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McCarthy Abruptly Drops Out of House Speaker Race; Interview with Ben, Candy Carson; Clinton Shares Stage With Obama Amid Deep Divide. Aired 7-8:00p ET

Aired October 8, 2015 - 19:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT tonight, the GOP in disarray. The sudden stunning exit of Kevin McCarthy. Why did he dropout of the race for speaker?

Plus, Dr. Ben Carson and his wife Candy together for a rare interview right here OUTFRONT talking race and their marriage.

And just released, surveillance video of an American hero stabbed on the street. Why was the airman, who helped take down a terrorist on the Paris train, brutally attacked right here at home. Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. And we begin OUTFRONT tonight with the breaking news. The man everyone assumed would be the next speaker of the house is gone. In a shocking move, Kevin McCarthy stunning Washington dropping out of the race. And he got out moments before the vote to give him the job. That job, of course, second in line to the president. It's a huge development tonight. Speculation surging on the reason for his sudden exit. But note this, Hillary Clinton recently pounced on McCarthy when he appeared to suggest that the republican-led Benghazi investigation was aimed at weakening her candidacy and today Donald Trump taking credit for McCarthy's shocking move.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Kevin McCarthy is out. You know that, right?


And they are giving me a lot of credit for that because I said you really need somebody very, very tough and very smart.


BURNETT: Our chief political correspondent Dana Bash is OUTFRONT. And Dana, Republicans are saying that they were shocked by this announcement. This was supposed to be a done deal, have the vote, there it is.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I witnessed the shock and disbelief. I was part of the shock and disbelief today, Erin. I was right outside of the door of the room where most of the members, they had just gotten there. They were eating the barbecue that had been ordered from them from a barbecue food truck. And people weren't really listening many of them to McCarthy who got up in the front of the room, he was speaking in a very hush tone and with a low voice. The acoustics, I'm told, weren't great. And once people realized what he had actually said, they couldn't believe it. I got a text from a source in the room as soon as McCarthy made the announcement saying, McCarthy just dropped out, elections postponed.

And my response was, stop it, I thought this person was pulling my leg but obviously at that moment people started to trickle out of the room and we later learned that that was, in fact, what happened. Now, the reason that McCarthy has given in private and in public that he believes that the at the end of the day he could have gotten -- squeaked through with the 218 votes needed, of course, the majority of the House, the House Speaker has to be approved by the actual body, not just the party, but that he wouldn't be effective.

And the other thing that I was told, there probably are a lots of reasons, but the other big reason is because the so-called House Freedom Caucus, Erin, the conservatives who were saying that they wouldn't vote for him --


BASH: -- in the first round but maybe would at the end of the day if he agreed to lots of changes in how the republican caucus was run, that they were trying to extract so many concessions that he felt that he couldn't be an effective speaker if he did agree to some of what they were asking.

BURNETT: I think it's stunning and it's stunning what it says to the world about how dysfunctional the system is in this country that the jobs second in line to the presidency. Nobody seems to want someone who is going to get it drops out. I mean, it's stunning.

Dana Bash, thank you very much. And I want to go to Las Vegas now where the republican presidential candidates were today talking about this. Donald Trump and Senator Marco Rubio.

Sara Murray is OUTFRONT. And Sara, Donald Trump is actually taking credit for this. Congressman McCarthy dropping out of the race for speaker. What's his reasoning?

SARA MURRAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, surprise, surprise, Donald Trump taking credit for something. Erin, he says that his candidacy has shown that you don't just need someone who is smart but you also need someone who is tough. He described Washington as total bedlam and said he's seen animosity towards Washington, towards the political system like he's never seen before and, frankly, this is what we hear when we talk to voters. They really like candidates like Donald Trump, like Ben Carson because they are political neophytes. They are new comers. And they don't believe that they'll fall victim to the same clause in the system that other candidates have. Now, as you've seen from Capitol Hill, it is very difficult to just show up and completely change the way a governing body works but for now, Trump says, this is how he's rallying voters.

BURNETT: All right. Sara Murray, thank you very much. As we said, live in Las Vegas, where all of the Republicans, and many of them, I can't say all -- because obviously that would mean a lot of people, but a lot of them are campaigning. One republican who stayed off the campaign stage today was Ben Carson. He of course is central to the whole race, skyrocketing to number two in nearly every poll. The republican candidate, the poll show as the best chance to beat the democrat in the key swing states. And he's out with the new book, he wrote to his wife Candy. I sat down with both of them today for a rare joint interview and asked him about the impact of the campaign on their 40-year marriage.


[19:05:18] BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's not made it harder, and, you know, it's provided an opportunity, you know, for me to see what an incredible wife I have.


CANDY CARSON, WIFE OF BEN CARSON: Yes, I mean, 40 years I gave him up to medicine. And I thought when he retired we'd have some time together. So it's similar.

BURNETT: So not yet, no time yet.



BURNETT: OK. Rupert Murdoch met both of you --

C. CARSON: Well, he met him. I wanted to be there but I was finishing up my own edits, so --

BURNETT: So he didn't meet you actually?


C. CARSON: I don't think so. I think I would've remembered that one.

BURNETT: OK, so it's interesting, in this now, and from his tweet today, he mentioned you as well, Mrs. Carson. He says, quote, "Ben and Candy Carson, terrific. What about a real black president who can properly address the racial divide?" Question mark. "And much else."

What he's saying, obviously, is you're more black than President Obama. Let me just ask you the question very simply. Do you agree? Are you more black than President Obama?

B. CARSON: I don't really think it's an issue. What I think he was trying to say is that the black community was extremely excited about his election, and that their -- their plight has not improved significantly under his administration.

BURNETT: So would you do something specifically and more for the black community?

B. CARSON: I would.


B. CARSON: I would do something specifically to create ladders of opportunity that allow people to climb out of poverty, out of dependency, and that's going to require an overall plan. It's going to for instance require encouraging private sector to create daycare centers, particularly in inner cities, because a lot of those young women, once they have that baby out of wedlock, their education ends. And that baby is four times likely to go into poverty.

You know, the war on poverty was declared in the 1960s. Since that time, government has spent $19 trillion. And what do we have? Ten times more people on food stamps, more poverty, more broken families, out of wedlock birth, incarceration, crime. You know, nothing's really better. So I -- but what I've witnessed as I've traveled around the country are private sector programs, those really work.

BURNETT: Now Mrs. Carson, as First Lady --

C. CARSON: Candy.

BURNETT: -- would you feel a responsibility in your role towards the issue of race? Towards Black America specifically?

C. CARSON: Well, to tell you the truth, I'm not focused on that position. Right now it's very important to wake our people up. It's sad that so many of our country just unaware of so many crises situations that are going on. The debt that we have is $18.5 trillion or more. To pay that off at a rate of $10 million a day would take you 5,000 years. People can say that, but do you have a comprehension, a full comprehension of what that means? And we're saddling the future generations with us. Thomas Jefferson said it's morally wrong to steal from future generations. That's what we're doing.

What got me on board with this, because it's really not something that I wanted to do, it's not something that he had in his -- on his bucket list, but when you look at grandchildren, or in -- when I see any children, because I don't see my grandchildren because we're on the road so much, but -- and it's hard, because I really want to see them. One's three and a half, one's going to turn two next month, I haven't seen them for six months. It's killing me. But whenever I see these children, I just think I can't do this them.

BURNETT: So how do you -- you make the perfect (ph) impression, you're sitting here, you are your usual self. That means very, very calm, even-keeled. Dare I say monotone sometimes, right? That's a positive, can be a negative. You, though, are sparking with energy. Is that the way it always is? C. CARSON: I've always been called more of a drama person.


C. CARSON: Even though I never take lessons. It's natural. You know, I get excited. I mean, I'm a musician as well, and you know, it's all about drawing emotions from the music or whatever you're using when I used to do artwork. It was the same thing. So yes, I guess, I'm just more emotive.

BURNETT: More emotive. You let her shine?

B. CARSON: Yes, and --

C. CARSON: I let him shine too!


C. CARSON: In makeup, what, do you need more than me?

BURNETT: Hey, you did take longer to get here.


B. CARSON: When you think about it, you know, neurosurgeons, if you know any, they tend to be very calm, low-key people, and that's because when you're in the middle of somebody's head and a vessel breaks loose, if you panic, the patient's dead. You've got to be very steady, you've got to inspire confidence in the people around you, you've got to know exactly what you're doing.

[19:10:06] BURNETT: So let me ask you. In your book, Dr. Carson, you write about how you had anger issues as a teen. And you've talked about this, hitting people with bats, hammers. In one instance, you talk about lunging at someone with a knife. This is you we're talking about. You're now known, you know, as so soft-spoken, so calm. You've conquered your demons. But is there anything that fires you up? I mean, that young man who could do those things, that -- that person's still in there, right?

B. CARSON: Well, I -- I may be fired up, I may just not look like I'm fired up.


B. CARSON: You know, I'm a person who, you know, has a lot of fire, quite frankly, and you'll see that as time goes on. You know, particularly in defending positions and taking on challenges. And, you know, when I think about what's going in the world right now, with the global jihadists, when I look at what Putin's doing, I have a lot of fire when it comes to what we should do about those things. I just don't yell and scream about it.


C. CARSON: I don't yell and scream. I just have a little more lilt in my voice.

BURNETT: The conservative magazine "The National Review" wrote an article called, "Meeting Candy Carson: The Anti-Michelle Obama." It says about you, and I'll quote her, "She's smart, she's talented, she loves America," which is a thinly-veiled reference to Michelle Obama's now-famous quote about when she said it was the first time she was proud to be an American.

Do you think Michelle Obama does not love America? Do you find it offensive that people compare the two of you because of your race?

C. CARSON: To tell you the truth, I don't keep up with the news like some people do. This guy is 24/7. When he leaves the house to go do an interview, I turn everything off because it's nice to have blessed peace. I'm not as politically inclined as he is, because you know, I was raising children and so on and so forth, and it just wasn't my forte. He is very interested, and now I've come on board. A lot of that stuff I just don't even see, because I'm busy doing other things.

BURNETT: So Dr. Carson, "The Washington Post," Damon Tweedy -- I don't if that name's familiar to you. He teaches at Duke School of Medicine. And he wrote about you, how you inspired him. He said your influence on black students like himself, back when he was a student, was profound. That was the word he used. And now he wrote that, "in a bizarre twist," those are his words, your biggest fans are no longer in the black community.

Here's how he said it, "Carson has become a major star among on the far right, the faction of the party often perceived as being indifferent or worse to African-Americans. Many black doctors, given our long-standing adulation of Carson, are puzzled and discouraged by this evolution. The place where the man who once his built his brand as a black icon has found a new home, and it's a place where many of us feel unwelcome."

Does it upset you that people you know, who look at you as a black icon, in his words, are disappointed?

B. CARSON: Well, I expect that from them, because they simply don't understand the other side of the world. The fact of the matter is I understand both sides of the world.

BURNETT: So do you find it -- do you welcome the fact that people see you as a possible black president and going to take on issues that matter to the African-American community? Or do you find -- or do you resent that, that there's still that split, that people would see you as black first?

B. CARSON: Well, you know, I hope that we can eventually reach a point where we don't judge a person by the color of their skin. And, you know, I've said it before, there are certain segments of our society and, you know, particularly progressive movement, that always categorizes people on the basis of their skin color. I don't find that to be as much the case, you know, with conservatives. But I admit that there's problems on both sides. BURNETT: All right, well, I appreciate both of you taking the

time. And thank you very much for being with me.

B. CARSON: My pleasure.

C. CARSON: Thank you for having us.

BURNETT: All right. OUTFRONT next, Hillary Clinton and President Obama sharing the stage tonight but little else, as candidate Clinton says, she's against one of his biggest policy achievements, something she actually said she was for 45 times.

And the American hero who stopped the terror attack on a Paris train, and the new video that we have. We're going to see him get attacked last night after leaving a California bar. New details on what led to this brutal stabbing.


[19:17:42] BURNETT: Tonight, Rupert Murdoch tweeting apologies no offense meant after many people were offended when they read Murdoch tweet this. Ben and Candy Carson terrific. What about a real black president who can properly address the racial divide? Question mark. And much else. Well, as you just saw I asked Ben Carson whether he agrees. Whether he is more Black than President Obama. Here's what he said.


CARSON: I really don't think it's an issue. What I think he was trying to say is that the Black community was extremely excited about his election and that their plight has not improved significantly under his administration.


BURNETT: That is actually how a lot of people are explaining the tweet. But look at what Rupert Murdoch tweeted just last month. He wrote two stories, Carson, Detroit, get-o to brilliant neurosurgeon Obama, white upbringing to community organizer. Sincere men, different values.

Joining me now, Doug Thornell, he served as spokesman for Howard Dean's presidential campaign. And Debra Dickerson, she's the author of the book, "The End of Black Men." Doug, putting those tweets together, those two different things that Rupert Murdoch said, is Murdoch saying that Obama is not black because he was raised in a white family?

DOUG THORNELL, FORMER SPOKESMAN, CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS: It's really hard to figure out what he is trying to say. I think the larger issue here is this idea that there are, you know, there are some sort of characteristics or qualities that make you black in this country. You know, I mean, the President is an African-American male, who grew up an African-American male, who has, you know, has dealt with racism on his part and as a president I think he's had -- he actually has a lot of successes that he can talk about in terms of what he has done for the African-American community. But the larger issue I think here, the concern here is that we're still in 2015, we're talking about whether, you know, what make a real black person in this country and I think that's just like a ridiculous type of conversation and I hope Rupert Murdoch would know better.

BURNETT: Debra, President Obama has spoken about this. He's spoked about Trayvon Martin. He said he could have been his son and then he went on to describe his own experience. Here's what he said.


PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: There are very few African-American men in this country who haven't had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store. That includes me. There have very few African-American men who haven't had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. That happens to me, at least before I was a senator.


BURNETT: You heard what he's saying, right? Is that it doesn't matter whether he was raised in a white family. That's the experience he had because of the color of his skin. Do you think that you can separate skin color from how you were raised?

DEBRA DICKERSON, AUTHOR, "AN AMERICAN STORY": I think the question is an existential one. It's not about what the police do or don't do. It's not about any of those things. It's about the fact that black, like White, Asian and everything else, is a social construction. And it's constructed in a way that I agree that President Obama is not Black, not because he didn't come to slavery or his story isn't compelling. It's a different story. And what black means in America is the people who were brought from Africa involuntarily force to labor for Whites and who have been systematically oppressed ever since. That's what it means.

BURNETT: And so, you're saying, by that definition, he is not black.

DICKERSON: He's not black. And there's nothing wrong with who he is. He's chosen to be black in a way that's different from Rachel Dolezal, whatever her name was. And that she was dealing with sort of a mental issue. Barack Obama is a very smart man and he understood that to be politically viable as a candidate, the only community (INAUDIBLE) was the Black community. So, he did the things he needed to do. He's a protestant. He came to this civil rights apparatus and all this sort of thing. I think, though, that had he positioned himself as half Indian and half White, he's a brilliant man. But none of us would ever have heard of who he is. He had to play the game the way it lies.

BURNETT: Uh-hm. All right. Doug, what do you make of that? Saying, he had to play the game because of what it was, he played the game and played black but she's saying he's not really black by that definition.

THORNELL: Yes. I mean, I respectfully disagree. I think actually in politics today if he ran as -- it probably would have been easier for him to run as a bi-racial candidate given the uniqueness of that right now. So, in the fact that he ran as an African-American male, he never ran away from that, he certainly, during his first campaign, worked very hard in South Carolina in terms of reaching out to African-Americans. He has surrounded himself --

[19:22:38] BURNETT: What about Debra's point that he though, you know, to her point that, you know, he used it, it was politically expedient to be Black and he got noticed because of that. So, he chose to do it.

THORNELL: I actually think in politics, being an African- American male candidate is not a politically expedient. It's very hard to win the presidency on its own but to be an African-American male to win it is next to impossible. And so, you know, I've done a lot of races and I think the idea that you have a leg up, being an African-American male in races, that's just absurd.

BURNETT: Okay. Debra, quick and final word?

DICKERSON: It's not that he's a particular kind of biracial. He's not threatening. He comes through his hot blackness. Not through slavery but through Africa. He is the only kind of candidate that could ever have been elected the first black president, one who is only sort of (INAUDIBLE) and again, I'm critiquing the constrictions of the word blackness and the concept blackness. It's much too small and reduces us to nothing but the people who have been historically impressed by White people.

BURNETT: All right. Well, I appreciate both of you by taking the time. That's fascinating conversation. Thank you.

THORNELL: Thanks, Erin.

BURNETT: And next, Hillary Clinton and her former boss right now at the same event. Will they come face to face as she rejects some of his hardest fought policies?

And just released, video of an American hero. That's the man who stopped that major terror attack in Paris, stabbed near a California bar. Why?


[19:27:58] BURNETT: Tonight, Hillary Clinton speaking to a group of Latino leaders, she is sharing the same stage with President Obama which could mean an awkward encounter as she breaks with him on key issues, issues that she once wholeheartedly supported.

Jeff Zeleny is OUTFRONT.


Tonight, President Obama and Hillary Clinton on the same stage speaking to Hispanic leaders in Washington.

OBAMA: Good morning.

ZELENY: But increasingly, there's a growing divide between the President and his former Secretary of State. As she campaigns for the White House.


Facing a tougher than expected liberal challenge from Bernie Sanders --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Health care must be seen as a right, not a privilege.

ZELENY: Clinton is suddenly breaking with the administration on one hot button issue after another. She wants to repeal the so-called Cadillac tax on high-cost health care plans. She is saying no to the administration's new Pacific trade agreement.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: As of today, I am not in favor of what I have learned about it.

ZELENY: And she is speaking out forcefully against U.S. deportation. It's a campaign trail shift for Clinton as she tries to win over the progressive base of her party in the democratic primary fight. There are no such shifts for Vice President Joe Biden. He's nearing his own decision about 2016 and holding President Obama tight. In a speech today in Washington, Biden made clear that he's a partner of the president.

VICE PRES. JOE BIDEN (D), UNITED STATES: When the President and I took office, we knew we had to make some tough and incredibly unpopular decisions.

ZELENY: If he jumps in, it will be Biden/Obama running for a third Obama term. He mentions the President's name again and again today.

BIDEN: Not because of Barack Obama and Joe Biden, you can disagree with Barack, the President and me in terms of how we generate the funding.

ZELENY: Not since the 2008 democratic presidential debates has Clinton tried to distance herself so much from Obama.

CLINTON: You talked about Ronald Reagan being a transformative political leader. I did not mention his name. Well, I'm here. He's not.

OBAMA: OK. Well, I can't tell who I'm running against sometimes.

CLINTON: You know, well --

ZELENY: It's all designed to set the table for the first democratic debate of this campaign when Clinton faces Sanders and other rivals for the first time.

(END VIDEOTAPE) ZELENY: Now, that debate on Tuesday in Las Vegas is a key moment

in this Democratic primary fight. It's an opportunity for Hillary Clinton to try and strengthen her standing as a front-runner, but it's a tricky balance, as she changes positions on some of these key issues, all in hopes of finding favor from the liberal mood of the party -- Erin.

BURNETT: Sure is. Thanks, Jeff.

And OUTFRONT now, David Gergen and Gloria Borger.

Gloria, let me start with you. According to CNN, Hillary Clinton spoke out no fewer than 45 times -- let me say that again, 45 times in favor of this trade deal that this week she says she's against it.

That's pretty damning, isn't it?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, I think it is. When you look at her words, and again, here we are parsing Hillary Clinton's words, she said, "As of today, I am not in favor of what I have learned about it." So does that mean that at a certain point she could say, well, OK, that was then and this is now if she believes that during a general election, she might want to -- she might want to switch a little bit? You know, I think it is pretty damning.

BURNETT: And, David, you know, to this point, this seems to be the reason that people rate Clinton as dishonest. The poll the other day asked for the top four word associations for Hillary Clinton. This has been done before. It was done again a couple of days ago -- liar, dishonest, untrustworthy and fake were the four words. This would be part of the reason why.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think that's right. I must say, flip-flopping happens a lot in politics, but given her narrative, given the prevailing story that she's -- you can't trust her, this is going to play into that narrative. I think Gloria is right. It is damning and it's not the only issue in which she flip-flopped.

She was for the trade deal as secretary of state. Now she's against it. It appeared that she was on the Keystone pipeline, it appeared she was for that and she's now against it.

Cadillac tax on health care, that's -- you know, that's an Obamacare, she's never raised any complaint against it and now she's against the Cadillac -- she wants to -- she's against the Cadillac -- I'm sorry. She's against the Cadillac tax.

(CROSSTALK) BURNETT: OK, but right there, you just had me. You can't even

tell -- it's almost as if you can't remember what side she's on because she keeps switching.

GERGEN: That's right. Exactly.

BURNETT: Right. So, one thing that she's changed her mind on -- and there's some people who are sympathetic to this. They say a lot of people have evolved on that issue. My use of that word evolved. You know the issue I'm talking about, right?

Gay marriage. She was vocally against gay marriage for more than a decade. People like Bernie Sanders had been consistent on this issue. She didn't come out to support it until 2013, right, when she was getting ready to run for president and after polls showed overwhelming support among Democrats, and that the whole country was switching to support it, right? Hardly a hard time to come out and be for gay marriage.

She even joked about the shift on "Saturday Night Live." Here she is.


HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It really is great how long you've supported gay marriage.


I could have supported it sooner.

CLINTON: Well, you did it pretty soon.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Could have been sooner.

CLINTON: Fair point.


BURNETT: Fair point. OK, yes, she's making light of it.

But, Gloria, how can she make it look like it was from the heart and not from the polls?

BORGER: Well, look, you know, President Obama was late. I think she may have more of a fight if Joe Biden gets in the race on this particular issue.

BURNETT: Right. He (INAUDIBLE) all of them on this.

BORGER: Right. But no national Democrat was really vocal about the issue of gay marriage until pretty late in the game. So, if you're in a general election and you're running against a Republican who is opposed to gay marriage, it's pretty clear. And the primary, what we're seeing again is Hillary Clinton shifting to the left because she is worried about Bernie Sanders, she could be worried about a Joe Biden candidacy, and she has to get all of this out there before the debate next week because she knows she's going to be asked about it.

BURNETT: She is. But, David, I'm also curious to Gloria's point, right? She's moving to the left. So, she changes her opinion, her view, on things like trade and Wall Street moves to left. So, let's just say, David, that wins over some votes from Bernie Sanders. Great. That helps you in the primaries.

But doesn't that hurt her down the line with the moderate Democrats and the independents who are more likely to support things like free trade, don't like the flip-flopping and the votes she needs to get to the White House?

GERGEN: Well, I think this is really troubling, she was secretary of state. The Trans Pacific Partnership is a fundamental piece of American foreign policy. It's a crucial piece of the Obama foreign policy in moving toward Asia to put TPP in place.

[19:35:04] She said it's the gold standard. You know, and so, for her to move on this issue, I think it's particularly unsettling because it does raise a question of how steady will she be in foreign policy.

BURNETT: I appreciate both of your time tonight. Thank you.

BORGER: Thanks.

BURNETT: As I just mentioned, the first Democratic debate is this coming Tuesday right here on CNN.

OUTFRONT next, though, we have the surveillance video of the American hero stabbed on the streets of Sacramento just weeks after he tackled a terrorist on a Paris-bound train. That special report is next.

And a modern day underground railroad. We're going to talk about new immigrants coming in through the southern border.


BURNETT: Tonight, an American hero stabbed. Spencer Stone is one of the men who brought down a heavily armed terrorist onboard a Paris-bound train and he's in serious condition tonight. The brutal attack on him was caught on camera.

Jason Carroll is OUTFRONT.


JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Surveillance video captures the moment the first punch may have been thrown. Seconds later, the fight spills out from the sidewalk onto the street in downtown Sacramento.

[19:40:05] Then, more punches, more fighting. It's not clear from the video which one is airman Spencer Stone or when he was stabbed. The video shows a man wearing a dark shirt with a stain on his chest. Police confirmed Stone was stabbed several times in the upper body. And they are looking for the two people responsible for it.

DEPUTY CHIEF KEN BERNARD, SACRAMENTO POLICE DEPARTMENT: The suspects in this crime are two male Asian adults. The males are being described as wearing white t-shirts and blue jeans.

CARROLL: Police released an image of the two men just before they got into a car and took off. Officials say the fight may have started at a nightclub. Stone was out with four of his friends and got into an argument with the suspects over what is unclear.

Police say the incident is not related to terrorism or to Stone's heroic actions this past August.

Stone was one of five men, including two of his friends who helped stop a gunman on a train headed to Paris. Stone almost lost his phone when he was stabbed with the box cutter during that August terror attack. He and the other men received France's highest honor for their actions, the Legion of Honor.

Stone and his two friends also receiving praise for President Obama.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Because of their quick thinking, because of their teamwork, it's fair to say that a lot of people were safe.

CARROLL: Stone is now stationed at Travis Air Force Base outside Sacramento. He's being treated at UC Davis Medical Center and listed in serious condition.

The hospital spokesperson releasing a statement, "The family of Airman Spencer Stone appreciates the outpouring of love and support. His family request that the media respect his right to privacy at this time.


BURNETT: And, Jason, do we know more about what led to this fight? I mean, this was a bizarre and shocking story.

CARROLL: That was a question that a lot of reporters were pressing police about. And when pressed over and over again, police would not say specifically what the fight was about. They would only say that they had no reason to believe that Stone was in any kind of trouble and they also added that they believe that alcohol played a role in why this whole situation escalated.

BURNETT: That's unbelievable. Thank you very much, Jason Carroll.

And OUTFRONT next, our special report. Iraqis fleeing ISIS, sneaking across the Mexican border. Terrifying question is whether terrorists could be hiding among them.

And on a lighter note, Jeanne Moos on how Vladimir Putin became the leading scorer in this hockey game. Is anyone surprised?


[19:46:43] BURNETT: Tonight, a new group of people sneaking into America. We're talking about Iraqis coming across the Mexican border, many fleeing persecution. But there is fear that ISIS terrorists could come in as well.

Kyung Lah is OUTFRONT.


KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In clouds of chaos, children and women flung aboard a military chopper, desperate, escaping ISIS brutality.

Today, thousands of religious minorities, the bulk of them Christians, are fleeing Iraq and Syria. Refugees streaming across borders. Some even making it to the Mexico border and then into the United States.

MARK ARABO, MINORITY HUMANITARIAN FOUNDATION: Journey through hell. Escaping a Christian genocide.

LAH: We're traveling with Mark Arabo, a U.S.-born Christian Iraqi into Tijuana, Mexico. He's spear-heading a radical way out for radicals into the Middle East.

He and others paid thousands to help these two men get out of Erbil, Iraq, into Europe and now into Mexico, a shadowy underground railroad, a harrowing two-month journey. ISIS' grip on these men still visible. That fear is why they asked us not to show their faces.

(on camera): How brutal is ISIS?

(voice-over): "ISIS only knows language of beheadings," he says.

(on camera): Why you?

(voice-over): "Because we're Christian," he says.

These men are among hundreds who have escaped into Mexico. Once in Tijuana, they head to the border and enter the U.S. by applying for asylum. U.S. officials worry terrorists, including ISIS militants, could follow that same path to America.

U.S. immigration and Customs Enforcement would not directly address the underground railroad but released this statement, saying, "It would bring to justice individuals who compromise the integrity of our asylum system, potentially putting our country's security at risk."

(on camera): What do you say about the security issue?

ARABO: Our national security should be priority number one, without a doubt.

These are people that are being killed by ISIS. They are not ISIS. They are coming to America to run away from ISIS.

LAH (voice-over): ISIS broadcasts their propaganda videos, beheading Ethiopian Christians. This was their future, say the men, ISIS marked their homes with this red Arabic letter, proclaiming them Christians.

ARABO: The people are being raped, they are being beheaded, they are being massacred. Little girls are being kidnapped.

LAH: Arabo gathered a list of names, more than half of them children.

ARABO: These are 70,000 innocent Christians and Yazidis, Catholics, Syrian Christians.

LAH: He pounded the pavement in D.C. begging for air lifts and for visas into America.

ARABO: We've done everything we can. We've met with the president, we've met with Vice President Biden, we've spoken to the state department. Nothing works. And if the president won't act, Congress won't act, then I'm going to act.


LAH: We've since heard from the two men who we interviewed in Mexico. They walked the U.S./Mexico border and they turned themselves into U.S. authorities requesting asylum.

[19:50:00] They've since been released to their families in San Diego and their case is now with U.S. immigration court.

In case you're wondering, Mark Arabo says he's done this now hundreds of times -- Erin.

BURNETT: Hundreds of times. Kyung, thank you very much.

And I want to go straight now to former CIA operative Bob Baer.

Bob, you just heard Kyung that they have done this literally hundreds of times, many of these people, of course, fleeing horrific persecution.

When you hear hundreds of times, what do you think?

BOB BAER, FORMER CIA OPERATIVE: Well, I think most of these people are legitimate. They're fearing prosecution in Iraq or Syria. It doesn't matter where.

The problem for immigration, though, is when somebody shows up at the border and claims to be fleeing, you know, for political asylum, they don't have any paperwork with them. Immigration doesn't know who they are.

To be let in the country all they have to say is, "I'm afraid, I have a fear." Immigrations has no choice. They have to take them in, put them in the social welfare system or sent to family members and immigrations and Homeland Security is afraid that terrorists are coming across the border. They have no way to know.

BURNETT: And I have -- this seems to be a real issue. You know, a Middle East leader last week told me that if he were up to no good, if he were a terrorist, he'd be looking at the U.S. southern border. He said there's no question. Of course, that's what I would be doing.

I mean, is it possible that is happening?

BAER: I think that's a good question and I just passed this along from Homeland Security. They are afraid it is happening, people are mingling in these groups, coming across, showing up in Tijuana, coming in the country, and with the possibility of buying weapons. In Los Angeles, for a bit of heroin, you can buy an automatic weapon and the bullets.

This is all possibilities right now and it's what they don't know, there's no way to track the people and they are coming across the border in California, tens of thousands. The chance of ISIS bringing somebody across is pretty good.

BURNETT: Is pretty good, because you're pointing out someone else in the Middle East said, which is, they don't have papers. There is no way to know. It's not as if you do a really good background, you can find out who is up to no good, who is a terrorist? Who is ISIS? You can't.

BAER: Well, immigrations has been instructed to take their statements on face value. And they just say, you know, I'm a Christian, or Yazidi, I mean, how is Customs is going to know --

BURNETT: Wait. So, they're supposed to just say -- if you say that, they are supposed to believe it?

BAER: They are. That's the instruction that go down the border. Just believe it, unless you have evidence of the contrary and, of course, they don't. They are showing up with fake documents. We have no way to check for instance Syrian documents. In the old days you go to the police and say I'd like a name check, trace on this person and they would do it, but there is no government in Syria to do it now.

So, I mean, we are -- this is a serious problem, and nothing happened so far but, it has this government worried.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much. Very concerning. Bob Baer, thank you.

And OUTFRONT next, Vladimir Putin star from a star skater, never mind the NHL, but somehow he crushes Russia's best when he goes to the hockey rink.

Jeanne Moos with that story, next.


[19:57:48] BURNETT: Russian President Vladimir Putin is famous for his macho, often shirtless hobbies. For his birthday, though, he played ice hockey and it seemed his opponents gave him shirts off their backs.

Here's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He's a president not to be pucked around with. We seen him shirtless on a horse, tagging a tiger, and now, he plays hockey on a 63rd birthday and scores seven goals? Seven?

Or at least one blog put the word "scores" in quotes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anybody who checked him was not sent to the penalty box but to Siberia.


MOOS: One doubter commented I bet the goalie dove out of the way like the puck head polonium on it. Polonium being the radioactive poison Russian assassins were repudiated to use.

We asked former hockey play by play announcer Dan Kamal to assess the Russian president's skills.

How is Putin's stick handling?

DAN KAMAL, CNN SPORTS: You know, it's pretty pedestrian.

MOOS: And his skating? How would you rank his skating?

KAMAL: Well, you can time it with a sun dial but, you know what, he didn't fall down.

MOOS: One skeptic compared Russia's president to North Korea's infallible dear leader, Kim Jong Putin.

KAMAL: I don't know if anyone on the ice was named Moses, but there's kind of a parting of the Red Sea as he skated through the neutral zone.

MOOS: Watch exactly no one try to take the puck away from Putin.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Putin shoots, he scores!

MOOS: Would Russian TV ever show their president doing this?

Putin was awarded a trophy, happy birthday, Mr. President. We may be looking at the NHL's next top draft pick, number 11.

ANNOUNCER: Vladimir Putin.

MOOS: Seven goals by one guy reminds us of what they said when the U.S. hockey team beat the Russians at the 1980 Olympics.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Vladimir Putin, do you believe in miracles?

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


BURNETT: They could have given him one goal but seven? I mean, does the guy have any pride?

Thanks so much for joining us. Be sure to set your DVR to record this show so you can watch us any time.

"AC360" starts right now.