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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA
Political Insider Talks Joe Biden Plans; Former Biden Campaign Manager on Biden Plans; Paul Ryan Considers Run for House Speakership; Musician Dead After Police Encounter. Aired 11-11:30a ET
Aired October 21, 2015 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:00] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: New information on the plans of Joe Biden. A powerful political insider who has been speaking with the vice president tells us what he knows about a pending announcement.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: For the job no one seems to want, Paul Ryan says, sure, I'll run for speaker, but here is my list of demands. Will the fractured GOP conference back him?
BERMAN: Sex, cash, strippers, allegations of x-rated college recruitment -- one of the biggest college basketball programs in the country under fire. Could it now claim the job of one of the nation's most famous coaches?
I'm John Berman.
BOLDUAN: And I'm Kate Bolduan. Thanks for joining us, everybody.
Joe Biden keeping everyone guessing about his presidential intentions. But listening to him in the past couple of days alone, it sure sounds like he has campaign talking points down. The vice president appeared to take some not-so-subtle jabs at Hillary Clinton yesterday and the day before.
BERMAN: Joining us is a man who has apparently had more than one revealing phone conversation with the vice president over the last few days, Harold Schaitberger, the president of the International Association of Firefighters.
Sir, thank you so much for being with us.
Did the vice president tell you --
HAROLD SCHAITBERGER, PRESIDENT, THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FIREFIGHTERS: Thank you.
BERMAN: Did the vice president tell you that he is running for president?
SCHAITBERGER: Well, first of all, any conversations I would have with the vice president would be private and privileged. So I wouldn't share what the vice president said to me. I will tell you that, in an attempt to answer your question, our union is preparing as if the vice president is going to announce his candidacy. BERMAN: Do you think he is going to run for president? I'm not
asking you what he told you. I'm asking you what's in your head. Do you think he's going to do it?
SCHAITBERGER: Well, we wouldn't be preparing our activities and preparing to support his candidacy if we didn't think that he was preparing to announce.
BOLDUAN: Do you think there's still a decision to be made here, sir, or do you think it is just now a question of when he will announce?
SCHAITBERGER: I really do think he's been going through this process very carefully, very deliberately. He's been doing his due diligence. He's checking off those boxes. He's reaching out to ensure, you know, can he raise sufficient funds? Does he have the infrastructure ready to go into place? Is he ready to connect with the various constituency groups? And I guess I'm answering your question that he's really still going through this process. And not to be pushed by these, as I describe them, artificial deadlines that have been reported, you know, it was the debate, then it was imminent, then it was 48 hours. Then it's the hearings. Then it's the J.J. Dinner. And what I believe is that he's been very consistent, and he's going through his process leading up to making that final decision.
BERMAN: So when? Are we talking today? Tomorrow? Friday? The Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, which is in Iowa, is Saturday. You think it could be after Saturday?
SCHAITBERGER: I -- I think that those alleged or perceived deadlines are irrelevant to the vice president. He will announce his decision when he has fully vetted and determined whether or not he's ready to offer himself up to the American people to become our next president.
BOLDUAN: I do want to get your sense, though, you are very politically aware on what you think, then, if those are -- if those are artificial deadlines, what are the deadlines that actually matter? What is the president, then -- the vice president, then, still weighing? A lot of folks coming out of the debate said after Hillary Clinton's strong performance, there wasn't space left there for Joe Biden. And then folks said nope, the debate isn't going to have any impact on his decision. So what's left for him to weigh?
SCHAITBERGER: Well, I mean, I think part of this is making that -- really that personal last gut check. The vice president is a very experienced, seasoned politician. You know, this is a man that's served in the Senate for over 30 years and as our vice president for seven. And I don't think he's going to be pushed in any way to make a decision until he's prepared to make it and then announce it.
Now, I think there are realities with some of the filing deadlines. I'd be probably less than genuine if I didn't acknowledge, you know, there's certain aspects of running that dictate a candidacy. But certainly none of these that have been portrayed or reported I don't believe are a factor at all in his decision-making process. I think that he will make that decision. And when he makes it, if it's to announce his candidacy, it will be done in a time where he will be able to run an effective campaign.
[11:05:08] BERMAN: You said your organization would not be preparing as it is now to help him get in the race if you did not think that it was likely he was going to get in. Does that mean that you will be surprised or would be surprised at this point if he announces he's not running?
SCHAITBERGER: Well, I think I'd have to say yes to that question. We're preparing as if the vice president is going to announce his candidacy.
BOLDUAN: That's a very big statement. You are the head of a very influential union. You are very politically astute. You've been very close to Vice President Biden for years. What's going to be different this time for him, Harold, Mr. Schaitberger, than the last go 'round running for president?
SCHAITBERGER: Well, when you say different, I tell you what we know and what the firefighters and paramedics, the 300,000 of the members of our international union know. And that is the vice president is truly genuine. He's authentic. He really knows how to connect with people. He knows how to connect with workers. He speaks the language, and he embraces the policies. This is a person that has a long track record of working on behalf of the middle class, working class.
BOLDUAN: On that note --
SCHAITBERGER: He understands blue-collar workers. What he will provide is a genuine and authentic opportunity for people to say this is the person I want to be my president.
BOLDUAN: On that note, we all know that Hillary Clinton's campaign has been strongly courting the support of your members, of your group. You say he's truly genuine. He is authentic. Is Hillary Clinton not, then?
SCHAITBERGER: No. I'm not saying that. What I'm focused on and what I'm certainly saying is all of the attributes and all of the skills and the pluses that we believe the vice president would bring to the office of president. I would not make any value judgment in any of the other candidates that are currently running for the same office.
BERMAN: Harold Schaitberger, thanks so much for being with us. Really appreciate your insight here. You are one of the few who has spoken to the vice president and is talking out loud. Thank you.
SCHAITBERGER: Thank you. Thank you for having me.
BOLDUAN: Let's continue this conversation and let's bring in Luis Navarro, Biden's campaign manager back in 2008.
Luis, it's great to see you again. Thanks for coming in. I want to get your reaction to what we heard from Harold Schaitberger
right there, that he would be surprised now if Joe Biden does not get into the race.
LUIS NAVARRO, FORMER JOE BIDEN CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Well, obviously, since he's spoken to the vice president, I would, you know, have to defer to his judgment and his sense of what that conversation led him to the conclusion of. So I think really if, in fact, that is where the vice president is leaning at this juncture and is beginning to line up support, then the question is simply when.
BERMAN: Luis, you know the vice president. What's he doing now? Over the last couple of days, he has said things which, you know, people say are thinly veiled shots at Hillary Clinton. They're really not veiled at all. Hillary Clinton, in the debate last week, talked about she was asked who the enemy she has that she's proudest of are, and she named the Republicans there. And I think at least three times over the last few days Joe Biden has gone out of his way to say no, no, no, Republicans aren't our enemies. They're our friends. Listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The other team is not the enemy. If you treat it as the enemy, there is no way we can ever, ever, ever resolve the problems we have to.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: So, you know, if he's not running now, what is he doing?
NAVARRO: Well, I mean, I think part of this is simply a function of how the vice president views politics. As he often has said, he never questions his opponents' motivations. He only questions on occasion their judgments. And so I think that, you know, he is obviously talking about his perspective which I don't think is anything particularly new in that regard. But I think what is most important as President Schaitberger referred to and as was referred in last week's letter to Senator Ted Kaufman and what he will be expected to do once he gets into this race which is to identify what he is for, what it is that he will do if he is the next president of the United States.
BOLDUAN: Luis, you kind of raise the question that everyone's wondering, and you're better to answer it than anyone when. If this is where the vice president's leaning right now, when is he going to announce? What left is there to weigh other than how to perfectly time the announcement? What do you think?
[11:10:05] NAVARRO: Well, I think as, again, President Schaitberger referred to, there are some practical deadlines that begin to come into play. For example, Alabama will have a filing deadline at the end of October. If you're talking about a Super Tuesday strategy that may be a factor in the vice president's considerations, New Hampshire's filing deadline is November 20th. Florida, November 30th, I believe. And so these are states that have a lot of symbolic as well as practical considerations for anyone running for president. And let's keep in mind that, historically, Ted Kennedy waited until November of '79 to run. Mario Cuomo had a plane famously on the tarmac in Albany in December of 1991-- I'm sorry, Ted Kennedy in '79. And so I think that it all depends, you know, what are the sorts of strategic objectives when the vice president decides to announce.
BOLDUAN: And one of those strategic objectives might also center around this Benghazi Committee hearing that Senator Clinton will be testifying before tomorrow. But that might also be one of those artificial deadlines.
We'll continue to wait with you, Luis. Thank you so much.
NAVARRO: Thank you.
BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, he won't give up family time, and he won't deal with infighting, those are two of Paul Ryan's demands to get him to run to be the next House speaker. So has he won over any of the skeptics yet? One of those House Republicans is joining us next.
BERMAN: Plus, Hillary Clinton behind closed doors. She is now preparing to face Republicans on the Benghazi Committee. One of those Republicans says this whole thing, it's worse than Watergate. This congressman joins us live.
Also, it's 3:00 a.m., a musician breaks down on the side of the road. A plain-clothes officer approaches him. The musician ends up dead. So what happened in the moments in between?
[11:16:18] BERMAN: This morning the Capitol Hill cliff-hanger, call it "As the gavel turns." CNN has learned that John Boehner has scheduled October 28th for a vote on the next house speaker. The question is, will Paul Ryan be running?
BOLDUAN: I just can't get past "As the gavel turns."
BERMAN: "As the gavel turns" --
BOLDUAN: I would like the music to cue right now.
BERMAN: -- like sands through the hourglass.
BOLDUAN: Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan, I'm talking about now, says that he will go for the job, but he has a wish list. Some might even think it's more of a pipe dream. Within conditions. The entire fractured GOP conference must get behind him. John Boehner, the current speaker, the outgoing speaker, spoke just moments ago, praising Ryan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER, (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Listen, I think Paul Ryan would make a great speaker. We all know Paul Ryan, right? He's a very good member. He works hard. He's very bright. And he has a good relationship, I think, with all the wings of the party. That's why I think he'll be doing fine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: "He'll be doing fine."
Let's bring in Republican Congressman Thomas Massie of Kentucky.
Congressman, it's great to see you. Thanks so much for coming back in.
REP. THOMAS MASSIE, (R), KENTUCKY: Thanks for having me, Kate.
So, will you back Paul Ryan?
MASSIE: You know, I'm not sure he wants the job. His list of demands were so bold, they pass into almost the unreasonable. We did a nationwide search for a CEO once at my company, and we had some guy show up that said, I want to make sure I can't be fired, and I'm not going to work on weekends. Needless to say, we didn't hire that guy because we didn't think he wanted the job.
BERMAN: I don't think he just answered our question, Congressman.
Are you going to vote for Paul Ryan for speaker?
MASSIE: I'm going to vote for Daniel Webster for speaker. They both want to bring the conference together. They just disagree on how it should be done. Paul Ryan thinks the speaker needs more power, and Daniel Webster thinks that the members need more power. So we all have the same goal here. It's just sort of a difference of opinion on how to get there.
BOLDUAN: Let's look at some of this bold list of demands that you're talking about that you think is borderline unreasonable. He wants the party to come together. He wants to be a unifying figure. He does want to change house rules that the rules are made as a team, if you will. He also wants better work/life balance. He said he's not going to travel as much to raise money. How bold really are these demands?
MASSIE: Well, you know, to make sure that everybody will vote for him is a bold list. He said that he wanted every caucus in the GOP to be for him. But I'd like to remind him the chairman of the Tea Party caucus and the chairman of the Liberty Caucus are two guys he kicked off the budget committee. So it could be tough to get unanimity. I really appreciate his desire to spend time with his family. Frankly, that's why I wouldn't take the job for speaker. I mean, that's a tough decision right there. But I think it's sort of an unreasonable demand to say you're not going to work on weekends.
BERMAN: Congressman, is Paul Ryan going to be your next speaker, though? Do you think that you -- and I've heard a few other names -- say they would not support him? Do you think you have the votes to block him?
MASSIE: I'm not -- again, I'm not sure he wants the job. I think this might have been a good way that he's turning down the job. It's going to be close. Let me just say that.
BERMAN: So you think there are others besides you willing to stand up --
BERMAN: -- and not give Paul Ryan the unanimity you say he wants?
MASSIE: That's right. Daniel Webster is still in the race and there are a lot of people as of this morning still backing Daniel Webster.
BOLDUAN: What could you hear from Paul Ryan that's going to change it? What I'm hearing right now is nothing.
MASSIE: Well, he'd have to say he wants to give up some of the power instead of have more power. And even if he got --
BOLDUAN: Congressman, you are not going to get that from anyone who's actually going to win the job as speaker of the House.
MASSIE: That's what Daniel Webster says. I think it's the only winnable platform if you're trying to get everybody to be for you, and the grass roots. The grass roots are why John Boehner's leaving.
[11:20:07] BERMAN: You're why.
MASSIE: Well --
BERMAN: You're why John Boehner's leaving.
BOLDUAN: It's called you.
BERMAN: You and other members like you and other members stopped Kevin McCarthy from taking over the job.
That's not a criticism. I think that's just basically a statement of fact. You guys got in the way of Kevin McCarthy becoming speaker.
So my question to you is, what have you won at this point? You helped push Boehner out of office. You helped Kevin McCarthy from becoming speaker. Now the guy who looks like he may get the job, the White House says they like him a lot, they say they like making deals with Paul Ryan. He may emerge to that chair with that gavel with more power than any speaker over the last decade.
MASSIE: Well, I recognize the White House and Harry Reid may be trolling us by saying they like Paul Ryan. They might like the disruption. But let me tell you what is going to come out of this chaos. Concurrent with the speaker race is an effort to change the rules of the House, the way this place works. And regardless of who wins, I think we are going to get some changes in the way this place works.
BOLDUAN: On this demand that he's making, on this list of demands, especially the demand that he's not going to give up family time is one thing. That stuck out to a lot of people that, wow, this is a man who's trying to figure out a work/life balance that a lot of us haven't been able to accomplish. You think he's trying to demand his way out of contention, though?
MASSIE: That's what I think. And look, I'm sympathetic to his demands. If you say that the speaker's job now includes getting to go home every weekend to your family, I expect we have 50 more people that would take the job under those conditions.
BOLDUAN: Congressman Thomas Massie, it's great to see you. Thank you so much. Keep us updated.
MASSIE: Thanks, John and Kate.
All right. I will.
BERMAN: We're marking you down as a no. We're marking you down as a no vote.
BOLDUAN: A soft no, maybe? We'll see. We'll check with you tomorrow.
MASSIE: A no for Paul Ryan, a yes for Daniel Webster.
BERMAN: Congressman, great to have you with us. Thank you.
MASSIE: Thank you.
BERMAN: This just in, on a completely different note --
BERMAN: -- Chris Rock is going to host the academy awards.
BOLDUAN: Not running for the speaker's chair.
BERMAN: As far as we know, not yet.
Chris Rock has already hosted once. He did it back in 2005. Neil Patrick Harris was the last host of the Oscars. The ratings were not particularly high for that. The 88th Academy Awards will be held in Hollywood on February 28th. A lot of people think Chris Rock is very, very funny. He did get some criticism.
BOLDUAN: He's a comedian.
BERMAN: He did get some criticism the last time he hosted. Some people didn't like his jokes. I happened to think he was hilarious.
BOLDUAN: It's hard to be perfect in that role.
Coming up for us, the cover-up is worse than Watergate. That's what one congressman says about the investigation into the Benghazi attacks. He's joining us as he and the committee prepare to take on Hillary Clinton.
BERMAN: No dashcam, no bodycam. Many questions this morning after a man was killed in his car by a police officer. But what happened on the Florida highway in the middle of the night?
[11:27:07] BERMAN: This morning, a deadly shooting is raising questions. A police officer in Palm Beach County, Florida, shot a man whose car had broken down late at night. Investigators now say it was a case of misidentification on the part of both men.
BOLDUAN: According to Officer Newman Raja's report, that man, Corey Jones, confronted him with a gun. The officer was in an unmarked car and not in uniform at the time. But the family of Corey Jones says that doesn't sound like Corey at all. They want answers, and they also want the officer -- they also want this from the officer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SYLVESTER BANKS SR, GRANDFATHER OF COREY JONES: I would plead to him to tell the truth. The truth is going to make you free. Come forward and tell the truth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Alina Machado is following all the developments.
Alina, what are you learning right now about more what exactly happened?
ALINA MACHADO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, this family obviously still has a lot of questions about what happened that night. We've learned this morning that, according to a law enforcement source with knowledge of the investigation, Officer Newman Raja called in on the radio saying that he was going to check on what he thought was an abandoned car on an exit ramp on Interstate 95. Again, he was in plainclothes. He was in an unmarked car and working a burglary detail at the time. The source tells us there had been burglars in the area in recent days and that some of them had parked near that off-ramp. Police say that as the officer was getting out of his car, he was suddenly confronted by Corey Jones who they say was armed. That's when police say Raja fired his weapon and killed Jones. Police said yesterday that a handgun was recovered from the scene and that records show that Jones had actually purchased that handgun just three days before the encounter.
An attorney for the family for the Jones family has said that Jones did carry a handgun for his personal protection and that that handgun was legally purchased.
A source also says, as you mentioned, that this may very well be a case of misidentification on both parts. Raja, perhaps, wasn't as clear that he was a police officer, and Jones may not have heard him and perhaps took out his gun to protect himself.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHEN STEPP, CHIEF, PALM BEACH GARDENS, FLORIDA, POLICE: There are no records with our agency of any complaints, disciplinary actions, or internal affairs investigations against Officer Raja.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACHADO: Now, that was the police chief talking about the officer who was involved in the shooting. Our understanding is that Officer Raja was relatively new to this police department. He was just hired in April of this year. But he had several years of experience with a much smaller department before joining this one. And Raja, as you know is common in these circumstances, he is on paid administrative leave. The sheriff's office, we're told, is conducting an independent review of this shooting.
BOLDUAN: All right, Alina, thank you so much.