tv The Lead With Jake Tapper CNN December 11, 2015 1:00pm-2:01pm PST
cnn.com/mothers. christ christie tuy turlington burns, to meet you. i'm brooke baldwin. see you back on monday. in the meantime, "the lead" with jim sciutto starts right now. thank you, brooke. oil is tanking and the dow takes a dive. "the lead" starts right now. republicans readying for battle with donald trump and now dr. ben carson, both threatening to bolt the gop. what could be left of the party after the convention? he has a big for a lifetime on a court that impacts every one of us but did justice antonin scalia suggest some black students belong in slower colleges? we now have the audiotape. plus, isis missile quest. fire power that could bring down a passenger plane. i become the first reporter on the ground of a super secret u.s. rocket facility and get my hands on weapons that isis desperately wants.
and breaking news now as we begin with our money lead. a very rough day on wall street. the dow jones plunging more than 300 points. oil prices now at their lowest level in years. our christina alesci is covering the markets for us. christina, today really the latest in a string of bad days on wall street. what's happening? >> well, it's not just a series of bad days on wall street, it's a bad month and that is significant because december we usually get a santa claus rally. we usually see stocks go up and here we have a down month across all three major indexes and you hate the nail on the head. a lot of this is driven by the collapse in oil prices, that's making investors really nervous. also we got a check on the health of the american consumer today and it was weaker-than-expected retail numbers that also made investors a little bit shaky. then the professionals were
quite nervous about a small investment fund that announced plans to liquidate and that's got some professional traders and economists really worried about a potential meltdown in the bond market. now, the big question is what happens from here? a lot of that rests on what's going to happen with the fed next week. there's a big meeting. we'll get comments from the fed on wednesday and the belief here is if the fed does a gradual increase in rates, that would give some people in the morkt confidence that the fed thinks the economy is actually headed in the right direction, jim. >> lots of bad news in there. christine alesci, thanks for that. politics now. is the republican party on the verge of splitting in two? the front-runner is threatening again to secede from the gop and if things keep going the way they are, the party could never be the same. party leaders quietly met and discussed so called brokered convention. the last time republicans
battled all the way down to the wire was 1976, a floor fight is maybe the only way for the party to negotiate itself out of a trump nomination. but now it's no longer just the businessman threatening to abandon the party. cnn's senior washington correspondent jeff zeleny is in des moines, iowa. jeff, dr. ben carson has now made a similar threat that he may jump ship adds well? >> he has, jim. this big tent of the republican party is facing a big test just 52 days before the iowa caucuses. but as gop leaders fret about donald trump becoming the nominee, senator ted cruz is doing some not so secret maneuvering to be in position if trump falls. tri trump, still comfortably on top of the republican field, has a new rival nipping at his heels. for the first time, ted cruz signalled his plan at a closed-door fund-raiser to take on trump and ben carson.
>> i believe gravity will bring both of those campaigns down. i think the lion's share of their supporters come to us. >> reporter: a recording of cruz given to the "new york times" offers a behind-the-scenes look at his strategy to try what's eluded other republicans -- taking down trump. >> people are looking for who is prepared to be a commander-in-chief. that's a question of strength but it's also a question of judgment and i think that is a question that is a challenging question for both of them. >> reporter: cruz has been one of the few republicans unwilling to tangle with the billionaire front-runner. as cruz tried to contain the furor after his private words went public, he tweeted "the establishment's only hope, trump and me in a cage match. sorry to disappoint, donald trump is terrific." trump, appearing tonight in iowa, said he'll return fire. "looks like ted cruz is getting ready to attack. i am leading by so much he must. i hope so, he will fall like all others. will be easy." it's a moment trump's been waiting for. >> he's been so supportive but
at some point he's going to have to hit me, right? it's going to be a sad day but we will hit back, i promise. >> reporter: the latest skirmish comes as republicans worry whether they can stop trump. party leaders discuss preparing for a contested convention at a private meeting this week in washington. ben carson said any back-room deals could push he and trump from the party. in a statement today he said "if this was the beginning of a plan to subvert the will of the voters and replace it with the will of the political elite, i assure you donald trump won't be the only one leaving the party." the republican national committee said there was no reason for worry. >> republican voters will choose the delegates that go to the convention in cleveland next july. those people will decide the nominee. that's it. bottom line, plain and simple. >> reporter: the party is trying to bring order to the chaotic race as other candidates hope to gain traction. supporters of ohio governor john kasich launched a new online effort to put a stake in trump. >> trump steaks are the best
tasting flavorful beef you ever had. >> reporter: mocking one of the mogul's old businesses, trump steaks. but a new poll in new hampshire shows trump at 27% followed by chris christie 1259% and marco rubio at 11%. now, trump's muslim plan remains deeply controversy. a new poll today says six in ten americans believe the u.s. should not block muslims from entering the country. now, trump and national security will be center stage at the last republican debate of the year in just a few days in las vegas. jim, that's going to be central to how this race continues as it enters the new year. >> no question. right here on cnn in four days. jeff zeleny in des moines, iowa. thank you. i want to talk more about 2016 with kevin madden, he was senior advisor to mitt romney's presidential campaigns, also here's cnn political commentator maria cardona, a democrat. welcome, great to have you on. kevin, you have to look far back for precedent, '76 the last contested republican convention.
you have to go back to '48 for a brokered one, multiple votes, trading of horses, et cetera. is this a real possibility? >> look in this cycle i'm not going to rule anything. there's been a lot of strange things that have happened but i think it's still very highly unlikely and i this i a lot is made -- there's a hypersensitivity to the maneuvering going on right now but i think too much was made of this particular story. the idea that reince priebus and a bunch of people he knows really well for a long time in a public restaurant are having conversations about how they're going to build a brokered convention? i don't think that that is what's happening. i think there are conversations about possible scenarios going on throughout the party but i think it's unlikely. remember, we haven't had one vote yet. there are still a bunch of delegates and a bunch of voters who will decide who the candidates are before we get to that point. >> does this at least show, though -- we have to acknowledge there have been a lot of surprises, every month for seven or eight months people have said this is going to die out.
>> nothing surprises me. >> does it at least show the level of nervousness or discomfort among party leaders with the idea trump could win this thing? >> i think that's absolutely right. you're seeing an increasing level of chatter amongst the folks inside the party apparatus about some of these possibilities becoming more of a -- they're having more potential than ever in the past and therefore they are looking at it. i still think it's too soon. >> maria, the conventional wisdom is democrats are watching this as they salivate. republicans beating each other up. that's the conventional wisdom, it benefits the democrats. but let's be honest, what is clear about the electorate this cycle is there's a throw the bums out mentality, no question. that's not new but it seems to have reached a fever pitch right now. do you think that conventional wisdom is overdone? does this necessarily ensure the hillary clinton presidency? >> nothing ensures anything at
this point, jim. to kevin's point, every single thing that we have thought was conventional wisdom has been out the window. but i will say to the point about the nervousness of the republican party that trump could be the nominee given that he is ahead by more than double digits, 20 points in some national polls, by a lot in these early states i think does betray the nervousness and anxiety that has become palpable panic at this point. because there is talk of a brokered convention when there is a candidate that is so far ahead. they're not close so i think this underscores how nervous they are. now, if he is the nominee, i think either -- whatever happens i think hillary clinton will win. i don't believe it will be easy because whoever comes out as the nominee from the republican party, this is still a very divided country. but the reality is, if trump is the nominee and he becomes the nominee with most of the people -- >> higher and higher unfavorables than hillary clinton. >> higher unfavorables than hillary. and what hillary clinton does
have going for her is that she has huge favorables within her own party. democrats underscore how much they like her. she's up at 80%. donald trump is very low in those ratings. that's the beginning of winning a general election. >> so we talk about the fissure between the trump/carson republican party and the establishment republican party but you have this other now brewing fire fight between trump and cruz, right? that kind of thing and trump pushing back against him. how do you expect trump to take on cruz as a target? >> well, look, donald trump right now, i think his main strategy this entire time when he decides to go against one of his opponents is to throw everything. i'd expect the first thing you would see would be a contrast on immigration. cruz has -- in many of the same ways marco rubio has tried to draw a contrast, he's had differing positions on the question of pathway to citizenship. so i would expect he'd try to introduce new information which
is always devastating at this point in a campaign when voters are starting to make up their minds. >> final thought? >> i think that what donald trump has going for him that he can use against ted cruz is that ted cruz is part of the establishment. he is a current senator. >> i think that's hard. that's hard. >> but even as the establishment here doesn't like him, donald trump can use that against him because what is in donald trump's sfaifavor. the rank-and-file are with him. >> and getting stronger. maria, kevin, thank you for being on. >> thank you so much. we are four days away from the next republican debate. you can see it on cnn next tuesday night at 8:30 p.m. eastern time. this has been an unpredictable election. we want to know what you think will happen. go to cnn.com/play. you can make predictions and enter for a trip to join cnn in florida at the republican debate in march. the supreme court justice under fire because of comments
about black students and affirmative action. we've heard about what he said, now we're hearing his words. the tape from inside the supreme court right after this. fettucini with chicken mariand broccoli withs her tender white meat chicken and freshly-made pasta mixed in an alfredo sauce made-from-scratch. because she knows that the most comforting thing about comfort food, is who you're sharing it with. marie callender's. it's time to savor.
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welcome back to "the lead." supreme court justice antonin scalia provoked outrage with comments during an affirmative action case. cnn has obtained the audio of those remarks and in this clip, scalia is questioning an attorney for the university of texas who is defending that university's use of race in a factor in admissions. >> there are those who contend that it does not benefit african-americans to get them into the university of texas where they do not do well as opposed to having them go to a
less advanced school, a less -- a slower track school where they do well. one of the briefs pointed out that most of the black scientists in this country don't come from schools like the university of texas. they come from lesser schools where they do not feel that they're bishop pushed ahead in classes that are too fast for them. so i'm just not impressed by the fact that the university of texas may have fewer. maybe it ought to have fewer. joining us for more on those remarks, senior legal analyst jeffrey toobin, the president of jew dish warble, and "washington post" columnist in clinton yates. jeff, i want to start with you. to give us more context on this so-called mismatch theory justice scalia is referring to but also the argument we've been hearing is that he was putting that theory out there as opposed to advocating for that theory.
>> well, this is a theory that was put before the court for very specifically in a brief and as you said it's called mismatch and the idea is that african-american students who are the beneficiaries of affirmative action supposedly do better if they go to less selective schools, they graduate more often, they get more professional degrees from there than from the more selective schools like the university of texas at austin. let me just say that is a very controversial theory. there are many people who are more -- who view the same statistics as supporting affirmative action at schools like the university of texas. but to be fair to justice scalia, he is referring to an argument that is already before the court. >> just to go over this language again, to be clear, these comments have sparked some very
serious outrage. they come from lesser schools, says justice scalia, where they do not feel they're being pushed ahead in classes that are too fast for them. when i hear that and read that, paternalistic is the word that comes to mind. do you buy the argument that, hey, this is part of a -- it's a supreme court argument, he's posit ago ne positing a theory that is throughout? >> i'll buy it for scalia specifically but not itself. we're talking about a supreme court justice. if he's out there putting these ideas into the regular vernacular of what we discuss what should or should not be in higher education, the people deciding who should be going to schools, guidance counselors high, school teachers, the people actually important along the line are going to listen to that and understand it as reasonable. that's where the real problem is to me. scalia has said a million outrageous things in his career but putting it out there as if it's a natural part of how we think, no, there's no proof for this theory and that's the problem. >> tom, i know you believe the backlash against justice scalia has been overdone. why is that?
>> well, it's overdone because it's baseless and known to be baseless. >> what? the outrage is baseless? >> the outrage is pretend outrage. we have proponents of racial discrimination attacking a justice who says government shouldn't racially discriminate even for supposedly good reasons and he points out and there have been no -- there's no dispute to the studies, no serious dispute to the studies that rieshl minorities in selective schools where they're placed in the schools because of their race and as a result are placed in a lower part of the class don't do as well as racial minorities who go to schools where they're placed not because of their race but because of their grades and they end up in the middle or the high end of their class, those minorities do better. and racial quos hurt we do as h minorities that are cited in the brief, some from the u.s. commercial on civil rights. >> i've read those studies and jeff i want you to comment because you know this better than me, studies that very much
contest that argument that black students do better in effect amongst their own. jeffrey, i wonder what your view is. >> those studies exist as well. it's important to put this argument in context. justice scalia and certainly justice clarence thomas have argued for many, many years that affirmative action hurts african-americans. that it creates problems for them. they are very much in the minority in that view, especially among african-americans so this idea that justice scalia is putting forward is that, no, no, i'm the real friend of black people because i'm the one that wants to put them a school where they'll go better, that's an argument that's been made many times and remains very controversial, especially among the people who are the subject of that argument. >> it's particularly ridiculous because you're implying that not giving people a chance is a bert
idea than giving them a chance. the reason why people don't do as well in schools is almost as much because of the support system of the institution itself. when schools are not just weed out systems and they're supporting the students that are there, hello, including those who aren't necessarily in the same amount of privilege as others, people are do better. it's a matter of not just the student but the environment they're in and what they learn and the people around them. >> tom, what's your response? >> this is a racially discriminatory policy that the university of texas is trying to defend and the suggest that racial discrimination benefits the beneficiaries ought to be unsurprising to anybody. and those who support these racially discriminatory policies don't like to answer for the impact and the stigma it brings and there are real world impacts that you're in the school for whatever reason, you're not there not because of your credentials but because you had a leg up because of your race and you're placed in situations that change the outcome of your academic career and the big lie is that this benefits minorities
and it's no surprise that when we highlight the studies, however controversial, among african-american leadership who are almost uniform in thinking irrespective of the evidence, that's no surprise. we have a political aprech to th -- approach to this and scalia has a legal academic approach. >> jeff, you want to pipe in. >> well, you know, you can certainly understand why african-americans and many others are somewhat surprised that antonin scalia knows better what's good for african-americans rather than, say, the naacp legal defense fund. >> that isn't what he said, jeffrey. come on. that isn't what he said. he highlighted academic studies showing these policies don't help african-americans and maybe hurt them. >> you talked about the big lie. >> it's not the big lie. the big truth is that the disadvantages that you refer to in terms of various legs up for whatever reason, be that you're the kid of somebody, you play a support.
black people deal with those everyday in every walk of life. >> we're trying to compress a difficult issue into five minutes. it's a good start. we'll keep the conversation up. i want to thank you, tom, clinton and jeff in new york for helping us get this started. thanks so much. there was a computer missing from the home of the couple behind the san bernardino terror massacre. is it in this lake? the latest on that underwater search for clues going on right now as we speak. also, isis possible in possession of their most dangerous weapon yet, a passport printing machine. what u.s. intelligence is saying right after this. denied to many south africans for generations. this is an opportunity to right that wrong. the idea was to bring capital into the affordable housing space in south africa, with a fund that offers families of modest income safe and good accommodation.
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welcome back to "the lead." today, the investigation tracing the steps of the terrorist couple who dropped their baby off before murdering 14 people. right now a dive team is combing through a murky lake in san bernardino. they are looking for a hard drive or any evidence that would help explain how syed rizwan farook and his wife tashfeen malik killed those 14 people last week. did the couple work with a wider terror ring to plan their attack? did they take orders from a foreign group overseas? cnn justice correspondent pamela brown has been in touch with her sources. pamela, what's new in the investigation. >> we're learning, jim, that an fbi investigator is believed that before the shooting attack the killers visited that nearby park where divers are doing the painstaking job of searching the lake looking for items that the attackers may have thrown away. among the items the divers are a searching for is a computer hard drive that investigators believe the shooters removed from the home in an attempt to hide their
tracks. >> reporter: an fbi team in its second day of searching this lake near the san bernardino shooting scene hoping to find crucial evidence including the hard drive missing from the couple's computer. >> we did have a lead that indicated that the subjects came into this area and we're seeking evidence of anything that had to do with this particular crime. >> reporter: investigators are now trying to figure out who the couple might have planned to attack next given the stockpile of explosives and ammunition found at the couple's home following the attack. >> what happened in the four hours between the attack and the time these people were killed? they did something during that period. second gig question is who else were that in touch with? they destroyed their cell phones. we don't have evidence they were in touch with a cell or other terrorists around the country or the world but why did they destroy their cell phones and their computer hard drives? >> reporter: investigators say farook became radicalized at least four years ago but it was
only after the san bernardino athat can the fbi discovered that farook had ties to a radicalized group arrested in 2012 in riverside, california. the group planned to kill members of the u.s. military in afghanistan. farook's friend enrique marquez told investigators the arrest of the group is what caused him and farook to abandon their plans to launch their own attack that same year. >> we don't know if this was completely lost and the fbi never saw it or we don't know if they saw some links but didn't have the resources to look at what farook was doing. >> reporter: tonight, cnn has learned the fbi is moving away from the idea a workplace dispute that day is what caused the couple to target farook's office when they did. >> it certainly is very possible that they had other targets in mind, either that day or in the future so what set them off that particular day i don't think we know. >> and one reason investigators are moving away from the spur of the moment work dispute theory is because on the day of the attack the couple drove an suv
they rented before that day. no conclusions have been made and investigators remain puzzled about why the office became the target that day. also adding to this theory that it wasn't spur of the moment was witness interviews as well. you remember initially the thought was that there was this dispute that happened that day but now they're looking at something more long-term at the party. >> there are a lot of real questions that remain, it'sespe during that gap between when the shooting happened and when they were killed. >> pamela brown, thanks for joining us. counterterrorism analyst philip mudd joining me now. one of the most fascinating things about this is marquez at this point, right? he plots with farook several years ago. they get spooked, don't do the attack and then he's bought these guns already for farook as well. the idea he suddenly fell out of jihad and wasn't involved, does
that strike you as far fetched? >> there's a couple basic questions here. in cases like this when someone goes down the path not only of radicalization, we put together radicalization and choosing to commit an act of violence, we have both here. radicalization and plotting in 2012. we're supposing that reason is taken that leap toward planning a plot that after being spooked by arrests of some locals they said "i'm never in it again. i don't buy it." the second question i have and the question we haven't determined the answer to is has the fbi picked up his hard drive, his cell phones to say was there contact between 2012 and the 2015 with farook? because to suggest not only that they didn't plot further but that there was no further contact seems farfetched. >> can you get those from marquez without charging him as a person of interest? >> i would walk in the room and say "you're under suspicion, you were admitting you were conspiring, a federal violation, in an attack, give us your information." i'd like to see who was talking to him.
>> how important is the hard drive they're looking for now? terms of -- well, answering these questions but also the question about international terrorist groups, et cetera. >> i think it's critically important because in contrast to cases where you're following the case, you allow it as an fbi investigator to go so far down the path, we don't know who's participating or the target. let's say we find the hard drive, one of the critical questions that is unanswered. you go through a radicalization process we know for years. you're married to a spouse who went through that process with you. you've seen terrorist actors over 15 years starting with the 9/11 attacks who've chosen targets like that twin towers and you end up with a county meeting. i want the hard drive to see, for example, have there been google searches at targets that might have been what he was looking at. >> either primary or possibly secondary after you hit the
community center where you had this connection. philip mudd, thank you very much. it happens to be your birthday today. thank you for joining us on your birthday. >> 21 happy years. >> don't look a day over 19. phil mudd, thanks very much. it's like a golden ticket for a terrorist, a fool-proof fake u.s. passport. u.s. intelligence is warning that isis may be printing them at will. that alarming story after this.
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welcome back to "the lead," i'm jim sciutto in for jake tapper. a major warning about a new potential threat from isis. sources tell cnn the terrorist group has demonstrated the ability to produce fraudulent passport which is could make tracking terrorist travel between certain countries much more difficult. let's get to aviation correspondent rene marsh tracking late breaking details. they have an actual machine, stolen, i imagine, that makes
passports? >> a law enforcement official giving me details about what is in the report. it warns isis may have access to a syrian government passport print magazine and boxes of blank passports. the report says someone with a fake document may have entered the u.s. but there's no hard evidence of that at this point. what's concerning for homeland security officials is these phony passports allow terrorists to hide their overseas travel. foreign fighters can come and go undetected. >> >> reporter: the new u.s. intelligence report warns isis in syria may have the capability to create fake passports for travel overseas. >> part of the territory they took over happened to have a building where the syrians processed passports so they have blank passports and the means to print and fake them. this is obvious level of concern we have to pay attention to. >> reporter: u.s. officials are also concerned isis may have
access to biographical data and fingerprints for syrian citizens that could be used for phony identifications. >> the intelligence community is concerned that they have the ability -- the capability to manufacture fraudulent passports which is a concern in any setting. > reporter: following the paris attacks, investigators found fraudulent syrian passports on two of the terrorists. the u.s. government has since expanded its efforts to flag to other countries suspected documents terrorists could exploit to travel. today state department spokesman john kirby said the department has been aware for some time about the terror group's passport making capabilities. >> we have been aware of reports not just in the press that they may have obtained this capability. obviously it's something that we take seriously. >> reporter: these individuals can not travel to the united
states using a passport alone. they'd need a visa. in order to get a visa, they need to be screened by the state department which includes fingerprints. but all that goes without saying that this is a fundamental travel document and wherever fakes are used to circumvent the legal process there's going to be a concern. >> we talked about how they're a functioning state. they behave like a government and they are printing passports like a government. ren m rene marsh, thanks very much. up next, an exclusive look at a top secret operation. the missile and space intelligence center. i'll show you the arsenal of weapons isis desperately wants and how they are being used to stay ahead of the terrorists. and the "new yorker's" clever cartoons that add a touch of humor to difficult situations. just how does the magazine select which artists make the cut every week? inside that decision-making process ahead. rheumatoid arthritis like me, and you're talking to your rheumatologist about a biologic... this is humira.
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i got exclusive access to america's own rocket program at the military's missile and space intelligence center and saw their arsenal of dangerous foreign weapons. it's a stash they say might come in handy as they try to stay a step ahead of groups like isis. a passenger plane headed from the netherlands to malaysia falls from the sky. malaysia irelines flight mh-17 brought down by russian-backed rebels using this surface-to-air missile system known as the buk. the ramifications of the strike far-reaching and incredibly alarming. because of who may be trying to obtain similar missiles now is there any concern today terrorist groups would have their hands on something like this? >> i think it's probably safe to assume at some level there are efforts under way. >> folks back home will say my god, look at that missile, can a group like isis get their hands on it?
>> it would not be impossible but we would say there will need to be training involved? >> mark clark is the director of the missile and space intelligence center, a branch of the military's own defense intelligence agency, or dia, located far from iraq and afghanistan in huntsville, alabama, the home of america's own rocket program. filling the agency's grounds are a rogue's gallery of dangerous foreign weapons, some captured, some purchased, some acquired by means the dia won't reveal. so to help train pilots and other war fighters who might come into contact with a weapons system like this in a combat situation they keep these systems operational. this is a fully functioning scud missile. proliferation of missile technology preoccupies analysts here more than any other threat. >> we have greater concerns about the smaller missile threats and the likelihood of the proliferation of those.
>> small only in size, but not in capability. so the sa-7. >> there have been over a million produced, not only this one but other kinds and there's hundreds of thousands of them out there. >> today shoulder-fired missiles have targeted some 60 civilian aircraft and you can buy them on the black market for just a few thousand dollars. one of the main dangers of a missile like this is both speed but also ease, that someone like me with no experience can put it together and acquire a target in less than a minute. sights go up, power goes on, you find your target in the air and you fire your missile. it's incredible. often the agency here comes into action after rather than before
an attack. this is the first time a reporter has been allowed inside the center's technical analysis room. so it's a csi for the combat space? >> it's a csi forensic sort of capability. similar to a crime scene investigation. a little bit of dna here and a fingerprint there pieces together a pretty compelling story. >> within minutes of mh-17 sprang into action. desperate to as quickly as possible determine the cause of the crash. as luck would have it, they had visitors that day who could help. >> a group of representatives from across the intelligence community who do just this kind of analysis. we had them here in the building. >> so all those experts just happened to be here on that day. >> just happened timing wise to work out that way. >> as the outside world debated the cause, the dia had a likely suspect. >> within an hour and a half we were confident it was a missile that shot it down, a surface-to-air missile that shot it down. we had a fair idea of this one,
although we still had home work to do. >> home work done at lightning speed. within hours they were confident they had pinpointed the murder weapon and the perpetrators, telling president obama that russian-backed separatists had fired a russian-made missile that sent nearly 300 people plunging to their deaths. >> they had their suspect in 90 minutes and within hours they could say who shot it down where and with what. it was incredible to watch. coming up, the world's most controversial, most shocking, most provocative topics simplified in witty cartoons. now the story behind some of those drawings. that's next in our pop lead. esss brought personal computers to the home? totally. ...and then intel made them more efficient so that you could fit all this into a laptop... tight. real tight. ...and then they helped bring wifi to everybody... whatever that is. c'mon, c'mon. ...and now intel's best processor ever is here! which helps pcs do things you never thought possible.
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tand that's what we're doings to chat xfinity.rself, we are challenging ourselves to improve every aspect of your experience. and this includes our commitment to being on time. every time. that's why if we're ever late for an appointment, we'll credit your account $20. it's our promise to you. we're doing everything we can to give you the best experience possible. because we should fit into your life. not the other way around. welcome back to "the lead." in our pop lead today, the fabled "new yorker" is serious business for some cartoonists, or at least very semiserious.
every week, nearly 1,000 cart n cartoons are submitted but only the best, the funniest, the it withiest 15 get picked to be published in the press times you magazine and the man who calls the shots is bob mankoff, he's the cartoon editor and he has been a cartoonist for a long time. he's giving us a look in an hbo documentary "very semiserious, a partially thorough portrait of new yorker cartoonists." i've watched it. bob, great to have you on today. i have to say, i'll admit that i've been reading these since i was a kid in my parents' magazines and i wonder, there's a great line you have in the documentary. you say the key to humor is make the strange familiar and familiar strange. i wonder, there's something particular about "new yorker" cartoons that make them "new yorker" cartoons. can you kricrystal size that? what makes its a "new yorker" cartoon? >> when a new cartoonist comes
in and sees me i say "don't try to do cartoons for the "new yorker," try to do the cartoons you like, hope we like them and hope the readers like them." so there's know focus grouping of it. it's cartoonists doing what they want and we're trying to select the best they do. so i think it's really unusual in our society where everything is focus group and there's an awful lot of overthinking of things. we like to have the cartoonist do the thinking and be funny at the same time. >> we saw in paris with the attacks on "charlie hebdo" that cartoons can be in the center of the political conversation. even violence in that case. the "new yorker," you watch it through tragedies like 9/11 and the attacks in paris and often those cartoons often comment on the time. how do you manage that balance of handling tragedy with humor? >> i think you wait a bit, for
one thing. you know, there is something to soon. i'm an absolutist for free speech but not necessarily at all times and at all places so one of the things that cartoons do is, look, i just looked at those two stories that you told about isis getting passports and rockets so the world is so fearful. so one of the things they do, and when it's fearful we become polarize sod one of the things the cartoons let us do just by laughing is by making us less fearful and by making us less fearful we can make better decisions. >> god knows that that's important today. one thing that's changed over time, and you've even commented about this. at least the cartoon it's white men. that's changing recently. how do you see that reflected in the art work then? >> well, for one thing more women are coming in into the magazine. there's enormous push for
diversity, as there should be everywhere and that's true in cartooning at the "new yorker." so we want to definitely reach out to people of color, different ethnicities, that can't necessarily happen overnight but it's very important for us. david remnick has pushed that throughout the magazine that it happens with the car spoons as well as everything else in the magazine and in society. >> so there's a little bit of a par lhor game out there as to whether it's possible that one caption could fit every "new yorker" cartoon ever and one that's been posited is "hello, i'd like to add you to my professional network on linked in." do you think there is one? >> and by the way, jim, i would like to add you to my professional network. >> i accept. >> you'll be getting an e-mail. well, that's not a bad one and that's a funny story because when that came out, i printed it on the batch of cartoons i show
david remnick to pick for the magazine. he wasn't aware of that meme, he said "what the heck is this?" i told him about it and we printed one in the magazine. >> bob mankoff, thank you very much. that hbo democrat tear film "very semiserious, a partially thorough portrait of new yorker cartooni cartoonists" will debut on hbo. hbo is part of time warner which is our parent company. this weekend with state of the union, jake sits down with donald trump, that's sunday at 9:00 a.m. and at noon. that's it for "the lead." i turn you over to the capable hands of brianna keilar in for wolf blitzer in the situation room. happening now, diving for clues as fbi searchers painstakingly go through a lake near the seen of the san bernardino mass massacre, other investigators are focusing on the killer's friend who bought the rifles and my know more about terror plots and sleeper