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Pope About To Wrap Up Historic Day in Washington; Pope Brings Politics to Washington; Pope Francis Prepares For Address to U.S. Congress; New Poll: Trump Leads Republican Field; Trump Declares FOX News Boycott, Network Says It Canceled; Pope Arrivers at Vatican's Diplomatic Residence. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired September 23, 2015 - 19:00   ET


[19:00:15] PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, a papal mass in America. Pope Francis moments ago concluding his first mass on U.S. soil. Capping an historic first full day in America.

Plus, Pope Francis becomes the first pope to address the Joint Session of Congress tomorrow. His remarks expected to be controversial on both sides of the aisle. So how will Congress respond?

And Donald Trump back on the trail and back on the attack. Who is he targeting now? Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening. I'm Pamela Brown in for Erin Burnett. And OUTFRONT tonight, Pope Francis celebrates his first mass in America. You're looking at live pictures right here of the Pope about to arrive at a local seminary in Washington to bless some 40 seminarians there. As you can see a large crowd there waiting for him in earlier today. It was a momentous scene as 25,000 people gathered in for the service held at the basilica of the national shrine of the Immaculate Conception where the Pope elevated an 1800th century missionary to sainthood.

The Pope Visit Day began at the White House working a ride in his now iconic Fiat. And the ceremony filled with pomp and circumstance, President Obama introduced the Pope to some 11,000 people gathered on the White House lawn. And speaking in English, Pope Francis raised some politically charged issues, including climate change, immigration as well as what he called traditional values of marriage in the family. Leaving the White House, thousands lined the streets to see the Pope as he waved to the crowds from his Pope mobile.

And as you see a special moment right here for a young girl who wound up on the wrong side of the barricades when a security agent carried her to the Pope for a blessing. I bet that's a moment she'll never forget. And the crowds were massive and vocal. Wherever the Pope travelled today, people reaching out and desperately trying to touch him even as he walked down the aisle to say mass.

Rosa Flores is OUTFRONT tonight at the basilica where mass just ended. So, Rosa, tell us what was the Pope's message tonight?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Pamela, if you just listened to the homily, you were probably like, you're like, okay, you don't get much about what he's saying. But if you read closely, I really think it's a call for inclusion, a call for even acceptance of immigration. And here is why. He starts off by saying that he wants everybody to be happy but he knows that sometimes life gets in the way and we get a little too comfortable. In America, I think we are pretty comfortable, we're very blessed here in the United States. And he says, you know, your hearts get a little sad.

So what can you do? He says, go to other countries. In other words, evangelize. He doesn't use the word migrate. But he says go to other countries and share the word of the Lord. Share that word. So, again, not using the word "immigration" but saying that in going to these other countries and sharing and evangelizing and not being choosey, not saying, who gets the message and who is not, that that is how we all become happy. That's how we all live well. So in giving is living is the overall message -- Pamela.

BROWN: And he has certainly walked that talk. Thank you so much, Rosa Flores. And as Rosa pointed out, he may not have said "immigration" there at the mass but he certainly did at the White House today during an elaborate ceremony this morning. Pope Francis touched on a number of issues that have divided so many Americans.

Jim Acosta is at the White House.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): His presence could be felt the moment he arrived as cheers erupted across the nation's capital when the tiny Fiat carrying Pope Francis pulled up to the White House. Before the faithful assembled on the South Lawn, the Pope joined President Obama to deliver a message that seemed so coordinated, it could have come from political running mates.

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: You remind us that the Lord's most powerful message is mercy.

ACOSTA: On immigration, President Obama called for compassion.

OBAMA: That means welcoming the stranger with empathy and a truly open heart.


From the refugee to flees war-torn lands to the immigrant who leaves home and search for a better life.

ACOSTA: And so did the Pope, speaking in carefully practiced English to Americans could hear from him directly.

POPE FRANCIS: As a son of an immigrant family, I am happy to be a guest in this country which was largely built by such families.


ACOSTA: Pope Francis pleaded with the world's leaders to protect the environment describing the planet as our common home. POPE FRANCIS: It seems clear to me, also, that climate change is a

problem we can no longer be left to our future generation.

[19:05:32] ACOSTA: It was as if they were reading the same speech.

OBAMA: We support your call to all world leaders to support the communities most vulnerable to changing climate and to come together to preserve our precious world for future generations.

ACOSTA: The only hint of any disagreement came when the Pope talked about marriage, a reminder that the two leaders remain divided on gay rights. Behind closed doors in the Oval Office, the President and Pope held a rare one-on-one meeting discussing other pressing global matters from Syrian refugee crisis to the battle against ISIS. Minutes later, the pontiff was paraded down Constitution Avenue, his Fiat switch out for the Popemobile. All the better for kissing babies along the way. Then he was off to an addressed the U.S. bishops where he repeated his concerns on immigration. So far, the Pope's visit is everything the White House could have hoped for. No surprise in this White House video, even the President sounds like a fan.


ACOSTA: Now, despite what sounded like a unified message from the White House and the Vatican aides to the President said, they had no idea what the Pope was going to say until he said it and it's unclear how much the Pope's support will be for the President's agenda. House Speaker John Boehner who is hosting the Pope's speech to Congress tomorrow released a statement during the day today slamming the President's policy on Syria. But he'll have his chance Pamela to host the Pope over at the capitol tomorrow.

BROWN: Yes. A lot of anticipation for that. Jim Acosta, thank you so much.

And OUTFRONT, CNN presidential historian Douglas Brinkley and CNN Vatican correspondent Delia Gallagher, thanks for coming on with us. Delia, I want to start with you because as you just heard from Jim's report there, Pope Francis really came out swinging today at the White House. Are you surprised he came right out of the gate with such a political speech?

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think his speech certainly outlined all of the issues that he wants to address in our country. However, for the Pope, those aren't political issues. For the Pope, those are gospel issues, those are religious issues which have political ramifications but he's not as interested in what the policy is going to be on every single issue. He wants to draw the broad religious background to those issues to try to galvanize people to help them to understand that their involvement in immigration or their involvement in the environment or their involvement in marriage and family are based in the Bible, are based on values which Jesus himself talked about.

So that's where the Pope is coming from. And then he outlines them in a way in which he shows that those are the important items to him so he didn't hesitate in that sense to say, yes, the institution of marriage is important. He talked to the bishops about abortion. So he certainly went and named what he needed to name in terms of what issues are important to him but then going into it, you know, most of the politicians and rest of the Catholics in the United States already knew what the position is of the Pope on these issues.

BROWN: And the Pope made it clear when he first landed here, he says, look, I am not a leftist despite what my views may be on these issues. Douglas, President Obama, he also sat down with Pope Francis this morning. What do you suspected to him and talk about? I imagine Cuba may have been on the agenda.

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, certainly Cuba. I mean, they are going to be welded together in history. Pope Francis and Barack Obama for the improvement of U.S. and Cuban relations. And of course, he just got to meet the Pope, Fidel Castro and have a little time with them. I'm sure the President would have been very curious about what the climate was like in Cuba. But they are really brothers in arm on the climate change issue. I mean, the Pope went right to it today at the White House conference and then I'm sure in the Oval Office they talked about it. These are the two global leaders on climate change. And for the Pope, climate is also about poverty, it's about environmental justice, it's about how the changing planet is going to affect the nations for and then, of course, dealing with, mentioning and talking about Syria and ISIL and other global problems, so we'll have to wait to see hopefully someday a transcript of what transpired.

BROWN: I know a lot of people are curious. And Delia, one of the more memorable moments today, of course, is when we saw those children being carried over by the Pope or he was called though I should say, security guard they are carried over the children, as we see right here, this is a little five-year-old girl who was actually on the other side of the barrier and was brought over. You can see the Pope blessing her. It is clear that he is a pope who wants to be among the people, not just with dignitaries.

GALLAGHER: Oh, especially he wants to be with the people and, you know, that standard operating procedure what you see there when the Pope's bodyguards bring children over to him so that he can embrace them. We were saying earlier about the increased security not really allowing the Pope to get down from his Popemobile and go and greet the crowds. But actually what I've seen here is very similar to what I see happens every Wednesday at the general audience in the Vatican when the Pope gets to have children brought to him and gets to embrace them. And obviously, it's very important for Pope Francis.

I mean, he has spent many years as a bishop and archbishop in Argentina where he stayed there, where he didn't travel, where he didn't lead his local diocese because he wanted to be with the people and now that he's pope and he has constraints, obviously, on what he can do and when he can go out and when he can't, although he escaped last week to go fix his glasses in Rome at a small shop there in the center of Rome, he managed to do that much. But that's not usual for the Pope. So, I think these papal trips are also occasions for him to get out and have some contact with regular people. BROWN: He certainly is full of surprises. Douglas, quickly, also

today while addressing hundreds of clergymen, the Pope praised the bishops' courage, quote, "courage," for handling of the sex abuse scandal that has rocked the Catholic Church. You say that this was the most controversial part of his trips so far. Why is that?

BRINKLEY: Well, because there are many people that don't think the bishops have shown enough courage in dealing with sexual abuse. One understands why Pope Francis used the language he did but I think in the world of, real world of America, that's still a bone in the throat of another why a lovely day of joy and fellowship. That would be maybe the one moment that one had to question whether it was worth raising or should have been raised in a much more dramatic fashion.

BROWN: And both we have learned that he is going to Philadelphia to meet with sexual abuse victims of this weekend. Douglas Brinkley, Delia Gallagher, thank you so much. Really interesting discussion there.

DOUGLAS: Thank you.

BROWN: And OUTFRONT next, we are standing by for the Pope to arrive at St. John Paul II seminary. You could see the crowd gathering right here, Pope Francis becomes the first pope to address a Joint Session of Congress tomorrow. But, how will the Pope's politics sit with those very partisan politicians? We'll be back.


[19:16:02] BROWN: The end of a historic first full day for Pope Francis in the United States. The Pope now returning to the Vatican's diplomatic headquarters in Washington and the Pope prepares to be the first pontiff in history to address a Joint Session of the United States Congress. A speech that he will deliver in English tomorrow morning. In his first full day in the U.S., the Pope did not hesitate to take sides on a series of controversial issues, including immigration, marriage and climate change. A strong signal that when this first Jesuit pope, firstborn in the Americas makes that historic speech, it will not shy away taking on the big issues of the day.

Jim Sciutto is OUTFRONT.


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An historic moment, Pope Francis making his first public address in the U.S. to the President and Vice President and 11,000 invited guests gathered on the South Lawn of the White House. And he waded right into issues sure to find a divided response when he addresses the joint meeting of Congress tomorrow.

POPE FRANCIS: It comes to the care of our common home and we are living at a critical moment of history.

SCIUTTO: Some say the Pope's gentle manner belies a man who has come to admonish some in Congress for their views on climate change, capitalism and plight of the poor.

NANCY LAWRENCE, CATHOLIC: I think he already started that scolding with the unethical and I think he's really listening and saying we need to listen to the cry of the poor and the cry of the earth.

SCIUTTO: Even some devout Catholic politicians such as Chris Christie find themselves at odds with the Pope that they say sounds like a socialist.

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I just think the Pope is wrong. And so the fact is, that his infallibility is on religious matters not on political ones.

SCIUTTO: At least one congressman, republican Paul Gosar, a self- proclaimed proud Catholic says, he will boycott the Pope's address charging that his views on climate change are quote, "false science." And an attempt to, quote, "Guilt people into leftist policies."

FATHER EDWARD BECK, CNN RELIGION COMMENTATOR: To me, I don't know how you call yourself a good Catholic if you're not willing to embrace a universal vision that the father of that church, the holy father of that church is trying to bring to you.

SCIUTTO: While the Pope has shown moments of tolerance on issues such as homosexuality.

POPE FRANCIS (through a translator): If a person is gay and accepts the lord and has goodwill, who am I to judge them?

SCIUTTO: His tone alone does not mean any changes in church doctrine for Catholics eager to see such changes. In fact, tomorrow's speech to Congress is expected to be equally tough on Democrats when he reaffirms that church's long health positions on same-sex marriage and on abortion.

BECK: Some on the Right will like what he says, some on the Left will like other things that he says but he's truly bipartisan if you want to use a political term because he's not going to appeal universally to either side.


SCIUTTO: Of course, there are parts of his profile that do appeal university, his understated style is simplified in that fiat he's been driving around Washington and his willingness to speak to all sides and I'm told that tomorrow, he's going to even get a gentle nudge maybe even a scolding Pamela to Congress to be more bipartisan to come together to talk to each other. But I have to tell you, he could be the most popular figure in the world and that may not work in the current environment in Washington. But at least for a day, at least for an hour tomorrow morning, I think people on both sides will at least be listening.

BROWN: Absolutely. Jim Sciutto, thank you so much.

And I want to bring back in presidential historian Douglas Brinkley and also I want to welcome the news director for the Catholic News Network EWTN Raymond Arroyo. Thanks for coming on. Raymond, Vatican officials have actually briefed you on the Pope's address to Congress. So, what can we expect?

RAYMOND ARROYO, ANCHOR, EWTN, CATHOLIC NEWS NETWORK: Well, I think you've already heard a lot of it today. The Pope is going to talk about immigration. He's going to talk about going out of ourselves, going to the other, to those who are on the extremities, the poor, the forgotten. That includes his commitment to life, the elderly. I think this address is likely going to upset people on both sides of the political divide in D.C. The Pope keeps talking about something called this culture of encounter where you go out and you encounter the other person, you listen to them. I think he's going to try to bring that message to Congress. I don't know how it will be received. Republicans seem to be a little knee-jerk reaction is really surprising. The Democrats have gone out of their way to sort of embrace the Pope. I don't know why the GOP hasn't done that on the issues that they agree with him on. But there seems to be hostility that it doesn't make much political sense to these ads anyway.

BROWN: Yes. We know at least one republican politician is boycotting the speech tomorrow. Douglas, so you know, this is a pope who has said a good Catholic meddles in politics. He did so today at the White House introducing himself for the first time to the American people as a son of an immigrant family and he also of course talked about climate and other issues. How do you expect a divided Congress to react tomorrow?

BRINKLEY: I think they are going to give him a thunderous ovation. I think most Americans are just thrilled that the Pope is here. After all, our senators and Congresspersons, they are politicians and 25 percent of the people are Catholic. Catholics are very thrilled. They're been in the last decade, people were, the Catholic Church was in the dog house on sexual abuse issues and other things. And suddenly Pope Francis is making Catholics in America very proud. So, I think it would be a kind of rogue senator or somebody looking for a cheap headline if they left -- did not applaud forcibly the Pope taking the time in his busy life and schedule here on his pilgrimage to America to address them.

[19:21:48] BROWN: And Raymond, I want to just go back to something you just touched on. That Democrats have been handling this visit differently. And it seems like you think that this has been a missed opportunity for Republicans. Is that right?

ARROYO: Well, look, the Pope comes as a spiritual leader. He's a moral leader. And I worried about this politicization of the visit from the get-go. However, that's it. This is a political town. The Pope is talking about is considered prudential judgments. These are opinions, and informed thoughts that he has. It's not faith, it's not morals, it's not infallible on those matters. However, the Democrats, I think the President, you heard today, he has kind of embraced the Pope, using him to forward the climate change agenda, his overture to the Cuban government, the Iran deal. Some of that will be echoed tomorrow. And I frankly don't understand why the Republicans didn't do the same. They could have made common calls on traditional marriage, protection of the unborn, the issues that are near and dear to them that the Pope will obviously advocate and support as well.

BROWN: And he talked about that a little bit today.

ARROYO: He did indeed.

BROWN: Douglas, we know, Pope Francis declined to share a lunch with members of Congress because instead he is going to eat with 300 homeless people at a church in Washington, he may even serve the meal, we're hearing. This is a very deliberate move on his part. What do you make of this?

BRINKLEY: I think it's pure Pope Francis and it's wonderful that he's doing that and he's reminding us in America to care about the homeless, to care about the voiceless and down tribe and those on hard times. And that's the message you want from the Pope. The idea of him wining and dining on Capitol Hill with politicians I think would have been a waste of time. I think he's scared to tell people that to do action, to care about those that are disadvantaged and he doesn't want to just be a talker here. He wants to have visuals showing that and I think that's a wonderful message.

I think the reason that Republicans are little upset, is Pope John Paul II was seen as Ronald Reagan's pope. They fought together against the cold war and against communism and that was a big republican issue back then. This pope is seen as Obama's pope in some ways, the fact that he sided with the President so firmly on climate change and Cuban policy. And so, there might be a little ruffled feathers on the GOP side but they will all unify and come together tomorrow and praise this Pope even though they might have a couple of differences.

BROWN: All right. Douglas Brinkley and Raymond Arroyo, thank you so much.

ARROYO: Thank you.

BROWN: And OUTFRONT next, Donald Trump, an equal opportunity attacker today taking on several of his GOP opponents and resurrecting an old war on an unlikely target.

And as a firestorm over Ben Carson's statement about a Muslim president rages on, he says his campaign donations are also on fire. We have a report coming up after this break.


[19:28:32] BROWN: Tonight, Donald Trump doubles down on his promise not to make a third-party run. Trump just announcing that he will register for the South Carolina primary. Candidates in that state must sign a pledge to support the party's eventual nominee. Trump signed a similar pledge from the RNC earlier this month as you may recall. And a new FOX News poll out tonight shows Trump still leading the republican field but with Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina and Marco Rubio gaining ground behind him. This, on a day when Trump went on the attack against everyone and everything, it seems, from his republican rivals to FOX News to the room temperature at the CNN debate.

Sara Murray is OUTFRONT.


SARA MURRAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After taking a few days off the trail to regroup, Donald Trump is back with a vengeance.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We don't want a straight talker. Maybe they don't. No, maybe they don't. But I'm so tired of this politically correct crap.

MURRAY: Still the front-runner, he's facing sliding poll numbers a week after the CNN debate and controversy over Muslim Americans.

TRUMP: Maybe people fall un-in love with me. Certainly that can happen. I don't think it. I think we have a tremendous base. We have people who want to make America great again.

MURRAY: Looking to recover his -- Trump is launching a new attack on GOP rival Marco Rubio.

TRUMP: He's got no money. Zero. Now, I think that's okay. It's fine. Maybe it's good politically to say you owe money because you over borrowed on your credit cards. I didn't get nothing.

[19:30:02] MURRAY: Rubio on the rise after a strong showing in the debate and questioning whether Trump has the foreign policy chops to be commander in chief.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Marco was saying that I don't know that much about foreign policy. I said, wait a minute. I don't like telling people what I want to do all the time. Does that make sense?

MURRAY: In Charleston today, Trump mocking his fellow Republicans for their appearance at the debate.

TRUMP: In a room that was 100 degrees, that room was hot. I mean, poor Chris Christie. No, it's true.

Rubio, I've never seen a young guy sweat that much.

Huckabee, nice guy. He was seriously hot. He was soaking wet. I grabbed him around his back. I said, good job. And it was soaking wet. I immediately -- it was drenched.

MURRAY: And moments after trying to praise women --

TRUMP: I respect women more than I respect men.

MURRAY: He says this about Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.

TRUMP: And Hillary, who has become very shrill, do you know the word shrill? She's become a shrill. MURRAY: In yet another battle today, Trump reigniting a war with FOX News, saying he is boycotting the channel for treating him, quote, "very unfairly".


MURRAY: Now, FOX News is hitting back tonight. They say they actually canceled an appearance with Trump before he went on his boycott. All of this as Trump continues to go on a Twitter tirade against Bill O'Reilly, as well as Megyn Kelly, both anchors at FOX News.

FOX says these personal attacks have grown stale and tiresome.

Back to you, Pam.

BROWN: He really came out swinging today.

Thank you so much, Sara Murray.

And joining me now to discuss all of this, former White House political director under Reagan, Jeffrey Lord, and Rory Cooper, who worked on the Bush-Cheney reelection campaign.

All right, Jeffrey, so -- we know that Trump saying today.


BROWN: Let me see your thoughts on this -- Donald Trump saying that basically, you know, he's boycotting FOX. Do you think Donald Trump or can anyone else become the Republican nominee without granting interviews to FOX News?

JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, probably not in a long run. But, you know, in reading his tweet, I mean, he left open the possibility of getting back together, as it were. I don't think this is divorce. I think it might be a momentary separation.

So, I -- I imagine at some point, he'll be back and they will do their negotiating and whatever and on we'll go. The world will spin.

BROWN: All right. Rory, you're shaking your head no. What's on your mind?

RORY COOPER, FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR FOR MAJORITY LEADER ERIC CANTOR: I mean, listen, Donald Trump's three reasons for running are: he's leading in the polls, he gets big crowds where he goes, and there's a lot of people who don't like him.

When the numbers on the polls start to turn, when he gets a half-empty ballroom like he did today in South Carolina, he has to lash out more. Nobody on Earth believes that Donald Trump gets treated unfairly by the media. Who else gets to call in to any show they want? No other candidate gets to do that. Who gets their stump speeches covered from start to finish? No other candidate gets that. Donald Trump is in love with the media. And the more he lashes out at them, the more he gets the coverage. And it's a ridiculous sideshow, because he can't talk of anything of substance, which is what the other candidates are doing, which is why they are rising in the polls.

LORD: He delivers his message, Rory. He delivers his message.

COOPER: What message?

LORD: And that's what people want.

COOPER: What message?

LORD: What? Military strength for the U.S.

COOPER: No details.

LORD: Making America great again, rebuilding the economy. Those are messages, Rory. This is what Ronald Reagan did and Ronald Reagan was criticized exactly as you are criticizing Donald Trump today. And I was there.

COOPER: Right, yes, those are nice half phrase. And they've been on the half, but they're not policy.

BROWN: But, Jeffrey, do you think Rory has a point here that Trump came out swinging today because he senses that others are on the rise, such as Marco Rubio?

LORD: Well, you know, if you're the frontrunner, everybody is going to be after you. I mean, if someone else was the front-runner, they'd be doing the same thing. This is what happens. I mean, we have shifted into the second stage and frankly it's a little bit earlier than it normally was, normally does. But we have shifted into the second stage of this campaign and this is where the candidates really go after one another. George H.W. Bush was telling people that Ronald Reagan was all about voodoo economics.


Jeffrey Lord, Rory Cooper, I know you have to say are super important but now we have live pictures of the pope that we have to go to right here, because he's getting out of his Fiat, arriving at the Vatican ambassador's residence, and that's where the pope has been staying overnight in Washington.

And as he normally does, he's going over, it looks to he's adoring fans, if you will, right here and interacting with the crowd as he likes to do, as we've seen. You know, today, he blessed two children when he was going on the parade route and now he is really getting in there with the crowd, as we see interacting with them, his security detail right there pushing people back, it looks like.

[19:35:00] It's been a very busy day for the pope. It started at the White House where he gave a speech in English and from there, he went and to a mass and now we see, after blessing 40 seminarians, he's arriving back at his residence after a very long day to rest up because tomorrow is going to be another big day for the pope where he will give a speech to the joint session of Congress, the first for any pope to do so. There he is blessing people in the crowd there at the Vatican embassy.

And then after his trip here in Washington, it's on to New York City for the pope and then after that, Philadelphia, we've learned where he is going to be meeting with victims of sexual abuse. The pope is also hitting today on some controversial topics: immigration, climate change.

And now, he's walking to the residence where I'm sure he's very glad to have some respite there today.

Let's listen in.


BROWN: The crowd is going wild. Tens and thousands of people have turned out today all over Washington just to get a glimpse of the pope and this is just one example of that. It looks like school children there outside of the Vatican embassy.

And OUTFRONT next, Ben Carson is still under fire for saying he wouldn't advocate for a Muslim president but he says that since then the money has been, quote, "pouring in".

And, Jeanne Moos on the pope's unique choice for the limousine for getting around Washington.

We'll be back.


[19:41:01] BROWN: Ben Carson says the money is pouring into his campaign after saying he wouldn't support electing a Muslim president. A Republican presidential candidate says his comments are being distorted but could they actually be helping him?

Joe Johns is OUTFRONT in tonight's money and power.


JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ben Carson says despite the backlash on his controversial comments on a Muslim in the White House, his campaign is raking in the contributions.

DR. BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The money has been coming in so fast, it's hard to even keep up with it. I remember the day of the last debate, within 24 hours, we had raised a million dollars and it's coming in at least at that rate, if not quite a bit faster.

JOHNS: The controversy that Carson says is filling his coffer started brewing Sunday when he said this on NBC.

CARSON: I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.

JOHNS: Now he says the remarks was taken out of context by the mainstream media. Even as Carson continues to tweak his language.

Here's what he said at a stop in his home state of Michigan today, also home to one of the largest Muslim communities in the United States.

CARSON: We have an American culture and we have an American Constitution. And anybody who is going to occupy our White House should be living in a pattern that is consistent with our Constitution and with our culture.

JOHNS: Carson told me on Tuesday that his position hasn't changed.

(on camera): You are being consistent with what you said on Sunday?

CARSON: Very consistent, absolutely.

Because if you listen to the interview, you heard what I said. I said, it doesn't matter what religion a person is, as long as they conform to American values and accept our Constitution as supreme.

JOHNS (voice-over): For all of the clarification that Carson has done, the issue continues to dog him.

REPORTER: What about the comments about Muslims and occupying the White House?

REPORTER: Going back to that original question --

JOHNS: Speaking at that event in Michigan, he said what he meant got lost.

CARSON: Why in the world do we want to give away all of our values and principles for the sake of political correctness?


JOHNS: Carson sees himself as a supporter of religious freedom and was even asked about that at a campaign stop just yesterday in Ohio. He will attend the pope's address to Congress on Thursday as a guest of South Carolina Congressman Mark Sanford.

Now, to those claims that the money is pouring in, CNN is not going to be able to independently verify that until the quarter ends next week, which is when the campaign has to publicly release its fundraising totals, Pamela.

BROWN: All right. We shall see. Joe Johns, thank you so much.

OUTFRONT now with senior political reporter Nia-Malika Henderson.

So, as we just heard from Joe, Nia, his comments, they stirred a lot of controversy, but they do appeal to certain parts of the Republican base. So, the question is, are they helping boost his fundraising, do you think?

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Quite possibly. They are sending out pretty explicit fundraising appeals around this issue. They sent one out this morning. The headline to the e-mail, the subject matter was, I will not back down.

So, it is very likely that they are generating some buzz among their supporters. People are already inclined to like Ben Carson. People are already on their mailing list.

So, sure, they could have a fundraising within that network. It will be interesting to see if he can broaden that. He'll be here in D.C. on Friday. There's a family values, sort of value voter summit on Friday. He'll be on the stage. They are talking about these issues as well. So, we'll see.

I do think typically candidates do this where if they are in trouble they sort of say, no, no, no, we're actually raising a lot of money on this. We've seen that time and time again, we won't know in fact if they are raising money off of this specific event, as Joe Johns, said, until those numbers come in.

BROWN: We'll have to see. We know quickly that he'll be attending the pope's address to Congress tomorrow, with Representative Mark Sanford of South Carolina.

Do you think this could help with his popularity at all?

[19:45:00] HENDERSON: You know, not among the religious right, necessarily, because they don't see -- they don't sort of see this pope as having common calls with some of their issues. They see him as more liberal, of course, the doctrine of the Catholic Church hasn't changed, but certainly the way the pope talks about certain issues, whether it's abortion or any of these issues. They are very much lightning rods among folks in conservative religious circles.

So, I doubt it will help him in terms of those folks already inclined to like him. And the pope, in some ways, is not an ally.

BROWN: All right. Thank you so much, Nia.

HENDERSON: Thank you.

BROWN: And, by the way, don't miss Donald Trump live on NEW DAY tomorrow, starting at 7:00 a.m.

OUTFRONT next, some said they though the pope called Uber X for a ride when he landed in the U.S. Jeanne Moos on a Fiat fit for a pope. You won't want to miss it.


BROWN: An all new season of "Somebody's Gotta Do It" starts this Sunday on CNN, and here's a sneak peak.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll do the one where you can run and jump and we'll blow it up behind you.

[19:50:01] MIKE ROWE, SOMEBODY'S GOTTA DO IT: Oh, that would be great.

Remember this moment?

Let's look at that back, shall we?


Not as tough looking when you can see the soft pads I'm actually landing on, but that's how they do it in Hollywood.


BROWN: That kind of looked fun.

ROWE: It was kind of for a brief shining moment and then you hit the ground and wonder, what have I done with my career?

BROWN: Right. Well, Mike Rowe, so great to have you on, because you only did that with special effects, you also hunted down rats in New York City.

ROWE: That was a good one.

BROWN: Yes. And you also went to Churchill Downs in my home state of Kentucky.

ROWE: Also a good one.

BROWN: So, what was your favorite to shoot?

ROWE: You know, we've probably done 100 of these over the last couple seasons and it's hard to compare hunting rats in New York with driving a dragster with 1,000 horsepower engine that gets you from 0 to 60 in seven seconds, with jumping out after a plane with the Golden Knights.

BROWN: Right.

ROWE: You know, they let me pull my one chute. I got the best instructors in the world and we have a chance to profile the men and women who is basically kike the Blue Angels without the planes, the best parachuters on the planet. And to be in their world and to get trained by them, it's extraordinary.

BROWN: No lack of adventure there but I'm still stuck on hunting down rats in New York City. What was that about?

ROWE: So, RATS, the acronym stands for Riders Alley Trencher-fed Society, and nobody knows this but there -- these nice, sweet, unassuming people that look like every neighbor you had with cute little 15-pound lap dogs, they get together, they come out at night, there are a few dozen and they hunt rats. And in New York City, it's very strange because nobody knows exactly

how many rats there are, even the experts like somewhere between 2 million and 15 million. We don't know. These terriers and their owners turn into the hound of the Baskervilles and they kill rats by the dozens after the sun goes down in New York City. And it's just a whole weird little culture that you never really think about or know about unless you stumble across them and if you do, you'll never forget.

BROWN: They need to come to Washington, D.C., we have a fair amount of rats where I live.

Just very quickly, one of the great things about "Somebody's Gotta Do It" is the fact that you visit these businesses that no one would think of starting. Tell me about one of them that really made an impact on you.

ROWE: Well, dude perfect is the first one we'll see tomorrow night. It's five college kids who basically figured out a way to get paid for doing stuff that a normal kid would do just messing around. They have a $1 million business on YouTube. Go figure.

BROWN: Unbelievable. Mike Rowe, thank you so much. I can't wait to watch it.

ROWE: You're welcome.

BROWN: And don't miss the season. On that note, the season premiere of "Somebody's Gotta Do It", this Sunday night at 10:00, right here on CNN.

And OUTFRONT next, getting into his Fiat was a tight fit for the pope. Jeanne Moos with a humble vehicle for a humble man.


[19:57:31] BROWN: Well, there have been pope mobiles plated with gold and lined inside with red velvet. But that's not how Frugal Francis rolls. This pope wants to save on gas and likes the windows down.

Here's Jeanne Moos with more.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's just not any arm hanging out of that little car, that's the arm of the pope. What would Jesus drive?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Driving in that Fiat.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you own stock in Fiat? If not, buy it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: More about that Fiat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No fancy limousine, that is a Fiat.

MOOS: Everywhere it went, the little car got a big welcome, dwarfed, sandwiched between giant SUVs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For this town, that is a very humble car.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Excuse me your holiness, your Uber X is here.

MOOS: First thing Pope Francis did after he got in at the airport was roll down the window. It's not every day the president awaits in the White House honor guard opens a car this size, one fan put the pope's arrival to rapper Wiz Khalifa.

The Fiat was contrasted with President Obama's bomb-proof monster known as the Beast.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Fiat starts about $20,000.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Beast, $1.5 million.

MOOS: Of course, Francis didn't forsake the Popemobile, a modified Jeep Wrangler made by Fiat Chrysler.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These nuns are just going crazy.

MOOS: Though, this guy wasn't. Are you seriously preempting price is right for the Popemobile?

Francis refuses to be encased by bulletproof glass. When police tried to shoe away a child, the pope gestured her over for a kiss. The earliest pope's were carried on thrones, then there were carriages, followed by lots of Mercedes and then Popemobiles by various makes.

Now, that improbable Fiat, the carmaker tweeted, "His Holiness knows how to make an entrance."

Someone else referred to it as "heavenly product placement" for all that free press.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was pure Francis. That car.

MOOS: Can't you just imagine the new ads for the Fiat 500L?


MOOS: Who knew a hatch back would hatch a pope?

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


BROWN: That Fiat definitely all the talk right now. Well, thank you so much for being here with us. I'm Pamela Brown.

And tomorrow night, Erin Burnett returns and she'll be anchoring live right outside St. Patrick's Cathedral here in New York.

"AC360" starts now.