tv This Week With George Stephanopoulos ABC December 8, 2013 8:00am-9:01am PST
good morning. welcome to "this week." a monumental man. >> he no longer belongs to us. he belongs to the ages. >> nelson mandela. revolutionary, president, prisoner. and prophet. >> sometimes, it falls bonn a generation to be great. let your greatness blossom. >> this morning, how he transformed our world. the lessons for our politics today. and a look back at his remarkable interview with ted koppel, just days after leaving prison. >> to spend 27 years, at the prime of your life, is a trag y tragedy. >> then -- >> we can't survive -- >> from wendy's to the white house. america debates inequality, growth, and fairness. we tackle it with two key senators, plus james carville and mary matalin join our powerhouse round table.
right here, this sunday morning. from abc news, "this week" with george stephanopoulos starts right now. hello, again. in south africa today, preparations for the most massive memorial service in memory. pope francis, four american presidents, the dalai lama and dozens of world leaders will be there tuesday to pay tribute to a giant of our time. we'll reflect on nelson mandela this morning. first, let's go to chief foreign correspondent terry moran. just outside mandela's former home in soweto. good morning, terry. i see the rain has started all around you. >> reporter: that's right, george. right now, the rain is just opened up on this scene here. but it hasn't dampened the spirits here in soweto, just up the street, as you say, from nelson mandela's home. you might call it the humble mt. vernon of south africa. a remarkable, national
celebration right across south africa. the passing of great man. being marked in song, and pride, and smiles, not tears or sorrow. today, national day of prayer and reconciliation. we were at the church in soweto, a center of resistance and sanctuary during apartheid. there and if houses of worship across south africa, prayers lifted up for nelson mandela in english, in afrikaan. in zulu in all the many tongues of this truly rainbow nation. and he was really the one that kept them together and gave them the opportunity to begin again with his courage and compassion and his remarkable capacity for forgiveness. the family issued a statement on their behalf. they're in mourning, of course. they said we have lost a great man. a son of the soil whose greatness in our family was in the simplicity of his nature.
>> terry, walk us through what will happen the rest of the week there in south africa. >> reporter: well, tuesday is the big day, george. that is when president obama and the other presidents and potentates and princes will come here to south africa. join 90,000 south africans here in the fnb stadium. that is the last place the public saw nelson mandela at the 2010 world cup. he was there. he'll be there in spirit as the country says its farewell to him. there will be three days for his body to lie in state so people can come pay a personal tribute to him. on sunday, he'll be flown about 700 miles home to qunu where he'll be laid to rest in his ancestral village. >> let's take a closer look at his history with the united states. he had a deep impact on our politics before setting foot on our soil. here's jonathan karl with more. on how mandela prodded,
consoles, scolded, and inspired american presidents. >> reporter: nelson mandela loomed large in america long before he was freed from prison. ♪ it was 25 years ♪ that take that man away >> reporter: inspiring a mass movement against racism and intolerance. >> apartheid, no. >> freedom, yes. >> reporter: his relationship with u.s. presidents has been far more complicated. when he was locked up in 1962, the u.s. government was silent. in 1966, bobby kennedy went to south africa and took a stand against racism. giving the greatest speech he ever delivered. >> each time a man stands up for an ideal, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope. >> reporter: from lbj to nixon to jimmy carter, south africa's apartheid government was actually a u.s. ally in the cold war. as the anti-apartheid movement grew, a young college student named barack obama was inspired by mandela to give his first political speech. the man in the white house then
said no to sanctions. against south africa, insisting they wouldn't work. congress defied ronald reagan and imposed them any way. reagan took his own stand against apartheid by appointing the first black man as ambassador to africa. four years later, mandela was free. his first visit to america. warmly welcomed at the white house. >> mr. mandela, a man who embodies the hopes of millions. >> reporter: it was bill clinton with whom he would develop the closest bond. mandela, now president of south africa, visited the white house during the darkest days of the clinton presidency. he gave his friend a boost. >> our morality does not allow us to desert our friends. >> reporter: this friendship clinton treasures to this day. >> we just hit it off.
i just adored him.ueriend. >> reporter: mandela, as an ex-president, met with george w. bush in 2005. but there was no love lost there. mandela was one of bush's harshest critics when it came to iraq. when we talked to bush about the ailing mandela earlier this year, there were no hard feelings. >> he promoted freedom. he was a really great leader. he was smart and capable. and made his mark. >> reporter: obama only met mandela once. ever so briefly as a junior senator. but his connection may be the most profound. it was mandela, he says, who awakened him to the wider world. inspiring him to political activism. >> he gave me a sense of what human beings can do when guided by their hopes, not by their fears. >> reporter: in other words, there night not be a president obama if not for nelson mandela. for "this week." jonathan karl, abc news,
washington. and we're lucky now to be joined by four individuals who had unique working relationships with nelson mandela. bill keller. dr. gay mcdougall, who campaigned for his release from prison. stan greenberg, his pollster and strategist. and ambassador jendayi frazer. thanks to all of you for being here. bill, let me begin with you. we ended the piece with the relation obama and nelson mandela. and president clinton. they're important but didn't agree in important ways as politicians. >> they are. it's -- was noteworthy that the president he felt closest to was bill clinton because they had more in common and that mandela and obama. mandela has the joy in the robust give and take of
politics. the schmoozing. the deal-making. the stage craft. the theater. obama is more cerebral. he doesn't seem to enjoy going up and shaking hands and the favors. >> speaking of the political theater. we have the video. you were with mandela on the day he cast the vote for president, waved that ballot. he knew what that meant to his people. it was such a triumphant day. you were with him through all the grunt work of creating a constitution. he knew that that white minority had to be free from fear and believe they rights would be protected. >> absolutely. it's no disstatement to say i counseled him on the constitution. but rather i was able to set up a global network of lawyers that did backup research for the negotiators at the -- at the table across from the government. but, i think it's important to say that mandela was the one who knew and was always aware of his place in history.
and i think that he came out of jail knowing his place in history. he led that nation through a tumultuous runup to the elections. knowing where he was going and being a very steady hand and voice of reason through what was a very turbulent time in the runup to the election. >> voice of reason, stan greenberg. you worked with him during his election. for a man who became known for the power of forgiveness and reconciliation. as a politician, he also had something of a ruthless streak. >> absolutely. he had clear goals. one of the thing that ran through was the desire to make sure there was racially inclusive politics. there were strong strands within the anc, within south africa, that were centered on black consciousness. he was intent on having an election with mandate that reduced their role. he focused on, as you know, the
pan african congress, polling 2% or 3% of the poll. historically, they played a big role in africa and the liberation struggle. he wanted to use the election to send a message this would be an inclusive country. >> and jendayi frazer. talking about the relationship with people he didn't necessarily get along with. we know f.w. de klerk. they shared a nobel peace prize. everyone though they didn't share much of a relationship. nelson mandela, a fierce critic of president bush on the war in iraq and the invasion of iraq. he was determined to try to maintain something of a personal relationship there. >> actually, president mandela, as fierce a critic as he was to the war in iraq supported the war in afghanistan. if you recall, in 2001 when he first met president george w. bush as the president in the
oval office, he came out and forcefully endorsed america going into afghanistan. just as forcibly in 2003, he was against america going into iraq. in 2005 when they met again at the oval office, it was to reconcile the issue of how personal the criticism in iraq had taken. and, in fact, to look at where they had mutual interests, for instance in addressing hiv and aids. supporting peace processes in central africa. the democrat republican of the congo, and burundi. i think president mandela was able to reach across the aisle, as such. he reached across to his political opponents. there were many areas where they shared interests and other areas where they diverged. the same is true of bill clinton. i was at the nsc as director for bill clinton. they didn't agree on the middle
east piece process. and the role of hamas. and the role of arafat. mandela was critical of american policy across administrations on those issues. i don't think that political difference necessarily affected personal relationships. >> in some ways, bill keller, because he was such a practical man, i was struck by a quote you had in your obituary. of nelson mandela this week. where he was talking about what so many have remarked on. how he was able to appear free of hatred. he said hating clouds the mind, gets in the way of strategy. leaders cannot afford to hate. >> it was not an absence of hate on his part. it was a surplus of discipline. he was the most disciplined politician i have ever seen. he knew the difference between strategy and tactics. there were times you would see something bordering on loathing in his attitude towards de klerk
and towards the head of the freedom party. he didn't like those guys very much. he was able to swallow that. tamp it down. compartmentalize it. >> and you said the difference between strategy and tactics. like abraham lincoln, he was willing to be flexible on tactics to achieve that goal. >> absolutely. he was a capitalist, an advocate of armed struggle. of nonviolence. he was, whatever it took. but he never lost sight of the main goal. a south africa run by south africans. >> how does that play out? in a candidate running a presidential campaign? >> well, the -- he is -- from the beginning he wanted to learn. he knew he -- he was very disciplined. he was disciplined about learning. he would listen. he would go through poll data. go to a focus group. listen to people. he thought there had to be a popular sense -- he had an obligation to bring the people with him. he had a clear goal, a sense of
obligation to bring people with him, bring his own people to a certain place. would lecture publicly. would educate. he was the most educated candidate they ever had to try to move voters to a new place. >> you mentioned the learning. and gay mcdougall, you campaigned to release him from prison. he used the time in prison to be educated as well. >> absolutely. he used it to be educated and educated the other prisoners. he called it the university of robben island. they spent time learning about political development around the world. they decided who they, as a political party and as, you know, activists, wanted to be. the decisionmaking. when they finally emerged, from that prison, they knew exactly the road they wanted to travel. >> and jendayi frazer, he was
conscious of his role as educator when he became president and after he left office as well. didn't often hide disappointment in what was going on in south africa and other african nations. >> yes, he certainly was. i think president mandela, what i took from him was the courage of his convictions. he was very clear when he did not agree. he would do that privately and publicly. for instance, on the issue of hiv and aids, he certainly took to task thao mbeki for not responding adequately to that challenge. we do see that president mandela was very clear about where he wanted more action. on the united states, when he met with president bush in 2005, he took us to task for still having south africans labeled as terrorists. and needing a waiver to get into our country. that was removed in 2008
basically by an act of congress and signing into law by president bush. he said to us, how can you still designate anc senior leadership as terrorists when apartheid was a crime against humanity? he was very public about that. >> it was a life that contained so much. thank you all very much. when we come back, the economy is coming back. so many americans left behind. we'll taken to debate of inequality and fair wages. and james carville and mary matalin join our roundtable. and a once-in-a-lifetime interview with nelson mandela from our archives. >> they were very harsh. and then i responded to my colleagues that look, we must fight and fight from the beginning. >> his secrets to survival in our "sunday spotlight."
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we can't survive! >> all: on 7.25. >> we can't survive! >> all: on 7.25. >> that was thursday. when workers staged protests at fast food restaurants around the country. it came on the heels of president obama's new push to put economic inequality in the center of our politics. and this week, surprisingly good news on the economy. and congress. abc news jeff zeleny reports. >> reporter: the feeling of economic unease. >> we're on public assistance. we don't want to be. >> reporter: growing across the country. >> keep your burgers keep your fries. >> all: make our wages supersize. >> reporter: president obama capitalizing on the sentiment. and changing the subject from health care. >> we know that people's frustrations run deeper than the most recent political battles. >> reporter: saying income inequality is one of the nation's greatest threats.
>> it's rooted in the nagging sense that no matter how hard they work, the deck is stacked against them. >> reporter: as the economy rebounds -- >> last month, 203,000 new jobs were created. >> reporter: -- fears still run deep. more than 6 in 10 workers fear for losing their jobs. an have been left out of the rekoifrry. ricky grimes is a trash collector in rural virginia. >> i'm still making the same paycheck i made when i was 19 years old and i'm getting ready to be 34. and everything in the world has went up in price, but my pay stays the same. >> reporter: how much government can or should help the grimes family and others is at the heart of budget talks. from deep pro posed food stamp cuts in 2 farm bill to extending unemployment benefits expeeriir for workers. lawmakers are zeroing in on a modest but significant budget deals. congress is still bruised from the fall's government shutdown. washington may be more inclined to act. for "this week." jeff zeleny, abc news,
washington. >> let's get more on that now with the number two democrat in the senate, dick durbin from illinois, and from ohio, senator rob portman. senator portman, will a deal get done this week? and can you guarantee no government shutdown? >> george, i certainly hope so. i think there's an obvious solution here. it was just alluded to. we can shift some of the savings from the part of the budget that congress appropriates ever year to the part of the budget, the two-thirds of the budget that is called mandatory spending. keep the budget caps in place. not raise taxes. which is important in the weak economy. and actually avoid a government shutdown. i'm hopeful by the end of the week we can come together and achieve it. >> one of the sticking points, the extension of the unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed. senator durbin, nancy pelosi saying there is no deal without
having those benefits extended. are the democrats united on that? no extension, no deal? >> i don't think we have reached the point where we have said this is it, take it or leaf it. i spoke to patty murray the other night. negotiations are moving in the right direction. making progress. they haven't closed the deal. but i certainly hope as part of it, the negotiators will take to heart what the president had to say. there are working families across america that are struggling. there are unemployed families that need a helping hand. we have to protect and preserve the safety net in america and give these working families a fighting chance. >> can the republicans live with that? can you get an extension if it's paid for? >> it's about $25 billion that no one was talking about until the last week. it's an additional cost within the budget agreement. i think the thought always was that that would be handled separately. i'm glad to hear my colleague say that is not necessarily a sticking point. i think there are different ways
to look at it. we have to not have another government shutdown. don't raise taxes at a time when the economy is still weak. i think we can accomplish that over the next couple of days. >> gentlemen, i have to say, it sounds like the spirit of nelson mandela is taking hold. this is a very reasonable discussion this morning. sounds like you'll reach a deal this week. let me turn to something else. i might be a little bit more contentious. the fight over whether or not to raise the minimum wage. we saw the protests in more than 100 american cities calling for a living wage. senator durbin, let me begin with you. we know that there's deep divisions on this in the congress right now. if it's unlikely to see a major increase in the minimum wage right now in this congress, should companies like mcdonald's, head quartered in your own state, do more on their own? >> yes. i'll tell you, george. you can remember. you were on capitol hill. there was a time when raising the minimum wage was a bipartisan issue. we did it regularly to protect the hard-working americans that couldn't keep up with the expenses of life. now it's a partisan issue. same could be said when it comes to food stamps.
think about all the people working now with wajs so low that they qualify for a helping hand to put food on the table. that was the number one thing of house republicans' agenda to cut dramatically. we have to have a bipartisan consensus that people who work every day and want to go every day get a helping hand so they don't have to live paycheck to paycheck. >> what about that, senator portman? you can't raise a family on minimum wage. that's for sure. can't get above the poverty line for family of two. why not raise it? >> the big concern about jobs. dick's right. in the past, some of us have voted to raise the minimum wage. i think republicans, as a whole, agree there ought to be a minimum wage and it ought to be fair. we're concerned about jobs. how do you get people to work? if you want to deal with income inequality, the number one way is to get people to work. about 2% of americans get paid
the minimum wage. of that group -- it's a lot of young people. about 50% of them between 16 and 24 years old. for a lot of them, it's a part-time job. so what you don't want to do is raise the minimum wage to the point that you're losing jobs. by the way, a lot of people have expressed this concern. christina romer. she's raised this concern. i went to a burger place this past week. there was a digital display to be able to buy a hamburger. there was nobody behind the counter except the cashier. you go into the fast food places, there's a drink dispenser. you have one fewer person. so that's the concern. if you raise the minimum wage too high, you'll have not more jobs but fewer jobs and fewer opportunities for the young people. because again, about half the people who get the minimum wage are between 16 and 24. i think the republicans want to look at this through the context of how do you get the economy moving? how do you increase the jobs? despite what you said earlier,
about the jobs numbers last month, the job picture is still terrible. >> the long-term unemployment certainly is. >> people are leaving the workforce. >> what about the arguments we just heard from senator portman? some of those protests this week calling for a $15 an hour minimum wage. that is likely going to cost jobs. >> let me remind you, you go back to the beginning of the law creating a minimum wage in america, under franklin roosevelt, 80 years ago, the same argument that my colleague from ohio just made was made against it. every time we have tried to raise the standard of living for hard-working people at the low end of the income scale, they've said, oh, my goodness. you're just going to kill off jobs. the facts and statistics do not back it up. here's what we have to accept. it is not just minimum wage. it's making sure through the affordable care act that working
americans have access to affordable health insurance, which the other party, i'm afraid, is totally opposed to. it's the earned income tax credit created under president ronald reagan. we have to make sure that that keeps up with the needs of working americans. this used to be a bipartisan consensus. we have to get back to that day. or the working folks across america will fall further and furtherer behind. >> we might get a consensus of a short-term budget deal. i'm afraid that's all we have time for. senators, thank you both. we're joined by matthew dowd, michael eric dyson, james carville and mary matalin. thank you all for being here. matthew, it was interesting. it does seem like on both sides, you have a real, real deep desire to avoid any kind of government shutdown any time soon. >> well, when a disaster happens, in the aftermath of a
disaster, which happened this summer, when everybody lost in the middle of it. president obama, congress, everybody. they understand they can't go through it again. my fear is we'll have a temporary fix. we'll get through it. better than not doing it. but we're not going to have a long-term fix for the problem we associate with washington. you have a general public that doesn't trust anybody in washington, d.c. >> you saw those senators, mary, who believe something will get done. still some resistance among some republicans to any kind of accommodation now to the democrats on spending. are you confident that a deal in the senate will get through the house? >> the reason that the house is where they are, positioned where they are, is because half of them have been elected in the last two cycles, where spending has been a huge issue for americans. real americans understand we cannot continue spending at the rates that we are. so i don't know. but, matthew's right in that this is no fix.
this is just one step ahead of the sheriff, that's why the trust factor is so low. it doesn't comport with reality. the shutdown didn't hurt the economy, if the numbers are to be believed. >> surprisingly. yeah. >> no. and it doesn't really hurt politicians in the larger sense. it's like, all the other packages and sequesters and all that. people just have -- just don't trust washington. all looks like a lot of nonsense to them. >> a fair amount of good economic this week out there, james. good news. >> pretty good. it's gotten better. democrats took a big hit after the health care rollout. the improved numbers and statistics on the health care thing might lead to a little better result. we don't know that right now. >> meanwhile, michael eric dyson, we saw this against the backdrop of the protests. i guess one of the questions i have is, do you think -- what do
you think this will lead to in the end? you saw the resistance in the congress. >> it's already changed the atmosphere in washington, d.c. when president barack obama gives a major speech on income inequality. people at the left have been nipping at his heeling for awhile to say, speak about us. they haven't talked about the working poor. they're the faces we see out there. they work 40, 50, 60 hours a week. they can barely make it above the poverty level. they have a choice, kind of sophie's choice in the areas where it's my child in terms of education and i go to get the report card. or i stay at work. if i miss to go to the school, i'll lose one of my jobs. it's a kind of triage going on there. the bleeding out is leading to the president of the united states of america to finally and substantively address the social
inequities that we won't be able to sustain. we can't talk about job growth and inflation if we don't deal with the people at the bottom. >> i think michael touches on a good point. the interesting dynamic that we see now, we have a gdp, it goes up 3%. everybody cheers. the job number, everybody says is doing good. wealth accumulated by the top 5%. more millionaires and billionaires. 70% of the country believes we're on the wrong track. and the poverty level today is higher than it's ever been. back to before the great society. and i think that dynamic, however you define that, it's a building brewing pot in the country. where the wealthiest people in the country are doing absolutely fabulous in certain pockets of the country. where the vast majority of the country are not. they haven't been doing well for a generation. >> please, 7% in unemployment. the new normal. if the labor in force
participation rate were calculated in there and it was what it was prerecession, we would be somewhere between 9% and 11% of unemployment. this is the worst recovery in almost seven decades. the duration of unemployment. the new normal is not a great -- >> those are not incompatible. how does the republican party get ahead of this, mary? if you look at what happened in the last campaign, mitt romney, maybe stylistically, it was very difficult for him to address this. but won't the parties have to have a more populus feel to be successful the next time around? >> populist? it has to be common sense and it has to be full-throated. the biggest challenge of our time is not income inequality. it's job creation. the president's signature issues, domestic, affordable health care, have reduced unemployment. do you think people who are unemployed or are making low
wa wages care more about that they making? i don't think so. i mean, that does not grow the economy. >> i think in this sense, it's not that poor people are not trying to quibble over who is getting the bigger piece of the pie. the point is, they understand that those two things are related. they're not unrelated. if you have income inequality that hard where the stagnation of wages is the basis for the accumulation of wealth with those who have a whole bunch. the pie is shrinking at the bottom. it's not a question of their envi of those at the top. it's about can i get enough day care to help me out? >> how is it shrinking, with all due respect? are you saying that as people make wealth, poor people get poorer? how does that work? >> i'm saying that the distribution mechanisms create a kaz m between the have gots and the have-nots. >> can i make a jaw-dropping point? this week, a study came out that
said one-third of all bank tellers are on public assistance. people with a level of skill. i did that at one time in my life. why don't we pass a law to say if you were bailed out or you get free money from the fed or your deposits are insured or you're too big to fail, if the government backs you to that extent, and that you're that profitable an industry, you have to pay your people a living wage. why do we have one-third of our bank tellers in this country -- it's not that finance is not making a lot of money. that's not the question at all. >> george, the politics of this, you asked a question, what should the republicans do? i think the democrats and republicans are trapped in an old mantra and an old status quo. republicans refuse, in many ways, to take on wall street in a direct way. they would be so much benefited if they adopted some of elizabeth warren's messages. saying the big banks took us down this path along with a washington is not fixing the problems. democrats, on the other hand,
have an anti-wall street, anti-big bank, anti-big corporation, but they're stuck in a mantra saying the government needs to solve this problem. if somebody came along and said i'm going to bridge this and it's about washington is not doing the job, wall street is not doing the job. let's get back to middle america. >> you know who is doing that? ted cruz and the tea party. we're just going to disagree on that. >> let her say how the tea party is doing it, then respond. >> on the continual of cruz and rand, i know you don't like his detroit project, but it's better than another bailout. they're proposing what you're saying. >> they don't have a collective solution. what they say is, let's return it all to the individuals. we need a collective solution to the problem not based in washington. >> see, when you say it's not a government, it hasn't been caused by government, i disagree. when you talk about unemployment going up to maybe 7, 8, 9% if we adjust it. look at what is happening in latino and african-american
communities. with that number, it's closer to 20. the government project of keeping people out of business. black and latino people working in the public sector. you have an attack on the public sector, you're talking about people that have had an opportunity to have a job because of the practices of discrimination in the private sector. we can't depend on the private sector itself to adjust for its own bias when it's prevented people from flourishing. >> democrats and republicans. james, there's a debate going on inside the democratic party, elizabeth warren and others fear hillary clinton is too close to the big banks. >> there was a third way thing back and forth. it's always been a thing in the democratic party. we have had the wall street democrats and the more populist democrats. i think the party is moving away. i'll give credit to wall street. they gave the most succinct analysis of what is going on in the country. it was given by none other than the ceo of goldman sachs. he said we know how to create
wealth, we just don't know how to distribute it. the truth of the matter is absolutely right. it's not a lack of wealth creation. it's a lack of people sharing in the benefits of it. that's why the minimum wage, bank tellers and all this. >> the claptrap. one thing you can say about elizabeth warren is she's a full-throated, proud, loud liberal. unlike the president who tries to dress up his rhetoric. she is -- she is saying what a liberal agenda would look like, which has never worked. >> she also asked when attacked in that op ed, tell me. be transparent. tell me who is bank-rolling you. what banks are in bed with what think tanks? >> elizabeth warren is right that the wall street has accumulated most of the wealth in the country while the rest of the country has not benefited from it. she is absolutely right. >> do we think unregulated capitalism has worked? brilliantly? i don't think there is a single person in the world who would
say that. >> hold on a second. we only have a couple of minutes left. before we go, i want your reflections on nelson mandela. michael erik dyson, you met him. so many american political activists really cut their teeth fighting for nelson mandela. >> no question. i'm of the same generation of president obama. and taking a stand against apartheid in the university community and more broadly in terms of dealing with the disinvestment strategies. also challenging ronald reagan's engagement approach. i think conservatives get amnesia here when they forget that dick cheney wanted to put him on the terrorist list and insisted he stay there. that ronald reagan resisted. he said on the one hand that else in. mandela should be released, but he depended on a white supremacist government to reform itself from within. >> and the issue, mar where? >> when will you ever get tired
of beating up on darth vader, who said nelson mandela is a good man. as we saw in the earlier segment, it was a complicated situation. the anc was a terrorist organization at one point. he has since said great things about nelson mandela. i like that what's been said about nelson mandela is said in the same way the pope said what he did. forgiveness and redemption. the pope's widely misinterpreted. and mischaracterized statements. it's active engagement. taking care of each other with solidarity and subsidiary. >> when you say about accusing darth vader, so to speak. this is not just about rhetoric. this is the policy that prevented the anc -- when they had the feet on the neck of nelson mandela -- >> he said, let's forgive. let's forgive dick cheney. let's forgive these people.
i think one of the fascinating things about nelson mandela, he wasn't a saint. he made a lot of mistakes. he readily admitted it. he said, i'm not a saint unless you think a saint is a sinner who gets up and tries again every time. he changed an entire country and a world in what he said. done through acts of humility. like the pope has done. authentic acts of humility. >> i think -- one of the great things about my life is that i got to live at the same time that he did. if you look at, like christ, he was everything you said. he was forgiving, flawed. everything that a human being is and everything that a great human being is. we should embrace all of it. more than that. you spend 27 years in jail. you forgive your jailers? that's a -- that's reading the new testament somewhere. >> walking the walk. >> that will have to be the last word. thank you all very much. coming up, when nelson mandela walked out of prison after 27 years, ted koppel was there. that is our "sunday spotlight."
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warpi'm bethand i'm michelle. and we own the paper cottage. it's a stationery and gifts store. anything we purchase for the paper cottage goes on our ink card. so you can manage your business expenses and access them online instantly with the game changing app from ink. we didn't get into business to spend time managing receipts, that's why we have ink. we like being in business because we like being creative, we like interacting with people. so you have time to focus on the things you love. ink from chase. so you can. and we'll be right back with a piece of history. ted koppel one on one with else in. mandela, right after his release from robben island. else in. mandela, right after his release from robben island.
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from abc news, here is david brinkley. >> and here's a live picture from the town square in capetown, south africa. nelson mandela, out of prison for only a few hours, has arrived here to find a huge crowd. >> i stand here before you not as a prophet, but as a humble servant of you, the people. >> that was the moment back in 1990, when nelson mandela left robben island a free man.
just four days later, he sat down with ted koppel to reflect on the 27 years behind bars and the road ahead. he wanted to start somewhere else, with buster douglas' fight with mike tyson. >> i think the last top nick the world that people expect to hear nelson mandela talking about, boking. >> yes. >> you were surprised by the fight the other night with tyson? >> yes, i was very much surprised. i took it for granted he would win. >> so did he. >> yes. >> did you ever think of turning pro? turning professional? >> no, i never did. >> but you were a good boxer? >> i do not know. that is for others to say. >> when you were in prison, did you keep up? did you keep up boxing at all? >> uh, no.
exercises. kipping -- skipping. and weight lifting. >> was it difficult to keep in shape? they didn't give you very good food, certainly not in the beginning? >> it was not difficult. because the diet that they gave us, although it was bad, and sometimes very unpalatable. they gave you the basics of nutritious food, like fish. meat. and vegetables. and sometimes fruits. during the fruit season. >> there were also, from what i understand, differences in terms of the way that people of different races in the prison were treated. >> yes. >> and there was an effort, and i don't know if you initiated it or if someone else did, to create as much equity among the prisoners as possible. tell me about that, would you? >> that was one of our initial thoughts. colored and indians received better food than ourselves.
the africans had the poorest diet, as you can imagine. in fact, we had mill pop for the morning. for lunch. and for -- >> what is hat? can you describe that? >> it's a millet, ground and cooked. >> like a porridge? >> yes. >> to someone who has no idea what robben island is like, do you remember the first day or the first night? >> oh, yes. although i'm very reluctant to talk about that, because i was directly involved. and we had a clash with the warders between the searchers from cape town and across the -- across the robben island. they wanted us to hush. and -- they lined us up, there were four or five.
i was -- at the back with another comrade. and there were two others infirmed. and they were very harsh. and then i whispered to my colleagues, that, look, we must fight right from the beginning. they must know what type of men we are right from the beginning. and we must not give the impression that they can issue instructions as to which conflict with our principles. if they're carrying out the regulations, but where they overstep the limit, we must fight and resist. >> were you ever put in isolation? >> oh, yes, several times. >> how is isolation? >> isolation was very difficult. especially because they starve you for some days. and -- i went to isolation several times.
although i was sent to isolation, with the order that i should forfeit some meals, i was able to get meals. because the warders did not want to conform to the regulations. and who did everything to make it possible for us in order to survive. >> one of those warders. i forget his name. you will know immediately, was, in effect, your jailer for 27 years. >> oh, yes. >> do you remember his name? >> yes. that was one known as gregory. >> gregory. >> yes. >> he became a close friend of yours? >> oh, no, he is a first-class gentleman, in every respect. he never raises his voice. he's patient. he's very calm. i became very friendly with, in fact, when i left prison, i think he was on the point of breaking down, because we were
now closing a friendship. under those circumstances, which had lasted for so long. >> what about you? >> well, i did feel not happy about leaving him behind. and -- but there was nothing else i could do. >> will you stay in touch with him? >> yes. yes, sir. >> one of the most extraordinary things about your imprisonment and many of the others is that you were not isolated, everyone at the times when they wanted to keep you isolated. you still knew what was going on in the outside world. how? >> well, it's very difficult in prison to not isolate prisoners. especially political prisoners. because where there are human beings, and where men fight back for their rights and for their
dignity, there will immediately be people who will admire you. and that admiration will be shown by specific acts. which shows that people think that your state is correct. the first isolation, punishment, which i got was when i was given a newspaper by a warder. he had been doing that for some time. one day, the authorities must have got a tip and they came to my cell and raided the cell for the paper. and they sent me to isolation for that. the punishment. >> most people would look at the last 27 years of your life or at the life of someone who has spent the last 27 years in prison and say to themselves, what a waste. what about you? >> that is true.
to spend 27 years at the prime of your life is a tragedy. and -- i regret, you know, those years that i have wasted in prison. but -- there are very positive aspects, too. because i had the opportunity to think about problems and to reflect on my mistakes. i also had the opportunity of reading very widely and especially biographies. and i could see what men sometimes from very humble beginnings were able to lift themselves with their boot strings and become international figures and men who were useful to society in their own community and to the world. >> so few get as high as nelson mandela. we'll be right back.
there is welcome news from afghanistan today. for the second week in a row, the pentagon did not announce any deaths of service members overseas. that is all for us today. thank you for sharing part of your sunday with us. check out "world news" with david muir tonight. i'll see you tomorrow on "gma." take a look at the scene outside nelson mandela's home in south africa today. mandela's home in south africa today.