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tv   Wolf  CNN  January 29, 2015 10:00am-11:01am PST

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hello. i'm wolf blitzer. it's 1:00 p.m. here in washington 1:00 a.m. friday in jakarta. wherever you're watching from around the world, thanks very much for joining us. we start with the passing of another isis set deadline for the proposed prisoner swap. that passed several hours ago. jordan said they would be willing to ex-change for the jordanian fighter pielotpilot. the proposed swap was supposed to take place at a crossing along the syria/turkey border.
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let's get the latest on the delayed swap what's going on. we're in the jordanian capital of amman. is there a specific holdup? what are you hearing from your jordanian government contacts? >> reporter: well, what we're hearing, wolf is what they are saying publicly. and that's very little. they're saying that the holdup so far is the issue of proof of life. they say for some time now they have been asking for proof of life through those indirect channels they have been using to communicate with isis to try and secure the release of the pilot. so far they say they have not received a proof of life. until they have evidence that he is alive and well, the major dane januarys say they will not be releasing al-rishawi. here's the other issue, the jordanians are proposing releasing al-rishawi in exchange
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for the pilot, but the demand from isis has been a direct swap. they would release the japanese journalist in exchange for al-rishawi. the only thing isis said is they will kill the pilot if this exchange does not happen. we do not know what isis wants for the release for the jordanian pilot. >> and there's absolutely no proof of life that isis has released that this jordanian fighter pilot that crashed over syria in december is still alive. we've only seen a still photo put forward by that japanese journalist that was made to show a picture of him is that right? >> reporter: that is correct, wolf. the majorjordanians themselves have not come out and said they verified that recording, that photo, if it's genuine. prior to the last time we saw photos of the jordanian pilot was december 24th when he was
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captured. right after that isis released photos of him there with the isis fighters. after that towards the end of december isis in its english publication, released what they called an interview. accompanied that was a photo of him in an orange jump sut. the family here has not mentioned getting any pictures. this is what is raising the question here wolf whether he's still alive or not. this is an organization known for its sophisticated propaganda videos. the question is why have we not seen anything yet. >> we're going to stay in touch with you. if you get more simply let us know right away. we're anxious to find out what's going on. i'm joined by retired lieutenant and a cnn military analyst, former commander of the u.s. army in europe.
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and joining us here in washington is josh rogan, our cnn analyst. lieutenant general, the fact that jordan's government says they've been talking to their indirect isis contacts in iraq, not in syria, what if anything does that tell us? >> this is the jordanian government taking the initiative on this wolf. and personally, i believe it's a brilliant move on on their part. there was an attempt to put a wedge between japan and jordan to say, hey, be the intermediary here. but for jordan's national interest they're saying we want our pilot back. that's going to be part of the deal of this, what would be called a prisoner exchange as opposed to a ransom. show us our pilot, we might give
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you the woman and we'll make a deal then. just giving you one of our attempted murders that we're holding as prisoner on death row for a japanese journalist just doesn't cut it. >> you've been monitoring what's going on. what are you hearing? >> right after the deadline passed isis twitter feeds put out three tweets. they all warned the jordanian government not to kill the imprisoned terrorist. >> but there's no indication -- jordan's had this woman now for ten years. they haven't killed her over the past ten years. she's serving time in prison for her involvement in the terrorist plot of the amman hotels. why are they even raising the possibility that jordan might kill this woman? >> exactly. they're implying that jordan has threatened to kill her if the pilot is killed. that's just what isis is
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claiming. it shows the value they put on this particular individual. she's become a symbol for isis. she was the sister of a top aide so the original leader of al qaeda in iraq. so they still want her back. >> even though isis was al qaeda in iraq became isis. recently there's been a feud going on. >> exactly. in the same twitter feed they criticize al qaeda, but now they are calling for the return of this terrorist. that leaves hope for the hostages. if there's still a chance the terrorist could be released then the hostages still have hope they will be preserved until the negotiations -- >> general, even if they work on a deal, let's say isis -- and we don't know if they will -- releases the jordanian pilot and the japanese journalist in exchange for this woman terrorist, doing a handover along the border between syria
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and turkey that becomes from a military perspective, a security perspective, extremely dangerous doesn't it? >> absolutely, wolf. this is -- there's been a lot of comparisons to what occurred between sergeant bergdahl and the three taliban prisoners. this is nothing like this. this is a direct exchange as opposed to you give us our prisoner back and then we will release your prisoners in good faith. i don't think anyone trust isis to do the right thing and i just keep going back to the fact this is -- this is a publicity stunt. this is more information, operations, this is more capturing of the world's attention. and i don't believe isis ever had -- had the intent to release any of the prisoners. >> one correction i think general, the u.s. released five taliban prisoners at guantanamo bay in exchange for sergeant bowe bergdahl not three right?
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>> you're correct wolf. >> that was a u.s. swap as opposed to what's going on right now. and as far as that's concerned, the u.s. itself got involved in this area -- sensitive area of releasing convicted -- releasing prisoners at guantanamo bay in exchange for an american soldier. i want you to standby. there's a lot to discuss. this is a minute-by-minute development. i want to turn to more breaking news though that we're getting right now. an explosion at a mexico maternity hospital killed at least seven people, injuring nearly 40 people. an unknown number of others trapped in the are you able. you're looking at pictures coming. it apparently happened while a truck was supplying natural gas to the hospital. let's get more on this story. rafael romo is over in the world headquarters right now at cnn in
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atlanta. what do you know? >> wolf we're talking about four babies and three adults among the victims -- fatal victims today at this explosion, a hospital in mexico city. it happened at 7:00 in the morning. shortly there after at a time when a lot of people are coming into the hospital for their appointments and a lot of people are being released. take a look at these images that we're getting from mexico city. authorities are saying that about a third of the hospital collapsed after the explosion, a natural gas explosion. what officials are saying is that a tanker was delivering gas and the -- the hose to driver that gas exploded and the explosion actually happened inside the hospital. also telling is that there are about 37 people injured. the driver and his assistant were detained. and the local mayor is calling it a scene of devastation. again, so you can see in these images rescuers are going through the debris trying to see
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if there might be anymore children surviving this explosion in mexico city wolf. >> all right. please keep us up to speed on this. it is awful what's going on over there right now. thank you. still ahead, many countries are strict policies not to negotiate with terrorists. unless like the american bowe bergdahl he was held prisoner of war supposedly by the taliban. should there be a distinction? could a prisoner swap strengthen isis? also we're going to tell you what investigators are now revealing about the terrifying final moments of the airasia flight 8501. we're getting new information. my yoga pants to smell like i sweat money. i want to smell the way champagne tastes. i love champagne. infuse your laundry with... ...up to 12 weeks of luxurious long-lasting scents... ...unstopables in wash scent booster. i want my foyer to smell more like a foyer. i want his bedroom to smell like he's away at boarding school.
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an excruciating waiting game for the families of two hostages whose lives are being threatened now by isis. it remains very much unclear nearly four hours after an isis imposed deadline passed. they demanded jordan release this woman at the syrian/turkish border at 9:30 a.m. new york time. jordan is demanding proof the jordanian hostage is still alive before releasing its prisoner. we report on the potential repercussions of an exchange. >> many countries have a seemingly simple rule. they don't negotiate with terrorists. but for isis captives kenji goto and moaz al ka-kassasbehal-kassasbeh that could have similar circumstances. last year the u.s. traded
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several taliban captives for sergeant bowe bergdahl who was captured almost five years earlier. despite claims that bergdahl may have abandoned his post before being kidnapped, the state department defended the move. >> it is consistent absolutely with what's happened in previous wars. i think one of the large tranches of prisoners in vietnam was like that. this has a long history in the united states of prisoner swaps. >> during the cold war, the west swapped hundreds of spies with communist blocked countries. the released agents often crossed sides at the border between east and west berlin. but prisoner swaps with extremist groups remain controversial. in 2011 israel made a major concession to its arch enemy
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hamas. exchanging prisoners for someone kidnapped in 2006. hamas celebrated the deal as a major victory. a risk consultant says swapping prisoners for hostages is still better than paying for the release of prisoners as some european countries do. >> if you hand large amounts of money over to terrorist organizations, there is no doubt that that money is going to go and fund future terrorist atrocities buy weapons, buy explosives buy people buy opportunity. so it is a direct link to paying a ransom and fueling terrorism. >> in the case of the two isis captives a swap might be one of the few chances they have to stay alive. cnn, london. >> let's get back to our panel. joining us, retired lieutenant general, former commander of the
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u.s. army in europe. barbara starr is joining us now. generally general, is there a distinction to be made in the case between a prisoner and a hostage? does the united states now classify military members like sergeant bergdahl if they're taken by the taliban or taken by isis as prisoners of war? >> i think that's the critical distinction, wolf. again, a swap implies that both sides are going to get something that they want based on their value and there isn't an intimidation effect. that's very very different from ransoming someone. and when the threat of death is there, that no longer goes under what might be classified as the laws of war. hey, you either give us our prisoner or we're going to kill yours, that's an entirely different kind of situation than saying we will trade our prisoner for your prisoner which goes back through the centuries in terms of warfare.
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it's a different approach to what we're talking about. >> what's been going on for centuries is after a war between two states there clearly can be and often is an exchange of prisoners. the prisoners kept as p.o.w.s during the course of the war. this war is by no means over right? >> this war will not be over for a very long time. based on the extremist views, this will continue unless they are driven into the dirt or you have soldiers defeating them. so this is one of those kind of things where it's very different. and as was said earlier on one of the morning shows, whenever you have these kinds of ransom as opposed to prisoner swap situations there's going to be a lot of chatter on the net about taking more prisoners, specifically for the point of ransoming, not for the point of depleting the enemies or both
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side's military capabilities. >> barbara, what are you hearing at the pentagon about what's going on with the jordanian pilot, the japanese hostage, this female terrorist that jordan has been holding for ten years? >> across the obama administration, they're watching this really around the clock seeing what is happening, you know getting their information through various sources. no indication at this hour of any of this is going to work. the jordanian pilot will be brought out, that there's even a proof of life for him. and that would lead to the woman being released. at this hour there's every reason to believe she is still in jordan. one of the issues for the coalition right now that's been conducting those air strikes is there anything they can learn about the state of isis is isis perhaps getting more desperate. is isis feeling the pinch of these air strikes. there are indications that they are. but i will tell you, just this week in washington the head of
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u.s. special operations said isis is still a recruiting power house, that they are able to recruit foreign fighters to come to iraq and syria and fight on their behalf the general said at a staggering rate. so the air strikes may be working to some extent on the ground but they are still able to replenish their ranks. and that is a very major concern for the u.s. >> yeah, that social media component, josh the way they recruit these individuals to come not only from the middle east or north africa but from europe and even the united states and canada. that -- they are very effective. they may be losing guys to u.s.-led air strikes but others are coming in. >> exactly. isn't it amazing that this small group of terrorists can use limited resources to overpower the popular social media of the greatest countries on earth? they have a very complex operation and a they've been very successful in getting their
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message out. they're winning the propaganda war even if they're not winning the war on the ground. they have to combat the social media prowess of isis but convince them isis is bad, they don't want to join and staying with the good guys ask a better path. >> i've heard some analysts suggest in the government and outside the government from isis' perspective, this is a win-win. if they get the swap they look like they're heros. they got this woman who blew up this wedding party, or at least participated in the lot to blow up a wedding party, killing 60 people in amman jordan ten years ago. if they don't get the swap and they behead the pilot or the journalist, they put that on the internet they look like -- that's a recruiting tool for them as well. what's your analysis about that? >> mistake is you're exactly right, wolf. there are elements of win-win in
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both of the situations. but i'd like to push back a little bit on what josh just said in that i don't think isis is winning the propaganda war. they are certainly continueing to be somewhat successful in certain elements of the population. but i would suggest that they are, as barbara stated being defeated or being at least affected by both air campaign and by the things they are doing in various situations like this one. so there is as much defeat and as much very many hence against the group as there might be a small element of recruitment for those who might be prone to join in the first place. i think we're increasingly attempting to counter that approach too. i don't think everyone is rolling their sleeves even though they did say they have a
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vast number of recruits. most of those recruits are going to their death as they continue to join this organization. >> josh, go ahead. >> i would just say that my sources on the ground and also sources inside the u.s. government and intelligence community insist that actually isis' recruiting is outpacing the level at which we are killing them. also on the ground it's clear they're digging in in iraq, they're expanding territory in syria. and the air strikes have not gone to the places where isis is in it most vulnerable positions. there's two perceptions. for the people on the ground in iraq and syria, they definitely don't believe it's not going well and the propaganda is a big part of that. >> isis clearly suffer add major set back in the syrian town of kobani. looked like they were getting the job done but they are still
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in control of mosul, the second largest city in iraq right now. a city of nearly 2 million people. they have significant chunks of iraq and syria still very much part of their control. but they are suffering some setbacks. other news we're following. back and gone apparently after launching the deadliest military attack against israel since 2006. will israel retaliate? what's going on? stay with us.
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israel and the militant group his bull la appear to be
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stepping back from a full-scale confrontations. the israeli military convoy killing two israeli soldiers. two days earlier, israel attacked a hezbollah track. a spanish u.n. peace keeper was killed. now hezbollah trying to dial back tensions. our senior international correspondent is following the latest developments from beirut in lebanon. a what is hezbollah saying how is that message being transmitted, what's the latest? >> well, it was described as a message of restraint. israeli defense minister called it as the usual nonofficial
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channels. there is a lot of diplomatic back chat in those nonofficial ways particularly crucial at times like this. speaking to a lot of people here, they're worriers. there's always that 2006 israel and lebanon war hanging over this. this really has dialed back the tension, this attempt at reaching out by hezbollah. here people are slowly starting to exhale and hoping that israel will be receptive. >> as you know they insist they don't want the situation to escalate either. you're on the ground right near the border with lebanon. >> well, wolf we were literally at the fence with the border between israel and lebanon. it's quiet. the clashes have stopped. and there's no fighting. but everyone, as you say, a miscalculation on either part and this could spiral out of
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control again. what the prime minister is saying still continueing to point this finger at iran. yes, those clashes were on the lebanese border but the real tensions are in the golan heights when they say iran is trying to build a new front of terror through hezbollah in an area that's been relatively quiet for decades. the warning is to iran, don't change the rules of the game, you cannot have another front. and in fact that's why even though the israelis are not admitting it that's what that strike against those hezbollah commanders and iranian general were about. >> and israel sent that message. that was a week ago. and hezbollah sent a message to israel yesterday killing those two israeli soldiers and injuring seven or eight others. we know the leader of hezbollah is expected to speak tomorrow.
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any indication of what he might say? >> it is very difficult to read. he can be unpredictable at the best of times. but the sense is that this is an opportunity for hezbollah to reassert their le -- le bon needsness. they've had a huge presence in syria in the last few years, the fighting back of the uprising there. this is the opportunity to remind the lebanese people that they're a political force here first and foremost. and israel has given them that opportunity to turn back. that's how it's been read here. we are happy to put this at the feet of the people where we think this belongs, iran and syria, this is an opportunity you can take. people are starting to relax a little.
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>> all right. in beirut, close in israel but she's close to lebanon right now. thanks very much to both of you. up next the israeli prime minister's invitation to speak before a joint congress. we're going to talk to bob casey about the political uproar and the battle of new u.s.-led sanctions against iran. this is a complex and clearly critical issue.
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welcome back to our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer reporting from washington. another isis deadline passes. still no word of the hostages. jordan wants proof that its pilot is still alive before releasing the female would be suicide bomber. even if she is released it's not clear what that would mean for the japanese journalist. joining us to talk about that bob casey of pennsylvania a former chairman of the senate foreign relations subcommittee overseeing the middle east. he currently sits on the senate finance committee as well. what do you think about this proposed hostage deal if it goes through? does it set some sort of dangerous precedent negotiating with terrorist groups like isis? >> i don't think necessarily
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wolf. i think it's a decision the jordanian government has to make. i'd be the last one to say i could recommend a course of action. but they are a very strong and committed ally of ours but also a very important part of the coalition that our government led by president obama and secretary kerry and others have developed. the coalition together now some 60 countries against isis. so and i'll say as well, the jordanians have done almost super human work when it comes to accepting refugees from syria because of the horror that's played out in syria. so they've borne a lot of the battle, so to speak. we just hope that they can have a resolution that that's in the best interest of the majorjordanian people. >> deserve e more nous credit, not only for the hundreds of thousands of syrian refugees, but earlier the hundreds of thousands of iraqi refugees
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helping them survive. let's talk about this latest escalation of tensions between israel and hezbollah. two israeli soldiers were killed yesterday. a few days earlier, the israelis went after a convoy. they killed some hezbollah militants as well as an iranian general there. the prime minister of israel benjamin netanyahu is blaming iran for this escalating tension. what are your thoughts? >> well, look i think it's another reminder that hezbollah ask a terrorist organization one of the oldest one of the most sophisticated and capable. and one of the reasons they have that capability of course is because they are funded by the iranian regime. it's another reminder that even as we're debating how to approach the nuclear negotiations with iran that iran all the while is the leader state sponsor of terrorism in the world.
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we know that. and it's played out for years. hezbollah is not some far off organization that our country is unfamiliar with. they not only have targeted americans, they've killed americans. by some estimates, hezbollah has killed more americans than any other terrorist organization or maybe they're number two. they have a predominant influence not just in lebanon but in the region. the prime minister has every right to point the finger where he did at the iranian regime. and also israel has ever right to take action in retaliation. >> you're blaming hezbollah for the bombing, blowing up of the u.s. embassy in beirut and the bombing of the marine bear racks outside of beirut that killed 240 u.s. marines, is that right? >> exactly. and they -- so they've shown over decades now that they will engage in terrorism against anyone at any time anywhere.
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and that would not be possible or they would not be as capable were it not for the iranian regime backing them up. >> are you with president obama right now when it comes to his appeal to everybody in congress to do a little pause right now, not pass additional sanctions, legislation against iran to give them some more time to see if there can be a nuclear deal with iran? are you with the president? >> well, i was part of a letter that a number of democrats signed. we worked together to send a letter to the president which outlined frankly our skepticism about the possibility of an agreement with iran. i have real skepticism. we also outlined a number of our concerns. what we did say in that letter that we wanted to give this process more time at least until march 24th so that a framework could be developed. we want to be optimistic. but i think it's a reasonable
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approach to take right now, but at the same time, i'm a sponsor of a bill -- a new bill on sanctions that just got through the banking committee today. we will hold that -- at least the group of us will hold that in abeyance so to speak until we get through that date in march. after that i'm not sure -- i'm not sure it makes sense to -- to have a delay because we have to make sure that the iranian regime knows that there's a bipartisan consensus here to prevent them from getting a nuclear weapons capability. and i emphasize that last word. and i think that's bipartisan the right approach. even as we want to be hopeful about and optimistic about the chances that there could be an agreement. >> i just want to be precise because we're out of time. there's not going -- in other words, if you have your way, any new anti-aran sanctions
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legislation that will reach the president's desk between now and the end of march? >> that's correct. or at least until the 24th of march. >> okay. just wanted to be precise on that. thanks very much for joining us. senator bob casey of pennsylvania. the events that led to the crash of airasia 8501 happened extremely fast. now we're getting timelines and the person in control of the plane at the time of the crash. and new blind spot monitor and a 2014 top safety pick plus rating. cost of entry? a fortune. until now. hey sarah, new jetta? yup. can i check it out? maybe at halftime? introducing lots of new. the new volkswagen jetta. isn't it time for german engineering? before larry instantly transferred money from his bank of america savings account to his merrill edge retirement account.
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indonesian officials are revealing new details of the terrifying final moments of the airasia flight 8501. they say the co-pilot was flying the plane when things went very wrong. what are we learning? what happened in those final moments? >> you said moments. and these really were a matter of moments.
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it was three minutes and 20 seconds. something like that maybe. the co-pilot was at the helm at that moment. the pilot was overseeing what he did. they very often trade back and forth. what we do know is more details of what happened at that time. the plane was wobbling to one side and they had already asked to go higher in this bad, bad weather. in then in fact they started climbing very dramatically and the stall warnings started going off inside the cabin -- in the cockpit. that doesn't necessarily mean they were stalling because those warnings can be setoff if the plane simply starts doing a very dramatic climb like that or a dramatic decent. it doesn't necessarily mean it is stalling, but it means it's in the circumstances where a stall could occur. they ended up climbing from 32,000 feet to 37,400 feet in 30 seconds. so this is around twice the rate
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of climb that would you would ever expect from a plane like that. that's very aggressive and can set up the entire air stability of a plane like this is a very very bad way. on top of which, the bad storm. >> but the co-pilot clearly didn't have as many flying hours as the pilot. wouldn't the pilot take charge? >> he had about half as many. he was experienced. not like he was a novice. i don't know that the pilot would necessarily take charge. we don't know yet what the pilot was doing. if they were experiencing some other problem the pilot may have felt it was more important to address the other problems there. short period of time. not like they endured this for 15 or 20 minutes. >> thanks very much. >> coming up is mitt romney planing to run again for president of the united states? the answer is, at least a lot of folks believe, the answer is yes. he already is setting his sights on hillary clinton.
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so mitt romney is sounding more and more like a front runner. hillary clinton at the speech last night at mississippi state university governor romney attacked the former secretary of state as clueless on relations with russia. romney said and i'm quoting him now. secretary of state hillary clinton pressed the reset button with russia which smiled and invaded ukraine, a sovereign nation. if elected, he said clinton would prove inept on economic policy. let's talk about this more with our chief analyst and chief congressional correspondent dan da bash. a lot of candidates are setting
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their sights on her. >> from romney's point of view and you talk to people close to them he feels he was knocked mercilessly after the last campaign for saying for example russia was america's number one gop political enemy. he's talking now about b ukraine and events that unfolded in ukraine. there's a lot of that in all his speeches on foreign policy. we'll obviously take on clinton on the economy and say it hasn't recovered as quickly as it could have. sure sounds like a candidate to me. >> the big question is, is he going to run? if so, when is he going to decide? larry king our colleague, said he ran into him in the airport a couple of days ago. romney himself said he was going to decide in the next two weeks. i'm told that's the exact timing for lots of reasons. most importantly, because he has
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done this before he gets he needs to either pull the supporters in, pull the donors in or let them go to one of the 10,000 other candidates out there. i'm also told if he does this he might not go along with what the other republican candidates have been doing which is just kind of continue on with the pack. he probably will form some kind of pack but it will be short of i'm running. something short of ex employerploreatory economy. >> everybody assumes hillary clinton is going to run knows she's putting together a team right now. >> right. >> someone working for the president is leaving in a few weeks and going to work for her. former white house chief of staff during the bill clinton administration. why can't she say i'm running, here's the exploratory committee, the pack the details and tell other democratic
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potential candidates this is it. >> if there's no pressure on her to get other democrats -- they're not saying let me know or get out of the way. everybody assumes she's in the race. if she doesn't have pressure from other democrats, i argue let the republicans fight amongst themselves and figure out when you're going to get in. people like us pay attention to when you form the exploratory committee or the pack. most people assume okay she's running for president. it's not like she's going to be invisible even though she has been largely for the last month. she will be out there. this is an argument going on internally in the campaign. she has to have a way to answer these charges which we heard from romney. >> you're exactly right. there's a story on now about the split with hillary, whether to do it sooner or later. i talked to people arguing for doing it later, like july
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really late. for one big reason and that is that campaigning isn't her thing. she's not bad once she's in the groove but what she learned or maybe what the observers learned in watching her campaign for surrogates and midterm election is that she was a little rusty. >> she was rusty on her book tour i would argue. >> right. and they believe, unlike romney she would be good as a governor somebody in the role and not a campaigner. if she doesn't have to declare early, why would she get out there and do something not that fun and not that necessary before she has to? >> the only reason is it might make her better. it might make her a better candidate when she's used to being before audiences day in and out. she could respond to charges personally. people like to get a look at you whether it's a month later. i don't think in the large scheme of things it matters.
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you can't be the inevitable candidate. they don't want this to be carnation. she has to figure out a way to make it look like it's not a carnation. >> we'll leave it on that note and see if other democratic potential candidates will stay on the sidelines or jump in while she mulls over. at least publicly. we assume she's going to run. that's it for me. thanks very much for watching. i'll be back at 5:00 p.m. eastern. for our viewers in north america, "newsroom" with brooke baldwin starts right after a quick break.
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all right. here we go. thank you for being with me. you're watching cnn. i'm brooke baldwin. right now it is dark in mosul, iraq. a deadline has past. a hostage exchange could take place any minute between jordan and one of the most brutal stris terrorists on earth, isis. isis gave jordan until sun down to hand over this woman. jordan is desperate to get its