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NEW DAY SATURDAY
CNN Obtains "Proof of Life" Video of Some Chibok Girls; Trump Says the System is Rigged; "Tiger Whisperer" Mauled By Big Cat; Aftershocks Rattle Kyushu Island, Japan; Sanders Speaks on Meeting with Pope; Video Shows Girls Kidnapped by Boko Haram; Pope Francis Visits Migrants in Greece. Aired 7-8a ET
Aired April 16, 2016 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: I want to wish you good morning. It's always great to have your company. I'm Christi Paul.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to be with you.
And this morning, we are starting with, of course, what's happening in Florida.
But ahead this hour, we're going to Nigeria, this grim milestone and still a shred of hope, renewed outrage as well, two years after Boca Haram kidnapped 276 schoolgirls.
[07:00:08] PAUL: I try to put myself in the position of some of these parents. And I think anybody watching can try to do the same thing. This newly obtained "proof of life" video indicating that some of those girls may still be alive.
CNN's Nima Elbagir brings us emotional reporting as mother of these girls see this vide for the first time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Sometimes still if I hear news about them, I have bad dreams and I wake up crying.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: There are calls to rescue those girls and those calls are growing louder, so are demands for accountability here. You're going to see much more of this in just a little bit in an exclusive report.
BLACKWELL: All right. So, we're just a few days away from the primary and polls show that Donald Trump is dominating there in his home state.
PAUL: His numbers have more than double those of his next closest rival, Governor John Kasich. Kasich then seems to be shaving away supporters from Ted Cruz.
CNN's Chris Frates is on the trail with the Trump campaign.
And, Chris, you're in Syracuse. Is the support for Trump there as strong as it is closer to the city? I read in Upstate New York, there are some challenges. I mean Trump is ahead, but the gap, that chasm in some areas is not as broad as it is closer to New York City.
CHRIS FRATES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, again, that's right, Victor. Donald Trump, of course, is focused and still complaining on the nominating process itself, taken to the pages of "The Wall Street Journal" and campaign trail to vent his frustrations.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have a rigged system. The Republican system is rigged. They changed the system. They said they didn't change. They changed the system.
And they went to a deal where the bosses pick the delegates, and the people never got to vote. And the people didn't know in Colorado that their vote was being taken away from them. And let me tell you, you have some angry people in Colorado right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FRATES: Now, the Republican National Committee firing back and say that this system is not rigged. In fact, the candidates have known about the rules for months now. In fact, this is the same process, they say, that they used to nominate Abraham Lincoln way back in 1860, so there shouldn't be any surprises here.
And Ted Cruz who won all of those delegates in Colorado, he's also weighing in on why he thinks Donald Trump is complaining so loudly.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is not surprising when a candidate loses 11 elections in a row, he's unhappy about it, so he complains. And that's fine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FRATES: Now, Ted Cruz predicting a 12th victory today in the contest in Wyoming. In fact, he's not going to be here in New York, he's headed out there.
And there's no surprise why, guys. If you look at these polls, Donald Trump in the latest "Wall Street Journal" poll up here with 54 percent support. John Kasich at 25 percent. Ted Cruz lagging those guys at 16 percent. So, he's going to look for happy news in Wyoming today and come back here.
And Donald Trump, of course, despite complaining so loudly, doing very well here. In fact, he might be able to pick up all 95 or so delegates that are up for grabs. A winner-take-all situation and a possibility for him on Tuesday.
And, Victor, I just have to say, I have been on the trail a little bit and I have been looking for my pocket square, man. You said you were going to send me one. I haven't seen it yet. It might have been because haven't been back in the office, man.
But I'm hoping to get it. I mean, I'm rocking on, I don't know if you can see with that bottom third there, but --
PAUL: Take a picture, Chris.
BLACKWELL: Chris, it is on the way to you. It's got to get to me first. I mean, you know, it's coming in from outside the country, I didn't tell viewers that, but it's coming in. When it gets to me, I'll make sure it gets to you.
FRATES: Awesome, man. Looking forward to it.
BLACKWELL: All right. Up there in Syracuse for us. Always watching the pocket square. Thank you so much.
PAUL: You're becoming a fashionista here, I'd say.
BLACKWELL: The pocket square, it's not me, it's not me.
PAUL: If he doesn't try to dress me, I think we're safe.
All right. Lashing out as a so-called rigged system seems to be the new strategy for Donald Trump. He laid out his argument this week in "The Wall Street Journal" as Chris just talked about there. But listen to this.
Said in part, "Responsible leaders should be shocked in part that party officials can simply cancel elections in America if they don't like what the voters may decide."
Let's talk about this with CNN political commentator and Trump supporter, Jeffrey Lord, and Cruz supporter and CNN political commentator, Ben Ferguson.
Gentlemen, so good to have you both with us.
JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Good morning, Christi.
PAUL: Sure. Jeffrey, I'm wondering, when we talk about this new strategy and him calling it a rigged system, is anybody other than his loyal supporters really latching onto this?
[07:05:02] LORD: Well, you know, this is part and parcel of the larger argument that he makes that the system has been working against the American people. So, I think it does in essence strike some people with some resonance.
I notice that yesterday, the spokesman for the National Republican Committee was on CNN air and said this system had been in place for a hundred years and a former Colorado chairman cited the 1912 Republican convention. I went back and took a look at the 1912 Republican convention and Theodore Roosevelt was saying literally that the Republican National Committee had rigged the system.
So, you know, I do think that there might be a bit of a problem here, a PR problem at the least.
PAUL: OK. Well, let's talk about what Reince Priebus said, the RNC chairman. He said this on Wolf Blitzer's show. Delegates on the floor choose a nominee after being empowered by the voters. This is a very normal system that we've been using for many years.
I'm wondering, Ben, is it normal? Does it in some regard -- does it ignore the electorate?
BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, states have the right to decide how they want to do their elections. That's what's great about each state being different. That's the reason why a place like Ohio is so important because of the way they do things there. It is also different in every state.
A great example of this is when Donald Trump was down in Florida. He wasn't complaining about it being a rigged system when all of the delegates went his way. Why? Because he won that election. You could make the same argument in Texas where they decided there instead of a winner take all that they would be proportional.
PAUL: So, are you saying that if he wasn't losing in these states, he wouldn't be making this argument?
FERGUSON: Yes. And I think that every state is different. You could literally make the argument that people in Florida were disenfranchised using Trump's logic because he did not win every vote in Florida, right? He won the majority and he got all of the delegates. But he wasn't complaining then. Ted Cruz could have cried foul and said it's not fair I didn't win all of the delegates in my home state, Texas, like Donald Trump did in Florida.
Guess what, he didn't say that. Why?
LORD: The problem --
FERGUSON: Everyone knew what the rules were when you got into it. If you didn't like the rules when you got into it, then that's your own fault for not reading the fine print. Donald Trump is being beaten on the ground because other people are voting more against him than for him in many places.
PAUL: OK, Jeffrey, go ahead.
FERGUSON: And that's why he's upset.
LORD: The problem here is when the district votes for Donald Trump and delegates are appointed, what we're seeing in some cases is the delegates actually favor someone else. So, their vote for Donald Trump on the first ballot because they're bound to, but on rules challenges or a credential challenges and certainly on a second ballot, they will go for someone else because they were not for Donald Trump in the first place.
They're appointed by a party establishment that opposed to it. Therein lies the problem.
PAUL: I want to get to -- go ahead.
FERGUSON: Anybody can run for a delegate. You know that. Ronald Reagan understood when they were in the contested the last time. Donald Trump is complaining right now --
LORD: But some of these delegates are appointed.
FERGUSON: Let me be clear. Donald Trump is complaining for one reason. It's because he's the weakest Republican Party leader that we've seen. Mitt Romney was able to capture the nation by this point in the calendar. So was John McCain. He said both these men were losers. How --
PAUL: Let me get to something else, gentlemen, if I could, please, as we talk about who's standing where. When we look ahead to Tuesday and we talk about New York, Ben Ferguson, Ted Cruz, the candidate you're supporting is in third place there. What happens to him if he places third in New York?
FERGUSON: It will basically change nothing on the overall map of this election and the reason why is you're supposed to win your home state, to quote Donald Trump. He said that Marco Rubio had to drop out if he couldn't win big in Florida. Ted Cruz would have to drop out if he couldn't win big in Texas. Donald Trump is from New York. New York is a much more liberal state, we all know that from who they elected. They elected Hillary Clinton to be their senator for goodness sakes. So, I'm not surprised that Donald Trump is doing well in place where he has been a liberal his whole life, supporting people like Chuck Schumer.
PAUL: Real quickly, Jeffrey, I want to get your thoughts on this as we talk about New York, because "The New York Post" yesterday and they are endorsing Donald Trump. But they had what almost seems like a mandate or an ultimatum that was attached to this. I want to read you this. The verbiage is a little perplexing.
"Should he win the nomination, we expect Trump to pivot, to not just his issues but in his manner. The post-pivot, Trump needs to be more presidential, better informed on policy, more self-discipline and less thin skinned.
What do you make of an endorsement that attaches something like that to it, and how closely is Donald Trump going to listen to something like that? [07:10:00] LORD: Endorsements are never perfect. "The New York Post" is a lot further along than when they said Trump was an embarrassment and now, he's saying that he's the best candidate. So, they've come a long way and good for them.
But, you know, to Ben's point here, a Republican nominee like him needs to carry New York in the fall. Ted Cruz has shown no ability to do this, with all respect to Senator Cruz. I mean, you've got be able to carry the northeastern United States. That's what made Ronald Reagan president of the United States. That's what defeated Barry Goldwater. If you --
PAUL: Gentlemen, we can't hear you --
FERGUSON: This is important.
PAUL: Ben, go ahead. Real quickly.
FERGUSON: If you're saying that the Republican nominee must win New York to win the presidency, the majority of conservatives would say that is not the conservative values that the rest of the country has, Jeffrey.
LORD: So, Ronald Reagan is not a conservative.
FERGUSON: No, what I'm saying is Barry Goldwater was a very weak candidate and you should know that. You worked for Ronald Reagan. Ronald Reagan came in there --
PAUL: Gentlemen, I'm sorry, we've run out of time. This has been a spirited conversation as it always is, and we appreciate it. And we will talk more in the next couple of hours.
Thank you both for being here, Jeffrey Lord, Ben Ferguson.
In fact, coming up in the next half hour, the Democratic side of the New York primary fight. Will Bernie Sanders's trip to the Vatican help or hurt his chances in the race or have any effect at all? We'll talk about that.
BLACKWELL: Also, the crucial primary is on Tuesday. The delegate stakes could not be higher. We've just detailed why. It could all come down to New York. Special live coverage right here on CNN.
Let's take a moment and go live to Greece. You're seeing Pope Francis here. He is speaking to a group of Syrian refugees. He is in Lesbos, Greece, there, speaking to a crowd right now and a little later, he'll be laying a wreath in the waters of the off the coast there, in remembrance of those who have died trying to reach Europe.
We all remember that image of the young boy who was found on the beach that really touched a lot of people and highlighted the trek and the difficulties of escaping Syria and trying to find some refuge in Europe, the pope now speaking to many of those refugees in just a moment.
Now back to the story we're following all morning. The zookeeper in Florida who was mauled to death by a tiger. We're going to go live to Palm Beach for an update now and we know that zoo officials are trying to figure out what happened here.
PAUL: Also, the death toll is still climbing in Japan after two strong earthquakes hit the same region. Right now officials are trying to evacuate tens of thousands of people.
BLACKWELL: Also, more of this incredible video. This is Oklahoma. Several storms, severe storms spawned tornados here. We've got this video from storm chasers. You're going to see more in a moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: This particular keeper, this was her specialty. This is what she was trained to deal and loved -- loved tigers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Which, of course, begs the question, what happened? Why did this tiger attack? And we know that the staff, of course, at the Palm Beach Zoo, they're mourning this morning after one of their colleagues was mauled to death by a rare Malayan tiger.
PAUL: It happened yesterday afternoon as lead zookeeper Stacey Konwiser was preparing for a live tiger show. Now, colleagues said she was incredibly skilled at handling these tigers. Some even nicknaming her the tiger whisperer.
CNN correspondent Boris Sanchez live for us in West Palm Beach following the story.
So, Boris, is there any indication at this point what prompted the attack? And are there cameras in that area where it happened that might be able to shed some light on it?
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christie and Victor, no clear indication yet as to why exactly this happened. You know, big cat experts tell us that it's really difficult to tell when things like this happen exactly why. It's very possible the tiger was responding to some kind of stress.
It's also possible that it was simply being playful and didn't know its own strength. Regardless, of why, we know what happened here for the people here at the Palm Beach Zoo is heartbreaking.
SANCHEZ (voice-over): Tragedy at a Palm Beach, Florida zoo, after a rare Malayan tiger kills it lead handler. Officials say the attack happened at a contain area called the night house, where the big cats are fed and sleep. Thirty-eight-year-old Stacey Konwiser was prepared for a scheduled tiger talk, an informational event for zoo visitors, when something went wrong.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This was a tiger that was very familiar with Stacey. She was very familiar with this tiger.
SANCHEZ: The tiger was off exhibit and no visitors were ever threatened. But the zoo was evacuated. Getting to the victim was not easy. West Palm Beach police say the animal was tranquilize and they had to wait for the drugs to take effect before reaching Konwiser who later died at a hospital.
STACEY KONWISER: My name is Stacey Konwiser. I'm the primary tiger keeper here at the Palm Beach Zoo and Conservation Society.
SANCHEZ: Officials at the zoo where her husband also works as a trainer said Konwiser had lots of experience handling the tigers and did not do anything unusual as she worked in the enclosure.
NAKI CARTER, PALM BEACH ZOO: The love that you have for the animals, you don't get into the business without the love and understanding the dangers that are involved even more.
SANCHEZ: Officials have not identified which of the four attacked Konwiser but they say it's a 13-year-old male. The tiger's condition is unknown. The zoo only saying it's been contained.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's a powerful animal and if they get ahold of you, there's nothing you can do to let them go. I don't care how strong you are, how big you are.
SANCHEZ: Attacks by zoo animals in the U.S. are relatively rare. In 2007, a Siberian tiger named Tatiana escaped her open air enclosure at the San Francisco Zoo and attacked two people. One 17-year-old boy was killed. The tiger shot dead by police after the mauling.
In 2003, the entertainers Siegfried and Roy were performing in Las Vegas with a white tiger Montecore. Halfway through the show, Montecore lunged bit Roy on the neck, dragging him around in front of the horrified audience. Montecore was subdued. Horn survived the attack.
SANCHEZ: Now, this incident is again drawing controversy and conservation about how ethical it is to keep these large wild animals in these night houses, very cramped enclosures where big cat experts tell us it's very difficult for them to move around especially at a time when they're most active at night, Christie.
[07:20:00] PAUL: All right. Boris Sanchez, thank you so much.
BLACKWELL: Still to come on your NEW DAY, we're going to take you to the earthquake where they're frantically working to rescue people trapped in, look at this, piles of rubble after yesterday's deadly earthquake. It's the second in just a few days. Details on why there are also -- there's also this race to evacuate thousands of victims this morning.
PAUL: And just a heartbreaking moment here as Pope Francis met with Syrian refugees. This is just a short time ago. Look at this. On the Greek island of Lesbos, a little girl collapsing at this feet, sobbing as she clutched his ankles.
We'll talk about it. Stay close.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
BLACKWELL: Yes, understandably, the people on the streets here of Kyushu island in Japan are terrified as one of the quakes here shakes the people here in the street. Now, understand that this is video shot of one of the earthquakes between the major 6.2 on Thursday and the 7.0 on Friday and we understand there are still aftershocks that are still happening after Friday's.
PAUL: They're between 4 and 5.0.
[07:25:01] BLACKWELL: Yes.
PAUL: And because of that, thousands of people are trying to get out of there as the death toll is rising from that second quake that happened yesterday morning. Twenty-three people now confirmed dead. Many more feared trapped under the rubble and that is the scramble right now.
BLACKWELL: We've got video here to illustrate what people went through. This is surveillance video from inside an office building the moment of that 7.0 earthquake on Friday. And listen to the sound of the earthquake in this next clip.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
BLACKWELL: You've got that deep rumble, the superficial rattle, that you hear things inside the room.
Let's go now to CNN's Andrew Stevens. He's in Tokyo with the details of the urgent rescue operation underway, and these massive evacuations as these aftershocks continue.
ANDREW STEVENS, CNN ASIA PACIFIC EDITOR: Yes. Nearly 100,000 people are being evacuated, Victor, from their homes into the relative safety of Kumamoto City, which is the main city in the prefecture which has been badly hit. Now, the city itself is seen to be relatively stable, parts of the city are, and that's where they're moving people into schools, into sports complexes, into community centers, places like that.
But just going back to that video, it does give you a good idea of just how terrifying it is for the Japanese, even though they live with this threat virtually on a daily basis, but to have that happen to you, you must -- it gives you a taste of what it must be like to be in something like that.
Now, that also applies to the rescues as well. Think about it. You've got up to 25,000 from the Japanese self-defense forces personnel heading already in that region.
They're there on a search and rescue mission, and also to look after the people who are being evacuated. They're the sort of conditions they have to deal with, these massive aftershocks, 4, 5 magnitude as they search through buildings which are badly damaged, obviously balanced precariously, prone to collapsing at any moment. That's what they're dealing with.
The Japanese prime minister is calling this a race against time, as it always is in these earthquake situations. It's getting to people as quickly as they can.
Now, the authorities say, they think, this is the local media saying, they think there are still dozens trapped. The death toll is now up to 267 and if you combined that with an earlier death tool from the quake on Thursday, it's a total of 35 at the moment with dozens more still trapped underneath.
Another thing to be aware of, Victor and Christie, is there were big, big land slides in the hilly areas around those towns where there are villages so there is still some concern that some of those villages could have also been damaged by the landslide. With more rain coming tonight, those landslide or landslide threat is only going to worsen.
Back to you.
BLACKWELL: All right. Andrew Stevens there reporting, the update on the death tool of Friday's earthquake now, up to 26, bring the number from the two, when you add in Thursday's numbers of 35.
Andrew Stevens there for us in Tokyo -- thanks so much.
PAUL: Can you imagine being close enough to film this thing? This was severe weather in the Texas panhandle as storm chasers captured the twister winding through Texas County, Oklahoma. Three tornados touched down in the area yesterday. Central part of the state had been suffering through some pounding winds and hailstorms.
Big New York primary just a few days away and Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton seem to be as divided as they possibly have been at this point. Is that division hurting the party somehow and what must Sanders and Clinton do to get on the same page and unite the Democratic Party?
BLACKWELL: Also, Pope Francis meeting with Syrian refugees stranded in Greece. We took you there for a live picture a moment ago. But look at this. This young girl collapsed on her knees in front of the pope and sobbed. We'll take you back to this moment. The pope there to reassure everyone that the world has not forgotten them.
PAUL: That is a powerful moment there.
By the way, here is a look at this week's mortgage rates for you.
[07:33:16] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Thirty-three minutes past the hour right now.
And the pope did meet with Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. The meeting was not scheduled ahead of time. But Sanders had said that he hoped it would happen.
Our Ben Wedeman got a chance to speak with Sanders about that meeting, including the issues where he the pope do not necessarily see eye to eye.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is no secret that my view on women's rights, gay rights, and contraception is different than the church's, but I think in this world what we have to do is work with people when we can work with them and his leadership in terms of the need to create a moral economy, the need to make sure that we transform our energy system so as to prevent climate change from wrecking havoc on this planet has been extraordinary.
So, you work with those people in areas where you can. When you disagree, everybody knows where the disagreements are, and let's work together where we can.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And certainly in the reporting leading up to the conference yesterday, there was an indication that there was an element within the Vatican that has felt the Bern so to speak.
SANDERS: That may be the case. And if so, I am honored and pleased by that because the truth is, I think it is fair to say there have been few members of the Senate, if any, who have been more outspoken in support of the role the pope is playing in the fight for not only economic justice, but talking about the need to create a moral economy.
What we have now where so few have so much and so many have so little in my view is not only immoral, it's unsustainable. And certainly in terms of climate change if we don't boldly address this crisis, I worry very much about the kind of planet we'll be leaving our kids and our grandchildren.
WEDEMAN: What do you suppose the others running in this election, in this lead-up to the election, none of them were invited -- Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, Donald Trump.
SANDERS: You'll have to ask them and you'll have to ask the Vatican.
WEDEMAN: And now, there has been some talk that you sort of abandoned the campaign trail to come over here to Rome. How do you respond to that criticism?
SANDERS: If anyone has been following me in New York state for the last week, to talk about abandoning anything, we've been doing rally after rally after rally. We had 27,000 people out at Washington Square Park. We're going back to doing another rally. We're going to be working hard for the next few days. We'll have talked to over 100,000 people in Upstate New York in almost every borough in the city of New York.
We have been working very, very hard but I did feel that getting this invitation from the Vatican, given my enormous respect for the pope is something that I just could not refuse.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: All right. Let's bring in CNN political commentator Errol Louis.
Errol, you just listened to the first sound we had from Bernie Sanders after his meeting with Pope Francis. How does he turn that or can he turn that into some quantifiable benefit in the New York primary?
ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, if there was anybody left in New York who didn't understand that Bernie Sanders was the progressive candidate who cares a lot about climate change, I guess that would sort of punch through the intense media environment here, and let them know that. I mean, I think that really was his aim was here, because the pope, he's really a figurehead in a lot of different ways.
I mean, certainly for Catholics, he's a religious and spiritual leader but politically speaking, he's sort of the gold standard when it comes to progressive values when they're talking worldwide, as well as an important figure on climate change. I know Bernie Sanders wants to be associated with both of those issues and this is a way to, I guess, make sure every last voter he can get, especially in the New York primary coming up on Tuesday knows about it.
Now, you know, a lot of political strategists are saying this is gilding the lily, that he's just kind of re-emphasizing something that's his brand and his alone really compared to Hillary Clinton. But this was the decision he made and we'll see how it works out on Tuesday.
BLACKWELL: All right. So, that's one of two headlines Sanders is making this weekend, the second is his taxes, releasing the 2014 tax return. Let's put up the numbers.
We learn that he and his wife Jane Sanders earned in 2014, unadjusted here, $205,617. Compare that to what the Clintons made in 2014, $28,336,212.
Does that disparity resonate for the Democratic electorate in New York?
LOUIS: I tend to think that it won't. I mean, for members of the upper middle class, I think there's a real sense that, gee, whiz, Clinton made ten times more than Bernie Sanders.
BLACKWELL: More than 100 times.
LOUIS: More than 100 times, see? In fact, this is my point, Victor. There are about 125 million households in the United States. The median income is about $52,000. And New York isn't that far above that.
And so, half of the households, most households can only dream of making $200,000 that Bernie Sanders makes. The $28 million is almost unimaginable.
BLACKWELL: So, you're saying, at some point, we're just saying numbers. After you get to $20 million, it doesn't matter?
LOUIS: I would think after you get pretty far above $100,000, most say, look, they're all rich. What's the problem? Either you're got a private jet or flying first class. No big difference to me. What are you going to do for me? And that, of course, is what the candidates are focusing on.
BLACKWELL: All right. We'll continue the conversation throughout the morning.
Errol Louis, thanks so much.
LOUIS: Thank you.
PAUL: New video suggests little girls who inspired the hashtag #bringbackourgirls after they were abducted two years ago may indeed be alive today. These images being shared in an exclusive interview by CNN with the mothers of these girls. That's coming up.
[07:42:46] PAUL: Well, Boko Haram, not ISIS, is now the world's deadliest terror group. This is according to the global terrorism index. The Nigerian terror group is responsible for more than 6,600 deaths and more than 450 attacks in 2014.
BLACKWELL: Nigeria also saw the largest increase in terrorist activity, up more than 300 percent over 2013.
Now, inside the Nigerian capital, the city of Abuja, people are taking to the streets to mark two years since more than 200 girls were kidnapped by Boko Haram.
PAUL: Their abduction sparked an international call for their return in inspiring the hashtag #bringbackourgirls.
Some 57 girls escaped, but another 219 are still missing today.
BLACKWELL: There is now this new video released by the terrorist group and provided to the Nigerian government and it shows that some of those girls are alive.
CNN's Nima Elbagir, Stephanie Busari and Sebastian Knoops shared those images with the mothers of the missing in this exclusive interview.
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Lined up against a yellow wall, 15 girls, only their faces showing.
An off-camera voice asks each girl, "What's your name? Is that the name your parents recognize? Where were you taken from?" the voice asks.
Chibok School, and the date they say is the 25th of December 2015.
The video was obtained by CNN from a person close to the negotiations to get these girls released. For the parents, it's finally a glimmer of hope the girls are still alive.
Two years ago, we met Mary Ishaya, Rifqatu Ayouba and Yala Galang on our visit to Chibok after the abduction of their daughters and more than 200 other girls.
We ask them if they recognize any of the girls in the video.
They lean closer. Another girl is identified, Hawa. One by one they name all 15 girls.
[07:45:02] But one mother, Yala, realizes her daughter isn't there.
The off-camera voice asking the questions is familiar to CNN as that of Boko Haram spokesman Abu Zinnira. A source close to negotiations between Boko Haram and the Nigerian government said the video was provided by the terror group as an asked-for show of good faith.
Nigeria's information minister told CNN they have received the video but are still reviewing it.
LAI MOHAMMED, NIGERIAN INFORMATION MINISTER: If you study the video, you find that the questions were asked in a rather controlled environment. We were a bit concerned too that after two years in captivity, the girls in the video were under no stress whatsoever, there has been little or no transformation to their physical appearance.
ELBAGIR (on camera): Is your government negotiating with Boko Haram for the release of the girls?
MOHAMMED: There are ongoing talks. We cannot ignore leads but, of course, many of these investigations are, you know, cannot be disclosed fully because it could also endanger, you know, the negotiations.
ELBAGIR (voice-over): We took the video to a classmate of the Chibok girls. She had been at home with family the day the other girls were kidnapped. For her safety, we're not showing her face and not using her name.
She told us there's no doubt the girls are some of her kidnapped classmates.
CHIBOK GIRLS' CLASSMATE (through translator): These two were prefects. Watching the video, I'm reminded of how we used to play together. How we used to do chores, do our homework.
ELBAGIR: She says seeing her friends again will likely give her nightmares.
CHIBOK GIRLS' CLASSMATE (through translator): Sometimes still, if I hear news about them, I have bad dreams and I wake up crying.
ELBAGIR: The video ends with a girl addressing the camera with a message to the Nigerian government: "We are all well," she says pointedly, perhaps suggesting girls not seen in this video.
She then delivers what sounds like a scripted plea, urging the Nigerian government to fulfill unspecified promises.
For the mothers of these girls rapidly becoming women far from home, the video is overwhelming. They say they just want someone to finally bring their daughters home.
Nima Elbagir, CNN, Maiduguri, Nigeria.
PAUL: It's unfathomable when you think about it.
BLACKWELL: When you watch that mother weep because she does not see her daughter. I mean even that message, it ends where the girl says we are all well, I mean, not having that proof of life and wellbeing, heartbreaking.
PAUL: No doubt about it.
BLACKWELL: Thank you, Nima, for that report.
PAUL: Thank you, Nima, absolutely.
Well, I want to show you another image that's heartbreaking. Pope Francis meeting with Syrian refugees. Look at this little girl weeping at his feet.
BLACKWELL: Yes. And the pope there at this camp in Lesbos telling the Syrian refugees that you have not been forgotten. We'll take you to this moment and tell you more about how it happened.
[07:52:11] PAUL: Fifty-two minutes past the hour.
And Pope Francis is in Greece on the island of Lesbos, now calling attention to the plight of tens of thousands of migrants who landed there as they tried to escape the violence that gripped the Middle East. This is one of the most recent pictures coming into us and it's jolting, isn't it? A little girl who just collapsed at the feet of the pope as she's weeping.
Earlier, the pope tweeted, "Refugees are not numbers, they are people who have faces, names, stories and need to be treated as such", and we saw him there doing just that for that little girl just within the last couple hours.
Atika Shubert live in Lesbos following the story for us.
Atika, what are you seeing there?
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's such an emotional impact inside Maria Camp, which is just behind me. That is a refugee and detention center, and it's just supported to hold just 2,000 people but there are many more in there, including unaccompanied minors and children.
And as you saw, that one little girl just completely overwhelmed when Pope Francis came, collapsing at his feet in tears and she wasn't the only one. We saw an adult man broke out into tears asking to be blessed and another woman kissing the pope's hand and slipping him a message. In fact, so many people wanted to talk to him, to tell him what was happening in the camp, what wasn't Europe accepting them?
And he in turn gave a message saying that he wanted to be there. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POPE FRANCIS (through translator): I wanted to be with you today and tell you that you're not alone. In the past months and weeks, you have suffered a great deal, searching for a better life. Many of you have been forced to flee from conflict and persecution above all to say you're small children.
You have done a lot of sacrifices for your own families. The pain of having left behind everything that was dear to you. Something hard to do without knowing what's the future holds and what to take.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHUBERT: This was a concerted effort by the pope to really sit down with refugees. He had lunch with a number of selected refugees, talking about the issues that they were facing.
[07:55:02] And he did it not alone. He also -- also there was the head of the Orthodox Church, Patriarch Bartholomew. And they made a point to say they wanted to lend all of their voices, this religious unity to speak for the refugees to call attention to their plight and this was really the purpose of the meeting.
So, incredible emotional scenes and even though he was only here for a few hours, it's clear he's had a significant impact, Christie.
PAUL: OK. Atika Shubert, thank you so much for bringing us the latest there from Greece -- appreciate it very much. BLACKWELL: All right. Coming up on five minutes before the top of
the hour now, a Maryland firefighter is shot and killed in the line of duty. His name is John Ulmschneider, responded to a medical call at a home last night. But listen to this, the person he was there to help shot him as he was trying to enter and then another firefighter was critically injured in the shooting, also an innocent bystander was shot in that incident.
The NBA for now is staying put in North Carolina. Commissioner Adam Silver said the league will keep the game next year, the all-star game in Charlotte. Now, this comes after a potential threat to yank the event because of the state's controversial bathroom bill, but the commissioner said what good would it do to move the game now, they had maybe some constructive rule to play.
This law makes it a crime to use the bathroom that does not match one's gender that is assigned on a birth certificate. Critics say that the bill discriminates it's said to discriminate against the transgender community.
PAUL: Lot a lot of political news to talk about from both camps this morning as well.
BLACKWELL: It's coming up on the next hour of your NEW DAY. That starts right after this short break.