tv CNN Newsroom With Fredricka Whitfield CNN January 17, 2016 1:00pm-2:01pm PST
this is cnn breaking news. hello again, everyone. thanks so much for joining me. i'm fredricka whitfield. we'll have full coverage of the americans release. but first, this breaking news out of iraq. a senior security official in baghdad tells cnn that three american contractors went missing in iraq two days ago. few details are available right
now. the official says the company filed a report sunday about its missing staff. the u.s. state department is working with iraqi officials to locate the missing americans. our nick paton walsh is on the phone from beirut. i'm joined by jim sciutto. let me go to you first closer to the region there. what more can you tell us about the circumstances of these american contractors going missing? >> as you say, we know very little at this stage. we know that the company they're working for filed a report on sunday about their staff going missing two days ago. that's according to a senior iraqi security official in baghdad. initial reports suggest that they may hold what are said to be contractors. that's information that could mean a variety of tasks anything from security to assisting communications could be the kind of thing that are involved.
now, they were, it seems, gone missing and there were supports suggesting this may have been a kidnap in a southern neighborhood of baghdad. the state department has said they're working with iraqi officials as much as they can to try and ensure the safety and security and with the full cooperation of the iraqi authorities to locate and recover those individuals. that's according to state department spokesman. now, we don't know who might be behind this detention or quite the nature of how they've gone missing from iraqi officials. the area in baghdad in which it would have occurred would most likely suggest that perhaps militia in baghdad could be responsible rather than this being something that perhaps isis or more extremist militias on the outside of the capital could be involved in. we know they have minimal ability to penetrate the iraqi capital. it seems to have occurred two days ago in the afternoon.
now there are reports coming to light minimal information that the state department have not established the whereabouts of american citizens, minimal information they're givening out and trying to be sure they can do all they can. >> then jim sciutto in washington. give us an idea of the process here when the state department gets this kind of filed notice from this company that says three of our people have been missing. how does the state department try to verify this? what do they do to try to get to the bottom of what could have happened and what kind of resources could go into helping to locate them? >> i spoke to the state department a short time ago, to the spokesman john kirby. their initial response is concern. these are americans, as nick mentioned, there are a number of groups that could be responsible. but you get concerned about various groups operating in the area. they would have americans at the top of their list as people they'd like to take prisoner.
we don't know at this point who the group is that took them. the state department says that they're working closer with the iraqi authorities to locate and contact them in these situations they work very quickly because they know time is of the essence. so great concern. they're going to work with the iraqis. the iraqis, of course, you have more than 3,000 u.s. troops on the ground now, but these are civilians, they're not soldiers. so the iraqis would then have the lead on this in terms of trying to regain these americans, get them back to safety. >> jim sciutto, nick paton walsh, keep us posted as you learn any more new information. three of the americans freed from prison in iran have arrived at a u.s. military base in germany. this is the first image we've seen of "washington post" journalist jason rezaian.
this was posted on the tarmac in geneva, the picture taken under those circumstances, then posted on twitter. the first photo since his release that we know of. the freed prisoners stopped off in geneva switzerland after leaving tehran on a private jet, then they were also taken to germany. special enjoy brett mckirk tweeted this image along with this, quote, thrilled to see jason rezaian land safely in geneva tonight after 18 months of unjust imprisonment in iran, unquote. thrilled is just one of the many emotions the family members and friends are likely feeling. let's get to fred pleitgen and she talked to a close family friend of one of the prisoners. let me go to you first, fred, about the process there, what happens now that they've landed there at that military base?
>> yeah, fred, i mean, you can just imagine how emotional these three men must be at this point in time now that they're in the landstuhl medical center. they got here about an hour and a half, two hours ago and were brought to the landstuhl medical center, which is one of the biggest and the best that the u.s. has outside of american soil. what's going to happen there over the next couple of days is that, first of all, of course, they're going to be reunited with loved ones, with family members, with friends as well who have come here to germany to obviously see them again. because amir hekmati has been in detention for four years, jason rezaian a year and a half. a long time since they had any contact with their families. the other big major concern for all three men is their medical condition. we have to keep in mind that the prison they were in in tehran is one that is very notorious for its harsh detention conditions especially in the case of jason
rezaian. there was a lot of concern about his health, the amount of weight that he lost there in detention. so there's going to be medical checks that are going to be happening, there is also medical treatment if any medical treatment would be necessary at this point in time, fredricka, it's not clear when they'll be able to move on and go to the united states, but certainly you can imagine that they'll be very, very happy to be here in the care of those u.s. doctors right now. >> frederik pleitgen, thank you so much. let's go to flint, michigan, where sara spoke with congressman dan kildee and spoke to the family of released prisoner amir hekmati. give me an idea what people are feeling there. >> reporter: yeah, fred, the family found out yesterday. amir's sister actually got a call yesterday morning from the state department saying your brother is with the swiss ambassador in iran, and that told her all she needed to know. that meant that their 4 1/2-year
wait for their brother, their son to come home was over. you mentioned congressman dan kildee. he's a family friend who has been with them the last 4 1/2 years as they've tried to work out some sort of a deal. he says this is an especially bitter sweet home coming for them because i mir's father is terminally ill. they were hoping that amir could come home and reunite with his father. now they know that's going to happen. take a listen to what congressman kildee said. >> really, a big relieve in the sense that there was some fear that amir might not make it back to see his father. and he will. we are reminded that it's a sad situation in many ways. when amir left his father was strong and robust guy. he was a college professor. and now he's having some really significant health struggles. but he'll be happy to see his son. and i know amir will be happy to
see him. every time i've spoken to dr. hekmati, he said he just looks forward to putting his arms around his son, kissing him on the face and being with him. so that's going to be a pretty special moment. >> reporter: the people that we talked to here in flint, fred, that said that amir was a patriot. he was strong. he was proud. he had actually written a letter to secretary john kerry a couple of years ago saying that he didn't want his release to be under any kind of political conditions. he was an ex-marine. he was proud of that. and one family whose son served with amir talked a little bit about that. >> well, i mean, i don't think any less so than any marine, right? but there is something special to immigrants. he's a first generation american. although he wasn't born in iran, he knows the stories, he knows
and appreciates the freedom this country offers more than most. and so regard i mean, really, really, appreciated the opportunity to be part of this country's defense of its freedom and appreciate it more than some of us do that don't know otherwise. >> reporter: now, we know that as far as his health goes, friends say amir had lost weight. at one point he was on a hunger strike. he had respiratory issues while in prison. as we speak his family is getting ready to get on an airplane, to fly to germany to see him for the first time in so many years, to reunite. that's the good news here today in minute, fred. >> i know they can't wait. all right, thank you so much. sara ganham. president obama applauded the prisoner's safe return. the u.s. was better able to negotiate their freedom. let's get to cnn's senior washington correspondent joe johns at the white house.
so john, what did the president say about how this deal might influence the relationship between the u.s. and iran from this point forward? >> well, fred, i think the president emphasized a lot of things. one of the main things he emphasized at the top is the notion that, of course, iran is not going to get a nuclear weapon, he says, because of the deal that was negotiated through the iaea. but more importantly, and i think not just the president but others here at the white house have been emphasizing over the past days, as all of this was coming about, that engagement is the key, that the united states engagement with iran, talking to them, communicating, negotiating, led to the release of the soldiers last week who were briefly held by iran as well as the release of the prisoners who you're seeing today just now landing in germany. so let's listen a little bit to what the president had to say about that.
>> today we're united in welcoming home sons is and husbands and brothers who in lonely prison cells have endured an absolute nightmare. but they never gave in and they never gave up. at long last they can stand tall and breathe deep, the fresh air free. as a nation, we face real challenges. around the world and here at home. many of them will not be resolved quickly or easily. but today's progress, americans coming home, an iran that's rolled back its nuclear program, these things are a reminder of what we can achieve when we lead with strength and with wisdom. >> so throughout the deals we've been hearing about over the last 24 hours, iran has gotten something, the united states has gotten something, the united states granted clemency for seven individuals. six iranian americans and one other person, an iranian who
were in the court system as well i think one of the big things you have to talk about is the most controversial part of this deal and that is the unfreezing, if you will, of billions of dollars of iranian assets which have been held since the 1980s. now, that's being released with interest, and there are some concerns on capitol hill elsewhere that that will help the iranian economy and create more problems in the region. so we'll have to see what happens with that. there are also many remaining issues. there's the human rights issue. there's the issue of a ballistic missile test iran did recently. by the way, fred, i'll just leave you with that. the united states actually imposed more sanctions on a group of individuals related to that ballistic missile test only after the americans who were freed today cleared iranian air space. so all of this continues. it's very much a beginning and
not an ending. >> joe johns at the white house. thank you so much. still to come, looking forward to a reunion they feared may never happen. first on cnn the colleagues of "washington post" journalist jason rezaian speak out about his release. the 88th southern parallel. we had traveled for over 850 miles. my men driven nearly mad from starvation and frostbite. today we make history. >>bienvenidos! welcome to the south pole! if you're dora the explorer, you explore. it's what you do. >>what took you so long? if you want to save fifteen percent or more on car insurance, you switch to geico. it's what you do. >>you did it, yay! does your mouth often feel dry? multiple medications, a dry mouth can be a side effect of many medications. but it can also lead to tooth decay and bad breath. that's why there's biotene,
this photo was taken on the tarmac at a stop in geneva after leaving tehran. now they're back in germany at an air base there. the plane carrying rezaian and two other americans from iran arrived in germany last hour. he spent 545 days in jail before his release. a childhood friend calls it a harrowing ordeal. >> i can't just wait to see him again. as soon as i can, i will i posted every single day on facebook and twitter. i couldn't live my life every day knowing that that was happening to him. i had to do something. >> "the washington post" says they're looking forward to the joyous occasion of welcoming rezaian back. >> the executive editor of "the washington post" and the foreign editor join me now on the phone from germany. marty, you are in germany. are you awaiting jason rezaian's
arrival at your location? >> yes, we are. >> and you've been there standing by since friday. when did you have a sense that this swap would actually happen? >> well, actually, first we went to geneva, then we came to germany. as to when we had a sense as to when this might happen, you know, several days ago we were hearing from a reporter who has been covering this that something might happen soon. and we also heard from certain contacts within iran itself that there might be something imminent. >> so it wasn't the u.s. government tipping you off telling you to get ready, it was actually one of your own reporters? >> it was not the u.s. government telling us to get ready. it was a reporter doing her job covering national security and
diplomatic relations who told us that the word she was getting was that something might happen soon. >> doug, what are your emotions right now as you wait to see jason rezaian for the first time in over a year and a half? >> i'm relieved, but i'm also elated. i remember the morning a year and a half ago when a scratchy cell phone call told me jason and his wife had been taken from their apartment the night before. i never could have believed that this nightmare would go on so long, but i'm just overjoyed that it's about to be over. >> marty, i wonder if you ever had a sense, you ever had a fear that after 545 days maybe jason would never be freed? >> well, i always held out hope that he would. i almost never say never. but i was certainly concerned that it would last a very long time. that was my primary concern. i always felt that he would be released eventually, but i was
concerned that it could be many years. >> doug, as the foreign editor, will any of your internal protocols change with regard to sending staffers to countries where something like this could happen in will you send any correspondents to iran in the future? >> that's something we'll have to take stock in and discuss that as we learn from the news of jason's experience and we view what's happened. clearly the world has become more dangerous for foreign correspondents operating in places like iraq and syria where the threat tends to be from nongovernmental groups and operating in places like iran and egypt where governments act with impunity and arrest journalists. we'll take steps to make sure of the safety of our people. but whether we'll send a
reporter to iran, i just don't know honestly. >> marty, i know "the washington post" is having a big celebration at the end of this month. big news room opening. jeff bezos will be there. any possibly that jason could join you all for that occasion? >> well, we don't know. it would be great if he could. but the most important thing now is to make sure that jason's health is good. that's going to take some time to evaluate. and then we want to know what he wants to do. we're not making arrangements for him. he's now a free man, thankfully, and he can make arrangements for himself. >> you know, foreign editor like mart y baron, there's nothing tougher than having a reporter overseas on assignment and have that person stuck in prison for this amount of time. that's why they're overjoyed he's free today. high stakes for tonight's democratic debate.
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national lead over senator bernie sanders. both were on "state of the union" today and clinton hammered sanders on guns. >> i'm very pleased that he flip-flopped on the immunity legislation. now i hope he will flip-flop on what we call the charleston loophole and join legisltion to close that because it's been a key argument of my campaign that we democrats, in fact, americans need to stand up to the gun lobby and pass comprehensive commonsense gun measures that will make america safer. and that's what i intend to do. >> i resent very much clinton camp saying i'm in the nra lobby. i have a d-minus, that's a "d" like in david, d-minus voting record from the nra. i likely lost a statewide election in 1988 because i was the only candidate running for congress who said, you know
what? military style assault weapons should not be sold in america. i've always believed in a strong background check and doing away with the gun show loophole. >> joining me now from inside the debate hall in south carolina, good to see you, david. is tonight gloves off or is this about trying to keep one's cool? >> no, i mean, i don't think we've had quite as charged in atmosphere in participation of debates with the democrats since the first one. that's because we're now two weeks away from the voting and you've seen, as you just played those clips, hillary clinton and bernie sanders are in full engagement mode. full contrast mode right now. why tonight's debate is going to be an important one because it's the last one before the iowa caucuses, before the new hampshire primary, this is the last best chance in front of a mass audience these candidates have to close the sale. >> what about martin o'malley? this is the last chance to close that sale to be noticed et
cetera. he was close to being excluded from tonight's debate. this is make or break clearly from him. you just laid it out right there. but martin o'malley need to do, have to do to get in between if not upstage bernie sanders and hillary clinton. >> you said it right there. that is his last chance for introduction. he's still largely unknown among democrats. this being the final debate before the voting begins someone like martin o'malley who has been struggling in the polls and struggling to get noticed and introduced to the electorate, this is his last chance for a breakout moment in front of a significant audience. this is a moment here that we haven't seen before for bernie sanders. because he's under much more scrutiny right now thanks to hillary clinton putting all of his comments on guns and his record on health care forward, she's really trying to take the
bite. how he takes that punch is important. then how hillary clinton calibrates attacking too much without offending his supporters. that's something else i'm watching. >> that's why i ask about the gloves off because either way it can serve you well or either way it could undermine you as well. thanks so much, good to see you, in charleston, south carolina. don't miss cnn's coverage. we'll break it all down and analyze how the candidates did, all of this on cnn starting at 11:00 p.m. eastern time. dad, you can just drop me off right here. oh no, i'll take you up to the front of the school. that's where your friends are. seriously, it's, it's really fine. you don't want to be seen with your dad? no, it's..no.. this about a boy? dad! stop, please. o, there's tracy. [ horn honks ] what! [ beeps, tires screech ] bye dad! it brakes when you don't. forward collision warning and autonomous emergency braking.
filed a report sunday about its staff missing. the u.s. state department is working with iraqi authorities to locate and recover missing individuals saying this, quote, we are aware of reports that american citizens are missing in iraq. the safety and security of american citizens overseas is our highest priority. we're working with the full cooperation of the iraqi authorities to locate and recover the individuals, end quote. nick paton walsh is following the story. i talked with him moments ago about the missing contractors. >> we know very little at this stage. we know that the company they're working for filed a report on sunday about their staff going missing two days ago. that's according to a senior iraqi security official in baghdad. initial reports suggest that they may hold dual nationality. they're said to be contractors. now that is information that could mean a variety of potential tasks, anything from
security to assisting communications logistics could be the kind of things they're involved in. they're now, it seems, have gone missing and reports that this could be a detention or a kidnap in a southern region of baghdad. they're working with iraqi officials as much as they can to try and ensure the safety and security and the full cooperation of the iraqi authorities to locate and recover those individuals. that's according to state department spokesman john kirby. who knows what might be behind this detention or quite the nature of how they've gone missing from iraqi officials. the area in baghdad in which it would have occurred would most likely suggest that perhaps militia in baghdad could be responsible rather than this being something that perhaps isis or militias on the outside of the capital have been involved in. we know they have minimal
ability to penetrate the iraqi capital. >> let's talk about this with kimberly dozier. we don't know yet what city they were last in. you heard nick paton walsh talking about they may have been in a southern neighborhood in baghdad. what do you know about that general area if there is a way in which to kind of describe the area where they may have been? >> well, baghdad is a sprawling city that edits outskirts becomes almost suburban. so it's really hard to know at this point where they were, what they were doing, but what does exist in iraq is something that's a bit of a kidnapping industry where they'll kidnap someone, anyone from a wealthy iraqi doctor to someone who looks western, and it used to be that they would trade them either to -- back to their company or family for ransom or, when al qaeda of iraq was really active in the country, they
would trade them to al qaeda, just to the highest bidder. isis is the -- isis is the group that has been born from al qaeda of iraq. so they could be using the same methods, but as nick payson walsh mentioned this could also be a militia group that had something like a billing dispute and has just taken these people and is holding them and hopefully will contact the company and negotiate. >> of course, we still do not know if they were indeed kidnapped. we heard from our nick paton walsh that that is one of the realms of possibility. so if in that case and you talk about that being sort of an industry kidnapping in that part of iraq, traditionally if there is such a thing as traditionally, at what point would those people let a company know or try to, you know, negotiate, at what point might
they officially be informed? >> every single company that operates in an area like baghdad, like iraq, has a protocol that they teach their employees -- when i was there as a reporter, you had to call in, you had to make sure that people knew where you were at all times. the company probably had to wait a certain amount of hours or days before they said, okay, these guys haven't checked in. we don't know where they are. and also no one has contacted us either to negotiate a ransom or to negotiate some sort of a business dispute. so now we have to go to the u.s. authorities and see if they have some method of tracking them down. >> and as we know, they are civilians, they are not military. but what would be the procedure for the u.s. state department's involvement as well as u.s. military involvement when it concerns an american, a
civilian, a contractor in iraq? >> well, it differs from a war zone where the u.s. is in charge to a very murky situation like iraq is now. the u.s. military is there to assist the u.s. state department isn't running things as it was during the occupation. it is also merely representing the united states in the country. so i would assume that what they're doing is reaching out to their iraqi counterparts, the iraqi intelligence service and all the branches of security and also through the government to some of these shiite militia groups to see if they know the whereabouts of these people. >> kimberly dozier, thank you so much. good to see you. coming up, not many people know what it's like to be held against you and your government's will in an iranian prison. next we'll speak to someone who does. she was held for four months on espionage charges. across america, people like basketball hall of famer
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this breaking news, three of the americans freed from prison in iran have arrived at a u.s. military base in germany. this image of "washington post" journalist jason rezaian was posted on the tarmac in geneva. it's the first photo of him since his release. the men are expected to undergo full medical evaluations and be reunited with their families. roxanna sevari spent four months back in a prison in 2009. good to see you. >> thanks. >> when you see this photograph of jason rezaian, the first image that we know of taken when he was on the tarmac there in geneva, what does this remind you of in terms of your release after being held for four months? >> well, he just looks very happy and relieved. and i'm elated for him. you know, it's hard to believe that you're actually going to be freed until you're in the plane and out of iranian air space.
when you land, for him it was in germany, for me it was in austria, you realize it's true, you're free. >> you almost felt like you weren't ready to believe it until you landed? >> right, right. i mean, after i got out of iranian air space, i knew they were going to say, hey, we changed our minds, come back. but that's something i sort of worried about. they almost stopped me from leaving the airport when i was leaving tehran. but when i landed in vienna and i was met by some friends and also officials from the u.s. embassy, i knew it was for real. >> what was your physical and your mental state? is there a way in which to define how long it took you to be able to make that transition from being in captivity for four months to then being a free person once you made it back to u.s. soil? >> well, fredricka. i think it's different for each person and, as you said, i was in prison for about four months and for some of these prisoners,
amir hekmati has been there for 4 1/2 years. i can't imagine how hard it's been. it took some time. what helped me was to write about my experiences and also talk about some of the friends i left behind, other political prisoners who i believe and still believe should also be free. and it also helped to be around loved ones and to enjoy certain freedoms that i had taken for granted before just using the internet or being with friends or making phone calls without being monitored. there is a process or there was for me of dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder. that's a very real thing. it took probably a couple years before i could be at peace. what helped me then was the passage of time, being with people who loved me and also getting back to something i was passionate about, which was journalism. i hope for these prisoners they'll be able to find some purpose in life and find meaning in the experiences the they've
gone through. >> so your saying it took you years after four months of being held, and we're talking about 545 days for someone like jason rezaian, i mean, you really are kind of painting a picture, a, you did say that everyone is different, but spending years in the prison there, it sounds as though you're saying it could take even much longer for them than it did for you to recover or to kind of cope with ptsd. >> i hope they're stronger than i was. i hope it won't take as long. but for me it took some time, and i've spoken to some other political prisoners who they were jailed years ago, but they still, one of them needs to sleep with the lights on. i need to sleep in a room where i know that the lock is very sturdy. i had a lot of nightmares
before, now they're very rare. i'm in a very good place right now. nor me at the beginning it did take time. >> when you were detained, when you were arrested, put into a prison, you were a freelance journalist, correct, and you were also writing a book while there. what was the reason given to you as to why you were being taken into custody. >> well, they said that i was interviewing too many people for the book i was writing about iran and they said it's not possible to interview so many people. so the book must be a cover for espionage with the cia. no, actually, i was interviewing people to show the diverse views that exist in iran. they said, you're lying. they made me state a false confession, which i later recanted. but i understood later that many other prisoners go through the same thing and many have it even worse than me. >> thank you so much for your insight sharing your experience. and i know you're wishing the best for the americans who have
just been released from iran and are on their way back home. >> thank you for having me on. ted cruz's controversial comments on new york are sparking a real major backlash. how the big apple is biting back and what cruz has to say about it next. you focus on making great burgers, or building the best houses in town. or becoming the next highly-unlikely dotcom superstar. and us, we'll be right there with you, helping with the questions you need answered to get your brand new business started. we're legalzoom and we've already partnered with over a million new business owners to do just that. check us out today to see how you can become one of them. legalzoom. legal help is here.
democratic presidential candidates face off for the fourth time tonight, and tonight's debate comes just as a new national poll from nbc and "the wall street journal" show hillary clinton opening a wide 25-point lead over sanders. but in the first in the nation caucus in iowa, the des moines register bloomberg poll shows a dead heat with the iowa caucuses just two weeks away. let's bring in democratic columnists, good to see both of you. >> hey, fred. >> ellis, you first. how important is a win in iowa? >> hugely important. first of all, forget that national poll you just talked about. irrelevant. >> out the window. >> but what happens in -- no, but honestly, what happens in iowa and then in new hampshire are huge especially for bernie,
who if he's going to overcome and create a real national campaign, got to get some momentum out of these early states, and this is his chance to do it. >> but brian, you can't just win, i'm talking bernie sanders, he can't just have his sights set on iowa and new hampshire. >> well, that's true. but what ellis said is true. i'll give you an example. in 2008 rudy giuliani thought he had florida locked down. the fourth state in the primary. and he challenged the momentum theory that really started when jimmy carter was running for president and used iowa as a launched pad. he said i don't need to compete in iowa, new hampshire, south carolina, i've got a big state locked down. momentum is garbage. it's out the window. i'm going to win. just you wait. and the momentum thing killed the campaign. so bernie, it is hinging a lot on this. there might be something to it. hillary is using this sort of backstop argument. she does have a lot of resources and a lot of support in other states.
so it may shake out differently. but ellis is concerned about momentum. bernie can build something here. >> in a few hours in south carolina, at the debate, what do these candidates need to say on the heels of the americans released in iran and a stronger u.s. economy and all this happening in a state where that republican governor criticized the angry voices in the gop? so brian, how do you see, you know, sanders or clinton kind of using these things to their individual advantage? >> oh, well, they're both going to try to brand the democratic party as a tough one in terms of, you know, national security and foreign policy the way obama and biden campaigned in 2012 saying, you know, osama bin lad laden's dead and that kind of theme. they're going to try to flip the script where they see republicans as the tough guys on foreign policy. they're going to use this as a moment to build that brand on the democratic side. >> ellis? >> yeah. i think that's exactly right. but also watch out for how tough
they are with each other. they clearly the emotions are running pretty high. yeah, yeah, yeah. it's likely to get rough over the next couple of weeks. this is the last time to do that in front of a big audience. the hillary surrogates have become snide. let's see if bernie punches back tonight. let's turn to the gop now. the more between trump and cruz. listen to what they said today about each other. >> ted cruz, he's got a lot of people putting big money in probably goldman sachs will have to ask. they loaned him a million dollars. they certainly have control. could you think that ted cruz and all the other people you mentioned are more than likely to do the bidding of their donors because they got money from them. >> he explained that his views were that he was very pro choice, he supported partial birth abortion. he was open to gay marriage. his explanation for all of that, he's a new yorker, i'm from manhattan. those are what new york values are.
they're not iowa values, but that's new york values. that was donald's own explanation of what new york values were. it's how he articulated it. it strikes me as curious now that he's displaying such outrage. >> so ellis, clearly the bromance over. >> and that answer was a little weasely, wasn't it? as you know i'm from louisiana. so i'm used to having people make fun of my state. in fact, we even do a lot of it down there ourselves. you be careful picking on new yorkers. donald got the better of their exchange. you start dissing new yorkers, they'll be up in your face very aggressively. >> it got snl's attention. listen. >> i think most people know exactly what new york vuls are. and frankly they're not the rest of the country's values. instead of celebrating christmas, new yorkers celebrate a pagan holiday called festivus. in new york, people don't say hi
to their neighbors. they say hello newman. >> sounds like you're describing the tv show "seinfeld." is that what you mean by new york values? >> believe me, if i could say liberal jews, i would. >> oh, boy. fodder for snl. make you cringe. how does this translate nationally? >> well, there's a bit of a culture war. and when you look at the themes of the campaigns, the anti-establishment stuff, the fact that trump and bernie are getting these huge rallies, both these guys are new yorkers rant against the establishment and stuff. but the point is that the heartland and the power corridor between new york and d.c. don't always see eye to eye. so this is actually, you know, part of cruz's painting in stark colors or whatever, instead of pastels. i agree with ellis that trump got the better of it. let's look who is getting the biggest crowds.
trump and bernie with the so-called new york attitude this year just trying to knock over the apple cart. i don't know how it shakes is out, but pretty interesting to watch. >> only a couple weeks to go, you have to wonder how much voters are going to fatigue from this kind of infighting, whether it's been within the gop and now down to the wire it looks like we're starting to see that between hillary clinton and bernie sanders. i wonder if voters will be so turned the off by all of it that nobody's going to really be able to predict what could happen. >> i don't know. i don't buy that theory. i think this has been the most fun year in presidential politics. and i think honestly, what americans don't want to do is have serious conversations about trade policy and all that important stuff. fred, i hope et go on forever. >> is it just fun for all the analysts, brian? i'm not sure we're in the business of news but really typical voter out there do you sense they're getting tired of
this or are they energized by this style? >> fred, our fatigue of this is because it feels like the campaign's been going on for a decade because this is what we do. but for the regular voter, they're just tuning in, they're just getting a load of this. the republican debate the other night was like some kind of -- i don't know, like prime minister's questions with seven prime ministers and everybody in the audience was drunk. like everybody screaming and yelling and going after each other. this is the most interesting campaign i think we've seen in a while in terms of negative ads. that's typical of any campaign. because that's the way our politics work. you often vote against the other guy more than you're voting for your guy because of evolution. we try to avoid mistakes. >> interesting and some might say entertaining. brian morgaensternmorgenstern, hennigan, good to see you. i am about to embark on a long and dangerous journey.
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tried to board a flight in richmond with the intent of reaching syria to join isis. his 25-year-old roommate has been charged with aiding and abetting him. police in tennessee are searching for a missing 2-year-old who disappeared thursday while hiking with his grandmother and sister in the woods just east of memphis. our affiliate wmc says he wandered away from his family. police don't believe foul play is involved. this is cnn breaking news. top of the hour, i'm poppy harlow in new york. we begin with breaking news. three american contractors have gone missing in iraq. a senior security official inninging about tells cnn the contractors went missing two days ago. this was first reported by their companies. we still know very few details a tht hour. nick paton walsh spoke with us last hour. here's what we