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tv   The Lead With Jake Tapper  CNN  October 30, 2015 1:00pm-2:01pm PDT

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"parts unknown" do not miss it. that does it for me on this friday arn. i'm brk brooke baldwin have a wonderful weekend, don't move. sitting in for jake tapper today on "the lead." >> thank you, brooke baldwin. books on the ground. "the lead" starts right now, and breaking news, a major reversal. is the u.s. on the verge on sending troop on the ground in syria. >> and republicans fed up after the cnbc free for all tell the peacock network they are done. plus, after flames erupt on a commercial jet, firsthand report of the terror from inside the plane raising troubling, new questions about what really happened. welcome to "the lead." i'm jim sciutto in today for jake tapper. breaking news a monumental shift in policy for the united states,
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and a major decision that the president who wanted to end two wars by the time he left office certainly did not want to make. cnn learned the obama administration plans to for the first time officially send special operations forces into syria to help fight isis. call them what you want. advisers or the elite warriors they are, but american boots will be on the ground in syria. something the president has said repeatedly would not happen. cnn is covering every corner of this major development on the ground in syria and at high-level diplomatic talks in vienna. we begin at the white house, cnn's jim acosta had tough questions for the press secretary today. jim? >> reporter: today aides of the president said it again and again. this move into syria is an intensifying of the u.s. effort to battle isis but the white house denies this announcement marks any reversal for president obama even though he repeatedly assured americans u.s. forces would not be engaged in combat
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in the fight against isis. it's an escalation in the war on isis. the white house announced roughly 50 special operations forces will be deployed to northern syria. as part of what's described as an intensifying strategy. including targeted raids against isis positions in iraq and syria. and a new push to retake the crucial city of ramadi. aides to the president stress it's a cautious move. >> this is an important thing for the american people to understand. these forces do not have a combat mission. >> reporter: without officials maintain this won't be a repeat of the war in iraq in 2003. but more like the raid u.s. forces joined last week to rescue iraqi hostages, and the administration is not ruling out future deployments. >> it's possible there could be further deployments? >> well, jim, i don't want to try to predict the future here. >> reporter: but the white house denies this is a presidential flip-flop on isis, despite
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repeated promises from mr. obama that u.s. ground forces won't be engaged in combat against the terror group. >> american boots on the ground in syria would not only be good for america, but also would be good for syria. >> i will not put american boots on the ground in syria. i will not pursue an open-ended action like iraq or afghanistan. >> with respect to the situation on the ground in syria, we will not be placing u.s. ground troops to try to control the areas that are part of the conflict inside of syria. >> reporter: press secretary josh earnest insists that's when the president was talking about using boots on the ground to topple syrian leader bashar al assad. >> great to have a moment of clarity and you could acknowledge that, yes, this mission is changing. it is not what it was said it was going to be at the onset of this. i mean, i just -- >> to say that, jim, would only confuse the situation. >> reporter: contrast that with
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how the pentagon describes the situation in iraq, where u.s. forces are already in an advise and assist role. >> of course it's combat. our aviators are conducting combat air patrols, the name of the mission, "combat air patrol." >> reporter: lawmakers from both parties are asking questions. paul rhine said in a statement, this commit of u.s. forces must come with a stra harnt strategy to defeat isil, otherwise we may see the same results in the region. senator lindsey graham aren't that diplomatic. >> a half-ass strategy at best. >> reporter: the white house won't say how long these special operations forces will be in syria or who they'll work with saying that's kept secret for operational security reasons but aides of the president agree this push against isis is no game-changer in syria and the battle against the terror group will last well into the next administration. jim, they know that they have an image and message are problem on their hands. earlier today they just weren't willing to say that they
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flip-flopped. >> a lot of parsing of that word "combat." god knows. jim acosta at the white house. one group certainly happy with the news, syrian kurdish fighting force in northern syria. of these troops beat back isis using russerty old hunting rifles and wearing socks and sandaling say they can't go it alone, though, and as peace talks play out in europe at a pretty hotel in vienna, this is the reality on the ground in syria. this is, in fact, the reality of the past five years on the ground. carnage, as bashar al assad fires missiles at his own people once again killing dozens. senior international correspondent nick paton walsh is across the border from syria in turk pip one victim of this attacks yepped it was happening the people there are being exterminated. >> reporter: you can understand why they would feel that, in duma, a kargt of an attack killing over 100 a month ago. today 7:30 in the morning, in a
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market on a friday, missiles slammed in. 55 dead at least, 200 injuries, massively complicated, the injuries. the last 24 hours missiles landed near the hospital that services that particular area closing it. meaning everyone has to basically fend for themselves and these gruesome injuries you're seeing without proper medical care. some video shows how a shell landed near an ambulance trying to collect people from that very area. absolute carnage there. contrast aring, frankly, with the scenes and five-star viennese hotel. no opposition, or regime, people invited to that meeting to talk peace. if they were, the exile is distant from those bombed there. they showed progress, but so far away from the day lily life in syria, jim? >> you're aware, heard it, too, frustration from the kurdish rens, from other rebels fighting
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assad and isis about the lack of substantive u.s. support. so 50 u.s. special forces, in their view, is that going to make a difference on the ground there? >> reporter: certainly even kebabk qabani fighting. they won't help the kurds. the u.s. pains to point out they're going to help something called the syrian arab coalition. by far from a major force inside syria. worked alongside the kurds particularly in qabani as well. been basically focused on trying to push down towards raqqah, the isis stronghold, but that offensive is very far off. they simply don't have the numbers or fire power to try and even achieve that. presumably these advisers, 50, albeit a small number, may try and bring weapons, air power to a sifrt, get traction. at the end of the day you're looking for a bid to rejuvenate what failed earlier. the new syrian forces. a trained equipped program only
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managed to get 54 people through its graduation class and fell apart. seems to be a little hurried notion. let's get syrian rebels we can work with and try and put that together and move toward raqqah. a policy on the hoof, not quite, seems months preparation but certainly not a sweeping game-changer as the white house admitted themselves today. >> only know over time. thank you, as always. stay safe. we briefly mentioned a moment ago, all happening during critical talks in the words of secretary of state john kerry, try to chart the course out of hell in syria bp just as the united states invited iran to the table. iran says, thank you, by throwing another american in jail there. according to reports, american businessman taken into custody while visiting his family in tehran, and reportedly being held in the very same prison as american journalist jason resign. cnn international correspondent live in vienna where the peace
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talks are playing out. ron, actually proposing now a solution to end the war in syria but interestingly enough many calling it perhaps a trick, a ploy to keep president assad in power there, fred. is that what you're hearing? >> reporter: well, jim, you're absolutely right. one of the things iranians proposed to have elections in syria. to many seems something quite odd because obviously the whole country is in a state of war at this point. large parts of the country are indeed in the hands of isis. so it would seem very difficult to see how any sort of elections or political process could take place, but it's interesting when you read the communique about the meeting that took place, then you won't at any point in that communique see any sort of reference towards assad relinquishing power. that was something pointed out in that press conference that took place after the meeting with sergey lavrov and secretary of state john kerry on hand, where both spoke about a
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transitional process. spoke about a nation-wide cease-fire, a constitutional process and elections at the end of it, but at no point did they say, or did at least the russians say that assad needs to step down. this is one of the reasons secretary of state kerry said we agreed to disagree on this. you could feel how especially the u.n. envoy was trying to take that whole aspect of bashar al assad and his future, which is the dividing factor between the u.s. and its allies and russia and iran to take that out of the equation for now, at least, in order to try to move this process forward. >> fred, some noticed the interesting timing of his u.s. move to send troops there, a couple weeks after russia making a larger military move there. hundreds of troops, tanks. of course the start of their own air campaign. how much of this is perceived as a reaction by the u.s. to steal the initiative back from russia? >> reporter: well, i think that's a big factor in all of it. it was interesting, because at
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the press conference after the meeting today, secretary of state kerry was actually asked by a russian journalist whether or not it was intentional for the u.s. to announce today it was putting these ground forces there into syria, and he said quite frankly that's not the case, it had nothing to do with it. something that had beenthe works a while, a shift in policy and therefore, a complete coincidence. of course it is something that makes a statement. especially after the past couple of weeks when you've not only seen the russians up the ante by starting a bombing campaign and by in part going into places with their jets that the u.s. would normally fly in and you've also seen iranians up the ante putting in additional ground forces as well into syria, and so, therefore, it seems as though it was quite important for the u.s. at this point in time to make the statement, to say, we are very serious about fighting isis, and are going to put the muscle behind that that's been asked for for a very long time. certainly to many people who observed this meeting today felt like it was not a coincidence,
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that this move was announced today and certainly is something that gave the u.s. and secretary kerry more leverage at the bargaining table at the conference is going on today. >> fred pliken, live in vienna, thank you. america's top spy tanked with everything from keeping isis out of america and americans from joining isis to figuring out what vladimir putin is up to in syria. rare and exclusive interview with the direct are of national intelligence is right after this.
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deploying hundreds of soldiers as well as tanks and bomber aircraft. that move sparked criticism russian president vladimir putin is once again getting the best of president obama. but america's top spy, the director of national intelligence, james clapper, sees it differently. he told me that putin is, and i'm quoting him him, "winging this" in syria with no long-term plan, no hard objectives other than, quoting him again, "poking the u.s. in the eye." i sat down with director clapper for an exclusive interview, and syria was a major topic. >> we're expected to know that a decision has been made by foreign head of state before he makes it. putin's case in point. i think he's very impulse v, very opportunistic. it's a debate, but i personally question whether he has some long-term strategy, and i think his intervention into syria is another manifestation of that.
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those things are hard to predict, when there's a very, very -- in this case, a very, very small cloift kloikter of p around here. not a good thing for his intelligence services to do, so he's very much, i think, in a sort of a decisional bubble, and he makes these decisions on, pretty much on his own. >> do you think he has a plan for syria? >> what his long-term plan is, i'm not sure he has one. i think he's kind of winging this day to day. >> did the president ever express to you disappointment? did he ever say he gauss blindsided or felt blindsided, for instance, by russian military action in syria? >> actually, in that case he wasn't. we'd done pretty well with his recent evolution with russian intervention into syria. we had that down pretty well.
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knew when operations were going to start well before they did. >> how does that work in layman's terms with tracking isis movement today in syria? >> a tough problem. >> different today as opposed to five years ago? >> it's a tough problem now. much more so than it was five years ago, because we don't have a presence. >> yeah. >> physically in syria. and wherever that's the case, whether it's syria or north korea, or any denied area, that makes our problem tougher. and so that's why i've always felt strongly about maintaining a robust set of capabilities, so that if we're thwarted in one area, for an example, doing umant in syria is a dangerous play for a human asset. isis has a very low threshold when they find people, threshold of punishment. they suspect anyone is a spy and
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kill a lot of people they think spies whom they think are and so we try to compensate with other capabilities, whether isr or overhead capabilities. as i say, when you're thwarted in one direction, with one particular discipline, you try to compensate for it in other ways. >> u.s. forces entering a very dangerous place in syria. coming up, hillary clinton cut off by black lives matt protestors at a campaign event nap video, next. and what does it feel like having two drunk men carve a tattoo into your chest? our own anthony bourdain knows and answer will tell us, and that's coming right up. if i want to go down... noo... but then if i want to come back again... yes. it's perfect. now that we've added adjustable base my favorite part is to be able to lift your legs up a little bit, lift the head up a little bit, and it feels like i'm just cradled. i love the adjustable bed because i love it when i'm watching tv. and there you have it.
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politics lead. i want you to watch this new video from a hillary clinton event in atlanta that happened a little over an hour ago. listen to these chants. >> violence using the power -- >> black lives matter! >> -- the feelings that come forward, and, yes, they do. yes, they do! >> all: black lives matter. >> yes, they do, and i'm goin' to talk a lot about that, in a minute. >> that was about a dozen protestors from the black lives matter movement chanting, black lives mat. cutting off clinton just after she started speaking there. the democratic front-runner had to shout over the protestors as you heard her and even a civil rights icon, congressman who marched with martin luther king jr. had to stand up and get between the candidate and the crowd interrupting her. cnn's suzanne malveaux watching it go down. tell us what happened.
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>> reporter: jim, this was an extraordinary moment i have never seen anything like this. i mean it was actually really shocking, because this was a program, african-americans for hillary clinton. it was very organized. there were a lot of high-profile african-americans. an nba star, grant hill. congressman john lewis, atlanta mayor, all introducing hillary clinton, some really big names here. five minutes into the speeches when they came, a very surprisingly, about ten to a dozen or so and interrupted shouting black lives matter. hillary clinton at first addressed them, tried to address them saying she's met with the organization. please give her a chance to express herself and they talked right over her. this went on, jim, for close to 30 minutes. it was extremely distracting. a lot of people just looking not quite knowing what to do. at some point the congressman as well as the mayor, both trying to convention the protestors to stop. they would not stop. after that happened, they went
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onstage with hillary clinton to show her and to show this audience they stood with her shoulder-to-shoulder literally and also to give security a sign that, look, we're done. we're trying to convince them to stop. and that didn't happen. and so -- finally, they ended up stopping and she thanked them for being head-to-head, shoulder-to-shoulder with her but an extraordinary display of tolerance, if you will, as she moves on to south carolina, jim. >> no question. 30 minutes long is powerful. suzanne right there in the middle of it, thank you. the politics lead, republican candidates angry over what they call gotcha questions at wednesday's debate. so angry, in fact, the republican national committee is taking an unprecedented step. details, after this. tough, but. but managing my symptoms was all i was doing. so when i finally told my doctor, he said humira is for adults like me who have tried other medications but still experience the symptoms of moderate to severe crohn's disease.
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welcome back to "the lead." i'm jim sciutto in today for jake tapper and our politics lead knop debate for you. what the republican national committee told nbc hours ago. the rnc chairman reince priebus,
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what was supposed to be nbc's february debate is still going to happen, just not with them. priebus could not risk a repeat of what he saw wednesday night after cnbc moderators asked gotcha questions. trailing the rubio campaign in sioux city, iowa. telling the republican brass in effect they're fed up and simply not going to take it anymore. is that sincere anger year hearing from that side? >> well, it seems to be, jim. this is an unprecedented move by the republican committee to suspend involvement in a debate. now, nbc says that they will try in good faith to resolve this but tonight there is no resolution yet and a lot of anger. >> reporter: tonight the partnership is off. >> i was very disappointed in the moderators. i'm disappointed in cnbc. >> reporter: the chairman of the rnc telling nbc brass in a letter they are suspending the
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partnership for february's debate claiming the cnbc debate was conducted in bad faith. writing, the moderators engaged in a series of gotcha questions, petty and mean-spirited in tone designed to embarrass our candidates. this comes after days of fierce and relentless criticism over the format and questions. >> what it's turned into is a, gotcha! that's silly. >> reporter: all about trying to figure out the gotcha question to make people look bad. >> i don't like the questions. so they're a little tough. >> reporter: over the format and questions. >> is this a comic book version of a presidential campaign? >> no, it's not a comic book and not a very nicely asked question the way you say that. >> reporter: and this weekend in washington, a handful of campaigns will meet trying to combine forces to make changes the next debate up, hosted by fox business in two weeks. this as the candidates try to get back to work. >> mr. rubio -- >> reporter: marco rube yo changes his campaign schedule to cast a vote in the senate after
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facing criticism for missing votes. >> i don't like missing votes. i hate it and we do our best effort to make it. cancelled campaign events especially for important votes. >> reporter: off of big debate performance. >> why don't you wait in line. wait noor? >> reporter: rubio is about to enter a much more intense period of scrutiny. renewed questions over his messy finances. >> i'm not worries about my finances. >> reporter: which he said was due to a lack of bookkeeping skills. according to a 112-page leaked strategy memo, the bush campaign's goal, paint rubio as a risky bet. someone who misuses state party credit cards and taxpayer funds. a candidate with no accomplishments and no credibility experience beyond government. all of this as jeb bush tends to concerns about his own campaign. >> it's not on life support. >> reporter: having to personally convene a conference calm acknowledging according to those on the call he did not
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have the a great debate. >> it's going fine. >> reporter: and to help him reboot a little bit, the jeb bush campaign will launch next week a jeb can fix it campaign. he will start in florida where he'll highlight his record as the governor there. go to south carolina and new hampshire as well. jim? >> and fighting on the campaign trail. thank you. talk about the debates and everything else with 2016 cnn political commentator paul begala and republican straft jit sabrina schafer. thanks for joining us. sabrina, basic question. what's wrong with asks tough questions in a presidential debate? >> nothing wrong with it. i'm appalled so much concern over it from the gop. the number one thing a candidate has to do, be willing to engage. engage with people who don't necessarily agree with you. otherwise, how do you get votes? the worst thing republicans can do, try to alienate a network. have to go back out and have to give better responses. >> paul, ask you, one of the questions i suppose is, is there
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something that crosses the line? look at for instance, john horowitz question, running a comic book version of a campaign. does that get into -- this is issue, you have all the tile. a tough question, what's gets a little too personal? did you hear anything there that struck you -- been around a while? >> they need to toughen up, you and our viewers should know i advice a pro hillary super pac. astake in hillary winning. when cnn hosted the debates with democrats, will you say anything to get elected? did i whine? no. did hillary, whine. no. a tough question but a fair one. hit her hard. long wind up, good punch. a good answer. trump could have knocked that out of the park. a talented guy. i love what reince priebus is going. great to pull out of nbc. >> good for you or republicans? >> good for me. rush limbaugh, bill o'reilly,
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sean hannity. i want republicans to see republicans unfiltered, uncensored. i want them to say, yes, social security a ponzi scheme, medicare, vouchers controlled by -- and woman shon have money if for abortion if raped. on the same page as mr. priebus. >> and the word "whining." is this whining? >> i think it is. sort of in contrast, the rnc, there were softballs. a few. for instance, started the debate asking ar your greatest weakness? right. >> be prepared, favorite book, and -- >> ipad, you know? and also, real questions that they failed to actually engage properly on things like when asked about the wage gap. all we heard about was sort of, i mean, sort of this convoluted angst, wasn't a direct answer to women. republicans still have a long way to go with some of these things and shocked, whining tab
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rather than taking it on head-first i. care too much about the american people, only thing. somebody talked about leaked bush campaign document with these opposition research on marco rubio intentionally leaked obviously. is there anything wrong on that particular question? asking rubio about his campaign finances? that was another one of those questions that fell, supposedly into that category as going too far? >> no. it's not going too far necessarily. i think actually this could be a benefit for rubio. right? i think most americans have trouble with their finances. most americans find our tax system convoluted and difficult. most americans will in some way identify with the fact he had school loans and getting ahead is difficult. i think actually he could use this to his advantage. >> and i imagine, understand buying a fishing boat? right? one of the things -- >> right. >> christened for. paul, as democrat, advising, love an intraparty war. >> sure. >> advising bush, would you tell him to unfurl this opposition
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research going after his florida native son? does it make him look -- increase that death spiral? >> it might. i don't think -- i'm probably wrong, it's not my party. i don't think his path is made clear by attacking marco. in fact, i think you're right. makes him look weak and marco got the better of the exchange in the debate. if i were jeb, attack one of the outsiders. win the republican, be the best. insurgents -- cross fire, literally. >> used to be the outsider. right? now he's -- >> very much now, things change. rubio very much now the establishment guy, and at least -- >> thrown into a trump card. >> marco's answer was so human. hey, you were my best friend a few months ago. now -- >> who doesn't have trouble balancing their checkbook? >> not his personal finances so much but a lot of -- going to be
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a lot of time to answer. >> and i want to ask you both, not much time. you have a decision now for the u.s. to put ground troops in syria. sabrina, republican candidates hitting the democrats, particularly president obama, for not being tough enough, not standing up to russia, to china, a credible strategy in syria. does this take away from that line of attack? >> interesting. an administration thought they could disentangle us from the middle east by simply closing guantanamo. get what? that's not the case. have to be more aggressive. people won't were feel confident enough with this, not a strategy or sense we know where we're going next, but i am comforted in some level to think we might be a little more aggressive in pushing back on isis. >> paul, very briefly. hillary clinton has been pushing for more intervention. does this in a way validate that point of view? >> it may, but should not -- should be discussed in the campaign. it should. i don't believe for a minute the president's doing this for political reasons. he may be right or wrong. he's trying to defend american
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interests. >> the situation deteriorating on the ground. >> right. >> paul, sabrina, thanks. in the national lead, a plane erupts in flamesing seconds before takeoff. troubling questions what really happened in the moments leading up to that fire. plus -- remember this scene from the "exorcist"? on this day before halloween, jake tapper takes the director of that horror film back to the infamous location. that's right after this. quiet! mom has a headache! had a headache! but now, i...don't excedrin® is fast. in fact for some, relief starts in just 15 minutes. excedrin®. now available in geltabs.
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welcome back to "the lead." the national lead. new questions about the airline that saw one of its passenger jets burst into flames yesterday. dynamic airways, flight 4 ot 5, seconds from takeoff in fort lauderdale, florida, where it caught fire. crew and passengers managed to escape sliding down emergency chutes. you see them there. some ended up in the hospital, thankfully everyone alive. federal investigators are looking into what went wrong with the boeing 767. we're joined live from fort lauderdale, hollywood airport. alina, news conference just wrapping up on the crash. what did we learn today? >> reporter: well, we know, jim,
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that the ntsb investigators recovered both black boxes, and that those black boxes are now on their way to washington, d.c. at this point, the ntsb does not know what sparked this fire, but they are telling us that there is no fire damage inside the cabin of this plane. now, this will be a lengthy investigation, and it could be sometime, possibly several months before we even see the factual report for this incident, but we know that they will be looking at every aspect, not just of this incident but also of this plane, including's maintenance records for this plane. they also plan to interview the flight crew at some point today. now, i did speak to a woman who survived this incident. her name was magdalena perez, sitting in seventh row of this plane and at first thought there was a medical emergency on the plane. heard a lot of commotion, screaming, and then looked outside and saw flames and she
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saw smoke and she knew something was horrible wrong. she says at one point there was trouble trying to open one of the emergency exit doors. luckily, she was able to get out and says it was terrifying, horrifying. a very traumatic experience, but she's very grateful to be alive. now, we do know that at least 23 people ended up in the hospital following this incident. most of them have suffered minor injuries, and at la check, two people were still hospitalized and we're told they tr stable, jim. >> incredible, no fire damage inside that. looking at that, those flames. thanks very much. now to a world tour taking us to a food paradise. deep in the jungle. on this week's episode of "parts unknown," anthony bourdain travelled to the island of borneo. a return trip for him after ten years. >> like a mini mouse logo. their food is unbelievably good. oh, yeah. black pepper, right here.
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reveal yourself to me, my love. oh! >> hot -- hot, hot, hot! whew. oh, yeah. >> mouth-watering here. i'm lucky, you're lucky, because anthony bourdain jeans my right now. anthony, you've been all over the world ands not often you get to go back to these places to reconnect with people you meet. i think of my own travels and you'll have that special person, but it's rare you get to go back and reconnect, essentipecially r away and so remote. why did you choose this place to go back to? >> borneo and this particular village was a very special place for me, in that it was really as far as i'd ever been from my previous life until i arrived there ten years ago. i never experienced anything like it, and it was a very emotional time for me. the people there were lovely. i never sat with people who had
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actually been -- had a tradition of head-hunting. it was an extraordinary experience. i promised them that i would come back, for their rice harvest festival and it's been unfinished business in a lot of ways. so i went back to the same group of people, and wanted -- intending to see how their lives had changed and to fulfill an old commitment. >> i'm glad, ooum sure they're glad you department has promise. one of the craziest parts, of course, you getting that tattoo in the middle of your chest. got to say i was shivering as, and jumping as i watched this video. tell us about -- why you -- went under that? >> i've had a lot of tattoos in nigh life. in my life and promised these guys i wanted one of their cool, traditional tattoos that are hand-tapped. my mistake was i thought center of the chest, how bad can it hurt? answer -- a lot. >> i can almost see it coming through the airwaves, as i watch that. >> two hours for that thing, of
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hammering away like drunk woodpickers. >> as we're watching, the pictures are incredible. your trip upstream, canoeing upstream, lunch by the riverside. that same island is battling huge brush fires and threatening wildlife. what can you tell us about the island particularly when you were there ten years ago? >> well, a lot has changed. there's been a lot of timbering, taking wood out of the forests, both legal and illegal. it's a very contentious issue in malays malaysia. accusations that a lot of these groups hauling wood out of the for effort and causing all sorts of problems to the water table and to the rivers and to wildlife. they are, perhaps, close to the ruling party. so -- it's become an environmental disaster with potential to wreck an entire waif of life, and this is -- i hayes ton say this is a
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beautiful, beautiful part of the world with lovely people who have managed to cling to a, you know, enter the modern age, but still cling to a -- a traditional lifestyle and long house communities deep in the jungle. so to see pictures like this is, it's heart breaking. one of the most beautiful places i've ever been. >> such a capacity to destroy maces li places like that. anthony bourdain. you can see his return to this jungle paradise, "parts unknown" in bornia, this sunday, 9:00 eastern right here on cnn. coming up on "the lead," we'll talk to the director of the "exorcist" one of the scariest films of all-time to talk about the steps he took to keep us terrified.
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the power of christ compels you! the power of christ compels you! >> it was the shocking film that raised the bar for scary movies, and became kind of the gold standard for horror that movie buffs still talk about today. a little girl possessed by a deemen in the 1973 thriller "the ex- exorci exorcist." the director didn't set out to spook audiences when written. on this halloween eve a new accolade for the "exorcist" and iconic staircase made famous. a plaque sits at the bottom of the staircase in d.c.'s georgetown area, the same steps where the character father care
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is die careus dies. >> reporter: the "exorcist" one of the scariest and highest growsing films of all-time. spoiler alert -- it ends in the exorcism of a demon and the famously steep tumbling death of a priest. >> reporter: and now here at the bottom of these iconic steps in georgetown, washington, d.c., the director of the "exorcist" william friedkin, what is it about the film that has kept us fascinated and terrified the past years? any idea this would become so iconic and decades lett later te film still so important? >> absolutely not. you never have in idea. it's the luck of the draw. i always felt these steps were the metaphor for the story of a the film. the ascent from darkness up into light. >> reporter: this plaque is a resident of washington, d.c. and every time i drive by, every time, i think about 'the
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exorcist" does it mean anything to you? >> i'll tell you exactly what it means, jake. it means more to me than an academy award. >> reporter: tens of thousands of people will come up these steps. >> tens of are thousands will see they're commemorated as a scene from a movie that i made. >> reporter: even decades later with so many changes to film and films going so much moregraphic, it's still terrifying. just that last three minutes. why do you think that is? >> it cass construwas construct and i approached it so that the fear sections would grow slowly and then explode. >> take me! >> i did not want to shock the audience. i wanted to prepare them for the inevitable conclusion that this girl might be possessed by a demon. this was based, or inspired by an actual case. the front page of "the washington post" in 1949 flatly
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stated, this was a case of demonic possession and excesser simpexcesser exorci exorcism. >> we have the foremost expert in the catholic church in america on exorcism. >> in the name of the father! >> he's the guy that took me through all of the steps. >> the holy spirit! >> why do you think this movie is still persevering, still so iconic 40 years later? >> because it refers to these great mysteries. even if someone is an atheist, they are certainly curious about, if anything happens after death. it comes down to, why do bad things happen to good people? crowds are gathering in d.c. right now for a plaque unveiling ceremony at that staircase and the director expects a big turnout at a screening of "the
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exorcist" later tonight. more proof of the lasting legacy. the film. that's it for "the lead." i turn you over to wolf blitzer who is, as always, in "the situation room." happening now -- breaking news. u.s. troops to syria. president obama reverses course authorizing special forces commandos to deploy to syria and assist in the fight against isis on the ground. opening yet another war front in the middle east. iran at the table. america's adversary joins the us, russia and others in syrian peace talks finding common ground. but deep divides remain over the future of the syrian dictator. will the u.s. be able to force out bashar al assad? plucking the peacock. the republican national committee suspending its debate with nbc. the gop fuming over the candidates' face-off on cnbc, calling the tone of the questioning,