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U.S. Sending Special Forces to Syria To Fight ISIS; RNC Chair Blasts NBC Over Republican Debate; Rubio Returns To Senate to Vote Against Budget Deal. Aired 7-8:00p ET

Aired October 30, 2015 - 19:00   ET


[19:00:08] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, boots back on the ground. The White House in an about-face announcing U.S. Special Forces are headed to Syria to fight ISIS. Is this the start of another ground war?

Plus, Marco Rubio leaving the campaign trail to do his job and cast a vote. Will his attendance record hurt his run for the White House?

And our exclusive report on the deadly shootout at a strip mall. Investigators pouring over that video tonight. What do they see? We'll show you. Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, the breaking news, an about-face. The White House announcing today that American forces will be deployed to Syria. It's a reversal from a president who has promised there will be no combat troops in that country. Up to 50 special operations forces will be headed to Syria and that could be just the start. Here's what happened when our Jim Acosta pressed White House Spokesman Josh Earnest on that point today.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So it's possible that there could be further deployments?

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN: Well, Jim, I don't want to try to predict the future here.


BURNETT: Leaving the door open for more deployments, a major admission since President Obama and his team have promised again and again and again that U.S. Forces will never go to Syria.


PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: Again, I repeat, I will not considering any boots on the ground approach.

I will not put American boots on the ground in Syria. I will not pursue an open-ended action like Iraq or Afghanistan.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: It doesn't get more direct than that. The deployment

of troops to Syria coming as President Obama has 3,500 troops in Iraq. A number that has surged from his initial force of 300 so-called military advisers.

Barbara Starr is at the Pentagon tonight to be in our coverage. And Barbara, the White House says, these forces won't have a combat mission. They are going into a massive warzone though. And they're going to engage if they are under fire. That's combat, isn't it?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: By any measure when you talk to people in uniform, Erin. Good evening. It's all supposed to start very small, as you pointed out, but here at the Pentagon, behind the scenes tonight, they are already talking about the possibility indeed. The mission may grow again.


STARR (voice-over): President Obama secretly told Defense Secretary Ash Carter weeks ago he wanted faster progress in the war against ISIS in both Syria and Iraq and to come up with a plan, a U.S. official tells CNN. Now the President has ordered a small number of Special Operations Forces into Northern Syria to help local forces fight ISIS.

EARNEST: The President does expect that they can have an impact in intensifying our strategy for building the capacity of local forces inside of Syria to taking the fight on the ground to ISIL.

STARR: The teams, less than 50 troops, could include members of the army's elite Delta Force, Green Berets and Navy SEALs. Their mission? To provide ammunitions, communications, intelligence and supplies to local Arab and Kurdish Forces on the ground. The danger, they could wind up coming under fire from ISIS fighters. Until now, the President have long said he would not put troops in combat, especially in Syria.

OBAMA: I do not foresee a scenario in which boots on the ground in Syria -- American boots on the ground in Syria would not only be good for America but also would be good for Syria.

STARR: And the White House insists that is still true.

EARNEST: These forces do not have a combat mission. This is not in any way an attempt to diminish the risk that they will face or the bravery that they will need to summon to carry out these operations.

STARR: The Special Operations Forces are expected to be sent from Erbil, Iraq, across the border into this area of Northern Syria. The U.S. will use F-15 and A-10 jets at nearby Incirlik Air Base in Turkey to strike targets around Raqqa, the ISIS capital. The U.S. wants anti-ISIS forces to be able to take back the city. The top U.S. Special Operations commander recently underscored what the U.S. troops can provide.

GENERAL JOE VOTEL, U.S. SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND: A lot of our intelligence comes from talking to people on the ground. This is a very unique capability that Special Forces operates for us. They are out there with the people. They talk to local leaders.


STARR: They are out there with the people. They will be talking to people on the ground but can 50 Special Operation Forces really be a game changer? Here at the Pentagon, nobody thinks it is going to go that far. It is just one point a very serious skepticism, going to Raqqa, the opposition fighters being able to retake the self-declared capital of ISIS, the city of Raqqa, almost everyone believes that is a long stretch and it could be a long way off -- Erin.

BURNETT: Barbara Starr, thank you very much.

And I want to go straight to Nick Paton Walsh now, he is actually near the Syrian border tonight on the Turkey side. Nick, the point that Barbara just raises. Fifty troops, that's what they're going to -- the U.S. is going to be putting in. Will 50 troops make a difference?

[19:05:34] NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the theory is that they will get to the front, they will talk to Syrian murderer (ph) rebels who were working with the Kurds in Northern Syria and direct airstrikes give them the weapons they need. And generally perhaps build a sense of momentum by using intelligence to make that very small Syrian moderate force actually mean something. Particularly in the fight that Barbara was talking about where they hope to push ISIS into the stronghold of Raqqa. But it's only 50.

And from the Syrian Arab coalition, most say at the moment, U.S. officials that's it. And that's not really a big player in the fighting inside Syria. They will be looking alongside the Kurds in fighting ISIS. In fact, we have heard of them fighting in Kobani as well where we were last year. But that's a big player I say. And some of them won't fight the regime too which is definitely not on the mission that the U.S. is currently suggesting. Yes, it could make a big change if these particular Syrians, Arabs, Sunnis who are not the Kurds who are also fighting ISIS do see progress against ISIS, it could be very helpful. But it's not going to change things overnight. It might get a sense of momentum but I think a -- today was about a message during peace talks the Americans -- with the Russians to say to the Russians and other players at that table, we're not putting our ISIS strategy on hold here, we're moving forwards -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Nick Paton Walsh, thank you very much. As we've seen in the Syrian Turkey border. And Nick has spent significant time reporting from Syria.

OUTFRONT tonight, former CIA Operative Bob Baer and former SEAL Team Six Commander Dave Sears. Thanks very much to you. Bob, why is the President doing this?

BOB BAER, FORMER CIA OPERATIVE: It's an act of desperation. We've lost relevance in Syria with Iran and Russia going in. The Islamic State is not going away. The only people that are fighting the Kurds did the best chance we have. I think the President is worried about looking detached from the situation and he is indeed and I don't think it's getting any better. And you know, supporting the Kurds at this point, weapons and advisers, it's something of a Hail Mary pass but it's the best he's got.

BURNETT: Hail Mary pass. I mean, David, the President's spokesman says, this is not a combat mission. I mean, you've been on the ground. You've done these kinds of missions. Is this combat?

DAVE SEARS, FORMER SEAL TEAM SIX COMMANDER: Absolutely, without a doubt, it's combat. Anytime you're wearing body armor, bullets are flying around you, you're carrying a rifle, it is combat. Every single one of these guys, it's going on the ground is preparing for combat, not eventuality and it's going to happen. It's combat.

BURNETT: And Dave, what do you say about this 50, right? They've said so categorically are not going to put any troops in and now it's almost as if it's, you know, it's against their will. They don't want to do it. They're only going to put in 50. These maybe 50 of the best fighters in the United States. But it's only 50.

SEARS: Right. It's 50. And they will have the tactical difference on the ground. We have the best tactical capabilities in the world but it's not going to change the outcome. It's not going to change it that you have no strategy that you're following up with. Those 50 can do limited amounts in terms of strategic effect.

BURNETT: Bob, is this mission creep? I mean, you know, it's zero categorically, then it's 50, and then it's something else?

BAER: Yes, exactly. He's absolutely right. Fifty is not enough. We're going to need more and more. You're going to have to put air support in there, you're going to have to put black hawks, the rest of it. And, you know, we're up in a long-term war. And I think we should admit it now and exactly we should come up with a strategy because we don't have one supporting the Kurds limited like this only promises to draw us into the quagmire without a plan.

BURNETT: And Dave, I believe your view is that, you know, it's either all or nothing and the all is a very different picture than what we're seeing today. What would it be if the United States really decided it was going to go into this conflict and defeat ISIS?

SEARS: Right. What would it look like? I agree with Bob. It's a half-measure. So either get in the ring or get out of the ring but decide one way or the other. It's the riskiest place to be as this middle ground where you're not committing. So you needed to commit. And I can't tell what you that number would be but it would be to take cities, urban warfare, you're back to high Afghanistans, Iraq numbers, a hundreds of thousands to actually root these bad guys out, to get rid of ISIL, you're super high, either that or get out of it. But stop sitting in the middle and decisive.

BURNETT: Bob, what would you say to that? Hundreds of thousands would be the commitment. BAER: I couldn't agree more. Dave is absolutely right. You put

in hundreds of thousands or don't get in at all. And you have to have a comprehensive political strategy, which we don't have either. And this is going to end up continuously like this piecemeal into a worst catastrophe than what we have now.

[19:10:12] BURNETT: All right. Well, I appreciate both of you taking the time. A sobering conversation but thank you very much.

SEARS: Thanks, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. And next, the GOP cutting ties with NBC bitter complaints of media bias at the last debate, our special report.

Plus, Marco Rubio turning heads by turning up for a side vote. It's the heavy criticism of his poor attendance record getting to him.

And Ted Cruz fleshed with cash after his debate performance. Tonight you'll meet the billionaires backing him.


[19:13:14] BURNETT: Tonight, the Republican National Committee slamming NBC News dumping a plan debate in February with the network. Chairman Reince Priebus telling the chief of NBC that its cable network CNBC hosted a debate that was defensive and had an accurate questions conducted in bad faith. This is an unprecedented move for Republicans.

Brian Stelter is OUTFRONT.


BRIAN STELTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The leading GOP candidates outraged over their treatment at Wednesday's debate, meeting in Washington on Sunday night to rewrite the ground rules for the next round. Among those calling for change, Ben Carson.

BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Debates are supposed to be established to help the people get to know the candidates and get to know what's behind them and what their thinking process is and what their philosophy is and what it's turned into is a gotcha.

STELTER: Sunday's meeting is an unheard of gathering of rivals. The campaign is united in their anger over what they call the hostile nature and tone of the questions.

BECKY QUICK, CNBC ANCHOR: The board fired you. I just wondered why you think we should hire you now.

JOHN HARWOOD, CNBC ANCHOR: Is this a comic book version of a presidential campaign?

STELTER: And RNC Chief Reince Priebus agreed, complaining bitterly just moments after the debate ended. REINCE PRIEBUS, CHAIRMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: I think

there was one gotcha question, one personal low blow after the other.

STELTER: But the candidates also planning to take control of the debates from Priebus in the RNC charging that party bosses have failed to take their concerns to the networks. More evidence of the GOP at a crossroads as politicians led by party outsiders struggle for control of the party. In an unprecedented move, aiming and maintaining his control, Priebus announced today that the RNC is suspending its ties with NBC News for a February debate saying in part, I expect the media to hold a substantive debate on consequential issues of concern to the American people. CNBC did not. That was first and foremost among the candidates complaints.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think the bigger frustrations you saw is that all of the candidates on the stage had prepared for a substantive debate.

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have $19 trillion in debt, we have people out of work. We have ISIS and al Qaeda attacking us and we're talking about fantasy football?


STELTER: Now NBC News is saying they are disappointed with this development and that it wants to work with the Republican Party in order to resolve the dispute. Maybe after an in-depth conversation they will all come to an agreement and the debate will continue with NBC. But I spoke with the head of communications for the party this afternoon Sean Spicer and he says, the RNC will not hesitate to go ahead and find a new debate partner if it does not have confidence in NBC News going forward. What we're seeing is a tremendous fallout from that CNBC debate. Erin back to you.

BURNETT: Wow! Yes. Pretty amazing. All right. Thank you very much, Brian.

And now the campaign manager for Ben Carson Barry Bennett joins me. Barry, thank you for coming on the show.


BURNETT: All right. The campaigns are meeting this weekend about major debates, right?


BURNETT: You're one of the organizers of this meeting, this is the campaigns, not the RNC. Whose idea was this?

BENNETT: Well, I think it was a lot of people had the same idea at the same time. You know, the campaigns are often at the back ends of this and we need to get closer to the front end. You know, we all want to have debates about the solutions to the problems that we have and not this kind of slimy car race, car crash, kind of stuff that's happening. BURNETT: Look, I mean, a lot of people, you know, can sympathize

with what you're saying. But I wanted to just drill down on a couple of points here. You called the debate unfair. So, I just wanted to play a couple of the questions that Dr. Carson was asked so people can understand some of what was asked and here they are.


JIM CRAMER, CNBC ANCHOR: Dr. Carson, in recent weeks, a number of pharmaceutical companies have been accused of profiteering for dramatically raising the prices of life-saving drugs. You have spent a lifetime in medicine. Have these companies gone too far? Should the government be involved in controlling some of these price increases?

HARWOOD: You've said that you would like to replace Medicare with a system of individual family savings accounts so that families could cover their own expenses. Obviously that would be a very controversial idea. Explain how that would work, exactly.


BURNETT: I mean, Barry, Dr. Carson is obviously one of the most prominent doctors in the country. These questions -- how are they unfair or not substantive?

BENNETT: I don't think those two questions were unfair or not substantive. But I think the question about Costco, the board of Costco and being gay friendly, and how does that fit with you being a gay here which he isn't. That was outrageous and I think the audience proved that. But it wasn't just us. I mean, you know, starting off with Donald Trump, he's a comic book campaign --


BENNETT: The Jeb Bush thing, the whole thing was just -- you know, I am not in the business of trying to get a network ratings. I am in the business of trying to get people elected. And I want a republican elected in the fall. And what happened this week hurt our party's chances in the fall and it must not happen again.

[19:18:38] BURNETT: Now, your campaign and the Trump campaign forced CNBC to commit to a two-hour debate which included --

BENNETT: Which they denied.

BURNETT: Which they denied but Donald Trump said on stage that he got them to commit to it in just a couple of minutes. Right? It was shorter than they wanted it to be. It was shorter certainly than the debate here on CNN.


BURNETT: You subsequently told the Washington Examiner that there's not enough time to talk about your plans in the debates but yet you guys are the ones who said you wanted a shorter debate. So, you kind of put them in an impossible situation, didn't you?

BENNETT: Well, I don't think the American public is going to sit through six hours of this. But I think you can talk about two or three issues in-depth versus ten issues that don't matter. I think we could have done without policy football. I think we could have done without a lot of the Jeb Bush whether or not, you know, failure or thriving, all that kind of stuff doesn't matter. What if you asked everybody and you gave them five minutes to talk about their tax plan or why they want to be president. Or here's an idea, have the voters asking the questions. That would be great.

BURNETT: Shouldn't they be able though to answer anything? Right? They are going to be president of the United States. That's what they're running to do to be able to answer any question that might be out there. And look, I understand your point, you only want to talk about two or three things but as someone running for president in the United States as a voter, you want to be sure that they could answer any one of 20 or 30 things.

BENNETT: Absolutely. But these debates is supposed to be about Republican issues or a Republican primary. That didn't happen. This debate was supposed to be about the economy and the word "jobs" was mentioned once. Unemployment was mentioned -- I don't know if it was mentioned. I mean, it was ridiculous. It wasn't about the economy. It was just about getting someone to attack somebody else and making someone else look foolish. It was ridiculous.

BURNETT: So, let me just play for you what John Kasich said about this. He had been critical of the questions but then he took the time to think about exactly what happened and here's the conclusion he came to.


GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I got a lot of time last night, right? And the questions I got asked, to me, I thought were fair. And -- but why am I spending my time talking about moderators? I'd rather talk about balancing the budget, create jobs and trade us for power at Washington. I mean, why is this a point of contention?


BURNETT: Doesn't he have a point? I mean, why this focus on the moderators in the next debates?

BENNETT: He does have a point. That's what the entire debate should have been about but it wasn't. So, all we're trying to do is fix the process going forward. You know, John has got some ideas. Everybody else has got ideas. Let's hear them. We didn't hear much about them on Wednesday night.

BURNETT: So one thing that happened was that the candidates pretty uniformly attacked the moderators during the debate. Let me just play a little clip of what we heard on that front. Here it goes.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The questions that have been asked so far in this debate illustrate why the American people don't trust the media.


This is not a cage match.

MARCO RUBIO (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I know the Democrats have the ultimate Super PAC, it's called the mainstream media.

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I've got to tell you the truth, even in New Jersey, what you're doing is called rude.

DR. BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I just want to thank all my colleagues here for being civil and not falling for the traps and I just also want to thank the audience for being attentive and noticing the questions and noticing the answers.


BURNETT: And Barry, there's been this overwhelming push today to identify this debate as having a lot of liberal questions. Now, one of the questioners was a reporter named Rick Santelli. He's credited with founding the Tea Party.


BURNETT: This is hardly what Rubio referred to as a democratic Super PAC.

BENNETT: Right. Well, I mean, no one said every moderator was great. It was a left winger. Rick certainly is not. But I mean, I don't really care what the partisanship is. I care what the questions they ask. I mean, you know, why in the world would you talk about fantasy football? Why would you start a question with Donald Trump calling him sometimes a comic book campaign? I mean, that's not respectful to the process. I mean, you know, Donald Trump, you know, tonight, there was a poll out that Donald Trump and Ben Carson had tied at 26-26. He deserves the respect that he has in the polls, he didn't get it, neither did we.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Barry, I appreciate your time. Thank you, sir.

BENNETT: Thank you.

BURNETT: And OUTFRONT next, Marco Rubio leaving the campaign trail heading back to Washington after critics calling him out for not doing his jobs. Should he resigned?

And Ted Cruz says donations to his campaign took off after Wednesday's debate. Our special investigation finds that just two secretive men are his chief donors. That's ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:27:04] BURNETT: Tonight, Marco Rubio leaving the campaign trail to do his job. Canceling a campaign event this morning in Iowa to return to Washington and vote. You may say why is this news? Well, because Rubio has missed nearly one-third of the Senate votes this year, something Jeb Bush and Florida "Sun-Sentinel" newspaper have bashed him for. They say he should resign from the Senate because he's not representing the people who elected him. Rubio clearly won the exchange with Bush over that issue during the debate. But is the criticism taking a toll on him?

Sunlen Serfaty is OUTFRONT.



SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Marco Rubio changing his campaign schedule today to cast a vote in the Senate after facing criticism for missing votes.

RUBIO: I don't like missing votes. I hate it. We do our best effort to make it. We've canceled campaign events especially for important votes.

SERFATY: Off a big debate performance --

RUBIO: Why don't you wait in line, wait for what?

SERFATY: Rubio is about to enter a much more intense period of scrutiny. Renewed questions over his messy finances --

RUBIO: I'm not worried about my finances.

SERFATY: Which he has said was due to a lack of bookkeeping skills. Just one of the many lines of attacks the Bush campaign is now stacking up against him. According to a 112 page leaked strategy memo, the Bush's campaign goal is to paint Rubio as a risky bet. Someone who misused his state party credit card and taxpayer funds. A candidate with no accomplishments and no credible experience beyond government. A similar argument that the Clinton campaign in 2008 tried to make against then-Senator Obama comparing him to President George W. Bush.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

SERFATY: All of this as Jeb Bush attends concerns about his own campaign.

JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's not on life support. We have the most money. We have the greatest organization. We're doing fine.

SERFATY: Having to personally convene a conference call between donors and campaign chairs, acknowledging, according to those on the call, that he did not have a great debate.

BUSH: We got eight more debates. I'm going to have to do what other candidates do which is rudely interrupt, not answer the question that were asked. It's going fine.

SERFATY: To try to help him rebound, the campaign will launch a Jeb can fix it toward next week which stops in Florida to highlight his work as governor and a bus tour throughout New Hampshire.


SERFATY: But first, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio and rest of the republican field will be here in Iowa together tomorrow all ten of them at a big Republican cattle call. This is the first time, of course, they will all be together after the shake-up at this week's debate.

BURNETT: All right. Sunlen, thank you very much.

And OUTFRONT now, the former speaker of the Florida House, Will Weatherford, he is a Jeb Bush supporter. Also with me, our political commentator and host of "The Ben Ferguson Show," Ben Ferguson. Ben, on this issue with Marco Rubio, clearly it's getting to him because he canceled the campaign event and he wasn't explaining on voting today, he cancelled the event and he went and voted.


BURNETT: It's not just Jeb Bush saying this. But why not resign?

FERGUSON: Because I don't think he needs to. I think he was smart today to change the campaign and say, fine, you know what, I'm going to take this issue off the table because if this is all you've got to come after me, I can fix this. I'll vote more. It will not have a big impact or difference in a positive way in his campaign but it certainly takes away a big negative. And I do think people have overreacted to this. Every other person that's been in the House Senate, it's been involved in a vice presidential role or presidential role when running misses vote. It's normal. I don't know when this became the new standard. Because it wasn't before. And most voters, honestly, I don't think care about this at all whether he misses a vote or not because they are smart enough to understand he's running for president of United States of America, and that's part of what happens when you have other priorities.

BURNETT: All right. Will, you are a Floridian. You're a voter. You're someone Marco Rubio represents. Is his attendance record acceptable to you?

WILL WEATHERFORD, JEB BUSH SUPPORTER: Well, look, I'm happy he was in Washington, D.C., today casting a vote against a bad budget. I think everybody recognized that budget wasn't good for the United States of America. I have got a chance to serve with Marco Rubio in the House of Representatives while he was the speaker of the house. I consider him a friend but I'm glad he's going to vote. I think it's important function as being in the United States senator since that's what we sent him up there to do.

But, you know, this race is not going to be about what somebody's voting record is or how often they go to vote. It's going to be about accomplishments. It's going to be about who is ready to lead the United States of America into the 21st century with the real challenges that we're facing.

BURNETT: The criticism, though, Ben, of course is that it's not just about voting. Yes, others having voted, you know, there's comparison to his voting record compared to others who run.


BURNETT: But it's the since that Jeb Bush and others are putting out there that Marco Rubio is always trying to get the job he doesn't have, he's never satisfied where he is. He's not showing a commitment that one would show you, right? What do you say to that?

FERGUSON: Being younger, I've been hearing that my entire life, too. You need to wait your turn and who do you think you are?

It's obvious that Jeb Bush has a huge problem with someone that he looked as a protege but all of a sudden becoming a main man. But the reality is that voters had picked him over Jeb Bush. That's his problem. He's not connecting with voters. His campaign is in trouble right now.

And for him to pick out this, you know, big leaked report -- let me make this clear, in politics, this was not a leaked report. This was an absolute planned report. They wanted to get the idea out there that Marco Rubio is not ready for this or he can't handle this or doesn't vote enough, and it looks desperate.

And I think the only person that Jeb Bush should be blaming right now for his poll numbers is Jeb Bush. Marco Rubio has been a better candidate and has connected with voters in a much bigger way. Call it jealousy, call it whatever you want, but it's working.

BURNETT: Certainly, there is something human about that. And I think anybody, if they put themselves in Jeb Bush's shoes, you'd be upset seeing your party -- you can understand at human level.

FERGUSON: You'd be upset.

BURNETT: But, Will --

FERGUSON: But don't look juvenile when you're coming after this guy. I actually think is a terrible campaign move by Jeb Bush because it looks juvenile and it looks dirty politics. If you respect somebody else as much as he respected Rubio in the past, then be classy while dealing with him and sometimes you lose to someone younger than you.

And Rubio is young. Deal with it. He's younger and people like him. BURNETT: All right. So, I want to talk about that like but,

first, Will, the tone here, and how Bush sees Rubio. Let me play a brief clip of this moment that's become rather definitional for these two men.


JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Marco, when you signed up for this, this was a six-year term. And you should be showing up to work. I mean, literally, the Senate, what is it, like a French work week?

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Somebody has convinced you that attacking me is going to help.


BURNETT: And now, that -- so, that kind of captures it I think, Will. But the presentation that's leaked today from the Bush campaign that Ben is referring to cryptically says, by the way, it's titled "Marco is a risky bet". Cryptically says, it says, "Things from Rubio's background are cause for concern. They say perhaps this was something that was picked up during the Romney vetting process of possible vice presidential candidate.

What could they be referring to, Will?

WEATHERFORD: Well, look, first of all, I had a chance to serve with Governor Bush and Marco Rubio. I know them both very well.

And, Ben, just for the record, I got nothing against young people having success, either Marco Rubio as speaker of the house at the age of 36. I was speaker of the house in Florida at the age of 32. So, I'm all for young people.

BURNETT: Oh, you topped Marco Rubio there.


WEATHERFORD: So, I've got no problem with that whatsoever. I'm supportive. But --


WEATHERFORD: Let me just say this. I watched that debate as well. And, look, that was not a good debate for Governor Bush. But I think everybody recognizes that.

But here's what you should know, and here's what the people who are not from Florida should know. Governor Bush was a transformational leader for the state of Florida. Ask the 300,000 students who have school choices in Florida because of the policies of Governor Bush.

[19:35:01] Ask the citizens who have had $19 billion of tax cuts that they've benefited from whether Governor Bush was a great governor.

I'm telling you, both men are friends.

FERGUSON: I'm not denying any of that.

WEATHERFORED: Both men have done great things in their life, but Governor Bush was a transformational leader for the state of Florida and there's no question he has the best record of the entire field in the Republican field.

BURNETT: All right. Well, thanks to both of you. Have a weekend and happy Halloween.

OUTFRONT next, special OUTFRONT investigation into the little known billionaire who's funding Ted Cruz's run for the White House. Who are these mysterious brothers?

And an unknown number of shooters at a wild gunfight you first saw here, hundreds of weapons at the scene. Nine killed. We're going to show you to this again and single out how investigators can possibly figure out who is responsible for the murders.


BURNETT: The campaign cash is pouring in for Ted Cruz after his performance at this week's Republican presidential debate. The candidate's campaign is telling OUTFRONT he raised more than $1 million in just hours after facing off against his Republican rivals. Now, a lot of that money came from small donors, but it is the big money that matters.

[19:40:02] And for Ted Cruz, that is coming from a new generation of billionaires.

Kyung Lah is OUTFRONT with tonight's "Money and Power".


KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dotting the road leading to the tiny town of Cisco, Texas, sits giant billboards blaring the beliefs of its billionaire residents Farris and Dan Wilks, brothers, and the newest and biggest single family donor to the race for the presidency, pumping $15 million to Republican Ted Cruz's super PAC.

JAMES KING, MAYOR OF CISCO, TEXAS AND WILKS FRIEND: Whenever he sees biblical examples of how to do things, that's the way he wants to do things.

LAH: And what Wilks wants, the family's conservative Christian values defended on the national stage, says James King. He's Cisco's mayor and an associate pastor at Assembly of Yahweh's Seventh Day, where Farris Wilks is the head pastor.

KING: Farris doesn't want to do interviews. LAH: And they didn't allow our cameras into their service, but

did invite me in. In its program this week, urging parishioners pray for public officials opposing gay marriage, even naming Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis. In a rare interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network last year, Farris Wilks said this.

FARRIS WILKS, SUPER PAC DONOR: They're being taught the other ideas, the gay agenda every day out in the world. So we have to stand up and explain to them that that's not real.

LAH: His brother Dan.

DAN WILKS, SUPER PAC DONOR: I just think we have to make people aware and bring the bible back into the school.

LAH: In this town of 4,000, the Wilks are Cisco pride and folklore, local sons of a modest bricklayer made their way into the new oil, fracking. Their expansive home tells their story of a billionaire fortune.

(on camera): These remote compounds are some of the few outward signs of wealth here in Cisco, small reminders that these brothers are worth $2.7 billion, according to "Forbes." So, a $15 million political contribution? That's less than 1 percent of the brothers' net worth.

(voice-over): The Wilks joined an elite group of super PAC bankrollers to super PAC Conservative Solutions. Motor car mogul Norman Braman donated $5 million, backing Marco Rubio. Right to Rise USA, health care equities investor Miguel Fernandez gave $3 million to Jeb Bush's super PAC. Priorities USA Action, Univision owner Haim Saban donated $2 million to Hillary Clinton's super PAC.

This is presidential politics 2016, where a limitless donations to super PACs mean a conservative town's recently rich sons hold sway.

(on camera): Their rise on the national stage, is that good or bad news for this country?

KING: I think it's good news. Personally, we've got all kinds of influences that you can get from all different sides. And any time you've got somebody that's willing to provide and is able to provide an influence for good, I think it's a fantastic thing.


LAH: This is the first election we've seen the Wilks spread their financial wings. In 2008, they did donate a few thousand to the RNC. This time around, Erin, thanks to some looser laws, they are willing to put millions in to get their beliefs into policy -- Erin.

BURNETT: Kyung, thank you. This is just an incredible story. Kyung standing in the dirt road.

These guys worth billions of dollars. OUTFRONT next, that deadly shootout in a suburban strip mall.

More than 170 arrests, 400 weapons found. We're going to show this to you again so you can see how hard it is for investigators to figure out who to charge with murder.


[19:47:40] BURNETT: Tonight, police in Waco, Texas, standing by their investigation of the deadly shootout of the suburban shopping mall, even though no one has been charged yet with murder. A warning, some of the video of the deadly mayhem is graphic. Nine people were killed when rival biker clubs started shooting, police arresting 177 bikers that day and charged them with, quote/unquote, "organized criminal activity".

Here's Ed Lavandera's exclusive report.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Mayhem ensues. A biker running across the patio fires a gunshot caught on camera towards the fight scene in the parking lot. He then stashes the gun. A number of Cossack bikers take cover. Some slide handguns across the ground to each other. Restaurant patrons and Twin Peak waitresses are stunned and trapped.

The scene plays out in gory detail. You can see a group of bikers pummeling one man just outside the patio area. Crime scene photos later show a biker's body left dead in that exact spot. This biker runs toward the camera with a bloody face. Another group pulls a wounded man into the patio and they appear to be trying to revive him. He's then carried away.

Several defense attorneys tell CNN the videos show that most of the bikers there that day were innocent bystanders.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, y'all - y'all going to put us in jail?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, everybody's going to jail.

STEPHEN STUBBS, FORMER BANDIDO ATTORNEY: The way they handled it with just the mass incarceration of people with million dollar bonds flies in the face of justice and flies in the face of fairness. It's ridiculous.

LAVANDERA: After it was all over, the scene was chaos. Dozens of bikers had run inside the restaurant to hide in bathrooms, in the Twin Peaks kitchen.

Police SWAT teams move in to round up the crowd. They're escorted out with their hands up, weapons litter the crime scene, knives, brass knuckles and more than 150 firearms everywhere. Some even hidden in toilets.

(on camera): It's been more than five months since the Twin Peaks brawl and all of the bikers are out of jail, out on bond. They were all charged with engaging in organized criminal activity, but not one of them has been indicted by a grand jury yet and no one has been charged with murder. In fact, it's still not clear who killed whom.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): One police report says at least three officers fired into the crowd and one officer wrote he heard "suppressed fire from what I believe to be SWAT officers with suppress rifles."

[19:50:00] Several defense attorneys say it's likely some bikers were hit by police bullets. But as far as we know, ballistics reports have still not been completed to determine that conclusively. Police and prosecutors have refused to answer questions about the investigation citing a gag order, but Waco Police have defended their actions since the beginning.

SGT. PATRICK SWANTON, WACO, TEXAS, POLICE: This is a criminal element that came in here yesterday and killed people. They're not here to drink beer and eat barbecue. They came with violence in mind and were ready for it.

LAVANDERA: These images of the Twin Peaks brawl tell the story of unbridled pandemonium.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And all these bikers started shooting. They put us in a freeze.

LAVANDERA: It was a Wild West style shoot out in broad daylight.


BURNETT: And with me now is our legal analyst, Paul Callan.

All right. Paul, I guess the question is, are they ever going to find out who is responsible? You see in the video, bikers are literally passing guns around, so if one could say that bullet goes with that gun that's owned by that guy, you don't know who shooting it.

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It's exceptionally difficult to prosecute these cases. I had a case once myself involved in the Pagans and Hell's Angels here in New York, they're all over the country, these motorcycle gangs, and they're not social clubs.

These are tough, tough gangs and many engage in criminal activity, the problem that you have is with so many shots being fired, these are -- a lot of these guns are legal. For instance, we saw that guy running across with those Wild West kind of shots in the direction of somebody else.

BURNETT: We'll find that and show that. Yes. And you see him firing in the video.

CALLAN: Well, if you can even nail him and I assume he has been arrested, he's going to say, I was acting in self-defense, somebody was shooting at me and, of course, Texas is a stand your ground law so they don't have to flee. They can stand and fight or in this case run and fight. So, these are very, very difficult cases to prove criminally.

BURNETT: So, right, because it's also the surveillance video so in the instance of the guy we actually see shooting, you'd never be able to prove that no one was shooting at him first. At least, categorically, you couldn't do that.

CALLAN: No, and he, of course, gets rid of his gun so you can't prove that the bullet found in somebody in an autopsy came from his gun. The forensics won't match up because the guns keep being thrown around.

BURNETT: There is the fact that you hear Eddie report that some of the shooting could have come, could have came from police that responded. So, technically speaking, it's very possible a police officer was responsible for some of the people who were killed.

CALLAN: Well, theoretically, the police guns should be traceable because if the bullet was recovered, it can be tracked back to a police gun.

BURNETT: To a specific gun.

CALLAN: But even there, of course, the police aren't going to be charged with recklessness because they are acting in self-defense themselves, and the bystanders were the first --

BURNETT: So, has anyone got charged?

CALLAN: Yes, they can get charged. What happens is you can do RICO or organized crime charges as you charge the game as a criminal organization and that's really the only way to take down a gang like this. The feds come in sometimes and impose RICO charges.

BURNETT: Wow. Of course, very different than murder.

All right. Thank you very much, Paul Callan.

And OUTFRONT next, Jeanne Moos with the slowberg, a machine that answers the question no one ever asked.


[19:57:42] BURNETT: Rube Goldberg was a cartoonist with a strip that featured a complicated gadget that performs simple tasks, like the automatic back scratcher. Now, a modern day Goldberg has a new twist to the formula.

Here is Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We've seen a Rube Goldberg machine featuring dogs..

We've seen Pee-wee Herman make breakfast.

We've seen OK GO turn one into a music video.

But we haven't seen one starring a tortoise -- until now.

Cartoonist Rube Goldberg would be charmed by what's billed as the slowest Rube Goldberg machine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's my Rube slow-berg.

MOOS: How slow is inventor Bob Partington's contraption?

As slow as molasses. Boating down a stream of molasses took about 10 minutes.

Next leg -- Ingrid the tortoise. Actually Ingrid wasn't all that slow after her handlers --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just put a strawberry down there.

MOOS: And after her flag launched the ball, Ingrid had dessert.

Next, the popsicle obstacle. It took about two hours for them to melt, which brought the ball, to a line waiting at the DMV. The turnstile was connected to the minute hand. And what better choice of music for the Department of Motor Vehicles -- Kanye West.


MOOS: But the slowest part was watching the grass grow. This segment took 6 weeks.

(on camera): The grass actually pushes the ball it does.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It does. It was shocking.

MOOS (voice-over): Bob had to water the seeded soil chamber by tiny chamber to make the grass sprout.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chamber gets flooded and the grass grows.

MOOS: There were tons of edits, and numerous takes. No wonder some cried "Fake. But still, awesome and beautiful and worthy of applause."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To those who say fake, I say Rube Goldberg was a cartoonist.

MOOS: Aiming for whimsy, not mechanical perfection. After six weeks, three days , seven hours and two minutes, this Rube "slowberg" machine slowly and intentionally --


MOOS: -- missed. No hole in one, but maybe a hole in wonder.

Jeanne Moos, CNN -- New York.


BURNETT: Pretty wonderful.

All right. Thanks so much for watching. Have a wonderful Halloween. Be sure to set your DVR to record OUTFRONT so you can watch us anytime.

"AC360" with John Berman tonight starts now.