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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER

Did Coaches Unleash A "Bully"?; Monsters Of The Gridiron; Blockbuster Closing All Remaining Stores; Battle Over Looted Paintings

Aired November 6, 2013 - 16:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: I talked to Chris Christie yesterday, Election Day, and I asked him about his place in the GOP right now. I want to play that clip and get your reaction.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: There are people who think you have fences to mend and bridges to build with Republicans out there. I don't know if you agree with that. But if -- what do you think about that charge? That you need to do more to help Republicans in Washington and elsewhere?

CHRISTIE: You know, if you go back and look, Jake, I don't think there's been any governor in America who has done more for the NRCC and the NRSC and for the Republican National Committee in terms of traveling around the country, raising money, holding rallies, doing those things that I've done in the last three years.

So, listen, I understand that people got upset because I was doing my job. But they need to learn that about me. If you hire me to do a job, I'm going to do the job. And if there are people who are breaking their word to the people that I'm representing, they're going to hear it from me.

And by the same token, with the president, even if there's somebody even of the opposite party who is doing a really good job on something and I'm asked about it, I'm going to say they're doing a really good job. And so, I don't think I need to fence mend. I think they just have to learn who I am.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: Kevin.

KEVIN MADDEN, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

TAPPER: Governor Christie don't think he needs to fence mend. What do you think?

MADDEN: Look, he built a profile that is favorable to a lot of Republicans because he's got a relateability and authenticity that our last presidential candidate, Governor Romney, didn't have. But he also built a national profile as somebody who was very quick to criticize Republicans. If you remember after Sandy when there was an aid package for Hurricane Sandy relief, he criticized Republicans as being the ones that were holding up when in fact, it was being held up because so many Democrats had loaded it with pork and congressional Republicans were --

TAPPER: Right. And that's what he was talking about.

MADDEN: So, he was so quick to hit size Republicans. And he gained a lot of favor and a lot of love from the mainstream media as so many folks within our party like to call you guys. And that put him in a very difficult position with a lot of base voters. But base voters have to remember that we're not going to win if we just talk to ourselves and pat ourselves on the back amongst the base. And that winning Republican, a Republican who can win nationally is going to be able to secure the base and then also persuade the big middle of the electorate.

TAPPER: So, Senator Lincoln, you're from Arkansas obviously. How does Chris Christie play in the South, do you think?

BLANCHE LINCOLN (D), FORMER U.S. SENATOR OF ARKANSAS: Well, I think the message that he had along with the very disciplined message that Terry McAuliffe had, which was back on jobs. And Arkansans like to hear about jobs and growing the economy and, you know, trying to make those kinds of differences. And I think that's what he's did. That's how he appealed to regular people was talking about the jobs that need to be created and putting the economy back on track. But I think he can appeal to a lot of people that way across the country.

TAPPER: What do you think about stylistically? He's obviously - and I say this as a Philadelphian - he's quite obviously a Yankee. And he's brash. And he's pugilistic. Not necessarily the style down South. How do you think he would play?

LINCOLN: Well, he could have a touch of graciousness, I suppose, in some of those senses. Yes, that's going to be tough. And I think you're right. I mean, Kevin said, it's not going to be translatable everyone across the country. But that's for the Republicans to deal with.

MADDEN: Well, you know what was very interesting, too, and this is a point that Mark Anvander (ph) made in a blog post today was that the pro-governing message is really an anti-Washington message right now. That's drawing a very tark contrast with the status quo in Washington. People look at Washington and say nothing is getting done. Big solutions aren't being solved.

Well, Governor Christie built a profile and did well with so many different demographics that are not traditionally Republican because he talked about getting things done and what it looks like to govern as a Republican --

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: But he did also it governing as a Republican, but governing across party lines. And you know very well as a moderate Democrat who got in trouble with the base of your own party for reaching across party lines -- maybe that's back now.

LINCOLN: Well, it could be and that does become a problem, obviously. But the most important thing was the comment he made on that bus, which was, I was doing my job. And that's what people want more than anything, they want Washington to do its job -

MADDEN: Right, to put party second -

LINCOLN: That's exactly right. They want sensible regulations. They don't want overgovernment. They want government and politicians to be focusing on growing the economy instead of picking at one another. And I think that when he said, I was just doing my job, that's what they want to see people doing. They want to see politicians and they want to see Washington doing its job.

TAPPER: But you know what's interesting, Dana, I saw a tweet from I think it was Brad Dayspring (ph), Republican official here in town, who said something like - last night, he tweeted, like, hey Republicans we should be celebrating! We just got re-elected in a blue state. But I haven't really seen an effusive pouring out of congratulations from Republicans to Chris Christie, even though he just won a huge margin and slaughtered his Democratic opponent, won the Latino vote, won the woman vote in New Jersey, running against a Democratic woman, won 30 percent of Democrats.

Where are the Republicans? What are you hearing on Capitol Hill?

BASH: Look, the reason is because they're nervous. They're nervous. They're nervous about praising somebody who is clearly not a very conservative Republican because moderate is a dirty word in some circles of the Republican Party. Just like in some circles of Democratic Party. And it is a dangerous thing. That's where the state of our politics are.

MADDEN: It's true. We used to celebrate when governors won in places like New York and Massachusetts. And that's the interesting thing right now. And what it is is emblematic of the simmering feud between the establishment and the grassroots.

LINCOLN: That's right. You saw it in Alabama.

BASH: That's true.

TAPPER: Senator Lincoln, Dana Bash, Kevin Madden, thank you so much. Great to have you here, Senator. Thanks for being here.

Coming up next, it's basically a Big Mac with a slightly different name. I'm talking about the Big King, the "diet version," quote, unquote of the McDonald's classic. It's the latest Burger King menu option, all about trying to rattle the golden arches?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. Now it's time to the money lead. When it comes down to it, isn't life just the down time between McRib promotions? The beloved limited-time offer sandwich has reportedly begun making its return to the menu with certain McDonald's franchises.

But wait, what's this? It's something Burger King calls the BBQ rib sandwich. And restaurants are offering it for about a third of what the McRib costs. And that's not the only processed meat homage Burger King is making to its rival. I'm sure you recognize McDonald's iconic Big Mac when you see one. It has -- say it with me -- two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun. It's been a long time since I did that.

This is the Big King. Once, it was a limited time offer at Burger King, the Big King. But now it's coming to the menu full-time. It has two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce -- all the same stuff. It's 510 calories, which means it's still 40 calories lighter than the Big Mac. Now, is it me or is the battle over who will supply your indigestion starting to get real?

And I want to welcome back to the show Michael Moss, "New York Times" investigative reporter. He's the author of the best-selling "Salt, Sugar, Fat: How The Food Giants Hooked Us." And he wrote the cover story in this week's "New York Times" magazine entitled, "Broccoli's Image Makeover: What Will Make Us Want It?" Good luck with that, broccoli people.

So, Michael, does this remind you of the cola wars back in the '80s at all?

MICHAEL MOSS, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": It sure does. One of the secrets in the cola wars is that when Pepsi attacked Coca-Cola, and we all remember that incredibly brilliant Michael Jackson commercial, New Generation -- the secret inside industry was that it was a big joke because both -- the sales of both companies rose when they attacked each other. And that's why I thought the ad agency that came up with this idea of selling broccoli, when they attacked kale, and wait a minute, we don't want to hurt kale sales here -- that's what the food giants know is that when they sort of spar with each other, it's a bloodless sparring on their part, and we are the ones who eat more of everything. It generates buzz for the whole industry.

TAPPER: You mean you and I right now have fallen into their trap? Cancel the segment!

(LAUGHTER)

TAPPER: Moving on. The strategy does seem a bit obvious. But the question, will customers view the Big King as anything other than a Big Mac rip-off, and does it matter? Do they care? Are people going to be upset that this just is a rip-off of the Big Mac?

MOSS: I think Burger King is betting that their customers like their products. And they're going to come in, and what they're looking to do is generate more excitement for people who already like Burger King. And I think that's probably their main target.

The industry called this a sort of newness and its line extension. So, when you walk into a Burger King now - I did today -- there's this lineup of hamburgers sort of endless almost. As well as the new, lower calorie fries. Which I tasted by the way for the first time today.

TAPPER: And?

MOSS: I have to say - look, I'm no restaurant critic, but I have to say my reaction was actually wanting more of those which maybe sort of self-defeating from a diet perspective.

TAPPER: Yes, I could see that. I have to say, though, I don't understand why everybody hasn't copied McDonald's fries. It's like, OK, they won the fry thing. Their fries are better; just steal their fries.

But I want to take issue with one thing you said. I understand that the sparring just creates buzz and everybody's sales go up. But they are playing hardball to a degree, right? A few days ago, McDonald's dropped Heinz as its supplier of ketchup after it hired a former Burger King executive. So, I mean, there is some real ugliness going on here behind the scenes.

MOSS: There is, as there was with Pepsi and Coca-Cola. But you've got to remember that Coca-Cola executives said, look, if Pepsi hadn't existed, we would have invented them. Because again, they're going after share of stomach and excitement for their brands. And an ingenious advertising campaign can generate that.

TAPPER: And lastly, Michael, Taco Bell has the Doritos locos tacos, Wendy's has pretzels burgers, KFC has the Go Cup. I mean, these gimmicks exist because generally speaking, they work, right?

MOSS: And some of what we're seeing here sort of the marriage of grocery-type products with the fast food industry. And believe me, that is a marriage made in heaven because it's combing the allures and the marketing power of both of those industries. If you're on a diet, look out.

TAPPER: All right. This segment brought to you by the makers of insulin. Thank you very much, Michael Moss. I appreciate it.

Coming up next in the Money Lead, we now have an answer to the question would movie lovers rather go to a store for the latest release or download it from the comfort of their home? Spoiler alert: the home.

Plus, he was suspended by the Miami Dolphins after accusations of bullying. But was Richie Incognito only following orders from above? A new report is raising questions about the role of the Dolphins' coaches. That's coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. Now it's time for the Sports Lead. We're learning new details about how deep an NFL's player's emotional breakdown may have been. ESPN is reporting that Dolphin's lineman, Jonathan Martin, was briefly hospitalized for emotional distress after leaving the team.

There are also new questions today over what role, if any, of the Miami Dolphin's coaches may have played in the alleged bullying of Martin. The South Florida "Sun Sentinel" reports that Dolphin's coaches asked Ritchie Incognito to toughen up Martin after he missed a voluntary workout last spring.

CNN has reached out to the Dolphin's about the report. The team told us they cannot comment because of an ongoing NFL investigation into the case. We are now finding out that Incognito's wrath goes all the way back to his college days decade ago.

He was suspended twice at Nebraska and dismissed at Oregon. He was also voted by his peers to be the NFL's dirtiest player in 2009. The NFL also just announced that it has hired an attorney to lead the probe of the Dolphins.

On to a much different time in pro football when guys named sweetness and the fridge were driven into bone splintering battle by the one and only Mike Ditka. You don't have to be super fans to know that I'm talking about the Bears. I had recently had the pleasure of sitting down with my friend, Rich Cohen, author of the new book, "Monsters, The 1985 Chicago Bears and the Wild Heart Of Football" to talk about the magic of that storied season.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TAPPER: Here's how you described the legendary coach, Mike Ditka, for the book. Quote, "He looked like a bear and behaved like a bear." He was a Kodiak rooting through trash on the edge of a national park. He was grizzly enraged by a swarm of bees. Every junior high school has that gym teacher who wants to be called coach, who makes you run an extra l0 lapse for being a wise guy. Ditka was that guy for the entire city of Chicago." That's quite lovely. What did Ditka mean to you and the city of Chicago?

RICHARD COHEN, AUTHOR, "MONSTERS, THE 1985 CHICAGO BEARS": I felt like what the city needed was somebody to sort of snap you out of this funk that I knew growing up in the '70s in Chicago was kind of nationwide. It kind of funk over everything and everything seemed to be winding down and getting worse. Nothing could work and all the sudden, Ditka with this crazy perm and these little shorts, you could see him crush reporters right in front of you.

TAPPER: Or fans. You write about a woman who was heckling him and he took out a ball of bubble gum and threw it at her and it got stuck in her hair.

COHEN: We studied it like there is a film when I was growing up. But it was -- he famously sort of went like this for a fan and said that's your IQ, buddy, zero. And he had his quarterback, Jim McMahon who was the first football player on the cover the "Rolling Stone" magazine. He sort of didn't care what the hell Ditka said. It always gave you something else to watch than what was going on the field.

TAPPER: Let's talk about McMahon because even though I'm an Eagle's fan as a kid, I had pictures of McMahon up in my room. He was cool not just for Chicago. The nation was transfixed by him, why?

COHEN: Well, football especially when I was a kid it was such a buttoned up almost military sort of environment. You never saw any personality. The guys were very, very straight and Chicago they were very straight and stiff. And McMahon shows up with a six pack of beer and chewing scowl long cut and saying I'm dry, where can I get another drink?

TAPPER: I could spend the whole time talking to you about the '85 Bears, but I don't have the time to do that. There's still Walter Payton and the refrigerator. Quickly, why should somebody who isn't a fan necessarily of Chicago Bears read this book?

COHEN: I mean, I think this group of guys, which was transcendent in their sport, they became really American history and pop culture history. I talked about them as players, but a big part to me is what happens when you have a dream. These guys dreamed of winning of Super Bowl and the dream comes true when you're 28 years old?

What's the rest of your life like? And I went back and interviewed and met with many of these guys as I could now figuring out how they go on with their lives and to me they're a model for how everybody faces the big transitions even at the end of their life because pro football player kind of dies twice. You know, they die when the rest of us die, but they also die professionally in their dream when their very young and have to deal with it.

TAPPER: That's a great book and I really recommend it. The book is "Monsters: The 1985 Chicago Bears and Wild Heart of Football." Rich Cohen, thank you so much.

COHEN: Thanks, Jake.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TAPPER: Coming up in pop culture, it might be a good time to be kind and rewind that copy of "Father of the Bride Two" that you still have laying around before there aren't any blockbusters left to return it to. I know what you're saying. There are still blockbusters? Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. Now it's time for the Pop Culture Lead. It may be hard to sympathize to the company that got away with charging $4.99 to rent VHS copies of "Jumping Jack Flashback" in the day and impose late fees that even loan sharks would find excessive. But this really is the end of an era.

Blockbuster will close all of its remaining stores about 300 of them and shut down its DVD mailing service by early January. Back in 2004, Blockbuster had 9,000 locations, but then Netflix came along and blockbuster will live on as a streaming service.

They are works of art that could be worth millions and yet some say little is being done to get these precious paintings into the hands of their rightful owners despite the evidence that they were stolen during World War II. The art work was discovered in an apartment in Munich, Germany during a police raid last year.

The man who lives in the home is the son of a wartime art dealer. It's believed that his father got his hands on the paintings at the end of World War II when the Nazis had a habit of confiscating so- called "Degenerate Artwork." Jewish groups are furious that German officials won't release a full list of what they found. But a state prosecutor in Germany said officials never went public because it would have been, quote, counterproductive to the investigation.

Make sure to follow me on Twitter @jaketapper and also @theleadcnn and check out our show page at cnn.com/thelead for video, blogs and extras. That's it for THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. I now turn you over to Wolf Blitzer. He's in "THE SITUATION ROOM" -- Wolf.