tv This Week With George Stephanopoulos ABC December 22, 2013 8:00am-9:01am PST
♪ ♪ mom's posting pictures on your wall. ♪ ♪ that's my kind of holiday. good morning and welcome to "this week." spy scramble. >> just because the president can do something, doesn't necessarily mean we should. >> the nsa surveillance program hit hard this week. by experts and the court. the president respond by scraping the collection of your phone records? should he grant amnesty to edward snowden? this morning, both sides of this heated debate. plus -- >> has this been the worst year of the presidency? >> after a tough year, can obama shake his second-term slump? will the least productive congress ever do better in 2014? and -- >> gross sexual immorality. >> should shocking words from "duck dynasty's" commander sink the superhit? plus, our new year's predictions, right here, this sunday morning.
hello, again, a whole lot to get to this sunday morning before christmas. and we begin with the latest on the biggest security breach in u.s. history, the surveillance program revealed by edward snowden, under fire on two fronts this week. federal judge signalling that he would strike it down. the president's handpicked panel of experts should stop picking up phone records of american people. at the press conference, president obama seemed to agree. we'll take on that debate. first, the backstory from chief investigative correspondent brian ross. >> reporter: george, the report by the president's handpicked panel was another devastating blow for the nsa and its most controversial program. collecting the phone records of every american who owns a phone. the nsa says its collection of billions of phone records from american citizens has helped to stop terror attacks, a claim often repeated by the president
himself. >> as i have said, this program is an important tool in our efforts to disrupt terrorist plots. >> reporter: when they delivered the report this week, including former counterterrorism official now abc news consultant, richard clarke, the 300-page document was a strong repudiation of what the nsa and the president have said, calling for the program to be shut down. >> we think the so-called metadata program has not been essential -- has not contributed significantly to the prevention of terrorist attacks in the united states or abroad. >> reporter: the report said that, while it found no evidence of actual abuse by the nsa, there is a lurking danger of abuse in a program that does not even make the country safer. >> this is only going to work if the american people have confidence and trust. >> reporter: the white house panel's report comes just days after a federal judge in washington ruled that the phone
collection record is unconstitutional. >> the message to the nsa is now coming from every branch of government, from every corner of our nation, nsa, you've gone too far. >> reporter: the white house panel also dealt with the nsa eavesdropping on the united nations and friendly foreign leaders, including angela merkel. in the future saying it should require high level of scrutiny. >> most of the time there's absolutely no reason to engage in wiretapping our friends. >> reporter: the review panel was formed in the wake of former nsa contractor edward snowden and his supporters now say this week's report justifies his actions. >> it's a complete vindication of everything he said. >> reporter: panel members strongly disagreed with that. >> what mr. snowden did was treason, was high crimes, and there is nothing in what we say
that justifies what he did. >> of the panel's 46 recommendations, the president has already rejected one of them, that a civilian, not someone from the military, should run the nsa. in his news conference at the end of the week, president obama said that he'll take the next few weeks to review his panel's ideas and then make some firm decisions about programs, many of which he once so championed. george? >> brian, thanks. let's bring in mike rogers, thanks for joining us this morning. you saw in that piece, and in the president's press conference, he signaled he may be ready to scrape the phone collection record program. if he does, how hard will you fight? can you prevail? >> perspective is important here, george. if you think where we are and what the panel did, which is dominated by law professors, they basically said that the information is important, but where we keep it may be up for debate, that's a very important milestone for those who saw this
as devastating to the nsa. i disagree. basically, what they said, this information is a vital part of our counterterrorism effort. keep americans safe. we just don't think that they should collect it in a very safe place, in a vault if you will, with the nsa, we think we should spread it back across the phone companies. >> can you go along with that? >> here's my concern. privacy companies reject the notion that having the government mandate that the phone companies keep these records so that the government can access them is probably less safe than the configuration that we have, but here's the good news about that, george, now we're going to debate about how we have access to information, not names, not addresses, but numbers, so when a terrorist overseas calls into the united states, we have some ability to figure out who that is, that is what the debate is now. i think that puts us on much better ground, solid ground. they found no violations, no unlawful activity, no scandal, none of that was found in this
report, but what they said is, maybe it shouldn't be with the government, mandated by the government that's held by the private companies. that's a very different debate and a debate that we should have. i'm reluctant, because i think it opens it up to more privacy violations. when the companies hold it. they don't have somebody directly controlling that information. that's not their job. their job is to provide service. these are business records, not private records of content and so they're not listening to phone calls. i think, in that regard, a very important step to actually debating on the same set of data points. >> there's also the debate over the constitutionality. we saw that report from the federal judge, he's an appointee of george w. bush. he says it's not constitutional. i want to read part of his opinion here. he said, i can't imagine an arbitrary invasion than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every
single citizen for purposes of querying it and analyzing it without judicial approval. your response? >> well, a couple of things, 16 federal judges, 36 different opinions, all have had a different opinion. remember, no names, no addresses, just numbers, and these are business records, not your personal records, that's very, very different. there's been hundreds of appellate decisions reaffirming the government's right to get business records in the course of terror investigations or in this case, determining a terrorist from overseas is calling into the united states. so, this is one case when you have a huge volume, again, perspective is important. yes, this one district judge that doesn't handle national security cases had a difference of opinion, that is our good system. but it is -- he set aside his own decision, likely to be overturned because of the sheer
volume and body of federal judges who have already reviewed this, as early of last july, reaffirmed the fact that this program is legal. it does meet the constitutional test, it does meet the fourth amendment test and should continue in the face of the threats to the united states. >> how about this question, about amnesty for edward snowden? the senior analyst, we saw him on "60 minutes" this week, said it should be consider. take a look. >> my personal view, yes, it's worth having a conversation about. i would need assurances that the remainder of the data could be secured. it would be more than just an assertion on his part. >> are you ready to engage in that conversation? >> listen, i do think he should come home. i would personally pay for his plane ticket and be held accountable for his actions. here's where he's crossed the
line now, george, he has contacted a foreign country and said, i will sell you classified information for something of value. that's what we call -- >> you're talking about his open letter to brazil? >> absolutely. he's traded something of value for his own personal gain that jeopardizes the national security of the united states. we call that treason and i think that letter -- i think very clearly, lays out who this gentleman is and what his intentions were clearly. he should come back. he didn't use any of the whistle blower protection avenues laid out before him. none. he went to the press. he went to bastion of internet freedom, china, and then russia, to lay claim, claims, by the way, this individual report dominated by law professors just said there was no scandal, no surveillance under the 215 program. everything he's been saying has repudiated by this report. all of that we need to take into consideration. >> finally, you warned that the
foreign threat may be increasing again. al qaeda on the rise again. they have targeted the christmas season. do you have any more reason to be concerned right now, is the threat level going up around the holiday season? >> any national holiday, like we would experience here, like christmas is something that we are concerned about, i don't think we see any other threat stream that's out of the norm, ad the reason we say that, there are more al qaeda affiliates from around the world, you have al shabaab now claiming some al qaeda affiliate -- all of these groups want to have -- they have the aspirations to commit acts of violence against westerners and the united states. we have more chances to miss something and we have just less opportunity not to pay attention to every single clue that we can find to make sure we protect the citizens of the united states. by the way, we can do that in
a way that protects privacy and civil liberties. but you have to be arguing about the same set of data points. i hope that this report stops this inflammatory language of scandal. some of the shortcomings of this report real quick, george, they didn't talk to the fbi when it came to section 215 for any length about the value of certain programs that they recommended against. and by the way, including 215, they never had a sit-down, long conversation with the fbi, who do these investigations. that's a shortcoming in this report. and we'll be talking about that in the days ahead. some good things in this report. some things that are concerning in this report. recommendations of things that the government should do that they are already doing and the government shouldn't do that they're not doing. it crossed a very important
milestone in saying, no scandal, no law-breaking, let's have an honest debate about where we think we ought to go in trying to stop terrorists from blowing up american citizens here in the united states. >> mr. chairman, thank you. have a great christmas. >> you as well. let's get a response now from senator mark udall, senator, thank you for joining us this morning. you just heard chairman rogers right there, he said that he's not idea to sign on to this idea of sending the phone records, having them to stay with private phone records rather than the federal government collect them, your response? >> the arguments for the status quo, george, fell apart this week in washington. i do find it interesting that chairman rogers, whom i respect, when the presidential panel agrees with him, he says it's a great panel. when he doesn't agree, he says it's manned by three law professors. as if those law professors don't have an understanding of the constitutionality of what we have been doing. i would point out that the panel was actually manned by people who are highly respected, who have deep experience in the role
of intelligence and surveillance and national security, i get up every day, george, as a member of the intelligence committee to do two things, to protect the american people and protect the bill of rights. the nsa is overreached. we need to move to adopt the recommendations of the president's panel. >> all 46? >> i think we need to look at all 46 -- i'm still studying the report myself. but there are many, many important reforms, it's time to have real reform, you know why? because we have to rebuild the american people's trust in our intelligence committee so we can be safe. but we don't do that by bulk data collection that violates the privacy of americans and is unconstitutional. >> so, you heard chairman rogers about the constitutionality as well, he said that 16 other judges have said that the judge is constitutional.
>> it will wind its way through the courts. it's hard for me to believe that these general warrants if you will, to collect everyday americans' phone records is somehow constitutional. it doesn't fit the standard in the fourth amendment. you have to have probable cause -- by the way, these are innocent americans, i would counter chairman rogers' part, this is an invasion of privacy. if you take the business record you could get a pretty good idea of what people are doing, based on who they call and where they call from. >> george, you're right. there has been no abuse. but the potential for abuse is always there. americans have always erred on the side of protecting our privacy. >> how about this question of amnesty for edward snowden? >> i think that edward snowden ought to come back to the united states, he ought to stand on his
own two feet and he ought to make his case. history will judge him how the historians and american people decide to make that call, but i'm focused on reforming in a fundamental set of ways the way nsa operates. >> so, when you're saying he should come home, you think he should face charges? >> i do. i do. he broke his oath and the law. make the case that somehow there was a higher purpose here, but edward snowden ought to come back to the united states. >> do you think -- do you think we would be having this debate if it weren't for his revelation? >> that's the conundrum. the violations of americans' privacy conducted by the nsa, finally, our point of view has been affirmed, and now it's time to fundamentally reform the way the nsa operates. the president's panel made that very, very clear. >> and one year from now, will the federal government still be
collecting americans' phone records? >> if i have anything to say, no. we have to end the bulk collection. the court ought to get an order. by the way, i think those phone records ought to be held by a third party. >> senator udall, thank you for your time. that takes us to our roundtable now. we're joined by bill kristol, donna brazile and matthew dowd, steve rattner and greta va van susteren. welcome. both senators agree there should be no amnesty for edward snowden. in some sense, has he been vindicated? >> no. no illegality under the supreme court precedence. no abuse. no criminality. no -- i'm a defender of the nsa program. and i think
everyone is being very glib, it there's no evidence, you think about the program for a minute, and say, how would it be abused? 22 intelligence officers, military, et cetera, is going to get together in a room, let's look at donna brazile's phone records. it's the collect of metadata. you need to go to a judge to get a warrant to see who donna is talking to, and so, i think a lot of this is people, we need to be serious about the national security side of this and the constitutional side of it as well. lot of glib talk about the abuse of privacy. >> you're shaking your head, greta. >> i am. bill, you're dead wrong. it will be proven to be a wrong decision. >> this is 1979 supreme court decision that did say the police in this case could collect the phone records of one individual? >> that's right. the supreme court has reversed
itself before, brown versus board of education. all you have to do is one thing, go back to the fourth amendment it's not an option, the constitution is right for people to be secure in their houses, shall not be violated. if the government thinks this information is so important, it can get it. it just has to use a warrant. there is no fear exception. because everybody is terrified of terrorism. there's no fear exception to the constitution. if you don't like it, change the constitution. >> police and crews up and down streets looking for problems. if they want to go into a house, they need a warrant. this is equivalent of police cars crewiuising up and down streets. >> it's the right of the people to be secure -- >> let me found this another way. i think this will be found to be legal. we can argue about smith versus maryland. but i'm not sure it's going to be overturned. let me make a different distinction. you clearly have a situation
where americans are uncomfortable. they feel that their privacy is being violated. i think that the president is going to draw an appropriate line, move this metadata out of the government's control but somewhere else, where it can still be accessed. the important thing about this commission part, it's more of a facelift than open heart surgery. they're recommending about the tweaks, the fundamental right of the government is -- >> everyone seems so much more comfortable, i wonder about this with the records being kept in a private company rather than the government. >> that's huge question i have, whether that's going to be a helpful thing or a hindrance thing. you asked the question, was edward snowden vindicated? i think he's been totally vindicated in this case. there's always been a balance between national security and civil liberty. we swung too much in the way of national security and the idea we can gather all of this data, and it's not just eavesdropping
on a phone call. you can identify where they eat, who they sleep with, the government can do that today. i think what edward snowden did, and you asked an appropriate question to senator udall. would we have had this debate at all? in my view, we weren't having it before now we are. >> when it comes to national security, there has to be a middle ground between protecting the interests of the individual and making sure we protect the nation at large, there has to be a middle ground between edward snowden and dick cheney. and i think president obama is going to have to strike the right tone when he makes a definitive statement after all of these recommendations. but i think most americans are uncomfortable the knowledge that they're learning of the search and seizure of information, and they want some accountability. >> but here's the dilemma, want to bring it to bill kristol. >> the constitution is so plain on this. if you read the plain language of the fourth amendment.
either get a warrant and you can get all of you want. or -- or -- >> this has been litigated over and over again. >> but apparently one judge -- >> even the commission didn't find any legality of these programs. >> do they expect this information -- they could argue they have given up privacy. the question i want to bring to you, bill kristol, you point out that there's been no abuse of this program, they also said that this surveillance program hasn't made that much of a difference in national security? >> look, it's hard to judge from the outside. i'm worried as a policy matter, i think policymakers need to figure out, are we depending too much on metadata they're spending a lot of time worrying about that. i don't agree all of this. we had a big debate in congress
on this in 2006 and 2007. we passed legislation in 2007. president obama is a constitutional law professor, he came to office very concerned -- >> this is very disappointing. >> i'm sorry, and then he became president of the united states. he got all of the briefings. and basically he decided, i think correctly, the balance is pretty appropriately struck. now he's shifting entirely because of optics. >> no, because edward snowden -- the revelations -- >> we know what real abuses were. we know what the cia abuses were like in the '60s. >> -- complaining about their phone records, also, being looked at and pried upon. look, george, the states are already taking the lead across the country. california has passed three laws to prevent online piracy. montana has passed laws, texas. states have started to enact
laws that will ensure our privacy rights are protected, while the federal government sits around and figures out what we're doing. >> they have never said one piece of their information they put out that says actually that true. >> but senator udall, that was true. he just bypassed it. >> he's not getting amnesty. we got to take a break. much more roundtable is ahead. president and congress turn the corner on a terrible year, what's ahead in 2014? we tackle all of that uproar over "duck dynasty." >> tonight, tonight -- we all phil. i'll tell you who i feel sorry for, a&e's with this controversy, they may lost the massive black and gay audience. (vo) you are a business pro.
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you saw that press conference on friday, was this the worst year of president obama's presidency? we'll talk about it in the roundtable in just a moment. 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. [ daughter ] my dad always talks about the deal he and mom made with me when i was ten. he said, "you get the grades to go to college -- and we'll help out with the school of your choice." well, i got the grades and, with dad's planning and a lot of hard work, i'm graduating today with a degree in marine biology.
talk to americans, they seem to have lost confidence in you, trust in you, your credibility has taken a hit. >> if i was interested in polling, i wouldn't have run for preside president. what i'm saying is this, that, yes, these are tough problems, that i'm glad to have the privilege of tackling. i'm sure that i'll have even better ideas after a couple of days of sleep and sun. >> the president's thinking about his year in hawaii right now. how about that press conference on friday, the first question, was it the worst year of the obama presidency? he didn't answer. does anybody here disagree with the idea that it was the worst? >> no. if you take a look at the data and if you take a look at where he was at the start of the year, a year ago today, he was winning 50%. first person since eisenhower. everything seemed so great.
ever since the start of the second administration it's gone downhill. he's gone from a net -- he dropped a net 25 points in 12 months from january until today. hiss presidency, in my view, the credibility of his presidency is dramatically in question today. i think he cannot recover from it. no president has ever recovered from it at this point in his presidency. >> i think he can. he has three years to recover. i think he'll have a rebound in 2014, especially if the economy continues to rebound. look, 4 out of the last 5 two-term presidents have experienced problems in their fifth year. >> lowest average polling of all of them. >> richard nixon. george w. -- okay, well, i don't want to sound like i'm disputing your numbers today, but i'll do it later. but i believe if the rollout of the health care bill continues to bring in more people, if he can get the story right, if people are feeling good about
the economy, this president will rebound. look, he averted a war in syria this year, i think has enormous strength and resilience, he'll come back. >> bill kristol, that health care, the botched rollout, peggy nowman's word of the year, and the fact that it's been slow in getting people to sign up. >> but i actually think for the country, his worst year of his presidency was 2010. the worst day when was march 23 rd, 2010, when he signed the health care legislation. he said, once or twice, if you like your current insurance, you will keep your current insurance. nobody will change it. if you like your doctor, you'll be able to keep your doctor. he said that on the day he signed the law, it was false. you can get away with misleading people if the result is pretty good and a bad result sometimes if people think you have been
sincere and honest. the combination is misleading and bad result. the results are going to keep getting worse. >> politifact called that the lie of the year. how do you explain how it was allowed to stand for so long? >> honestly, george, i thought about it over and over again. i asked friends of mine in the white house how this could happen. there were people in the press and some people pointed it out, but over and over again the president was allowed to go out and say that. but i do think, without disagreeing earlier, i do think the day will come when people will look at the affordable care act and say this is a piece of landmark legislation. we're going to tinker with it and fix it. ultimately it's going to work. we're going to look back and how could we have not do something for these people? >> that's the big question, greta. >> how can he keep saying that over and over again? why did he keep say iing about
benghazi tapes over and over again? but the president's most powerful weapon in his presidency is his ability to inspire, that's his greatest strength. then he comes out last friday in the press conference, he was depressing, he was pathetic, he sucked the oxygen out of the room. the media had bad questions. he kept punching them. he's completely lost his ability to inspire and at 40% approval rate, i mean -- disapproval rate, it just shows how he has lost his ability -- >> george. >> more disappointment -- the people he's lost, the people that are now waiting for him to suit up, so to speak, to face these challenges, they're the people who -- they are hopeful that he will come back, because they're depending on him to fight for them. >> he wasn't fighting on friday, donna.
>> to me, one of the best lines which is so telling is, whenever a president, what george bush used to say, it is, if i paid attention to polling i wouldn't have run for presidency. it means they're the opposite side of polling. to me, i know we talked about obamacare, i think there's some very good elements of obamacare that will provide a lot of really good things for the country. to me, what's going on in the country right now, one, they question the president's ability to manage anything, the government as a whole, his competency to manage it. another thing, we have seen a lot of good economic things in this country. we have the gdp up. the stock market is at record high. but a majority of the country does not feel any real impact or increase in their financial situation. the president won't get credit until the majority of the country feels benefits. >> two things. first of all, i don't disagree with your analysis of the polling. we can argue about the specific numbers later.
his 40% approval rating. congress's approval rating, 13%. it's very hard to be an effective president when you have a dysfunctional, divided congress up on capitol hill. >> is there anything that the president and congress can do to address the problem that matthew just talked about, this problem of a lot of people being unemployed for a long time and for most americans, their incomes have been stagnate for generations? >> there are thousands of things that congress could do. that's the problem. incomes haven't gone up. i don't think that's the president's fault. he'll get tagged for it. there are thousands of things congress can do. we could have a budget that actually makes sense. instead we're doing these mini budget deals that are furtd kicking the can further and further down the road. >> when i hear that, i reach for
my wallet, look, this is a big debate that we'll have going on two, three, four years or maybe longer. is this a landmark legislation? is it a landmark moment where we say, you know what, this was the experiment in big government liberal social engineering? it failed. it failed in execution and con cement. enough already. >> 44,000 people lost their health care insurance because they changed their policy prior to obamacare, this has been going on in the individual marketplace for decades. what obamacare is doing is stabilizing the marketplace. >> there are targeted ways to fix that. >> we do have some evidence right now, it's inconclusive, but as the president said on friday u, more than a million people have signed up. >> and how many of those are medicaid? >> these are people who signed up on the exchanges. we do know that health care
costs, the growth of health care costs has been slowing. we do know that the deficit has been going down and we do know, greta, people who couldn't get insurance before now can get insurance. >> look, i'm for everyone having access to health care, but it's got to be a smart method to achieve health care. and when you have 5 million getting dumped that are all worried, whatever the reason is, but just because we have a terrible situation, a health situation in our country, where we definitely need reform. doesn't mean we should pursue a program that doesn't work. there are a lot of problems. look, i'm for everyone having access to health care, i'm not convinced, and i don't think the numbers show it, that we'll be able to support this. i don't think the young and healthy are going to come in droves and sign up. i hope they do. >> in massachusetts, they waited until the last minute to sign
up. >> the deadline for this year, is tomorrow, and i guess one of the big questions, steve, as we go forward, are these people going to sign up over the next year or is the mandate going to continued chipped away? >> all of this negativity publicity has caused people to step back. so, i worry people opposed to obamacare, may make this into a self-fulfilling prophecy. i think the experience in massachusetts, 98.5% of the people in massachusetts have health insurance. can i say one thing about what bill said, about this little government versus big government, i agree. we had little government under george bush, it didn't help. he was your guy. he was your guy. we did not have a great economic result. it ended in a financial crisis. incomes went down. the deficit went up. i don't really see how that was a great way to govern -- >> can i ask you a question --
>> george w. bush wasn't limited government. it was opposite. i agree that both parties have failed in addressing stagnation of middle-class incomes. it seems to be the party that develops a fresher agenda on that front will be better shape in 2016. i think the right agenda is not more government, but there are reforms that need to happen. >> the party's agenda, it goes back to this previous conversation, we created a tremendous amount of wealth in this country in the last 20 years, but only for a very few people in this country. generations of people in the middle class in the country have seen no growth of income. i think the best message for a republican, would be limited government in washington, they're not doing their job, we can't trust them and an attack on wall street. we can't accumulate wealth on wall street and think it helps the middle class. >> aren't republicans ready to take on this inequality debate? >> i certainly hope so. in 1965 we started the war on poverty and we failed drastically.
so, whatever we did to win this war on poverty has been an abject failure. i would like to see someone come in, why can't we win the war on poverty. because whatever we're doing we're failing. >> one thing about war of poverty, today it's at its worst point ever. for years of the situation, five, six years, poverty dropped. then it started rising back up when we went to a completely free market. that to me is a part of the problem. when we come back -- we'll get into the "duck dynasty" debate. that's a shift. what it says about today's cultural wars? and what to watch for in the year ahead. their predictions are ahead. there's a saying around here, you stand behind what you say. around here you don't make excuses. you make commitments.
and when you can't live up to them, you own up, and make it right. some people think the kind of accountability that thrives on so many streets in this country has gone missing in the places where it's needed most. but i know you'll still find it when you know where to look. anncr vo: introducing the schwab accountability guarantee. if you're not happy with one of our participating investment advisory services, we'll refund your program fee from the previous quarter. while, it's no guarantee against loss and other fees and expenses may still apply, we stand by our word. where does the united states get most of its energy? is it africa? the middle east? canada? or the u.s.? the answer is... the u.s. ♪ most of america's energy comes from right here at home. take the energy quiz.
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their licensed experts can answer all your questions. call to find out what a great solution this can be. don't wait, call now! up next, the roundtable takes on that "duck dynasty" debate and ventures some new year's predictions. lot more ahead on "this week." predictions. lot more ahead on "this week."
there he is, phil robertson, the commander of "duck dynasty," now suspended from cable's biggest reality hit. turns out this was nothing new, he said that gays are full of quote, evil and murder, in this 2010 sermon. >> women with women. men with men. they committed indecent acts with one another and they received in themselves the due penalty for their perversions. >> but after the suspension from a and e supporters of the command commander fought back. >> what happened to freedom of religion? freedom of speech?
>> is this who we are? we're just going to be quiet, because he has an opinion about the scriptures. >> welcome back to the cultural wars. welcome back to the roundtable. donna, they're from louisiana, "duck dynasty," your state, and they have become an empire which is why a&e even though they're going to suspend him, they're going to keep him in the episodes. >> i have watched it for the recipes. as an louisianian, people will say things that more first -- first skated people will keep to themselves. he's apologized. i don't know if anyone will accept his apology. he has a right to free speech, sarah palin has to defend him. glaad has the right to disagree with him. >> sure, a&e can do what it wants. they have to be the hypocrite of
the year. while they suspended him, they have five hours the other night, they have a marathon today, they're going to air it in january, but, i mean, i'm surprised at a&e, they're acting like, oh, no, this is so horrible. they knew this long before they hired the guy. he has free speech but very bad manners. >> should we have been surprised that this came out? >> like a lot of these things, it was hiding in plain sight. i think a&e has the right to do what it wants. my other networks have excused people who have been wrong. don imus -- >> don't point at me. >> just yesterday, barry diller fired a pr woman that he thought was inappropriate. i think is not a free speech -- >> free speech -- he can say what he wants. of course, he can say it. a&e is acting like, oh, no, this is so horrible. when they knew about it a long time ago.
>> it's not just a&e. cracker barrel is pulling some of the "duck dynasty" goods off its shelves. walmart. >> but look, political correctness is out of hand. steve mentioned that barry diller fired a young female employee. she sent some tweet before getting on a plane and then fired after landing. >> the tweet. i know what it is. i just don't want to repeat it. it was unbelievably offensive. >> she's gone to south africa. she said i'm what, it's sensitive. it's extremely ignorant. >> to me, this is a fascinating conversation, this is the number
one reality show on television. >> 10 million a week. >> it's not only the number one reality show on television, but it's like one of the number one shows on television which is reflective in this whole conversation is reflected of the divide in this country. which is red america versus blue america. if you look at the viewing patterns of this show, both sides are looking across the street and saying who are you? who are you? as each side is doing this. this whole first amendment right argument, if you want to talk about a hypocrite, to me, sarah palin is, i didn't see her defending dixie chicks or martin bashir. >> why is everyone looking at me? >> each side uses the first amendment like a club. >> it has now specialized let's have a mob attack on someone to cause people to be fired. there's some sort of political correctness.
>> the surprising thing about this is, these guys were hired because they're rednecks and they even get suspended because they're rednecks. >> the irony they may not be suspended. let's look ahead to 2014 right now, let's start out with, what is the story you're watching in 2014? >> unbelievable amount of middle-class frustration and arrange in this country. they feel like they haven't been tended to in overa generation. they're sitting there trying to pay their bills and they're doing it and they're being accountable in their own life and they're not getting any help. business or government is not helping them in this process. that anger is going to continue. >> politician to watch? >> jerry brown, actually, and i think jerry brown is fed up, somebody that combines politics and spisht spirituality.
>> donna? >> productivity is up. wages as a percentage of inflation is stagnant. i'm watching that. income inequality and how the politicians deal with that the long-term unemployed. what do we do with them? the politicians. i'm watching everybody, but hillary. because on the democratic side, we have so many great leaders, so many people that we haven't talked about. >> bill? >> the obama administration's attempt to cut a deal with iran won't work. i don't think the president will act to stop iran from getting a nuclear weapon. i think israel will act. i think that will be a big moment in 2014. political figure to watch? i actually wonder -- everybody assumes that hillary clinton runs for president. i wouldn't be surprised that, both jeb bush and hillary clinton will have taken themselves out of the race for 2016. no more dynasties. maybe the duck dynasty. >> your prediction? >> syria, that's the big question. i was in iraq last week.
al qaeda is building up in syria among the rebel groups. so, what are we going to do? are we going to back al qaeda or the guy who gassed his civilians? as a person to watch, keep an eye on what's going on with susanna martinez. because she was called by christie to help him with the hispanics in new jersey. the republicans badly need a hispanic, i'm keeping my eyes on her. assuming she does well as a governor. >> steve rattner? >> as far as the most important issues, i agree with donna and matthew, another one, i'm watching what's going on in new york city, we have a new mayor coming in, we talked about the divisions in the republican party, and the democrat party we're facing a similar discussion, between aggressives and centrists. bill deblasio is going to come in, he brought a progressive agenda. janet yellen, she's a political appointee. i think she's the most important person.
>> you got it right under the wire. we're out of time. thank you all for a great roundtable. we'll be right back. shot neces is this flu shot necessary? it keeps you healthy during flu season. but does it hurt? nah. plus you get a really sweet bandaid! anything else i should know? here's a thought, try scoring more points on the other team. okay. even a warrior can get sick. kaiser permanente reminds you to get your flu shot this season.
found them the best of friends. sflr it's the hats that throw you off. these two guys, they're out of costume. but zoom in on this one, costume, please, and yep, that's'ian mckellen playing hobbit. the other guy, zoom please, in costume, yep, patrick stewart, back when he was playing john on "star trek." the other guy, that's me, truly in awe to be out on the streets with these two guys. what's cool is what these two guys have been doing up on twitter, getting around new york city, here and here, and even down here on the day the trash was put out or maybe it was the day after, just two brit bros doing new york city. >> we stopped here and held up traffic. jumped out and took the photo with the trash bags. people were still thinking, who are those guys? >> recognize those guys. >> we are shameless self-publicists. but what's nice on this
occasion is that, we're in charge of ourselves. that's why we're doing these two plays. >> reporter: these two plays, that's the point, because right now the two actors are in two broadway shows together. "waiting for godot" and "no man's land." the photos, they're in character here. they're doing the two characters from "waiting for godot." it's a bit of a publicity stunt. they're having fun doing it. this broadway dream team who have been friends for a long, long time. >> being friends with the people that you work with i think is pretty important. we have shared experiences working at the national theater. >> reporter: at the same time? >> at the same time, but never in the same place. >> never in the same place. >> reporter: but back at the very start, in the 1960s, mckellen got big before stewart got big. >> i was working with regional theater, he was working in the national theater, he was in the west end.
somewhere that i can only fantasize about. so, i was a fan to begin with and i carry a little of that with me still. >> only a little. >> we need you to hope again. >> reporter: of course, they were both global stars and friends by the time they made "x-men" together and now they're working night after night in new york, the other important thing they have in common is knowing how it feels to be working so hard at their age, 73 for stewart, 74 for mckellen in previews, they shared a dressing room. what do you guys get up to in the dressing room? >> we both sleep a great deal. >> the bed is the most important piece of furniture. >> reporter: and you really mean that, don't you? >> oh, absolutely. >> it's very nice to not be the only old man in the play. >> if they're hurting it doesn't
show. two great pros. two great bros. two guys in hats on the sidewalks of new york. for "this week," i'm john donvan, abc news, new york. >> our thanks to john for that. now, we honor our fellow americans who serve and sacrifice. this week, the pentagon released the names of six soldiers killed in afghanistan. and that's all for us today. thanks for sharing part of your sunday with us. check out "world news" with david muir tonight. have a wonderful christmas. david muir tonight. have a wonderful christmas.
>> in the news, authorities search for suspects involved in a east bay freeway shooting this morning that's injured two people we will have the latest on the investigation. and reacting to backlash. how target is trying to make amends with customers following that massive credit card security breach. >> we have a mild, with hazy sunshine day over the bay area. i have your christmas and game-day