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Obama Refuses To Visit Border; Border Crisis: What Would GOP Do?; U.S. Considers Drone Strike on ISIS Leader; Looking Back at Prince George's First Year

Aired July 10, 2014 - 07:30   ET


JOHN KING, CNN HOST, "INSIDE POLITICS": With me this morning to share their reporting and their insights, Lisa Lerer of "Bloomberg News" and Jonathan Martin of the "New York Times." Sometimes the optics actually get in the way of a substantive conversation and I think that's part of the case here.

The president of the United States, he was in Texas yesterday. He did not go to the border. Democrats and Republicans are telling him to go, but the president of the United States says that is silly. Let's talk about the problem, not where I'm standing at the moment.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This isn't theater. This is a problem. I'm not interested in photo-ops. I'm interested in solving a problem.


KING: And I would say Rick Perry, the governor of Texas, who met with the president yesterday, and will talk about the policy divide in a moment. Luis Gutierrez, the Democratic congressman from Chicago, the president's adopted home state, very conservative, a very liberal politician, they agree on this. They think the president if nothing else should just get it over with and go to the border.


GOV RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: It's not theater. The American people expect to see their president when there's a disaster. He showed up at Sandy. Why can't he show up on the border of Texas?

REP. LUIS GUTIERREZ (D), ILLINOIS: What I believe is the president should have gone down to the border.


GUTIERREZ: He should have embraced those children and he should have said this is the United States of America. I'm going to follow the law, and I'm going to protect these kids.


KING: Is this, Lisa, just a matter now of stubborn pride. The White House says we've sent everybody else in the administration, the Homeland Security secretary is going back for his sixth, seventh or maybe eighth visit to the border. What is the harm in the president going? Do they think it's a trap?

LISA LERER, "BLOOMBERG NEWS": Well, look, if I was the president, I'm not sure I would want a photo op with a bunch of kids that I'm about to deport, right? So the issue here isn't that it's not a photo-op. The issue is that it's a bad photo-op, right? The White House is trying to make sure that this is a crisis that is blamed equally on Democrats and Republicans.

They send the president down there, that footage is played again and again as Congress drags this out. They keep showing that and, you know, it ends up looking like Obama is significantly more to blame.

JONATHAN MARTIN, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": He can pick his photo op if he wants to be seen with border security officials, he can do that standing by a fence. This president is contemptuous of the rituals of politics in so many cases. He can't stand the fact that you have to play a certain role, but the fact is, John, as you know, the presidency is about symbolism in a lot of ways, and the president, when there's a crisis of some kind, are expected to be seen there. Is it more of a surface thing? Is it a photo-op as the president says, OK, that's part of the ritual, but nevertheless that's what presidents often do.

KING: And you have a big crisis like this. One of our tests of pop culture is whether it breaks through into late night comedy. We talked about this yesterday on the program. It's not like the president is averse to all photo-ops, fist bumping with a guy in a gorilla suit, drinking beer with the governor of Colorado. So it is hard for him to say he doesn't do photo-ops when he's doing photo-ops. Jimmy Fallon noticed.


JIMMY FALLON, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW": He met a guy who came up to him wearing a horse mask. Look at the picture. This is -- I don't want to say people in Colorado are smoking too much weed, but that was the governor.


KING: Jimmy Fallon having a little fun with this, but let's move on to the hard stuff. Let's move on to the hard stuff. The president made a point, and I want you to listen to him here. After this meeting with Governor Perry, a political standoff. Governor Perry has used this to raise his national profile. He wants to run again for the Republican presidential nomination.

The president made a point after the meeting that he wants Governor Perry's help. He wants the Republican governor to call the Republicans in Congress and say, wait a minute. If you actually look at the list of what you say the president should do and what the president says he wants to do, there's a lot of common ground. The president says why can't we cut a deal? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT OBAMA: He suggested, well, maybe you just need to go ahead and act, and that might convince Republicans that they should go ahead and pass the supplemental and I had to remind him that I'm getting sued by Mr. Boehner apparently for going ahead and acting instead of going through Congress.


KING: Do they have to at least ask other people to handle this. They so distrust each other that they can't look at a piece of paper. The president says he is open. He doesn't think it's the best idea, but he is open to the National Guard, which a lot of Republicans have said to do. The Republicans say this is a crisis and you need stricter border enforcement.

The president says you need money to get stricter boarder enforcement. You have to hire people to put more agents down there. If you want to send these kids home the law requires that most of them get some kind of legal process before you can send them home. The Republicans think you can solve this by saying no to the president? Ultimately they will have to give him some money, right?

LERER: I mean, the politics on this are rough on both sides and I think the problem here is not that it's not a political question. It's also a moral question. I think you really saw that come out in the president's remarks yesterday. He looked terrible, looked tired and stressed, and that's because he's sort of caught between what he can do politically, which is basically he has to send these kids home.

And what he is thinking morally, which is he knows if he sends these kids home they are likely to face extreme poverty, violence, potentially even death. And so he's really in a tough spot and I think Republicans, too, are in a difficult spot and that's why it's such a tough issue for both sides.

KING: It is a tough issue, Jonathan, Tom Coburn, who is leaving the Senate, he conservative senator, Tom Coburn, seen him on many issues, has a heart and he says give them a first class ticket and put them on a plane and send them home. Again, the administration says the majority, and we can talk about what that means what, percentage will go home, but these are children in many cases.

Some of them have some health issues. The law that passed unanimously in 2008 when George Bush was president says if they come from Guatemala, come from El Salvador they get a legal process. What is it that the Republicans want to do that this president won't do?

MARTIN: Well, look, the Republicans want to try to use this to say this president won't secure the border, but the president here, I felt was very shrewd, John, yesterday and using the opportunity to visit with Governor Perry, to use Governor Perry to say tell your party to give me the money, and then to follow up with that he showed his comment there a minute ago saying I can't just act alone here. The entire rap against me by your party, Governor Perry, is the fact that that's what I do and so he's trying to go through the Congress and I think it was smart of him yesterday to sort of use Governor Perry as a lever to try to rally the Republicans to give him the money to address the issue.

KING: You mentioned it's hard for both parties. Is it just distrust that they can't go into a room and sort this out in the sense that if you've got 50,000, 60,000 children at the border and the administration says, and again, I think the administration is going to have to give you a better number at some point. They say a majority will go back. Does that mean 51 percent? Does that 85 percent, but even Glenn Beck is saying, you know, send down teddy bears and soccer balls.

And you know, we can laugh about that, but they are children, and the -- the process is so mired in this political silliness and distrust and dysfunction that why can't they go in a room and say, look, we'll go out and fight, but first you can't surge the border without paying for it. You can't surge the processing without paying for it. You can't put them on a plane and send them home without paying for it. How do they figure it out?

LERER: Well, of course it's not just that there's all this distrust which, of course, there is, after six years of the Obama administration where they haven't made much of an effort to reach out to Congress. It's also the midterms, right, so they are both in tough spots here. Republicans, most Republican districts have a very small percentage of immigrants, of Latinos, so Republicans in the House don't feel much compulsion to act and in fact, they are worried it could hurt them in their elections with base turnout.

And Democrats, on the other side, the White House is worried about Latino turnout, which is something that could help them in Colorado, but also could make a difference of other races are tight on the margins. So I think everyone is not only -- it's not only the distrust, it's also these looming elections.

KING: So everything gets caught up in our politics.

MARTIN: And this is sort of --

KING: Can't take two weeks in July to figure this problem out and have an election.

MARTIN: If they can't figure out a humanitarian crisis of kids 8 and 9 years old at the border with no parents there, by the thousands, what can they do?

KING: What can they do? We'll end on that note because I think that's the question we'll be asking tomorrow and the day after and the day after. Jonathan, Lisa, thanks for coming.

Let's get back to you guys in New York. That is the dysfunction. I get a little crazy about it sometimes, but I don't understand. I do get the politics. I understand Lisa made a great point this matters to both parties in a turnout year, but if you have this crisis and they agree it's a crisis and a huge problem, can't take a day or two, go into a private room and figure out at least two or three things.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: John, we were just saying that was an excellent, excellent point and a great conversation. Why not just take two weeks in July, hammer it out and then have your election. It's an excellent point.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Because it comes off to some of the American people that they don't care about it. That's the problem.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Which is why they need to stay on it and why they need to talk about it despite whatever political discomfort it appears to create with them and perhaps their base.

BOLDUAN: But in the absence of it, John, and as we so in the conversation with Rick Perry last night, no one is ready to jump first. They are all just pointing fingers right now.

KING: Nobody is ready to go first.

BERMAN: All right, John King, great to have you with us, a great discussion this morning.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, John. Coming up next on NEW DAY, the leader of ISIS now under the watchful eye of the United States as officials are considering a lethal drone attack. Details on that ahead.


BERMAN: As big parts of Iraq are now under the control Sunni extremists, we're now learning that the U.S. may have its sights on the group leader of ISIS. The Pentagon is considering whether a drone strike would be a way to take out Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS. Barbara Starr has more now from the Pentagon.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: In Pakistan and Yemen, the U.S. certainly has demonstrated time and again that it can use drones to kill militants, now will Iraq be the new front line?


STARR (voice-over): ISIS insurgents taking over Iraqi military barracks, disturbing destruction of tombstones at holy sites by ISIS, but now could the reclusive and violent ISIS leader, Abu Bakr Al- Baghdadi, soon find himself a target? His appearance for the first time at a crowded mosque in Northern Iraq raising the question why wasn't he killed outright?


STARR: CNN has learned the Pentagon is considering under what circumstances it would recommend to President Obama that Al-Baghdadi be targeted for killing by a missile-equipped drone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The good thing about going after Al-Baghdadi would be that it would decapitate is as we know it.

STARR: U.S. has long had a $10 million reward on Al-Baghdadi's head. No one will directly say he is on a kill list, but U.S. officials tell CNN that intelligence is being gathered on so-called high-value targets in Iraq. President Obama would have to approve any decision to kill Al-Baghdadi. Several conditions would have to be met.

First, that he poses a threat to the U.S. Pentagon officials have said ISIS does threaten the U.S. Embassy and Americans in Iraq. Then, would the intelligence be precise enough to target him without risking civilian casualties. Militants like Al-Baghdadi know the U.S. will not strike a mosque and would not risk killing large numbers of civilians. More difficult to determine, what would killing Al- Baghdadi accomplish?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Killing Al-Baghdadi might cause a problem for the leadership of the Islamic state, but it's not going to stop the movement. People are still going to flock to the caliphate. What happens is if you kill Baghdadi, you may drive people sitting on the fence to do just that.


STARR: There's no indication a hit to kill mission against Al- Baghdadi is imminent, but the U.S. is collecting all the intelligence it can in Iraq, reconnaissance flights have now increased from 30 a day to 50 a day. Back to you guys in New York.

BOLDUAN: Barbara Starr at the Pentagon for us. Barbara, thank you so much.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, he's the most famous baby in the world. It was almost one year ago that little Prince George made his highly anticipated debut. Do we all remember? Yes, we do. We take a look back at his big first year.

BERMAN: Plus, equally important, a pop star busted when this raw tune went viral. Why her producers is coming to her defense. Is that defensible? It's our must-hear moment.


BOLDUAN: Let's just watch.

PEREIRA: He's adorable.

BOLDUAN: The cheeks! Those cheeks! Welcome back to NEW DAY, everybody. This month England's Prince George turns the big 1.

BERMAN: Got to get him a present.

BOLDUAN: What do you get a prince?

BERMAN: A crown, a septer.

BOLDUAN: Just go to Walmart for that one. He's had a pretty eventful year, being born of course, that big trip abroad to Australia and New Zealand with his parents. Tomorrow CNN is taking a look at the newest royal's big year that everyone watched so closely with personal stories from those who were there, of course, looking into those intimate moments, including with the photographer who captured his christening. He spoke to us exclusively. Here's a look at "CNN Spotlight: The Little Prince."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He really is a charming little fellow, definitely.

BOLDUAN (voice-over): Jason Bell had a front row seat. He was the photographer handpicked by William and Kate to capture this historic event. He told us exclusively about his first meeting with the royal couple.

JASON BELL, PHOTOGRAPHER: I got a call saying, you know, come and have a cup of tea with the duke and duchess.

BOLDUAN: A meeting that went so well, Bell was hired and by all accounts was able to deliver, capturing unique, almost candid moments with the family.

BELL: Prince just putting his arms up. You can't script that moment. It's a sweet moment because it feels very real. They're real parents and he's a real baby.

BOLDUAN: And the real great grandson of a doting great grandmother, the queen, who Bell caught for one moment gazing at George, while everyone else looked at the camera.

BELL: I didn't say to the queen, you know, "you must now look at Prince George," but she did and we caught that moment.

BOLDUAN: Remember, this was no ordinary christening, and no ordinary photo shoot. This day was historic especially this moment. It's the first time a queen and three generations of heirs have been photographed together in more than 100 years.

BELL: It feels like a moment in time. You know, you know that this person will be king one day, and you know, he is being presented to the world.


BOLDUAN: That of course is "CNN Spotlight, The Little Prince," airing tomorrow, Friday, 10:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN. It really was a lot of fun to take a look back at the big year of this big little boy.

PEREIRA: I can't believe he's already a year old.

BERMAN: He's a year old, talking complete sentences.

PEREIRA: Driving.

BERMAN: He's getting ready to rule. He can name all of the dominions in the empire.

BOLDUAN: All of the dominions? Also looks at how William and Kate are doing the royal parenting kind of in their own way. It's the good news story of the year. Let's embrace it, people.

PEREIRA: Friday we can't wait to see it. You'll also enjoy our must see moment because I believe it might have been picked by you. Listen to Britney Spears' song "Alien." And now feast your ears on the raw audio of that same song that is now burning up the interweb.

As you can imagine the response on the internet has not been kind. The song's producer took to his Facebook page to defend the pop star saying "I'd like to affirm any singer when first at the mic at the start of a long session can make a multitude of vocalizations in order to get warmed up. I've heard all manners of sounds emitted during warmups. The point is that it is not supposed to be shared with millions of listeners."

So here's the question. Britney has always been some would say more of an entertainer than a singer. How much does it matter that she auto tunes, and is it just mean-spirited to have leaked this audio?

BERMAN: It matters roughly zero percent. You are not going to Britney Spears concert because she's Luciano Pavarotti. I say this as somebody who saw Milli Vanilli in concert. She sang a B flat instead of a B, I think it was fine.

BOLDUAN: It is mean-spirited but you know.

BERMAN: It's publicity I'm sure she's taking to the bank.

BOLDUAN: We don't people to listen to us when we do karaoke.

PEREIRA: Or see us without makeup.

BOLDUAN: Excellent point. I will admit one of my first concerts was a Britney Spears concert.

BERMAN: Full stop.

Next up for us on NEW DAY, Congress today considering President Obama's $4 billion plan to try to solve the crisis at the border, but as thousands of children continue crossing into the country illegally, is this too little too late?

Plus Senator Rand Paul talks about new efforts to reform the criminal justice system. There's a key word involved here, bipartisan efforts. What was that word? Bipartisan efforts. Shocking, I know. That's ahead.



PRESIDENT OBAMA: This isn't, this say problem.


BOLDUAN: An urgent border crisis, President Obama says it's up to Congress now after he sends over his request for billions of dollars to address the flood of undocumented children crossing the border. This, a day after he met with Texas Governor Rick Perry on the issue, is the president doing enough to fix this very serious problem?

BERMAN: Breaking overnight an Israeli officer seen on video brutally beating an American teenager in Jerusalem is suspended. Does the punishment fit the crime, as dozens are killed in a deadly barrage of air strikes and rocket fire?

PEREIRA: And the nominee is. The Emmy nominations will be released this morning. "True Detective" facing off with "Breaking Bad." Will there be any major surprises or snubs? We'll bring it to you live and break them down.

BOLDUAN: Your NEW DAY continues right now.