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Rep. Kevin McCarthy Drops Out Of House Speaker Race; Ben Carson Addresses Controversial Remarks; Donald Trump Weighs In On McCarthy's Exit From Speakership Race; Trump's Wife, Daughter to Join the Campaign Trail; Clinton Vs. Sanders: Will the Gloves Come Off?; 11- Year-Old Faces Murder Charges in Shooting Death of 8-Year-Old. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired October 8, 2015 - 20:00   ET


[20:00:06] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. Thanks for joining us.

Whether it's Russia aiming missiles at Syria but reportedly hitting Iran or Dr. Ben Carson igniting first controversy over something he said or Donald Trump making campaign headlines, it's been quite a day so far. So get ready for a very busy two hours ahead tonight.

We begin with breaking news, chaos within the Republican Party, chaos, shock waves and apparent Dell (ph) threat and a whole lot of intrigue. All of it surrounding the unexplained and so far largely unexplained decision by Congressman Kevin McCarthy to drop out of the race to become the next speaker of the house, second in line after vice president Biden to the president of the United States. His announcement came just as his fellow Republicans were about to cast a vote on candidacy, a vote that he himself said he expected to win. And follow the circulation of the letter by one of the GOP colleague saying any leadership candidate who is committed quote "misdeed" should withdraw. And the fallout from all of this has thrown the party into turmoil with the government shut down looming with very real serious business that needs to be done.

CNN's Dana Bash and Manu Raju have been working their sources bringing us the latest all day. They join us now.

Dana, let's start with you. I understand you saw McCarthy right before the closed door meeting where the vote was supposed to take place and he made it seem like he was still in the race.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. This is after he and the two other candidates for speaker at the time had just given their kind of closing arguments behind closed doors to the Republican caucus. He walked by our camera. I asked how he was feeling. Take a look.


BASH: Mr. McCarthy, will you give a statement? How did it go?

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R), CALIFORNIA: Very well. Very well.

BASH: You're going to get the votes at 12?


BASH: So the question was, do you going to have the votes at 12:00, 12:00 was the meeting where everybody filed in. There was going to be a secret ballot and he thought he was going to get all he needed at the time, which was majority of the Republican caucus, 125 votes but it didn't get that far, after course. Instead, he went in while everybody was eating barbecue in the back of the room, a lot of people didn't hear him. Apparently, the acoustics weren't great in the room. He said in a kind of hushed voice that he was not going to run. And at that moment John Boehner also surprised because he had just found out moments before he said that they were going to postpone the election and everybody filed out moments later.

COOPER: So do we know why he dropped out, Dana?

BASH: Do we know why? There are a lot of different reasons that we are told by sources. First and foremost just what he has said, which is that he would have gotten the votes today but of course, what any speaker needs to become speaker is the majority of the entire House of Representatives, 218 votes. He said that he probably could have eked through to get that but it would have been very hard for him to govern. I'm told by sources that he -- it was still not really clear he would get the 218 votes but even if he did, in order to get that, he would have had to really make serious deals and concessions to some of the most conservative members of the House of Representatives, the so-called house freedom caucus. And they were asking for things that McCarthy felt like if he gave on, whether it was, you know, more power or different rules governing the Republican caucus, it would have made him as house speaker, it would have been almost meaningless and hard for him to be an effective speaker so that's one of the reasons --

COOPER: What about the controversial of his comments about Benghazi?

BASH: Benghazi, absolutely. He admitted today that that was something, in fact, (INAUDIBLE) about that. He admitted today that that was something that really hurt him. The minute he said on TV that he simply thought that Hillary Clinton was hurt politically by the house select committee on Benghazi, the one that he and his fellow Republicans have worked for months and months and months to try to argue it was not political, that was a very big problem but it was also a problem not just about that but about questions about his ability to communicate and lead the Republican conference.

COOPER: Manu, I mean, North Carolina congressman Walter Jones circulated a letter asking that the candidate for speaker of the house withdraw himself from the election if there are any quote "misdeeds he has committed since joining Congress." What do you know about that letter? Is this just a coincidence?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: It was a really curious thing. You don't really see something like this emerge particularly in a leadership race like this. Now, Walter Jones is a 20-year congressman. He has been through a lot of controversies and scandals over the years. And what he said was that he did not want another situation to emerge in which a leadership candidate, he did not name anyone specifically but any leadership candidate would ultimately be forced to resign and look bad for the Republican Party. And he said that any - he wanted to actually implement a rules change that would force some of these candidates to step aside.

Now Kevin McCarthy was asked that today at the press conference whether or not this prompted his decision to abruptly pull out. He denied that it had anything to do with it. He cited that the reasons that Dana suggested but it has caused a lot of speculation on Capitol Hill, but all we know right now is what he said is why he resigned because how hard it would be for him to govern, how hard it would be for him to get those 218 votes to become the next house speaker.

[20:05:031] COOPER: So Dana, what happens now? I mean, Rand Paul -- sorry, Paul Ryan says he doesn't plan to run. You have information about that.

BASH: Yes, look, by all accounts talking to the most conservative members, those who didn't want Kevin McCarthy to be the house speaker and talking to the most moderate members, they say Paul Ryan is really the guy now, the one person that can unite the party who has the respect from all corners of the caucus to do that. The problem is Paul Ryan has said repeatedly he doesn't want the job. He has his dream job for this point in his life. He is the ways and means chair, meaning it's a tax writing committee he's head of. He's a policy wonk. His dream is to reform the tax code of this country and do it in a way that gives him a good legacy there. He is a young guy and maybe do other things in his life, not stay in the house forever.

But this is something that he certainly didn't plan. We know John Boehner, the current house speaker has been asking him to reconsider today. Others have been doing the same. And Manu can tell that although Ryan's aids are telling us that it's a hard no, no way, no way. Paul Ryan left the door open a bit on Capitol Hill today.

COOPER: Right. Manu, I know you spoke to Manu, thank you. Dana Bash, thank you very much, as well.

Perspective now from someone who watched Kevin McCarthy dropped his bombshell New York Republican congressman Peter King.

Congressman King, I know you were supportive of McCarthy fir speakership, did you have any idea this was coming?

REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: None whatsoever. In fact, we had a conference meeting this morning at 8:00 and Kevin gave a very passionate speech why he should be the speaker. He defended himself against some questions that are raised about, you know, about Benghazi and everything, but he was, he was totally committed to running. No one saw it coming at all.

And I know when the conference began, I was actually talking to Jason Chaffetz. He was assuming that Kevin was going to win, actually. And so no, there was absolutely nobody had a hint to this as far as I knew and the room just seemed stuns. I would say one-third of the room didn't hear him because there was a lot of noise in the room. Nobody was paying much attention because this was considered a routine comment he was making, and then none who there like myself, we were in the middle, we thought we heard what he said but weren't sure. And then when suddenly John Boehner got up and said if you heard what Kevin just said, we won't be voting today. People were just looking at each other like what just happened?

COOPER: I understand you actually saw Republicans crying?

KING: Yes, they were. There were several people actually broke down. I think one, they like Kevin, but also just the fact of what is happening to the party. We've never had as far as I know a speaker removed midterm for just because of policy differences. He has some corruption charges (INAUDIBLE), but nothing like this. If John Boehner resigning in the middle of his team and now Kevin McCarthy who was going to get 90 percent of the vote today suddenly announce he's not running. And it was really traumatic.

COOPER: So what do you think happened? I mean, what do you think is the story? I mean, it seems like you are saying he had the votes he needed?

KING: He had the votes to get - to be endorsed by the party, the over wheeling choice. The story was that the so-called freedom caucus which has about 30, 35 members, they were going to withhold their votes from Kevin on the house floor so he wouldn't have gotten to 218 which would it long to tracked why. I didn't think he should have given up yet to take those guys on. You can't allow a small group like that to hijack the entire party.

COOPER: There is this letter making rounds today from another Republican congressman Walter Jones that essentially says if you have skeletons in the closet, don't run for speaker of the house. HE said he wasn't talking about anybody in particular. And McCarthy said the letter had no bearing on his decision? What do you make of that? Any - just coincidence?

KING: Yes, I don't give any credence to that, you know, that kind of thing at all. To me, that has no place in politics and as far as I'm concerned, it meant nothing at all. And I prefer to leave it that way.

COOPER: So where does this leave your party? I mean, you were quoted in the "Washington Post" to saying Congress is a banana republic right now.

KING: Well, we give the appearance of being won. We never removed a speaker under circumstances like this before, in effect, John (INAUDIBLE). Then we have the person who had 90 percent of the votes who were required and he suddenly decides not to run. We gave government default possibly coming up because of the national debt. We have budget votes. We have so many important votes and we don't have a speaker who is a constitutional officer second in line to be president.

My choice right now I think that would be Paul Ryan. And just from what I'm hearing and not from Paul himself and I'm not close to Paul, but there are people who have, who do feel that Paul may decide to run. There is a lot of -- I couldn't say pressure because nobody can pressure Paul.

[20:10:15] COOPER: In the past he said he's not interested.

KING: Yes. And he said that as recently as this afternoon. But this tremendous, again, OK, I use the word pressure being brought on well- intentioned people who tell him he might be the only one to bring all the factions of the party together.

COOPER: How concerned are you? How concern should other people be this could usher in another government shutdown?

KING: I'm very concern about the government shutdown. First of all, governmentally it's wrong. It affects the, you know, nation's credit rating. And we saw that happen two years ago. It also affects as Republicans, it affects us standing with the people. And it sends a terrible message to the world that here you have the world's greatest so-called parliamentary body, a congressional body unable to even one selected speaker and then to not pay its debts.

I mean, people say they are conservatives. How can they refuse to pay debts that we owe? Why do they want us to be a dead beat nation? Let's be on this.

COOPER: Congressman King, I appreciate your time. Thanks.

KING: Thank you, Anderson.

COOPER: Well, as we said at the top of the broadcast, a lot happening today, in the next two hours live tonight.

Next Dr. Ben Carson already taking heat for saying he would stand up to a gunman like the one in Roseburg, Oregon, now according to him at least, he says he was confronted by a gunman years ago. The question is did he stand up to him? We'll play you what he said for himself.

And later, Donald Trump has plenty to say about who should be leading Republicans in Congress as he enters what election watchers are calling a crucial phase of his campaign. That and his promise that we will be seeing more of the woman he wants to be first lady, his wife Melania.


[20:15:34] COOPER: Well, it is the shock over Kevin McCarthy sudden change of heart was sweeping Capitol Hill, Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson was talking to Wolf Blitzer explaining the controversy of something he said just a couple days after the last controversy over something else he said. You'll recall Dr. Carson is already taking heat for saying that if he ever found himself facing a gunman like the one in Roseburg, Oregon last week he would rush the shooter, even if it meant giving his life. He denies that he was suggesting that the Roseburg victims and wounded survivors should have done more and says that he was just giving advice for the future. Today, though, that's been eclipsed by what he said about an

experience some years back in which he said he did come face-to-face with a gunman and instead of taking him on, told me he said he should pointing the gun at someone else, not him. He is also at the center of the storm over compliment Rupert Murdock gave him on Twitter suggesting Carson, if elected, would be the first real African- American president. Wolf Blitzer asked him about all of it today.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST, THE SITUATION ROOM: You spoke about a personal incident in a Sirus XM radio interview yesterday when you were younger and you were confronted by a gunman. I'll play the clip. This is from the radio interview.

BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Guy comes in, puts the gun to my ribs and I just said, I believe that you want the guy behind the counter. He thought I was --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: In the calm way? In that calm way, OK.

CARSON: He said oh, OK.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: So you just redirected him to --

CARSON: I redirected him.


BLITZER: That sounds counter to what you recommend now.

CARSON: That's a completely different situation. This is somebody who comes into a joint to rob it, not somebody who sequentially killing people.

BLITZER: You didn't know he was just going to rob the joint. He potentially could have killed you.

CARSON: I did know that. And the fact of the matter is, you know, maybe this is a level of sophistication that people learn from living on the streets, but I knew that that guy was not there to murder everybody --

BLITZER: How could you know that he had a gun?

CARSON: I knew he was not there to murder all the people. I knew he was there to rob the place.

BLITZER: Ben and Candy Carson terrific, what about a real black president who can properly address the racial divide and much else? That's a pretty shocking statement. He's now apologized in effect but that was pretty ugly.

CARSON: Well, I know Rupert Murdoch. He's not a racist. And he is stretch to the imagination. He's just expressing his opinion. I think it has much to do about nothing. (END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, a lot of grounds to cover. I talked about it earlier tonight with Carson's business manager Armstrong Williams, CNN political commentator and Democratic strategist Donna Brazile and CNN senior political reporter Nia-Malika Henderson.


COOPER: Donna, this tweet from Rupert Murdoch about quote "a real black president," unquote. Dr. Carson says it has much to do about nothing. What do you make of it?

DONNA BRAZILE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, as you know, throughout the history of not just our country but throughout history we have asked this question, who is black? Who is black enough?

For President Obama this question started to get raised back in 2007 when he started to seek the presidency. Is he black enough? Is he black enough to get the black vote? And once he received the black vote, is he black enough? Will he represent black interest?

Look. It was a ridiculous tweet. I'm glad that Mr. Murdoch apologized for it. There is no place right now in the conversation about whether someone is black enough or real black or whatever that means. He's been a president of all people. He's been a president who has served with dignity and respect of everyone. And I would hope that after the tweet and Mr. Murdoch's decision to back off from it that we don't have to have this stupid conversation again.

COOPER: Armstrong, I mean, as Donna said, Rupert Murdoch apologized and he didn't mean to offend anyone, that he finds both Dr. Carson and President Obama quote "charming," that said, I mean, the comment he made about a real black president to you, what does it mean?

ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS, BEN CARSON'S BUSINESS MANAGER: You know, it is freedom of speech, Anderson. And you know, he expressed something that if you're on talk radio like I am in the evening you hear all the time, I guess it takes on more meaning and more offensive if it's said by somebody who just happens to be Rupert Murdoch.

And so, you know, no matter who says it, it depends upon who says it, who gives it meaning and gives it power. As far as we're concerned, it's not really about race, it is about the ideas who is going to get this country back on the right footing. But still he has a right to his opinion and he has a right to express it through tweets.

COOPER: Nia, I mean, you think that the tweet actually hit on something that Republican voters take to?

[20:20:03] NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes, that's right. I think Ben Carson in at least part of his appeal is the fact that he's African-American. And you've had Republicans for a while look for sort of a great black hope and this has been intensified in many ways in the heir of Obama. It existed certainly around Condi Rice and Collin Powell. But certainly, I think it only was elevated once Obama rose to the presidency. You have a party on terms of Republicans that are not only battling this image that they aren't abroad party, not inclusive party. And so in Carson, they have a pretty good example where they can refute the idea. They can all of a sudden sort of appear to be a much more diverse party.

If you think about the history of the Republican Party, never before has a black person won a single primary state or caucus state in a presidential primary. So in that way, I think a Carson does represent a hope among Republicans to move forward and kind of be a more diverse party and in some way I think Murdoch was hitting on that theme.

COOPER: Armstrong -- go ahead, Donna.

BRAZILE: Yes, but when I was a child growing up in the Deep South and Armstrong, you're a southerner, I mean, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, draw history. Booker T. Washington approach, Frederick Douglas, I mean, Marcus Garvey. We have always had the schism. And yes, Rupert Murdoch, you know, stepped right into it comparing him to someone else who is an African-American basically saying that he will become the real black president as if, as Armstrong say, his opinion matters to many of us.

The truth is, is that it's offensive. And some people even said that it was racist and it had no place in the dialogue that we're having today. Dr. Carson is running on his record not just as a medical doctor, but his vision of the country. And let's have that conversation. I think that's what the American people want to talk about. They want to talk about your vision. They don't want to talk about your race.

COOPER: Armstrong, one of the survivors of the Oregon shooting told CNN last night that he is upset by Dr. Carson's remarks and that, in his words, quote "nobody can truly understand what actions they would take like that in the situation unless they lived it. And Dr. Carson in fact has brought up an incident that he says happened years ago, he was a customer at a fast food restaurant and someone pulled a gun he says on him. And Dr. Carson says he told the gunman, I believe you want the guy behind the counter, basically redirecting the gunman to the guy behind the counter. Some people look at that and say, well, that doesn't sound exactly like the guy who would rush a shooter.

WILLIAMS: Well, that is an entirely different situation. Dr. Carson just happened to be in Popeye's, I think this happened about 25 years ago and the gunman pulled out the gun and patrons panicked and Dr. Carson calmly started talking to the gunman saying listen, I don't think you're here to harm anybody. I think you are here because you want to hold the place up. And if that's what you want is money I think you should go to the cashier. Guy went to the cashier, he emptied his trey. The guy walked out and nobody was harmed. He used his judgment. He diffused the situation. The guy was not shooting.


COOPER: How do you know some panicked gunman or nervous gunman or any kind of a gunman is not going to end up shooting somebody in the midst of a robbery? And if that happened, then redirecting him, don't talk to me, go to this guy. Is that the best thing to do?

WILLIAMS: I can tell you for a fact in that situation, it did not h happen. Nobody died. Nobody was harmed. He got the money and he left.

COOPER: But you're also adding other things that Carson said sort of talking to him calmly. I mean, we're just quoting based on what Carson himself has said just saying you got the wrong guy. You want to go over there. You're comfortable with that?

WILLIAMS: Listen, Dr. Carson told this story ages ago. This is an old story. It is a very personal one. It is very private. This is not a new story to me --

COOPER: Because I asked you last night on this program if he had ever been in a situation where somebody pointed a gun and you didn't tell this story. That's why --.

WILLIAMS: Because, you know what? It was not important. That was not the place. I would never talk about this until Dr. Carson started talking about this today. Listen, I respect Dr. Carson. When I'm on TV, basically what I say, I don't say things unless I clear it with him. He's the candidate. I respect that. The fact he was willing to talk about it, it's OK for me to talk about it now.

COOPER: Armstrong Williams, thank you. It is good to have you on, again. Nia-Malika Henderson. Donna Brazile, as well. Thank you.

HENDERSON: Thank you.

BRAZILE: Thank you.

COOPER: Just ahead tonight, a side of the Trump campaign you'll soon be seeing more of, his wife Melania and daughter Ivonka. We will tell you how they factor in to his life, his business empire and now his race for the White House.


[20:28:31] COOPER: Welcome back, with just five days to go until the CNN Democratic debate in Las Vegas.

The Vegas area sure is popular today for Republicans as well. A Marco Rubio event is about to get underway there shortly. We will bring you the latest from that.

And earlier today, with election watchers saying he's entering the next phase of the candidacy, Donald Trump hit the next Vegas stump. CNN's Sara Murray is there for us. She joins us with that.

So I understand Donald Trump weighed in on Congressman McCarthy dropping out of the race for speaker. What did he say?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: You know, a lot of the same dynamics that brought down Kevin McCarthy are actually playing out in the presidential race. The yarn for the Washington outsider, that is what is helping to drive Trump. And he actually took credit today for helping to bring down Kevin McCarthy.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I want to just start by saying, you know, Kevin McCarthy is out. You know that, right? And they are giving me a lot of credit for that because I said you really need somebody very, very tough and very smart.


MURRAY: So you can see there, Trump sort of saying he brought this toughness to the race. He said Washington is complete bedlam. He has never seen the kind of animosity towards Washington, toward the establishment that he is seeing right now. And of course, that's exactly what is helping to propel his candidacy.

COOPER: What about the rest of his speech?

MURRAY: Well, the rest of the speech was a lot of the red meat that he knows will fire up his base here. And Anderson, they were fired up when he talked about repealing Obamacare. He got a huge applause for that. When he talked about funding his own campaign,

[20:30:00] he also got a huge applause, and he sort ticked right through his list of opponents, calling Marco Rubio a lightweight, dissing Carly Fiorina. And the question is, how far does that get you, and that's what Donald Trump is kind of facing right now. He sees that he's still at the top of the polls, something he pointed out today, but he doesn't have the same wide lead in a lot of these states that he's had up until this point. His campaign has tried to cast this as a new speech today, when in reality even voters say you know, look, they are hearing a lot of the same thing. It's working for them now. The question is how long does that last.

COOPER: All right, thanks, Sara, appreciate it. At today's event, Mr. Trump also turned the spotlight on two of his closest advisers, who have as yet largely stayed out of the spotlight. Take a look.


TRUMP: My wife said to me, it's very interesting, and Ivanka, has anyone ever heard of Ivanka? Right? And Melania, they are two great women, and you watch they will come out and they are going to start campaigning pretty soon, they are going to be great.


COOPER: For many people, it will be their first chance to get to know the two most important women in Donald Trump's life. For now our Randi Kaye has a preview.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ivanka Trump front and center on one of the biggest days of her father's life, the start of his campaign for the White House. No surprise, since she's perhaps the most well- known of his children and frequently mentioned by him on the campaign trail. Trump has even said if he becomes president, his children will likely take over his companies. Right now Ivanka oversees acquisitions for the family business.

IVANKA TRUMP: We also have bought very prudently, so we purchased a lot during the downturn, we're in the process of renovating that and bringing it to fruition.

KAYE: Ivanka, who in 1997 graced the cover of "Seventeen" magazine as a model, graduated from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton school. She later launched a jewelry brand, leading to clothes, shoes, and accessories. She also created this online venture, a resource to help mentor working women.

IVANKA TRUMP: And then I support that with a website that has really compelling and inspiring narrative to encourage these women to pursue their dreams.

KAYE: Donald Trump's hit show the Apprentice really helped propel his daughter Ivanka to stardom.

IVANKA TRUMP: I created a fashion and lifestyle brand to address the needs of the modern working woman.

KAYE: Ivanka reportedly once dated "That 70s Show" star Topher Grace, but settled down with her husband Jared Kushner, who is also in real estate. She reportedly converted to Judaism for him, and now shares a $16 million penthouse at Trump Park Avenue with their two children. A third is on the way.

IVANKA TRUMP: Are you happy?



KAYE: Ivanka's stepmother, Melania Trump, is equally as important in Donald Trump's life. Donald first met Melania back in 1998. The former model told "People" magazine she thought Trump had quote, sparkle. Her recent interview with "People" was her first since her husband announced his run for presidency. She's seen, but unlike Ivanka rarely heard. "People" magazine's senior editor Charlotte Triggs, who wrote the article, says Melania has had a busy summer traveling with the couple's 9-year-old son Barron, for whom she's the main caregiver. The Trumps reportedly have a cook but no nanny.

In her free time, Melania tells people she enjoys tennis, pilates and fashion. She also works with the American Red Cross. Does she imagine herself as first lady? Maybe not as clearly as her husband does, acknowledging it's a long road, saying that her husband has a lot of people cheering for him, but she takes it day by day.

Donald and Melania Trump live in a 66-floor penthouse apartment in Manhattan's Trump Tower. Melania is a Slovenian immigrant who became a naturalized citizen in 2006, the year after she married Donald. For a man who always says he cherishes women, these are certainly two of his favorites.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


COOPER: Coming up tonight, keeping it civil on the Democratic side. Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders have been extraordinarily polite when talking about each other, but with less than a week to go until the CNN Democratic presidential debate, will there be any kind of shift in strategy? We'll take a look at that next.



COOPER: Less than a week from now, the two Democratic front runners, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, will face each other on the debate stage. It will be interesting to see if the gloves come off because so far the rhetoric and their rapport has been noncombative, to say the least. Once again, here is Randi Kaye.


KAYE: It is a relationship that is hard to define.

CLINTON: I know Bernie. I respect his enthusiastic and intense advocacy of his ideas.

SANDERS: Maybe I shouldn't say this. I like Hillary Clinton. I respect Hillary Clinton.

KAYE: Some call it a modest friendship, others a mutual accommodation, but whatever is going on between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, their politeness hardly goes unnoticed.

SANDERS: I've never ran a negative political ad in my life.

KAYE: In fact, when Sanders does criticize Mrs. Clinton, he doesn't even mention her name. Listen to what he told NPR.

SANDERS: If you think establishment politics and establishment economics is the answer to our problems, fine. There are good candidates out there.

KAYE: Meanwhile Clinton told NBC that having Sanders in the race is a good thing.

CLINTON: I really believe this is great for the Democratic Party and for this election, because we want to turn out as many people as possible.

KAYE: She even declined to go after him.

CLINTON: Let me talk about myself. I'll let Senator Sanders talk about himself.

KAYE: Sanders' strategy seems to be pointing out what he has done. A subtle way of saying his opponent did something different.

SANDERS: You are looking at a former member of Congress who voted against the war in Iraq.

KAYE: Remember, Mrs. Clinton voted to authorize the Iraq war, which cost her dearly in the 2008 election.

CLINTON: Any vote that might lead to war should be hard, but I cast it with conviction.

KAYE: Barack Obama as senator voted against it; Sanders is quietly borrowing from Obama's playbook.

Sanders and Clinton have a long history together.


Their relationship goes back 25 years. When Sanders got to the Senate back in 2007, the two co-authored the Green Jobs Act and served on various committees. They also worked together to make primary care medicine more available.

But just because Hillary Clinton isn't criticizing Sanders, a super PAC supporting her is, connecting Sanders to the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, all because of a heating oil deal between Chavez and Vermont. Sanders in a rare move hit back in an e-mail to supporters, connecting Clinton to dirty tactics, calling the attack preposterous. In the end, Sanders raised $1 million in support.

Meanwhile, on PBS this week, Mrs. Clinton distanced herself from the PAC.

JUDY WOODRUFF, PBS: Do you approve of this, of going after Senator Sanders by the super PAC? We know there is coordination.

CLINTON: Well, I don't know anything about what you're saying. I have no knowledge of what they are doing.

KAYE: Sanders was quick to point out he won't be a spoiler for Clinton's campaign if he doesn't win the nomination. Though he's not jumping at being her VP, either.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would you be interested in being her vice president?

SANDERS: Would she be interested in being my vice president? We will be outspent, but I think we got a good shot to win this thing.

KAYE: 13 months until the election, and just five days away from the first Democratic debate, this could still get ugly.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


COOPER: Joining us now, CNN political commentator and Democratic strategist Paul Begala, who's co-chair of the pro-Hillary Clinton super PAC and was a long-time adviser to President Bill Clinton in the '90s. Also CNN political commentator and contributing editor at the Atlantic, Peter Beinart.

So, Paul, the fact that Clinton and Sanders are this civil towards one another certainly underscores how cynical people are about politics. Everyone assumes at some point or another, there is a shoe that will drop and they will go after each other.

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: They may. They may. I can tell you, they are not doing it for a couple of reasons. First, Randi's reporting is right, they actually get along and are colleagues. They're not best friends or anything, but they get along. And most importantly, politicians, just like all of us, act in their own self-interest, as you point out. I help run a pro-Hillary super PAC. It's not in our interest to attack Bernie Sanders. It's not. He's not the problem. The problem is, we have to connect Hillary up with her accomplishments and ideas for the future. Bernie Sanders is not attacking Hillary, why? It's not in Bernie's interest. Democrats, even Democrats who are for Bernie in the polls, have a very high opinion of Hillary. So they are doing the smart thing for each of them, and frankly it's very good for the party. As a general rule, I have to say, you know I like nothing better than negative campaigns. So this is kind of killing me. But I understand why they are doing it, it's the smart move.

COOPER: So Peter, maybe a more cynical person might say, well, once they're on the stage together, who knows how that dynamic is going to work out, but to Paul's point, it's in the best interest not to alienate the voters of the other.

PETER BEINART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Right, and Hillary has a particular problem, which is 10 or 20 years ago, it would have been obvious how you go after Bernie Sanders. You call him a left-wing extremist. He's a socialist, after all, she's not a socialist. Democratic Party is not a socialist party, but the Democratic Party has moved so far to the left that actually there isn't much space to attack Bernie Sanders for being too far to the left, because on most issues, most Democratic base voters agree with him more than they agree with her. So it's not clear what her line of attack would be.

COOPER: If anything, she's been moving toward Bernie Sanders.

BEINART: Right. He's been setting the pace and she's been moving more towards him. You noticed the one issue on which they've been most willing to attack him is gun control, because that's the one issue on which they can be to the left, because he was somewhat anti- gun control as a senator from Vermont.

COOPER: Paul, what's the biggest difference between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders? To Peter's point, Sanders is considered more liberal, not necessarily a bad thing in a Democratic primary.

BEGALA: Yes, (inaudible), Sanders talked about a few, Peter did. Again, I don't want to get into that unless people misread that -- because I do help run a pro-Hillary super PAC, and I haven't honestly even studied Bernie's record. We don't have any opposition research on him in my PAC. We have no interest in attacking Bernie Sanders. So I don't want to even try to tease that out. Peter makes a good point.

I'll say this in defense of Bernie Sanders, he's not saying anything now that I can't sell in 2016. In other words, he's not going off to the kook left, he's not calling for example for SEAL Team Six to liberate the board room of Goldman Sachs and nationalize the banks, nationalize the oil companies. This is what Jeremy Corbin (ph) is doing in Britain, by the way, he is calling for a re-nationalization of transport and energy.

So Bernie isn't saying anything right now that's scaring me at all in terms of hurting the Democratic Party. This is totally different from the Republicans, who are driving their party off an ideological cliff.

BEINART: But wait a second, if you look at his hostility to free trade, for instance, that was a core legacy of the Clinton administration. That is something Hillary Clinton was boasting about, helping negotiate the TPP up until fairly recently. He's not concerned at all about entitlements, Medicare and Social Security and the way in which they could be a drag on the budget. If you go back and look at the history of what the Clintons have stood for, there is a significant difference. Yes, Hillary Clinton is playing it down now, but I think at some point, she's going to have to answer the question, what makes me different? Why am I not a socialist?


COOPER: Peter, how do you think if Joe Biden gets into the race, how will things alter?

BEINART: It's interesting, because Biden is actually much closer to Hillary. All of the same problems that Hillary has in terms of some liberals distrusting her, because she was too much to the center, supporting the war in Iraq, being tough on crime. Biden has those problems squared. He was even more centrist in some ways than Hillary. I think even if he gets in, I think Sanders is the real threat to her.

COOPER: Paul, you agree with that or what do you think the Biden effect would be?

BEGALA: I really don't. And Peter is a terribly smart guy. He may be right about this, but I've done a lot of research on this and the polling, and looked at all the polling we have. The Biden vote right now if he runs, comes much more out of Hillary than it does out of Bernie, and if he runs, that's fine. I do think you heard Hillary, I have the same view. A tough primary produces a tough nominee. And neither Bernie nor Hillary should be held to a standard where they can never criticize the other, for goodness sakes. As NASCAR fans say, rubbing is racing. But I like the fact that they're keeping it between the guard rails here.

COOPER: Rubbing is racing. All right. Paul, we'll leave it on that.

BEGALA: It's also dancing, apparently, Mr. Madonna concert guy.

COOPER: I don't know what you're talking about. Peter Beinart, thanks very much. Paul Begala, you'll never be back on the show again. Be sure to tune in next week when Hillary Clinton, Senator Sanders, the Democratic candidates, the others face each other on the debate stage, I'm moderating the event Tuesday night 8:30 Eastern right here on CNN.

Coming up, it is hard to wrap your brain around this story, an 8-year- old girl in Tennessee was buried today, shot to death by an 11-year- old boy who is now facing first-degree murder charges. It's a case that is just steeped in tragedy. What we know, next.



COOPER: Terrible tragedy in Tennessee. Started out as what really just sounds like kids being kids, except there was a shotgun involved. A little girl, just 8 years old, murdered, shot to death by an 11- year-old boy over a disagreement about a puppy. According to the sheriff. Victor Blackwell reports.


LATASHA DYER, VICTIM'S MOTHER: Kiss your babies every night because you're never promised the next day with them.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Latasha Dyer can't hold or kiss her 8-year-old daughter Michaela tonight because the third grader was buried earlier today.

DYER: I can't get her back. I want her back in my arms. This is not fair.

BLACKWELL: Just days ago, Michaela Dyer was an adventurous girl, playing in her small mobile home park in White Pine, Tennessee, roughly 40 miles east of Knoxville. Saturday evening, the adults were inside watching football as Michaela and other neighborhood kids were playing with their new puppies. An 11-year-old boy who lived next door joined them. In an instant, tragedy struck. Wayne Joslin lives just yards from the families.

WAYNE JOSLIN, NEIGHBOR: The little boy said he wanted to pet the puppies, and they said no and kind of laughed a little bit, you know, and giggled, and that's when he pointed a bb gun at them. He hit, misfired or something, you know, and he threw it down on the grass, and he went and got the shotgun, and he just shot the little girl in the chest area, or, you know, close to the heart.

BLACKWELL: A shot fired from inside his home, according to investigators. Parents startled by the gunfire rushed outside and found little Michaela as she lay dying.

JOSLIN: I can't get that picture out of my head, you know, her laying there. BLACKWELL: First responders were unable to save Michaela. The grass

still stained with the third grader's blood.

JOSLIN: I don't want anybody to step on it right now, you know, it's to show some kind of respect.

BLACKWELL: The accused shooter was immediately taken into custody.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The 11-year-old boy has been brought in and charged by juvenile petition for first-degree murder.

BLACKWELL: Bond is set at $500,000. The fifth grade boy is the youngest child in custody at this facility with the most serious crime, just 11 years old, but he may still be charged as an adult. The Jefferson County sheriff says the boy took the 12 gauge shotgun from an unlocked closet in his family's home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The 12 gauge shotgun was identified as belonging to the 11-year-old's father.

BLACKWELL: The boys' parents have not been charged. But that could change. The district attorney has not yet decided. For now, this small community is reeling for both families, both struck by unbelievable tragedy.

JOSLIN: Pray for both families and, you know, they all need help.

BLACKWELL: Victor Blackwell, CNN, White Pine, Tennessee.


COOPER: Shotgun stored in an unlocked closet. Such a terrible tragedy for that little girl's family, and now as Victor mentioned the district attorney's office will have to decide whether to try the 11- year-old boy as an adult. We'll talk about it with our senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin. What do you make of this? Little boy used not a handgun but a shotgun to kill this little girl that was in an unlocked closet.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SR. LEGAL ANALYST: It's just a wall to wall tragedy, and obviously, at a human level, if not a legal level, you ask why did the parents leave a shotgun where a kid could get at it? I don't see the parents having any criminal responsibility, and the child is certainly going to be prosecuted. We know he's not eligible for the death penalty, even though they charged him with first-degree murder, because the Supreme Court has said no one under 18 who -- no offender under 18 can get the death penalty, but he could still go to prison for a very long time.

COOPER: I mean, so if he's tried as an adult in terms of, and he got, I mean, what kind of a sentence would an 11-year-old get? Whether tried as an adult or as a juvenile?

TOOBIN: I mean, that would be very much up to the judge in Tennessee, because if he's tried as an adult, he could get life without parole. I think it's unlikely given the circumstances. The Supreme Court has suggested that that also is problematic, but he could get 10 years, 20 years.


You know, this is a very -- first-degree murder is as serious as it gets, and this is a horrific crime. 11 years old is incredibly young to be prosecuted as an adult, but under Tennessee law, it's up to the judge to decide whether to move the jurisdiction to juvenile or adult court, and so it could happen.

COOPER: But if he is tried as a juvenile, then what happens when he turns 18?

TOOBIN: Then he would -- he would most likely get out. That's the -- my understanding. There are a lot of moving parts in these laws, but if he's tried as a juvenile, the usual rule in Tennessee, like most states, is they can't hold him until past 18. There could be a civil lawsuit against the parents, but as you can see from where they live, how much money could there be there? So --

COOPER: Just awful.

TOOBIN: The parents of this child are out of luck in many, many ways.

COOPER: Just awful. Jeffrey, appreciate your being here. Thank you. We're live through the next hour here on 360.

Coming up next, with the news that rocked the GOP still unfolding tonight, Kevin McCarthy backing out of the running for House speaker. We have late details on that.