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tv   Erin Burnett Out Front  CNN  August 27, 2015 4:00pm-5:01pm PDT

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who was seriously injuries, she makes a complete recovery. thanks very much for watching. i'm wolf blitzer in washington. aar erin burnett "outfront" starts right now. tonight, we are learning more about the man who shot and killed the reporter and cameraman on live television. the extra license plate ez carried, even a wig and a shawl. could it have been part of an elaborate getaway plan? a new poll gives donald trump his widest lead yet. who can beat him? trump drawing big support from right wing radicals and white supremacists. what does this say about his candidacy? let's go "outfront." i'm jim sciutto in again tonight for erin burnett. the shooter's possible escape. we are learning details about what vester flanagan could have
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been planning to do after the shocking murders. police releasing a long list of what they found in the car that flanagan drove the day of the shooting. in addition to a glock semiautomatic pistol, a gun he purchased legally back in july, police found more ammunition, three license plates, a wig, a shawl. investigators trying to determine where he was headed next. co-workers of the two slain journalists, some holding hands, appeared together at a press conference where the news director offered a possible explanation as to how flanagan may have found out where the victims were filming that morning. >> it is conceivable that if someone saw their first hit on the air, which was probably about 5:10, they could get from wherever they were to smith mountain lake. >> pamela brown is "outfront"
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tonight. what more are you learning about what appears to be or could have been a getaway plan, at least he seemed to be preparing for something after the shootings. >> reporter: right. which is interesting. because he had written this suicide note that he apparently sent to abc. but based on what was found inside of his car, including a wig and a shawl, it appears that he was planning a getaway after he murdered that news crew. tonight, new evidence 41-year-old vester flanagan was attempting to escape. police found disguises in his car. court documents show flanagan had a wig, shawl and sunglasses, along with multiple license plates, a to-do list and a bag full of random supplies. >> we are still at a loss. >> reporter: the general manager says when flanagan was fired in 2013, he threatened some of his former co-workers during a violent outburst, including the
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photographer adam ward. >> the police arrived and escorted him from the building. he handed a wooden cross to the news director on the way out who was at that time dan dennyson and he said you will need this. he made a derogatory comment to adam ward. >> reporter: ward filmed the incident. two years later, flanagan would return to film himself killing ward along with 24-year-old reporter alison parker during a live interview. flanagan apparently wrote a suicide note detailing his grievances all the way back to first grade. he faxed 23 pages to abc news two hours after the murders. in it he complains he has been targeted his whole life by white females and black males. and cites innocuous comments as discriminatory such as an intern asking where i would swing by for lunch. >> the average person would not
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perceive these comments as insulting or injustices. clearly, he does. his belief system is so rigid, there would be no way you could get through to him. >> reporter: during this morning's broadcast, the anchors paused to remember their colleagues. >> it was yesterday around this time that we went live to alison parker and photo journalist adam ward. join us now in a moment of silence. >> reporter: in an interview with cnn alison parker's father said the grief is unbearable. >> she would be texting me say, dad, what did you think of my story? what did you think of it? i'm never going to hear that again. she was so loved by all. i know my heart is broken. >> reporter: a has been uncovered over the past 24 hours. why the gunman targeted parker and ward still unclear.
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jim? >> public suffering for the family as well. i know you have been looking into this all day. we're learning more about what he did before -- after he was fired from the station. what do we know? >> reporter: we're learning more about his past. we know that he filed suit against two news stations. we learned that he owned several websites. we uncovered some were associated with gay porn. he registered at least seven domain names in 2007 and 2008 and solicited attractive and muscular men to model for live web cams. records obtained by cnn show flanagan's name and the california address included in the domain registrations to answer some questions perhaps about how he had the money after he was fired from this last station. >> pamela brown in washington. former fbi assistant director chris swecker and mary
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ellen o'toole and matthew far. when you look at this list of what police found in his car, more ammunition, a suicide note he wrote about past mass kill killers, including the virginia tech shooter and one up manship going up. he wrote, i was influenced by cho, that's my boy right there. he got nearly double the amount that harris and klebold got. harris and klebold from the columbine shooting. based on what was found in the car and those comments, do you think he was planning on killing more? >> yeah. it's my sense that when i heard about what was in the car -- compare that with the crime itself. it was so sensational and it was so dramatic, so over the top, that he possibly was not threw at that point. if he wanted to suicide earlier, he could have. at that point and looking at the items, i think there's every
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possibility that he intended more crimes. >> chris, i want to ask you, you have great experience here driving this rental car not only the ammunition, you had the extra license plates, you had a wig, possibly a disguise, sunglasses, a hat. initially the impression was this was a suicide mission. does it sound like to you that he was possibly planning an escape? >> well, i mean, narcissism in his notes that he wrote to show that he had some instincts for self-preservation. it could be he was about to go on the run. but there's another theory. that could be that he needed those disguises to get close to the people from the news station because they would recognize him if he approached them. he had that history with the news channel. so possibly he was -- that was part of an earlier plan. >> it's hard to judge. matthew, i want to ask you, could you -- there's a question about timing here as well. he did not begin tweeting until
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4 1/2 hours after he murdered parker and ward. at that point it appeared he knew he had been identified. the fact is, the public only saw his face really by accident because of it the cameraman who fell he captured this image with the face of flanagan there. does it appear that his plans changed because he now knew he was a suspect? that he had been outed as the killer here? >> i think so. i think the fact that he tweeted the message out knowing people would know who he was. it seemed like to me he wanted folks to know. it seemed like he wanted to make certain that he got his message across that he was able to accomplish the mission that he was out to accomplish. i think he was trying to escape and that his game plan was if he could get away with this dise e disguise, he would. he knew this was the ultimate decision, once he killed two people, he knew his life was over if he got caught. i believe he did have a plan to see if he could get away.
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>> i wonder, maury he wiry elle profiling killers like this, you mentioned narcissism, filming it, getting it on twitter, the fax to abc news, does that narcissism often lead to self-preservation? that he wanted -- that he might want to get away as opposed to making this a very public form of suicide. >> it could but when you look at the overall crime and you look at the planning that went into this and he really made sure that that shooting of those two people took place while it was on -- during a live interview. he wanted to make that murder as sensational as he could. he had no control over who could have seen him anyway. he wanted credit for that. because nobody up to now has really -- has done anything like this. not even cho. after the cho case, in the bau,
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we talked about the next time we have a shooting, the shooter is going to wear a camera on his hat. we have breathed a sigh of relief for all these years but then here you go. he wanted credit for this. >> you certainly have to be concerned about copycat attacks. i wonder, chris, looking at this, are there past cases where it is clear that a killer looked at a previous killing and took a lesson from that, something they wanted to repeat? >> yeah. i can't point to one specific case. but we know that some of these mass shooters were inspired by another shootings, have mentioned other shooters in some of their writings. i have no doubt that some of these are copycat or at least take some of their learnings, if you will, from other shooters. >> chris, as you mentioned, the shooter as well, he drawing a line between himself and the columbine shooters and the virginia tech shooter. fascinating but a scary picture of him. chris, mary ellen, matthew,
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thank you for joining us tonight. next, new information from flanagan's lengthy suicide note. rants about disappointments in his life. does it provide a motive for his horrific crime? donald trump, a new poll gives him his biggest lead since entering the race. why do those same voters use words like arrogant, even idiot to describe him? joe biden undecided but leading everyone in a new poll. is he closer to throwing his hat into the ring? le, it is you. real madrid have about 450 million fans. we're trying to give them all the feeling of being at the stadium. the microsoft cloud gives us the scalability to communicate exactly the content that people want to see. it will help people connect to their passion of living real madrid.
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came with good references. he became a concern to those around him, arguing with his colleagues, even threatening his bosses. brian todd is "outfront" tonight live in roanoke, virginia. what are you plans tonight? >> reporter: the vigil will be given by a group called stop the violence star city. people are starting to gather now. it will start in less than an hour. this group was formed to combat violence, the growing violence in roanoke. they say wdbj covered their first event. so they want do their part to pay respects to the victims. just one way tonight that this town is still trying to get its mind around this senseless act. trying to honor the victims and trying to figure out exactly how this could have taken place. >> a big part that was question is his history at the station, what led him to target his former colleagues there. what more is the station telling us about the shooter's history
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there, his work history there? >> reporter: well, fascinating new details tonight about that. they are laying out some real detail about how troubled his tenure here was. it was only for less than a year that he was here. he had a succession of performance-related issues, troubles with fact checking and news judgement. he had angry outbursts and run ins with colleagues. he confronted a news anchor who was assigned to review one of his scripts. it was shortly after that time that they decided to terminate him from wdbj. i spoke to a gentleman named ryan who is a photographer and editor at wdbj. he worked with vester in the field. he said always on edge around him because of his anger management problems. he detailed one incident where a live report in the 6:00 p.m. hour of their newscast went wrong because of technical problems. here is what he said about how flanagan reacted to it. >> he got so irate, threw all
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the stuff out and walked into the woods, staying there for 20 minutes. >> reporter: vester flanagan's anger got so bad that the management, according to the general manager, ordered him to undergo counseling. he did comply at least once. but it's not clear if he got any other kind of help after that. >> brian todd outside the vigil. a psychologist and clinical psychologist. jeff, thanks for coming back tonight. a fascinating trip inside this troubled mind but a frightening trip as you learn a lot of the details. one thing that struck us today, the general manager saying that after he was fired -- it has been a good two years since then, that employees would run into him around town. those would be peaceful and friendly interactions. is it possible to hide the kind of violent anger that he clearly was harboring for that len gth f
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time? >> he was trying to subdue a lot of that anger. but the people that he talked to he said allegedly, i told them that i think certain people are -- i hate people. then he would say with a smile. he wasn't trying to hide it that much. i think he was being more menacing than anything else. i haven't examined him, of course, he seems to be a powder keg as he said that he was. perhaps a pairanoid personalty. any slight, he took it to a point that completely over the top. at the end of the day, yes, we know that people get angry. but this person shot through people and killed two in cold blood and then tweeted it, put it on social media. obviously, he is a person with -- was a person with severe mental health issues. >> no question.
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in retrospect after violence like this, we will often ask the question, were there signs missed? you look back and, yes, there were, there were signs as we see with flanagan. anger, the firing from his station, menacing statements as jeff referenced here. i know that mental health is not an exact science. it can't be. the mind is too complicated. clinically, are there certain things that troubled people like this do from a professional's perspective that crosses a line where you can say, this is someone we really got to pay attention to? >> i think the thing that has concerned me the most about this case is how much his co-workers were reporting being afraid of him. i have to say from an occupational standpoint in the workplace, when his co-workers say we don't feel comfortable, he is combative, those are the red flags that lead you to say, when adults are feeling uncomfortable and at risk, that that was a wake-up call.
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like i said, we all have this 20/20 hindsight. there are a lot of combative people in workplaces, especially high pressure workplaces like newsrooms. we can reconstruct it backwards. there are often people who get into rages. i think it was probably written off as rage. that's the key red flag. >> jeff, i want to ask you a similar question. which are the -- the burpi inbud flags -- to be fair to the station, the station took steps while he was there. they didn't sort of sweep this under the rug. clearly, he had bigger problems than an anger management class could take care of. >> we're not talking about one temper tantrum. it seems like a lot of temper tantrums. not getting into a conflict with one person but being in conflict with almost everyone there at that station. >> he was very much a me against the world mentality. >> isolating oneself. i think more than anything else, it's the consistency of his
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inappropriate behaviors to me is that burning red flag there is something wrong. again, hindsight 20/20 as my colleague has said. this is a person -- i hope we do this in the future as soon as we see the issues, we get them into counseling. these are people who may be emotionally ill. not necessarily bad people. . this person was emotionally ill and did he some very bad things. >> i heard you reacting there. sounds like you agree. >> jeff nailed it. we really -- the idea of using the employment setting as the place to get someone into treatment. any bridge we can create to get someone into treatment on the other side of the table from a counselor, because that person is going to be more trained to pick up on the red flags. our big problem is engagement and treatment. someone like him may not have wanted to go into treatment. the workplace was a great way to get him there and keeping him there was the next trick. i think that was the key. at least he got seen once.
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once is not enough. this has to be consistent. this has to be over time. >> no question. to be fair, it's impossible for anybody to predict when one of the red flags turns into something so violent. we appreciate you. next, turning to politics and the latest poll shows donald trump with his biggest lead yet. that as jeb bush hits a new low. that same poll makes joe biden the democrat to beat. he also has the highest favorability of any candidate of either party. will that push his decision to run for president?
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tonight, donald trump topping the gop field by the widest margin yet in this election. a new poll showing trump at the head of the pack with 28% of republican votes nationwide. trump also leads the pack when it comes to who gop voters say they would never vote for. trump reveling in his status. sara murray is "outfront." >> remember how big the pages used to be? >> reporter: a confident donald trump reading to the crowd. [ speaking spanish ] >> in other words, the man of the toupee. i don't wear a toupee. it's my hair, i swear. come here. come here. >> reporter: upping the ante on his colorful antics. pulling a woman on stage to
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defend his hair. >> come, come. is it mine? look. >> it is. >> say it, please. >> yes, i believe it is. >> reporter: his mood thanks to a new poll showing trump with his widest lead yet. trump now at 28% support. 16 points ahead of ben carson. attributing his rise to frustration with washington. >> the reason is, we have a message and the message is -- we're not going to take it anymore. >> reporter: a sentiment booting outsiders like carson who is now a clear number two as jeb bush falls behind. south carolina's own senator lindsey graham not even registering in the latest poll. >> this guy, a poll came out the other day, he was at zero. >> reporter: along with trump's frontrunner status, warning signs.
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>> when a family is under attack, what do we do? >> reporter: trump touting his support for latinos even as they prote protested. >> i love mexican people. i have sichuch a great re -- i e thousands. the rich mexicans, they're great people. friends of mine. they buy my apartments. >> reporter: reassuring women he will be good to them as six in ten question whether he cares about their problems. >> i cherish women. will take care of women. >> reporter: trump drew big applause for saying he doesn't need money for big -- from big donors. cnn is learning that's not the case. he has been appearing at fund-raising events that benefit his super pac but a second group that can accept unlimited contributions. they don't have to disclose their donors. trump is looking more like an average politician.
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>> i want to bring in former reagan white house political director jeffrey lord and new york daily news columnist essie cup. you heard sara murray's reporting. trump has been attacking other candidates for taking money from special interests. he said he doesn't need to do that because he is so rich. but he is now holding an event where wealthy donors are being asked to give him money. isn't that showing he is doing what he is criticizing his opponents for? >> i don't think so. he is a billionaire ten times over. he said he would self-fund. i think he will stick with that. outside groups are outside groups. they do what they want. >> he is going to these events -- to be fair, he is asking them for money. they're not forcing it into his pockets. >> i don't know that he is asking them for money. the point that i'm trying to make is with jeb bush, when he
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swings through washington and gets the lobbyist money, that's what's going to happen to him and other candidates who really depend on this stuff. donald trump doesn't depend on it. eventually, if he becomes the republican nominee, whoever will be the republican nominee, even more money is going to pour in from the republican national committee. at some point this happens. his central point is he is a billionaire. he doesn't need it. he will self-fund and i assume he will stick with that. >> i want to give you a chance to comment on that. is this hypocritical behavior by the republican frontrunner? >> of course it is. saying that you are not going to -- saying you might consider taking campaign donations when you have made a whole big show of how very, very rich you are really just kind of contradicts your message. frankly, that's almost a met r metaphor for the way they see the government. if he is as rich as he says he
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is, i'm not sure why he would allow folks to donate to his campaign. he used to just say, i will take your vote. i don't know what's changed. inconsistency among the trump campaign, not all that surprising. >> jeff, i have to ask you, looking at these polls, trump with his largest lead to date as we were reporting. when asked which candidate they say they would never support, republicans named trump more than any other. the three words voters most associate with him, a word association game they played with all the candidates, for him, they were arrogant, blow hard and idiot. clearly excites a portion of the population. how does he overcome that group that is hostile to him? >> jim, i have to say, frankly -- this applies to any candidate. assuming he becomes the republican nominee and we get to the election, this kind of thick used to be said about ronald reagan all the time. he was extreme, never to be
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elected. people thought he was an idiot, a robot. we got to the fall of 1980 and the choice was between jimmy carter and ronald reagan. reagan was elected in a landslide. i might add, depending on the problems of the country a year from now, this will apply to whomever the kvecandidates are. even hillary clinton, if she's the noment kninee and the ameri people think she's qualified to handle the problem, they will disregard this. that's what history shows here no matter who it is. he will have no problem doing that. >> s.e. you heard him compared donald trump to ronald reagan. is he ronald reagan? >> no. that's insulting to reagan. it's true, people discounted reagan when he ran. but not because he was out on campaign trail calling people
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bimbos and slobs is and jerks. they discounted him because he was unproven. they didn't know if he was presidential material. they asked very hard, good questions and got some good answers. people think donald trump is a clown and an idiot because of the way he behaves. when they ask hard questions, they don't get good answers. the other interesting thing though from the poll isn't necessarily where trump stacks up amongst the other republicans, it's that he is still being beaten by clinton, biden and sanders in a head to head matchup. so i think if republicans want a republican in the white house, they should be looking at that as much as they're looking at where he is in relation to 17 other republicans in august of 2015. >> go ahead. >> to borrow from an old debate line of lloyd benson, i knew ronald reagan, he knew donald trump.
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the gallop poll said he would win. >> great to have you on. "outfront" next, as s.e. mentioned, a new poll says joe biden has the best chance of beating any republican candidate, including donald trump, in the general election. will it help sway the reluctant vice president to enter the race? a prominent white supremacist saying ining donal is the best of the lot. how is trump responding? is never easy. doing your own thing, making your own way can be pretty, well, bold. rickie fowler is redefining what it means to be a golfer. quicken loans is doing the same for mortgages. quicken loans. home buy. refi. power. official mortgage sponsor of the pga tour.
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welcome back. tonight, vice president joe biden beating donald trump. a new polls show biden leading the democratic field in head to head matchups with the gop frontrunner. in a new sign that biden is serious about a 2016 campaign, he met for more than an hour today with the leader of the nation's largest labor group, which would be a coveted endorsement for any democratic candidate. "outfront" tonight is the former governor of michigan, the senior adviser for correct the record, a pro-hillary clinton super pac. thanks for taking the time tonight. >> you bet. glad to be on.
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>> let's look at the new poll. it shows the vice president as the top democrat to take on donald trump, jeb bush, marco rubio. in the numbers are voters signaling that clinton is not their first choice? >> i think that if you look at these numbers, clinton is the first choice of the democratic primary voters by 22 points in that very poll. if you compared just head to head bernie sanders, hillary clinton, joe biden, she's number one by far. she has enormously positive favorables. >> but to be fair, her numbers are coming down and biden -- when you look at the head to head, he beats trump. clinton in florida loses to trump. i should add that biden has that 18% support figure. he has not declared himself in the race.
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>> right, for sure. that's an important thing. i mean, he is obviously evaluating. you mentioned he met with richard trumka. he is the only person of all of the people running on the democratic and republican side who has run on a national ticket three times. he knows what this takes. he also is the only person to have undergone the tragedies that his family has undergone. as hillary clinton graciously said yesterday, we need to give him space. i'm sure one of the things he is evaluating is -- he knows whatever race you are in, you are only your most popular on the day before you declare. so obviously, once people start to fire away anybody's numbers come down. that is true with any one of these candidates. >> that's a fair point. when you look at this poll, there are particular issues where hillary clinton's numbers are coming down. you heard this word association game that we were talking about.
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they associated blow hard, idiot for trump. liar, dishonest, untrust worth untrustworthy for hillary clinton. with those associations, how do you win this race? >> i think that what you saw yesterday with hillary clinton pivoting on this issue of the e-mails, leaning into it, being really cap d really candid about regretting they used one server rather than two, taking responsibility, looking at people saying, i get it, i think that's the start of a pivot on that issue. the republicans have spent millions of dollars attacking her on this issue. they will continue to spend millions of dollars to try to solidify the impression that you see in that poll. i think what she has done is begin to change the narrative. i think that's what's really important. >> is part of the change in that narrative is that she's -- is
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she saying she was wrong to use the private e-mail? >> she expressed regret. she didn't say that she was -- she committed any -- we know she didn't break any laws. but in retrospect, she said, she regretted doing that and that she takes responsibility for it. now, she's going to testify before the benghazi committee. she turned over her server. she has released all the e-mails. she's encouraging the department of state to release more and quickly. she is attempting to be totally transparent because ultimately what she wants to do is to talk about the fantastic policies that she keeps putting out every single day. >> we appreciate you coming on tonight. >> you bet. next, a white supremacist group saying donald trump is the best candidate for white people. trump's surprising response after this. working on my feet all day gave me pain here.
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you have probably heard it, donald trump likes to boast about how everybody likes him. his position on immigration and repeated comments about minority groups that some find finding a hate groups. >> reporter: donald trump show rages on, part theater tour but the masses come to experience the fiery rhetoric. >> when mexico sends its people,
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they're not sending their best. they are bringing drugs. they are bringing crime. they are rapists. >> reporter: the crowds, there is a growing under current of extremist support. last week a trump's rally in alabama, a supporter shouted white power during the speech. >> so -- >> white power. >> reporter: a ku klux klan leader has described trump as the best in the lot. the neo-nazi website said he is talking about anything that matters. they say he may be the last hope for a president who would be good for white people. when asked why he is getting this kind of support, trump says he doesn't need it. >> a lot of people like me. evangelicals. the democrats like me. liberals like me. conservatives like me. >> reporter: a campaign stop in
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south carolina, we asked again. you get growing support from radical right wing groups and white supremacist groups. does this concern you? >> that i don't know about. you are telling me something. i didn't know about that. >> reporter: brian leaven is with a hate group watchdog. he says his message is reverbera reverberating. >> he uses stereotypes to degrade people like latinos. while he is not a hate monger at all, he is someone who is not above using messages that appeal to those who are. >> we're letting all these people come in that do not want to be americans. >> reporter: this man is a lifetime member of the council of conservative citizens in south carolina, a white s supremacist group cited by dylann roof. he says he is only march nally involved with the group, the southern poverty law center lists him as a board member. he was in the crowd for trump's
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speech in south carolina to hear trump's plan for ending what he sees as an invasion of undocumented immigrants. >> i want them to cross the river. i will give them another towel and they can dry their back. they need to go. what excites me about trump is the no nonsense approach and in your face kind of approach. >> reporter: an approach that has donald trump at the top of the polls. >> thank you very much. jim, when you talk to the mainstream supporters that show up at rallies for donald trump, it is brashness and bravado they like. donald trump acknowledged he realized why people wouldn't think he is very nice. what the country needs is some one who isn't very nice in the white house. exactly that brashness, some might say, offensiveness, that many of his more radical, white wing extremists have found so
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exciting about donald trump. >> i want to bring in cnn political analyst, david gergen, "outfront" tonight. as ed said there, it's not just brashness. there are comments, not just isolated comments that some find offensive. i just wondered, in your ve does donald trump have to come out clearly, specifically denounce the groups and refuse their support? >> i think he has to go further than where he has gone so far. it is important to know that in the last few days donald trump has said he doesn't want david duke's endorsement, not looking for david duke's endorsement and told an interviewer if he would like i will reject it. i think he is going to have to harden that up over time. especially if there are more groups like this, surround him. let's be clear, a candidate cannot control what somebody says about him or who may try to come into his camp or attend his rallies. what he can do or she must do is reject endorsements from extreme
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groups. and also set a tone at the campaign rallies. ronald reagan was accused of, you know, of saddling up to the kkk. white supremacists in 1980. when he got the kkk endoorment, he rejected the kkk in 1984. when john mccain and sarah palin ran against barack obama you, will well remember this. there were people who came to sarah's rallies who were saying really outrageous racist kind of comments and threatening for violence. and it was starting to get out of hand. mccain had to step in and say, guys stop it. he is not a muslim. we're'going to get into violence here. we are going to be a peaceful company. trump is heading toward that moment perhaps. >> you can't control who supports you. are you saying the tone is partly responsible for that support? >> i do think, well, look, i think that he is making appeals that have some consistency with
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what they the sa prupremacists believe. they are worried about this becoming, their grandchildren belonging to some hated minority in this country, a white hated minority. i don't think we are going to go there. nonetheless, he has got to sort of say, here's what i'm for. i'm for respect and treating each other well. he is responsible for the tone of his campaign. and when people start getting out of hand at his rallies he has to put a stop to it. >> david gergen. thank you for joining us. we'll be right back.
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tonight ten years after hurricane katrina. president obama says the city is moving forward. it hasn't been easy. here is suzanne malveaux. >> reporter: first day of school at the new orleans academy. >> yea, first grade! did you have a great summer? >> great. i'll take it. >> what are you looking for ward to the most? >> math. awesome. love that. >> now in its third year, already one of the most sought after charter schools in the city. >> when i drop my babies off i leave here with peace of mind because i know they're going to be taken care of. >> reporter: deborah stevenson has seen a remarkable change in her two granddaughters journey and sky. >> last year, journey won top reader award. sky is a wonder woman. she can do anything. she tries. because they give them that courage. >> for melissa, innovation and creativity is what tristan needed. >> i'm thrilled we were able to
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choose the type of school that would be tailored to my child. >> reporter: the founder and ceo of the school says the school is 50/50, black and white. >> we believe bripging ki ibrin together from diverse background is to increase equity, empathy and creativity. >> reporter: when hurricane katrina hit, the public schools in new orleans were among the worst in the country. the school damage destroyed most of the schools. including ones like this. abandoned for ten years. the state of louisiana seized more than 100 schools. fired about 7,500 teachers. and turned the buildings over to in pennant school operators or charters. >> there was a narrative that was created that somehow everything and everyone here was broken. >> reporter: some community leaders say this experiment has
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destroyed community schooling. and has disproportionately benefited whites over blacks. >> this brand of reforeign minist minister -- reform, employed in new orleans and touted across the nation as some kind of miracle is simply not working. >> reporter: a study by tulane university shows under the charter school system, student achievement is up. with 63% of students passing state assessment tests in 2014. up 30% increase since 2 # 85. and graduation rates are up from 56% to 73%. >> hey, everybody. get out your calendar. >> initially charter schools were able toy you the the most desirable students. now parents can write their school choices and go through a centralized lottery process. >> we have no influence over who attends. >> reporter: parents say when a spot unexpectedly opens up at a good school they run. >> when we got in there were two spots left. i said, thank you, lord.
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this one is for my baby. >> reporter: some students do not get any choices leaving some parents to question whether the program really works. >> i don't know that we are succeeding necessarily. and that the same sort of quality education is available for everyone. >> ten years now after the storm. >> we have gone from a school district that was an f to a school district that is a c level. >> how was your first day? >> new orleans is still trying. and won't stop until they get that a. suzanne malveaux, new orleans. >> thank you for joining us. ac 360 starts right now. good evening. thank you for joining us. a vigil just now getting under way outside cnn affiliate wdbj in roanoke, virginia, the make shift memorial growing all day. as people pay their respects. inside they're getting ready for the late newscast, working through tears at times, a day and night, after a killer took the lives of two colleagues they loved. reporter