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Clinton Breaks With Obama Policy; Where Clinton And GOP Agree; Iraqi Prime Minister Fighting For Power; NASCAR Star Hits, Kills Driver On Racetrack

Aired August 11, 2014 - 07:30   ET



CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Phil, once again second. He's great. He's won his majors.

BOLDUAN: Always a bridesmaid, never a bride.

CUOMO: Amazing consistency. It will be interesting to see, speaking of consistency, how McIlroy keeps going. So hard, as we saw with Tiger so hard.

BOLDUAN: He was in some pain last time.

CUOMO: Speaking of pain, there is a lot of political pain to go around. Let's get to "Inside Politics" on NEW DAY with Mr. John King. Happy Monday, my friend.

JOHN KING, CNN HOST, "INSIDE POLITICS": I thought you were going to say it's painful to see me on a Monday.

CUOMO: Site for sore eyes.

KING: All right, Chris, Kate, Michaela, good morning to you. With me this morning to go "Inside Politics," Maeve Reston of the "Los Angeles Times" and Jonathan Martin of the "New York Times." The president needs a friend. Let's start there.

The president had his big foreign policy decision, even signaling over the weekend that these operations in Iraq could go on for a while. The president says we are in for the long term. Listen to this.

Hillary Clinton, his former secretary of state says maybe we wouldn't be here in this mess right now if the president had been tougher earlier. She's talking about her advice to intervene in Syria months back.

The president, of course, said he overruled Secretary Clinton. Listen to her. The failure to help build up a credible fighting force of the people who were the originators of the protest against Assad.

There were Islamists. There were everything in the middle. The failure to do that left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled. The Jihadists coming from Syria down into Iraq now, pretty tough.

MAEVE RESTON, "LOS ANGELES TIMES": Absolutely. This is one of the biggest steps we've seen for Hillary Clinton taking a step away from Barack Obama. Obviously, they have disagreed on Syria for a long time as she pointed out in her book, "Hard Choices."

She was pushing to arm the rebels in Syria earlier. This was really kind of a sharp statement. The world failure is a little tougher than she's usually been on him. It's maybe what we're seeing as the beginning of her trying to create distance from the president who is unpopular as she thinks about her 2016 run.

KING: Unpopular and also, Jonathan, right now, the commander-in-chief at a very sensitive time. The president insists this will only be an air operation. But you never know when you start a military operation like this. Listen to the more broad criticisms from Hillary Clinton to "The Atlantic's" Jeffrey Goldberg.

We have found out a few months back. They have this organizing principle. Don't do stupid stuff. Hillary Clinton says great nations need organizing principles. Don't do stupid stuff is not an organizing principle.

She's echoing many Republicans when she says she believes this president may have stepped back a bit. Lessen the bar for American leadership around the world.

JONATHAN MARTIN, "NEW YORK TIMES": It's hard to interpret that as anything beyond trying to create separation between herself and the president. Taking that phrase, which has become so identified with this president's foreign policy approach and openly mocking it, she had to know what her reaction would cause.

President Obama once again dismisses the idea that arming the Syrian rebels would have been a wise thing to do. The next day this Hillary interview comes out where she once again goes out and says that's what we should have done. You back-to-back --

RESTON: And we should point out that she did the interview prior to the president announcing the air strikes so still really interesting.

KING: She does say the president is thoughtful, she thinks he's a brilliant guy, too hesitant, too cautious in many ways. In the current environment, you make a very important timing, though, but the interview was done and released in all of this where Hillary Clinton sounds a lot more like the Republicans.

Here is Rick Perry out in Iowa looking at the president's foreign policy and saying he's unimpressed.


GOVERNOR RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: When I think about what's going on in Israel, when I see Libya and I see Egypt and I see what's going on in Israel and I think about Ukraine and then back in Iraq, a foreign policy that is absolutely -- it's not distinguishable from anything. (END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: The Republican criticism, the question is what would they do differently, that begs the question now, especially if Republicans say he should hit some targets inside Syria, be more aggressive in going after ISIS? I haven't heard a Republican say put boots on the ground.

RESTON: No, not yet. I don't think we'll necessarily hear that. They know what the polls say. The American people don't want that, but it is interesting because Hillary Clinton has given an opening, also for all these Republican candidates to go after Obama.

And she's shown how she's a little closer to them on some points. I think that debate about whether Obama went in early enough is just going to rage throughout this fall.

MARTIN: Republicans are so hinged on their foreign policy critique of Obama. They can't help, but make it -- obviously lots of things happening in the world right now that aren't good. It always comes back to the fact of what Perry said, there's no real strategy, he's not being assertive enough or bold enough and America has to play a strong role in the world. What they don't say is anything substantive in terms of --

RESTON: They're always going back in time rather than forward in time.

MARTIN: After what happened in Iraq, you know, they know that pushing to commit U.S. troops into a theater somewhere else in the world politically is very dicey.

RESTON: That's an interesting point for the midterms, too. We didn't see a lot of Democratic Senate candidates coming out talking about the air strikes. That's going to be a tricky issue for them. They might have an opening to argue that Republicans are being too hawkish and will get us too involved in Iraq again. So it will be interesting to see how that plays.

KING: It will be interesting to watch it play out if you're watching at home. It seems like we're beating up on the president. His former secretary of state, a lot of Republicans one of the problems for the White House is you don't have Democrats rushing out to defend them.

The Democrats were saying make sure this is limited, no boots on the ground, Mr. President. Not a course of praise. Also among those out, 2008 opponent John McCain on "State of the Union" with Candy Crowley. She asked the senator as part of this interview, she said sometimes viewers say why do you have John McCain on that often because it doesn't matter?

The president would say it's a beautiful day and John McCain would disagree. Listen to the senator's response.


SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: My reply is that there are a number of things that the president has done foreign policy-wise that I have not only approved of but supported. If I look at the world in January of 2009 and I look at the world today, I can tell you this, Candy, it's very, very different. And I believe it's because when the United States of America withdraws from leadership from the world, it creates a vacuum and bad things happen.


KING: It's been a while since he supported the president.

RESTON: That's true. But you have to remember, you know, covering the 2008 campaign, there is bad blood that goes back a long time between those two. He had a lot of time to criticize the president on the campaign trail and has not really shown much interest in trying to work with him on these issues.

MARTIN: This is always a challenge of a Democratic president who commits to some kind of intervention abroad. His own party by its very nature is more doggish, so he gets support from his own party, the opposition has never supported him on anything except for some kind of brief total support for the strikes before going on to a broader critique of his foreign policy. John, to your point, where are the voices of support.

KING: What we have not seen is 2016 McCain bumper stickers. This was spotted out in California. Look at that, Romney 2016. He says he's not running. Good for the bumper sticker business.

MARTIN: How much longer are we going to do this?

RESTON: How many times can a man say no? He says he's not running.

KING: Up until the Republicans have a nominee. To close, we'll be anything, but consistent as we get back to you guys in New York. Ted Cruz in Iowa also taking after the president's foreign policy, but with an Iowa state fair twist.


SENATOR TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: I got to try something I've never had before, a pork chop on a stick. It's really hard to go wrong with meat on a stick. I'll tell you, it brought to mind a new diet that is all the rage in Washington. It's the Obama diet. It works very, very well. All you do is every day you let Putin eat your lunch.


KING: Ted Cruz trying humor.

BOLDUAN: I was wondering how --

KING: What's your favorite state fair food?

BOLDUAN: My favorite state fair food, you can't go wrong with a corn dog. I will also say Indiana has great, great fair food. Anything fried, Indiana or Iowa, you pick it. You can fry pretty much everything.

PEREIRA: Kool-Aid, butter.

CUOMO: Fried Kool-Aid. That exists?

KING: It exists. I've had it.

BOLDUAN: You've been at many a state fair, John.

CUOMO: New reason to live. Let's take a break on NEW DAY. U.S. air strikes are helping to take down terrorists in Iraq as the country's government, though, is falling apart. Embattled prime minister trying to cling to power surrounding the green zone with tanks. What does this mean? We'll break it down for you, this political battle.

BOLDUAN: Also ahead, a NASCAR star hits another driver on the track killing him. Now an investigation is under way. We'll talk with the local sheriff about the case and where it's headed.


MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to NEW DAY this morning. The political crisis in Iraq is escalating. Prime Minister Nuri al- Maliki refusing to step down and is now speaking out against the country's newly elected president. This as Iraqi troops move into Baghdad. The question is, what can the U.S. do about this volatile situation?

We are going to bring in Philip Mudd. He is CNN counterterrorism analyst and a former CIA counterterrorism official. Good morning. Quite a Monday we're waking up to here.


PEREIRA: You've had a seat at the table when these kind of security conversations are going on. I want to know what you make of this when you see a prime minister who is resistant to resigning, who is saying he's going to stay for another term. He is even calling the efforts to oust him a coup. What do you make of this and what do you think needs to be done?

MUDD: I'm not sure how many options we have. Look at how much has happened in the past few years. We had authoritarian regimes in Libya, in Egypt, had one with Saddam Hussein in Iraq. This quick transition from an authoritarian regime where security is provided by a strong-arm dictator to democracy isn't working that well.

Because when you have leaders win as we've had Maliki win in Iraq, the president says when you win power, you don't have to live by the rules, you get to set the rules.

I think what Maliki is saying right now is look, I represent the majority community, the Shia. We're 60-plus percent of the population. I get to set the rules. I won.

PEREIRA: Add to that, the U.S. sitting here on the sideline watching what's going on, we're trying to draw down our troops, our presence here, we look at this situation, an unstable Iraq is very, very concerning. Yet it's a sovereign nation. What's the U.S. legally able to do and what can they reasonably do?

MUDD: I think we've got a lot of questions in the coming days. Right now we've taken a stopgap measure with the military operations in the north. The Peshmerga are very powerful. I've got friends up there. They're very committed to fighting the ISIS troops.

But what we've done is limit our operations to try to keep the ISIS troops at bay that is, going against front line troops. The questions will be if we look at command and control at places elsewhere in Iraq and Syria, tick the fight to ISIS, and eliminate some of their leadership. We've had limited strikes. The question is do we expand them.

PEREIRA: That's the question. We talk about the Iraqi government, without a stable Iraqi government what hope is there for combating and taking on and stamping out ISIS?

MUDD: I think in the short-term there's very little hope. We can hold them at bay. U.S. air power can assist the Kurds. I think the Kurds my guess will be very effective at keeping ISIS out of Northern Iraq.

That's an area the Kurds have controlled forever. But I think over the long term the question on the ground is going to be do the Sunni tribes work with the Shia government, Nuri al-Maliki to fight ISIS. I think as long as Maliki is as isolated as he is, that will be an impossible task.

PEREIRA: Do you think we are going to see -- obviously Americans are somewhat war weary, do you think we're see pressure mounting domestically and then also from our international partners for the U.S. to step in and do more beyond just these air strikes?

MUDD: I think the pressure is going do we expand the number of air strikes into things like leadership strikes against ISIS. I think there will be a parallel question. We've seen some of that answered already about whether NATO starts to play a bigger role.

There are tens of thousands of Kurds in Germany. Where are the Germans in this campaign? I know the president has talked to David Cameron in the U.S. Nobody is going to say put boots on the ground. They are going to say do we expand the scope of air strikes and become more aggressive.

PEREIRA: As you mentioned, you know, and even our Fareed Zakaria said that here on our air that the need for an international coalition is vital and it sounds as though you agree with that statement.

MUDD: I think that's the correct. The U.S. has the air power to complete some of this operation by itself. But the question isn't military force alone. In the wake of withdraw from Afghanistan and the wake of withdraw from Iraq, the question is going to be do we operate with an international consensus that commits us to air power over a long period of time in the face of an adversary that wants to put somebody's head on a stake.

I think given the potential duration of this campaign that is months or maybe even years, the U.S. going alone isn't going to be a great answer. The question is going to be where is the U.K., the Germans and the others? I think that will be answered within the coming weeks.

PEREIRA: What's important and seems apparent is that right now the key moment in this process as you mentioned is not going to end quickly. ISIS is a real threat. Philip Mudd as always, thank you so much.

MUDD: Thank you.

PEREIRA: We're going to take a short break here on NEW DAY. Coming up, NASCAR spectators watched in horror a driver hit and killed on the race track by fellow driver, Tony Stewart. We'll speak with the sheriff that's investigating this crash ahead.


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY. An investigation is under way in the race world. Here what we know. Following a crash three-time NASCAR champion, Tony Stewart struck and killed a fellow driver who was on the track and apparently angry at Stewart during a sprint car race in upstate New York this weekend.

Now, during the actual race, 20-year-old driver, Kevin Ward Jr. got out of his car as you saw there to confront Stewart after their cars had made contact and going to put into the wall. Moments later, Stewart struck him, killing Ward.

Now, we're not showing you that part of the video. Who needs to see the video is Philip Povero. His county is investigating the crash. Mr. Sheriff, thank you for joining us this morning. What do we know at this point?

PHILIP C. POVERO, SHERIFF, ONTARIO COUNTY: Good morning, Chris. What we know at this point you have detailed quite efficiently that the fatal crash did occur, and we are taking as much time as we can to gather every piece of factual information that may exist that will help us clearly identify the cause of this tragedy.

We have had tremendous amount of support and cooperation from all the racetrack officials, the racetrack management, other race car drivers, staff and Mr. Stewart and his staff. Mr. Ward's family has been cooperative with us. And we are basically trying to see if there are any other video recordings that may have been made on Saturday night that could help us in the analysis of this crash.

The information at this point is coming in from our investigators, our forensic investigators and deputies. We're waiting on other information that is relative and still had happen, such as an autopsy and subsequent results from that. We're finalizing our crash analysis at this time. CUOMO: There are a lot of crashes, drivers sometimes die. It is rarely a matter for the police. You've gone out of your way to say there are no pending charges at this point. But you're investigating for a reason, yes?

POVERO: Yes, we're investigating because we have a young man who has died and as a result of this crash. We are going to investigate death cases. We have consulted with the district attorney.

And although as you do point out there are no criminal charges pending at this time, this is an ongoing investigation and all options remain available -- open at this time.

We're continuing to gather and analyze every piece of evidence we can. And hope to come to a conclusion when all that data is collected.

CUOMO: Are there two operative theories now that this was either, A, an accident, because the driver was out on the track and maybe it was dark and maybe it was slick, or that the driver was out on the track. Trying to confront Tony Stewart, who was also angry and there was a tactic involved that wound up going wrong and leading to the death of this driver?

POVERO: We have obviously heard these theories presented and have talked to people that, you know, want to discuss and have opinions on that. Right now the key is obtaining facts, and of great assistance will be accurate data from video which will help us to clearly isolate what happened at the time.

Interviews of people who were present and are eyewitnesses has become very informative information. And all this is being compiled into one investigation, which when completed will definitely answer the questions or settle the rumors or theories that aren't relevant regarding this investigation.

CUOMO: Did the race organization ask you to investigate this? How did you come upon to take it?

POVERO: This investigation began when our 911 center received a call regarding this crash on 10:30 Saturday night. It is our obligation in New York State to investigate incidents like this where a death of this nature occurs.

And we have also working with us the county coroner who has also an investigation responsibility as well as consulting with the district attorney, who is asking for results of this investigation.

CUOMO: Your quick take at this point, are you expecting charges?

POVERO: I would not speculate on that at this time, Chris. This is a -- still a very young investigation and there is much work to be done before we can come to any conclusions.

CUOMO: All right. We understand that the race organization itself is going to review the matter and figure out what action if any is necessary on their end looking at what you do as well.

Sheriff Povero, thank you very much for discussing the ongoing investigation. We look forward to any updates and we'll check in with you as soon as we can. Thank you, sir.

POVERO: You're welcome, Chris.

CUOMO: All right, coming up on NEW DAY, a peaceful protest over a deadly police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, erupted into amazing violence. People were throwing bottles, reports of looting. Why? We're going to speak with the mayor about the cause of the chaos.