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Internal Campaign Memo Leaks; Democrats Video Lights Out At White House; Israel Launches New Airstrikes In Gaza

Aired July 29, 2014 - 07:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Sheriff's investigators ruled Johnson's death accidental. However, a pathologist hired by the family concluded his death was a homicide.

A federal appeals court has struck down Virginia's ban on gay marriage. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that the state's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. The state is expected to request a stay while it appeals the ruling. Just hours after the ruling North Carolina's attorney general announced that state will no longer defend its ban on same-sex marriage in court. The times, they are changing.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Seen it more and more every state as it moves through.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Sometimes when culture doesn't move fast enough, the laws needed to step in.

PEREIRA: Nice to see when that happens right now.

BOLDUAN: Let's turn now to "Inside Politics" on NEW DAY with Jake Tapper in for John King. Good morning, Jake.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST, "THE LEAD": Good morning, Kate and Chris, Michaela. Let's go "Inside Politics." With me today are Jonathan Martin of the "New York Times" and Molly Ball of "The Atlantic" to share their insights and their reporting.

Let's start today with something we were not supposed to see, a leaked campaign memo out of the closely watched Georgia Senate race. The memo details all of the challenges for Michelle Nunn, one of the Democrat's top recruits this cycle. She is a daughter of a popular former Georgia Senator Sam Nunn.

Ileana Johnson of "The National Review Online" nabbed this scope published this 144-page document was released which outline the potential challenges for Michelle Nunn's Senate bid as seen by her own consultants. It confirms a dirty secret of modern campaigning. Candidates spend most of their time raising money.

Quote, "Hitting our targets will require us to prioritize fundraising above all else and to focus the candidate's time on it with relentless intensity. It will also require leveraging all of the many assets we have as a result of Michelle's network." The memo has also include a list of Michelle Nunn's potential weaknesses as seen by her own team such as Nunn is too liberal.

Nunn is a rubber stamp for Democrats. Nunn is Obama's/Harry Reid's and Nancy Pelosi's best friend and Nunn is not a real Georgian. We should note the Nunn campaign issued a quick response, this was a draft they say of a document that was written eight months ago.

"Like all good plans they change, but what has not changed and is all the more clear today is that Michelle's opponents are going to mischaracterize her work and her positions." Well, this isn't her opponents mischaracterizing them, her team anticipating how it could be mischaracterized. Molly, what did you learn? What was most interesting to you in this memo?

MOLLY BALL, "THE ATLANTIC": There is a lot of stuff in here, obviously, it's a gigantic memo. I think we can anticipate that this will become a refrain in the campaign, right? Everything she does or says, it's going to be greeted by a press release, following the campaign plan extracted by her Washington handlers a year ago to portray her as an inauthentic creature, you know, of the consultants who have sorted created her out of whole cloth.

I think the stuff about her vulnerabilities is really interesting. Probably will hear a lot of that stuff raised and clearly she's planned for that. The question is whether she will be able to combat it effectively.

JONATHAN MARTIN, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": One of the things that we always complain about and the voters also complain about is the lack of authenticity or even spontaneity among our politicians, and if you read this, what you get a sense of, Jake, is the fact that the handlers don't see any political reward in such behavior. When talking about stump speeches, they are very clear.

You have to give the same speech over and over again. Don't deviate from the speech once it's written. That will be your speech. Talking about interactions with the press, it's -- it's almost amusing. It says the press tends not to like to actually report on a candidate saying the same thing over and over again.

TAPPER: Right.

MARTIN: But do it anyways. So it sort of speaks to what can be a bit of a depressing sort of modern campaign, you know, method, but that's the world that we're in.

TAPPER: It also pin points groups for fundraising saying this group and this is how you appeal to them. We want to raise $300,000 from LBGT and 500,000 from trial lawyers.

MARTIN: Yes.

TAPPER: Interesting section about the Jewish community where it says Michelle's position on Israel will largely determine the level of support here. Message, TBD, to be determined. Eight months ago had not formed a position on Israel, at least not one that's predictive. Nothing that people in Washington don't know exists as an analysis all the time, but kind of crude if you're not used to that sort of discussion.

MARTIN: And seeing it on paper and to your point about the fund- raising piece, it's a reminder that so much of the mind space of candidates in the campaign is driven by fundraising. It drives scheduling, it drives the message.

TAPPER: And to be clear it's TV time. It's ads on TV.

MARTIN: That's why they are raising this money is they run the ads on TV. That's what campaigns are all about now.

TAPPER: What else did you think was interesting? I thought the analysis of potential vulnerabilities, she's worked for this charity, started by George H.W. Bush, the Points of Light Foundation, and they highlighted some areas, well, this contribution might be problematic this, group might be problematic.

BALL: Michelle Nunn and her opponent, David Purdue are both coming from the private sector. So it's interesting how her vulnerabilities mirror his, all about financial ties to various unsavory people or things. From David Purdue, we've already heard in the Republican primary some of the accusations about outsourcing that his companies did, some of the accusations about his personal wealth.

So I think we'll hear a lot of charges and counter charges from both of these candidates about who they are associated with. For Michelle Nunn, as you point out, there's a little bit of an escape for her in being able to say, well, this is George H.W. Bush's Foundation that I was a part of.

TAPPER: Let's turn to another Senate candidate in West Virginia, another state that seems to lean towards the Republican side. Natalie Tennant is the Democratic secretary of state there and she has an interesting special message especially considering that Democrats, the White House, the Council of Economic Advisers, today is releasing a report saying not doing anything about climate change is going to cost too much, and here is the message from coal country, from a Democrat.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NATALIE TENNANT, DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE FOR SENATE: I've fought to protect our coal jobs right alongside Joe Manchin and I'll stand up to anyone who threatens our way of life. I'll make sure that President Obama gets the message.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: That's from a Democrat.

MARTIN: Yes. But, see, this is the thing, and this entire show this morning is about artificial politics. Lack of authenticity. This is sort of the new thing for candidates who are running in a party that's not in vogue in their state. They have to go to the great lengths to show I'm going to be independent, unlike those folks up in Washington, I'm going to stand up for my state. The fact is that they do that so they can get that ad shown more on TV so they can raise money and raise more money from their own party and the dirty little secret, the folks in D.C. who they have to stand up, they know about the ads and are totally fine about it and do what you got to do back home. It's just part of a whole game.

BALL: President Obama isn't losing any sleep over this threat from a candidate out in West Virginia, but especially in West Virginia, a page out of the Joe Manchin playbook who took a shotgun and shot the climate change legislation. For Joe Manchin that worked because people knew him. He had been governor and people responded to his personal brand and in keeping with what they knew of him. She's not as well known, has to break through and clearly she is hoping --

TAPPER: You can almost picture though Joe Manchin in his campaign ad, takes a gun and shoots the environmental regulations, literally drives a bullet through them.

BALL: How do you top that?

TAPPER: What do we do to top that? Let's turn off all the lights on the eastern seaboard.

MARTIN: Shut the grid down.

TAPPER: Shut it down, specifically President Obama, I want him to be sitting in the dark, that's what I want.

MARTIN: The Secret Service may have had some -- something to say about shutting down the lights at the White House, I'm just guessing.

BALL: She actually did that for the real, completely real.

TAPPER: Molly Ball from "The Atlantic" and Jonathan Martin from the "New York Times." One other thing to throw up to you guys in New York, a little commentary on New York City from your own David Letterman. Let's take a listen to that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, "THE LATE SHOW": According to the CDC, the Centers for Disease Control, the largest single transmission of deadly germs is handshakes. Handshakes is where the deadly germs are transmitted. You're lucky you're in New York because the most popular form of greeting here in New York is not the handshake, but the middle finger. The middle finger.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: Now I understand, so, Chris, all those times that you do that to me, you're just being a polite New Yorker.

CUOMO: I'm just telling you you're number one.

TAPPER: Now I understand it. I appreciate it. Thank you so much. Our relationship in a whole new way. BOLDUAN: Try it out in Washington, Jake. Let's see how that goes.

TAPPER: Thanks, guys.

CUOMO: He made me blush.

BOLDUAN: Only Jake Tapper can.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, the crisis in the Middle East is only intensifying. Look at that. All signs point to a prolonged battle but what is the end game for each side? We'll post a question to our own Fareed Zakaria coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: You now know too well what war looks like between Hamas and Israel, but what would peace look like in the answer to that lies in what's motivating the conflict for each side, what they want basically. Israel says it wants to demilitarize Palestine and remove a constant threat. Hamas says it's forced to rebel against what Israel is called the occupier. Literally they call for destruction of Israel.

Let's get a closer look. We have Fareed Zakaria here, of course, the host of CNN's "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS." It's great to have you as always. Thank you for being here. Let's go through what matters here, OK, the players. Who is each and what's the current disposition?

FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST, "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS": Bebe Netanyahu, of course, prime minister of Israel, a longtime hawk and longtime tough hard liner on Israeli security issues, John Kerry, the -- the secretary of state who never stops trying which, you know, has caused some controversy, and Khalid Musharab, somewhat unknown figure compared to these two. The head of Hamas, he does not live in Gaza because I think he would not stay alive in Gaza, and so he has moved around various places, Qatar and places like that.

CUOMO: That also goes to an aspect of blame for this gentleman, but there's blame to be apportioned for all three. I want to get to that, but first, let's make sure everybody understands what the playing field is, what Israel wants. No more rockets, why? The obvious.

ZAKARIA: Right. You can understand why. The important thing to point out is even though, of course, very few Israelis die because of these rockets, because the iron dome defense system, air defense system, is really quite extraordinary. It paralyzes the society. Some of these rockets could get through.

Everyone is in bomb shelters, and it produces a stage of, you know, heightened urgency, imagine any society having to live with that, so that's why the rockets are important, even though they don't -- and of course, the range and accuracy could keep getting better.

CUOMO: It has kept getting better. You don't want to confuse the success of the defensiveness of Israel with its dome and other defense systems with absence of a threat so that's why demilitarizing Gaza, very important.

ZAKARIA: Right. This is the big demand in a sense, demilitarized Gaza so that you don't face a constant threat. This is, of course, the hardest one to do.

CUOMO: Right.

ZAKARIA: Because what demilitarizing in today's world it's so easy to get small arms, light ammunition, all kinds of things, and Hamas has been doing it for decades now.

CUOMO: And it's become the culture of their organization, in terms of their defiance, being military and violent against Israel and that's, of course, the funnels play into that because these the method we've been looking at with Wolf all morning. This is something that goes in the infrastructure of the threat.

ZAKARIA: Right. And you see is that these tunnels are fairly elaborate and well done.

As people pointed out they are concrete.

CUOMO: High powered.

ZAKARIA: How do you prevent the building of concrete tunnels? What kind of embargo do you have to put in place? Gaza lives under a very, very tight Israeli embargo. That means you allow people not to get concrete.

CUOMO: Do you have any reason to -- to corroborate what we heard from Wolf this morning, sitting with an Israeli military official who said this is our concrete that we sent them to build good things, buildings, infrastructure, schools, do you believe that?

ZAKARIA: Almost certainly true because concrete is fungible. You can use it for anything, and the problem is, therefore, how do you stop getting that concrete in when they may want it to build schools.

CUOMO: Now the obvious on the other side for Hamas is also obviously to lift the siege. That's the current ongoing thing.

ZAKARIA: It's important to point out what that means. Hamas is currently under siege from land, sea and air, that is to say it is very difficult for people to get there, for goods to get there. There are huge restrictions on items, many of which are items that are simply the kind of things you need for daily life.

CUOMO: Which is part and parcel of their main thing, which is to end occupation. They believe Israel does not belong in the settlement areas where it was, does not belong to have the control that it does.

ZAKARIA: And an important point to make here is some Israelis say, well, we withdrew our forces from international law, from an international law perspective, if you control all access points to an area, and between Israel and Egypt. All access points to Gaza, all land, all air, all electronics, you are effectively the occupier, whether or not you actually have physical troops on the ground.

CUOMO: So you believe that this is a fair assertion.

ZAKARIA: Well, it is fair to say that they do not have independence.

CUOMO: Right.

ZAKARIA: They do not have an independent state.

CUOMO: One of the reasons though because everything goes back and forth, back and forth. The reason Israel would say it needs to be in that position of all the entry points is Hamas does not want Israel to exist.

ZAKARIA: Precisely. So here we have the two demands that get conflated. This is the 1967 demand and the 1948 demand. The 1967 demand is when Israel won the six-day war, it occupied the West Bank and Gaza, lands previously occupied by Jordan and Egypt. Those lands have now been under Israeli rule for almost 50 years, 47 years, right?

Now that is what when people in the west bank say they want an end to OK paying, that's clearly what we mean. We want Israel to withdraw to the '57 border with a few swaps and a lot of people in Israel would agree with.

Hamas in addition says it doesn't want Israel to exist. That's the war of 1948 that was established in the first place. That's what a lot of Israelis say we will never give into because, of course, we're not going to be part of our annihilation.

CUOMO: OK. That takes us back to what really matters at this particular point, which is the blame game, who is doing what to stall peace. Bebe Netanyahu as you pointed out is known as a hawk. He does not believe that anything he gives will be returned with what he wants most, which is a lack of military action by Hamas, fair?

ZAKARIA: Fair. Look, would I say the way to think about this, Chris, since you asked it at the start, who is to blame, short term in question that Hamas and Musharraf are the ones to blame.

CUOMO: Why?

ZAKARIA: They began the conflict and began sending the rockets up. They do have a maximalist position, which say we don't recognize Israel's right to exist. They have softened it in various indirect ways but never come out directly and said we will recognize Israel's right to exist as long as it withdraws to its '67 borders.

CUOMO: Is there any legitimate rationale for using violence in terms of the threat that is facing Hamas, facing the Palestinians right now?

ZAKARIA: Now you're getting into one of the great questions of international relations, which is from their point which says it's a national movement to get an independent state that Africa National Congress used violence, many, many independence movements use violence. CUOMO: They're saying it's a method of liberation.

ZAKARIA: But as I say if it were to end occupation it would be one thing, given that they won't recognize Israel, it becomes more difficult.

ZAKARIA: Right. I think bb doesn't have as much to blame in the short term. The at the end of the day you have the occupation for 47 years, in 2008, Ehud Olmert had a similar war against Gaza. I was more sympathetic. Olmert was engaged in a serious negotiation with the Palestinians to try to create a two-state solution. Benjamin Netanyahu has done essentially no negotiating with the Palestinians on that front. What is your long-term strategy? Are you going to be back here a year from now, five years from now?

CUOMO: The back problem obviously. They don't talk to each other without intervention, Egypt has been helpful in the past, a little unstable right now. They have a plan on the deal, which is to stop fighting. Kerry is the main man in the latest round. Does he deserve the stink that's on him right now?

ZAKARIA: I don't think so. I think that what Kerry is trying to do, to be fair to the American effort, was to create some kind of process by which there could be a negotiation, there could be dialogue, there could be some meeting of minds, even if on smaller issues like creative humanitarian corridors.

CUOMO: Did you do it the wrong way or just the reality got in the way of him making any progress?

ZAKARIA: The wrap against him, he should not -- we don't deal with Hamas, the United States doesn't, but he shouldn't have indirectly recognized Hamas saying let's have a cease-fire immediately. The problem is civilians are dying, he's trying to stop it, in the immediate context, the only way you can have a cease-fire is between these two parties. They're the two warring parties. Some people say they should have done an end run and gone to the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank saying I recognize you as the legitimate, fine, but that's not going to get you a cease-fire today.

CUOMO: Not going to stop the rockets opinion.

ZAKARIA: And not going to stop the killing.

CUOMO: Fareed, thank you very much. Very complicated. We need to keep understanding it piece by piece. As always you can learn by watching "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS" Sundays 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Eastern only on CNN.

Let's take a quick break. When we comeback, the VA controversy hasn't gone away. in fact, there may be a bipartisan fix. They are pushing an overall, how good is their solution? We take it on for you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BOLDUAN: Coming up next on NEW DAY, relentless fighting. Rockets from Hamas and Israeli strikes hitting Gaza. One of the strikes landed about 200 yards from Karl Penhaul and his CNN team during a live report.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Poppy, you had before seen the same -- OK, I'm going to move out of the way, Poppy. We're going to get a camera shot.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Let's have him move as far away as he can.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: We're going to back to the Middle East. You see Karl in the live report, he is OK. His team is OK, but it just shows how scary the situation is. We're going to be heading back to the Middle East at the top of the hour with our Wolf Blitzer.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)