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NEW DAY

Poll Shows Wide Opposition to Syria Attack; Congressional Approval?; Assad Speaks; Mudslides and Flooding"; Bad Week At Buckingham Palace; Congress Debates Syria

Aired September 9, 2013 - 08:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I know that the American people are weary after a decade of war. This would not be another Iraq or Afghanistan.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS CUOMO, HOST: Battle on the Hill -- Congress returns this morning, as the president ramps up his efforts to win support for a Syria strike.

But are the American people with him?

Our exclusive poll breaks it down.

KATE BOLDUAN, HOST: Terrifying ride -- children colliding when this carnival ride malfunctions. Many rushed to the hospital. Parents are now demanding answers -- what went wrong?

MICHAELA PEREIRA, HOST: Royal scares -- in one of the worst security breaches in years at Buckingham Palace, a man makes it all the way into a stateroom. And with tensions high, a royal stopped and questioned by security?

CUOMO: Your new day continues right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What you need to know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With just injured kids everywhere, the parents ripping out the gate just trying to get to their kid.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What you just have to see.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know him. He wouldn't have stopped until he got me one.

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan and Michaela Pereira.

BOLDUAN: Good morning and welcome back to NEW DAY, everyone.

It is Monday, September 9th, 8:00 in the East. We have a lot to get to this hour, a very busy week ahead, including President Obama's efforts to convince Congress to authorize a strike against Syria.

But brand new polls out. CNN polls show the president does not have the support of the American people. Fifty-nine percent of Americans are against Congress authorizing action in Syria. And if Congress were to authorize a strike, 55 percent of Americans would still oppose it.

And then take a look at this -- 72 percent don't think action in Syria would accomplish really anything at all. Those are new CNN/ORC polls.

And this morning, we're hearing from Syrian president, Bashar Al- Assad, himself, saying they will retaliate if the U.S. launches a strike. We'll talk with White House deputy national security adviser, Ben Rhodes, about all of this ahead.

CUOMO: And we're going to show you how the country is getting whacked by bad weather. A major thunderstorm sweeps across and creates widespread flooding and against mudslides in Utah. The Midwest sweltering during a grueling late summer heat wave. We're also going to take a look at what's going on coming this week with Indra Petersons.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, HOST: And this little girl did what few people have ever done -- she survived an attack from a brain eating amoeba. The 12-year-old girl is now up and walking and talking about her experience. We're going to hear from her about this miraculous recovery.

All right, let's start first, though, this hour with those new CNN polls.

CNN's chief national correspondent, John King, joining us from Washington to help us break it all down -- it seems on the surface, John, that it sends a pretty clear message from the American people as to where they stand.

JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, OK, you mentioned the headline number, six in 10 Americans say Mr. President, we oppose you, don't do this, we don't want military strikes in Syria. I want to get at this big skepticism. Remember, 72 percent of the American people don't think we would achieve any significant U.S. goal.

And look at it, the partisan breakdown. Sixty percent of Democrats, the president's own party, six in 10 Democrats say we don't think you have a plan that would achieve a significant goal. And then look at Independents -- 74 percent, 83 percent of Republicans say they don't trust that this president has an effective plan.

It is that skepticism that is driving the opposition.

When is the last time the United States has done anything in the Middle East in a limited way, walked away and left a good result?

That is the skepticism driving this.

And also, a good chunk of the American people, Kate, think this is none of our business. Let's look at this question.

Sixty-nine percent of Americans say this is not in the U.S. national interests. And, again, 56 percent of Democrats, 76 percent of Independents and 71 percent of Republicans say, essentially, they don't think this is any of our business.

And that's the president's challenge this week. To get more support for military strikes, he gets -- he has to get at the underlying skepticism. People don't think this is our business and they are incredibly skeptical that anything good will come of a limited military action -- so, Kate, as the president does the interviews, makes his case directly to the American people tomorrow night, politically, he understands he's standing, essentially, on quicksand, skepticism -- deep, profound skepticism from the American people. It is a huge challenge.

BOLDUAN: A huge challenge for the president and a huge challenge -- huge questions facing members of Congress, who will need to answer to their constituents back home.

John, thank you so much.

KING: Sure.

CUOMO: And, of course, Congress returns to Washington today. And Syria is at the top of the agenda.

Today, House members will get an intelligence briefing from the administration, as many echo the doubts of what the voters are saying.

So what will the president do to overcome this skepticism?

Let's go live to Brianna Keilar at the White House -- good morning, Brianna.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Chris.

You see the skepticism President Obama is trying to overcome with the American people. It's the same skepticism he's trying to overcome with Congress.

And he has a problem -- it's with his own party. And that's why he's looking for assistance from his former secretary of State.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KEILAR (voice-over): President Obama getting some high-powered help from none other than Hillary Clinton. A source telling CNN she'll speak out on Syria when she comes here today for an unrelated event.

The president needs the help. He's pulling out all the stops, including interviews today with CNN's Wolf Blitzer and other major news networks, before a speech to the nation Tuesday night. OBAMA: We cannot turn a blind eye to images like the ones we've seen out of Syria.

KEILAR: Images of children dying from nerve gas -- videos the president's team has been showing senators in secret to get their votes, first obtained by CNN, now made available for all Americans to see.

Obama's chief of staff also on a media blitz, appearing on all five Sunday talk shows.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "MEET THE PRESS," COURTESY NBC NEWS)

DENIS MCDONOUGH, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: And I hope that before any member of Congress makes his decision on how to vote, they take a look at that video that you all made available to the world yesterday. Take a look at that and try to turn away from that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: Those videos expected to be shown at closed door briefings starting today for all members of Congress, returning for the dramatic debate and vote.

To turn the tide, the president unexpectedly showed up Sunday night at a dinner hosted by Vice President Joe Biden to sell Republican senators on Syria. And today, he's sending national security adviser, Susan Rice, to the Congressional Black Caucus.

But opposition is growing, even among Democrats.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "MEET THE PRESS," COURTESY NBC NEWS)

SEN. TOM UDALL (D), NEW MEXICO: My heart is broken when I see that video, when you see women and children dying as a result of chemical weapons. But the big question for the Congress right now is what is the most effective way to move forward?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JIM MCGOVERN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: If I were the president, I would withdraw my request for the authorization at this particular point. I don't believe the support is there in Congress.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(END VIDEO TAPE)

KEILAR: Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad is also making his case. In an interview with CBS news' Charlie Rose, he says that there is no evidence that he gassed his own people. You'll be hearing a lot more about that interview in just a moment from Chris Lawrence.

But the White House, Kate, is reacting to that. They say they're not surprised that someone who would use chemical weapons against civilians would also lie about it.

BOLDUAN: All right, thanks for bringing that to us, Brianna.

Thank you so much.

N as you just heard from Brianna right then, Syrian president, Bashar Al-Assad, granted an interview to Charlie Rose. This is the first time he has spoke to U.S. media in nearly two years and at a very critical time, obviously.

Chris Lawrence is live at the Pentagon this morning with that -- Chris, Assad sounded completely adamant, I guess, that he had nothing to do with the attack.

Tell us more about what he said to Charlie Rose.

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Kate, I mean he was calm, but very forceful. And he sent three clear messages.

One, he questioned the evidence that the White House has been presenting.

Two, he made a direct appeal to Congressmen and Congresswomen right here in the United States.

And he sent a warning to Americans about what may happen after any potential air strike.

First, to that evidence. The U.S. has said it has satellite photos, it has evidence that the rockets were fired from a region that Assad's forces controlled. And Secretary Kerry has mentioned that on the stump in Europe.

But Assad directly went after Kerry and said it's not enough.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "THIS MORNING," COURTESY CBS NEWS)

PRES. BASHAR AL-ASSAD, SYRIA: Everybody talk about confidence. It's about evidence. The united (INAUDIBLE) -- the Russians have completely opposite evidence, that the missiles were flown from an area where the rebels controlled. Nothing so far.

CHARLIE ROSE, HOST: (INAUDIBLE)...

AL-ASSAD: Not a single shred of evidence.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAWRENCE: Charlie Rose also asked him what would happen in the event an actual air strike. And Assad said there would be a retaliation. And in what way may come as a shock to a lot of Americans.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "THIS MORNING," COURTESY CBS NEWS)

ROSE: Will there be attacks against American bases in the Middle East if there is an air strike? AL-ASSAD: You should expect everything. You should expect everything, not necessarily through the government. It's not only -- the governments are not only -- not the only player in this region. You have different parties. You have different factions. You have different ideologies. You have everything in the region now. So you have to expect that.

ROSE: Expect -- tell me what you mean by expect everything.

AL-ASSAD: Expect every action. Everything.

ROSE: Including chemical warfare?

AL-ASSAD: That depends. If the -- if the rebels or the terrorists in this region, or any other group have it, it could happen. I don't know.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAWRENCE: And he also said that any action against his regime would be helping al Qaeda. He made the point to Charlie Rose, saying that he is the one fighting against al Qaeda in his country.

So a war of words is now on between senior Obama administration officials and the president of Syria himself -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: It's pretty amazing how he so nonchalantly talks about retaliation in the case that the U.S. does move in.

LAWRENCE: Yes.

BOLDUAN: Chris, thank you so much for bringing that to us.

Tonight, we have an important programming note for you. Wolf Blitzer, our own Wolf Blitzer is going one-on-one with President Obama, talking about Syria. You can be sure Bashar Al-Assad, in that interview, will be part of that. That interview you can see tonight only here on CNN at 6:00 Eastern. And right after that, the return of "CROSSFIRE," tonight at 6:30 Eastern. We'll talk with co-hosts S.E. Cupp and Van Jones just ahead.

CUOMO: But we want to talk to you about what's going on with the weather in this country. Listen to this quote from one woman: "It was like a black monster of lava." That's how she described a massive mudslide that made a complete mess of a neighborhood in Utah.

Let's get to meteorologist Indra Petersons.

She's following all of this.

Wow, that is -- it's really accurate, though.

INDRA PETERSONS, ATS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, literally. I mean sometimes what you have is these remnants of these tropical storms. We had Lorena in the Pacific. You had that and monsoonal moisture. And you combine them together, you get these heavy thunderstorms and flash flooding in the Southwest.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my gosh.

VICKIE REAY, ALPINE CITY RESIDENT: It was like a black monster lava.

PETERSONS (voice-over): This amazing cell phone video was just one of many scenes across Utah after a massive storm Saturday caused flooding, evacuations, power outages and mudslides.

In Alpine City, about 100 people were briefly evacuated. The National Weather Service reported three quarters of an inch of rain fell in just 15 minutes.

REAY: It was 100 feet wide and it just got bigger and bigger and it picked up more and more momentum.

PETERSONS: Lone Peak Police captured these incredible images of a mudslide tearing through Utah County. Residents in some neighborhoods reported more than three feet of water in their homes. In Provo, the water was so powerful that it actually collapsed the corner of this hill.

JOSEPH MCRAE, LONE PEAK FIRE DISTRICT: And when I came up here, the water was running down the street about a foot and a half deep. So it's probably the worst I've ever seen.

PETERSONS: At the BYU/Texas football game, pounding rain caused a two hour delay. Rain, thunder and lightning left fans running for cover.

In the Midwest, an intense heat wave is forecast to bring record- breaking temperatures over the next two days.

In Minnesota and Wisconsin, heat indices could rise into the triple digits.

Chicago has not set a record high in September since 1998, but that streak could end on Tuesday, if they see temperatures in the mid-to upper 90s.

Many schools have already closed their doors to students as a precaution. This elementary school in Denver was one of six that closed early Friday, after temperatures soared into the upper 90s.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's too hot for them to be in there, and teachers, too. It's very hot.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

PETERSONS: Well, we saw the damage from the remnants of Tropical Storm Lorena in the Pacific. Well, now we take you to the Atlantic, where we have Tropical Storm Humberto.

The big question is, will this be our first hurricane? We've been wondering whether or not this will be a record-setting year. The record to beat, that was Gustav in 2002, where we did not see a hurricane until September 11th.

Notice Humberto is expected to strengthen into our first hurricane of the season. The timing of this, September 11th, 2:00 in the morning. So I checked Gustav. It became a hurricane at 8:00 in the morning. So it will be very close.

More importantly to notice right now, no threat to the U.S. mainland -- Chris and Kate?

BOLDUAN: All right. We'll be watching that one closely, that's for sure.

Thanks so much, Indra.

Now, let's move to the latest on a festival ride, a carnival ride in Connecticut that went terribly wrong. At least a dozen children hurt, parents in panic, when a rotating swing lost power. As one witness described it, there were injured kids everywhere.

An investigation into what went wrong is underway, of course. CNN's Pamela Brown is here with more on this -- good morning, Pamela.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning.

And you can just imagine the horror for those parents, who watched as their children were hurled 15 feet to the ground after the ride malfunctioned. Those parents and others now demanding answers.

The company that owns the ride says it was a mechanical issue. And officials say it was inspected just two days before the accident.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DION LARRY, WITNESS: I heard a big bang and the whole apparatus, the swings came smashing down at the bottom of the swing.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: I looked to my left and I saw the swing ride. It collapsed. All these people were there. I actually saw someone fall out of the cart.

BROWN: This swing ride in Norwalk, Connecticut became a dangerous, terrifying thriller on Sunday, when the ride suddenly lost power, sending children to the ground.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was just injured kids everywhere, the parents ripping out the gate just trying to get to their kids. I mean it was just, it was horrible.

BROWN: Sitting in chairs suspended by chains, 13 children were injured, at least two seriously, when the ride malfunctioned. Other rides at Norwalk's annual Oyster Festival were shut down as a precaution, but soon reopened following inspections.

KEN MARTIN: Portable rides have a very good safety record. In the State of Connecticut, however, they're only inspected once a year.

BROWN: Stuart Amusement owns the ride and posted this statement to their Web site, saying, in part, "The Zumur swing ride suffered a mechanical malfunction" and "We are continuing to cooperate with authorities as they investigate into the root cause of the accident."

State officials inspected the swing ride on Friday, just two days before the incident.

This comes on the heels of a deadly accident in July at a Six Flags Amusement Park in Arlington, Texas. A woman fell to her death from the popular ride, The Texas Giant, known for having one of the steepest drops in the world.

There are currently no federal agencies enforcing safety regulations on fixed amusement parks like Six Flags. Some experts are calling for a change.

MARTIN: This particular ride in Connecticut was a traveling ride. There will be federal oversight. An amusement ride is an amusement ride. And they need to be the same inspection guidelines for amusement rides all across the country.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BROWN (on-camera): And Stuart Amusements says its rides are inspected daily by its own trained personnel, weekly by state and local inspectors and annually by professional engineers and insurance company inspectors. State police will conduct a details investigation to find out what caused the incident, but preliminarily, we're hearing it's a mechanical malfunction according to the company.

BOLDUAN: All right. Pamela, we'll stay on top of it. Thank so much for that.

There is clearly a lot of news developing at this very hour, so let's get straight to Michaela for the latest.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: You're watching another wildfire out In California. Dozens of homes in Northern California threatened by it. The Morgan fire, it's called, spreading to more 800 acres last night, forcing evacuations in the Clayton area, which is about 15 miles north of San Francisco. Twenty-five fire engine, four air tankers, three helicopters, and more than 250 firefighters on scene last night. That blaze only 10 percent contained.

A fan is dead after a fall at San Francisco's Candlestick Park. Authorities say the 30-year-old fell from the elevated walkway outside the stadium just after kickoff. Witnesses report he may have been intoxicated. That death coming the same day as a railing collapsed at the Colts/Raiders game in Indianapolis. Two fans were injured but not seriously.

Scary moments at Bangkok's international airport where Thai Airways Jet skidded down a runway with hundreds on board. The airline says the nose gear collapsed on the plane from China as it was landing. More than a dozen people were hurt, but interesting, all the injuries are said to be from the evacuation process, not the hard landing.

A new study may reignite the debate over mammograms. A Harvard research team looked at more than 7,000 breast cancer cases between 1990 and 1999 then tracked those cases through 2007. They found that hundreds of women died, 65 percent of them never had a mammogram. The researchers concluding earlier screening before the age of 50 could have saved lives.

A major heist in Paris this morning. Four thieves made off with nearly $3 million worth of jewelry by smashing their car through a luxury storefront window. Police say they then set fire to the car and used a different car to escape. This just latest heist to hit France. You remember, in July, thieves made off with hundreds of millions of dollars worth of jewelry from the Carlton Hotel in Cannes. Incredible and brazen. Just sort of like in and out and gone.

BOLDUAN: String of them.

PEREIRA: There's been a lot lately.

BOLDUAN: Yes, that's right. Thanks so much, Michaela.

PEREIRA: You're welcome.

BOLDUAN: Security jitters at Buckingham Palace after the worst breach in 30 years. A security breach there. A man was arrested over the weekend after somehow breaking into Buckingham Palace. Just two days later, another security scare, but this one involved a member of the royal family. A bit of a mishap. CNN's Erin McLaughlin is in London with more on this. Good morning, Erin.

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Kate. Well, this is London's main attraction. Tourists from around the world come to the gates of Buckingham Palace to take pictures, and in the summer months, it's even open to the general public, but sometimes, that open door policy comes with a price.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): A security snafu at Buckingham Palace. London's metropolitan police confront a would-be intruder wandering around the palace gardens. They shouted and demanded he identify himself. The problem, the intruder was actually the queen's son, Prince Andrew, simply enjoying a walk. Scotland yard later apologized to the prince who took it in stride.

"The police have a difficult job to do, balancing security for the royal family and deterring intruders, and sometimes, they get it wrong," he said in a statement. Police clearly on high alert because the run-in came just two days after one of the worst ever security breaches at Buckingham Palace. Two men were arrested for allegedly targeting the queen's main residence just packed with priceless works of art and jewelry.

KEN WHARF, FORMER ROYAL PROTECTION OFFICER: This is serious. The breach this week was a breach of security. Of that, there is no question.

MCLAUGHLIN: A man scaled a 12-foot fence and broke through a door while his accomplice waited outside the palace. It's likely that he had to walk through a substantial portion of the complex before arriving at the state rooms where he was arrested.

On display, there a temporary exhibition which is open to the public to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the queen's coronation which includes the spectacular diamond diem (ph), the same crown the queen wears on British stamps and coins. Luckily, nothing was stolen and no one was hurt in the incident. And the queen wasn't even home. She's still on summer holiday at her castle in Scotland.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MCLAUGHLIN (on-camera): Security experts say this breach could happen again. That security's never 100 percent especially when the general public is allowed to get so close to the palace. It's a risk they say the queen is willing to take to remain accessible. They have ordered a thorough security review -- Chris and Kate.

BOLDUAN: Wow. All right. Thanks so much, Erin, from London for us this morning. Thank you.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Take a little break here. Coming up on NEW DAY, Congress back in session, President Obama pressing them to approve a strike on Syria. What is the best reason to do it? What is the best reason not to? The new host of "Crossfire" debate it coming up.

BOLDUAN: Plus, the girl attacked by a brain-eating amoeba, she did something few people in that situation do, survive. And now, she is talking about it. We'll run her amazing story coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY. I don't have to tell you that we're facing a major question in this country. President Obama wants to make the case to attack Syria. The lawmakers are now back in Washington, D.C., now comes the big push. You also should know by now that we have a big poll out this morning, CNN does, and it says that the American people do not support a strike.

So, do we do it or not? What are the best reasons for and against? Joining us now from D.C. are two of the new hosts of CNN's "Crossfire," which premieres tonight at 6:30 p.m. eastern, tonight, 6:30 p.m. eastern. I promised to say twice, S.E. Cupp and Van Jones. Congratulations, good luck tonight. I can't wait to watch.

S.E. CUPP, CNN CROSSFIRE HOST: Thank you.

CUOMO: So, let's show what you're going to do best. The first question here is the obvious one. Now, Van, I know that you've come along on this, all right? In the beginning, you thought maybe after the attacks you should attack. Now, you say we should not attack. S.E. Cupp, you believe it's the right move. So, let's do for and again. Sarah Elizabeth, starting with you, why is this the right move?

CUPP: Well, look, we have a moral obligation here with 100,000 deaths and now the use of chemical weapons. I think it's absolutely appropriate that American politicos and the American public would feel rightly outraged about what's going on in Syria and want to invest in a way to end the conflict. It's also a matter of our national security. Al Qaeda is circling the wagons there. They're already on the ground looking to exploit this conflict as they usually do.

And if we're serious about a war on terror and if we're serious about ending terrorism, then we have to be rightly concerned about that. Iran is also watching. I mean, there are so many reasons to be worried about Syria and get serious there. It's only a shame that the president waited this long to get involved.

VAN JONES, CNN CROSSFIRE HOST: Well, I think S.E. is making a lot of good points. I think people are really torn about this. The problem is that we got to learn from the last time. We criticized George W. Bush for going before the U.N., putting forward evidence that maybe wasn't that strong and going ahead. We haven't even gone to the U.N. We criticized George W. Bush for building his coalition of the willing and having only like a couple of little countries in there.

We don't have any coalition. Even the U.K. is not with us. We criticized George W. Bush for going to war without a plan to win the peace. We don't have a plan to win the war or the peace. So, we're in a situation where we've got to learn the lessons of the last time. There are many more steps that need to be taken.

You know, Tulsi Gabbard, the young veteran who's a congresswoman out of Hawaii, everybody's -- what is she going to do? She's a democrat. She's a combat veteran. She just came out today saying she does not support this intervention. That lets you know that even Democrats who are very close to this president have not been won over and I think they need to take a step back.

CUPP: But Van, the reason why most people, and we have some CNN polls that Chris referenced that we could poll results that we can put up (ph), most people don't support intervention is because for the past few weeks, the president has been telling us all of the things he's not going to do in Syria. He is not going to put boots on the ground. He is not going to topple the Assad regime.

He is not going to be there long-term. The president hasn't told us at all and maybe he will tomorrow night in his speech from the oval office what we are going to do there. And so, building a coalition is great but around what objective? And he hasn't clearly outlined that.

JONES: Well, I think that the president has a big opportunity tomorrow to explain how we go forward. My view is simply this, if there were a dome over Syria where you couldn't throw in the bombs, I think we would be much more creative at coming up with solutions. Everybody was appalled at seeing those children gassed. Everybody is appalled at seeing two million, more than two million people who are refugees. Everybody wants peace in the region. The question is, do you stand back and throw in some bombs or do we figure out some way to isolate this regime and to get the peace that we want. And I don't think starting off with bombs, when the American public is divided, and the world community is not with us, is the right way to start.

CUPP: I think the president is a lot more concerned about his own legacy. He doesn't want to own the red lines that he set, which is absolutely absurd. Who wouldn't be proud of a red line against a dictator gassing?

(CROSSTALK)

JONES: He's staking his presidency on the red line. How you say he's not proud of it?

CUPP: He's absolutely not. He's saying this isn't my red line, the world set this red line. I'm just taking their lead. He's also --

(CROSSTALK)

CUPP: We're not out to change the course of the war in Syria. Why the heck not? There's no moral indignation coming out of the president. He needs to take off his professor hat and put on his outrage hat and convince the American people of why it's so important that we go in.

JONES: Well, I agree with you on this. First of all, he's taking his entire presidency on this red line and I think he's just trying to say that the whole world should adopt this red line, but I will say this. In some way, he is trying to be half hawk, half dove, and a half hawk, half dove, bird doesn't fly in Washington, D.C.

And so, I think he's got to come down strongly on this side, make that moral, then we can all listen. I think he should be applauded also, by the way, for going to Congress and making us a part of the discussion. I remember when I was a kid in the 1980s, you just wake up and Reagan would be on TV saying -- or Bush would be on TV saying we took over Panama.

We took over Grenada. We bombed Libya and there was no discussion about it. So, I am proud of him for letting this discussion happen.

CUPP: But it was a dog and pony show, Van. He said he didn't even need Congress and that he could do what he wanted. It was a complete charade. If the president has a clear view of what he wants to do, then go ahead and do it. Be a leader.

CUOMO: Hey, quick question to you guys. The Assad interview.

CUPP: Oh, hey, Chris.

(LAUGHTER)

CUOMO: Hey, listen, you know what? I was going to save this for the close, but ladies and gentlemen take note at home, I haven't had to do anything. These two know how to get it on, that's why we believe "Crossfire" is going to be a big hit.

(LAUGHTER)

CUOMO: The Assad interview, what's your gut about whether or not it's going to help the cause of the president or it's going to work against him by preying on Americans' fears? Sarah Elizabeth.

CUPP: You know, the more we can make the case and show just how dangerous and terrible a person Bashar al-Assad is, I think the more Americans will be moved on this issue. The videos that Van and I got to watch over the weekend unfortunately are now public of the sarin gas results I think could be a game changer as well.

This guy is a terrible guy. And no one wants to have another Rwanda on our hands. We all look back at that with regret. So, the time to go in was earlier, but it's certainly is also now.

CUOMO: But Van, you think he's going to play to the American public as a terrible guy? Does he set up like a Hussein when you see him on TV and when he says, hey, "expect everything." Expect all, you know, code word for terrorism, preying on Americans' fears. What do you think the reaction is?