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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Hillary Clinton Heading to Iowa; New Evidence in South Carolina Police Shooting. Aired 4-4:30p ET
Aired April 13, 2015 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: She's just a hardworking grandma driving to Iowa in a Scooby-Doo mobile. At least, that's how Hillary Clinton wants you to see her.
I'm Jake Tapper. This is THE LEAD.
The politics lead: After much anticipated launch of her campaign, applauded by Democrats coast to coast, we're getting a glimpse now of how Hillary Clinton hopes to capture the White House in 2016. Brace yourselves for less pomp and circumstance and more down-home charm. But just where is her other half going to fit into the Clinton campaign remix?
The national lead. This shocking video captured the moment a South Carolina police officer gunned down a man as he attempted to run away. Now a newly released video not only reveals what the officer said on the phone immediately after the shooting, but also what seems to make him chuckle.
And the money lead. Your plane might not be taking off, but your blood pressure sure is skyrocketing. A new survey reveals the source of some major flyer frustrations. It's not just in your heads. And we will tell you which airlines are the worst offenders.
Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
We are going to begin with the politics lead today. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has officially announced she's running for president. But If you think you have seen this movie before, her camp says, don't be silly. This is Clinton's campaign, the sequel, and this time it's personal.
Even the trailer is different than last time around.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I announced today that I'm forming a presidential exploratory committee. I'm not just starting a campaign, though. I'm beginning a conversation.
I'm running for president. Americans have fought their way back from tough economic times, but the deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top. (END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: See what they did there? No stiff campaign announcements from the couch. Hillary Clinton is out in the streets this time with the people.
Even her outfit is the exact opposite of what she wore back in the 2007 video, and in this new TV ad we don't even see her until a minute-and-a-half into the video. It's all real people before then. And guess what two words not uttered once? Those two words, Hillary and Clinton.
Now, we all, of course, try to learn from our mistakes, I suppose. Clinton campaign sources saying that's what's going on here. She and her team have grown, they have learned from criticism of 2007, 2008 from those who said she seemed out of touch with everyday Americans, that she approached her first presidential run with an air of inevitability.
So, this time around, no chartered planes or trick-out buses for her first official stop in Iowa. Hillary Clinton is embarking on a 1,000- mile road trip. She's driving to the heartland in a van she has dubbed the Scooby, an homage to the Mystery Machine from the cartoon "Scooby-Doo."
Zoinks. Clinton has already tweeted out photos from her journey showing her mixing it up with regular folk as the Scooby gets refueled. It seems almost as if Secretary Clinton is trying to do the opposite of her natural political instincts to win over voters, a strategy that I believe we have seen before.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JERRY SEINFELD, ACTOR: If every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right.
JASON ALEXANDER, ACTOR: Yes. I will do the opposite.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Costanza even with the same color scheme there.
Even if Clinton's woman of the people strategy makes her the more personable candidate that her friends say she truly is behind doors, that's not of course the only obstacle she will have to overcome to go the distance isn't 2016.
Let's bring in CNN senior Washington correspondent, Jeff Zeleny.
Jeff, all in van rides in the world want erase some of the baggage that comes with her quarter century in national public life.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Of course you couldn't fit all that baggage into one van. I'm told she did stop at a Chipotle this afternoon. She is making her way out to Iowa.
But, look, the point she's trying to do is drive home this from the very beginning. This will be a very different kind of presidential campaign, more biography, less drama, more focus on voters. She's starting out meeting them one by one.
ZELENY (voice-over): A cross-country road trip today for Hillary Clinton. She's trying to shed a bit of her celebrity to look like one of us, stopping at gas stations along the way.
She bumped into Chris Lerne (ph), a Penn State student who shared his pictures with CNN. It's a spring break of sorts, except she's running for president again and now she's in overdrive, trying to build a connection with middle-class Americans.
CLINTON: Everyday Americans need a champion. And I want to be that champion, so you can do more than just get by. You can get ahead and stay ahead.
ZELENY: With this campaign video, Clinton officially jumped into the race on Sunday, offering the first glimpse of why she wants to be president.
CLINTON: So, I'm hitting the road to earn your vote, because it's your time and I hope you will join me on this journey.
ZELENY: And hit the road she did, climbing into the back of a van for a 1,086-mile road trip from her home in Chappaqua, New York, to her first campaign stop in Monticello, Iowa, along the way, an added bonus, passing through key battleground states of Pennsylvania and Ohio, as well as her home state of Illinois before reaching Iowa.
Gimmick or genuine? The voters will decide, first in Iowa, where she finished third place in 2008.
Diana Phoenix still remembers standing in line to see Clinton back then. She ultimately supported that other guy, Barack Obama, and now has questions about how much of a middle-class champion Clinton actually is.
DIANA PHOENIX, IOWA VOTER: Ties to Wall Street, some of the votes, as I understand, from what I have read, that she has voted have not been strong on keeping the banks in line and lending.
ZELENY: When Clinton arrives in Iowa on Tuesday, she will see that the 2016 campaign is already well under way. For now, at least, Clinton is ignoring all of her rivals as she makes her return act to the campaign trail.
The family's most celebrated politician, Bill Clinton, will not be at her side, but still provides irresistible fodder for "Saturday Night Live." UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: This election is about you. I don't want to hog
I am leaving. Look at me go.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Bye. I'm gone.
ZELENY: Now, the Democratic activists I talked to today said they are ready for either Clinton to come to the state, but they're more interested in Hillary, of course.
They have a long list of questions to ask her about her vision and just what she would do as president. And they will get their first crack on Tuesday, when she starts that listening in Iowa.
TAPPER: Those Iowa voters are a tough lot, as you know well, having worked for "The Des Moines Register."
ZELENY: They are.
TAPPER: Jeff Zeleny, thank you so much.
Let's go to Karen Finney, strategic communications adviser and senior spokeswoman for the Clinton campaign.
Karen, you officially start your new role tomorrow. Welcome to the show, though. We appreciate you being here.
KAREN FINNEY, STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS ADVISER, HILLARY CLINTON CAMPAIGN: Thanks, Jake. Glad to be with you on the other side, I guess you would say.
TAPPER: Karen, Secretary Clinton's candidacy is, we're told, about her being a champion of the middle class...
TAPPER: ... who have stagnated wages amidst historical income inequality.
Isn't this inherently an acknowledgement that is an area where President Obama has failed?
FINNEY: You know, not at all actually.
Notice that one of the things that she talked about actually in the video is that -- and she continues to talk about, that we have made progress, but we have got to make sure people are able to do well and continue, and stay there, and continue to do well, and she talks about that in the video. I would just -- it's interesting. For a lot of people, I don't think
they have been -- they were listening several years ago. Hillary Clinton is someone who has talked about some of these middle-class issues certainly for the 25-some-odd years that I have known her and worked for her off and on.
And I would remind people that she comes from a middle-class background. Her father had a small business that she and her brothers and her mother helped out in.
FINNEY: I think there's this perception, somehow, and it sounded a little bit like it in the intro with you and Jeff there, that somehow this is a new -- kind of new version.
But, really, this is what I remember doing with her when I worked for her in the White House, in terms of going to these smaller venues, and giving her the opportunity to really talk with people. It's my understanding she -- I certainly know she did that in 2000 and she certainly did that as secretary of state.
This was really her idea. She really wanted to have the chance to just talk with people in these small venues, and start the campaign this way and it sounds like she's actually having fun. She was -- as Jeff said, she was in Chipotle earlier today.
TAPPER: Yes. What could be more fun than going to Chipotle in Western Pennsylvania?
TAPPER: Oh, it was in Ohio? OK. I apologize. Clearly much more fun.
I want to read this review of this launch ad from "Washington Post" columnist Ruth Marcus -- quote -- "The video was relentlessly, insultingly vapid, a Verizon commercial without the substance. Adding insult to vacuousness was the demographic box-checking nature of the video, however beautifully filmed, working mom, check, Hispanic entrepreneur, check, retiring grandma, check. Gay couple, check. African-American family, check. Hardworking small-businessman, check. South Asian, inter-racial, lesbian, check, check, check. If your demographic was not featured, you should write the campaign and it will probably splice you in."
You can send those tweets to Ruth Marcus. What is your reaction to that criticism?
FINNEY: Well, I would say that's an outlier to most of the feedback that we got.
Look, there was a very -- there were a couple of very -- it's a two- minute video, so you can only accomplish so much, but there were a couple of very intentional things that we wanted to communicate, number one, that it is about ordinary, everyday Americans.
It's not about Hillary. You notice that Hillary was much later in the video, and starting out, though, with people talking about the real issues impacting their lives here and now.
FINNEY: And that's what this campaign is really going to be about.
I would say the other thing is, she did talk about this idea of the deck being stacked sort of for those at the top, and not for those at the bottom, and the idea of people, again, being able to get ahead and stay ahead, and continue to do well.
But we have 18 months, and you will hear more of her thinking over the course of this campaign, in terms of the policies that she wants to talk about and what she would do as president. Again, this was meant to be a starting point.
FINNEY: And certainly tomorrow I think you will start to hear more as she has the opportunity to really talk with people about her ideas, let them ask their questions and hear their thoughts.
TAPPER: Karen, there are reports out there that the campaign is planning on raising $2.5 billion. Is it really planning to raise that much and how can you raise that much money without selling out to the moneyed interests that Secretary Clinton is planning to combat?
FINNEY: It's my understanding actually I think that figure may be a combination not just of the campaign, but sort of other sources.
Look, I think we're all frustrated at the amount of money that there are -- that there is in campaigns, but, look, the reality is, you can't -- I don't see her selling out to moneyed interests at all and certainly again I would put to people that the first thing that she's talking about is how we take care of everyday Americans and sort of being a champion for everyday Americans and talking about some very basic issues.
And, frankly, she talked about some of these issues and talked about some of the issues around sort of Dodd-Frank and the banks back in '07. So, again, these are not new ideas. And certainly I believe we're going to have the money that we need to run this campaign.
And maybe we will take a look at some of these other issues later on in the campaign, but certainly we're going to do everything we can to make sure that Hillary Clinton is president, and personally I think she's the perfect person for the job.
TAPPER: Well, I hope you think that. You're working for her.
(LAUGHTER) FINNEY: Yes. Well...
TAPPER: Karen Finney, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
FINNEY: Thank you.
TAPPER: It's been a little more than 24 hours since Hillary Clinton officially declared her presidential run, but there's already another 2016 contender trying to steal her thunder and she's heard this story before. He's a young, eager freshman senator and he's just minutes away from officially jumping in and he's hoping to make history in the White House, and that's next.
[16:16:18] TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
More in our politics lead. Campaign aides for a pending Republican presidential candidate say they like the contrast that their boss poses to Hillary Clinton and the media coverage of today's dueling campaign rollouts. That's because their candidate Florida Senator Marco Rubio is 43. So, when then-Arkansas First Lady Hillary Clinton made her infamous comment how she didn't stay home and bake cookies, Rubio was a junior taking pol sci classes at the University of Florida. His youth, Rubio aides hope, will be a selling point for voters looking for fresh and new.
Let's go right to CNN chief congressional correspondent Dana Bash. She's in Miami where Rubio is slated to make it official in just under two hours.
Dana, what are we expecting Senator Rubio to say tonight? What's his basic message?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: His basic message, Jake, is a lot of what we've heard from him, anybody who's been paying attention to anything he said for the past 10 years, the American dream. About his history, his personal struggles and his family, about the fact that his Cuban, now Cuban-American, Cuban parents came here and his father was a bartender, his mother was a maid and they had the American dream and he feels it's important to bestow that on his children and now his grandchildren in way that doesn't exist any more. So, we'll talk about it on the domestic front and also on the international front.
Not a lot of specifics, I'm told. It's a very classic, big picture, lofty presidential announcement and also very specific to Marco Rubio, who likes to give big think, big moments speeches.
TAPPER: Dana, one of Rubio's mentors was former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who was likely also to run for president. Does Rubio's announcement make things awkward between them?
BASH: I think that's an understatement. No question about it.
The two of them have been close for more than 15 years. Jeb Bush gave him, I think, $50 for his first run at city commissioner back when he was 26 years old, and they have remained close over the years. And look, the bottom line is that Marco Rubio, according to people close to him, didn't think Jeb Bush would actually take the plunge and run and he's been planning to do this. He's not that thrilled with his job in the Senate. If the president thing doesn't work out and he can't be senator, that's the rule here in Florida.
Now, he's young enough. As you mentioned, he's 43, he can go make some money. But as actually most of the people who are close to both of them in this very tight-knit Florida Republican community who feel the most torn and frankly frustrated about the fact that both of them are running.
TAPPER: After tonight, Rubio is headed back to Washington, D.C. He's going to attend a hearing at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Iran tomorrow. But does this coming to Washington hurt his ability to generate momentum for his campaign?
BASH: It absolutely could but they argue, no. And the reason is because one of the themes of Marco Rubio's candidacy, what he's been working on very hard, particularly after the push on immigration reform didn't work out so well for him. Remember, he was one of the co-sponsor and authors of the bipartisan bill that allowed a path to citizenship, Republicans rebelled against him, he's been focusing much more on the world stage.
And so, the idea that he can go back to Washington, say he's part of the discussion on Iran, which, of course, is a big, big issue internationally, they're going to argue that is the place where he has to be and should be, given the message that he's going to put out tonight about him being somebody who's important and knowledgeable when it comes to international policy, despite his youth.
TAPPER: Dana Bash live in Miami -- thank you so much.
Make sure to tune in tomorrow for my interview with Senator Marco Rubio live right here THE LEAD on Tuesday.
[16:20:04] Let's bring in right now, CNN political commentator and Democratic strategist Paul Begala. He's also an adviser to a pro- Hillary Clinton super PAC. Also here, the editor of the "Weekly Standard", Bill Kristol.
Thanks both of you for being here.
I got many questions about both of these candidates for you.
But, Paul, let me start with you. How can a candidate who has been in the public eye since the -- national public eye, since 1991, who would be if she wins the second oldest president in American history, second only to Ronald Reagan, how can she cast herself as the candidate of the future?
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Having new ideas. I mean, we know who Meryl Streep is, but we line up for her new movie to see what her new role is. In this sense, it's the same woman, but she's got to have some new ideas. Now, the announcement yesterday I thought was terrific. That wasn't the policy side. That was just the introduction, the presentation.
I think you're going to see some new ideas particularly focused on the economy and on the middle class. This quiet crisis you grilled Karen Finney about, it's OK, we got a Democrat in office now for six years and still, the middle class is stagnant. What are you going to do about that? That's I think the heart of her policy and that's going to be new.
TAPPER: Bill, I don't say this lightly, but Hillary Clinton has more foreign policy experience than all of the other potential Republican presidential candidates combined. More -- in her one person, than all of them. How are you going to fight that?
BILL KRISTOL, WEEKLY STANDARD: That's true of Jimmy Carter in 1980. He's definitely more foreign policy experience than Ronald Reagan. It has to do with the success of the foreign policies.
Look, Republicans I talked to, and I share this view, like the contrast of Hillary Clinton announcing yesterday and Marco Rubio announcing today. Hillary Clinton is going, having a Secret Service drive her to Iowa so she can mix and mingle with ordinary Americans.
Marco Rubio is ordinary American. Marco Rubio tomorrow morning I assume is going to the Miami airport, wait in line, go through TSA and sit in seat 25E on some flight back to D.C., while Hillary Clinton is shepherded around by the Secret Service. It's a good contrast for Republicans.
TAPPER: Do you buy that?
TAPPER: Do you think --
KRISTOL: Come on, Paul. Tell the truth, Paul.
BEGALA: She has Secret Service for a reason, and she needs it and she deserves it. Nobody can say he's right --
TAPPER: Forget that. I'm talking about the contrast. You -- in 1992, you ran this young, vibrant American, Bill Clinton, right into the White House, and part of it was, especially with Al Gore as his running mate -- I'm sorry to be dating myself here -- it was youth, it was vigor, it was the JFK thing. And Marco Rubio has that right now in this contrast, according to Bill.
BEGALA: He's -- Marco is young, he's impressive. I want to watch the speech tonight. He might be -- don't want to set the bar too high -- he might be the best order of all of them in the field.
TAPPER: You think he might be the toughest gentleman. BEGALA: I don't know, Ted Cruz gave a great speech. I don't agree with these guys. Just as to handicap, OK, Cruz's speech at Liberty University without notes, it was phenomenal. It's all red meat to conservative --
TAPPER: Brier patch stuff?
BEGALA: No. These guys have talent. I didn't say this in the last cycle. Last cycle was a clown car except for Mitt Romney. You know those people didn't have any talent except Romney. This field, this bench has a lot of talent. I would -- to quote George W. Bush, I wouldn't misunderestimate any of them, but especially not Rubio.
KRISTOL: Great. We'll just let Paul keep on talking.
BEGALA: I have to call them as they seem. Look, Hillary could beat any of them.
TAPPER: Part of the strategy also is to build --
BEGALA: To respect them, though. To respect them.
TAPPER: The demographics in a presidential year can be very, very tough for your party, Bill. Do you think especially considering how important the woman's vote is and how historic the nature of Hillary Clinton's candidacy ISIS, do you think there should be a woman on the ticket, on the Republican ticket?
KRISTOL: I don't know. But I think -- look, you're going to look at a stage, the debate stage with Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, and Carly Fiorina, and Bobby Jindal and Jeb Bush and Rick Perry, is a pretty diverse and pretty impressive group. I like that. If I were a Democrat, I'd be a little worried about the coronation of Secretary Clinton here.
BEGALA: Mind you, this is the guy who got us Sarah Palin. The brain trust that got Sarah Palin to get on the McCain ticket?
KRISTOL: That was historic moment. Deeply moving, first woman there -- no. Second.
TAPPER: We can revisit that another time. But I do want to ask about this coronation thing, because both the Democratic National Committee and the Florida Democratic Party sent out very, very supportive tweets for Secretary Clinton and her campaign yesterday.
If I were somebody who worked for, say, the sitting vice president, I might not take kindly to that.
TAPPER: It does seem like some folks are getting a little ahead of themselves.
BEGALA: Because they are. I've never seen this kind of enthusiasm for a non-incumbent, and it's remarkable. I don't know what you can do about it. It's a high-class problem, as her husband would say.
As a strategist, I actually do want a tough primary. I think it's good for Hillary. I think she'll win it, but I frankly don't see it materialize. I think it will. I really do.
Democrats, you know, we abhor a vacuum. I don't want a coronation. I don't think we'll have one. I'm so impressed that Hillary is treating it like a real competition. She's going to the grassroots. She's driving out to Iowa. She's not taking anything for granted.
KRISTOL: I don't know if she's driving to Iowa.
BEGALA: She has security, Bill. Come on, you don't --
[16:25:01] KRISTOL: She's been driven out to Iowa.
TAPPER: This is something that none of us would do, which is get in a car and drive from here to Iowa. Credit for sitting to --
KRISTOL: No, it's much tougher to go to LaGuardia, go to TSA, and sit in seat 25E. That's what a real ordinary American do.
TAPPER: All right. I have to leave it there.
Bill Kristol, Paul Begala, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
Coming up next, the audiotape that you have not heard. What the officer who shot and killed an unarmed man said in the minutes after the shooting. We have the tape and we'll play it for you, next.
Plus, if you're feds up with flying, you are far from alone, and you are not crazy. Customer complaints have soared in the past year. Which airlines ranked best, which ones ranked worst? That's ahead.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Trapper.
The national lead now: new details about how then Police Officer Michael Slager now being prosecuted for murder reacted in the immediate moments after he shot a man in the back, killing him.
New dash cam recordings reveal Slager referencing his adrenaline pumping after taking the life of Walter Scott, whom he pulled over for a broken brake light. It was this cell phone video, of course, that made the story a national story. The North Charleston Police Department fired Slager when the video surfaced and the prosecutor soon announced charges against the officer. The video also revealed a very different picture than the one painted in the police report.