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WORLD RIGHT NOW WITH HALA GORANI

LA Schools Shut Down Because of Terror Threat; Preview of GOP Debate. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired December 15, 2015 - 15:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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AMARA WALKER, HOST: Schools in Los Angeles, California, are shut down.

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What we know about the threat and why with hundreds of thousands of children kept at home, not everyone thinks it's credible.

Then candidates are fine-tuning their arguments ahead of the last U.S. Republican Presidential debate of the year.

Two of those White House hopefuls are out front in the polls. What to expect from a Donald Trump/Ted Cruz matchup.

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WALKER: Hi, everyone, I'm Amara Walker, in for Hala Gorani, live from the CNN Center, and this is "The World Right Now."

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WALKER: And we start with a story we have been following out of Los Angeles. The main school district there had has closed all campuses after a

board member received an e-mail containing violent threats directed at the district's 900,000 students.

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WALKER: The city's police chief says it mentioned explosives. assault rifles, and other weapons. Meanwhile, the superintendent of schools in New

York received a similar threat around the same time, but police there think it's a hoax.

In the wake of attacks in San Bernardino, Los Angeles authorities are taking the threat very seriously. Officials spoke a sport time ago.

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RAMON CORTINES, SUPERINTENDENT LOS ANGELES SCHOOLS: I made the decision to close the schools. That was after talking to the Chief Deputy

Superintendent, the Chief of Police of school police.

ERIC GARCETTI, LOS ANGELES MAYOR: Usually what people think in the first few hours is not necessarily how it plays out in later hours. We've seen

investigations unfold sometimes for a series of days but decisions need to be made in the matter of minutes.

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WALKER: Kyung Lah joining us now live from Los Angeles. Hi there, Kyung. So what more can you tell us about this threat and why are we seeing this

discrepancy in the way New York police are treating that threat versus the one in Los Angeles?

KYUNG LAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's a bit of a tale of two cities. New York receiving a very similar e-mail if not the very same

email having a very different response than what Los Angeles did.

What the Police Chief here said they received was an e-mail very late last night. And the reason this alarmed the school's Superintendent is that it

did have those specifics.

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LAH: It talked about assault weapons. It did talk about some types of weapons that were already in place in a number of schools. This e-mail

being sent to a number of school board members. So the discussion began, the school Superintendent with the school police chief deciding that the

school needed to be shut down.

We are learning also from the police chief that this e-mail was routed through Frankfurt, Germany. They don't know where the origin is. They're

still trying to figure out the origin. But it was routed through Frankfurt, Germany. They do at this point, according to the Police Chief believe it is

much closer to Los Angeles than Germany. So, are they ready to call this a hoax? Are they even saying that word yet? They're not but they're already

playing defense.

You heard a number of the officials up here saying that if this is indeed a hoax that they're hoping that the public will still come forward with

potential tips. That people won't think that anything that they see shouldn't be reported. As far as whether or not schools will be hoping

tomorrow Amara, what we are hearing is that that hasn't been determined yet, that they still want to search through a number of the schools.

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LAH: To give you some context Amara on how many schools we're talking about, that's 900 schools. The police chief saying that they are in the

process of looking through all of these schools, Amara.

WALKER: All right, Kyung Lah, the very latest from there. Kyung, many thanks to you on that.

So of course, U.S. National Security and the global fight against terror will be key issues tonight in the Republican Presidential debate. CNN is

hosting the candidates' final showdown of the year.

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WALKER: Just hours from now, they'll stand at these podiums in Las Vegas with front-runner Donald Trump taking center staging. He has a commanding

lead in national polls but Ted Cruz now poses a major threat to him in the early voting state of Iowa.

Now all of Trump's rivals will look to steal the spotlight and we could see some contentious exchanges. But as Athena Jones reports, the controversy

has already begun.

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Outrage overnight during Donald Trump's rally in Las Vegas. Tensions high just hours before tonight's final GOP

debate of 2015. Multiple protesters forcibly removed while trying to interrupt the front-runner's speech.

DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Get them out.

JONES: Trump taking shots at his Republican competition.

TRUMP: The other candidates should be thankful because I'm giving them chance to make total of fools of themselves.

JONES: And bashing the media.

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TRUMP: I've learned two things more than anything else, how smart the people are and how bald and dishonest the press is because it is really

dishonest.

JONES: Trump's GOP rivals going after the billionaire businessman who for the first time has topped 40% in a Monmouth University national poll of

likely GOP voters. That's more than the next three competitors combined. And Trump towering 23 points above his closest rival in this new Washington

Post ABC poll.

JEB BUSH, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I cannot imagine Donald Trump becoming President because he would never win - he would never win. Hillary

Clinton would clean him.

JONES: This as Texas Senator Ted Cruz surges into second place in national polling and tops Trump in several polls in Iowa.

TED CRUZ, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: God bless the great state of Iowa.

JONES: Which means all eyes will be on center stage to see if the two former allies will go after each other.

SARAH PALIN, FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: They are both strong and very decisive and someone who would take the initiative, that is what we need today, and

both of those candidates fit that bill.

JONES: Tonight's debate is the first for the GOP contenders since the Paris and San Bernardino terror attacks. And comes about a week after Trump

called for a ban on Muslims entering the U.S. The debate will keep national security at the forefront.

MARCO RUBIO, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The vast number of people that are trying to come are people that we just don't have information on.

This is an issue that you have to be right 100%.

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WALKER: So Donald Trump is preparing for the fight telling his supporters, "they are all coming after me." Ted Cruz could ignite some of the biggest

fireworks if he decides to tackle Trump head on.

Let's bring in M.J. Lee, she is standing by live in Las Vegas. Hello there, M.J. Please set the scene for us and which of the candidates have

arrived thus far? And how are they feeling?

M.J. LEE, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Hey there, we're now just a few hours away from the big countdown. Some of the Republican candidates have already

started to arrive. We've seen them walk through the Venetian theater to get a little rehearsal in to learn the stage and to learn the rules of the

debate tonight.

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LEE: Of course, Donald Trump will take center stage. And standing right next to him is going to be Ted Cruz. Now the dynamics between those two

candidates will be very interesting to watch. Trump has been very much willing, as he has with the other rivals, to go after Cruz recently,

especially as Cruz has started to catch up to him in the very important state of Iowa.

Cruz on the other hand has been very hesitant to attack Trump simply saying that he's not interested in playing that game and he wants to keep his eye

on the long game.

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WALKER: And what about the focus of the debate. I mean we just heard from Kyung Lah there was this threat at the Los Angeles school districts and of

course recently the San Bernardino attacks that has a lot of American's quite nervous about national security and of course foreign policy as they

go hand in hand when it comes to tackling terrorism.

Talk just a little bit about the focus of the debate and how that will play out?

LEE: Look, there's no doubt about it. National security, terrorism are going to be issues that are really at the forefront of tonight's debate.

Particularly after the terrorist attacks in Paris and then the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California. All of the Presidential candidates

have really had to address these issues and really present their own plan for how they would combat terrorism as President. And of course Donald

Trump stirred up a lot of controversy when he said that he would want to ban all Muslims temporarily from entering the country. Even, his, you know,

leaders in his own party have really condemned trump saying that that is not constitutional, and that is not sort of the image that they want to

present as a party. But Trump, nevertheless, even amid this controversy, really remaining popular among the Republican base.

WALKER: All right, M. J. Lee, appreciate that, live for us there in Cincinnati, Las Vegas, that is, thank you for that.

Well the stakes are higher than ever with the critical Iowa caucuses now less than two months away.

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WALKER: Just ahead, we're going to take a closer look at what to watch for tonight when the Republican candidates take the stage.

Also, a warm handshake and a lot to discuss. John Kerry arrives in Moscow for talks on ending Syria's civil war, the latest from the Russian capital

when "The World Right Now" continues.

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WALKER: Welcome back, everyone. It could be one of the last best chances for Donald Trump's rivals to reverse his powerful surge in the polls.

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WALKER: Republican Presidential candidates are gathering in Las Vegas for their final debate of the year. Ted Cruz and others are now doing walk-

throughs familiarizing themselves with the stage.

Cruz has avoided confrontations with Trump in previous debates but tonight it sounds like all best are going to be off.

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WALKER: CNN political analyst, Josh Rogin, live in Las Vegas.

Josh, Trump center stage again and of course you have a new - he has a new challenger, and that's Ted Cruz. At least he's rising in the polls excuse

me. What will Ted Cruz be up against tonight? And I guess more importantly, how do you think he'll be responding to the incoming fire that he will

receive?

JOSH ROGIN, CNN POLITICAL ANAYLST: Well, Amara, tonight's debate will focus chiefly on national security issues following the attacks in Paris and San

Bernardino.

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ROGIN: Ted Cruz riding some recent positive poll numbers will focus on those issues. He's got a delicate path to thread. He wants to distinguish

himself from the establishment candidates, Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush, by charting forth a vision for foreign policy and national security that's not

quite as hawkish, not quite as aggressive as we've seen in the GOP in the last ten years.

At the same time, he's got to contend with Donald Trump on his other side. Everyone here is spoiling for a fight between the two front-runners. If

trump engages Cruz, Cruz will be obliged to respond. But in the end, his goal is not to alienate trump supporters, it's to attract them, so he'll

have to play both sides at the same time.

WALKER: Yes, and you know talking about the two frontrunners we have Ted Cruz and Donald Trump.

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WALKER: I mean this is turning out to be the Republican establishment's worst nightmare, isn't it? I mean are they desperate to see Marco Rubio

have a breakout performance tonight at the debate?

ROGIN: Yes, you've got it exactly right, the entire Republican establishment is wondering what happened to their foreign policy.

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ROGIN: They're looking at Trump and Cruz, and they're saying these guys are changing the discussion about national security in a way that candidates

like Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush and Chris Christie couldn't have anticipated.

What they've got to do is they've got to make the argument that the traditional Republican foreign policy which is pro-intervention, pro-

spreading democracy and against dictators like Bashar al Assad is the way that the party should be situated in the General Election in 2016. But

they're fighting uphill because Trump and Cruz have the poll numbers, they have the momentum and they have the nation's attention.

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WALKER: Yes, and given that Ted Cruz is ahead in the polls in Iowa.

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WALKER: And the Iowa caucus is less than two months away, how do you expect Trump to perform tonight? Do you think he's going to lay low? Or are we

going to see more of the same with Trump, a bombastic kind of tough, insulting Trump?

ROGIN: well, what we've seen in the past debates is that Trump does not actively go after the other candidates when he's standing next to them on

the debate stage the same way that he does when in front of a crowd of supporters at a rally.

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ROGIN: So Trump will try to play nice. But Trump being Trump, nobody can predict exactly what he's going to say. If they go after him, he'll go

after them and that's when it could really get heated between Trump, Cruz, Rubio, Jeb and whoever else decides to go - cross his path.

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WALKER: All right, Josh Rogin, CNN political analyst, great having you as always. Thank you.

And CNN's coverage of the Republican debates starts in just a few hours from now at 11pm in London, that's 12 midnight, Central European time. Or

watch the reply this time tomorrow. 8pm Wednesday in London, 9pm ET right here on CNN.

Well U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is in Moscow for talks on how to end the Syrian civil war.

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WALKER: He has been meeting with President Vladimir Putin and also spoke with his counterpart, Sergey Lavrov. They are looking to narrow differences

on key issues including the future of Syria's president, the crisis in Ukraine, and the best strategy for defeating ISIS.

Let's cross straight to the Russian capital now where Jill Dougherty is standing by. She's is CNN's former Moscow Bureau Chief, and she's now a

researcher at the International Center for Defense and Security. Jill, great to see you as always.

So first off, how did the meeting go?

JILL DOUGHTERTY, RESEARCHER INTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR DEFENSE AND SECURITY: You know, it seems to have gone quite positively. They met for 3 1/2 hours

which really is about double what we were expecting. And on the one thing that really the Americans wanted very much was to get the Russians to agree

to another meeting which is an important one at the United Nations this coming Friday.

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DOUGHTERTY: It would be with the Syria support group to kind of firm up some of the things that they've been working on on this political

transition. And the Russians did agree. So Secretary Kerry said that they're going to be hopefully passing some type of U.N. resolution and also

working towards cease fire.

Now he did say that the U.S. stands ready to work with Russia to defeat ISIS but there was a condition and here is what he said that condition is.

JOHN KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I reaffirmed to President Putin that the United States stands ready to work with Russia to defeat Daesh provided

obviously that Moscow chooses to direct its fire on the real threat, which is Daesh. And I made clear about our concern that some of Russia's strikes

have hit the moderate opposition, rather than focusing on Daesh.

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DOUGHTERY: And so that again the Secretary using the Arab word for ISIS, ISIL, Daesh, but that was one of the sticking points that the Americans

think the Russians are going after the opposition, with their air strikes, as opposed to ISIS.

And then finally on the fate of President Assad of Syria, basically they agreed to disagree the United States saying it does not want regime change

however, it does not believe that President Assad should be around as a leader of the country in the future. But Secretary Kerry said, they wanted

to concentrate more on the political process so they did not go in great depth into that other disagreement.

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DOUGHTERTY: You know, it seems to be, I think as I said, a pretty positive meeting. At the end, President Putin, or I should say, the beginning,

President Putin said, you know, Secretary Kerry, you travel around the world a lot. It's hard to keep track of where you're going, and you should

get some rest. Amara.

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WALKER: All right, Jill Dougherty, appreciate that, thanks so much, live for us there in Moscow.

All right, still to come, life on the streets of Tokyo.

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WALKER: Why the city is seeing a growing number of homeless people. And what's being done to help them.

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WALKER: Welcome back, everyone and this is what's happening in the business world right now. You can see the big board. The Dow Jones up 175 points.

Also, we want to take a look at the NASDAQ and the S&P. They're pretty much all that green territory right now. You can see the green arrows there.

And the European markets, let's take a look at that. And there you go, also having a positive day as well.

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WALKER: As you can see, stocks in Europe and the U.S. are in positive territory, as I just said as investors ready themselves for the U.S.

Federal Reserve's much anticipated announcement on Wednesday.

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WALKER: The Fed Chair Janet Yellen has hinted the Central Bank will raise interest rates for the first time in nearly ten years.

The Fed's Policy Committee kicked off its two day meeting a few hours ago.

The Federal Reserve's decision to hike or hold rates will be felt around the world. Join us Wednesday as the verdict is revealed on a special

edition of "Quest Means Business." Richard Quest will break down the numbers, chart the path forward and explain how it affects you. That will

be Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. in London, 8:00 p.m. in Berlin.

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WALKER: Well, Japan's image as a prosperous society has a way of hiding a grim reality. Millions of its people live in poverty and struggle to afford

a home leaving many to live on the streets.

CNN's Will Ripley has a closer look at this forgotten segment of Japan's population.

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WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Every night the same announcement. Police at Tokyo's Shinjuku station order the homeless to

leave. They stay, largely ignored by the thousands passing by.

I used to be a machinist says this man (Koji Kato). The 84-year-old won't say how he ended up here. Most of these men are over 65. A reflection of

Japan's ageing society.

I don't worry about my health (Kato) says, all I think about is how he's going to eat. If he's lucky, he earns about $50 a week, payment for

standing in line at electronic stores mostly for Chinese tourists. The world's busiest transport hub, home to high-end retailers and the lowest of

Japanese societies. It frustrates me to see pedestrians walking by as if they're part of the scenery says (inaudible) who works for a non-profit

helping thousands of homeless in the Japanese capital.

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He takes me to a makeshift town of tarps, cardboards and umbrellas sitting ironically beneath the majestic headquarters of Tokyo's municipal

government. In Japanese society the biggest obstacle to solving poverty is indifference, he says. Mostly quiet and neat, Japan's homeless do not

abandon the custom of taking off their shoes before stepping inside.

Most of these people will leave during the day and they'll go and try to collect recyclables or things that they can sell to earn a little bit of

money.

Even some Japanese with jobs can't afford permanent housing so they sleep in internet cafes. I

checked in to a one and a half square meter cubicle, $15 for 6 hours.

Vending foods, unlimited coffee and soft drinks and a library of (inaudible) comics helps so called net cafe refugees pass time.

The lights are always on, you can hear other people talking in cubicles, but for people who can't afford an apartment, this is about as good as it

gets. More than a third of Japan's workforce is under employed with low- paying jobs, not nearly enough to save up four months' rent, the standard deposit.

It's like living in a downward spiral says (inaudible). I have money to pay for what I eat today. I have money to sleep but not enough money to have

hope and move on. (Inaudible) says he lived in despair until a nonprofit placed him in a permanent home. Government aid is available but only after

asking for money from relatives, considered a shameful act in Japanese society.

That leaves very few options for those who can't afford a home. For thousands it means a life on the streets, a life in the shadows.

Will Ripley, CNN, Tokyo.

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WALKER: After the break, we're going to head back to Las Vegas where CNN's final Republican debate of the year is now just a few hours away.

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WALKER: We're going to ask one of our political commentators what to watch for next.

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WALKER: Hello, everyone, welcome back to "The World Right Now" I'm Amara Walker in for Hala Gorani.

Much more coverage on tonight's Republican debate in just a moment. But first a look at the other top stories we are following.

The Los Angeles School District cancelled classes Tuesday over an email sent to a school board member. It contained violent threats directed at

students.

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WALKER: A similar message was also sent to the Superintendent of Schools in New York. Authorities there believe it's a hoax.

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WALKER: A source tells CNN that an explosive belt found in a Paris suburb belonged to Salah Abdeslam, a key suspect in the Paris attack.

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WALKER: Investigators analyzed a belt and found traces of sweat that matched Abdeslam's DNA. It was recovered in (inaudible) 10 days after the

November 13th attacks, which claimed 130 lives.

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WALKER: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is in Moscow for meetings on ending the Syrian war.

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WALKER: He says he hopes his discussions with President, Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov can yield real progress. Washington and

Moscow disagree on the future of Syria's President who is now being supported on the ground by Russian forces.

WALKER: And while the diplomatic wheels turn in Moscow, Saudi Arabia has formed a new coalition to fight terrorism. It is made up of 34

predominantly Muslim nations. While announcing the new alliance, the Saudi Foreign Minister referred to Islamic extremism as a disease. When asked if

the coalition included ground troops, he said nothing is off the table.

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ADEL AL-JUBER, SAUDI FOREIGN MINISTER: There also has to be a military component to this, because we have to deal with the terrorists at three

levels. The men, the money and the mind-set. The men in terms of combat and in terms of military force. The money, in terms of removing or stopping the

flow of funds and choking the funds off from the terrorists. And the third component is the mind-set, confronting the ideology of extremism and the

ideology that promotes killing of the innocent which is contrary to every religion and in particular the Islamic faith.

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WALKER: The U.S. Presidential candidate vying for the Republican nomination are warming up for the final debate of 2015 hosted by CNN.

Donald trump has held onto his lead, but this evening in Las Vegas, he is expected to go head to head with Ted Cruz.

Now Cruz was elected to the U.S. Senate from Texas in 2012 and he's thought to repeal Obamacare.

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WALKER: Cruz also strongly supports gun rights and was honored by the U.S. National Rifle Association.

Cruz also wants to abolish the IRS and the Department of Energy, Education and Commerce.

Our senior Washington correspondent, Jeff Zeleny takes a closer look now at the intensifying rivalry between Trump and Cruz.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Donald Trump still on top, but a new pecking order in the Republican race. And a new lineup on

the debate stage. Ted Cruz suddenly gaining ground nationally and in the key state of Iowa, even overtaking trump by ten percentage points. The

front-runners will be standing next to each other, the first time they've come face-to-face since the personal attacks started. Trump giving CNN

state of the union a preview.

TRUMP: Because I'm more capable. Because I have a much better temperament. Because I actually get along with people much better than he does.

ZELENY: He took it one step further on Fox News Sunday.

TRUMP: When you look at the way he's dealt with the Senate where he goes in there, like a, you know frankly, like a little bit of a maniac, you're

never going to get things done that way.

ZELENY: That generated a most unusual response from Cruz, responding on twitter with the 1980's flashback to "Flash Dance." In honor of my good

honored friend and good hearted maniacs everywhere.

So far Cruz refuses to hit back publically at Trump. But behind closed doors he took the first swing.

CRUZ: People are looking for who is prepared to be a Commander in Chief. Now, that's a question of strength but it's also a question of judgment and

I need that as a question that is a challenging question for both of them.

ZELENY: Cruz may be the tough target and not just for Trump. Senator Marco Rubio is drawing attention to Cruz's voting record accusing him of being

weak on national security.

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RUBIO: So I guess my point is each time he's had to choose between strong national defense and some of the isolationist tendencies in American

politics, he seems to side with isolationists.

ZELENY: Rubio is trailing trumping Cruz in national and state polls. He hopes to convince voters he's more electable.

In a hypothetical head to head matchup, Hillary Clinton crushes Trump. 50 to 40%. She's 48% to 45% over Cruz. But a different story for Marco Rubio,

he leads her 48% to 45%.

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ZELENY: And that is the underlying question in this entire campaign, which Republican is best positioned to beat Hillary Clinton, or whichever

Democrat happens to win the nomination.

That's what worries some Republican leaders and the party establishment. Is Donald Trump strong enough to take on Hillary Clinton in the general

election.

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ZELENY: That's one of the questions that may be answered at the debate.

Jeff Zeleny, CNN, Las Vegas.

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WALKER: And CNN political commentator, Michael Smerconish joining me now from Las Vegas to talk about what we can expect from the debate in just a

few hours from now. He is the host on his own show on CNNS "Smerconish."

Michael great to have you. So we know the spotlight is on Trump and Cruz right now. Do you expect the gloves to come off during the debate or do you

expect to see Ted Cruz exercise some restraint as he has been when it comes to hitting back at Trump?

Because as we know, the strategy has been to try to win over some of Trump's anti-Washington supporters.

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Amara, I think that the strategy from Donald Trump will be to take the gloves off. But I don't

think that Ted Cruz will take the bait. I think he'll want to continue to play nice because you're so right, Ted Cruz recognizes that those Trump

voters are the voters that will come to him when Trump takes a fall.

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SMERCONISH: But thus far, those candidates who have gone after Donald Trump have not succeeded. I mean they've not really been able to lay a glove on

them. I think it's important for international viewers also to recognize that while Trump continues to dominate in national surveys, we, of course,

don't nominate by national polls in this country. It's a state-by-state process. And Ted Cruz has the advantage right now in Iowa which in less

than 50 days will be the first state in the United States to cast ballots.

I guess what I'm saying is if given a choice politically between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz today despite the fact that Trump is dominating in the

national surveys, I'd rather be Ted Cruz. The momentum is on his side, he has the party structure more in place for the early state voting and I

think he's well positioned.

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WALKER: I mean we should say that the Republican establishment is really in a desperate situation, isn't it right now especially as Zeleny was

reporting that poll showed that neither Cruz nor Trump are really electable in the general election that you would have Clinton who would - who would

win in that. So who is the Republican establishment putting their hopes into during this debate?

SMERCONISH: Great question and thus far, not one candidate has emerged. I like to split the Republican field into what I regard as the mavericks.

That would be Donald Trump, that would be Ben Carson, the physician who's never been elected to office. That would be Ted Cruz, even though he's in

the United States Senate, he's really much more of a maverick personality.

And then the establishment candidates are Jeb Bush, they're Marco Rubio, they're John Kasich, they're Chris Christie. And none of them has yet been

able to distinguish himself. If you add up the vote of the mavericks, and add up the vote of the establishment-types, the mavericks outnumber by a 3

to 1 margin, the establishment candidates.

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SMERCONISH: And so, it would seem, at least as of this juncture, with the year winding down that the Republican field is about to make its selection

based on the more maverick party stripe within the GOP as opposed to the establishment candidates.

WALKER: And who do you expect, I guess, to make waves or draw attention to themselves, especially for those campaigns that have really been flighting?

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WALKER: Like Jeb Bush, who has made a lot of money, has a lot of cash on hand for his campaign, yet he hasn't been doing very well at all in the

polls. And Ben Carson as well has been dropping quite significantly.

SMERCONISH: Carson has been dropping and I think that he's been dropping and that Ted Cruz has been the beneficiary of those votes.

Jeb Bush, you're right, I mean he's been a nonstarter out of the gate, despite raising $100 million for his super pac.

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SMERCONISH: And thus far has not been able to garner any vote any significance. So, perhaps tonight, we keep saying this, but perhaps tonight

is the night that Jeb Bush tries to distinguish himself, maybe by going after Donald Trump and saying, you know, that's a ridiculous proposal that

you put forth to close the United States borders on immigration to all Muslims.

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SMERCONISH: It was Jeb Bush who said two years ago that a candidate needs to be prepared to lose primaries in order to win a general election. Well I

think he had in mind exactly this scenario. Will he call out Donald Trump tonight? We'll soon find out.

WALKER: And also, how do you expect the conversation about national security to play out, especially on the heels of you know Trump's proposal

to ban all Muslims from entering the United States? Are we going to hear some more fear mongering rhetoric, are we going to hear a lot of criticism

aimed at the Obama add administration?

[15:40:11]

SMERCONISH: You know, you just reported before bringing me on that the second largest school district in the United States is closed today because

of a security risk. I think we can safely say because of a terror threat. Here's the Los Angeles School District having closed. Apparently, the New

York City School District, the largest in the country got the same threat and didn't close. It makes me wonder, has Donald Trump created a climate of

fear in this country that would cause a school system to close?

WALKER: Yes, good point there, we'll see if that comes up. Michael Smerconish, great having you as always, host of CNN's "Smerconish."

SMERCONISH: Thank you Amara.

WALKER: Thank you. And this is "The World Right Now." Tens of millions of viewers are expected to tune in for the upcoming debate. We'll look at the

media's role in the race for the White House.

One candidate in particular is harnessing social media to his advantage. We're going to examine Trump and twitter next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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WALKER: There is one last chance for the U.S. Republican Presidential candidates to make an impression before the end of the year. In just a few

hours, CNN hosts the fifth Republican Presidential debate in Las Vegas.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WALKER: Now, CNN's last Republican debate in September averaged 23 million viewers. And the stakes couldn't be higher for the candidates. The crucial

Iowa caucus are now just seven weeks away. And Donald Trump goes into tonight's debate as the undisputed front-runner.

But the spotlight is also on the media and the moderator. Let's bring in CNN's senior media correspondent, Brian Stelter, he is live for us in Las

Vegas.

Brian, always good to see you. So what can we expect tonight? I know you've spent some time with Wolf Blitzer, what can we expect of the debate

and viewership?

[15:45:00]

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Blitzer has been keeping a low profile in recent days not interviewing any candidates for example on

his own show because he's trying to stay above the fray before the debate tonight.

One of the things he said to me when I talked to him about his strategy, is that he wants to get pointed answers from these candidates. He wants to get

specifics from these candidates. There have been several debates this year, this is the last debate of the year, so it's an opportunity to dig

into more detail from these candidates, hear from them in more detail that is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STELTER: The focus will be on national security. And we should keep in mind as we're watching we haven't seen a debate since the terrorist attacks in

Paris and of course as well the attack in San Bernardino. It's been more than a month since all these candidates met on stage together. So, I'm

sure, they have a lot comments, criticisms, attack lines, different things all saved up for tonight.

WALKER: You know, I want to also tell you about this debate that's also been playing out and I think it's something that you've addressed on your

show as well and that's the T.V. media coverage and how much it's feeding into Trump's popularity. And I know there have been calls you know to stop

covering Donald Trump because they're saying that that's helping you know Trump grow stronger, grow more popular.

Talk to us a little bit about how that debate has been playing out. I guess it's a question of chicken or the egg, really?

STELTER: It is absolutely a chicken or egg situation. It's one of the classic of this. There's no way to ignore Donald Trump even if reporter

wanted to, even if a news network wanted to. He can't be ignored. He's too big a story. He's too good a story. There's certainly an entertainment

value that comes from Donald Trump. And sometimes, when you see television coverage of him, or online coverage, it's partly because he is

entertaining, and provocative, and sometimes even shocking.

But he's also a significant story because of what he represents and because of his supporters. I think the most important part of his proposal last

week about a ban against Muslims coming into the U.S., a temporary ban. It wasn't what he said, it was the cheers from his supporters, it was the

applause from his fans. It said something about where the country is right now and that's why he's a big story, even if some people think he's getting

too much coverage.

WALKER: Yes, and I also want to talk a little bit about twitter and how that may be playing into Trump's popularity as well.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALKER: Brian stay with me but as you may know Donald Trump has eight times as many twitter followers as Ted Cruz, some 5.2 million.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WALKER: and according to Topsy.com Trump has been mentioned in 6.6 million tweets in just the last 30 days. And he's had 2.8 million twitter replies.

And you'll also notice a spike on December 7th, and as you mentioned that's when Trump proposed his controversial Muslim ban. That sparked

international condemnation, as we all know.

And we all know this, Trump isn't afraid to let his battles play out on social media. Last week, Saudi Arabia's Prince Alwaleed called for him to

withdraw from the Presidential race and in response called him "dopey."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALKER: So the bottom line is Brian, you know Trump has a huge presence on social media as well. How is that playing into his popularity? Will that

transfer - translate into votes or is this more of a trending entertainment topic?

STELTER: One of the reasons why he's a one of a kind candidate is because he has these millions of twitter followers and because he uses it in very

personal ways, sometimes insulting rival politicians, sometimes insulting journalists like Fox's Megyn Kelly.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STELTER: He went on a tirade against Megyn Kelly today. No other candidate from either party is doing (inaudible) on twitter.

Now after his ban proposal last week, twitter said there was more chatter about Trump than there has been all campaign long. In fact, it was the most

talked about campaign story of the week on twitter.

All of that fuels the radiance for these debates. These debates normally in 2011, 2007 would have reached about 5 million viewers in the U.S. Well

tonight, this debate will probably reach 20 million people. Some people guessing 15, others guessing 20 million, others guessing 25 million.

There's a wide range of gestimates out there but the bottom line is there's nothing bigger on T.V. right now expect for these debates than football,

NFL football.

These debates are essentially n ongoing reality show and the country is watching like it never has before and a lot of that is credited to Donald

Trump whether you love him or hate him.

WALKER: And it really is incredible to see the engagement on social media and also when it comes to watching television for these debates. Brian

Stelter, it's always great getting your perspective in the context regarding the media.

STELTER: Thank you.

WALKER: in these debates, thanks so much, Brian.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALKER: And you are watching "The World Right Now." Coming up, an ancient flavor that's gained a new following.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WALKER: How a traditional Japanese tea is growing in popularity all over the world.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MUSIC PLAYING)

[15:52:35]

WALKER: Welcome back, everyone. The International Space Station has welcomed its first British astronaut.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WALKER: Tim Peak blasted off from Kazakhstan, along with a NASA astronaut and a Russian cosmonaut.

Peak underwent 6,000 hours of training and learned Russian in preparation for his stay. He and the other new arrivals will spend six months on the

station helping test new technologies for future missions.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALKER: Macha, a form of green tea has been a staple in Japan for centuries but now it's beginning to pop up all over the world from coffee shops in

New York to bakeries in Europe. Our Paula Newton is in Japan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There is an elegance bearing in Japanese design that owes much to its spiritual heritage. And to

(inaudible) temple, and you feel it instantly, Zen. And I'm not kidding.

Caressed by soft lighting and serenaded by bird song, this is Japan's first Zen temple, and it is meant to inspire deep meditation. (Inaudible) the

Buddhist monk who first brought Zen to Japan eight centuries ago, and with it tea from China as a spiritual elixir for body and soul.

We go inside the monastery here behind closed doors to experience the winter tea ceremony and the most revered tea in all of Japan. Macha.

This is (Chado), literally the tea way, a highly choreographed observance. My mentor, Frenchman (Arnold inaudible) a man devoted for years now to

learning all he can about this unique ritual.

At its core, Macha, a highly concentrated green tea that is to be prepared with one's full attention and reverence. Our Macha is prepared by the

temple monk who's taking instruction from the tea master, (inaudible).

Every last detail is prescribed, even how you drop the Macha in the bowl. I confess I grasped very little the first time around, but apparently, it's

OK, they tell me. Being a tea master can take a lifetime.

[15:55:07]

Clearly, I'll be at this for centuries.

There's a reason to treat Macha and its rituals with its due respect. This is precious tea, carefully nurtured and manicured on lush Japanese hills.

It is without a doubt (inaudible) but only the best leaves are selected. The whole leaf is used but not processed, it's painstakingly ground by

stones mimicking the method used centuries ago, it takes hours to make just 40 grams.

(inaudible) is a master Macha maker and he reminds us the tea's origins are medicinal and spiritual to make your life both healthy and complete.

(SHINYA YAMAGUO): (As translated): I think Macha is becoming very trendy. It's gradually becoming more popular. Inquiries from overseas have really

been growing over the last five to ten years.

NEWTON: Good Macha is meant to be brimming with anti-oxidants. Even its caffeine has a superior time release quality.

(YAMAGUO) (As translated: The other thing is the taste. Good Macha is full of both richness and sweetness so you savor the sweetness.

NEWTON: In Japan, Macha tea isn't just a drink or a medicine, it is spiritual by design.

Paula Newton, CNN, Japan.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALKER: And this has been "The World Right Now" thanks so much for watching, "Quest Means Business" is up next.

END