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Conflicting Messages About Hillary Clinton; A Night Of Emmy Surprises And Snubs; Movie Stars Leaping To The Tube; Can "Kazaam" Save The Kings?; NFL Player Loses Part Of Finger In Glove

Aired September 23, 2013 - 16:30   ET


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Let's take you now to our political panel. Tracy Sefl, a former advisor to the Hillary Clinton For President 2008 campaign and an advisor to the Ready for Hillary super PAC. Senior editor for "The National Review," Ramesh Ponnuru. And political reporter for Yahoo! News, Chris Moody.

It's really interesting, guys, because you have these two magazine pieces hitting the same day. This largely flattering piece by Joe Rogan in "New York" magazine basically argues she learned from her mistakes, she's ready for 2016. And then this piece on Doug Band, the Bill Clinton aide which, whether or not you believe it, it seems to highlight all the baggage and drama of Obama (ph).

Tracy, this was probably not the rollout that the Clintons, Hillary Clinton team wanted when they -- because this was an interview with "New York" magazine was obviously planned and in the works, and then you have this other story from ""The New Republic"" that really kind of steps on the message.

TRACY SEFL, ADVISOR, READY FOR HILLARY SUPER PAC: Well, I don't know what the crossover of the two audiences are out there, but I think earlier --

TAPPER: Me, basically. And the people at this table.

SEFL: Okay.

TAPPER: The four of us and some of the crew.

SEFL: And of six.


SEFL: Erin's piece earlier where she talked about Ready for Hillary and what they're doing, the video she showed at the beginning is their announcement of one million supporters. So you've got whatever people want to call the little microdramas and the things that fuel a lot of stories like these. And then you've got --let's just call it the rest of the world, where it doesn't seem to make a difference.

TAPPER: Chris? You agree with that? I mean, is this honestly a negligible thing, the fact "The New Republic" has this -- not positive piece about Clintonland versus "New York" magazine and just the existence of Hillary Clinton and who she is? CHRIS MOODY, POLITICAL REPORTER, YAHOO! NEWS: We're rolling into fall 2013 right now. There's a lot of time left. I think this is the kind of thing that kind of evaporates over time.

Now, the next three years are going to be spent with pieces like this all day long. Oppo dropped here, nice feature pieces dropped there. We're seeing that coming in from super PACs, but from the parties. They're starting to roll out research teams on Hillary. And the Democrats are going to start doing that on the bunch of candidates they have on the Republican side. So, it's going to be like this for the next several years.

TAPPER: But what's also interesting about this, Ramesh -- let's say you don't even -- let's say the piece against Doug Band and "The New Republic" by a very respected investigative reporter, Alec MacGills -- let's say it's not fair. Let's just posit that for a second, that it's not fair.

It still reveals that somebody out there is settling scores. Somebody in Clintonland has an axe to grind with Doug Band, and that's kind of the problem that has existed in the past with Clinton World is all these people around them who take shots at each other instead of uniting. And that kind of was the problem for her in 2008 to a degree.

RAMESH PONNURU, SENIOR EDITOR, "NATIONAL REVIEW": I'm reminded of a story which I think "The New Republic" ran back in 1993 about the coziness and in-fighting of the Clinton world. And it was called Clinfest. And you just get this powerful aggression reading, all this Clinton stuff.

And in particular, there wasn't really anything particularly scandalous that's been revealed here. It's sort of like the ghost of scandal future that's being told in some of these stories. I think what the opponents of the Clintons in both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party want to say is that if you liked all the scandals we've had in the past, get ready for more if you elevate her again.

TAPPER: I do want to turn to the other pressing issue of the day, of course, which is the pending government shutdown, which is pretty important. There's a new Pew poll out there showing with seven days left -- there's a poll on who will be blamed. Republicans will be blamed by 39 percent of the public. The Obama administration, 36 percent of the public. Both, 17 percent of the public.

This is certainly counterintuitive from the polls leading up to this I have read before, Chris, including in an interview with House Republican party's own pollster that Republicans would take the blame. It looks like it's shifting that maybe both sides will take the blame.

MOODY: Well, let's not put the cart before the horse here. There still hasn't been a government shutdown and there most likely probably won't be.

TAPPER: You don't think so?

MOODY: I don't think so. I think they will resolve it before. The big fight is going to be on the debt ceiling in a couple weeks.

But no, this does buck the conventional wisdom. I think there's a general distaste with Washington, and there's just a pox on both your houses for both of these parties. But I think at the end of the day, Republicans want to push something that's been on the books for three years. They want to repeal it - Obamacare. It's also been deemed constitutional by the Supreme Court. I would imagine most people would see the Republicans as responsible for that if it does come to it.

TAPPER: Tracy, Democrats, do you feel you have the stronger hand here?

SEFL: Well, also in that Pew poll are interesting numbers on the willingness to compromise. And it does appear that Democrats are willing to do that, that there's compromise that will be necessary to avert the shutdown.

And the Tea Party, for example, on the other side of that equation, they're not. They're not willing to compromise. And it's that stark difference that is and should be the scariest thing to all of us, because Democrats willing to compromise, Tea Party not.

TAPPER: Ramesh, we only have about 20 seconds. What's your prediction? Are we going to have a shutdown this week, do you think?

PONNURU: I think over the last week, the momentum has been shifting against a shutdown, but it's too soon to say. You can still have it. It's a close call right now.

TAPPER: All right. Great job, everyone. Thank you so much. Appreciate it, Tracy, Ramesh, Chris, appreciate it.

Coming up on THE LEAD, if you have ever been disappointed after listening to online reviews, there might be a good reason. Which businesses are paying for reviews, and what's being done about it?

Plus, it gave the new iPhone that extra cool factor and was supposed to keep your phone safe. But already, hackers figured out a way around the new fingerprint technology on your iPhone. How they did it, coming up next.


TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. Now it's time for the Money Lead.

When it comes to online reviews, if it sounds too good to be true, it might have been paid for. Today, the New York state attorney general is cracking down on businesses that buy fake reviews for Web sites like Yelp or City Search. A year-long investigation uncovered nearly two dozen companies trying to fake it to make it.

Check out this glowing review for a bus company that reads quote, "U.S. Coachways does a great job. They're committed to providing excellent service every time." Well, that review, according to the attorney general, was written by the owner of the bus company himself. A dentist's office accused of getting a third party company to drum up fake reviews like this one that reads: "Friendly and expert periodontist. Boy, am I glad I discovered Dr. Tetri!" Also fake.

In all, the New York attorney general busted 19 companies for scamming customers with phony reviews. They have to pay a total of $350,000 in fines.

Joining me live from New York is Howard Bragman. He's the vice-chair and founder of We should also note that his company shares several board members with Yelp. Howard, you say there's a reason that these companies care so much about reviews, the ones who do the hiring, because they really do have an effect on business.

HOWARD BRAGMAN, V.P. AND FOUNDER, REPUTATION.COM: Yes. The numbers are astounding, Jake. Eighty percent of consumers make their decisions based on these customer reviews, and that's a number that's gone up almost 10 percent a year the last couple years and growing. This is how we make our decisions now. This is before you get a haircut, before you go to a doctor, before you go to a restaurant, this is what we do. We research it online. And these are hugely important.

TAPPER: Now your company,, you help businesses improve your online profiles, especially when they're hit with bad reviews. Explain how you do it -- presumably ethically and legally --versus the way some of these guys that just got in trouble do it.

BRAGMAN: Well, the first and most important thing is to do it ethically. We never pay for reviews. We never put up false reviews.

The most important thing you can do is make it easy for your customers to review you. There's a tendency for people to put up a review if they have a bad experience. If you hated something, you are going to -- it's almost like writing a letter to the editor. They are going to go online and they're going say, "I had a horrible meal, my hotel room was dirty, this doctor was rude to me."

So the important thing that businesses can do and what helps them do is get their genuine customers to say I had a great experience here. We believe that that experience, that that ability to review, should be as easy as it is to pay for your product. Something as simple as putting a tablet computer next to your checkout and asking your customers to do a review. Then you can get a more balanced picture of these reviews.

TAPPER: So New York State's leading the way on this issue with the steps by the attorney general. Do you think other states, perhaps even the federal government, might get involved with these scams, with these companies abroad paying for -- being paid for fake reviews?

BRAGMAN: I hope so, and I anticipate it, yes. This has been a huge story today. It's really gone viral. Consumers love this.

You know, it used to be the Wild West out there, Jake. You could have a bad review that was posted anonymously. I used to call it writing on the bathroom wall. It could have been your ex-wife. It could have been your disgruntled employee, somebody you fired. It could be a competitor. For the first time, the attorney general is saying this is wrong.

You know, it's one thing if you go to a restaurant, you have a bad meal. But if you go to a bad doctor, a bad health care provider, somebody who is watching your kids and have a bad experience, that's a whole different thing, and there are serious implications for these dishonest reviews. And I'm glad the attorney general realized this. Consumers will rally behind this. Politicians will see that this is a great way to touch their constituents.

Yes, it's going to be huge, it's going to grow. This is just the beginning.

TAPPER: I guess there's just so much out there on the Internet that I just automatically assume is fake. I don't know who the people are following me on Twitter, half of them. I believe a lot of the political tweets that I get are from companies being paid by a certain party to shape my coverage one way or the other. I just wonder where this all ends, if we start getting involved in the reviews.

BRAGMAN: Well, I'm not sure where it ends, but I think this is a great place to start. We live in a world where a lot of things are transparent in this world. So, if somebody's writing a bad review and we see it comes from a city -- it's a restaurant review, say, coming from a city where that restaurant is not even located, it raises eyebrows. The best customer review companies already scrutinize their reviews. Their credibility depends on real reviews from real customers.

Nobody wants to live in a state where everybody's reviewing everything you do and everything you post. But we also have to look at this with a bit of a cynical eye, understand there's a lot of untruth on the Internet. At the same time, there are moments when we deserve the truth. And --

TAPPER: Just Howard, just last, we only have a few seconds left. But as a consumer, since you have this cynical eye you were just referring to, what's the best way to spot a fake review? How can you spot one?

BRAGMAN: You know, what you've got to do is look at multiple review sites. It's hugely important. Look for the consistencies. If they keep saying this hotel chain has dirty rooms, they probably have dirty rooms. If you read five different restaurant reviews and they say, you know, they give great service, great food, you start to look at it and talk to your friends. Really post reviews yourself. Be part of the process. That can really help speed this along, Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Howard Bragman, thank you so much.

Apple bills it as some of their most advanced hardware and software ever. That's the billing, but hackers have already figured out a way past it. Apple has a touch I.D. on the new iPhone 5s, but this video shows how to easily beat it. According to a German hacking group, they say all a hacker would need is a photo of your fingerprint, a laser printer and a little bit of latex. Fooling the sensor is easy. Still, the 5s and cheaper 5c model are flying off the shelves. Apple sold a combined 9 million of them in just three days. Coming up next on THE LEAD, stars used to graduate from television to movies, but now it's the other way around. Why some major celebrities are moving from the silver screen to the small screen.

Plus broken up over the end of "Breaking Bad?," well, would having a little piece of the show make you feel better? How you can get your very own Walter White hazmat suit coming up.


TAPPER: Congratulations to Jeff Daniels, who scored an Emmy win for the "Newsroom" last night, the HBO show that so many journalists love to hate watch. Daniels has done something that was once unthinkable for Hollywood stars. We'll tell you what when THE LEAD continues next.


TAPPER: The Pop Culture Lead now, if the Oscars are Hollywood's prom night, does that make the Emmys winter formal? Well, not anymore. Last night, TV stars got their chance to bask in the warm glow of self deprecating humor, musical numbers and well rehearsed spontaneous moments that we have come to expect from the Emmy Awards.

The night's big winners, of course, "Breaking Bad" and "Modern Family" for outstanding drama and comedy series, and in the lead actor and actress drama categories, it was two former movie stars who walked away with Emmy gold.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And the Emmy goes to Jeff Daniels.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Claire Danes, "Homeland."


TAPPER: We're in the midst of what many have called a golden age of television so maybe it's no wonder so many movie stars are suddenly embracing what was once considered a taboo career move by taking their talents to the small screen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, someone wholesome, someone famous.

TAPPER (voice-over): If a big name is all it takes, then television networks have never been so well-prepared.


TAPPER: This fall, CBS will add Robin Williams' name to the bountiful list of stars pilfered from the big screen for a return to television.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You wonder ever if you're a bad man?

TAPPER: Woody Harrelson is on that list.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: World needs a bad man.

TAPPER: He and Matthew McConaughey will be on the small screen this January in HBO's "True Detective." Of course, McConaughey is also preparing to release three full length films just in case this hugely profitable world of dramatic television series doesn't work out.

DAN MACSAI, SENIOR EDITOR, "TIME": Good actors want to go where they can tell great stories. Right now, the greatest stories are on TV. Meaty, complex characters you just don't find in a 90-minute blockbuster or sequel.

TAPPER: Whether they're returning to their roots or starting fresh, this year's television stars are creating a buzz as planned. But they're hardly breaking new ground.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's all about location, location, location.

TAPPER: "House of Cards" --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now you're going to hit me with the real straight talk?

TAPPER: And "House of Lies" both star former movie man. Meanwhile, Martin Scorse expanded his talents to create "Boardwalk Empire" years ago.


MACSAI: So when TV executives pay the big money for the actors, what they're really paying for is the built-in fan base and a proven track record knowing they can deliver with high profile performances.

TAPPER: Television is basking in the glow of its recent triumphs and the networks are not shy about letting us know why we should keep tuning in. Greg Kinear, front and center to promote Fox News' new series "Rake."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My dad's heart's going to be awfully full.

TAPPER: The competition's a bit less subtle about its fancy casting.

ANNOUNCER: Rebel Wilson is coming to television and ABC's got her.

TAPPER: So if TV now has her and him and them and these, what are the sticky floor in theatres offering?

MACSAI: Your Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Angelina Jolie, will still be in movies, not on television, because there's something big and spectacular about the movie going experience. But what they lack is the fact that on TV, you can sort of develop a relationship with these characters.

TAPPER: So if you want a night out with some jumbo popcorn, go ahead. Just remember with so many stars believing quality is on TV, don't forget to set your DVRs.


TAPPER: Coming up on "THE LEAD" since retiring from the NBA, he spent his time performing random acts of Shaq-ness. That and getting a Ph.D., but now Dr. O'Neal has a new gig. That's coming up next.


TAPPER: Five fingers went into the glove. Four and a half came out. An NFL star's alarming discovery when THE LEAD returns.


TAPPER: Now it's time for the Sports Lead. We thought after he turned in his Kazaam costume that Shaq's days of trying to rescue the downtrodden with his magic powers were over, but he's trying to work magic for the Sacramento Kings. The former basketball star turned NBA analyst just bought a stake in the team. His minority ownership could help the franchise. It's been struggling with dwindling fan support, mismanagement and lackluster seasons over the past few years.

We have to warn you that this next one isn't for the squeamish. Arizona Cardinals safety Rashad Jackson discovered something was missing in yesterday's game versus the Saints, namely, the top part of his finger. Here's the really gross part. He didn't realize it until he pulled his glove off and his fingertip was still in it.

That's it for THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. I now turn you over to Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM."