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NEW DAY

Primary Night In America; Cochran Wins In Mississippi; U.S. Military Advisers Arrive in Iraq; The Bite Felt 'Round the World

Aired June 25, 2014 - 06:00   ET

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


MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Police now believe the father left him there on purpose. Stunning new details on the shocking case.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Your NEW DAY starts right now.

Good morning. Welcome to NEW DAY. It is June 25th, 6:00 in the east and we have some political drama for you. Two long time politicians barely holding on to office or not. Well, their opponents say it's not over yet.

Mississippi, you got Senator Thad Cochran, he will get to run for a seventh term after defeating Tea Party challenger Chris McDaniel in a Senate primary run off, but keeping with the theme of non-compliance, McDaniel might not be giving up the fight.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: On the Democratic side, long time New York Congressman Charlie Rangel has declared victory in his race, but his challenger is so far also refusing to concede. Rangel is hoping to return to the House for a 23rd term.

We have our power house political panel standing by, but let's begin with our power house chief congressional correspondent, Dana Bash, live in Jackson, Mississippi so what happened in Mississippi -- Dana?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, just when you thought it was not going to get either nastier or frankly more bizarre here. It seems to have done so. I talked to somebody who is an aid to Chris McDaniel, the conservative challenger saying, are you going to challenge these results and the response was stay tuned?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRIS MCDANIEL, MISSISSIPPI STATE SENATE: So much for bold colors, so much for principle --

BASH (voice-over): A nasty finish to a tough race. Mississippi Tea Party candidate, Chris McDaniel with a not so conciliatory speech after losing in a close race to incumbent Senator Thad Cochran.

MCDANIEL: There is something a bit strange. There is something a bit unusual about a Republican primary that's decided by liberal Democrats.

SENATOR THAD COCHRAN (R), MISSISSIPPI: Thank you all for being here to help celebrate a great victory. This is your victory.

BASH: Cochran, who trailed McDaniel in the Republican primary June 3rd spent the past three weeks courting voters outside the GOP base, including African-Americans, pointing to federal funds he secured throughout his 36 years in the Senate.

(on camera): And to those who say, you know what, you have been re- elected time and time again, your opponent says it's just too much. You've been there too long.

COCHRAN: Well, I'm the choice the people have made freely and openly.

BASH (voice-over): In the largely African-American precinct we visited, turnout was up three times what it was for the primary, and it was higher elsewhere.

(on camera): Who did you vote for?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thad Cochran.

BASH: Have you ever voted in a Republican primary before?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have not.

MCDANIEL: I guess they can take some consolation in the fact that they did something tonight, by once compromising, by once again reaching across the aisle and once again abandoning the conservative movement.

BASH (voice-over): Conservative and African-American groups both sent observers to the polls fearing impropriety from the other side, which did not materialize. In the end, it was just over 6,000 votes that separated the two.

COCHRAN: We all have a right to be proud of our state tonight. Thank you very much. Thank you for this wonderful honor.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BASH: Chris and Kate, because it was not just a few hundred votes, even 1,000 vote, it appears 6,000 votes that Cochran does appear to be winning by, or maybe have won by, that's why Cochran aides I talked to say that they feel pretty comfortable, really comfortable in this win, despite the threats or even suggestions by Chris McDaniel that he's going to challenge this.

But in talking to McDaniel leading into the primary or the runoff, I should say, he was already laying the groundwork for potentially challenging this on a legal basis because the Cochran campaign was so overtly courting non-Republican voters into the Republican runoff. As far as we can see, it was pretty legal.

CUOMO: Well, they don't have a runoff law there, and what would you find? Votes are equal in this day and age. So it doesn't matter who they come from --

BOLDUAN: That is Mississippi election law.

CUOMO: They just count them. All right, anyway, Dana, thank you very much. Let's break down the significance of these results, we have our panel of political experts. Take a deep breath, Sam Hall, assistant managing editor for the "Clarion Ledger," Margaret Hoover, CNN political commentator and Republican consultant, John Avlon, CNN political analyst and editor-in-chief of "The Daily Beast" and Mr. Errol Louis, CNN political commentator, anchor for New York One's "Inside City Hall," all in a single breath, who is better than me, no one?

BOLDUAN: I heard you breathe.

CUOMO: It's just a big nose. Sam Hall, let's start with you on the ground down there. Is this expected? What do you make of the introduction of non-Republican voters? What's your headline?

SAM R. HALL, "THE CLARION LEDGER": I think the headline in Heinz County, the largest county where Cochran with his largest county in the primary. He got more votes in the runoff than there were cast in the primary. It increased almost 50 percent. There were about 8,000 more votes cast. He took 7,000 of those. McDaniel took 1,000 of those.

That is a majority Democratic county, but I think the -- increase is probably pretty evenly split between the Republican or whiter boxes and more diverse and minority Democratic boxes so that's going to be the big thing. They flipped a lot of other counties in rural and along the coast, but that big win there in Heinz is what buffered him against McDaniel and secured his win.

BOLDUAN: John Avlon and Margaret, the "Washington Post" described Cochran's win as pitching a political, perfect game in how he pulled this off and really turned around his campaign in just three weeks. What did he do so perfectly? What changed from June 3rd to last night?

JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: First of all, intense focus on the part of his campaign to get out the vote. What's different is that the Cochran campaign expanded the map to look like a general election, look like a general electorate as opposed to typically a runoff where turnout is down after a primary. They brought it up.

They tried to have a diverse coalition turnout and they succeeded and it's one way to handle life in a one party state. The African- American turnout which obviously is not traditionally Republican. They came out for Thad Cochran because McDaniel seemed very unsavory to them.

A couple of scandals involving taking money from McKlan (ph) lawyer and other issues, some of the old goats and dog whistle politics and also that Thad Cochran had to actually delivered to his state, not a popular message with the Tea Party, pretty popular with the average folks in Mississippi. So a really amazing I think geo TV effort --

CUOMO: This is a perversion of the process. BOLDUAN: He's the incumbent incumbent.

CUOMO: This is terrible.

MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: But it's because you're talking nice things about Republicans for the first time in a little while so I've got to let you go. You win more flies with honey than vinegar. Thad Cochran actually didn't go negative. We saw the tone and rhetoric of his competitor right there not about unifying the party or bringing people together and Thad Cochran, people like him in his state. He's a nice guy, also been around for a while.

CUOMO: I'm all for people liking new politics. Help me out here. It's a Republican primary and you beat me by courting Democrats. Yes, the law allows it, but isn't there something not kosher about that in.

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: The law encourages it, as a matter of fact. Saw the same thing in the cantor primary that seems to have thrown so many people off, but the reality is once you change the rules so that anybody can vote, what you really are talking about is a two-stage general election, and, you know, it's not how we do things in New York and not how we do things probably in most states, but if that's what the rules allow?

CUOMO: Dirty pool, even if allowed?

LOUIS: Different strategy, new strategy so instead of going to the extremes you go to the center, and frankly if we had a lot more elections like that we'd probably be better off as a nation. That's the point.

AVLON: That's the big point. When you heard McDaniel say -- he said it outright, he said so much for principle. These folks reached across the aisle again. I love it. He was just open about the fact that for him, for Tea Party folks, principle equates never compromising or reaching across the aisle.

BOLDUAN: That's what happened in 2010. That's what happened some in 2012. That's what many Tea Party -- that's what many voters who vote in Tea Party candidates, that's what they want. They don't want compromise. They think they are compromising too much.

HOOVER: This formula will be the restoration of sanity, but for the Republican Party and as we saw in New York last night as well, sort of a take back of the Republican Party by the reform Republicans pushing back on radical extremes in the Republican Party. This is going to make for a more balanced Congress frankly and a more productive Congress.

BOLDUAN: Dana, before we jump off of Mississippi, I want to get your take on the most basic level. Is McDaniel going to concede? What do you think or will this have to play out in the courts?

BASH: It's really unclear. As I said, their campaign is making very strong suggestions that he might try to challenge it in the courts. It will potentially be an uphill battle. He was laying the groundwork for saying that it is illegal and the reason is because, you know, Chris is a lawyer and I'm sure a lot of you are as well, that the law here does not allow somebody to vote one way in a primary or a runoff if they intend to vote for a different party in the general election.

The problem is the federal courts have said that's almost impossible to enforce. You can't enforce somebody to vote one way and get into their mind and think the way that they feel months down the road so it could be potential real uphill climb for him. The one other point, I want to make about big picture -- go ahead.

CUOMO: No, please go ahead.

BASH: The other point I want to make about the big picture, I've been talking to people on the ground who also have a national portfolio for the Republican Party who are hoping that they can use this as a microcosm to grow the Republican Party, which is much needed if they want to win the White House back and so forth.

The problem is, as you all have said, Thad Cochran might be a very unique situation. He has for decades been reaching out to African- American voters, and he has for decades been reaching across the aisle here. That is why he had such a Tea Party challenge, but in the end it ironically saved him because of the system here.

CUOMO: Let's get to Sam Hall because perception is often reality in politics. First of all, how is it playing down there where you are in terms of does this look like this was just a good use of the system, or does it seem that this was somehow, you know, a result down there, that this is somehow illegitimate, and do me a favor explain how the law works. You have no recount and an open-ended thing that plays to the intentionality of the voter. Explain how the story is playing down there.

HALL: Well, I mean, it depends on who you ask. The Tea Party base McDaniel supporters, you know where they stand, and they are the ones who are the angriest about it. Cochran's camp has been kind of couching this in terms of Reagan and putting that back on McDaniel, which was he reached out to a Democratic base as well to help expand his electorate, but as far as the way it works down here. There is no automatic recount.

The only way that he's going to have a successful challenge is to be able to prove that there was enough illegalities or controversial votes to either toss out individual votes or cause recounts in certain counties. He's going to look at Heinz County. There were unsubstantiated reports of crossover voting, people voting in the Democratic primary.

Talking with the members of the campaign last night and early this morning, they already attacking Pete Perry who is the chairman of the Republican Party in Heinz County who is a big Cochran supporter and his firm was paid to do geo TV for a Cochran PAC putting some of the blame on him and saying he allowed a lot of people to vote who should not have been able to vote.

And that's really outside the scope, you know, of what any one person and much less Pete Perry would do and they will look at the Delta and some of the other counties where you saw high increases in African- American votes to see if there were any irregularities that they might get tossed in court, but any challenge has to go through the courts.

It's a long shot, and as long as people didn't vote in the primary, Democratic primary, then they are allowed to vote in the run off, and the only thing that can prove that their intent for the general is what they say.

CUOMO: Yes. That's the problem. That's going to be the problem going forward. Your inability to enforce a law isn't going to be what allows a law to stand or not, that's actually a second issue but what a weird law. If you don't vote in the Democratic primary you can vote in the Republican primary as long as you say you don't think you will support whoever won the Democratic primary.

HOOVER: It's the law.

CUOMO: That's weird.

BOLDUAN: Let's move from one incumbent fight in Mississippi to another incumbent fight here in New York. The fine state of New York. Charlie Rangel, Errol, what happened here, everyone all, but said we're planning his retirement party.

LOUIS: Nobody talked to Charlie Rangel about that. When he ran two years ago and won his 22nd term, he was actually in a walker. He had had some real serious health problems and still managed to squeak it out. This time around it's like he was ten years younger, all over the place. Have him footage of dancing with Aretha Franklin.

He ran the table basically, sort of like a political clinic on how to do retail politics. Shook every hand, kissed babies, ran all over the place and raised more money than his opponents and we called the race at New York One. We've been following this pretty intensively.

BOLDUAN: CNN still has not.

LOUIS: CNN, AP, others are waiting. In fact, there's a couple of thousand vote margin between Rangel and his nearest challenger, Espaillat. On the other hand, the number of outstanding ballots, federal, affidavit ballots cast yesterday, equal exactly that so unless almost every single one of those come in for the challenger, it looks like Rangel has his 23rd term.

New York City's Board of Elections has screwed up in the past, he wants to wait and count every vote, you know, but his supporters after he spoke last night pretty much started taking down the signs. A lot of energy went out of the campaign at that moment. It's a real tough and interesting kind of a race, but, you know, the power of incumbency and in a race that was characterized as African-American incumbent being challenged by a Latino sort of insurgent in a district mostly Latino.

That in itself doesn't capture some of the texture of New York politics. Charles Rangel, we think of him as the black politician, his father is Puerto Rican. His district has always included East Harlem, which has been heavily Latino for decades.

So, he's been a crossover politician, been sort of a bridge-builder in a lot of different ways so running a straight ethnic campaign wouldn't have worked in this case. You wouldn't have necessarily expected it to. That, plus a lot of the usual kind of mistakes that campaigns often make.

You -- you size it all up, and it is rational and logical that Rangel would have won.

HOOVER: But, man, was Rangel not anything like Eric Cantor. I mean, he took this as a serious challenge.

BOLDUAN: Real quick, is Eric Cantor a one-off?

HOOVER: Yes. We do not have a story of Dave Brat last night. You know who lost last night, Sarah Palin, Sean Hannity, Michelle Malkin, all of the Tea Party folks. They lost.

You know why? All of these incumbents, they took their races very seriously and insurgents took it seriously and that's why Charlie Rangel here tonight and Eric Cantor is nowhere to be found.

CUOMO: Poor Margaret Hoover, she's got two enemies. She's got half her own party, and she's got Democrats.

HOOVER: Former (ph) Republicans are taking it back, Chris.

BOLDUAN: Margaret woke up with a smile this morning.

JOHN AVLON, THE DAILY BEAST: Exactly. Don't call it the establishment. It's the sanity caucus.

(LAUGHTER)

BOLDUAN: Great one-liners are coming out of this discussion this morning.

Great to see you all, Errol, Margaret, whatever your name is, John Avlon --

AVLON: Whatever my name is.

(LAUGHTER)

BOLDUAN: Thanks, you guys. Lots to discuss with you.

We'll get to some of the very other interesting primaries last night.

CUOMO: Well, we're going to have an ongoing conversation, and there's a lot of other news this morning as well.

So let's get that with Michaela. Good morning, my friend.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning and welcome back to you, Chris. We want to take you now to Iraq where ISIS militants are maintaining a stronghold over vast swaths of the country. U.S. officials say is fighters are functioning as a, quote, "increasingly capable military force," and this morning, 90 more military advisers are on the ground to assess the Iraqi forces which have so far been essentially ineffective against the aggressive and fast moving insurgency.

Right now, Sunni extremists are fighting north of Baghdad. Fears growing now that the capital will be the next city to fall.

Let's go straight to Barbara Starr who has more for us from the Pentagon.

Good morning, Barbara.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Michaela.

A total now of 130 U.S. advisers on the ground in Iraq and about 50 more headed in in the coming days. Their main job: to assess, we are told, assess the state of Iraqi forces, assess the state of the militant fighters.

But here's the assessment. According to the U.S. intelligence community now, there are about 10,000 ISIS fighters spread out between Syria and Iraq, about 7,000 in Syria, about 3,000 in Iraq and about 5,000 or so foreign fighters mixed in to all of that. That border having essentially now been erased.

ISIS moving towards Baghdad, and that's the major U.S. concern at this point. Could ISIS have enough muscle power to really make a play for Baghdad? U.S. military advisers will be centering their main focus in the coming days around the capital, trying to gather intelligence about what is going on.

No decision about airstrikes by the White House, but if -- if President Obama were to make that decision there are already dozens of fighter jets in the region. Seven warships in the gulf and about 1,000 marines.

But here's the most interesting fact maybe. Right now the U.S. military is conducting 30 reconnaissance flights a day over Iraq to gather intelligence, 30 flights a day over Iraq. We haven't seen that since 2011 when U.S. troops left -- Chris, Kate.

CUOMO: All right, Barbara. Of course, the problem not necessarily what they develop in terms of intelligence, but what they do about it when they find what is anticipated to be a list of inadequacies.

Thanks to Barbara Starr.

Let's take a quick break here. When we come back, Uruguay could be without one of his best players in the World Cup. Why? Well, he has an unusual appetite for his competition, facing suspension for biting an opponent. Not the first time he's been accused of using his teeth to get ahead. We have more on this.

Look at him, he's pretended his hurt.

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: It's like my house. My 3-year-old --

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: I guess this is more like not shy enough and we'll tell you.

It's bite felt around the world, well, actually, it's only felt by Giorgio Chiellini on the Italian side, but everyone is talking about it. One of Uruguay's World Cup stars is facing punishment for allegedly biting another player on the field and by allegedly I mean he did it.

It's the third time striker Luis Suarez is accused of chomping down --

BOLDUAN: Shoulder bumped into his teeth.

CUOMO: Yes, right. He bites the guy on the shoulder during Uruguay's victory over Italy. He appeared to lean down. He bit him. Just saw it for yourself.

Now, the question is what's going to happen, and why did the refs do nothing about this? They say FIFA, the league is looking into disciplinary reaction.

Let's bring in Greg Lalas. He's joining us this morning, editor-in- chief of MLSSoccer.com.

The forensic part of this situation is complete B.S. He bit him. He bit him.

PEREIRA: We saw the teeth marks on his shoulder.

GREG LALAS, MLSSOCCER.COM: There's great reverse angle that shows him chomping down on his neck.

CUOMO: So, you got to look at it two ways. One, do you think what they did during the match was the proper response, and, two, what will happen now? Those are the two big questions.

LALAS: Well, I think, if you look at it, the referee is not in a position to see it and I'm thinking he didn't see it.

CUOMO: He has bike marks on his shoulder.

LALAS: If he doesn't see the actual infraction he can't go in and say, oh, yes, somebody bit you, because this is soccer. This is about the soap opera of all of this. Who knows, maybe Chiellini says at some point he's a biter. I put some makeup on.

CUOMO: You saw the bike mark on his shoulder.

LALAS: We see, that sure, but the ref might have missed it.

BOLDUAN: What's going on in this moment? Like what would have brought about biting?

LALAS: What would bring about biting, no idea. This is a situation in my 18, 20 years of playing and covering like major league soccer, never seen this before. This is the only guy I've ever seen who actually bites other players.

BOLDUAN: He's done it more than once.

LALAS: Three times, did it in 2003. Got a ten-game suspension in England. He did it in --

CUOMO: Did he ever say I'm sorry, I was angry?

LALAS: He just -- no, he always does the same thing. He gets very defensive and he's doing it this time where he says, no, these things happen where his shoulder hit me in the chest.

PEREIRA: So what's the back story on him because he's a bad boy? He's said some inappropriate things. He's been accused of saying some racist things.

LALAS: Yes.

PEREIRA: He's a biter which should give him a time-out.

(CROSSTALK)

PEREIRA: Chiellini said look, FIFA has a big star here. They're not going to do anything. Is there anything to that, that when it's somebody who is a big name they get away with more?

LALAS: Well, I think just like we saw with Michael Jordan over his career. Stars always get a preferential treatment. In this situation, that's not going to happen. FIFA said they will -- they have opened up a disciplinary investigation.

PEREIRA: Sure.

LALAS: They could suspend him -- right now, the FIFA regulations say they could suspend him up to 24 games and two years.

PEREIRA: Including World Cup play?

LALAS: Including World Cup. I think most people are saying he's done for this World Cup.

BOLDUAN: OK.

LALAS: Which is a good thing. I think FIFA needs to come down very hard. Forget the star thing. I think he's going to be --

PEREIRA: They've got to have some teeth.

LALAS: They have to have some teeth in this.

BOLDUAN: Michaela, stop.

PEREIRA: He wouldn't do it, so I had to.

LALAS: Oh, come on.

Another star bites the dust in this.

BOLDUAN: It was a nail-biter.

LALAS: But it is going to be interesting to see what FIFA does some down with in this situation because Uruguay plays on Saturday, so they have to come down very quickly. Uruguay, the national federation has until 5:00 this afternoon to present their defense --

PEREIRA: Right.

LALAS: -- to FIFA, and FIFA has to make a decision very quickly.

PEREIRA: What about all the collusion stuff?

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: We check a couple of boxes here. Rank speculation. Part of the soccer culture, not like you're talking about a crime or politics where you've got to be careful about your rank speculation.

BOLDUAN: Just go with it.

CUOMO: What's the chance of any collusion between the U.S. and Germany? And the second thing is, do you put any stock in this oh, they messed up the timing at the end of the U.S.-Portugal game and that's why the last goal was possible?

LALAS: Let me take the second one first.

BOLDUAN: You're like a politician. I love it.

LALAS: No. The timing is what it is. It's always been a little bit vague in soccer, something every player knows about. They know how to deal with it.

CUOMO: They say they gave Portuguese extra time and that's why they were able --

(CROSSTALK)

LALAS: Yes, and one of the arguments is that the reason they gave the extra time is because the American player took a little bit too much time getting off the field. This is such a vague area and it's part of soccer that some people really hate and other people say --

CUOMO: So well within the bounds of usually what happens.

LALAS: Sure, it happens. CUOMO: What about the collusion thing? Do you buy it?

LALAS: The collusion, no, I think it has no fangs whatsoever in this case.

(LAUGHTER)

LALAS: It happened in 1982. There's a famous case where West Germany and Austria kind of colluded on a game. I don't see that happening on this one. Too competitive.

Jurgen Klinsmann head coach of the U.S. said we're not going to be doing this, we're not going to be colluding, there's nothing happening here. It's too much at risk actually to be caught or even accused of this thing.

CUOMO: Stakes are too high.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: It would be just like sloppy play or something?

LALAS: What will probably happen, if the game is tied with 20 minutes to go, there will be sort of an unspoken thing, the players will look at each other, you know, what we're done. Nobody needs to get hurt. We're both through and it's an unspoken thing that sometimes happens.

CUOMO: Not unusual in sport in general. Heading into the playoffs, that's what this is, you would like to keep your powder dry, if you can.

BOLDUAN: We'll see.

LALAS: It's going to be a nail-biter on Thursday, isn't it?

CUOMO: Nail-biter.

BOLDUAN: One more, one more.

LALAS: One more?

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: It's only 6:28.

LALAS: If the U.S. wins, two very good teams are going to bite the dust.

BOLDUAN: There we go!

PEREIRA: Sink your teeth into that. Keep on coming.

BOLDUAN: Greg Lalas, Michaela Pereira here all week and Chris almost bit me.

Thanks, Greg. Just too much fun. CUOMO: It's good stuff. Biting is always fun. Not in the house

though kids.

BOLDUAN: Let's take a break. Coming up next on NEW DAY, we have a really chilling twist in a story we have to tell you about. This is the story of a death of a toddler who was left in a sweltering SUV for hours. And the child died. Is the child father's guilty of murder? The disturbing new details, ahead.

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