hello, i'm wolf blitzer, it's 1:00 p.m. in new york, 6:00 p.m. in london, 8:00 p.m. in jerusalem. wherever you're watching from around the world, thanks very much for joining us. >> up first, presidential politics here in the united states and hillary clinton's shrinking lead in the race for the democratic nomination. in a brand new cnn/orc poll hillary clinton leads bernie sanders by only ten point, 37% to 27%. last month she held at an 18-point lead. vice president joe biden is at
20% as he considers whether to jump into the race. you'll hear part of his emotional conversation with stephen colbert in just a few minutes. on the republican side, a brand new quinnipiac university poll shows donald trump leading with 27%, dr. ben carson climbed to 2 21%, ted cruz with 9% followed by jeb bush with 6%. the wisconsin governor scott walker who led in iowa back in july has fallen -- get this -- to tenth place. let's bring in our panel, our cnn senior political reporter nia-malika henderson, jeff zeleny and brianna keilar. nia, can hillary clinton stop this serious slide in the polls? all the national polls, the key state polls have shown her numbers going down over these past several weeks and months. >> i think what we've seen over these last couple days is her campaign's attempt to course correct. we saw her out there with ellen,
she's been giving more interviews, the campaign has sort of telegraphed bluntly that they want to do this, that they want to show a more sort of relaxed hillary clinton and someone more willing to talk about that e-mail controversy that's surrounded her all summer and very much explains this summer a slide. i think also what we've seen is there's something of a sanders surge and a biden boomlet. if you look at those numbers, she was up 10, she slid ten points and biden is up six points soty think he's benefited from some of this conversation around whether or not he's run. in talking to her campaign officials, they see this almost as a rite of passage for presidential candidates, these bumps and bruises to what they see is her gaining the nomination eventually but they have to contend with sanders, with o'malley, with chafee, web and perhaps with biden as well. >> her advantage, jeff, in
hypothetical head-to-head matchups against various republicans also has evaporated. she trails jeb bush 49% to 47%. she's tied with donald trump at 48% and she's behind dr. ben carson 51% to 46%. what do you make of those numbers? >> wolf, remember at the beginning of the summer just a few months ago she was winning and leading all of these republicans by double digits. well, that's over. in part it's to be expected because she's become more politiciz politicized. she's now fully in the mix, being attacked everyday by this big republican field. but something else is happening. she's lost ground among women voters. women specifically. it's all attached to this trusting credibility, these questions about her private e-mail server, about how approachable she's been, other things. so this is part of the course correction that nia is talking about. the campaign realizes they need
to shake this up. again, it's important to point out among democrats she is generally fine. democrats still have a favorable impression of her, a wide majority of democrats still believe she'll be the nominee but no question she's taking a hit here. it's reminder, wolf, that the general election, regardless of who's the nominee on either side, it's likely to be a tight race and these head-to-head matchups show that. >> good point. brianna, vice president joe biden continues to be a wild card right now in this democratic contest. listen to what he said on the "late show" with stephen colbert last night. >> i don't think any man or woman should one for president unless, number one, they know exactly why they would want to be president and, two they can look at folks out there and say i promise you, you have my whole heart, my whole soul, my energy and my passion to do this. and -- and i'd be lying if i
said that i knew i was there. >> he also spoke rather emotionally, as you know, about still getting over the death of his son a few months ago, beau biden, listen to this. >> i went out to denver and landed in a military base and met a whole group of military families and it was going great and a guy in the back yells "major beau biden, bronze star, sir, served with him in iraq." and all of a sudden i lost it. >> so brianna, to some it sounds like maybe he's not yet emotionally ready to run but as you pointed out repeatedly on labor day we saw a different joe biden walking in a parade he was in pittsburgh glad handing. it seemed to suggest the opposite. what are you hearing? >> i'm hearing it's what you're seeing play out, wolf. it is day to day. this is joe biden's grieving process very much on display.
you said it, on monday he was in pittsburgh, he was fired up, he was getting a lot of emergency from a crude of union members and the week before he's in florida talking to a crowd about his decision making and it's very similar to what we saw last night on colbert's show. so i think talking to sources in his orbit they say he isn't there at this point but he also doesn't need to be there to make a decision at this point. maybe he still has a little bit of time. his decision timeline perhaps being pushed back beyond september but i think he is having a tough time right now. he's also, though, i can't think of a more sympathetic character in the wide menu of actual candidates in n this. it will be -- i think it is very much a personal decision for him. >> does he have to decide, nia, before the first democratic presidential debate in nevada,
cnn is hosting that debate on october 13? >> you would think he would want to decide almost as quickly as possible perhaps to get in that debate and just to start getting some of the work you have to do to mount a 50-state campaign. he's got to contend with hillary clinton if he gets in who's built up a huge lead just in terms of the infrastructure on the ground, hiring staff and doing all the things you have to do to run for president. so it's not just that debate, it's just all of this massive work his team would have to do if he joins this race. so time is running short for him. >> and jeffrey, as you know, jeff, the hillary clinton advantage in these hypothetical matchups against republicans clearly has gone away but biden does fare better in these hypothetical matchups. he's slightly behind ben carson. he leads trump by ten points, he's ahead of bush by eight points. is that a factor right now you think in joe biden's decision making?
>> sure. i think he has to look at all the poll numbers, and you see several openings, not just one lane or one door. he has several reasons to be intrigued by all of these poll numbers. but the fact is wolf, if he got in i think his support would level off quickly as well and it will be back to 50-50. he does very well among blue-collar voters, among those rust belt democrats. i think that he doesn't have as much baggage as she does so that's one of the things that would propel him into this but he has to ask himself is he ready for this. his timing is based on yes he can wait but what he doesn't want is democrats to view him as a spoiler. if he waits too much longer %-p testifies before the benghazi committee at the end of october.
that's not a good time to jump in, either. so democrats don't want to view him as a smiler so i think he has to get in early october. that's the next fund-raising period so that's a opportunity. he has a window. but the window is closing, or at least inching down ever so much. >> hold on, brianna, we're getting breaking news out of washington, d.c., reports of a shooting incident at union station, that's the main train station in the nation's capital. i think our justice correspondent pamela brown, we'll check in with her. this is what we're getting so far. union station in washington has been evacuated because of police activity. some train activity also has been halted. d.c. police say there is not an active shooter situation. they said that in a tweet they just posted, u.s. capitol police have warned capitol hill members of the house and senate and their staffs to stay away from
union station right now. union station the main train station in the nation's capital in washington, d.c. we don't know what's going on but police have responded to what they're calling a possible shooting incident. they're saying it's not active. we'll stay on top of this story. i know pamela brown is working the story. we'll check in with her. let's take a quick reak. much more right after this.
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there are reports of some sort of shooting incident at union station in washington, d.c., that's the nation's main train station. i want to bring in justice correspondent pamela brown. pam larks what's the latest? >> we have learned from the metropolitan police department there was a shooting some time today at union station but, most importantly, the situation is contained, we're told. this is not an active shooter situation. we have learned from producers on the scene at union station that there was a victim, a man taken out on a stretcher,
there's ambulances there, lots of police there around union station as well as the fbi assisting in this. again, no active shooter situation but we are told, wolf, that there was a shooter there at union station earlier today. we're trying to learn more details. the big question, it is the anniversary of 9/11 and people are wondering what could be behind this. we don't those details yet, wolf, and we're searching for them. there was train activity halted today but it appears everything at union station is getting back to normal and people are being allowed back in to union station after they were evacuated earlier for this shooting that occurred there. wolf? >> that sounds encouraging that things are getting back to normal. you'll update us later when you get more information, pam larks thank you very much. let's get back to the race for the white house. the lineup is set, the cnn republican presidential debates only five days away. 11 candidates will take part in
the main debate wednesday at 8:00 p.m. eastern. the front-runner donald trump will be center stage flanked by ben carson and jeb bush. also carly fiorina has earned a spot on the main stage. five of the remaining candidates face off in an earlier 6:00 p.m. eastern debate. let's talk presidential politics with cnn political commentatoco s.e cupp and hillary roe sin. s.e, what do you expect? >> some have kept their heads down and tried to stay out of the fray. that's going to be hard to do when donald trump is standing next to you potentially putting you in his line of fire so we'll see if people like scott walker or marco rubio come back at trump if he directs his criticism their way. otherwise i would expect people that have been going after trump like jeb bush and kreeft to be pretty vocal about it.
this is the big time to shine for folks who cannot get covered if they're not talking about donald trump. so plan -- expect to hear good well rehearsed one liners from some of the front-runners looking to have a moment in this debate. >> as you know, hilary, carly fiorina's strong performance, she was one of the second-tier debate but her strong performance in that debate helped make her -- get her to the main stage this time. do you expect other candidates to have that breakout moment wednesday? >> i think they're all hoping to have a breakout moment. carly fiorina is quick on her feet. when donald trump attacked her this week she didn't play victim, she just shot right back at him. i think we should expect to see that from her again as trump attacks her business experience. the good news for these candidates is trump is fairly
thin skinned and to the extent that they can turn him into an insult machine yet again while they're talking policy i think that's where they're going to be stronger. none of these candidates will be as entertaining as donald trump is so they have to be careful. they can't overly exaggerate the theater of it without getting to offering a real strategic and substantive alternative. that will be their challenge. >> there have been, s.e, comments. donald trump talking about carly fiorina's face, trump and ben carson are going after each other on religious faith. now hillary clinton saying she would love to debate donald trump. listen to what trump today fox's greta van susteren. >> well, i can probably think of nobody i'd rather debate. she was the worst secretary of state in the history of this country, although i think john
kerry will top her with this crazy deal he's made with iran which is one of the worst i've ever seen of any kind of a deal but hillary until now was the worst secretary of state in history. >> let me ask you about that -- >> i think beatinger in a debate would be one of the easy challenges of my life, that i can say. >> it's interesting, s.e, that hillary clinton is already speculating, talking about a possible debate against donald trump and that would occur if she's the democratic presidential nominee and he's the republican presidential nominee. >> yeah. i think in a way hillary is trying to telegraph that actually electable candidates in a general election are somehow deflated and out of the race, of course, it's 14 months away and so she wants democrats to think that trump is all we're left with and if only they run to support hillary clinton and watch her debate donald trump she's a sure bet to the white
house. >> please, please. >> and she's doing that while not acknowledging the turmoil within her own party and democrat what is who want her to run. >> please, please sends it donald trump in the general election, that would be fine. god, they're losers, they're the worst, they're the -- i'm the best, this is ridiculous. at some point -- that's the cleaner version, hilary! >> at some point there will have to be more adjectives that go to policy. jake tapper, i think, will be able to put substantive questions to donald trump and we'll see if he can answer them but god a debate between donald trump and hillary clinton in the general election would be extremely exciting for democrats. >> it would be extremely exciting for everyone. remember, hibe care what have y wish for. a lot of us remember there was a democratic president named jimmy carter and ronald reagan got the republican nomination, they said
"an actor from hollywood, who will vote for him?" so be careful what you wish for. >> i could spend a year on the differences between ronald reagan and donald trump. >> me, too. >> we'll talk about that another time. but we'll see what happens. guy, thanks very, very much. a remind, cnn hosts the next republican debate on september 16 from the ronald reagan library in california. we'll host the first of six democratic debates on october 13 live from nevada. up next, vulnerable refugees say they have to fight for food like animals, adults and children alike but police say it's not their fault. much more on the worsening refugee crisis just ahead.
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right now. a crane apparently collapsed at one of islam's most important mosques, the largest mosque, we're told, in mecca, killing at least, we're told, 52 people, injuring 30 others. this according to saudi authorities. they've just released this information. there's been no official comment, no immediate comment about the cause of the collapse. this mosque surrounds islam's holiest site, a shrine that worshippers visit during the hajj, the annual hill grimmage to mexico. approximately two billion people make that pilgrimage every year. once again, we are getting this initial report from saudi authority, a crane collapsed today at the most important mosque the masjid al haram mosque in mecca killing at least 52 people and injuring at least 30 others. we'll city on top of this for you. very disturbing development out
of saudi arabia. once again, in washington, d.c., the reports of a shooting incident at the main strain station, union station in washington, d.c., it looks like that incident has been resolved but i want to go back to pamela brown. a lot of nervousness going on but you're getting new information. what's the latest information you're getting? >> we're getting a better understanding of what unfolded there this afternoon. according to the d.c. police chief telling my colleague jim sciutto that apparently a security guard there at union station shot a suspect who was -- apparently pulled out a knife to stab his girlfriend. so this appears to be a domestic dispute and we reported earlier that a male was taken out on a stretcher from union station. apparently that was the suspect who was shot by the security guard who acted quickly when he saw him pull out a knife. of course, this caused a lot of
fear. people were evacuated from union station. this is the anniversary of 9/11. people are on edge, wolf. but it was resolved fairly qu k quickly. the crime scene was contained. word spread quickly there was not an active shooter situation now we're learning this was a domestic dispute. wolf? >> all right. fortunately it looks like it's over in washington, d.c. at union station. pham la, thanks very much. up next, remembering the tragedy of 9/11. we're going to show you some of today's events honoring the victims of the attack and i'll speak live to the former governor of new york, george pataki. we'll get his reflections on 9/11 in the world today as well as his own take on the presidential run and the republican front-runner, for that matter, donald trump. people don't have to think about
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today across the united states people are taking part in ceremonies marking a very dark day in american history. 14 years ago today 2,937 people were killed in terrorist attacks at the world trade center and at the pentagon. another 40 people died in shanksville, pennsylvania, when they stopped a fourth hijack plane from making september 11 an even bigger tragedy. here's a closer look at some of today's remembrances.
>> my father, stephen lewis roche, we miss you and we love you each and everyday. >> dad, thank you so much for your memories. i really wish you could meet your granddaughter because she reminds me of you so much. i love you very, very much and miss you always. george pataki let new york state on 9/11 and in the weeks and months that followed. today he attended that memorial, very emotional memorial at the world trade center site. now a candidate for president of the united states, the former governor says his ability to unite new york during those difficult days is what american needs now. >> i saw that on the streets of new york in the days and weeks after september 11. we understood we were all
americans who had been attacked and were going to rise up together and we did. we need to recapture that spirit. >> governor pataki is joining us now. governor, thanks for joining us. what was it like to return to the world trade center site and speak to the victims' families. >> wolf, i still have that same emotion that i did on the first anniversary, that sense of loss and sorrow, of the real human tragedy that happened that day. but then you talk to family member, give them a hug, see their strength and courage and it reminds you of the strength and courage new yorkers and americans showed in those horrible hours. we have to recapture that sense that we're all americans, we're all in this together. it's very sad that what had been a unifying experience, we were the most united of my lifetime, now we look at washington and see it's the exact opposite. >> you talk about how much the
country has changed since those 9/11 attacks 14 years ago. you saw the pain, it did unite america. what else did you see today? >> i also saw the resurgence of lower manhattan about which i'm very proud. we had this horrible human loss but we also had an economic catastrophe looming in new york. this was the second time the towers had been attacked. the worth was you have to flee new york, you have to decentralize. who knows when this could happen again. you go down there now and you have to image, the freedom tower soaring 1776 feet tall and it raises right above the memorial where you can still see the voids where the towers stood. it gives me a real sense of pride that people can go there and understand the magnitude of the loss but also see that symbol of courage, that freedom tower rising to new heights. >> you say your optimism, your leadership, those are the qualities that get you elected president of the united states. but the polls show you're right
near the bottom of the pack right now. so what's your strategy to build momentum, stand out, for example, in that debate. you're going to be in the second-tier debate that begins at 6:00 p.m. eastern wednesday night with four other republican candidates. >> wolf, i'm happy to be in any of the debates and happy to have this opportunity. and my strategy is simple -- be myself. let people know my vision for america. let them know my record of putting in place the most sweeping conservative reform agenda in a very liberal state, new york state, with a state assembly more than 2-1 democrat and that i will have the ability if the american people give me the chance to work across party lines and solve problems. throw out the hideous tax codes. stand up to rat cal islam. protect our freedom and security and grow our economy. these are things i know i can do if i have the chance to lead this country. >> do you think donald trump is qualified to be president of the united states? >> no. i don't think donald trump is
qualified to be president of the united states. and, wolf, i don't think he's fit to be president of the united states. when you demonize entire ethnic groups calling mexicans rapists and thugs, when you insult entire categories, women, african-americans you are not just not qualified, you're not fit. he will not be the republican nominee and that's one of the reasons why i'm ott miptimistict my party and country. it will change. we'll see we need a litter who can bring us together and that's george pataki. >> he is ahead in all the polls, the national polls right now, the state poll, if he is the republican presidential nominee will you vote for him. >> he's not going to be the nominee, wolf, let me tell you that flat out right now. he is unqualified, he is unfit. voters will realize that. we've had our summer of theater and reality show as politics. people will understand this is serious business. we need a leader who can solve
problems and have answers to the tough questions and not soundbites and i'm very hopeful and optimistic that this will pass. and when people want a leader that can bring us together, it's me. >> not mincing any words, former governor of new york, george pataki, thank you for joining us. >> thank you, wolf. up next, security and refugees. i'll ask the chairman of the house homeland security committee about the greatest threats to the united states right now on this 9/11 anniversary and the president's new call now to take in more syrian refugees. stay with us.
very disturbing breaking news out of saudi arabia. authorities are now saying at least 65 people have been killed in a crane collapse at a major mosque in mecca. there's no immediate word on the cause of the collapse at the masjid al-haram of course no mecca. officials say more than 150 people were injured. the mosque surrounds one of the holiest sites in islam, a shrine that worshippers visit during the hajj pilgrimage. that's due to begin later this month and it attracts about two million islam muslims. authorities have raised the number and said at least 65 people have been killed by a crane collapse at this mosque in mecca. we'll get more information. we'll update you as we get it. also just coming into cnn, two u.s. sources are telling us that it's believed a notorious french bomb maker has been killed in syria. a twitter account belonging to a senior al qaeda fill your also announcing that the suspect,
david drujean, was killed in july. there's no official but if true, his killing would be considered by the u.s. and its coalition partners a major, major get. across the nation, people are remembering those who lost their lives at the deadliest attack on american soil. now the fbi has arrested a florida man for planning an attack at a memorial in missouri. officials say joshua goldberg has been charged with providing bomb-making information to an informant with the intention of planting a pressure cooker device at an event in kansas city. while it's a stark remind err terror threat still exists in the united states, it also underscores the fact that u.s. intelligence to file these kinds of possible attacks has improved. the republican chairman of the house homeland security committee, texas congressman mike mccall, is joining us. thank you for joining us on this important day 14 years after the
9/11 attacks. bottom line, what's your thoughts about the security of the united states right now? >> you know, i chaired a hearing at the 9/11 museum with rudy giuliani and the police commissioner, fire commissioner. >> i think the threat has changed. it's evolved from core al qaeda bin laden caves and couriers to now sort of a new generation of terrorists that are very savvy on the internet to get their message out, to attack in the united states, to attack military and police officers. the case in florida is a classic examples of one of these lone wolf pipes that builds a bomb, wants to send it to missouri and hit a 9/11 event. this is what we're seeing more and more of now. the fbi has done a czech of a job stopping these plots. we've had over 60 isis followers arrested just this past year so it'ms like every week, wolf,
we're rolling out some isis terrorist in the united states. >> in a new audio message, the head of al qaeda, the group responsible for the 9/11 attacks, ayman al zawahiri, he says the enemy of al qaeda is ayman al zawahiri, the leader of isis, abu bakr al baghdadi. what's going on? is this a war that could take place between al qaeda and isis? >> i think it's dangerous competition, if you will, to get attention, i think isis is the winning game, the strong horse. they're going ground in my judgment so al zawahiri is trying to compete with baghdadi and if you see that kind of competition, i worry that they're going up the ante to try to win -- tbe the winning game n
town. if al zawahiri could pull off an attack in the united states, that would help him bring recruits more back to the al qaeda camp. but right now we're seeing al qaeda followers joining isis and al qaeda affiliates pledging their allegiance to isis. so you have a competition going on that i think is dangerous for the united states. >> i've heard exactly the same thing from top u.s. intelligence officials because the initial reaction if they're fighting each other, isis and al qaeda, the reaction is great, let them kill each other. the problem is they're not killing each other, they both want to kill americans and other westerners right now and they want to compete for that effort, that's why a war between isis and al qaeda potentially, as you correctly point out, could be very dangerous. >> i think so. and, again, what better way to get attention and more recruits than attacking the west, attacking europe, israel, particularly the united states. if they can pull off a
successful attack in the united states, al qaeda, that would get them -- you know, they would start winning this competition. but i think al qaeda, quite frankly, is losing to isis right now and i think stronger horse. >> yeah. i recently interviewed james comey, the fbi director, and he said that isis represents the major terror threat to the u.s. homeland, even more significant than al qaeda. but we'll continue this conversation, mr. chairman. thanks very much. >> thank you, wolf. >> mike mccaul, the chairman of the house homeland security committee. up next, the iran deal moves ahead but not without renewed questions about americans held captive. one u.s. congressman is leading the charge to get freedom for a amir hekmati. running my own shop has been brutal. but then i got a domain and built my website all at godaddy. now i look so professional,
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did successfully block a republican resolution to reject the six-nation nuclear agreement with iran. that means in effect that the deal with go through without a veto that the president could have put forward, a veto showdown between the white house and congress. the senate majority leader, mitch mcconnell, says the republicans and others will have the vote -- one more vote, one more time next week. >> i said we'd be happy to take up any bill that enjoys enough co-sponsors to override a presidential veto. otherwise, this vote stands and this is going to be a defining vote for the 2016 election. >> in a statement, president obama called the vote yesterday in the senate a victory for diplomacy for american national security and for the safety and security of the world. once again, looks like this iran nuclear deal will go through. the deal does not include anything about iran's american captives. that he is a sensitive point that republicans have seized upon during this election
season. with us is one michigan democrat, congressman dan kildee. hekmati has spent three years in jail on espionage charges. congressman, thank you for joining us. you voted for the iran nuclear deal. it looks like that part is over, at least for now. so does that open the door or close the door to hekmati and the three other americans being released by iran? >> i think it creates a much greater likelihood that we continue to bring iran slowly back to the international community and a tangible demonstration of that would be to release these americans. i really hate to think with the fate of these americans might have been had the republicans prevailed in their attempt to try to stop this agreement. it was a dangerous path to not engage this agreement in the first place just in terms of the effect on the region and i think the effect on global security.
but as it relates to these particular americans who continue to be held, i just can't imagine how we could possibly engage iran if we had negotiated an agreement with them and then walked away from it and then expect to try to work with them on the release of these americans. it would be very, very difficult. >> what do you say to the republican presidential front-runner, donald trump, when he says it's crazy that the administration didn't simply demand the release of these four americans right at the start and say you've got to release these americans, and then we'll talk about easing the sanctions and other aspects. he says this is a disgrace. >> well, you know, donald says a lot of things. i've always been amused by the things that he has to say. when you're actually in a position of authority and leadership and actually have to exercise real decision making, we tend to tamp down that kind of receihetoric. it would have been really dangerous for us to attempt to exchange the freedom of these americans for $100 billion or
whatever it is that he might suggest. you know, i would have preferred that the release of these americans had been a precondition of entering negotiations and maybe i could agree with mr. trump on that particular point. but once we entered negotiations, i think most reasonable people on this question would understand the real danger in exchanging the freedom of innocent american for giving up at the negotiating table. we'd have to ask ourselves, what would we give? more nuclear capacity, more money? and what would that do to iran or some other rogue nation's intentions later on when they can't get something from us, what would they do? grab more americans and try and trade them for something that they otherwise could not secure. that would be dangerous. >> we'll stay in close contact with you, congressman kildee. let's hope that amir hekmati and the other americans are released soon.
>> thank you, wolf. vice president joe biden spoke to firefighters and the toll that it took on the members of the military to avenge the horror of 9/11. listen to this. >> every single day i carry a schedule like all of you do. but every single day i have my military aides contact the pentagon at 5:30 in the morning. you can't see it. it's a little black box here. and on the box it says "u.s. troops daily update." u.s. troops died in iraq and afghanistan. 6,719. not over 6,000, not roughly 6,700. 6,719. because every single man and woman lost, left behind a whole community, a whole family, a whole legacy. wounded, 52,328.
not 52,000. but 328. because every single one like your friend sitting home on the couch who is still suffering from having done their duty are required additional help and they are entitled to every single solitary help the united states government can provide them until the day they die. >> well said by the vice president of the united states. the news continues next on cnn. you're watching cnn. i'm brooke baldwin. thank you so much for being with me on this friday. major political events in the next two hours. heads up. we'll take you to a couple things live as we see them pop up. first up, president obama is set to hold a town hall with members of the military today at ft.