tv This Week With George Stephanopoulos ABC May 24, 2015 10:00am-11:01am EDT
>> announcer: starting right now on abc's "this week" -- isis takeover? the terrorist fighters now expanding their grip, is president obama's plan to contain the jihadist surge failing? plus, thew claim from isis this morning. patriot act chaos. the dramatic 1:00 a.m. senate scramble. will the government's domestic surveillance phone program be disconnected? hillary clinton e-mail mayhem. revealing new w information about benghazi and more. and on this memorial day weekend, the unforgettable words in a soldier's letter home? >> it's the last thing he wrote. >> announcer: from abc news, "this week" with george stephanopoulos begins now. good morning, i'm jonathan karl.
it's great to have you with us on this memorial day weekend. we're tracking several developing stories this morning including a middle of the night scramble in the senate, the patriot act's domestic surveillance program is now in doubt. and the isis threat, they have captured key territory and is now making a startling new claim about nuclear weapons. but we start with protests growing in cleveland after a white police officer was acquitted in the deaths of an unarmed black couple. first, let's get the latest from abc's alex perez, good morning, alex. >> reporter: good morning, jon, authorities here today bracing for possibly another day of protests. now, demonstrators took to the streets immediately following the judge's decision saturday, to acquit michael brelo on the shooting deaths back in 2012. both were unarmed. the couple led police on a nearly 25-minute car chase. once cornered, several officers were firing when brelo jumped on the hood and fired 15 shots into their windshield.
the judge ruled brelo's use of deadly force was reasonable. while there have been some arrests, protests here have been for the most part peaceful. victims' family members outraged by the police officer's acquittal. the justice department will be reviewing the judge's decision. >> thank you, alex. joining us now is ohio governor john kasich. governor, kasich, there's a lot of tension in cleveland over this verdict. we heard from a congresswoman hearing that it's a stunning setback, adding today, we're told again, our lives have no value. so, let me ask you do you believe justice was served with this verdict? >> well, look, the verdict is the verdict, jon, i think the people of cleveland handled -- they should be so proud of themselves and we should look at cleveland as a model. the mayor, former senator turner, these are people who have said it's proper to protest but, at the same time, no violence, because violence in a
community only destroys the community. months ago, jon, i created a task force on police and community, and i think that's also helped to send a message -- i hope, around the state that we need an integration of police and community. there were two recommendations up front the policy regarding the use of deadly force, and second, research into the recruiting and enrollment of police officers, minority police cers officers, so, i'm very, very sensitive to this issue. when there are large numbers of people who don't think the system doesn't work for them, we have to respond to it. so, in cleveland, across the state of ohio, we have been very aggressive in terms of saying we hear you, we understand it, there are going to be a series of additional recommendations that's going to respspond to the fact that community understands police and police need to understand community.
there's going to be money for training, data collection. we have been over this fortunately we started this months ago, we're only the task force on police and community in the country and it's serving us well. but the credit goes to the leadership in cleveland who have spoken with one voice, saying protest but no violence is acceptable in cleveland. >> and of course, this is the second major case here, we had the tamir rice case, the 12 -year-old boy, again, unarmed, shot. this is going to take some time, what is it going to take to heal the community? >> well, the rice case is something that we're all watching, we hope we'll get a resolution sooner rather than later. but what it's going to take is the ability to lift everyone, to make sure that people in these communities know that there's an opportunity for them, that there is hope, that people in authority are listening, that there will be solid responses
and so, we're just not talking about our task force, we're talking about solid recommendations that we intend to carry out and senator nina turner, african-american democrat, who i had as part of this leadership team, made up of pastors, community activists, they have come forward with unanimous recommendations. not only in cleveland but across the state of ohio. this isn't the total solution. it means we're on top of it as best we can. again, the people of cleveland protests. they ought to protest. that's their right. but violence has been kept to an absolute minimum in that city and god bless the people of cleveland. >> let's hope it reminds that way. much more with the governor later. now to the growing isis threat, brand-new details this morning on the jihadist group's alarming moves, taking key territory and now making a startling claim about buying nuclear weapons.
abc's alex marquardt has the latest. >> reporter: this morning, isis on a roll, scoring major land grabs in the past week. the group now estimated to control half of syria, and taking the key iraqi city of ramadi, there the iraqi army once again appeared to crumble. these soldiers pinned down by isis evacuated by rescue helicopters. >> i don't believe that anyone thought that ramadi would fall. >> reporter: isis used 30 car bombs to take ramadi. including ten the size of the oklahoma city blast. just days later, across the border in syria, isis routed government froops in the ancient city of palmyra, home to majestic ruins, more than 2,000 years old. the fear, isis could destroy treasures there and loot other artifacts to fund their campaign. despite the isis gains, in an interview with the atlantic this
week the president insisted we're not losing instead calling it a tactical setback. >> this is what degrading isis capabilities looks like? >> this is what a very tenacious adversary looks look. >> reporter: republican critics pounced. >> where is our decency? where is our concern about these thousands of people that are being slaughtered and displaced? >> reporter: and in a new claim online, the jihadist group now says it has so much money it may soon be able to buy a nuclear weapon. a horrifying prospect. >> if we discovered that isil had gotten possession of a nuclear weapon you can anticipate not only would chairman dempsey recommend me sending u.s. troops to get that weapon out of their hands but i would order it. >> reporter: syrian and iraqi forces on their heels. the u.s. grappling with its
strategy as the isis momentum grows. >> thanks to alex. joining us now is the chairman of the house armed services committee, mac thornberry. we maerd an alarming report there. this is isis online saying that by next year they believe they'll have the means to purchase a nuclear weapon from pakistan, any everyday that could happen? >> no evidence that it has happened. would they do it if they had the opportunity, of course. what do we do about it? number one, we don't wait until they get it before we take action. a that seriously degrades isis. secondly, we keep pushing at their finances to lower the amount of money they have. but the other thing we've got to do is improve our intelligence capability. we, i think, know less today
than we knew five or six years ago about what terrorists around the world are doing for a variety of reasons. but the key way to know what they're doing, to prevent them from getting a nuclear, chemical, biological weapon, is to augment our intelligence capability and then, you've got to act. you can't draw red lines that you don't follow up on. >> okay, i want to ask you one key aspect of that, being the patriot act, but talk about what we saw this week, they took a major city in syria and we saw them take ramadi, the capital of the anbar province. we saw them conduct a suicide attack in syria. is isis winning this war now? >> they have a lot of momentum on their side and i don't know about -- the president resists saying we're losing it, well, we're not winning, we know that. >> they say we're degrading isis. >> i don't see evidence of that. you see not only is isis gaining territory in iraq and syria, the map like you showed, gives it
very graphically about their territory expanding. but what a map like that doesn't show is the ideology continues to grow. but you got these sort of jihadists from mali, somalia, libya, all of the way to the afghan and pakistan that are pledging allegiance to isis. as it grows in iraq and syria, their ideology, their approach, their brand, if you will, is growing -- >> faster than the territory. >> faster than the territory. >> but let me ask you, we heard an alarming briefing from the state department about what they did to get ramadi, 30 vehicle bombs, ten they said had the force of the oklahoma city bomb. you called for sending more american troops, not the kind of ground invasion that the white house has talked about, but are you really prepared to see american forces to confront an enemy like that? >> well i would prefer not to have american ground troops.
some of our military folks believe, however, if we had some advisers on the ground we could have called in effective air strikes that it would have at least made the battle for ramadi more competitive, but we didn't have that. so, we have tied our own hands in a variety of ways and we have considerable doubts about our reliability. meanwhile, the iraqi government is not being inclusive, not sending arms to the sunnis or the kurds. >> so, okay -- >> we got a mixture of things that are happening that handicap this effort against isis. >> the patriot act's surveillance program expires next sunday at midnight. how worried are you? >> i'm worried about it. we passed what i think is an imperfect bill out of the house. but it's better than letting it expire. among the other provisions that expired are the lone wolf provisions. the threat that we're going to
see more here at home. so, we need to have that crucial intelligence capability continue. >> all right, chairman thornberry, thank you for joining us. up next -- what hillary clinton's hundreds of newly released e-mails reveal about her leadership and the big battle of the patriot act. pitting republican against republican. back in just two minutes. >> announcer: "this week" with george stephanopoulos brought to you by charles schwab. is week" with george stephanopoulos brought to you by charles schwab. dad: he's our broker. he helps looks after all our money. kid: do you pay him? dad: of course. kid: how much? dad: i don't know exactly. kid: what if you're not happy? does he have to pay you back? dad: nope. kid: why not? dad: it doesn't work that way. kid: why not? vo: are you asking enough questions about the way your wealth is managed? wealth management at charles schwab
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keeps growing, there you see hillary clinton in new hampshire this week as the state department releases hundreds of e-mails from benghazi and more from her private account. clinton told voters in new hampshire that she's happy that the e-mails are out. but as abc's cecilia vega reports, it set off another political firestorm. >> reporter: from iowa to new hampshire, hillary clinton on the trail this week, finally taking questions, so me about the e-mails. the state department releasing the first 300 written on then-secretary hillary clinton stored on her home server. while she never sent classified information, one e-mail was considered so sensitive, the fbi has now classified it. >> that doesn't change the fact that all of the information in the e-mails was handled appropriately. >> reporter: clinton also received numerous back-channelled briefings from longtime confidant, sidney
blumenthal, less than three weeks the deadly attack in benghazi he writes about deteriorating security. clinton forwards the e-mail to the senior staff, saying very interesting. another exchange about former u.n. ambassador susan rice who told the world an internet video mocking islam sparked the spontaneous attack. staffers reassuring clinton, you never said spontaneous or characterized the motives. in fact, you were careful in your first statement. the release had clinton on the defensive. do you have a perception problem? many americans don't believe you told the truth on benghazi. >> i'm going to let the americans decide that. >> reporter: republicans have yet to point to a smoking gun. but they're still blasting clinton for hand-selecting those e-mails, 50,000 pages in all. the rest to be released in batches in the coming months. >> we're to trust her that the
ones that she turned over are all of the e-mails. >> clinton announced her big campaign rally will take place in june. many of these e-mails will come out just as this race is heating up. she's clearly trying to move on from this, clinton telling voters this week, she's not running for her husband's third term or for president obama's third term. >> thank you, cecilia. meanwhile, we just saw that scramble in the republican-led senate, over the president's dmestic surveillance program, trying to take down the patriot act. blocking a vote to extend it. one of the key players, presidential candidate rand paul, his actions may have big implications for the war on terror and for his own prospects in 2016. >> made phone calls -- >> there's senator rand paul. once again having a filibuster moment, leading a ten-hour talkathon. >> and i will not let the patriot act, the most
unpatriotic of acts, go unchallenged. american people say, enough is enough, we want our privacy protected. the collection must end and i think we have the votes to do it now. >> reporter: by attempting to dismantle a key part of george w. bush's war on terrorism, he's once again showing he's not your average republican. he's done it on drones. >> when i ask a president, can you kill an american on american soil, it should have been an easy answer. >> reporter: he's done it on criminal justice reform. >> i see an america where criminal justice is applied equally. >> reporter: while paul was making his senate floor stand his campaign was hawking merchandise. a filibuster starter pack with this t-shirt and this bumper sticker for $30. this puts him on a collision course with his 2016 republican rivals, from chris christie. >> the first job of the president of the united states is to protect the homeland and that's what we need to do.
>> reporter: to jeb bush. >> there's ample evidence that the patriot act has been a tool to keep us safe. there's no evidence of anyone's civil liberties being violated because of it. >> reporter: the former florida governor meanwhile was out on the trail. finding a new way to put distance between himself and his brother. >> i think that in washington, during my brother's time, republicans spent too much money but he could have brought budget discipline to washington, d.c. coming up, candidate kasich, the popular ohio governor may be the next republican to jump into the 2016 race. he'll be back to talk about hillary, jeb and being an underdog. derdog. if you're an adult with type 2 diabetes and your a1c is not at goal with certain diabetes pills or daily insulin your doctor may be talking about adding medication to help lower your a1c. ask your doctor if adding once-a-week tanzeum is right for you. once-a-week tanzeum is an injectable prescription medicine
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ask your doctor about non-insulin victoza. it's covered by most health plans. so, think about me, would you? don't commit too soon. let us all have a chance to breathe and get out. and you know what i really look forward to, being out in your homes again, letting you get to know me and see me. that's what it's really all about. that's why i love new hampshire. >> that was governor john kasich in new hampshire last month. he is back with us now. governor kasich, you sure love new hampshire. that was kind of interesting. >> two congressional districts. the people are great. the last time i was there, jon, 16 years ago, i was trying to run for president, i was talking to a lady in a kitchen,
we were having a nice chat finally she looked at the watch, she said, when is the candidate going to get here? it hasn't happened this time. >> i want to get to that in a second. but first, we had this dramatic showdown in the senate over the patriot act. and the domestic surveillance program, so, my question to you, do you stand with rand paul who says the patriot act is unconstitutional violation of our civil liberties? or are you with jeb bush who says this is an important tool in the war on terrorism? >> jon, there's a balance here. i'm very suspicious of anything that's big, whether it's government, business, it doesn't matter. i think there's a middle ground. i think we need to gather information. i know that intelligence is important. but i also think that civil liberties are important. so, i do think they ought to continue the program but all of that bulk data probably be put in some on sort of organization,
quasi-government organization, and we should extend the power of the court that says if you're going to use this kind of surveillance it has to be approved by somebody. talking about domestic surveillance, i think we have to extend the power of that court. first, a review. second, i don't like the government holding on to this data. this would be a case for congress to actually shine, strike the proper balance between surveillance and the need for civil liberties. >> but was it irresponsible of republicans in congress, i mean, rand paul leading the charge on this, not to allow this program as it is to be extended for even one day? >> well, look, i'm not going to get into criticizing rand, he feels strongly about this, and i appreciate what he's doing on that. but jon, at the end of the day, you have to have a little bit of compromise, and striking a balance here is critical. we got to know where the enemy is, particularly the lone wolf,
and statement, we got to make sure that people's rights aren't going to be violated in the united states of america. >> all right, so, i want to ask you about the other major story, this week, the advances that isis is making in iraq and syria. what would president kasich do? >> well, jon, i said months ago we should have a coalition of our western partners and any of our allies in the middle east to form a coalition, to knock isis out, and if that includes american boots on the ground so be it. but at the end of the day, you can't let them continue to make all of this progress. look, three big problems. one, we have disbanded the iraqi arm. two, we failed to arm the opposition in syria to push assad out. and then, we had a red line and we ignored that and now we found out that over in syria, they're
dropping barrel chlorine bombs on people. we're undermining our ally, the israelis, couldn't even meet with netanyahu when he came to the united states. there is confusion. can it be fixed? absolutely. but i think the administration has missed it on many, many fronts. >> okay, i want to get 2016, we saw you in new hampshire, i understand it now that your wife and your daughters are on board with the presidential run. this is what i have heard. at this point, aside from the money front -- >> we're getting closer. >> are you going on do it? >> look, we have metrics set internally. i'm very pleased with what we have seen over the course of the last month, i have been very pleased with what i have found out on the ground in new hampshire, south carolina, michigan. i'm in the process of accumulating resources. i hope people will help me if they like my unique voice in this whole thing, and we look at
organization, and so within a period of time, i will make a decision and if we meet our metrics i'm going to move forward. i'm increasingly optimistic about all of this. jon, i'm the most experienced in the field with being an executive running a big state like ohio. dealing with problems like cleveland. at the same time being in congress, balancing the budget. i was the chairman and also serving the defense committee for 18 years. >> but -- >> i'm pretty qualified for this kind of job. >> if you got into this right now, you would be an underdog. right now, if you got in this race, you wouldn't even qualify to be on the debate stage in your own state. >> jon, you know the way this system works. you go to new hampshire and you do well and you're on a rocket ship. i don't worry about process. what i'm concerned about, can i win? and will i have the resources and the organization? and we're in the process of determining that, and let me tell you, again, i'm very optimistic about where we're headed.
i don't worry whether they know me in oklahoma -- i love oklahoma. i love all the states. but at the end of the day, you know how the process works. it's the early primaries that matter. >> let me ask you over the weekend, we saw this article in "the new york times" saying that hillary clinton folks fear that marco rubio would be their toughest competition, because it would represent a generation clash, the past and the future, you were there in the '90s, if that's the case, don't you kind of represent the past here? >> well, jon, you know, what we need is for in a president is somebody who has deep experience, both knowledge of foreign affairs and the ability to be an executive, you know, to made decisions and have a bottom line. look, i love rubio, terrific guy, you know they're all out there plugging away and they're all doing a good job. but at the end of the day, we need someone who has deep
experience, made decisions where there is a bottom line, who has a deep knowledge of foreign affairs. because it's pretty clear that america's position in the world is being questioned. and it leaves us less secure at home. and all of this business about young and old. remember, ronald reagan was an older dude and i think he did pretty well because he had the experience. 245's what really matters when you're talking about the president of the united states. >> let me ask you, we're really out of time, but very quickly, you're from ohio, you won big there, if you're not the nominee you're going to be looked at as a possible vice presidential nomination. >> forget it. >> would you do it? >> forget it. >> no way. i don't play for second. >> i'm going to save this tape, governor kasich. >> don't count me out, jon. >> up next, the gop is piling on rand paul, plus those surprising revelations from hillary clinton's e-mails. the roundtable weighs in. revelations from hillary clinton's e-mails. the roundtable weighs in.
the roundtable is here. bill kristol, editor of the weekly standard. keith ellison. s.e. cupp and donna brazile. so, bill, you just heard from john kasich, it sure sounds like he's in? major candidate? >> yes, he's won one of the tough congressional districts. twice now governor of ohio. he'll be on the moderate side of the field.
if you want a centrist republican, who's for common core this is accepted. >> immigration. >> he's moderately liberal, i think. but he's been a pretty effective governor of ohio. in terms of policy and politics. kasich will be strong. right now, he won't make the debate. >> but donald trump would. >> donald trump would and many others. a lot to talk about on the republican campaign trail, issues that republicans have a difficult time discussing. can he get out of that asterisk lane and get into what i call the speed zone in order to get into the top tier for iowa and new hampshire? i don't think so. >> all right, let me move on to rand paul, s.e. we saw him lead this battle.
he wouldn't let the patriot act be extended one day. he held the line. >> yes, i think this is an unnecessary debate to have. i remember a time when democrats were having this debate. when democrats had problems with the patriot act. the argument really is on the right between moderates on the right and people like rand paul and i remember when this used to be a liberal issue over civil liberties and drone strikes and privacy. now, really it's rand paul and republicans having this debate. and it should not be just ushered through and reauthorized. it's serious stuff that matters to a lot of americans. >> absolutely. >> you stand with rand on this? >> i have to respectfully disagree with s.e. on this. because i think there's a lot of folks on the liberal left end of the party who definitely think that section 215, this
bulk collection, probably should expire, that it hasn't had much value and it's incredibly intrusive for americans. collecting everyone's phone information. i think it's absolutely the case that there's a bipartisan agreement that the patriot act went too far. >> did you find yourself kind of quietly cheering rand paul? as he went on for ten hours. >> let me tell you, i'm working with rand paul on civil forfeiture reform, to look at drug sentencing laws, he agrees that we should get rid of mandatory minimum sentencing. i think he's right about that. i have been proud to stand with him at press conferences talking about these very issues. at the end of the day for me, it's about trying to do the best we can by our constitution. on these basic core issues of freedom, we agree. >> keith doesn't stand with rand, that's not fair to keith. rand stands with keith. seriously. they had these positions first.
rand paul has decided that he wants to be a liberal democrat. weaken the police officers and our intelligence services, and rand paul thinks that's going to sell in the republican primary. i think he's deeply misguided on that. >> it certainly stands out. >> everyone stands their grounds. >> we keep looking at these issues as left versus right. but it's really right versus wrong. rand paul the right to ensure our constitutional rights are protected. our privacy rights are protected. bill, i don't think it's an issue that's going to drive him out of the so-called conservative lane. >> how about protecting us from terrorists? zero claim. >> this is the only tool in our diplomatic and our intelligence toolbox, it's not. there are more ways to keep us
safe and secure than by collecting all of this data. >> we could make everyone safe by taking away everyone's rights, but that's not america. in new york we fight crime, we fight terrorism with the constitution in mind. and i think -- i like the idea that somebody on the right and people on the left are both saying, what about the constitution? what about the right to privacy? and what about the government being presumptively leave us alone? >> jeb bush, hillary clinton. bill, you had a tweet that caught my eye, you said it's increasingly get the sense that clinton, bush 2016 will be the clinton/giuliani 2008 race. neither will be the nominee. >> jeb could still be the nominee. he's an abled guy. he's not the front-runner. hillary clinton seems to be the
front-runner. but if elizabeth warren got in the race in october, it wouldn't be highly competitive. does anyone think that bernie sanders is going to gain on hillary clinton? this thing that looks like a lopsided race won't close up. i think it will. >> what about the e-mails. we saw 300 e-mails come out, s.e., clinton people eager to point out no smoking gun. >> okay i'm sure you're going to eliminate the one that has a smoking gun. i don't think the american people, i don't think voters care about the e-mails per se, i think they care about integrity. and i think it's clear that hillary clinton on numerous occasions has decided that she's not going to follow the rules, the rules do not apply, even rules that president obama set, rules that she agreed to herself. and that i think, does
resonate. i don't think hillary clinton is that inevitable. the last time she ran, among the country, those who liked her, they voted for the other guy. a democrat. so, i don't think she's inevitable. i think republicans and democrats are way too scared of her than they need to be. >> i don't think anyone is scared of hillary clinton. >> oh okay good. >> rest assured, that's not the issue and rest assured she's the only person to ever compete in a primary to receive more votes than anybody else. 18 million americans. that's something to respect. while the republicans spend most of their time and energy and debates, they hold meetings and conventions than the shriners which is little nerve-wracking. while they try to question her level of trust and transparency, what most americans are saying, you know what, we know who she is, she's the only candidate right now who's talking about
big issues -- >> she's not talking about anything because no one can hear her. maybe clinton should say something about something. what is her position on the nsa? what is her position on free trade? >> you act as if you're -- >> she endorsed the house bill -- >> on video or -- >> she's talked about what she ruled out. she talked about environmental -- there's a lot of substance coming out of her campaign. unless republicans can put out there in their need to raise money, they don't listen. >> it's important to remember that hillary clinton has done a lot of good things for this country. including set the stage for
these iron nuclear negotiations. we got to take s now, a big death penalty surprise in the wake of so much news about crime and punishment in america, the nebraska legislature has just voted to ban capital punishment, the first solidly red state to do so in decades. here's abc's pierre thomas. >> reporter: this week's vote in nebraska has capped off a
dramatic debate. >> for some crimes, death is the only appropriate punishment. >> no individual has the right to take the life of another, nor should the state. >> reporter: now, nebraska could become the first conservative-leaning state to ban the death penalty, a move backed by many republicans who says it's a moral issue. >> my main objections come from my pro-life values. >> reporter: but the republican governor, a death penalty supporter, has promised to veto the measure. still the state legislature may have the votes to override him. the latest in significant challenges to capital punishment. illinois enacted a decade moratorium. the state abolished the death penalty in 2011. in oklahoma, the botched execution of 38-year-old clayton lockett last year, drew new scrutiny over the deadly multidrug cocktails used in the lethal injections. the u.s. supreme court will soon
to decide if that drug cocktail is cruel and unusual punishment. nationwide, 18 states and d.c. ban capital punishment. and now, a majority of americans would favor life in prison over the death penalty. but for some victims and their families, the most heinous crimes deserve the ultimate punishment. this month, the federal jury sentenced tsarnaev to death. >> i wanted justice for my family. the ultimate justice was the death penalty. >> reporter: but yet some in boston had lobbied for life in prison. capital punishment a particularizing issue. exactly what they're seeing in nebraska's difficult debate. for "this week," pierre thomas, abc news, washington. nebraska republican state senator colby coash joins me
now, he voted in favor of abolishing the death penalty. senator coash, you're a conservative republican, why did you vote to get rid of the death penalty? >> well, for me, jon, this was a practical thing. in nebraska, we haven't executed anybody in 20 years. and it's been a cost to our state with lengthy appeals. but at the end of the day, we decided a penalty that we can't impose is a penalty that we shouldn't have on the books. if there was any other program that's costly as this has been we as conservatives would have gotten rid long ago. >> it wasn't so much the moral component of the state taking somebody's life, this was a practical -- >> certainly. well, certainly, some of my colleagues have come to this from a moral standpoint. i'm pro-life, and for some of us, in addition to the extreme costs and the inefficiency, supporting the death penalty just didn't seem to go with our pro-life values.
some of my colleagues came to it from that perspective as well. >> so, what's going to happen now? the governor said he would veto this law, will you be able to override his veto? >> well we'll see this week but i believe there are the votes to override the veto, i do. >> let me ask you, we saw a dramatic case of course in boston, with the boston marathon bomber sentenced to death in liberal massachusetts, what do you say to victims' families who say that some crimes are so heinous they're simply must be the ultimate punishment? >> well, i have talked to a lot of victims right here in our state and certainly there are victims on both sides of this issue, but in nebraska, the victims' families that i have talked to have said, when a judge puts a sentence on somebody and says to that victim's family we're going to
execute the perpator of the crime against your family the victims look at me and say, senator, how is that fair? when you can't do when you said you could do. so, i mean, there are two sides to the victim's stories. i don't speak for all of the victims. but there are two sides to that. >> all right senator, coash, thank you for coming on this sunday. have a good memorial day. back to the roundtable, s.e., what's your sense? has the tide shifted on the death penalty? >> yeah, my position as a conservative has long been against the death penalty, i don't find it to be moral or just. there are wrongful convictions that we hear about all the time, it's costly. it's bankrupted entire counties. for me, i have been trying to
convince fellow conservatives to have a change of heart on this issue. but you're starting to see it shift now and you brought up the boston bombing. victims of that horrific event many of them came out publically and said they wanted life. >> donna -- >> i totally agree with all of the things that s.e. just said. ernie chambers, the democrat, he's been an iconic leader in the state of nebraska, being one of the first lawmakers in the country to put out a ban on south africa years and years ago, this has been his cause for years and years. he said it was morally wrong. finally, he's gotten his fellow conservative colleagues to join him. i applaud nebraska for doing this. >> i'm a defender of the death penalty. it's both just and an important symbol for really heinous crimes. but i respect pro-life
conservatives whose pro-life principles lead them to draw the line further. i'm curious what hillary clinton's position is. her husband executed people as governor of arkansas. >> hopefully, we'll get a chance -- >> if she ever appears before the press -- >> every republican candidate will give an answer on this. >> we are out of time. thank you, everyone. let's take a break. but first, it's that time of year, graduates are getting a lot of advice. here are some of our favorite words of wisdom from this year's commencement speeches. >> for those of who are graduating this afternoon with high honors, awards and distinctions, i say well done. and as i like to tell the "c" students, you too can be president. >> don't be afraid to fail big, to dream big. but, remember, dreams without goals are just dreams.
>> i also want to congratulate all of our graduates, and congratulate you on your fine achievements. i want thank your families who have stuck with you. >> of course, don't forget the parents who to get you students to this day have sacrificed so many things. primarily, money. >> this is your time, believe it, and why you, because there's no one better. >> the greatest moments of your journey are the ones that still lie ahead. it's your world. thank you, graduates, god bless you. congratulations to the class of 2015. congratulations to the class of 2015.
back now with the greatest spectacle in racing, the indy 500, it's happening right here on abc. espn's allen bestwick will bring you every thrilling moment. and he joins me now from the indianapolis motor speedway. allen, how is it looking for the race today? >> i think it's going to shape up to be a very dramatic day, jonathan, some changes that they have made to the specifications on the cars this year have created some intriguing incidents during practice and that has a little bit of an edge to today's race, it also changed the actual competition, the drivers will be heading into the corners more side by side than they ever have before, and in an open-wheel race car, with a 90-degree corner at 230 miles an
hour, should make for a dramatic day. >> yes, we have seen some of these crashes over the past week, where indy cars have turned into kites. this race has been going on for 99 years, why are we now seeing crashes like that? >> if you back over the history of not only indycar racing, but automobile races in general, any time you change the formula, any time you change the specifications of the cars, you always have to deal with the law of unintended consequences and especially at these kind of speeds. that's what's going on here. there may be some things that weren't intended to happen, but are happening now at these kind of speeds. it's certainly an area of concern, but not anything that's unknown in the history of the race. >> all right, let's hope we have a great, exciting race and a safe one. thanks a lot, allen. the indy 500 race airs today on abc. >> the fry thrill of racing, to the emotional power of memorial day end weekend. the striking words in a soldier soldier's letter.
abc's martha raddatz with the remarkable messages they send home from the battlefield. >> this service member put this letter in his backpack and he was shot right through the bag, he survived, but the bullet hole right through the letter. >> reporter: piled high on this table, in this cramped d.c. apartment, hundreds of these war letters, revealing the pain of war, the price of courage. loving. can you imagine getting this? >> just a 20-something-year-old kid. it's the last thing he wrote. >> reporter: collecting these letters from the revolutionary war, through iraq and afghanistan, is historian and author andrew carroll's decades-long passion and commitment. it began with a phone call from a distant cousin. >> he was going through his world war ii memorabilia. he came across a letter that i wrote in april 1945. a young american soldier went to the camp. he's writing back to his wife
about what he saw. he sent me the original letter. and i'll never forget holding it in my hands. i called him back i'll return it to you. he said keep it. that was just so striking to me that he would even consider discarding something that was so historically significant. we prefer the originals. >> reporter: since that first letter, carroll has collected over 100,000 more. >> whether you're fighting in lexington or concord, or going door to door in iraq the intensity of going into combat is really universal. one of the great misconceptions about letter-writing today, is that the troops aren't creating these incredible correspondences. the way they did back in the civil war. it's not true. you have troops from iraq and afghanistan who have composed the most eloquent and poignant and powerful messages that i have ever read. so, you know, that's why we're encouraging families who have had troops serving in these other countries, save those e-mails. >> reporter: many of the most
powerful letters are now on display at washington's national cathedral. alongside the work of a 93-year-old portrait artist. who painted recovering world war ii veterans. >> you're in the cleveland, ohio, hospital, so, you got a little bit in the midwest. >> she's a brilliant artist, she went to these different military hospitals, interacted with the troops. there are so many people who are helping the war effort. and still do so in many different ways. >> reporter: messages, words, now with a voice, on stage in a play carroll wrote, "if all the sky were paper." >> the pressure just builds up in me and i have to tell somebody. >> reporter: starring some of our country's most notable actors. >> i read these letters a thousand times. but when i hear a famous actor, like laura dern or annette benning, bring them to life, it really resonates
with aud yepts -- audiences. >> i have no question now. >> it's so meaningful afterwards to have veterans come up and say, for the first time, i really felt someone captured my experience. >> reporter: he knows those powerful memories will live on. a permanent collection will soon be opened to the public at chapman university in orange california there time the wartime experiences we honor this memorial day, will be preserved forever. for "this week," martha raddatz, abc news, washington. >> our thanks to martha, that's all for us today. thank you for sharing part of your sunday with us. check out "world news tonight" and we leave you on this memorial day at arlington national cemetery. memorial day at arlington national cemetery.
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>> announcer: the following is a special presentation of espn on abc. morning in the heartland and no one needs to be reminded to wake up on this sunday. this is a day circled on every calender for racing fans across the world. for the hundreds of thousands who travel here love of this sport is always in the air. for the drivers, the ultimate prize is to win. hello and welcome to the 99th running of the indianapolis 500. nobody would argue that today this is the best place to be on earth. take a look at where we're coming to you from. atop the iconic pagoda that