tea Party has done, among other things, and surely you'd acknowledge this, is they have driven the Republican Party, pulled it away from the social issues.

MORAN: Because it's an emphasis on the fiscal issues.

WILL: Precisely.

MORAN: And they're co-opting the party, and that -- that is important. A lot of the money behind the Tea Party is not mom-and-pop money. It's...

AMANPOUR: It's very wealthy money.

MORAN: It's very wealthy money. People definitely purchasing, trying to purchase the Tea Party movement. And a lot of those issues -- free trade, the kinds of issues that the Chamber of Commerce and that some of the other big money behind the Republican Party this year, trying to co-opt the Tea Party movement -- I'm sure quite how many of those Tea Party activists would agree with them.


AMANPOUR: ... about this, because, you know, everybody would think by the -- what they stand for that perhaps business would get behind them. BusinessWeek -- Bloomberg this week had the following, on the front, basically, saying that the Tea Party is not trusted by business. And it says the Tea Party's brand of political nitroglycerin, in short, is too unstable for businesses that look to government for predictability, moderation, and the creation of a stable economic environment.

Whatever you think of the social issues, surely the economy and business is the big issue right now.

WILL: Business also looks to government for tax subsidies, for corporate welfare, and the Tea Party movement does, indeed, threaten that. Bravo the Tea Party movement.

DOWD: Big business wants...

AMANPOUR: Bravo the Tea Party movement?

DOWD: Big business wants predictability. And you're not going to get predictability from Tea Party candidates in this election. Sharron Angle and Joe Miller and Christine O'Donnell, who's probably not going to win, you're not going to get predictability from it.

The thing that's about the Tea Party is, they're not only mad at big government. They're mad at anything big that feels disconnected from their lives that people don't feel like -- understand where they are. And so they don't like big government. They don't like Washington. See, they also don't like big corporations.

And they should -- the Chamber of Commerce and big business should fear this movement.

AMANPOUR: Well, let's talk about that, because you've been on the campaign trail. You interviewed Vice President Biden. You also were in California with Senator McCain. But Biden and -- and certainly President Obama have been talking a lot about campaign funding. Let's just play something that he said to you about that.


BIDEN: All these guys, these Republicans, voted against disclosure. What's wrong with disclosure? Just tell us where the money's coming from. What's the problem? What is the problem? Why can't the chamber say, "This is where contributions are coming from"? Why can't Karl Rove tell us where the contributions are coming from? Just disclosure. Just tell us where. Show me. Show me.


MORAN: "Where is the outrage?" Bob Dole once said in a losing campaign about campaign finance in some ways. And by focusing on process as they are, by trying to make an issue, they think that they have struck a populist note that might tap into some of the anxiety that's out there. But it is off-point in some ways.

DOWD: Yes, I think the problem with this -- it reminds me of Captain Renault in "Casablanca," when walked in and said, "I'm shocked, I'm shocked gambling is going on here." These are the same folks that benefited from secret funds in 2008 and 2006 and in 2004, and the average American out there thinks both parties do this. They both fund these things. And why aren't you talking about how many jobs are going to get created? Why aren't you defending the health care bill that you passed? Why aren't you doing these things on policies instead of a process argument?

AMANPOUR: But also, campaign finance reform was something that your own father took up. And, yes, both sides may have been doing it, but isn't transparency something that we all are demanding in every -- in every way? I mean, where is campaign finance reform? Do you think it's dead?

WILL: Dead.

AMANPOUR: Dead in the water?

WILL: Stake through it.

AMANPOUR: And you don't like it all?

WILL: Absolutely wonderful development this year is -- is the rolling back...

AMANPOUR: How can that be wonderful for a democracy, I mean, not to know where all of this money comes from and who's putting it in?

WILL: What -- what you're talking about with the amount of money is speech. And the question is, do you have to notify the government before you can speak on politics?


AMANPOUR: ... Justice Stevens (inaudible) that, you know, money doesn't speak.

WILL: Well, almost all money in politics is spent on disseminating political advocacy. That's just a fact. Now, Mr. Biden and -- and the narrative from the Democrats has been this is secret money that the Koch brothers are putting into it. Well, get your story straight. Do we not -- do we know who these guys are? I mean, some of them are about as anonymous as George Soros.

MORAN: But a lot of them are anonymous. And there is an irony here that the Chamber of Commerce and others ought to be held accountable for. At the Supreme Court, when that case came before the Supreme Court, business interests said, "Take these shackles off us because disclosure will essentially fix the problem. If the people know where the money's coming from, that'll be fine."

And right now, there is a problem with transparency. Sunshine is the best disinfectant.


MCCAIN: Well, don't you think that Vice President Biden should take some kind of ownership for the fact that this Tea Party movement is a direct result of the spending that's going on in his administration? This movement that everyone's so frustrated with his administration has made possible, so maybe he should start thinking about that.

AMANPOUR: And let's go, on that note, to a campaign ad by Governor Manchin of West Virginia, who's running for the Senate. Look at this, maybe.

OK, we don't have that. But we want to talk about basically he's running away from the Democratic Party has he tries to run. And today -- in today's New York Times Magazine, there is a front cover article about President Obama, and he's talking about what went wrong, what might go right afterwards. And he basically is saying that it may be that, regardless of what happens after this election, they -- the Republicans -- feel more responsible, either because they didn't do as well as they anticipated and so the strategy of just saying no to everything and sitting on the sidelines and throwing bombs didn't work for them, or they did reasonably well, in which case the American people are going to be looking to them to offer serious proposals and work with me in a serious way.

Is there any chance of bipartisanship after the election?

DOWD: There's a chance, but I think it's totally incumbent upon the president of the United States to do that. And it -- after they -- after they won in 2008, the first thing that President Obama did when he met with the Republicans when they tried to offer compromises and offer things, he said -- you know what he said? Two words: I won.

And maybe in the aftermath of this election, if he stands up and says, "I lost," then there might be a chance for bipartisanship.

AMANPOUR: All right. And we're going to be seeing that after the election in just 16 days from now. But we want to turn actually to our next big interview, and that's with Maria Shriver. And we're going to be looking at Alzheimer's and how it's affecting this nation. She's got the Shriver report out and the compelling link between Alzheimer's and women.

And I just want to turn to you for these last moments of our roundtable, because you've had your own very tragic experience with that. Your mother died. And you've done programs, you've written about it.

MORAN: Yes, my mom was one of millions and millions of people who've made this hard journey. And just being here with you this morning, she would have loved this. She loved politics. She loved baseball. She was a lifelong Cubs fan. And she loved being a mom. She had 10 kids. I'm the eighth, the sixth of her seven sons.

And we as a family learned what millions and millions of families have learned, which is that Alzheimer's breaks your heart. What it attacks is the essence and the core of a person. That has been an inspiration for me and for many others to fight it.

And I brought a little visual aid. One of the things she did was needlework throughout her life. She knitted all of us Irish sweaters, and that's a little piece of needlework, an angel for the top of the Christmas tree.

And one of the sadder passages of her journey was when she couldn't do this anymore, when it was basically just a kind of mess in her lap and then anxious look on her face. We can and must achieve a world without Alzheimer's.

AMANPOUR: And you yourself did a "Nightline" program on testing yourself.

MORAN: I did. I got my DNA tested to become part of clinical trials, to do these kinds of things, just to show that you don't have to sit there. There is a kind of passivity in the country around Alzheimer's. It is a hard and sad journey, but there is a fight to be made, and I believe it can -- it can be defeated.

AMANPOUR: Thank you. And we're going to take this up after the break. And meantime, the roundtable discussion will continue in the green room.

And when we come back, we'll talk to those leading the charge against Alzheimer's. I'll have an exclusive interview with Maria Shriver about why women are at the center of this disease. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)ABC News' "This Week with Christiane Amanpour"Delaware Senate Candidates Chris Coons and Christine O'Donnell

AMANPOUR: Welcome to viewers here and around the world. I'm Christiane Amanpour. And at the top of the news this week, Tea Party politics in Delaware.


O'DONNELL: What we ended up doing was dusting up (ph) the backroom deals...

AMANPOUR (voice-over): Christine O'Donnell takes on the Republican establishment, but she's not everyone's cup of tea.

(UNKNOWN): I feel that the girl has no experience.

(UNKNOWN): We need somebody that's standing here (ph) with us. Christine O'Donnell is most likely one of those type people (ph).

AMANPOUR: In the battle to control the Senate, is this the Democrats' firewall?

(on-screen): What worries you most about her?

(voice-over): On the campaign trail in Delaware. Exclusive interviews with Democrat Chris Coons and Republican Christine O'Donnell. Then, Maria Shriver on a mission.

SHRIVER: When you are dealing with a parent with Alzheimer's, you yourself feel helpless.

AMANPOUR: Across the country, families battle a silent killer. This morning, we begin a special ABC series examining the impact of Alzheimer's on women. Maria Shriver's Woman's Nation takes on Alzheimer's, only on "This Week."

Plus, mission accomplished. How Chile turned a disaster into a national triumph, a reporter's notebook from ABC's Jeffrey Kofman, who's covered the story from the start.


(UNKNOWN): Elections are about the alternative. And we've just got to keep focusing on what the alternative to (inaudible) would be.

AMANPOUR: In these final weeks, the Democrats closed some of the gap. That and the rest of the week's politics on our roundtable with ABC's George Will and Terry Moran, political analyst Matthew Dowd, and Meghan McCain.

And the Sunday funnies.

LENO: And Vice President Joe Biden told the New York Times this week that President Obama has asked him to run again in 2012. The bad news? Nobody asking Obama yet. They're still waiting on that.


ANNOUNCER: From all across our world to the heart of our nation's capital, ABC's "This Week" with Christiane Amanpour starts now.

AMANPOUR: Hello again. And just 16 days until the midterms and there is a lot of politics to talk about. Our roundtable is here standing by.

But first, we go on the campaign trail, the Senate race in Delaware. Christine O'Donnell landed on the national stage just a month ago when she upset the political order in Delaware and won the Republican Senate primary. She campaigned as an outsider, a Tea Party favorite, raising lots of money. But on the very night of her victory, some in her own party concluded that Delaware was no longer a guaranteed win for Republicans, and that meant finding another state to win, if they want to control the Senate, according to the analysts.

And even though O'Donnell is now behind in the polls, Democrats aren't taking any chances. Vice President Biden...


AMANPOUR (voice-over): ... Vice President Biden brought the president to his home state of Delaware to raise money for Democratic Senate candidate Chris Coons.

OBAMA: And although I think Chris has so far run an extraordinary race, I don't want anybody here taking this for granted. This is a tough political environment.

AMANPOUR: Biden held the seat for 36 years.

BIDEN: There's a great, great deal at stake.

AMANPOUR: And Coons told me it's a must-keep for Democrats if they want to maintain control of the Senate.

COONS: Well, I don't think there's a scenario where the Republican take control of the United States Senate if I'm successful in this Senate seat. And I've been told that's a critical strategic concern for folks who are looking at this race from outside.

AMANPOUR: His opponent, Christine O'Donnell's, surprising Republican primary victory over nine-term Congressman Mike Castle has made her an international media magnet, that and her controversial past.

O'DONNELL: I dabbled into witchcraft. I never joined a coven.

AMANPOUR: And her ads to dispel it.

O'DONNELL: I'm not a witch.

AMANPOUR: Backed by Sarah Palin, O'Donnell is a Tea Party favorite, but state and national Republicans are keeping their distance.

O'DONNELL: The state party isn't helping us. And we're asking the national Republican senatorial to help us. We've got the Democratic senatorial committee coming after me. We're hoping that the National Republican Senatorial Committee will help us. But it's two-and-a-half weeks left, and they're not.

AMANPOUR: Today, Chris Coons is well ahead, where he would likely have been trailed had he been facing Mike Castle.

(on-screen): Who would have been a stronger and more difficult opponent?

COONS: Oh, Congressman Castle, absolutely. He's got experience. He's got years of insight. He was a two-term governor, and he's got the experience that comes from knowing how to make hard decisions and then their consequences.

AMANPOUR: So you're glad that it's O'Donnell who won the primary?

COONS: I'm not sure it's good for Delaware or good for Delaware's voters.

AMANPOUR: Do you, for your campaign?

COONS: Obviously, I went from being significantly down to significantly up in the polls, so just from an outside-in view, it's a positive in terms of my chances in the election. But I don't think it's been positive for Delaware. There's been a huge amount of attention paid to things that aren't directly connected to what matters to Delaware.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): And Tom Ross, chairman of the state Republican Party, was clearly agitated when he joined me on "This Week" just days after O'Donnell won the primary.

(on-screen): You are not a happy man today.

ROSS: I'm not a happy man. We have worked very diligently in a very difficult environment. I'm the Republican chairman in the Northeast. My state is vastly Democratic. Most people identify themselves as a moderate. We had a candidate that was very close to becoming the next United States senator from Delaware, and essentially people on our own team clipped him right as he was about to go on the goal line.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): Ross told me O'Donnell's support comes from Tea Party backers across the country.

ROSS: You know, we're not opposed to Tea Party values. What we're opposed to is people coming in from out of state and dumping hundreds of thousands of dollars on candidates that we have not endorsed.

AMANPOUR: O'Donnell may be trailing Coons in the polls, but she's raised three times more money than he has, $3.8 million in just over a month.

BIDEN: We want to make sure Chris has the money to continue -- to finish out this campaign.

AMANPOUR: And as the vice president told "Nightline's" Terry Moran, that got their attention.

BIDEN: Look, Christine ran against me. I'm the only guy in America that at the same time ran -- had two opponents, Christine O'Donnell and Sarah Palin, because I was on the ticket in Delaware as a senator and as vice president. And I took them both very seriously. We take Christine O'Donnell seriously.

One of the reasons is, Christine O'Donnell has been able to raise a great deal of money. There's an awful lot of negative ads she's been able to put up.

O'DONNELL: We haven't yet taken out a negative ad.

AMANPOUR: Expect, perhaps, this one...

(UNKNOWN): You will hide your lights, because he's taxing everything out here. Chris Coons is the Taxman.

AMANPOUR: If he's elected, Chris Coons told me tax policy will be a top priority.

COONS: I would vote to extend the overwhelming majority of the Bush tax cuts. There's a trillion dollars in private capital sitting on the sidelines right now in the American economy. All that money is sitting there waiting for clear signals about health care costs, about where we're going in tax policy, and what we're going to do to restart this economy. We have to get these things solved.

O'DONNELL: There's this scare tactic coming from the Democrats saying that these tax cuts for the rich are these billionaires who are trying to find places to dock their yachts. That's not it at all. It's the dry cleaner down the street. It's the pizza shop owner down the street. It's the hardware store owner.

COONS: She's run for the -- for the United States Senate three times in five years. That's a lot of persistence.

AMANPOUR (on-screen): And what do you think it's all about?

COONS: I think my grandmother would have said she has a lot of moxie.

AMANPOUR: A good thing?

COONS: I'm not sure why she's running, but that's up for -- that's up to her to explain.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): O'Donnell's support comes mostly from southern Delaware.

(UNKNOWN): My husband and I feel that Christine O'Donnell is not part of the good-old-boy network, and we think she'll bring some fresh ideas and have the courage to stand up for her convictions and to represent the people.

AMANPOUR: Most voters are in the northern part of the state. At the Golden Dove Diner, we spoke to Republican and Tea Party supporter Linda Conway (ph). But she's casting her vote elsewhere.

(UNKNOWN): I feel that the girl has no experience, and for some reason, I just have -- that she's almost like a front for someone. And I just don't feel this young lady has the control and the smarts to get us out of this jam that we're in at this time. And I feel Coons, with his experience, does.

AMANPOUR: We then joined these men, whose company rents linens and uniforms. Like many people across the country, Kenneth Ritoli (ph) told us that he's frustrated and worried about the future.

(on-screen): Do you feel that your children will have it better than your generation, the American dream?

(UNKNOWN): I don't -- I don't know. I really -- and I hate to say that -- I really don't know.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): But all of them told me they see a glimmer of hope after the darkest days of the recession.

(on-screen): Have you had to lay people off?

(UNKNOWN): We did lay off a few people, but since then, we have started rehiring, and things are looking up in our business and getting better.



BUSH: I wrote in my book that going out that last Thanksgiving, after George had been elected, but before he was inaugurated governor, and Daddy -- we were all sitting in the den watching football on television over Thanksgiving. And Daddy said, "Who's that over there?" And I said, "That's my husband, Dad. That's George Bush." He said, "You married George Bush?" And I said, "Yes." And then he laughed and said, "I think I'll ask him for a loan."



AMANPOUR: Funny, but sad, too. Laura Bush reflecting on her father's experience with Alzheimer's. Harold Welch died in 1995, after battling the disease for two years. And more than half of all Americans now know someone with Alzheimer's.

And this morning, we begin a special ABC News series in collaboration with Maria Shriver and the Alzheimer's Association. Together, they've produced "The Shriver Report: A Woman's Nation Takes on Alzheimer's." It's the first to make a compelling connection between Alzheimer's and women. And in a moment, we'll talk with Maria.

But first, how the disease is impacting ordinary American families.


AMANPOUR (voice-over): Every 70 seconds in the United States, someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer's, and experts warn the country is ill-prepared for the growing epidemic.

(UNKNOWN): With the coming of the Baby Boomers, turning of age, starting 2011, almost 80 million of them, we will be seeing a tsunami of -- an increase in Alzheimer's disease.

AMANPOUR: And women are at the epicenter. They make up two-thirds of people who have Alzheimer's and of those who care for people with the disease.

(UNKNOWN): A big part of this has to do with longevity. Women are still living longer than men.

(UNKNOWN): OK, got to run.

AMANPOUR: Karen Parks (ph) understood her 80-year-old mother losing her memory, but her world came to a screeching halt when her 56-year-old husband Jerry was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's.

K. PARKS (ph): I could see myself sitting there. I thought to myself, "Should I be putting my arm around my husband? Am I hearing this right?" I mean, it just absolutely stops you cold.

AMANPOUR: With his lifelong passion for woodwork and building, Jerry was at the top of his career as a successful construction executive, only to be laid off when his memory began to fail.

J. PARKS (ph): I looked at the doctor. I said, "You know, I had rheumatic fever when I was little kid, and I beat that." And I said, "I'll beat this one, too." (inaudible) and he said, you know -- he said, "You really won't."

AMANPOUR: With two of their four children still at home, they were forced to downsize, and Karen (ph) went back to work as a teacher after a 20-year absence.

K. PARKS (ph): He was my rock. He was the breadwinner. And I'm having to take on some of that. I miss the Jerry and Karen (ph) of before.

J. PARKS (ph): All I hope is that -- that every year that I have that I can be as productive as I can be. And I want to enjoy life. I spent a lot of time focusing on the family and friends and doing the things I want to do.

AMANPOUR: The debilitating disease affects the patient and the caregiver, who's more likely to become depressed, have an increase in heart disease, and six times more susceptible to dementia. These women caregivers suffer at work, too. Many are forced to go part-time or quit altogether. Karen says, as Jerry's condition worsens, she'll have to cut back her hours, and she's not sure how she'll afford the medical bills.

According to "The Shriver Report," the United States will spend an astounding $20 trillion over the next 40 years treating Alzheimer's. Current treatments only slow the symptoms of patients like Jerry (ph), who's in a clinical trial, but he and Karen (ph) both hope the government will provide more resources for families and more funding to find a cure.

But for now, they say, they enjoy living in the moment.

K. PARKS (ph): It's very hard to see your loved one that you want to spend forever with losing parts of things and seeing how frustrated and hurt they feel when they know they can't do something. Jerry (ph) and I decided that we're going to make the best of this, and he has a fabulous attitude.

J. PARKS (ph): (inaudible) grieving, I thought, you know, this gives me a great opportunity. You know, it gives me time to do the things I want to do. I think for us to be upbeat, you know, raises our family and our friends up, too.


AMANPOUR: And joining me now, Maria Shriver, the first lady of California. She's the founder of Woman's Nation, which, with the Alzheimer's Association, produced the report.

Also, Ann O'Leary, executive director of the Berkeley Center on Health, Economic and Family Security at U.C. Berkeley and an expert on women and work.

Thank you both for coming in.

SHRIVER: Thank you for having us.

AMANPOUR: So as always with these cases, it's usually a personal experience that turns you into an activist.

SHRIVER: Exactly.

AMANPOUR: Your father has the disease.

SHRIVER: My father was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2003. And at that time, there was very little information about the disease, and there was a big stigma about it. So like millions of families, we had to start talking to people, asking questions, finding out what trials were going on, what medicine to do, who would do the care-giving, and we started down a very long road that continues to this day.

So it turned me, first, to an author and then to a producer and today to an activist to try to find a cure, bring attention to this disease, and reduce some of the stigma and make it in the mainstream.

AMANPOUR: So along with the doctors and along with you, Ann, there are proposals that you're trying to figure out. You just -- you just said that it could -- it's like the silent killer. People don't really want to talk about it.

SHRIVER: Well, what we want to say is also that this affects, as you said in that report, 60 percent of the people who get it are women. They're also doing the caretaking. And millions of these women are also working full-time. And in the polling, we report that they often say we had to go into work late, we had to change our job to part-time, as that woman was talking, or leave our job altogether. And the workplace and the government have not kept up with this change that's going on all across the country.

O'LEARY: Yeah, this is a -- you know, it's a tremendous burden on families. We estimate that families are spending $56,000 a year they're paying out of pocket. We don't have any insurance for this.

One of the great things about the health reform bill is we are going to start. There's going to be long-term insurance now that's going to be provided to people through their employers, but there's so much more we can do to relieve that financial burden.

AMANPOUR: Well, what specifically can be done to help people in the workplace, for instance, who need to take time to look after their family members?

O'LEARY: Well, it's interesting. You know, if you look at the difference between men and women who are having this problem in the workplace, more often men are saying that they are able to take the flexibility. Women often drop out of the workplace because they don't have policies in place to provide flexibility, they don't have policies in place that says that they can take the leave and they'll get some pay when they take the leave.

We have no insurance, no paid family leave, no right to request flexibility in our country. These are things that we need to have a conversation about and really start working on.

SHRIVER: But I think today employers can go and talk to their employees and say, "Do you need flexible hours?" And this is particularly important to women who are in low-paying jobs and don't have the power. There's a lot of fear in the workplace today to even go and ask. Many of the people we polled said that they felt more comfortable asking for help with childcare than with elder care, that it's not something that employers are comfortable talking about. They don't really even know how to address it.

AMANPOUR: And isn't the child -- I mean, the childcare act is potentially -- you're saying there should be some elder care legislated, as well?

SHRIVER: Yes, to amend the childcare tax aid (ph) so that perhaps it'd include elder care and pre-tax dollars. There's a lot of things that need to be amended. The Family Leave Act needs to also be able to include grandparents, spouses, in-laws that it doesn't cover today.

AMANPOUR: And do you think Congress, the administration, all those who have to get together to make this a reality can do that any time soon?

O'LEARY: I mean, I think that they're starting the conversation. They're starting to talk about workplace flexibility. But it has to be everybody having this conversation and realizing this is just such a tremendous burden. If we ignore it, the burden is on families. It's on families who don't have any insurance, they don't have any ability to pay for these costs. So we have to step up.

AMANPOUR: But it's also -- I mean, the startling figure is that it could bankrupt the country. I mean, it's $20 trillion, you assess, over the next 40 years, could be paid treating this disease.

SHRIVER: That's right. And I think that this president could stand up and say that he understands that this is a national epidemic. They can -- this Congress right now could go ahead and pass the National Alzheimer's Project Act. They could do that today, which actually would put an office in HHS and say this is going to be a priority. We need coordination. We need a strategy. Families need to know that this Congress, the city right behind you, is aware of this epidemic, that it's affecting working men and women.

Two million kids under the age of 18 are caring for loved ones at home struggling with Alzheimer's. This is already happening. The only people who are not talking about sit in that building.

AMANPOUR: You must have been talking to them. You must have been trying to figure out whether there is an appetite to do that. Apparently, the United States is the only developed country without a national strategy on this issue.

O'LEARY: And that's exactly right. We need a national strategy. There is real hope that Congress will pass the National Alzheimer's Project Act. We really -- that needs to happen. But there needs to be so much more than that.

There was a really positive step in this health reform bill, but we need to do much more. I mean, the U.K., for example, allows this right to request flexibility. You know, one of the women in this report said, "I'm scared. I'm scared I'm going to get fired. I'm holding on just to be able to do this. I want to be able to ask for some flexibility, but I'm too scared to do that." We need that in our country.

SHRIVER: I think what's also really exciting about this is that men and women can get together on this issue. Women always talked about getting maternity leave, but everybody has a parent. And I have found, just in the time when my father was diagnosed to today, so many more people come up and talk to me about it. They don't whisper as much about it as they used to. And you see millions of men now stepping up to care for their mothers or their wives, and there are beautiful essays in this report which we did with the Alzheimer's Association where men talk about caring for their mothers and it being the most extraordinary thing they've ever done in their lives.

AMANPOUR: Terry Moran talking about his case with his mother. And your own brothers are caring principally for your father.

SHRIVER: I have four brothers, and I write about them. They have -- I think giving their children a whole new role model, which is the strong, nurturing man. They take care of my dad, and they're there 24/7.

AMANPOUR: So let's get down to the -- to the real issue. One of the real issues is funding, resourcing, political, galvanizing, but we we're talking -- I mean, your own husband, governor of California, has had to cut back some of these programs because of budget cuts. Alzheimer's is, by a huge factor, less resourced, less funding than cancer and other such diseases.

SHRIVER: Yes. And in the Time magazine which has Alzheimer's on the cover, one of the doctors says that, you know, heart disease and cancer get $6 billion, $5 billion, and Alzheimer's gets $500 million. And, in fact, it's going to be Alzheimer's in the next several years that's going to get those people way before cancer or heart disease.

So, obviously, we need to increase funding. But, you know, in this climate, that'll probably be difficult. There's a breakthrough act that asks for $2 billion for research. But I think, once again, this president could say, "I want to launch" -- just like Kennedy launched expedition to the moon, he can launch an expedition to the brain.

There are so many secrets in the brain that can uncover the cures for Alzheimer's, Huntington, Parkinson's, intellectual disabilities, how we learn, how we love, how we remember. All of this is in the brain. And why not have something like that in this country to galvanize people around?

O'LEARY: Yeah, I mean, I think one of the things that's happening is we're making these very short-term decisions about how we fund things. And we're cutting paid caregivers in many of our states because of these budget crises. But look at what's going to happen on the back end. If we don't have somebody providing paid care or providing unpaid care, because they can't take the time off from work, many people will end up being institutionalized. That is much more expensive, and we really need to think about those...


AMANPOUR: And what many people ask is, is there a cure or is there anything like a cure or something on the horizon?

O'LEARY: Well, I think there's -- you know, there's not a cure, but there's a lot of hope, in terms of the research that's going on. You know, Time magazine has done this terrific issue today talking about the research and what's happening. There's a lot we've learned. There's a lot of hope. And I think Terry Moran's right: We have to have that hope.

But we have to invest in the research. There's so little money invested in the research.

SHRIVER: And one of the great things to get us hope will be more people who volunteer for trials. There are lots of trials that are going on...


SHRIVER: ... anybody can volunteer for a trial. And the thing that we've learned in the last kind of six months is that Alzheimer's develops 15, 20 years before diagnosis. So people need to be aware of what's going on with their parents, with themselves, and get in early. That's where the hope is.

AMANPOUR: Now, you -- your term, your husband's term is coming up. You will not be in the California governor's mansion.

SHRIVER: There isn't a governor's mansion, Christiane.



AMANPOUR: What will you -- what will you be doing? Will you continue to lobby publicly for these kinds of things, even after you're first lady?

SHRIVER: Well, I'll work on Alzheimer's because I'm passionate about it. And we have 78 million Baby Boomers who are entering their 60s and entering this prime time, so I think it should be not just me, but everybody should be concerned about this. But as to what I'm going to do next, I don't know.

AMANPOUR: And everybody wants to know what Governor Schwarzenegger is going to do now.

SHRIVER: I don't know. I didn't know that he was going to run, so I don't know what he's going to do now.


O'LEARY: ... also connect it to the women's issues, the issues from last year (ph), which are so critical.

AMANPOUR: Thank you. Thank you both, Maria.


SHRIVER: Thank you.

AMANPOUR: And thank you so much for being here to discuss this.

And you can find out more about Women's Nation, Alzheimer's, and this groundbreaking report on our website at abcnews.com/this week.

Coming up next, "In Memoriam," a reporter's notebook, also, from Chile, and the Sunday funnies.


AMANPOUR: It was a remarkable week in Chile. And when we come back, a report from our reporter on the ground and our picture this week.


AMANPOUR: Chile's president, Sebastian Pinero, got a rock star welcome in London this weekend and a last-minute invitation to meet with the queen because of the successful rescue of the miners. It's one of those rare stories that gripped the globe, and ABC's Jeffrey Kofman, who reported on every development of the story, brings us his reporter's notebook.


KOFMAN (voice-over): They went into the mine as 33 anonymous laborers. They emerged as superstars. It was the rarest of media moments, the entire world putting politics, religion, and nationalism aside, cheering them on, and they went home to a hero's welcome.

This was their moment. But it was also their country's moment. Make no mistake: 33 working men are alive today because Chile's billionaire, politically conservative president, Sebastian Pinera, made their survival his government's priority. He overruled advisers who warned he would pay a huge price for failure.

I arrived in Chile on August 23rd, just 24 hours after the men were found alive. No one knew how they'd be rescued. Yet when I met Chile's mining minister that night, he already had a plan.

(UNKNOWN): We had planned a whole support system for food, for psychological health, et cetera. So we are going to keep them alive and in good shape.

KOFMAN: And they did, inventing a delivery system to send food and supplies through an impossibly narrow access hole, hooking up fresh water, electricity, even TV for the men entombed half a mile underground.

I watched as the very poor, very loyal families of the miners cheered an endless caravan of drills and rescue equipment descending on this remote desert moonscape. These people couldn't remember when government had ever done anything for them before.

The so-called Plan B drill that ultimately succeeded was made in the U.S., flown in by cargo jet from western Australia, with drill bits from Ireland. The American operator was rushed here from Afghanistan. NASA came to consult and was astonished.

(UNKNOWN): That will not only be a case study in medicine and a case study in mining, but a case study in business, as well. They were very innovative.

KOFMAN: And with cameras broadcasting it to the world live this week, it was executed flawlessly

(on-screen): On a continent infamous for bureaucracy, corruption, and nepotism, Chile, already the most advanced country in Latin America, has rebranded itself as the little country that could.

For "This Week," I'm Jeffrey Kofman, ABC News in Copiapo, Chile.


AMANPOUR: From disaster to triumph. And we leave you with our picture this week, 33 miners seated with President Pinera, a sign of unity and hope.

Thank you for watching today, and we hope to see you next week.

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