tv CNN Newsroom With Fredricka Whitfield CNN March 20, 2016 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT
happening now, in the "newsroom" -- >> we don't condone violence and i say it and we have very, very little violence at the rallies. >> trump's response to violence breaking out at his rally this weekend. >> we had thousands and thousands of people wanting to come. they were delayed for an hour because of these protesters and, you know, at what point do people blame the protesters? >> at least one demonstrator punched and kicked. and trump's campaign manager appears to grab a protester by
the collar. >> getting involved in confrontations, violence is not the answer into plus, john kasich sees no way to a split-the-map strategy to stop trump. >> this is a crazy idea. who actually could be president of the united states and do a good job? and the historic visit. president barack obama is hours away from being the first president in nearly 90 years to step foot on the island of cuba. "newsroom" starts now. hello again, everyone. thank you for joining. i'm fredricka whitfield. it was another night of violence at a donald trump rally. this time, in tucson, arizona. trump's campaign manager, corey lewandowski, the man in the gray blazer, was caught on camera in an apparent altercation with a protester and more violence at the same event as the protester was brutally attacked as he was being let out of the venue by
police. so this morning on abc, trump was questioned about the attack on the protester and this was his response. >> somebody, a protester, would be wearing a ku klux klan outfit and -- >> you seem to be excusing it. >> it was a tough thing to watch and i watched that. but why would a protester walk into a room with a ku klux klan outfit on? >> it looked like he was wearing the american flag. >> if you would have seen him before he went up the stairs, he and his partner were wearing -- one of them was wearing a ku klux klan outfit. >> our chris frates is joining us. is the trump campaign preparing itself for other explanations because it doesn't seem to be going away? >> that's right. the trump campaign manager is
under fire. corey lewandowski is shown grabbing a protester by his -- >> okay. we're having a little audio problem. let's bring in some other voices here to talk more about this. ryan lizza, cnn political commentator and washington correspondent for "the new yorker." good to see you. >> good to see you. >> ryan, is that explanation enough, that donald trump is saying, you know, at what point do you blame the protesters for this kind of violence, altercation that happens between supporters and protesters or even his staff members? >> well, you can never blame a nonviolent protester for someone else hitting them or engaging in violence. remember, these events are free and open to the public and anyone can go online, get tickets and go in. and so without condoning any specific protests that happened at these events, obviously if
someone is heckling trump or holding up a sign and being nonviolent, obviously you can't condone using violence against that person. and, you know, trump on tv after that -- right before or after that clip you showed with george stephanopoulos, he actually denied that his campaign manager touched the protester. so literally as abc news was playing a clip as we're playing right here of corey lewandowski, who was hired as trump's right-hand man, was grabbing this man's collar, trump was denying it in realtime. so as a journalist, i'm not sure how we even handle this anymore. we have a candidate lying in front of our eyes. >> he used the word spirited, that he was acting in a very spirited way. >> yeah. listen very carefully. he said he didn't touch him. and last night the trump
campaign put out a statement sort of using some sort of strange language blaming only the person next to corey who is also seen grabbing the protester. but as we see from the clip right here, they are both clearly grabbing the protester. >> okay. >> so it just seems like the trump campaign doesn't take this seriously and you now have two very serious incidents with the campaign manager. one allegedly grabbing a journalist, michelle fields, and now grabbing a protester. and i think if there's no disciplinary action against his campaign manager here, we just have to assume that the trump campaign condones this. >> and so chris frates is back with us now. our audio problems are worked out. i can return really to that first question because it's an issue of the word choice that donald trump and even his camp are using to describe events like this, more specifically, what just happened yesterday within the past 24 hours. so chris, as far as you know, do
you know whether or not donald trump or his campaign is rethinking some of the language that it has used and that he's used to describe these events or even justify or explain away what everyone is now seeing on videotape? >> well, certainly it doesn't sound like they are rethinking it because just today, fred, we heard donald trump on abc. he seemingly defended his campaign manager and his actions. like, let's take a listen right now. >> secured at the arena, the police were a little bit lax and he had signs up in that area that were horrendous. i give him credit for having spirit. he wanted them to take down the horrible, profanity-laced signs. >> so here you hear donald trump say it was just a spirited he can change. republican national committee chairman reince priebus also weighed in today. he thinks law enforcement
professionals, not campaign officials, should deal with these protesters. as ryan pointed out, this is just the latest altercation. earlier this month, lewandowski was accused of grabbing a reporter by her arm, yanking her backwards when she tried to ask trump a question at a news conference and that reporter, michelle fields, has in fact filed charges against lewandowski. lewandowski has denied touching her. yesterday at that same rally, a man essentially sucker punched and kicked a protester being escorted out by security. that man was arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault. and one other thing to watch, tomorrow, donald trump who has essentially been criticized for not being a big enough friend of israel, he's giving this closely watched speech to a pro-ize group. they are expected to have rabbi and official leaders and they are accusing trump of promoting hatred. so a lot of protests happening
here and as we watch this dynamic between his campaign officials and the protesters, i think it's something we're going to have to keep a really close eye on. >> chris, is that a rabbi involved in protests or boycotting this policy committee known as apac? now we're talking about rabbis that might be involved in the protest? >> right. we're talking about rabbi who is intend to show up and protest trump's speech to make the point that they feel like trump and his campaign is encouraging hatred and that that is a problem and they need to speak out against that. this will be, in fact, a protest of rabbis and jewish leaders. >> ryan, back to the issue at hand and what we're seeing on videotape, it's very disturbing to see people roughed up and you have to wonder when it's
happening out there, it's more than just a reflection of the individual of the campaign manager but of donald trump himself, the entire campaign. can that campaign, can donald trump continue to move on status quo or does donald trump or the campaign have to separate itself from the actions of the campaign manager that were caught on tape and even dialed back or reconsider the language that is being used? >> look, we are clearly reaching a boiling point here. i think it's obvious to anyone who has been watching what's been going on the last few weeks that things are escalating and you have in donald trump someone who, for whatever reason, doesn't want to de-escalate, doesn't want to do anything to sort of -- to set a tone that would suggest that there's no
to toleration for violence and then coming on the news and trying to explain away what was clear from anyone watching the video. i think if he doesn't come out and, one, admit that his campaign manager did this and, two, condemn it, we all have to assume that he is okaying this kind of behavior and, you know, i think that will inform everyone's opinion of what was going on. >> it's all about donald trump. even though sometimes it seems like it is, ted cruz campaigning also in arizona but half of the ballots have already been cast. so chris, is there a feeling of confidence or intrepidation from ted cruz that many of those ballots are going to him or to the other guy? >> well, certainly that's going to be cruz's message, that he's energizing the conservative folks and getting that base out. when the people are voting
early, donald trump is generating the excitement and makes a lot of boasts on the campaign trail, some of which are true and some of which are not true. the ones which are true, he's bringing out a lot of people who haven't voted for republicans before. the fact that there are a lot of these early votes already out there, that tends to help donald trump but ted cruz, of course, making the argument that he's the only guy who has beaten donald trump. he can continue to take this fight to him all the way to the convention. of course, he's hoping that he'll win some of those conservative votes in places like arizona, idaho and utah. fred? >> i should say the other guys. john kasich is still in it, too. chris frates, ryan lizza, thanks so much. appreciate it. >> thanks. of course, you can hear from all five presidential candidates, republicans and democrats, right here on monday on cnn starting at 8:00 p.m. eastern time. turning overseas to iraq where we learned today that a u.s. marine has been killed in an isis attack. it happened at an american fire
base in northern iraq which had only become operational a few days earlier. let's bring in cnn military analyst lieutenant general mark hertling to discuss more of this. general, we understand this was a fire base being set up in northern eye whack with these u.s. marines. first off, explain to us what is a fire base? what does this mean? what kind of installation? >> well, a fire base usually -- the term is usually used to describe a place where artillery pieces are set. in fact, fred, this is a bigger base than that. there's not oem u.nly u.s. mari there but over a brigade of sunni arabs from the 16th iraqi army division joined peshmerga forces there. this has been a place more that is about 50 kilometers southwest of mosul. the place where the iraq army is attempting to liberate in the near future. what they are doing there is setting the conditions for exactly that. but the other thing is that it's
been under constant isis attack over the last year plus. it's right on the green line between the kurdish area and iraqi-arab forces. >> these u.s. marines were there to support iraqi forces. while they may be there in a supportive role, does this also constitute any kind of mission creep that has been a concern expressed by so many leading up to this point? would this be what that is? >> no, not at all, fred. and when you're talking about the advise and assist role, american soldiers and marines are doing two things. first of all, obviously, they are advising iraqi or peshmerga forces on how to better conduct operations, to execute the plan
and bring the fight to isis. the other thing they are doing is assisting. providing some level of force, just like air power. in this case, it appears the marine that was killed was part of an artillery unit providing artillery support. that's not in direct contact with isis. it's providing indirect fire, something the iraqi and peshmerga forces need in spade. they want to take the fight to the enemy and they need this artillery support much like the air support. >> so does this base now have to move on now that it was set up secretly, you know, isis now has wind of it, engaged in that kind of fire power, what would be next? >> yeah. i'd push back on the fact that it was set up secretly. makhmur base was there when i was there. there's been a significant number of peshmerga and iraqi
forces were there. they were trying to keep the fact that u.s. marines were there. they were trying to keep that on the low. they will not disestablish this base. they will continue to use it. it's a critical base on the road to mosul. but what you also have is this artillery attacker, this rocket attack by isis was probably one arbitrary round which occurs all the time fired from probably a sled or the back of a pickup truck that moved in, shot the round and then left. usually that kind of artillery attack is highly inaccurate but harassing and sometimes they do get lucky. >> all right. we'll leave it there. lieutenant general mark hertling, thank you for your time. in nearly 90 years, a u.s. president visiting cuba. that will change. in the next hour, president obama lands in the island
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arrives here at the airport in cuba, he'll have a meeting with the folks who work at the u.s. embassy. we're along the famous waterfront boulevard here on the northern edge of the city. the u.s. embassy is down there just at the end of the bend there. we anticipate that the president's motorcade, because after he's done at the hotel there, meeting with members of the u.s. embassy delegation there, the motorcade will supposedly make its way down here. the water front, if you really stop and think about it, will be an unbelievable sight to see. i've talked to a lot of cubans here who are going to try to catch a glimpse of the first family but of the beast of a limousine that the president rides in. many people come here to see the 1950 vehicles here but this will be overtaken by some of the most modern cars that the city has
ever seen. it will be quite a scene. what is interesting, normally for a sunday afternoon, you'd expect to see thousands of people gathered here along the waterfront throughout the day. they come and congregate and sit here and talk to family and friends. that's a traditional past time that you see here in the city. security is stepping up and people are being told to move along. roadways will be shut down here rather shortly. it will be very difficult to access this unless you kind of walk in here. many people, as you see them walking up and down the street here, fredricka, very anxious to catch a glimpse of the motorcade and their first glimpse of a president here in cuba. >> and people will be able to stay there to see the beast, the vehicle that the president will be in? >> you know, we've been asking people, you know, because what the security -- a lot of the
security here in havana are not formally addressed. so we are trying to find out what they are being told. some people have been told to move along. we know and can tell that many of the roadways into the street have been shut down. the traffic is very light at this point. we imagine as we get closer to the arrival of president obama and the first family that that will begin to tighten up. so we'll keep tabs on that. we spoke with one woman who lives about a block inland that there was no way anyone was not going to tell her that she couldn't be here on this boulevard to watch the motorcade to go by. it will be interesting to see how things develop over the next couple of hours. >> that's going to be very exciting. jim, this symbolizes the huge thaw between the u.s. and cuba. the president will also meet with president raul castro. do you know what's on the agenda, what will be said, what kind of ideas exchanged, et cetera? >> well, you know, the cubans like their music, fredricka.
this will be a little bit of a diplomatic dance for president obama. he's got a couple of different items on his agenda. one is, he's trying to make this policy of opening up relations with cuba irreversible. so having the president here along with the first family, not only the president is going to be here, he'll be here with mrs. obama, the first lady, the daughters and first grandma will be here as well. they will be walking around havana havathe white house is hg will to come to cuba. he's going to be traveling with ceos from the marriott company, other leaders in the tourism business in the united states who all want to establish a beach head here in cuba. and so, yes, they want to get that side of the equation going. they want to get businesses up and running, get americans -- you know, have a foothold in cuba but at the same time, when
he meets with president castro and addresses the people on tuesday, the white house is saying that he will deliver a message that says that basically cuba needs to open up, that they need to have more of a respect for human rights, for freedom of the press, of speech. these are things that they don't really have right now in cuba. that is a part of cuban life that the tourists who visit here completely miss when they come down to old havana and walk down the beautiful streets. the president has been very upfront about that and so have the white house officials. the question is, how will the cubans react to that? the other thing that will be remarkable, on tuesday, the president is going to take in a baseball game. the tampa bay rays back in the united states, they are going to play against the cuban national team. i remember seeing the cuban national team playing the baltimore oriels in maryland back in 1999. they don't do this very often and it's symbolic of this opening happening right now.
it's going to be a diplomatic dance for president obama. a lot of cuban americans are going to say, if you don't say enough down here, it's not going to work for us. he's got a lot on his agenda. >> and he's scheduled to meet with some of the political dissidents. baseball is very huge there in cuba. when you talked about the contingent traveling with the president, 39 members of congress, if my count was right, and 11 entrepreneurs and business ceos. big contingent of folks along with the president there. jim and ed, thank you. we're continuing to watch the big trip for the president soon to be landing there in havana and, of course, our courage will pick up again in 35 minutes or so with an hour-long special. now, back to the race for the white house. hillary clinton is off the campaign trail today but her husband, well, he's not. we're live in phoenix, next, where a rally with bill clinton will be kicking off soon.
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all right. this tuesday, we'll bring another round of primaries for the democrats and another pivotal day for the candidates. voters in idaho, utah and arizona will go to the polls two days from now with 131 delegates on the line. bernie sanders will hold three rallies in washington state today and on saturday bernie
sanders took a tour in nogales. hillary clinton is taking a break from the campaign trail today. instead, her husband, bill clinton, is holding several events in arizona. and that's where cnn's boris sanchez is. boris joining us from tucson. hillary clinton taking a break from campaigning is it's just as effective to have her husband there. >> reporter: former president bill clinton is expected to speak at a school here in tucson. he's extremely popular in this state. he's the only democrat to win in an election in arizona since harry truman. he'll have gabby giffords and
mark kelly joining him. they have campaigned for clinton including the carolinas. they appeared in many commercials for her campaign. clinton is expected to do well here and this could be a victory lap after a strong performance in super tuesday three where she took all five states that were up for grabs. bernie sanders has spent $1.5 million on commercials here. he spent some time here this weekend visiting with the border and immigrant families. for him, a win here would mean a breath of fresh air for a campaign quickly losing momentum as hillary clinton gets closer and closer to the nomination. many feel it's important for the party to coalesce but many say it's great for bernie to stay in the campaign partly because of media coverage. a close contest between them
could get them attention. as on the other side of the ticket, the infighting in the republican party is really dominating coverage and it's not quite as civil as it is on the democratic side. so they are hoping that's a plus for them going into a general election, fred. >> boris sanchez, thank you so much from tucson. appreciate it. don't miss tonight's episode of "race for the white house." it's 1988. bush versus michael dukakis starting at 9:00 p.m. one theory about why they have done so well this election cycle. hinking, ththey all claim stuff like tha. yeah, but some of them stretch the truth. one said they were the fastest. we checked, it was fastest in kansas city and a few other places. verizon is consistently fast across the country. you wouldn't want to hear from the bloke who packs your parachute, "it's good over kansas." do you know what i mean? so that's, you know... anywhere else, splat. only verizon is the #1 network for consistently fast speeds.
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and you may now be covered. contact your health plan for the latest information. all right. welcome back. in two days, three presidential primaries and caucuses among those states, arizona, that's where we see ted cruz right now, the gop stumping for any kind of support from peoria, arizona, outside of phoenix. let's listen in.
>> i have no experience doing that. but donald continued and he said, ted, when it comes to religious liberty on the supreme court, you've got to learn to compromise. you've got to learn to cut deals with the democrats and go along together. well, let me be very, very clear to the men and women of arizona, i will not compromise away. [cheers and applause ] i will not compromise away your second amendment right to keep and bear arms. [cheers and applause ] for seven years, we've seen in the administration that abandons our friends and allies and shows weakness and appeasement to our
enemies. now, once again, donald trump made clear, if he were president, he said, he would be neutral between israel and the palestinians. well, let me be very, very clear, i will not be neutral. [cheers and applause ] america will stand unapologetically with the nation. [ applause ] and, you know, you can't tell the difference between your friends and your enemies. if you can't tell the difference between the nation of israel and islamic terrorists, that raises real questions about your fitness and judgment to be commander in chief. >> all right. challenging audio there but ted cruz is campaigning in peoria, arizona, just ahead of the
primary there in that state just outside of phoenix. in the meantime, donald trump and bernie sanders may be miles apart in their politics and temperament but they have both tapped into similar feelings. let's bring in steven collinson and you said this, "they are voicing visceral feelings of economic disenfranchisement and alienation among pessimistic voters who feel they have been ignored for years. this is how they have garnered a lot of support from some people but is that enough to carry them all the way through? >> as you said, the styles of political and ideological is different but it's undeniable that what they have done is tap into the dominant theme and the
global trade deals with other nations, the effects of globalization, the fact that wall street hasn't made a lot of money since the great recession, many americans are still struggling. and the thing that people are being left behind, both donald trump and bernie sanders have tapped into that. if you look at, for example, the exit polls in michigan and mississippi primary as couple weeks ago, a majority of republicans and a majority of democrats both said that trade deals with foreign nations like china or japan or even in this hemisphere with canada and mexico are responsible for giving away american jobs. so there's no doubt, i think, that the economic and ideological spectrum in this election has shifted and the idea that, you know, globalization and trade deals and exports are the way to grow the american economy. they might still be dominant in washington but i don't think they are dominant in the
heartland as they once were. >> with those commonalities, does that mean that they are both vying for the same voter? >> you know, most of bernie sanders voters are clearly liberal democrats, most of donald trump voters are blue collar. that's one reason why some republicans think donald trump could actually pose problems for hillary clinton if she's in the nominee in rust belt states up by the great lakes, places like ohio, michigan, illinois, which are basically historically based on manufacturing and you can see it erode due to the impact of globalization, going to low-wage economies in asia, for example. i don't think the political leanings of some trump supporters are the same but there's no doubt that some d disenfranchised and corporate elites controlling the economy to their detriment, they my find
some aspect of donald trump's message appealing. donald trump has introduced ethnic issues into the campaign. he's railed against illegal immigrants. so a lot of the things that donald trump is saying, a lot of the things that he stands for are to likely turn off democrats who might be naturally attracting them. >> all right. thank you so much. good to see you. appreciate it. anytime now, president obama set to land in havana, cuba, right there for an historic two-day visit. we're live at the airport and we'll take you there, next. that made you look at paint differently question everything you know and what you don't know what if it's built with better ingredients given super powers and even a secret base to test those powers. since benjamin moore reinvented paint, it makes you wonder
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and cloud and hosting services. centurylink. your link to what's next. all right. president obama will soon be touching down in havana, cuba. while he's on this historic trip, he'll meet with cuban president raul castro as well as cuban dissidents. patrick, what kind of reaction is anticipated from the people there? will they get a chance to see the president, hear his message? >> many people are going to try to see the president, fredricka. we expect cubans to pack streets all along the route that he will be traveling. he and the first lady will be attending many events and cubans that i've known over the years of living here told me they don't believe this is actually happening. until they see the president with their own eyes, see him
step off the plane, making history as the first u.s. sitting president to come to cuba since the revolution, that there's not going to able to fully comprehend all of the changes takes place in their country. diplomatic relations restored but a visit of a u.s. president, a visit that, of course, will bring up serious issues but more than anything is really an opportunity for this american president to try and connect with the cuban people and show that, unlike the rhetoric we hear so often from the cuban government that america is not the enemy. minutes away from history being made, fredricka. >> patrick, how will some cubans be able to hear or see the president or learn directly about the visit? because not everyone has radios. they don't have television sets. not everyone has internet access. and we've seen in the past when
it was fidel castro delivering a message, there would be jumbo trons, speakers placed in different parts of the country. but what would happen in this case? >> of course, when fidel castro used to give a speech, millions -- or at least hundreds and thousands of people would pack places in havana. president obama is not giving a speech in an outdoor forum. it will be invitation-only to that speech but broadcast live on cuban tv. you only have state-run television here. most people do have televisions already or they crowd around tvs of friends and family. so i guarantee, this is going to be only one channel here, not a lot of internet. people would like to see the president in person. lots of people will be waiting at his car when he drives by. he'll be in the area where i'm standing today and walking around the heart of hoold havan
and shaking hands and talking to people, things that politicians in the u.s. do. you don't see cuban leaders do it very much and i think for the cubans, they'll have a chance to catch a glimpse of the president. it's really going to be a unique moment for them, certainly something they never expected to happen, fred. >> i know that's exciting. a lot of people are looking forward to that. less than 5% of people there have access to the internet. the face-to-face time is going to be really huge and sizeable. patrick, appreciate it. cnn's "the wonder list" returns with an inside look at cuba. bill weir takes us to the island as it prepares for the dramatic changes up ahead tonight at 10:00 on cnn. we'll be right back.
welcome back. donald trump is scheduled to speak at a major pro israel conference in washington tomorrow. the american israel public affairs committee policy conference. but hundreds of rabbis and jewish leaders are planning to boycott this speech saying the republican presidential candidate is encouraging hatred. the conference is for a pro israel group known as apac. on this morning's this week, trump pledged to be neutral between israel and the palestinian people. >> there is nobody more pro israel than i am. but you will hear what i say at the speech and we'll see what happens. >> joining me now is one of the organizers of the boycott, rabbi david pasken. good to see you. donald trump said people will just interest to find out tomorrow. what are you expecting his message to be or is that irrelevant in your view since you're helping to lead this boycott? >> well, in many ways it's
irrelevant. in other ways it's the most important thing. what we're protesting, what we're boycotting here is not his policies, is not his politics. it's the hateful rhetoric he's been using. the bigotry, massage any, seaze phobia he has compressed throughout the campaign season. i have no doubt he will come to apac and say exactly what we want to her him say. but what we need to stand up for as jews and americans, is that those who are elected are held to a higher standard. >> leading into the weekend it was reported that something like 90 rabbis and jewish leaders would be part of this boycott. is it true now that it is triple-fold? more than 300 who are part of this boycott? >> back on tuesday we had about 200 or 300 rabbis, jewish professionals, jewish members of the community, and friends.
today we're up to 1700. now not all of those people will be here at the apac conference and perhaps not all those people will participate. but we are expecting hundreds of leaders from this facebook group to galvanize hundreds of people to make a strong statement that we stand for values and that in america and jewish tradition, it's not enough to just say hateful things. it is not enough to just rouse up the crowds into a frenzy. we have to stand up for values, for ideals. >> do you think apac shouldn't have extend et the invitation to donald trump? >> i don't. i don't think they should not have invited him. apac is a very simple goal. their goal is to make the strongest possible relationship between america and israel and we all support that. that's why you have the conference. we support apac and what they are doing. we understand in order to make
that happen they have to have a relationship with whoever may be in the office of the person of the united states. so i don't question their invitation to mr. trump although there may be others who do. they are allowing us to have a voice and a i pac stand up and say that we have a strong relationship and we understand that we have to stand up for values. we need to stand up for not having hate speech, be a regular common place occurrence in our political system and especially here at the apac conference. >> as part of this boycott slash protest, will you and others be in attendance or anywhere near the entrance or venue of this speech holding signs, expressing yourself that way or is your boycott simply keeping a distance? >> i'm so glad you asked. we are, i think, going to surprise mr. trump. because we're not going to protest unlike any other groups protested. there are three things happening. number one, some people will just absent them self from his speech. number two, some people will
join for the beginning of the speech when he is introduced and silently and respectfully stand up and walk out of the room. third and most importantly, all of us, both groups will gather together. we will study common decency and how to turn senseless hatred into senseless and boundless love. we are not going to disrupt this conference. we do not want to show the same disrespect that boycotting and protesting we don't want to show that same disrespect. >> rabbi paskin, thank you for your time, appreciate it. >> thank you. >> wheels of air force 1 set down to touchdown in cuba. live in havana for that historic moment. stay with us. its class only in the top of but lets you breathe as deeply as this or this or this. not guilty.
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. hello again. hanks so much for joining us. president barack obama expected to land in cuba at this hour marking an historic day for the two countries. it's been nearly 90 years since a u.s. president has touched down on cuban soil. our own chris cuomo is in havana. chris, from your vantage point, what are the people feeling and thinking as the president is about to arrive? >> well, i'll tell you what, fred, as correct as