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tv   The Lead With Jake Tapper  CNN  May 23, 2014 1:00pm-2:01pm PDT

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i'm almost there. >> he took five hours to climb out. i have a programming reminder for you. "the sixties" produced by tom hanks, focuses on the decade that changed the world. that's on thursday at 9:00 p.m. eastern and 6:00 p.m. pacific. "the lead" with jake tapper starts right now. so vladimir putin earlier today said to president obama -- and i might have the translation a little loose here -- but it was something like, check yourself before you wreck yourself. i'm jake tapper. this is the "the lead." the world lead, putin lashing out at president obama over accusations that russia is meddling in ukraine. meanwhile, blood is spilling in the streets. somehow, in the middle of this chaos, ukrainians are supposed to pick a new president this weekend. the national lead. as you head into this holiday weekend, at least four
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heart-pounding near misses for a u.s. plane in less than a month. the really scary part, these happened so much more often than you probably ever realized. and the pop culture. "x-men" is going to rule the box office. one of the year's most anticipated films opens everywhere. good afternoon, everyone. welcome to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. we begin with the world lead. should people who live in glass houses throw stones? putin accusing president obama of hypocrisy. at an economic conference, putin said this about president obama. >> translator: who is he to
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judge? seriously, who is he to judge? if he wants to judge, he should work in a courthouse. >> pro-russian rebels going on in eastern ukraine. putin denies that. his comments come two days before ukrainians are supposed to go to the polls to select a new president to replace the pro-russia head of state who fled the country in february. while all of that is going on, so is this. gunfire between the royalist military and separatists left at least 32 people dead, including 30 rebels and soldiers. even if ukrainians make it to the polls, will their votes even count? that is a ballot box being
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smashed in donetsk. putin characterizes the conflict as a full-scale civil war but claims that russia will accept the legitimacy of ukraine's elections on sunday. >> translator: we understand. without a doubt we will treat the people of ukraine with respect. >> jim sciutto is live in eastern ukraine. jim, how dangerous is it going to be just to vote in ukraine this weekend? >> reporter: well, jake, the contrast is jarring. we were in kiev yesterday. it's calm. the barricades there, they really just are backdrops for tourist photos. we drove 20 minutes outside the city and came to election headquarters there that had been attacked by pro-russian militants, closed and burned their election materials.
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one man said that armed guards came in with machine guns and forced them to destroy their election materials and that's a number of stories that you can hear. more than 30 people killed in several clashes between the ukrainian military and it's that kind of contrast that can be very jarring here. these are just two regions of the country that are experiencing this kind of violence in number but that violence is getting worse as the election approaches. we are only 40 hours away and these have been the two most violent days of the crisis so far. >> jim, what do we know, what do you hear about russia's involvement in the violence in ukraine? >> reporter: well, kwwhat u.s. officials will say is that they are coordinating the pro russia separatists.
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authorities in kiev say that russia has even more involvement in kiev. and when we spoke to the election commissioner, for instance, outside of donetsk today regarding the headquarters shut down here, he said that the masked uniformed men who came into his election commission in the last 24 hours, he believes were russian, based on the weapons they were carrying and the kinds of uniforms they were wearing. we don't know that for sure. but you hear that from a number of ukrainian authorities. that is their fear. at a minimum, even u.s. officials will say they believe the russians are directing them at a maximum to a larger degree they will talk about russians on the ground. that's certainly an accusation that you hear very widely here, particularly in the eastern part of the country. >> jim sciutto in eastern ukraine, stay safe. thank you so much. just a little refresher. here's what president obama said
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earlier this month on what the obama administration would do if russia did not de-escalate the situation in eastern ukraine? >> if they disrupt this month's presidential election, we will move quickly on additional steps, including further sanctions that will impose greater costs. >> escalating violence in eastern ukraine, putin calling the ousted ukrainian president the legitimate leader, would that be disrupting elections? joining me now is the deputy spokeswoman for the state department marie hart, thank you for joining me. you heard president obama say that these separatists are, quote, russian-backed groups and are, quote, heavily armed militants receiving significant support from russia. so isn't russia meddling in this election? >> absolutely. this election is going to happen. a vast majority of ukraine -- i know you just spoke to jim
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sciutto on the ground. it's calm. a vast majority of polling places, there is no violence. it's calm. people are going to vote. there are a few isolated places where pro-russian separate tiis are trying to disrupt the election. if putin says he will honor the result of this election, then he needs to use his influence to make sure it goes forward without the kind of violence we have seen. if he doesn't do that, we are absolutely ready to impose greater costs, including sectoral sanctions so he really has a choice to make. >> he has made a choice, marie. that's the point. president obama said if there is meddling in the elections, there will be tougher sanctions. you just said that russia has been meddling. where are the tougher sanctions? >> we can put on sanctions very quickly. we want to see how the election goes on sunday. as a said, in a vast majority of 200 polling places, only 18 of
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them have experienced what we've seen what jim reported on in terms of the violence and real disruption. so ukraine is going to vote on sunday and they are going to pick a new president, a new leader. look, if we see this russia meddling continuing, we'll look for costs. and i would look for them very soon after the election if that's the case. >> i don't understand why you said if we see the meddling continuing there will be costs. why are there not already costs? putin and russia have already crossed the red line that president obama set earlier this month. >> well, we've already imposed a number of costs on president obama on the inner circle and russian economy. every economic indicator is negative and shows that they have an impact. we have sanctions waiting but what we're really focused on now, jake, is on sunday's elections going forward and we'll take whatever steps we have to take after that and president putin should know we're absolutely ready to do so. >> i want to play more of the conversation that putin had today. he said this about the u.s.'
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role in ukraine and the sanctions you refer to. >> translator: i think european and u.s. partners are largely responsible for what has happened. they want to shift the responsibility to us for what they have done. these actions are illegal and worsen our international relations. >> so the u.s., according to putin, is responsible for what he calls a coup. this does not sound like somebody who is being pushed to work on such situation. when is the last time secretary kerry spoke with his counterpart sergey lavrov? >> what is illegal here was russia's actions to annex crimea. they are the one who is are blatantly in violation of international law right now. those are just the latest in a set of pretty ridiculous comments by president putin but
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we are engaged with them. there is a diplomatic offering up here. russia has a choice. they can continue down the path -- look, we're playing a long game here. if they want to keep playing this game, they will be isolated, their economy will be cut off and we'll impose more costs. secretary kerry is focused on it right now and diplomats are focused on it and we have to see actions on the ground in order to have any chance of that moving forward. >> maria, before you go, i want to ask you something that your boss secretary of state john kerry said about the u.s. role in nigeria. let's play that tape. >> boko haram, nigeria, only the united states is there offering the assistance to help find those young women. other countries not only aren't there and invited, but they are not even there. >> that's not actually true. uk is there.
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france is there. israel has offered. china has offered. did the secretary misspeak? >> no, jake. what he was referring to -- obviously we've been very clear about the role that the uk and other partners have played in helping find these girls in nigeria. what he was referring to is that the country is like russia. he was referring to the fact that countries like russia are not the partner of if ifirst re. the united states is. whether it's a tsunami, earthquake, the united states has unique capabilities to bring to bear all around the world and we're the partner that the people want there. obviously around the uk and france, they are doing other work but what he was really referring to was russia and china. they don't have the same capabilities and they are just not the same kind of partner that we are all across the world. >> marie harf with the state department, thank you. >> thanks, jake. coming up, two planes
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collide within feet. an air traffic controller makes a critical error and it's the first time that planes have almost crashed into each other. a nightmare in arizona as residents are forced to run from the flames. stay with us. if you have moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis, like me,
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that it was an air traffic controller new in this position that directed one of the planes to take a wrong turn. this evening, the faa is trying to figure out why it happened. an air traffic controller in training directs a united jetliner to turn putting it on a possible collision with another jet taking off from the airport. seconds later, according to the faa, the controller realizes his mistake. >> stop your turn. stop your climb and stop your turn united 601. >> reporter: the two flights less than a mile away. listen to stunned pilots second later. >> i had no idea what was going on in the tower but it was pretty gnarly looking. >> reporter: putting a spotlight on something that actually happens every day. in the skies over the pacific, at new york's jfk and newark. >> he's real close. >> reporter: the rules of
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separation in the skies breached. the faa's latest numbers show planes came too close nearly 4400 times in one year. 41 of them deemed high-risk events. >> they are scary and unacceptable but there's a back-up system and people are safe. >> reporter: it's an air traffic system under stress. increasing air traffic and a potential shortage of controllers. almost thousands need to be hired and trained over the next seven years. some experts worry the agency's new hiring practices could make matters worse. the agency no longer gives preference to recent graduates from aviation colleges. just last month, a government auditor said he would study controller staffing levels and the impact of retirement. but incidents where planes get too close are not necessarily controller mistakes. >> this could occur through a controller making an error,
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through a pilot making a mistake. but remember, there is avionics on board, particularly one called collision avoidance assistance. >> reporter: the faa says it has taken steps to prevent any similar occurrences in the future but they didn't say what those steps were. these air traffic controllers are trained in real-time. we do know an instructor was there at the moment this incident happened ready to step in, if needed. but the trainee realized the mistake immediately and corrected the problem immediately. we do know that the flights continued safely to their destinations. still, when you hear this sort of thing, it's very disturbing. >> it's horrifying. four in one month. is there any repurchaercussions? is. >> any accountability behind the scenes? >> there was a controller caught sleeping and that controller in
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that instance was fired. but when you have an instance where there were mistakes made, it's a nonpunitive system. the faa does not fire people because they made these mistakes. and the reason for that is because there are so few accidents. when you consider all of the manies that take off and land every single day, there are not that many crashes. so they need all of the information that they can gather and the only way to get that information is through incidents like this. so if there are things that they can correct, they'd remember get it from the people right there in the field without, of course, punishing them for reporting it. >> still scary. rene marsh, thank you so much. at least four close calls in the last few weeks, at least that we know about. joining me now was bob richards. an air traffic controller in chicago at o'hare airport for 20 years. "secrets from the tower" is your
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new book. this appears to be operator error from the air traffic controller who was in training. he had someone with him. how does that work if a trainee makes a mistake? >> it's still on the onus of the trainer to correct it and it's still his responsibility ultimately. the trainee is not going to suffer discipline consequences. in that sense, if you're looking at that, that is what is going to happen. in this situation, there is always going to be human involvement and when the human involvement occurs, there's always going to be a chance of mistake. the beautiful thing about it all, though, is we have so many back-up plans to this. we have other pilots, other systems and like in chicago o'hare, for instance, we have a local monitor position where someone actually plugs in and monitors the position if it's a crossing runway situation. my guess is after something like this they may be doing something
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for opposition. >> how long is an air traffic controller in training? >> it depends on if he's in the tower involvement, if it's busy, a place like chicago oral los angeles, he could be training anywhere from one year to two years. if it's in albany, new york, it could be six months. if he's in the center environment, higher altitude, cleveland, it could be two to three years. you don't just hire somebody and they walk in and take over. >> that's what i wanted to ask. how much latitude and independence do trainees have? is it an occasional check in? >> absolutely. trainees are watched at all time because the person responsible is the person who is plugged in with him at that time. in some cases they are monitored by a monitor position as well. >> how concerned should flyers
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be about this? >> considering the amount of airplanes that we move throughout the country, we went through a period of not one commercial fatality and then that led up to the san francisco incident. but we have the safest system in the world. irregardless there is going to be mistakes made but it doesn't really even compare with the numbers that we're talking about. there are one of those asds, when you see as many airplanes there at a time, 5, 6,000 at a time, it just staggers the mind to understand how we do as well as we have over the past 20 years. >> bob richards, thank you so much. when we come back, massive flames as hundreds of firefighters fight what seems to be a losing battle and the weather is just making it that much worse. john boehner accused of personally blocking immigration
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welcome back to "the lead". i'm jake tap per. fire officials are claiming a good stance at the fire that has rapidly spread in the last few days but they only have it at about 5% contained right now. the fire is burning in the cities of flagstaff and sedona. when we reported on it yesterday, it was about 4800 acres big and today it's grown to about 7800 acres, which is about 12 miles long. many have been evacuated and thousands more have been warned. private homes and vacation cabins are threatened. firefighters are trying to beat back the flames. our own ana cabrera is standing by. what is the strategy for these fire crews? >> reporter: jake, take advantage of the weather. get ahead of this fire. we're seeing conditions at this time cooler than it was.
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we see a breeze here from time to time. but again, calmer than we've seen in the past couple of days. you can tell from the big smoke plume, not quite as good. they are doing their burnout operations and we've been seeing water drops and retardant drops. we had a chance to go into the fire zone and we still saw trees and flames burning and very steep, rocky, rugged, dense terrain in some places making this fire fight very challenging and very dangerous for firefighters. they are really relying on that air support in some of these areas. particularly on that northeast flank which is, of course, is crucial to protecting the homes. we saw a few air tankers continuing to hit some of the hot spots as well as spot fires that have developed in the past 24 horse and then the hot shot
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crews continue on the ground to build that fire line, continue to do the controlled burns to remove the fuel ahead of the fire and if you'll recall it was the hot shot team from prescott that suffered a huge loss around this time last year with the yarnell fire and it turns out that the incident commander was the safety officer at the yarnell fire. we had a chance to talk to him today about how things have changed since then. you talked about the erratic winds. that was also the case in the yarnell fire. any lessons that you're implementing here? >> continuing to have a meteorologist, being able to call those guys and explain my leader's intent is that they are working on the rim. make sure that they are in line every time they are evaluating them so they have a place to go. >> reporter: so extra
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communication has been key in keeping everybody safe. no injuries, no damages so far and we're all keeping our fingers crossed that mother nature cooperate. jake? >> ana cabrera, thank you so much. coming up, democrats one by one saying that they don't agree with the president with the v.a. secretary keeping his job. are they worried that the scandal could cost them their jobs? plus, he was just cut from the team. some are wondering whether landon donovan's dismissal from the world cup team is part of a personal van debt ta. you, my friend are a master of diversification. who would have thought three cheese lasagna would go with chocolate cake and ceviche? the same guy who thought that small caps and bond funds would go with a merging markets. it's a masterpiece. thanks. clearly you are type e. you made it phil. welcome home. now what's our strategy with the fondue? diversifying your portfolio? e*trade gives you the tools and resources to get it right.
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welcome back to "the lead." time now for the politics lead. president obama's commitment and the apparent commitment of his party to stand by his veterans affair secretary eric shinseki, at least for now, does not extend to the campaign trail. a number calling for shinseki's resignation, including charlie
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crist, alison grimes in kentucky and michelle nunn, a democrat running for the u.s. senate in georgia. shinseki says he has no plans to resign over the alleged coverup of v.a. wait times. cnn has been at the forefront of this story. we were the first to report that 40 veterans have died while waiting to be seen through the v.a. system. later, president obama defended the record vowing accountability but only after the investigation is concluded. let's bring in dan ball, chief correspondent at "the washington post." thank you for being here. >> good to be here. >> a senior democrat told me this week that he thinks shinseki is toxic if he's still in his job by november. this democrat says it could cost democrats the senate. is that too stark? >> probably a little too stark. we're in the heat of this moment
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and things always can be described in the most dire, possible ways and we're several months away from knowing that that is the case. he's toxic and we can see it in a number of candidates running for office, running away from him and calling for his resignation. we can see what the immediate reaction is but we have a ways to go in terms of the investigation and how the white house handles it and what more we may learn or not learn with the problems of the v.a. which are both chronic and fresh. >> it comes at a time for president obama when there are questions about his leadership, although not according to the democratic national committee which earlier today tweeted out this new bumper sticker for democrats like a boss. i have to say there was a lot of mockery on twitter. does this fit into a larger narrative for the president who is not yet lame duck but not strong? >> he's not lame duck but he's
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not strong. his approval numbers are consistently below 45 or may be brushing 45 but they go from 44 to 42 to 45. that's tough for democrats. any time at a midterm election they are under 50, it's problematic. if you're under 45, it's more problematic. the white house goal is to push him into the 47, 48 range. they have not been able to do that so far this year and when you add on to the problems that he's had, the latest v.a. scandal, it makes it all the more difficult. democrats know that it is a big weight on their shoulders collectively and they are hoping that the president can do something about it but so far he hasn't been able to. >> well, he certainly didn't the other day when he came out and gave that press conference remarks about shinseki. a lot of people thought it was a milk toast statement that didn't accomplish much. >> it was not a decisive statement other than i'm not going to tolerate this. it was very obama-esque.
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he does not rush to judgment. everything he has done so far with the v.a. is in keeping with the character of his presidency and it does make some democrats and probably more and more democrats nervous as they look towards the fall. >> i want you to take a listen to this. it's a heated exchange between ron johnson, republican of wisconsin, talking about obama and his opposition. take a listen. >> i'll be able to dig up some e-mails that make part of the affordable care act that doesn't look good, especially from people who have made up their mind that they don't want it to work waus they don't like the president. maybe he's of the wrong color, something of that sort. >> it is regrettable and i would say it's offensive. seems i'm the only one here in the room that talks about opposition, that you would play the race car, that it must stream from inert inherit racism.
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>> what does rockefeller gain from a comment like that? >> probably getting something off his chest that he believes is the case. and put it out into the public sphere. we know there are some democrats who believe the same thing. every time the president has addressed this kind of issue, as you know better than i, he has always said i get some votes because i'm african-american and lose some votes because i'm african-american but there are some people who believe that the broad opposition to him is race-based and a lot of republicans will say, as ron johnson did, you are playing the race card, not us. >> and jay rockefeller, of course, stepping down. there's an open seat that republicans are now favored to pick up. dan balls v., have a good and meaningful weekend. >> thank you. don sterling, remember him? you may remember him for his racist rant and, i did it but only for the sex.
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and in pop culture, he's the guy spider man, the incredible hulk and iron man all call dad. stan lee talks to "the lead" about how his comic books have exploded into million dollar movies.
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welcome back to "the lead". i'm jake tap per. the sports lead now. she said he was a racist and he promised to dig in and fight. the sterling are reportedly ready to surrender. donald sterling gave control of the franchise to his wife shelly who is negotiating the voluntary sale of the team to the nba. so does this now all go away or are the sterlings and adam silver destined for a court date? joining me, friend of the show, mike wise. thank you so much for being here. so why the sudden change for the sterlings? >> i think for the first time these guys have gotten sage pr
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advice. which is, nobody wants them in the league, including their workforce and why would you drag this out? i think for the first time they got some good pr advice and the notion is that this franchise would be very valuable on the open market so it's time to cut bay for donald sterling. he was not going to be the owner of this team respective of what he did in the league and including most americans. you're right, it saves face for a lot of nba owners whose vote against for or against keeping donald sterling would have been made public. >> and you know that the sterlings and the nba are talking but the league will not acknowledge that they are talking to the sterlings. they said we continue to follow the process set forth in the nba
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constitution regarding the ownership interests in the clippers. they have to say that, right? >> right. this is down behind closed doors with the main counsel for the nba, donald sterling's and shelly sterling's attorneys in this case will look at the paperwork and say, okay, how are we going to didvest you of this and i don't think there's any question that it will be resolved with the attorneys before it's in the public. >> i heard that bill simmons of es approxima espn thought that the team could sell for as much as $2 billion. really? >> well, i would be shocked if it were that much only because i don't think madrid, the new york yankees are worth $2 billion at this point, or at least that's not what "forbes" has valued them at. they've only won two playoff
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series in two millennia and the fact that they would go more than the l.a. lakers is not realistic. but bill is connected. >> when we talked about this a couple weeks ago we talked about names like oprah winfrey, magic johnson, larry ellison. who is real? >> magic johnsons and his partners, they somehow have emerged as a favorite and in some way it bothers me. it would be like derek jeetter taking over the mets. if it happens, fine. there is a small part of me that would like to see an african-american own this team after what happened with donald
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sterling. >> and this incident has caused more talk about race and the redskins and dan schneider. 50 senators wrote a letter asking the commissioner to force a name change. there was some notable omissions including the two that represent virginia. >> right. >> why? >> i think this is clear on many levels. one, it's politically expedient to be with the team and its name if the team basically has his practiced headquarters in your state and training headquarters in your stamp. there's so much more evidence than that. terry mcauliffe was given money from dan schneider, a lifelong rob, and now mark warner, he's gotten contribution from dan and
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tonya snyder. i'm not saying that he's buying mark warren's silence. it's a little curious, even though the donation is less than $10,000, it's curious that he would say the exact same thing that terry mcauliffe said which is that government should butt out of that issue. >> i'm saying that they are a little gutless. >> mike wise, thank you. if you have heard of one united states' soccer player, it's probably landon don knovan. but the all-time leading scorer was cut from the team. everyone wants to know if it was just business or personal. that would not be the oldest player on the squad but the not so friendly relationship between donovan and the head coach is not a secret. the coach's son tweeted this
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"hahahaha donovan i didn't even notice until my phone notified me." >> he got the biggest lesson you can imagine. without him, some of the biggest movies would not exist. stan lee talks about his newest creations as "x men" hits theaters this weekend. ♪ (train horn) vo: wherever our trains go, the economy comes to life. norfolk southern. one line, infinite possibilities.
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that corporate trial by fire when every slacker gets his due. and yet, there's someone around the office who hasn't had a performance review in a while. someone whose poor performance is slowing down the entire organization. i'm looking at you phone company dsl. check your speed. see how fast your internet can be. switch now and add voice and tv for $34.90. comcast business built for business. welcome back to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. the pop culture lead now. there is something that is super human about how these films have been doing at the box office. "days of future past" brought in $8.1 million just last night and
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it's expected to last at the box office this weekend. there is super strength, telepathy, laser vision. but stan lee, their creator, that guy has an imagination and showmanship literally worth billions. >> amazing. >> he's the man behind the mask, the muscles, and the metal of marvels most popular heroes. and stan lee is working to expand his repertoire. >> every day i learn something that i wasn't aware could be done before. that makes it exciting in this business. >> lee is a legend in an industry that has extended from comics to animation and now high-budget films. >> at the early days of marvel, whatever i could come up with, we put in a comic book so i wasn't concerned with, am i
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doing something that a movie studio would want to film? in a sense, it was easier. >> reporter: but movies are the backbone of a mighty franchise that every hot actor wants a piece of, whether andrew garfield or robert downey, jr. or the aveners. it's one of four new movies just this year. such success is a long way from then stan lee's humble beginning in new york city, graduating from filling the ink wells to create the character jerry headline hunter foreign correspondent. >> i just hoped that my comic books would sell so i could pay the rent. i never thought i'd come out to los angeles and be at the center of the entertainment industry. i love it. >> in some ways, it's just that hollywood special effects.
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>> when i was writing spiderman, i never thought there would be a way that someone was running on a web. >> lee partnered with arthur lieberman to launch pow entertainment in 2011. >> i'm sure you've figured out that p.o.w. stands for perveyors of wonder. >> even if the audience is small, lee is unrepen tant in his goal. >> will this be popular all over the world? there should be a superhero for every type of person. we've already done a chinese superhero which will be out soon. we've done an indian superhero and we're working on a latino superhero now that i'm very excited about. >> by creating superheroes that are geared to these and building
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on these, it's providing a whole new cast of relatable characters that this audience will enjoy and relate to. >> franchise such as "spiderman" attributed it to international audiences, making it a demographic well worth its own characters. >> "spiderman" is popular all over the world. it doesn't matter the color of his skin or what he looks like, you can imagine that is you. >> reporter: kwha a legacy stan lee has made. that's not a subject that he likes to talk about. >> i figure once you're no longer here, it doesn't do you any good if you're no longer remembered or not. i guess i'd like to be remembered as a guy who co-created a lot of these characters. >> days of future past is the seventh film in the "x-men" series and there's no sign that it will stop there. join us watching "the sixties,"
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a fresh look at the decade that changed the world. i'll have a special with chuck hagel. please be sure to tune in on memorial day and follow me on twitter @jaketapper. i turn you over to wolf blitzer in "the situation room." wolf. jake, thanks very much. happening now. breaking news, sterling agrees to sell the l.a. clippers. the owner is getting ready to get rid of this team and to let his estranged wife do the negotiating. is that good enough for the nba. and a clash on the eve of a critical election. why is president putin blaming the united states? and terrorists go hollywood but their brutal new video with sophisticated scenes of killings and bombings is all too real. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." let's go out to theak