tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN October 8, 2015 2:00pm-4:01pm PDT
unemployment. the only way that was passed was by cutting african-americans out. >> not an issue we're going to settle here in our four and a half minutes. i recommend your book to everyone. be sure to follow me on facebook and twitter. that's it for "the lead." i'm jake tapper. turning you over to wolf blitzer in "the situation room." happening now, breaking news, house divided. republicans are in disarray tonight after their leading candidate for speaker dropped out of the race just moments before a key vote catching everyone off guard. was it his verbal gaffe about hillary clinton or something else that led to a shocking decision? misguided missiles. as russia pounds targets in syria from the air, cnn learns that some of vladimir putin's newest assaults missed their targets and struck moscow's close ally iran instead. nuclear reach. the admiral in charge of protecting the u.s. from nuclear attack warns that north korea
now has the ability to strike american soil with an atomic weapon. as north korea prepares for a massive celebration, should the u.s. be preparing for a potential nuclear test? i'm wolf blitzer, you're in "the situation room." this is cnn breaking news. we're following the breaking news, the chaos engulfing house republicans after the stunning decision by the majority leader kevin mccarthy to drop out of the race to replace the speaker john boehner. mccarthy only told boehner and others of his decision moments before a critical first vote mccarthy was expected to win and now all votes on a new speaker have been postponed. we're also following a very disturbing development right now involving russian strikes in syria. two u.s. officials tell cnn that at least four cruise missiles launched from a russian ship aimed at targets in syria
crashed into iran instead. russia strongly denying that noting drones operating in syria around the clock presumably monitoring operations. we're covering all of this and a whole lot more this hour with our correspondents and our guests including republican congressman adam kinsinger. he's a veteran of the wars in iraq and afghanistan. let's begin with the breaking news. our chief political correspondent dana bash is working the story for us tonight. dana, there are reports speaker boehner may now be personally lobbying for an ally to run for speaker. >> wolf, speaker boehner and everybody else wants this to be finished because this was such a surprise that john boehner himself was planning to get this vote done with today and go up to new york to do jimmy fallon and the "tonight show" that was abruptly canceled because he and everyone else they were shocked when kevin mccarthy went behind closed doors, took the microphone, i'm told lowered his voice to a point where people could barely hear what he was
saying, and then he dropped the bomb saying that he was not going to run. he was dropping out of the race. he explained to reporters shortly after. >> we had our conference. and there's calls into the district. i don't want making voting for speaker a tough one. i don't want to go to the floor and win with 220 votes. i think the best thing for our party right now is that you have 247 votes on the floor. if we're going to be strong, we got to be 100% united. and i think, you know what, let's put the conference first. >> so to break down what he's talking about there in english is in order to become speaker of the house, the full house has to approve it. and you need a majority voting yes. right now it would be 218. what he was saying pretty clearly is that he might have gotten the votes to do that, but he probably would have been limping along in his speakership
because a lot of republicans simply didn't support him, wouldn't support him. there are 247 members of the house caucus, it is the largest majority really in modern history. so he is saying it's time for everybody to get together. so the open question is who is going to fill that role? there was another person -- actually two others, but one of them jason chaffetz who surprised everybody by jumping into the race this weekend, he talked about how surprised he was that mccarthy dropped out. listen to this. >> absolutely stunned. did not see that coming. kevin mccarthy is a very good man. and he is always been one that puts his country before everything else. and so he and i stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the same goal and desire. and that is to unite this party and take the fat to the president, to the senate and to the american people. >> so everything is up in the air, wolf. you and i talked earlier today about the fact that john boehner, the current speaker, was supposed to leave at the end
of the month. there was supposed to be a vote on the house floor we were talking about october 29th. unclear if and when that is going to happen, but john boehner has made clear he's going to stay as long as he needs to to make sure that things run smoothly to whomever his successor will be. >> and as you know, dana, a lot of talk now about congressman paul ryan, the republican vice presidential nominee last time around, he's under pressure to throw his hat into the ring. what are you hearing? >> a lot of pressure. there are few people who have the support and the respect from all sides of the republican caucus. and paul ryan is one of them. and, you know, from the minute we heard about this shocking news people started coming out and floating paul ryan's name. he actually has canceled we are told some fundraisers he was supposed to be doing for the next couple of days. a source said it's because there's too much turmoil right now and he doesn't want to be involved in that. but the bottom line according to ryan aides they insist that he
is a hard no. that he is not going to run for speaker. he doesn't want the job despite the fact that there is intense pressure on -- for him to do that. now, why doesn't he want the job? i think you can just look at our report and reporting all day about how tumultuous things are within the party, within the house republican caucus to answer that. it is not an easy job to do right now. and he is currently the chairman of the tax writing committee the weighs and means committee, that is his dream job, he's a policy wonk and wants to dig in there. we'll continue to see if he maintains that hard no as pressure continues. dana, thanks very much. our senior political reporter manu raju talked to kevin mccarthy after making the shocking announcement. triggered on benghazi was an attempt to hurt hillary clinton's poll numbers. watch this. >> how much did your comments about benghazi last week play into your decision to step aside
today? >> well, that wasn't helpful. yeah. i mean, i could have said it much better. but this benghazi committee was only created for one purpose, to find the truth on behalf of the families for the four dead americans. i should not be a distraction from that. and that's part of the decision as well. >> manu is joining us now live from capitol hill. mccarthy was also asked about a letter from a north carolina congressman that appeared to be a veiled threat. what are you learning about that? >> well, when he was asked about that letter which was from walter jones, a congressman from north carolina, which essentially says that any misdeeds from members of congress or candidates for leadership from the past if they have any misdeeds that they should step aside to avoid embarrassing the republican conference to avoid any sort of scandalous resignation that could actually do more harm to republicans.
now, when mccarthy was asked about that he really dismiss ds it. he said that was not the reason why he was running that he pulled himself out of the running. i got a chance to talk to walter jones about the letter. here's what he had to say. >> i was here when newt gingrich stepped down as speaker of the house. we were in the process of impeaching bill clinton. and then newt had to acknowledge that he had an issue -- he stepped down. then the conference, the republican conference, elected bob livingston to follow behind newt as speaker of the house. we all believed we were moving in the right direction and two days later he steps down before even having a vote on the floor of the house. and there have been some other things that have happened over the past few years that i think when a person has been a member of the congress, which is a very sacred duty quite frankly in my opinion, and they are elevated to become a leader of a party. could be either party, republican or democrat, that those in leadership must be above reproach. >> you know, this was -- i pushed walter jones on whether
he believed this caused kevin mccarthy to step aside. he actually does not think that that was the reason. and really the reason that both mccarthy and his allies have been saying all day today is that if he would have been essentially been a pretty toxic leader in terms of this would have been a very tough vote for members of his party to cast, particularly younger members who just became elected to the house. and if they had to cast a vote to put kevin mccarthy in the chair, they could really get hit pretty hard particularly in some of their primary contests, particularly from some of their conservative outside groups who tried to make kevin mccarthy an issue. it was clear mccarthy did not want to go that route. what made it so surprising, wolf, is that at 8:00 this morning kevin mccarthy was still campaigning for the job privately and didn't let onto anyone that he was going to do this until just moments before he made the news around noon in the house office building and
really just stunned everybody in washington and left republicans reeling, wolf. >> yes, it did, manu. thanks very much. let's get more on the breaking news, joining us now republican congressman adam kinsinger, veteran of the wars in iraq and afghanistan and also bit of the wars going on in the party. so representative mccarthy, majority leader he admitted his comments on the benghazi committee the impact it would have in hurting hillary clinton didn't help the situation, i assume you agree. >> yeah, definitely didn't help. look, i know kevin mccarthy, he's a fantastic leader. and he's going to stay a fantastic majority leader, a very powerful position. i know he wishes he could have taken those words back, but i also know that that was not his intention. we did not form the benghazi committee to take hillary clinton down. we formed itd to get to the bottom to get to some answers. so, yeah, it was unfortunate. i don't think that's the final thing that went into his decision. it's a tough caucus to unite right now. >> he says he wants to stay on as majority leader even though he's not running to become
speaker. why should he stay on as majority leader? >> he has the trust of the caucus. he probably would have gotten 180 to 200 votes and typically we all go out and vote together for him on that actual day at the end of the october. but 200 out of 247 republicans saying this is the person we want, he has the full confidence of the caucus for majority leader. and he's done a great job frankly of bringing folks i guess from all walks of life and political spectrums together. he didn't see that was best as speaker right now. >> you wanted him to be the majority leader? >> i want him to be the majority leader absolutely. >> did you want him to be the speaker? >> yeah, i did want him to be the speaker. i would have voted for him today. just like basically everybody in that room i was taken aback when he said it. in fact, there are a lot of us for about three minutes that were asking each other did that really happen, did we hear it right? so i would love to have him. i think maybe at some point in the future he's going to make a run at it again.
but it's obviously not today. >> did what happened today hurt the republican party? >> i don't think it helps. we're going to get through this. we have to figure out how to come together as a team. we win as a team. we lose when we fight as individuals. and that's been a concern of mine with the republican party is uniting behind our common principles. no, it didn't help. i think it sends a question to the american people about our ability to govern. and that's why it's all that much more important for us to find whoever this candidate's going to be. i don't know who it's going to be, to bring us together to say, look, here's our shared vision. and we can govern. >> who do you want to be the speaker of the house? >> well, look, just like everybody i'd love if paul ryan ran. i don't think he wants the job. i don't know why anybody would want the job right now, frankly. but there's a lot of great candidates. some names being floated. i'm as confused frankly about what's going on as everybody out there. so over the next week i think some names will shake out. some alliances will be built. but ultimately we have to bring somebody together that can win, that can win 218 votes and seems
to have been tough of late. >> could that guy be paul ryan? would you support paul ryan as speaker? could he get the overwhelming majority of the republican caucus more than 218 votes on the house floor to become the speaker if he were to change his mind and run? >> oh, absolutely. i think if paul ryan ran he'd win. the question is does he want to. unfortunately in the speaker's position you become controversial very quickly. you have things like debt limit, government funding, tough issues that we have to deal with out here and have to take tough votes. and the speaker has to lead on those issues. look, i don't blame paul ryan for saying he doesn't want to do it. but if he did step forward, i think he'd have a huge overwhelming consensus of people backing him. >> you heard in manu's report republican congressman walter jones of north carolina raise questions earlier in the week suggesting any candidate for the party's leadership in the house who had committed in his words misdeeds since being elected to the house should step down. do you know what he's referring
to? >> no, i don't. you know what, frankly people vntd taken him seriously in a long time out here. i don't think whatever he's implying, whatever he's writing about really had anything to do with anything. but look, i guess any member of congress can write a letter that says whatever you want it to say. >> congressman, standby. we have a lot more to talk about including latest developments. apparently russia firing cruise missiles into syria but landing in iran. you're a veteran of both wars in iraq and afghanistan. stay with us, much more with adam kinsinger when we come back.
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we're back with republican congressman adam kinsinger. he served in both iraq and afghanistan wars. we want to talk to him about new information cnn has learned about russian cruise missiles fired at targets in syria but actually hit a russian ally, iran, instead. let's get the background. cnn's pentagon correspondent barbara starr reports. >> russian warships firing cruise missiles at what it says are isis targets in syria. but as the russian leader celebrated his 63rd birthday on the ice rink, there are new signs of trouble for the russian military campaign. cnn has learned at least four of
the more than two dozen russian cruise missiles launched from ships in the caspian sea crashed in iran, no word from moscow or tehran. but u.s. officials say they believe there are injuries. a setback for the russian caliber cruise missile billed as a highly precise weapon with a 1,000-pound warhead being used for the first time in combat. the pentagon furious that the russians gave no warning of the missile launches and of other russian moves. >> it remains our hope that russia will see that tethering itself to a sinking ship is a losing strategy. >> and ominous prediction from the u.s. defense secretary. >> i also expect that in coming days the russians will begin to suffer casualties in syria. >> u.s. aerial drones monitoring the border with turkey have been shadowed by russian aircraft on at least two occasions.
and the russians have flown into turkish air space. russia claims these videos show their attacks on isis. but the u.s. and turkey say that is not russia's main target. >> they have initiated a joint ground offensive with the syrian regime shattering the facade that they're there to fight isil. >> a u.s. official tells cnn so far rebel groups have been able to thwart at least limited parts of the russian and syrian advances. even in the face of this brutal rocket system essentially a giant flame thrower. but a top congressional democrat says the u.s. has to do more. >> that might mean a no-fly zone in the southern part of syria and sending messages send up helicopters to barrel bomb people we're going to take those down. >> now, where do we stand tonight? the u.s. insists nato agrees that the russians are mainly
striking targets of militias and movements that are against bashar al assad, that russia is not striking isis at least not in any large amount. wolf. >> barbara starr, thanks very much. let's get back to congressman kinsinger. congressman, if they miss their targets in syria, hit some place in iran, that could happen, they could hit some place in jordan, some place in israel. that neighborhood relatively pretty small. what happens then? >> well, it's 100% true. i mean, look, they're new so-called amazing cruise missile system by your report has about a 20% error rate, which is pretty high. it could go into turkey, nato ally, israel, jordan, into iraq. we have troops stationed in iraq for goodness sakes. this is a very dangerous thing. and obviously the russians brought out the brand new weapons system that really is not living up to its hype. >> it's a really dangerous situation. congressman kinsinger, thanks very much. we'll stay on top of this.
we're getting more breaking news into "the situation room." we have more details of the house republicans after speaker dropping out of the race. plus, my interview with republican presidential candidate ben carson. he tries to explain his controversial remarks about the oregon college shooting. >> knowing that you were next to be killed and that they were going to continue to down the line killing people, i would much rather go down fighting. and if all of us attack the shooter, the chances are very strong that not all of us will be killed. (vo) what's your dog food's first ingredient? corn? wheat? in new purina one true instinct grain free, real chicken is always #1. no corn, wheat or soy. support your active dog's whole body health with purina one. still not sure whether to stay or go on that business trip? ♪ should i stay or should i go well this fall stay with choice hotels two times and earn a free night. when it comes to business, you always have a choice. book now at the new choicehotels.com
this hour's breaking news, chaos on capitol hill after representati ivative kevin mcca the majority leader, the man everyone presumed would become the next speaker of the house shocked everyone by suddenly dropping out of the race. dana bash was up on capitol hill when mccarthy made his bombshell announcement. she joins us along with our senior washington correspondent jeff zeleny, gloria borger and cnn political contributor ryan lizza. dana, you're getting new information about a big push to try to get paul ryan to run for speaker. >> that's right. we have been talking about the idea that so many people just in the immediate moments after mccarthy made clear that he wasn't going to run everybody's name -- the name on everybody's
lips rather was paul ryan, paul ryan, paul ryan. well, it goes up to the tiptop. i just confirmed from a source familiar with the conversation that the current speaker, john boehner, is even calling trying to convince paul ryan, please, please reconsider. but, again, just confirming and reconfirming with sources who are familiar with paul ryan thinking he is absolutely, positively a no. he saw what happened to john boehner, he's been in the house for a long time, he knows the situation, knows the climate and he is not interested in this job right now. >> all right. everyone standby. we're getting more on the breaking news. joining us now republican congressman daniel webster of florida. he wants to be the next speaker of the house. he's been endorsed by the house freedom caucus, ann influential group of very conservative lawmakers. congressman, are you still running for speaker? >> i am. great to be on. >> what did you think of mccarthy's dropping out? >> i was shocked. i don't think anybody expected
that. i think he definitely put something on us that we weren't expecting when we walked into the room. >> why do you think he dropped out? >> i don't know why he dropped out. because we just had a member session where all the members came together and we and myself and the other two candidates were there, kevin was there. and he was passionate about it. this was just an hour and a half before he announced he wasn't going to do it. >> so something happened obviously that convinced him. how many votes do you think you had? because as you know he could get the majority among house republicans, but the question is when it comes up for a formal vote at the end of the month you presumably didn't have enough to get the 218 you need, is that the reason? >> i don't know if that's the reason. i felt like he had certainly the majority of the votes. i did believe that. >> you think paul ryan is going to run for speaker against you? >> that i do not know. i'm really not engaged with
personalities. i'm working on what i believe to be a process problem that i have with the house. it's power based. i want it to be principle based. i did it in florida when i was speaker there. i know we can do it here. makes everything different and the members engage themselves far more than they do under the current system. >> congressman, dana bash has a question for you. >> hi, congressman. nice to talk to you again. >> hey. >> in the hallway earlier today you were saying even you, a competitor to kevin mccarthy up until a few hours ago, you thought it was what 99% sure that he would be the speaker. talk about that, and also about if that's the case why were you running against him? >> well, it's just a matter of votes. and i was trying to get as many votes as i possibly could. and i had quite a few. but in the end the numbers are the telltale. but it didn't change the fact that i believe that we have a broken system. i think the public believes that
having everything decided at the top of a pyramid of power by a few people doesn't work. and all i wanted to do is get the message out. and i'd like to serve as speaker to show i did it there in florida, wu peshed down that pyramid of power, spread out the base, so every single player could be a member. >> would you support paul ryan, congressman, as speaker of the house? would he be a good compromise candidate? >> well, right now i'm a candidate for speaker. i don't plan on dropping out. >> the question is could you support paul ryan? >> instead of myself? is that what you're asking? >> yes. >> no. i'm going to stay in the race. >> why are you better than paul ryan or jason chaffetz, for example? >> well, i've done it before. i've been a speaker of a house, and not only that i've changed the way it worked, the public noticed. our numbers flipped right side up instead of upside down on polling. i believe it's what's best for this congress. our numbers languish at 10, 11,
12% approval. and i think we can change that. if we do by engaging all the members in the process. >> could you get all 247 republicans to support you and keep that and try to get that republican party and the house the republican caucus as it's called united? >> that would be phenomenal to get 247. but i'm certainly giving it all i've got. >> here's also something intriguing that emerged today. congressman walter jones of north carolina raised questions in a letter earlier this week suggesting any candidate for the party's leadership speaker, majority leader, any of the leadership positions, in his words committed any, quote, misdeeds since being elected to the house of representatives should step down. do you know what he's referring to? >> i do not know what he's referring to. to me like i said i'm not into judging someone else. i'm into one thing and that is i want to see a principle-based
congress replace the old power-based system that we have. >> since he's raised it, congressman walter jones, have you committed any misdeeds since entering the house of representatives? >> maybe running for speaker. i'm not sure. but, no, i have not. >> if you become speaker of the house, what would you do as far as funding for planned parenthood or extending raising the nation's debt? would you be willing to go so far as to shut down the federal government to do -- to get those issues resolved from your perspective? >> well, those questions are for the old power-based system where the top of the pyramid of power made all the decisions. my job as speaker is to unite us and let the committee structure and the committee work and the members use that process that we have here now and take the rules that we have and produce product. that would be up to them. it's up to the members. it's up to majority vote on the floor.
that's what i support. i don't want to get trapped into these issues where we wait right until the last minute and the last end of the day. i want to take those important issues up first so we don't have this pressing deadline all the time. and that's what i believe to be is a principle-based system. >> so you're not ruling out necessarily another government shutdown? >> no. i think we stay away from those by doing our work. and if we do our work up front, we don't even run into these government shutdown issues. >> congressman daniel webster of florida wants to be the next speaker of the house of representatives. what an exciting day today up on capitol hill, congressman. thanks for joining us. >> great to be on. >> much more on the breaking news coming up. get back to our panel. all the day's news including my interview with dr. ben carson, the republican presidential candidate. much more right after this.
we're following the breaking ne news. chaos on capitol hill after kevin mccarthy drops out of the race to become the next speaker of the house. congressman daniel webster also running against congressman to become speaker said she still wants to be speaker. raised the possibility of a government shutdown. we're back with our panel. gloria, what's your reaction to representative webster what he had to say to me just moments ago? he says he's not backing down at all, wants to be speaker and wouldn't necessarily support paul ryan to be speaker. he wants to be speaker. >> look, i think this is the division in the house of
representatives. the hell-no caucus has been the bane of john boehner's existence. and it continues to be a problem for the republican party. it's very hard for them to coalesce around a leader when they can't coalesce around an agenda. there are republicans who don't want to shut the government down. mccarthy didn't want to shut the government down. webster wants to shut the government down. i think they smell blood in the water when mccarthy made that mistake on benghazi. and they are continuing. i think the question now is whether they are emboldened to continue or whether john boehner can find a way before he leaves the congress to make sure that the government does not get shut down. i'm sure he's going to try, but i'm not sure he could do it. >> ryan even congressman webster said he was shocked by mccarthy's decision not to run for speaker. we know he was telling people, mccarthy, as early as 8:00 a.m.
this morning only a few hours before the actual meeting that he was still in the race. what happened? >> i don't think we know yet, wolf. i think it's very, very unusual that he pulled out at the last minute. his stated reason for dropping out as he said in interviews today is that he wanted a larger majority of the vote. i've never seen someone drop out of the race because they were going to win but not win by a big enough margin. i mean, he knew when he jumped into this race that governing the house conference was going to be difficult and that he'd only have, you know, 218 or 220 something votes for most priorities including his own election. so, look, i think the most unusual thing is the one you pointed out in your interview with webster is that other members of congress were raising this issue of misdeeds. and i think that's the most curious thing that has happened this week. i frankly don't think we have the full story of why mccarthy dropped out yet. and that's still to come. >> yes. north carolina representative walter jones all of a sudden raising the issue of misdeeds
for sitting members of congress. jeff, republicans they're enjoying the largest majority in the house in what 80 years or so. they control the senate. they have a lame duck president right now effectively speaking another year to go, so for this president of the united states and the oval office they call him a lame duck. he's certainly not though. he's obviously doing a lot of important work right now. they still can't get their house in order. how bad does this look for the republicans? >> wolf, i just don't think it looks bad, i think it is bad for the republicans. no question about it no matter how you slice it every republican you talk to says this makes them look terrible. i talked to several rank and file members from freshmen all the way up today. and they are disspirited, disheartened and frankly not sure where they go from here. and this has a big spillout effect outside of the capitol into the country. this is happening right in the middle of a presidential campaign. and boy does this ever embolden outsider republican presidential candidates. donald trump of course jumped into this story out in las vegas. and effectively took some
responsibility. he said, you know, i was essentially you know behind this or the forces behind me sort of made this happen here. so i think that is what's happening here. the establishment of the republican party does not know how to govern. the party in and of itself cannot coalesce around one sort of governing agenda here. this is very, very bad for this republican party. >> and, wolf -- >> go ahead, gloria. >> it's dana. if i could just add to that. of course it looks bad if you are somebody who wants the institution to run as it has run for the past, you know, x number of decades. but if you are somebody like daniel webster who you've just interviewed or part of the so-called freedom caucus, this is not a bad thing. this is what they are working towards every single day to disrupt the institution, to disrupt the leadership. and i'm told that actually mccarthy was starting to think about this over the past couple of days despite what he was
saying publicly, despite really pushing and campaigning even this morning for it. and the reason is because in his conversations with those conservatives who he would have to negotiate with to get their votes, to get enough votes to be speaker, it was clear to him that he would have to make so many concessions that he would not be an effective speaker. he wouldn't be able to do his job. and he said to himself, you know, why do i have to do this? certainly there were probably many factors, but that was one of the finalizing parts of his decision when he said huh-uh. >> wolf, i think the republicans are trying to do the impossible, which is to lose control of the house representatives. i mean, they have this huge margin, as you point out. and they look chaotic because they are. and, you know, in the end this could be good for hillary clinton because chaos in the republican party is good for her. but to jeff's point that he made before, this is reflective of a
broader point among the electorate which is that outsiders reign, right? and that outsiders are dominant in this election cycle. that's what mccarthy was facing. that's what hillary clinton could face. that's what jeb bush could face. so they look bad, the question is how does it play for her? >> good questions indeed. we're going to stay on top of this story. much more in our next hour coming up on it. but coming up next, north korea preparing to show off its military muscle. right now experts are warning that kim jong-un's nuclear weapons could actually reach the u.s. homeland. full report coming up.
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we're keeping a very close watch right now on fornorth kor. they are getting ready for a celebration and show of military strength in light of a new warning north korea's nuclear missings could actually hit the united states. brian todd is talking about the dangers. >> this comes from a top u.s. admiral who watches the north korean threat. he says north korea can put n nuclear weapons on a rocket like this that could reach the u.s. and comes on the eve of a military display marking a crucial anniversary for kim jong un's regime. the top admiral in charge from protecting from a nuclear attack gives a chilling assessment
about north korea. >> they have the ability, weapons, the ability to minute that tourize the weapons. >> weapons experts tell cnn kim jong un developed rockets with advanced technology. >> the most likely next vehicle north korea will use is the liquid fuel vehicle which today launches a satellite but can be modified to carry a nuclear war head but that missile can reach global targets. it can reach targets all over the united states. >> experts say the north koreans haven't flight tested the r rockets yet and could spark retaliation from the u.s. >> you may be down a 10, 20% chance of success and are you willing to commit suicide for a 10% chance of success? most nations would say answer
luteally not. >> north korea is not most countries. kim's regime has ballistic missiles. they could soon have the ability to fire a nuclear tipped missile from a submarine that could launch surprise attacks off america's coast and constantly testing. u.s. officials tell cnn they previously thought north korea might test a rocket carrying a satellite sometime this weekend, the massive celebration marking the anniversary of the founding of the regime but satellite pictures show little evidence of preparations and u.s. officials say a test could be delayed but they are still watching closely. if kim doesn't conduct a test launch near the anniversary, america and allies aren't out of danger. >> north korea is conducting cyber attacks as we speak. north korea has already tried to bring down or demonstrate they would bring down the south korean banking system. imagine wall street suddenly
losing all of its information. >> south korean officials say north korea has a cyber army, which has demonstrated the ability and will to attack its enemies. they are believed to have launch a massive cyber attack on sony pitchers entertainment and recently a south korean lawmaker declared a group linked to north korea hacked south korea's subway system last year. a north korea cyber attack somewhere around the anniversary celebration this weekend is a real possibility, wolf. >> let's hope that doesn't happen. brian, you're getting satellite images of the regime's preparations for the military parade that's supposed to happen in the next day or two. >> we just got these images, take a look. it comes from 38 north taken a couple days ago that shows the staging areas. hundreds of trucks, tents, and military armored vehicles are right in this area, this is a converted helicopter base here
you see replicas of kim jong un's -- and a replica of a reviewing square they have been practicing on. experts say this could be the biggest military parade in north korea's history. watch for the images, wolf, they will be amazing. >> we'll certainly watch and they have had huge parades over the years, this could be bigger. thanks very, very much. breaking news coming up next, house republicans in disarray tonight after the majority leader drops out of the race to become the speaker of the house at the very last minute. was another lawmaker's mysterious warnings a factor? plus a troubling warning about isis and home grown violent extremists in the united states. can counterterrorism officials keep track of their growing numbers?
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happening now, breaking news, the top candidate to be the house speaker suddenly drops out of the race minutes before a critical vote. this hour we're learning about john boehner's new attempt to fight the right republican to replace him. isis in the u.s., new warnings about secret messages to terror recruits and the threat to the u.s. homeland. top counterterrorism officials admit they are losing track of potential attacks on american soil. hilary's toughest challenge breaking with tradition as he warms up for the first debate days from now. will it help him past a huge test for his campaign? >> north korea ready for a massive show of force to mark an important milestone for kim jong un and for his family legacy of
ruling with an iron fist. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in the situation room. let's get right to the breaking news. cnn news learned john boehner is trying once again to convince ways and means committee, the former vice presidential nominee knee to run for the top leadership job. the leading contender, the house majority leader suddenly bowing out as a preliminary vote was about to take place behind closed doors and tonight, there is new turmoil division and uncertainty within the gop lead house. we're also following new setbacks in the fight against isis-inspired terrorism in the united states. top officials are admits they lost the ability to track dozens
of isis sympathizers what could be plotting attacks now here in the united states. i'll ask republican congressman peter king about those stories. he's a top member of the homeland security and intelligence committees and our correspondents and analysts are standing by with the news that's breaking right now. first, let's go to our chief political correspondent, dana bash, she's got more on kevin mccarthy's stunning announcement to drop out of the race. at first, a lot of people thought it was a joke. >> i got a text and responded, come on, stop it as if it was a joke but obviously was not. the same conservative outrage that helped push out john boehner from his speakership swept away his number two from the spot. no one saw it camoming. >> there is congressional chaos and then there is this. republican meeting to vote for a new speaker ended abruptly after
the front runner shocked everyone, suddenly dropping out of the race. >> people are absolutely stunned. >> i mean, you were behind him. are you stunned? >> totally stunned. >> what happened? >> kevin mccarthy just like john boehner did put the country and the congress and the conference before his own interest. it was a very honorable thing to do. i think he recognized and shared with the conference he was afraid his candidacy would further divide the caucus. >> that's exactly what kevin mccarthy told his colleagues and what he repeated to reporters after the news got out. >> if we're going to unite and be strong, we need a new face to help do that. so nothing more than that. >> that and raw numbers. despite mccarthy's public confidence only an hour earlier, sources close to he realized getting 218 votes would be tough and mccarthy decided the demands
many conservative members were making in exchange for the votes in the freedom caucus would have made him too weak to be effective. tim's camp is some of 40 republicans in the house freedom caucus. >> how do we work together? we're working with a speaker and we presumed kevin was going to reach out to us and say what do we need to do? changes do we need to make? >> moderates worry it will be hard to find a republican member who will appeal to conservatives but still actually lead the entire house as the constitution requires the speaker to do. >> the next speaker should not apiece those who make unreasonable demands. there are a number of members of the conference that cannot get the yes on anything. >> daniel and jason chaffetz are a bit speechless. >> did not see that coming. >> but still in. >> because we need to find somebody that our whole body can unite behind and do what we were elected to do. >> so the question is now what?
is there anyone who at this point can get enough support from the republican caucus they can actually govern? the answer to that question is yes. his name is congressman paul ryan, the former vice presidential candidate but he has repeatedly said he does not want the job. cnn is told john boehner tried again today to convince him to change his mind, but a source close to ryan tells me he is still a hard no. wolf? >> dana, stand by. mcelderccarthy has been unders . our senior political reporter asked mcelderccarthy about that shortly after he announced he was dropping his bid to become speaker. >> how much did your comments about benghazi last week play into your decision to step aside? >> it wasn't helpful. yeah, i could have said it much
better, but this benghazi committee was only committed for one purpose, to find the truth on behalf of the families. i should not be a distraction from that and that's part of the decision, as well. >> we're joined live from capitol hill, he was asked about a letter from a north carolina congressman that appeared to be a threat of some sort. what are you learning about that? >> reporter: this is from walter jones, a congressman for 20 years from north carolina and he's seen numerous scandals and what mr. jones did over the last few days really got a lot of people's attention is that he publicly asked that any candidates who have quote deeds that could embarrass the republican party, that those candidates should step aside from their leadership post, should abandon their leadership bit. mccarthy was asked about that letter and dismissed the
suggestion. i got a chance to talk to walter jones why he did that and offered that letter and here is what he had to say. >> i was here when newt gingrich stepped down as speaker of the house. we were in the process of impeaching bill clinton and newt had to realize he had an issue and step down and the conference elected bob livingston to follow behind newt. believing we were g in the right direction and two days later he steps down before there is a vote on the floor of the house and other thing haves happened that i think when a person has been a member of congress, which is a sacred duty, quite frankly, in my opinion and elevated to become a leader of a party, either party, republican or democrat, those in leadership must be approbove reproach. >> i got a chance to ask mr. jones if he thought kevin mccarthy had misdeeds that printed him to step aside.
he does not think that was the case and what mccarthy aids have been saying all day, he did not want to put his conference through a very tough vote to put him in the speaker's chair. a lot of these members from very conservative districts knew this could be a primary challenge, hurt them with the outside groups that don't like the party's leadership and really goes to show you if you're a member of leadership, it's so toxic these days with the conservative base that does not believe conservatives in washington are fighting hard enough, wolf. >> thanks very much. joining us now, peter king of new york. congressman, thanks very much for joining us. you said you were totally stunned by kevin mccarthy's withdrawal and several hours have passed. how do you explain his decision? misstatements or blunt statements about benghazi and hillary clinton? >> wolf, i don't think so. kevin spoke at a party conference at 8:00 this morning
and very forceful. he was intent on going. you know, running as hard as he could and i would say that he would have gotten 85 to 90% of the votes, maybe more. that wasn't any question. he admitted he made a mistake on benghazi. that was not enough to stop somebody from being speaker of the house. >> what do you think it was? >> one story is that the freedom caucus basically told him they were not going to vote for him no matter what, he would be under 218 and kevin didn't want to put the party through having no speaker in effect, having being stuck below 218 and going ballot after ballot and thought it would divide the party. i don't know. i was as stunned as anyone. when he first said it, i wasn't sure i heard what he said because the microphone was muffled and a lot of people weren't paying attention because it seemed to be a routine introductory speech, something
about party unity. close to half the room didn't hear him say it and john boehner said, after kevin's statement, there won't be any votes today. confusion, shock and again, kevin is the type of guy, he's a popular guy. there was nobody gloating, except maybe a few people in the tea party. >> you heard congressman walter jones, a republican of north carolina have this letter saying if anyone has committed any misdeeds, his word misdeeds since being elected to the house of representatives, he should not have a leadership position. that was a stunning development, wasn't it? >> again, i don't think that's what we should get into at all. i know nothing about what walter jones might be talking about and quite frankly, you shouldn't be throwing stones because everybody lives in some kind of a glass house. to me, unless you have something to say, i wouldn't say it, unless you have something definite, don't say it at all and to put any kind of cloud out
there to me is wrong. i have a great regard for kevin mccarthy and will leave it at that. >> what about paul ryan? john boehner is putting on the former republican vice presidential nominee knto run t congressman from wisconsin. is he your candidate? >> i would certainly support paul. he should be agreeable to all sections of the party and the freedom caucus has a hard time opposing paul ryan. just on the way over here tonight, wolf, somebody in the leadership, not john boehner and i've not spoken to paul but somebody in the leadership told me that they are thinking more and more that paul might say yes. there's a lot of -- i shouldn't say pressure because paul isn't the guy you pressure but really convincing paul that it's essential for the party. he could be the only one to bring the party together. he ran for vice president of the united states. so he certainly has the class, the statute necessary.
right now, i think there's a very good chance paul would do it. this is not talking to paul, just different things i'm picking up. >> i know that conservative wing, that freedom caucus as it's called, tea party supporters and i know you're not a member of that. they are open to the possibility if they don't get what they want, they are ready for a government shut down. what do you make of that? >> you talk about less than 10% of the republican party, you're talking about 5% of the house of representatives and trying to blackmail the party and hijack the congress. this has never happened before and shouldn't. kevin mccarthy would support 85 to 90% of the party but they are willing to hold out their votes to keep him under. the speaker of the house is a constitutional officers and for these people who say they respect tradition and the contusion, you know, fight it
out and win the conference and say what you want about anybody. have the vote and unless you have severe moral objection, unless you have some crisis of conscience, you are obligated to vote for the choice of your party. i've gone against the party on different votes but the fact is when you talk about organizing the congress of the united states, the person second in line to the president of the united states, you better have a good reason to vote no. these guys don't. i've been listening to the reasons all week. the main one is they want to be on top committees and holding the house hostage it's wrong and we can't allow that. >> they don't want to raise the nation's debt limit next month when the u.s. has to repay, has to pay the loan obligations, all these commitments, the u.s. government made. they are ready to shut down the government as far as that is concerned and don't want to raise the debt limit if the u.s. goes into default. you're not with him on that. >> no, i don't think any reasonable person could be. that's not a conservative position. this is money we owe.
when does it become conservative to be a dead beat? to risk the u.s. credit rating? this is wrong. these guys are posing as conservatives and i don't know what they really are. this is not the party of ronald reagan. for that matter the party of robert taft. these are guys offering their own. it's bad enough they brought down a speaker and a person choice for speaker. we have to get this behind us and i think paul ryan despite all that i've just said, he's totally acceptable to me and i think he would be acceptable to the people i've just been criticizing. >> congressman, stand by. we'll shift gears and when we come back, a new isis threat to the u.s. homeland. new information coming in. much more with congressman peter king right after this. do you know the secret to a happy home in these modern times?
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pamela, what did the nation's top counter terrorism officials say? >> they raised concerns isis is rapidly spurring more home grown violent extremists in the u.s. who are becoming increasingly more difficult to track. top u.s. national security officials told congress today the isis threat is growing. >> our judgement, isil has over taken al qaeda as the violent extremist movement and the group views itself as being in conflict with the west and that conflict is played out not just in syria and iraq now but a number of other locations around the world. >> reporter: fbi director acknowledged the burro lost the ability to track dozens of isis sympathizers in the u.s. >> we cannot see what's being said between the isil recruiter. >> reporter: isis terrorists
overseas are targeting americans online and recruit them into a space law enforcement can't track. >> what isil is doing, when they found a live one, someone willing to kill where they are, they will move them off twitter where with lawful process we can see the communications and move them to an end to end mobile encrypted act so the needle disappears once it becomes most dangerous. >> reporter: in his most extensive comments about the thousands of people fleeing isis-controlled areas, he expressed concerns about bringing some refugees to the u.s. >> there is risk associated with bringing anyone from the outside but especially from a conflict zone like that. there are gaps in the data available to us. >> so far, the u.s. is planning to take in 10,000 refugees from syria over the next year and 100,000 refugees from all over the world by 2017. law enforcement officials want
to prevent what happened in 2013 when these two iraqi refugees in the u.s. were arrested on terrorism charges after the fbi found their fingerprints on bombs used against u.s. soldiers. officials expressed concern today about the number of teens trying to leave the u.s. to join isis in syria. the director saying the fight is screwing younger and there are more girls with whom the isis message seems to be resinating. wolf? >> that's very, very worry some. palm pamela, thanks very much. congressman king, you heard the deep concern about bringing those syrian refugees to the united states and referenced gaps. could isis exploit this? how worried would you be? is the u.s. equipped to vet the refugees? >> i have great concerns about the iraqi refugees and syrian, any refugees from that part of the world, especially syria because we don't have databases
to check them against and when you talk with officials in count terrorism and law enforcement, they will tell you they really cannot determine whether or not a person has terrorist connections. they do the best they can but it's a very inadequate search and i'm very concerned and it bothers me when you raise objections, somehow people say you're racist or the fact is these are real issues and the last thing we need is to get five, ten, 15 people in this country actually isis operatives. you multiply that, it's hume a crisis. >> iranian state tv is denying a cnn report russian missiles launched from russia supposedly going after targets in syria, they had a serious problem and actually crashed in iran. what are you hearing?
>> i can't go into details in this. we've been briefed on russian's involvement in syria. let me say that russia, you know, you've seen the press reports how they are basically attacking resistance forces that are allied with the u.s. or the u.s. supports or the u.s. has expressed support for. they are not going after isis yet or they are in small numbers. they are mainly going after the anti isis forces and ones that are not affiliated with isis. this is clearly a power grab by russia to consolidate the hold in the region and you have russia, iran, the threat to turkey, israel, egypt and that's why countries in the middle east are gravitating towards russia. they are considering dealing with the russians and saudis and netanyahu is going to meet with putin because they don't trust the u.s.'s word here and
russia's main goal and syria is not to defeat isis, that's secondary but defeat the rebel forces who are fighting against assad. >> peter king, the congressman, thanks very much. >> wolf, thank you very much. just ahead, we'll have more on the breaking news, the leading candidate to be the next speaker of the house calling it quits. we're getting new information about the chaos in the leadership now and also, my interview with republican presidential candidate ben carson. he's defending his controversial remarks about that oregon college shooting.
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honey, we need a new refrigerator. visit pge.com/checkup and get started today. we're back with the breaking news. a huge curveball in the race to become the next speaker of the house, curveball most republicans, almost all of them did not see coming. kevin mccarthy simply dropping out of the competition. let's bring in dana bash getting new information and joining us, our cnn contributor, our national security commentator mike rogers and reporter knee ya mallika henderson and dana, you're getting new information on what's going on, the maneuvering to find a new candidate. what are you hearing? >> you know, if you ask any member of congress, they will
give you a different name who they think could be the person, kind of white knight to come in and maybe even be a caretaker. i've heard that term. people like tom cole for example who is somebody who certainly is well-liked. the problem is he's also very close to john boehner, so that might not work. look, the issue is to a person, whether you're the most conservative in the house or the most moderate, they say paul ryan is the guy. the only guy who could bring together 247 all members of the house republican conference. i'm told john boehner tried to push him today and other members continuing to push him to do. he's cancelled a couple fundraisers for the next couple days because he doesn't want to be in the thick of it but sources close to paul ryan insist he is a no and hard no. we'll see if that changes. >> about benghazi, comments kevin mccarthy made, the ad mission there was political role
to try to bring down hillary clinton and that's why they created a select committee. >> wasn't helpful and he got it right. that magnified his problems but i don't think that was the core problem and i'll refer to some of my experts here that cover the house more closely than i. the core problem is you have a group of house republicans alienated from the leadership and want a confrontational strategy on every issue and essentially the same problem we saw on the fiscal cliff a couple years ago that comes up constantly on the debt limit and you wonder what individual can unify and get to 218 votes, even if it's paul ryan or anyone can function effectively as a speaker at a point when such a portion is willing to drive the train off the tracks in order to advance their agenda and make their point. >> mike rogers, you left the house of representatives. who do you think could get enough votes and unify the party? >> a, i think wolf, it's going
to change minute by minute. if paul ryan says yes and there is some indication earlier he was a solid no, now he's a maybe. if it gets to maybe, that will null fie the other candidates. he's the one person in the house that can unify the moderate faction and this freedom caucus, if you will into a place that he can effect 218 votes. if they show up to paul ryan with 218 votes, i don't see that he says no. the trick is, can they show up with at least 218 votes and really, it really would be, needs to be a unanimous vote on the house floor. remember, two parts of this, one is the republican confess, you only need a simple majority to win that. and kevin mccarthy won that simple majority by the way. he would be the nominee to go to the floor. i know paul ryan. he's very smart, very savvy guy and a very policy-oriented guy. if they show up and say we will not contest your race on the
floor of the house of representatives, we'll all be with you, i think he at that point says yes. >> smart, savvy -- >> as you know, let me bring nia into this conversation. nia, donald trump saying some people are giving him credit. how much of mccarthy's withdraw comes into the presidential narrative that voters want outsiders? >> you know, i think that's right. the person giving donald trump credit for this is probably donald trump and not many other people. yes, i think it does speak to this outsider drive that he's in the republican party. and his sense of frustration on the hill that here you have a house that's controlled by republicans, senate controlled by republicans but still, didn't really have their say and this is their big sort of temper tantrum in wanting to gain control and throw out the establishment and have one of their own in this leadership role, and i do think you're going to have presidential
candidates weigh in on this and talk about this. you had some when boehner announced he was stepping down, you had them go before these audiences, conservative audiences and people would cheer boehner is leaving. i think it plays into that also the face of the republican party and house is important for branding in chaos that we're seeing now certainly isn't good for the larger brand. >> knee nia, all of you, thanks much. coming up next, my interview with ben carson. did he mean to suggestion the victims of that oregon college shooting should have done more? fought back? does ben carson agree with a critic of president obama's claims that the president is not a real black president? tough questions for top white house contender when we come back.
is already here with x1. only from xfinity. republican presidential candidate dr. ben coarson is trying to tap down controversy. in a one on one interview i asked him to clarify what he meant in an interview when he said unlike some victims in oregon's shooting he would have fought back against the gunman. listen to part of the conversation. you seem to suggestion the victims should have done more. >> no, not suggesting that at all. what the original question was, was if you were there and someone was holding a gun to you and asking you about your religion and they had shot other people, what would you do? and knowing that you were next to be killed and that they were going to continue to down the
line killing people, i would much rather go down fighting and if all of us attack the shooter, the chances are strong not all of us will be killed. to me that doesn't seem like a controversial thing but when you take it out of context and try to make it look like i'm criticizing the victims, that's when it becomes controversial and that's one of the things i hope the news media will stop doing. >> one of the victims a guy by the name of matthew downing was offended and told cnn i'm fairly upset, he meaning you, he said that nobody could truly understand what actions they would take like that in a situation unless they lived it. >> i suspect he probably has had it fed to him by somebody who misc misc misconscrewed it and if he heard the explanation i gave, he would know i'm not complaining about the victims but trying to plant the seed. this may not be the last time this occurs and if it occurs
again, and there is a bunch of people, they may think we're not going to just take this. that's one of the things learned from flight 93 on 9/11. >> one of the heroes, survivors was shot seven times and resisted. he's relatively okay now. he's been released from a hospital but he's a military veteran. not everybody is a military veteran and has experience in dealing with a gunman like this. >> you don't have to be a military veteran. do you remember the virginia shooting on the college campus? afterwards, i'm told that they came out with guidelines for the students to tell them what to do if a situation like that arises it and it included throwing everything you could throw at the shooter. he's not going to be able to deal with all of it. in a sense, they were saying attack him. >> the other controversy you've erupted on this issue, in your new book is this, a reference to
guns and nazi germany. german citizens were disarmed by their government in the late 1930s and by the mid 1940s, hitler's regime slaughtered 6 approximately jews and others they considered inferior. through a combination of removing guns and desimilar nating deceitble propaganda, the nazis were able to carry out their evil intentions with relatively little resistance. what's the point you're trying to make, if there were guns in germany, there might not have been a holocausholocaust? >> noah webster said when he was talking about tie rrany, the pee in america wouldn't suffer because they were armed. >> if there had been in gun control laws in europe at that time, would 6 million jews been slaughtered? >> the likelihood of hitler
being able to accomplish his goals would be greatly diminished if the people were armed. >> they had a powerful military. >> i understand that. >> they went in and wiped out whole communities. >> you realize there is a reason they took the guns first, right? >> you believe if they had guns, maybe it would be eased? >> i'm telling you there is a reason these dictator people take guns first. >> i'll put it up on the screen, taking a swipe at president obama. ben and candy carson terrific. what about a real black president that can properly address the racial divide. that was pretty ugly. >> well, i know rupert murdoch. he's not a racist by any stretch. he's just expressing his opinion has much to do about nothing. >> he's suggesting president obama is not a real black
president. at least he did in that initial -- >> everybody is entitled to their opinion. i believe what he was making reference to was the fact that here was a man who is a black president that the black community was very excited about who came in and whose policies have not really elevated the black community, has not been beneficial. there is more unemployment, more poverty and i believe that's what he was really referring to. >> you believe the president is a real black president, though, right? >> i wouldn't everyone get into such a conversation. >> it's a simple question, is president obama a real black president? >> well, he's the president and he's black. >> because there is a history of these acquisitions as you well know of president obama. do you believe he was born in the united states? >> i do believe that. >> do you believe he's a christian? >> he says he is. >> i know he says he is but do you think he is? >> i have to take his word. >> if he goes to church and believes in christ -- >> all right.
>> he was basically refusing to say at that point that he is ready to say he's a christian. he says i'll take him at his word. let's bring in don lemon and our senior political reporter nia mallika henderson. are you surprised dr. carson wouldn't simply say yes, president obama is a christian. he says if he says he's a christian, i'll take him at his word. >> i'm not surprised by him making that sort of too clever by half assessment of president obama. you seen that from others, scott walker did that as well. it's almost as if he doesn't want to vouch for barack obama's relationship with god relationship to his faith and to his church. it's not surprising. ben carson is someone very unfiltered. at times his advisors told him to dial it back, particularly in talking about noz sazis and hit and this may be the last time he
talks about that because it's not beneficial. he did vouch for his blackness and vouch for the fact he was born in america but on the christian part, it might be a bridge too far because this is carson's sort of strength with the community those are the same people that might have questions about obama's faith. >> don were you surprised he wouldn't flatly say president obama is a real black president? >> yeah, i don't know if he vouched for his blackness. nia and i may differ on that point. he did say he was born in the united states. i was actually a bit surprised. nia may not have been surprised but i was surprised especially since and we talked about this, especially since as a conservative black person, conservative black man, often times his race is called into question and how he feels about black america, if he were a real black person he wouldn't perhaps be conservative. yes, i was surprised he didn't come flat out and defend the president and say of course he is a black president, of course
i am a black man who is a conservative ben carson who is running for president. he of all people should have defended the president's blackness. when you asked him that question, as much respect as i have for dr. carson's accomplishments as a neurosurgeon and person, i think he should have said yes, he is a real black president. >> go ahead, nia. >> i think carson in someways -- part of his appeal is that he is african american and republicans for awhile now have wanted sort of their version of obama who is black, but also the anti obama. he of course got his start opposite obama at the national prayer breakfast in 2013 and very much is playing into this hope among republicans to rebrand their party as more diverse and elevate their own black candidate and we seen that in the example of herman cane and michael steele elevated to lead the rnc. so i think for carson, a race
does come into play here in terms of his appeal among many republica republicans. he's number two in some polls on nipping on donald trump's heels but they also like the fact that he doesn't quite go there in terms of talking about race and in terms of a grievance and talking about a structural racism that doesn't get into the weeds of race and racism. >> he's very popular indeed among republicans and almost all national polls among republicans and key state polls, he comes in second. sometimes relatively close second to donald trump, the republican front runner right now. guys, thanks very much. to our viewers, please be sure to catch don lemon later tonight 10:00 p.m. eastern when he anchors "cnn tonight". the first democratic presidential debate five days away and bernie sanders is warming up for his face-off with hillary clinton in an unconventional way. more on preparations for the big debate hosted by cnn.
a lot at steak. >> he does and the sanders campaign is acutely aware this is the first time many voters will see him on a national stage facing off with hillary clinton. so the question for him is can he make this into the watershed moment he needs to prove that h viable, general election candidate. >> reporter: bernie sanders faces the biggest test of his campaign so far. >> boston, thank you! >> reporter: the energy that has defined his insurgent candidacy into the next phase of a real contender. >> don't be surprised if we do well with a number of republicans. >> reporter: ground zero, tuesday's debate. >> i look forward to a vigorous debate on the most important issues facing the country. >> reporter: the sanders' campaign casting it as a pivotal moment for him as a candidate but he's not preparing in the traditional way. unlike others, he's not had mock debates, no rehearsals and no
stand-in for anyone for hillary yet and policy experts and taking pains to avoid getting personal. >> you're looking at a candidate who does not go about attacking people personally. what i think the base all about is, in fact, differentiating the differences of opinions that we have. >> reporter: in his laundry list is at the ready. sanders already hinting at flash points he's ready to get into with clinton over ttp, the keystone pipeline and wall street. >> these attacks, i can tell you, he's not going to stand there and take attacks. he will defend himself. >> reporter: that debate style has been tested in dozens of debates over the years where his rivals on stage with him say he's comfortable, stays on message and gets aggressive. >> because it's people like you. >> reporter: those debates, just
a warmup for this, his first on the national stage. >> they say the economy is doing well. it's wrong. >> reporter: it's because of those sorts of moments that the sanders' campaign is not pushing him to hold these mock debates. his strategists say it's because they don't want him to become too canned or practiced or come off as a low drag politician because of the authenticity, they believe, is what is attracting a lot of voters. wolf? >> sunlen, thank you very much. this coming tuesday night live from las vegas is the first democrat presidential debate. why is north korea about to flex its military muscle big time.
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north korea is getting ready to mark its 70th anniversary of kim jong-un's ruling party. will ripley is live. what can we expect to see in the next 48 hours? >> reporter: we can expect to see a tremendous show of forth from north korea and kim jong-un. the military, some 9 million strong when you count active troops and reserves, but a lot
of people will be watching closely to see if north korea will unveil a long-range missile that could launch a satellite into orbit or carry a warhead towards the united states. when it comes to massive displays of state muscle, nobody quite does it like north korea. then again, no other nation has the korean's workers party led by the same family for seven decades. this weekend's spectacle is supposed to be a showcase of loyalty. they have been rehearsing for months, day and night. we want to celebrate in the most significant way, says this university student. tens of thousands will fill the streets. a lavish celebration for a nation still struggling economically. you'll often see north korean young people dancing in large group formations like this, which is one of the ways that they celebrate major holidays like the one coming up.
behind them, a monument, north korea's only ruling party that turns 70 on saturday. we're taken to a place that the north korean government says foreign media has never visited before. as many communist regimes have collapsed, north korea's regime has remained unchanged. from the earliest days at school right through their adult working lives, every north korean attends regular history studies. they learn the official story of the rise to power from teenage revolutionary to workers party founder to supreme leader for 46 years. a title passed on to his son and grandson. third generation leader kim jong-un rules the nation some call a cold war throwback but north korea insists it's here to stay, developing nuclear weapons to defend the regime. the parade is a show of devotion
of leadership, a defiant show of force to the world. kim jong-un will be presiding over this event but the sign of this country's isolation, wolf, only china is sending a high-level delegation. most countries are staying far away from this event. >> will ripley, thank you. that's it for me. thanks for watching. erin burnett with "outfront" starts right now. "outfront" tonight, the gop in disarray. the stunning dropout of kevin mccarthy. plus, dr. ben carson and his wife here on "outfront" talking race and their marriage. an american hero stabbed on the street. why did the airman, who helped take down a terrorist, brutally attacked right here at home. let's go "outfront."