tv This Week With George Stephanopoulos ABC March 8, 2015 8:00am-9:01am PDT
>> announcer: starting right now on abc's "this week" -- storm swirling. hillary clinton under fire over e-mails. will the storm pass? are democrats getting anxious? what she's saying now. hitting the trail. we're on the ground with jeb bush in iowa. can he win over conservatives? ferguson fallout. that scathing report from the justice department. allegations of discrimination, racist e-mails. will the police chief keep his job? and hailing heroes. the 50th anniversary of the civil rights march in selma. former secretary of state colin powell is here in an abc news exclusive. from abc news, "this week with george stephanopoulos" begins now. good morning.
we have new developments on all this week's big stories. president obama has spoken out for the first time on those hillary clinton e-mails saying he first heard about them on the news. in madison, wisconsin, there are protests after the shooting of an african-american teenager by a white police officer. the teen was unarmed, but court records show he was party to an armed robbery last year and police say he attacked the officer. an independent investigation will examine the evidence. all this in a week where the justice department revealed a pattern of racist practices in ferguson, missouri, against the backdrop of that extraordinary ceremony saturday. president obama leading 40,000 people in selma, alabama, 50 years after that bloody confrontation on the edmund pettus bridge. >> we gather here to honor the courage of ordinary americans willing to endure billy clubs, and the chasing rod, tear gas and the trampling hoof, men and women who despite the gush of blood and splintered bone would stay true to their north star and keep marching towards justice.
what they did here will reverberate through the ages not because the change they want was preordained, not because their victory was complete, but because they proved that nonviolent change is possible, that love and hope can conquer hate. >> the president took on critics who say that ferguson proves america has not made progress on race. >> what happened in ferguson may not be unique, but it's no longer endemic. it's no longer sanctioned by law or by custom, and before the civil rights movement it most surely was. of course, the more common mistake is to suggest that ferguson is an isolated incident, that racism is banished. we don't need a ferguson report to know that's not true. we just need to open our eyes and our ears and our hearts to know that this nation's racial
history still casts its long shadow upon us. >> evidence of that long shadow, the justice department report on ferguson. the mayor of ferguson is standing by for an exclusive interview after this report from abc's pierre thomas. >> all: hands up, don't shoot. hands up, don't shoot. >> reporter: in a city that sparked a conversation on race, some big questions this morning. among them, will the entire ferguson police department be dismantled? >> if that's what's necessary we're prepared to do that. >> reporter: the attorney general's blunt response came on the heels of a blistering just department report which found a pattern of racial bias in ferguson policing. african-americans make up 67% of ferguson's population but were 93% of all arrests and were the targets of 85% of traffic stops. >> we've been getting harassed so much that we're tired of it. >> reporter: the report also detailing racist e-mails sent by city employees, one describing the president of the united states as a chimpanzee. by friday, three city officials
involved were gone, a city court clerk fired and two police officers resigned. in the fatal shooting of a young black man by a white police officer, this week eric holder decided to the to prosecute officer darren wilson saying there was not evidence he had violated michael brown's civil rights, but he added that the investigation had affirmed some of the concerns of minorities. >> some of those protesters were right. >> reporter: the president took harsh note, as well. >> there was an oppressive and abusive situation. >> reporter: mr. obama said while he believes the overwhelming majority of police are great public servants, he said there are still pockets of discriminatory policing. >> and what happened in ferguson is not a complete aberration. it's not just a one-time thing. it's something that happens. >> reporter: in the last five years, the justice department has opened more than 20 investigations into police departments with prosecutors enforcing 15 agreements, often to correct unconstitutional policing practices. the quest for a more perfect union clearly not over.
for "this week," pierre thomas, abc news, washington. >> and we are joined now by the mayor of ferguson, james knowles. mr. mayor, thank you for joining us this morning. you know that report so horrifying to so many. shocking in so many ways, and it leads to the question, how could you not know these kinds of practices were going on? >> i think it's important to recognize that the mayor and the city council and the city of ferguson are part-time public servants who oversee, you know, we hire a professional staff to oversee and administrate on a daily basis what goes on in the city of ferguson and some of these things, e-mails, absolutely we will not tolerate in this community. they showed some bias that is intolerable and those are things we acted on immediately but those are things that as the mayor, as the city council we don't monitor on a daily basis everyone's e-mails, and some of these practices, i think, that have come to light and some of these stories are new to many of us, especially at least the
length in which the doj states that it occurred. >> so now that you know about them, the question is what to do. attorney general holder said it might be necessary to dismantle the police department. are you prepared to do that and to fire the police chief? >> i think what's important right now is that we go through every part of that report, find out where the breakdown was and the patterns and practices and these safeguards that we should have had in place and need to have in place to ensure that we protect the safety and the civil rights of everyone that comes to ferguson and lives in the city of ferguson. you know, very few communities in this country have undergone this level of scrutiny, and the city of ferguson has after thousands of e-mails have been examined, court documents, arrest records, we know what the issues are and according to the justice department with the city of ferguson. we're one of the few -- we're the only one in the st. louis area who's undergone that scrutiny and know how to commit those issues and committed to moving forward to make that happen. >> what exactly will you do? will the police chief keep his
job? will you implement the kind of recommendations the department of justice called for, increasing officer training, more partnership with the ferguson community, prohibiting ticketing and arrest quotas? >> many so of those things absolutely we will -- i think we can say immediately we'll be working on improving training, improving some of the outreach to members of our community, to sections of our community, especially who feel underrepresented who have been underrepresented. one of the things that we're focused on, which will be the only one and the first one in the st. louis region, is to implement a civilian review board so civilians can have input into the policies and procedures of the city of ferguson police department but also review and take in complaints against the city of ferguson police department so that elected officials like myself can hear these complaints, can see them come through and monitor this and the civilians will have an active role in that. >> but mayor, can uyou do this with the people in place? you talked about the power of the city manager, john shaw. the report also shows he was pushing police to bring in more revenue and ignored reports that
the criminal justice system needed to be fixed. don't you need wholesale change? >> i think what we've been saying is we've been committed to reform and making those changes. i can tell you that as we move forward, we're going to go through every line of that report. we have been going through and identifying where the breakdown was. you know, everybody in that report that may be implicated, anybody who's been participating in any sort of discriminatory policing that we can identify in the report we want to hold accountable. that's going to take more than a couple days, but we are absolutely committed to that and that's what we're doing in the city of ferguson. >> final question, the brown family said they're going to sue as well. they're likely to sue. will you reach a settlement with the brown family or will you fight it? >> you know, that's something that's being handled by our insurance company, so i couldn't really comment on that. >> okay, mr. mayor. thanks so much for your time this morning. we turn to the former secretary of state colin powell. he joins us now from washington. general powell, thank you so much for joining us this morning. what an extraordinary week for race relations in this country. we saw that report on ferguson, of course, we saw that event in
selma yesterday. your reflections. >> the event in selma touched me very much because, you know, 50 years ago, i was stationed at ft. benning, georgia, and i was also going back and forth to birmingham, alabama, during a very, very difficult time, and what that bloody sunday event did for the nation was to hold up a mirror in front of all americans and said, look, this is what's going on in this country. this cannot continue. as lyndon johnson said at one point, you mean to tell me soldiers are coming back from vietnam and do not have the right to vote? this is wrong and has to be changed. and so i think that bloody sunday catalyzed the movement to do something about our voting rights, and later that year, we got the voting rights act of 1965, and i think selma gave lyndon johnson and the congress the power, the moral power to seek that legislation and to get it passed. >> what's your take on, you know, one of the most passionate parts of the president's speech yesterday where he did take on those critics who said we're not
making progress on race. the president outlined the great progress we've made but also laying out what more needs to be done. >> well, you know, we're always searching for that more perfect union that our founding fathers talked to us about. we've made enormous progress. if we hadn't made progress, he wouldn't have been standing there. eric holder wouldn't have been with him and i wouldn't be here now. things opened up. law was changed and the barriers to advancement went away, but we still now have hurdles we have to get over. i'm troubled by a number of things with respect to some of the states trying to restrict voting by voter i.d. laws. those are hurdles we can get over and what i say to my friends in the african-american community is whatever those states do, you meet the standards then you make sure you register and make sure you vote, you make sure you vote for the people who try to put these barriers, these hurdles in your way and then you vote them out but ultimately it's going to be the people who change this system and not just politicians or who the next president is. we, the people, have the
responsibility to make sure that all the people have an opportunity for a full and successful life in this wonderful country of ours. >> how shocked were you by that report on ferguson? >> i was shocked, but not that surprised, frankly, george. i know these things have existed in other parts of our country. this shouldn't have been that great a surprise to any of us. but it's not throughout the country. what we have to do now then is for all of the police departments, all of the mayors and county and other officials throughout the country, take a look in the mirror and see what you're doing. are you really arresting people just so you can get the money needed to run the government? that's not right. and are you doing it in a discriminatory manner so that african-americans, hispanic-americans and folks in the lower income levels of the society are paying the price in order to sustain your government or the police force. we also have to teach every police force that you have a responsibility to make sure that you are operating in a proper manner. try to use nonlethal means wherever possible.
we also have to tell our young people, when you're stopped by a police officer, stop and listen carefully and do not argue or fight. let it resolve itself, especially if you've done nothing. if you have done something, arguing or fighting with the police officer will just add another charge. and i think that's the way we have to make sure that our youngsters understand the situation that they're placing themselves in. >> how about your own party's experience with race? you are still a republican, right? i know you voted for president obama. a couple of years back you spoke out about the dark vein of intolerance in some parts of the republican party on race. is that what you still see? >> i still see it. i still see it in the republican party, and i still see it in other parts of our country. you don't have to be republican to be touched by this dark vein. america is still going through this transformation from where we were just 50 or 60 years ago. you have to remember it was only about 60 or 70 years ago that we still had poll taxes, that we still had literacy tests in order to vote. that the voting places were only
open two days a month for african-americans. so we've come a long way, but there's a long way to go, and we have to change the hearts and minds of americans, and i see progress, especially in the younger generation. when i speak to young kids, when i look at my own young grandchildren, they're not of that past. they're of the present. they're of the future. they understand the importance of diversity, they understand the beauty of this wonderful country of ours with all the different shades of people we have in this country, so we have to deal with this. we have to deal with making sure that everybody can vote and express their opinion. police forces are acting in a proper manner, citizens are acting in a proper manner with respect to the police forces and that governments, cities and states throughout the country are making sure that they are not discriminating against any particular part of their citizenry. >> what's your take on the gop field? you worked for both president bushes. could you see yourself supporting jeb this time around? >> i always vote for the person i think is most qualified to be president of the united states
of america. i know jeb bush very, very well. i think he's a very accomplished individual. and we'll see who else is going to be running, and i'll make my judgment based on what i think is best for the country. >> okay, so we'll cut back to you on that later on. but i do want to ask you one final question on this hillary clinton e-mail controversy which, of course put you back in the news a bit this week, as well. you were secretary of state during the early days of e-mails. you were one of the first secretaries, i believe to set up a personal e-mail account and pushed to modernize the state department system. based on your experience, what do you make of these revelations this week, and what would you recommend that she do now? >> i can't speak to mrs. clinton and what she should do now. that would be inappropriate. what i did when i entered the state department, i found that antiquated system had to be modernized and modernized quickly. so we put in place new systems, bought 44,000 computers and put a new internet capable computer on every single desk in every embassy, every office in the state department, and then i
connected it with software. but in order to change the culture, to change the brain words as i call it, i started using it toward to get everybody to use it to be a 21st institution and not a 19th century but i retained none of those e-mails and we are working with the state department to see if there's anything else they want to discuss with me about those e-mails. >> they've asked you to turn them over but you don't have them. is that it? >> i don't have any to turn over. i did not keep a cache of them. i did not print them off. i do not have thousands of pages somewhere in my personal files and, in fact, a lot of the e-mails that came out of my personal account went to the state department system and they were address eded to state department employees and the state.gov domain but i don't know if the servers at the state department captured those or not. and most -- they were all unclassified and most of them i think are pretty benign so i'm not terribly concerned even if they were able to recover them. >> okay, mr. secretary, thanks very much for joining us this morning. >> thank you, george. coming up we're going to
take a closer look at that clinton e-mail controversy with jon karl and our powerhouse round table. also jeb bush hits the trail in iowa. and that big day at the supreme court and hear from the justices and back in two minutes. imes and bad. our experienced investment professionals are one reason over 85% of our mutual funds beat their 10-year lipper averages. so in a variety of markets we can help you feel confident. request a prospectus or summary prospectus with investment information risks, fees and expenses to read and consider carefully before investing. call us or your advisor. t. rowe price. invest with confidence. sometimes i feel bloated or gassy, with rumbling, uncomfortable. i feel sluggish. i'm taking the activia challenge! enjoying activia twice a day for four weeks. may help reduce the frequency of minor digestive issues. try the activia challenge! it works or it's free! that's it...good job, nice coating...now get this one next. ohhh! what are you guys doing?
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security. the new energy superpower? it's red, white and blue. log on to learn more. those e-mails are clean as a whistle. this is not how hillary clinton goes down. i mean, what did you think my e-mails said? hi, it's hillary, i really screwed up on benghazi today. please. ha, ha, ha. ha, ha, ha. i wasn't born yesterday. i was born 67 years ago, and i have been planning on being president ever since. there will be no mistakes in my rise to the top, if i decide to run. who knows. who knows. >> oh, a week of stories over
hillary clinton's e-mails capped by that skit on "saturday night live." now it's become a pretty familiar pattern but will this story evaporate like so many in the past or does it spell real trouble for the upcoming campaign? jon karl examines those questions in our "closer look." >> hi, everybody. >> reporter: last night hillary clinton and daughter chelsea got a rousing welcome at a meeting of the clinton global initiative. hillary clinton didn't say anything about the topic du jour but president obama did telling cbs he was unaware that she conducted official business using personal e-mail. when did he learn about it? >> the same time everybody else earn learned it through news reports. >> reporter: the president praised secretary clinton as a great secretary of state but made it clear he does not handle his e-mail the way she did. >> my e-mails, the blackberry that i carry around, all those records are available. >> reporter: the president said he is glad mrs. clinton has now turned over her e-mails but there's still plenty of democratic angst some of it from
those closest to president obama. >> why did she use a separate e-mail? how did she secure that? by not answering these questions, they're allowing the story to fester in ways that are unhelpful. >> reporter: the issues now swirling this morning, how did clinton break the rules? state department policy during her time as secretary of state required that if state employees use private e-mail for official business, they must turn it over to be entered on government computers. mrs. clinton did not do that until nearly two years after she stepped down as secretary and then only e-mails selected by her staff. and then there are the ghosts of clinton's past. the new dustup brings up past controversies including secrecy and the clintons. the secret health care task force that worked with her on the failed effort to pass a health care reform bill in the early 1990s. the rose law firm billing records that mysteriously went missing for two years when she was first lady finally turning up in the private residence of the white house.
here's what mrs. clinton said back in those days about more low-tech recordkeeping. >> are you keeping a are you keeping good notes of what's happening to you? >> heavens no. it would get subpoenaed. i can't write anything down. >> reporter: the big political question, what is the impact on campaign 2016? the last time she ran for president, mrs. clinton did have something to say about secret e-mails when they belonged to republicans. >> we know about the secret wiretaps. we know about the secret military tribunals. secret white house e-mail accounts. >> reporter: but now that it's her secret e-mails, mrs. clinton seems to have been caught flat-footed. not a good sign for a soon-to-be presidential campaign. for "this week," jonathan karl, abc news, washington. >> thank you. >> let's talk about this now with the team from bloomberg politic, john heilemann and mark halperin and our dueling strategists, donna brazile and nicolle wallace from "the view" who worked for both george w. and jeb bush. welcome to you all and, mark, let me begin with you. i think we've seen a version of this story that jon karl
hinted at five or six times. generally the clinton ss underreact and hunker down, the critics and media overreact. is it different this time? will it make any difference? >> i said a few weeks ago on this show i thought she was easily the most likely president of the united states. i now think not only is she because of this as a symptom and a cause, i now think she's not only easily the most likely, i don't think she's any more than most likely. this is -- go that's a big shift. >> yeah. >> because of e-mails? >> a big shift. >> because of what this says as a symptom. >> exhale. >> not as a cause, as a symptom. >> exhale. >> what she's doing here in terms of lack of response, lack of a sense of what people think of her and combined with what i thought was an extraordinary weak performance at her speech the other day, her husband can get through these things because he's a politician of a lifetime. she cannot. if this is the way she's going to run her operation, if this is the mind-set she's going to have, i don't think she's going to be president. >> the problem with, of course, recording anything about the clintons is we overexploit it then we talk about it until we find something else to talk
about. reporters are looking through the rear vuiew mirror to see if that's any way to manage her campaign or run the white house. we've known for two years secretary clinton used a private e-mail account. that was the norm for cabinet officials and government officials and, yet, you know, we've used this week to talk about how is she going to use this to talk about everything else? i think she will survive it. i think she will overcome it. i think when she announces if she announces, this will not be part of the conversation. >> that may be but, donna, let me bring this question to nicolle wallace. i guess that begs the question of why not get ahead of it. if you knew you were responding to the request of the state department, responding to the request from congressional committees why not be more public about what you were doing? >> i think their calculation is -- if you want to know what it's like to run for a president as a republican, watch what hillary clinton is going through. the media hyperventilation over everything the clintons do reminds me so much of how they treated bush and cheney and i said earlier this week and i thought someone's
head was going to explode in the media. this is a media problem for her, no doubt. journalism and journalists view themselves as the safeguard and the guardians of the public interest. they think the public has an interest and so do the republicans on the benghazi select committee. but these were e-mails. not encrypted nsa taps. they will eventually come out and i think what's instructive to me is how the media is now writing her off because she didn't turn over her e-mails. we don't know yet if this is a political problem but it is most certainly a media problem. >> okay john heilemann, hillary clinton has been hurt with mark halperin, how about democrats? you're not seeing a big uprising among democrats. maybe some anxiety behind the scenes. >> look, we're at the point of the campaign right now where on both sides this is about really the establishment, right? this is not -- voters are hardly engaged on either side but at this moment it not just this e-mail thing and i'm not quite as pessimistic as mark or i've changed my views about her quite as much but this story comes on the back of the stories about foreign donors at the foundation, it comes on the story about other questions about the foundation and business groups that were giving
to it. she's had an extraordinarily bad run. this is a punctuation of some number of weeks of stories that are damaging to her because they go to the whole massive questions that are now going to get asked and looked into. this story is going to go on for a long time because of the fact that the subpoenas are being issued, because of the fact there's still e-mails she kept on her private server that respect even the ones she turned over to the state department. there are huge questions and for establishment democrats i think the answer, george, to answer your question is, i think for establishment democrats it increases what has been a persistent unease about her from 2008 that still lingers from 2016. that unease to open the door to barack obama eight years ago. i don't know if there's anybody awake in the wings right now, but i know a lot of establishment democrats getting that kind of queasy feeling in their stomach again that they had back in 2007 and 2008. >> martin o'malley stepping up his activity this week although not speaking on this but gets to the question, mark halperin, what does secretary clinton do about it? does it speed up her plans to
get in? does she change her operation? does she turn over all e-mails to the national archives. >> if i may respond quickly to two things nicolle said. the press does have an obligation. this is not just a political story. what she did, withholding documents not available for subpoenas or requests is regardless of party. that is not -- >> i disagree with that. we're talking about political consequences. i think it's -- >> we're also talking about what's right and how government is supposed to -- >> it's far more devastating to say to diane sawyer i was flat broke. people understand that those riding in a limo for two decades is flat broke. i'm sure she has political problems. i'm not sure that making the media mad is one of them. >> i'll just say, she's still -- any democrat who is nominated will have huge advantages. she's still an extraordinarily strong figure and raise a lot of money, et cetera. i don't know what she'll do. our reporting from our colleague jennifer epstein was they think her saying it's up to the state department and cannot address it, i think she must -- >> she expects those e-mails to be released. she expects every last one of those -- >> but, donna, what else did she do -- >> look, her personal -- what she needs to do -- >> we don't know. >> let donna.
>> she must -- >> you say speak publicly. what should she do? >> first of all, she should start talking about the economy and start talking about, you know, all of the important issues facing the country. she needs to get out here and run a campaign if she's going to run, and she should not worry about what the 300 e-mails that the house benghazi committee is looking at. look, she is a strong candidate. and let me just tell you, there's nobody in the democratic party i just talked to and we just had a big democratic meet g meeting and i heard from governors and others, nobody is drinking pepto-bismol right now. people feel pretty confident that if she decides to run, she's going to be a strong contender and these e-mails aside, she has an answer on the economy and jobs and what the american really care about. >> we have to take a quick break. >> republicans on benghazi shgs those e-mails will come out. >> that will come out. quick break now. coming up next jeb bush on the trail. his first trip to iowa. we're right there too. can he make the sale to conservatives? plus --
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jeb bush in iowa yesterday. his first trip to the key caucus state since he started hinting about 2016. it was an agriculture forum for gop contenders and abc's david wright was there. >> reporter: he's no stranger to iowa. hey, you excited to be in iowa. >> i am, i am. delighted to be here. >> reporter: but before he was the candidate's son or the candidate's brother. this weekend for the first time jeb bush was in iowa as his own man. >> a lot of people know me as george's boy or barbara's boy or w's brother. all of which i'm very proud of.
>> reporter: his challenge now convincing the voters he's a step forward, not a step back. >> i want to win. i want our party to win. i want conservatives to win. >> reporter: is the bush name an asset or a liability in iowa? >> well, from the standpoint if you're known better than somebody else and the name is recognizable, it's very much an advantage. >> it's not like he has to go and introduce himself or spell his last name. >> reporter: but that last name also comes with some baggage. >> seven out of the nine people on his foreign policy team were people that advised his brother to invade iraq. >> reporter: at the iowa ag summit, people listened politely as bush outlined views on immigration that may be a bit too moderate for this crowd. his only applause line was on the subject of barbecue. >> we'll be cooking iowa beef and -- [ laughter ] >> reporter: but at his first meet and greet with actual voters at a pizza ranch, he showed he can connect. >> yes, ma'am. >> reporter: a beauty queen in a tiara asked about alzheimer's
disease. >> how many people here who have a family member that has dementia or alzheimer's? >> reporter: bush handled it like an old pro. your father ran on a kinder, gentler america. your brother ran on compassionate conservatism. how would you sum up your message in a few words? >> when i get to that, i'll let you know. >> reporter: even in iowa it's early days. jeb bush is off to a start. for "this week," david wright, abc news, cedar rapids. >> thanks to david for that. we're back with the roundtable right now and, nicolle wallace, i want to start with you, of course, you worked for jeb bush in the past. you saw david wright. gave him pretty good review, mark halperin gave him pretty good reviews yesterday, as well. probably his most confident campaign performance yet but is facing a real uphill fight in iowa. >> yeah, david wright made the exact point about what jeb accomplished yesterday. he proved to everybody that he can connect, and i worked for him. i went to countless events with him, and he is always real in the room, always. there's nothing -- no manufactured emotion.
there are no talking points. he writes his own talking points so i think that iowa is a great place. i think iowa gets a bad rap for having this conservative litmus test. that's part of it but also the most sophisticated political analysts in the republican party. they want someone who could win so you saw jeb speaking right to that saying i can win. i want my party to win. i want conservatives to win. >> i saw him a few days earlier and was at his first meeting with voters just outside las vegas a few days before this iowa thing and i was really struck. i think he's been very unimpressive giving speeches, not good off the prompter or prepared text but in that room where he was speaking off the cuff and then taking a lot of questions from voters, he was loose and he was funny. he made -- took a few shots at the clintons along the way. but was very -- was -- felt like as if he had not been off the campaign trail for as long as he had been on the campaign trail. very impressive to me. >> donna, if he can pull off this balancing act holding to his positions on issues like immigration and more to the center of the party, but still getting the nomination, that poses significant challenges to hillary or whichever democrat
gets the nod. >> well, we all know how republicans run. they run to the right in a primary and then in a general election they pivot back to the center. >> he's not doing that. >> well, can i finish, little journalist, over here? i need to give y'all some tabasco. but there's no question that jeb bush knows how to connect with voters. he's a conservative. he's not a moderate. he's a conservative and i guess i was impressed that i saw him stand up to those in the room who said, well, we want subsidies to continue to ethanol. no, we have to take a look at it. let it be market driven. he still faces a lot of obstacles because i think what the conservatives are hungry for this session, this season is somebody who is a true, tried conservative that can win in a general election and jeb bush might not -- >> that's going to -- sets out an interesting poll, mark halperin. who is going to prevail, the republicans who want a winner or the republicans who want purity? >> jeb bush was an extraordinarily conservative governor of florida. and there are a few issues on which he's out of step with some of the party, but i think people continue to overstate the extent to which
common core and immigration will stop him from winning and electability is going to be a huge issue, but so is fund-raising, so is hiring staff and so is authenticity. the reason why so many of the clinton people are worried about jeb bush is his public authenticity does not make a good matchup for her. privately she's a very authentic and accomplished person, but their public personas, their public performance couldn't provide a worst contrast for her. >> and he turned over all his e-mails on a server that you can read. >> it took seven years and not all of his e-mails. he still has a lot of them outstanding. by the way, i'm not even interested in reading his e-mails. i don't want anybody to read mine. >> a couple seconds left before we take a break. did jeb bush re-establish himself as the front runner at this week? scott walker had been making some real inroads. >> i think they're in the both top tier. what i notice mark is totally right about common core and immigration about being overstated. i think you guys remember the way bill clinton was at odds with much of the democratic orthodoxy in 1992 and ran to the center and still was able to win.
the bigger problem for the republican party, he is jeb bush and the name, not just the way liberals don't like him because he's a bush but the fact that there are a lot of republicans who think i don't want to sacrifice the argument of having a candidate of the future, if hillary clinton will be the democratic nominee, we need someone younger who looks like the future who is not tied to all that bush baggage. you hear that among a lot of republicans who want to look at a scott walker or a marco rubio or someone else who could just have a clean break with the past. >> that's a great point. we have to take mother break. let's take a look at our powerhouse puzzler. it was inspired by barbara mikulski who was the longest serving woman in congress. she announced her retirement this week. so who will become the longest serving woman in congress when mikulski leaves at the end of this term? somebody's going to know that. we'll be right back. >> announcer: the powerhouse puzzler is brought to you by voya financial.
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week. inside a lively and intense oral argument. the justices sparring with lawyers over the fate of obamacare. no cameras in the courtroom but the tape-recorders were rolling and abc's supreme court expert terry moran has this report on what the questions and answers reveal. >> reporter: it was deja vu all over again this week at the supreme court. >> that's not what you said previously when you were here last time in this never-ending saga. [ laughter ] >> reporter: this challenge to the president's sweeping health care law, which survived an attempt to kill it in the supreme court in 2012, boils down to four words, established by the state. that's how the law says people should get obamacare subsidies to pay for insurance if they need the help on insurance exchanges established by the state. but only 16 states have established those exchanges so the federal government stepped in to pay the subsidies and that, opponents say, is against the law. the liberals on the court rushed to the law's defense, look at the overall structure of it, they argued, not these four
little words in an obscure section. >> you're talking about congress hiding, borrowing the phrase of one of my colleagues, a huge thing in a mousetrap. okay? >> reporter: conservatives rejected that argument and they rejected the notion that 6 million plus americans who could lose insurance if the court strikes down the law would face disaster. >> what about congress? you really think congress is just going to sit there while all of these disastrous consequences ensue? >> reporter: the key moment, though, may have been when justice kennedy, the court's crucial vote in so many cases, raised sharp concerns about states' rights with the anti-obamacare arguments. >> there's a serious constitutional problem if we adopt your argument. the states are being told either create your own exchange or we'll send your insurance market into a death spiral. >> reporter: so have conservatives found obamacare's achilles heel in four words or will the supreme court once again step in and save the law and save so much of president obama's legacy?
for "this week," terry moran, abc news, london. >> let's talk about it with two experts. joan biskupic covers the supreme court for reuters, covered the court for a long time and also michael cannon from the cato institute who filed a brief in the case challenging obamacare. mr. cannon let me begin with you. when you heard those questions from justice kennedy, were you worried? >> well, no, and this isn't a challenge to obamacare. what happened here is the political appointees of the treasury department read the law. they didn't read it before it passed. they read it. they found out that it doesn't work and they pressured the irs to expand its own power under the law, and they're now taxing 57 million americans illegally. in contravention of the explicit limits on the irs' powers under this statute, and that's what this case is about. the plaintiffs in this case are representing 57 million americans who are being subjected to illegal taxes. so when justice kennedy said that, he actually wasn't making a point in the government's
favor. he was making a point that he had said a couple of times that the statute may well favor the plaintiffs' interpretation. he was saying that then if that clear language is coercive of the states, then that could be a problem. >> let me bring this to joan bikuspic. it was pretty clear where the four liberals on the court stood during this argument. also where justices scalia and alito and thomas, so it all comes down to kennedy and the man who didn't say much at all during this question chief justice roberts. what do you make of that sphinx-like behavior? >> i think he knew he was being watched because he cast the decisive vote last time and the little he said could have been read slightly more to the government side than not, but as i said, slightly, but i do think michael cannon underestimates a little bit the power of justice kennedy's question here. i think that this time around he could, indeed, be the swing vote person. now, again, as we all know, we have several months before we see a ruling, a lot could go on behind the scenes, votes could shift.
but justice kennedy's concern for this law being coercive on the states, if the court rules for the challengers i thought was significant and, frankly, i think a lot of insurers thought it was significant, and the markets rose on insurance stocks at that question, so i think that there might be some there there. >> and, michael cannon, which justice do you think is most likely to join those on your side of either kennedy or roberts? >> well, both -- roberts said less, kennedy made a lot of noises that favored the plaintiffs, and i think that one of them was his concern about coercion. i think there are four numbers to keep in mind when we're talking about this coercion question, 2, 8, 8 and 2. 2 is the number of benefits that states would get under the plaintiffs' interpretation of the law if they choose not to establish an exchange. they would be totally exempted from the employer mandate and their residence would largely be exempted from the individual mandate. 8 is the number of states that
had already enacted this supposedly conservative -- this supposedly coercive penalty before -- on their own insurance markets before it was passed and 8 is also the number of states that said to the supreme court, we prefer this coercive penalty to the cost of compliance, and 2 finally is the number of states that have sued because they prefer in similar challenges because they prefer this supposedly coercive penalty to the cost of compliance. >> finally, joan biscupic, how important it -- we heard the phrase death spiral a lot. how much do you think the justices will take the consequence to their decision on the ground into account? >> well, i have to say, george, that they're going to look at precedent and look at the statute itself. but both sides, both the conservatives and liberals, you showed that clip of scalia talking about potential dire consequences and certainly justice kennedy thought that way and justice alito also a conservative said if the consequences are going to be so
sharp, maybe we should actually postpone the effects of a decision that would go against the government. that's if the decision goes against the government. >> a lot of tea leaves to sort through. thank you both very much. let's bring us back to the roundtable right now. and, mark halperin, let me begin with you. this may be a case for the challengers, at least those republicans in congress and those running for president of be careful what you wish for because of the consequences of what happens if the supreme court actually does strike down this subsidy scheme. >> there are ways to fix it if the supreme court does strike it down, but they involve bipartisan cooperation between the president and congressional leaders, and that hasn't been very easy to come by. you know, it will be a bit of a game of chicken. republicans will say to the president if it's struck down we'll negotiate with you but we want a lot. we want a lot in terms of changing how the affordable care act works. the president may decide to take the chaos and blame it on the republicans. >> donna, the white house has been very clear and the secretary of health and human services is there's no backup plan, there's no plan b is that really tenable? >> i think so. 8 million americans will be
impacted by this court decision. already on the house side, chairman paul ryan, he's trying to get the republicans to focus, focus, focus. the problem is the republicans might not even come up with a plan b that the white house can even start looking at. for now it's going to throw a lot of chaos into the process. >> does this put more pressure on republican candidates for president to come up with affirmative plans on what to do about health care? >> well, it's an opportunity and i think it'll set apart people like scott walker and jeb bush governors who have governed in their state from people that, you know, i think come into the race with a more political posture but i think the chaos, this is not one to blame on the republicans, the chaos was born out of the extremely partisan nature with which the bill was crafted and the extremely partisan nature with which it was ran through congress. so i think that any chaos that ensues is squarely the blame lays squarely with the white house. >> republicans however have been the primary critics of obamacare. if the court overturns it, it will be incumbent on republicans to offer a real alternative and that is something they have talked about
doing for years and they can't even come up with let alone coming up with an alternative that both sides can agree on they can't even come up with an alternative they agree on within the party. >> i think republicans will come together. paul ryan has spent a lot of time thinking about this. republicans interested in governing -- >> the court will rule 6-3 and uphole it. i don't know if it'll be 6-3 but i think the court will uphold it. >> don't know. i think they'll uphold it and say the irs interpretation -- >> and they could change up the next president. >> right. >> roberts -- >> i want my question mark back. i don't know what the supreme court is going to do. and neither do they. neither do they. >> none of us do. and we can all be misled by the questions and answers. we should say that, as well. before we go, a final word to say an extraordinary week at the top of the program on the whole issue of race relations in the country. we saw that report on ferguson. donna brazile, we saw the president's -- one of the most passionate speeches he's given in years yesterday in selma. >> yes, yes, george, i read that report. i read both reports. it was a snow day, so i had nothing else to do but to read.
and let me tell you, the first report exonerating darren wilson, i mean, look, i understand that police officers, you know, are not held accountable in these circumstances, but when you read the -- >> well, it's more than that donna. the report laid out in great detail what happened on the ground. >> george, it go, and i disagree with that report in large measures but i understand. i understood -- i read it and i respect the justice department decision, but when you read the 108-page report, especially the details where not just the e-mails, the e-mails that said just nasty, bitter racist things but the report that said that local officials were pressured to raise revenue. police officers who are supposed to protect and uphold the law are being pressured to collect revenues from poor people criminalizing poverty. the report is awfully -- tells us we have a long way to go. >> that was so shocking, nicolle wallace, that when you read in the words of the report this is a collection agency from african-americans treating them more like customers who they needed money from rather than citizens. >> i was more shocked by eric
holder's own words when he questioned how such an alternative version of events to hands up, don't shoot could take hold and he warned us. he said we should take time trying to understand how that can happen and i reread your transcript of your remarkable interview with darren wilson yesterday and the faktct that the justice department now stands behind the version he recounted only to you is -- justifies as much attention as what is inexcusable behavior from the police department. >> but i think eric holder, the point of what he was saying there, part of the reason why an alternative narrative could take hold is because of the context in which this is a racist police department. that's the inescapable conclusion of what you read there and as bad as it is, it's not unique, not just in ferguson. what we have learned in the last year, and if anybody didn't know this already, they were out to lunch, but there really are two systems of justice in america for black and white americans and ferguson may be the worst but it's true in new york city and it's true everywhere in the country. >> that's going to have to be the last word. thank you very much. great talk today.
>> up next martha raddatz's exclusive interview with the iraqi prime minister. does he want more american troops? his answer ahead. >> announcer: catch "this week" online all week at abcnews.com. on facebook and twitter. acebook and twitter. there are iraqi forces this morning continuing their march toward tikrit trying to take back saddam hussein's hometown from isis. it is part of a massive offensive.
joint chiefs chair martin dempsey heading to iraq to consult with him and ahead of that the prime minister sat down with martha raddatz for this exclusive interview. >> reporter: now tens of thousands of iraqi soldiers and shiite militia are fighting to oust the isis extremists who took over tikrit nine months ago. >> this is a very, very dangerous organization. if they are allowed to continue, if they are not stopped on time, i can assure you no army in the region can stand in their own way. >> reporter: for prime minister haider al abadi it's a critical test of his country's military power. >> we have to stop them for our own sake, and i think the world has to stop them for their own sake. >> reporter: we spoke to a.m. abadi in a former palace of dictator saddam hussein. abadi took office six months ago as isis solidified its hold on a
third of his country from across mosul in the north to al anbar province and coming within 20 miles of the capital baghdad. do you have a sense of what it's like in those areas? >> i think it's undescribable and that's why we're very eager to liberate these areas as soon as possible. >> reporter: one key part of that strategy is reclaiming tikrit. >> the only way to take back the city is not by bombardment, by having troops on the ground take back the city. >> reporter: do you wish you had american ground troops, ground combat troops to help? >> it doesn't help whether i wish or not. i don't think that's going to happen. this administration understands the u.s. public are not eager or they don't want to send their own sons and troops outside u.s. >> reporter: without american combat forces on the ground, iran has stepped in to fill the void. nearly two-thirds of those fighting for iraq are iranian-backed shiite militias. tell me how much iran has been involved. >> well, iran is a neighbor.
i think we have the longest support with run iran and feels itself under threat. so i think they're helping in a lot of ways. many advisers. >> reporter: one of those a revered commander of the iranian quds force and staunch american adversary. during the iraq war he oversaw militias responsible for hundreds of american deaths. is one of those general suleimani, who is head of the quds force? >> well, he comes and go. he is not residing here. he just comes and visits and then goes. >> reporter: american officials while optimistic about the tikrit offensive are worried fearing isis fighters will hide within the city, armed with suicide vests and booby traps. another key part in liberating the country of isis, clearing out anbar. we traveled to the front lines in al anbar province west of baghdad to see for ourselves how close the battle is being waged. i'm standing right on the front line. these are iraqi security forces
on this side and on the other side of that berm, isis. and up on that berm, an iraqi sniper. can you spot isis from your scope? >> yeah. i can see. >> reporter: the defense minister tells me that his troops are ready for battle. their morale is high. [ chanting ] >> reporter: for the prime minister, what the iraqis need are tactical victories, al anbar, tikrit. if they can be successful, it will pave the way for a move on mosul, the heart of isis-controlled territory or da'esh as he refers to the jihadist group. >> once we kick da we will have killed their own ambition. >> reporter: the retaking of mosul, you said you need to take time and need to have your forces trained. >> our timetable is not only time. it's factually on the ground. we have to achieve certain
things on the ground. >> reporter: the supply routes. >>ly route number one. air cover, number two. preparation of our own armed forces, number three. >> reporter: the prime minister insisting they will do this on their own timetable, possibly earlier than summer. >> i know some are surprised and unhappy in washington because they haven't taken a full control over these operations but i think everybody must respect iraqi sovereignty and we want to do it on our own and we have to take charge of what we are doing because it's iraqi lives which have been sacrificed. >> reporter: along with many american lives before them. for "this week," martha raddatz, abc news, baghdad. >> thanks to martha for that this is an allen family production. and here's why we love chex. one, we love choices like chocolate, vanilla and honey nut. two, we don't love artificial colors or flavors. does anybody? and three...it's gluten free. chex. full of what you love. free of what you don't.
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>> in little news this sunday, a big house fire in the south bay. what firefighters found inside the home which was supposed to be vacant >> and car thieves captured on camera. the string of break-ins of east bay car dealerships. >> good morning. from our exploratorium camera look at the low clouds hovering over the bay and the coast. that's going to bring a cooler day today but we will still talk about above-average warmth and maybe some rain all in the week ahead. join us next on hey, gracie... you know how our family has... daddy and mommy... and me! yeah, that's right. pretty soon... you're going to have a baby brother. ♪ ♪ and... a puppy. ♪ ♪ [ chuckles
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