tv CNN Newsroom With Carol Costello CNN December 15, 2015 6:00am-8:01am PST
, you know, we have a big night tomorrow night. it is going to be good. this will not be like an evening in paradise for me. >> debate day in america. and this is where it is all about to go down. i'm carol costello. thank you so much for joining me. the stage is set and the stakes are high. the republican candidates face off tonight in their final debate of 2015. you are looking live at the venetian in las vegas. this is where the cnn debate will begin to unfold. less than nine hours from now and swaggering to the middle of the main stage, none other than donald trump. he now holds his biggest lead yet. according to a new washington post abc news poll he now
commands support from 38% of the gp leading voters. ted cruz has serged to second nearly doubling his numbers from last month. trump says make no mistake, everybody is gunning him. >> they are all coming after me. this is like crazy. who's going to attack trump first? will it be this one? you know he's taken down seven so far. you know if you look, so far everyone with's attacked me has gone down the tubes so that's good. >>s all right let's take you center stage and show you around the venue for tonight. athena jones is in vegas. >> good morning carol. just a few hours from now nine candidates will take the stage for the last gop showdown of the year. you can see donald trump will be here at center stage. he'll be flanked by ben carson and ted cruz. and cnn east wolf blitzer will be standing here at the
moderator. and this grand theater, the venetian, will be filled by an invite only crowd of about 1400 guests for the big night. all this as trump's national poll numbers are reaching heights in political pundits thought they would never reach. making him a target tonight. he was also a target of protesters last night. outrage overnight during his rally in las vegas. tensions high just hours before tonight's debate of 2015. multiple protesters forcibly removed while trying to interrupt the front runner's speech. trump taking shots at his republican competition. >> the other candidates should be thankful. because i'm giving them a chance to make total fools om of themselves --
>> a >> reporter: and bashing the media. >> i've learned how smart the people are and how bad and dishonest the press is. >> trump's gop rivals going after the billionaire businessman who for the first time has topped 40% in a monmouth university poll of likely gop voters. that is more than the next three competitors combined. and trump towering 23 points above his closest rival in this new washington post abc poll. >> i cannot imagine donald trump becoming president because he would never win. he would never win. hillary clinton would clean him. >> this as texas senator ted cruz surges into the second place in polling and tops trump in several polls in iowa. >> god bless the great state of iowa. >> reporter: which means all eyes will be on center stage to see if the two former ally wills go after each other. >> they are both strong and very decisive and someone who would
take the initiative. that is what we need today. and both those candidates fit that bill. >> tonight is the first for the gop contenders since the paris and san bernardino terror attacks and comes about a week after trump called for a ban on muslims entering the u.s. the debate will keep national security at the forefront. >> the vast majority of people that are trying to come are people that we just don't have information on. this is a issue that you have to be right 100%. >> and marco rubio is another candidate to keep an eye on tonight. he's performed well in past debates and his team is hoping for another strong night tonight. their view going into tonight is why try to fix what isn't broken. when it comes to trump and cruz, the question isn't so much whether trump will try to hit cruz but whether and how cruz will hit back. and i should mention carol t security sweeps are just now beginning in and around this theater. so it is just one more sign we are getting closer to the main
event. >> athena jones, thanks so much. so the stage is set, the anticipation building. donald trump ready to rumble. and maybe he ought to be. ted cruz questions his judgment. marco rubio says he's not qualified to be president. and my guests join me. welcome both of you. >> thank you. >> so trump launched a preemptive strike by citing his poll numbers. but i don't see ted cruz eager for a fight with trump. do you kaylee? >> no i don't. ted cruz has played this so wisely. look at all of the candidates who are have been on trump's heels and me smacked them all down very successfully. and they all to some degree fought back. and donald trump is going to have a very hard time attacking
ted cruz because ted cruz's record is stellar. his votes are on par. he's one of the most conservative in the race. >> will ted cruz just stand there and? and will bit a big love fest between the two men? >> i don't think it will be a love fest. but i think you will see from him the fact that he understands that he is the one to gain the most if trump were to fall. what we're seeing is a divide in the conservative party. where you have a portion of the voters going to trump. and the other portion going to cruise. and i think for cruz he's going to say we're goings focus on policy and character. and he doesn't want to go into as he tweeted out the cage match with donald trump. and i think that is a very smart strategy. because all of the other candidates that went after trump, obviously they failed. >> so let's talk about one
candidate that many analysts say is on the rise. and that would be chris christie. so might chris christie take on donald trump? because he's just as combative. >> he could. and it is interesting. you are right to point out they are very similar personalities and both very strong. chris christie is going to have a hard time. because if you look at the tempo of this race it is a conservative race. one like we've never seen before. john mcmaine couldn't win. jeb bush couldn't win in this climate but a ted cruz can. and the chris christie is going to have a hard time catering to that conservative base that is eager for a true conservative candidate. >> so mercedes we have to talk about the muslim question. who might criticize trump's
rhetoric on muslims. >> they have already gone on the record that trump has been unhinged on this policy. and in many cases they are viewing it as unconstitutional. so i believe you could see a bit of these other candidates piling on trump. the problem is when you are looking at these poll number, republican, is close to 59% support this man. so this is going to be an interesting and important conversation to have this evening. because obviously it is a very divisive policy nationally. although for the most part you are talking that over majority of republicans support it. >> -- let me just run this by you. mercedes mentioned that washington post answer news poll. 60% agree with trump's ban on muslims. so wouldn't it be dicey for other candidates to come out strongly against that ban even though they may -- even though they may not support the ban? >> carol, no doubt about it.
most republican voters are scared. we saw someone get here on a fiancé visa that was screened with a background check three times. and the folks doing that did not catch the fact that she had radical extremist views publicly in the open. so republican voters want this problem fixed. and marco rubio will have to explain himself tonight. and rand paul put a bill on the floor last week on the floor that banned --. marco rubio did not vote for that. >> i have to leave it there. mercedes, cakaylee. you can see the debate here on cnn. the first debate starts 6:00 eastern tonight. still to come, the polls show trump surging but that is not all they are saying. is the picture as rosie as you think for trump?
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gunmen. the suspects are dealer and his wife. prosecutors also announced the rest of a 29-year-old man in connection with the terror attacks in paris just last month. it is not known if the attacks or suspects are related. u.s. secretary of state kerry is in moscow for top level meetings on two of the world's hot spots. early this morning he met with his russian counterpart sergei lavrov and in the next hour he'll sit with vladimir putin. they are discussing ways to deal with the conflicts in ukraine and syria. russia, isis and american security will be the hot topics in tonight's debate. donald trump seems to have the upper hand. a new poll out this morning shows he's on top. way on top. a washington post abc news poll shows among republican-leaning voters, 38% support trump.
closest competition ted cruz at 15%. marco rubio and ben carson are tied for third. the lead also comes after trump's anti muslim rhetoric. he gained six percentage points between october and november. the picture isn't so rosie for donald trump though. with me now is director of the --. donald trump has 38% support. dig a little deeper and there are problems, for example. 69% national say they would feel anxious if trump were elected president while 29% would feel comfortable. >> one of the things we've been seeing with donald trump throughout can campaign is he's been leading in polls but also among republicans as the candidate they would be least likely to vote for under any
circumstance. and what typically happens in nomination processes is the parties come up with a the candidate who's most acceptable to their party. not necessarily the favorite of any one faction but the acceptable candidate. and that usually positions that candidate to be pretty good in the general election. polarizing candidates generally don't do well in general elections and i think the republicans have to go back a few years but the barry goldwater campaign is probably of this. so they want a candidate less polarizing than donald trump is. >> something else i don't understand about this poll. 69% anxious yet 54% say trump is the strongest leader. how can that be? >> i think they are measuring different things. strong leaders mean you are probably looking at someone who
voters think can accomplish things and do things. at the same time, that same strength in leadership could lead the united states or the leader to do things that might not be good for country. and that is the sense of anxiety. they see donald trump a leader. they are just not sure where he wants to lead. >> 23% say he has the best personality. might it also be many voters favor trump simply because they like him at the moment? >> absolutely. and that is a critical point with any poll. as a pollster, primaries are notoriously difficult to figure out what is likely to happen. even at this point. back in 2007 i was looking at polls here in new hampshire. we had romney comfortably up over mccain and as the process.
voters in iowa and new hampshire are going to whittle the field significantly and. things after christmas are going to look quite differently where voters are going to finally start getting down to looking at these candidates as presidents and evaluating them as presidential material. >> you have ted cruz up in some polls in iowa. chris christie up in some polls in new hampshire. trump leads in polls national and in some polls in iowa. so what should we make of this race? >> well i would focus on the early states and not the national polls. so in iowa we've seen that ted cruz has been moving up fairly quickly. and the republican electorate in iowa is largely dominated by conservative evangelicals and cruz has been doing quite well there and their support for ben carson has been dropping. move to new hampshire, a
moderate state and higher turn out so it is not just activists and here the more moderate candidates are doing better. trump is still leading but the more moderates are better. so rubio -- if you put the moderate more mainstream vote together they --. the early states with the different electorates are the places to focus your attention. not the national polls. >> interesting. so might some in the republican party hope some of those lesser candidates will drop out so that support will coalesce around would have been those more mainstream candidates? >> yeah. i think that what we're seeing here in this campaign is a race somewhat like the 1996 primary, where republicans were quite unhappy and they didn't really like bob dole as their
candidate. but there was also some other republicans keeping the race from coalescing. lamar alexander and steve forbes. but what wii saw was pat buchanan really was the catalyst to get the people angry in the republican mainstream on his side. he even won the new hampshire primary duh just didn't have that broad enough support. bob dole was close in second and the mainstream support coalesced around dole. we're likely to see something like this year. but again it is really early. there are six weeks to go and the voters really aren't engaged just yet. >> thanks so much. the fifth gop presidential debate only on cnn. the first debate 6:00 eastern tonight. still to come. she might not be at the debate but hillary clinton will certainly be on the stage.
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verdict set to come soon for william porter, the first of six baltimore police officers to face charges in the death of the 25-year-old. in the meantime the city is bracing for any possible fallout, police officers working 12 hour shifts and the emergency center has been activated should riots or protests erupt over the eminent ruling. things have been peaceful so far. cnn's gene casarez is live outside the courthouse with
more. >> reporter: the jury has deliberated this morning already. they wanted to come in at 8:30 to deliberate. it shows they really wanted to get to work. there has been a note this morning. we don't note yet what it says. but the last note yesterday was interesting. they wanted to see the police transcripts from the dispatch calls and the transcripts from the defendant's videotaped statement. the judge said no, they are not evidence. but it shows they wanted to look at it. they also wanted to know if their deliberation room was going to be locked during the night. the answer was no because they come in to clean and so then the jurors realized they would have to erase their board they were writing on. they would also have to understand the definition of misconduct in office, which has to do with an evil deed. and last but not least they wanted candy.
because they have gotten candy the whole trial. the police commissioner sent a letter out yesterday to his force, really a pep talk. want to show everybody a little of what he said. he said the days ahead present us all an opportunity to show the world why baltimore is such special place. regardless of the outcome thf trial or any future trial we refuse to surrender to the low expectations of those who wish to see us fail. and he also said to the community that there has been much done since the unrest in april that policies and procedures have changed. they have gotten specialized training. and carol, they also have specialized equipment now. >> all right. we'll see what happens, gene casarez. we'll check back. thank you. and good morning. i'm carol costello. thanks so much for joining me. a few hours from now nine republican candidates crowd the
stage in las vegas to battle once again for the gop nomination. they will go after each other for sure but one name will likely be mentioned so many times you might think there is a tenth candidate on the stage. >> tomorrow is the fifth republican presidential debate. and if you have been keeping score so far the winner of most of the republican debates has been hillary clinton. [ applause ] >> now, hillary clinton is very aware she will be the target of many of tonight's attacks. last night she talked about immigration. she didn't mention any names but you know who she's talking about. >> we are hearing all kinds of antiimmigrant sentiment in the news right now. candidates for president are calling immigrants drug runners and rapist. they promise if elected to round up and deport millions of people, build a mammoth wall,
militarize the border, tear families apart. and after the terrorist shootings in san bernardino at a time when a lot of americans are fearful about future attacks here at home, some candidates are even stoking those fears more and turning people against muslim americans. >> and just to make sure everybody heard it, hillary clinton sent out a tweet this morning and it says "we can't sit idly by while republicans shame and demonize --. let's talk about with our democratic strategy and republican strategist. welcome both of you. nice to have you here. josh, how many times will hillary clinton's name be spoken on stage tonight? >> well i imagine you hear a great deal of it, you know. with the increased focus on
terrorism, national security issues. each one of these candidates wants to draw a contrast. and interesting numbers have come out in the last couple d days. 83% of all americans say they want the next president to have a very different approach to foreign policy than current president. and from the former secretary of state to the current president's position as an architect of policy she has a lot to hoe on that. and i suspect the candidates to be very active on that tonightand you might say also that hillary clinton is the only candidate with experience on the global stage. >> she also has an agenda she's put on the table that most experts speak highly of and think is practical. the problem the republicans have is that the right hand doesn't know what the extreme right hand
is doing. donald trump alone has taken four positions on isis. and our own military experts on cnn and generals like -- have made it clear that is not just a realistic or logical approach or successful strategy. ted cruz says he wants to make the sand glow. nuclear weaponry is not going to be much of an answer for anything in the middle east. so that lack of any realistic approach, any real plan to deal with isis by the republicans is their greatest problem. >> well we tend to only talk about two candidate asks that would be ted cruz and donald trump at the moment. marco rubio has come out with a detailed plan how to fight isis. will he loudly express that tonight? >> i think that the big thing to watch tonight is donald trump and how he goes after ted cruz.
he's been previewing the last four days about the potential confrontation there and how ted cruz reacts to it i think is going to be really interesting. i think it will dictate a lot of what happens in the debate. can he come across as authentic and funny when you know trump is going to be funny and always has a good way of engaging opponents. in national security context i think marco rubio at this point has proven the most versatile on the stage. clearly has a lot of depth to it and probably wants to get into the details of that throughout. >> the problem that i see on this stage tonight and what makes this debate so significant is that as you see all of the different republican candidates try to match and actually outdo trump with rhetoric. in fact marco rubio wants to not only close mosques. he wants to close caves and diners now. we've seen now in three national polls this week is totally out of touch with mainstream
america. opposed by two-thirds of the american people in most polls. so i think that is the real issue to watch here. >> let me just jump in there. it is actually not true. if you look at where the american people are right now increasingly they are aligning with the republican view. >> 60% are opposing donald trump's plans to in fact block temporary ban from muslims coming into the country. >> but robert, in fairness, republicans don't feel that way. and these candidates are trying to win a republican primary. >> the issue is are we going to have a group therapy session on the stage? are they put going to put out an agenda that speaks to the country and try to build a main coalition? that is their test. >> the president is out talking about climate change every day and the latest poll has 3% of americans concerned about that. so i think what republican candidates are talking about are actually in line with what most
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republicans will soon take the stage in las vegas, facing off for the last time this year. zeroing in on the donald trump and ted cruz, both now playing offense ahead of tonight's showdown. more from cnn's jeff zeleny. >> donald trump still on top but a new pecking order in the republican race and a new line up on the stage. ted cruz suddenly gaining ground national and in the key state of iowa. even overtaking trump by 10 percentage points.
the front runners will be standing next to each other. the first time they have come face to face since the personal attack started. trump giving state of the union a preview. >> because i'm more capable, i have a better temperament. because i actually get along with people much better than he does. >> when you look at the way he's dealt with the senate where he goes in frankly like a little bit of a maniac you are not going to get things done that way. >> responding on twitter with a flash dance flashback. ♪ she's a maniac maniac on the floor ♪ >> so far cruz refuses to hit back patrick publicly at cruz.
trump. >> cruz may be the top target and not just for trump. marco rubio is drawing attention to cruz's voting record, accusing him of being weak on national security. >> i guess my point is each time he's had to choose between strong national defense and isolationist tendencies in american politics he seems to sides with the isolationists. >> he hopes to convince voters he's more electable. in a hypothetical match up clinton crushes trump. she's also over cruz. but a different story for marco rubio. he leads her 48 to 45%. >> and that is the question in the campaign, which republican is best positioned to beat hillary clinton? is donald trump strong enough? that is one of the questions
that may be answered at the debate. >> oh, but in this presidential campaign it is dominated by political outsiders. and there is one word that is sending some republican candidates running for the exits. that word would be "establishment." you can count marco rubio among those who are resisting that label. >> you are now viewed as the establishment favorite. how do you handle the word establishment? >> i know that it is meant as the sleight. quite -- >> you feel that is an attack. >> i wouldn't be in the senate. the establishment didn't want me the in the united states senate. i have consistently voted against many of the things that some people who you have identified as the establishment are for. when i chose to get in i had a lot of people tell me i shouldn't run and it wasn't my turn. >> now donald trump, whose name
has become synonymous with outsider is getting slammed by well known conservative radio host who says his attacks on the establishment's inability to compromise is exactly what it wants. >> there are things you can question cruz about. substantive positions you can question him about. this is not that. you and i rally around him and have because of the way he's taken on the establishment, the very establishment that trump is taking on. so why? why raise a stupid issue? because you know donald trump, it is mcconnell who is the maniac. it is mccain who is the maniac. it is graham who is the main yak. it is not cruz. >> interesting, right? joining me now, ron brownsteen.
welcome. do you think donald trump will be calling ted cruz a maniac on stage? >> maybe not those words but certainly donald trump has gone after everyone who has poked their head up to challenge him in the polls. i don't expect it to stop. i also don't expect cruz to take much of the debate. i think the more significant confrontation would be between cruz and rubio over the substance of cruz national foreign policy positions. but yeah i wouldn't be surprised if trump continues to raise questions about cruz's temperament. cruz doesn't seem to be interested in that fight. >> going back to what he told nbc. he was ab establishment candidate but his mentor was jeb bush. >> yeah, i think that is a great reflection of the strategic muddle that marco rubio faces.
rubio has been trying to position himself as the most conservative candidate possibly still acceptable to the center right. and i think, you know, he is not fully taking advantage and clearly doesn't seem to really want to take advantage of the vacuum that's been left by the inability of jeb bush, john kasich and chris christie to fill that center right lane. that is most obvious opening in the field for him. there is a lot of competition on the right with ted cruz and donald trump. but rubio doesn't seem to be -- his theory of the case is not that he can get there simply by filling that lane. and so he constantly kind of stretches as far to the right as he can get while still being acceptable to those voters and you saw a reflection of that approach. >> i just want to focus a little bit on chris christie. because what would he be considered? establishment? outsider? what? >> well, you know, i am less in the establishment/outsider way
of looking at it. i think what you have here are three distinct pools of support emerging. donald trump who as the front runner is competitive everywhere but is dominant among the blue collar side, what we used to call reagan democrats. then ted cruz and ben carson with cruz passing carson it is the champion of evangelical christians in particular. that is allowing him to rise up in iowa. and cruz's challenge listen to go beyond that because that is not november enough in itself t. and christie, kasich, bush and rubio are largely in competition for their spots. and new hampshire has historically been the place that sorts out that candidate. that is a big muddle at the moment with all four clumped together. that could allow trump to win and really produce heartburn in the establishment.
because you could imagine a world very easily where cruz wins iowa, trump wins new hampshire and it is unclear who the establishment or center right favorite is even at that moment. >> so i'm going to read you something that sets up what you said nicely. from the blaze. this is a recent column from that publication online. "without the gop establishment we wouldn't have trump." all that was needed for an outright revolt was a perceived outsider willing to toss a match onto the tinderbox of a decade of pent up conservative frustration and so personified in jeb's run for office, donald trump brought a flame thrower. if he's the republican self created monstthsmonthstemonster the frankenstein is their man.
is this the new normal? >> i think trump is a one of a kind. with oh haven't seen anything really like it since ross perot. i don't think really that is the core of the trump fphenomenon. the core is how much of the republican base is antagonistic towards the culture and demographic change resident making america. they are overwhelmingly likely to believe that islam is incompatible with american values. and he's been willing to say things publicly arguably no candidate since george wallace in 1968 has given vice to. and what republicans are learning is how big a chunk of their base responds to that message. and that once that genie is out of the bottle i think it is very hard get it under control even
if a candidate like rubio emerges in the spring. how do they tamp down the emotions that donald trump has let loose? don't forget we could reach in 2016 for the first time ever 30% of the election voters being minorities. and in the way that donald trump is pointing them is heading for a very difficult reckoning with that changing american electorate once you get past the primaries. >> should be a fascinating night. still to come, terrorism a top concern among voters, but who has the most to prove tonight when it comes to national security?
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34 islamic countries are vowing to wipe out isis. saudi arabia has announced the formation of a new anti-terror alliance calling islamic extremism a disease. notably absent, iraq, syria and iran. the joint operation center, though, will be based in riyadh, saudi arabia, this comes as u.s. national security and donald trump's talk of a muslim ban takes center stage at tonight's cnn debate.
joining me a cnn global affairs editor. welcome, bobby. >> any time. >> is saudi arabia serious about wiping out isis? >> you want to see 34 heads of state lining up in a show of sincerity and urgency. all you want to see 34 defense ministers or 34 foreign ministers. you don't want to just hear from the foreign minister of saudi arabia who's fighting a really complicated, internal political game. wants to be the next king. he's second in line. he's fighting. he's responsible for saudi arabia's war in yemen, which is going very badly. very embarrassing for the saudis. especially embarrassing for him. seems very much like he's trying to find something else, some other flag to fly to strengthen his case to be the next king. >> for many americans it's hard to wrap our heads around the idea that countries in the middle east don't want to wipe out isis. why don't they all come together
and do it? >> well, let's understand. people in the middle east want to wipe out isis very, very badly because they are the number one victims of isis. societies, individuals, society groups are fighting very hard. regimes and usually these kingdoms, these regimes that are not answerable to their people. they feel very differently. they talk the walk, but don't want to walk the walk. i think if you want to hold fire to the feet of anyone, it should be to these regimes and you should start with saudi arabia because, after all, a lot of people would characterize what you've heard today from saudi arabia as the attempt bit poacher to turn into the gamekeeper. saudi arabia, it's a good thing they're describing isis and isis's ideology as a disease, but a lot of people will point out saudi arabia is where this disease first took root. >> okay. well, let me ask you this, on the stage tonight supposedly there will be many answers to the problem of isis.
and i think that some of those candidates will say that countries in the middle east have to do more to wipe out isis. so, give me a credible idea of how that could happen. >> should they -- should governments be doing more? should government match the zeal of their citizens in fighting isis more? absolutely they should. will they? chances aren't good. if we sit back and say they should do more and it's not our job to do more, we'll see things like paris and san bernardino. we'll see those things. it's not like this is a disease that is isolated and exists only in the middle east. it's a copout for us, for the rest of the world to say, it's their problem, they should fix it. we've seen that their regimes in that part of the world don't want to fix it, are unable to fix it. we need to put more pressure on them to do so. at the same time, we can't sit back and say, that's all we're going to do. there has to be more we are going to do. i would like to hear more of
that from the stage. unfortunately, too many of the republican candidates leading up to tonight have been saying it's other people's problems. i would like to take ownership and give us an explanation, if they're not going to fix it, what can we do? >> bobby, thank you so much. >> any time. >> i'll be right back. kind of holiday...he bet is the kind where everyone gets what they wished for. make this holiday extra happy when you buy one get one free on our most popular smartphones... like the samsung galaxy s6. buy one get one free. so spread some cheer. and capture every minute of it. right now at at&t, buy one get one free on our most popular smartphones.
checking some stop top stories at 58 minutes past. chicago police officers who dragged a handcuffed man out of his cell and don't the hallway used excessive force and are liable for damages, according to a federal judge. three years ago percy coleman was dragged down the hall in cuffs. a jury trial will now decide how much the two officers should pay. bill cosby striking back at a handful of his accusers, countersuing them for hurting his reputation. more than 40 women have come forward to accuse cosby of sexual assault. he's denied the accusations. and in the lawsuit he also says they have caused him emotional distress. the next hour of "cnn newsroom" starts now. . good morning. i'm carol costello. i do have some breaking news to pass along to you.
the los angeles police department says lasud, a school district has received a threat of some sort. i don't know any of the specifics. but out of abundant caution, the superintendent shut down schools for the entire day. we are expecting a news conference to happen at any moment. when that news conference happens, we'll monitor it and get more information to pass along to you. let's talk about the cnn debate. eight hours and counting. the cnn debate stage is set for what could be one of the biggest nights of the political season. the back drop to another big event we're watching right now. in russia, secretary of state john kerry meeting now with president vladimir putin to talk about the crisis in syria. we are on top of all of those things this morning. let's start in vegas, where the republican candidates are getting ready for their final presidential debate of the year.
my fellow cnn anchor, john berman is there, to set the stage. good morning, john. >> good morning, carol. behind me is the venetian los angeles. behind that, the venetian stage. the stage is set for all nine candidates for that prime time debate, 8:30 p.m. eastern time. donald trump will once again be front and center. this time, though, he's got a different next door neighbor. ted cruz will be next to him. cruz has been rising in the polls. he'll be standing next to donald trump. this is the final republican debate of 2015. the stakes could not be higher. after this, things quiet down for a couple weeks as they head into the holidays. these candidates, they have to get their message out now because they won't have another chance to do it for some time. the last debate of 2015, it's also the first debate since the attacks in paris and san bernardino. the topic tonight, national security. which candidate will make the case he or she is the best to
keep america safe from terrorism. >> john berman reporting live for us. thanks much. donald trump will be center stage. his star billing the latest gift of his hefty poll numbers. today trump has even more to crow about. cnn's athena jones is also in los angeles. she has more on that. good morning. >> good morning, carol. you're talking about a new poll from abc news and "the washington post." this is just the latest national poll to show trump with a big lead over his nearest rivals. i should mention this poll was conducted after he made that controversial proposal to ban all muslims from entering the u.s. if we put those numbers up on the screen, you can see trump in the lead there at 38%. 23 points over second place ted cruz. ben carson, marco rubio ditied 12%. these strong numbers nationally mean trump will be a target on this stage behind me tonight. he knows that. take a listen to him talking
last night about tonight. >> they're all coming after me. i heard today, i'm watching, i'm saying, man, this is crazy. who's going to attack trump first? will it be this one? you know, he's taken down seven so far. you know, if you look, so far everyone that's attacked me has gone right down the tube, so that's good. >> and, of course, carol, trump is right. the people who have tried to attack him so far haven't fared very well. but maybe that will change tonight. one more thing i want to bring up. we know that he's doing well in national polls. that means he has the support of a lot of republicans. but when it comes to independents, that's another group of voters that candidates in both parties have to do well with to perform well in the general election. i want to show you one more set of numbers from nbc news and "the wall street journal." they show hillary clinton leading trump by ten points with independents. so, another interesting set of numbers to add context to
tonight. carol? >> athena jones reporting live from los angeles. the stage is set. everyone is anticipating fair works between donald trump and the surging senator ted cruz. while that is a possibility, other candidates may take on trump. not just because they believe he's unqualified to be president. joining me, terra setmeier, and mike shields, former chief of staff for the rnc and current president of the congressional leadership fund which works to expand the republican majority in the house. welcome to both of you. so, if trump wants to squash cruz, should he just confront cruz as, quote, a maniac who's unable to compromise? >> no. i think actually donald trump made a huge mistake by calling ted cruz that. if you listen to conservative talk radio, very influential in the gop primaries, rush limbaugh and mark lavin and others have said, hold on there, trump,
you're not going after one of our darlings. ted cruz is a darling of the republican voters, particularly of the conservatives and tea party movement. by calling cruz a maniac, trump has entered into what the establishment, the media, all of the folks that the gop electorates categorize ted cruz. >> here's the thing. everybody says conservative media is so strong, but the last time around they didn't support the candidate who won the primary, right? >> well, they supported the nominee. we weren't thrilled with mitt romney, but he was better than barack obama. >> but it took them a while -- >> that's true. but donald trump, you have to remember, doesn't have the majority of support. he has the majority right now -- >> no, i get it. >> -- because you have a million candidates but a lot of republicans don't support donald trump. >> mike, i'll ask you that question, in light of what i just said, is it really that
dangerous for trump to take on cruz? >> i know it feels crazy but to the campaigns this feels like halftime. you'll watch a debate tonight that voters will see as the last thing before the christmas holiday. then in january they'll be camped out in the states. they won't be traveling around, they'll be in the states. what's going to happen in january leading into these caucuses and primaries is like the other half of everything that will happen. there's a lot of volatility. people have to talk to the local reporters more. sure, you'll have some fireworks. you'll have some people attacking others. but i think everyone is still sticking to their game plan they've been following all along. there's still a long way to go. the whole month of january away. there's another debate in january. look, you may see ted cruz sort of seize the moment because he's rising in the polls. i think by and large you'll see a lot of candidates doing what they've been doing to get them to this point.
>> hopefully they'll be talking substance, too. a few need to stand out like marco rubio so he can go through the doorway and be the candidate he wants to be. >> i think marco rubio has been positioning himself. he's been the turtle in the race here. ted cruz has lapped him a little bit because he has more money, a better organization and getting the momentum in iowa is very important. now, chris christie has been creeping up a little bit. he has a major endorsement in new hampshire. it's built for a chris christie candidate. but, they're still in single digits. poor jeb bush. we're not even talking about him in the top three or four even. and he spent tens of millions of dollars and he's not getting any traction. i don't think anyone would have seen that. >> interestingly enough, mike, and some people think this will be the debate where the lower tier candidates drop out. we're not even talking about the candidates who will appear in the lesser debate, right? and we're not talking about ben carson or carly fiorina either.
might this be the debate some candidates will sit down and say, you know, i've had enough. >> dick gephardt has my favorite description of presidential campaigns which is they don't end, they run out of money. as long as they have money, super pacs and federal dollars coming in, they'll stick around. i think the volatility happens after january 1st. you get into the next debate. candidates are in the early states. that's when you'll start to see the field -- i don't expect anyone to drop out. they'll continue the game plan, and i think you'll see the volatility more around february 1st. >> we have to end it there because we have breaking news out of los angeles. the l.a. unified schools are closed due to some kind of threat. this is a news conference about that. let's listen.
>> this morning at just after 5:00 i received a phone message from chief zimmerman, the school police, and he shared with me the threat that had been made to not just one school, but many schools in this school district. he shared with me some of the details talked about backpacks, talked about other packages and after talking with him, also with the board president, i made a decision to close all of the schools. i have alerted all six superintendents. they have been alerted. i've asked them to have their
operations people talk to the plant manager at each school. i've asked the plant managers to walk the school, and if they see anything that is out of order, to contact the police. not to touch anything, not to do anything, but to -- if they see anything out of line, to contact the proper authorities. we had contact with our early education centers because these are our young children. we made contact with our special education to make sure that those that are not as mobile as some of our special students are taken care of. we have made contact with our adult education schools. we have made contact with our charter schools because the board of education has responsibility and the district for all charter schools. so i've asked they be closed also.
i think it is important that i take the precaution based on what has happened recently and what has happened in the past. i have asked the chief to be working with the city police department and the sheriff before the day is over, i want every school searched to make sure that it is safe for children and safe for staff to be there on wednesday. i will issue a statement late this afternoon after the chief -- chief zipperman has informed me the schools have been searched and it is okay. i will keep you informed ongoing during the day if there are any
situations. one of the issues i've been worried about is children who walk to school. we have a great many of those, so i've asked the principal to make sure those children are at a specific gate so they can be given instructions, kept together, and so that we can make contact with parents to pick up their children or to make sure that they get home safely. not independently. home safely, making sure that their parents are notified. we have sent a connect ed to all parents letting them know of the action i've taken. i will answer some questions after the chief and the board president speak with you. >> superintendent, could you start just from the beginning. a couple people arrived late.
>> good morning. steve zipperman with the los angeles school police department. i want to reiterate what the student already stated. earlier this morning we did receive an electronic threat that mentions the safety of our schools. as a result of that threat, not only the los angeles school police department, but -- >> can you start again, sir? >> pardon me? >> can you start again? >> i'm going to continue on. as a result of that threat, the los angeles school police department as well as los angeles police department and the fbi were notified, and right now the threat is still being analyzed. in an abundance of caution, as superintendent has indicated, we have chosen to close our schools today until we can be absolutely
sure that our campuses are safe. and until it is deemed safe by law enforcement and concurred with our district officials, which we believe will be able to occur by the end of this day, we will keep those schools closed. the investigation is ongoing. i'm not going to get into the details. i do want to say this, this is important, that the threat that was received as far as the l.a. unified school district is concerned, pertains to the l.a. unified school district. there have been many calls. we are unaware of of any other threats unless they have gotten threats outside of lausd. we do not know any information
about any other threats within the county region at this time. as i indicated, law enforcement will continue to evaluate the threats. >> chief, would you introduce the chief. >> i would like to introduce assistant chief jorge viagas, assistant chief from lapd. chief? >> thank you. good morning. i'm jorge viagas, assistant lapd. the school received a safety threat that we're in the process now of validating or vetting to
determine what, if any validity it has. as you can imagine, we take all threats seriously. nothing is more important than the safety of our kids, especially those that are coming to and from school that haven't been notified yet of this safety threat. we're doing everything we can to ensure that we conduct a thorough investigation into that threat and we'll be working with the school district as well as with the fbi to ensure that the public is informed as much as we can provide, as soon as we can provide it. >> this is steve zimmer, president of the los angeles board of education. >> can -- >> how about we stand up? musical chairs. sorry, guys. >> good morning. my name is steve zimmer. i'm president of the school board of los angeles unified
school district. i'd like to speak, if i could, directly to families and employees. we are taking this action in an abundance of caution to make sure that every chooiltd child in l.a. unified school district and every employee is absolutely safe. right now, we ask parents and families, if you have not yet sent your children to school, please do not send them to school. if they have already been dropped off, we will have families meet their children at the reunion gates of all schools. i want to be very clear. we need the cooperation of the whole of los angeles today.
we need families and neighbors to work together with our families and employees to make sure our kids are safe throughout the day. we need employers to show the flexibility that a situation like this demands. and we ask you to show the maximum possible flexibility with your employees who are primarily mothers and fathers and guardians today in this situation. at our school sites, we have asked administrators and plant managers to report. we are not -- we are asking for teachers and other support personnel to stay home today. once again, i want to reiterate on behalf of the entire board of
education, our support for the superintendent, for the chief of police, the actions that we are taking today, are swift and they are appropriate, given the situation that we are in. and we ask for the patience and cooperation and support of the city. the education of our kids is incredibly important. the only thing that's more important is their safety. and the superintendent has acted in regards to that safety this morning. i'd now like to introduce our deputy superintendent for operations, dr. thelma melendez, who will make a statement in spanish. >> could we ask a couple questions before you -- >> i said i would. >> can you give us a little more
about the nature of the threat? why you feel this is so serious that school has to be cancelled? >> i think later in the day, after they continue the investigation and vetting, as you heard the chief say, with the fbi, we will make a statement. but not at this time. >> was it a broad threat affecting all the schools or -- >> it was a broad -- it was not to one school, two schools or three schools. it was many schools. not specifically identified. but there were many schools. that's the reason i took the action that i did. >> an electronic threat, what does that mean? >> it was a message. >> was there any threat made to buses? we know all the buses were returned to the yards this morning. what do you say to that? >> there was not a threat made to buses. the reason they were returned is because we're not picking up students. it was to students at schools.
nothing more than that at this time. >> at schools? >> at schools, students, yes. >> you mentioned some details regarding backpacks and other packages. can you elaborate on that? >> no, i can't. the chief after the -- he's met with the city police and the fbi, he will be mablging further statements on why i made the decision i made. >> you have more than 900 campuses. are you able to say whether these are even elementary schools, high schools? >> let me tell you, i can't take a chance and all schools, i've asked them to be searched today by the appropriate people. and appropriate people are not necessarily teachers or support people if there is a problem. i want to -- our chief of police working with the city police and working with the sheriff to
develop a plan. we have six districts to work systematically through every one of those schools. some of them are very large schools. some of them are schools with three and four rooms to them. but i want every school, every early education center, every adult school, i want them searched and a reported made to me and to the board of education that it is safe. >> did any members arrive early, well before 7:00 a.m., are all campuses being evacuated for anyone that was on campus? >> they have been told to go home. >> what happens to kids who may already be at school? are you telling their parents to come pick them up now or -- >> yes. there's been a connect ed. the board president reviewed that with you, that they have been asked to meet at a certain gate. the principal to be there, the plant manager to be there, no child to be left alone.
i know it is cold. we're making every effort to make sure we get the notification to parents as soon as possible, but i am not taking the chance of bringing children anyplace into any part of the building until i know it's safe. >> can you clarify, then. this is all sfuntudents, staff, teachers, personnel at your campuses? >> at the campuses, yes. that is what i've done, yes. >> incorporates everyone? >> yes. >> can you give us a little context. i know you can't go into the specific threat but a little context for parents at home, how many threats does the school district -- how rare is that you get a threat like this? >> this is a rare threat. we get threats all the time. >> i want to ask you, then -- >> let him finish. >> i'm just curious about this one in particular, why it got this kind of response. >> i think the circumstances in
neighboring san bernardino, i think what's happening in the nation, i think what happened internationally, i as superintendent am not going to take the chances with the life of a student. remember, we do get individual threats. we do evacuate schools. we do lock down schools, et cetera, and do not release students until we notify parents. so what we're doing today is no different than what we always do except we are doing this in a mass way. >> whoa know it's early, where do we stand for even tomorrow? >> i have no comment on that. i told you i will release the statement before the end of the day. >> can we do spanish language now? >> i want to introduce you to monica garcia, board member.
she'll translate for us. >> all right. now they're going to talk spanish to the spanish-speaking audience in that press conference room in los angeles. but again, all los angeles county schools have been closed for the day because of some unspecified threat. the fbi has been called in, los angeles police are working on it, school police are working on it. this is unusual. you heard the superintendent say that he's acting out of an abundance of caution because of what happened an hour and a half in los angeles in san bernardino. i want to bring in our security analyst, peter bergen our terror analyst is also with me. tom, i want to start with you. the superintendent said the threat was an electronic threat. the fbi is now involved. what does that say to you? >> well, two things, carol. first, the electronic part could be twitter, facebook, any social
media posting, a direct e-mail or an e-mail from one person to another person saying this is what we're going to do, blow up a school, shoot people coming in or leave one of the school facilities or a school bus. that person may have gone ahead and relayed it to the authorities, eventually contacting the fbi because of, you know, the aspect that it could be terrorism. it could be a prank similar to pulling a fire alarm in a school to watch everybody scurry around, take the day off and all of that, but you can't take that for granted, so they closed the whole school down and contacted the fbi to start looking at this. one thing about it, the person from the school district talking about the search of every one of these schools. you see the photo of every one of these buses. it could even be on a bus, an explosive device. what a task. all school district personnel can't be exempted.
they'll need janitors to go in with bomb techs to open locked doors of closets and other facilities where someone could have hidden a device. the idea of searching schools, normally occupied by 640,000 students, what a task. that will be an enormous operation to do that. >> i can't even imagine doing it. you heard what the superintendent said at the last, we lock down schools all the time. but this is unushlg. he's closing down an entire district. 640,000 students are involved. that's kind of odd, isn't it, tom? >> it's very odd. the threat wasn't specific. i mentioned pulling a fire alarm. when you do that it's one building and the fire department comes to that building. you evacuate that building. but in this situation, if you have an unspecified threat to the general school district, then they have to decide. they don't know, you know, that one building is more threatened than another or if it's a
complete hoax, complete prank just to watch the authorities run around all day and expend these resources and give 600,000 students the day off. >> which it absolutely could be. i want to put things into perspective. we don't know what this is. it's an unspecified threat. we don't know what it is yet. we should remain calm at this moment. i want to bring in peter bergen now. i was in los angeles over the weekend and people are very nervous about what happened in san bernardino because it was so close by a lot of people in los angeles were wondering why it didn't happen in their city, so people are on edge there. >> yes, carol. we've seen polling data indicating that americans are more concerned about terrorism today than they've been at any time since october of 2001 directly after 9/11. of course, this is also linked to the continuing rise of donald trump in the polls because for a lot of people he seems to provide the answer to this terror threat.
the school superintendent did reference the san bernardino attack and also talked about overseas attacks. for instance, the ones we saw in paris. that's the context here. and both -- a number of the officials who spoke talked about an abundance of caution, yet they also said at the same time, this is a very rare kind of threat, that, you know, they get individual schools that are threatened, they close them, but this is an extraordinary measure. and based on what they were saying about the searches of all the schools, it's clear the threat involves some kind of device, you know, some kind of bomb, otherwise why would you be searching all of these schools so thoroughly, which is the plan today, carol. >> absolutely. i know, tom, after being in los angeles, that many who run universities and school districts have gone over their security measures and they put in new security measures as needed. so, but you can't really protect against something like this if
someone just calls in some unspecified threat. >> no, you really can't. if you look at the various attacks, whether they were committed by an individual psychopath or whether it was related to a terrorist attack on a school, we've had every type of school attacked in the last 10 or 15 years from preschools up through universities. then when you look at large school districts or even large universities, they have many buildings, and each building has many entrances where people come and go. they open early in the morning for staff to start arriving, maybe 6:30, 7:00 in the morning. they have activities going sometimes with sports events, 10:00, 11:00 at night, midnight. they rent the schools out to other organizations over the weekend. you have school buildings in use seven days a week from early in the morning till late at night with thousands of people coming almost in each school district. it's a tremendous task. you know, if you look at some of the shooting specifically, the idea even if it was in one
building, that building might have six entrances. you just don't have enough magnatometers, enough people to operate them, to guard every door at every school at every level. if you hardened that down, go backed to movie theaters, go back to shopping malls. the problem we're seeing here is very -- anybody can put out a social message saying there's a bomb on an airplane or a school district and now authorities have to react. do we bring it down to the land and ground them. do we shut down shopping malls at the height of the shopping season. that's part of the problem here. they react on the side of caution, however, it does send a message to whoever that sent that message, look what you can do. look how powerful you are. this is just one school
district. >> i want to bring in peter bergen. i don't want to make too much of this because we really don't know what's happening right now so i want to be careful in what we say. there's an unspecified threat. we don't know what it is. the superintendent said it involves many, many schools. out of an abundance of caution he was going to close down the entire los angeles school district, including 640,000 students who will stay home for the day. peter, as you step back, as a terror analyst, put this in perspective for us. >> we don't know. tom makes a very good point. let's assume for a minute this is a false alarm. you'll tie up one of the biggest cities in the country because everybody will be frightened and scared. if it's false, you've created a fair amount of insecurity and terror in the los angeles area.
if, god forbid it's something real, that's much worse. but i think whoever is -- put this threat out, is watching this coverage with great satisfaction. >> and i hope them catch them very soon. many thanks. again, the superintendent of schools in los angeles has closed all los angeles county schools, sending all students home because of some unspecified threat. the fbi has been called in. los angeles police department have been called in. they're now searching every single school to see if there's something up. right now, all we know so far is it's some kind of unspecified threat that concerned authorities enough to close down los angeles county schools. i'll be back with much more in the "newsroom." ♪ every insurance policy has a number. but not every insurance company understands the life behind it. for those who've served
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all schools in los angeles county closed today after some sort of unspecified threat was called in. students told to go home. teachers told to go home. right now fbi and other authorities are searching every single school, looking for anything suspicious. all i can tell you right now, it's an unspecified threat. out of an abundance of caution because of what happened in san bernardino and paris, the superintendent thought it best to send everybody home today. he plans to make some sort of statement later with the fbi. of course, when he does that, when the fbi comes forward, we'll take that to you live to los angeles, california. let's talk about the about cnn debate tonight because sure to take center stage tonight, donald trump's proposed ban on muslims entering the united states. i have the reverend franklin graham with me now. he agrees with some of trump's suggestions but he's calling on christians to pray fervently for
america. thank you for coming in. tell me about your plan to hold prayer rallies in all 50 states. what does that involve? >> it starts january 5th in des moines in the capital and we'll go to all 50 capitals and conclude in october. i don't have really much hope for the democratic party, the republican party, tea party, anybody else. our system, carol, is broken. the only principles that really, really work are god's principles. i'm asking for christians to join me or anybody to join me at the capital and to pray, pray for our nation. >> christians, jewish people. >> anybody. >> muslims? >> everybody's welcome. >> muslims? >> absolutely. people willing to come in to pray and to pray for our nation and to pray for its leaders because our system is broken. i want to encourage christians to get out and vote. and to vote for politicians that support biblical principles,
godly principles, because those principles work. we need more christians in politics. i want to encourage christians to run for political level. i'm not just talking about a christian at the presidential level, i'm talking about at all levels of government. we need, again, godly principles. >> why do we need more christians holding office? >> because it's the biblical principles that work. people that follow those biblical principles. >> we're a nation of all faiths. >> we are. but god's principles work. >> you know i'm a strong catholic and i love pope francis, but when you say god's principles work, i believe you, but i also know that sometimes praying -- oftentimes praying isn't enough. we need action. god gave us gifts -- >> that's why i'm going to all 50 states. that's action. i'm going to all 50 statsz to do just that, to take action. >> so, will you pray for more christian politicians? i don't understand. >> no, first of all, if you go back to the bible to nehemiah,
when he prayed, he confessed the sins of his father and of his nation and god gave him favor. he went back and rebuilt the walls of jerusalem that had been torn down and rehung the gates burned by fire. he did it in 52 days. god gave him favor. our nation is crumbling. you and especially people in the media, you know how much problem our nation is facing right now. we're in turmoil. washington does not work. you know that, carol. we need to get people in office who are willing to work with one another and people that uphold biblical principles. >> let's talk about biblical principles because you agree in part with donald trump on banning muslims from coming into the united states. is that fair? >> first of all, i don't believe in banning muslims from coming. i think we should put a halt on immigration because our borders are broken. until we have a proper system to vet people. >> all immigration? >> all immigration. especially people coming --
>> like hispanics, muslims, everybody? >> all people but especially those coming from the middle east right now. i'm working in greece. i we have people on the islands as people come out of those rubber boats, we have -- >> you're talking about the syrian refugees. >> they're not just syrian. they're iraqis, iranians coming into greece. no question they're fleeing for their life. they're wanting a better life. we see a lot of young men, military age, by themselves coming in that way as well. we don't know who these people are. there needs to be a proper way to vet them. i think we should put a halt on any part of imdwrags from that part of the world until our government has a system to vet them. >> i think many americans would agree with you, but i think some americans look to canada, for example, and their warm embrace of their refugees. they look at the way some politicians in the united states
talk about -- especially people from the middle east and they don't think that's very christian. >> i'm thinking we have to protect american citizens just like the school in los angeles. i think they did the right thing, shutting things down until they find out if there really is a threat. >> that threat could be coming from anyone. >> this city right here, we know what happened on 9/11. on 9/11 we have been at war. we have had thousands of americans that have been killed. over 11,000 since 9/11. and i think we should take all the precautions we can to protect our citizens. again, i love -- >> some people -- >> i work with muslims. >> i believe you. but there's been some heated rhetoric about muslims in this country and some in the muslim community believe that kind of rhetoric is, you know, causing mosques to come under attack and they're afraid for their own safety, some muslims. can you just answer, is islam
compatible with american values? >> i don't think so. >> see, they would see that rhetoric like that is hurting them. >> you asked me a question and i answered you. i don't go out and preach against muslims. i welcome them. but our constitution, the way we treat women, the way we treat all people, islam doesn't do that under shariah law. >> i would say that about my own faith, catholicism. let's play devil's advocate. donald trump thinks some mosques should be shut down. do you agree with that? >> i haven't heard what donald trump has said. i know in france they have certainly shut down some mosques. mosques preaching hatred and violence against the people in france, so the french government has shut down some mosques. i don't know how many bit know they have done it there. >> does that mean we should do it here? >> we might have to at some point. i don't know. carol, we need -- our country is
broken right now. our borders are broken. we need to get it fixed. we need immigration to be fixed. we need to know who's coming into this country. we just can't open up our arms and just say, everybody come, because there are people out there that want to destroy our nation and want to destroy you and our way of life. we have a responsibility. our government, the president, our congress has a responsibility to protect all americans. >> just a final question. is there any one candidate that reflects those christian values you talk about? >> i'm not going to support any candidate this is year. i used to be a republican. i renounced the republican party. i'm an independent because i have no confidence in the republicans or democrats. we need new leadership and godly men and women in politics. >> thank you for stopping by. >> thank you, carol. i'll be right back.
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angeles county closed today after an unspecified credible thread was called in. i'm just going to read a release about it so i can get it exactly right. this is from the los angeles superintendent. his name is ramone. he said the district received a credible electronic threat that involved not just one school but many schools in the district that talked about backpacks and other packages. this prompted him to close down all schools today. he said, quote, i have asked the chief to be working with the city police department and the sheriff before the day is over. i want every school searched to make sure it is safe for children and safe for staff to be there on wednesday. he adds, nothing is more important than the safety of our kids. i want to bring in our security analyst, tom fuentes. so, tom, it's a credible threat. whoever called in the threat talked about backpacks and other thing.
what does that say to you? >> they're searching all buildings, but that would mean every locker. students take backpacks to school and it may contain an explosive device. if you have 700,000 students and i don't know how many staff members that have lockers or closets, then you're looking at 800,000, 900,000, 1 million student lockers inside of the 900 buildings. this is just a mammoth task. i can't imagine how they're going to pull this off. >> why aren't police and the superintendent releasing exactly what the threat was? >> well, one of the main reasons is that if somebody eventually admits to being the person, just to have their own 15 minutes of fame, if someone admits to being the person that sent it, they want specific details withheld that only that person would
know. if they release every detail of what was in the communication to the public, especially certain details that really don't matter in terms of the safety or evacuation of the schools, they really don't want to have -- and they will get a lot of people that will call in and say, i did it. unfortunately, in these instances, it takes a disturbed person to call in the threat and it takes even more disturbed, which there's plenty of persons to take credit for a tlit threat they didn't even do. >> i have justice reporter scott glover on the phone with me right now. what more can you tell us? >> reporter: right now in los angeles there are a lot more questions than answers. we know early this morning there was an announcement that school would not be held at campuses across los angeles and the l.a. unified school district. district officials are saying it's an abundance of caution. they want all the campuses se n
searched. the fbi is assisting. exact lit logistics and how long it will take and what precisely the threat was. those are all questions that remain unanswered. >> i know some students had already arrived at school, spot, and they were told to go to a certain gate so their parents could come and get them. is that correct? >> that's what i've been told as well. so, it sounds like, you know, there was a little bit of confusion there. maybe the announcement came out a little late. i know some buses were returning empty. again, this is just a rapidly developing situation. so, i do not -- and the district is quite far-flung. as you know, los angeles is quite spread out. we're trying to gather those details as we speak. >> i have a few tweets to share with our viewers from the los angeles quth school district. it says -- it advises parents
and guardians to bring a proper i.d. when picking up their kid from school. i want to bring in tom fuentes, that adds another wrinkle toll security there and what they're trying to accomplish. >> well, that does. that means they still have students at the schools. hopefully they're outside of the buildings now. that means you'll have many vehicles arriving, people coming to pick up their children, but other people could be arriving as well. that's another difficult task. you know, that means tens of thousands of parents that have to leave their jobs, leave work, that they may have sent their kids to school or put them on the bus and gone off to their place of business. now they have to leave work and go there. it's a major disruption to the skooshlgsz the students, the parents, the businesses of los angeles. so, this is a major event. even if it's a complete hoax. >> even if it's a complete hoax. i know the superintendent, scott, said that -- the people
of los angeles had to draw together at this particular time to get kids out of the school and to safety. >> yes, that's true. it sounds like a rather monumental kind of decision. i think it's -- you know, that schools receiving threats is not an uncommon occurrence, but for them to respond in this way is uncommon, in my experience. as other speakers have noted, it's a massive operation with a lot of moving parts to try to deal with it throughout the day. >> tom, the superintendent said that, too. we get threats every day. sometimes we lock down schools, sometimes we close certain schools. what do you think made this threat different for the superintendent to close all schools in the district? >> i'm want sure. and i know we'll find out probably in the near future but i think it could either be the source of it, the manner of it, the wording of it.
there could be several other details that were omitted deliberately from the public release that may indicate to them not to fool around with this one. and, of course, the closeness in time to the attack and -- of san bernardino, both distance and time since that happened. i think that's another issue. >> absolutely. scott, i was in los angeles over the weekend and people are on edge because of that. perhaps it's understandable that the superintendent acted out of the abundance of caution. >> absolutely. i think there was a reference to what happened in san bernardino. of course, they are our neighbor. so, it would make sense if that -- >> are people nervous in los angeles, scott, anyway? >> i mean, certainly what
happened in san bernardino is a common topic of conversation. i can tell you that it's been on the minds of people around here in the same way i see it's on the minds of people around the country. >> absolutely. tornlgs before i have to go, please put this in perspective for us from a police perspective. >> from a police perspective, they hope there aren't hundreds of copycats across the country, see the coverage and say, wow, i can do something that will get nonstop coverage and relish in the glory of doing that, as do kids that pull fire alarms do it just for the fun of it, to watch the spectacle. that's one of the fears. obviously, the main fear is it could be real and something could happen that's very dangerous. getting back to the search, imagine all of these school lockers for 640,000 students, many of which would have backpacks.
now what? is the police officer doing the search of that building, of that locker pull the backpack out? there wouldn't be enough bomb technicians in the western half of the united states to use all of the safety precautions to open every backpack of every locker of every closet that they would find in the school district. in many ways this is a mission of not being able to be as precise as they normally would be if they were only clearing one building. especially if it was one building where they already had an active shooter situation or an actual act occur. this one being so unspecified, i can't see where they would be able -- >> i got to end it there, tom fuentes. again, police are searching every single school in the los angeles area to see if anything's up. there's an unspecified threat that was called in. we'll have much more on this throughout the day. i'm carol costello. benman and kate bolduan after a break.
hello, everyone, i'm john berman. >> hello, everyone, i'm kate bolduan. we're in las vegas, outside the venetian, the site of tonight's cnn republican debate. the candidates will start to arrive any minute now. what could be a make or break moment for many of them is just hours away. >> new this morning, donald trump domination. a new poll showing him more than 20 points ahead of the rest of the republican field. this is his biggest lead yet. we're going to go inside the debate hall, the venetian theater behind us in just a