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Biden Visits National Domestic Violence Hotline, Apologizes for Obamacare Web Site; Republicans Block Obama Nominees; Obama Approval Hits All-Time Low; Ted Cruz Father Call Obama Kenyan and Marxist; Facebook CFO Admits Site Losing Younger Teens

Aired October 31, 2013 - 15:30   ET



BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Christi Paul, you just scored this exclusive interview with the vice president, Joe Biden. And I know you both share this deep concern over domestic violence.


BALDWIN: And I want to get into that in just a minute, but first, with everything on the Hill yesterday, health care, he apologized over this rollout.

PAUL: I know. The thing is, no matter what political side of the aisle you sit on, I think everybody can agree that Joe Biden is the guy that just kind of spills it and tells it like it is.

And we were just as surprised as anybody when, yesterday, I asked him about Obamacare and he just apologized.

BALDWIN: Take a look.


JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We were under the impression we were ready to go. We had the president, to his credit, almost seven weeks out saying, are we ready?

And to be told by the pros, yeah, this looks like it's all ready to go, all online, and neither he and I are technology geeks. And we assumed that it was up and ready to run.

But the good news is, although it's not and we apologize for that, we're confident that by the end of November it will be and there will still be plenty of time for people to register and get online.


BALDWIN: So, that was huge because he is the highest ranking official within the administration to say I'm sorry, so, that, obviously, making news.

But then you were there as part of the speech. You wrote a very personal book about domestic violence. Tell me a little bit about that.

PAUL: It was my own experience with abuse in a prior relationship, but the National Domestic Violence Hotline would not exist if it weren't for Joe Biden and the fact that he authored the Violence Against Women Act. So he is very active there.

I called -- I found out he calls them about once a month, or his team does, to make sure everything's going smoothly, do they need anything, do they have everything they need?

They just got their three millionth call, which is why he was there, and I think it's indicative of how prolific this problem is with domestic violence.

And one of the things I was so grateful he touched on was a lot of things, socially, a lot of instances where people blame the victim. It's hard to talk about, but he addressed it.


BIDEN: Young woman would testify before us and say -- they'd say, this happened, that happened, I asked the question, what was the response to your girlfriends. They said, well, why were you wearing what you wearing, why were you -- and -

PAUL: How do we change that?

BIDEN: The way to change that is begin to educate the public. For example, what I say to men, I say, if a man gets drunk in a bar and he's just dead drunk, he staggers out of the bar, walking down the street, he gets mugged and a concussion.

Does anybody blame him? No, they don't. They go ahead and they blame -- they blame who they should, the robber, the mugger.


PAUL: He's also celebrating the fact that the center has now started a new online chat for people who are more comfortable chatting online than chatting on the phones. So, they're really taking technology to try to reach everybody they can.

But at the end of the day, the vice president is adamant that -- he told me, this is the most important work I will ever do. He is so -- he so firmly believes that.

And it's a great interview. The whole thing is on, and he just has some really important things to say.

BALDWIN: Christi Paul, thank you very much.

PAUL: Thank you.


BALDWIN: If you were with us here yesterday, you caught Kathleen Sebelius, the health secretary, accepting blame for the botched Obamacare rollout.

Now, the vice president, as you just saw, has spoken out and he did so in an exclusive interview, which we just showed to you, so I'm going to move in.

Republicans just raised the stakes in the battle over the Benghazi investigation. Senate Republicans blocked two presidential nominees today.

One, a judge appointed to a U.S. appeals court, and also Congressman Melvin Watt, named to lead the agency that oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham says he's not going to drop his push on Benghazi. The senator talked to CNN's "NEW DAY" host, Kate Bolduan.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Is it fair to tell the Congress, when you have a national security failure like this, we will not make available to you the people who survived the attack so you can make an independent inquiry?

Is it fair to withhold from the Congress, a separate branch of the government with oversight responsibilities, the basic evidence about what happened?

I don't like holding up people. That's not my nature. I've run out of ideas, and I'm not going to do -- Kate, I'm not going to let this whole chapter close.


BALDWIN: Let's go to Jake Tapper, host of "THE LEAD."

So, Jake Tapper, we have Senator Graham's point. Is there any clear indication that these Benghazi survivors have not been allowed to testify?

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR, "THE LEAD": Well, it depends who you ask.

The White House says they have cooperated and participated with every request, reasonable request in their view, coming from Congress. There has been testimony from survivors behind closed doors.

But there hasn't been the kind of public testimony from survivors, many of whom are intelligence officials, intelligence officers in the field. And that is something that has caused Republicans a lot of consternation.

I think there are still a lot of questions about Benghazi that have yet to be answered.

But along with the serious questions are often some -- many intimations of -- many intimations of things that are not fair or accurate in terms of President Obama giving a stand-down order, things that just did not happen.

And so, there is a real sensitivity and, unfortunately, in this tragedy and this horrific event in which four Americans were killed, both political parties are reaching -- are fighting and turning this into a partisan fight when it really shouldn't be.

BALDWIN: I mentioned a minute ago, you know, Republicans raising the stakes, you know, with blocking possible nominations.

And Senator Graham even threatened to hold up confirmation of Janet Yellen who is nominated to chair the Federal Reserve.

Is that taking it a little too far?

TAPPER: Well, just to be clear about the Senate rules, one senator cannot actually block a Fed Reserve chair nominee.

After that Fed Reserve chair nominee is officially nominated, Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader, can call for a vote, and as long as it's only one or two or anything fewer than 41 senators, that nomination cannot be blocked.

You need 60 votes from senators can bring the nomination to the floor.

What Lindsey Graham can do is he can block a unanimous consent, which is just kind of agrees. We don't even have to vote on this. He can block that. That's true.

But in terms of keeping Janet Yellen from becoming Fed chair, one senator, two senators, that can't happen.

BALDWIN: OK, We'll be looking for you to talk about this on "THE LEAD." Mr. Tapper, thank you very much. We'll see you -

TAPPER: Thanks, Brooke.

BALDWIN: -- in 20 more minutes.

Coming up here, President Obama's approval rating, they have hit an all-time low. His administration under a huge assault, what's next for the president?

I'll challenge one of his former aides, coming up next.

Plus, Facebook CFO says younger teens are leaving that social networking site, which leaves just one question for you parents.

So if they're leaving Facebook, where are they going?


BALDWIN: President Obama's approval rating has hit an all-time low here for this particular poll. I want you to take a look at the numbers for yourself.

This is a poll. This is NBC News/"Wall Street Journal." Forty-two percent approve of the job the president is doing, disapproval at 51 percent, as I mentioned, a new high for President Barack Obama.

But it's not like other politicians are making gains on the back of Obama's lower ratings, because for Republicans, it's worse. Twenty-two percent see the Republican party in a positive light, 22.

The same number feel the country is headed in the right direction. A whopping 70 percent say it's on the wrong track.

Van Jones, one of the hosts of "CROSSFIRE," he is also a former adviser to the Obama administration. Van Jones, nice to see you, sir.

VAN JONES, CNN HOST, "CROSSFIRE": Good to see you, too.

BALDWIN: Listen, you worked in the White House. This is a mess.

People are -- some people are accusing the president of being a bystander, when you look at NSA spying, when you look at the mess that has been the Obamacare rollout, the president over and over saying, I didn't know, I didn't know.

The poll numbers prove it. How do you defend him right now?

JONES: First of all, I think you have to remember this president has actually been able to defy gravity, given how tough the economy has been, given how implacable the opposition has been.

He's been able to really defy gravity and keep those positive numbers up. And I think people gave him a lot of credit and lot of forgiveness because of the mess he inherited from Bush and because Republicans have been so tough on him.

I think you're now seeing a problem for the president because some of these wounds now seem self-inflicted. Obviously, he, I think, gave an overly broad assurance to the American people.

Technically, you might be able to say he was right on Obamacare. You're not going to lose something.

But I feel like people feel he was overly broad on that and then obviously the glitchy rollout.

So I think he's now in trouble when you're starting to eat now into even that base of support.

I think he can come back.


JONES: He's got to -

BALDWIN: How does he do that?

JONES: Sure. Well, he's got -- you saw him today. He's trying to talk about stuff people actually care more about than the glitchy rollout.

They care about jobs. He's talking about. They care about immigration. He's talking about that.

He's going to have to punch his way out of a corner. He's going to benefit probably because you do have this ADD/amnesia culture and the next beat in the story. If something else happens, we can show more leadership and he can bring himself back.

But if he goes below where he is right now, he's going to be in George Bush territory and that's very hard to come back from.

BALDWIN: You bring up George Bush, and talk about inheriting the problem, why are you going there?

JONES: Well, because, look, Republicans talk about Ronald Reagan like he was president three weeks ago, but they don't want you to ever mention George W. Bush.

George W. Bush had record surplus. He then gave us record deficits. It has taken a while to dig out. I think that people understand that Obama inherited a bunch of problems.

They've been very patient with him -

BALDWIN: But we're talking about -

JONES: -- trying to rebuild.

BALDWIN: -- Obamacare.

JONES: Sure.

BALDWIN: This has nothing to do with President Bush. This is this president.

JONES: Sure, sure. I was giving you a context for why his numbers have been high despite some of the problems.

I agree with you right now. This glitchy rollout has been very, very harmful to him with people who like him, and I think the overly broad assurances where he says nobody is going to suffer, we're only going to have winners under Obamacare. There won't be one single loser.

Well, that is an overly broad assurance, and it has come back to bite him. And I think he's now got problems with people who actually like him who are feeling frustrated.

BALDWIN: It's interesting you brought up earlier this notion of the self-inflicted issues.

There was something we were watching, "AC LATER," last night, David Gergen, four-time working in the White House, David Gergen here, made this observation. Let's roll it.


DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: And I think they came in thinking that the White House was essentially a political instrument, as opposed to a governing instrument, and, you know, the inner circle was mostly political.


GERGEN: If you look back at Bill Clinton, his inner circle were mostly his policy people. His outer circle -- his next circle was political people.

COOPER: So, even on, you believe even on issues of national security or domestic policy, they're running it through a political prism.


COOPER: They're running it through a group of --

GERGEN: Absolutely.


BALDWIN: David Gergen knows his stuff. David Gergen sees this as a big problem.

What's your response, Van?

JONES: All due respect to David Gergen, he is the wise old man of Washington, D.C., and I would be kind foolish to take him on too hard.

I think it's interesting, though, that this is the opposite critique of earlier, where people were saying that he was too much of a policy dude and he wasn't handling the politics of public persuasion, of dealing with the Hill, of dealing with the Republicans.

Now, they're switching it up and saying, well, now, he's too political.

I think what you have right now is a president dealing with an unprecedented level of opposition from the Republican Party.

It's almost like there's a tea party insurgency that is more interested in making it hard for him to govern than to help him govern.

And in that situation, you cannot make mistakes, and he has handed his enemies, I think, a bludgeon to beat him with.

He will punch his way out of this, but this is a very sobering moment, I think, for the president.

BALDWIN: Van Jones, thank you very much. You can watch Van and rest of the "CROSSFIRE" co-hosts, "CROSSFIRE, 6:30 p.m. Eastern, here on CNN.

Speaking of the tea party, some comments by Ted Cruz's father are now resurfacing, comments where he says the United States is a Christian nation and that President Obama should, quote, "go back to Kenya.

Racist? Does that hurt or help the tea party? We're going to talk about that, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Senator Ted Cruz's father told supporters during his son's senate campaign that he would like to send President Obama back to Kenya, also called the president a socialist. That was back in April of 2012.


RAFAEL CRUZ, FATHER OF SENATOR TED CRUZ: We need to send Barack Obama back to Chicago. I would like to send him back to Kenya.

Let me tell you, when Obama campaigned in 2008, it was very, very clear that he was a socialist.

The problem is most of us suffer from ostrich syndrome, and we purposely and deliberately stuck our heads in the sand.

But he was very clear. He wasn't trying to fool anybody. He was clear from what he was saying that he was an outright Marxist.


BALDWIN: The left-leaning "Mother Jones" magazine first posted this story in a series of videos.

Rafael Cruz is a Cuban immigrant and pastor and a hero to a number of tea party groups, so those comments from Mr. Cruz, Senior, here, Senator Ted Cruz's father, are getting strong reaction today.

I want to bring in two people to break this down. Democratic strategist Chris Kofinis joins me from Washington, and The Hot List anchor, Amy Holmes, joins me from New York. Welcome to both of you.

Chris, let me begin with, shouldn't we call this what it is? You flat out say this is racist.

CHRIS KOFINIS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: It's pretty hard to see it any other way.

Listen, politics is a hardcore business and you will get punched when you're running for office and I think we all kind of accept that in this business. I think you run for office, you kind of accept that reality.

But there are certain lines that are consistently being crossed by this fringe, you know, with the tea party or the fringes in the tea party, where it's not simply they attack the president in terms of what they dislike about his policy.

They attack him personally, his belief in God, the notion that he's not American. How else would you describe it? It is beyond the pale that people think this is acceptable.

I just don't understand why you can't make your point. You can make your point in a very tough, critical way without crossing these lines. But it just tells you why there are certain folks in the Republican Party that have no grasp of reality in terms of why they lose elections. This is why they lose elections.

BALDWIN: Both parties are alienating voters and I know, this is not -- these are not Ted Cruz's words. This is his father. He's not a public figure or elected official.

No matter whatever role this is, Amy, I want to ask, does this hurt the tea party?

AMY HOLMES, ANCHOR, "THE HOT LIST": I think that it serves to hurt those who do advocate for conservative and free market principles when it gets into these personal attacks. I agree with Chris on that basis.

But both sides do it. They do it plenty and it turns off the voters. It drives down voter turnout during elections when the attacks get nasty like this.

In terms of the "go back to Kenya" remark, I disagree with that. I believe President Obama was born an American, in America, an American. I have seen the documentation.

As far as charging him with not being a Christian, I believe President Obama at his word that he says he's a Christian. He's referred to it many times.

Unfortunately, this becomes a distraction and it becomes a way of trying to characterize the GOP, conservatives and the Republican Party.

BALDWIN: I have to jump in. Why are so many people, though, still fixated on the president and the chronology and Africa? He never lived there. Why are people still stuck on this?

HOLMES: As a half African who was actually born in Africa, I resent that Obama gets all this credit for spending time in Kenya when he didn't, which we all know.

But I would disagree that it's a lot of people who believe this. I think it's a fringe group of people who believe this, and try to keep this story alive.

I'm not sure if Pastor Cruz believes that Obama was born in Kenya, but I do think that the remark was personal and inappropriate, and I don't think he speaks for Senator Cruz.

BALDWIN: OK. Chris Kofinis, Amy Holmes, thank you both very much.

Coming up, Facebook CFO says younger teens are leaving the site, but where are they going?

What does that mean for Facebook? That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BALDWIN: Let's talk Facebook. The company has been doing pretty well lately, so why did its stock price get beat up just a little bit in after-hours trading?

The company's CFO says young users are leaving the site.

Zain Asher joins me now. What's happening?


Well, teenagers are leaving the site, and that spells major trouble for Facebook. Investors are certainly raising their eyebrows

Shares of Facebook have been on a dramatic rollercoaster ride since yesterday. The stock was up 15 percent last night, but gains were wiped out when, as you mentioned, the CFO of Facebook admitted that teenagers were ditching the site.

They have been asked about this before, and Mark Zuckerberg often denies that the company has any problems with the teen market, but this does not bode well for the future of Facebook.

The fear is that if teenagers are leaving the site, what is that going to do to future growth? But Wall Street does not think this is the death of Facebook.

Remember, the company does have 1.2 billion monthly users and is making more and more money off mobile ads. Shares right now are up 2 percent.

BALDWIN: Twenty seconds, that's all I've got. Where are they going?

ASHER: They're going to different types of sites. Instagram is one. Facebook owns that. They are also going to Snapchat, (inaudible) Twitter, as well.

Facebook does have a problem with holding on to teenagers. They do have to work on that.


BALDWIN: Zain Asher, thank you very much.

There is the closing bell.

I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you very much for watching me. See you back here tomorrow.

"THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now.