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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA
Exclusive Interview with Marco Rubio; Tony Blair Talks Iraq Invasion, Apologizes; Chris Christie Asked to Leave Quiet Car. Aired 11:30a-12p ET
Aired October 26, 2015 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MARK MCNITT, STEPFATHER INJURED IN OSU PARADE CRASH (on the phone):: I knew almost immediately that something came through the crowd.
[11:30:02] I didn't look back to see anything, you know, for -- just for a few seconds you're in a daze. And I think a lot of people said it was like a bomb going off. And you -- with all the screaming, I just had -- I needed to keep my composure. And then once -- obviously nobody was 100 percent what was going on. We just knew we had to take care of loved ones and family and friends. There was a lot of people hurt, bleeding. It was a chaotic scene.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Mark McNitt, our best to you, our best to your family, our best to your stepfather. Thank you very much for being with us.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you.
MCNITT: Thank you.
BERMAN: All right. Marco Rubio like you have not heard him before. He calls Donald Trump absurd. He defends all of his missed votes in the Senate. We have an exclusive interview ahead.
BOLDUAN: Plus stunning new video coming in showing a daring hostage rescue involving U.S. soldiers in Iraq. The dramatic raid of an ISIS prison ahead.
[11:35:36] BERMAN: All right, Marco Rubio slamming Donald Trump. The senator says Trump's immigration plan borders on the absurd. Senator Rubio also says he is confident he will be the Republican nominee for president.
BOLDUAN: Rubio spoke exclusively with CNN's special correspondent Jamie Gangel, who is joining us right now. So, Jamie, a lot, a lot of -- you got a lot out of him.
JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: We talked about a lot of things. There's no question he's on the rise and there's no question he's taking the gloves off.
We talked to him about Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton -- and he is the most likely candidate. The gambling sites say he's the odds-on favorite now. But we started by asking him why he still isn't the front-runner in his home state of Florida.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I, I, don't -- if you start paying attention to these polls in October, I mean, you'll go crazy. You know, I've been up, I've been down.
GANGEL: But you're the sitting senator in Florida.
RUBIO: Yes, it's a very unusual year and I think part of it is that people are really angry about the direction of our country and what you see in Florida is no different than what you see reflected around the country.
GANGEL: So here's the good news for Marco Rubio. Democrats say you're the triple threat, that you're the young, new, fresh face, that you're great in debates, that you are Hispanic and you put Florida into play.
RUBIO: Thank you.
GANGEL: So, why is it taking you so long to get traction?
RUBIO: Well, first of all, none of those things matter. That's just campaign talk. It like politics today is covered almost like sports. And so you watch these teams, they have a really good game, they're the top team in the world. The next week they have a bad game, it's disaster. That's not the way campaigns work.
GANGEL (voice-over): The way the Rubio campaign works is not glamorous. Behind the scenes he races from event to event, trying to raise money, trying to inch up in the polls, and taking on Donald Trump.
(on camera): At the Trump event there were protesters on immigration. And at the end Trump said, I'm going to win with Hispanics, I love the Hispanics. What do you think when you hear him say things like that?
RUBIO: It just, I mean it's Donald being Donald. I mean that's what it is.
GANGEL: He is the frontrunner, though. Is he more in tune with the Republican party on this issue than you are?
RUBIO: No, his rhetoric is a little louder but, if you think about where he was six months ago, his position on immigration six months ago was nothing like what he's saying now. And even what he's saying now borders on the absurd.
GANGEL: Jeb Bush says Donald Trump has dangerous views on national security and he has grave doubts about him as Commander in Chief. Are you comfortable with the idea of Donald Trump with his finger on the button? RUBIO: Well, I wouldn't term it that way. I would say that ultimately the next President of the United States, on their first day in office, must understand the threats that face this country and must have shown good judgment about what to do about those issues.
GANGEL: Are you comfortable...?
RUBIO: Well, I'm not -- the truth is, as I said in the debates last time on CNN, I don't believe that at up to this point in the campaign he has clearly outlined a, a deep understanding of the issues before this country in a serious way. And obviously he has time to change that.
GANGEL: So right now he's not ready to be Commander in Chief?
RUBIO: To this point in the campaign, he has not proven an understanding of these issues or the preparation necessary to be the Commander in Chief of the most powerful military force in the world.
GANGEL: If he's the nominee, would you enthusiastically support him?
RUBIO: Well, I'm going to support the Republican nominee, and I'm comfortable that it's not going to be Donald Trump, and I'm increasingly confident that it's going to be me. And so I feel good answering that question.
GANGEL: Marco Rubio criticism over and over again from both Donald Trump and Jeb Bush, Bush, from both Donald Trump and Jeb Bush, that you keep missing votes on the Senate floor, forty-three percent of the votes. I know you say you're campaigning for President, but Bernie Sanders, Rand Paul, they've missed fewer than 10 votes, you're up at 59 or 60.
RUBIO: Well, everyone needs to run their own campaign. I can tell you that in the history of presidential politics, people have when they've been running for politics in the Senate, they've missed votes. And I'm not missing votes because I'm on vacation.
GANGEL: But this many votes?
RUBIO: Well, actually this is lower than what other people have missed. And here's the other point I would make. I'm running for President so that the votes they take in the Senate are actually meaningful again. A lot of these votes won't mean anything. They're not going to pass and, even if they did, the President would veto it. We can...
GANGEL: The other day, though, you got up on the Senate floor and you said federal workers who don't show up should be fired.
RUBIO: That's not what I said.
GANGEL: What did you say?
RUBIO: I said federal workers that aren't doing their jobs, that are not performing at their jobs, should be able to be fired, to be held accountable for not performing.
GANGEL: OK, so someone might say you're not showing up, you're not doing your job by voting.
[11:40:03] RUBIO: Not true, not true.
GANGEL: You don't think you're in a glass house?
RUBIO: Because voting is not the only part of the Senate job. I mean the most important thing a Senator does is constituent service. We're still involved in looking out for Florida's issues.
GANGEL: Wait a minute, wait a minute. Votes aren't important?
RUBIO: Of course, they're important.
GANGEL: Intelligence committee hearings aren't important?
RUBIO: We do all the intelligence briefings. I was just there this Tuesday. I got fully briefed and caught up on everything that's happening in the world. I'm fully aware. We have a staffer that's assigned to intelligence; we get constant briefings.
GANGEL: Hillary Clinton has had a pretty good two weeks. She had "Saturday Night Live", she did well in the debates, she went through 11 hours of the hearings. If it is a face off Marco Rubio - Hillary Clinton, how formidable is she?
RUBIO: Well, she'll be the Democratic nominee, someone who comes from a political dynasty and that, in and of itself, is going to bring fundraising capabilities and so forth.
People may think she had a good week. I think this is the week it was proven that she lied about Benghazi.
GANGEL: Talk to me about age. You're 44. She would be 68. She's turning 68. Is age in a campaign your advantage or her advantage?
RUBIO: I don't think the biological age of the candidates is the issue. I think it's the age of your ideas.
GANGEL: OK. Are her idea too old?
RUBIO: Absolutely. Not just her ideas, but the ideas of the political left are completely outdated.
GANGEL (voice-over): Age may not matter, but if they do match up, the differences will be striking if they do match up. Rubio and his wife Jeanette have four young children and he will stress being the son of immigrants, a bartender and a maid. That said, like Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, Rubio is open to also having his moment on "Saturday Night Live".
(on camera): Donald Trump is going to host "Saturday Night Live".
RUBIO: Yes. GANGEL: Have you been invited? Do you want to do it?
RUBIO: I don't think so. I don't think I've been invited. I don't know. We'll see, if it makes sense. I'm more curious to see if they're ever going to play me on "Saturday Night Live". I just want to make sure it's the right person.
GANGEL: Who do you want to play you?
RUBIO: I don't know, I have no idea. Somebody said Mario Lopez the other day. I hope, you know, they bring him on a guest or something, but I don't, I don't know. I have not thought about that.
GANGEL: So, we did a little research on who has missed more votes running for president.
BERMAN: It was President Obama, right?
GANGEL: President -- so maybe it's actually a good thing to miss votes on the campaign -- I'm just kidding. But you know.
BERMAN: I couldn't believe -- he was practically begging "Saturday Night Live" to do something with him.
BERMAN: Please, someone play me on "Saturday Night Live", please, please.
BOLDUAN: That means you've arrived.
GANGEL: There you go.
BERMAN: He -- all these videos, the campaign puts out all these videos of him playing football, tossing a football around. What does he do for fun? What kind of guy is when he not in Senate or campaigning?
GANGEL: Later on today we have the second half of my interview and you hear all about what books he likes, what movies he likes, what he was like in high school. Spoiler alert.
GANGEL: He's a late bloomer, let's just say.
BOLDUAN: So kind, Jamie.
GANGEL: But you know what, he was actually very nice. He said when he had to pay for his tuition going to college, all of a sudden, he started working very hard in school. And we also had a long discussion, much of which I was left out of. BOLDUAN: What?
GANGEL: What his favorite music is. Now, I've interviewed 50 cent or Fiddy. I'm not completely out of it, but he gave me a lesson in electronic dance music, deejays and sampling.
GANGEL: Stay tuned.
BERMAN: Club guy, is that -- all right.
BOLDUAN: Did you go to a club together?
GANGEL: Stay tuned.
BERMAN: Watch this afternoon. Jamie Gangel, great to have you here with us. Thank you so much.
GANGEL: Thank you.
BOLDUAN: Great to see you, Jamie.
Coming up for us, dramatic video of that daring rescue involving U.S. soldiers in Iraq. Face-to-face with ISIS terrorists. See what happened during this deadly operation.
BERMAN: Plus, a really stunning admission from one of the world's leaders that really drove the invasion into Iraq in the first place. Tony Blair now says he is sorry. What does he mean? How far did he go? The CNN exclusive.
BOLDUAN: New this morning, dramatic new video of a raid involving U.S. commandos to free 70 hostages from an ISIS-controlled prison in Iraq. You can see in this video kind of the chaos going on. You can see barefoot men running through a dark room, gunfire crackling in the background.
BERMAN: The video was filmed by a Kurdish soldier using a helmet camera. One U.S. soldier died during this operation to save these hostages from what they believed at the time was imminent mass execution.
Want to bring in Fareed Zakaria, host of CNN's "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS". And Fareed, what's interesting here, obviously it's a tragedy that a U.S. soldier was lost in Iraq but this is a clear example that the United States has troops inside Iraq right now, thousands of troops inside Iraq right now. And some, as we see here, are engaged in combat operations. This war in many ways not over.
ZAKARIA: Well, this is something that people often forget. There's no way to have advisers -- and you're right, we have 3,500, I think is the total in Iraq -- there's no way to have advisers in an ongoing intense military operation, especially against an insurgency, where your advisers are not participating. Because part of how you train these troops is you accompany them places.
You know, this is not like the advisers sit in classrooms, give lectures, and then the troops go out and do it. A lot of teaching is showing. And so they're actively engaged.
[11:50:02] You know, I'm sure the troops did an extraordinary job. It does remind you, though, that you can do all that -- and that was a heroic effort and a successful one. It still doesn't mean that you have been able to build a stable, functioning, legitimate government in Iraq. I mean, think of Afghanistan. We've been there 14 years doing this kind of thing. It still doesn't -- you know, there's a separate issue, which is can you stand up a government that people believe in?
BOLDUAN: That also, then, adds to the important context of this fascinating and very important interview you did with the former British prime minister, Tony Blair, on the decision -- on many things, but also on the decision to go into Iraq. Here's a little bit of Fareed's interview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TONY BLAIR, FORMER BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: That I apologize for the fact that the intelligence we received was wrong. By the way, for some of the mistakes in planning, and certainly our mistake in our understanding of what would happen once you removed the regime. But I find it hard to apologize for removing Saddam. I think even from today in 2015, it is better that he's not there than if he is there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Fascinating. And he even goes on to say that there was some truth -- I think he said it that way -- in criticism that the 2003 invasion led to the rise of ISIS there.
ZAKARIA: The whole thing was -- he was more reflective than I expected him to be. He got uncomfortable when I asked him some of these questions. Clearly, there's a mixture of, I think, feeling tired about being asked them. But for some reason in this case, he decided to reflect on it in a fuller way and actually apologized.
As you say, Kate, the most interesting part, I thought, was actually his admission that the invasion probably laid the ground for ISIS, because that is, of course, extraordinarily relevant.
ZAKARIA: And it's relevant in two senses. One, you know, there's a question of what caused ISIS. Two, why did ISIS rise? Because you took the head off a regime, off -- and it turned out, the whole country fell apart, and it gave rise to this Islamic terrorism.
Well, that is again what we face in Syria. Those who want to intervene have to acknowledge that if you get rid of Assad, there will probably be chaos, even more chaos than there is now. There will be chaos in Damascus. There will be a free-for-all in terms of trying to get a control of that country. And in that environment, you could well see, you know, more brutality and more ethnic cleansng than we've seen before.
BERMAN: In fact, there is a candidate right now saying just that, a leading candidate. Donald Trump, flat out asked this weekend if we would have been better off, the world would have been better off with Saddam Hussein or Moammar Gadhafi still in power, and he essentially says yes. He says that none of this bad stuff would have happened had they remained in power.
ZAKARIA: It is a plausible scenario to say, look, you had a stable but very repressive, very cruel order in the Middle East, and if you would have just left it alone, we would have been better off.
The truth of the matter is I think somewhere in between. Because if you think about it this way -- and Blair says this in our documentary. He says, look, in Iraq, we toppled the regime and we got chaos and Islamic terrorism. In Syria, we did nothing, and we ended up with chaos and Islamic terrorism. You know, that region seems to be in so much turmoil that it's not clear what exactly would have worked.
And in Trump's case, as we know, I think he sort of contradicts himself every week, because sometimes he says I would go in and defeat ISIS. I would crush them. On another day, he says, oh, we should stay right out of it. I think in a weird way, he's a good marketer, he's a good salesman. Americans are confused and conflicted. There's a part of, I think, of us that wants to go in and do something and destroy this very evil force, ISIS. There's another part that says just get the hell out of here.
BOLDUAN: Did Tony Blair have a prescription of what he would like to see happen now that -- you know, instead of looking back, looking forward?
ZAKARIA: You know, I think Blair is very thoughtful, very intelligent, and essentially unrepentant in this sense, that he is a forward-leaning person on these issues. He thinks we should be more engaged in Syria, probably intervene more. I think that he believes that, at the end of the day, these forces are -- have been unleashed, no matter what we do. We've got to fight them militarily. He's also devoted a lot of his time to fighting the ideas. He has a faith foundation that does all that kind of thing.
You know, Tony Blair is a great progressive liberal, but on these issues, I think he's sort of closer to the U.S. neoconservatives than anyone else.
BERMAN: Fareed Zakaria, thanks so much for being with us. And this is important, because tonight Fareed's got a special, "THE LONG ROAD TO HELL: AMERICA IN IRAQ" hosted by Fareed. That's 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time right here on CNN. Really, really interesting stuff.
BOLDUAN: Thanks so much, Fareed. Coming up for us, the No. 1 rule in the quiet car -- be quiet! No
talking, no taking phone calls.
[11:55:02] Chris Christie, seems he broke that rule, and now a lot of people know about it.
BERMAN: For those of you who do not live in the Northeast Corridor -- that would be between Washington, New York and Boston -- you may not know about the quiet car on the Acela. Chris Christie, though, he surely knows this morning.
BOLDUAN: Yes. He is the Governor of New Jersey, just so we all can point that out. He should know the rules of the quiet car. He does, at least at this point. You already probably know. Chris Christie, he was on the Acela. He sat in the quiet car, was not quiet, and he was asked to leave because of it. And there are photos of it right there.
A lot of people are split, though, on their feelings of the quiet car. You love the quiet car.
BERMAN: No, no, I'm not in favor of the quiet car at all.
BERMAN: I feel very uncomfortable in the quiet car.
BOLDUAN: Well, I thought you said you loved the quiet car earlier.
BERMAN: I think the ire of the people in the quiet car who get mad at you for talking in the quiet car, there's nothing worse than their ire.
[12:00:00] There's no more entitled person than someone who doesn't like (ph) quiet in the quiet car.
BOLDUAN: I sat in quiet car once and I will never do it again.
BERMAN: You are like Chris Christie.
BOLDUAN: That's right. Chris Christie, call me.
Thanks so much for joining us AT THIS HOUR.
BERMAN: "LEGAL VIEW" with Ashleigh Banfield starts now.