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Obama's Promise: No Combat Troops; Political Flashback Nixon Resigns; U.S. Authorizes Airstikes On Iraq; Ebola Declared Public Health Emergency;

Aired August 8, 2014 - 07:30   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right. A lot going on in politics, so let's get to "Inside Politics" on NEW DAY with Mr. John King.

JOHN KING, CNN HOST, "INSIDE POLITICS" It is a busy Friday morning, Kate, Michaela, Chris, good to see you. And with me this morning to share their reporting and their insights, Maeve Reston of the "Los Angeles Times" and Maggie Haberman of "Politico."

Let's start with the president last night, an evening address to the American people saying he's authorizing, not yet ordering, but authorizing potential U.S. military strikes in Iraq in conjunction with the humanitarian mission.

Listen to the president here sound even as he says we may have warfare in Iraq, listen to how reluctant he sounds.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I ran for this office in part to end our war in Iraq and welcome our troops home, and that's what we've done. As commander-in-chief, I will not allow the United States to be dragged into fighting another war in Iraq.

And so even as we support Iraqis as they take the fight to these terrorists, American combat troops will not be returning to fight in Iraq because there is no American military solution to the larger crisis in Iraq.


KING: He almost spent more emphasis and as much time saying what we would not do as to what the United States might do.

MAEVE RESTON, "THE LOS ANGELES TIMES": Absolutely. Well, remember, you know, where and how Obama rose to power and that was by galvanizing all of these Democrats who wanted to be out of Iraq for good and you really could see his absolute reluctance to be there making that announcement last night.

And he's walking a very delicate line because he still wants to hold in all those Americans, especially going into the midterms who don't want further involvement in Iraq, but obviously felt like his hand was forced here. KING: And yet, Maggie, a lot of people are saying, you know, what can you do with such a limited action, maybe you can get some food and supplies to people who desperately need them and amen for that.

But in terms of reducing and eliminating the ISIS threat, if you're only going to use force, if Americans are attacked and if the airdrops come under attack you won't do anything to change the situation on the ground, are you?

MAGGIE HABERMAN, "POLITICO": Critics of the president are saying essentially this is nowhere near enough, need to do something that's much broader and bigger and much harder because you look at the violence playing out. It's not just in Iraq, it is in the whole region and that really is the concern.

As you said, he not only sounded sort of weary and reluctant, I thought he looked weary and reluctant, really uninterested in recommitting as poll after poll after poll shows Americans don't want to be involved overseas, but you see the images we've been playing them all morning that are going on in Iraq. It's a very, very difficult situation.

KING: Does he run a risk, if you look at the world is on fire right now, and this is not all the president's fault. Any president would have limited options looking at all these crises right now, but does he run a risk after he drew a red line in Syria that people said he refused to enforce.

He was accused of leading from behind and now Libya is a mess again. Does he run a risk even if this goes, quote/unquote "well," the humanitarian aid gets in. There are no American planes or drones shot down. Does he run the risk of what did you do, where's your influence, where's your power?

RESTON: Absolutely. I think the debate this fall as this rolls out will be did he go in soon enough? Did he do enough to save these people who are in danger, and you know, what are the next steps here? And certainly was his decision to pull back American troops in Iraq that early, was that the right decision?

KING: Was he in too much of a hurry to get out, that's part of the conversation. Should he have leaned on the Iraqi government to allow a residual force? That will be part. This will play out in the campaign. We'll see how based on what happens over the next couple of days.

A couple of footnotes about the campaign. Last night in Tennessee, Lamar Alexander, the incumbent senator, defeated a Tea Party challenge. This is about the last big Tea Party test for a Republican incumbent this year, Senator Lamar Alexander wins, he's an overwhelming favorite to hold that seat for the Republicans.

Which is important if they had nominated somebody outside the mainstream, maybe it puts it in play and out in Montana, the appointed senator, John Walsh, has decided he will not run. He was appointed to the seat. He was involved in a plagiarism scandal right now and he's decided he will not run. I think the sad ad to the most likely a Republican seat there?

HABERMAN: Yes. I think it was already leaning that way, but there was a sense that Walsh was beginning to get a little bit of wind beneath his wings and was coming back a bit. This essentially takes that out unless Democrats can nominate somebody who is really very right for the state, who is the right fit.

They are having a hard time getting anybody who actually wants to be the person who is the place holder because you're sort of running for a lost cause. I mean, most Democrats that I talked do not believe Montana is winnable anymore.

RESTON: Right. There certainly was not a rush yesterday of people jumping into that race, which Democrats had pretty much written off as a lost cause anyway.

KING: Pick me, pick me.

RESTON: Exactly.

HABERMAN: What a treat.

KING: Is it opportunity for a younger Democrat to maybe at least get the name identification and looking for a run for governor or something else down the line?

HABERMAN: Establish a fund-raising base. That's where you could see somebody who wants to make inroads. They could learn how to make money and learn how to make a lot of contacts, but it's an ugly season.

KING: Not a 2014 calculation. Probably helps the Republicans a little bit with both of those races. Let's move back in history, not forward, 40 years ago tonight, an American president stepping down. Listen.


FORMER PRESIDENT RICHARD NIXON: I have never been a quitter. To leave office before my term is completed is abhorrent to every instinct in my body, but as president, I must put the interests of America first. America needs a full-time president and a full-time Congress, particularly at this time, with problems we face at home and abroad. Therefore, I shall resign the presidency effective at noon tomorrow.


KING: I'm the old guy at the table so I have faint memories of this. My dad was not a Richard Nixon fan. I remember watching this, I was 10 years old watching with my dad. He was not a Richard Nixon fan. We bring it up to remind people the important history and we have a new CNN/ORC poll this morning. As time passes, especially as younger people have no memory of this, 51 percent say it was a serious matter, the resignation of Watergate and 46 percent say just politics. Is that a reflection, especially the younger group, older people think it was more serious, younger people say just politics.

Isn't that, everything seems like politics in this town now? So if you weren't here, you must assume it's just caught up in all of this clutter?

RESTON: Absolutely. I went back to the Nixon Library in California actually earlier this week for marking the anniversary and the release of some of the new tapes where Nixon tells his side of the story, and it was amazing walking around.

First of all, there was almost no one there to mark this anniversary, but there were such a generational split where the younger folks were learning all of this history for the first time and saying, you know, haven't other presidents done worse than Watergate so --

HABERMAN: It's not that big a deal after all.

KING: And yet you had a scandal that forced the president of the United States to resign and that dramatically undermined trust in government, when you had the huge campaign finance revolution back in the day, that people say we could use again now.

Trust in government, look at these numbers. Do you completely trust the government? And 53 percent in 1972, 36 percent in 1974 in the wake of Watergate, and 13 percent of the American people now say they trust the government all the time.

A little healthy skepticism is a good thing, a good thing, but to me that 13 percent number is pretty stunning.

HABERMAN: This is are where you see when you look ahead to the 2016 presidential race. This is where it becomes very difficult, we talk about Hillary Clinton all the time obviously. She clearly has the clearest path to the nomination, but historically we have never gone backwards a generation in terms of the presidency and the distrust in the institution is really a problem for anybody connected to Washington. It is a huge problem.

RESTON: And we're having a daily debate right now once again 40 years later over the limits of executive power and whether Obama has overreached so, you know, it's a very interesting moment in history to reflect on, but --

KING: But no trust in government.

RESTON: No trust.

KING: It's disgusting and disruptive to have 13 percent of the American people have full trust in their government. That's sad.

RESTON: That's why no one is going to show up in November. KING: That's probably right. Maeve and Maggie, thanks for coming in. We get back to New York and you guys. Faith in government, not so good.

CUOMO: My brother, trust is earned, trust is earned, John. We both know that.

KING: A good way to put it.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: My goodness. Nothing they can do to turn it around by November. I'll tell you that much.

CUOMO: Have a good weekend.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, John.

CUOMO: See you soon.

KING: You, too.

CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, the ISIS threat up close. Terrorists bent on genocide spreading like a plague across Iraq. We're going to show you where they are and how they got there and what they want and what can be done to stop them.



PRESIDENT OBAMA: As commander-in-chief, I will not allow the United States to be dragged into fighting another war in Iraq because there is no American military solution to the larger crisis in Iraq. The only lasting solution is reconciliation among Iraqi communities and stronger Iraqi security forces.


CUOMO: Is that just wishful thinking, but you did hear it there. No boots on the ground. Remember that was preceded by no military action anymore and before that no more presence, but the situation on the ground has changed in Iraq, right?

The new humanitarian help and likely airstrikes against ISIS. Is the extent for now of the help President Obama is having to plan for in Iraq? That is big question. This doesn't slow these terrorists and the crisis expands what is the next move.

Let's get some perspective from Bobby Ghosh. He is the managing editor of "Quartz" and in the last administration you spent a lot of time not just in Iraq, but in this region talking to the people who are running for their lives. Let's remind people, ISIS. They are now calling themselves the caliphate.

BOBBY GHOSH, MANAGING EDITOR, "QUARTZ": And they are calling themselves Islamic state. They want the world to think of themselves not just as a group or movement but as a country, as a state. CUOMO: Religious state.

GHOSH: A very religious state. Kind of perverse interpretation of Islam.

CUOMO: Extremism where if you are not with them, they want to kill you.

GHOSH: Even some of the people who you and I would think are with them. They want to kill pretty much everybody, Chris. This is a -- this is a death cult. This is not a terrorist group as we know it. This is not a movement as we've seen before.

CUOMO: Death cult, worse than Hamas and worse than al Qaeda.

GHOSH: By many magnitudes, worse than everything that we've seen. They are enjoying the act of killing people. They are enjoying the act of not just killing small groups, but large groups of people, hundreds of people slaughtered, together.

They are making videos of this thing and wanting to see them put out instructional videos. They are issuing statements saying this is how you behead a person, and in all the years I've covered conflict around the world and terrorism in that part of the world, I've never seen anything this frightening.

COUMO: Now, these are the videos of their handiwork. They are bragging about it. They see violence as a religious exercise. Doesn't matter because they are being successful. Yellow is where they are beating back two different military forces.

The Iraqi army which we trained and not only are they kicking their -- their foes across the land. They are taking a lot of their military assets which we gave them which they are getting increasingly better armed, yes?

GHOSH: Yes, they are, serious hardware, and this is only the Iraqi portion. They have also got a big chunk of Syria that they are controlling. Together, they control something like the size of Britain, like Great Britain. That's the size of territory over, which they have almost complete control.

CUOMO: Now, the fact that they want to control makes them scary, but also makes them vulnerable, right, because they will be setting up outposts and they will create places where you can attack them as opposed to traditional terrorism where they keep hiding and retreating amongst civilians.

GHOSH: Eventually, yes. Right now. They are moving very quickly. They are taking territory. They are appointing local governors and police and the fighting force is scattering and moving. They are fighting multiple fronts.

They are fighting against the Syrians and Kurds who are our friends in Northern Iraq. They have even gone into Lebanon here and attacked in Lebanon so they are fighting multiple fronts. They are spread thin and every time they open a new front we think, well, this is as far as they can go, but they seem to be able to go farther and farther.

CUOMO: The Iraqi military losing clearly. The Kurds, good fighters, but they need better weaponry. That's question for the U.S. and the international community on whether to give them those, right?

GHOSH: Right now nobody has put up a real fight. When the Iraqi military was faced with these guys, they just simply backed away. They put their guns down and left. The Kurds when they came up with them they withdrew from where areas where ISIS was operating and moved into sort of the heartland of Kurdistan intending to protect Kurdistan so nobody has really given these guys a real fight outside of Syria.

CUOMO: The question is, can they? Now the latest casualties of their progress is that this has now become a genocide. They are coming to Christians and minority groups saying change to be like us or we'll just kill you anyway. What do you see in these groups? Because you've been among them. You know these cultures.

GHOSH: This is a part of Iraq and the Middle East that's incredibly diverse. I don't know any other place all over the Middle East that has this kind of diversity. There's Christian populations. There are groups called Yazidi, some of these religions pre-date Islam, some are thousands years old, little communities, 50,000 here, 100,000 there. They have survived for millennia.

CUOMO: And now they are being wiped out?

GHOSH: Now they are under real threat of being completely eliminated.

CUOMO: The Yazidis, we've heard about this minority group flying up to the Sinjar and up on to a mountaintop, last place of refuge, no water and troops are closing in. The only thing we can believe is they want to kill them.

GHOSH: Yes. There's 40,000, 50,000 people out in the mountains. We've seen photographs of that. It looks biblical, like an exodus of people and they are completely exposed on those mountaintops, not like there's caves they can hide in and take shelter.

CUOMO: It's high ground but with none of the benefits.

GHOSH: High ground with no benefit.

CUOMO: This may be the key, right or wrong. Once you start killing Christians, you will get more international attention. That's happening. We're covering it, but to be fair, Christians have been taking a beating around the world, looking at the Middle East and Jerusalem.

It used to be 80 percent Christian and now less than 10 percent and being kicked out in very harsh ways, but this is an all-out genocide. How do you think this changes the fate? GHOSH: This forces western powers to pay attention. France has offered them refuge. The U.S. has obviously -- we saw the president last night speak much more forcefully and the authorization of force. That is going to change some of the calculus on the ground.

But the question is whether it will happen fast enough to save those Christians. Right now, they are fleeing. They are trying to stay with friends and relatives wherever they can or they are staying in sort of refugee encampments, but can we get there fast enough.

Because it's not -- we can argue and the president is saying there will be no boots on the ground. That's fine. None of our boots, but they have got to be some boots on the ground. These ISIS terrorists, they are on the ground and they can only realistically be taken out on ground.

Those have to be Iraqi boots and Kurdish boots and maybe the Turks get involved and others. The one thing about ISIS that we can say with any confidence is that everybody hates them. They hated everybody, but in turn everybody hates them.

CUOMO: They are getting popularity among those who want to create terror. That's why we're showing you the last map. No matter what the name is of the organization, there's a common philosophy. There's a common motivation and now there's going to be a common cash flow.

And that's where you have to look. Not just with what's going on in Iraq. We've been ignoring Syria. Over 100,000 people, ISIS instrumental, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, looks like al Qaeda, but it's changing. The brand is irrelevant. It's what the intentions are. North Africa, another hotbed that's being ignored.

GHOSH: Boca Haram here in Nigeria. A lot of these groups previously affiliated with al Qaeda now they are pledging their allegiance to ISIS, to the -- to the so-called caliphate ISIS. In the terrorism community, he is the new shining star.

CUOMO: Within Islam, being the caliph mean you're the legitimate religious leader.

GHOSH: Very few Muslims outside of those terrorist groups think of him like that. Think of him as a terrorist leader. It would be like a Christian fundamentalist terrorist claiming to be a pope, right?

CUOMO: And increasingly they are training to do attacks outside of these areas, specifically the U.S. Bobby Ghosh, thank you very much. We need to learn more about this because the threat is growing every day.

Coming up on NEW DAY, the World Health Organization overnight declaring a different type of threat, Ebola. They are call it now a public health emergency. What does it mean? How do we track the disease now and better in the future? We have answer for you right after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) PEREIRA: Welcome back to "NEW DAY." Breaking overnight, the World Health Organization declaring the Ebola epidemic in West Africa a public health emergency. This morning we're looking at new scientific research about predicting deadly outbreaks.

Researchers around the globe could be close to some new warning system using a program based on weather patterns. We want to discuss what's new and what's next, with Carlos Watson.

He comes back during the summer on Fridays with us to talk about all of this, the co-founder and editor of It's particularly important to talk about this because of the science of predicting, Indra predicts the weather for us, maybe the same kinds of tools could be used in predicting outbreaks.

CARLOS WATSON, CEO, CO-FOUNDER OF OZY.COM: Very much so. The tools were used to predict crop problems and opportunities and now being applied in parts of Africa to look at some of these questions, in particular some of the scientists have recognized that when there are periods of prolonged dryness followed by rain and heat that is where they see the Ebola outbreaks.

PEREIRA: Let's start with the countries that we've been looking at, focused on Guinea, Sierra, Liberia, where the outbreak is largest and also a spread to Nigeria and now they have two suspected cases in Benin. The patients there are in isolation. The question is, if we've gotten in front of this outbreak wouldn't have been nearly as bad.

WATSON: People hope and believe if you looked at that data on weather you could have seen it coming to some extent, not perfectly but to some extent and could have put in place certain measures to prevent it. If you look at periods of dryness followed by lots of precipitation, that those are often when you see the Ebola outbreaks over the last 40 years.

PEREIRA: Compared to the meteorologists it's not just models, they look at the actual data that's coming in, things like precipitation, they look at vapors, they look at all of this.

WATSON: Rainfall, heat, all of that good stuff can tell you a lot of information, not only about Ebola, but about other infectious diseases as well. They're taking this information from some of the NASA satellites and marrying it with some of the Google earth information in order to put these predictive models and sometimes the models work well, sometimes they give you advance warning, a month or two months and sometimes as much as four months in other cases.

PEREIRA: Give me an idea, going back to the notion you were talking about extreme drought followed by extreme rain. What happens?

WATSON: So a couple interest things happen. Number one, the bats which in many cases they believe the bats are carrying the Ebola virus, tend to reproduce more and they reproduce more, spreading the virus to their mate and that ultimately as we know in many parts of the world people are eating what they call bush meat. PEREIRA: That could include bats, rats.

WATSON: Rats, monkeys, all sorts of stuff. You will go to open air bazaars, side of the streets. On a food truck you see that meat there. Sometimes the meat is smoked, sometimes it's not.

PEREIRA: And the preparation of it is when they're concerned about maybe the infection occurring. You talked about the fact that it's used for other deadly diseases, and the diseases that are affecting the world. Malaria there's been signs looking at this.

WATSON: Very much so, some scientists at Columbia University did a study looking at malaria, areas that are super hot, areas and particularly what they call the Sahel region of Africa, areas that are particularly hot and wet, where you see a lot of risk of malaria.

Areas that are particularly dry so parts of the Sahara desert is where they see meningitis break out, and again, it's a one two two-month warning system in both of these cases.

PEREIRA: There's been some success and I want to quickly point to this graphic. Tell us about this researcher that had some interesting findings.

WATSON: What's very interesting about her, she was a doctoral student and wasn't a full-fledged researcher. I woke her up in the middle of the night to talk about this. In Singapore they looked at dengue fever and figured out based on weather patterns when things got wet and hot.

Mosquitos grew more and spread the dengue fever when they bite people, people's necks become stiff and she was able to predict about four months ahead of time, 16 weeks, when the dengue fever outbreak could be on its way.

PEREIRA: They have enough time to mobilize, get resources in, and maybe stem the tide of an outbreak.

WATSON: Very much so, and what is very interesting, where they go house to house looking for the mosquito larvae, they not only try to get rid of them, but if they come to your house more than once and see it more than once they can find problems. I don't get a handshake? I'll take a hug.

PEREIRA: We're family. I love it. Appreciate it.

WATSON: Nice to see you.

PEREIRA: We'll take a short break here on NEW DAY.

Up ahead, we'll have the latest on the crisis in Iraq, also the response now that has the United States back in that country, air strikes can they slow ISIS militants taking more land and displacing hundreds of thousands of people.

Also that cease-fire in Gaza over, violence erupting between Hamas and Israel this morning. Peace talks in Cairo broke down. We are live on the ground with the latest.