tv CNN Newsroom CNN September 9, 2013 11:00am-1:01pm PDT
secretary of state, because let me take you back this morning in london. john kerry may have muddied the waters regarding the march toward an attack on syria. take a listen to this, if you would. >> is there anything at this point that his government could do or offer that would stop an attack? >> sure. he could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week. turn it over. all of it. without delay. and allow a full and total accounting for that. but he isn't about to do it. and it can't be done, obviously. >> that was john kerry this morning. syria and its good buddy russia both seem to think it is an ocean worth exploring. putting those weapons under international control as a way to avert an attack. we have to talk about this more with nick peyton walsh who is live with us from the united nations. you have the secretary of state,
he comes out and says, okay, syria can avoid an attack by putting its chemical weapons under international control. walk us through, then, what happened in moscow. >> well, then the russian foreign minister, who is meeting with the syrian counterpart, comes forward and says, look, there is a potential for us to establish an international mechanism, we would suggest syria puts any chemical weapons under that particular control. the syrian foreign minister then comes forward and says, we would welcome this. any move to try and prevent american aggression is appreciated and thinks that the russians have the best benefit of the syrian people at heart. but a couple of complications here, of course, because bashar al assad with his recent interview with cbs did not even acknowledge the syrian regime had chemical weapons. we're into a comicated game if this process take s off in any particular direction. the obama administration very much caught on the back foot, really struggling to catch up
with the news. they can't dismiss this out of hands because it first emerged out of the hands of their chief diplomat, john kerry. they're really going to have to work out a way of explaining to people, frankly, the likely cynicism behind this because it's going to be a complicated, time-consuming game of getting inspectors into a war zone to work out how many weapons there are, where they are, how they can get disposed? all that could take months. a very complicated situation, but it really messes with 48 hours which was supposed to begin with barack obama giving all these interviews to key networks getting the message out. >> we're going to talk catch-up or damage control, perhaps, versus message in a minute. let me follow up on your final point. what's interesting is we first had this unnamed administration official saying kerry's remarks were, and i'm quoting, a major goof, and he had gone off script. now the official position out of washington is, hey, this is
worth exploring. this sounds confusing. >> yeah, i think it really gives you an idea as to how in disarray the strategy is at the moment. they don't seem to have at this point the vote in congress. so potentially this use of the u.n. or international monitors to get the chemical weapons talk under control could give them an easy diplomatic step down. it would make it easy. the president making it clear he decided to hit syria as a punishment, but when he brings out the major point in that they're going to have the forthcoming 48 hours about explaining this gaffe, the administration had little choice but to tamp down ideas this was a mistack by john kerry, they can't seem to be disowning their international statesman on the international stage. a complex situation the russians have seized upon, which some might say, with typical cynicism. >> let's dip into harry reid's speaking specifically now about
syria. thank you, nick. >> akeoccur wednesday sometime the motion to proceed. under previous order, 11:00 tomorrow morning, the senate was to have a motion to proceed the energy efficiency bill. of course, it's obvious we're not going to do that. working with the republican to delay that bill to a later time. on the syria resolution, i intend the senate should have a full and open debate. i encourage senators to come to the floor to begin that debate. also this week, president obama will come to the capitol to address the democratic caucus. he's extended this invitation to the republicans also. i have also -- i haven't heard back from the republicans as to whether they wish to hear from the president. >> senator reid mentioned the president looking ahead here in the next couple hours, next couple days. it's a presidential push rarely seen from closed door briefings
to televised interviews. the president of the united states seems to be using every hour and every top aide to try to convince congress to authorize a strike on syria. this afternoon, he is giving interviews to six, count them, six different news channels, including our own wolf blitzer before his huge speech to the nation tomorrow night. at this hour, we just showed you a bit of the senate side. both the house and senate, they have opened the floor. they will be opening the floor to official debate on syria. the gavel has hit. the senate could vote this week on whether to authorize military action. we're watching that in the coming days. meantime, the president's chief of staff, denis mcdonough is meeting right now with house democrats at the white house. in the next hour, national security adviser susan rice is set to talk to the congressional black caucus. and we are minutes away from hearing from former secretary of state hillary clinton speaking on syria. and then there's this. our latest poll taken just this
weekend. shows 59% of the public does not want congress to authorize american military action in syria. let me show you another number here. another poll shows nearly three quarters believe a strike would lead to war. let's go straight to washington to our chief congressional correspondent dana bash live on the hill. the gavel has hit, dana bash. what's next? >> reporter: what's next is a lot of debate and a lot of answers that maybe we'll get about what is really up in the air in a way that is kind of stunning right now. and that is where are the boats? particularly starting with where this is going to begin. the democratic-led senate. harry reid, the senate majority leader, is still speaking. he's making his case for the need for military authorization. he's trying to make the case for the president. this is the first time we're seeing debate on the floor of the senate because it's the first time they have been in in five weeks. despite the fact we have seen so much action, so much activity
here, all last week with members of the administration coming up and trying to make their case. but again, i really want to underscore how unclear the path forward is. at the senate majority leader did say he expects the first procedural vote on wednesday. that's the plan right now, but my sense in talking to democratic sources is that if harry reid doesn't have the votes, if he's not sure that he can pass this, it's unclear if he will actually bring this up. we're waiting to see what's going on behind the scenes. i'm told there are a lot of different scenarios being discussed. the other thing i should mention is something going on in the senate that is related to the idea that the russians brought up about getting bashar al assad to turn over his chemical weapons. there was a proposal put out last week by two conservative democrats voting no on authorization. heidi heitkamp and joe mansion, and their proportisal is to del the strike for 45 days and use
that time to encourage him to do just that, give over his chemical weapons. that, i'm told, will actually have a vote in the senate this week. that could be some kind of legislative action. at least that could be the basis of legislative action that could go hand in hand with what they're talking about in russia. lastly on this point, we got a statement from the senate intel chair dianne feinstein, who has been maybe one of the most vocal supporters of military strikes based on what she says she has seen with the intelligence with regard to the chemical weapons in syria. she said she welcomes this move by russia. she's also somebody, not unlike everybody else on capitol hill, getting pounded by her constituents back home, saying please don't do this. we have been talking since we have seen this breaking news, about whether this could be a way out for the president and also for members of congress who are out on a limb with something that might not pass. >> keep your eyes and ears close, as i know you are, to what is happening both at the
house and senate. as clearly, this debate could get very interesting. many are saying this vote on whether to strike is a seminole moment in president obama's foreign policy legacy. let's talk about this. let's bring in jamon and ana navarro. welcome to both of you. my goodness, this day has gotten more interesting, has it not? let me debeen with the polls. jamal, first to you. another poll shows lawmakers have room to go against what their constituents say. 57% of those surveyed say they would not be more or less likely to vote for a lawmaker based on the yea or nae. we heard diana feinstein and her constituents vary against this, are they voting what their constituents want or what their conscious is telling them? >> the easy thing to do is do
what your constituents want, but i was on the phone with a congressional candidate earlier this morning, and we were talking about how you think through a decision like this. she said to me, she's not in congress, but you've got to decide to do what you think is in the best interest of the country in a moment like this. i agree, i have been with members of congress and military when they were determining what to do. you have to determine what is best. the constituents will biv you room if they trust you in your judgment to do what is best for the country. >> ana, what do you think? >> brooke, this isn't different than mosti issues that come in front of congress. they vote on different issues. some will vote on partisanship. which i think is important president obama do this, meeting today with the democrats. i think the loyalty card is an important thing he can use with his fellow democrats. some will go with what their constituents want. some will go with their gut, with their conscience, with the
information they see. i think different people bring different things to the table when they look at how to vote on an issue like this. >> let's say, this is just a hypothetical because this is where we are right now, if and when congress votes no and let's say the president listens to them and chooses not to strike militarily, jamal, what is the fallout for the president? >> it's a pretty tough thing that would happen. how does the president choose to defy the will of congress and continue on with the military action? if he was going to do this one way or the other, he should have done it and not gone to congress. once you go to congress, it's pretty tough to then walk it back. i want to touch on something ana just said about the loyalty card. this is one of these places where not having consistent relationships with members of congress is not going to help the president very much. you're looking at the congressional black caucus, for instance, 40 members who have only met with the president once over the course of the last couple years. i'm not sure when he goes in the room he'll have the loyalty card
to play. i think he's going to have to make the argument based on the facts and what's in the best interest of the country. >> jamal, let me push you because on the flipside, you could see how the president could say, hey, congress, i listened to you. you said no to a strike in syria. i will abide by what you have voted. tlefr, when it comes to the debt ceiling, budget, immigration, let's play nice. >> we'll see. we'll see if that works. i think this is -- >> you don't think so 12? >> i think it's so important that people make a decision based on facts. i think the president is going to have to really marshal up and he's going to have to also do some of the things that some of the progressives want to see happen. they want this effort on things they care about like the economy and jobs and education. charlie rangle has a press release out where he's talking about, let's declare war on joblessness and hunger, not on syria. he's going to have to really come to the progressives with a little stronger of an agenda to convince them of this one. >> ana navarro, last word from
you, my friend. >> you know, brooke, i have heard some of the president's surrogates speak this weekend, talk about how this is not about the president. how this is about the country, how it's about our stature, and all that is true, but it also true that it is about president obama and if he loses this, it is going to be viewed as his loss. we're going to discuss it as his loss, and it's going to affect the rest of his agenda, the rest of his years and his term. i think it's going to make him a very ineffective lame duck very early on in his second term. so i think i would advise president obama and his surrogates, own it. own it and show some resolution, and some commitment to this cause. because if not, you're going to lose, and whether you like it or not, you're going to be saddled with that loss. >> and last point, i do think this is one of those moments where the entire prestige of the united states is at stake. we said we were not going to tolerate chemical weapons. we have to act and congress has
to support him, but the president has to do a better job of convincing them. >> we'll be watching for him tomorrow night. jamal and ana, thank you. a lot more to get to this hour, including this. as president obama blitzes the media tonight, the question remains what happens if congress rejects his plan? plus, rodman the diplomat. >> why, obama, are you afraid to talk to dennis rodman. you're not afraid to talk to beyonce and jay-z, why not me? >> the baller offers a direct challenge to obama after his trip to a rogue nation. >> and as the man who confessed to driving drunk faces charges -- >> i killed vincent. >> wait until you hear how the victim's family is reacting to his video. back in a moment.
any indication, you saturate the airwaves. president obama about to kick off his last-minute media blitz pushing his plan to strike syria. so let me take you back to saturday afternoon where more or less this started. you had our chief washington correspondent, jake tapper, he obtained these incredibly graphic videos showing the aftermath of an apparent chemical attack, and that horrifying video shown to a few select senators was in turn then given to us to show you, the public. dplash forward to today, the president will be giving interviews to six major news networks. by the way, his interview with wolf blitzer will be airing at 6:00 p.m. here on cnn. tomorrow night, the president will take to the airwaves again, making a national address from the white house. the president clearly hoping a lot of face time with the media will turn public opinion on the strike in his favor. so joining me now is frank, director of the school of media and public affairs at george
washington university. frank, great having you on. goodness. the first question has to do with clearly what happened in the last couple hours that we learned about. president not getting help from the secretary of state, john kerry, making, and i'm quoting, a major goof, saying assad could turn over every bit of his chemical weapons to avoid potential u.s. military action. this is actually not a serious proposal according to this u.s. official. my question to you, sir, is how much of the upcoming interviews, including the one with wolf, will actually be damage control now? >> that's the problem. a lot of it is going to be damage control. you have such competing narratives. the media need a simple storyline. the public needs a fairly straightforward story line. this is a huge decision. does the nation launch air strikes. we have kerry's comment that now muddies the waters. you have the interview with
bashar al assad who says this is all a lie, there isn't a shred of evidence, you have public opinion which is going south. now the president goes forth and carries on these interviews and has to answer all of these questions. this is a big difference from just being able to go out there as the commander in chief and make a simple case. this is not simple. >> so he has the case to make. we'll be watching tomorrow night in primetime, and tomorrow night's address, and we'll hear from one of the newest members of the cnn team, newt gingrich. he was talking about the president's media blitz today. this was his opinion. >>. >> the presidency should be above the norm. tomorrow night's speech is what matters. if he's successful tomorrow night, he will convince the american people, however reluctantly, we have no chose but to hit assad. if he's not successful tomorrow
night, his proposal is doomed and will go down to a very, very serious defeat in congress. tomorrow night is what matters. >> frank, on tomorrow night, what do you think is more important as he addresses the nation. is it smoking gun proof or just from the president as a father as well, seeing the videos of the children in damascus. is it raw emotion? >> well, i've been at the white house when presidents have had to give these kinds of speeches to america. what the president confronts this time is a much more skeptical media. so he's not just going to get a free pass going to the public. a very, very skeptical, anxious, and war-weary public. essentially, brooke, he's got to do all of the above. he's got to have something resembling a smoking gun because he's got to say, this actually happened, our allegation is legitimate. he's got to be able to make a moral case for yet another military intervention by this country. he's got to say something
approaching an end game is going to be. what's the end point. he's got to address america's diplomatic and military isolation. it's a her herculean attack. i can't remember a president going to so many places so fast, so urgently. it's part of the all of the above strategy, but the risk is that he stretches himself too thin, says something that's off message some place that then comes back to haunt him. he's really got a big task here. >> six interviews tonight and then the big primetime address. frank says no. thank you so much from george washington university. >> let me remind you, watch it live, set your dvr now. tonight at 11:00 p.m. eastern, jake tapper leads our coverage of the crisis in syria. the decision point, tonight, 11:00 p.m. coming up, as we are watching and waiting to hear for the first time publicly on this former secretary of state, hillary clinton weighing in.
her thoughts on syria. and if she thinks the united states should intervene. we will take that for you live when that happens from the white house. also a new report suggests bashar al assad did not personally sign off on a chemical weapon attack. does that matter to the u.s.? that's next. ♪ [ male announcer ] a woman. a woman and her truck. a woman and her truck... and a 1,200-pound passenger. ♪ and two bodies with one mind. and a ribbon that goes on her wall, not in her hair. the all-new chevy silverado. with the best available towing in its class. strong. for all the roads ahead.
well, if you're seen his latest interview, syria's president bashar al assad is still denying his government used chemical weapons. in fact, he's saying his troops were victims of the chemical weapons launched by the rebels. here he is talking to cbs. >> our soldiers in another area were attacked chemically, our soldiers. they went to the hospital. as casualties because of chemical weapons. but in the area where they said the government used chemical weapons, we only had video, and we only have pictures and allegations. >> all right, getting word here, we're going to pull away from the interview and go straight to the white house. there's the daughter. >> thank you all. >> behind this head is hillary
clinton, former secretary of state. here we go. everybody is seated and we can take a listen as she's expected to address for the first time syria. >> exciting announcement, very important on this issue. earlier, thanks to all of my former colleagues in government, thanks to all the ambassadors and other representatives of countries concerned about wildlife protection and the urgency of stopping the killing and the poaching. and thanks especially to the leaders of both american and international conservation groups who have been in the trenches for so long on this issue. i especially want to thank judith mchale, who is chairing the council of distinguished outside advisers, some of whom you have just heard from. in addition to her service as undersecretary of state for public diplomacy, when judith was president and ceo of d
discovery communications, she helped produce the landmark 1989 documentary "ivory wars" which built crucial support for passage of the international convention on wildlife trafficking. and it is not only time, it's probably past time to galvanize a new international movement against poaching and trafficking so it's wonderful having judith and her colleagues back on this case. before i get to the subject at hand, i'd like to say a few words about syria. a vigorous and important debate is under way in congress and around kitchen tables all over america. this is a challenge that has catalyzed the kind of debate that i think is good for our democracy. as you know, this is a fluid situation with statements from russia, syria, and others in the last several hours.
i've just come from a meeting with president obama where we discussed the latest developments. and three points in particular are at the heart of the decision our country and our congress has to make in the days ahead. first, as the president has said, the assad regime's inhuman use of weapons of mass destruction against innocent men, women, and children, violates a universal norm at the heart of our global order. and therefore, it demands a strong response from the international community led by the united states. second, the international community cannot ignore the ongoing threat from the assad regime's stockpiles of chemical weapons. whether they are used again against syrian civilians or transferred to hezbollah or stolen by other terrorists, this
is about protecting both the syrian people and our friends in the region. the world will have to deal with this threat as swiftly and comprehensively as possible. now, if the regime immediately surrendered its stockpiles to international control, as was suggested by secretary kerry and the russians, that would be an important step. but this cannot be another excuse for delay or obstruction. and russia has to support the international community's efforts sincerely or be held to account. it is very important to note that this discussion that has taken hold today about potential international control over syria's stockpiles only could
take place in the context of a credible military threat by the united states to keep pressure on the syrian government as well as those supporting syria like russia. third, as has been emphasized many times and i did so as secretary of state, the broader conflict in syria is a threat to regional stability and security of our allies and partners. as well as a humanitarian catastrophe for the syrian people and those neighbors countries attempting to absorb hundreds of thousands now more than 2 million refugees. achieving a political solution that ends the conflict is in the interest of the united states. it will require an intense diplomatic effort guided by the
road map that was agreed to by the international community in geneva last year in june of 2012. there was an agreement. we hammered out that pointed the way forward. we need to get to the opportunity to begin such negotiations to move toward a resolution. the president and i discussed these challenges today. i will continue to support his efforts. and i hope that the congress will as well. i also want to thank president obama for making the fight against illegal wildlife trafficking a priority across the united states government. and for inviting me and chelsea to participate today on behalf of the -- >> let's pull away. you have been listening to former secretary of state hillary clinton. she was speaking at this pre-planned event on wild' life trafficking. what is so shuj huge, what came
out is the fact that former secretary clinton essentially acknowledged john kerry, the man who now has her old job, acknowledged his comment when he had said this morning in london, let me make sure i quote this for you. he was talking and saying that, if assad turned over every single bit of his chemical weapons, that would avoid u.s. strikes, and that's huge, especially since we have now learned from a senior u.s. official that that was actually kerry going off script. that was to quote this official, a goof. but the fact hillary clinton went with that, jessica yellin, let me bring you in on this. chief domestic affairs correspondent, and christiane amanpour is going to join us. jessica, first to you, that is a huge deal to me to hear hillary clinton acknowledging secretary kerry's comments. >> she did say she came from a meeting with the president, so the president would have known what she was going to say when she came out here. when she's acknowledging that,
you know, sometimes policy is made from off the cuff remarks, and she did make it clear that any chemical weapons exchange, any development that comes out of this, would have to be done not as a charade and it would only be happening because there is a threat of military force by the u.s. but this is a clear development here. and an acknowledgment is coming from a former official speaking at the white house, and it's something that we therefore have to take seriously. for hillary clinton, it gives her a little wiggle room because she's saying i support the president's military posture, but i also support this ability to find another way out. so maybe it gives her a lilt bit of political maneuverability but it's also a serious position from the u.s. >> serious from the u.s., and christiane, broadening it out, we hird because of what secretary kerry said, russia and syria chatted and they said they
would welcome this idea. what do you make of what hillary clinton said, and what does welcome really even mean, you think? >> well, you know, in other words, they have used inside the white house today, after this russian and syrian proposal, was that we're going to take a hard look at it. of course, some of the administration officials say there was a dose of skepticism about it because they weren't sure the assad regime would follow through. here's the thing. before even secretary kerry mentioned it today in london before leaving, this has been floated in certain very important circles in britain and in other parts of europe over the last several weeks. lord owen, who used to be a foreign secretary in england many years ago and has been in many international arenas since, he started to float this idea to get syria's stockpiles of chemical weapons and other weapons of mass destruction out and under international control. in fact, i asked syria's ambassador to the u.n. this very question on cnn a kweek ago.
and he said that is something that syria would look at. now, the question is, is this going to gather momentum and is it really a go, if you like? has it really got some legs to it? obviously, if that did happen and syria did finally sign on to the u.n. convention that bans chemical weapons, that would be a major development. but this is something that obviously is not going to happen overnight, although i just spoke to a former senior intelligence and weapons control expert and official under the bush administration, and he said syria could right now start making public pledges and public moves along with the u.n. to make this -- get this ball rolling. so we'll see how this develops. >> and christiane, i hear you saying this had been floated before, and really, this is a question to either of you. both of you have covered the white house, you have been around the world. would you have diplomacy based on this seemingly off-the-cuff comment? >> i don't know how off the cuff
it is. i'm not there as their speechwriters and this and that, but this could be taken both ways. either it's a serious development or a stalling tactic. that's at the heart of the issue, how the obama administration is going to react to it, how congress will react to it. you know the "washington post" reported today there's an initiative by two u.s. senators to have some kind of ultimatum delivers to assad before any kind of action is taken. and the ultimatum revolves around bringing conventional weapons or chemical weapons under some kind of international control. so this is not just happening in the foreign field. it's also apparently being taken up in some quarters in congress as well. >> let's take a look. we've had pretty stunning polling coming out. first, let me talk about the question we pose, cnn opinion research poll, whether or not a larger war would develop if the u.s. attacks syria. the majority of those we polled said likely, yes.
that's 72% for that. also, just this weekend, we were showing 59% of the public does not want congress to authorize american military action in syria. these numbers said, jessica, here we have the president, in a matter of minutes he'll be speaking with our own wolf blitzer. six interviews, primetime address tomorrow night. how does the president balance what we have heard from john kerry and since you mentioned, hillary clinton and that conversation in the white house, versus the overall message to the public? >> he's in a difficult position, obviously, brooke. but for the president, the claim will have to be essentially american exceptionalism. it's an awkward position, a surprising position for a man who has been accused by his critics of being an apologist for america. saying that america's made too many forays into foreign lands. but he'll essentially be arguing
that america stands alone among nations as the one power that can essentially use its force for virtue and for good. and defend a convention, defend the standard against chemical weapons. there is no real argument for national interest. there is no immediate threat to the nation that the u.s. would be taken this action because it is the right thing to do, and it's america's place to draw this line. and do americans agree with him? do americans want to be in that position? it's a decision that the nation will then have to make. there are other arguments about the broader middle east and the balance of power. but on principle, that is the fundamental case he'll be making tomorrow night, and it's an odd turn about to see him making that to many of the critics who have accused him of arguing against that position for so many years. >> jessica yellin and christiane amanpour, thank you. before we watch the president, we'll watch his interview with wolf blitzer, sick:00 p.m.
eastern time. >> next is something a lot of you are talking about. we'll move off syria for a moment and talk about former nba star dennis rodman. he is opening up, shall we call it? after a recent trip to north korea, telling president obama what the leader kim jong-un really wants. >> this guy wants to do one thing. i got the inside track on what you want to do. >> okay, so that's not all. rodman got personal. hear his thoughts on kim jong-un on a dad. a writer and a performer. ther, i'm also a survivor of ovarian and uterine cancers. i even wrote a play about that. my symptoms were a pain in my abdomen and periods that were heavier and longer than usual for me. if you have symptoms that last two weeks or longer, be brave, go to the doctor. ovarian and uterine cancers are gynecologic cancers. symptoms are not the same for everyone. i got sick... and then i got better.
there are plenty of words you could describe former nba star dennis rodman, but could use diplomat be added to that list? upon returning from so-called basketball diplomacy trip to north korea. rodman announced he's putting together a basketball event set for january that will involve players from the two countries and will be held in north korea. in this lengthy and really at times uncomfortable news conference today, dennis rodman called his trip unprecedented and said kim jong-un, and i'm quotin quoting, is a good guy. >> a very historical moment, and i just wish that all the other people in the government and in our country will understand the fact that this is not something that's going to interfere with our lives or anyone's lives in the world. this is about trying to breach a
gap to a country that people say is so bad. this country is not bad. because the marshal now, he wants to change, and i'm there. he wants to change. and the one thing, what we hear and what we see in america is most of you people here don't see that over there. you write what you hear, but you don't see what you write. if you meet the marshal over there, he's a very good guy. and very serious, he has to do his job, but he's a very good guy. people think this is a gimmick. i would love to make this a gimmick and make a [ bleep ] of money. i would love to make a [ bleep ] of money, but it's not about the money. it's about doing one thing. trying to open obama's and everyone's mind. and guess what. i could talk about politics,
talk about anything in the world. meet him in switzer lbd. meet him in london, ireland. meet him or give him a call. that's all he wants. for me to go over there and do one thing, to make this happen, it says a lot. for him to like me, it says a lot. for him to open his heart and his mind to give me his daughter for the first time in history, i hold his kid, really. it takes a lot to do one thing. how is dennis rodman, of all people, not muhammad ali, not mike tyson, not all the great athletes in the world, not michael jordan, why dennis rodman had to break these grounds to make things work, why me? of all people, because all the media in the world has dogged dennis rodman. have dogged me, but i persevered. >> mm-hmm. if you thought that was strange,
wait until you see what happened when rodman confronted our own correspondent there, jason carroll, and the invitation he got. the moments you cannot miss after this break. ♪ [ male announcer ] when we built the cadillac ats from the ground up to be the world's best sport sedan... ♪ ...people noticed. ♪ the cadillac ats -- 2013 north american car of the year. lease this cadillac ats for around $299 per month with premium care maintenance included. they're the days to take care of business.. when possibilities become reality. with centurylink as your trusted partner, our visionary cloud infrastructure and global broadband network free you to focus on what matters. with custom communications solutions and responsive, dedicated support, we constantly evolve to meet your needs.
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former nba great dennis rodman has returned from a second trip to north korea with this message that kim jong-un, and i'm quoting him, is a very good guy. rodman announced plans today for a basketball game between north korea and the united states to be held, he says, in january. a part of what he is calling basketball diplomacy, and cnn's jason carroll was there, part of this whole news conference, and you, of course you did, you asked him some tough questions, jason carroll. even for dennis rodman, this was nothing short of strange. >> yeah, well, with rodman, you never know what to expect. i mean, look, he says he doesn't want to get into politics. he says that he was in north korea trying to break ground with the reclusive government. but as you know, brooke, controversy seems to follow this
man wherever he goes, and north korea was no exception. rodman described the north korean leader as a man who wants to change. he talked about that historic moment he says when he was allowed to hold the leader's daughter. he also talked ubhow his version of basketball diplomacy was paying off. during his five-day visit, he inked a deal with kim jong-un that would allow a basketball match between u.s. and north krcree korean players on januar 8th and 10th, but no deal to release american kenneth bay. we had a bit of an exchange when i asked him about some derogatory comments he made about president obama as well as former secretary of state hillary clinton. rodman defended what he said about them as well as the north korean dictator. take a listen. >> he's a very good guy. he has to do his job, but he's a
very good job. >> earlier in the press conference, you referred to the dictator as a very good guy and a guy who has to do a job, but how do you reconcile that with the fact he's a man responsible for repressing millions of people? >> i said this to him, i said your grandfather and your father did some bad things. but i said you are trying to change something. just because you see on tv doing this, doing this, you never hear him talk. you always see him do one thing like his grandfather and father. >> when you were overseas, you referred to the president and the former secretary of the state using a derogatory term, which was caught on tape. do you stand by what you said about the president and the former secretary of state clinton? >> i would say that very easy. i'll say it direct. obama, what are you afraid of? come talk to me. guess what? i've seen things. i know things that you want to know. talk to me. and guess what?
obama, i don't hate your guts. hillary, i love you. bill clinton, i love you. come talk to me. i know things. >> interesting. so if all goes as planned, rodman will be back in north korea this december to help train the north koreans. as for helpen kenneth bay, rodman said he's not going over there to rescue anybody. he said he's simply trying to open doors. >> basketball diplomacy, he says. we'll see where it goes next. thank you so much. >> we're getting breaking news in to us at cnn. we have now learned that george zimmerman is currently in custody. we're told it involves some kind of altercation. we're gathering the facts. that is next. i started a week ago going pro with crest pro-health.
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who was acquitted of murder in the shooting death of trayvon martin, he's in police custody in the orlando area. let's take some of the aerials from our orlando tv unit. this is where the arrest has apparently recently taken place. let me tell you what i know. you can see a number of police cars. this is according to lake mary police, the public information officer, lake mary, by the way, is just next door to sanford. we know that sanford has been placed in investigative detention and there are, according to this public information officer, there are a total of three parties involved. it appears to be a domestic altercation. that being in investigative detention, is according to this officer, a normal procedure anytime, she says, we have somebody suspected of doing anything, we place them in investigative detention until a
complete investigation has been done. the investigation, she says, should be done pretty quickly. the incident happened at a lake mary residence on sprucewood road just in the last hour. so that's what we have on george zimmerman. as soon as we get more information, we'll bring it to you here on cnn. up next, more on our other breaking story out of washington. moments ago, hillary clinton, fresh out of a meeting with the president of the united states stood at the white house and announced the administration is open to russia's offer to syria to put its chemical weapons under international control. whose idea was this? is this realistic? we're going to talk to fareed zakaria. he's going to join me next. lety around 2% to manage your money. that's not much, you think. except it's 2% every year. go to e-trade and find out how much our advice and guidance costs. spoiler alert: it's low. it's guidance on your terms, not ours. e-trade. less for us. more for you.
hour two. i'm brooke baldwin. it may be the opening that could avoid a use strike on syria. today, huge news. syria's foreign minister saying that syria, quote, welcomes, welcomes a proposal from russia that would put syria's chemical weapon under international control. while the white house is cautious, it's also candid. syria giving up its chemical weapons could make a difference. former secretary of state hillary clinton agreed, speaking at the white house in the past hour. >> that would be an important step. but this cannot be another excuse for delay or obstruction. and russia has to support the
international community's efforts sincerely or be held to account. >> we would welcome assad giving up his chemical weapons, doing it in a verifiable manner so we can account for them and destroy them. that's the whole purpose of what we're trying to achieve, to make sure he couldn't use them again. that would be terrific. unfortunately, the track record to date, including recent statements by assad not even acknowledging he has chemical weapons, doesn't give you a lot of confidence. that said, we want to look hard at what the russians have proposed. >> is this an ultimatum coming to assad, an escape hatch for them. >> again, we'll look at what the russians have proposed. >> as of now, this news has not altered the presidential push, a presidential push we have rarely seen, from closed-door briefings to televised interviews, the president seems to be using up every hour, every top aide to try to convince congress to
authorize this strike on syria. keep in mind, this afternoon, the president is giving six news channels interviews, including our own wolf blitzer, before his speech to the nation tomorrow night. at this hour, in addition, the house and the senate are opening the floor to official debate on syria. the senate could vote as early as this week on whether to authorize military action there. and then you have this. our latest poll here from cnn taken just this weekend. shows americans don't want it. you see the number, 59% were against american military action in syria. now, syria has said that it welcomes this russian proposal to put its chemical weapons under international control, to head off the u.s. military strike, but that begs the question, is syria simply stalling for time? or did what seemed like this off the cuff remark by the secretary of state, john kerry, this morning in london, did it crack the door open for diplomacy?
i want you to watch what secretary kerry said today at this news conference in the uk. >> is there anything at this point that his government could do or offer that would stop an attack? >> sure. he could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week. turn it over. all of it. without delay, and allow a full and total accounting for that. but he isn't about to do it, and it can't be done, obviously. >> within hours after that, russia's foreign minister proposed syria hand over control of its chemical weapons, and his syrian counterpart, as i mentioned, issued this statement welcoming the idea. and the united states, while expressing some skepticism, said it would take a hard look at the russian plan. so fareed zakaria, let me bring you in. you're host of "fareed zakaria,
gps." you have been listening, hearing this moment. might this be the beginning of diplomacy for everyone involved? >> it could be, brooke, but it also could be a very clever russian/syrian ploy. after all, what it does when you look at it, it weakens the momentum the president has been trying to build. it weakens the case for the war. it's also going to create complications among the president's coalition. because there are many people who are supporting the president in his efforts here who want much more than just a signal about chemical weapons. people like john mccain and lindsey graham are doing this because they want to use this opportunity to decisively tilt the balance of power away from assad in favor of the rebels, really to get assad out of power. they're not going to want to miss this opportunity, so they're going to be frustrated. i think for a whole bunch of reasons, this is a very clever
syrian/russian move that could lead to a negotiated outcome, but could also thwart the president's plans. >> okay, i appreciate your skepticism and this could very well be a ploy. but here's the next question, then. is the syrian foreign minister's statement a tested that syria has in fact that syria has these chemical weapons, buecause we heard as recently as on charlie rose, that he doesn't have the weapons where. >> assad doesn't admit to having them, and there's no question that they have mountains of chemceche chemcell che chemical weapons. even the russians understand and underscore that the syrian government does have these weapons. assad has in effect just said no just a day or two ago. his foreign minister is admitting it. we have always known the syrian government has chemical weapons.
in my opinion, it's very likely they used it. we will never have circumstantial proof that it's perfect, but there's a lot of circumstantial proof. the question really is, is this enough? is there a way to get -- is there a way to get a serious plan that is verifiable? that will satisfy the united states, and that will destroy these weapons? it's simply not a question of putting them into safe guard so the syrian government has them accessible when this crisis passes. the point should be here, of course, to destroy them once and for all. >> sure, it should be long-term. just indulge me for a moment. in terms of safeguarding them. practically speaking, fareed, how would this even work? we know syria is in the midst of this war, going on three years. weapons inspectors would have to be brought in. weapons would have to be secured. is that even doable? who would be in charge of doing that? >> it's doable. it would have to be a u.n. team. remember, we have some experience with this because of iraq. after the gulf war, there were a
series of u.n. inspection teams that went in and in many cases did precisely this, destroyed various stockpiles of chemical weapons. biological weapons, mostly chemical weapons, actually. you add the complexity, which syria is currently at war, but i would suspect that there could be a way to do it because the government would have to guarantee a certain security for these people, the rebels don't have any interest in interfering with that because if these guys are going to destroy assad's chemical weapons, why would the rebels stop them? so i think there's a way forward here. the question is really, are the russians serious, are the syrians serious, or is this just a way to deflate whatever momentum the administration has been building? >> we shall see. fareed zakaria, thank you very much. in addition to all these layers of this narrative that's come out today, there are the numbers. the new cnn poll just out this afternoon shows that most americans, 60%, do not think
it's worth attacking syria's regime for its alleged use of chemical weapons. this after message after message and message from the president, from his staff, that a strike is necessary for national security. >> iran is watching what we're doing. north korea is watching what we're doing. hezbollah is watching what we're doing. if we don't stand up and enforce this prohibition, they will take the wrong lesson from it. >> chief political analyst gloria borger joins me. you heard what john kerry said, what we heard from syria, from russia. what does the president need to say tomorrow night when he speaks to the nation to try to sway public opinion? >> i think, and even tonight in the interview with wolf blitzer, i think he needs to make very clear what our mission is. he needs to let the american people know whether what john kerry said was actually just sort of some hypothetical,
free-lance, rhetorical point, or whether john kerry was actually suggesting something on behalf of the president of the united states. and i think he has to reassure the american people that if you were to do some kind of a surgical strike, which john kerry called unbelievably small, that that would actually have the impact that the president says it would have, and that it would be worth doing. and that it wouldn't lead to a more protracted involvement in syria, which of course, nobody wants. >> then we have hillary clinton. she was speaking at this preplanned event at the white house. now, this is the first time we hear from her publicly. we have seen the statement, but publicly here, supporting the limited strikes. she, too, mentioned the comment from the secretary of state. she also has been floated as a possible 2016 contender. if she chooses this path, she could inherit all of this. >> she could inherit all of this. i think, you know, in a way, john kerry might have done her a little bit of a favor because
she had something to say, which is, okay, let's see if the russians are serious about this. you know, the united states has no choice, but to take the russians up on this particular offer now that kerry has said it. because they don't want to -- america doesn't want to look like it's rushing, you know, into military strikes. so what hillary clinton could do is tell a little bit more of the story from the administration's point of view. keep the skepticism in tact, and they are skeptical, very skeptical, and they keep making the point that the only reason the russians and the syrians are sort of taking -- talking about this is because they're under the threat of the use of force. >> right. >> and that if we had let that up, they would never even be talking this way. so she had something to say. and you know, no matter what she does, brooke, she's going to be in the middle of this because she was the secretary of state. she's very high-profile, and
she's probably going to run for president. >> because she is hillary clinton. she is in the thick of things. >> after all. >> thank you very much. and for all the reasons gloria outlined, this is a must-see interview tonight. wolf blitzer getting one-on-one with the president on this crisis in syria. that interview with president obama will air tonight, 6:00 eastern, right here on cnn. we will be watching. and speaking of watching, there's congress. we're going to go straight to the source here. democratic senator bob casey tells us why he's ad789 the u.s. should strike syria even though the majority of the country is against it. plus, more on our breaking news this afternoon. george zimmerman in police custody after some kind of altercation in central florida. we're getting word this altercation involved his wife. busy day. stay right with me. she's always had a playful side.
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vo:remember to changew that oil is the it on schedule toy car. keep your car healthy. show your car a little love with an oil change starting at $19.95. more of our breaking news. let's go straight to washington. here he is, senator bob casey. democrat, pennsylvania. he supports military action against syria. senator, welcome. busy cupping weeks for you in the nation's capital. right out of the gate, i have to get you reaction on this notion
of putting syria's weapons under quote/unquote international control. does that have any appeal to you, senator? >> well, brook, we'll have to see how serious they are. i have to be blunt about this. when the russian federation and the regime in syria makes proposals like this, i think their credibility is really in question. so we'll see. and we should consider every offer that's out there, but that should not in any way slow down the effort to make it very clear that when you use chemical weapons against your own people or against anyone, that there will be a price to pay for it. that's what we have to be careful that this doesn't allow us to take our eye off the ball, which is to hold syria accountable for this and also to send a very clear message to the regime in iran and hezbollah, the terrorist group, that we mean business when it comes to this, and we're not going to allow terrorism and the kind of crime perpetrated by syria to be the order of the day in the middle east. >> i hear you, but let me just
stay on this point, though, because we earlier had the suggestion from this unnamed administration official that secretary had goofed in raising this entire idea that we're talking about. but the official line at this moment is it is something worth exploring. i don't know if disarray is the right word, but how would you qualify behind the scenes goings-on at 1600 pennsylvania avenue in terms of syria today? >> i think we're going to have a lot of analysis about words that are used and what people are saying, but the most important thing right now is the united states senate of which i'm a member is going to have to coast, confront a vote this week, and it's a very clear choice for any member of the senate, do you just condemn a crime against humanity or do you do something about it? that's basically what the vote will be about. but i also think what is underestimated or underdiscussed or underplayed in washington is this very basic threat that iran, the regime in iran, poses
to us each and every day. not just with regard to the nuclear capability. that's bad enough when they're trying to develop that, but iran is the number one sponsor of terrorism in the world, at least as it relates to state actors. and we've got to be very cognizant of that when we make this decision. >> sure, i think that was crystal clear when your senator colleagues graham and mccain stepped out of the white house after meeting with the president last week, specifically mentioning connecting the dots with iran. let me get to the poll because cnn has this new poll. i want to share numbers with you and our viewers when it comes to strikes against syria. it shows just 39% of the public wants congress to pass a resolution backing the president on this. and that is very much in line with what we have been hearing last thursday, your colleague, senator dianne feinstein was asked about this lack of support, and here is what she said. >> what are your constituents in california saying to you and how much does that weigh on you?
>> well, it weighs on me no question, because i'm very constituent-oriented, and every day, i get a report on what the calls are, where the calls are coming from. what the nature of the argument is. and there's no question, what's coming in is overwhelmingly negative. there's no question about that. but, you see -- >> do you feel the same way, senator? she talks about overwhelmingly negitant constituents' comments. but if your constuch wnts in pennsylvania knew what you knew, would they back military action? >> i do think, though, and there's no question the responses in my state are overwhelmingly against it. i think we should be honest about it. i also think in the next couple days especially, the clear and convincing case of the evidence will become more apparent. even on the public record, not to mention the classified information that members of congress see. but also the gravity of this crime, i think is just beginning
to break through. so all of us here in the congress and in the administration have to do a better job of communicating that. i think when that evidence is before the american people, those numbers will start to rise. but there's no question that because of the way people were misled in the lead-up to the war in iraq and the terrible sacrifice that our fighting men and women paid and their families, that people are skeptical. the basic difference here is that there are no troops going to be put on the ground. that is not planned. that wouldn't happen. if this were a vote about troops on the ground, i would vote against it. if they try to put troops on the ground, i will oppose it. when people know the difference and understand what this is about. it's very specific as it relates to chemical weapons, about holding a regime accountable for a crime against humanity, and secondly, the overarching question about the message it sends to bad guys in the region, especially the regime in iran that tried to blow up a restaurant in washington in 2011, that would have killed scores of americans, and they
did it with impunity, it's just that a lot of people have forgotten that. >> i remember that, but i want to take you back to your point. you said you would vote no if it meant boots on the ground, and i watched the senate and house hearings, specifically, questions asked, how do we know what will happen next, after the united states, if they were to go in with a limited strike, how do we know about, a, retaliation, and b, if it might ultimately lead to boots on the ground? >> we know for sure the authorization would be the most limited tliegz, of course, probably in american history. it's designed that way. it specifically says no boots will go on the ground. we know already because of what is in print in the resolution what we'll be voting on. do we know the outcome? no, but here's what i know for sure after looking at this region for years. tomorrow morning, this week, next week, for the next number of months and years, the iranian
regime and hezbollah trying to kill americans. and anything we do that strengthens their ability to kill americans is a bad move. i would argue if we don't respond to chemical weapons and mr. assad stays in power, that strengthens iran and hezbollah. it will lead to, i think, more americans overtime being killed by the regimes. they have already done it, killed marines, tried to take out an american ambassador in 2011, tried to blow up a restaurant in georgetown right here in washington, knowing it would be full of government personnel. these are regimes and terrorist organizations that only understand one thing. they understand a strong fist and the determination to use the fist. >> senator bob casey from capitol hill, senator, we appreciate your time very much. >> thanks, brooke. >> thank you. back to our special coverage in a moment, first, breaking news out of florida. george zimmerman is currently in custody. we're told it involved some kind of altercation involving his wife and there was a gun
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story here. we're getting more information into cnn of the story out of florida. the orlando area, george zimmerman, as we have been reporting, is in custody. elena machado and ryan smith join me. just start from scratch. what do you know? >> what we know is george zimmerman has been detained. he's been placed in what is called investigative detention while authorities investigate what happened in the situation. this is all related to a domestic altercation that happened this afternoon, late this afternoon, between george zimmerman, his wife shellie zimmerman, and her father. we know that shellie zimmerman filed for divorce last week and police say she's the one who called 911 today. this happened in lake mary florida, a suburb of orlando, also close to sanford, and police say there was a gun present alt the scene, but a gun was not involved in the incident. >> that's an important clarification. at the scene, not specifically involved here. we were talking just quickly in
commercial break, ryan smith. this is a guy obviously we know, we followed the trial, trayvon martin, he was acquitted on the murder charge. this is someone who we have seen semipublicly pulled over for speeding recently. >> speeding twice. >> got a ticket, got a warning. if this wife is filing for divorce last week, she knows darn well what she's doing when she picked up the phone and calls 911. >> you know there is going to be an explosion of media attention the moment you pick up the phone and call 911. either something tremendous was going on, so big that she had to call 911, sore something going on in the divorce proceedings where there's a button being pushed. we don't know for sure on that one. here's the thing, we never got to hear from george zimmerman himself at the trial. a lot of people said we're not seeing the real george zimmerman. who is this man who got involved in this altercation? when you talk about this situation in the context of their divorce, possible domestic altercation? is that who he is? does that shed light on who we
did not see at the trial? that builds into all of this. i have to imagine once the phone was picked up, something was going on that she had to know what the context would be. people would say, well, is this guy domestically violent? is something going on. you have father-in-law and her and him involved. not a good scene at all. >> you were in the weeds in this whole thing as the trial played out. maybe you know as well here. what do we know, i guess, about his past when it comes to his wife? >> it's been nothing but sunshine in many ways up to the divorce proceedings and what we heard from her. >> she was in the courtroom whenever she could be, standing by her man. she almost got convicted of perjury standing by her man, and up until that recent interview, we always thought the relationship, trials will put a strain of anybody's relationship, but we thought it was one where alt least they were together. it's only recently we have seen the tension between the two of them. so with this coming out following a divorce filing, that
speaks volumes to me because it shows that it's a very tense relationship between the two of them. and the seconds thing is, and again, we don't know this for sure, but divorce proceedings are extremely stressful. they involve a lot of feelings. one of the affiliates said it looked like there were boxes on the scene that indicated moving in and moving out. you tie that all in together and start wondering what is going on in their relationship? because up until a couple weeks ago, it was husband and wife together in this. >> wow, keep us posted. obviously, as the visiinvestiga continues, we'll get more information on what happened and maybe what happened behind closed doors. thank you both very much. coming up next, the u.s. open -- the u.s. is open to russia's offer for syria to put its chemical weapons away, put them under international control. how is that playing at the united nations? we're getting responses from other countries. more breaking news right after this. the day we rescued riley was a truly amazing day.
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just past the bottom of the hour. we're following breaking news in the crisis in syria. let me take you back, because it all began this morning in london where you have the secretary of state, john kerry, possibly muddying the waters regarding the march toward an attack on syria. he suggested that syrian president bashar al assad could stave off an attack by handing over control of their chemical weapons. syria and its biggest ally, russia, both seem to think that is an idea worth exploring, putting those weapons under international control as a way to avert this attack. let me go straight to nick peyton walsh who is there. nick, secretary kerry, he came out and said syria can avoid all this by putting the weapons under international control. walk me through, then, what happened in moscow. >> well, remarkable turn of event there. it seems in a few hours, what
seems to be a slip of the tongue by john kerry certainly answering a hypothetical has led to this chain of diplomatic events. the russians seizing upon his remarks and saying if they did hand their weapons over in a week, that could divert some kind of military intervention. the syrian foreign minister who is in moscow now, saying next to sergei lavrov, they would welcome that. russia had their best interest of the heart. some muddying the waters of how feasible this is. keep in mind, bashar al assad in a recent interview said he didn't want to go into whether or not they actually had chemical weapons and how would the mission work? trying to get involved, finding the weapons in a very dangerous environment of syria's civil war, and then finding them,
moving them, disposing them, but the diplomatic bandwagon is now moving and the french have come out, their foreign minister, to say this deserves, quote, further examination. three conditions for it to move forward. the first being that bucereal assad should hand over his ch chemical weapons for ultimate destruction and this should be backed by security council resolution. a short timeframe that would suggest consequences if insyrians fail to ask, and those responsibility for the august 21st attacks which started all this off, should be handed over to the international criminal court in the hague to force some kind of form of criminal justice. we're locked there, a lot happening, but the question you have to ask, even though the use said they would give it a look, how feasible it is to send u.n. inspectors into syria, collect all these complicated weapons and dispose of them? >> i was asking fareed zakaria
that exact question. he said it's feasible but not simple. speaking of everything that has been happening when it comes to syria, this is a must-see interview. wolf blitzer goes one-on-one with the president on syria. watch it tonight, 6:00 eastern, right here on cnn. coming up next, it is hot on cnn.com right now. incredibly compelling stuff. the victims of wars that we don't see. like allison spann, who was all of 9 years young when her dad was killed in afghanistan, days later, her mom passed away. find out what happened to this young girl. her father, the first american killed in combat in afghanistan. and here she is 12 years later. allison spann, and the writer of this incredible piece on cnn.com. join me next. [ male announcer ] progress isn't about where you've been. ♪ it's about where you're going. the new ram 1500.
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as washington debates whether to strike syria for the use of chemical weapons on civilians, i just want to take a few moments to tell you about this young woman whose life has been shaped by war. her name is allison spann. and you might remember her father, cia officer johnny michael spann. he is considered an american hero. mike spann was the first american killed in the war in afghanistan. he was sent there to help with the search for osama bin laden in the weeks after 9/11. and he died in a prison ryan just hours after questioning taliban prisoners including american john walker lindh. allison spann was 9 years old at the time, so young to be facing the loss of her father. a scant 33 days later, her mother lost her long battle with cancer. so then allison became an orphan. but her story goes way beyond
the tragedies of 2001. folks, this is a tale of resilience, a vivid reminder of what you parents teach your kids when they're very young truly shapes who they become even when you're gone. wayne went in search of allison. he joins me here now. incredible piece, and allison spann joins us from calabass, california. welcome to you. thank you so much for coming on. i'm going to get to you in a moment. wayne, with all this talk about syria and possible military intervention, here you have, of course, the war in afghanistan. why did you seek allison out? >> i thought there was a powerful message there with her. the world, we had last seen her when she was 9 years old. at basically her father's funeral. and i wanted to know if there was a greater message between being a 9-year-old to the time to getting to college and what
her story was in her journey through grief. what her parents had taught her. what her grandfather, who has helped raise her, as well as her st stepmother, what is it that made her who she is now and how she was doing. and i agree with everything you said in that set-up. her story is a story of profound grief yet amazing strength. >> allison, let me get to you. it's incredible, your story, but we have to go back to the toughest part. when you were all of 9. tell me what you remember about your dad. >> i remember a lot about my dad. he was a very memorable person. he taught me to always strive to do my best and strive to get everything i could out of life. he taught me determination. he taught me strength. and he not only taught me that through his words, but he showed me that through his actions. >> and that has stayed with you,
it sounds like, all through the years. and i know he took you -- >> definitely. >> he took you to the international house of pancakes, i think it was when you finished the third grade, but then he took you back to sort of drop the news that he would be going to war. what do you remember about that conversation? >> i remember he loved the international house of pancakes. it wasn't my favorite place, but he always wanted to go there. and he took us there to basically tell us that he was going off to war. and all i remember is that one line where he said he was going -- he was leaving and going to afghanistan. and i lost it. i -- as a child of 9/11, really, all i remember is that day. i remember 9/11 perfectly. i saw the buildings come down. i saw the people fall out of the buildings. i saw everyone leave from school that day, and it was a day i'll always remember, and i knew something was wrong. to hear that my dad was going to
be going over there to be around those people, to be in danger with those people, it was hard for me. i was not happy about it. and i didn't have really much to say. i just was begging him, please don't go. please don't go. >> he went. this was part of his dream from what i read in wayne's piece. and the moment when he passed away, and we thank him all these years later, of course, for his service. the moment where you touched his casket forever etched in your mind, but something that's unique about your storstory, allison, is the fact your grandparents, your stepmother, you all went to afghanistan, part oof this journey of grief. what did you learn from going there and standing where your father died? >> at first, when they presented the idea of going to afghanistan to me, i was very hesitant about it. i didn't want to go. and my stepmother and both of my grandparents really encouraged me to go. i'm so thankful for that
experience because the only sight i had seen of afghanistan was the very cruel side, the side that we saw on 9/11. but after going there, i got to meet all of my father's friends from the northern alliance. i got to meet their families. they were the nicest people and they just respected my father so much. they just constantly thanked us and were so appreciative of him and talked about so highly of him and what a great person he was. and i got the chance to go visit an orphanage there and also a women's home, and the women and children there were just so thankful to me, and they were trying to offer me things when really i felt as if i needed to offer them something. the people there were so amazing and i'm really, really thankful for that experience. >> incredible, and allison, i have one more for you, but wayne, just in reading your piece, it's incredible to me all the different people you talked to sort of through her life and it's this point of sort of realizing your dream, learning from your parents, the words that mom and dad say to us when we're young, it sticks.
>> yes, that's right. and her grandfather was telling me a story of they were back in alabama. she had been to europe. and the clerk was one of allison's friends who they had gone to high school together. and at some point, the clerk had said something to the fact of, i think it was, i'm so jealous of you. and that took the grand faurkt, you know, made him pause a little bit because he wanted to say, actually, you don't know what that means. to go through what she's been through. but he also understood what the clerk meant, that she was off in europe and getting to do these great things. but it did make her grandfather, the elder johnny spann, step back and, you know -- so. >> think a little bit. >> yeah. >> allison, i know you're at pepperdine.
you're studying political science and communication and you have an open invitation anytime to visit us here at cnn. >> thank you. >> let me end with this. i love the picture of you standing, and i don't know if you were in that moment, the photo of you at your father's grave in arlington. if you had one more hour with your father, what would you say? >> if i had just one more hour, i would thank him for everything that he did for me. all of those lectures and speeches i got as a little kid that i didn't always appreciate and take to heart, i sort of scoffed off and was like, oh, no, not another lecture, i would love to thank him. thank you so much for instilling all those great values in me and thank you so much for teaching me everything you taught me. and then i would probably like to watch a little shark week with him and share a bag of salt and vinegar chips. that would be my last hour. >> maybe he could get you to take him to ihop.
distance swimmers now demanding proof that the 64-year-old made the swim unassisted. what do they want? they want all of her gps data released, pointing to several hours where she went at twice her average speed. nyad's team says that was due to a fast-moving gulf stream working in her favor. we should tell you that cnn has reached out to her team, who promise a point by point response. coming up next, serena williams. never thought she would play tennis again after suffering that blood clot, but two years later, she is back on top. hear what the u.s. open champ told cnn, including her meeting with former president bill clinton. but chantix helped me do it. i told my doctor i think i'm... i'm ready. [ male announcer ] along with support, chantix (varenicline) is proven to help people quit smoking. it reduces the urge to smoke. i knew that i could smoke for the first 7 days. i knew that i wasn't putting nicotine back into my body to try to quit. [ male announcer ] some people had changes in behavior,
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serena williams, boy, she has come a long way in the past two years. she is now a five-time u.s. open champion. the younger williams sister successfully defended her title yesterday. in fact, she hasn't just been good. the woman has been dominant, winning four grand slam events over the past 14 months, and it almost didn't happen. cnn's rachel nichols sat down with serena. talk about an awesome come-back story. >> absolutely. serena was so dominant throughout this u.s. open and really for years, her name has been the shorthand for female power and strength, even outside
the world of sports. but two years ago, she was feeling weak. she was having trouble breathing and it was her big sister venus who actually dragged her to the emergency room, for what turned out to be blood clots on her lungs. take a listen. >> i think going through that whole situation of being in the emergency room and being in the hospital for all that time and just not knowing if i would ever pick up a racket again, that was a tough time for me. it was really 11 months of hell. now when i'm on that court and i'm facing opponents, i feel like i've faced so many tougher opponents that this is just fun now. >> brooke, you can hear her, she just appreciates being out there and for someone who has retired and really in the twilight of their careers, she looks like she's just getting started all over again. she told me it's the feeling of getting a second chance that's inspiring
option one, strike. option two, back away. but did the obama administration unwittingly find a third way out of the syrian mess? i'm jake tapper. this is "the lead." the national lead, off the cuff. america's top diplomat throws out a hypothetical for syria to give up its weapons and the regime runs with it. so why is one u.s. official calling it a major goof for the administration? the politics lead. seven months ago, she would have been the one making the administrati's