Return to Transcripts main page


Interview with Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey; Interview with Jeff Bridges. Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired October 28, 2015 - 16:30   ET



JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have the leadership skills to make it so.

MURRAY: And for Jeb Bush, a breakout moment can't come fast enough. Increasingly frustrated with the state of the race, he's promising to come out swinging against Trump.

BUSH: There could be opportunities to do it, if he talks about protectionism, if he talks about a pessimistic world view, which I don't share. I believe that Republicans and conservatives win when we have a hopeful, optimistic message, a more Reaganesque message. I will take it to him, for sure.

MURRAY: A strong debate performance could calm donors, who are questioning whether to continue investing in a struggling campaign.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am not in favor of any policies that make America a harder place for people to live,

MURRAY: Meantime, Marco Rubio will have his own critics to answer to.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Rubio, wake up.

MURRAY: As one of his home state newspapers calls on him to resign, rather than skip Senate votes to run for president.

RUBIO: I'm not playing golf. I'm not on vacation.

MURRAY: In the hours before the debate, candidates squeeze in last-minute prep, a moment of Zen or even a workout. Bush hit the trails yesterday for a hike with veterans. Today, Carson caught a nap and enjoyed a vegetarian meal.


MURRAY: And Trump is already griping on Twitter, saying he's looking forward to "what I'm sure will be a very unfair debate."

(END VIDEOTAPE) MURRAY: Now, as high as the stakes are for Donald Trump, they

are equally as high for Jeb Bush. His advisers know he needs a breakout moment. They say they expect him to be more comfortable now that we're up to the third debate.

They're also saying look out for either an implicit or maybe explicit contrast between Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Sara Murray in Boulder, Colorado, thanks so much.

One of the candidates who will be on that stage tonight will join me. Stay with us.



TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD.

We just got some new information on that military blimp that went rogue and left tens of thousands without power.

Barbara Starr just got some new information.

Barbara, what can you tell us?

STARR: Jake, a U.S. military official confirming a short time ago that the F-16s that chased down this blimp that were tracking it were in fact armed. They did not fire their weapons. The blimp was not shot down.

We are told the military had no real intention of trying to take military action to bring it down, but the planes, we now know, were armed as they tracked this blimp for some four hours from Maryland to Northeastern Pennsylvania.

What this perhaps tells Americans is, the alert status of planes that take to the sky, military planes, when there is a problem, because obviously they would have had these weapons on board before they even took off. They would have been ready to go from their airfield near Atlantic City, New Jersey.

So, as they took to the skies, they were armed. They were ready if it came to that, Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Barbara Starr, thank you so much.

Now back to our politics lead. Will tonight's Republican debate launch a candidate into the top tier? I watched it happen in front of my very eyes at the last Republican debate, so who could be poised to challenge Dr. Ben Carson or Donald Trump and elbow his or her way into the forefront of the Republican race for president?


TAPPER: One of the candidates who will be on stage this evening, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. He joins us now.

Sir, thanks so much for taking time out from debate prep.


TAPPER: You have said nominating Donald Trump would be a disaster for your party. He is no longer the national front-runner or the Iowa front-runner. Dr. Ben Carson is. Does Carson concern you as much as Trump?

PAUL: Well, I think what's interesting about the polls is that it's a poll of undecided people. Every poll that we're putting forth, about three-fourths of the people in the poll are undecided.

And I think you're going to see the polls go up and down. We will have temporary leaders. It's kind of the way we have had it in past presidential cycles. So we think we are right in the middle of the mix. And we're hoping for a big breakout moment, maybe even tonight.

TAPPER: Are you going to talk about your concerns about Dr. Carson the way that you have about Donald Trump this evening?

PAUL: I think we're going to try to put forward the message, which I believe to be true, that I'm the only fiscal conservative on the stage, because I don't think you can be fiscally conservative if you're reckless and believe in sort of a liberal amount of spending for the military.

And that's what's going on in Washington. They're going to bust the budget caps by raising military spending and raising domestic spending. And I'm the only one that's saying, you know what, we need to hold the line.

TAPPER: Well, let's talk about that, because, as you know, the speaker of the House, John Boehner, and other leaders in Washington struck this deal over the budget. You have called this deal a -- quote -- "steaming pile of legislation," and you promised to filibuster the compromise. You sent out a fund-raising note about this as well.

Do you think you can actually stop this compromise? Or is this you making a point?

PAUL: No, I want everybody in America to call their congressman and say, giving President Obama an unlimited amount of borrowing power is a tragedy. It's a disaster.

This bill stinks to high heaven, because we're increasing the debt with no limit. We're giving President Obama a blank check until March, even after he's out of office. Until March of 2017, there will be no limits on borrowing. That's a problem for our country.

We're borrowing a million dollars a minute. So, no, I think this is a terrible disaster. But it illustrates the problem in Washington. It's Republicans and Democrats coming together in an unholy compromise to bankrupt the country.

TAPPER: "The Florida Sun-Sentinel" today, a newspaper that endorsed your colleague Marco Rubio for Senate back in 2010, called on Senator Rubio to resign because he's missing so many votes.

They wrote -- quote -- "You are paid $174,000 per year to represent us, to fight for us, to solve our problems. You are ripping us off, Senator."


Rubio has said that he's frustrated with the Senate, he's not running for reelection, and most of the Senate votes are not consequential.

Do you agree with Rubio or with "The Sun-Sentinel"?

PAUL: I take my voting record very, very seriously.

And I have made 99 percent of the votes. I'm going to continue showing up, because, you're right, I do get paid by the taxpayer. And I think it's very important. So I think the voters of Kentucky want me to represent them. And I will continue to do so. And I wear it as a badge of honor that I miss very, very few votes.

TAPPER: There are reports, on that subject, that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, your fellow Kentuckian, wants you to focus more on your Senate reelection bid, and perhaps less on your presidential race.

If you don't come in top three in Iowa, or top three in New Hampshire, will it be time then to focus on a Senate race?

PAUL: I think it's kind of hard to come up with answers to questions like that, because we're in it to win. I plan on winning in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Every day, we work as if that is our goal, winning. We're not looking to place. We're not looking to do pretty good. We're looking to win in Iowa and New Hampshire by turning out the youth vote, turning out the independent vote and turning out the liberty-minded vote.

TAPPER: Senator Rand Paul, thank you so much. Good luck this evening.

PAUL: Thanks, Jake.


TAPPER: The national lead: a deputy thrown off the force for throwing a girl to the floor, an officer fired for this body slam that went viral. Police are still saying the student shares some of the blame -- that story next.

And Oscar Award-winning actor Jeff Bridges, in Washington, D.C., today, what had him in front of lawmakers today? He will join me coming up.


[16:45:37] TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD.

We're back with the national lead. The South Carolina deputy sheriff who yanked a 16-year-old girl from her classroom desk earlier this week and threw her across the floor has been fired. Today, the Richland County sheriff's department fired Ben Fields for his actions captured Monday in at least three videos shot by students. The sheriff said that the deputy was, quote, "in the wrong" even if the arrest needed to get physical after the girl disobeyed school administrators, the sheriff said.

The Richland County School District just responded to this development minutes ago in a statement, thanking the sheriff for his swift response and vowing to find out exactly what happened.

Let's bring in New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, a critical voice in this nation's policing debate.

Senator, thanks so much for joining me.

SEN. CORY BOOKER (D), NEW JERSEY: Thank you very much. It's good to be on.

TAPPER: So, just right off the bat, your reaction to the news that that deputy sheriff has been fired for his handling of the situation with that 16-year-old girl.

BOOKER: Well, clearly, the department reviewed it and found justifiable basis for his firing. I think many Americans who saw the video felt that they existed from the video itself, but I praise the department for going through a process of evaluating all the evidence they had and coming to a conclusion in a sobered way.

But look, this is just one instance that was right. The reality is having run a police department and having seen even under my leadership that we weren't doing all that we should have done for accountability, all that we should have done to empower our police officers, keep them safe, make sure that we have policies and procedures in place, there's a lot that we have to do in this country to get to a point where we can begin to let debates like this settle down.

Incidents like this become more and more rare and really have a nation where we have policing that does what it should do in my opinion, which is not just keep us safe but really build a community integrity.

TAPPER: We wouldn't even be talking about this case if students in that classroom hadn't filmed it, to be frank. You have proposed a measure, legislation to have body cameras for all policemen. There are police forces out there where the policemen have body cameras, but they've been refusing to share the videos when there are contentious issues. Would your legislation require these police departments to

release the videos not just film them?

BOOKER: Well, even before that legislation on body cameras, I joined with Barbara Boxer in proposing a systems of reporting from police officers, both reporting about their safety and the safety of the community as a whole. And that's something I learned as being a mayor is that the more transparency you can have, the more data, the more understanding what's going on in the internal department not only is it better for the public but it's better for the police department themselves.

And so, reactions against transparency unfortunately I think is going the wrong way. The more we can make sure we have proper reporting, levels of accountability and insight into the tough jobs of police officers, in fact body cameras which you often see is that it actually reduces complaints against police officers because when somebody comes into file a complaint and you show them the video of their behavior or what-have-you, you begin to justify many of the officers actions.

So, this is a way to help both sides of this so-called debate both protecting officers, affirming them in what they're doing, as well as to make sure that those few bad actors are more often caught. This is what I find is a good thing for America to be having this debate because we know there are so many instances that are happening that are not captured on video that now will become under more greater scrutiny by having a more transparent society. So --

TAPPER: But what do you make, Senator, of the argument that police are holding back and in some places crime is going up because they are afraid of all the cell phone videos and they fear that they will be filmed and captured in a way that's unfair and doesn't accurately capture the situation?

BOOKER: Look, I talk to cops every day. I was on the phone with some officers yesterday who are friends of mine, just talking to them and that sentiment is real. They really feel a chill in terms of a lot of the things that they're doing out there feeling that often a snippet of a video is captured but not the totality of the circumstances feeling there's a climate of judgment.

So, I understand that all of this tumult has been stirred up, but the reality is we need to have a systems of accountability in our country. We need to have training, we need to have policies in place that support and empower police officers but also make sure that we're protecting against to me which would be unacceptable in a democracy, that our officers we give someone the greatest power to use force, to use deadly force are using it in a responsible fashion.

[16:50:09] TAPPER: Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, thank you so much for coming.

BOOKER: Thank you for having me.

TAPPER: When we come back, the dude abides. Actor Jeff Bridges here in Washington, D.C. today trying to convince lawmakers to pay attention to an issue near and dear to his heart. Jeff Bridges, the dude, will join me next.


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

The buried lead now, that's what we call stories that we don't think are getting enough attention. Believe it or not here in the wealthiest nation on Earth, in 38 states, more than one in five children are hungry or are at-risk of going hungry. Here in the nation's capital, the figure's even higher according to the No Kid Hungry Campaign.

Embarrassingly large percentages of American children rely on their schools for their only reliable access to food.

[16:55:06] And yet, Congress is dragging its feet on legislation to improve childhood nutrition in this country. As of Friday, Congress will be a month past its deadline. That's why Oscar winner Jeff Bridges arrived in D.C. today, hoping to give lawmakers a friendly nudge.

Jeff Bridges is joining me now. He's a spokesman for Share Our Strengths, No Kid Hungry Campaign. Along with him is the organization CEO and founder, Billy Shore.

Gentlemen, thanks so much for being here.



TAPPER: So, Jeff, let me start with you, how are your meetings on Capitol Hill? And why are lawmakers dragging their feet on this?

BRIDGES: Well, I am so happy to report about this wonderful meeting that we just attended to with Senator Roberts and Senator Stabenow, the heads of the committee on the children's nutrition reauthorization bill that's up. And both of them were very encouraging about passing this bill, especially Senator Robert. He looked at me and said you can get on CNN, you can say we're doing this.

TAPPER: All right.

BRIDGES: So I'm really happy to report that.

And also, we talked about ways that the bill could be improved. And that was very heartening as well. You know, for instance, currently, if a kid comes to a summer meal site and it's raining, a summer storm breaks out, the kid isn't allowed to take that food home with them. They've got to go home without being fed. And all that food is thrown away.

So, we want to turn that around, change that.

TAPPER: Summer meals, Bill, you and I have talked about this before, summer meals incredibly important, because even though there's no school, the kids still got to eat.

SHORE: That's right. So many kids are used to getting their meals at school. We've got 22 million kids in the country who get a free or reduced price lunch, but in the summertime, only 4 million of the 22 million are getting fed. And so, this child nutrition reauthorization that we've worked on has lots of bipartisan support is designed to reform the summer program for the first time in about 40 years, to say let's find ways not just to bring kids where the food is, but to get the food to the kids, it's a very solvable problem.

TAPPER: I know it's not your nature to be a skeptic or to be cynical, Jeff, but I don't know how you've been trying to fight hunger in the world and here at home for decades.


TAPPER: Literally for decades. And the idea that school kids, that they're such an afterthought on Capitol Hill, how do you -- how do you not be cynical?

BRIDGES: Well, you know, cynicism that's my personal battle. And I think a battle for a lot of folks out there exactly what you say. What do you do about that?

It's important that we don't get cynical and not do anything. We've got to really continue to work on this together. And as we've talked about historically this issue of feeding our kids has been a bipartisan issue going back into the '70s with Bob Dole and George McGovern. You know, with the WIC program and food stamps and the lunch program.

So, it was great to have this meeting today and see that again, the two parties are being brought together. And like many of the viewers out there, you're probably looking at what's going on in the Hill and you say why can't you guys get together a little harmony or something, you know?

But it was wonderful to see that this is something that everybody's working together on and we're going to do this.

TAPPER: And speaking of harmony, there is a way that those watching at home who want to help out in some way can do so right now.

BRIDGES: Yes. Yes. I don't know if -- well, did you see the Super Bowl?

TAPPER: Yes, yes.

BRIDGES: You might have seen me with a singing bowl and ohming some people to sleep for a Squarespace ad. Squarespace is Web site design company. They produced this album for me called sleeping tapes. And all of the proceeds to this goes to No Kid Hungry. And folks can go to iTunes and pick up this album. And the

proceeds or portion of the proceeds will go to No Kid Hungry, or they can go to Dreaming with Jeff and find out about how we made it and also get the album that way.

TAPPER: All right. The program is called No Kid Hungry. The organization is Share Our Strength.

Thank you so much, Bill Shore, Jeff Bridges. An honor to have you here. Appreciate it.

The sports lead now, first pitch of game two of the World Series just a few hours away in K.C., but pretty much need Elvis to show up and rob the ghost of the bambino of a homer that topped game one, which had absolutely it all, including a power outage that knocked the World Series on air. TV people like us wondering about the rich tapestries of profanities being stitched together in the production truck at the time.

The Royals, of course, outlasted the Mets, thanks to historic game tying homerun by Alex Gordon in the ninth followed by a sacrifice fly in the 14th to take a 1-0 lead in the fall classic against those evil Mets.

That's it for THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

Turning you over to Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM."