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Thousands Flee As Wildfires Threaten Homes; Candidates Out in Full Force Ahead of CNN Debate; Pope Francis Vs. The Vatican. Aired 8:8:30a ET

Aired September 13, 2015 - 08:00   ET


COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR (voice-over): The NFL security ref will then escort a football coordinator in charge of transporting the footballs to the sideline where they're given to the team ready for play.

[08:00:04] Throughout the season, the NFL will randomly select games where they'll respect each team's footballs at half time. The coordinator will transport the footballs escorted by NFL security, of course to have the air pressure remeasured and recorded. Then those footballs will be tossed aside and each team's backup footballs will be used for the rest of the game.


WIRE: So, still in question whether or not the Patriots cheated the game. One thing's for sure, deflategate has changed the game forever.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Obviously, those are quite some protocols.

All righty. Hey, Coy, thank you so much.

WIRE: You're welcome.

PAUL: We appreciate it.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.


PAUL: Whatever you're doing right now, take a look at your screen. This is the breaking news we've been following this morning.

You're looking at fires there in California. But not just fire. Those are people's homes that are burning down one after another after another. One official calling these fires just explosive.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: Thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes. Four fighters were sent to the hospital with burns. We've learned within the last hour, that there will be no relief from the weather today.

But within the next 24, 48 hours, they could get some rain. We also learn that more reinforcements and help are on the way.

PAUL: Certainly thinking about all of those folks out there, not just the people who are watching. Somebody could turn on the TV wherever they are in a shelter, see a home burning and recognize that it is theirs. That's just heartbreaking.

SAVIDGE: It is indeed.

PAUL: So thinking about all of you out there and the firefighters that are fighting so bravely.

I'm Christi Paul. And we're so grateful to have your company, too.

SAVIDGE: And I'm Martin Savidge, in for Victor Blackwell. We will have more on that breaking story as developments come into the newsroom. But now, a huge weekend in the race for the White House, the CNN Republican primary presidential debate just three days away. The GOP presidential hopefuls are hitting the campaign trail in full force.


BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So, the nice thing is, I'll be center stage this time. Be more difficult for them to ignore me. So I'm sure I'll get more questions and that will be a very good thing.

CARLY FIORINA (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think Donald Trump is an entertainer. And I think I am a leader. And so what I do is talk to the American people about the issues they care about. And I think they hear what I'm talking about.



SAVIDGE: That's just a couple of the candidate talking to our cameras this weekend leading up to the big debate, of course, on Wednesday.

PAUL: So, let's talk to CNN's Athena Jones. She is live from the site of CNN's GOP debate in Simi Valley, California. Jeff Zeleny, too, our senior Washington correspondent.

So glad to have you both with us.

Athena, I do want to start with you. You're out there where it's going to happen. It's a much smaller crowd as I understand it. So the energy is going to be different. But the preparation energy has really ramped up, yes?

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christi. That's right. The crowd here will be about 500. No more than 500. That's very, very different than the stadium, the arena that the first debate was held in.

But, of course, this is going to be one of the biggest television audiences any of these candidates find themselves in front of. It's important opportunity to make an impression, to talk a little bit of policy and also show some fire. But, of course, there are going to be 11 candidates on this stage. Not a whole lot of minutes per candidate.

Some of these candidates really haven't been getting any attention or a mention much in the media unless their name has come out of Donald Trump's mouth. They're going to be trying to show that they're there on the stage. You're going to have folks like Jeb Bush and Ben Carson who are going to be flanking Donald Trump at center stage, try to show that they're not the low energy candidates that Donald Trump has called them.

Marco Rubio said over the weekend, look, you know, we answer questions from voters every day, so the debate is not much different.

But it is different in the sense that they're going to have to answer policy questions and also maybe show that fire, show some personality, maybe try to attack another candidate, but all in a much shorter length of time. And, Christi, meanwhile, we've heard from Donald Trump. He said that his whole life has been preparation for a debate.

So, it's definitely going to be interesting and I bet there's going to be some fireworks -- Christie.

PAUL: No doubt. Thank you so much, Athena. Appreciate it.

Jeff, want to go to you now. She mentioned one of the things different this time around as well, Carly Fiorina will be on the stage, especially after all of hubbub about what Trump said about her. But Trump is in his comfort zone. He shines when he's on stage.

[08:05:01] Name one or two candidates that you think might actually be able to outshine him or at least get up in the game with him.


It's going to be a contest to sort of get attention and get talking time in. As Athena, there really is very limited time for all these opponents to talk since there are 11 on stage. But I think what we're going to see is sort of an opportunity for a head to head discussion about all the things that have been going on sort of long distance up until this point.

Carly Fiorina will have to make the choice to decide if she wants to stand on that stage and said, Donald, what's wrong with this face? Women in the audience, take a look at this face, what do you think of it?

She'll have to make a decision if she wants to go hard after him or not. I think some of the candidates are going to be saying directly to him what he has been saying sort of long distance to them specifically over the last month or so. So, I think that is her plan here.

But some of the others, Christi, really have to breakthrough. Like Scott Walker, he said he's going to be more aggressive. Well, he has to sort of answer the questions. That is the issue here, the questions from the moderators, Jake Tapper, Hugh Hewitt, and Dana Bash, are going to be on policy, on other things. So the candidates have to be very focused on that.

Look for Marco Rubio to try and tell more of his story. Look for Jeb Bush to try and articulate his hopeful message. So many of them have so many things they need to accomplish on that stage.

PAUL: Yes, and it will be interesting to see, you know, since Hugh Hewitt is on this debate panel as well, how it might drive some of the conversations about his recent back to back with Donald Trump.

ZELENY: Right.

PAUL: I want to get, Jeff. to a story that is in "The Washington Post" this morning and Hillary Clinton's personal e-mails might not be erased after all. "The Post" reporting this morning that the company that managed her private server says it has no knowledge that the server was wiped clean as Clinton and her staff have claimed.

So, if, Jeff, those 31,000 personal e-mails are indeed recovered, is that a big problem for her?

ZELENY: It's not necessarily a big problem for her only in the sense that this is yet another wrinkle in this. The story is never going to go away for the Clinton campaign if there are more inconsistencies. If this server companies says that the server was not wiped at all, that means those e-mails would be able to be reviewed.

So, some of them certainly are personal in nature, but we don't know if all of them are. So, it will be interesting to see who actually gets to look through those. Will it be the Justice Department looking through those? Will it be the State Department looking through those?

So, it's just another example of this drip, drip, drip will not go away. It will not end here.

Now, the Clintons obviously know what was in those e-mails, because she was obviously writing those e-mails. So, some of them certainly are personal. But we don't know if all of them were personal. They clearly tried to get rid of the ones that were personal.

So, if the server company has recovered them, who actually will see them? This certainly raises so many more questions here and it ensures this will keep going on and on and on.

PAUL: Uh-hmm. All right. Jeff Zeleny, Athena Jones, so appreciate both of you. Thank you.

ZELENY: Thanks.

SAVIDGE: Now an update on breaking news we have coming out of California, the wildfires. Here's where two of them are scorching thousands of acres. Lake County, that's about 100 miles north of San Francisco. Another

fire 70 miles east of Sacramento. And this morning, it's only getting worse. Take a look at these pictures. The firefighter said entire neighborhoods have gone up in flames. He said no residents are left here. Despite thousands of firefighters battling the Valle Fire and Butte Fire, four firefighters have been injured. People are scrambling to get away from that area. Thousands are evacuated as this fire threatens to destroy their homes.

Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I could feel the heat from the flames.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everything behind the gas station is gone. The school is gone. The store is gone. A lot of people have dogs stuck up there and they won't let them go get them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Fire everywhere. Our houses, our neighbor's houses, friend's houses, everybody's houses are burning up. It's awful.


SAVIDGE: California Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency which will help free of funds and resources to fight the fire and help people who have lost everything.

PAUL: All righty. The pope and the church, one and the same? Some say not be a long shot. We're going to take a closer look at what Pope Francis has said, what he's done and the deep resistance that he often counters in certain corners of the Vatican.

Also, it's been a violent morning in Jerusalem. Israeli police clashing with Palestinians at one of the holiest sites in the world.


[08:13:46] SAVIDGE: As the United States gets ready to welcome Pope Francis later this month, the pope is drawing even more attention to issues that have weighed on Catholics for years, his focus on the poor and the downtrodden, even taking a softer line on mortal sins like abortion and the move have raised eyebrows everywhere. But will they ultimately transform the church itself?

Let's bring in Alexander Stille, author of "The Sack of Rome: Media, Money, Celebrity Equals Power Equals Silvio Berlusconi." Also with us is CNN religion commentator, Father Edward Beck.

Good morning to both of you.

How much resistance inside the Vatican is there to the pope? And let me begin by asking that to you, father.

FATHER EDWARD BECK, CNN RELIGION COMMENTATOR: Well, I think there's resistance whenever you have a change because people are used to doing something a certain way. You have an old guard and then you have someone coming in having a different perspective. And I think we have certainly seen that with Pope Francis.

So, of course, there's been some resistance with the newness, the difference in tone, some people having their jobs threaten. So, there's been pushback, but there's also been cheerleaders.

SAVIDGE: Alexander, we talked about how popular and I'm wondering how much the church can be influenced by popular public opinion to this pope?

[08:15:05] ALEXANDER STILLE, AUTHOR: Well, I don't think -- I don't think that they'll -- they are set to public opinion. It's a very funny world, the world of the Vatican, because it is very removed from the rest of the world, but not unaware of it.

And you see that the effect that Francis has definitely changes the thinking even within the Vatican, the things that he does, the way in which they're received, definitely has been affect on people there and puts a certain amount of pressure on them to show that they are capable of change.

SAVIDGE: And, Father Beck, what do you think of the biggest obstacles facing this pope?

BECK: I think the biggest obstacles are that people are used to doing things a certain way. And so, some of the most conservative elements are concerned with some of the things he's saying about sexual morality and kind of loosening the string hold a bit, some of the liberals are concerned that he's not saying enough about other issues that they care about.

So I think you're going to be in the middle as this pope. And I think the greatest danger is that people don't give him a chance to hear the whole vision in context.

SAVIDGE: Do you think this pope has been sort of learning about this on the job? He's in a very different position than what he was.

STILLE: Yes. One of the things that's important to keep in mind, Pope Francis is one of the only modern popes who's never lived in Rome extensively before becoming pope. He's very smart. And a very quick learner and he seems to be acting quite assertively on that level. It will be just interesting to see how that works out.

But he is -- he definitely learns and he seems to have learned quite a lot. You tend to see with his public pronouncements, you think that he is a kind of idealistic, soft, loving figure, which he may in fact be. But he's also very tough on a bureaucratic level. He's paying a lot of details to the way this institution is run.

SAVIDGE: There's no question you have to keep a sharp edge as well as an open heart.

Alexander Stille and Father Edward Beck, thank you very much. BECK: Thank you, Martin.

PAUL: Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, his numbers are falling in the polls. Now he says he's not going to hold back Wednesday night. He's going to join our Jake Tapper next hour on "STATE OF THE UNION." We've got a preview for you, next.


[08:21:41] PAUL: Half the hour right now, and a full day of live coverage of the upcoming CNN GOP presidential debate for you today. Eleven Republican hopefuls taking center stage at the Reagan Presidential Library Wednesday night.

Let's bring in the host of "THE LEAD" and "STATE OF THE UNION", Jake Tapper, who's joining us live from California, by the way, as he prepares for his hosting duties for the debate.

PAUL: Jake, good to see you.

I know that a couple of things are going to be different here. First of all, Carly Fiorina is going to be on the stage, which did not happen last time around. And secondly, Governor Scott Walker, Wisconsin governor, a lot of people wondering if we're going to see a different man on stage this time around, especially after what he said to you when you spoke with them.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: That's right, Christi. Look, he definitely needs to breakthrough. He had an adequate performance in the first debate, but his poll numbers are continuing to plummet.

I asked him about that when we spoke. The full interview airing later on "STATE OF THE UNION." But take a listen.


TAPPER: You're in Ames, Iowa, you were once poll-wise the king of Iowa, the prohibitive favorite to win there. You were at the top of the polls for months. This week, a new Quinnipiac poll has you in tenth place with just 3 percent in polls out there, down from double digits in July.

The conservative "National Review" wrote a big piece about you saying there are questions about your campaign. Quote, "The Walker team has had a way of creating mini fiascos. The follow a pattern in which clumsy statements from the candidate are often allowed to hang in the ether without clarification and inquiries are either unanswered or treated with hostility."

How do you respond to that? Is your campaign faltering?

GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R-WI), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The bottom lime is, we get around the state. We're going through our 30th county out of 99. We'll be through all 99. We're putting in the time to the grassroots. When people hear our story about how we have a plan to wreak havoc on Washington, when they see that unlike anybody else in this race, we've actually been tested. It's about five months out. We've got the time to make the grass roots connections and get that message out.


TAPPER: Of course, that's the local face-to-face grass roots kind of interaction. What's he going to do on Wednesday night? How aggressively is he going to go after the frontrunner Donald Trump, or other establishment candidates remains to be seen, Christi.

PAUL: All right. So, we know that you got Governor Walker there, what else are we going to see from you this morning?

TAPPER: We have exclusively the chairman of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus. We'll ask him for his take on a lot of the party infighting that's going on right now, candidates attacking each other, where the Republican party needs to go. Whether the candidates are providing the same kind of Reagan cheer that those of us who are old enough to remember the Reagan years recall. That and a great panel talking about all the week's news coming up.

PAUL: Looking forward to it. Hey, Jake, have fun with it all. We know it's going to be a good one. Thanks you so much.

TAPPER: Thank you. Thanks.

PAUL: Jake Tapper for you there, folks.

And we start a full day of coverage from the Reagan Presidential Library where Jake was just sitting, starts with "STATE OF THE UNION" at the top of the hour, 9:00 a.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

Also, remember, you can catch the Republican presidential debate hosted by Jake Wednesday starting at 6:00 p.m. Eastern.

[08:25:03] We'll be right back.


PAUL: What a scene there. Israeli police forced to storm the holy Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem this morning after police say Palestinian protestors barricaded themselves inside, threw rocks and fireworks to those who approach. The violence didn't end there. Clashes spilled into the streets, leaving dozens injured. This of course all coming hours ahead of a Jewish new year, Rosh Hashanah, which begins this evening.

SAVIDGE: Floyd Mayweather is finally ending his boxing career with a win last night against Andre Berto. Mayweather retires undefeated with 49 wins. That ties the record of the late Rocky Marciano.

PAUL: And "Star Wars" fans, this Dreamliner is for you. The huge passenger plane rolled out of the Boeing plant in Washington painted as beloved android R2D2. How great is that. It belongs to a Japanese career. The first flight, from Tokyo to Vancouver, Canada.

And we are so grateful for our company as always. Make some great memories today.

SAVIDGE: "INSIDE POLITICS" with John King starts right now. Have a great day.