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More Bowe Bergdahl Analysis; Hillary Clinton Opens Up To "People" Magazine; American Dream Out Of Reach?; Underwater Sound Related To Flight 370?

Aired June 4, 2014 - 16:30   ET


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Now, there is a certain conservative media outlet that has really latched on to this story and not in the way that I think other mainstream news organizations are doing it, but in a different way. Take a look. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And again, we don't know all of the facts of the actions of Bergdahl's father also raising some questions.

BILL O'REILLY, FOX NEWS: He has learned to speak Pashto, the language of the Taliban, and looks like a Muslim. He's also somewhat sympathetic to Islam, actually thanking Allah right in front of the president.


TAPPER: Ron, what do you make of all that?

RON FOURNIER, EDITORIAL DIRECTOR, NATIONAL JOURNAL: He looks more like Duck Dynasty to me than the Taliban.

TAPPER: Or some of the soldiers after they get out of the Army and grow those beards.

FOURNIER: That's asinine. The real issue here, obviously, is we had to get this guy out. No matter what kind of actor he was, whether he was a deserter, whether he was a traitor, he's an American soldier who we had to get out for a lot of reasons, humanitarian and national security.

So then the question is, how do we get him out? Can we do it militarily? No, we couldn't. So the president cuts a deal. That's a tough decision he has to make. History is going to tell us whether or not it was a good decision. We don't know until we see what happens to these five terrorists who we let go to get the soldier out. Will they end up six months from now in retirement, will they be back in a battlefield, will they be five, six feet under, or the wrong end of a drone strike? That's really the issue here. Everything else is political noise that both sides are making to their disgrace.

TAPPER: There has been a lot of recidivism, we should point out. A lot of these people, under Bush and Obama, have been released and not a majority of them -- but some, a significant number of them -- have ended up back on the battle feel. So, those questions, I think, are fair to ask.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think they're completely legitimate questions, and I think the question that I have is, why wasn't the White House having this discussion with members of Congress, like his own Democratic -- emphasizing Democratic chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Dianne Feinstein?

TAPPER: Why wasn't he?

BORGER: Well, I think it's that they knew they were going to get pushback.

TAPPER: The way that Rob Portman just said. Senator Portman said, they would have come to us and we would have said it's a horrible deal.

BORGER: Sometimes you don't ask the question because you don't want the answer.

TAPPER: Right.

BORGER: It's easier to apologize -- right?

TAPPER: Right.

BORGER: So, I -- I -- I would argue, you know, this is an issue that ongoing for a couple of years. There were lots of discussions, internally within the West Wing, also with Capitol Hill. This is a West Wing on foreign policy, as you know, that very often acts unilaterally, not big on consultation. And the president made this decision, the war in Afghanistan's closing down, and ends two wars, got everybody out.

FOURNIER: That was mistake one, causing political enemies on the Hill, including in his own party. Mistake two was having the national security adviser, who helped lengthen the Benghazi story two years ago with inaccurate spin, come out and say that this is a soldier who served with honor and distinction, something all of the evidence we have now completely refutes, and they had to know that was wrong. They knew that was wrong.

So either she was lying or she was very badly informed. Either way, it's bad for the White House. And then they have a big celebration in the Rose Garden, a politically sacred spot, as you know, at the White House that really was inappropriate for this kind of event.

BORGER: I talked with some former national security -- senior national security advisers who called it surreal, the Rose Garden ceremony, saying that's not what you do in the president's backyard. This should have been quiet, this should have been low key. This should have been handled very differently, and then perhaps could have minimized some of the -- I don't think it would --


TAPPER: OK, but just to make sure people watching know, the idea that Bergdahl may have deserted his post, or by all accounts from the soldiers who served with him at that observation post, that's been out there. It was published in "Rolling Stone" by the late Michael Hastings in 2012. "Rolling Stone" not a particularly an anti-Obama magazine, and people knew this.

Now, that doesn't mean don't try to get him out --

FOURNIER: It's one reason to get him out because you don't know what kind of damage you might be doing to U.S. interest. And you get him here, get him in the military system of justice, get these soldiers under oath testifying against him, get him court-martialed.

BORGER: You know, you have to make it an article of faith with your troops, and I don't have to tell either of you this that you leave no soldier behind. When you get him home, then you deal with him. And it's clear that there were discussions of rescue. Rescue obviously turned out not to be an option in this case, the risk was not worth reward, and so they decided to do this. An option that had been discussed and rejected in the past.

FOURNIER: Make the tough decision, take the tough action, and then just explain it honestly to the public. Don't pump it up with false statement on Sunday talk shows, don't have a Rose Garden ceremony. Just take the tough act and move on to the next crisis that the country is facing, like the V.A. hospitals and everything else going on.

TAPPER: Gloria, very quickly, what do you make of officials telling our own Elise Labott at the State Department that Hillary Clinton would have opposed this deal and she would have pushed for a much tougher deal?

BORGER: Well, look, I think we have to go back and unspool all of this because it's clear from my reporting that there were lots of internal discussions about this particular kind of a deal. It was at a different time. And as every day changes -

TAPPER: The war wasn't ending.

BORGER: The war wasn't ending. Republicans are charging, of course, that the reason the president's doing, he wants a clean out so if it became more urgent. But there were internal discussions, and there were reasons for not doing it, given I believe by others, including Hillary Clinton. So we're trying to unspool all of that and figure out why the president made this decision now differently.

TAPPER: Gloria Borger, Ron Fournier, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

Coming up next, water aerobics, Netflix binges and reality TV. That's how Hillary Clinton's describing her life since leaving the State Department. Oh, she has one thing to point out about a potential presidential rival as well. That's coming up next.


TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD, everybody. In politics, the itinerary, well, it sounds like a presidential campaign in full swing, with stops at college campuses and state fairs. Corn dogs and fried Oreos may be consumed. One problem of course: there is no actual candidate stepping off that bus. The Ready for Hillary super PAC announced it's road tripping across the country, pitching a Clinton presidency, even though Hillary has not said yes to a White House, at least not just bid yet.

This comes on the same day Clinton gets the cover girl treatment from "People" magazine, which is owned by the parent company of this network, talking to "People" about everything from her health to her husband's affair with Monica Lewinsky. So, just what did she have to say?

Joining me with more on Clinton's interview is CNN's senior political correspondent and chief tracker of all things Hillary, Brianna Keilar. Brianna his is a very splashy first step for Clinton. Why did she pick "People" magazine, you think?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, picking "People" magazine as first interview she does for the book rollout is this guarantee, right, that she gets to show the softer side of herself. And she does. She talks about becoming a grandmother, what she likes to watch on TV. But she also opens up about her health and on the topic of Monica Lewinsky. She's mum. She basically says she's over it, and she thinks everyone else should be, too.


KEILAR (voice-over): Hillary Clinton commenting for the first time on Monica Lewinsky's recent reemergence in "Vanity Fair." Clinton tells "People" magazine she hasn't read Lewinsky's essay. "I've moved on," she says, refusing to acknowledge whether in a conversation with a confidante she called the president's former mistress "a narcissistic loony toon." "I think everybody needs to look to the future," she says.

And she sure is. On her 2016 presidential aspirations, Clinton tells "People," "I know I have a decision to make. To have a woman president is something I would love to see happen, but I'll just have to make my own decision about what I think is right for me."

She was asked if there are lingering effects from the concussion and blood clot she suffered in 2012, something that has become a political issue.

KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS ANALYST: No, no, I didn't say she had brain damage. She had a serious health episode.

KEILAR: Clinton says, "No, I did have a concussion and some effects in aftermath of it, mostly dizziness, double vision. Those all dissipated. " She reveals she's still on blood thinners and just happens to tell readers, you know, just in passing, that Republican Congressman Paul Ryan, who may be eyeing a run for president himself, told her he has had three concussions. Take that, Karl Rove.

Just Monday at a speech in Denver, talking about the grueling nature of a presidential race, she assured the crowd she has --

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: A lot of resilience, a lot of stamina.

KEILAR: In what could be a feature called "Hillary: She's Just Like Us," another attempt to show the human side of the woman who has been in the national political spotlight since 1992. Clinton tells people s about her indulgences since take time off. "Dancing With The Stars" and "House of Cards."

KEVIN SPACEY, ACTOR: It's all about location, location, location.

KEILAR: Which she and Bill, quote, "totally binge watched." She describes her workout, yoga and water aerobics and excitement to be a grandmother. She wants to baby-sit a lot. But this soon-to-be brand grandma is in the middle of a book rollout that has all the markings of a political campaign. A busy schedule of appearances --

CLINTON: Let me shake a few more hands.

KEILAR: Interviews, including this one, and calculated releases of parts of her memoir about her time at State Department.


KEILAR: And this is just one of many interviews and appearances she will be making around the official release of her book next Tuesday. So if you already think her book looks look like a campaign, well this interview will not dispel that notion, certainly.

TAPPER: I don't want to be snarky, but it's actually better run than her last campaign for president. Going perfectly well, everything she's doing.

KEILAR: I think from her perspective and certainly from the perspective of people who are supporting her, they feel this book rollout has gone very well.

TAPPER: So far, so good.


TAPPER: Brianna Keilar, thank you so much.

When we come back, the house, the car, the kids, is that a reality a thing of the past? Why so many are saying the American dream is dead, are they right?

Plus, new audio from Australian search teams looking for missing Flight 370. Did underwater listening devices pick up the sound of a plane crashing into the water? Well, we have the audio, and we'll play it for you ahead.


TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. This just in, returning to our top story, the long awaited homecoming of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, while the debate rages on about whether Bergdahl deserves a hero's welcome, his hometown of Hailey, Idaho says it is decided to cancel its fanfare for him.

The city sent out a press release reading in part, quote, "The organizers and Hailey expect a significant increase in attendance to this event by people who both want to support or protest against it. In the interest of public safety, the event will be canceled. Hailey, a town of 8,000, does not have the infrastructure to support an event of a size this could become," unquote.

Turning to the "Money Lead" now. Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, that's the Statue of Liberty's promise. But now most Americans who are poor and cannot find good jobs think they're going to stay that way. A new CNN money poll shows nearly 60 percent of the American people say the American dream is unattainable, 60 percent. So why did so many people feel like the game is rigged?

Joining me now is CNN business correspondent, Zain Asher. So Zain, it's not just people in the job market who feel this way. Either Americans think their kids are going to be worse off than they are now. Why is the country so down on its future? ZAIN ASHER, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, here's the thing, Jake, you cannot have the American dream without income mobility. People say the American dream is all about hard work and, yes, to an extent that is true, but it's certainly an oversimplification. We are living in two Americas. The gap between the rich and the poor right now is the widest it's ever been. The median CEO in America makes roughly $11 million a year. That is 257 times the average worker.

If you are working and living on minimum wage you'd have to work for 750 years straight to catch up to the average CEO. The easiest way to build wealth in America, assuming you don't have some God-given talent, through long-term investing in the stock market because the stock market investments will likely grow five times as fast as your wages.

But here is the thing, half of all Americans do not bother investing in the stock market because they think, well, how am I supposed to invest in stocks when I'm living paycheck to paycheck? The mortgage rates are the lowest right now they've been so far this year, but if you don't have money for a downpayment then you're missing out on a big part of the American dream.

Quickly, Jake, you know, Pew came out with a study that showed 70 percent of people who are born poor in this country will likely stay poor for the rest of their lives. Here in New York, there are two Park Avenues, there's the Park Avenue that everybody knows that is glitz and glamour for the rich and famous and then there is Park Avenue in the Bronx, which is very different. Most people living below the poverty line.

What are the chances somebody born on Park Avenue in the Bronx will ever own a place on Park Avenue in Manhattan? So it's really all about lack of income mobility -- Jake. TAPPER: Zain, quickly, the major jobs report is due out Friday. The economy needs only 113,000 jobs to finally recover jobs lost in the financial crisis, but the jobs that are coming back are not the same as ones we lost, right?

ASHER: New York absolutely not. So, construction jobs still down, because the housing market was hit hard. So construction is still difficult. So, also manufacturing jobs, we still haven't brought back all of the manufacturing jobs we lost, and the service sector is a sector growing fast, especially with low wage jobs as well. The service sector, admin job is growing and the area is low pay -- Jake.

TAPPER: Zain Asher, thank you so much. Coming up next, it might sound at first like an airline ad from the '60s, but the future of air travel is about keeping another jet from vanishing like Flight 370 did. So what is about to change in the industry? Coming up next.


TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. It's time for the Buried Lead. Australian researches are have released an audio recording from underwater listening device that will could be related to Flight 370. Take a listen. Sound like a plane hitting the water or pieces of a plane imploding? I can't tell either, but those researchers are trying to figure that out right now.

There are some problems with the theory, like the fact that the location is thousands of miles away from where investigators have been looking, but it cannot be ruled out as another potential lead. This comes during the airline industry's huge annual gathering.

Our own Richard Quest joins us now from Doha, Qatar where they have wrapped up the International Air Transport Association meeting. Richard, good to see you. You're at this conference that just wrapped up. How much focus was on Flight 370?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: It was everything and it was nothing. There was nothing formal on the agenda, but every airline CEO knew and understood that it was, if you like, the elephant in the living room because in the next few months, IOTA and various other organizations are going to have to decide what to do about this, how to enforce some regulations for tracking of aircraft.

It will not be a one-size fits all. Here's really the interesting thing, Jake. All of the CEOs who know so much about aviation, everyone agreed what happened to 370 is simply inexplicable. Lots of rumors, lots of potential, lots of possibilities, but nobody can say for certain.

TAPPER: The future of tracking airlines, how soon do you see that coming?

QUEST: Sooner rather than later. It will not be a one size fits all. Different planes have different technologies, different economic requirements. But of everybody I've spoken to says the same thing, Jake, it's coming, it will happen, it will be sooner rather than later because they know after 447 Air France five years ago, when similar calls were made, nothing happened and now we're in this mess.

TAPPER: Let's talk about the strength of the airline industry. Considering this horrific tragedy with Flight 370, what sort of financial impact has that disaster had? Are any particular airlines or countries doing well?

QUEST: I hope you're sitting comfortably, Jake, because yes, the U.S. airline industry, the majors, United, Delta, American, Southwest, JetBlue, they are the golden boys globally. Globally, the industry makes peanuts. On a ticket, barely the price of a sandwich in profit. A margin of something like 2.5 percent.

Some parts of the world are basket cases, but the U.S. industry, because of consolidation, because of cuts in capacity, because of the way prices and salaries have risen, guess what? It's the U.S. that's the golden child.

TAPPER: That's good news. Richard Quest in Doha, Qatar. Thank you so much. Appreciate it. Good to see you.

Make sure to follow me on Twitter @jaketapper and also @theleadcnn. Check out our show page at, for video, blogs, extras. That's it for THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. I now turn you over to the able hands of one Mr. Wolf Blitzer. He is right next door. He is in "THE SITUATION ROOM" -- Mr. Blitzer.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Jake, Thank you.