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tv   Wolf  CNN  January 22, 2015 10:00am-11:01am PST

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hello. i'm wolf blitzer in washington. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. we start with breaking news on the fight against isis. we have learned that the coalition has now killed according to the u.s. ambassador to iraq more than 6,000 isis fighters according to them key leaders. that coming from the u.s. ambassador to iraq.
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joining us our pentagon correspondent, barbara starr, nick payton walsh. he's the only western reporter in yemen. also joining us retired u.s. army lieutenant colonel james reese. barbara, first of all, tell us what the united states ambassador to yemen is now saying publicly about the number of isis troops he says the u.s. and his coalition partners have killed in recent months. >> this is a statistic the pentagon never wanted to come out in public. the ambassador now saying the coalition has killed an estimated more than 6,000 isis fighters since the air strikes began. that number actually endorsed by u.s. military sources who say it comes from classified estimates with each air strike that has happened there is a damage assessment how many vehicles how many check points how many enemy fighters killed. let's be clear, this is very
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rough estimate. even military officials tell me they cannot possibly be absolutely certain. none theless, the estimate is 6,000. why is this number now coming out through the u.s. ambassador secretary of state john kerry speaking in london talking about half the isis leadership being killed. they are upset with the iraqi leadership who in the last day or so has come out and said the u.s. isn't doing enough. so that i have responded we are told with this latest statistic. the problem, the pentagon. the military adamantly, adamantly is just livid. they don't want to be seen in the position of doing body counts. the top military official speaking to reporters a short time ago was very distressed about all of this. he said any question of a body count harkins back to the days
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of the vietnam war. so the pentagon, half a century later, still so sensitive about the issue of body counts but now the number is out there. >> we all remember how that vietnam war wound up. i want to go to yemen right now. there's other breaking news in yemen with enormous ramifications on the war on terror. nick payton walsh is joining us from yemen. what are you hearing right now about the chaos that seems to be escalating? >> reporter: wolf, the president has resigned the prime minister has resigned, and the cabinet have resigned. fireworks, gunfire occasionally heard behind me. a monday men to us day really for yemen. we've been seeing the political deal wasn't really it seemed coming into play.
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that required a lot of political concessions from the government here. according to a letter we've seen put on twitter by the former information minister, she says those in cabinet, the prime minister can't go along with the effective nature of president hadi being a figure head with the houthis really it seems calling the shots in government. it seems too now that yes, president hadi has also decided to resign. what now? we don't know. there are some sessions that the succession would be that the speaker of parliament takes up that role. that could end up being someone very close to the former president of yemen. that's all at this stage frankly speculation. it's totally unclear what the houthis want at this stage. we know their leader two nights ago looked like somebody who conveyed himself as a leader here but made no pretenses in
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that speech to actually want to have a political title syrupimply wanting more influence in government. yes, they have an embassy with hundreds of staff here. more important by yemen is home to al qaeda in the arabian peninsula. it's a lengthy campaign that's proven unpopular among some yemenis here. one of their slogans is death to america. they may well have issues with align aligning with the united states here and they do talk a lot about foreign influence in yemen. now the cabinet, prime minister and the president with gone. very stark changes ahead for yemen. >> the question remains there are several hundred american diplomats and military personnel in where heyemen and thousands of american citizens. mostly dual citizens in yemen
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right now. how in danger based on the initial assessments you're getting over there are these americans? >> reporter: well, this stage there's no reason to think anybody is any major concern here. the the u.s. embassy has been at minimal staff for months now and been giving a solid message that even though one of their vehicles was shot up monday night, they do seem calm and going about normal business. that's before the entire government has resigned. we could see a stark change. the city behind me is quiet and there's no indication that the focus of the political change here has been about removing u.s. influence from yemen. it's more it seems about internal grievances and those of the houthis. a remarkable political change here in yemen and great uncertainty about what comes next. >> standby. much more on yemen coming up. i want to bring bob into this. let's get back to the news that
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barbara was reporting from the pentagon quoting the united states ambassador to iraq and the u.s. and its coalition partners have made significant progress and now say they've killed an estimated 6,000 isis troops including many commanders over the past few months in the air strikes. when you hear this kind of talk what's your reaction? >> as barbara said we can't measure this war in body counts. 6,000 isis members -- who knows what that means. but they definitely -- isis still exists. they haven't pulled back from mosul. their core area is still intact. they still have iraqi army bases under siege. i don't think they're going away. and the pentagon has said over and over again we cannot win this war from the air. you know for the baghdad government which is a shia government to complain about what we're doing is just preposterous. they've been sending death
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squads into the province where the sunni live. so they're not helping at all. we're sort of fighting this battle one-handed. the pentagon knows this is going to go on for years. >> colonel, what's your reaction when you hear the u.s. ambassador all of a sudden releasing these kinds of numbers? i don't know if we have colonel reece on the phone. colonel, can you hear me? we don't have him. we're going to try to reconnect with him. let's continue to follow the breaking news. much more on what's going on in iraq syria, also the new developments in yemen. what does that mean as far as al qaeda in the arabian peninsula is concerned. much more right after this. ♪ what makes it an suv is what you can get into it. ♪
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we're following the breaking news out of yemen right now. a u.s. ally embroiled in a violent political stand off now for days. the entire government has now all of a sudden suddenly resigned. that includes the president, prime minister and the entire cabinet. nick payton walsh joining us from yemen. here with me researcher on yemen. she knows a lot about what's going on. let me get your quick reaction to the breaking news. all of a sudden this yemeni government is gone. looks like these shiite-led rebels are about to take over. >> they took over the city saana in 2014. it's kind of a slow takeover. the government finally got the approval from the parliament in
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december. they effectively started working only to see them resign now. president hadi realized he's not going to be able to lead the country like he wishes and that the houthi rebels have taken over everything. >> what are they going to do with the president? >> that is not clear yet. i doubt they will kill him at the time being. however, they leaked voice calls that he had with his chief of staff, whom they already kidnapped a few days ago. seems like they want to set him up in a situation where he can't go to the south because he's originally a southerner. >> nick these houthi rebels, they may not necessarily like aqap their shiite al qaeda is largely sunni, but they're no friends of the united states. their basic slogan is death to america, death to israel damn the jews victory to islam.
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that doesn't sound very encouraging from the u.s. perspective. >> reporter: that is the case. i think in many ways many say the late '70s revolution in iran in terms of the posture. you're right in saying too they do feed into the broader shia-sunni divide being predominantly shia and facing sheer shiite transcribes. when we encounter the houthis here they are polite and calm. you're right to point out much of the rhetoric we've heard from their leader has been to condemn foreign influence in yemen, from saudi to america to the united nations. they have an agenda inside yemen itself. today, it is quite clear that the pressure they put on the streets here and around key presidential buildings has led to the entire collapse of the government here.
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yemen is now without a president, a prime minister or a cabinet. there is of course under the constitution a plan of succession here which i believe may involve the speaker of parliament. he may be an ally of the former president. that's all hearsay at this stage. their leader when he last spoke didn't talk like he wanted to be the next president. he sounded like a leader. laid out his demands. it's clear though that the political deal we heard last night has not stopped president hadi from losing his job. we are now really a country without a clear leader and without states someone to phone and who's the key ally on the war on terror here. >> it could be a great opportunity for aqap to expand as well in the midst of all this turmoil and chaos. bob, there are some analysts here in washington who think
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this potentially, given the fact that the houthi rebels are sort of aligned i guess with iran this could be a big victory for iran in that part of the world and this is going to make the saudis the u.a.e. emirates they're going to get very nervous about this. >> you hit the nail on the saudi arabia has opposed the shia since the beginning of the iranian revolution 1979. in fact iran has financially supported them and supported them with weapons since the revolution. this will tear fie the saudis just as the shia uprising in bahrain did. they have avoided sending troops into yemen. it's a quagmire for the saudis. still, they are pan ibing. and let's not forget right now that the saudi leadership is
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dying off. the crowned prince is very sick. the king is sick. the third in line is controlling the country. but it's not the best time for the saudis to confront a crisis on their border. >> let me let a yemen expert wrap this up for us. looking what's going on right now, looking at the americans who are in yemen right now, if you were giving advice to the u.s. government, would you tell the president of the united states, get those americans out of there asap? >> no i think yemen is safe at the time being. the houthis have been in charge for a while. they've been running the security show. i do however want to say that the americans might need to start talking to the houthis and if the americans are talking to iran in back channels, they need to do the same with the houthis. having said that, the houthis are very different than the iranian shia. we need to kind of distinguish that when we call them shia
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and -- >> it's a different sect. >> very different. >> but they do have good relations with iran? >> only the houthi group. >> it's a real situation unfolding. we're going to stay in touch with you. nick payton walsh, you're not going to go too far away. bob barry is going to be back with us as well. also following other breaking news right now. president obama will not -- repeat, not meet with the israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu when he visits washington in the coming weeks. we're going to jerusalem for the details on what is going on in u.s.-israeli relations right now.
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are you talking to websites again? this website says "free credit scores." oh, credit karma! yeah it's actually free. look, you don't have to put in your credit card information. whew! credit karma. really. free. welcome back to our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer reporting from washington. we're following breaking news this hour on multiple fronts. for this president obama get this will not, repeat not meet with the israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu when he visits washington to address a joint session of congress. that speech has been pushed back to march. the main topic is iran a source of serious conflict between the president and various members of congress from both parties. let's bring in our senior white house correspondent and our global affairs correspondent. she's in jerusalem. tell us what's going on in the white house decision to not meet
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with the prime minister of israel when he visits washington. >> just to give our viewers a little context, remember yesterday the white house said it was blind sided by the speaker's office when house speaker john baber announced that benjamin netanyahu would be coming here to washington to a joint session of congress to give a speech there. the date was originally scheduled for february. then this morning the speaker's office put out a tweet saying march 3rd. the white house was initially asked about this. they said they weren't annoyed. that they were reserving judgment on all this when clearly they were annoyed. they said this was a breach in protocol. then this morning, they put out a statement wolf. i'll read it for you. they say the president will not be meeting with benjamin netanyahu when he comes to washington in march. as a matter of long-standing practice and principle, we do
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not see heads of state or candidates in close proximity to their elections. so as to avoid that the president will not be meeting with netanyahu. so the white house essentially saying here that because this election is only going to be two weeks after netanyahu's speech to this joint session of congress that the president is not going to be meeting with him so they don't look like they're influencing the election in israel. it goes onto say in that statement, that the president and prime minister netanyahu have talked about this issue of iran on multiple occasions and that they'll continue to do that in the future. the sticking point is that the president said the other night in the state of the union address he will veto any legislation that comes in the midst of these nuclear talks between the u.s. these world powers and iran over constrain constraining its nuclear
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program. of course netanyahu is coming to congress to give his opinions there to pass some sort of legislation. so the president is essentially responding to what was a very big diplomatic snub yesterday it seemed when house speaker boehner invited netanyahu to come to congress. >> let's get the israeli reaction. we talked about this yesterday when the speaker first invited the prime minister to come. that was supposed to be february 11th. now it's been moved to march 3rd. the israeli elections are scheduled for march 17th. that's two weeks after netanyahu would be in washington. the opposition parties in israel were deeply irritated, that in effect they saw this as republican interference trying to elevate or boost the prime minister. these are close elections in israel just weeks before the election. now the white house is saying they're not going to play that game. they're not going to meet with
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the prime minister of israel because they don't want to interfere with politics. they've been pretty irritated by what's going on right? >> well, they're very irritated and circling petitions urging the prime minister not to come so closely. his last speech a few years ago, he got 29 standing ovations. what this does is really give him this photo op a few weeks before the election. it's just not the case right now. the leaders have a very tense relationship. this visit so close to the election just gives him a boost that the opposition parties don't feel he deserves. but, listen netanyahu is still not even confirming this visit. basically, it's hardly surprising when you see the reaction from the white house. this invitation is a poke in the eye to everybody. on one hand it inserts israel
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into the fight between president obama and the congress other iran. at the same time it inserts the united states into the israeli election. would president obama have met with president -- prime minister netanyahu had he come on the original date a full month before the election probably not. i don't think we'll ever know. this could really backfire on netanyahu. now he's coming to the united states. he will not meet with the u.s. president which is something that they've done in the past and netanyahu doesn't like it. >> i wouldn't be surprised at all as someone's whoever covered those relations for a while if that whole visit is postponed. it's going to be a tight election. polls showing it could be very very close. maybe netanyahu will decide not to come to washington at this sensitive moment after all and not get into this fight that's underway between the president of the united states and many members of congress. a lot of republicans, but even a whole bunch of influential
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democrats at the same time. we'll see what falls out. it has been rather awkward this entire situation. coming up we're following two other breaking news stories for you right now. an estimated 6,000 isis fighters according to the u.s. ambassador in iraq have been killed in iraq and syria by u.s.-led coalitions forces. and yemen's government resigns after a coup. all of the angles on these breaking stories right after this. curling up in bed with a favorite book is nice. but i think women would rather curl up with their favorite man. but here's the thing: about half of men over 40 have some degree of erectile dysfunction. well, viagra helps guys with ed get and keep an erection. and remember, you only take it when you need it.
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welcome back to our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer reporting from washington. we're following two breaking news stories right now in where he evening, embroiled in a violent political standoff. get this the entire yemeni government today resigned. that includes the president, the prime minister and the entire cabinet. we also have other breaking news in the fight against isis. let's bring in our correspondents nick payton walsh, he's on the ground for us in yemen. nick first to you, update viewers around the world right now on the very latest in this dire situation unfolding in yemen. >> reporter: it's been the last hour a remarkable change in the political scene here in yemen. as you said, fistly the prime minister and the cabinet resigned. they released the former now
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information minister in english explained how they wanted no part of what seemed to be the political crisis unfolding here where a political deal would no longer be able to keep the country away from a political crisis. minutes later, president hadi, too offered his resignation. that appears to be something no one can really reverse at this stage. there are reports about what may or may not come next. it appears they are no longer in those roles. this comes after substantial pressure from the houthi militants on the street. they took key buildings, the presidential palace and surrounded the presidential residence saying they were offering security to the president. a road map of a political deal seemed to be agreed last night which would cause the houthis to withdraw from some key areas in exchange for wide-ranging political changes. that did not appear to be of the liking of president hadi.
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there was always questions as to how much power he would really have. this was first put out by the information might be sister. she suggested he should resign to no longer be the figure head of what she felt would be a houthi-led administration here. we have not heard from the houthis themselves. this is a vital ally for the united states in the fight against terrorism. the fight against al qaeda in the arabian peninsula. now it appears it's going to be tough for washington to know exactly who to telephone if they need assistance here in yemen. >> yesterday, there were isis terrorists emerging in yemen as well. let's go to atika in london. john kerry's been there. he's been meeting with diplomats to discuss what's going on against isis. they now say they've killed an estimated 6,000 fighters including key leaders.
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update us on what is going on in this overall war against isis. >> well, secretary of state john kerry backed that up by saying that ground troops there fighting isis supported by more than 2,000 air strikes have reclaimed 700 square kilometers from isis forces. and to further push those gains, there is this meeting in london today at lancaster house. about 20 members of the coalition met to discuss how to better equip and train those ground forces that will be so critical to make further gains against isis. that specifically means iraqi forces but also training of syrian opposition forces. secretary of state john kerry mentioned that they will begin training in the spring of those opposition forces in neighboring countries such as jordan. this was a meeting to push further and reiterate the commitment in fighting against
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isis. he specifically said that this type of meeting will be followed up on a monthly basis. and it really goes to show how much more deeply entrenched this fight against isis is becoming. >> we'll stay on top of this story as well. there's been a shakeup at the u.s. naval station in guantanamo bay cuba. the commanding officer is relieved of his duties. we have the details and a lot more news when we come back.
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there's allegations now an affair an investigation into a mysterious death. now the commanding offer of the u.s. naval station in guantanamo bay cuba has been relieved of his duties. what is going on jason? >> yeah, wolf an embarrassing blow to the captain there. the naval criminal investigative service has taken over this investigation. basically it involves captain john nettleton. he was the commanding officer at the u.s. navy base there in guantanamo bay. he did not oversee the detainees there. he has been temporarily reassigned to a post in jacksonville florida. that is what we are hearing. they say he was relieved of duty due to a loss of confidence in nettleton's ability to command according to a military
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official. this all came about during an investigation into the death of a civilian who may have committed suicide. nettleton allegedly had an affair with the wife of the deceased man. it violates the code of military justice. that is why nettleton was relieved of duty. one military insider described it to me this way. he said officers in command are held to a very, very high moral standard and a special trust. if their superior loses confidence in that officer, especially if it has to do with moral judgment that officer can then be relieved of duty. again, ncis is investigating the death of the civilian as well as the allegation of adultery. nettleton, for his part, he remains on desk duty pending the outcome of that investigation. >> thanks very much. jason carl reporting for us.
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get faster speeds or more savings, or we'll give you $150. comcast business. built for business. certainly one of the deadliest terror groups in the world, boko haram. look at the numbers and you'll see why. nigeria's president has said more than 13,000 people have been killed in the boko haram terror campaign against the state. according to most estimates, that is broadly correct. they report that more than 6
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million nigerians are effected by the conflict and more than $300,000 displaced. they later have claimed responsibility for the massacre of 2,000 people just earlier this month. still boko haram gained widespread attention when they kidnapped 200 school girls last april. that abduction smark sparked the bring back our girls movement. cameroon troops did manage to rescue a german man being held hostage by the rebels. >> i'll tell you something before i saw the colonel, i have to tell you, i honestly have a feeling that i would be killed in the end because the whole time they were like, sit down, sit down here sit down and always when i sit down, everything was dark, everything was dark. and then you don't know what is going to happen to you. >> let's bring in retired u.s. general carter.
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he retired in 2013. he's currently a senior fellow of the association of the united states army. you know a lot about this subject. you were obsessed with it as a commander of the african command. it looks like boko haram still remains powerful and threatening. >> they're more powerful now than they were a month ago or a year ago or certainly two years ago. their reach is expanding not only over northern nigeria but across the boundaries of neighboring countries. >> and they're sympathetic with al qaeda, right? >> absolutely, yes. >> all these various groups they're sort of loosely aligned. >> there is an element which is indigenously focused in nigeria. but clearly, the leader shares the same ideology as al qaeda.
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we've seen indications of linkages with other groups. >> the credit sim of nigh yaer ya is they don't do enough. where is the military the law enforcement the security services. why aren't they doing more to kill and capture these bowko haram terrorists. >> i think what's required in nigeria is a comprehensive approach. certainly a security aspect of it and the nigerian army and others have been trying but largely unsuccessfully. >> they could be doing a lot more though. >> i believe they could. certainly a lot more on the nonsecurity front and development and education and provision of government services to start to get at the underlying causes that result in mostly young nigerian men being attracted to the boko haram cause. >> you saw cameroon getting involved. where's the rest of africa in this fight? >> i think there's a growing
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regional interest. the current chairman of the economic community of west african states seems to be co-lessing a regional effort. a foreign leader hosted his counterparts. so chad cameroon and other countries seem to be coming to agreement that a regional effort will be required. >> i know the united states has its hands full in the middle east and north africa. what is the united states doing right now to try to destroy boko haram? >> we have lots of great relationships through united states africa command and the special operations forces with the special operation forces of the neighboring countries. as you will recall last month, nigeria, curtailed a u.s. training effort. that's unhelpful. i don't really understand the dynamics of why. i think it's certainly puzzling. >> you think they would want some help from the united states. >> one would hope.
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i think obviously this has to be nigerian led, but the u.s. and others europeans and other nations have capabilities that would help nigeria in this effort. i hope perhaps after the upcoming presidential allow more nations to help. >> these boko haram terrorists, we've heard the stories they capture and effectively these young girls and make them into is sex slaves in effect. is that true? >> we don't know. the 200 plus girls captured in april, we don't know what happened to them. >> are they forced into marriage to older men? that's what you read. that's the allegations. >> that's the expectation. they're forced into marriages or other kinds of relationships in the human trafficking network. it's very unsettling obviously that this criminal activity has occurred. your heart breaks for those
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families and those girls. >> the only things those girls were doing and their parents wanted them to was getting an education. to boko haram, a female getting an education is a death sentence. >> that's correct. they stand against modernization, economic reform religious tolerance. they are against all of those aspects. >> general ham, thank you for joining us. thanks to your service to the united states over the years. >> thank you wolf. >> let's hope it gets better. two potential front runners in 2016 are getting ready to sit down for an informalle chat in utah. talking about jeb bush and mitt romney. why they are meeting and what to expect. gloria borger is standing by. if you have high blood sugar, ask your doctor about farxiga. it's a different kind of medicine that works by removing some sugar from your body.
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in other political news a meeting between two possible
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republican contenders for 2016 presidential election. we're talking about jeb bush and mitt romney. let's bring many chief political correspondent gloria borger. the story was broke by the "new york times." >> i was told this was a meeting that had been long scheduled that governor bush reached out to romney and wanted to meet with him. it was scheduled before mitt romney gave strong indication he was i thinking about getting back into the race. >> scheduled before jeb rush was giving similar indications? >> no after. that's my understanding. neither one of them has cancelled the meeting. they're both very polite people well raised. advisors on both sides tell me they don't expect any great news out of this meeting like one of them deciding not to run or
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whatever. this meeting has no agenda and no schedule. it will be very informal. >> it's on romney's home turf of utah. he's going to be the host in effect of this meeting. are they going to do photo ops or joint statements? >> i don't know. >> joint interviews or anything? >> i don't know. until the "new york times" found out, we couldn't have found out. jonathan martin did great reporting there. these are two men with a mixed history. they say they're good friends, but jeb bush did not go out of his way for mitt romney in either of romney's presidential campaigns. he was clearly lukewarm on him. he criticized the way he ran the last campaign saying you need to be more inclusive. i think there's a bit of tension there. i think they're going to have to get it out there. they're dialing for dollars and dialing to the same donors. that's really a problem for them. >> they're looking for that same
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gop base out there. >> yeah the establishment money which tends to be big. >> let's talk about the hypothetical race between these two and hillary clinton. a poll says romney running against hillary clinton, romney 45%, hillary clinton, 55%. jeb bush 41%, hillary clinton 54%. obviously this is a long time between now and november 2016. it's interesting she has a impressive lead. >> if you're on the clinton campaign you're happy to have mitt romney and jeb bush and chris christie running against each other in some kind of primary where she effectively now remains all but unopposed except for potentially bernie sanders. so you know i think they're going to be happy with those polls. i think she sort of off on doing at this point until the
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president had his state of the union. she said she loved the president's state of the union. while the republicans are fighting there's one school of thought which is why should she get into it out now? give publicity to republicans as they air disagreements there might be plenty of time for her to get in. >> popular vote is important, but electoral college is significant. i've been speaking to supporters let's call them of hillary clinton. here's what worries them about jeb bush. they think hillary can carry. new york. it will be down to florida. jeb bush is popular in florida. he could potentially beat hillary in florida. their fear if he named somebody as running mate in ohio and get ohio he would get the electoral votes and hillary wouldn't get it. >> like senator portman for instance. >> yeah. >> that is a large worry.
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jeb bush remains popular in the state of florida. he's bilingual. that helps him in florida and the rest of the country. some believe jeb has never run for presidency before. they have done it twice, nominee once. they feel that experience will help them much more. they believe jeb is rusty, out of touch with the republican party, that he's not as conservative as the rest of the republican party. the jeb bush people will tell you yes, he is. wait until you see him on the campaign trail. >> the jeb bush supporters pointed out romney did not do that well in florida and ohio. jeb bush may do better. >> that's their whole point. i think the romney people i wouldn't say dismissive but they're critical of bush on the experience front. the bush people believe romney
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didn't run pay good cam paper. >> let's see what happens at this meeting of the two. we'll be anxious to report details whatever we learn. thanks gloria. i'll be back at 5:00 p.m. in the situation room. newsroom with brooke baldwin is right now. breaking news here at the top of the hour on cnn. i'm brooke baldwin. thank you for being with me. we have to break with what's happening in yemen. the government has fallen. a reminder of what has taken place over the course of the last couple of days. the key u.s. ally here yemen in the fight against terrorism has been em broibroiled in a political standoff with a group. now we're hearing the top yemen government has resigned. when we say top government that includes the president prime