tv The Lead With Jake Tapper CNN September 14, 2015 1:00pm-2:01pm PDT
donald trump wants to ask his republican rivals a question, do you feel lucky, punks? well, do you? i'm john berman and this is "the lead." our politics lead, the stage quite literally set, the cnn republican debate is two days away. and these go to 11, 11 candidates. that is one louder than the last debate. who will dare attack the man in the middle, donald trump? also in politics, he is the only man within striking distance of trump right now, dr. ben carson, known for his skills with a sk l pal. i will ask dr. ben carson live. also here in california, flames tearing through entire towns, hundreds of homes and businesses destroyed, families forced out now living in tents. a wildfire emergency burning out of control in this state right
now. welcome to "the lead." i'm john berman in for jake tapper today. we are live at the ronald reagan presidential library in simi valley, california. we are a tick under 22 hours now from the big show, the cnn debate, the one debate to rule them all, this could reset the 2016 race. the message today for all the republican contenders walking the political wire goes something like this. you come at the king, you best not miss. because so far everyone who has come at donald trump has missed and seen their fortunes flounder. a new abc news/"the washington post" poll puts donald trump well out on top in the republican field. and those candidates brave enough to go blow-to-blow with the queen's native, voters treating them like hot garbage. jeb bush with his worst showing yet.
he's at 8%. scott walker at 2%. and rick perry, the longest serving governor in texas history who thumped trump -- as a cancer on conservative. in the ruckus rumble for the republican nomination, there is donald trump and then there is everyone else. >> donald trump! >> reporter: a new abc news/"the washington post" poll shows trump with a healthy 13-point lead over dr. ben carson. but carson has a healthy lead over the rest of them. less healthy, jeb bush, polling peek id down at 8%. tough going into wednesday's cnn debate where critics say a strong performance is crucial after they consider a lackluster job in the first debate. >> maybe the bar's even higher for me. that's fine. >> it's not just good news in
the national polls for trump, but new hampshire too. the latest monmouth university poll gives him an 11-point edge there with carson gaining ground in second. trump will bring his polls and hump to dallas tonight, a rally just two days before the big debate. it's not all rosy for trump. one poll shows 70% of latinos find trump insulting or offensive. and 65% say he's hurting the gop's image. trump recently told cnn he is actually on his best behavior. >> i'm trying to be nice. >> reporter: but carly fiorina's backers beg to differ. her super pac released this campaign video after trump criticized fiorina's face to "rolling stone". >> this is the face of the 61-year-old woman i am proud of every year and every wrinkle. >> this is everything that's wrong. >> reporter: trump's campaign manager told me the problem in politics is not criticizing a
woman's face, but a video defending that face. >> it's wrong for a group to say, hey, we're women, look at our faces. we support carly fiorina. >> it's not the message i'm talking about. it's the fact these super pacs are out there, they have huge amounts of money being funneled into them so they can go out and attack candidates or give any message they want. >> reporter: don't expect any apology from donald trump, not based on what he told jimmy fallon. >> when you were little donny trump, did you ever apologize? >> this was not supposed to be the question. i will apologize some time hopefully in the distant future if i'm ever wrong. >> so one race has been settled today, the celebrity apprentice primary. nbc announced celebrity turned politician turned celebrity, arnold schwarzenegger, he will take over as host of "celebrity apprentice." no hard feelings from donald trump who tweeted a congratulations note saying he'll be great.
so on to the actual presidential race. i want to turn to the man running right behind donald trump in the polls. joining me right now from washington, d.c., republican presidential candidate dr. ben carson. dr. carson, thank you so much for being with us today. and i say this half in jest based on what donald trump said. but how's your energy? >> actually, i feel pretty good. no problems. >> i bet you feel pretty good. all alone at number two in the polls right now. pretty much very far ahead of the rest of the field besides donald trump. the same poll that shows you running second right now, it says americans believe that politicians cannot be trusted. why should americans trust you? >> well, i would say they should look at my life. look at what i've devoted my life to. taking care of people. taking care of children. trying to ensure their futures. you know, starting scholarship programs, being out in the community and helping people. that's what i'm about.
and that's the reason that, you know, i've accepted this challenge. >> so donald trump said over the weekend that everybody who attacks me is doomed. in this debate here at the reagan library you will be standing right next to him. what are your intentions at this debate toward donald trump? >> well, my intentions are to talk about my programs, the things that i would like to try to do in conjunction with my fellow americans to get america back on the right track. i'm not particularly interested in any person particularly attacking them. i think we have much better things to do than that. >> so you actually apologized over the weekend for comments you made about donald trump's faith. you said you didn't know if he had the same types of convictions you did. i'm wondering why you made that apology, especially given that
that's a subject that does matter to some voters in some places especially with a place like iowa with a large evangelical voting base? >> because it wasn't meant as an attack. i was primarily talking about me and what's important to me and there were those who took it and revved it into a big deal. and obviously it was interpreted that way after mr. trump heard it. but that simply wasn't my intention. so that's why. >> do you think a candidate's faith matters? do you think voters should look at candidates and wonder how strong is their faith, how true it is? >> well, everybody operates on the basis of faith. it may not be faith in god. it may be faith in themselves or some other entity. but there is no one whose demeanor and relationships with others is not dictated by their faith. >> you said you disagree with donald trump on immigration policy. you questioned his notion that you could go round-up 11
million-plus undocumented immigrants. is there another policy area where you differ from donald trump? >> i think that's the primary area. and we're probably not actually that far away even on that issue because the key thing is you have to seal the border. and almost nothing else after that matters. if you can get that border sealed, and we have the ability to do that, but as a nation we don't have the will to do it. and that can be changed pretty quickly. and a lot of things will get better at that point. >> you know, he suggested that he wants to get some money from the hedge fund guys in terms of taxation. would you be in favor of changing the rules so hedge fund managerstaxes? >> well, i'm in favor of a taxation system that is fair for everybody. so that's why i like a proportional system. i want to get rid of deductions, loopholes, the irs, all the things that really make it into
a very complex situation. and make it very easy. i want to create a situation that encourages entrepreneurial risk taking and capital investment. >> so, dr. carson, you indicated that heading into the first debate you had some jitters. i've been on the debate stage here. and the audience is going to be just a few feet away from where you're standing. you're going to be standing right in front of the plane that ronald reagan use as air force one. any nerves heading into this event wednesday night? >> i don't think so. you know, i've spoken there in that venue fore. and it's actually a very comfortable place with good acoustics. and you feel right there with the audience. you don't feel removed from them. i think it will be very pleasant. >> it's a great venue. it's a beautiful setting. so, dr. carson, on the campaign trail in iowa recently you praised italy for having the courage to raise the retirement age for their version of social security and to cut retirement
benefits by 40%. do you favor doing the same thing to social security in the united states? >> i think the solutions here might be different because problems are a little bit different. but the key in italy was on the same trajectory as greece heading off the fiscal cliff. and they had the courage to make some changes. they had a large fiscal gap. and now they've set themselves on the pathway to long-term prosperity. greece has not. in the longer one waits to correct that kind of situation the more draconian measures have to be. we also have an extremely large fiscal gap which is getting larger. and unless we begin to react to it soon, we will be in a great deal of trouble. >> does that require the courage as you say then to raise the retirement age? >> it requires the courage to do what is better for us now. one of the things that will be
necessary is gradually raising the retirement age for people who are under the age of 55. but we're looking at a number of different ways obviously to save social security right now scheduled to run out of money in 2033. we really don't want that to happen. >> what about cutting benefits for people with big incomes? guys like just for instance donald trump? >> i would love for people to voluntarily opt out of it. that would be very nice indeed. >> voluntarily opt out? or should there be means testing? should you say after $500,000 of income you shouldn't get social security? >> if people have earned something, i'm a little reticent to just take it from them. i would prefer that they would as a contribution to their nation if they really don't need it, make a sacrifice for someone else. i think there's plenty of precedence for that type of attitude in america.
>> are you giving back? are you willing to give back right now? your social security benefits that you'll earn and will you call on the other members of this presidential field to donate back their social security wages? >> not only would i be delighted to give it back, but for many, many years i have been giving a lot of money trying to better our country, trying to give scholarships to children, putting in reading rooms, trying to change the trajectory of their lives. and i will continue to do that. >> and you are well-known for helping a lot of kids and your work in that area. i want to talk about the syrian refugee crisis right now. you are a man of faith, a man of faith pope francis has called on people around the world particularly in europe to open their hearts, and in some cases open their homes. do you think that the united states needs to be willing to let more of these refugees into this country? >> i believe we should encourage the various countries in that
region. you know, turkey, the arabian peninsula, to take those refugees in. and we should be willing to perhaps help them financially and with some expertise. but the fact of the matter is we don't know who those people are. and the majority of them are young males. and they could easily be people who are being infiltrated by terrorists and recognize that once you bring them in then you've got to bring other members of the family in. so you're multiplying that number substantially. we -- this is not something that we can necessarily afford to do in terms of exposing our population to that kind of risk right now. >> doesn't charity require though some kind of assistance? and isn't there some kind of screening policy in place where you could do background checks and make sure they aren't some kind of threat? i've seen pictures of a lot of families, a lot of kids, a lot of women and a lot of young men who just want a better life.
>> well, how did that screening process work for the tsarnaev brothers? not so well, did it? >> that was 2002. >> doesn't matter when it is. we have the same screening process now. >> but they became radicalized in the united states. >> unless we improved it very, very substantially to the point where we could virtually guarantee that we were not importing terrorists, it seems to me like an inappropriate thing to do at this stage. when in fact -- >> it was 11 years. >> -- when we have countries over there who are refusing to take in refugees. it doesn't make any sense to me that we should have to do it and they're not taking in refugees from their own area. why should we have to do it? >> well, i think the idea would be we do it in conjunction with perhaps a consultation with these other countries would be some sort of global worldwide effort. and just to the tsarnaev thing, they came to the country in 2002, it was 11 years after that were the horrible boston marathon attacks. i am from boston, but by all
accounts they became radicalized in the united states. should there be processes for people already here? >> well, the point being we don't have a very good way to screen people who may have a proclivity for the development of radicalization. so why do we want to expose our population to that if we don't have to? and when we can encourage and support others in doing that, which is more appropriate. >> that proclivity, just to finish up, is that proclivity just being a muslim? >> i think that proclivity has to do with something that should be studied in more detail. my point is we need to be very, very careful. we need to understand these things very significantly before we begin bringing in people. i will tell you that if i was isis, i were the global jihadist and i knew the united states was about to take in 10,000 or 65,000 or 100,000 people from my
region, i would infiltrate them with my people. >> dr. ben carson, thank you so much for being with us. i wish you luck here wednesday night. i know you've been here before. it is such a beautiful setting. and it looks great right now. >> thank you. >> good to see you, sir. so as the republican candidates study and they practice and they look forward to wednesday night's debate, new numbers seem to further prove that there's been a momentum shift on the democratic side. hillary clinton losing her grip on the solid lead she once held. is there anything she can do now to turn the tide? that's next. big day? ah, the usual. moved some new cars.
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we are back live from the ronald reagan presidential library in beautiful simi valley, california. we are counting down to the cnn republican debate. and there's new polling out today that reinforces the fact that newcomers are making the most noise and making the old guard sweat. want to talk about that. everything political, everything debate oriented with our political commentators, also here cnn anchor michael smir connish. start with the -- i can make other references there. look, donald trump and ben carson, the latest poll right now they have over 50% of the vote together. anna navarro, you support jeb bush, you're friends with marco rubio. how can these guys sell themselves as outsiders in this environment? >> they've got to sell themselves as seasoned politicians who know the issues, who have the capability to lead, who have governed in the case of the governors, but they also
have to acknowledge the message that is being sent, i think, through these polls. that people are sick of politics as usual. they need to prove that they will not be politics as usual. that it will not be more washington dysfunction. that they will be able to get things done in washington. and they have a hurdle to cross because i think there's a lot of cynicism and frustration in the american people. we see the polls, 9%, 10% approval for congress. everybody's upset at things. so they got to get some optimism, but they got to acknowledge this and respond to it. >> dan, you've worked elections before. if it's a mad as hell election and i'm not going to take it anymore, how do these guys breakthrough? >> i think ana's exactly right. they cannot sell themselves something they're not. jeb bush cannot be the outsider, john kasich can't be the outsider, but they have to acknowledge what they're feeling and show how their record makes them the person best to enact the change they want. everything said about jeb bush
and marco rubio is true of hillary clinton. she has to understand what is driving the bernie sanders surge and see how she can incorporate that and respond to it in her campaign. >> so another outsider, michael, in this race is carly fiorina. >> right. >> she will be on this main stage here wednesday night at the ronlald reagan library. she's now engaged in a back and forth with donald trump. donald trump frankly started it. >> he always starts it, john. >> he says he's a counterpunch, he's a victim. he says look at that face, how can you vote for that face? well, a super pac backing carly fiorina today put out a video a lot of people are talking about. let's look at it now. all right. we don't have that video sadly. i hope over the next few minutes we get it because a lot of people are looking at it saying it's one of the more remarkable pieces of video from this campai campaign. carly says look at every wrinkle in my face. let's play it right now. >> ladies, look at this face.
[ cheers and applause ] and look at all of your faces. the face of leadership. the face of leadership in our party, the party of women's suffrage. the face of leadership in your communities, in your businesses, in your places of work and worship. >> i've heard people across the aisle democrats and republicans look at that video again produced by a super pac and say that's pretty good. >> i think it's brilliant. and i think she's smart to fight within her weight class. by that i mean to go into that hangar and to see the 11 positions on the debate stage and for me to look at each one of those individuals recognize there are two debates within one. there are the mavericks and carson and trump and carly. and then there are a lot of establishment candidates like jeb bush and like chris christie and marco rubio i'd put in that category, john kasich. a stumble by trump is not going
to benefit jeb bush. i think the direction in which this is headed is that ultimately there is an establishment candidate. and ultimately there is a maverick candidate. so carly has to gain by taking from donald trump. and i think she realizes that. >> one of the things i love about this ad is it never mentions trump. it stays so high road, so classy. it is so poised. and it is all about being every woman. i'm every woman. you know, look -- >> i've heard that song before. >> not all of us are eastern european super models. so i think there's a lot more people that frankly look like carly and the women in that ad than donald trump is giving himself credit for. >> dan, i'm giving you an opportunity you might not get otherwise. say carly takes a message to the stage similar to that one, how does trump respond?
>> i don't think trump will take advice from me or anyone else, i think he should apologize or at least show regret. i think michael is right that she's potentially the biggest threat to him being the nominee because the outsider, not an elected office but has more traditional experience, seems less risky than donald trump or ben carson. and so there's a huge opportunity there. if he engages with her, she could be the first republican candidate to come out on the stronger half of an -- >> i tell you something we would all be talking about it the next day. our jaws will drop. and it will be a moment in the debate because this is a guy who doesn't apologize to god. doesn't ask god for forgiveness. if he owned that stage and expressed regret, we would all i think be floored. >> in addition to that let me ask this question. who has the most at stake here? which candidate the most in peril? who might be the first to drop out? i'll ask those questions when we come back with the panel next. when i lay in my tempur-pedic contour,
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we are live at the ronald reagan presidential library counting down the seconds to the big event wednesday night, the cnn republican debate. the main debate 8:00 p.m. eastern. the first debate with the other four candidates 6:00 p.m. do not miss either one. right now we are back with our big 2016 panel, cnn political km
commentators. michael, before the break i posed the question for whom is there the most peril wednesday night? who has the most at stake? and could, if he or she does not do well, not last much longer? >> the obvious answer is anyone at that happy hour debate. and before we excuse that too quickly, remember that rick santorum will be at that table having won ten states and the iowa caucus in the last cycle. really amazing he has not been able to gain any traction thus far. on the main stage i think it's the polar extremes in the terms of the way they're arranged. chris christie and rand paul both are on the bubble. and i think the person with opportunity in this debate is john kasich. >> what about scott walker? >> who? >> that's the problem. he said he was too midwestern nice last time. he's been saying you're going to hear more from him this time. the guy was leading in iowa for a long time and now he's drifting downward in the polls. >> i think this is make or break time for scott walker. if he does not just a strong
debate but an incredibly strong bebait, i think his campaign is for all intents and purposes over. the money will dry up. he needs to take advantage of this. from the guy leading in iowa, essentially the front runner before donald trump in a lot of people's eyes to be an asterisk is a tremendous fall. >> i'm going to put this in a way that's going to make you hate me. you're a supporter of jeb bush, friends with marco rubio, who has to do better? who has more at stake wednesday night? >> you know, i think they both do and i'll tell you why. i think the expectations are different for both. marco is very good in this format. i thought he had a very good debate the last time. i'm surprised he didn't get more of a bump out of it. marco's ready. he's got a tremendous sense of humor. he's very quick. incredibly articulate, knowledgeable on foreign policy and there's going to be foreign policy in this debate. jeb, i think, needs to have a better debate than he had the last time. and he needs to make some memorable moments.
he can't just have good answers. he needs to have good moments. >> in a way he's raising the stakes on his own performance. there are a lot of articles, leaks, comments from that campaign saying he's going to be more energetic this time. he's raised the bar. >> listen, no campaign likes processed articles. >> but there have been some for jeb bush. michael, i want to ask you about donald trump going to dallas, texas, speaking at the american airlines arena where the dallas mavericks play, i guess 20,000 tickets handed out for free there. these rallies are interesting and have one just a few nights before the debate. he's going to get a lot of attention. >> what's funny to me is to think of the cycles where two days before the debate you would anticipate that the candidates were locked away doing a rehearsal where someone was standing in and playing each one of their opponents. i believe him when he says that he doesn't engage in predebate preparation like that. and the proof is he'll be with mark cuban with thousands of people instead of rehearsing what he'll do here. i think that whole unscripted nature is really the key to his
success. >> michael, when you can get away with answering without giving any policy details, what is there to prepare for? >> maybe that changes in two nights here. i would like to think that does. sooner or later -- i got to say this has been chauncey gardener stuff. >> you like to watch? >> there will be growth in the spring, right. but he's gotten away with it thus far. sooner or later there's going to be a demand made where somebody's going to say wait a minute. and maybe it will be jake in two nights, hold it, i want to follow-up on that, what are the details? >> i think the interaction with hue hewitt will be interesting. i expect him to come back and bring it on foreign policy with every candidate. let's just remember that trump just recently called him a third-rate radio host for having asked him some very legitimate questions he couldn't answer. >> that's a lot nicer than things he's said about other people. >> that's a very high bar, my friend. >> trump has an immigration paper, says he's going to put out a tax paper in a few weeks that outline some ideas. he's said a lot about the
issues. dan, how intricate do his plans really need to ? do voters really care? do they want to see a 12-point policy paper? >> they need to know that he has ideas that backup his values. >> they seem to be saying yes right now. >> he's doing very well without policy. and his general character is exceedingly -- of the other candidates. there is a threshold question. if he gets thereupon and he flubs questions in front of millions and millions of voters like he did on hugh hewitt's show, i think that could be a problem. but everything else that would be problem for any other candidate does not apply to donald trump. >> great to have you here with us. thank you all so much for being here. do not forget, the big cnn republican debate here at the reagan library. it is wednesday night, the main debate 8:00. the first debate begins at 6:00. we will be here all day beforehand. do not miss a single second of it. we'll be right back.
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welcome back to "the lead." we are following breaking news in our national lead. a professor at mississippi delta state's university shot in the head, killed. the gunman still at large as the campus remains on lockdown with classes for tomorrow canceled. just last hour police said they now have a person of interest in their sights. let's get right to cnn's alina. >> reporter: that person of interest has been identified as shannon lamb. he is an employee at delta state university in mississippi. according to his facebook page he finished his ph.d. at delta state in july and had been teaching there for seven years. what we don't know is what is his connection to the professor who was shot and killed on campus this morning. authorities have identified that professor, the victim of the
shooting, as ethan schmidt. the deputy coroner tells us he was found in his office shot in the head at least once. no gun recovered from the scene though investigators did find two shell casings. we've also learned that authorities in gautier, mississippi, some 300 miles from the campus, they're investigating another homicide that happened there this morning. they say shannon lamb is also wanted in that killing. he was last seen driving a green suv, john. >> all right. tell me about the law enforcement presence on the ground in that state in that town right now? what are they doing to try to hunt down this gunman? >> reporter: well, they're asking the public for help. they're chasing down every lead they can. authorities on campus quickly established a lockdown. they asked students and faculty to stay in place and stay away from windows as they went through buildings and cleared them. earlier this afternoon they said they did not believe the suspect was still on campus, but they were still taking every
precaution they could to keep people safe, john. >> and what more do we know about the professor who was killed? >> reporter: well, we know schmidt was a professor of history at delta state according to his bio on the university's website. he completed his ph.d. at the university of kansas in 2007. and his first book was just published last year. a university spokesperson says this community is in mourning after losing this beloved professor. classes as you mentioned have been canceled tonight and tomorrow. and we've learned counselors will be there on site to help people coping with the loss, john. >> still so many questions. alina, thank you so much. turning now back to our politics lead. whose house? at least for one night ronald reagan's presidential library is cnn's house to share. athena jones, show us around the debate stage. very, very interesting setup.
>> reporter: it is, john. i've been calling this the coolest debate set ever. i bet a lot of our viewers will agree. take a look over here. this is air force one. it is the air force one that president ronald reagan flew on. cnn has built this entire platform, this entire stage. it's three stories high. crews have spent weeks doing steve overmyer they can showcase that plane. that plane will be behind the candidates providing the background during the debate. if you sweep over here you can see that it's a pretty intimate setup here. fewer than 500 people are going to be in this audience. you can see people are still working. i like to say the t in television newsstands for team. we have teams working here. they've been practicing all day. but 500 people in this audience is very, very different from the first debate where there were thousands of people. this is much more intimate. and so that could certainly shape how the candidates interact with each other, how much they're willing to really go at each other. i should tell you the audience will be made up of guests of the ronald reagan library invitees
of the library. and also there are republican national committee. and a few of the folks in the audience will be invited by the campaigns themselves. there will be 13 cameras. this is one of the giant cameras that will be in operation two nights from now. it's going to be an exciting scene on this very unique stage. john. >> yeah, it is. you have that plane you see it right there that ronald reagan used air force one. and the aura. more in national lead today, most destructive wildfire of the summer and it is exploding in size by the hour. homes destroyed, one person dead, now hundreds of people race for cover as flames inch closer to their land.
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today, thousands are fleeing for their lives north of here as devastating wildfires rip through more than 100,000 acres in parts of california. officials say just 5% of the fire you're looking at right there, the valley fire, is contained. you can see the cars surrounded by flames on either side of the road as it tries to escape that situation. flames swallowing up hundreds of homes. and we now know at least one person has been killed as a result of these fires. i want to get right to cnn's dan simon who is on the ground in middletown, california. dan, oh, my goodness. the devastation just looks awful. >> reporter: yeah, john, i suppose there are lots of metaphors you could use to describe this scene. i think it looks like a bomb went off. just look at this vehicle. that is ridiculous. that gives you an idea of just how hot this fire got. and i have to tell you within the past few minutes we've seen the winds pick up. that is exactly what we do not
need. you can see the flare-up there behind this is what is called a fuel-driven fire. there is just so much that can be burnt. with hundreds of homes destroyed, the massive valley wildfire has become the most destructive blaze of the summer in the parched west. the fire has burned more than 60,000 acres. the conditions so terrible that the governor has declared a state of emergency for four counties. >> these fires will take lives. and they will cause injuries. and we have to do the best we can because we are really in a battle with nature that nature is more powerful than we are. >> we don't see an end in fire season for the months to come. we're planning for that. we're in this for the long haul. we are continuing to use all of the resources at our disposal. governor brown provided some additional funding. >> reporter: the fire a hundred miles west of sacramento spread so fast that people had very little time to evacuate. >> everything behind the gas
station is gone. the school's gone. store's gone. >> reporter: and that wasn't the only fire to hit northern california. 70 miles east of sacramento another wildfire has grown to more than 70,000 acres and still threatening thousands of structures. together the two fires have destroyed well more than 500 homes. >> being with everybody that's going through the same thing makes us feel like we actually have a family right here with us. you know, besides our immediate family. >> reporter: at the napa county fairgrounds evacuees set up what looks like a tent city. melissa and her four children wondering if their house is still standing. >> i just want to go home, if i have a home anymore. >> reporter: what do you think the chances are? >> not good. i don't think there is anything left. >> reporter: about 5,500 firefighters are working to save the homes, but after four years of drought the area remains a tinderbox with what seems like an unlimited supply of highly
flammable fuel. and this fire is just 5% contained, so crews have a lot of work to do. and, john, we can also tell you that authorities have confirmed the first fatality. we don't know the circumstances of how that person died, but it's possible there could be some others because we know that others have been reported missing. john. >> all right. dan, tough images to see. please stay safe up there. thanks so much. next, back inside the ronald reagan presidential library. how it documents the life of this late american leader, plus the special stash of food reagan always had stocked on air force one. people don't have to think about
but the stage on which candidates debate, it doesn't just magically appear. our jake tapper got a behind the scenes look at all the preparations. >> the debate may still be days away, but it is all systems go here at the ronald reagan library. this is it, the stage where all the magic is going to happen on wednesday night at the ronald reagan museum and library. you can see and hear workers getting the stage ready. normally this floor doesn't even exist here. we're all getting prepared for what could be a momentous evening in presidential politics. the republican candidates will have this as their backdrop, air force one. >> this is the plane that flew president reagan for all eight years of his administration. >> reporter: it's one of many impressive pieces of presidential memorabilia on display here at the reagan library. library spokesperson melissa giller says air force one was always fully stocked. was there anything on there that was particular to president reagan? >> there sure was. he loved chocolate cake. so aboard every single flight
there was a chocolate cake in the back alley, not just because he loved them but just in case someone whispered at some point in time did you know it's jake's birthday they could come out and sing happy birthday. >> paying respects to our 40th president, he was laid here to rest in his beloved california facing westward so he can forever look out towards the pacific. this is real? >> a real piece of the berlin wall came down in 1991. ronald reagan was here when we received the piece. >> inside the museum an exact replica of reagan's oval office complete with a jar of jelly beans or jelly bellies he always kept on hand. it was a way -- >> he gave up smoking. >> gave up smoking. so whenever he had a fix -- >> he had jelly bellies everywhere. >> the plane, the oval, trappings of the very office. the candidates will be battling to reach wednesday night. i'm jake tapper for cnn in simi
valley, california. >> and reminder the republican presidential debate is wednesday night. coverage starts at 6:00 p.m. eastern. the winner gets all the jelly beans. jake tapper will be moderating. that is all for "the lead" today. i turn you over to brianna keilar in for wolf blitzer in "the situation room." happening now, thumping trump is the republican presidential candidates head into a make or break debate on cnn. new polls show donald trump soaring over all of his rivals. we're getting details about who is planning these strategies to take him down. and will it be enough? or is trump about to send more of his rivals to the sidelines? fast moving flames, california fire crews struggle to cope as wildfires force thousands to flee and reduces hundreds of homes to ashes as states of emergency are declared in county after county. does california have the resources to cope with what may