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tv   The Lead With Jake Tapper  CNN  December 24, 2013 1:00pm-2:01pm PST

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review. all right. tell you what, it is going to definitely be a white christmas in washington, d.c. the snow is falling, it's beautiful. live pictures of the white house there. the president enjoying christmas in hawaii while everybody there in his working home is going to have a beautiful snowy christmas. "the lead" starts right now with dana bash filling in for jake tapper. well, look who forgot to log off twitter before he left for christmas vacation. hash tag, trawling tapper. i'm dana bash. this is "the lead." the national lead. season's greetings from edward snowden. the man who revealed the u.s. government secret spying program sent a christmas message from asylum, sobering enough to wake your uncle on the sofa. the world lead. pope benedict's approval rating is up there with bacon as he gets ready for his first midnight mass as holy father. we're live in rome. as he prepared to deliver his message to the faithful. the pop lead. it's what you do on christmas
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when you don't celebrate christmas. you know who you are. a sneak peek at the potential blockbusters hitting theaters tomorrow. i'm dana bash in for jake tapper. we begin with the national lead. he's been referred to as everything from a hero to a traitor but you can just call him indoor cat. in a revealing 14-hour interview with the "washington post" former nsa contractor edward snowden opens up about the fallout over his decision to leak classified documents on the government snooping program. if you think his life on the run is like matt damon in a jason borne movie, that's only if the latest installment features borne sitting around a hotel eating chips and writing in his journal. snowden compares his life in asylum in russia to that of an indoor cat, saying he rarely leaves the house. despite that low profile this holiday season seems to have made snowden into somewhat of a chatty kathy. not only did he agree to an interview with the "post" but he
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is also delivering a prerecorded christmas day message to air in russia, similar to most holiday messages except that valuable lesson everyone learns won't be about the giving spirit. it will be about how some creepy guy could be spying on you and your phone calls to grandma. snowden also says no matter what happens as a result of his leaks, he has already won. it's a debatable perspective, to say the least, depending how you view his decision to blow the whistle on the nsa's surveillance program, but what is not debatable is whether his actions have clear consequences for both the national security agency and the obama administration. barton gelman joins me to talk about his interview with edward snowden. this was unbelievable. for the kids at home who don't know this is an actual newspaper, they still do exist. but you were the first person to talk in person to edward snowden. what's he like? >> he is serene. i wasn't sure what to expect.
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this is a man that i had never met face to face before. i had communicated with him over the computers and we all know that it's hard to pick up everything about a personality that way. i didn't know how he would feel about what's become of his act, what followed on, and what i found was a man who is calm and comfortable and at peace with what he did, who believes that he succeeded quite considerably in promoting the debate that he was looking for. >> one of the many criticisms of snowden and the reason why people call him traitor is because they say he should have used the internal process to make his concerns known internally and not take it to the press the way he did, and unveil all of these deep, dark secrets of the u.s. government. he told you that he actually did try. the nsa in your story denied that he did that.
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they said there's no record of him raising his hand and saying i think that this is not a good program to have, we shouldn't be spying on people in the united states the way we are. >> i believe that the nsa has no record of the conversations that he had with four superiors and 15 co-workers about his qualms. he described them in some detail. the nsa also acknowledged to me that they have not asked any of his superiors or his co-workers whether he had conversations like that, and if you think about it, in retrospect, if you had a conversation with edward snowden before he left in which he said what do you think the american people would say if this stuff appeared on the front page, might not want to volunteer that if you weren't asked. >> in the interview, one of the most fascinating quotes for me as somebody who covers capitol hill is what he said about the two chairmen of the intelligence committees in the house and the senate. he told you dianne feinstein t
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senate chairwoman, elected me when she asked softball questions in committee hearings. mike rogers, the republican house chairman, elected me when he kept these programs hidden. you cover national security. you think he has a point? i covered these people on the hill. obviously they support this program but they are no shrinking violets, particularly dianne feinstein. >> i won't pass judgment on what he said. what he believes is the congressional intelligence committees and the fisa court had become a graveyard of judgment. they were captured by the system that they were completely inside the bubble and they were not asking fundamental questions like should the nsa be sort of taking in all of the -- >> how would he know that as a low level guy in hawaii? how would he know those questions weren't asked? >> what he knows is that throughout the period that these programs were operating, a
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period of over a decade under various authorities, there was no congressional effort to scale them back, and in fact, that's correct, there was none. >> just a final question. reading this story, he seems like he's very proud of himself. as you said, he's serene, that he did the right thing, almost like he feels like a martyr for what he thinks is a just cause. if that's the case, why is he hiding? why not come back and face the music? >> i don't think he would call himself a martyr or use language like that. he told me -- >> but he did say to you in several ways that he knew that by doing what he did, that the consequences were going to be unbelievably tough, and he looked around and said these people aren't going to do it so i have to do it. that is in some ways being a martyr for the cause that he believes in. >> well, i'm not going to put words like that in his mouth. it doesn't feel quite like what he was saying. what he was saying was that he
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knew there would be consequences regardless, whether he faced trial. he considered it a possibility there would be physical harm done to them if any government thought it could stop him from making these disclosures. and he also told me from the start that he wanted to create a model, set an example, in which one could resist, one could take secrets and place them in the public domain without being crushed by it. he wanted to show that you could blow the whistle and continue to live a life. so that's what he's trying to do. >> thank you very much. again, this is fascinating. 14 hours sitting down in person, the first journalist to do it, with edward snowden. thank you. >> thanks. now in the world lead, while you were doing your last-minute christmas shopping way up high, more than 200 miles above the planet, two astronauts were taking part in a risky space
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walk. the astronauts were on a mission to fix a cooling pump malfunction on the international space station. it's a critical problem that if left unattended, could have resulted in an evacuation. >> reporter: this is the second space walk to ever take place on christmas eve and after a very long day, the two american astronauts came out celebrating. >> the headline for the day is that we have a newly installed pump module. >> reporter: after a space walk that lasted more than seven hours, astronauts successfully replaced the faulty cooling pump aboard the international space station. the pump, which is the size of a refrigerator, had been damaged for nearly two weeks, cutting back station operations. >> it's like christmas morning in here. everything looks good. nothing seems to be slowing up.
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>> reporter: three hours into the sfas wapace walk, the unit place. >> it's got to go in another inch or so. >> there you go. >> she's finished. pump module in position. >> reporter: the task is a delicate one. the equipment contains a noxious cooling fluid, ammonia. >> some of the dangers hooking up the big heavy ammonia lines, they're really thick and massive, and hooking those up of course, if you were to leak ammonia, it's not a very pleasant chemical. you couldn't bring it inside. so there's definitely risk there. >> reporter: the risk became reality when one of the fluid lines carrying that ammonia got tangled. the crew was able to free the line, but some frozen flakes of ammonia were released during the disconnection process, and it came in contact with the astronauts. >> we have seen very small flakes coming out. >> could you tell if any of the
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flakes contacted your suit? >> absolutely. >> yeah. >> reporter: the two astronauts inspected each other and did not see any suit damage. they still underwent a routine decontamination process before returning inside the station. >> it took a couple looks to get her done but we got it. >> reporter: the pump has been tested and appears to be working properly, but nasa expects it to take several days before all the systems on the international space station are fully functional again. dana? >> that is so cool. thank you very much. coming up on "the lead," he is the man senators turn to for advice and to spill their secrets. next, my interview with the senate chaplain who made a name for himself by admonishing senators in his daily prayers during the government shutdown. plus, toronto covered in ice after a major storm. mayor rob ford vows to do everything he can to help so will it also clean up his image?
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welcome back to "the lead." now time for the buried lead. that's what we call the stories that may not be getting enough attention. you know those family squabbles you dread sitting through this time of year? well, what if you had to witness that pretty much every day? that's sort of what life is like for barry black, who is the senate chaplain. in today's contentious capitol hill environment, black often finds himself playing the role of fed-up mom, caught between kids in a food fight. he deals with it by sending not so subtle messages to senators to cut it out. before the senate left for the
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holidays, i went to barry black's office, tucked away inside the capitol, and got some fascinating insight about his approach to ministering politicians. senate chaplain barry black got a lot of attention this fall by using his daily prayers to admonish senators during the government shutdown, with lines like this. >> cover our shame with the robe of your righteousness. >> i was in an environment where most of the people i minister to had been furloughed because of the federal shutdown. so these were people who were not getting paid, and who definitely needed their checks. if i could not muster up some passion, if i could not muster up some candor, and if i could not be somewhat prophetic in what i was talking to god about, then shame on me. i really don't need to be in this job. >> forgive us also when we put
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politics ahead of progress. >> did you get any blowback from any senators saying this isn't your job, sir? >> i didn't. i tried in my prayers to be sufficiently nonpartisan that nothing i said could not be used as a description for both sides of the aisle. >> that's not easy. >> deliver us from the hypocrisy of attempting to sound reasonable while being unreasonable. anyone watching the debates would know that that indictment could be made for both sides. >> you were parodied on "saturday night live." >> just drown everybody. or at least allow your cleansing waters to carry them to a place far, far away. >> yes, i thought it was funny. i thought the premise was quite humorous, that, you know, not
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that i would want a flood to come and i certainly would extend a hand if i were in a boat to help someone out of the water but it was funny. >> black is known for his public prayers but most of his work is in private, ministering to the senate community, a place he says really needs it. >> i am providing spiritual guidance through religious education. i officiated weddings and funerals. i'm in the hospitals for hospital visitations. i have been with a number of senators when they died. >> whose bedside were you at when they died? >> well, most recently with senator daniel inoue from hawaii. >> what was that like? >> he was a great american, an amazing man. the last thing he did was scribble the word aloha on a piece of paper. there was nothing more instructive than being with
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someone who dies well. >> do any senators ever come to you for advice on how they are going to vote? >> i have senators who ask me how would you vote on this issue, which is one way of saying how do you think i should vote. >> how do you answer those questions? >> well, i tell senators i'm more interested in you having ethical reasons and evidence for your vote, and so i would rather teach you about ethical decision making than to tell you which way to go on a particular issue. >> it's not unusual, unfortunately, for senators to have ethical problems. have you had those senators come to you seeking -- >> i usually know about the ethical challenges long before it hits the media. yes, i have had senators who have attended my bible study who have had ethical challenges and ethical problems. the psalm says we are born in sin and shaped in inequity. a poet once said there's a little bit of bad in the best of
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us and a little bit of good in the worst of us so it behooves the rest of us not to talk about the rest of us. >> i'm curious to get your take on the kind of impact pope francis is making. he's making catholics happy to be catholics again. he's making non-catholics look at the church and the tenets of the church based on what he has been saying and it's kind of political. what do you think about it? >> i think there's a providence that seems to raise up great leaders at the right time. i think he brings a desperately needed charisma, coupled with this amazing humility. you rarely see that kind of a synthesis of this marvelous charisma, yet this amazing humility. paying your own hotel bills and carrying your luggage and this kind of thing. just a tremendous example of how people of faith ought to live.
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i'm just so excited. >> it is christmastime. lot of people are thinking about their spiritual center. what is your wish for congress and for the senate this holiday season? >> well, my wish is that our lawmakers and all of those who labor for freedom will take seriously the notion of peace on earth, good will to humankind. that is so critically important. in the sermon on the mount, jesus said blessed are the peace makers, for they will be called the children of god. and i want us all to be the children of god. we need to take peace a little more seriously than we do. so let there be peace on earth, as the hymn writer says, and let it begin with me. let it begin with us. >> the minister also has a ph.d. in psychology, which you might imagine comes in quite handy
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often in his line of work. very interesting man. when we come back, fears of a potential civil war and an increasing humanitarian crisis as marines stand by to evacuate americans. plus, she tried to fly under the radar this year, but she just couldn't stay out of the headlines. so how will 2013 come into play for hillary clinton if she does decide to run for president? stay with us. this is the quicksilver cash back card from capital one.
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welcome back to "the lead." i'm dana bash in for jake tapper. in other world news, it's something that many of us don't want to think about this time of year, but it is a story that is too important and too horrific
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to be ignored. in south sudan, there are reports of mass graves and attacks on civilians as violence spreads throughout the country. u.s. marines are standing by in the region to help evacuate americans caught in the middle of the chaos. tensions in the country are between south sudan's president and supporters of the former vice president boiled over about a week ago. since then, hundreds have been killed and many fear the country could be on the brink of a civil war. joining me now with more on this is our foreign affairs reporter, elise labbatt. how widespread is this violence? >> it started in the last week or so in the capital, but it seems to have been spreading throughout the country. you saw over the weekend in this area where there was intense fighting and they had to evacuate those americans and also in some of the oil-producing areas, and the numbers have been relatively small, about 500 so far. that's not a large number. but now that you're hearing about these mass graves, there is a concern here that it's much bigger problem than people
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realize, and they're worried about this full-blown civil war. that's why just moments ago, the united nations security council voted to almost double its peacekeeping operation from about 6700 to about 12,000. there's a growing international concern. >> just quickly on americans, what's the status of americans there? most have gotten out, right? >> most have gotten out. they have taken somewhere about 380 americans. there are about 100 or so still working in the country but that's why those marines have moved from spain to be at the ready to take them out, because after benghazi, the attack on the consulate, this is the new normal, having an emergency force ready. >> humanitarian crisis could be mind-blowing. >> you have about 80,000 people displaced right now. half of those are in u.n. camps. they need food, they need water. the u.n. is trying to bring in supplies right now but there is also a concern that it -- you know, refugees could be spreading to other countries such as uganda, kenya, and become a regional crisis.
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>> you have the humanitarian side and also the national security risk. it is the continent of africa. how much of a security risk is it, particularly when you talk about al qaeda? >> there is always a concern, particularly there has been a growth of al qaeda in africa and also, when you have lawlessness. when you have chaos, there is always a fertile ground perhaps for al qaeda to spread. we have seen it in syria right now. i don't think that's the big concern right now. i think the big concern is that these ethnic tensions are bubbling over and we're seeing, you know, the kind of disasters that we saw in darfur, you know. you think years back about rwanda. that's the concern, they can relatively keep it concerned. that's why you have a u.n. envoy on the ground trying to mediate this, bring the parties to the table. >> i was just going to ask you. hopefully he will be successful. >> he seems to be having some success in coaxing them to the table. we have to see what happens. >> thanks. we know you'll stay on it. thank you. the toronto area is facing a frigid christmas.
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temperatures are in the single digits. thousands of people are without electricity, thanks to a brutal ice storm. many cities lean on their mayors to step in in times like this, but you remember who toronto's mayor is, right? the guy better known for smoking crack and wacky behavior than leadership. but the storm may have provided rob ford an on-ramp to the road to redemption. no matter how icy it is. here's margaret connelly. >> reporter: it will be a cold, dark christmas for nearly 200,000 people in ontario after an ice storm blew through canada, leaving hospitals and homes without power. at the center of the storm and from the city hardest hit is toronto's embattled mayor, rob ford. so far, unlike in recent months, he appears to be sticking to script. >> we're going to stay here every day, including christmas day, until every light's back on the city. >> reporter: ford says this has been one of the worst storms in toronto's history. >> it's a challenge. my heart breaks for these people. >> reporter: with paramedics and hospitals running overtime and warming stations placed
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throughout the city, the situation on the ground is improving, and with it, the mayor's image. mayor ford's tone handling the storm stands in contrast to his string of very public gaffes that have shown him dancing to a different tune. from his crack cocaine confession -- >> yes, i have smoked crack cocaine. but -- do i? am i an addict? no. have i tried it? probably in one of my drunken stupors. >> reporter: to this rant. city council has since stripped form of mayoral powers, funding staff and control over policies. it's not too late for him to turn things around. he could launch his re-election campaign as early as next week. >> imagine he's 60 pounds lighter, articulate, knows his stuff, showing up for work and keeps doing these events where he looks mayoral and people read about him in the paper talking about city services as opposed to quote, drunken stupors, and it's a redemption story.
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>> reporter: mayor ford seems determined to charge ahead, no matter what obstacles he hits along the way. margaret connelly, cnn, new york. >> when we come back, from an ambitious presidential agenda that didn't quite pan out to governor chris christie calling on washington to watch and learn, see how it's done, we look back at some of the biggest political moments of the year. plus, it's where millions of americans will spend their holidays this year, at the movie theater. which films with christmas openings are worth seeing? watch ahead. [ male announcer ] for every late night, every weekend worked, every idea sold... ♪ ...you deserve a cadillac, the fastest growing full-line luxury brand in the united states. including the all new 2014 cadillac cts, motor trend's 2014 car of the year. get the best offers of the season on our award winning products. like a 2014 ats and srx.
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call or click today. welcome back to "the lead." i'm dana bash in for jake tapper. in our politics lead, 2013 was a rough year here in washington for president obama, defending his obamacare legacy, for republicans fighting with each other and a government shutdown that lasted for weeks. needless to say, a lot did not get done here this year. like no one else can, our chief political correspondent candy
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crowley takes us through the top ten political moments of 2013. >> reporter: it was the year of living angrily. >> sit down and shut up. >> do you stand for your country or do you want to take it down? >> this place is a mess. >> i resoundingly reject that allegation. >> reporter: white hot rhetoric. icy cold relationships. that said, 2013 started as inaugural years often do, nicely enough. >> my fellow americans, we are made for this moment and we will seize it. >> reporter: he was a popular president with an ambitious agenda, revamping the tax code, reforming schools, better job training and new energy policy and improved voting process, immigration reform and gun control. none of it has happened. turns out january was the kindest month. the president ends the year with an approval rating that has gone south and focused on saving the health care reform he won in the first term. >> there was a time when i was a young invincible.
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after five years in this office, people don't call me that anymore. >> reporter: another year like this and they will call him lame duck. paul, cruz and rubio, sons of the tea party, newbies on the block, 2016 rising. this son of cuban immigrants catapulted to star status, pushing his party toward immigration reform. >> i wasn't going to leave it to democrats alone to figure out how to fix it. >> rand paul blocked a presidential nominee trying to get clarity on the administration's use of drones. >> i will speak until i can no longer speak. >> reporter: and a one-off politician from the lone star state. >> keep up the good fight. thank you very much. >> reporter: ted cruz staged an overnight faux filibuster to make the case against obamacare, filling time with a bedtime story for his kids. >> i do not like green eggs and ham. i do not like them, sam i am. >> welcome to new jersey.
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>> reporter: in a moment all his own, another of the 2016's rising, new jersey governor chris christie wins a landslide re-election and sounds like he's opening a presidential campaign. >> i know that if we can do this in trenton, new jersey, maybe the folks in washington, d.c. should tune in their tvs right now, see how it's done. >> reporter: also in a league all her own, the former first lady, former senator, former secretary of state, left washington for something else, but not without a few choice words. >> the fact is, we have four dead americans. was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they would go kill some americans, what difference at this point does it make? >> reporter: hillary clinton's benghazi moment. if she runs for president, expect republicans to make it a tv ad moment. >> i now declare you spouses for life. >> reporter: number five brought to you by the u.s. supreme court. less a 2013 moment than a page
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in history for gay rights. under the cover of boring, senate democrats blew up the status quo with the first major rules change in more than three decades, banning filibusters for all presidential nominees except the supreme court, and sending republicans into orbit. >> let's not forget about the raw power, the raw power at play here. >> reporter: the change will essentially give any president with a senate majority the power to reshape the lean of federal courts. this 2013 moment, another one for the ages. coming in at number three. >> further proceedings on this motion will be postponed. >> reporter: the moments that didn't happen. work left undone. megaproblems unaddressed. gridlock, it's not just about traffic anymore. the first government shutdown in 17 years, and people read that voters largely blamed republicans, producing the democratic talking point of the 2014 election.
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republicans as obstructionists. >> if we don't have our own way, we are going to shut government down. you and that attitude are a luxury this country cannot afford. >> reporter: by year's end, republicans had a counterpoint, the president's affordable care act. obamacare got off to a troubled start with the website from hell. >> if you like your health care plan -- >> reporter: and his broken you can keep your insurance promise. >> when we get to january 1st it will be clear that more americans will have lost their health insurance than will sign up under the new obamacare policies. >> reporter: as it happens, the final moments of 2013 are the tee-up for the politics of 2014. shutdown versus meltdown. let the midterm elections begin. oh, and happy new year. candy crowley, cnn, washington. >> thanks, candy. a lot to unpack from 2013. let's bring in our political panel. hillary rosen, cnn political
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commentator. a.b. stoddard, associate editor of the hill and ramesh, senior editor of the national review. want to start actually with some news about obamacare. some big numbers that we got yesterday and today. two million site visits. the call center has received more than 250,000 calls. 129,000 provided their e-mail addresses. now, this probably isn't that much but considering how far down they were before, it's progress. what do you think? do you think if this continues to get better with regard to the website, that it's going to be a much better political issue for democrats, or is it much deeper than the website? >> well, i think the website is not the only problem with obamacare right now. there are other challenges the program faces. if this ends up being a success, it will be the legacy of this property, it will exonerate democrats as well as president obama.
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the problem is that just because you become an enrollee doesn't mean that you are an insured person. >> right. you have to pay -- >> that is a real problem. no one's telling us the insurance companies had to be paid for these policies. this will be another headache in january when people find out they weren't actually insured. >> how much is the white house preparing for that, for another sort of round of oh, my goodness, people think they have health care, they lost their health care which is why they rushed to sign up for january 1st and oops, didn't realize they had to pay or the government website didn't connect with the insurors and they don't even know they have the insurance. >> if you have signed up, you know you do have to pay. there are pretty clear instructions on this. most people don't think they have something without paying for it. i think this is kind of a made-up problem. my sense is this is -- we are still going to have, you know, back and forth over coverage over the next six months. but i do think that it's going to even out enough that it's not going to be much of a factor in the election and it's obviously clear that it's going to take a year or two for people to really see the benefit of this law over
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the long term. but politics i think is going to move beyond this. >> that's what i want to ask. do you think that republicans have put too many of their eggs, frankly all of their eggs, in the obamacare basket and what if it does get better, then what are you going to run on? >> i don't think the republicans are all that worried about the plan working out as promised. look, the target was seven million enrollees in the exchanges. i don't think it is at all realistic to think that that is going to happen. i think they're going to fall far short of that. there is still going to be a lot of people who have higher premiums, there are going to be a lot of people as boehner said in that clip that we saw, we could very well have a situation where we have fewer people with health insurance as a result of obamacare. >> this is what's going to happen, i think. you'll have the president come out, state of the union, and over the next several weeks, really focus on the middle class, on raising the minimum wage, on income inequality. those economic issues are going to start to take center stage for democrats again, and the
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entire republican campaign for next year is going to be on trying to prevent people from getting health insurance. that is just not going to fly. i think ultimately -- what are you going to do for people, you don't do something for people you're not going to win. >> let me look ahead to a fun subject for political junkies like us, which is 2016. i know we're just getting into 2014 next week but go with it here. republicans, we have people who i cover in the senate, ted cruz, marco rubio, and so on. what is your sense of how people are really getting ready behind the scenes? because it isn't too early. >> they are getting ready behind the scenes. it's never too early. hillary clinton on the other side obviously is getting prepared so she's in a position if she wants to run. if you're not as famous as she is, you better have gotten started already. i think this is the challenge to the republican party. i think that obamacare will be an issue in this election.
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i don't know that it's turned around politically by the heat of the election campaign in september of 2014, lots of changes this year that will come, lots more shoes to drop. republicans will have a great 2014. they will hold the house. they may pick up the senate. they are going to look around as a party, having not unified, having not coalesced, having not repaired all the damage, the divide of their party, and they will say we have -- the tea party will say we had a great 2014 election and they will want to really, really have a conservative nominee while the establishment will say that's not going to win the white house. >> you think they'll get one? ted cruz, does he have a better chance if republicans do well or maybe not as well, his chances will be lower because the republican establishment, so to speak, will be emboldened? >> the party establishment does tend to win presidential nominated contests for the republican party. the question now is is there so much sort of inflammation on the conservative side that that changes. people say that but they say it
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every cycle. >> what's interesting about 2016 for democrats is our candidates are not going to be blocking things in congress. we're going to have nothing -- our folks will have nothing to do with congress. all of republican politics are going to be dictated in the senate and the like by those candidates who are positioning themselves for 2016. >> we'll be watching and i'll be walking the halls and reporting back on it. thank you all very much. when we come back, christmas festivities are already under way at the vatican. pope francis will celebrate his first christmas mass. we'll go live to rome next. plus, a new study says some foods that have been considered dangerous for pregnant women might actually prevent food allergies for their children. that's ahead. mine was earned orbiting the moon in 1971. afghanistan in 2009. on the u.s.s. saratoga in 1982. [ male announcer ] once it's earned, usaa auto insurance is often handed down from generation to generation
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welcome back to "the lead." the world lead. his acts of compassion and his common touch have captivated the world over the last nine months. today, during his first christmas mass as holy father, pope francis is telling the faithful that christmas is a season for giving, but that doesn't mean a wine chiller from brookstone. americans are absolutely wild about this new pope. among american catholics, approval is at almost 90%, higher than at any time that pope john paul was in his last decade in power. he will soon be declared a saint. erin mcloughlin is live in rome. so erin, the pope's christmas message, what is it and more importantly, how different is it and the feel there from years past? >> reporter: i think the catholic church's message during
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the christmas period in general is a liturgical one, that jesus was born on christmas eve, the savior of the world. we heard from the pope in his homily today, the message that jesus was also born into poverty, that he is the light that brightens the darkness. he said throughout the past nine months of his papacy, pope francis has emphasized the impoverished, the disenfranchised, the left fortunate and his message on christmas is no different. on saturday he addressed the governing body of the roman catholic church there and emphasized the importance of the church's service, that he wants a governing body that gets out into the community and actually helps the people. then he led by example, spent the next three hours at a local hospital visiting sick children, meeting with their doctors, bringing christmas cheer. then yesterday, there was this
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historic moment, the two popes met for the very first time to exchange christmas greetings. francis spent 45 minutes with benedict, a sign that this is not your normal or usual papacy. then also not normal, the role of the vatican in reaching out really at a grassroots level to the poor, the pope's christmas gifts this year, he gave 2,000 emigrants at a local shelter prepaid international phone cards so that they might be able to phone home during the festive season. again, emphasizing this role of the church in helping the poor during the christmas season. >> we're all watching from afar. you're there, you are in rome in vatican city. what do you see there maybe that we don't see that makes this pope so popular, even among atheists? >> reporter: i think it's just this idea that the pope is so inclusive. last week was his 77th birthday.
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he invited four homeless men plus their dog into the vatican for breakfast and to celebrate mass. i don't know many people that would do that, let alone the pope. so just this idea that he doesn't speak vatican-ese. he speaks the language of the people. i think that really resonates with people around the world. >> very well put. he doesn't speak vatican-ese. thank you, and merry christmas. be sure to tune in for live coverage of the pope's first christmas mass. that special is tonight, 6:00 p.m. eastern right here on cnn. coming up on "the lead," tomorrow isn't just christmas day. it's also one of the biggest movie days of the year. what's worth seeing? that's next. ♪ [ male announcer ] they are a glowing example of what it means to be the best. and at this special time of year, they shine even brighter. come to the winter event and get the mercedes-benz you've always wished for, now for an exceptional price.
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welcome back to "the lead." time for our pop lead. martin scorsese's film "the wolf of wall street" hits theaters
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tomorrow but you really have to make a time commitment if you want to see jonah hill wear false teeth because the movie is three hours long. that's right, three hours long. ben stiller is the secret life of walter mitty, also coming out tomorrow. both films are getting a ton of promotion. not anchorman 2 level promotion but enough that you know they're hitting theaters. which of these films should be on your must-see list this holiday season? joining me now with his holiday pick is david edelstein, chief film critic for "new york" magazine and for cbs sunday morning. big movie day tomorrow. what are the top picks? >> well, if you live in new york or l.a., you have to see my favorite film of the year which is "her" which is spike jones' amazing love story about a man who falls in love with his operating system. it has a kind of dirty joke premise. it does get erotic but it's actually the most romantic love story i think i have seen in years. it's beautiful.
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it's lyrical. it's funny. and it's fundamentally about humans trying to break through the barriers of our selfish souls. >> what else? anything else -- >> well, american hustle is everywhere, and this is a great rollicking comedy about a lot of con artists who try to remake themselves, you know, as the american dream says we can. it's loosely based on the abscam scandal of the late '70s which means the most outrageously tacky clothes and come-overs you have ever seen. it's fundamentally a serious movie about the government throwing over the little guy. the fbi comes off as a bunch of bums who aren't really concerned about the social welfare. >> amy adams is in that movie. she's in "her." is this a new rule in hollywood, she must be in every movie made?
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>> she is wonderful in both films. in one, she's a sort of girl next door. in the other, she's photographed, in american hustle, as a bombshell. she has -- i won't even go into it. but david o. russell, the great director, does begin many shots kind of with the camera sort of on her feet and going up her legs, and it's very clear that he adores her and the camera adores her, too. she's wonderful. >> this is an appropriate time to turn to family. what families should be going to see if they're sort of getting stir crazy tomorrow and want to go to a movie? >> havei have to confess i have seen the secret life of walter mitty. i'm still really stuck on k "frozen" which manages to be both funny and romantic and deeply, deeply feminist even insofar as, you know, the princes don't come to the
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rescue. it's really sisters doing for sisters. it's really about how very close siblings are torn apart and how they come together in the end. that is the true magic of the film. the songs are lovely, the vocal performances, it's lovely. >> what i've read is that they found a way to try to lure younger boys in to try to convince them this isn't a movie about princesses. think that's accurate? >> most of the disney movies are machine tooled on one level, they try to hit all the demographic bases, parents, girls, boys. sure, there are plenty of men for them to identify with. but i think primarily it's a movie that reminds us all that one of the central relationships in this world, one of the magic relationships, can be between two sisters. >> so what should people not waste their money on? movies are not cheap these days. >> the worst movie of the year i think is so hilariously bad that maybe people might want to see
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it. it's called "labor day" directed by jason wrightman. it's the most daffy, romantic fantasy about an escaped murderer who takes refuge with a mother and essentially fatherless boy, but he doesn't abuse them. he sits down and he makes chili and teaches them how to do a pie crust. you want to use lard and butter. you want to make it hard, cut it in and use your hands. then he helps, teaches the boy how to catch a baseball and fix leaks and makes love to the woman. he ties her up first because she has to be able to pass a polygraph test and say she was taken against her will. so you have bondage and how to make the perfect pie crust. it is so hilarious, i don't like laughing at kate winslet. >> that actually makes me sad because she's such a beautiful actress. >> she is. she's one of my favorites.
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>> this one is a miss? >> she does a lot of conviction here. there is something very beautiful about the performance. but it's also kind of a laugh riot, sadly. sadly a laugh riot. a sad laugh riot. >> listen, that's what the movies are all about, right? >> it is supposed to push -- conflicting emotions are good. >> absolutely. thank you for all that. very important advice. >> thank you. even santa with his stealthy pixie dust smokescreens can't escape the nsa. okay, it's not the nsa. it's norad that's tracking him. right now, it looks like he's somewhere over africa. norad provides updates on facebook, twitter and by e-mail. you can even call to get an update from a live elf. in other buried news, peanut allergies are one of the most common and deadly and if you want your child to avoid them, start them early, really early. like way early. a new study says mothers who started eating peanuts during
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pregnancy may build up a child's tolerance for them and the more women ate, up to five servings per week, the stronger the result. but don't stuff mom's stocking full of planters just yet. that's it for "the lead." i'm dana bash. merry christmas, everyone. i turn you over to brianna keilar, who is filling in for wolf blitzer in "the situation room." happening now, u.s. marines are poised to rescue americans trapped in the middle of a bloody and chaotic conflict in south sudan. we'll be speaking with the u.s. ambassador to the united nations, samantha power. a judge rules in the case of a 13-year-old girl declared brain-dead after a tonsillectomy. her family has been fighting to keep her on life support. 200 miles above the earth, space walking, american astronauts carry out a risky repair job. senator bill nelson, a former astronaut, will join us to talk about it. wolf blitzer is off. i'm brianna keilar. you're in "the situation room."

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