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Three Dead After Car Hits Homecoming Parade Crowd; Bill Clinton, Katy Perry Campaign For Hillary; Clinton, Sanders Host Dueling Rallies in Iowa; Is Jefferson-Jackson Dinner Democratic Game Changer; Bill Clinton Stumps for Wife; Obama: Too Much Testing Does Not Equal Results for Students. Aired. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired October 24, 2015 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[17:00:16] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Five o'clock Eastern, I'm Poppy Harlow in New York, and we begin with breaking news out of Oklahoma. Traditionally a day of fun and festivities at Oklahoma State University, homecoming turned into a day of shock and grief after a deadly car accident during the school's parade this morning. A car barreled into a crowd of spectators. Three people killed, 22 taken to the hospital, while university officials decided against cancelling the homecoming game against Kansas, they did pay tribute to the victims, the flag flown at half-staff.
Sarah Ganim following this story for us, what do we know about what caused this?
SARA GANIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we know that there's someone in jail right now charged with DUI.
GANIM: We're seeing pictures of her actually for the first time. This is the driver, 25-year-old Adacia Chambers was arrested at the scene shortly after this crash. Police are saying that she barreled through a parked police motorcycle that was guarding the parade route and after slamming into that motorcycle, then driving into the crowd, killing three people as you mentioned, critically injuring eight, seven of them were air lifted, another nine were seriously injured, and 17 more also hurt.
That's according to police in Stillwater. We also know that there's a crash investigation that team on the scene reconstructing what happened, and they are asking the public to come forward. You know, presumably, hundreds, maybe even thousands of eyeballs there, right? People who were there looking at the parade, having a fun day when this happened, and they are looking for people who might have had cell phones with them, would have pictures, would have video. Police are specifically asking for people to come forward and help them with this investigation today -- Poppy.
HARLOW: OK. Sara Ganim, thank you very much. An absolute tragedy, three lives lost, eight more in critical condition. Thank you, Sara Ganim. I want to bring in on the phone Captain Kyle Gibbs, he is joining us from the Stillwater, Oklahoma Police Department. Thank you for being with me, sir.
CAPTAIN KYLE GIBBS, STILLWATER, OKLAHOMA POLICE DEPARTMENT (on the phone): Thank you.
HARLOW; So, if you can hear me, the fact that this is -- this woman is under arrest, we can pull her mug shot up, and 25 year old under arrest for DUI. Can you tell us more about what happened here that claimed these three lives and potentially more, you've got eight in critical condition.
GIBBS: Well, let me set the stage for you. This is an annual event, the homecoming parade. The parade is about -- it goes for about a mile. It culminates there at the intersection of Hall of Fame and Main Street. As it approaches Hall of Fame on Main, the parade entrants are split up to go one of three different directions. So it's kind of the conclusion point of the parade. All three sides of the Main Street north of the intersection is blocked with people. And then all the curbs south of the intersection are lined with people. What happened was this vehicle was being driven southbound towards that intersection. It approached the intersection, hit a group of people and hit a parked unmanned police motorcycle, and then went across the intersection and hit the curb and also hit additional people. In all, there were three fatalities, and at this point, my most recent numbers indicate an additional 34 people were injured in varying degrees of severity.
HARLOW: OK, Captain Kyle Gibbs, thank you very much. We are wishing for the best for all of those people who are injured and our hearts go out for the three lives lost. Thank you very much.
I do want to take you now live to Houston. We have a press conference there on the severe catastrophic flooding you've been seeing. Let's listen in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Underpass or an intersection that's dangerous, law enforcement's going to get there as quickly as they can to make sure people don't drive into it. We saw over Memorial Day, unfortunately, where some barricades were put up, people actually drove around, a car was parked, they'd drive around. Please, don't do that. That's really the bottom-line that we're looking at tonight. We do have the Regional Joint Information Center up and running to coordinate keeping the public informed. We will be here tonight, into tomorrow, until the severe weather passes, whether that's tomorrow morning, tomorrow afternoon, or even Monday.
Unless there are new developments such as neighborhood flooding or something like that, it's not our intention to have anymore press conferences. We will all be available to answer questions, we will be here, but if, obviously, if there's a dramatic turn of events, we will be available for questions and we'll have a press conference only if necessary. Harris County Flood Control District, Harris County Sheriff's Office, the toll road authority, all the constables, everybody's on full alert and they are ready to try and keep the community safe.
[17:05:18] So again, from Harris County's point of view, our main concern is high water this evening, it's dark, people can't see how high the water is or how dangerous it is. If there was any good to come out of Memorial Day, you know, the events of Memorial Day, it is that's fresh on people's mind, they realize that unfortunately, people actually lost their lives in some high water incidents. We don't want that to occur again. That's why we're activated and that's why we're having this press conference just to reiterate and just to warn people one more time, we're going to get a lot of rain tonight and it's going to result in some high water situations, so for heaven's sake, be safe out there -- Mayor.
MAYOR ANNISE PARKER, HOUSTON: Thank you, Judge, and the message from the city of Houston is going to be the same as from Harris County, and that is that we expect eight to 12 inches of rain, could be more, depending on how that rain falls, if it's fast enough in a small enough area, we know that we will have localized street flooding. We're going to have heavy rain region wide, and just as a fact of the geography that we deal with here, that depending on how fast that rain comes down, we know there will be some high water incidents. Now, coastal areas are already beginning to experience some of that, and at this point it looks like it's going to be more south, southeast part of Houston and Harris County.
But because of the potential of localized heavy rain, the potential for high water could occur anywhere across the region. It's going to get dark, and as the judge said, turn around, don't drown. We have not made a call for the cancellation of events. We have not asked for any particular precautions to be taken, but it's just a good idea if you don't have to be out this evening, probably best to stay home. If you encounter high water on the roadway, call 311 so that we can go out and do our job to block the roads and make sure that no one loses a vehicle and certainly not driving into a flooded underpass, for example, and lose a life.
Because this is an event that we could all see coming and we've known that the potential impact, we have prepositioned city assets, we have barricades ready to go up at the intersections where traditionally we have problems. We also have fire assets prepositioned and we have, of course, all of our first responders on notice that they may have to deploy. Like the county, we will -- we are -- we have already gone to an elevated level within the Houston Emergency Center. We're going to ramp it up another notch at 5:00. We'll be on alert at the Houston Emergency Center all evening to respond, but this is a situation that Houstonians should be familiar with.
HARLOW: All right, there you have it, the mayor of Houston and East Parker talking about the flooding all across Houston. You see it, some cars submerged in it. She said stay home tonight if you can, if you come across deep water in the roads, call 311 so they can block off those roads. We will continue to monitor that press conference and the severe flooding in Houston for you. I'm going to take a quick break. On the other side, to politics we go and tonight could be one of the most important of the 2016 campaign for the Democrats at least, candidates in Iowa campaigning ahead of the Jefferson Jackson Annual Dinner and Fundraiser in front of 6,000 people. What will we hear tonight? Especially from Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, as they battle it out in Iowa, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
[17:13:12] HARLOW: We are still 100 days away from the first in the nation Iowa caucuses, but tonight the stakes could not be higher for the democratic presidential candidates. Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Martin O'Malley scheduled to speak before a crowd of 6,000 people. In the Iowa Democratic Party's Jefferson Jackson Dinner, it is the same event that gave then-Senator Barack Obama his breakout campaign moment of 2007. Before the dinner, the candidates are using big rallies trying to generate excitement ahead of their speeches.
CNN Senior Washington Correspondent Jeff Zeleny in Des Moines at the Clinton event along with the former President, her husband Bill Clinton, Katy Perry. A lot of star power.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: There sure is, Poppy, a lot of star power here, not just a political variety, I can tell you. The big crowd that is gathered here behind us, of course they do want to hear from the Clintons, but I think they also want to hear from Katy Perry. But you mentioned dueling rallies, if you look in the distance there, that bridge you can see across the Des Moines River, that's where the Bernie Sanders crowd is gathering, as well. There's some taunting going back and forth, at least from the Sanders side, some supporters on stage there saying, we can't hear you, we want to hear you roar, of course, going after the popular song that Katy Perry sings.
So, look, this is all about getting the Democrats fired up, getting them enthused. We are 100 days before the Iowa caucuses here, Martin O'Malley, the former governor of Maryland is also on hand here just about a block away. He'll be playing some of his own music. It's down to three candidates in this democratic race and this is coming on the heels of some of the ten strongest days of the Clinton campaign. Of course, she had a good debate performance. Joe Biden decided to not again jump in the race and then, of course, that Benghazi hearing on Thursday. So the Clinton campaign is confident, but this is just a reminder that they still have a campaign to go -- Poppy.
HARLOW: You know, I think it's interesting, too, when you talk about then-Senator Barack Obama having this breakout moment in 2007 and how important this dinner is for Democrats in Iowa. For Hillary Clinton, Jeff, what do you think the messaging is here, because there has perhaps been no better known candidate that in some ways wants to reintroduce herself to people? Can she do that tonight?
ZELENY: Sure, I think it's less about reintroducing herself and just about reminding them that she is a fighter for them. In fact, on the back of some of the shirts here, it says she's fighting for us, that's the message of the Clinton campaign is really trying to get across in a nutshell, that she's a fighter for you. You're right about that dinner eight years ago, it's really the first breakout moment for Senator Barack Obama. We think back now that he was a rock star at the rally, he actually really wasn't. He had a tough summer that year, as well. So, that was his breakout moment. I think she's, of course, not looking for a breakout moment, but just trying to reassure Democrats that they can count on her. But Bernie Sanders is also very popular here.
ZELENY: He's behind her in the polls by just eight or nine points or so, so it's still a very competitive race here with 100 days to go before the Iowa caucuses.
HARLOW: Yes. Certainly no one has this locked in, that's for sure. Jeff Zeleny, thank you, as always, for the latest in politics, and all the presidential contenders, go to CNNpolitics.com. Much more news after this. First, though, Anthony Bourdain explores Ethiopia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTHONY BOURDAIN, CNN HOST, "PARTS UNKNOWN": This is a very misunderstood country. For instance, did you know that, you know that Christianity was in Ethiopia like before Europe? That it's not an arid desert. That it's, in fact, mostly green, that there's a construction boom going on here that rivals China and Dubai? It's a country filled with great cooks. Great music. Ethiopia is absolutely unique, little understood, we're looking to shed a little light.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[17:21:14] HARLOW: You are looking at live pictures out of Des Moines, Iowa, where in just about an hour from now Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders will host dueling rallies ahead of a very big event, the Iowa Democratic Party's Jefferson Jackson dinner in front of 6,000 people. The Hillary Clinton rally that you just saw there on your right, will see appearances from her husband, former President Bill Clinton, as well as performance pop star Katy Perry, this is an attempt to generate all that enthusiasm and excitement ahead of her big speech tonight.
I want to go straight to CNN's senior political analyst, former advisor to four presidents, David Gergen with me in New York. Thank you for being here.
DAVID GERGEN, ADVISED PRESIDENTS NIXON, FORD, REAGAN AND CLINTON: Thank you.
HARLOW: Let's talk about historically how critical this dinner is for Democrats. Why is it so important?
GERGEN: Well, for years Jefferson Jackson had been seen as sort of the fathers of the Democratic Party. That's no longer true.
HARLOW: Changing the name of the dinner because of their history with slavery.
GERGEN: Exactly, exactly, so they're moving away from that. But a special significance tonight when of course, because of eight years ago when Barack Obama totally surprised her. You know, she showed up empty seats, you know, in her bleachers, he came in with a big crowd, gave a, you know, bang-up speech, real barn burner and it converted him into the winning candidate. She had not lost Iowa that first time, she probably would have been president back in 2009.
HARLOW: So, let's play some of that breakout moment of then-Senator Barack Obama giving what is considered to be the breakout speech of his campaign talking about the Democratic Party.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: A party that doesn't just focus on how to win, but why we should. A party -- a party that doesn't just offer change as a slogan, but real, meaningful change. Change that America can believe in.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: Is there anything, David, that you think Hillary Clinton can learn from that speech then to give tonight?
GERGEN: Absolutely. Two things. One, in this speech you cannot use notes, you can't have a teleprompter, you have to do it from the heart. It's supposed to be a speech about passion, he brought a lot of that. But secondly, he made that a positive speech about uniting the country and not a partisan speech about going after Republicans. There's a real temptation, I'm sure on Hillary's part to go after the Republicans. After the way she got beat up in the Benghazi hearings, I'm sure in her heart she'd like to do that. But I think tonight which she needs to come forward is, as the uniter. More than anything else, what she wants to do tonight is to convert the progress she's made, the big breakthrough she's had in the last ten days, we just hear about from Jeff Zeleny, and to turn that into voter enthusiasm for her, to get these big crowds not just assuming she's going to be the nominee, but wanting her to be the nominee.
HARLOW: Right. So let's talk about those Benghazi hearings.
HARLOW: That captivated a lot of us, we're watching 11 hours and on, you've worked with Hillary Clinton before, and when you are asked by Bob Woodward of the Washington Post whether you trust her, you said this, let's put up, quote, "I don't think she tells lies, I think she's careful with the truth." What did you mean by that and what does that mean for voters?
GERGEN: Well, look, you know, a lot of people don't trust her at all, they think she's continuing lying, lying even at the Benghazi hearings. I don't think -- that's not the Hillary Clinton I know. I do think that she's an advocate for her side and she will tell you selectively, you know, how she sees it, but she's not going to give you the entire picture. And frankly, a lot of politicians do that, most politicians do that.
HARLOW: Exact different --
GERGEN: It's not terribly different, but I think that when you scrutinize her, I thrust her to do the big things she believes in. I don't think she's a liar. I don't think, you know, well sometimes you do me, politicians are a congenital liars, I don't think that's who she is. I do think that she's been beat up a lot in her life and I think she's protective of herself and I think she's sometimes very protective and cautious about what she says.
HARLOW: You just wrote an op-ed on CNN.com and I want to quote part of it that stood out to me, "Never in modern times has a political party done so much to rehabilitate the leading presidential candidate in the other party." You're talking about the Republicans. Never in modern times?
GERGEN: I can't remember a time when there have been so many instances, back to back to back, you've got this mayhem in the republican ranks as they seek for president and increasingly she's going to be compared to Donald Trump and right now, his negatives are a lot bigger than hers. So, that helps her. Then you've got the way the Benghazi hearings themselves were undermined by people, Republicans, saying they were set up, they were rigged to discredit her. Then, you've also got the disagreement in the House of Representatives as Speaker Boehner was dislodged. And then the Benghazi hearings. And I think it's particularly important that the most badgering, the worst badgering of her occurred in primetime when everybody was tired and the Republicans, they were frustrated, they were tired.
HARLOW: The 9:00 hour.
[17:26:25] GERGEN: Yes. And they went after her and that's what over five million people who were watching at that on those hours, that's what they saw and they came away from that thinking, even conservatives said, oh my goodness, what have we done here?
HARLOW: Can they turn it around?
GERGEN: Oh, yes, they've got time, but the Republican Party suffers right now -- there is no leader in the Republican Party. When you don't have the White House, you're sort of leaderless. And therefore, there are all these different factions that are asserting themselves. When you have a leader or, you know, when you're holding the White House, usually it's a little easier.
HARLOW: We'll see if it's going to be Paul Ryan.
GERGEN: We'll see.
HARLOW: We'll see. We'll see. Begrudgingly, possibly taking this post --
HARLOW: David Gergen, thank you. Very much appreciate it. Good to be with you.
Of course, when it comes to politics, Iowa is no ordinary state. The Jefferson-Jackson Dinner no ordinary event. You're looking at live pictures of rallies from the Clinton camp and Sanders camp ahead of the big dinner tonight. Now the dinner is changing its name. Why? It harkens all the way back to slavery. We'll discuss, next.
[17:30:35] HARLOW: Hillary Clinton, Martin O'Malley, Bernie Sanders hitting the trail hard in Iowa tonight, especially at the big Jefferson-Jackson fundraising dinner in Des Moines. It could be a game changer. It certainly has been for the Democrats in the past.
We are joined now by Kathy Obradovich, a political columnist at the "Des Moines Register."
Thanks for being with me.
KATHY OBRADOVICH, POLITICAL COLUMNIST, DES MOINES REGISTER: Thanks for having me, Poppy.
HARLOW: Tell me about the importance of this dinner. Yes, we know then-Senator Barack Obama stood out in 2007 when he spoke there, but why does this dinner overall, historically, matter so much ahead of the primary?
OBRADOVICH: Yeah, so this is a pre-caucus event and normally this is a place where presidential candidates can talk to thousands and thousands of Iowa Democrats all in one place. Normally it's about making a great first impression. It's a little different this year. Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Martin O'Malley, now a three-person race, and so really -- and really look at the polls it's a two-person race.
HARLOW: It is, and, you know, it's interesting, too, about this dinner is the fact the Democratic party in your state in Iowa has voted to change the name of this dinner from the Jefferson-Jackson dinner starting next year because both Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson owned slaves. In response to that, Jonathan Martin of "The New York Times" made this observation. Let's pull it up. "These time-honored rituals are colliding with the modern Democratic Party more energized by a racial and gender inclusion than reverence for history and state by state Democratic activists are removing the names of Jefferson and Jackson saying the two men no longer represent what it means to be a Democrat."
What's your response to that?
OBRADOVICH: Yeah, you know, so I think that this is something that the party has been talking about for a long time. They started to see other states take action to change their Jefferson and Jackson events and they really are caging this as making it part of a modernization effort for the Democratic Party. That's important in Iowa, because Iowa's a very white state. People criticize Iowa as being first in the nation for the caucuses because they say it's not necessarily demographically representative of the rest of the country. Well, the Democrats like to remind people Iowa was the first state to launch Barack Obama to the White House. HARLOW: I want to get your take -- I hear it, Kathy, I want to get
your take on the GOP and what we saw as a shake-up in the polls there at the end of this week. Trump not in the lead in two major polls there, including the "Des Moines Register" poll.
And as we see, Bill Clinton walking out right now, we'll monitor that.
What do you make of the fact Ben Carson is leading Trump in two polls in your state?
OBRADOVICH: Yeah, so I couldn't quite hear your question, but I think you were talking about the Republicans and our new poll, which shows Ben Carson going ahead of Donald Trump for the first time and going up big. Donald Trump fell four points from August in the Des Moines Register Iowa poll and Ben Carson went up ten points. It's a big shift. I think the thing that people like -- go ahead.
HARLOW: Kathy, I want you to talk about, as we watch live pictures of former President Bill Clinton speaking here in Iowa, for his stumping, for his wife, the significance of him now on the campaign trail in a big way.
OBRADOVICH: Yeah, so this is the first time Bill Clinton has actually been speaking in Iowa since Hillary Clinton became a candidate. He did stump for some candidates in Iowa during the 2014 cycle. But he is huge here. He's a rock star. Maybe more so than Katy Perry right now.
HARLOW: Let's take a minute, Kathy -- stay with me. Let's listen to him and talk about it on the other side.
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- have learned a lot about Hillary, what she's for, why she's running, and what kind of president she'd be.
CLINTON: And if they watched "Saturday Night Live," they know she's a pretty good bartender, too.
CLINTON: It's been an interesting month for our family. Seven weeks ago, our granddaughter had her first birthday.
CLINTON: And then we celebrate our 40th anniversary.
[17:35:14] CLINTON: And then we had that amazing debate in Las Vegas. It was great.
CLINTON: And I have to say, even though I was immensely proud of her and I thought she did great, I was proud to be a Democrat, because I watched five hours of the Republican debate, and, you know, none of our people -- every disagreement they had was over an issue. Every difference of opinion was over whether this or that course would be best for the American people. That's politics at its best. Nobody insulted anybody else, nobody was out there to try to get people to stop thinking, nobody was out there trying to denigrate anybody.
CLINTON: It made me proud. And then a couple of days ago, we had that 11-hour marathon in Washington. I will say this. We had the friends of our lifetime e-mailing me furiously saying they thought she was doing great and all that. To every one of them, I wrote back a simple answer, "I think I'll vote for her."
CLINTON: And here's what I want to say to you, all of you. Hillary's basically run on four big issues. One, most important, securing this economic recovery and making sure that the benefits are broadly shared, that people actually have a chance to participate in it.
CLINTON: We heard you. And this guy, he really thinks you came to see him. So give him a big hand and maybe he'll know you got it.
CLINTON: Thank you. So the other -- we got it.
CLINTON: We got it. We got it.
CLINTON: Wait, wait, wait. Thank you.
CLINTON: We got it. Will you please quit now? Thank you.
CLINTON: Thank you.
Give him a hand.
CLINTON: Let me tell you something. At least that guy's for something. He didn't come here to bad mouth anybody. We ought to give him a hand. In this world, that's rare enough.
All right, so look, I want to say these things real quick, then we'll get on with the show. One is, we have gotten all the jobs back we lost in the crash. We got them back two years earlier than the historic average. Normally, it takes 10 years to do that after a financial crash. But we don't have the income growth back. We don't have the job security back. We don't have the ability to educate people and get out of college without a crushing debt back. We don't have affordable childcare. We're one of nine nations in the world without paid family leave. We don't have equal pay for women, and that's why we only rank 20th in the world in a percentage of women in the workforce. It's killing us economically that we have denied these opportunities. So this is about how do you create broadly shared prosperity.
I have reviewed these plans, and let me remind you, one time in 50 years did we all grow together, when I had the honor of serving as your president.
CLINTON: When we had --
CLINTON: when percentage terms the bottom 20 percent income grew as much as the top 5 percent. It hasn't happened before or since. Under President Obama, it couldn't happen, because, first, we had to get over the worst crash since the depression. So what we had to do was to build on that for broad-based prosperity and the security in knowing you have an education, that you can afford childcare for your kids, that your kids can have access to free kindergarten so they are not going to be hurt development tally, that women get equal pay for equal work --
[17:40:00] CLINTON: -- that nobody that works 40 hours a week works in poverty. This is a big deal. And to do that we have to strengthen families, which is why all these family issues are important. And we have to deal with the fact that the political system has become dominated by negative hit strategy designed to get all these smart people, well paid, to spend hours and hours in darkrooms peering onto screens looking for the least little thing they can find that then you can turn into a big ad, paid for by anonymous donors, that will convince you that this person you thought was perfectly sane and nice was, in fact, an ogre waiting in the night for Halloween to destroy you all. We all know what's going on. And we've got to reject it.
But if you want to do something about it, you have to realize the next president is probably going to make between one and three appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court.
CLINTON: It's another reason to be for Hillary. (CHEERING)
CLINTON: If you want to do something, you have to stop rewarding the strategy of destruction and start rewarding people who want to build this country and let everybody have a part in it together.
CLINTON: And the last thing I want to say that was illustrated I thought pretty well in that congressional hearing, is you're electing someone -- there's a person over here with a "Fix the V.A." sign. I want to say something about that. You're electing someone to take the oath of office to uphold all the duties of the president imposed by the Congress, including being commander-in-chief, ahead of the diplomatic forces of the country, somebody who will do his or her best to stop big, bad things from happening and make more good things happen. Believe it or not, the headlines are all bad, but the trend lines aren't. There's a lot of wonderful things going on in the world today. Six of the 10 fastest growing economies are in Africa. Our friends in Latin America have upheld democracy against all the odds. We're about to have a peace in Colombia it looks like after 40 years of fights fuelled by the narco trafficking.
CLINTON: We're getting along better with Cuba and trying to work out that. Things are moving in a different direction than you would know from the headlines.
So when you elect a president, you've got to say, who's the person I think is most likely to keep big, bad things from happening and to make more good things happen? And to do it together so we can all be part of the future. I don't think there's a close question here. And that's why I want you to go talk to your friends and neighbors about. That's what I want you to caucus about. That's what I want you to insist that this election be about. It's about you and your families and your future.
You just take that man over there with his V.A. sign. You probably all read whether you've got a veteran in your family or not, about all the problems in the V.A. Believe it or not, when I was president, we had problems in the V.A., and we fixed them, and they were widely acclaimed. What happened was we wound up fighting two wars, the number of veterans poured back into America with a number of different health care problems, both mental and physical health, and a lot of those from the Vietnam era moved into their retirement years when they needed more health care and the system was overwhelmed without a strategy to deal with it. The only thing I want to say is, I believe that progress has been made, but there's more that needs to be done.
Hillary was the first New Yorker ever to be on the Armed Services Committee. I have heard countless nights of horror stories of the challenges facing veterans' families and what needs to be done about them. You are hiring a president to do the big things, like fight for broad-based prosperity, to fight for women's rights and gay rights and inclusive society, but you're also fighting for somebody to figure out how the health care reform can include mental health
CLINTON: How the people that are left out and left behind, including people who are caught up in this unbelievable prescription drug and heroin craze that is sweeping across small towns and rural Americans, not just in big cities, to deal with the challenges that parents with children with autism face, and to fix things that we as an honorable nation must fix, like the V.A. system.
CLINTON: This is the kind of thing -- so that's the last point I want to make, this is a job. When I met Hillary in law school, there were only, I think, 23 women out of more than 200 students at our law school. Now more than half of lawyers in the country are women.
[17:45:00] CLINTON: But there were only 23. She was working in a legal aid clinic. When she got out of law school, she didn't take one of those law firm jobs. She went to work for the Children's Defense Fund.
CLINTON: In the early '70s, she went to Georgia and Alabama to look into the conditions of poor foster kids and African-American 14 and 15 year olds who were in jail as adults to get them out of jail and get them decent treatment.
CLINTON: When she was a kid -- when she came home to Arkansas to marry me, she opened the first legal aid clinic we ever had at the university.
CLINTON: Jimmy Carter put her on the Legal Services Corporation Board, and at 29, the other board members elected her as the chairman. She's still the youngest person ever to serve in that job.
CLINTON: She started an advocacy group for families and children. She brought a preschool program in all the way from Israel because it taught poor parents to be their children's first teacher. When she was first lady, she oversaw the effort to add millions of children to the roles of health insurance, the biggest expansion of health care since Medicaid, until the last Affordable Care Act passed. She worked with Republicans to get millions of kids out of foster care into permanent adoptive homes. When she was a Senator, she worked with Republicans to help farmers. I won't be surprised in Iowa if you see some Republican farmers from New York show up here. One of them called me just the other day said, I want to go back. He said all I know is I'm not sure what party I'm in anymore, because when she was a Senator, she was the only person who ever did anything for our farmers, and I want to help her.
CLINTON: So, that's the person I know and the person America got to see again without all those barnacles in the debate and in those 11 hours of testimony. And that's why I just want you to know that that's why she's still got the best friends that she had in grade school. Anybody whose best friend in grade school is still close to her, sends her out pictures of her 50th high school reunion, which she couldn't go to, is, by definition, a trustworthy, reliable, good person, unless they had a toy theft gang going in grade school.
And I just want to say one other thing, and then I'll get off and let Katy get on here.
CLINTON: There's been a lot of talk about breaking the glass ceiling.
CLINTON: And I want to talk about one barrier that has not been broken. I want you to support Hillary for me, too, because I want to break a ceiling. I am tired of the stranglehold that women have had on the job of presidential spouse.
CLINTON: And I want you to help me with that. Look, we're laughing. This is serious business. I'd rather be in America's position looking to the future than any other country in the world, but it depends on whether we get serious, grow up, and take our politics seriously and stop running each other down and start building everybody up.
CLINTON: That's what this election is all about. You can do that.
And there's a lot of young people here, so I want to say one word to you. You need to show up. And your friends need to show up.
CLINTON: One of the reasons that America is so politically polarized today is that one set of Americans shows up every time there's a presidential election and then tons of them stay home when the next election occurs. So you've got one America electing presidents and another America electing Congresses, governors, state legislators, redistricting all the congressional districts. It doesn't work that way. If you want an end to negative politics, you have to stop rewarding it.
CLINTON: Instead, you have to say, I want to claim my future.
Believe me, I know how hard it is for a lot of people. We've been through stuff like this before. I'm no spring chicken. I've seen it all. But I promise you, there's not a better positioned country for the future than we are if we have the right leadership, if we make the right decisions, and if we decide we're going to do it together.
God bless you. Thank you.
[17:50:00] HARLOW: There you have it, the 42nd president of the United States, Bill Clinton, stumping officially for the first time for his wife, Hillary Clinton, who is the front-runner in Iowa right now, but trails not that far behind her is Bernie Sanders.
Jeff Zeleny with us on the ground.
Jeff, what do you make of it? How big is it for the folks in Iowa to hear from the former president?
ZELENY: Poppy, no better defender, no better cheerleader, there's one better to define an argument for Hillary Clinton's candidacy than Bill Clinton. We have not seen him much on the campaign trail at all, but, boy, he loves this. You can see the crowd behind me here. Actually, they came to see Katy Perry but didn't mind listing to him. By, boy, he talked about how he loved seeing her at the debates, during those Benghazi hearings. So what we're seeing is the beginning of a lot more campaigning from Bill Clinton, her biggest defender, an incredible surrogate. Of course, he comes with baggage, always.
ZELENY: But the pluses outweigh negatives for Bill Clinton.
HARLOW: I think it's interesting. Look, 1992, Iowa caucuses, Bill Clinton comes in fourth. Now he's got this huge popularity there in Iowa and, frankly, across the country. But you cannot discount Bernie Sanders. There's only a seven-point gap between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton in Iowa right now, and his message of a revolution on income inequality is resonating, Jeff.
ZELENY: No question about it. Bernie Sanders has been campaigning across Iowa and across the country. His message is resonating with his party. The party's changed so much since Bill Clinton served his eight years in the White House. The party's looking for, you know, an anti-establishment figure. And they liked what Bernie Sanders has to say here. So, you're absolutely right. You cannot write Bernie Sanders off by any stretch of the imagination. He is -- he has committed core supporters.
The question is, Poppy, is he able to grow those? Is he able to make the argument at the Jefferson-Jackson day dinner that he could be a credible alternative to her? He has his work cut out on that front. HARLOW: We'll be watching.
Jeff Zeleny, live for us in Des Moines. Thank you. I appreciate it as always.
I do want to get in here, though, a major announcement also today from the Obama administration on education, specifically standardized tests. The president coming out and saying too much testing does not equal results for students across this country.
The White House posting this message on Facebook.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If our kids had more free time at school, what would you want them to do with it? A, learn to play a musical instrument, B, study a new language, C, learn how to code HTML, or, D, take more standardized tests. If you're like most of the parents and teachers I hear from, you didn't choose "D." I wouldn't either.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: On Monday, President Obama, along with Education Secretary Arne Duncan, will meet with teachers and representatives of states and school districts across the country to hear more about the issue.
I'm joined on the phone by Secretary Duncan.
Thank you for being with me, sir.
ARNE DUNCAN, EDUCATION SECRETARY (voice-over): Good evening, Poppy. Thanks for having me.
HARLOW: We have spoken extensively about education in this country and what America's kids frankly deserve. I'm interested, as you're set to leave in December, your post, why this big shift in education policy? Why, now?
DUNCAN: I don't know if I'd call it a big shift. I thing what we're trying to get is the right balance. It's important to have good assessments and high-quality assessments, very important these assessments help students learn and helps parents know what their child's strengths and weaknesses are, and help teachers to ensure their students are doing well, but in some places, there's too much time and redundancy and tests. And the Council of Great City Schools have done fantastic research looking at big urban school districts. And, in some places, there's duplicative tests, redundancy. We want to make sure when time's taking away from actually learning and is not productive. It doesn't make sense.
DUNCAN: -- and that's what we're trying to help the country get to.
HARLOW: You mentioned the Council of the Great City Schools, this study that just came out today that found, as "New York Times" writes here, no evidence of more time spent on tests improving academic performance. For any parent across the country, that is trouble. At the same time, you know, critics, Secretary, look at this administration and administrations before hand and say haven't this administration's own policies contributed to over testing?
DUNCAN: So I think we all need to look in the mirror, whether it the federal, state, local level. The fact of the matter is this is driven at local level. But where any of us have contributed to over testing -- and the big thing to me is not the amount of time but the quality of assessments. Is there good feedback? Most parents want their children to be assessed. They want it to help drive instruction and improve. But whether it's at the federal level, state level, local level, if it's too much, it's too much. We have to look in the mirror and make sure we have high-quality assessments, they're timely, we're getting good results back to students and parents as real transparency. And I think that's what we're striving to shine the spotlight on.
[17:55:15] HARLOW: So how do we measure teacher performance, which is important, but cannot just be based on tests? How do we measure that, Secretary, and the progress of our students? How do you measure that without these tests?
DUNCAN: I think assessments are an important piece of that and we need to know whether students are learning or not. We need to challenge insidious achievement gaps that still exist in far too many places. But we've always said that a piece of teacher evaluation should be student learning but there should be multiple measures. On all of the stuff, we have to be sophisticated in looking at professional development, leadership, peer review, principal observation. There are many ways to assess teachers. We need to do much more in this nation. I've talked extensively about this, of shining a spotlight on extraordinary teachers that are transforming children's life chances every day through great instruction. We have to welcome that conversation, not run away with it.
HARLOW: Quickly, before I let you go, I know your successor, John King Jr, will take over when you leave in December. What's next for you, Secretary Duncan? Are you going to run for office?
DUNCAN: I'm not running for anything. I'm running every day here to stay focused on this job. And I'll worry about that later. I have no idea. I'm really not focused on that whatsoever.
HARLOW: Education is something that divides a lot of people politically, but it is arguably the most important thing that we can focus on, and need to do for all of the kids in the country.
I appreciate you joining me tonight. Thank you, sir.
DUNCAN: Have a good night. Thanks, now.
HARLOW: You, as well.
I'm Poppy Harlow. Thank you all for being with me. Have a great evening.
Much more on CNN straight after this.