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Obama Vows U.S. Will Continue to Support Kenya; Senate to Hold Rare Sunday Session Today; Bombing Kills Two, Wounds Four in Turkey. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired July 26, 2015 - 08:00   ET


[08:00:00] COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS: That happens a lot. I think that gets overlooked too often in sports when we hear about all the negatives. There is a lot of positive that's at least trying to be done, tried to be done in locker rooms.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Great insight. Thank you, Coy.


WIRE: Thanks for having me.

PAUL: All righty. And thank you so much for starting your morning with us.

BLACKWELL: Your NEW DAY continues, now.


PAUL: Good morning, I'm Christi Paul. So glad to have you with us.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell.

We're starting this hour with President Obama's visit to Kenya. Let's start there.

Moments ago he spoke at civil society event there in Kenya. He's heading off to Ethiopia today.

But look at this. Earlier this morning, a huge crowd gathered to hear him speak. This is at an arena in Nairobi. He talked about terrorism, and corruption, the U.S./Kenya ties. Here's a bit of the speech.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes, you can realize your dreams right here, right now. We have not inherited this land from our forbearers. We have borrowed it from our children. So, now is the time for us to do the hard work of living up to that inheritance, of building a Kenya where the inherent dignity of every person is respected and protected, and there's no limit to what a child can achieve. I am here to tell you that the United States of America will be a

partner for you every step of the way.


BLACKWELL: CNN's White House correspondent Michelle Kosinski is traveling with the president. She is in Nairobi.

Michelle, good morning to you.


Yes, this is a crowd of nearly 5,000 people. And President Obama really wanted to tell Kenyans what he thinks is great about their culture and what's going on here, all the progress that has been made. All the opportunity that youth has now.

But, he also wanted to point out the problem, some big ones. And he went into great detail. You can say that Kenyans got another lecture from President Obama, but he tried to do it in a most polite and inspiring way possible.

I mea, talking about corruption from top to bottom, how it has to be rooted out, saying that it's a weight, an anchor that holds people back, and keeps them mired in the past. But he got most fired up when he was talking about women, and the need for them to participate fully in society, and the economy.



OBAMA: Around the world, there is a tradition of repressing women, and treating them differently. and not giving them the same opportunities, and husbands beating their wives, and children not being sent to school. Those are traditions -- treating women and girls as second-class citizens -- those are bad traditions. They need to change.


KOSINSKI: Yes, I mean, he said that certain things like genital mutilation, and forced marriages of children, he covered all bases, saying he has no place in civilized society, no place in the 21st century. And he talked about the need for inclusiveness in general, in the government here, saying that when things are based on politics, tribalism, or where you stand racially, that's just a policy that's going to drag society down.

And he went back to saying that, you know, we're a tribe of humanity. That everybody needs to be equal no matter what god you worship, or who you love, again, making a reference to those controversial comments yesterday, and the sharp differences of opinion over homosexuality between President Obama and the president of Kenya -- Victor.

BLACKWELL: Yes, glaring difference there. Michelle Kosinski in Nairobi for us -- thank you.

PAUL: All right. Let's talk about what's happening back in Washington today.

A rare Sunday session is expected in the Senate. Lawmakers have just a week to extend essential funding to repair crumbling roads and bridges. These are among other amendments.

National correspondent Sunlen Serfaty joining us live from Washington.

Good morning, Sunlen.


Well, the tangle over these unrelated amendments that has really created a very abnormal dynamic in the Senate, potentially setting the stage for some fireworks this morning. Now, on Friday, Republican senator Ted Cruz, he lashed out at the majority leader Mitch McConnell. Of course, a member after his own party, accusing him of lying.

Now, Cruz says McConnell promised that he would not cut a deal which would allow a vote to reauthorize Export-Import Bank. This is wrapped up in the highway bill. And McConnell appears to have cleared a path forward to do just that.

So, Cruz, here really calling out McConnell directly, saying point- blank, he lied.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: To this institution, the Senate operates based on trust.

[08:05:01] Whether we are Democrats or Republicans, these 100 senators have to be able to trust that when a senator says something he or she will do it, even if we disagree on substance, that we don't lie to each other.


SERFATY: It's rare to see this sort of personal attack in the Senate, especially among members of the same party. And it may have even violated a Senate decorum rule.

Now, McConnell, so far, has been silent in his response so today -- potentially we could hear from him for the first time. Now, Ted Cruz is, of course, running for president. He is already raising money off this spat, saying in a fund-raising e-mail, quote, "We've been betrayed by the Senate majority leader", and, Christi, asking for campaign donations.

PAUL: OK. All right. Sunlen Serfaty, we appreciate it. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right. Let's turn to 2016 now. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on the campaign trail this morning.

He's heading to New Hampshire.

Well, the candidate known for telling it like it, is that slogan, he's making headlines doing just that. This happened at an Iowa town hall. He got into this heated exchange with a voter who questioned his gun rights record.

Here's just some of that exchange.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: State gun right groups from here in Iowa to Minnesota, even to Georgia, have sent out some e-mails recently saying that you're very anti-gun, when it comes to Second Amendment. So, my question is, how are you going to -- New Jersey gun owners into thinking that you'll be anything other than a President Michael Bloomberg if you become successful?

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, because it's not true. So, let's start with that. The answer is New Jersey have a lot of really difficult gun laws? Yes. They were all signed before I became governor.

And I'm still waiting for one fact, one fact from you about me being anti-gun. Give me one. One fact.

Got one?

By the way, I --


BLACKWELL: All right. He also said he vetoed the ID in New Jersey. That's what you heard a bit of there.

Let's discuss this with senior politics reporter Steven Collinson, also joining us, political analyst Jason Johnson.

Jason, I'm going to start with you. You're here with me in Atlanta. It seemed to have worked for the room.

JASON JOHNSON, POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, it worked for the room and Chris Christie is aggressive. He's on point and he's making a policy argument.

And that's what you really want to do at this particular point. We're two weeks away from the first debate. Chris Christie wants to say I'm tough. I'm not a RINO, I can defend myself and that's something I'll be able to do against Hillary Clinton. I think it was a great moment for him.

BLACKWELL: So, you know, there's been a lot of criticism about Donald Trump, Stephen, and the way in which he attacks his competitors, his opponents. Is that presidential? Is this in Christie's view, presidential, that aggressive response to a voter? STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN POLITICS SENIOR REPORTER: It's very

interesting, because it's a side of Chris Christie that he seemed to try to suppress a little bit during his campaign so far. Perhaps amid some worries that bullying behavior might sort of anger voters in Iowa, and New Hampshire, these small town hall events.

So, this was the first time we saw the real, authentic Chris Christie I think that many voters have perceived in the past of his highlight reels in confrontations with voters in New Jersey.

The fact that Chris Christie is, you know, he needs to make a mark. It's almost like Donald Trump, as you said, has stolen his shtick. Christie is barely registering in the polls in Iowa and he's not doing an awful lot better in the national polls.

So, he really needs to make something happen and perhaps this is an opportunity, he's spotted where he can sort of put himself across as a little bit more robust than he has so far.

BLACKWELL: Steven, I'm hearing, I don't know if it's two things or an inconsistency here, if this is something he tried to suppress early on, is this exchange Christie not being able to control that, that this is not the best of him? Or is this the telling it like it is candidate, doing exactly what comes naturally?

COLLINSON: I think if you after the full exchange, it never crossed the line, really, into overt aggression. He was polite and respectful to the man who asked him that question about gun rights. He said everyone, you know, entitled to their own opinion. It was only at the end there where it got really quite sharp.

So, I think there's a loin that Christie needs to walk on here between being too aggressive, and being, you know, robust and confrontational and all the things that made him a good politician in the first place.

BLACKWELL: So, is this the barometer by which a candidate determines he or she can get in to that top ten, how aggressive one can be? I mean, it's not specifically on policy, because we look to what happened with Ted Cruz --


BLACKWELL: -- in the chamber, calling Mitch McConnell just a liar.

JOHNSON: Yes. Yes.

This is the problem with the debate format, usually, if you're running for president you don't have to worry about national polls. All you have to be worry about is how well am I doing in Iowa? Do I have a team on the ground? But now, they have this new stipulation, you have to be in the top ten to get into the first several polls.

[08:10:01] So, candidates are going to be more inclined to say aggressive things, do outlandish things because they've got to get in the first two forms to be considered valid to get into Iowa. So, I'm not going to be surprise if we see more things like this, although I'd say, Cruz insulting McConnell, he's never been that popular in the Senate, and Christie yelling at somebody, that's right within their wheelhouse. That's their personality in general.

BLACKWELL: It just seems surprising, Stephen, that there is no line that's been drawn yet. I mean, we're going to later today see if Donald Trump's comments about John McCain have impacted his standing in the polls with a new polling that comes out at 8:30 and then at 9:00.

But it seems as if voters are eating this up.

COLLINSON: Yes, that's for sure. You talk to activists in New Hampshire or Iowa they're much more into what Donald Trump is doing than perhaps some of the pundits in Washington.

I think the real question here is about authenticity. Politicians probably need to act in the way that made them popular in the first place, and drew people to them.

So, if you're Chris Christie or Ted Cruz, that's a confrontational approach. If Jeb Bush suddenly started these kind of antics, people would say it's out of character, he's not authentic and he's perhaps trying to hard. So, each candidate has to make their own decisions about exactly how they're going to put themselves across to voters.

BLACKWELL: Yes, you don't abandon what got you into the room. You don't abandon what got you to the party.

Stephen Collinson, Jason Johnson, thank you so much.

JOHNSON: Thanks.


PAUL: Thank you, gentlemen.

A new terror attack in Turkey. We have a live report for you next from Istanbul on a car bomb explosion that killed two security officers.

Plus, a popular Vegas hot spot -- well, it's literally that. Smoke so thick flames it could and that smoke could be seen for miles. We're going to tell you what happened. Look at this.


[08:15:29] PAUL: Fifteen minutes past the hour right now.

And there are fears in Turkey this morning of more possible deadly attacks. Two Turkish soldiers are dead, and four people are wounded after a car bomb explosion in southern Turkey today. Officials say a vehicle carrying security personnel was ambushed. This, of course, follows Turkish air strikes on Kurdish militants in Iraq, on ISIS in Syria.

CNN's senior international correspondent Arwa Damon is in Istanbul for us right now.

So, Arwa, so far, we understand there has not been a claim of responsibility for today's bombing?

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, there hasn't. But that is not necessarily uncommon. One just needs to look at where the bombing took place in Turkey's Kurdish heartland just 24 hours after the Kurdistan Workers Party, the PKK that Turkish jets were targeting in northern Iraq just a short while ago effectively declared the 2013 cease-fire dead.

All indications are at this stage that they were responsible for this attack. Not just because of the location where it took place, but also because of how it took place, and who the target was. The PKK, as of late, has, prior to this cease-fire, has been going after Turkey's security apparatus.

But, you also have a very complicated situation for this nation that had been trying, at least to the best that it could, to stay out of violent confrontation, not just when it comes to the battle with the PKK, which Turkey deems a terrorist organization, but also when it comes to the fighting with ISIS in Syria.

Turkey very reluctant to get engaged but coming under increasing pressure from the United States, other western allies to do so and also under growing internal political pressure, as well, with many people blaming the Turkish government for its handling of the threat posed by ISIS for that deadly attack that took place here on Monday when a suicide bomber detonated in a southern Turkish town killing at least 32 people.

Many here, as you were mentioning, they're concerned about retaliatory attacks. Not just from the PKK, but from ISIS, or ISIS sympathizers, as well.

PAUL: All right. Arwa Damon, you know, after -- after they start these airstrikes, I would think Turkey is prepared for this kind of retaliation. Yes? They expect it on some level?

DAMON: They do. But it's also something that's very difficult to actually prepare and protect oneself for. You know, Turkey has been launching this massive counterterrorism attack over the last few days. They rounded up around 600 individuals from both the PKK, and ISIS, and other according to Turkish authorities, terrorist-related groups.

But, as much as the country does try to brace itself for these types of attacks, again, it's very difficult, especially when there are so many different divergent entities that could potentially be responsible for them. It is a very difficult situation for this country at this stage. It is also opening the Incirlik air base potentially to the U.S., and other coalition allies for them to begin flying various different missions in Syria.

So, Turkey is getting more involved in Syria. It is reopening this front with the PKK. But all of this is going to prove to be very challenging, potentially deadly. PAUL: All right, Arwa Damon, we so appreciate the update. Thank you,

very much.

BLACKWELL: All right. We're coming down to the deadline for that cutoff, the top ten to get into the first debate. So, how can Rick Perry separate himself in this crowded Republican presidential field?

Jake Tapper sits down with the former Texas governor. We'll talk to Jake, next.


[08:22:55] BLACKWELL: This morning CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION", polls set to be released soon which could provide new insight into the race for 2016. Plus, former Texas governor and White House hopeful, Rick Perry, stops by.

Joining us now is the host of CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION", Jake Tapper.

Jake, this is an important one, especially in relation to the comments Donald Trump made about John McCain.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST, "STATE OF THE UNION": That's right. In the last CNN/ORC poll, Donald Trump was in second place, I believe he had 12 percent, and we'll see in this poll that will come out in about half an hour or so, did his comments about John McCain and his other controversial remarks, have they hurt his run for the presidency? Or is his race, is his front-runner status going to be held up by this poll? That will be very interesting to see.

We'll also have to take a look at the head-to-head match-ups. Who does best in a hypothetical race against either Senator Hillary Clinton or Senator Bernie Sanders.

So, those are two of the things I'll be looking for.

BLACKWELL: And Rick Perry, former Texas governor running some national ads, trying to make that cut to get in to the debate, trying to make the top ten.

PERRY: That's right. In the last few days, Rick Perry who is going to be our guest on "STATE OF THE UNION", has been really coming out against Donald Trump very forcefully. Calling it Trumpism, which he says is a kind of demagoguery, calling it a cancer on the Republican Party.

So, we'll talk to him about his war of words with Donald Trump. We'll talk to him about immigration and jobs. ISIS, we'll talk to him about the shooting in Lafayette, Louisiana. All of that coming up on "STATE OF THE UNION."

BLACKWELL: Big show. Big show.

Jake, thank you very much. Are we going to have state of the cartoonion as well?

TAPPER: Yes, we've got a good one, Dr. Seuss themed this week because of the new Dr. Seuss book that was released.

BLACKWELL: Looking forward to it, Jake. Thank you so much.

TAPPER: Thanks.

BLACKWELL: "STATE OF THE UNION" starts at the top of the hour, 9:00 a.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.


PAUL: And I'm thinking Jake might be a pretty happy man today because he has a reason to cheer on his Phillies. Today, for one day at least, some joy in Philadelphia, as their top pitcher hurled his way into baseball history.


[08:29:03] BLACKWELL: Investigators are trying to figure out what caused this two alarm fire at the luxury cosmopolitan hotel on the Vegas strip. It engulfed the 14th floor pool deck. Two people suffered smoke inhalation. Fire officials say the pool's cabanas and artificial plants helped spread the flames. The hotel was evacuated and firefighters were able to put out that fire.

PAUL: A man was killed by a shark Saturday off the coast of Tasmania. It was a horrifying scene that happened right in front of his daughter. The man was diving for scallops at the time. And when he didn't surface for air his daughter dove in again to look for him. And she saw that vicious attack.

BLACKWELL: It's been a rough baseball season for the Philadelphia Phillies. I'm talking last place rough.

PAUL: Hmm.

BLACKWELL: Until last night. Cole Hamels through his first-ever no hitter yesterday against the Chicago Cubs, 129 pitches and not a single hit. It's the first no-hitter pitched against the Chicago Cubs in 50 years.

PAUL: And congratulations to them!

So thank you so much for sharing your morning with us. Make some great memories.

BLACKWELL: "INSIDE POLITICS" with John King starts right now.