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Shocker: Top House Speaker Candidate Drops Out; U.S. Officials: Russian Missile Aimed at Syria Hit Iran; Rubio Holds Las Vegas Rally; Report: New Clues Biden Will Run For President; Inside Bernie Sanders' Debate Prep; Airman Who Stopped France Train Attack Stabbed; NTSB Investigating Cargo Ship Disappearance; Peace Prize Preview: Nobel Intentions; Meet CNN's Top 10 Heroes of 2015, Aired 9- 10p ET

Aired October 8, 2015 - 21:00   ET



[21:00:31] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. 9:00 here in New York and in Washington where it has been quite a day on Capitol Hill.

Tonight the top job in the house, the one that is second in line to the presidency is up for grabs and no one seems to want it. Just hours ago, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy suddenly dropped out of the race for House Speaker and no one saw that coming. The bombshell landed just minutes before a vote by republicans on Congressman McCarthy's candidacy, a vote he was expected to win easily. To say this leaves the GOP in some former chaos is certainly no exaggeration.

Barely two weeks ago, Speaker John Boehner announced he will step down at the end of the October. At this point, the answer to when a new speaker will be chosen that's anyone's guess and keeping in mind the serious deadline is looming, congressional leaders have until November 5th to raise the debt limit to what the national default.

Before we dig deeper with our panel, Dana Bash lays out how today's bombshell exploded.


DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: There's congressional chaos, then there's this.

Republican meeting to look for a new speaker ending abruptly after the frontrunner, Kevin McCarthy, shocked everyone suddenly dropping out of the race.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People are absolutely stunned.

BASH: You were behind him. Are you stunned?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah totally stunned. No idea it was coming. No one did.

BASH: You were just in here, what happened? DAVID JOLLY, (R) FLORIDA: Kevin McCarthy just like John Boehner did, put the country and the Congress and the conference before his own interest. It was an honorable thing to do. I think he recognized and shared with the conference that he was afraid his candidacy might further divide the caucus and further divide the party across the country.

BASH: Behind closed doors that's exactly what Kevin McCarthy told his colleagues.

KEVIN MCCARTHY, (R) MAJORITY LEADER: All right, I think I stopped some of you.

BASH: And what he repeated to reporters after the news got out.

MCCARTHY: If we are going to unite and be strong, we need a new face to help do that. So nothing more than that.

BASH: That and raw numbers. Despite McCarthy's public confidence an hour earlier.

MCCARTHY: Very well.

BASH: Sources close to McCarthy say he realized getting approval from the majority of the house, 218 votes, was going to be tough.

And CNN is told McCarthy decided the demands many conservative members were making in exchange for the votes, those in the so-called freedom caucus, would have made him too weak to be effective.

Tim Huelskamp is one of some 40 republicans in that house freedom caucus.

TIM HUELSKAMP, (R) KANSAS: We were looking at how do we work together? We're looking for a speaker who works with conservatives rather than against us and we presumed Kevin was going to reach out to us and say, what do we need to do? What changes do we need to make?

BASH: Moderates like Charlie Dent worry it will be hard to find a republican member who will appeal to those conservatives but still actually lead the entire house as the constitution requires the speaker to do.

CHARLIE DENT, (R) PENNSYLVANIA: The next speaker should not apiece those who make unreasonable demands. There are a number of members of our conference who simply cannot get the yes on anything.

BASH: Daniel Webster and Jason Chaffetz, the two other republican in the race for speaker are a bit speechless.

JASON CHAFFETZ, (R) UTAH: Absolutely stunned. I did not see that comment.

BASH: But still in.

CHAFFETZ: Because we need to find somebody that our whole body can unite behind and do what we were elected to do.


COOPER: A lot to talk about, Dana joins me now along with CNN senior political reporter Nia Mallika-Henderson and chief political analyst, Gloria Borger.

So Dana, let's start with you. I understand a letter being circulated on Capitol Hill is making its own waves today. What's that?

BASH: That's right. This is a letter sent this week by Walter Jones, who's a republican congressman from North Carolina which asks the leadership to make sure that nobody who is running for any of these posts, including the speaker has any misdeeds in his or her background done while they are in Congress.

This certainly raised a lot of questions, Kevin McCarthy was asked about it whether that letter was directed at him and whether it had anything to do with him dropping out and he said no. Walter Jones talked to our colleague, Manu Raju about it and insisted that there was no particular person or particular incident he was talking about but then went on to refer to some scandals that brought other speakers or almost speakers down like Bob Livingston for example. It's been -- it's sort of an odd letter and an odd issue that has been flying around Capitol Hill.

COOPER: Gloria, I know you've been talking to your sources at Capitol Hill, what are they telling you?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Look, I think Congressman McCarthy, after he made the mistake on Benghazi, tying the Benghazi committee to the drop and Hillary Clinton's polling making it look totally partisan and political, gave conservatives the opening they're looking for.

[21:05:01] You know, they smell blood in the water. When you become a campaign ad for Hillary Clinton, it's a little bit of a problem for you. So they were able to kind of, you know, say look, this isn't the guy who ought to be the spokesman for our party. And I think McCarthy sensed that, as well.

But, you know, the larger problem here, Anderson, is that they can't coalesce around the speaker because they can't agree on an agenda that the speaker should represent, and it's a huge problem for the Republican Party. It seems like it's chaotic because it is.

COOPER: And you have Chaffetz and Webster vying for the top spot. Are there other names out there?

BORGER: Yeah, there are other names out there including Paul Ryan, who said he doesn't want to do it. His name sort of floated before McCarthy decided he was going to run and it's being floated again now that McCarthy is not going to run. And the feeling there is that he is sort of a name brand in the house and can possibly bring these sides together and certainly raise a lot of money for the health caucus as well. Other people, Greg Walden who's out of Oregon, people feel like he might have a chance there. He's sort of e-mailing folks and seeing if he can get enough support. They are floating some trial balloons there.

But again, I think with McCarthy that Gloria is exactly right about Benghazi thing and even privately and months ago when Boehner decided that he was going to stay on privately, he was saying that he felt that McCarthy wasn't quite ready to be speaker and that kind of went in his decision as well as other things to go for the speakership again and of course now, we're seeing some of that with this Benghazi gaffe that certainly threw things into turmoil and today finally ended with him dropping out.

COOPER: And Dana, I heard someone refer to this today as a hostage crisis in the republican civil war. Is that accurate?

BASH: You know, if you're one of the, you know, maybe 200 or 195 members who think that the 40 or so members who have been so aggressive in trying to push the leadership to take a principled stand, you know, and they had no compromise on anything, they had no conflict conference, the answer is yes, that they do think it's a hostage crisis. There were so much -- the chaos I mean, you could probably see it because we were live outside the room, but that didn't even give a real sense of how it felt there.

It was really palpable because yeah, people thought it would be hard for McCarthy to be speaker, but they didn't think it was so hard that he would drop out and a lot of these people in the so-called freedom caucus, they feel like they got two scalps now, John Boehner and it's member to Kevin McCarthy.

COOPER: Gloria, in terms, I mean the looming potential government shutdown, could this actually make that more likely?

BORGER: Well, you know, it could. I mean, I was told today by a republican on Capitol Hill that before John Boehner leaves, he would like to come some kind of a deal with whomever he can talk to to try and avoid a government shutdown.

But you don't know whether the caucus is emboldened now and whether they feel that they would have the authority to shut the government down. I mean, I think that they're trying to do the impossible, which is lose control, republican control of the Congress. I mean, I think that's what this could lead to.

COOPER: Nia, do you see Boehner staying on longer?

NIA-MAIKA-HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Possibly, I mean everything so far has been such a shocker.

Him stepping down, McCarthy seeming like he would get it and then stepping down. So these were sort of an uncharted territory here in terms of whether or not Boehner stays on to calm the place down, that wouldn't be what the hell no caucus wants but possibly that's what's needed now. BASH: And I just -- just to add to that, I spoke this evening to a top aid to John Boehner who insist that he is still planning on leaving October 30th as he announced when he dropped his bomb that he was resigning. We'll see if he sticks to that.

COOPER: I think, Nia thank you, Dana, Gloria as well.

BORGER: Sure, thank you.

COOPER: Quite a day, indeed. Just ahead, U.S. officials say as many as four missiles Russia aimed at Syria hit Iran instead. Claim that Russia is denying. Our Barbara Starr is working in just minute, absolutely we'll talk to her.

Plus an American who risked his life to help stop a gunman on a train in France is in the hospital tonight after being stabbed in an unrelated incident. He was able to stop the terrorist on the train, find out why he was stabbed and what we're learning about his injuries tonight.


[21:13:00] COOPER: Tonight, there are growing concerns over Russia's escalating military involvement in Syria.

U.S. officials people say that as many four cruise missiles launched from a Russia ship and aimed a target in Syria missed their mark hitting Iran instead. Russia has a number of warships in the Caspian Sea. But its defense ministry denies that any missiles felt short. Our Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr joins me now. Barbara, what's the latest?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well Russia's launched now about two dozen cruise missiles from four warships in the Caspian Sea. They've been flying over Iran, Iraq and into Syria. But now, the U.S. says four of those missiles went astray and crashed inside Iran. A Russian ally that apparently crashed in a rural area, there may be people hurt on the ground. There may be farm animals killed. Right now, the Russians insist it did not happen. Iran is saying nothing about it. But the U.S. says it did. Four of these missiles with thousand-pound warheads crashed inside Iran.

COOPER: And then incidentally, this obviously has broader implications.

STARR: Well that's exactly right, Anderson. It does. Look, you know, fine, well and good, hopefully not too many Iranian civilians are hurt, but it landed inside a country that is an ally of Russia. But what if that thousand pound warhead had landed in a neighboring country, Jordan and Turkey, what if it had landed in an Iranian nuclear facility? A lot of concern that the Russians are just being very reckless.

Today Defense Secretary Ash Carter said one of his big problems is that Russians aren't even giving any notice of these missile launches, Anderson. COOPER: All right, Barbara Starr, thank you Barbara.

More to talk about with Ann Marie Slaughter, President of the New American Foundation that former director of policy planning at the state department. Her new book is "Unfinished Business: Women, Men, Work, Family". Also U.S. -- retired U.S. Army General and CNN military analyst Mark Hertling, and CNN National Security Commentator, Mike Rogers, former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

General Hertling, Russia denies this happened but if true and I know you believe it is, you echo the defense secretary's concerns that Russia is being reckless and not notifying other countries about missile launches?

[21:15:09] LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING, U.S. ARMY (RET): Yeah, if you look at the missile launch from the Caspian, no matter what territory you look at in order to strike targets in Syria, Anderson, it's going to go over airspace of sovereign countries.

Now, they may have notified Iran, possibly even Iraq. But I'm sure the Iraq government didn't notify the Kurdish authorities and if it did go into Turkey, then you're also talking about the potential for hitting aircraft or in terms of commercial aircraft or fire aircraft or in case of crashes like it may have done in Iran or reported to have done in Iran, you're talking about civilian casualties.

COOPER: Ann Marie, and we learned yesterday two USF-16s that were flying over Syria diverted to steer clear of Russian fighters. How concerned are you that Syria could turn into a proxy war?

ANNE-MARIE SLAUGHTER, PRESIDENT, NEW AMERICAN FOUNDATION: Very concerned. I mean, Russia is playing a really dangerous game. I mean, they're really playing chicken with us and daring us to, you know, push back.

And if we don't push back and we simply let them do what they're doing, I think we're looking at a kind of Russia, Iran, Iraq, Syrian front across a huge part of the Middle East.

COOPER: Mike, what do you believe about that? I mean, should the U.S. and other NATO allies, what should they be doing at this point?

MIKE ROGERS, FORMER HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Well absolutely, we need to take some action. But I have a little different perspective. This is a great opportunity from a Russian perspective to fire missiles they've converted from ship to ship targets to a ship to land targets. And so they have formed this intelligence alliance with Baghdad, with Damascus and with Iran.

So some notion that those nations were not notified, I'm a little suspect of that. I believe that they were probably pretty clued into this, that they were going to launch these particular missiles.

This is Russia sending a very strong signal to the Middle East to both our allies and our adversaries that there's a new strong man in the Middle East. This competes with our Tomahawk missile system and I think they wanted to show the world they could do it.

If a few fell into Iran, candidly, I don't think they care, matter of fact, I think they look at it as an opportunity to get -- to correct that action and I agree with both of our guests that we need to stand up pretty quickly and pretty sternly or we're going to have a more aggressive Russia operating against our interest across the Middle East.

COOPER: And General Hertling, I mean you look at where they bomb, Russia claims they're bombing ISIS in Syria, you have this map where we believe the airstrikes hit. Does it look to you like they're concentrating ISIS territory?

HERTLING: You know, not at all Anderson and this is continued. I mean, you can't put it any other way. It's lying by the government of Russia what they're doing. We've seen this in Ukraine and what they propose that they're doing when we know that's not what they are doing.

And in Syria, they have some very strong operational objectives. They are securing the Alawite area of Damascus, Homs and Idlib. They are securing the flank and they may be hitting some ISIS targets near Palmera, but that's only to secure the eastern flank of the Alawite area.

They are protecting their site in Tartus and Latakia, and all of these things are part of an operational campaign. But I think it's eventually going to cause them trouble.

COOPER: And Marie, I mean there are some who say, well look, if Russia wants to start to take a lead in Syria and draw the ire of ISIS and other terror groups, U.S. should go ahead and let them.

SLAUGHTER: I understand the quagmire argument and it's the Afghanistan argument. You know, they got Baghdad in Afghanistan and we actually armed Mujahedin against them. But this is the Middle East. We have Turkey on one side who is a NATO ally, who is already really worried about Russian incursions into Turkish airspace. And we have Israel on the other side and Israel is very upset with the Russians because the Russians are not allowing Israel to go after Hezbollah and arms that are going towards Hezbollah.

So I just don't think this is a situation where we can just sit back and say, you know, we've got Israel here who's really worried. We have Turkey who's really worried. We have Iran pushing on Iraq and drawing Iraq much closer back into its orbit. And we're just not going to do anything.

I really do think we have to stare the Russians down. We learned this in the cold war that if you're going to have diplomacy, it ought to be backed by a credible threat of force and you can't let them push us around.

COOPER: So Chairman Rogers, what does that mean staring Russia down in this case?

ROGERS: Well it could mean a couple of things.

A, if you want to go into the no-fly zone, it does mean you need to enforce it and that means that Turkey must be willing and the United States must be willing to engage Russian aircraft if they incur into that no-fly zone and that's a pretty difficult thing.

[21:20:04] I do believe we need to make that stand to let them know that we're not -- listen we're very serious about enforcing our prerogatives and our national interests in the area. But we need to understand one thing. I think this is really important, Anderson, there was a lot of talk about -- it's a quagmire or not a quagmire, they're doing things that are pretty strategically smart.

They're engaging only in the air with armored units, meaning, it's a little safer than infantry units, number two and air strikes. So they've been pretty calculated about how they're going to engage these targets but they're uplifting the Syrian rebels.

Russia has picked their team. They're saying we're for the Shia back to governments of Iran, of Syria, and now Baghdad. They've made their pick and I think our strategy needs to flip around a little bit and try to understand that versus this notion that we're just upset that the Russians are doing what they're doing.

That is not a strategy. We need to change it. We need to confront them and we need to find a way to do it that's limited and calculated so that they understand that we're serious.

COOPER: General Hertling, how do you see, I mean, on the ground how would -- or in the air, how does confronting Russia look like from a military standpoint?

HERTLING: You're going to see and I wouldn't call it a quagmire but you are going to see some things occurring in the very near future where Russia is going to start taking casualties. There's been a lot of comments today about the alleged tomahawk -- they're equivalent of a tomahawk missile crashing in Iran, but we're also starting to get reports of a Russian helicopter being down, several Russian tanks being destroyed by free Syrian forces. So they picked their poison. They're into this now and they are going to take casualties and we've already seen in Russia it's starting to bite them a little bit. They are starting to lose national will. We've had reports of many Russian units who do not want to go to Ukraine, who do not want to go to Syria. So I think you're going to see Mr. Putin having some both international problems with Sunni organizations in the Middle East but also with his own countrymen.

COOPER: General Hertling always good to have you on, Anne Marie Slaughter, Chairman Rogers as well. Thank you so much.

ROGERS: Thanks.

HERTLING: Thank you.

COOPER: Coming up next, we're going to take you live of the campaign trail where Senator Marco Rubio is speaking right now. Also on the democratic side, we'll see how the surprising Bernie Sanders, well, how he's preparing for next week's CNN Debate.


[21:26:22] COOPER: Las Vegas will be the place to be, five days from now when CNN presents the First Democratic Debate of Campaign 2016.

For Republicans are already is the place with Donald Trump rallying his supporters there.

Earlier today on a Marco Rubio vent underway. Let's listen to him for a moment.


MARCO RUBIO, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So when they're 6 or 17, they've decided, I'm fixing airplanes for a living. They can go to high school in the morning, they can go to trade school in the afternoon and when they graduate...


COOPER: CNN's Maeve Reston is there. She joins as now. So Maeve, what is Rubio have been focusing on tonight?

MAEVE RESTON, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: What's been his standard stump speech certainly, the American dream slipping away, saying that he's a new generation candidate who can help bring it back, you know, the political class is completely out of touch.

He's also contrasting himself with the other candidates in the race just saying that he would be the one who could actually bring the fight to Hillary Clinton, a lot of jokes tonight about wiping the server clean, light touch that he's been using. And he's been talking a lot about jobs here in Nevada, a strong ground game here for Rubio and for Jeb and that's going to be what we're looking for in the state going forward.

Donald Trump had a lot of people at his rally earlier today but a lot of them were tourists kind of coming off the strip, so it will be interesting to see whether he can pull off the organization that it takes to win a state like Nevada.

COOPER: Rubio has been moving up in the polls. You've been speaking with his supporters there. What's the mood among them like?

RESTON: Well, there' a lot of people here who say that they will not under any circumstances support Donald Trump. Rubio has looked attracted to them for a quite sometime and, you know, they really feel that he is a candidate who's got the energy, the momentum right now to really get the fight going.

A lot of people here talked about Jeb Bush as being someone that they considered awhile back but just haven't seen enough energy and dynamism from him and are now moving on to Rubio. COOPER: All right, Maeve Reston thank you very much.

We got some breaking news right now from the democratic side, it could be big.

Earlier tonight, democratic strategist Paul Begala told me that time is running out if Vice President Biden wants to enter the presidential race, that is if it hasn't run out already as the co-chair of a pro- Clinton Super PAC, Paul clearly has a stake in all this. The New Yorkers' Ryan Lizza is reporting. There's a new sign that his job might be about to get a lot more interesting, a step that could mean Mr. Biden is one step closer to actually getting in the race.

Ryan joins us now by phone with the latest. What have you learned, Ryan?

RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know, it just -- so tonight as democrats at the D.N.C. are saying that this week, Joe Biden's representative met with representatives at the D.N.C. to take a briefing. This briefing included detailed information about the primary schedule, super delegate and delegate allocation and all the sort of nitty-gritty stuff that a candidate would need to know if they were jumping into the race.

So this is a briefing with the D.N.C. has offered Biden and anyone who wants to run for president for months now and all five declared democratic presidential candidates have taken this briefing and Biden was actually scheduled to -- a representative from Biden was scheduled to do it in June unless they were cancelled for whatever reason and this week, his representative, the one who went to the D.N.C. and took this briefing.

So my sources are saying that this is the -- one of the, you know, one of -- if you (inaudible) about whether Biden is going to run or not, this would have to be put in this side of the ledger that says he's a little bit more likely to run than not.

COOPER: Certainly new confirmation that he's actually running but an indication...

[21:30:01] LIZZA: Yeah.

COOPER: ...that there's at least his staff wants to get fully informed on every check that has -- every, you know, question that has to be checked.

LIZZA: Exactly and if you look, you have to be very clear, the information that came out of the briefing could go, you know, one way or the other.

On the one hand, I am told that some of the information that was brought by the D.N.C. suggested to the Biden aide that, you know, the time is running out and that time is short and that it's a little bit higher of a hill to climb than perhaps they realize.

On the other hand, some people at the D.N.C. interpreted the fact that he took the briefing as an indication that it -- you know, that what they say is that they believe he's more likely to run than they have seen before.

So, you know, it's one little clue that suggest he's a little bit closer to making this decision.

COOPER: Have you been told by people at the D.N.C. or else where when the absolute last time that -- I mean, when Joe Biden has until to decide and to announce?

LIZZA: Yeah, so there are deadlines coming up in late October. So the longer he waits, the less -- you know, if you miss filing deadlines in primary states, that means you're forfeiting the opportunity to win delegates in those states, right? The waiter -- excuse me, the longer you wait, the more delegates you're sort of just -- you're not able to collect. So I think most people are talking about late October as the final, final deadline for him.

COOPER: Wow. Well again, some fascinating reporting from Ryan Lizza tonight. Ryan, thank you very much, appreciate that.

Again, just five days until the CNN Democratic Debate for almost any candidate, that means hitting the books, reading the research, formulating, talking points, even engaging in mock debates.

For Donald Trump, this was all new to him. For democrat Bernie Sanders whose run many times for many elective offices, it is not. However, nothing compares to this kind of debate which is why his debate prep is getting so much attention tonight.

More from CNN's Sunlen Serfaty.


SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Bernie Sanders faces the biggest test of his campaign so far.

BERNIE SANDERS, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you, thank you. Boston, thank you.

SERFATY: To funnel the energy that has defined his insurgent candidacy into the next phase as a real contender.

SANDERS: Don't be surprised if we do well with a number of republicans.

SERFATY: Ground Zero Tuesday's debate.

SANDERS: I look forward to a vigorous debate on the most important issues facing this country.

SERFATY: The Sanders campaign casting it as a pivotal moment for him as a candidate, but he's not preparing in the traditional way. Unlike others, he's not had mock debates, no rehearsals at electorate and no stand in for anyone playing Hillary Clinton yet. He is quietly studying up instead requesting briefing books from his strategists holding calls with policy experts and taking pains to avoid getting personal.

SANDER: You're looking at a candidate who does not go about attacking people personally, what I think debates are about is in fact differentiating the differences of opinions that we have.

SERFATY: And his laundry list is at the ready. Sanders already hinting at flash points he's ready to get into with Clinton over T.P.P., the Keystone Pipeline and Wall Street.

TAD DEVINE, SENIOR MEDIA ADVISER, BERNIE 2016: If he's attacked, I can tell you he's not someone who's going to stand there and take attacks, you know. He will defend himself.

SERFATY: That debate style...

DEVINE: In terms of Mr. Sanders expertise on health care.

SERFATY: ...has been tested in dozens of debates over the years where his rivals on stage with him say he's comfortable, stays on message and gets aggressive.

SANDERS: Because it's people like you...

SERFATY: But those debates just a warm up for this, he's first on the national stage.

DEVINE: Well, Mr. (inaudible) says that the economy is really booming and doing well. It's wrong.


COOPER: Someone said no mock debates for Sanders, is the campaign saying why not?

SERFATY: Well, it's interesting. The strategy here Anderson, really does seem to be let Bernie be Bernie. If they feel it's worked for him in the past and when I talked to a campaign strategist about this, they said this was something that he specifically requested. He did not want to prepare in any sort of formalized full blown mock debate.

And they said they did not push back on this because that there was a concern that he could look too can, too practiced, too rehearsed and that would really turn many of the voters off up there on the debate stage if he came out looking like a blow dried politician, so to speak, so they want to avoid that and really try to embrace the authenticity that a lot of voters are drawn to him for, Anderson.

COOPER: All right, thanks very much Sunlen.

Well, coming up, why one of the American military men who stopped a terror attack on a train in France just a few months ago is in the hospital in California tonight after another violent confrontation.


[21:38:29] COOPER: One of the men who was celebrated as a hero after stopping a terrorist from attacking passengers on a train in France a few months ago is in the hospital in California tonight after being stabbed. It's apparently a completely unrelated incident and this time it has nothing to do with terrorism but what sounds like a bar fight. Kyung Lah has details.


KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What police say started as an altercation inside t Sacramento bar soon spilled outside and turned into a wild street brawl. This liquor store surveillance video captured the fight.

U.S. Air Force Airman Spencer Stone, the tall man wearing a white shirt throwing punches as a group of men appear to surround him.

Watch closely. This is the moment where Stone is apparently stabbed. What looks like blood on his shirt as everyone flees the scene.

KEN BERNARD, DEPUTY CHIEF, SACRAMENTO POLICE: The assault does not appear to be a random act. It's believed to be related to a nightclub incident.

LAH: It was just this August when Stone was hailed as a hero, along with Oregon National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos and Anthony Sadler for taking down a would-be terrorist aboard a passenger train in France.

Stone was praised for his aggressive role in disarming the man who was carrying firearms and a box cutter.

SPENCER STONE, U.S. AIRMAN WHO FOILED TERRORIST ATTACH: I put him in a choke hold. It seems like he just kept pulling more weapons left and right, pulled out a handgun out and took that -- he took out a box cutter and started jabbing at me with that.

LAH: He was treated for his injuries and returned to the U.S. greeted with a hero's welcome. He met with the president at the White House, appeared on nightly talk shows, was honored with a parade in Sacramento where he's stationed at Travis Air Force Base.

[21:40:07] But what led to the altercation that was captured on this surveillance camera. Police here in Sacramento say the entire incident is under investigation but they already know this. The suspects likely had no idea who they were fighting but likely know now.

BERNARD: This incident is a very unfortunate altercation between two groups of folks who were enjoying the night life in Midtown Sacramento. This incident is not related to terrorism in anyway. We know, it's not related to what occurred in France.

LAH: Spencer Stone only recently recovered from his injuries after his heroism in France. He's now again in the hospital in serious condition.

COOPER: Kyung Lah joins us now. What are neighbors and business owners you've spoken just saying about this fight? LAH: Well, this is a stretch of area that's filled with bars and night life, seeing a fight here isn't that unusual. They always see brawls, fueled by liquor, fueled by alcohol, fueled by youth, frankly. But what this neighborhood says is so different is who is involved. When the liquor store saw the surveillance video, the owner didn't bat an eyelash but when he found out who, certainly that is the point of discussion here that it's just unfortunate that he had to come back home and face this.

COOPER: Yeah, we wish him well. Kyung, thank you very much.

The U.S. Coast Guard called off its search for the crew of a cargo ship that apparently sank near the Bahamas during Hurricane Joaquin, but a navy salvage unit is joining the search for wreckage according to a source close to the investigation. The company that operated El Faro, the ship, says that it met with all inspection standards. But former crew members say the 40-year-old ship had problems with drainage and leaking. Even one of the missing crew members posted this picture on Facebook on September 19th before the shift showing standing water inside the cook's quarters. Martin Savidge joins me now. So what's the latest you've learned?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the NTSB had a briefing tonight. And they said that they spent along time today talking to the captain of the El Yunque. Now this is interesting because the El Yunque is sister ship of the El Faro. They are said to be almost identical.

And the captain of the El Yunque also served on the El Faro. So he could paint a very good picture of the El Faro for the NTSB. He also could probably paint a very good picture of Tote Marine, the parent company because there have been allegations that perhaps the company pressured the captain of the El Faro to sail despite the hurricane. And also that the company may have shaved some financial corners when it came to maintenance of the vessels that is something that Tote absolutely denies. They maintained that all the vessels had been kept to US Coast Guard standards and the Coast Guard backs them up on that.

COOPER: You spoke to a former crew member of the El Faro, right?

SAVIDGE: Right. This was Christopher Cash and he was last on the vessel in January. He definitely says that ship was showing its age. Here's what he told me.


CHRISTOPHER CASH, FORMER CREW MEMBER OF THE EL FARO: This ship is old. If you look at the inside of the deck on the second level, it's rusted to death. It's rust everywhere. Only thing we do is mask the problem. We paint over rust. We chipped rust but it's so much rust. It's just -- it's hard to conceal what it really is. It's a rust bucket.


SAVIDGE: Now, the U.S. Coast Guard also points out that, you know, a lot of these ships that make the rundown of the islands, they're not necessarily thoroughbreds. They are workhorses. They do show their age, but they pass the inspections.

COOPER: What's next from here? I know the navy had planned to try and find the black box.

SAVIDGE: Well, this was another kind of thing that surprised people that came out of the NTSB'S mouth tonight and that is that, you know, there is this black box that needs to be found that's got the pinger and the pinger says to have a battery of 30 days. NTSB says the navy is going to be a couple of weeks before they're actually ready to start searching on the ocean floor. When it was pointed out the battery time is ticking down, the NTSB essentially said, the navy doesn't need pingers to locate a vessel of that size on the bottom of the ocean. I guess we'll see in a couple of weeks.

COOPER: Yeah, Martin, thank you very much.

Up next, a preview of who may soon join this company who may received the Nobel Peace Prize tomorrow and a gambling, that's right, gambling on the outcome.


[21:48:27] COOPER: Tomorrow, the world will learn the name of this year's recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. And when word arrived, some people will be running to their bookies to collect winnings. You can bet on nearly everything in some parts of the world and you can bet that people have been betting on this. One favorite, German chancellor Angela Merkel, another Pope Francis or will it be Secretary of State John Kerry? Perhaps even NSA leaker Edward Snowden.'s Joshua Keating has been following the favorites joins us -- excuse me, Slate's Joshua Keating joins us now. So Josh, where does it stand right now? Are there odds on any particular favorite right now?

JOSHUA KEATING, SLATE.COM: Well, the markets really like Merkel and Pope Francis. I think part of that might just be because of name recognition, they're a lot better known than the other favorites on the list. The thing to remember is the Nobel Peace Prize is a particularly hard one to predict unlike some of the science prizes we saw awarded earlier in the week, it's not always clear what the criteria are. Sometimes they're awarding a diplomat who's concluded a peace deal. Sometimes it's an activist in an authoritarian country. So, it really depends on what issue they like to highlight this year. And that's going to determine who they pick. And they've thrown some curve balls in the past.

COOPER: I mean, Pope Francis obvious reasons, Angela Merkel I assumed because she had said the Germany would accept as many as 800,000 refugees from Syria if they made it to Germany. But the Nobel committee though, I mean a lot of times they try to make a statement with who they choose, don't they?

KEATING: Yeah, well, interestingly while -- I'm sure if she does get the award, her role on the refugee crisis is going to be highlighted. [21:50:01] The reason she was initially nominated by members of the German parliament was for her role in brokering a ceasefire in Ukraine. So there's actually two reasons that people are looking at Merkel as a popular -- as a possible pick this year. You know, she's obviously someone who's unpopular, even despised in many parts of Europe because of austerity policy issues post on economist, particularly in Greece. So a lot of people wouldn't be too happy to see her get the award tomorrow morning.

COOPER: Well, I mean, over the years, the Peace Prize has sometimes been awarded to people not necessarily thought of as peace makers.

KEATING: Sure, of course. I mean this is an award that Henry Kissinger won and Mahatma Gandhi didn't, so often they look for pragmatism over pacifism when it comes down to it.

COOPER: And I mean, the committee a lot of times they kind of zig, when people think they're going to zag?

KEATING: Of course, Barack Obama's award was a perfect example of that. He was awarded the first year of his presidency. The nominations came in. He had only been in office for a few days. So, and actually some members of the committee has said that they now sort of regret it. And interestingly, he -- if you remember, he devoted much of his speech accepting the award to kind of defense of the legitimate use of force. So that was one that was kind of surprising, and it will be interesting to see if they go for a similarly controversial figure this year.

COOPER: Are you willing to make any predictions right now?

KEATING: You know, I think there are a few people who are on the list frequently and often get overlooked. One of them is Denis Mukwege, he's a gynecologist from the Congo.

COOPER: Yeah, in fact I've done stories on him. He works on Bukavu, does extraordinary work on women who have been victims of sexual violence.

KEATING: Right. And he won the Sakharov Prize, which is the EU'S top award for human rights. And he's somebody every year seems to be included on these short lists. And he's somebody who again, I think -- and particularly this year when ISIS has been so prominent and their uses of rape as a weapon of war, this might be an issue that the committee wants to shine a light on. And he would be a logical person to reward in that case.

COOPER: Well I mean, his work is incredible and would be a huge boon to not only his work but also just to the violence that's taking place in the Eastern Congo, more people have died there since -- any other conflict since World War II. Josh, there was -- talk about Edward Snowden as well, do you think that's really a possibility?

KEATING: Yeah, this has come up for the last few years. I mean, he -- the betting sites are giving odds on him, and he did win a Swedish award called the Right Livelihood Prize. It's a human rights award that's sometimes called the Alternative Nobels. I would be pretty surprised just because of how controversial he is...


KEATING: the United States, but he does have a lot of supporters particularly in Europe so -- but yeah, that would a be very surprising pick.

COOPER: It certainly would. Josh Keating, I appreciate it. Thank you very much. We'll see what happens.

Just ahead, the top 10 CNN Heroes of 2015. Your votes will decide which one becomes CNN Hero of the Year. Prepare to be blown away by some of their achievements, next.


[21:56:56] COOPER: Each year, CNN Heroes tells the stories of extraordinary individuals working everyday to find solutions to problems all over the globe. We received thousands of nominations. And today, we revealed our top 10 CNN Heroes of 2015. Each one now has a chance at the top honor and $100,000 cash prize. Here are contenders.

Bhagwati Agrawal, he's fighting the water crisis in his homeland. His nonprofit created a rainwater harvesting system that now provides water to six villages. More than 10,000 people in India's driest region.

DR. JIM WITHERS: Taking that, anybody home?

COOPER: From Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Dr. Jim Withers for more than 20 years, he's taken medicine to the streets bringing free quality healthcare to the city's homeless.

Monique Pool. In 2005, she turned her home into a sanctuary for sloths in the South American country of Suriname. She's since rescued, rehabilitated and released hundreds of these mammals and other animals back to the wild.

Richard Joyner has led his rural community of Kanata, North Carolina to better health by helping young people grow and distribute 50,000 pounds of fresh food each year.

Maggie Doyne, after graduating from high school, she traveled the world and a visit and work in Nepal changed her life. Today, she helped provide a home for about 50 children in Nepal and a school for hundreds more.

From Charlottesville, Virginia, Sean Gobin, after serving in Iraq and Afghanistan as US Marine, he found healing when he hiked the Appalachian Trail. Now, he supports other combat veterans as they walk off to war.

Kim Carter cycled in and out of incarceration and homelessness. Then, she decided it was time for a change. Today, she's helping hundreds of women in similar circumstances reclaim their lives. Rochelle Ripley, determined to keep a promise she made to her Native American grandmother. A nonprofit has delivered an estimated $9 million in aid to the Lakota people in South Dakota.

Jody Farley-Beren lost her close friend, a single mother of four to cancer. Since 2006, she and her nonprofit have provided assistance to hundreds of single moms who are battling the disease.

And in Chicago, Daniel Ivankovich is a surgeon who treats first and bills later.

DANIEL IVANKOVICH: This is pretty darn good.

COOPER: Since 2010, his nonprofit has provided care to more that 100,000 uninsured or underinsured patients in Chicago's troubled neighborhoods.

They are all remarkable people. All 10 heroes get a cash prize and will be honored during our annual broadcast CNN Heroes An All Star Tribute, which airs December 6. And again, whoever is chosen as CNN Hero of the Year, they receive an additional $100,000 to continue their work. And you get to decide who it's going to be. It's all up to you. Voting begin today at You can vote once a day, everyday until November 15th at midnight. You can also share your vote on Facebook and Twitter. Go

That does it for us. We'll see you again 11:00 p.m. Eastern. CNN Tonight with Don Lemon starts now.