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Deadly Violence in Jerusalem; Interview with Dennis Ross; Ex- NBA Star Lamar Odom Found Unconscious At Brothel; Fewest Air Traffic Controllers In 27 Years. Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired October 14, 2015 - 16:30   ET



LISA CAPUTO, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY FOR HILLARY CLINTON: And she kind of went through the list, and she said, and the Republicans. So, she's very forward-looking, yet focused on what she's got to do to get there.

And so I think the hypothetical matchups at this stage really hold no bearing. I think what's so interesting is the tack that Donald Trump is taking today. I don't quite understand it. It's on the same day he's asking for Secret Service protection too. So I don't quite understand the strategy of...


ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: By the way, I thought that answer where she said one of her favorite enemies was the Republicans was frankly inappropriate.

If you're running to be commander in chief of the entire country, you know, to say that a large portion of that country are your enemies, I just don't think that's presidential.

CAPUTO: Well, when you have a Republican-controlled committee on Benghazi, and you have McCarthy and the lead investigator saying this is political and you have spent over $4 million on the investigation, how is that not...


NAVARRO: That's fine. But at some point...


CAPUTO: That's Congress. That's supposed to be the check and balance.

NAVARRO: At some point, she's hoping to run in a general election. And when she does run in a general election, if that happens, she's going to hope that some of those Republicans or independents that lean Republican come her way and she might not want to describe them as her enemies.

CAPUTO: Look at her track record. She's worked on the other -- across the aisle...

NAVARRO: She did not say Republicans in Congress. She said Republicans. That includes people like me.

CAPUTO: She has worked across the aisle to get things done as a member of the Senate. There's no question about it.

You can see who some of her detractors were in the Senate. And she worked across the aisle to get things done. So I would say, you know, she knows how to legislate and she knows how to work across party lines.

NAVARRO: I would say that's going to make a very good general election ad.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Very quickly, Ana, if I could, you are supporting the presidential race of Jeb Bush. These new polls out of South Carolina and Nevada show him in fifth place, sixth place, not doing very well. What's going on with his campaign?

NAVARRO: I wish his numbers were bigger, were higher. I think he needs to perform better on things like the debate. He's not a natural at it the way that, let's say, a Marco Rubio or others may be.

I do know that he's got the staying power, that he's got the structure, that he's building a very strong team on the ground. And he's got the patience to wait this out and to continue fighting. And I also see him regularly and know that he's got the fight in him and that he's going to continue fighting day in, day out to try to change those numbers.

TAPPER: It's just interesting because I remember some of those early speeches Hillary Clinton gave when she targeted specifically Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush and Scott Walker. Not her biggest opponents, at least not right now.

Ana, Lisa, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

The world lead, a new flare-up of violence in the Mideast, a series of stabbings with two incidents just today, the clashes raising questions of a possible new uprising, a new intifada. One man who served as a U.S. ambassador in that region is joining me to weigh in -- that story next.



TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

Topping our world lead today, an outbreak of deadly violence and terror. An elderly Israeli woman is in serious but stable condition after being stabbed by a Palestinian terrorist near Jerusalem's Central Bus Station earlier. Hours before, Israeli police shot dead a knife-wielding man outside the Damascus Gate in the Old City area of Jerusalem. These are just the most recent in a string of random, seemingly,

terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians by Palestinians, many of them young. Palestinians, meanwhile, are complaining about excessive force by Israeli troops and police imposing stricter security measures in the wake of this unrest.

In Bethlehem in the West Bank, clashes erupted between Israeli troops and Palestinians after the funeral of a resident killed by Israeli gunfire yesterday. Seven Israelis and an estimated 30 Palestinians have been killed over just the last two weeks.

Let's get right to CNN senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman live in Jerusalem.

Ben, what more can you tell us about today's attacks?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, today's attacks, as you mentioned, one was outside the Damascus Gate.

According to the Israeli police, it was a 19-year-old resident of Hebron in the Southern West Bank. In that incident, this man apparently when he was approached by Israeli police, he was acting strangely, they said. When they came closer, he pulled a knife, and they shot him, but not fatally.

He ran towards the Damascus Gate itself, where another unit of Israeli border police shot him multiple times, killing him on the spot. Regarding the incident outside the Jerusalem bus station, normally a very busy place, apparently a 72-year-old woman was attacked by a man in his late 20s from the Ras Al-Amud neighborhood in East Jerusalem.

In that case, a bus driver brought the woman inside the bus, closed the door, stopped the attacker from doing any more harm to her. He started to run up the street. The bus station is really just a block away from here. And in that instance, we're told that an Israeli police officer shot him dead.

Now, Israel has imposed all sorts of new measures to try to prevent further attacks, imposing closures on Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, mobilizing more police, more border police, as well as ordinary soldiers, to try to have a more heavy presence.

But at the end of the day, it's difficult to stop an individual lone wolf attacker who isn't affiliated so far. We haven't seen any of these attackers affiliated with the usual suspects, you might say, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, any of the other Palestinian factions. Now, these new measures were introduced after a very stormy and very long meeting of the Israeli security cabinet that went into the early morning hours of today.


In fact, I was reading in "Haaretz," one of the Israeli newspapers, that in the course of one of a very heated debate between officials in that cabinet, the Israeli defense minister, Moshe Ya'alon, asked his colleagues, what do you want us to do, go around East Jerusalem and confiscate every kitchen knife in every Palestinian house?

That's the kind of challenge the Israelis are dealing with now. It doesn't appear they have come up with a solution yet -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Ben Wedeman, thank you so much.

Joining me now is Dennis Ross, former senior adviser on Middle East issues to the Obama administration's National Security Council. He also served under both Presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush. He's out with a new book titled "Doomed to Succeed: The U.S.-Israel Relationship From Truman to Obama."

Thanks so much for being here, Mr. Ambassador. Good to have you.

I know that the cycle of violence has been going on for decades in this area. Is there a specific catalyst that caused this latest wave of violence?

DENNIS ROSS, FORMER U.S. ENVOY TO MIDDLE EAST: You know, I don't know that there has been a single event that has triggered it.

I mean, there clearly has been a stalemate that has added to it. There's also enormous disaffection and anger among the Palestinian public towards their leadership and especially among the youth who are largely unemployed.

To the extent to which there is one thing that is out there and has acquired a kind of mythological status, there are claims in the social media and on the Hamas and Islamic Web sites, among others, that the Israelis are going to divide the Al-Aqsa Mosque and do to that what is -- in Hebron, there is Abraham's Tomb, Ibrahimi Mosque -- they're going to create the equivalent of that, which is completely untrue.

But that seems to have taken a life of its own. And many of the attackers claiming that they're doing it for Al-Aqsa. So it's clearly a -- a mythology has developed and it needs to be answered, it needs to be corrected.

The Israelis are out saying they're not going to change the status quo, but somehow that's not resonating.

TAPPER: And you were saying that these attacks don't seem to be organized. They seem to be coming from social media?

ROSS: Most of the attackers are between the ages of 15 and 25. And there is -- every social media platform is being used. And a lot of videos are going viral.

And there's -- you know, again, you're having Web sites that say go out and make yourself a martyr, but it's not organized. If you go back to the first intifada, which as known as the Children of the Stones, you go to the second intifada, which takes place starting at the end of 2000-2001 and goes on for four years, these were heavily organized, they were top-down in many respects.

This is nothing like that. No one who is carrying out attacks is identified with a particular organization. There isn't an organization that's planning attacks. So you do have -- Ben Wedeman was referring to lone wolf attacks. And he was referring to the minister of defense talking about, what are we supposed to do, confiscate every kitchen knife?


ROSS: A lot of these are individualized and they're frequently kids. And sometimes kids don't feel like they have a lot to lose.

TAPPER: Now, you write extensively in your book "Doomed to Succeed" about this conflict. And one of the things that plays out in your book and we see it playing out now is the Israelis are blaming the Palestinian leaders for inciting this violence.

ROSS: Yes.

TAPPER: The Palestinians are blaming the Israelis, saying that Netanyahu started this all by allowing more Jewish Israelis to visit the Al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem. Do either side have a point? Do they both have a point?

ROSS: Well, I do think that one of the things that's disturbing is even though Mahmoud Abbas has called for calm, nobody in the Palestinian Authority and he has not been condemning acts of terror.

And as these are purely acts of terror, you would like to see that. A couple days ago, the prime minister of Israel prevented all ministers of the cabinet or anybody from the Knesset from going to the Haram al- Sharif, Temple Mount. Obviously, prior to that time, ministers from the cabinet had been going up there.

So in a sense, you have a climate where each side is not doing the kind of things that might create greater space for the others. I do think some of the speeches that Mahmoud Abbas had made where he talked about filthy feet being on the Temple Mount, these are the kind of things that do create a climate that makes it easier for individuals to go off and do what we have seen.

TAPPER: And the people being targeted in these attacks, the elderly, children, people walking home from the grocery store?

ROSS: Also a lot of people who are clearly identified by their dress as being orthodox. You know, it's a concern -- it's -- look, they're all civilians, there's no question about that.

And it's just in a sense there is a kind of lashing out. And somehow there's got to be -- you have to make violence itself illegitimate if you want to stop this. You have got to find a way to create a sense of calm again. And you have to find a way to get each side to begin to take steps on the ground that begin to change the climate completely.

TAPPER: Ambassador Dennis Ross, thank you so much for joining us.

Again, the book is "Doomed to Succeed: The U.S.-Israel Relationship From Obama -- From Truman to Obama."

[16:45:00] Thank you so much for being here. We always appreciate it.

ROSS: My pleasure.

TAPPER: Today Sport Lead, Lamar Odom on life support after being found unresponsive. CNN is digging into what exactly happened at that Nevada brothel.

Plus an alarming staff shortage at airports across this country raising concerns about the safety of your next flight.


TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. Turning to our Sports Lead now, Lamar Odom won two NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers and rocketed to reality star fame after marrying into the Kardashian family.

But now he's fighting for his life after being found unresponsive in a Nevada brothel last night. The basketball star was rushed to a Las Vegas hospital by ambulance because the 6'10" Odom was too tall to fit in the helicopter.

Let's get right to CNN's Paul Vercammen outside the hospital. Paul, what do we know about Odom's condition?

[16:50:03] PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Reverend Jesse Jackson came out, Jake, and he told us that Lamar Odom is on life support, but he is somewhat responsive unlike yesterday. He also called this a difficult situation. Let's go ahead and listen to what Reverend Jackson had to tell us.


REVEREND JESSE JACKSON, VISITED LAMAR ODOM: He's in tubes in him now. But we felt inspired by his presence. We just had prayer. You know, we get knocked down sometimes, we get back up again. The ground is no place for a champion. Champions rise.


VERCAMMEN: And the Reverend Jackson also saying that Odom is doing better than yesterday, again, on life support in a private room, Jake. So that's the latest from the hospital on Odom's condition.

TAPPER: What do we know about where he was found and the condition in which he was found?

VERCAMMEN: Well, all reports from Dennis Hoff, who is the owner of this love ranch, which is a highly celebrated brothel, there's actually two of them part of an HBO special. He says that at 3:30 in the afternoon on Tuesday two of his, quote, "girls" found Odom unconscious.

They then called 911. The dispatcher according to Hoff told them to turn Odom onto his left side and he vomited. He was later taken out of there.

So according to the owner of this brothel, Odom had given him a call over the weekend and said he wanted to spend some time there and have some fun. And Hoff also said he heard that Odom had been taking a lot of an herbal sexual supplement.

TAPPER: All right. Paul Vercammen, thank you so much.

The National Lead now, new safety concerns about commercial airlines flights and the people who keep those planes off a collision course, that story after this quick break.



TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. The Money Lead now, Walmart feeling the heat from writing its employees bigger paychecks. The retail giant hiked wages for hundreds of thousands of U.S. workers earlier this year. But the organization now says that increase will eat into its profits next year.

We're talking more than $1 billion. Walmart is also investing a great deal in its website. The retailer is not getting much help from shoppers. Sales are down across the entire retail industry.

The National Lead now, federal investigators are on the scene of a fiery plane crash in Florida. Today we learned two people died. This small plane plummeted into a mobile home park yesterday in Lake Worth, which is right near West Palm Beach.

Huge flames quickly engulfed two homes. The National Transportation Safety Board saying that the pilot died along with one person on the ground. Investigators hope the witnesses can help them figure out what went wrong.

They're also reviewing security camera footage from a car dealership that shows the plane dive behind a tree line before hitting the ground. Of course, airline safety is a top priority for the FAA, but the nation's busiest airports are dealing with an alarming shortage of air traffic controllers.

The number of eyes on the skies helping keep us safe in the air and on the ground has believe it or not reached a 27-year low. Nearly a third of those still working are eligible for retirement.

Joining me now is CNN aviation correspondent, Rene Marsh. Rene, how bad is this staffing shortage?

RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION AND GOVERNMENT REGULATION CORRESPONDENT: It's a chronic shortage and the union representing controllers they are warning something must be done about this and immediately. About 70,000 flights, Jake, take off and land every day here in the United States. That includes military, private and commercial planes.

But the alarming fact is controllers responsible for directing those planes in some of the country's busiest air space are being forced to work overtime. We're talking six days a week to make up for that understaffing.

Let's take a look at some of the busiest hubs, places like Atlanta. There are 74 controllers on staff, but there's supposed to be 102. In Chicago 70 staff, there are only 100 -- I'm sorry, only 100 necessary I should say and in Houston 73 staff but 93 are necessary.

And the shortage may possibly get worse, 30 percent of the current controllers are eligible to retire at any time. Now, if this isn't addressed this could mean massive delays at airports and individual controllers have told me it also could potentially mean mistakes in the towers because you have overworked controllers who are simply fatigued -- Jake.

TAPPER: And, Rene, the FAA is in charge of hiring air traffic controllers. What do they say about this problem?

MARSH: Well, the FAA, the agency, is not disputing that this is a serious problem and that it has to be addressed. However, the FAA is blaming past government shutdowns and budget cuts for closing the FAA's training academy.

They say that their training academy was shut for nine months and that essentially delayed training for many of the new recruits. No dispute that this is an issue that has to be addressed. The sense that we're getting from the FAA is they're working on it. But the union is saying not fast enough.

TAPPER: Rene, how are they going to plan to plug these holes?

MARSH: Well, the FAA's saying that they are going to be posting information about these openings. They're going to have -- essentially get the word out because they want to recruit as many people as possible.

The key is to let people know that these positions are open and you'll have that next round. But it takes two to four years to train an individual. So they're already somewhat behind schedule -- Jake.

TAPPER: Rene Marsh, thanks so much. Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter @jaketapper. That's it for THE LEAD today. Turning you over now to one Mr. Wolf Blitzer who is in "THE SITUATION ROOM." Thanks for watching.