-- Below is the rush transcript of "This Week" on September 7, 2014. It may contain errors.
And Election Day countdown -- control of Congress at stake. Stats guru Nate Silver reveals his latest picks -- are Republicans a lock to re-take the Senate?
From ABC News, THIS WEEK WITH GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS begins now.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, HOST: And we begin with the latest in the battle against ISIS -- a significant expansion of the air campaign inside Iraq and news that the president will layout his new strategy this Wednesday in Washington.
MARTHA RADDATZ, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, George.
RADDATZ (voice-over): Day after day, the brutality of ISIS stuns the world. This week, images of the horrific execution of a second American reporter and over the weekend, a mass grave discovered, 15 bodies, each shot in the head and vows from the terrorist group in Iraq and Syria that America should be on guard.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Americans should be very concerned. This, in many respects, represents the most significant threat that this country has seen since September 11th.
RADDATZ: A threat by a jihadist group the president says cannot be merely contained, it must be destroyed.
RADDATZ: Meaning hunting down ISIS leaders with drones and manned aircraft and relentlessly pounding ISIS fighters seeking to overtake more territory.
All this while the president helps build an international coalition to help with the fight.
But the major question, will the U.S. and that coalition launch airstrikes into Syria?
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said last month, you can't just focus on Iraq.
The answer is no. We -- that will have to be addressed on both sides of what is, essentially, at this point, a non-existent border.
RADDATZ: The U.S. already flying surveillance missions over Syria, looking for possible targets -- images of a Predator drone spotted by Syrian rebels in the northern part of the country hit the Internet Friday.
The president is not expected to announce any further action in Syria in his speech this week, but he will certainly be laying the groundwork and the reasons it may be necessary.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
STEPHANOPOULOS: But Martha, one of the concerns of going into Syria, taking out ISIS in Syria, is that it will actually strengthen our other adversary, President Assad.
RADDATZ: And I think there's no doubt it will, but the conversations in the White House and the administration are this -- is the threat to the U.S. homeland greater than the threat of leaving Assad in power?
And they're clearly siding with the threat to the homeland.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And we're going to have more on that coming up.
Thank you, Martha.
But now the political fallout. Critics pounced when the president said two weeks ago that he didn't have a strategy against ISIS and now this new threat is scrambling Republican ranks, too.
ABC's Jeff Zeleny is on the trail with Tea Party star, Ted Cruz, in New Hampshire.
And he joins us from Manchester now -- good morning, Jeff.
JEFF ZELENY, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, George.
As the White House sharpens its focus on ISIS, foreign policy is back on the front burner of domestic politics. Republicans are unified in their criticism of President Obama, but they're divided on solutions.
ZELENY (voice-over): Last night in New Hampshire, Senator Ted Cruz sounded the alarm.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: That this nation literally teeters at the edge of a precipice.
ZELENY: And offered a scolding assessment of how the U.S. is confronting the threat from ISIS.
After bringing GOP activists to their feet, we asked him what he would do.
CRUZ: What we ought to have is a direct concerted overwhelming air campaign to take them out.
ZELENY (on camera): In Iraq and Syria?
CRUZ: The focus should be Iraq, but the real focus should be taking out ISIS. Within Syria, it should not be our objective to try to resolve the civil war in Syria and -- and likewise (INAUDIBLE)...
ZELENY: You said that the U.S. should bomb ISIS back into the Stone Age.
Should that take Congressional approval or does the president have the authority to do this on his own?
CRUZ: It should absolutely take Congressional approval, I think.
ZELENY (voice-over): But not all Republicans agree. On Friday, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida sent a letter to the White House saying the president doesn't need Congress, he should act swiftly on his own.
For Republicans eyeing the White House in 2016, early divisions are becoming clear. Senator Rand Paul now says he would destroy ISIS militarily, but his tough talk is at odds with his earlier views, prompting him to write an essay this week in "Time" magazine titled, "I Am Not An Isolationist."
We asked Cruz whether he agreed.
CRUZ: Oh, look, I'm going to let Rand characterize his own views. What I can tell you...
ZELENY (on camera): But he's been...
CRUZ: -- is I will -- I will leave that to Rand and I'll leave that to the American people to make their own judgments.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
ZELENY (voice-over): But among some Republicans, there are growing libertarian views, with deep resistance to another war. Louisiana governor, Bobby Jindal, also visiting New Hampshire, said it was a fine and dangerous line for the party to walk.
GOV. BOBBY JINDAL (R), LOUISIANA: The country, the world needs America to be strong and predictable. The world is getting more dangerous and less predictable because of a lack of American leadership.
ZELENY: ISIS and a long list of foreign policy challenges are already front and center in the warm-up to the 2016 campaign. Positions staked out now likely to become a lasting part of a candidate's record.
So Republicans are trying to keep their comments focusing on criticizing the president, as he prepares to give a speech this week on ISIS.
(on camera): What would you like to hear from him specifically and how urgent is this, most importantly?
CRUZ: I think it is a -- an urgent concern to strike while ISIS is vulnerable.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
ZELENY: Now, if the president decides to expand the military campaign in Syria and seek Congressional approval, he'll be asking for support from some of his biggest critics. And he just might get it. There's a rising new hawkish tone in the Republican Party -- George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, Jeff, thanks.
We turn now to the homeland threat from ISIS.
With the 9/11 anniversary approaching this week, law enforcement already on alert.
And ABC's chief justice correspondent, Pierre Thomas, is tracking it all from Washington -- good morning, Pierre.
PIERRE THOMAS, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, George.
As the 9/11 anniversary approaches, no specific plot has been identified, but make no mistake, it's an extremely challenging moment for U.S. intelligence.
THOMAS (voice-over): Dangerous times...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is a lot of moving parts, a lot of things going on. And obviously that's cause for concern for the intelligence community and for law enforcement, as well.
THOMAS: As the U.S. bombs ISIS radicals in Iraq and catapults a full-scale assault on the group in Syria, intelligence officials know ISIS might try to respond with an attack.
But as ISIS dominates the headlines, it is far from the only threat U.S. officials have to deal with. There are a multitude of emerging threats, many blowing out of Syria, which has become a melting pot of converging radicals.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have brothers from Bangladesh, from Iraq, from Cambodia, Australia, the UK.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But there's been two additional threats added of significance just since my appointment as commissioner in January -- ISIS and certainly the Syrian war engagement.
THOMAS: American officials continue to worry about Yemen bomb makers conspiring with Al Qaeda-affiliated radicals in Syria to make sophisticated bombs that can be smuggled on planes. That threat remains.
And there is general concern that al Qaeda and its affiliates are itching to get on the scoreboard given all the attention ISIS is getting.
Then there is the wildcard -- home grown radicals like the Boston Marathon bombers, with no direct connection or oversight from al Qaeda or ISIS who can act out on their own.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a -- a high level of -- of vigilance, cities who may not see themselves in the crosshairs are -- are paying extra attention to the issue, certainly during the next week.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
STEPHANOPOULOS: And, Pierre, the anniversary coming up on Thursday.
What's your latest intel from federal officials?
THOMAS: George, there's likely to be an FBI/Homeland Security warning to the nation's police urging vigilance before 9/11. Again, no specific threat identified, but authorities are truly locked in.
STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, Pierre.
Thanks very much.
STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, Pierre.
Thanks very much.
Let's get more on this now from Republican Congressman Peter King of the Homeland Security Committee, Democrat Adam Smith from the Armed Services Committee.
And Congressman King, let me begin with you.
Do you pretty much agree with Pierre's assessment there of the current threat?
REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: Yes, George. I'm not aware of any particular threat right now. Having said that, especially at this time of the year and considering we have ISIS, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and Core Al Qaeda, all of whom have the ability and the goal of attacking the United States, we clearly have to be more -- more vigilant than ever.
And I would especially say with Core Al Qaeda. ISIS has been on the front pages. They're getting the headlines. And I can see al Qaeda wanting to get back into the game, if you will, to show that they are top in the Islamic terrorist world.
So I think we -- we can't just focus on ISIS. It has to be ISIS, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Core Al Qaeda, and, of course, there are the homegrown threats.
But, again, the intelligence community is focused. The homeland security community is focused. But we cannot let our guard down for a second...
STEPHANOPOULOS: But, Congressman...
KING: -- especially with the anniversary of 9/11 coming up.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Congressman Smith, there is some debate over the scope of the threat posed by ISIS. I was struck this week by the comments...
REP. ADAM SMITH (D), WASHINGTON: Right.
STEPHANOPOULOS: -- from the head of the National Counterterrorism Center, Matthew Olsen. He said any homeland threat from ISIS is, quote, "Likely to be limited in scope and scale."
SMITH: Yes, I think that's correct. I mean al Qaeda, particularly al Qaeda in -- al Qaeda's senior leadership in Pakistan, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and Yemen, they are the ones that have been actively plotting attacks against Western targets, attacks that we have managed to disrupt.
ISIS, at this point, is primarily focused on Iraq and Syria. I think the real threat from ISIS is the foreign fighters from the United States and other western countries that have gone to Syria to fight with them who then may come back. But they pose a threat more as lone wolves than as sort of any sort of organized plot. There's no evidence at this point that ISIS is plotting and planning in the way that bin Laden was doing for 9/11.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Congressman King we're going to hear the president's new strategy on Wednesday. He's also seeming to suggest this morning that he has all the authority he needs now to take action even against Syria.
Do you agree with that? Or do you think he should come to congress?
KING: As a Republican, I do believe the president has the constitutional authority to take action now in Iraq and in Syria against ISIS. I believe as a matter of course, it's probably better for him to get congressional approval, but I -- which I would certainly vote for. But I don't believe he needs it. And if that's going to delay what he wants to do, he should go ahead and just take action without waiting for congress. This is too important to get this bogged down in a congressional debate if the president does not believe the support is there.
If it is there, ideally he should get it. But I believe as commander-in-chief he is the absolute power to carry out these attacks.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Is the support there, Congressman Smith? And should the president come to congress?
SMITH: Well, it's hard to tell at this point whether or not the support is there. But I agree with Peter. I think under Article II the president definitely has the authority to confront a national security threat. I do think it would be better if congress would authorize it.
The devil there is in the details. What does the language look like? What would congress actually authorize. I think you would have a deep divide between people who were worried that it would be too much of a blank check, too broad of authority, and others who might worry that it would constrain the president. So I think getting the exact language through congress would be extraordinarily difficult, even though I agree with Peter that's what we ought to do, we ought to set the policy that we think the president ought to follow.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Finally, for both of you, how much more is it going to take to meet the president's goal actually defeating ISIS? Congressman King, you first.
KING: I believe it's going to take a sustained national effort from the president, which he's doing more and more, making it clear this is not going to be a short-term operation. I believe full air attacks, special operations forces and getting as many allies as we can, ideally Arab allies on the ground, to -- and of course the Iraqi army has to be back in the field doing what it has to do, plus training and arming the Kurds.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Congressman Smith.
SMITH: Actually, what it's going to take, really, is Sunni allies, that's what's so important about this. I mean, all the emphasis is on, well, the U.S. should act. Well, if the U.S. acts without Sunni support in the region it could strengthen ISIS, that's why the patience in Iraq, until the Iraqi government replaced Maliki and showed the Sunnis that there would be some evidence of power sharing made our efforts more effective. If it's just the U.S. going to war with ISIS we run the risk of strengthening them. We need to find partners in the region like the Kurds, like the Iraqis, like the Free Syrian Movement who will lead the fight and then we, and the international coalition, support them.
We will not be successful against ISIS unless Sunnis in the region are willing to rise up against them and we work with them to be an effective partnership.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Gentlemen, thank you both very much.
We're back in just two minutes with a closer look at that White House punt on immigration. The roundtable weighs in on that and how these foreign crises are changing our politics.
And later, hiking our national treasures with the woman in charge of preserving their majesty.
ANNOUNCER: This Week with George Stephanopoulos brought to you by Charles Schwab.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And we're back now with our closer look at President Obama's big decision this weekend to put off any executive action on immigration until after the mid-term elections.
Bowing to pressure from Democrats worried it would cost them the Senate, Obama's delay is drawing fire from several fronts. And ABC's Jim Avila has the latest.
JIM AVILA, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Barack Obama's presidency has been marked by a love-hate relationship with Hispanic voters -- courting and winning Latino votes key to his elections with promise after promise to reform immigration.
OBAMA: I see the process moving this first year, so let's get immigration reform done this year.
The congress will not do their job, at least we can do ours. There areÉ
AVILA: That June Rose Garden promise of action this summer reaffirmed just Friday.
OBAMA: I'll be making an announcement soon.
AVILA: But within hours, soon became not until after the mid-term elections, inviting another embarrassing moment for President Obama with a growing Latino constituency increasingly frustrated by delays. Fusion's Jorge Ramos struck a nerve the last time immigration reform was delayed.
JORGE RAMOS, FUSION: A promise is a promise. And with all do respect, but you didn't keep that promise.
AVILA: And already Latino groups are claiming betrayal.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's outrage and extremely disappointed and frustrated at another delay by the president.
AVILA: So, what happened?
A humanitarian crisis at the border.
With thousands of Central American children flooding in to the U.S., invigorating GOP calls for more border security.
We found in Guatemala just last month makeshift rafts, filled with immigrants crossing illegally into Mexico heading to the U.S. I boarded one with no papers, no IDs checked.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cost me $5 to bring three people over here from Guatemala to Mexico.
AVILA: All of it giving Republicans ammunition to charge the president can not be trusted to enforce the law.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, you wonder why people are cynical and demoralized when politicians say, well, I want to do something that's utterly lawless, but I'm going to wait until after an election.
AVILA: The White House in the end deciding acting alone on immigration would incite Republican turnout at the mid-terms while calculating the Latino love-hate relationship will warm again when the president does finally act.
For This Week, Jim Avila, ABC News Los Angeles.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And we're joined now by Congressman Luis Gutierrez who has been pushing very hard for the president take this executive action. Congressman, thanks for joining us this morning.
You've just heard Jim Avila right there saying the White House calculating that all is going to be well with Latino community if he acts after November. Are they right?
REP. LUIS GUTIERREZ, (D) ILLINOIS: Well, first of all it's clear that playing it safe is what is going on at the White House and among Democratic circles. And playing it safe means walking away from our values and our principles.
Look, they've looked at polling in four or five states where there aren't large Latino constituencies and said that's the way forward without thinking of the impact that that policy might have in Illinois, in California and Colorado. And so they've walked away.
But, you know, George, playing it safe might win an election. Sometimes you lose an election playing it safe also. But it's almost never leads to fairness, to justice, and to good public policy that you can be proud of.
Latinos have supported this president. I mean, let's look at the Latino vote in the Latino community, 2008 critical to the president's election, 2010 many say we kept the Senate in Democratic hands because of Latino voters--
STEPHANOPOULOS: My question is, are they going to forgive the president--
GUTIERREZ: Hagan won in North Carolina principally because of Latino votes. They were the margin of victory. In 2012, it was that way again, George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So, if the president acts in November, though, are they going to forgive the president and go forward?
GUTIERREZ: Here's what I'm going to do, George, I've called the president, called the White House, I expect that we will be meeting this week so that we can continue.
I think that part of this is that we're in a good place in terms of public policy, right. This is not about public policy and a difference, I believe, between the immigrant community and the White House. And I want to continue to work on that. I think we're in a good place with Secretary Johnson. I think he is fighting every day to keep us safe both here, externally, from threats externally and internally in the United States. And I think he's a man of compassion.
So I'm going to go back to the drawing board. And I'm going to continue to work with this administration. I'm not going to give up, because we have good public policy.
But let's not forget that there are 11 million people who work in this country, raise families, work and live in this country most of whom have been here 10 years, most of whom have been here 10 years, of the undocumented without visas. And they work and raise families in this country. And they should be given a chance to come out of the shadows, right.
What does that mean coming out of the shadows? That means not being hunted down, that means not being treated like a fugitive. And President Barack Obama in the last five years has deported more people than any other president in the history of the United States. So I think that that's the reality.
And while we wait until November, because that's the president's decision, there's going to be another 60,000 people deported.
So there is pain and suffering in the community and there's a lot of anguish and anger.
STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, Congressman Gutierrez, thanks very much for your time this morning.
When we come back, FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver has crunched the numbers. We'll get his latest projections on the mid-term elections.
Our Dr. Richard Besser just back from West Africa sounding the alarm on Ebola. His call for dramatic action.
And the roundtable weighs in on all the week's politics. First, their big winners of the week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This the place you always wanted to see, sir?
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It is. Knocked it off the bucket list right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Might have been the high point of the president's week. We're going to talk about what he did on the roundtable now joined by Donna Brazil, our White House correspondent Jon Karl, national correspondent for Yahoo Matt Bai and Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard, also an ABC News contributor.
And Jon, let me begin with you. You traveled with the president all week long. It did seem like the president did make some progress in putting together this coalition to take on ISIS, says he's going to announce the strategy this week.
What steps does he need to take to finalize this? And what are you expecting from the White House?
JON KARL, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, he's going to meet with congressional leadership on Tuesday. A big part of this is consulting with congress. He's getting heat from a lot of Democrats saying he needs resolution--
STEPHANOPOULOS: Consulting, but not asking for the authority.
KARL: Not clear if the White House is actually going to ask for anything before making a decision on whether or not to go into Syria.
And then you have the big speech on Wednesday, but I don't expect we're going to hear actually anything new on the speech.
This is really, George, the president saying yes we do have a strategy. Here is what we're doing, we're building an international coalition, we are taking the fight to ISIS with airstrikes in Iraq, but no new effort on Syria. I am told that decision is still a ways off. But the Pentagon is readyÉ
STEPHANOPOULOS: So laying the groundwork for Syria, but not announcingÉ
KARL: Laying the groundwork for ultimately airstrikes in Syria. But you talk to military officials, senior military officials, they don't expect an order on that until the end of September at the earliest.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And Bill Kristol, it doesn't seem like there's all much that daylight on the substance between the president now and his critics.
BILL KRISTOL, WEEKLY STANDARD: Look, I think he'd have huge Republican support if he was more aggressive. I hope he gives a strong speech Wednesday, but most of all I hope -- and I think most Republicans hope -- he does things. And what one worries about with this president is that he sometimes uses speeches as an excuse for avoiding action instead of to lay the predicate for real action. If he's laying the predicate for taking the war to Syria, which is absolutely Syria to seriously degrade and destroy ISIS, and if he--
STEPHANOPOULOS: Even if it helps Assad?
KRISTOL: Yeah, it might help Assad a little in the short-term, though Assad has collaborated with ISIS in destroying actually the more moderate Syrians. But if ISIS is the threat it is, then it is, we'll deal with one threat at a time. And you just can't destroy and degrade and destroy ISIS enough without going after them in Syria.
But his Secretary of State John Kerry said this week the absolute -- the red line -- he used that term -- it's a red line to not have boots on the ground. That's not serious.
A, we are going to have boots on the ground. You can't have serious bombing campaigns unless you have advisers in there. And secondly, you can't move that out ahead of time. So I want to see the president say this needs to be a serious speech.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And will he get support, though, from Democrats if he does that, Donna. I see the Democrats are asking for the president to call -- to come to congress, but are they prepared to give him full authorization?
DONNA BRAZILE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I think some are, but many are now.
Look, everybody remembers Iraq. They remember the rush to go into Iraq without an exit strategy. The president has to spell out the mission. I think everyone understands the mission, but he has to spell out exactly what we hope to accomplish.
The good news is that Secretary Kerry has spoken with the Arab League. They will now take action. And without the support of the Arab League -- look, those Arab countries, they have skin in the game. This is a Medieval war that we're looking at. The -- to establish a caliphate. I had to ask Bill exactly what that meant.
KRISTOL: I'm an expert of caliphates of all sorts--
BRAZILE: Medieval politics. But the truth is that the president needs to have the country behind him. Whatever we decide to do, it's going to be tough, it's going to be long, it's going to involve American troops, but it's also going to involve the United States making sure that we can get an international coalition built so that we can solve this problem.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Now you talk about the public and it does seem that there is some evidence right now that the public's views on foreign policy are hardening up. I was struck by a Pew poll this week that showed -- they asked the question last year is the U.S. doing too little to solve the world's problems. 17 percent said yes. That's almost doubled now to 31 percent.
And I want to take that to Matt Bai, because one of the things we've seen is how this is also scrambling the politics on the Republican side. You had Rand Paul with his libertarian bent earlier on now trying to say, wait, no way I'm not an isolationist, I want to be involved as well.
It is really firming things up on the Republican side.
MATT BAI, YAHOO NEWS: Yeah, because of course as we're always reminded you never know what a presidential campaign is going to be about two years out.
Look, there are two powerful currents in American politics right now. And one has been with us for awhile, which is this need, this desire for an outsider to come and shake things up in Washington, sow a little chaos, right, break the calcified dysfunction.
But then I think now you're increasingly going to have desire for somebody who projects more stability and can reign in chaos and disorder overseas in foreign policy.
The successful candidate in 2016 may well be the person who can fuse those two impulses in the ways that Ronald Reagan did in 1980, who has a single message that joins both of those conflicting impulses in the electorate.
KARL: Well, you know, I'll tell you, you know, Rand Paul, it's interesting, he's saying now, you know, I am not an isolationist. I would have acted more forcefully against ISIS than President Obama. But it's interesting, back in June he said that the president would need congressional authorization before launching airstrikes in Iraq, that to say that it was still good under the war--
STEPHANOPOULOS: -- he would come to (inaudible) and ask for it.
KARL: Yeah, but -- any guarantee that's going to pass? You know, is that acting more forcefully? It's interesting, I think we'll have a real debate in congress on this. And there's a reason why the president doesn't want to go again and ask for congressional authorization.
KRISTOL: 80 percent of Republicans will vote to give the congress -- to give the president authorization to use force. Rand Paul's influence has always been exaggerated. The polling has never shown much support for isolationism in the Republican Party. Good libertarians, in fact, disagree with Rand Paul. They think we should act to defend Liberty. I think the Republican Party is a hawkish party. It will be a hawkish party in 2016. And they will support the president to the degree he adopts a serious strategy now.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And Donna, Matt also writes this week that 2016 now setting up to be a foreign policy election. Does that actually help Hillary Clinton or hurt her?
BRAZILE: I think it helps her, because not only does she have the experience, I think, to lead on these issues, but you know as you've seen over the last couple of weeks she's not afraid to talk about it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, we've got to take a quick break. First, our powerhouse puzzler, Ann Compton wrapping up more than 40 years at the White House for ABC news this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANN COMPTON, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: I did a report on the very first This Week broadcast. I was covering President Reagan on a trip to Texas. So the question is what year did This Week premier?"
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Back in two minutes with the answer.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So what year did THIS WEEK premier?
Let's see the white boards.
1964, '82, '81, '81?
OK, here's Ann with the answer.
COMPTON: And the answer, THIS WEEK premiered on November 15th, 1981. And President Reagan had gone to Texas to go hunting. I remember the first line of my script when he appeared in full camouflage, the president of the United States dressed to kill.
The producers made me change it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: All right.
And we won't take it personally, Matt, don't worry.
Back in a minute with a look at the midterms and the little forecast on Senate control from FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Back now with our politics Buzz Board.
At the top this week, red flags in the red state of Kansas for Republican senator, Pat Robertson. The national GOP rushing in to rescue his campaign after the Democrat drops out, clearing the way for Independent Greg Orman, who's gaining steam.
Down in Louisiana, embattled Democrat Mary Landrieu insisting The Big Easy really is her home.
A judge dismissed a legal challenge, but this voter registration form, with the DC addressed crossed out, a New Orleans one added, fodder for Landrieu's critics. This one could go all the way to December.
And the Senate is at stake -- the folks at FiveThirtyEight, led by stats guru, Nate Silver, revealing in their newest projections that Republicans have a 64 percent chance to retake the Senate and control Congress.
And Nate Silver joins us now.
Nate, thanks for joining us.
How do you get to the calculation?
NATE SILVER, FIVETHIRTYEIGHT: So we look mostly at the polls, but also at the kind of historic context and where these elections are being fought. So the average state up in the center of this here is in a state where Obama won only 46 percent of the vote in 2012. Republicans only have to win seven states in the states that Mitt Romney won to take control of the Senate next year.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Yes. And you've got -- so far, you've got, so far, people looking at places like Montana, South Dakota, West Virginia...
STEPHANOPOULOS: -- (INAUDIBLE) almost certainly to go Republican.
And then I want to show some of the other targets. There are a -- let's first look at the Democratic targets, the seats now held by Democrats. Right there you see eight -- eight states, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, New Hampshire and North Carolina -- all held by Democrats right now, all close. Only three states held by Republicans right now that seem to be competitive -- Georgia, Kansas and Kentucky.
And you're saying, though, of those three, Kansas has now become a wild card because of this dropping out of the Democrat.
SILVER: Yes, it's very hard to figure, but, you know, all we know is the one poll that actually had the Independent versus the Republican. The Independent woman was actually ahead against Roberts. But, you know, that was kind of a hypothetical scenario.
One thing about Orman is that he's kind of center left. He'd basically line up as a moderate Democrat if you look at him issue by issue.
Kansas is a very red state. It's a red-leaning year. So he's run a very smooth, slick, professional campaign so far.
As he gets more scrutiny, will those polling numbers hold up?
We think that's kind of a toss-up race.
STEPHANOPOULOS: -- one of our -- one of our big points is that the board is especially uncertain this year.
SILVER: We don't have a lot of polling. It's getting a little bit better now. But there are some states, Colorado, we got one poll yesterday. That was the first poll we'd had in six weeks there. Louisiana, like you mentioned, Alaska. We just don't have a good sense for -- for what's going on. We also have polls among registered voters. You know, there's a big Republican turnout edge normally in the midterm. We don't have a good sense for how big that is.
So it's not that there are any states or that many states that we're sure the GOP will win. It's that they have a good robust map. It's kind of like Obama versus Romney in 2012, where -- where he didn't have to win every swing state. He had a big set of base states and then if he won a couple of swing states, he'd win the election. Whereas Romney had to kind of sweep almost all the competitive races.
So the way you saw before, where eight targets against three, that's why the math favors Republicans this year.
STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, Nate Silver, thanks very much.
Which brings us now to the roundtable.
One piece of uncertainty off the table, the president taking immigration reform -- executive authority off the table, Jon Karl, until -- until after the election.
He really had no choice by yesterday.
KARL: No. First of all, he had several of the top tier Democratic candidates in these tough races saying please don't do it. So when you have your Democrats that you're trying to help get elected saying please don't do it, it didn't leave him much choice.
But, George, this is really a sign of increasing pessimism at the White House about their prospects in the fall. They are increasingly resigned to the fact that Republicans are likely to take over the Senate. And they don't want to act on immigration reform and then see the story line afterward be they lost the Senate because the president acted on immigration reform.
They think that would do great damage to the cause.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But then, Donna Brazile, if the Democrats lose anyway, will it be harder for the president to actually take that action on immigration reform?
BRAZILE: Well, look, George, I think in the best of all worlds, the president would have enjoyed to sign the Senate bipartisan bill had the House Republicans acted. That didn't happen. so I understand the frustration. I understand the disappointment and the anger. But the best hope right now is that the president will use his executive pen in November. I understand the -- the politics, the timing is awful.
I think that they should have made the decision a couple of weeks ago, when everything else seemed to be going to hell in a hand basket.
But the truth is, I think the Democrats will continue to fight for this issue and I hope the activists out there understand that the president will act.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And then, Bill, one of the things we haven't seen -- Jon talks about the -- the pessimism among Democrats. And I -- and at -- at the White House. We're not seeing this idea of a wave developing yet, but it's still a little bit early for that.
KRISTOL: You know, the waves sometimes manifest themselves later on. Right now, it looks like a pretty stable election. And I think the Republicans will win the Senate probably, out of two to one odds. I agree with Nate on this. Because there are just enough red states where it looks like they're even or ahead than Democratic incumbents.
But you could get a wave. I'm not sure the president's action on immigration helps these Democratic Senate candidates.
Isn't it better to get it done now?
Every Republican can say, if you want to possibly stop the president doing something that's arguably illegal and bad public policy, giving amnesty to four or five million people, you need to have -- make sure you elect a Republican Senate that can act to -- to overturn this executive order.
So making it prospective, I'm not sure that really helps Democrats very much.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you agree with that?
BAI: Yeah, that's a good point. I mean, we're so used to wave elections now, I think we don't know what a stable election even looks like.
You know, I think on immigration it's a very frustrating place for him to be, obviously, because he's got Republicans who won't pass a bill and basically his own Democrats -- what's he supposed to do and sit around and watch Simpsons marathon all day? He can't -- you know, there's no way to actually govern in that scenario.
I think what's keeping a lot of these Democrats afloat right now in states where we would have seen a wave is actually the brand name, the legacy names that you see in a lot of these states -- Arkansas, Louisiana, Alaska, Georgia, you're seeing Democrats whose brands really owe more to who their parents were, who their families are, than to the national party. And that's enabling them at least to this point to withstand what would be a wave.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Yeah, but that is the question, is that enough Jon Karl, at the end, if that -- is that family name enough if the president is sticking in around 40 percent approval rating in the polls?
KARL: And some of these candidates are having problems of their own. I mean, the Mary Landrieu we're seeing is from the start, you know, tough race--
KARL: In Louisiana -- one the Democrats thought they could hang on to.
She's had a terrible series of -- you know, this dust up over whether or not she's actually a resident of Louisiana. Of course, she is, a judge threw it out, but the bottom line is you've had a week of headlines over, you know, highlighting the fact that she spends most of her time on her business address are, you know, Washington, D.C.
So, a lot of these candidates are having problems of their own in addition to the president's rating being down.
BRAZILE: It's my state. And I think she will win. It will be a tough fight. We'll spend Thanksgiving in Louisiana, not a bad place to eat seafood gumbo.
But, look, the Republicans had a chance to take all of these Senate Democrats out early on in the process. Kay Hagan, Mark Pryor, Begich, Landrieu, close races, they haven't taken them off the map. They haven't even been able to expand the map to Oregon, to Virginia, to Minnesota as they said they would do this summer.
And you know what, Democrats have a chance in Kentucky, in Georgia, and who knows Kansas.
So, you know what, this is a ripple election, this is not a tidal wave. So hold your seats. I think the Democrats will retain control.
STEPHANOPOULOS: How much do you believe what you just said?
BAI: Yeah, I was going--
BRAZILE: Unlike most of you, I travel. I was in Denver last week. I was in Georgia two weeks ago. I've been home eight times to Louisiana. You know, we in Washington, D.C. we get into all this bubble, but the truth is guys I was there in 1990. I understand the six year. It's just not (inaudible) this is just making sure that we can mobilize Democratic voters. If we get them out, we win back the Senate.
KRISTOL: In 2006, Republicans at this stage looked like they were going to hold Senate seats in Virginia, Montana, elsewhere. They lost them. These things will break later in September. They could break later in September.
The Democrats have done a very good job tactically. Harry Reid's super PAC has been by far the most effective clobbering these -- or trying to clobber these Republican candidates on Medicare and Social Security. The traditional Democratic attacks, but they have some effects in the time of economic insecurity, but I think these Republicans have withstood these attacks are still even. I think the last six, seven weeks tend to go in a Republican direction.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I think -- I think you have to bet on that more than you would bet against it.
But I guess my other big question -- I'll bring this to you, Matt. But how much difference is it really going to make if the Senate switches control by one or two seat margin?
BAI: Well, it certainly could make a difference for how you frame up 2016, right, whether it's a full Republican majority in both houses in Washington bottling up -- Democrats will say bottling up the agenda, or whether you have a divided paralyzed government.
So I think there's some, you know, optical difference there.
You know, are they going -- if Democrats retain control of the Senate, are they going to continue to pass nothing. If Republicans take control of the Senate, whatever they manage to pass the president will likely veto.
STEPHANOPOULOS: He still has the veto, Jon Karl.
KARL: Well, yeah, but look -- Republicans first of all, not to get too far ahead of ourselves here, but the 2016 cycle includes a lot of Republicans that won in blue states. So they're going to have to be running, preparing for that, and looking ahead to a presidential election.
I think if the Republicans win the Senate, they have the House, they're going to need at least in those initial first months of that new congress to prove they can actually do something. And that means pass something that can actually be signed by the president. Maybe it's, you know, something in taxÉ
KRISTOL: And there are a bunch of pieces of legislation that they can get Democratic votes for that I think they will pass in the first month or two. So I'm not so sure this narrative that if Republicans will win the Senate, there will still be gridlock. I'm not sure the Republicans can't fight back against that to some degree.
KARL: They're going to have to prove they can actually do something.
BAI: And if you're a Democratic nominee would you rather run against a Republican -- an entire Republican congress--
STEPHANOPOULOS: Good question. That's all we have time for today. Thank you all very much.
Coming up, we've teamed up with Facebook to track their top trends in politics and policy. Our find this week, when does clicking online making us complicit with crimes? That debate is next.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Back now with our Facebook find of the week, images burning up newsfeeds from the horrifying--
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: New and gruesome video appearing to show a second American hostage executed by terrorists from ISIS.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: To the scandalous--
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Provocative photos of some of the biggest stars such as Jennifer Lawrence, Kirsten Dunst and Kate Upton stolen and posted online.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Spanning the globe at warp speed and sparking a new debate, when is it wrong to watch?
OK, let's take that on now with two columnists thinking hard about these questions. David Carr just taking a seat from the New York Times, Emily Bazelon from Slate. I'll let you take a breath David, but I know you've said that you had no interest in watching such as the execution videos at first, but you did to write about them and were struck by how sophisticated they are.
DAVID CARR, NEW YORK TIME: Yeah, it's amazing to me that such a Medieval sort of message, which is we will chop the head off of anyone who gets in our way can get such traction in a modern media world.
If you look at sort of the production values, it's almost HD. They have lapel mics on. You know, it's breathtaking.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And the thing you want to do is look away. You don't -- I mean, just personally it's so revolting. But you've talked to your colleagues in the middle of all this who say maybe that's not the right thing.
CARR: Well, I think it's important for people to know what we're up against in terms of what tactically could happen. And for my colleagues, you know, it's important for them to watch, because Western journalists are a target. And the -- I think Americans need to know that there are people out there that not only hate us, but are willing to do anything to get our attention.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And this creates such a difficult choice for all of us in journalism, Emily.
Perhaps far less at stake with these hacked celebrity photos, but you've written about it, but still disturbing. And you suggest there that not watching may not be enough, that Congress should actually step in and do something about it.
EMILY BAZELON, SLATE: Well, I do think that there are not enough remedies for people who are victims of non-consensual pornography. You know, there are plenty of images on the web, sexual photos, that people have consented to publish, but if you have not consented that is a real privacy violation. And we just are not valuing the privacy of the people who are victims of these kinds of -- this kind of exposure enough.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So what does Congress do?
BAZELON: Well, Congress could make it easier for people who are victims to bring suits and -- against particularly websites that get a lot of traffic out of promoting these photos knowing that the people who are the subjects of them do not want them up there and see them as a violation of privacy.
CARR: I think there's a number of remedies already out there. 11 states have enacted laws against revenge porn. There's a copyright approach. There's a privacy approach.
The problem -- and I think what Emily and others are upset about is very, very real. And the intrusion is very significant, because once it's out there it will never -- it'll never go away, right.
But in general you can't break part of the Internet, it's a web, right.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And I was struck, Emily, Reddit, the leader -- Reddit has this piece out saying every man is responsible for his own soul. They said they're not going to do anything about it, they're not going to change their policies at all, put up whatever people want to put up.
BAZELON: Although, Reddit did pull down the page that was circulating all of the celebrity hack photos.
I think a recognition that this is a norm that needs to change from a place that has felt very free to publish all kinds of other images. So I think that's an interesting shift and one that's worth paying attention to.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And one that will continue?
CARR: Yeah, there's -- I think what's changed about this is the viewer is somewhat implicated in terms of some of the people whose pictures were out there Tweeted out and said I hope you're happy about what you're doing. I think the change in behavior that Emily is talking about Reddit, I think there's a creep toward it's all good clean fun, maybe not.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Maybe not. OK. And I'm sure this debate is going to be visited many, many times. Emily, David, thank you very much.
Our Sunday spotlight is next after this from our ABC stations.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And we're back now with the latest on Ebola. The outbreak set to explode across Africa. On Friday, the White House asked for $30 million in new funding. But experts like our Dr. Richard Besser, are calling for more dramatic action. He is just back from the hot zone with this report.
DR. RICHARD BESSER, ABC CHIEF HEALTH & MEDICAL EDITOR (voice-over): The tipping point, when this deadly virus spreads even wider into Africa, may have come this week in Nigeria, the most populous crossroads in the continent. From just one case, a diplomat traveling from Liberia, a contact held in quarantine snuck out and infected the doctor who treated him.
Now, there are 21 Nigerian cases of Ebola. But in that country's crowded cities, these figures can change dramatically. Look at what it has already done in the rest of desperately poor West Africa, nearly 4,000 cases and more than 2,000 deaths, with more likely undocumented.
DR. TOM FRIEDEN, DIRECTOR, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL: If we don't stop it here, we're going to be dealing with it for years around the world.
BESSER: And the World Health Organization has predicted as many as 20,000 could be infected by year's end. That could be just the beginning. Experts fear the virus could be set to expand exponentially.
Dr. Keiji Fukuda is a leader at the WHO.
Dr. KEIJI FUKUDA, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: It's at this time where we have to jump on it, because if the numbers keep getting larger and larger, it just means it becomes more difficult to control it.
BESSER (on camera): When you see this outbreak going on here in West Africa, the spread to Nigeria, why should Americans care about this? It's on the other side of the world.
FUKUDA: Well, it's on the other side of the world only on a piece of paper. In reality, we are so interconnected, we live in a world where people can travel with infections to anywhere.
BESSER: How are you doing?
(voice-over): I have seen the misery in Liberia, where the outbreak continues to gain momentum. This was (INAUDIBLE) last week, a neighborhood in Monrovia, quarantined by the police. Riots and frank hostility. Some residents believing that Ebola is not real.
(on camera): They've been in this compound for seven days?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Eight days.
BESSER: Eight days.
(voice-over): The ongoing problems? In a country like Liberia, there's normally only one doctor for every 86,000 people. As the outbreak continues, some of those health care workers are dying, infected with the virus.
But there is some hope. If patients get supportive care, liquids, nutrition, fever medicine, some do survive. Three Americans infected, Nancy Writebol, Dr. Kent Brantly, and now Dr. Rick Sacra, were brought back to the U.S. to receive the finest of care, while West Africans continue to struggle.
FUKUDA: We will see more cases, infections, more deaths if there isn't a step up in the effort of the world.
BESSER: The Writebols hope the silver lining of Nancy's struggle will be bringing attention to a medical disaster we had largely ignored, but can no longer afford to.
DAVID WRITEBOL, HUSBAND OF EBOLA SURVIVOR: There was not as much awareness as there is today. As a result of Dr. Brantly, as a result of my wife contracting the disease, now everyone is aware that this problem is taking lives.
NANCY WRITEBOL, EBOLA SURVIVOR: And I don't think it's the end of this story either.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And, Rich, you used to run emergency response for the CDC. And now you're saying we need a military-type response? What does that mean?
BESSER: Well, yes, I've seen outbreak response around the world. I have never seen anything that is as disturbing as this. They just don't have the resources. They don't have the personnel to take care of this. Military-style response could mean U.S. troops providing hospital ships, logistics, equipment, and not just the U.S., other governments have this as well.
I think this is what's going to be needed to get this under control.
STEPHANOPOULOS: It's the only way you're going to have the scale to take this on?
BESSER: Exactly. You have to scale up in a way that we haven't seen before.
STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, Rich Besser. Thanks very much. I know you're going to stay on top of this.
And we're going to turn now to our "Sunday Spotlight," shining today on Sally Jewell. The interior secretary went from running one of America's most popular retailers to safeguarding our natural wonders. Now she's working on ways to excite our kids about them, too.
ABC's David Kerley took a hike with her in one of the country's most majestic spots.
DAVID KERLEY, ABC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They are our natural beauties, pieces of America preserved for all of us. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell calls this the forever business.
(on camera): This is kind of your second home, isn't it, the outdoors?
SALLY JEWELL, INTERIOR SECRETARY: This is my favorite office, it's my favorite playground, the one with no walls.
KERLEY (voice-over): We are hiking Maine's Acadia National Park, one of the 400 parks the interior secretary oversees. A little more than a year ago, Jewell was selling backpacks, as the CEO of the $2 billion outdoor chain REI.
Now she is landlord for one-fifth of our country's land. It's her first ever government job, which had a rough start, a government shutdown that closed parks and sent workers home.
JEWELL: It's a gotcha kind of place, which is very, very different from the private sector.
KERLEY: Partisan bickering that leaves her pining for 50 years ago, when Republicans and Democrats joined together to create the Wilderness Act, which poetically declared "such lands as where man himself is a visitor who does not remain."
President Lyndon Johnson made it the law of the land.
JEWELL: And it was so visionary. It was saying, people need to have areas where we can be guardians, not gardeners.
KERLEY: More than 100 million wilderness acres already. This morning, Jewell and the administration have more than 100 wilderness requests pending in Congress.
JEWELL: There are special places like this one that we're in that need additional levels of protection.
KERLEY (on camera): But it's not getting done.
JEWELL: Well, not much is getting done right now in Congress.
KERLEY (voice-over): The outdoors have been part of Jewell's life since her family immigrated from England when she was just 3. But those surroundings, she says, have changed.
JEWELL: One of the reasons I took this job was because I wanted to be part of the solution on climate change.
KERLEY: But this avid outdoorswoman is also an oil and gas engineer who worked with energy companies and banks to extract some of the very carbon that is causing climate change.
(on camera): It seems like there's a conflict. Continue to bring out oil, gas, and coal, and yet we need to cut carbon. How do you do both?
JEWELL: We can't transition to a renewable energy economy overnight. We're dependent on coal. We're dependent on oil and gas.
KERLEY: There are many environmentalists who think you're not doing enough.
JEWELL: This job is full of absolutes on both sides. Those that are more involved in just "drill, baby, drill," and let's not worry about it, and those that believe that we have got to change things overnight. And the truth is, we can't have either. We have got to work together on common ground to move forward. And that's what my job is about.
KERLEY (voice-over): And she keeps moving. She has summited the highest peak in Antarctica. And she and I share an experience, standing on the top of Washington's Mount Rainier, the tallest peak in the lower 48.
(on camera): It's something to stand on top of a mountain like, that you got up there on your own two feet?
JEWELL: Yes. And it also puts the world in perspective a bit. I like to think, gosh, a lot of these things I can see are lands that are protected, they are national parklands. And that's a pretty cool feeling.
KERLEY (voice-over): And a pretty cool view the secretary hopes to save forever.
For THIS WEEK, David Kerley, ABC News, in Acadia National Park, Maine.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Just beautiful.
And now, we honor our fellow Americans who serve and sacrifice. This week, the Pentagon released the name of one soldier killed in Afghanistan.
And that is all for us today. Thanks for sharing part of your Sunday with us. Check out "WORLD NEWS TONIGHT" this evening, and I'll see you tomorrow on "GMA."