Washington, DC, Nov. 17, 2013— -- A rush transcript of "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" airing on Sunday morning, November 17, 2013 on ABC News is below. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
RADDATZ: Good morning. Welcome to This Week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We fumbled the rollout. That's on me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RADDATZ: President Obama reeling over the disastrous start to his signature achievement. Can Obamacare be fixed? Can his presidency recover? Or is this Obama's political Katrina? This morning, our special coverage, a presidency in crisis. Including a key senator who may have her own eyes on the White House, New York's Kirsten Gillibrand.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN F. KENNEDY, 35TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Ask not what your country can do for you...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RADDATZ: 50 years later, remembering JFK.
All that and the powerhouse roundtable right here this Sunday morning.
ANNOUNCER: From ABC News, This Week with George Stephanopoulos starts now.
RADDATZ: Hello, again. I'm Martha Raddatz. Great to have you with us.
If second terms are about building a legacy this was an incredibly tough week for President Obama. This morning is still facing withering attacks on his signature legislative achievement: health care reform. And most troubling for the White House, Democrats are joining in.
We have full coverage of the president's very rough week. Let's begin at the White House where Jonathan Karl has the very latest. Good morning, Jon.
JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Martha.
President Obama has staked his legacy on the Affordable Care Act, but now the flawed rollout threatens to undermine the foundation of his second term.
KARL (voice-over): The president came before the cameras this week and fell on his sword.
OBAMA: I do make apologies for not having executed better. We did fumble the ball on it. That's something I deeply regret
KARL: Six weeks after the bungled rollout of healthcare.gov, the White House revealed that only 106,000 Americans have signed up for Obamacare, a scant 26,000 of those through the federal exchange.
OBAMA: If you like your plan...
KARL: And the president's repeated vow that Americans could keep their health care if they liked it, with millions getting cancellation notices. President Obama acknowledged a broken promise.
OBAMA: There is doubt that the way I put that forward unequivocally ended up not being accurate.
KARL: But his proposed fix to allow people to keep their plans for one more year has only caused more confusion, with some states rejecting the plan as unworkable.
Criticism of the White House has been relentless. From Republicans...
REP. PHIL GINGREY, (R) GEORGIA: This disastrous law was destined to fail from the start.
KARL: And now even Democrats...
REP. NICK RAHALL, (D) WEST VIRGINIA: Some heads ought to roll.
KARL: In a new poll this week for the first time shows a majority of Americans say the president is not honest and trustworthy.
President Obama's predicament has prompted comparisons with where President Bush was at this point in his presidency in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
GEORGE W. BUSH, 43RD PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And Brownie you're doing a heck of a job.
KARL: President Bush never fully recovered.
Obama's top aides rejected the comparison, but critics say it comes down to a question of credibility and confidence, one that President Obama openly acknowledged.
OBAMA: There have been times where I thought that we were slapped around a little bit unjustly. This one is deserved, right? It's on us.
KARL: Republicans, of course, have voted over and over again to either repeal or changeObamacare. But this week we saw something different, Martha, 39 Democrats joined House Republicans in a measure that would fundamentally change the law. And they did that despite the fact that the president had issued a veto threat.
RADDATZ: Thanks, Jon. Stay right there. We're going to broaden our conversation with a pair of political gurus, David Plouffe, who advised President Obama and is now a contributor to ABC News. Welcome, David. Matthew Dowd, top strategist on the George W. Bush campaign and our chief business correspondent Rebecca Jarvis joins us from New York.
I want to go back to you first, Jon. We heard Congress Rahall say in your piece that heads ought to roll. Is that going to happen?
KARL: Well, the answer is, yes, eventually. What I'm hearing from White House officials is there will be changes to the president's team coming out of all this, but they're not looking to fire anyone now. The president firmly believes that would be counterproductive. He needs these people working on fixing the problems.
I mean, can you imagine, Martha, for instance, if there were a change at the top, if Kathleen Sebelius was fired, he would be left with a vacancy at top of HHS and a long drawn out confirmation battle for whoever he would nominate to replace her.
RADDATZ: Matthew Dowd, let's turn to you. It sounds like for policy reason and efficiency reasons, perhaps, they shouldn't have any heads rolling right now, but the optics of this are so bad.
MATTHEW DOWD, ABC NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, the problem is that there is a trust problem that exists. And sometimes the only way to get back to a place where you can rebuild trust is to bring new people in.
To me, this presidency, and actually the last presidency I was involved with in the elections, is they have done a great job at delegation, but they haven't a great job of the second half of what an MBA person is supposed to do which is accountability. And sometimes the only way you can hold people accountable, or enforcing accountability is to bring in new people when things like happen like this, which finally happened obviously with Donald Rumsfeld when Secretary Gates came in.
RADDATZ: That took a long time.
DOWD: I think at some point, the president needs to demonstrate, yeah, I can delegate things, but I can also hold accountable when things are messed up.
RADDATZ: David Plouffe, is that what you would do?
DAVID PLOUFFE, FRM. OBAMA WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISER: Well, I think right now they're in triage as Jonathan said. And so I think once the website gets fixed, and it will, then you have to step back and say, OK, what do I need to have confidence going forward that I can to implement this law, not just in the comes months, but in the coming years. And I think that's the fundamental question is once you have stabilized, how do you give confidence to the American people and to the president himself that you have this under control going forward.
Because this law is going to be with us, I think, forever. But certainly over the next three years of his presidency, we're going to have more people that need to be enrolled. You have got to implement this in a smart, effective way, and regains people's trust that this is the right thing to do.
RADDATZ: So, Jonathan Karl, if heads aren't rolling, what will they do now?
KARL: Well, the big thing right now, of course, is getting that website fixed. And Martha, also working with insurance companies. I mean, the president has clashed with insurance companies, but he brought the CEOs in and they have the same goal right now, the exact same goal, which is getting as many people as they possibly can to enroll in these health exchanges. And he does have an ally there with those CEOs.
RADDATZ: So, Rebecca Jarvis, let's turn to you, give us a reality check. What are American people thinking? What impact is on them?
REBECCA JARVIS, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, the issue here, Martha, is who is signing up through the public exchanges and who is not. Right now, the numbers are skewing much older than the insurers and the government had anticipated. The average age with the number of insurers I'm talking to, 50 years old, when we were expecting people of the age of 40 to start signing upthrough these exchanges.
Those who are younger are opting out, and that's a problem for the future years, because ultimately, in order for this to work, and you heard it from John, the insurers need a pool of people that is both young and healthy as well as the sick and the old. And ultimately if next year you don't see young people signing up for the exchanges, and right now it doesn't look like they will be. Then in 2015, that's when premiums start to go up because the insurers will say, we spent all of this money in 2014 to insure people and we need to actually now have to pass those costs along to the other people in the next year.
RADDATZ: So this gets right back to the competence question, David and Matthew, what do you see as far as Obama regaining the trust of the American people?
DOWD: Well, to me, this is very problematic for his presidency at this point in time. If you take a look at history when presidents in their second term drop this level on credibility, trust and approval, they never come back from that. It's very hard, absence of major crisis or major situation in this.
I think the president is in a difficult spot on all of his legislative initiatives going forward in the next three years. He has time, but...
RADDATZ: Is it a political Katrina?
DOWD: Well, I don't -- first of all, there's a qualitative difference. I know the comparisons we've made into politics and people dying in New Orleans and people trying to get health care and not able to get health care.
But it is from a political standpoint it's eerily similar to President Bush in the fall of 2005, eerily similar.
RADDATZ: David Plouffe.
PLOUFFE: I disagree. I think Iraq was going on, which was getting more and more unpopular, the economy was (inaudible). It's hard in these feeding frenzies in Washington to have perspective. But where could we be in four or five months? Hopefully the website is working fine and people are enrolling for health care. Hopefully, we won't have another bout of Washington dysfunction, which is one of the reasons I think people are upset it's not just health care. And we pass a budget and we move forward. The economy continues to strengthen.
So we could be a in a much different place three or four months from now.
No doubt this is an enormously challenging time. But I think you do have to have some perspective here, that, you know, the story could change. And I do think once the website gets fixed -- I think the political notion, by the way, that next year's election, or 2016, the Republican platform is going to be getting rid of health care, millions of people will be signed up. It's an impossibility.
RADDATZ: I want to go quickly to Jon Karl and Rebecca Jarvis just for some final thoughts here on -- Jon, you first, whether he can regain the trust of the American people.
KARL: Well, I will tell you this, Martha, the White House officials firmly believe that the worst is behind them. But I've got to tell you, that is essentially what they have been telling me for several weeks. And of course, over that time, things kept on getting worse.
JARVIS: And from the standpoint of the people the website has to work and if premiums do go up in 2015 then there's even bigger problems.
RADDATZ: Thanks everyone for joining us.
RADDATZ: And now, New York Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand joins us. Thank you very much for joining us.
I'm going to ask you the same question, can President Obama regain the trust of the American people?
GILLIBRAND: Of course, he can. Because, Martha, what this is about is everyday people needing access to Affordable Health Care. They don't want their coverage dropped because of a pre-existing condition or when they get sick. They want their kids covered up to 26. And they want to have preventive care covered. And that's what this bill does.
So, once we get over this implementation issue, we will then.
RADDATZ: If we get over this implementation...
GILLIBRAND: We will.
They can fix this. This is a fixable problem. So, once they fix it, people will see, I have an opportunity to cover my family. And Martha, I was in the emergency room just last week with my son who had an asthma attack and took too many puffs on his puffer. And I looked in the eyes of all the other mothers in the emergency room, these are mothers who don't have health care, who may not -- this may be their only access.
RADDATZ: But whose trust has been shattered.
GILLIBRAND: No, but once -- that's an implementation issue. Once you get beyond it, you then say, look, oh my gosh.
RADDATZ: And you think we'll get beyond it?
GILLIBRAND: We will.
You know, what though, see emergency room is covered. Do you how much it is to go to an emergency room? You get a bill. It's very expensive.
RADDATZ: Let me ask you this, I want to go back to this implementation, because we can't quite go forward yet. Did you feel misled by Obama?
GILLIBRAND: He should have just been more specific, because the point is if you're offered by a terrible health care plan that the minute you get sick, you're going to have to go into bankruptcy, those plans should never be offered.
RADDATZ: So, were you misled?
GILLIBRAND: He should have just been specific.
No, we all knew, the whole point of the plan is to cover things people need, like preventive care, birth control, pregnancy. How many women the minute they get pregnant might risk their coverage? How many women paid more because of their gender because they might get pregnant? Those are the reforms...
RADDATZ: But we're talking about leadership here and trust. What does this all say about President Obama's leadership these past few weeks? He fell on his sword but he's missed that sword a couple of times.
GILLIBRAND: Well, no one is more disappointed in the implementation issues than President Obama and he has taken full responsibility for the mistakes and the lack of getting this system up and running when it was supposed to be up and running.
But what this was about, Martha, are those mothers in the emergency room who don't have access to affordable health care. I can't tell you how frightening it is when your kid can't breathe. It is a horrible moment. And I looked at every mother, and I'm telling you, we have to fix health care in this country. So, when you talk about President Obama's legacy, his legacy is going to be offering affordable health care to every family in this country.
RADDATZ: But you talk about this and what they want, 39 Democrats defected in the bill you heard Jon Karl mentioning in the house. 39 Democrats. What does that tell you?
GILLIBRAND: Well, they're just responding to the worries of their constituents. When...
GILLIBRAND: Right -- because of these implementation issues, there's a number of Americans who got a notice from their insurance saying we're not covering you anymore.
Well, do you know what that creates in a family? Enormous amounts of stress. It's exactly the stress when you don't know how you're going to pay for your child's medicine and you don't know how you're going to pay for the inoculations they need to stay healthy.
And the whole point of the bill is so you can actually get those inoculations. You can make sure your kid isn't going to get sick. You can make sure you get the medicines he or she needs.
RADDATZ: Got to work through it.
GILLIBRAND: They're worried. They're worried. And I think it's not only normal, but our job is to fix these problems. So if they're trying to ally someone's concern just say listen, we're going to make sure there's something affordable. And during this transition period where implementation has been rocky, we're going to allay your concerns, that's reasonable.
And I think many of our colleagues, Democrats and Republicans are trying to figure out do we allay that worry. And that's exactly what the president is doing.
RADDATZ: Speaking of presidents, OK, this is the front cover of The National Journal. There you are with that same sort of campaign logo President Obama had.
RADDATZ: What is your reaction to that?
GILLIBRAND: I think it's a nice picture. I like the picture.
RADDATZ: So, what does it say? Any plans?
GILLIBRAND: No, no.
I am on the bandwagon for Hillary Clinton 2016. And not only have...
RADDATZ: And you're not going to look beyond that?
GILLIBRAND: I have personally encouraged her. I think she would be an extraordinary president. She has not only the gravitas, but experience. What she's done as secretary of state has been incredible. And I think people really are looking to her for leadership.
RADDATZ: OK, senator, I want to turn to another issue that you have been very involved in and that is changing the way that the military investigates sexual assault. It's a debate that pitted you against members of your own party, against the military brass. And the debate is heading to the senate floor. Let's talk about that in just a moment.
But first, here's ABC's Jeff Zeleny.
JEFF ZELENY, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Ariana Klay, marine officer, Iraq war veteran and victim of sexual assault.
ARIANNA KLAY, IRAQ WAR VETERAN: When I reported the assault, my commander responded with retaliation. The humiliation of the retaliation was worse than the assault, because it was sanctioned from the same leaders I once would have risked my life for.
ZELENY: The shocking number of these cases has placed it center stage on Capitol Hill. America's all-male top brass, confronted by two Democratic senators, both women, but with different proposals to reform the military justice system.
On one side Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, pushing to take sexual assault cases outside the chain of command, stripping commanders of their prosecuting role.
GILLIBRAND: Too often, these brave men and women are in the fight of their life. And it is not on some far off foreign soil, it's right within their own ranks.
ZELENY: On the other side Senator Claire McCaskill, seeking historic changes, but adamant commanders stay involved.
SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL, (D) MISSOURI: I believe these reforms will hold the chain of command more accountable and force them to be part of the solution.
ZELENY: And the Pentagon favors the McCaskill plan. It's an uphill battle for Gillibrand, still short of the 60 votes she needs.
For this week, Jeff Zeleny, ABC News, Capitol Hill.
RADDATZ: Back now with Senator Gillibrand.
You heard in Jeff Zeleny's report -- and you know this, you're shy of those 60 votes.
GILLIBRAND: I think we'll get them, Martha. This is a growing debate all around this country because we want to make sure that the men and women who serve our military have a justice system deserving of their sacrifices. They are literally giving their lives for our values, for our country and they shouldn't have a justice system that is rife with bias and unfairness. They need justice. And that's what we're trying to do.
RADDATZ: One of the things you told your hometown paper, I think it with us in today's paper, was that you would consider taking parts of the legislation out for other serious crimes, murder and theft, are you going to do that or are you going to stick to the original plan?
GILLIBRAND: No, we're going to stick to the original plan because it's a better bill. At the end of the day...
RADDATZ: You also would have lost a lot of support, correct, from advocacy groups?
GILLIBRAND: Well, it's been an interesting process, because what we learned is, having the bright line of elevating all serious crimes out of the chain of command, makes sure both victims' rights are protected and defendants' rights for civil liberties reasons, that you need fairness and justice.
Because what we've got, Martha, 26,000 cases of sexual assault and rape last year alone.
RADDATZ: But let me go to -- you yourself said those 26,000, you don't know whether they're the difference between patting someone on the bottom or rape. So if you have those kind of statistics, and they're even worse this year, but you don't really know what the data is, how can you make recommendations?
GILLIBRAND: We do know the data. This is from the Department of Defense. This is their estimate, not my estimate, their estimate.
RADDATZ: But they don't know as you yourself have said.
GILLIBRAND: Agreed. But Martha, what we do know, the 3,000 cases that were reported, 70 percent were violent, violent rapes and sexual assaults. And even more disturbing, of those 3,000 cases that were reported 62 percent of the victims were retaliated against.
So, what we have is a system where the command climate is so broken that if you are raped, you are likely going to be retaliated against for reporting that rape.
RADDATZ: I want you listen to some of the opposition here, and there is a lot of it, including from some very decorated veterans. Listen to what Senator John McCain said this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: I'm the only member of the United States Senate who was actually in command, okay? And I respect Senator Gillibrand's views and her advocacy, but I do not believe that she has background or experience.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RADDATZ: Do you have the background or experience?
GILLIBRAND: I do. And I respect and admire and am good friends with Senator McCain. But our job as senators and members of congress is the vital constitutional responsibility of providing oversight and accountability over the department of defense. It's actually our job. And I am the personnel subcommittee chairman. This is my job.
And, third, this is an epidemic that has grown to such proportions. And the military has said for 25 years, since Dick Cheney was the secretary of defense, that there is zero tolerance for sexual assault in the military. And last year alone, we had 3,000 reported cases of sexual assault.
RADDATZ: We've had so much attention -- you've helped with that attention in the last couple of months. I want to go to this, because the president of the United States has put a lot of attention on this, does he support what you're trying to do? Does he support your amendment?
GILLIBRAND: I'm so hopeful that he will. Because this is an opportunity for him to show extraordinary leadership on this issue. Because there's a growing chorus of generals, of veterans -- the Vietnam Veterans Association, Iraq veterans, Afghanistan veterans, all support this case. And there's a panel, a DOD commission that actually advises on the status of women, handpicked by the DOD, and they have just come out to support every aspect of this legislation. 10 votes in favor. Those 10 votes, 9 out of 10 are all former military and four are generals.
RADDATZ: Still a long line of generals who do not support it.
GILLIBRAND: Those are the chain in command generals who may not speak publicly. But we have former generals, highest ranking female ever in the army supports it, three-star general.
RADDATZ: Thanks very much for joining us, Senator Gillibrand.
Up next the powerhouse roundtable. Their take on President Obama's rough week.
Plus Jon Karl with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, could he be the GOP's newest breakout star?
And remembering JFK with Ken Burns 50 years after Dallas.
RADDATZ: The roundtable is next. Is President Obama's legacy on the line?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you feeling depressed? Run down? Like you just can't win? Are you the president of the United States? Then you may be suffering from presidential depression. Ask your doctor for Paxil, second-term strength.
Paxil's second-term strength treats a whole range of symptoms. Like Benghazi, the NSA scandal, the IRS scandal, the AP scandal, the Petraeus scandal, that time Jay-Z and Beyonce went to Cuba and of course, Obamacare website problems.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RADDATZ: You got to love Saturday Night Live.
The laughing roundtable joins us now. PBS NewsHour co-anchor Gwen Ifill, Congressman Adam Kinzinger Republican of Illinois, the Wall Street Journal's Pulitzer prize winning columnist BretStephens and former Vermont Governor Howard Dean. Welcome to all of you.
And Gwen, I am going to start with you, the reporter at the table, you have been a reporter in this city for more than years than you probably want to talk about, but covered a number of presidents. As far as weeks go, this seems a pretty bad one for President Obama.
GWEN IFILL, PBS NEWSHOUR: It was a very -- thank you for a laugh to start it off, because we haven't been laughing much in Washington this week.
RADDATZ: Right. We've got to laugh sometimes.
IFILL: And they're not laughing a lot at the White House this week. It's been -- to have the president come out as he did and speak basically for an hour saying, yeah, I was wrong, yeah I was fumbled, repeatedly, repeatedly, repeatedly, was not only a bad concession for him, but it was also so un-Obamalike. There's certainty. There -- our defense in all of this, has been we know what's best for you. And they had to come out and say, but we don't know how to do it and that this is complicated, something which you would like to think they knew.
So, it was a bad, bad week. They're hoping, as you heard Jon Karl say, they've hit bottom and that there's only one place to go -- up. But no one is quite clear what the path is to up.
RADDATZ: OK, Howard Dean, I want to turn you and first of all say happy 65th birthday.
HOWARD DEAN, FRM. GOVERNOR OF VERMONT: Oh, please. I don't know if that's a good...
RADDATZ: You don't have to worry about healthcare.gov. You qualify for Medicare -- sorry to point that out.
DEAN: You know how long it took me to sign up for Medicare on the web? Ten minutes.
RADDATZ: There you go.
DEAN: If only we had a public option.
RADDATZ: They've got that one down.
Look, we saw this week, Red State Democrats running for cover, speaking out against this president.
DEAN: There are two sort of aspects of this. And we can even focus on this one, which is the usual Washington panic, craziness, isolated from everything else that's going on in the country or the real problem which is they got to fix the website. And they've got to fixed the website.
And I'm not convinced it's going to be fixed -- you know, I've seen a lot of tech rollouts. We don't do those well in this country. My rule for them is -- and no matter what -- electronic medical records or the tax department, it takes twice as long, costs twice as much and often you have to do it twice.
They have got to start getting people enrolled. I think they can, but they may have to do it manually.
RADDATZ: What does this do for going forward for President Obama, the rest of his term and trying to get anything else through?
BRET STEPHENS, WALL STREET JOURNAL: Well, if Democrats keep thinking like that, it's going to be the greatest political gift for Republicans in maybe decades. This is -- Obamacare is a political self-punching machine for the president. You have a November 30th deadline. Does anyone seriously think that's going to be met in terms of fixing the website? I doubt it.
There's a March 15th deadline for the end of enrollment period, where two-thirds of Americans who are trying to sign up are going to discover that they don't qualify for subsidies.
And then in June, we get will presumably will be the beginning of the employer mandate where suddenly millions of Americans are going to discover they're being shunted into part-time work or work under 30 hours precisely because of Obamacare. So this is the kind of gift that will keep on giving for Republicans at least for the next election cycle if not the one after that.
RADDATZ: Congressman Kinzinger.
REP. ADAM KINZINGER, (R) ILLINOIS: I'm glad the governor called for public option, because to me this shows exactly what the -- in my mind, the Democrats plans were from the very beginning, which is a public option, ultimately going to a single payer system. This thing is failing, but this is failing much faster than they expected.
The website is a website, that is going to get fixed. The bigger issue was this -- I was in Morris, Illinois talking to a friend of mine who said, hey yeah, I just got notice, my monthly cost is going to be the same, but my deductible is going to $2,500 to $6,000. And he said I'm going to use my deductible, which means, it's basically a $3,500 tax increase on my friend in Morris.
This is happening all over the country and it's a systemic issue that goes beyond a website and beyond getting a website fixed.
RADDATZ: And I want to stay with you for a minute here. The tables have turned pretty quickly. Less than a week ago, everyone was talking about the divide between in the Republican Party, how does that affect you personally and what do you think of that now? Has this helped?
KINZINGER: I think this is -- just from a rawly political perspective, because I'm not celebrating this, because this hurts real Americans, but from a political perspective, we came out of a government shutdown where I think undoubtedly Republicans took the brunt of the hit. And we had an immensely Amazingly quick change of fortunes. But that's just from politics. We're not out there celebrating this and saying yeah, yippie, because like my buddy whose costs are going up, this is happening to millions of Americans.
But, yeah, in terms of the Republicans, we're very united on this, which is we have been saying from the beginning this plan doesn't work and it's beyond the website. When the website gets fixed,I think Americans are going to be shocked to see that there's still a problem.
RADDATZ: Gwen, the Tea Party, the Republicans, now the divided Democrats.
IFILL: It was only a month ago that we said that Republicans were hopelessly divided and Democrats were hopefully united and that was what was driving the world in the wake of the government shutdown. A month later, we now have the divided Democrats.
What we see around this table is an example why life is so hard right now at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Democrats, the president doesn't want single-payer, everybody knows that.
DEAN: He made a mistake.
IFILL: Well, maybe you believe...
DEAN: You're in a single-payer. If you weren't in congress, you would be in a single-payer. It's a very successful one. It's called the Veteran's Administration.
IFILL: But you know...
DEAN: And I'm in a single-payer as of today, because I just...
KINZINGER: I was just putting on the record...
DEAN: Medicare is a single-payer.
KINZINGER: ...what the goal of Democrat Party is in the long run...
DEAN: Yeah, we want health care for everybody regardless of work.
IFILL: Here's the problem, here's the problem, the White House has a Goldilocks defense. We were trying not to go too liberal, we are trying not to go too conservative. We thought we had it just right. And it turns out not to be right. The president essentially said that when he was in the briefing room the other day. He can't make anybody happy right now. And that's...
RADDATZ: Which brings you back to the issue of trust and that really is, I think, his hardest problem at this point.
STEPHENS: But there's also an issue of competence, Martha. I mean, this is -- we have had a year of fumbles by the administration over Syria, with the IRS issues,the question of the NSA, what happened to Ed Snowden, wiretapping the chancellor of Germany.
I think there is an issue of trust, but there's a sense that this is a president who is fundamentally disconnected from the government he is ostensibly running. And until he manages to establish a sense that he is in charge, knows what he's doing, and isn't consistently overpromising and under delivering, his political problems will continue to grow.
RADDATZ: I want you to look at 2014 then.
RADDATZ: What happens there? Is this gone? Has everybody forgotten this?
DEAN: No, I mean I think what Gwen opened up was right. If you get this, or David Plouffe opened up. If you get this fixed by March and people are enrolled, they're going to like it.
I think the greatest fear of the Republican Party is that this works. And I think it will work. And it did work when Mitt Romney did it Massachusetts, 98.5 percent of all their--
RADDATZ: But they're not going to forget it completely it doesn't seem.
DEAN: Any more than they'd forget the government shutdown.
KINZINGER: How do you justify my constituents who are calling me, a lady Betsy in Rockton, Illinois says her policy is being canceled, costs are skyrocketing? So we can get the website fixed all we want. How are you going to fix the fact that these were promised more affordable insurance, insurance for everybody?
RADDATZ: And that becomes an issue of trust.
DEAN: My guess is Betsy gets a tax subsidy and her actual premium is lower.
RADDATZ: I want to turn quickly to Iran. This week may be a very big week with negotiations with Iran, with Secretary Kerry, the White House seems cautiously optimistic about this. The State Department seems cautiously optimistic that they can get a deal with Iran. We've heard cautious optimism before and nothing happened. Is it going to happen, Bret do you think?
STEPHENS: Well it's very hard to say. Everyone thought that the last deal was going to happen and it failed on French objections, who would have thought. The French are actually quite serious about it.
RADDATZ: Even though Secretary Kerry said they all agreed? You're not sure that's the case?
STEPHENS: No I think it is the case that the French particularly objected to a deal that would have allowed Iran to continue to build a plutonium reactor which is a second route for them, to a bomb. I don't know if it's, I think it's impossible and foolish to forecast whether a deal will be made or not.
RADDATZ: Should a deal be made?
STEPHENS: No, a deal should only be made if Iran begins to dismantle. Not simply suspend or slow, but to actively dismantle their nuclear programs. Because what we're basically saying to them is, you're at mile 23 of your marathon; you've been sprinting towards a nuclear bomb. Now how about jog for a few months, then let's see where we are six months from now.
RADDATZ: But it's a comprehensive plan and they said this takes about six months. Why not halt what you can while you're trying to--
STEPHENS: Because you have more leverage, right now we are at a moment in which we have high leverage because the sanctions are in place and because the freeze on their foreign capital reserves really hurts them. So we're going to be saying to them, we're going to start relieving, we're going to start relieving ourselves of our leverage, piece by piece.
Look the Iranians are expert negotiators. We should not imagine for one second that the State Department is going to beat Iran in a nuclear negotiation.
IFILL: But here's the problem, here's the largest problem for the president. It's the same problem that he had with health care which is the people who are abandoning him on this, who are being most harshly critical are not just Republicans, they're Democrats who are getting phone calls from Benjamin Netanyahu saying, this is not acceptable. So he has the--
RADDATZ: And they're going to get a lot more of those this week.
IFILL: And they'll get a lot more this week. So you have the credibility problems. You have the, it's leverage but it's also the fact that people sitting around that table in Geneva, they are also watching what we're doing here in this country. And they're also looking at the president and trying to test whether he is weak enough for them to get what they need.
RADDATZ: More sanctions? Will we see more sanctions?
KINZINGER: I think we need to. We're at a point of epic leverage. The reason the Iranians even want to talk right now is because they're hurting. But then they come and say, hey we're hurting, we want to talk. But we want basically a $20 billion cash infusion into our economy.
I think we should talk with the Iranians at the point they come, if we got to the table and they said, well we want you to relieve some of the sanctions, we should have said, well you're obviously not feeling the hurt enough. You're not ready to talk. Come back when you're desperate.
RADDATZ: Real quick--
DEAN: Let me just point out--
RADDATZ: Isn't this all about wanting to negotiate with the Iranians in the end?
DEAN: Well let me just point out also since we've, somebody's accused the president of incompetence. It was the president's sanctions that finally worked and brought the Iranians to the, it wasn't previous presidents. It was this president's sanctions, who finally slowed this program down.
I'm a hardliner on Iran. I don't trust the mullahs as far as I can throw them. I happen to be involved with trying to get 3,000 unarmed people who we promised we would defend, out of Iraq, who are Iranian dissidents. I don't trust the Iranians at all.
So my view is if we could get a deal that would be great. It has to be verifiable and I believe, and I also believe it ought to include dismantling of some of their facilities.
RADDATZ: Okay thank you all for joining us. And now Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, a GOP rising star and Tea Party favorite. He made his name taking on unions and is now a possible 2016 contender. Jon Karl is back with the inside story of a man who at one point was the most divisive politician in America.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JON KARL, CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, ABC NEWS: It was nearly three years ago that the Occupy Movement was born. Right here in Madison, Wisconsin.
The focus of the anger, Republican Governor Scott Walker for making a frontal assault against public employee unions with a measure that would strip away most of their collective bargaining rights.
GOVERNOR SCOTT WALKER, WISCONSIN: Some have questioned why we have to reform collective bargaining to balance the budget. The answer is simple, the system is broken.
KARL: For a time Walker seemed to be the most hated man in Wisconsin. Now he is running for re-election and considered by many Republicans to be a top contender for the 2016 Presidential Nomination.
In a new book he tells the story of the confrontation that brought 100,000 protesters outside his office in the Capital Building for weeks on end. He was compared to Hitler and Osama bin Laden. "Time Magazine" declared him "Dead Man Walker". He and his family received death threats.
WALKER: There are signs out there that have my picture with a scope site on it. There are people who say a good Republican is a dead Republican.
This tunnel connects from across the street.
KARL: The Governor gave us a first ever look at the secret tunnel he used to get in and out of his office during the occupation.
The protesters didn't figure a way to?
KARL: One scene that makes the federal government shutdown look tame by comparison?
All in favor say aye, all opposed say nay. The ayes have it.
When Republicans rammed Walker's bill through the Assembly, all hell broke loose.
CROWD: Shame! Shame! Shame!
WALKER: This was intense. You had not only the protesters up there but you had members who were yelling and really screaming at members of the other side.
KARL: Walker acknowledges making some mistakes along the way. But he is more critical of how Republicans in Washington handled the government shutdown.
Governor Walker, for a while, you were the most divisive man in America. What'd you learn from that?
WALKER: I came in wanting to fix things having a $3.6 billion budget deficit. I was so eager to fix that, I didn't spend my time talking about it with the people of this state.
KARL: When you were elected in 2010, you were a something of a Tea Party hero. What do you make of the Tea Party movement now? I mean, tarnished in many ways. Certainly battered in the polls. Blamed for the government shutdown.
WALKER: I don't think it's a movement that's monolithic. I, like others, was a bit frustrated with the shutdown because I don't think the way you make the compelling case to the American people that we can do better is by shutting things down.
KARL: So the Republicans who pushed that strategy made a mistake?
WALKER: I think so.
KARL: Congress's approval rating has now fallen to 9%, the lowest ever in the gallery.
WALKER: That's really just family members right?
KARL: As you know the most unpopular of the unpopular are Republicans in Congress. Where has the Republican Party just gone bad, gone wrong?
WALKER: Republicans at the State level are showing we're much more optimistic. We're speaking in terms that are much more relevant to where real voters are at.
KARL: And Republicans in Congress it's just about what? No, no, no?
WALKER: Yeah I think so. I think that's a real problem.
KARL: When Walker talks about the kind of candidate Republicans should nominate in 2016, it sounds more than a little like he is talking about himself.
So describe for me the ideal Republican Presidential Candidate in 2016.
WALKER: I think it's got to be an outsider. I think both the presidential and the vice-presidential nominee should either be a former or current governor. People who have done successful things in their states. Who've taken on big reforms. Who are ready to move America forward.
KARL: So that rules out Marco Rubio, it rules out Ted Cruz, it rules out Rand Paul.
WALKER: All good guys, but it's got to be somebody who's viewed as being exceptionally remote from Washington.
KARL: Your criteria also would rule out Paul Ryan.
WALKER: Yeah and I love Paul Ryan. Paul Ryan, if he had a fan club, I'd be the president of that.
KARL: Will you commit to the voters of Wisconsin, the citizens of Wisconsin that you will serve out a full second term?
WALKER: In my case I have never made that commitment or--
KARL: Why not?
WALKER: Well because to me it's not about the time you serve in office, I feel right now, my calling is to be the Governor in the State of Wisconsin. That's where I'm called to.
KARL: But when you won't commit to serving a full second term, I mean, how do you interpret that as anything other than leaving the door open to run for president? That door is open right? You've said it. I mean you're certainly not ruling it out.
WALKER: I don't rule anything out.
KARL: First things first. He faces a re-election battle in Wisconsin next year. For "This Week" Jonathan Karl, ABC News, Madison, Wisconsin.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RADDATZ: Our thanks to Jon and thanks to our roundtable. Coming up, the memory that never fades. Fifty years after Dallas, Byron Pitts on the story plus Ken Burns joins us live, next.
RADDATZ: President and Mrs. Kennedy at Love Field, 50 years ago. Before the country changed in an instant. Most Americans are too young to remember the horror of Dallas. But even so, the questions over what happened that day, and what might have been, linger for all of us.
Ken Burns joins us next, but first here's ABC's Chief National Correspondent, Byron Pitts.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BYRON PITTS, CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, ABC NEWS: He had it all. Good looks, great wealth, immeasurable power. And that gift.
PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY: Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.
PITTS: Not just to deliver the words we could hear, but a vision we could see.
PRESIDENT KENNEDY: We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things. Not because they are easy but because they are hard.
PITTS: In a nation long opposed to kings and queens, the Kennedys were American royalty.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's Mrs. Kennedy and the crowd yells.
PITTS: Then came Dallas.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can see his sun tan all the way from here.
PITTS: Less than an hour after touching down at Love Field, President John F. Kennedy was dead. Former CBS News Correspondent, Dan Rather, was there.
DAN RATHER, FORMER CBS NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Everybody knew if there was going to be trouble anywhere, it would be in Dallas.
RATHER: Because of the history.
PITTS: Dallas. 1963, nowhere in Texas did the jagged edge of segregation cut deeper, anti-Kennedy sentiment spew any stronger. This flyer greeted the president when he arrived.
RATHER: It's very important to understand, you say, well if there's going to be trouble it'd be in Dallas. Nobody I knew of was thinking of assassination.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President and First Lady--
PITTS: Amid the cheering, the sign of relief. The president's motorcade approaching the last block.
TINA TOWNER: We were standing out in the street--
PITTS: Tina Towner was 13 when (inaudible) this famous footage steps away from the Texas School Book Depository.
TOWNER: I saw Jackie, pink hat and a pink coat.
PITTS: Two seconds later, history changed.
TOWNER: I heard three gunshots.
RATHER: Stretched out here was this incredible scene.
PITTS: The grassy knoll.
RATHER: People were screaming, some people were crying.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You'll excuse me if I am out of breath. A bulletin, President Kennedy has been shot in Dallas.
PITTS: Dr. Ronald Jones was having lunch when the Parkman Hospital operator paged him.
DR. RONALD JONES: She said, Dr. Jones, the president has been shot and they're bringing him to the emergency room.
PITTS: What was your reaction at that moment?
JONES: A flush still comes over you when you hear that, even today.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The first unconfirmed reports say the president was hit in the head.
JONES: His arms had been placed on arm boards.
PITTS: Any sign of life at all?
JONES: There was no sign of life in my opinion. He was, had a fixed stare. His eyes were opened. I never saw him move, I never saw him breathe.
WALTER CRONKITE: President Kennedy died at 1 p.m. Central Standard Time, some 38 minutes ago.
PITTS: Within hours, the new president is sworn in. The accused assassin in jail.
LEE HARVEY OSWALD: I emphatically deny these charges.
PITTS: While questions linger today about Lee Harvey Oswald's role, one thing is certain, he was the first man ever murdered on live TV.
In these gut wrenching, heart breaking moments, television news had come of age. The indescribable, the indelible.
RATHER: This country pulled itself together. The only important thing is we stand united. And in the wake of the Kennedy assassination, one of the most impressive things about the American people and about our country was that we pulled together and stood united.
PITTS: It seems Dan it moved you then, it moves you still.
RATHER: Of course. And I have no apology for that.
PATRICK KENNEDY, FORMER RHODE ISLAND CONGRESSMAN: We were very focused on the family because that's the only thing that got us through I think. It certainly got my dad through.
PITTS: Former Rhode Island Congressman, Patrick Kennedy, JFK's nephew, Ted Kennedy's son. Fifty years later, he reminds us a nation lost plenty, a family lost more.
KENNEDY: My father frankly was not just my father. He was the father for my cousins John and Caroline and all my Robert Kennedy cousins too.
PITTS: Civil Rights Activist Marian Wright Edelman says, President Kennedy was not the perfect president, but was perfect for his time.
MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: He was a reluctant civil rights warrior.
PITTS: You say reluctant. But a warrior still yes?
EDELMAN: Well he, he grew. Let's just say he grew into it.
PITTS: Setting the stage for the Civil Rights Bill, the Peace Corps, the Space Program. John Fitzgerald Kennedy did not live long, but in 46 years he did much.
KENNEDY: He spoke truth.
PRESIDENT KENNEDY: When one man is enslaved, all are not free.
KENNEDY: It was a universal truth that transcended his time.
PRESIDENT KENNEDY: We cannot be satisfied to rest here. We have made a beginning, but we have only begun.
PITTS: For "This Week" Byron Pitts, ABC News, Dallas.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RADDATZ: Our thanks to Byron and now let's welcome award-winning documentary filmmaker Ken Burns. Ken thanks for being here this morning. What is indelible about JFK's legacy?
KEN BURNS, DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER: It is, like Pearl Harbor and 9/11, these legacies of loss, first of all, of cut short. But what we remember in a positive way is the hope and the ambition and the sense of possibility. Something in this day of sort of frozen government seems really impossible.
And so I think we take from him is a sense of possibility. The fact that it was cut short actually strangely, paradoxically aids that possibility now. We think, if only he had lived, all these things would have happened. But the legacy is unclear in that regard. With regard to civil rights, it took a New Dealer like LBJ to push the things few. We're not sure Kennedy would have.
With Vietnam, all of his advisers traveled over to LBJ and we got deeper and deeper involved. When Kennedy's administration started there were 900 advisers, there were 16,000 when he was killed. He both agonized over it, and we have that record, but he was also standing firm in the face of humiliations with Khrushchev at Vienna. In the face of other things.
RADDATZ: But this legacy of Kennedy's time, will certainly outlive us.
BURNS: You know what, it's not Camelot, it's Brigadoon. It's this evanescent moment that comes and we hope, we see it as a dream, it's fleeting and it just stays there for a couple of seconds. And we wish we could extend it. And we don't know what the future would have been without him. And we invest that legacy with all of our hopes and all of our wishes. He represents the best in us because it was cut short.
And I think that's where the legacy, even with the conspiracy theories that continue to abide, it has to do with our seeing him so high and needing to elevate the person who took him away to that same height. It couldn't have just been one lowly person; it had to be a vast conspiracy. And that's a testament to the great man.
RADDATZ: I want to quickly talk, turn to another president and the Gettysburg Address and the project you're involved in. Called "The Address."
BURNS: Yeah I'm making a little film about kids who have learning difficulties, boys, in a school in Vermont, a boarding school there. It's the place of last resort; they've been bullied and marginalized.
Each year they're asked to memorize and then publicly recite the Gettysburg Address. They've been doing it for 35 years at this school. And it's a minefield of terrors and anxieties for these kids. But they do it.
And as I was editing, I said, why can't we do it? If they can do it, we can do it. And they're so inspiration. So I've issued a challenge and all the presidents, living presidents have read, many people in media and notable Americans have done this. And we're challenging people on our website; learntheaddress.org is filling up with ordinary citizens, so-called ordinary citizens, adding their thing.
These are two minutes of the greatest speech in American history. In which he's doubling down on the Declaration of Independent. He said all men are created equal, Thomas Jefferson, he didn't mean it. Lincoln said, we mean it and here are our marching orders. And these are still our marching orders.
RADDATZ: That is a wonderful project Ken Burns. Thank you for joining us. And stay with ABC News all week long as we remember the life and legacy of President Kennedy.
When we come back, he built one of the largest private armies in the world. Then came under fire for his tactics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RADDATZ: Did your people ever kill innocent civilians?
ERIK PRINCE, FOUNDER, BLACKWATER: It's entirely possible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
The founder of Blackwater takes on his critics, next.
RADDATZ: We visited Prince on his Virginia farm for his side of the story.
PRINCE: Some people will always hate the name Blackwater, they might not like me. I am perfectly comfortable with that.
RADDATZ: Three years after he sold Blackwater, its controversial founder is finally opening up about the rapid rise and ignominious fall of his company.
PRINCE: It was really hard seeing it dismembered by the bureaucracy and all the attacks.
RADDATZ: In this new book, titled "Civilian Warriors" the former Navy SEAL who grew up in a wealthy and conservative Michigan family, blames his company's demise on "cold and timid souls."
PRINCE: They were left, went after the troops during an unpopular Vietnam War, this time they went after the contractors. Blackwater was a very easy whipping boy for them.
RADDATZ: Did your people ever kill innocent civilians?
PRINCE: It's entirely possible.
RADDATZ: It was in fact in September 2007 that Blackwater contractors were accused of firing into a crowd of Iraqi citizens. At least 11 were killed including a 9-year-old boy. A handful of Blackwater contractors faced manslaughter charges but deny any wrong doing. But it was the incident that eventually led to Blackwater's expulsion from Iraq.
There is no denying that Blackwater's aggressive tactics in Iraq gave the company's critics plenty of reason to attack.
You came under a lot of criticism about inflaming anti-American sentiment just because of the way you operated there.
PRINCE: That's partially true because of the rules dictated by the State Department. You will drive a washed and waxed Chevy Suburban between Point A and Point B every day with lights and sirens on. It's pretty easy for the enemy to play whack-a-mole.
RADDATZ: How about fighting back? And saying this isn't the way we should be doing this because it's going to create--
RADDATZ: So it's the State Department's fault that there's anti-American sentiment?
PRINCE: We tried but we're at the end of that tail getting whipped.
RADDATZ: Do you take any of that blame?
PRINCE: My greatest regret is going to work for the State Department. If I sound unapologetic, I guess I am. Because the company did exactly what it was asked to do. Every Diplomats, Bureaucrats, and Member of Congress that visited Iraq came home alive under our guys' care.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RADDATZ: Much more of my interview with Erik Prince tomorrow on "Nightline" and Erik Prince's book, "Civilian Warriors" comes out tomorrow.
And now we honor our fellow Americans who serve and sacrifice. This week the Pentagon released the name of one soldier killed in Afghanistan.
That's all for us today. Thanks for sharing part of your Sunday with us. Check out "World News with David Muir" tonight and have a great day today.
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