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tv   The Lead With Jake Tapper  CNN  February 11, 2015 1:00pm-2:01pm PST

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is this new authorization enough to stop isis? i'm jake tapper. this is "the lead." the world lead. president obama says there will not be an invasion there will not be an occupying force but with 20,000 foreign fighters now flocking to fight with isis is this new authorization enough? and she died in captivity. held hostage by fanatical new terrorists. now harrowing details that kayla mueller may have been given to an isis commander and forced to be his wife. the national lead. she danced at her wedding just a month ago. now this woman, her husband and her sister all of them are gone shot in the head in north carolina. her father says the gunman killed them because they were muslims. good afternoon, everyone. welcome to "the lead." i'm jake tapper.
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you have just been listen to president obama making possibly one of the most important speeches of his presidency. he just spelled out his case to congress for using military force in the war against isis. this is the first time since the iraq war that the full congress will vote on a commander in chief's request for the authorization to deploy military force. the president seeking congress' go ahead. it's mostly will getting buy-in investment from congress and the american people. after all, u.s. jets have been bombing isis fighters for six months or so. the president says he can continue to do so even if congress shoots down his proposal. he also made clear that the campaign is working. >> make no mistake, this is a difficult mission and it will remain difficult for some time. it's going to take time to dislodge these terrorists especially from urban areas. but our coalition is on the offensive. isil is on the defensive and isil is going to lose.
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>> this authorization further defines the mission, detailing what u.s. forces can and cannot do. it would formally give the president the power to keep bombing isis as well as associated persons or forces. the request will rule out enduring offensive ground combat operations but that does not mean boots will not be literally on the ground. first of all, they already are to some extent training iraqi security forces serving as observers. this new language would additionally allow rescue missions and special ops raids. the new authorization expires in three years' time then congress can revisit it. let's go right to cnn senior white house correspondent jim acosta live on the north lawn. josh earnest, the white house press secretary, said today the authorization is intentionally fuzzy. then the president made clear three years is not necessarily a timeline on military operations just on this authorization. >> that's right, jake. i think the president is finding out why there has not been a war
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authorization vote in this congress in 13 years, because it is this difficult and he's taking heat from all sides. the president trying to explain to the american people that he does take the threat posed by isis seriously. he said at one point during his remarks that the coalition is on the offense, isis is on the defense and isis is going to lose but the president wants the flexibility and that's why josh earnest said earlier today that this language is intentionally fuzzy. the president wants the flexibility to conduct operations in iraq and in syria, that are short of a full-blown invasion. the president trying to allay the concerns of nervous democrats, also said in the language of this authorization is a three-year timeline. here's how the president talked about that. >> so this resolution will give our armed forces and our coalition the continuity we need for the next three years. it is not a timetable. it is not announcing that the mission is completed at any given period. what it is saying is that
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congress should revisit the issue at the beginning of the next president's term. >> reporter: so in some sense, jake this is handed to the next president of the united states whoever follows barack obama into this white house, will have to deal with all of this. when i asked white house press secretary josh earnest whether or not this is mission creep and whether more ground forces might be committed in the future, he said not at the moment. >> jim acosta thank you. let's go right to cnn chief congressional correspondent dana bash. she is on capitol hill. the president called this document a comprehensive and sustained strategy but some members of his own party are taking issue, saying that this authorization is too open-ended. republicans saying it's too -- it hems him in too much. >> reporter: reminds you of goldilocks that you read to your kids. republicans think it's too cold democrats think it's too hot.
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the question is can they find something that's just right. jim talked about the fact that the white house wanted this to be intentionally fuzzy but the problem that he has is that for many democrats here fuzzy equals blank checks when it comes to troops which is something democrats say they are simply not going to do. let me give you an example. senator chris murphy of connecticut, i spoke to him earlier, he sits on the foreign relations committee. what you have to vote on when it comes to authority for troops will you vote for it? >> it will be hard for me to vote for anything that allows for us to repeat the mistakes of the past. i worry that the language as exists today is going to allow not for this president but for the next president to put major combat troops into the middle east. that's something i have a very hard time supporting. >> reporter: let me give you another example of the problem the president has with democrats. a veteran democrat the democrat
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from california came out and outright opposed the president, saying based on his experience he does not want to vote for anything that even suggests that they are approving unlimited troops. that's the issue you have on the democratic side and of course republicans, you have people like john mccain that say what they are doing is allowing 535 commanders in chief instead of allowing the commander in chief to have his understanding of how things should go which is if you think about it that republicans who have been saying he's the imperial president now want to give him more authority is kind of ironic. >> dana bash thanks so much. preamble to the use of force authorization names the american hostages who have been killed by isis. james foley, steven sotlof abdul rahman kasig and kayla mueller, who was declared dead yesterday. jim sciutto, we heard from the president, we heard from some in congress but what is this
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authorization going to look like on the ground? >> no major invasion like iraq or afghanistan but leaving leeway for further ground operations in some way which we have already seen evolve over time. this started with no boots on the ground whatsoever. fact is there are boots on the ground. now they moved out of the city centers of baghdad, they are out further afield even in anbar. there is talk of them being involved in an assault on mosul and in fact they have been involved in two unfortunately failed rescue operations very risky, to pick up james foley and kayla mueller. he leaves some leeway for that going forward, saying no enduring offensive ground combat operations which means you could have some but they wouldn't be enduring, may not be offensive, et cetera. that leaves leeway going forward. the other place there is leeway is this. geographically because isis though it started in iraq and syria, now has affiliates and supporters in other countries, yemen, libya. this could expand this war beyond where it is now.
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isis fighters parade through conquered territory with dozens of vehicles in tow but this isn't iraq or syria. it is libya. as the isis flag waves over parts of more and more countries, the new military authorization could give president obama and his successor the freedom to fight the militants wherever they carve out a safe haven. there are already concerns about overreach. >> the resolution that says we can go after isil any time anywhere using any level of ground force as long as it's not an enduring offensive, that pretty much is carte blanch. >> reporter: isis is expanding its presence beyond iraq and syria to libya. the terror group claimed responsibility for an attack to a hotel in january that killed at least ten, including an american. to the sinai peninsula in egypt, where dozens were killed when isis launched a series of suicide attacks on army and police positions. isis claims these photos show
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the explosions. on to yemen, where isis has gained some support among fighters for al qaeda in the arabian peninsula. still on the republican side of the aisle, there is the opposite concern, about tying the hands of future presidents to fight terror groups wherever and however they decide. >> the president's point is that he wants to dismantle and destroy isis. i haven't seen a strategy yet that i think will accomplish that. >> reporter: there are growing fears the problem could land in the u.s. >> they are barbarians. i think the barbarians are at the gate. we want to keep them outside the gate of the united states. i'm concerned that some have already returned. >> reporter: the president also said today the coalition is winning against isis in particular saying it has stopped isis momentum particularly in iraq. one place where they are still remarkably resilient is in getting foreign fighters to join their ranks. the numbers up to more than 20,000 foreign fighters not just
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for isis but all the other groups despite the coalition air campaign and despite enormous efforts to try to stop that pipeline of recruits from all around the world into those war zones. >> recruiting and propaganda. the two areas they are still struggling to fight isis. >> they go hand in hand. >> absolutely. let's bring in the ranking democrat on the senate foreign relations committee, senator bob menendez of the great state of new jersey. thanks for being here. one of the reasons why i keep saying this is the first time congress will vote on an authorization of use of military force is because president obama did introduce one, as you well know in 2013. you got it out of committee. then it looked like it was going to fail at least in the house. this is going to be brought before the entire congress. is it going to pass? >> well i think it can pass but certainly not in its present form. this authorization that the president has suggested has many elements of what in the last congress as the chairman of the
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senate foreign relations committee, we passed on a partisan line vote which ultimately yes, gives the president authorization to fight isil. yes, has a three-year limitation. yes, didn't have geographic limitations, but didn't have the language that the president has sent here which is about enduring offensive combat troops. so what that means is going to be very consequential to many members in terms of how they vote. >> you're saying right now that you don't think it can pass in its present form as long as it restrains whether or not the president can introduce enduring combat forces. >> i'm saying that work has to be done. look there's a tough needle to thread here from the democratic side there are many who are concerned that after endless wars in iraq and afghanistan, the last thing they want to do is vote for something that gives an endless opportunity. even though there's a three-year
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time frame here which is a check to some degree by the same token, if you end up having tens of thousands of troops at the end of those three years, how easy is it to not vote to continue? secondly the other side of the coin will say well we don't want any checks and balances on the commander in chief in order to degrade and defeat isil. the sweet spot is somewhere between those two. i think this is a good foundation the white house has put out, but we will have to refine it in order to get that broad bipartisan support that we want. >> what do you think you need to do to pass it? what's the language need to be? >> i think we need to refine what enduring offensive combat troops means. even if the president puts some sense of numbers behind that some sense of time frame, what does that mean as it relates to defensive troops versus offensive troops. does that mean you can have an endless participation of defensive troops. so of course hearings will help mold this and i know that the
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foreign relations committee is going to be pursuing those hearings. these are all parts of working towards a goal. i think the good news here is that there is a common desire to stand up as a country and make it very clear, a very clear declaration we are out there to defeat isil and democrats and republicans want to join in that. how we get there is going to be the critical process which is what legislating is all about. >> the authorization would expire in three years. nancy pelosi says she hopes three years is longer than is required to defeat isis but that's kind of dreaming, isn't it? >> listen it's aspirational but you know at the end of the day, one of the reasons that i put in my original authorization that we passed out of the committee three years is because it got you past this presidency gave enough time for the next president to be looking at what they were engaged in where we were at in the fight against
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isil and make a determination. so i think that it's a reasonable time frame to call the question to have an accountability at that time of understanding where we are in the campaign against isil. if we defeated them that would be great. if we have not fully defeated them, what will it take to finalize the job. >> the house homeland security committee held a hearing today on the ongoing terror threat. i want you to listen to republican congressman jeff duncan. >> al qaeda and all of its elements, aqap boko haram, al shabab all these terrorist groups are still active, right? >> yes, sir. >> we shouldn't take our eye off the ball with just focusing on isis and think of this globally and not get hung up on the 50 shades of terrorism, talk about terrorism about terrorism. these groups are a threat all over the globe. >> senator, what do you make of that argument that this is focused too much on isis and not on the threat writ large? >> well there are many threats
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in terrorism but they all have gradations as to the nature of the threat the risk to our allies, the risk to the national security of the united states. in the case of isis they have proven to be the most effective and also well funded terrorist organizations right now in the world. and what we need to do is to degrade and defeat them before they have the operational capacity to try to create an attack here on the homeland in the united states. so i do believe in differentiating. that doesn't mean we aren't going to continue a fight against terrorism in other parts of the world, but i don't know that you put every terrorist in the same exact standing. yes, they are terrorists but some have greater abilities, greater effect more consequential at a given time. you have to look at all of the elements to decide how do you best pursue your national security and how do you best fight them. >> senator bob menendez from the great state of new jersey thank you.
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appreciate it as always. just when you thought isis could not sicken you any more we are getting new information about the horrible final days of american hostage kayla mueller. why u.s. intelligence now believes that she may have been given to an isis terrorist as something, some sick version of a bride. that's next. why do we do it? why do we spend every waking moment, thinking about people? why are we so committed to keeping you connected? why combine performance with a conscience? why innovate for a future without accidents? why do any of it? why do all of it? because if it matters to you it's everything to us. the xc60 crossover. from volvo. lease the well-equipped volvo xc60 today. visit your local volvo showroom for details. toenail fungus? don't hide it...
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but unfortunately, that operation failed. kayla was captured in northern syria in 2013 as you know. she had just left a doctors without borders hospital in aleppo where she worked with humanitarian groups. now we are learning about the nothing short of torture, really that this young woman possibly went through while in isis captivity. cnn justice correspondent pamela brown has been in touch with her intelligence sources all day on this story. pamela? >> well i want to make sure we point this out, that it is challenging to have a full picture and know definitively what life in captivity was like for kayla because intelligence officials have repeatedly told us it's very difficult to discern what's going on there. but the bits and pieces that we are learning about paints a picture of an incredible young woman trying to survive. intelligence suggests 26-year-old kayla mueller was given to a male isis fighter, possibly as a bride, after she was kidnapped in syria in 2013 according to u.s. government officials. officials say there are also indications mueller converted to
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islam, a practice seen in the past by hostages in the middle east. >> these hostages are under severe duress for a very long time, threatened with death and so forth. for them to say we are going to convert to the religion of our hostage takers suggests that maybe they can curry favor that way. >> reporter: cnn has learned the pictures sent privately to mueller's family from isis helped confirm her death, according to a u.s. official pictures included mueller wearing muslim garb and a picture of her wrapped in a burial shroud. a stark contrast from the brutal beheadings of other male hostages. former fbi hostage investigator chris voss says it's clear isis treated mueller differently. >> because she was remarkably decent human being and because she was a woman, that it wouldn't be surprising for them to treat her with more respect in life and in death. if they covered her and wrapped her properly those are respectful actions. >> reporter: how she died remains a mystery but the u.s. military says there is no evidence backing up the isis claim that mueller was killed in a jordanian air strike.
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arizona congressman says there were several foiled rescue attempts to save mueller and one attempt, a man claimed to be muler's husband from her hometown of prescott arizona and demanded her release at a syrian terrorist camp but was turned away after mueller denied being anyone's wife. >> she said she wasn't married and she didn't lie to her captors that she was married. that foiled that plan. >> kayla's college professor spoke to "new day" and said there were teams of people quietly networking for her release because her captors made it clear an absolute demand that she would be executed if her name ended up in the media. that is part of the reason why we didn't really hear about her until recently. >> we should hope that these intelligence community theories are wrong, obviously. just theories but obviously, gleaned from intelligence. thank you so much. it is a stare-down an old school cold war stare-down of sorts between vladimir putin and the rest of europe.
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will he accept a peace plan to stop the carnage in ukraine and keep it from spreading? plus the murder of three muslim americans in north carolina three students is fueling outrage after police suggest they were killed over a parking dispute. the family insists this was a hate crime. stay with us. fofofofofofofofofofofofofofofofor fastidious librarian emily skinner, each day was fueled by thorough preparation for events to come. well somewhere along the way emily went right on living. but you see, with the help of her raymond james financial advisor, she had planned for every eventuality. ...which meant she continued to have the means to live on... ...even at the ripe old age of 187. life well planned. see what a raymond james advisor can do for you. ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] you wouldn't ignore signs of damage in your home. are you sure you're not ignoring them in your body? even if you're treating your crohn's disease or
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welcome back to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. in world news the stakes are high perhaps much higher than that of the fate of just one nation. talks are beginning to try and end russia's bloody incursion into neighboring ukraine. the leaders of france germany, ukraine and russia are all there. talks are ongoing at this hour. the eastern part of ukraine has been at war now for close to a year as quote, unquote, rebels who of course are in no way backed by russian president vladimir putin according to russian president vladimir putin, have laid waste to much of the eastern part of the country, in addition of course to having already snatched crimea. despite an attempt at peace talks, both sides in the bloody war in eastern ukraine seem to
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be stepping up the fight. we have seen some of the biggest blasts of the war in this week leading up to what is being called the minsk summit. today four people were killed nine injured after two buses were hit by shelling and exploded. nick paton-walsh is live in donetsk. civilians are leaving in fear of attacks like this every day. what's it like on the ground right now? >> reporter: well there's a strange quiet in the center of donetsk here. it was very different hours ago. we heard a lot of outgoing and incoming shelling. the day started extraordinarily badly. rush hour here in the very city center of donetsk where the shell struck two buses, the driver in fact killed in his own seat still there. we went towards the north, saw separatist artillery in action firing towards, an extra strange piece of hardware too, the sa-15
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gopher. they have remarkably good equipment for what many are saying is an indigenous force of ukrainian militia men. all eyes on minsk, whether or not those talks with slow down the violence here at all. the russian foreign minister lavrov just quoted by russian state media suggest that any signing of a document won't be today, will be tomorrow. it is already tomorrow now in belarus so it could be imminent. nobody really knows. they are trying to read the body language of the world leaders, who is walking with who, who is standing next to who, but really so much riding on this not just the fate of a small part of eastern ukraine but really whether europe and the west can curtail vladimir putin's ambitions and whether or not what we refer to as the previous european order will be smashed by what's been happening here in eastern ukraine. >> nick paton-walsh, thank you. the politics lead. yes, we can, was kind of barack obama's stairway to heaven. now his former message guru is
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out with a new book that claims candidate obama may have been hiding something on his march to the white house. we will talk to david axelrod about his biggest bombshell next. it's happening. today, more and more people with type 2 diabetes are learning about long-acting levemir® an injectable insulin that can give you blood sugar control for up to 24 hours. and levemir® helps lower your a1c. levemir® comes in flextouch® the only prefilled insulin pen with no push-button extension. levemir® lasts 42 days without refrigeration.
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look for the experience and commitment to go the distance with you. call now to request your free decision guide. ♪ ♪ welcome back to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. our politics lead today. president obama finding himself facing questions that for years, he hid from voters his personal support for same sex marriage while publicly claiming he opposed it. this of course before his about-face when he said he supported it. what's surprising is the source of this charge one of his closest advisors david axelrod, who has been one of the president's closest advisors for years, helping the lead his groundbreaking campaign and serve as senior advisor in the white house. axelrod is out with a book entitled "believer, my 40 years in politics." thanks for being here. the book is a great read. i have to say the early politics stuff and the stuff about your days as a newspaperman and going through politics is fascinating. i'm going to stick to more
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current politics. >> i'm not surprised by that. >> all that was really very riveting. >> thank you. i tried to write a book about my life and not just about contemporary politics. >> like you still have a few more years in you, i'm hoping. >> we'll see how this book does. you know the subhead on the book was supposed to be how my idealism survived 40 years in politics. that's really what the story is about. >> it's fascinating. starts off with you sitting watching jfk on a mailbox. let's start with the same sex marriage kerfuffle. >> i wouldn't characterize it quite the way. i would call the ait a charge. what it was was what he described in his own interview with buzzfeed yesterday -- >> that's what i want to ask you about. so you wrote that i had no doubt that support for same sex marriage was his heartfelt belief but because of the politics he opposed it while being humane talking about civil unions and the rest. the president telling buzzfeed in a new interview quote, i think the notion that somehow i was always in favor of marriage
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per se for same sex couples isn't quite accurate. did you get it wrong, is he trying to fuzz it a little? >> if you go on in that interview, what he said was i have my personal view and then i had my public position. >> which is exactly what you said. >> exactly. >> he wasn't really disputing it. >> no. he was frustrated he said he was frustrated but understood that the market what the market would bear. my point is this is not uncommon in history. great leaders often work in that way. he had a goal and he worked his way to that goal and most people i think in the gay and lesbian community would say there hasn't been a president who has been more accomplished in terms of breaking down these barriers. so i think he found his way there. >> sure. something else you wrote that i found fascinating, because he does seem so cool and aloof and disdainful of washington disdainful of the media in a lot of respects. you write -- >> except you. >> i don't know about that.
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you wrote, it's about a 2006 memo you sent to then senator obama in preparing for his presidential race you were worried he couldn't take a punch. you said you care far too much what is written and said about you, you don't relish the combat when it becomes personal and nasty, when the largely irrelevant alan keyes, his opponent in the senate race attacked you, you flinched. do you think he still has that problem? >> i think campaigns are proving grounds. he was involved in the longest and toughest nominating fight in history against a very formidable opponent and i learned a lot about him. i think he learned a lot about himself. he took a lot of punches and kept on going. what i learned about him was that when those punches came and when we had downturns, he was as resilient as anybody. >> he learned to blow it off? >> he was calm and focused and
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pushing us forward when things went badly and that was a great leadership quality that i didn't know until i saw him in action. that's the thing about presidential politics you are tested along the way. he passed the test. >> the interesting thing about the same sex marriage revelation of his actual feelings is that there's a scene that you write about and it had been written about before but not in as much first-hand detail. in 2012 he's sitting there with senior advisors talking about the things that he felt he had been insufficiently forthright your language about with voters. same sex marriage some other issues immigration reform. one of them was president obama said again, this is your language he had been pulling his punches with israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu for fear of antagonizing some elements of the american jewish community. do you think that the fight we are seeing right now between netanyahu and obama is partly obviously netanyahu and boehner have their roles as well but
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partly as a result of this second term obama doing what he wants to do? >> i think they clearly had a strained relationship because the president had a view of pushing this peace process forward and he felt both sides have been difficult in that regard. i think what's happening right now is largely a consequence of the election in israel. i think president netanyahu saw -- prime minister netanyahu saw advantage in his race which is two weeks after he visits washington or is scheduled to in terms of stirring up this controversy over the iranian negotiation. >> you don't think he's been freed to be a little bit more -- >> the president? >> yeah. >> oh, i think he's having the time of his life right now. i think he feels very much unrestrained in terms of speaking to all these issues. but i don't think that's the provocation that led us to where we are now. >> do you think it's playing a role though? >> no. i think this was propagated by
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netanyahu and boehner. >> in the same 2006 memo that you wrote to then candidate obama, you wrote about hillary clinton and of course at this time she was going to be your opponent in the democratic primaries. you wrote she was not quote, a healing figure and when she tries to moderate her image she risks looking like an opportunist. she is almost assuredly going to be the democratic presidential nominee. what would you advise her to do to overcome this issue that she's not a healing figure? >> i think part of it is the times are different. she's in a different place, the times are different, the political environment is different. i think the most important thing for her is i saw her in 2007 as a poor candidate because she was so cautious shrouded in this veil of inevitability. once she lost the iowa caucuses she became a different candidate, much less guarded, much more willing to connect with people in a visceral way, much more revealing of herself, much more of an advocate. that's the person she needs to be to win the election. she needs to project a vision of
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where she wants to take the country. your rationale has to lead your candidacy. it didn't in 2008. if she does it this time i think she can be a formidable candidate. >> lastly which republican do you think poses the biggest threat to democrats in 2016? >> i have said that i think if governor bush can navigate his way through the republican primary process, and not compromise his position on immigration reform and some of the other positions he's taken, he will be a very very formidable candidate. but i think that's a big if because the center of gravity in the party has been so far to the right that the notion of getting through that process without having to compromise and make faustian bargains is remote. >> the book is "believer, my 40 years in politics." it's really a very riveting and warm read. you really get a sense of you -- >> i so appreciate it. >> i recommend it to everyone out there, even a political junkie especially.
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coming up on "the lead" three muslim students shot to death near one of the most well-known campuses in the country. why police say the suspect's facebook page may reveal his real motive. plus he's pointed out the absurdity of every presidential election since florida, florida, florida in 2000. what are we going to do in 2016 without jon stewart making fun of us here at cnn? ♪♪ edward jones. this is shirley speaking. how may i help you? ♪♪ oh hey, neill, how are you? how was the trip? with nearly 7 million investors he's right here. hold on one sec. you'd expect us to have a highly skilled call center. kevin, neill holley's on line one. ok, great. and we do. it's how edward jones makes sense of investing. the real question that needs to be asked is "what is it that we can do that is impactful?" what the cloud enables
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and a 97% on-time rate xfinity is perfect for people with a busy life. welcome back to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. in other national news a gruesome triple murder in chapel hill north carolina has become a story generating international concern and outrage. police say 46-year-old craig steven hicks shot three students to death in an apartment tuesday afternoon. all three were muslims. two of them were newlyweds. the crime is horrific enough but it is compounded by the growing dispute between police and the victims' families who claim they were murdered because of their islamic faith. the wife of the accused shooter denied that allegation earlier today. >> i can't say with my absolute belief that this incident had
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nothing to do with religion or victims' faith, but in fact was related to the long-standing parking disputes that my husband had with the neighbors. >> as if any of that makes sense. i want to go right to cnn national correspondent suzanne malveaux who is live in chapel hill with the latest. what have people in the neighborhood been telling you about why they think this happened? >> reporter: you know it's really interesting because you understand why this is an international story when you talk to the community here because i talked to the friends of the victims and they are convinced that there is something more behind this. i want to show you. you still have the vehicles in the driveways, above the condominium of the alleged suspect. people are debating whether or not this is something of a hate crime or if this is simply a matter of neighbors against neighbors, but it is tragic it is bizarre and it is unsolved. chilling 911 calls describe a
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horrifying scene. >> i heard about eight shots go off in an apartment. i don't know the number. then there was nothing. then i heard about three more shots go off. >> reporter: three muslim students shot dead near the campus of the university of north carolina at chapel hill tuesday night. chapel hill police say they are investigating the possibility the shooting was a hate crime, targeting the three students for their muslim faith. the preliminary investigation says the incident began as a dispute over parking, but angry family members insist this had nothing to do with a parking spot. a family spokesperson says the suspect had threatened the victims before. >> we ask that the authorities investigate these senseless and heinous murders as a hate crime. >> reporter: but his wife has come out saying this has nothing to do with religion. >> i can't say with my absolute belief that this incident had nothing to do with religion or victims' faith.
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>> reporter: the alleged shooter, 46-year-old craig steven hicks, turned himself in last night and is being held without bond on three counts of first degree murder. hicks, who claims he is an atheist, allegedly posted anti-religious statements on his facebook page writing quote, when it comes to insults, your religion started this not me. if your religion kept its big mouth shut so would i. cnn could not independently confirm the authenticity of the post or his facebook page. the victims, a 23-year-old dentistry student, his 21-year-old wife of just over a month and her 19-year-old sister. he was a second year student at the unc school of dentistry who was raising money on a fund-raising site to provide dental care to syrian refugee ns turkey. >> have you ever felt helpless
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about the situation in syria and wish you could do something about it? >> reporter: all three were shot in the head sources told a cnn affiliate. we spoke with a close friend of all three victims. >> i would often get annoyed because he was so like -- so loving so embracing you and everything. his hugs were like a choke hold but he was just a beautiful guy. >> reporter: the friends i spoke to there of the slain victims, they say they have never been targeted as a muslim community. they feel they are living in a community that is loving and supportive but still, the family of those slain victims are very much suspicious. >> we will know more in the days ahead as the investigation goes on. suzanne malveaux thank you so much. appreciate it. two tremendous vacancies behind the anchor desks.
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one at the pinnacle of network news the other at the throne of news mockery. what's next for brian williams? what's next for jon stewart? stay with us.
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welcome back to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. time now for the pop culture lead. the thing about this you had letterman and colbert and ferguson dianne sawyer barbara walters, it was already a sea change. after last night you can call it a tv tidal wave. within hours we learned that both jon stewart and brian williams will not be behind their respective anchor desks for very different reasons. let's bring in bill carter the author of "the war for late night." bill good to see you. jon stewart announcing his plans to leave "the daily show" last night. here is him hinting at just what he might do when he leaves the anchor desk.
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take a listen. >> i don't have any specific plans. i got a lot of ideas, got a lot of things in my head. i'm going to have dinner on a school night with my family who i have heard from multiple sources are lovely people. >> so once he kibbitzes with the wife and kids what do you think he's really going to do? >> i think that's really up in the air. obviously he took a break to do a film which he wrote and directed and he may feel that's a skill he wants to explore. i think jon is a big talent and i think he will find something really interesting. i think his main thing is he wants to move on and have another act in his career which is very rare in late night. most of the time you get a late night show that's your career ender. >> who do you think is going to replace him? >> i don't really know and i think it's really up in the air. the name i'm going to throw out is amy schumer, who does a show
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on comedy central. i think she's really funny and really really talented and i think it's time for a woman. that's why i'm suggesting her. although i think really what this job requires is kind of a different skill set, not just a comedian but somebody who has a real point of view. >> stewart in one of his most famous and probably emotional monologues after 9/11 said tv is nothing if not redundant. obviously very different circumstances, very different tone but this show has existed for nearly two decades. do you think it can work without him? >> yeah look "the tonight show" continued. "the daily show" is a format this network has an enormous amount invested in. it was a show before jon. it will be hard to replace him, really hard. i really feel for the person who tries. it's an amazingly difficult task. but it's so important to the network. they will get behind somebody and it will continue. >> shifting to the other major media story, nbc barring brian williams from the anchor desk
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for the next six months. do you think there's anything he could have done differently in the last couple weeks that could have prevented nbc news and comcast from taking this step in. >> my initial feeling was the night that it broke, he should have come on the air and said instead of whatever you know explanation or excuse he made should have come on and said this was a terrible thing, mistake i made and really over the top and i don't know how i lost control of this story and i really have to just ask your forgiveness and i will never do it again and been abject that way. maybe that would have killed some of the attacks, journalism jihad directed against him. i think as they found out more things, maybe it wouldn't have made any difference. i don't know. >> do you think he will come back? >> i can't say now. i think they will try to bring him back or they wouldn't have done it this way. we'll have to see how things play out. stories change. things always are unexpected as you can tell in the last 24 hours. >> do you think lester holt can deliver the ratings that brian did? >> i don't know if he can
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deliver the ratings but i know lester can do a really good job. that's a good choice for them. get a guy in there who can do a really solid job. >> bill carter, thank you for joining me. that's it for "the lead." i'm jake tapper. turning you over to wolf blitzer in "the situation room." happening now, war powers. president obama says a rapidly expanding isis is a threat to the united states and is asking congress for new authority to take the fight to the terror group. will congress go along? rescue missions. we have new details on the desperate efforts to free a young american woman held hostage by isis ranging from a courageous bluff to a military commando raid. and hate crime. that's how the father of two of the three murdered muslim students describes the execution style killings in a quiet college town. what's behind this shocking incident? i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room."

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