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Hillary Returns And Sounds Like A Candidate; Poll: Walker High Above Rivals In Iowa; Should U.S. Strike A Nuclear Deal With Iran?

Aired February 25, 2015 - 07:30   ET


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: That long shot is better than some of ours outside of our headquarters.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: I know. It's really remarkable. Again, it's hats off to those guys that do that. You know, we talk about doing home improvement around the house. Imagine trying to do it with a spacesuit. Something I bet John King could do. Nice transition to "Inside Politics" -- talk about a honey-do list in space.

JOHN KING, CNN HOST, "INSIDE POLITICS": I got to say the guys down the hall try to strap me into a suit like that just about every morning.

PEREIRA: Kind of a different suit they're trying to strap you in.

KING: Those are fascinating pictures. Good morning to you in New York. Let's go "Inside Politics" on a very busy day here in Washington. With me to share their reporting and their insights are Julie Pace of the "Associated Press" and Nia-Malika Henderson of the "Washington Post."

Let's start with Hillary Clinton. Out in Silicon Valley yesterday, fleshing out more and more and loosening up a bit about what she will talk about I'll have to say if, but let's just say when she runs for president.

She talked about how we have productivity in the economy and what we need rising wages. She talked about income inequality. She said the government needs to get involved in that. She also said the private sector needs to do its part.

But remember Hillary Clinton is viewed as a pretty polarizing figure. Our politics are polarized at the moment. Listen to her saying if I were president, I would hope everybody would get along a little better.


HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: I'd like to bring people from right, left, red, blue, get them into a nice warm purple space where everybody is talking. And where we're actually trying to solve problems and you know that would be my objective if I decide to do this.


KING: Can we turn Washington into a warm purple space?

JULIE PACE, "ASSOCIATED PRESS": That was very Barack Obama 2008 language. First of all it was good to hear from Hillary Clinton again. We haven't heard from her in a while.

She's clearly decided she's going to cast herself as somebody who is going to bring the country together, who can be the one that puts an end to the partisanship. I think the challenge that she will have is she just not identified with being able to do that.

Whether it's going to be the practical things that she says she will do to make that happen. Barack Obama made those promises and look where we are now.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, "THE WASHINGTON POST": You feel like everyone who runs for president, like you're running for the student body of your elementary school, you're going to say we're going to bring everybody together. It just doesn't happen.

This is a polarized town and there are real ideological divides, right? There's not a lot of space in the middle. How she does it, it is different from the way she ran, right, in 2008.

This idea that she was, you know, she knew how the Clinton war room worked and that's why she was so good because she could take the fight to the Republicans as opposed to Obama, who was all about the mushy middle. So it's you know, it's a nice campaign line. It won't happen.

KING: We'll see what happens or won't happen. OK. It was interesting if you haven't seen this video. Go online to find it, you can you see it on She's more relaxed in the setting. She liked -- she clearly has been working on being more conversational.

One of the people we always watch when Secretary Clinton speaks is Elizabeth Warren. This is draft Elizabeth Warren Movement out there she has said, no, I'm not running for president, but when she's asked about Hillary Clinton, she's not exactly bubbly.

Listen to her here yesterday asked on MSNBC, do you think HILLARY CLINTON will be out there campaigning on your populist economic issues?


SENATOR ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: You know, I think that's what we got to see. I want to hear what she wants to run on and what she says she wants to do. That's what campaigns are supposed to be about.


KING: Why can't she say -- I've spoken to Hillary. I'm certain she is going to be great. Of course, we'll watch. Of course, we'll help, but why can't she start with I know she'll be great. Why is it, we'll see.

HENDERSON: She's preserving her power in her lane. She's not in the race, but she has a huge following, the Draft Warren Movement. She says I don't have anything to do with that. Certainly she likes that that's out there.

She was at Senate hearing with Janet Yellen where she was doing her Warren thing and being confrontational, adding to her highlight reel. She's said she's encouraged Hillary to run.

She said in the past that Hillary is terrific. She's maintaining her power, at some point if Hillary runs, we'll have a big moment where Warren endorses her, I would imagine.

PACE: She wants to have this power, as you say, she has the principles that she strongly believes in. She feels as though Clinton and Obama to some degree have not fulfilled their promises to work on these issues. She wants to have a voice. Her followers want to have a voice in the primary even if it's a largely uncontested primary.

KING: How long are we going to be pretending the "if?" If you've been following political news in the last couple of weeks, Scott Walker has been in the news a lot. He's the Wisconsin governor. He's a likely Republican presidential candidate.

Remember, in London, he wouldn't answer the evolution question. Last week, he wouldn't answer the "Washington Post" when they said do you believe President Obama is a Christian.

He wouldn't comment, wouldn't judge, Rudy Giuliani when he said the president doesn't love America, do you think that's hurting Scott Walker, well, think again.

Look at this brand new Iowa poll out this morning, a Quinnipiac poll, Scott Walker has jumped to 25 percent in Iowa, twice, twice, his nearest rival. Now the voting is almost a year away in Iowa.

But he has gone from nowhere to the front of the pack in Iowa. Something else this poll tells you, a very conservative Republican electorate shaping up in Iowa.

Remember, Huckabee won there two elections ago. Santorum won there last time. Walker is viewed favorably 57-7, only 7 percent unfavorable. Jeb Bush 41-40, Chris Christie, 30-54 negative. This is a conservative Iowa electorate. At the moment, Scott Walker is jumping everybody.

PACE: It really gives you a sense of the people that he is speaking to when he says or doesn't say some of the things that we've heard from him over the last couple of weeks. He's not talking to the crowd in Washington. He's not talking to a general election crowd. He's talking to a conservative Iowa caucus voting bloc and obviously he's getting results. HENDERSON: Yes, this is how he was successful in Wisconsin, talking to the red part of that state. He has picked fights with unions and essentially won. And that's, I think what he was doing this time. Because what you see is he picks these fights and revs up conservatives. That's why you see the numbers in Iowa.

PACE: That Chris Christie negative number in Iowa, though, I think is really interesting. He's the only one in that poll who is a negative.

KING: And he's been out there a couple of times. He's been trying to work it.

HENDERSON: That's right. The more he goes out there, the more the numbers go down.

KING: The Republican-based voters want somebody who will fight. Somebody who will fight the media and Democrats, somebody who will stand up for their issues, they believe these base voters, whether it's the headlines on same-sex marriage or other issues that their leaders aren't standing up which bring me to this.

We have the big question, will the Department of Homeland Security get its money by the end of the week? The Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell yesterday tried what he believed to be a reasonable compromise. He's being hammered by the right.

Mitch McConnell wants to split it into two questions, give the president the money to fund the department so we don't have a partial shutdown and then have votes on the president's immigration policy., eunuch Mitch McConnell squeal likes a pig, in their headlines. Other headlines saying that if John Boehner, the House speaker agrees with this plan that Republicans will make another run at his job. Republicans won big in the last election --

HENDERSON: Did they?

KING: They did actually and listen to the Democratic Leader Harry Reid here, he just had eye surgery so he's wearing sunglasses inside. Democrats know -- Democrats know that this is really dividing the Republicans.


SENATOR HARRY REID (D), MINORITY LEADER: Unless the speaker is in on the proposal, of course we have to make sure that we get a bill to the president. Not that we send a hot potato to Boehner that doesn't do the trick.


KING: What's going to happen here? The president will be in Miami today at a townhall meeting, he believes this issue helps him and helps the Democratic Party. He's going to push his immigration ideas.

House Republicans came back into town last night. They meet today. Conservatives don't like this McConnell plan. Are we going to see another implosion in the Republican Party?

PACE: Well, I don't think we know exactly how it's going to play out yet. The one thing we know is that what McConnell and Boehner had hoped to have happen this year is not happening. McConnell said no shutdowns.

There was an idea that Boehner could hold off the far right wing of his caucus because now he could send bills that maybe passed with Democratic support to the Senate and actually get Senate Republicans to pass them.

There could be more regular order. It's just simply not happening. I think it's all on Boehner right now.

HENDERSON: And they need Democrats. They need Democrats at this point. You know to get anything done it seems like.

KING: It is fascinating to watch. We'll watch as it plays out, Alisyn as we get closer to Friday, but you do have the split still in the Republican Party. The governing conservatives, Speaker Boehner, Leader McConnell, I'm sorry, Michaela, how are you, who think they have to govern and be part of it.

But you have these newer, younger members who think they're more of an opposition party especially if the president is for it, they need to be against it. We'll keep on this one right up to the deadline, I'm sure.

PEREIRA: That's what happens when you get new fresh blood in there. That's OK. Alisyn and I get confused a lot for one another. All right, John King, we appreciate it.

Secretary of State John Kerry defending the administration's pursuit of a nuclear deal with Iran against critics, who say it could lead to an increase in Iran's nuclear activities over time. We're going take a closer look for you next.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Secretary of State John Kerry says it is too soon to judge a deal that would restrict Iran's nuclear activities for at least ten years. But it's not too soon for him to say the bottom line is that Iran won't get nukes, I guess, for ten years and that raises the issue of whether or not this is a good move at all.

There are two very different sides to this we have both represented. Hillary Mann Leverett, CEO of STRATEGA, Middle East analyst, and co- author of "Going To Tehran" and Professor Alan Dershowitz, emeritus professor of Law at Harvard Law School and author of "Terror Tunnels, The Case for Israel's Just War Against Hamas."

Thank you both for this. We will start with the proposition that if the U.S. wants to make a deal, it should be a good thing. You represent that, Hillary, why as a citizen should I be happy about this deal? HILLARY MANN LEVERETT, CEO, STRATEGA: Well, Iran is a rising power. The Islamic Republic of Iran is a rising power just as China was in the early 1970s and just as then Presidents Nixon and Kissinger decided to normalize with China. We need to normalize with Iran in our own interest.

To rescue our position, which is in strategic free fall in the Middle East and to allow us to get off of this really strategically self- damaging pursuit of dominance in the region and instead pursue a balance of power approach that recognizes all of the important powers in the region and has a constructive relationship with them.

Iran under any political order is critically important. It's a huge hydro carbon power, a sophisticated educated population. It's not going away.

CUOMO: One point at a time. We get that point so what is the counter, the basic theory there is that Iran is now like China was, do you agree, Professor?

ALAN DERSHOWITZ, EMERITUS PROFESSOR OF LAW, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL: Absolutely not, China is a rational calculating, secular government. Iran is a suicide nation. It's sent thousands of its own children to die in the war against Iraq, with little tokens promising them paradise.

Rafsanjani, one of the former leaders, said if Iran gets nuclear weapons and bombs Israel, it will kill 3 million to 5 million Jews. Israel will retaliate to kill 10 million to 20 million Muslims, and the tradeoff would be worth it because it would destroy Israel and it would leave Islam untouched.

So the idea of comparing rational China to Iran, the greatest exporter of terrorism in the world is absurd. Iran is determined to get a nuclear weapon. There is no good resolution to this. We are talking about worse, worser and worsest.

This is a bad deal because it has a sunset provision. It allows Iran after ten years to develop nuclear weapons. Now if you believe "The New York Times," in its editorial this morning, "The New York Times" says after the deal runs its course, Iran would be able to pursue nuclear enrichment for energy and medical purposes without constraints.

If you believe that, that Iran wants to simply pursue medical and energy purposes, you should favor this deal. But if you think Iran is going to cheat, if you think it already has cheated, for example the Iran resistance movement yesterday revealed there's a secret hide-out facility called Laza Van 3.

They're going to cheat their way into a nuclear bomb. It will be a game changer as President Obama acknowledged when he earlier said he would never allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons. He's now that policy.

CUOMO: OK, so let's leave the politics of flip-flopping aside and address the main point, which is you are giving the most dangerous weapon to someone who has proven again and again they want to do dangerous things, Hillary, how does that make sense?

LEVERETT: Well, they are not pursuing nuclear weapons, the entire U.S. national security and the intelligence establishment, the entire Israeli national security intelligence establishment says Iran is not pursuing nuclear weapons and has not even taken a decision to do so if they wanted to.

Prime Minister Netanyahu, as Professor Dershowitz just said, has been telling us this canard now for years. Literally two years ago, Prime Minister Netanyahu stood in front of the American public at APEC and said the exact same thing.

That if you believe the Iranians are pursuing nuclear energy in medicine, I have tell you --

CUOMO: Do you think Israel is lying about the Iranian threat?

LEVERETT: Well, that's what the United States government is saying. The White House spokesman came out and specifically said we are no longer sharing information about the negotiations with the Israelis because they are distorting it and putting out not accurate information.

What Prime Minister Netenyahu and his friends here are destroying the U.S./Israel relationship for a canard, for something that is not true.

CUOMO: Look, the idea that Israel feels threatened by Iran is not a canard. The basis on which they feel threatened is what you're speaking to, Professor, your point on that?


CUOMO: Hold on, Hillary.

DERSHOWITZ: If you really think that Iran has no interest in developing nuclear weapons then you should, you don't even need a deal. Just let them pursue their biological and medical facility. Everybody in the world, with any common sense knows that Iran wants to develop nuclear weapons.

Whether they have made the ultimate theological decision or not, is how many angels on the head of a pin. If out there you think Iran is not interested in developing nuclear weapons at all, then you should be on the side of my --

CUOMO: Susan Rice --

DERSHOWITZ: If you believe that Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons, they have to be stopped. President Obama said that. John Kerry has said that. Everybody has said that. That Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons except my distinguished opponent.

CUOMO: The thinking goes back and forth. They are soft on intel about it, which makes it more confusing, let's get where the head of the -- where Susan Rice is the defense adviser on this. On this and as it relates to the Israeli prime minister. Let's take a listen.


SUSAN RICE, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: What has happened over the last several weeks by virtue of the invitation that was issued, by the speaker and the acceptance of it by Prime Minister Netenyahu two weeks in advance of his election is that on both sides, there has now been injected a degree of partisanship, which is not only unfortunate, I think it's, it's destructive of the fabric of the relationship.

CUOMO: All right, so that is obviously a segue way into how this is going to affect U.S./Israeli relations, which could not be more important and vital to everything that's going on in the region and to obviously domestic interests as well. Final point, we have one minute. Hillary, one point on that?

LEVERETT: That people are peddling a false case in order to get us into yet another strategically damaging war as we did in Iraq and throughout the Middle East. What the administration is now doing in an unprecedented way, is calling -- is calling a spade a spade here saying that Prime Minister Netenyahu and his friends here in the United States, are putting out a false story, which will lead the U.S. to yet another war.

CUOMO: That's your point. What's your final point, Professor?

DERSHOWITZ: Well, that's what Neville Chamberlin argued, that it was a false narrative that Hitler really meant what he said. I have to take very seriously what Iran has said, what they've threatened to destroy Israel. They've threatened to destroy the United States. We've discovered secret facilities for nuclear weapons.

You must believe that Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons, and if they are trying to develop nuclear weapons, there can't be a sunset provision. They have to be permanently stopped from doing so. This is a bad deal.

CUOMO: Hillary Mann Leverett, Professor Alan Dershowitz, thank you very much, two very intelligent people who understand the situation laying it out for you. Now you decide. Let us know. Get to us on Twitter and Facebook -- Alisyn.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK, Chris, "Consumer Reports" the list of best cars is out. Did Tesla repeat at the best car that money can buy? We'll tell you the top picks.


PEREIRA: All right, it's time for "CNN Money Now." Chief business correspondent, Christine Romans is in our Money Center looking at the top cars of the year.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Michaela. American cars are on top. "Consumer Reports" ranks the Tesla Model S the best car, period, and best in class, the Buick Regal and the Chevrolet Impala. Overall "Consumer Reports" says Lexus is the best brand. Fiat is the worst.

How would you like to make $21,000 in a summer as an intern? You've got to work at Facebook, be an intern at Facebook. For the second year in a row, Facebook tops glass doors list of best internships. Chevron is number two. Google slides down to number three.

For the record, about half of the top 25 on this list are tech companies, and, yes, you've got to know how to code, software engineering or coding.

CUOMO: All right, thank you very much, Christine. So, ten women and two men say EDDIE RAY ROUTH is guilty of the murders of Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield. It took them just 2-1/2 hours. How did they do it so quickly? We can show you the actual courtroom moments ahead.