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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Crisis In Iraq; Audio Of John Ladue's Interview Released; Amazon's New Package Delivery; Rep. Camp: GOP Senator Targeted by IRS Official
Aired June 25, 2014 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Next major political news breaking at this hour. We now know the name of a Republican senator allegedly targeted by an IRS official.
Plus a teenager who plotted to bomb his school and kill his family. The chilling audio that goes inside his mind.
And how safe is your food? Our exclusive OUTFRONT investigation will make you think twice. This is pretty terrifying, but you must see it. Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. So much to get to tonight, we want to begin though with the war in Iraq spreading fast, growing, now a regional war, tonight evidence of Syria launching air strikes inside Iraq. A U.S. official tonight saying Iran is flying drones over Iraq and providing guns to the Iraqi government.
Then Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki thumbing his nose that the United States' push for him to share power today. Barbara Starr begins our coverage OUTFRONT at the Pentagon.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As Iraqi Army forces battle ISIS militants west of Baghdad, there is disturbing evidence the war is now not limited by borders. In the Iraqi town of Al Qaim, the carnage of Syrian air strikes inside Iraq. At least 57 Iraqis killed, more than 120 wounded up and down Iraq's border with Syria after Syria launched air strikes inside Iraq.
The U.S. doesn't know yet if Syrian President Bashar Al Assad, who fights ISIS inside Syria, has formally joined forces with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki's regime. Iran also deepening its involvement, flying surveillance drones over Iraq, sending in its own military advisers, just as the U.S. does the same.
With the Iranians now trying to mobilize thousands of Shia militiamen, in Southern Iraq, the war is widening.
JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: It's been widened in the last days with the reports of some people from Iran being engaged in Iraq with perhaps even some Syrian activities therein. That's one of the reasons why government formation is so urgent. STARR: Secretary of State John Kerry is pushing for a unity government to be formed under Iraq's constitution. Kerry contends Maliki is committed to that. But the Iraqi prime minister rejected any idea of a temporary emergency government to deal with the crisis. Again suggesting Iraq's troubles were due to a conspiracy.
NURI AL MALAKI, IRAQI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): It is no secret to all Iraqis the dangerous goal behind the call for a formation of a national salvation government as they call it. It is simply an attempt by those who rebel against the constitution to end the young democratic process.
STARR: You know, the real question now, the real urgency is the military lay of the land inside of Iraq. Whether Iraqi forces will be able to push ISIS back from the areas they are controlling, whether Iraqi forces can even hold on to what they have right now and, of course, the greatest urgency is for the Iraqi forces to be able to hold on to Baghdad --Erin.
BURNETT: Barbara Starr, thank you very much.
A closed door briefing with General David Petraeus just wrapped up on Capitol Hill. He was the top commander in Iraq. Joining me now is Republican congressman from Texas, Mac Thornberry. He is vice chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, just came out of that briefing. Sir, what did the general tell you?
REPRESENTATIVE MAC THORNBERRY (R), TEXAS: He said it's a mess and he went into some detail about the complexities. And you just heard some of them with Barbara Starr's report. The danger of a safe haven for terrorists from which attacks would be launched against us, but also the danger of this broader sectarian war going on through the whole region. There are no easy answers.
BURNETT: Did General Petraeus say there's a real threat by ISIS to the United States homeland?
THORNBERRY: I don't want to get into quoting him exactly. He needs to speak for himself. There's no question there's a real threat to the U.S. homeland because a number of people with European and American passports have gone to Syria to fight there and it will be relatively easy for them to come to Europe and the United States and that's different from the way it used to be. It's different from the way it was in Afghanistan.
BURNETT: When you talk about these people that have U.S. passports, but this brings me to the crucial question here which is, I'm not surprised you just had that concern because you have said recently you're concerned that these terrorists are going to attack the United States. Given that you see a direct threat to the U.S. homeland, are you willing to say that the U.S. needs to put boots on the ground, as many as it takes to stop ISIS before there's a terrorist attack in this country? THORNBERRY: No, because there's a tremendous cost to that, too. And so if we, the United States, are going to do something militarily, the question is what can we do that would be effective and also not contribute to this sectarian civil war. So in other words, you may think you're helping on one hand and you make the other problem even worse. That's part of the reason this is so complex is there is not a clear answer even to protect U.S. national security interests here.
BURNETT: So I want to ask you about something else going on in your own caucus. The House speaker, of course, is getting a lot of coverage for this tonight. Considering suing the president over his alleged abuse of executive powers and executive orders. I just wanted to play what John Boehner said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you planning to initiate a lawsuit against the Obama administration and President Obama over the use of executive action?
REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BOEHNER (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: I am.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Do you support John Boehner in that, sir?
THORNBERRY: Yes, we have to do something to prevent the president from just enforcing the laws that he wants to and ignoring the laws he does not want to enforce. And by the way, there's a connection back to Iraq for a second because if the president wants to take military action in Iraq and Syria, under what authority would he do so? He couldn't do it under the old authorization of to use force against Iraq. That was for the Saddam Hussein regime. Not only does this president seem to think he can bomb anybody in the world he chooses to without authorization from Congress, he's --
BURNETT: Except for Syria where he came to get your authorization, right, but you said you were going to vote -- well, you were against that at the time. He said he was going to come to you to vote.
THORNBERRY: He didn't. Remember, he backed down and he never came to us.
BURNETT: That's because so many of you guys said you weren't going to vote for it.
THORNBERRY: Well, and that's the key. He's a president, any president has got to enlist the support of the country for a military action. And that is reflected through their elected representatives in Congress. If a president cannot garner support for taking some action, then probably that action should not occur. And this president has real trouble getting support from either side of the aisle for any course of action in Syria or, in this case, in Iraq.
BURNETT: Now, what I'm curious about on this, and there are so many parallels in the war, of course, after 9/11, President Bush signed an executive order giving him the ability to label someone a combatant, which made it easier to kill people overseas. In his first term, here's the numbers, you're no doubt aware of this. President Obama has signed 147 executive orders. This is first term.
I wanted to go apples to apples. That is less than any president. We are going all the way back to Jimmy Carter. Jimmy Carter signed 320, Ronald Reagan 213, George Bush 166, Clinton 200, George W. Bush 173. This president doesn't seem to be abusing this more than anybody else. That's for sure.
THORNBERRY: Well, just to correct a point, a few days after 9/11 Congress passed an authorization to use military force against terrorists and that President Bush then operated based on that authorization. I think you're right. If you just look at numbers of executive orders, then it's not out of line.
What is out of line, however, is saying that he would not enforce certain laws, that he would change other laws like with the health care and so a president who would pick and choose which laws to enforce presents real dangers to our system of government. The question is what do we do about it?
And a lawsuit for the courts who are the third branch to resolve these disputes between the other two branches seems to make sense. I think that's the path the speaker's headed down.
BURNETT: Congressman, thank you very much for taking time to join us tonight. We appreciate it.
THORNBERRY: You're welcome.
BURNETT: OUTFRONT next, an exclusive investigation into America's food supply. We are going to show you how dangerous your dinner might be. I know a terrible time of day to do it, but hopefully we'll have your full attention.
Plus Hillary Clinton on the defense about being called out of touch.
And inside the mind of a would-be mass murderer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was not bullied at all, I don't even thing I've ever been bullied in my life. I have good parents, I live in a good town. I think I'm just really mentally ill.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Tonight details from a teen just days away from carrying out plans for a school massacre. The 17-year-old John Ladue tells police he was looking for, quote, "As many victims as possible. Planning to kill his family, set off bombs at his high school and shoot countless students."
His plan thank God was thwarted. We'll speak with woman who thwarted it, who alerted police, in just a moment. But first Miguel Marquez is OUTFRONT with why this boy in Minnesota said he wanted to kill.
JOHN LADUE: I really want to get out of this place.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a chilling interview with investigators, 17-year-old John Ladue is heard revealing why he wanted to kill himself, his family and as many victims as possible at his high school in Minnesota.
LADUE: I was not bullied at all. I don't think I've ever been bullied in my life. I have good parents. I live in a good town. I think I'm just really mentally ill. And no one's noticed. I've been trying to hide it.
MARQUEZ: Yet it's those good parents and his older sister, Ladue allegedly wanted to murder.
LADUE: There's nothing wrong. I just want as many victims as possible.
MARQUEZ: Ladue calmly detailing step by step plans to set off bombs inside the hallways of his school.
LADUE: Then my plans were to enter and throw Molotov cocktails and pipe bombs and destroy everyone. And when the SWAT comes, I would destroy myself.
MARQUEZ: In the hours-long interview, Ladue claims to be different than the rest of the mass school shooters especially Adam Lanza, the 20-year-old who fatally shot 20 children and six adult staff at Sandy Hook Elementary.
LADUE: I didn't want to prove that I was a wuss like all the recent shooters like Adam Lanza who shot himself. I wanted to like get taken down by the SWAT just to show that I wasn't a wimp and like willing to fight with equal force.
MARQUEZ: Prior to his arrest in May, the 17-year-old posted videos to YouTube. Testing bomb material, explosives were found in a storage unit police say he was walking to when someone saw him acting suspiciously and called 911.
In this interview Ladue claims his father had no idea what's going on.
LADUE: He thinks I'm just a good kid because I can lie pretty well and persuade him that I'm just ordinary.
MARQUEZ: He said he planted to shoot students with guns he stole from him.
DAVID LADUE, JOHN LADUE'S FATHER: I don't think he wants -- he knows he got himself in a strange place and he wants out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: That was Miguel Marquez reporting. It's hard to even listen to that to try to comprehend it.
And OUTFRONT tonight, the woman who is responsible for thwarting this killer's massacre, Chelsie Schellhas.
And Chelsea, thank you for coming on. You heard Miguel's report there, you know, about the self-storage unit. You were there right across the street. You were looking out the window and you saw him and you got suspicious. What did you see?
CHELSIE SCHELLHAS, HELPED THWART SCHOOL MASSACRE PLOT: Well, I was just watching TV, and I noticed someone walking, and I didn't pay much attention. And then I looked up and he was closer to my house, closer to the window. And I mean, it had been raining and snowing that day, so there was large puddles he had to walk through to get through the backyard to the storage unit. And I just kept watching him. And that's when I called my cousin Katie up from downstairs and I told her, watch this, it looks like someone's breaking into the storage unit, you know. He had a backpack on. Like he planned on staying there, you know. We didn't know if he was homeless or what he was doing there.
So I was going to go out there, you know, confront him, not be rude or anything, just say, hey, there's other resources than sleeping on a cement floor in a storage unit. And Katie's the one who told me absolutely not. You're not calling. And so then I ended up calling police. And I told them it looks like someone has broken into the storage unit and looks like he's staying there. He's inside now. And within a matter of minutes, police arrived.
BURNETT: And that saved -- if you heard his plans. You know this. Here are more of his words I wanted to play for you, Chelsie.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LADUE: Then my plans were to enter and throw Molotov cocktails and pipe bombs and destroy everyone and then the SWAT comes, I would destroy myself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: What's your reaction now when you hear those details, those words out of his mouth about that person that you saw, that you made that call?
SCHELLHAS: Well, it makes you sick to your stomach just the thought of it. You know, he just needs help or something just obviously isn't right with him. We all can see that. There's no words to describe it to me. It just -- it makes my stomach hurt.
BURNETT: Your community's hailed you and your cousin as heroes. You know, you did the right thing at the right time. And I'm wondering, Chelsie, how you feel now knowing that what you did and the decision that you made probably saved so many lives? SCHELLHAS: Yes. Well, to be honest, it hasn't all sunken in yet.
I'm just grateful that he decided to walk through my backyard that day, you know. If I hadn't been there watching, been nosy, you know, we would probably still be mourning the deaths of family, friends, it would be devastating.
BURNETT: Thank God you were there and thank you for joining us, Chelsie.
SCHELLHAS: Thank you.
BURNETT: Still OUTFRONT, Amazon, they want to use drones to deliver your packages. Is the government standing in the way? Well, guess what? We have one of these drones right here, and we're going to fly it for you. Wait till you see this.
And then breaking news, accusations, an IRS official targeted a sitting Republican senator. A new major accusations tonight.
BURNETT: Amazon's latest innovation, the delivery drone is coming. There were a lot of reports today that the FAA was going to get in the way and ban the devices that would deliver a package in less than 30 minutes. You might have seen the headlines, they include ones like this, delivery drones grounded by the FAA. Amazon' drone planned runs into the FAA. FAA, Amazon's planned drone delivery illegal.
Well, guess what, it is BS. We did some digging, turns out that is not the case. The drones may still fly. Amazon has so much money and power riding on this technology, we wanted to get to the bottom of it.
So Richard Quest is OUTFRONT to fly such drone, which is going to be incredible. But first, here is the thing. You got Amazon, you got facebook, you got Google, you got, you know, McDonald's want to deliver to people's home. I mean, if drones were able to fly and deliver things, the sky would be the limit, which is how many companies would want to do it.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: The wouldn't do, then the FAA is basically saying, if you're a hobbyist, if it's recreational, if it's under 400 feet, all those sort of things, then the FAA's not interested. They're not going to regulate it if you're doing it safely.
But, as they say, commercial operations would not be hobby or recreational flights. Flights for the furtherance of business or incidental business (ph) would not be hobby flights and they are likely to be regulated.
BURNETT: Right. Regulated and who knows what that means.
BURNETT: But obviously, ban would not be the right word.
QUEST: No, they won't be banned. They'll be regulated. Now, what does that mean in reality?
BURNETT: Here we go. OK, all right.
BURNETT: Why is it that I'm supposed to swivel in my chair while you get to fly.
QUEST: Well, because women shouldn't be driving these machines.
BURNETT: Oh, my God. What country am I in? There are so many things that I could say. I can feel the breeds over here. I'm getting goose bumps.
QUEST: And could you imagine this coming down, thousands of them, coming down the road delivering 55-pound packages at the same time. Now, we've got to be really careful because at some point, if I go too high.
BURNETT: You're chicken, you're not flying it over here because I'm going to grab it out of the sky.
QUEST: You want to know? That's fighting words. Here we go. Stand by. Now, what's your next question?
BURNETT: All right, my next question is if these things -- forget the fact that obviously you're a bad pilot, if the sky were black with drones, 100,000 drones a day in New York City delivering 55-pound packages, wouldn't they all about dropping packages on people's head by accident and killing people?
QUEST: Magic's broken.
BURNETT: It's upside down, Richard. He needed a woman to tell him that the drone was upside down. There you go.
QUEST: You were saying.
BURNETT: What if they -- if there's serious risk in drones delivering things from Amazon.
QUEST: Yes, there would a serious problem if there were thousands of people doing this. But as you can see, as long as I can see the thing, they're happy with it. If you can't see it, it's commercial operation. Once it starts getting --
BURNETT: And this model that we're looking at here, we are talking about by the way as basically four little fans on the top, this is what it would be like. This is what drones would look like?
QUEST: Look at that, beautifully in control for the time being.
BURNETT: See if you can land it.
QUEST: That's fighting words.
BURNETT: If I were driving the drone it would have circled the room beautifully four times and come in for a perfect landing. You missed.
Are you tired? Distressed. All right, so what's your bottom line here on how much it would cost? If Amazon was going to do this and I wanted to buy a 55-pound book, how much does it pay to for delivery?
QUEST: We don't know yet. Nobody said any form of numbers that can make any form of sense as to what this means. But here is the take away from all of this. The device is there, it works, it exists. So in the fullness of time it is going to be part of the future. Get away from any idea that it's not. They'll find a way to make it work.
BURNETT: I believe you on all that. But I can't believe how out of breath you are for running a remote control.
Thank you, Richard Quest.
QUEST: I'm going home.
BURNETT: Still to come, Hillary Clinton admits she made a mistake.
And our exclusive OUTFRONT investigation into your dinner. Lawmakers are running for cover over this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Excuse me, Senator Jackson.
SEN. BRENT JACKSON, NORTH CAROLINA: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Chris (INAUDIBLE) of CNN. Are you doing all right?
JACKSON: Doing fine.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: I was hoping to talk with you, sir.
JACKSON: I don't have anything to say to CNN.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news. A sitting senator, a Republican, allegedly targeted by Lois Lerner of the IRS at the center of the scandal. A top official accused of targeting political groups. And now, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee is accusing her of targeting Senator Chuck Grassley for increased IRS scrutiny.
Joe Johns is in Washington.
And, Joe, what's the alleged proof?
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, a series of e-mails released by Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee suggests that in December of 2012, Lois Lerner asked another IRS employee whether to refer to examination, another word for audit, an invitation to Grassley to attend a speaking event.
Lerner received the invite due to a mix-up in the mail. Lerner wrote that it looked like they were inappropriately offering to pay for his wife, perhaps we should refer to examination. The official wrote back, he was not sure and suggested the invitation was not prohibited by law.
Now, Congressional Republicans are taking the position that Lerner was attempting to get Grassley audited, but the emails don't clearly indicate whether Lerner was asking about examining the organization or the senator or both.
So, there's more to this story that we don't know, Erin.
BURNETT: There's confusion as to why the chief of the IRS would be receiving an invitation intended for a senator to begin with. You can't really add those pieces up yet.
But what is Chuck Grassley saying Joe?
JOHNS: Well, it sounds like envelopes got mixed up, but Senator Grassley, at least in statement, suggesting it was about him. He said this kind of thing fuels the deep concerns many people have about political targeting by the IRS and by officials at the highest level. It's very troubling he said that a simple clerical mix-up could get a taxpayer immediately referred for an IRS exam without any due diligence from agency officials.
The IRS told CNN's Deirdre Walsh that it can't comment on taxpayer matters but that it does have checks and balances to ensure fairness in the audit process and that audits can't be initiated solely by personal request, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Joe, thank you very much.
Obviously, very troubling when you consider, of course, that thousands of e-mails from Lois Lerner are now supposedly missing forever.
Joining me now, Paul Begala and Margaret Hoover and Sunny Hostin.
And, Paul, you just heard Joe's reporting. What do you make of this?
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's stunning. First off, it's incomplete.
BURNETT: Fair point.
BEGALA: Joe's the best in the business. But we don't have all the facts yet. I say that because when the first IRS story came out that said they were unfairly targeting conservatives, I went ballistic as a liberal. It's completely unfair. Now, we learn they're also targeting progressive groups. So, that's equally unfair, but still fair.
In this case, though, look, nobody should be above the laws, not a senator, not anybody. But holy smokes, I mean, I never practiced law, but I'm trained as a lawyer. Sending an invitation to someone and asking if their wife can come to a speaking engagement even if it's faraway, it can't be a crime. It really does seem outrageous.
Now, let's wait and hear her side of it. She's taken the Fifth which is her constitutional right to do. But I like to hear her side of it. But just as a political matter, Good Lord, how could it get worse? I mean, it's just outrageous.
MARGARET HOOVER, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: How could it get worse? We really need to get to the bottom of this. You can't just call for a special prosecutor. Day after day, the chairman and the House Ways and Means Committee and day after day this story gets worse and worse. Everybody has a vested interest in making sure that the IRS is a fair organization that abides by the letter of the law. And it is time for a special prosecutor to be appointed.
BURNETT: Sunny, does this make this -- this becomes an issue where Democrats thought the president was just being targeted. Republicans said there was a big cover-up. This is now another example.
Does this make this again something that everybody has to say, to Margaret's point, it's time for a special prosecutor?
SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think so. I mean, I am trained as a lawyer, I practice as a lawyer, this is smelly. This is legally smelly in my view.
I mean, you know, I told you before when we were talking off camera about the fact that these e-mails that can't possibly be retrieved. That sounds kind of strange to me because I practice law and I know that you can retrieve e-mails from a hard drive that has been shot at, burned and thrown in the ocean.
So, the fact that all of these e-mails have disappeared and now you have this which also looks like governmental overstepping, I think it is time to dig into this just a little bit further. This kind of behavior seems really, really, really outrageous.
And who doesn't hate the IRS? I mean, you know, the agency has just so much power, subpoena power even when you look at that. I think there's something that needs to be done.
BURNETT: All right. The other big story today before this breaking news happened that we were very eager to talk about, but I still am, is Hillary Clinton, coming out and talking -- all right, I made a mistake. As you all know, she claims she and her husband were dead broke when they left the White House in 2001 and she talked about other people who were really wealthy unlike them with their $100 million in pennies. I mean -- anyway, here's how she's just responded to that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: I shouldn't have said that I picked five or so words that I said, but, you know, my inartful use of those few words doesn't change who I am, what I've stood for my entire life, what I stand for today. Bill and I have had terrific opportunities, both of us, you know, have worked hard but we've been grateful for everything that we've been able to achieve. And sadly, that's just not true for most Americans today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: She's talking to Gwen Ifill there, Sunny. So, what do you think? The use of the word "inartful". Did she -- did she explain this away?
HOSTIN: Maybe she was watching your show because if you remember last week I said the words were inartful and they certainly were. I don't think she explained it away appropriately. I think the notion to say, look, maybe the words were inartful, but you know me, you know my history.
Well, no, the average American is not going to take that at face value. The African-American, Latino voters aren't going to take that at face value because they heard all the other messy stuff already. And they are now saying, you know what, Hillary, I'm not relating to you. You already made these comments.
So, you need a little bit more. I think she really needs to explain.
BURNETT: And, Paul, you know, she also had said, we pay -- this was her quote to the "Guardian" newspaper which is what sort of caused this whole discussion. She said, quote, "We pay ordinary income tax unlike a lot of people who are truly well off."
First of all, there's the estimates of their wealth being $100 million. Then, there's the fact that we all know, which is most of that money therefore is invested, not ordinary income. They're paying much, much lower tax rates on that.
So, the statement isn't probably even true.
BEGALA: Well, I'll leave that to you. I'm sure you've investigated her tax returns. No, we don't know --
BURNETT: I'm simply saying they're not making $100 million a year so that --
BEGALA: But don't make $100 million a year -- look, if she runs, she will have to release her tax returns, not by law, but by custom. I know Mitt Romney didn't. But I'll call on her to do it. Everybody will. Everybody should -- who runs for president should release their tax returns, period, going back for many years.
People will judge and I totally disagree with Sunny. I watched those clips of that town hall meeting. And I watch her engaged with people. I've been with her, traveled with her the last few years when I worked with the president. But she engages with people -- she looked right there at the CNN town
hall meeting the other day, she was completely engaged with them. She was talking about everything from Iraq and immigration, all the way to marijuana and being a grandmother, she was completely relating to that audience. It is more difficult for her.
She's a middle class girl from the Midwest, that's how she grew up. It's difficult for her to talk about money and her personal wealth. There's no doubt. And I think that's why she fumbled the ball there.
But voters relate to her. But remember, when she ran against Barack Obama a pretty good politician, she whipped him among working class voters, particularly like in the Pennsylvania primary which I only looked up. So, I don't think this is going to be a problem for her because she does this record of fighting for middle class issues.
HOOVER: Well, I mean, there's also another reason she -- you know, may have done well in the Rust Belt and West Virginia and these other areas. She had particular inroads there for maybe other reasons.
Look, I think what's really interesting is that the Clintons are definitely in damage control mode. He had to speak up, she's spoken up. Now they bring out the big guns out like Paul Begala to speak up.
BEGALA: No, CNN brought me out, Margaret.
HOOVER: I saw your op-ed on CNN.com today justifying a wealthy president. And look, I think you make good points, Paul.
BEGALA: Which was requested by CNN. CNN contacted me and asked would I write that. Nobody, the Clintons didn't.
HOOVER: OK, OK.
But the point is her favorability has actually gone down five points in the last few weeks. I mean, this has suffered. I think they realize that they hit a road block here. And this is something -- there's a narrative solidifying that is she going to be relatable? She hasn't driven a car in 16 years. She's been driven around because she's been either the first lady or a secretary of state or a senator.
BURNETT: Which is a point she made herself.
HOOVER: And, by the way, you know, she -- I think this goes to what her largest vulnerability will be if she decides to run, which is that she's a Washington insider. She's not coming from the outside. The country really is going through a throw the bums out phase. This is not going to be Hillary Clinton's moment.
HOSTIN: And is it necessarily like the average middle class American, and she needs those votes. She needs the African-American votes. You know that, Paul.
BURNETT: Isn't that the whole charade they always play, "I'm like you but really I'm not"?
HOSTIN: Well, yes, but --
BURNETT: I'm elite, but I'm not going to admit it. Isn't that what --
HOSTIN: If you want to become the first female president, you have to get the female vote. You have to get the vote of the single mother who is trying to make ends meet, who is working maybe a minimum wage job and is still having trouble finding day care for her kid.
When you say, I'm really not that wealthy, that woman is going to say, wow, you aren't going to do for me. I don't care what you did in the past. You're going to get into the White House and you're not going to help me. I can't relate to you, you may not get my vote. And that is something, Paul, she has to address.
Listen, I like Hillary Clinton. I want to see a woman in the White House. I want to see her in the White House. But she's got to relate to people like me. She's got to relate to those moms who are going to say, you know, my vote isn't guaranteed, Hillary.
BURNETT: Paul, final words.
BEGALA: Well, she does have to relate to them, and she has and she will. I give those voters a whole lot of credit. They're going to look at her ideas and issues. If anybody believe, Margaret, that 2 1/2 years before the election that there's a road block for any candidate, that's nuts. OK?
They're going to look at her record, which is terrific on fighting for middle class, do exactly what Sunny says, they're going to say, are you for the minimum wage? Are you for child care? Are you for equal pay for women? Yes, yes, yes. Hillary, OK, I guess you are on my side, even if you're rich.
HOOVER: They do. But you and I both know that it takes -- narratives solidify early and stumbles like this don't get -- got washed away. I mean, ask Chris Christie if bridgegate was a stumbler or not, as a matter of fact, of his presidential ambition. I mean --
BEGALA: She was embarrassed to say how rich she is. That's not exactly shutting down a bridge and screwing up people --
HOOVER: Let's be very clear, Chris Christie didn't shut down the bridge.
HOSTIN: We don't know that.
HOOVER: Come on, you guys.
BURNETT: We also don't know whether that's going to impact him or not. That's a question. Some say it will, some say it won't.
HOOVER: But I was speaking in terms of narratives, that's it.
BURNETT: Right. All right. Thanks very much to all. This is a conversation which will continue, there's no question about that.
But next is our exclusive investigation into America's food supply. What our lawmakers are not telling us and what they're trying to cover up.
And why are these people slapping each other. Jeanne Moos has the story.
BURNETT: Now, Anderson has a look at what's coming up on "AC360." Sorry.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: That's all right. We change the name constantly.
Erin, ahead on the program tonight, I mean, a really disturbing story. Little boy, 22-month-old Cooper Harris is the name, strapped in the back of his dad's parked SUV in the hot Atlanta sun while his dad went to work. Inside work all day, left him there in the car. Cooper Harris is now dead.
The question authorities are asking is, was it a terrible accident or something much more sinister? Did his father intend to kill him? Victor Blackwell has details on the ongoing investigation.
Also tonight, another disturbing sign out of Iraq. Two neighbors countries violating the country's air space with Syria launching deadly airstrikes, killing a lot of civilians. Our Nic Robertson has the reporting from Baghdad. A new troubling signs, even the capital itself, could be vulnerable to attack.
All that and tonight's "Ridiculist", a lot more at the top of the hour, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Anderson, really looking for that. That story about that toddler is just horrific.
COOPER: Yes, unbelievable.
BURNETT: All right. Well, this year millions of pounds of meat have been recalled because it's not safe for human consumption. Serious bacteria ranging from E. coli to salmonella. And for years, one of the only ways that we the public has actually found out this, gotten the truth, seen the unsafe handling of animals in our food supply is through undercover video shot by activists.
We want to warn you that what you're about to see in this inclusive OUTFRONT investigation is very graphic, but we feel the images are crucial to the story. Now, the agriculture industry wants to stop this kind of, quote-unquote, "undercover work" so the public will never see that video.
Chris Frates reports.
CHRIS FRATES, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: This undercover video given to CNN shows chickens being buried alive. Workers at Prince Poultry, a North Carolina chicken farm, toss sick, injured and unwanted chickens into a pit filled with decaying birds, leaving them to die.
Listen to what this farmhand says to an undercover animal rights activist.
ACTIVIST: This one is still alive. Should we hit him?
EMPLOYEE: Now, we are going to drop them in the pit, just like they are. You dump in there and Mother Nature takes care of the rest of it.
EMPLOYEE: You go in there in the summertime and it smells real nice over there. You look down in there and it's like a gravy that's simmering and squirming.
FRATES: Even more outrageous, the employee knew he was breaking rules by not killing the chickens humanely.
EMPLOYEE: But I mean, if you got buckets and buckets, you going to stand there all day? We'll just, I mean, you're supposed to do it, but --
FRATES: The activist who recorded the video was posing as an intern. She didn't want her identity revealed in our interview.
ACTIVIST: I saw cruel practices every day I was on the farm, from the first day to the final day. I'd say everything that you see in the footage is standard there.
FRATES: Animal activists have used undercover video to document illegal abuse and neglect for years resulting in criminal charges, fines and even the largest meat recall in American history.
But their most important tool is under attack. The agriculture industry is pushing legislation that would essentially outlaw these undercover investigations and the videos they produce. In the last two years, three states have passed so-called "Ag Gag" laws and 14 others have considered similar legislation, according to the Humane Society. MATTHEW DOMINGUEZ, THE HUMANE SOCIETY OF THE UNITED STATES: These Ag- Gag bills should scare every American, because Americans have a right to know what's happening with their food. They have a right to know where their food is coming from.
FRATES: In North Carolina, where this disturbing video was shot, State Senator Brent Jackson introduced a bill that would make shooting this type of video a crime.
We wanted to ask him why.
(on camera): Senator Jackson?
STATE SEN. BRENT JACKSON (R), NORTH CAROLINA: Yes.
FRATES: Sir, it's Chris of CNN. Are you doing all right?
JACKSON: Doing fine, good to see you.
FRATES: I was hoping to talk with you, sir..
JACKSON: I don't have anything to say to you.
FRATES (voice-over): So, we went to the farm.
(on camera): How you doing, sir? My name is Chris Frates. I'm with CNN. I look for Tim Prince.
TIM PRINCE, OWNER, PRINCE POULTRY: Well, you got him.
FRATES (voice-over): Tim Prince is the owner of Prince Poultry, where the chickens were buried alive. He was surprised to learn his former intern was really an undercover activist.
PRINCE: She took just the very minute little things that we done wrong.
FRATES (on camera): When other folks look at this who are familiar with your business, and they see live chickens get dropped into a pit, they might not call that minute.
PRINCE: You're probably right.
FRATES (voice-over): He admits the chickens should have been killed before being thrown in the pit but says he does take care of the birds. They are his livelihood.
PRINCE: I try to run a clean business, and, you know, there was a few things on there I saw that shouldn't happen, yes, sir, I'll agree.
ERICA MEIER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, COMPASSION OVER KILLING: What we documented is so bad that we hope that state authorities will get involved and prosecute this case for burying birds alive. That was his choice in terms of how to operate his facility. FRATES: Prince grows about a million chickens a year exclusively for
Pilgrims Pride, the second largest chicken producer in the world. In a statement to CNN, Pilgrim said in part, "out of an abundance of caution, we have retrained the grower in question and his employees. Pilgrim's prioritizes the welfare of our chickens, whether under our direct care or under the care of our contract growers."
(on camera): Perhaps one of the most shocking things about factory farms is that there's almost no one watching them. There's little federal oversight of these facilities so undercover watchdogs are often the only way abuses are uncovered.
(voice-over): At another farm in Wisconsin, an activist for PETA captured this undercover video. The group says they documented pigs so sick, their intestines were hanging outside their bodies. Others seemed unable to walk.
We tried to get reaction from the farm owner, Babcock Genetics. The company's veterinarian, Darwin Kohler didn't want to appear on camera but said the allegations were untrue, even before he saw the video.
DARWIN KOHLER, BABCOCK GENETICS: Any allegations are false because I know what goes on in the barn.
FRATES: Eventually, Kohler watched the video twice and said it was taken out of context.
Later, Babcock provided this statement that read in part, "A third party audit of the farm in question is being conducted. Based on the audit's findings, we will make appropriate corrective actions if needed."
In both cases, it was the activists undercover video that brought apparent mistreatment to life but if supporters of Ag-Gag laws are successful, these kinds of exposes would essentially be outlawed and the abuses they uncover kept behind closed doors.
BURNETT: It is really difficult to watch, Chris, incredible reporting. What would be the argument for making those videos illegal?
FRATES: Well, Erin, if you look at it from Tim Prince's perspective. Here is a North Carolina chicken farm, he's working on land his family owned for generations. He's saying that this activists came and took video out of context. He thought he was helping a college intern get valuable experience and then he finds out that it's really an undercover animal rights activists from Washington, D.C.-based group.
So, some of these Ag-Gag proposals would make it illegal to misrepresent yourself essentially when applying for these agriculture jobs and make it illegal not to disclose you work for an animal right's group for instance.
But the other side of that coin is, the activists say if they don't go in there undercover, there is no way people will see this kind of video and expose it to the world.
BURNETT: That's an interesting point. I guess you need to see both sides of it to their point. It's not like anyone else was taking those videos.
Chris, thank you very much.
Well, next, the science of slapping. Jeanne Moos is next.
BURNETT: Why do people slap each other? Jeanne Moos knows.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): First came first kiss. A viral hit showing strangers, some actors kissing, first kiss began things like first sniff.
And now, first kiss is taking it in the kisser.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh my God.
MOOS: The slap is not meant as a slap in the face to first kiss.
MOOS (on camera): You got hit a lot of times.
MAX LANDIS, DIRECTOR, "THE SLAP": I got hit a total of about 50, 55 times.
MOOS (voice-over): Director Max Landis asked 40 of his friends to slap each other. Some were close.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have to take off my glasses before hand.
MOOS: Some were strangers, 15 of them were actors.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hailey, nice to meet you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nice to meet, you, too. I'm excited to hit someone.
MOOS: Someone she's excited to hit is former child actor, Haley Joel Osment from the "The Sixth Sense."
HALEY JOEL OSMENT, ACTOR: I see dead people.
MOOS: Well, now, he's seeing stars.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can I do it again?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please.
MOOS: That's what most of them intended to say. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hit me harder.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Harder.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Harder.
MOOS (on camera): Are you going for deep philosophy here? Are you going for funny?
LANDIS: I was going for funny and I found a little bit of deep philosophy.
MOOS (voice-over): Pray tell.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The theory I had is that violence minus aggression is intimacy.
MOOS (on camera): Here I thought violence minus aggression was is masochism. Get that thing out of my face.
(voice-over): Max says a slap mitigated by permission is a hug, but don't tell Cher that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm in love with you.
CHER: Snap out of it.
MOOS: There were patty cake slaps.
One commenter said, "I want to slap myself for reading this ridiculous nonsense."
MOOS: But we know who would approve.
Some think men slapping women is creepy.
LANDIS: But this isn't domestic violence.
MOOS: Occasionally, slaps relocated from one set of cheeks to another, at least no one was injured in the making of this video, just slapped silly.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, I can't hear now.
MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN --
OSMENT: I see dead people.
CHER: Snap out of it.
MOOS: -- New York.
BURNETT: Thanks for watching. Anderson starts now.