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Joe Biden Taking New Look at Presidential Run; Decision on GOP Debate Field Set for Tuesday; Zimbabwe Officials Tighten Hunting Rules; "Daily Show" Host Signs Off On Thursday. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired August 2, 2015 - 07:30   ET

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


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: And new this morning, Vice President Joe Biden is reportedly exploring a possible presidential campaign. According to "The New York Times", the vice president's advisors have started reaching out to Democratic leaders and donors who have not yet committed to Hillary Clinton.

[07:30:05] So, let's talk to CNN's Sunlen Serfaty.

Wondering, Sunlen, what the buzz is that you may be hearing in Washington now this morning.

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christi.

Well, we know that at this point, Vice President Joe Biden has not made up his mind yet. But we also know, according to sources, that a group of his advisors and a group of his friends are actively encouraging him to go in, take the plunge and run for president.

And it does seem at the heart of that motivation really does seem to be his son Beau Biden who passed away in May. Sources telling CNN that he was encouraging his father to run before he passed away.

But one thing of course that has to factor fin for Biden is, is there a viable path for him to get his nomination? I want to show you the latest polling, which shows that 15 percent of Democratic voters are behind Biden. That's just behind Bernie Sanders at 19 percent. But both trail Hillary Clinton at 56 percent.

Now, the vice president had previously set a self-imposed deadline of August to make this decision. But Democratic sources saying he's not really feeling the pressure as of now to go ahead and meet his self- imposed deadline. Likely, it will slip. Christi, let's just give him more time to size up the Democratic field, but also to see if he has a shot when he jumps in this late -- Christi.

PAUL: All righty. If he jumps in, yes. Sunlen Serfaty, we appreciate it. Thank you.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Let's turn now to the GOP race for the White House where the next 48 hours could make or break some campaigns or candidates. That's because on Tuesday a decision will be announced on who takes the stage for the debate of ten, that first debate. So far, it seems that these eight candidates they appear to be set. But the last two spots are toss-ups.

Joining us now to discuss is CNN political commentator is Josh Rogin.

Josh, good to have you.

JOSH ROGIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Good morning, Victor.

BLACKWELL: So, the candidates will be selected based on the average of five most recent national polls. Now, we don't know because FOX has not said and won't say which polls will be used.

But take a look at this. We've decided to poll a batch of them in order to see how everything would shake up.

First, we've got, according to the first scenario, top nine, solid here, tenth spot going to Governor Kasich. Meanwhile, the candidates that nearly missed the cut, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Carly Fiorina, others farther down the list.

The scenario could be, you know, how this ends up. First nine stay the same, Rick Perry gets that 10th spot and bumps out. You've got on the outside, Fiorina against Santorum and now, Bobby Jindal. It all depends on which go with.

I wonder, though, that 10th to 11th spot, being in the round table versus the debate, is the difference as dramatic as some have said it is, or will be?

ROGIN: Well, it's interesting, because you could argue it both ways. There's something inherent in being in the big debate, in 9:00 debate, at that adults' table as they. That really can't be discounted.

At the same time, that debate is going to be more chaotic and more hectic. The candidates are going to have less time to talk. And if you think about it, would you rather be the ninth or 10th person in the debate that will probably be the Donald Trump show, will be focusing on Donald Trump, or would you rather be in a smaller debate where you'll have more time to talk, a little bit earlier, you don't have to deal with Donald Trump at the earlier debate, and you can have more time to make your case.

And there's actually an opportunity in being in the second debate. Some people call it the kiddie table debate, because if you win that debate, now you're on an upward trajectory. Now, you've got a story. Now, you've now got momentum. Where you could really get lost in a field of all these big candidates.

So, I think if you're a Rick Perry, if you're a John Kasich, if you're Chris Christie, you've got to project this idea that you want to be in that big debate, that you want to be on that big stage, in the 9:00 stage.

But if you end up falling into the other debate, A, you don't, you've got a grievance to complain about, B, you've got a chance to shine a little bit more. And, C, for the second or third debate, if you then move up, then you've got a real story to tell your donors, to tell your supporters that you're moving in the right direction. So, it's not all bad.

BLACKWELL: You know what stands out to me, Josh, is that FOX is going to announce Tuesday at 5:00, the debate is 48 hours -- at least the roundtable is 48 hours later. Is there a different prep for the roundtable versus the debate for the people who are there on the cusp, could be in 10th or 11th place?

ROGIN: Yes. I think there's two big problems. One is that what you've seen, and there's been a lot of reporting on those, is candidates actually lobbying, right? They have to lobby a news organization, in this case FOX News, to which poll they should use, how they should set it up. And none of that is transparent. So, that creates all these uncertainties that you're kind of referring to.

And that really puts these new organizations, especially FOX, which has been less transparent than others in this really difficult position of putting their finger on the scale and deciding who gets what.

But in terms of preparation, I think, yes, it's a totally different preparation. If you're on that big stage and you know that the focus is going to be on the big candidates, Walker, Bush, Rubio, Trump, then you have to prepare for that and you have to see yourself as someone who's responding to those big candidates who are going to be in the center and going to get all the spotlight. The camera is going to pan back and forth, and they're always going to come back to Trump.

[07:35:04] Everyone is going to want to know who's Trump challenging and how do you respond to Trump and what happens if Trump attacks you. Whereas, if you're on that smaller stage, the kiddie table stage, the earlier stage, you can more define your own candidacy. You can put forth your own message.

And those candidates will have what I think is a better opportunity to define their own case and to put forth their own case for being president. And in that sense, the preparation, you're right, is totally different.

BLACKWELL: All right. Let's put up the group of eight that CNN believes are safe for the debate. Let's put that back up on the screen. OK, Josh, I'm going ask you for not a prediction, but I'll phrase it as an expectation.

ROGIN: Sure.

BLACKWELL: Who do you expect will take those last two spots?

ROGIN: You know, I've got to go with Chris Christie and, let's see, Rick Perry. You know, these are the guys who have been getting more media attention. They have been seen to be on the rise. Rick Perry has been going to extreme lengths to get that attention, right? Didn't he challenge Donald Trump to a pull-up contest the other day?

BLACKWELL: Yes, he did.

ROGIN: I mean, this is a guy who wants to be in the right with Donald Trump, and I think that he's trying to get some of that Trump momentum, some of those Trump numbers. And that's the opposite of a candidate like Lindsey Graham, although he was in that massive cell phone dustup with Trump last week, who is really trying to downplay that.

Chris Christie is also sort of late to the race, right? You have the same dynamic with John Kasich. The guys who came late have nowhere to go up, right? They're the disrupters.

The guys who have been in the race since the very beginning and are still lagging, it's really tough to make that argument. If you're a Carly Fiorina, you've been in the race a really long time. But a Chris Christie can at least say, hey, yes, I'm on the way up because I just got in a couple of weeks ago. John Kasich has the same kind of dynamic.

So, they have been an argument to be made why they should be in that big stage, because they're going to be in that arena sooner or later.

BLACKWELL: All right. Well, we've got just a few days to find out who's going to be in the debate of ten, and then as you call it, I'll just call it the kiddie table, that roundtable.

Josh Rogin, looking forward to it. Thank you so much.

ROGIN: Thank you.

PAUL: And the death of Cecil the Lion has jolted so many people around the world. Well, listen to this -- now, Zimbabwe says no more hunting. It's now suspended in certain places to protect lions, leopards and elephants. We'll tell you more about that.

Also, 16 years ends with a final week. Say it isn't so. Jon Stewart getting set to walk away from his long run as host of Comedy Central's "The Daily Show." And oh my gosh, what a final farewell week he's got planned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:41:01] PAUL: Forty minutes past the hour.

And new information I want to share with you from Zimbabwe. Parks and wildlife officials are tightening now hunting regulations in all areas outside the park. The move comes, of course, after the alleged illegal killing of Cecil the Lion by a U.S. dentist.

CNN's David McKenzie has more on this.

David, what have you learned this morning?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right. It's a pretty sudden and pretty harsh change in their rules. If not harsh, certainly potentially effective, because they are saying they want to stop the hunting, banning it out right of any kind of big game, that will be lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants, on the border of this park where Cecil this famous lion was lured out allegedly and killed.

And they're also banning bow hunting. Now, that's the kind of hunting that Walt Palmer, Dr. Walt Palmer, engaged in during that hunt, effectively wounding that lion and tracking it for many hours. So, clearly, they are alluding to the fact this could be cruel and unusual type of hunting. You know, while this could help stem the issue of illegal hunting, some way that, you know, it could also hurt the livelihoods of people in Zimbabwe, who are doing hunting, which is above board, and legal.

So, there is a debate here. They're, obviously, most of the public has come down on this hunter very hard. There are some people who feel that hunting can have a place if managed properly -- Christi.

PAUL: And there have been a lot of questions about Cecil's brother Jericho. How is he? Do we have any indication this morning?

MCKENZIE: Well, in fact, he is doing fine. We spoke to a research we are that oxford university group which has collars, GPS collars on many of these lions and they have one on Jericho as well. They've been tracking him. In fact, they sent us the GPS coordinates where that lion is. It's quite incredible that they can get down to the meter as it were. And Jericho is fine.

The issue of hunting and poaching of course throughout Southern Africa is a big issue and continues. This one lion, Cecil, has become a symbol. But it is a way to look into the broader picture of the decimated populations of lions throughout Africa that have lost more than 90 percent of their populations in the last few decades.

So, this has conservationists say really kind of put a sharp focus on this issue. One piece of good news other than the fact Jericho is going well and those cubs should be fine, is that that Oxford group has raised half a million dollars in the last couple of days to continue their work in protecting wildlife in the area -- Christi.

PAUL: That is indeed good news.

David McKenzie, we so appreciate it this morning. Thank you, sir.

BLACKWELL: Jon Stewart gets set to walk away from his long run of Comedy Central's "The Daily Show." Sixteen years he's been doing this show. So, what is he going to do next?

And, we're getting new information on breaking news we've been following this morning -- a manhunt happening right now, the hunt for the killer of a Memphis police officer. Nick Valencia has new details at the top of the hour.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[04:47:43] JON STEWART, COMEDY CENTRAL'S "THE DAILY SHOW": Tomorrow is perhaps one of the most important days of your life. And yet, you have chosen to spend the night before talking to me. (LAUGHTER)

STEWART: Senator, as a host, I'm delighted. As a citizen, frightened.

Your response?

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is -- it is pretty pathetic.

(LAUGHTER)

STEWART: I can tell you what the real concern is. And you can answer this question right here right now, put it all to bed.

BARACK OBAMA (D), THEN-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Go ahead.

STEWART: Sir, we are concerned that ultimately at the end of the day, if you are fortunate enough to get the Democratic nomination, fortunate enough to become president of the United States, will you pull a bait and switch, sir, and enslave the white race? Is that your plan? And if it is your plan -- be honest, tell us now.

OBAMA: That is not our plan, Jon. But I think your paranoia might make you suitable as a debate moderator.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: Sixteen years, 20 Emmys, two Peabodys, lots of moments like those. Jon Stewart is now calling it quits. The comedian's final sign-off will be this Thursday, the sixth, he's planning on spending his last days on air with fellow comedians.

We've got CNN senior media correspondent Brian Stelter, not a comedian, but we love him anyway.

Brian --

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Only an amateur. Only an amateur comedian.

BLACKWELL: So, I mean, he certainly will be missed. He has created this really important place in the political conversation as we head into 2016.

STELTER: For sure, as much as he's a silly comedian and as much as he says he's just in the satire business, he's also gotten pretty serious over the years. He's also created an important forum for some of the people we were just watching, some of the guests that he's had on the program, including president's past and present.

And lots of people wonder what "The Daily Show" will be out him. You know, new host Trevor Noah will be taking over in September.

The show will certainly be different without Jon Stewart. He is someone who is especially in the Obama years took on a progressive tone. He was loved by lots of liberals, loathed by some conservatives, but it was must-see TV for a whole swath of the country, especially young people who don't watch as much news from traditional sources, but did actually -- I know it's weird to say, but actually got some news from "The Daily Show", or more importantly, got context from "The Daily Show"

[07:50:09] And so, you mentioned some of his final guests. They will be comedians like Amy Schumer. We know Louis C.K. will be on as well. And Denis Leary will be on later in the week.

But I think he's got a lot of surprises in store for the final show on Thursday. We know he's been reaching out to some of his famous foes over the years. Maybe Bill O'Reilly. Maybe Donald Trump. Maybe some of his enemies or frenemies over the years will be stopping by on the final show.

BLACKWELL: I just wonder, actor is such a unique platform and 16 years, what does he do next likely?

STELTER: It seems like he just needs a little bit of time off first. This job seems to have been exhausting. You see over his time on the show he's gotten more frustrated, more fed up with politics and media. Maybe he just wants some time off.

But I think everybody I've talked to, everybody in the industry thinks he will have some media job in the future, maybe not a daily show, but maybe a weekly show. Maybe some sort of monologue kind of show, or some sort of weekly forum -- something like that on television or online where he can still share his point of view.

He may also try to direct more movies. He made his first movie "Rose Water" that came out last year. His friends say he's interested in maybe doing more of that in the future as well.

BLACKWELL: OK, let's talk about your future. You've got a couple of hours until "RELIABLE SOURCES" this morning. What's coming up?

STELTER: Yes. You know, we have Jennifer Palmieri on "RELIABLE SOURCES" at 11:00 a.m. this morning. She is the communications director for Hillary Clinton's campaign.

They've been going to war with "The New York Times", very unusual decision by the Clinton campaign to go after "The New York Times." So, I'm going to ask her about that. As well as the Joe Biden possibility that you were talking about earlier in the hour, we'll hear her reaction to the idea of Biden getting into the race.

BLACKWELL: All right. Looking forward to it. Brian Stelter, thank you so much.

STELTER: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: And, again, "RELIABLE SOURCES" airs today at 11:00 a.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

PAUL: We need to tell you a new development in the search for potentially MH370. Possible new debris found on Reunion Island. This as the wing piece, the flaperon, found last week, is confirmed to be from a Boeing 777.

We have team coverage at the top of the hour for you. But next, I want to hear your voice on this, a college basketball recruit, he's just 13 years old, recruited to college. Is that too young? Your comments, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:55:49] PAUL: Fifty-five minutes past the hour.

And we know at least 27 people are dead, and more than 150,000 have been displaced following devastating floods in Myanmar. Here's some of the most recent video we're getting in here. Sadly officials say the situation likely going to get worse, because so many of these areas are hard to get to. So, they could reach these people. The president declared national disaster zones in areas across the country. And the thing is, residents are bracing for heavy rains in the forecast. More of that even later this week.

Also in Turkey, there are reports that two soldiers have been killed and 24 others injured in a suspected suicide attack. Officials say suspected PKK militants blew up a tractor laden with two tons of explosives in Agri province. The Kurdistan workers party has not claimed responsibility for that attack.

And it took less than a minute. Oh, what a fight. MMA star Rhonda Rousey destroyed Bethe Correia in a 34-second grudge match last night, 34 seconds, knocking out her opponent, and saying goodbye to apparently a hated rival.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RONDA ROUSEY, MMA FIGHTER: I consider the matter settled and that I'm not going to have to think about it ever again after this day. And I'm sure she'll have to think about me plenty. And so, as far as I'm concerned, it's over and done with.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: Last night's match marked the 12th straight win for Rousey, which means she keeps her bantamweight title.

BLACKWELL: A 13-year-old basketball player from California has verbally committed to the UCLA basketball team, 13. LaMelo Ball is his name and his two older brothers also committed to UCLA months ago. The teen star averaged around 20 points in the 17 and under event in Las Vegas last week.

So, last hour, we asked, how young is too young to commit to a college program?

PAUL: CNN Sports' Coy Wire had been checking your reaction on social media.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS: Great comments as always. We'll get to those in a moment.

My father goes around all across the country speaking to high school student athletes and their families. He said that just a few weeks ago he was out west and there were two girls who were playing lacrosse, and they were already offered scholarships, also 13 years old.

PAUL: Wow.

WIRE: Also only in the 8th grade. And a lot of people think that this is maybe too young. That the NCAA should step in and not allow it. Are we setting these kids up for possible failure?

We asked you your comments, and your insight, and here's what you had to say.

Melanie said, "Sadly another example of college sports looking at winning instead of academics and what's best for our youth. Must be 17."

Kola said, "Kids should be at least a junior in high school because most kids tend to think the job is done once they're committed. It's like a distraction."

Dick said, "If a kid had won an academic scholarship at 13 to UCLA, would he be too young then? No, of course not." I thought that was an interesting comment.

Roy said, "It takes the pressure off having to find a way to pay for college off the shoulders of the parents."

And finally, Erwin, "13, too young, period, let the not yet mature 13- year-old focus on an education first. #Priorities."

PAUL: Very good point.

WIRE: So, as you can see a lot of different perspectives on this. Others think maybe it's not so much, and it sounds like if the parents are there to help the child focus. That's a big part of it.

PAUL: Well, and there is room for changing of minds there as well. So, if it's not set in stone --

WIRE: College's part. They can --

PAUL: On both. Yeah.

BLACKWELL: It's interesting because I had not considered that if this had been an academic scholarship would we be having the same conversation? That's an excellent point made.

PAUL: I don't think so, because academically if you are that advanced in academics, you're also many times that more advanced maturely, as well.

BLACKWELL: We also -- PAUL: And you're just keeping up with what your, you know, with what

your brain needs to challenge you and put yourself forward but it's not as though they're saying, hey, 13 years old come play for us right now.

BLACKWELL: Well, I'm sure we've stumbled on 13-year-olds who enrolled in college and applauded them at that time. But conversation continues.

(LAUGHTER)

PAUL: Coy Wire, thank you so much.

WIRE: Absolutely.

PAUL: A lot to think about.

BLACKWELL: All right.

PAUL: And thank you for starting your morning with us.

BLACKWELL: Your NEW DAY continues right now.