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Flames Engulf Plane After Aborted Takeoff in Las Vegas; Same- Sex Marriage Fight, Clerk Freed From Jail, Thanks Supporters; Hillary Clinton on E-Mails, "I'm Sorry"; Battle for White House, Dr. Ben Carson's Appeal; Refugee Crisis: Frustrations Boil Over Near Hungary's Border. Aired 9-10p ET.

Aired September 8, 2015 - 21:00   ET



[21:00:23] ANDERSON COOPER, AC360 HOST: Hey good evening, thanks for joining us. 9:00 P.M. here on the east coast, 6:00 P.M. in Las Vegas where a British flight bound from London's Gatwick Airport with 172 people onboard aborted its takeoff roll with an engine fire, according to the FAA, then evacuated with smoke and flames pouring out of it. British Airways Flight 2276, a Boeing 777. Bradley Hampton took the first images of the fire and the evacuation. I spoke to him earlier.


COOPER: So, Bradley, what did you see?

BRADLEY HAMPTON, WITNESS: So our plane landed, we were coming from Denver to Las Vegas and then right after we pulled off the active runway, plane came to an abrupt stop and looked out the right-hand side and all we saw was big, black flames and a plane on fire really.

COOPER: Had you heard anything?

HAMPTON: No, we did not hear anything. Most of my attention was drawn by a lot of the passengers gasping at the sight, obviously, so that was the first indicator that something was happening outside the plane.

COOPER: And just to be clear, you were on this plane, right or would you -- did you see another plane on the runway?

HAMPTON: No, I was on the -- another plane that was on the runway...


HAMPTON: ... and then we saw the plane on fire.

COOPER: OK, how -- about how far away was it and how long did it -- how big were the fire?

HAMPTON: I mean, it was roughly probably 200 to 300 yards away and we could clearly see very large flames as the picture shows coming out of the left engine and obviously the black smoke was engulfing the area. And then it was then when we saw the doors fly open and the inflatable slides come out.

COOPER: And when the inflatable slides came out, were there any emergency responders already on the scene or was the fire still active and people just start to get out?

HAMPTON: No, that was very surprising. Obviously, we knew something was wrong, and we weren't sure if the plane was empty or not, it was then when the slides inflated where we knew people were onboard. So after the people started exiting the plane coming down the slide and they were running very fast away from the plane and the emergency responders, and I have to give them credit, they came very quickly into the scene and were spraying fire pretty much before the vehicles were stopped -- or I'm sorry, spraying water before the vehicles were stopped.

COOPER: And when something like this is happening, what happened to your aircraft, I mean did it continue to go by or did it stop?

HAMPTON: No, we were completely stopped and I imagine that's for obvious reasons, to let the emergency vehicles get to the plane in trouble. So all the planes around us were completely at a standstill.

COOPER: How long did the fire seem to go on for?

HAMPTON: From the time we landed until the time the emergency responders put it out was probably I'd say 5 to 10 minutes.

COOPER: And all during that time people were getting off the plane or was it relatively orderly?

HAMPTON: It was a mass exodus, if you will. There was a lot of people running away from the plane and just -- it seemed like there were -- it was a big spurt of people and then the -- and then the responders came.

COOPER: Well Bradley, I appreciate you telling us what you saw. Thank you so much.

HAMPTON: Thank you very much.


COOPER: As you might imagine, we are learning more about this by the minute. We've got CNN's Dan Simon on the phone from McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. Also with us CNN aviation correspondent Renee Marsh. So Renee from your vantage point, what is the latest you're hearing?

RENEE MARSH, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, I've been on the phone with the NTSB and we know that at this point, they are gathering information. They have not determined whether they will be launching to this site as yet, but you have to think that whether it's the NTSB or the FAA, investigators will be on the scene to determine exactly what caused this. I can tell you that, you know, seeing smoke or a small fire in an engine, we've seen that before, but it is extremely rare to see something of this magnitude happening there.

So of course investigators are going to want to know exactly what caused this. A couple of things they'll be looking into, the possibility that perhaps the engine ingested something or was it something mechanical that caused the failure of the engine. We do know that these were GE engines on this aircraft, very good engines. We looked back we haven't seen anything, any red flags as far as many prior major problems with these specific type of engines. But again, that scene that you're looking at there, something that you do not see very often, Anderson.

COOPER: Yeah, that's for sure. Dan, what's it like there on the ground right now because I understand you just saw two people being loaded into ambulances?

[21:05:05] DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. Well first of all, Anderson, I can tell you that the airport is operating. There are people going through security, checking in for their flights and most of the runways from what I understand, three of the four runways are open, but I can tell you that just in the few minutes that we've been here, we have seen two people being loaded onto ambulances and they appear to be shaken up more than anything else but according to the friend of one of the victims, this particular woman we saw, suffered some smoke inhalation and she looked like she was in distress, to be perfectly honest. She looked like she was very shaken up in terms of how this all unfolded.

We saw a second person. This appeared to be a young man. According to his mother, he had some kind of friction burn while going down the inflatable slide. And there are still several ambulances out on the departure curb, several paramedics here. I don't know if that's just precautionary or there are more victims who are going to be let out, Anderson.

COOPER: Right, two was the number we had been told at the top of the last hour, both described with minor injuries. I'm not sure if that's the two that you saw actually being taken out. Renee, I mean, one of them according to Dan had some sort of smoke inhalation or exposure to smoke that is one of the questions that remains, how much smoke actually got into the aircraft itself, into the main cabin. I talked to Les Abend, the pilot earlier who said that pilots do have the capabilities to basically shut down any vents that would allow smoke into the cabin that is something that they would have to take the time to do. So we don't know how much smoke actually got into the cabin. This aircraft, though, the 777, Renee, what do we know about its safety record?

MARSH: We do know that it is a very safe plane and to that point, Anderson, you know, not only are pilots able to shut down the vents, we know that the pilots also have access to fire extinguishers. We also know that flight attendants are trained to get these people off of the plane within just seconds. Oftentimes when you do see those injuries, it's because those individuals are coming down the slide, so a lot of times that's where the injuries stem from. But as far as the safety record with this 777, a very safe aircraft. We know with this particular aircraft, it was built in 1998. Again, those engines, the GE engines when you look at all of these things on paper, you don't see any major issues sticking out and that's why, of course, this will most likely peak the interest of investigators, because they're going to want to know what caused these images that we're looking at on our screen here where you have this black, billowing smoke and this relatively we have the fire break out just seconds before this plane is set to take off. It really is a mystery at this hour, but again, no indication that this aircraft had any major issues nor the engines. Anderson?

COOPER: Renee Marsh, I appreciate the update, Dan Simon as well, we'll continue checking with you throughout this hour. Joining us now is CNN Aviation Analyst Les Abend, who's a working 777 captain, also CNN safety analyst and former FAA accident investigator David Soucie, who is also joining us as well. David, just in terms of the investigation I mean, who does it now, NTSB, FAA, what is the procedure here?

DAVID SOUCIE: CNN SAFETY ANALYST: Well typically, the FAA people that are on site are those that will respond first, but it won't be a delegated accident. The NTSB will investigate it because there was potential and because there was injuries and it was an intended flight so that goes into the NTSB 800 series of regulations. So they -- it is an NTSB investigation.

COOPER: And, Les, you and I spoke as I mentioned in the last hour, I mean when you see this much smoke coming from an aircraft, how much can you prevent that smoke from getting in the cabin?

LES ABEND, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well, the initial -- if indeed it was an engine fire and, you know, and everything is preliminary at this part of the investigation so we don't even know for sure. Yes, the FAA said it was an engine fire, it's hard to determine just by those pictures. But in answering your question Anderson at what -- when we go through the checklist procedure for an engine fire situation, we pull what we call a fire handle that not only sends out a fire retardant material, it also shuts off the bleed air system which goes into the cabin and supplies pressurization and air conditioning and heat for the cabin situation. In addition to shutting down electrical, in addition to shutting down all the electrical that's coming from that -- or hydraulics coming from that particular engine.

COOPER: You know, Les, the two eyewitnesses I've spoken to about this said that the evacuations seemed to take place very, very quickly I mean, they saw the chutes come down and just people coming out. Do you have a sense of how quickly a plane like this can actually be evacuated?

ABEND: Well, an airplane like this, I mean the FAA -- where you have to perform tests when you initially certify the airplane with a particular airline, David can attest to this. And the answer is you can actually get off of this airplane in probably 90 seconds and...

[21:10:04] COOPER: Wow. ABEND: ... there are requirements, you know, when each airline accepts this particular -- each particular airplane into their fleet that they have to be able to perform it at that particular time with, you know, engines -- with exits blocked and so on and so forth. So I mean, I commend the flight attendants, the entire cockpit crew for doing what they were supposed to do and this is a training event that we do every time in recurrent training. You know, probably once in a career if that at all where you ever have to perform an evacuation as a pilot or even as a flight attendant and I commend them. It seems to me that it went off just about flawlessly. Yes, we've got some injuries, but I think these injuries are attributable to the slide escape routes.

COOPER: David Soucie, when -- I mean, when you look at these images, and again, we don't know the source of the fire, whether there -- it is the engine, as the FAA tweeted out earlier, or whether I think it might have been you or Les who suggested, it could even be smoke coming off tires when a takeoff is aborted like that, there's a lot of friction on those tires. How long does it usually take to kind of figure this stuff out?

SOUCIE: Well, this will be a pretty quick investigation, but you won't hear a lot of it because the invest -- the preliminary investigation will say, "This is what happened." But after that is when you find out why it happened. If there was something went wrong with the system, if there was a rupture, if there was some kind of maintenance issue that caused it to happen, but this is, as Les did point out earlier that, you know, when you have an engine failure and you're trying to stop that airplane, you've already pretty much committed to take off, there's a lot of energy, lot of inertia going forward and you're trying to stop it and you don't have the benefit of that thrust reverse or from that engine if you've already can the engine, if you've already stopped it from producing power.

So now you're relying exclusively on those brakes to stop the aircraft so it's still unclear to me as to whether the engine fire caused this or whether it was an engine out that subsequently caused the fire from the brakes...

COOPER: Right.

SOUCIE: ... as Les was pointing out earlier.

COOPER: David Soucie, Les Abend, guys thanks very much for your expertise. I appreciate it.

Just ahead, the Kentucky clerk who refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses freed from jail today. Steps up to a microphone. You're going to hear what she tells supporters and where the story is for with major political avenge is obviously goes from here.


[21:16:00] COOPER: Quite a moment today in a small Kentucky town just months after the Supreme Court ruling affirming marriage equality in five days since a judge jailed accounting clerk Kim Davis for denying marriage licenses to same-sex couples, that same judge let her out of jail and it really was quite a moment, complete with presidential candidates, one on stage, another standing nearby. Here's how it all unfolded as Kim Davis took the spotlight.


KIM DAVIS, ROWAN, COUNTY CLERK: Just keep on pressing.


DAVIS: Don't let down, because he is here, this is all means (inaudible). I love you guys, thank you so much.


COOPER: And yes, that was "Eye of the Tiger" playing. Alexandra Field joins us now from Grayson where this all unfolded. So the -- what's the latest tonight? Because I understand Kim Davis is actually expected to return to work. Do we know what she's going to do when she gets there?

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, we're told that she'll return to her office sometime this week, I mean this is an $80,000 a year job, she's got to get back to work, but it isn't clear what exactly her next move is. We do know that the ball is essentially in her court at this point. The judge put her in jail because she was refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples despite his orders to do just that, so he remanded her to the custody of the U.S. marshals, he then ordered her deputy clerks to issue the licenses, because same-sex couples were then able to go to the clerk's office and pick up those licenses, the judge has now decided that Kim Davis can be released from jail but he's ordered her not to interfere with the process that's being carried through by her deputy clerks.

So we asked her attorney, will Kim Davis try and interfere with that process? He couldn't guarantee that she wouldn't. He just over and over again reiterated that she would continue to follow her conscience. So can we rule out the possibility that Kim Davis would interfere and that she would ultimately be returned to jail? Well, I don't think anyone is able to rule that out at this point, Anderson.

COOPER: Her legal team, they're trying to get the governor of Kentucky to intervene on her behalf, in what way?

FIELD: Yeah, they're sort of throwing everything at the wall. They've got five motions in front of the sixth circuit court of appeals and if they don't get the resolution that they're looking for from the courts, well, they're going to try and pursue other avenues, which is to take a look at the laws in the state of Kentucky. The statute here assigns the authority to give out marriage licenses to the clerks. So what her attorneys are asking for is the governor to intervene with an executive order or to call a special session of the general assembly in which they would change the statute and change the way of these marriage licenses are issued, basically stripping Kim Davis' name and the authority of her office from those documents. But the governor has said he has no plans to do either of those things. The legislature will reconvene in January, and if legislators want to take it up then, they can. That means, again, it's a waiting game to see if Kim Davis will just allow the appeals process to move forward or whether she would try to actually intervene when deputy clerks move to give out those licenses to same-sex couples, if they continue to do that, Anderson.

COOPER: All right Alexandra Field, we'll see. Thank you very much.

Joining me now is David Brody, the chief political correspondent for the Christian Broadcast Program. David is good to have you in the program as always, you were at the rally earlier for Kim Davis and I know you consider what happened today to be a watershed moment for the evangelical movement, in what way?

DAVID BRODY, CHRISTIAN BROADCAST PROGRAM, CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, in a couple different ways. First of all, Anderson, all of the evangelicals and quite frankly all of the Americans watching today on live television, there were plenty of evangelicals, millions watching, basically seeing this woman jailed for her biblical faith and let's face it, as much as the critics say it wasn't about -- it was about the fact she wouldn't obey the law, the reality is in evangelical world she was jailed because of her views that the marriage is between a man and a woman. And so when that -- when she came out and had that victory celebration, if you will, that was a watershed moment for evangelicals because it could indeed be a wakeup call for them all around the country, the ones that don't vote in this country. You know, Anderson, there are about 90 million or so evangelicals in this country, only 30 million vote. 60 million evangelicals, that's a huge number, do not vote.

[21:20:05] The question is the Dorito packing crowd on the couch, does evangelicals that just don't engage, will they engage now, now that Kim Davis is kind of this poster child for religious liberty.

COOPER: David, I saw a lot of signs saying that, you know, that the Supreme Court is the new ISIS for -- against Christians. If Kim Davis had been Muslim and -- or if there had been a Muslim clerk who was denying a marriage license to -- we'll say to Kim Davis for her second or third marriage because she's been married now four times, do you think the same people would have come out to support her or is it the idea that Christianity itself is somehow being attacked?

BRODY: Well, it's two things. I don't think there's any question that Christians believe that Christianity is under attack in America. There's no question about it. Having said that, if you talk to Bobby Jindal, Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz and the list goes on, they'll all talk about if some -- an observant Jew's faith is under attack or a Muslim's faith is under attack, they would do "the same thing".

Now, as it relates to the Kim Davis situation, you know, I don't know if they necessarily gone down that road, but I can tell you that they've also been very outspoken, many of these presidential candidates, about someone's intrinsic faith, whether it be Jew, Muslim or Christian. COOPER: Mike Huckabee and Cruz both visited Davis in jail before she was released. They were both at the rally today. Cruz wasn't on stage, Huckabee was and stuck close -- next to her. Even Huckabee said that he would volunteer to go to jail for Davis. How much do you think their presence at this rally and their support for Kim Davis is going to actually play out in the presidential race? I mean, do you think this is a big boost for Mike Huckabee?

BRODY: I think it's a huge boost. I mean, I look the visual, Anderson of Mike Huckabee on stage raising hands in solidarity with Kim Davis in front of hundreds and hundreds of people here in Kentucky and quite frankly all over the country as they watch it unfold on live television is a huge boost for Mike Huckabee. I don't think there's any question about it.

Now here's the thing and here's the reality of the situation. Whether there were zero cameras or a hundred cameras here, Mike Huckabee believes the same thing. I mean, he does believe in like not only the concept of religious liberty but what Kim Davis is standing for. And so was it grandstanding for the cameras? Absolutely not. Having said that, is there some political benefit to it? You bet you.

COOPER: Well, I mean Ted Cruz wasn't on the stage and there are some reports perhaps he was blocked from going on the stage. I mean you can't discount that there was some political grandstanding perhaps going on.

BRODY: Well I don't know if the word is "grandstanding" or not, Anderson. You're using that word, you know, I would suggest that there is always political benefit anytime you're in the middle of a religious liberty discussion, in the middle of a presidential election, and you're in front of an evangelical crowd. I think there will be political repercussions from that. I don't think there's any question about that.

What Ted Cruz was here as well, he wasn't on stage. This was a Mike Huckabee and Kim Davis, if you will, event. And the Cruz folks said never intended necessarily to get on stage, though he did want to come here, show his support. He actually held a press conference behind the media staging area while the rally was going on. It was quite a scene that was taking place.

COOPER: David Brody, appreciate you being on David, thank you.

Coming up just ahead, we have breaking news. Hillary Clinton apologizing for using a private e-mail server, the question is well saying she's sorry be enough to put the controversy behind her? We'll talk about that ahead.


[21:27:20] COOPER: The breaking news tonight in the 2016 presidential race. Just a day after saying that no apologies were needed for using a private e-mail server as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sat down with ABC News' David Muir and said this.


HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In retrospect certainly as I look back at it now, even though it was allowed I should have used two accounts, one for personal, one for work-related e-mails. That was a mistake. I'm sorry about that. I take responsibility. And I'm trying to be as transparent as I possibly can to not only release 55,000 pages of my e-mails, turn over my server, but I am looking forward finally to testifying before Congress, something I've been asking for, for nearly a year.


COOPER: Well that was Hillary Clinton on "ABC's World News Tonight". More on the story and the back story from our Brianna Keilar. So Brianna and this is the first time that we're hearing her actually apologizing for this, right?

BRIANNA KEILER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COORRESPONDENT: Definitely. This was a clear apology, Anderson, unlike what we've heard so far. She still stressed that the way she conducted her e-mail practices was allowed under the regulations that governed her while she was secretary of state, but she clearly said there I am sorry, this was a mistake.

And just compare this to last week when Andrea Mitchell interviewed her and asked her about this. Clinton apologized not for what she did, but for the confusion that it caused. Yesterday she told the Associated Press that she had nothing to apologize for because her e- mail procedures were allowed. So it's really what a difference a day makes here.

And back in July when I interviewed her in Iowa, she was adamant that she had done nothing wrong, there was no contrition, so this is quite a departure today. A contrite Hillary Clinton we just haven't heard before.

COOPER: She was also asked about two e-mails now classified as top secret that have been sent to her personal e-mail account. I want to play that.


DAVID MUIR, ABC NEWS HOST: What changed in them so significantly that you wouldn't have seen red flags, even just a couple of years ago as secretary of state. That you of all people would have known.

CLINTON: Yeah, that's a very fair question, and I think there are a couple of answers. One, sometimes events do proceed in a way that maybe there is a case being brought against somebody, maybe even a terrorist, and all of a sudden everything is classified.

MUIR: But South Korea's nuclear program wouldn't be classified...

CLINTON: There's a lot of public information about their nuclear program. I don't know the specifics about the one that they are claiming is classified. (END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: What else do we know about those two e-mails?

KEILAR: Well, these two e-mails in a review by the C.I.A. and another Intel agency, that review found that the information in these two e- mails was classified when these were sent to Secretary Clinton in 2009 and 2011.

[21:30:01] The State Department hasn't released sign on to that assessment. So we're hearing Clinton in this interview really hanging her hat on that. She said look, there's disagreement between the agencies on this judgment of whether the e-mails were classified. And she's still maintaining this line, Anderson, that we've heard for several weeks now from her, insisting that she never sent or received any e-mails that were marked classified at the time they were sent or received. Very careful parsing there of words that she has stuck to since it first became public that some of these e-mails were classified after they were sent, Anderson.

COOPER: All right Brianna, I appreciate the update.

This is happening obviously with new polling showing Joe Biden, who's not even a candidate as of now on the rise, and new efforts to revamp Mrs. Clinton's public image.

Joining us is Dan Pfeiffer, the CNN political commentator and former senior adviser of President Obama. Also Dick Harpootlian, a Biden supporter and former chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party and CNN Senior Political Reporter Nia-Malika Henderson.

Dan, do you feel like that the Clinton campaign really has a firm grasp on how they are dealing with this e-mail story? Because just yesterday, Clinton decide -- declined to apologize and now today she's being pretty unequivocal about it. There was a story that they're kind of retooling to make her more humble. What is going on?

DAN PFEIFFER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, they have been in what we call the barrel. They just been in a bad news cycle with bad news after bad news and they struggled with this. And I think Hillary Clinton has taken a long time to find the right tone. I think in the interview clip we just heard, she's finally gotten there.

It's hard sometimes to say you're sorry but it's the right thing to do in this case. And I think this plus the -- her upcoming testimony for the House Republicans are her best shots to put this behind her and if she doesn't, she'll continue to struggle. But I think finally after a really tough summer as in fits and starts, they're on the right path but well, they've put themselves in a little bit of a hole and they got to dig out of it.

COOPER: It seems to be Dan, I mean David Axelrod, you know, said look just -- if you're going to be humble and kind of your -- authentic, just do it. Don't leak it out that -- that's what your campaign is sort of meeting about how to make you more authentic. PFIEFFER: That story was a disaster for the Clinton campaign. I agree with David Axelrod about that. I will say that I know the folks in the Clinton campaign, most of them. Many of them helped reelect and reelect Barack Obama, they are really smart people.

I'm positive they didn't get in a room and say here's a good strategy, let's roll out our plan for spontaneity. I think that it was, you know, sources talked, there was a mistake made. I don't think they did this on purpose...


PFIEFFER: ...but they're going to have to dig out of it.

COOPER: Right. Because I mean me, I mean that happened and then the next day here's Hillary Clinton only apologizing but, you know, telling a very heartfelt story about her mom and tearing up on camera.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: That's right. So it almost makes everything looks sort of calculating there. I talked to folks in the campaign, apparently that story had been in the works for a while. Oh I think there is some head scratching among democrats about why they did this particular story. They feel like they're turning the page or they have got this debate coming up in October and obviously, this testimony on the hill as well.

But my goodness, I think if you were to sort of fast forward and sort of look back at this summer, did they waste this summer? Did they sort of waste precious time not dealing with this e-mail issue, therefore giving rise to sort of Bernie Sanders' chatter about Joe Biden. Whether or not they can dig out of this hole we'll have to see. The problem is of it, every so often, every couple of weeks at least until January, there are going to be of these releases of the e- mails...

COOPER: Right.

HENDERSON: ...and more focus on it.

COOPER: It's not going away.

HENDERSON: So exactly.

COOPER: Dick, you're a big supporter of the vice president, you want him to get in the race. I want to play for you what Hillary Clinton said tonight to ABC when she was asked about Biden -- a possible Biden presidency.


MUIR: Would he make a good president?

CLINTON: Well, I like Joe Biden a lot. And I think he is a great vice president. If he gets into this election, there will be lots of time to talk about, you know, what he wants to do.

MUIR: Would he make a good president?

CLINTON: Well, you know, I think he could be a good president. There's no doubt about that.


COOPER: How do you interpret her answer? I mean, she clearly initially didn't want to see eager to say yeah Biden would be a, you know, a good president.

DICK HARPOOTLIAN, FORMER S.C. DEMOCRATIC PARTY CHAIRMAN: Well, I think she's obviously worried about the vice president running, but I think what she's beginning to realize is that he like here in South Carolina. We see Mayor Joe Riley say he's going to support Joe Biden if he gets into the race. We see a number of elected officials, folks like me, draft Biden folks just hired Isaiah Nelson, who ran the coordinated campaign in South Carolina twice. There's a group of folks coming together because they love the vice president, they know he is a genuine, honest, decent human being.

And Hillary continues to parse her words. When she says she's sorry. Sorry is what you say when you knock the salt over on the dining room table. The people of this country expected more clear, transparent explanation of what the hell happened.

COOPER: Dan, I mean as far as rivalries go, you were obviously in the Obama administration, it always seemed like Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden had a pretty collegial relationship.

[21:35:01] And watching her in that interview there -- I mean is there a chill or is it just simply an awkward situation for her to be in, you know, being this guy who she may -- who she says she likes and she may potentially run against?

PFIEFFER: I think that that was a very awkward and unfortunate answer. It's sort of like what the kids said call throwing shade at him like Joe Biden would obviously be...

COOPER: I love you quoting what the kids said.


HENDERSON: Kids these days.

PFIEFFER: Joe Biden would be an excellent president. Hillary Clinton would be an excellent president. And it's possible -- she should applaud Joe Biden. She's done it in every other interview. I'm hoping this is just a misstep because what would be terrible would be if Joe Biden didn't get in the race and then this becomes a race to the bottom in terms of them fighting with each other when they can both make draw contrasts but do it in a way that's about...

COOPER: Right.

PFIEFFER: ...the kind of president they'd be. COOPER: Dick I mean, Vice President Biden has been very clear that his family is the most important factor in this decision. I know you talked to him in the past month or so. How likely do you think it is, he's going to get in the race?

HARPOOTLIAN: That, you know, Anderson that's tough to project. I have talked to him. I know his family is number one, that's one of the reasons all just want him to run. Is that is primary concern, I mean, how many folks in Washington are worried about their family when they have a legitimate chance to be the next president of the United States? Most of them would throw the baby and the mama and everybody else under the bus to get into the White House.

This guy is a genuinely good guy. And 40 years in politics, I've never met a more genuinely, honest, nice, good guy. And that's why I want him to be president of the United States.

COOPER: Dick Harpootlian, we always likes having you and then Dan Pfeiffer as well Nia-Malika Henderson as well.

Up next, in Republican race Ben Carson's poll numbers are surging. He's gaining ground on frontrunner Donald Trump. Carson is the quiet candidate you might say whose message is certainly resonating with many G.O.P. voters. Our Gary Tuchman hits the campaign trail to dig deeper.


[21:40:45] COOPER: Earlier tonight Hillary Clinton declined to weigh in on the Republican primary, saying it was a question better answered by Republicans and they seem to be doing just that, leaning heavily toward Donald Trump and more recently Dr. Ben Carson. The latest batch of Iowa polling from NBC News and Marist showing Donald Trump continues to be the clear leader with Dr. Carson close behind and gaining ground, nearly tripling his support since July. Jeb Bush, meantime, fading by 50 percent over that same period and everyone else now at 5 percent or less.

Dr. Carson's rise among G.O.P. voters coming very much the same way he speaks, quietly. Some amplification now of just what they see in him from our Gary Tuchman.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Speaking before hundreds of people, many of whom say they will enthusiastically support him for president, Ben Carson let it be known he had not been enthusiastic about running for president, but he felt a calling.

DR. BEN CARSON, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I just said, Lord, you know, it's not something that I particularly wish to do, but if you really want me to do it, you'll have to open the doors.

TUCHMAN: And the former brain surgeon says he has now walked through those doors and is enjoying a rapid rise in the polls. At this event in San Francisco, there are diehard supporters. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think the fact that he is a doctor shows that he has a large capacity to be able to absorb complicated information and then process it out, and I think we want someone who has not been in politics all of their life. The country is ready for a change.

TUCHMAN: And others who are intrigued, but like other candidates, too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump and Ben Carson together would be an unbeatable team for president and vice president.

TUCHMAN: Who should be president?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, by all means, Donald Trump.

TUCHMAN: Like Donald Trump, Ben Carson is an outsider, but unlike Trump, Carson is laid back to say the least. Carson remains very soft spoken. Even when asked about a top priority, balancing the federal budget.

CARSON: I would call in all departmental heads and I'd say, I want you to reduce your budget by 3 to 4 percent. And if you can't do it, turn in your resignation now, because you're going to be fired.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think he's honest. I think he has great integrity. I think he's very brilliant. He could not have come out of the ghetto of Detroit and reached the pyramid that he reached without being extremely brilliant.

TUCHMAN: Dr. Carson's medical career is widely respected.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My question is, though, how does that qualify you to deal with ISIS, North Korea, the Ayatollahs in Iran? Where does that qualification come from in that background?

CARSON: Well, the way I kind of look at it, there are those who feel that the only people who can actually come up with solutions are people with a lot of political experience. But if you take the collective political experience of Congress, it comes out to almost 9,000 years. What has it done for us?

TUCHMAN: And regarding the hopes of some here of a Carson-Trump or a Trump-Carson ticket...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You on track to win the nomination, will you name Donald Trump as your vice president?

CARSON: All things are possible.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will you serve as his vice president?

CARSON: All things are possible.


COOPER: Gary joins us now from San Francisco. I mean, it's interesting that Donald Trump has not gone after Ben Carson so far during the campaign. Carson just said anything is possible when asked about Trump as a running mate. But did he say anything negative about Trump today?

TUCHMAN: Well, Ben Carson spoke about Trump a couple of times and nothing negative at all. At one point, Carson was talking about the Iraq nuclear agreement -- the Iran nuclear agreement, that is, and he not surprisingly made it clear he's against it. He said when he's in the White House, that it will not exist, but when it's time to start talking about it again, he told the audience, "Maybe I'll get Donald Trump to help with the negotiations." And then he laughed. Anderson.

COOPER: Gary Tuchman, Gary, thanks very much.

Coming up next, new word on injuries in that fire and evacuation aboard a British Airways 777 on a Las Vegas runway tonight. We've also obtained radio transmissions between the airliner and air traffic control the moment the emergency began.


[21:48:33] COOPER: An update now on a breaking news from the top of the hour, British Airways Flight 2276, one of the passengers talking about what he saw and experienced. The Boeing 777 was taking off from Las Vegas bound for London when it aborted its takeoff roll with an apparent engine fire. In the matter of just minute or two evacuated 159 passengers, 13 crew members. Here's how it played out with air traffic control.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Speedbird - mayday, mayday, Speedbird 2276 request fire services.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Speedbird 2276, heavy fire services are on their way.


COOPER: Speedbird by the way is the radio call sign for British Airways. Now, in addition to that, we are just now getting new video of passengers being taken to the hospital. We were initially told two people were hurt. The new number now is 14, that's according to the local fire department and officials saying that the majority of the injuries were, as our Les Abend and David Soucie said earlier, it came from sliding down the Boeing 777's emergency slides.

Our Dan Simon had just spoken to one of the people that have been taken away. He joins us now by phone. Dan, what have you learned?

SIMON: Hey, Anderson, it's been quite a situation here. We've been in the international terminal just watching these paramedics wheel these passengers out and I caught up with one passenger who actually explained what had happened. He was sitting there on the plane and all of a sudden he heard a giant thud. But let's hear him in his own words. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

Of course, yeah. Tell me what happened.

JAY JENNINGS, PASSENGER ON PLANE: So, yeah. It's just we were just gaining speed to take off and I just heard a big thud. I opened up the cover of my window and just saw flames on the engine and we suddenly stopped. We sat still for about a minute just waiting to hear what to do and then we just heard the captain say this is an emergency, evacuate.

[21:50:18] They opened the wrong door, initially. (Inaudible) I thought it wasn't safe. And, yeah, so we -- yeah, so they opened one door (inaudible) smoke came in and then it just had to like so (inaudible) out the door, out the door. And we just all ran for that one.

SIMON: Can you repeat that one more time? Like how scary was it?

JENNINGS: It was pretty scary. Yeah. Like, I mean, yeah. It's just shocking more than anything like I would think anyone was too hurt. I don't know, but yeah, it was -- it's scary stuff. Yeah.

SIMON: OK, what's your name?


SIMON: Jay what?

JENNINGS: Jay Jennings.

SIMON: Jay Jennings?


SIMON: OK, thank you, Jay.

JENNINGS: No problem.


SIMON: Yeah, that was a shot on my phone by way, Anderson. I've just been sitting here, you know, trying to gather information and we've been seeing these passengers wheeled out. So, I just reached for my phone and, you know, asked Jay questions and as you could see, he appeared to be in good condition. We've been hearing that all of the patients seemed to be OK. As you mentioned, 14 people at this point transported all of them with minor injuries. But a lot of rattled nerves, I can tell you that. We saw one woman who appeared to have some smoke inhalation and she looked like she was crying and just obviously sort of an emotional wreck over what happened. Anderson.

COOPER: I understand. A scary moment for a lot of people. As we said, more than 150 passengers on board that plane. Dan, I appreciate the hassle. Thank you. More, moving on now to the refugee crisis playing out right now in Europe, thousands of displaced people arriving in Germany over the weekend. You probably saw that many of them traveled through Austria from Hungary where they had been held against their will for days.

Now, they're just a fraction of the steady stream of refugees, many from Syria, seeking refuge in Europe, an influx that has become a crisis, more keep arriving. Today, hundreds of frustrated migrants and refugees broke through police lines, ran from the holding area on the Hungarian-Serbian border. Arwa Damon and her photographer (inaudible). Take a look.


ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're running now with these migrants and refugees who just broke out of the holding area right along the border with Serbia. The police are literally right behind them. CNN. The police are literally right behind them and in front trying to bring them under control. There are hundreds of them that staged this breakout because they were fed up at the conditions they were being held in.


COOPER: For days now, Arwa and her cameraman have been documenting what the refugees are facing. More now from her.


DAMON: A frantic dash after breaking through a police line.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Foreign language).

DAMON: Stay together, this man shouts, carrying his daughter as they charge into the corn field. No one knows where they are going just that they need to get far away. They had spent hours, for some, days, waiting at a holding area that was supposed to be temporary. And just couldn't take it anymore.

Stumbling over uneven ground, shouting out the names of the war zones they fled.



DAMON: Jubilant, breathless, defiant. Desperate to move.

People are quite a bit of a panic. They're worried that the police are going to come and potentially use violence to try to get them back into the camp. And you can hear the sirens right now, it's causing people to run even faster and especially those with the kids. They are the ones that are really struggling to get away.

Fumbling through thick undergrowth, the police close in, forcing the refugees to scatter, split into two groups. Families lose each other, but this is no time to stop. Drained of what little energy they had, the police eventually catch up, but the refugees keep going.

MULTIPLE MALE SPEAKERS: (Foreign language).

DAMON: A sister and brother lose their shoes, rocks digging into their tiny feet, but they don't complain. Their mother carries the youngest, unable to comfort him, she ignores his cries. After hours of walking, the police finally block their path. Again, they tried to push through. Crushing bodies, screams, babies crying.

[21:55:02] The police eventually convinced them to stay. They bring food and much-needed water. Negotiations lead to a compromise. Buses to take them elsewhere for the night and then in the morning, they are told a train to the Austrian border. A breakout driven by sheer mental, physical, emotional exhaustion, having traveled this far unable to cope with waiting any longer.


COOPER: Arwa Damon joins us. Now, Arwa, another dramatic day for these refugees. Is there any end insight to this?

DAMON: No, there really isn't, Anderson. And countries like Hungary are trying to build up walls to stem the flow and keep the refugees out, but the bottom line is until you deal with the root cause of why so many are fleeing their homelands and that is mainly war, the war that has ravaged countries like Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. These people are going to just keep on coming because they are not trying to take advantage of what Europe has to offer per se. They're coming because opportunities have been taken away from them back in their homelands. They can't get jobs, they can't have a future, their children can't have an education. And first and foremost also, they can't be secure. And that's not just physical security, but it's also -- they can't secure futures for themselves or for their children back in their homelands.

COOPER: Arwa Damon, I appreciate you being there. Thank you, Arwa. We'll continue to follow that. We'll be right back.


COOPER: Well, thanks very much for watching. That does it for us. We'll see you again 11 p.m. eastern another edition of 360. CNN Tonight with Don Lemon starts now.