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"Vile, Profane, Obscene Language"; GOP's Circular Firing Squad Continues; President Takes on Obamacare Critics; Hader's Life After "SNL"; Miracle on the Bay

Aired September 26, 2013 - 16:30   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome back to THE LEAD. Time for the "Politics Lead," Long Islanders don't blush easy, but Congressman Peter King says his office has been bombarded with vile phone calls over his criticism of Republican Senator Ted Cruz. Take a listen.


REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: I haven't heard such vile, profane, obscene language. I'm not saying Ted Cruz is responsible for all his supporters, but he has tapped into a dark strain here through the American political psyche.


TAPPER: To be fair, Congressman King hasn't pulled any punches in his criticism of the Texas senator lately.


KING: Ted Cruz is a fraud and you no longer have any influence in the Republican Party.


TAPPER: But what's with all the Republican on Republican violence? Let's bring in our panel, columnist for the "Washington Post" Clinton Yates, CNN senior political analyst and editorial director for "National Journal," Ron Brownstein, and CNN contributor and former advisor to Mitt Romney, Kevin Madden.

Kevin, historically in this town, I have seen Democrats with the circular firing squad, but there are SOME real tensions bubbling up right now between different factions of the Republican Party.

KEVIN MADDEN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, there are. I think there have always been historical tensions, too. The purist versus the pragmatist and I think in this case, you see someone like Peter King, he's much more interested in playing to an audience back home that has some centrist Democrats and that's how he gets re-elected. He's been here for a long time because he's been very focused on trying to find that common ground. What you have is on the other side, purists like Ted Cruz who believe look, the reason we didn't win in 2012 against Barack Obama, the reason that we don't have two majorities in the House and Senate is because we haven't been as confrontational right now with this Washington status quo that many people outside of Washington believe needs to be confronted more. That's really -- we're seeing it just play out now in real time.

TAPPER: Ron, you have a piece coming out for "National Journal" arguing that Cruz eclipsed Senator Marco Rubio as the front man for the Tea Party faithful should he choose to run for president. The big question, of course, will they get behind him in 2016?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. I think that remains to be seen, whether he can personally channel the emotions that he's tapped into. Kevin's point is exactly right. I look at Cruz's rise as really symptomatic of a bigger change in the Republican Party. After 2012 election, after President Obama won, when Mitt Romney won a higher share of the white vote than Ronald Reagan did in 1980, the dominant impulse in the party was we had to reach out, we had hit a demographic dead end, had to find new ways to reach voters we hadn't attracted before.

Marco Rubio's negotiation of immigration reform really was a symbol of that. Now I think the party is moving in the direction Kevin suggested, which is the problem is that we didn't turn out enough of our base, we didn't give them the true undiluted medicine and that is, I think, what is really the tail wind behind Cruz, that argument that our real problem is we have not been conservative enough.

We have not been confrontational enough and we have not done enough to turn out our traditional base. Difficult reality in terms of the numbers but no doubt that is the argument that is winning in the Republican Party this year.

TAPPER: Clinton, when we talk about the government shutdown, you had a great column about this in the "Washington Post." What does it really mean for people who work for the government?

CLINTON YATES, COLUMNIST, "WASHINGTON POST": Well, what it means for people that work for the government is that, A, you don't necessarily know whether or not you are essential or nonessential, which is sort of a difficult thing to deal with. But also in this town specifically, not this town a lot of people refer to, but the place we are sitting right now --

TAPPER: People who work at the Navy Yard who got killed.

YATES: Yes. People like that. People at the national zoo, at the museums, they will be out of jobs. Because this city is unfairly taxed and has no representation in Congress, the appropriation means that they are forced to shut down. I will give the city credit for saying we're not doing that. We will continue to run because we raise the money. We will do what we like. In this town where you live, you will see life continue to go on, hopefully, presuming Congress doesn't decide to take the city to court. TAPPER: Kevin, what's your take on the government shutdown? Do you think that the Republican Party is going to be blamed if it happens?

MADDEN: Look, you know, I believe that the headlines on this are already written because so many people outside of Washington rely on inside Washington to tell the story. They look at it through the lens of the 1995 shutdown. That was historically when people look at the history, they believe it was bad, it put --

TAPPER: Not the Tea Party folks because they're new.

MADDEN: That's something that is very interesting, the outside effect that so many folks in the Tea Party and Tea Party caucus on Capitol Hill are having as part of the tactical strategy here, which is that we need to confront the status quo here in Washington and send a message that we're not going to do it the same way. This isn't about managing sort of the establishment power base instead.

BROWNSTEIN: Just for historical accuracy, going into the shutdown in the fall of '95, Bill Clinton was under 50 percent approval and was consistently trailing Bob Dole in the early head-to-heads in the '96 race. During the shutdown, he went over 50, went ahead of Dole and neither one of those things ever reversed. He never trailed Dole again or he never went below 50 percent.

TAPPER: Wasn't Bill Clinton in a stronger position than Barack Obama is right now? I think I read in the "Washington Post" -- no, I'm sorry, in a poll that Clinton was 11 points, there was a differential --

BROWNSTEIN: Clinton was under 50 in approval as well. I don't remember if he was in the low 40s as Obama. Look, the fact that nothing is getting done in Washington and this unrelenting sense of conflict at a time when people are increasingly anxious about the economy again is taking its toll on everybody. I would argue that actually John Boehner and Barack Obama both go into this weaker in some ways than you would expect.

MADDEN: Big challenges coming out of 2012 is we increasingly have become defined as a party by what we were against and needed to show we could govern. When the government shuts down that becomes increasingly difficult to do.

TAPPER: I want to play some sound from President Obama today. He took on a claim from a Republican legislator in New Hampshire that Obamacare was the most dangerous legislation ever.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: You had a state representative somewhere say that it's as destructive to personal and individual liberty as the fugitive slave act. Think about that. Affordable health care is worse than a law that lets slave owners get their runaway slaves back.

(END VIDEO CLIP) TAPPER: Why bring up -- the guy who said it was New Hampshire's Bill O'Brien. Clinton, why bring up what some state representative has to say other than to stoke --

YATES: You know, I don't know. I mean, I think what his point there he's trying to make is this sort of obvious Bush league brinksmanship has become too much of an issue. People are not in the actual perspective what this actually means for America. What he's saying there is this is so ridiculous. You need to understand where certain people are coming from who are opposing it. Do you want to align yourself with that? I don't know.

BROWNSTEIN: Real quick, even if the health care law survives all the cascading challenges, the shutdown, then the debt ceiling, you basically have a situation where half the country is implementing it and half is actively resisting it. We haven't seen anything like this on any other entitlement program, this broad resistance across half of America.

TAPPER: All right, Clinton Yates, Ron Brownstein, Kevin Madden, thank you so much.

Coming up, move over 2004 Red Sox, there's a new comeback kid in town. Find out what one team did that had some calling it the greatest come from behind win ever.

Plus, Tina Fey moved on years ago but can't seem to stay away. Is life after "Saturday Night Live" all that it's cracked up to be? I'll ask SNL along Bill Hater next.


TAPPER: Right here on this very spot on the final episode of last season's "Saturday Night Live" our own Anderson Cooper almost married the character Stefan. We'll talk to that actor who plays Stefan, Bill Hater, about the next season of SNL, which debuts this Saturday and whose new movie which comes out tomorrow coming right up.


TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. Now it's time for the "Pop Culture Lead." In our Pop Lead, Tina Fey hosts the 39th season premiere of "Saturday Night Live." She knows the competition she's up against this weekend.


TINA FEY, HOST, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE": We promise "SNL" will be over in time for you to watch the "Breaking Bad" finale.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, like 18 hours before that.

FEY: Who knows? There might even be some fun "Breaking Bad" cameos this Saturday. Like ever heard of this guy? OK, no. We got nothing, but please, still watch.


TAPPER: One of her former "SNL" castmates, Bill Hader, has moved on to bigger things, like huge food animals. Hader is the voice of Flint Lockwood in the new movie "Cloudy with A Chance of Meatballs 2" which hits theatres tomorrow. It's just the latest role for an actor known for his own cast of characters.


TAPPER (voice-over): "Saturday Night Live" alum Bill Hader may be most recognizable from playing someone else such as James Carville.

BILL HADER, ACTOR: Look at me. I see this in the mirror every morning and I think yes, that's a good look.

TAPPER: Vincent Price.

HADER: Now it's time for arts and crafts, where we learn how to make spooky crafts.

TAPPER: Clint Eastwood or perhaps his most beloved weekend update character, Stefan.

HADER: Give the person you love a romantic Valentine's Day gift.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you mean like a box of chocolates?

HADER: No, like human suitcases.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is a human suitcase?

HADER: It's a thing of when a midget on roller skates wears all of your clothes and you pull them through an airport.

TAPPER: We met the actor where Stefan and Hader said goodbye to "Saturday Night Live" last season.

HADER: This is where Stefan and Anderson Cooper were going to get married then Seth Myers ruined it up there. And a big melee happened right here.

TAPPER (on camera): I didn't realize at first that all the people on Stefan's side were creatures that you had referenced throughout the years.

HADER: Some intern had to go through every single Stefan and name every single character.

TAPPER: Jewish Dracula?

HADER: Sidney Applebaum, German Smurfs.

TAPPER (voice-over): Hader ran from the "SNL" altar into the arms of Hollywood, movie and TV roles even commercials. His latest is voicing the lead character Flint Lockwood in "Cloudy with A Chance of Meatballs 2." HADER: I was trying and do all these different kind of character voices and the directors said wait, you're doing me talking to them in between the takes, do you guys like that, what do you want me to do, that's the one, we like that voice.

TAPPER (on camera): Do you like doing animated stuff because your kids can enjoy it? You have two little kids.

HADER: Every time I try to do something for my kids it backfires. My daughter was like no. I had a year wait for a show to come out, a year later it comes out, I've been waiting a year for this moment, watch who does the dancy-dance and she's watching it and I come up and she's like no, no. No. I was like what? I said this before but I was like I can understand if I was watching "Star Wars" and my dad showed up with Hans Solo, guys, you going to hyper space. I would be like get out of there, dad!

TAPPER (voice-over): This weekend, "Saturday Night Live" returns for its 39th season and the first in eight years without Hader and his cast of characters. Six new players join the show to try to fill the void left by Hader, Fred Armison and Jason Sudakis.

(on camera): What is your advice to them?

HADER: I would say don't be afraid to fail. Whatever you're doing, your first couple seasons, you're the second cop through the door, as Bill Murray would say, or the Jamba juice employee, here you go, sir, you're just playing the supporting roles. You can find laughs in those.

TAPPER: You going to miss it?

HADER: No. We're only at the place where I said goodbye.


TAPPER: In addition to his voiceover work in "Cloudy with A Chance of Meatballs 2" and two other Pixar films, Hader has a new movie coming out later this year, a drama called "The Skeleton Twins" and his co- star is another SNL alum, Kristen Wiig.

Coming up, you know that feeling you get when you accidentally send a text bashing your boss to your boss? Sorry, Mr. Zucker. Thanks to a Google glitch, many people have explaining to do today. Find out why next.


TAPPER: It's being described as one of the greatest comebacks in sports history. Not baseball or football or basketball or NASCAR. How on earth or sea did you ever miss it? Come sail away with me when THE LEAD returns.


TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. Now it's time for the Sports Lead. It's a race for the oldest trophy in international sports. It's also become one of the most extreme competitions in the world with capitalists pumping more money into it than the monopoly man could ever imagine. This year's America's Cup will be remembered for one of the greatest and wildest comebacks in sports history. THE LEAD's Erin McPike is here with the story.

ERIN MCPIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, Larry Ellison, the third richest man in America, he set out years ago to make sailing a more exciting sport, get more commercial competition and attention, and you know, he fielded an American team and really wanted a win, which he got several years ago, but in getting it more exciting this time, he got a little more than he bargained for.


MCPIKE (voice-over): Red Sox knock out the Yankees in 2004. Auburn comes from behind to a one-point victory over Alabama in 2010, and Reggie Miller steals a crucial game against the Knicks in 1995. But now, here's the skipper. It's the Americans over the Kiwis in the San Francisco Bay as Team USA scored a come from behind victory of epic proportions to win their namesake, the America's Cup.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To come back, the greatest comeback in sports history, says a lot about our team, lot about the character, their heart and the fight they've got inside them. It doesn't get any better than this.

MCPIKE: For the title, two teams, two countries, each on a high tech katamaran race against each other in a series of sprints for weeks. And the team from down under was leading eight races to one. In a championship that's determined by the first to nine, but the American team came roaring back this week, winning eight straight races to keep the title. The Kiwis were crushed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We didn't get the last one we need to take this cup back to New Zealand.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, Larry, for your vision.

MCPIKE: Team USA's largest backer is billionaire software magnate Larry Ellison. This year's event cost each team about $100 million, but he told CBS last month it isn't just for rich guys.

LARRY ELLISON, OWNER, ORACLE TEAM USA: We're competing with other sports to get kids' attention and we want -- we have to make our sport exciting and got to modernize it. We decided to make this an extreme sport.

MCPIKE: Luckily, the only thing hurt in this extreme sport this time was the Kiwis' egos.


MCPIKE: Now the barriers to entry are so high, $100 million for a team. Only three teams competed this year, but maybe this kind of comeback will inspire more people to get involved. TAPPER: Incredible story. Thank you so much, Erin McPike.

Now it's time for the "Money Lead" because that pool of cash Mark Zuckerberg dives into every morning could use just a little extra cushion. Investors have helped Facebook shares reach a milestone. The stock topped $50 for the first time since the company went public. Its value has nearly doubled in the past few months, after getting off to a slow and at times depressing start when Facebook first started trading publicly last May.

Facebook's strong growth in the second quarter this year has been linked to the success of its mobile ads. Basically don't expect those annoying ads that pop up in the middle of your news feed to go away any time soon.

And if you lose a few Facebook friends today, it may be because they found out how you really feel about them. Thanks to a glitch on Google Talk. The bug apparently sends instant messages to the wrong recipients and it took Google three to five hours to fix the problem. At least one user reports co-workers getting access to chats exchanged with a boss. Yikes. Google tells CNN the problem has been identified and stopped and that the company is quote, "currently applying a fix." That's nice.

That's it for "THE LEAD." I'm Jake Tapper. You can follow me on Twitter @jaketapper or @theleadcnn. I now turn you over to Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM." That room happens to be just feet away right next door -- Mr. Blitzer.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Jake, thanks very much.