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5 Students Stabbed at University of California, Merced; Marco Rubio Pushes Back on Personal Finance Attacks; Jeb Bush Responds to Rumors of Sputtering Campaign. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired November 4, 2015 - 13:30   ET



[13:32:16] ANNOUNCER: This is the CNN breaking news.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: There's more breaking news today. Five students stabbed today on the campus of the Merced campus of the University of California. Their attacker was eventually shot by police.

Dan Simon is in San Francisco and watching what is going on for us.

Dan, what are you hearing about what happened at this University of California campus?

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Wolf. We don't have a ton of information yet, but what we do know is that it occurred sometime before 8:00 a.m. this morning and, apparently, as the classes were getting under way. You had a deranged individual who went on what you could describe as a stabbing spree, and stabbing five people, originally, that the university said that all of the people were students, and they sent out a correction that apparently some of them were not students. We know that the police arrived a short time later and confronted the suspect where he was shot and killed on campus. Good news, all of the victims were conscious. Two of them were airlifted to a hospital, and the other three were treated on campus. That is what we know at this point -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Do we know anything about the individual who went ahead and stabbed these five students? Any motivation, any political motivation or anything along those lines?

SIMON: Of course, that is what the authorities would be investigating at this juncture and we don't have that information yet, and that is something that we are going to be looking a closely. We have information that he was in the 20s and we don't know if he was a student on campus or with what motivated this attack. We know it is a relatively new campus, and open for just about 10 years, and the classes today have been canceled -- Wolf?

BLITZER: Anything at all about the suspect that we would know?

SIMON: We don't know anything about the suspect other than reports that he was in the 20s. They have not said whether he was a student or what may have motivated this attack. We do know that it occurred sometime before 8:00 a.m. this morning and, apparently, as the classes were getting under way. And of course, you have a lot of people congregating around the campus at this time, and the stabbing occurred in what was described as the main classroom, and office building on campus where, of course, you have a lot of people congregating for the day's classes -- Wolf?

[13:34:38] BLITZER: And, Dan, when you get more information, please let us know. Thank you very much.

Dan Simon reporting for us, a very disturbing story.

Five students stabbed at a University of California-Merced campus. We will stay on top of that story.

Up next, money and politics. Surging Republican presidential candidate, Marco Rubio, now also facing new questions about his personal finances, and we will see what he had to say today when we come back.


[13:39:48] BLITZER: Let's get to the presidential politics in the United States. The new numbers in the Republican race. A new national poll among Republicans from Quinnipiac University is the first completely taken after the last Republican debate, showing Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson locked at a statistical dead heat as the choice for Republicans nationwide, 24 percent to 23 percent. And Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are on the rise. Rubio at 14 percent and Cruz at 13 percent. And meanwhile, support for Jeb Bush has plummeted to just 4 percent in the new poll.

For Marco Rubio, the climb in the polls has certainly brought increased scrutiny. The Florida Senator today pushed back at attacks that his personal finances have been a mess over the years, and responded to a newspaper story that he had misused a Republican Party credit card in Florida while he was in the state legislature.

And now joining us is our CNN investigations correspondent, Chris Frates, who is taking a close look at what is going on.

The article in the "Tampa Bay Times" found that he had a serious problem using the party money when he should have been using his personal money and, at one point, he had to return a lot of that money.

CHRIS FRATES, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. Rubio's finances have dogged him since he was a Senate candidate in 2010, and now the credit card spending is back with the reporters and the rivals taking a second look. When he served in the Florida legislature, Rubio had a Florida Republican Party American Express card that he used for personal and political expenses. For instance, he charged it $1,000 to the minivan, which he says was damaged at a Republican event, and he paid for a family reunion with the GOP card, which he eventually paid back. Those charges were all uncovered during a Senate run by Florida reports who obtained his 2006 and 2007 credit card statements. And, Wolf, here's how Rubio explained those charges today.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO, (R), FLORIDA & PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It was not a credit card. It was an American Express charge card, secured under my personal credit, in conjunction with the party. I would go through -- the bills would be mailed to me at home. Every month I would go through it. If there was a personal expense, I paid it. If it was a party expense, the party paid it.


FRATES: But Rubio has never released two years of his credit card statements. When I asked the campaign if he plans to, I haven't heard back yet. But a top Rubio adviser said to the "Tampa Bay Times" they would release the statements soon.

But it is not just the credit card spending that's raising eyebrows, Wolf. He faced foreclosure on a home he co-owned in Tallahassee and he cashed out almost $70,000 in retirement savings that cost him a bundle in taxes and penalties, and he splurged on an $80,000 boat. These are not the savviest of decision -- Wolf?

BLITZER: Well, he tries to suggest that, like every American, he is dealing with these kinds of problems. And that gives him those middle class roots, if you will.

FRATES: Yes, he says he took out the retirement account to pay for the presidential run, to play for appliances. He said, I didn't come from a wealthy family, and I understand what it means to be middle class and I am dealing with the finances like everybody else does. He is trying to redirect the attacks to make voters understand that he is one of them.

BLITZER: And the debate, when he was asked in the most recent Republican debate that CNBC did, when asked about it, he said these are old allegations coming from his political advisors, and they have been hashed and rehashed over the years.

Thanks very much, Chris, for that.

As you move up the polls, you will get more scrutiny. That just comes with the game.

Also coming up, Jeb Bush's campaign continues to tumble in national polls but the former Florida governor is not giving up. And he lays out a plan to CNN, his plan to get supporters back in line.


[13:48:05] BLITZER: Jeb Bush is on the "Jeb can fix it" bus tour in New Hampshire, and there are rumors of a sputtering presidential bid. Bush spent the day crisscrossing the state to meet with voters. Up next, a roundtable discussion with law enforcement.

Joining us is our CNN special correspondent, Jamie Gangel.

Jamie, you had a chance to sit down with the former Florida governor and you asked him a wide range of questions about relations with Iran, and criminal justice reform, and other sensitive issues. Give us the main takeaways.

JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, we talked about everything from how to break through in the upcoming debates. He says that he will improve his performance. We talked about Donald Trump calling for Jeb to quit the race. Jeb says he is not going to do that. But we started by asking him about President Obama's early release of federal prisoner, and Jeb Bush says that he is not a fan.


GANGEL: Talk to me about policy. President Obama has accelerated the release of more than 6,000 prisoners. Are you comfortable with that?

JEB BUSH, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: I would have preferred that he do it the old-fashioned way which is to find the people that agree with him that we need to reform our federal criminal justice system. People on the Republican side, there's large numbers of Republicans who believe it needs to be reformed as well. Work through Congress, do something where the democracy works properly and rather than by the executive order.


GANGEL: You think it is wrong?

BUSH: I think it is the wrong approach with the right reason. 6,000 people being released, I don't know what the screening is process is, and I don't know -- and I have talked to some law enforcement officials, and they are concerned about the possibility of increased crime. We have seen an increase of the crime in the big urban areas right now. And nobody would want to see that increase.

But there is a problem of mandatory sentences. I think that the federal government shouldn't necessarily be involved to the extent they are in the criminal justice matters. And the president has an opportunity to shift the power back to the states to let the states to decide this and give the people second chances.

[13:50:13] GANGEL: Let's talk about Iran. You have said that you would oppose the Iran nuclear deal.

BUSH: Yes.

GANGEL: Would President Jeb Bush cancel it?

BUSH: I would -- I would confront Iran's ambitions in the region. I would focus on --


GANGEL: What does that mean? BUSH: That means that we should not allow for the gaping of influence

in Syria, Iraq and Yemen and Lebanon as they have done. I would do everything in my power to assure that the European allies would not make major investments in Iran, including the possibility of reinstating European sanction, which won't have the same impact as European sanctions on Iran, but would have an impact on European companies who are considering investing. They have to choose. Do they go to the country that has the rule of the law, the largest market in the world, Great Britain, great relationships already, or will they go partnering with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard there to suppress the people of Iran. Then we have to be vigilant as it relates to the actual agreement.

The problem with the agreement is that it only deals with one element. There is no assurance that there is verification procedures to give anybody confidence. Then on top of that, you are lifting the sanctions to allow them to continue to be aggressively pursuing the strategy of state-sponsored terrorism.

GANGEL: Any way you would have agreed to the deal?

BUSH: Never. I would have. Well, I take it back. Excuse me. I would have agreed to the reason that President Obama said was the purpose of the basis of the deal, which was to assure that Iran would never, ever have the capability of building a nuclear bomb, but he abandoned that. He abandoned that. And that is the tragedy of this. And we also should have included the larger, and the equally important issues of their sponsor of Hezbollah, and their sponsor of propping up Assad, which has created the brutality of 250,000 deaths.

GANGEL: You have talked about Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism, and the Vatican has announced that the pope is going to meet with the president of Iran in the next month. Is that appropriate?

BUSH: Look, I believe in miracles. I'm a person of faith. I will pray for the miracle for the transformation of the mullahs to let their country be free. It is the basis of the Obama administration. Let's negotiate with the largest sponsor of terrorism in the world, and on the basis that, the mullahs go quietly in the night. And maybe Pope Francis can achieve that miracle.

GANGEL: You don't think it gives them some legitimacy when they meet with the pope?

BUSH: Just as it gives them legitimacy to sign an agreement with the United States of America.

GANGEL: And last question, you have another debate coming up. You have said that you weren't happy with your own performance at the debate.

BUSH: Yeah.

GANGEL: What do you do differently this time?

BUSH: I am going to do my best and get better at saying what is on my mind and my heart, and not just focus on what the question is, and answer that. But these debates are an opportunity to talk about how you can create rising income for the middle-class and create a more safe and secure world. I know I can do it. I am confident that I can do it. And do it like this and do it and mean it. But view this as an experience that is an honor and a privilege, because it is.

GANGEL: What do you mean when you say "do it and mean it"?

BUSH: Well, you can't fake -- you can't fake joy. You can't fake it.

I believe that we're on the verge of greatness in this country and I want to share that enthusiasm with people. And this is an opportunity to do it. You don't get five million people watching you any day of the week.


GANGEL: And, Wolf, there's an even more urgent need for Jeb to turn things around. There's a new national poll, Quinnipiac, out today with some bad news. Jeb is down from 10 percent to 4 percent. So, as he likes to say, polls may be dynamic, but this one is going in the wrong direction -- Wolf?

BLITZER: This is the first major national poll among Republicans that was done completely after that last Republican presidential debate. So clearly, if you go from 10 percent in September now down to 4 percent, that's not very encouraging.

What are you hearing, Jamie, about these reports out there that he's hired a debate coach to help him get ready for next week's Republican presidential debate?

GANGEL: Right. CNN has learned that he has hired a debate coach, and Jeb has commented on it. He said it's not for interviews like the one we just did. It's for the debate. And he said the reason that he's meeting with the coach is to improve his performance. He's had one meeting. He was asked what advice the coach gave him, and he said the coach said he's telling me to be me, he's telling me to own what I believe.

So I think part of this is also that Jeb has answered the questions directly he's been asked and in debates you have to learn to pivot and get your message out. So part of it is sort of retraining him to pivot and push his message.

[13:55:27] BLITZER: Usually, these coaches, whether media coaches or debate coaches, the most important advice they give people is be yourself because the viewers, the audience can see if you're trying to be phony or somebody else. Just be yourself. That's usually the best advice they can give. We'll see what kind of advice this coach gives him going into next week.

Excellent work as usual, Jamie. Thanks very much for joining us.

GANGEL: Thank you.

BLITZER: And that's it for me. I'll be back 5:00 p.m. eastern in "The Situation Room."

For our international viewers, "Amanpour" is next.

For our viewers in North America, NEWSROOM with Brooke Baldwin starts right after this quick break.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.