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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
State of the 2016 Race; Airstrike Hits Syrian Hospital; Scientists: Biology To Blame For Gain After Extreme Diet; Campaign Tunes Don't Always Hit Right Note. Aired 4:30-5p ET
Aired May 2, 2016 - 16:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MICHAEL STEEL, FORMER JEB BUSH CAMPAIGN ADVISER: Well, we're going to have to see what happens in Indiana tomorrow.
And we have to remember that this is Donald Trump that we're talking about. He has the capability to self-immoliate (sic) on national television in a way that few candidates ever have. At the same time...
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Did you say self-immoliate or exfoliate? What did you say?
STEEL: At the same time, the numbers are getting tougher and tougher.
STEEL: The never Trump movement...
TAPPER: For the other people.
STEEL: Donald Trump is getting closer to that magic number to have the nomination locked up before Cleveland. That's why tomorrow's vote in Indiana is so crucial.
TAPPER: It just seems like a shifting numerical goal there, because -- and, Tony, let me bring you in.
It's mathematically impossible for any other candidate except for Donald Trump to win the convention -- win the nomination before the convention, and yet Kasich and Cruz persist because they hope they can block him and go and get a second-ballot, a third-ballot vote. Have you ever seen anything like this?
SAMUEL: None of us have, Jake. It's bizarre, like I said earlier.
It's -- I think it's annoying voters. And I think folks are now getting to the point where they are ready for this to be over. They know that Donald Trump is going to be the nominee. They want to get on and move towards the general election and take on Hillary Clinton.
Like I said earlier, it's bizarre. Let me give you a scoop, because what I wanted to say was, Donald Trump is a unifier. You know that Bobby Knight has endorsed and has traveled around the state with Mr. Trump for some rallies.
Today,, right now, there's a rally going on in Carmel, Indiana, where Gene Keady, another legendary basketball coach, from Purdue University, rival to I.U. and Bobby Knight for a 20-year rivalry, but Gene is endorsing Mr. Trump.
So, you know, that's just an example of unifying. And I will give you another scoop. Lou Holtz, legendary football coach from Notre Dame, is -- has endorsed Mr. Trump. So, I guess I would sum it up there's division, but the division is being caused by Ted Cruz and John Kasich staying in the race.
TONY SAMUEL, VICE CHAIRMAN, TRUMP INDIANA CAMPAIGN: And those guys need to move along. And we can unify the party. We need to unify the party. And Donald Trump after Indiana is going to be three million votes up and about 500 delegates up, and we just need to move on.
TAPPER: Michael, let me just ask you. You used to speak for Speaker Boehner. What did you make of him likening Ted Cruz to Lucifer in the flesh and saying he's a -- quote -- "miserable son of B"? He said -- he didn't say B, but you get my point.
STEEL: I think a lot of people are talking about this in terms of 2016.
His comments really had more to do with 2013 and Senator Cruz's role in the government shutdown then. So, I wouldn't read too much into when it comes to the current situation.
TAPPER: And I want to lastly just ask you. Hillary Clinton beat Bernie Sanders in fund-raising in April for the first time in 2016. Do you think that's significant?
MITCH STEWART, FORMER BATTLEGROUND STATES DIRECTOR, OBAMA 2012: Yes.
I think the fact that he's laying off staff is significant. He still has a lot of strength. And, frankly, what he's done online raising money is something that people will study for campaigns to come. But I think it's signaling sort of the beginning of the end.
TAPPER: All right, Mitch, Michael, Tony, thank you all.
Be sure to tune in to CNN's special coverage tomorrow of the Indiana primaries. That starts at 4:00 right here on THE LEAD.
A terrifying look at the moment an airstrike hits a Syrian hospital from inside. Dozens of desperate people inside were killed, shocking images, as any hope for peace in the war-torn region appears to be crumbling.
We will be with -- that story right after this.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
Topping today's world lead, a major spike in violence in Syria's deadly civil war. More than 200 civilians have been killed over the last nine days in just the city of Aleppo, including 50 people in an airstrike carried out by the Assad regime against a pediatric hospital last week.
New security video shows the extraordinary destruction and devastation inside the facility as the bombs rained down.
Let's get right to global affairs correspondent, Elise Labott.
Elise, this all comes as Secretary of State John Kerry is trying to resurrect this crumbling nine-week-old cease-fire.
ELISE LABOTT, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Jake.
Well, the regime is only adhering to truce in the areas it controls. But backed by Russia, it continues to target civilians in Aleppo. Now John Kerry on a desperate bid to salvage a fragile cease-fire from total collapse.
LABOTT (voice-over): Fresh airstrikes pummel rebel-held areas of Aleppo, still reeling from last week's hospital attack.
Chilling video footage captures the final moments for Aleppo's last pediatrician, among 50 killed when the U.S. says the Syrian regime deliberately targeted the medical facility.
JOHN KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: The attack on this hospital is unconscionable under any standard anywhere. It has to stop.
LABOTT: Acknowledging the Syria conflict is out of control, Secretary of State John Kerry is in Geneva on a desperate push to salvage a crumbling cease-fire and restart peace talks.
KERRY: An ongoing process that relieves the people of Syria from this devastation, from this day-to-day killing machine that is being unleashed by the Assad regime.
LABOTT: Local truces announced last week by the U.S. and Russia did not include Aleppo, where hundreds of civilians died in the last week alone, Russia continuing to support the regime's campaign to retake Aleppo and strengthen its hold on Northern Syria.
ANDREW TABLER, FELLOW, WASHINGTON INSTITUTE FOR NEAR EAST POLICY: Once you encircle Aleppo, they would think that they could squeeze it and, therefore, eventually taking it over, as they have other areas they have besieged elsewhere.
LABOTT: But, today, the Syrian opposition vowed to fight back.
ANAS AL-ABDEH, PRESIDENT, SYRIAN NATIONAL COALITION (through translator): If they are of a mind to continue breaking this truce, armed opposition and factions have a right to respond to that aggression.
LABOTT: And its biggest backer, Saudi Arabia, said the world will not stand idly by.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is happening in Aleppo is an outrage. It's a violation of all humanitarian laws. The world is not going to allow them to get away with this.
LABOTT: And the Israeli newspaper "Haaretz" reporting Assad has used chemical weapons against ISIS and has used them against civilians during the cease-fire.
ISIS has also used chemical weapons on the battlefield, all very terrifying for civilians, as the battle for Aleppo intensifies, Jake.
TAPPER: Well, if Assad used chemical weapons, that would be a huge story. Did they say ISIS did or Assad did?
LABOTT: Well, the Israelis are saying that ISIS is, but we do know from human rights -- that Assad has -- but we do know from human rights groups that ISIS has been using it on the battlefield. All that shows that chemical weapons not totally eliminated from Syria after that deal
TAPPER: I thought that was supposedly the big victory from that red line incident.
LABOTT: That's right.
TAPPER: Elise Labott, thank you so much.
In other world news, that sound you're hearing in Havana right now is the march of Crocs, with the sound of fanny packs rustling behind it. History was made in Cuba today when an American cruise ship docked in the capital for the first time in nearly half-a-century.
It's all part of the major diplomatic thaw between the former Cold War rivals. Hundreds of passengers aboard the Carnival ship were greeted with applause and a conga band as the vessel pulled into port this morning. The maiden voyage almost did not happen because of Cuban law, one that specifically forbid exiles from traveling back to their birth country by boat.
Carnival threatened to pull the plug on the venture, forcing the Cuban government to overturn the ban, allowing Cuban-Americans to finally set sail and come back home. Several cruise lines have announced plans to run trips to Cuba, bringing much-needed tourism dollars to the communist nation.
Coming up, they lost hundreds of pounds on the reality show "Biggest Loser," but years later, the weight is back. Now their gain could help us understand why it's so hard to lose weight.
Donald Trump loves to play the Rolling Stones' "Start Me Up" at his campaign rallies, but are the lyrics really the message the Trump campaign wants to be conveying?
That as well coming up.
[16:45:40] TAPPER: Today, 16 contestants from NBC's "Biggest Loser" are the focus of a brand-new feature here, "The Health Lead. Those 16 contestants are part of a new study released today and laid out in "The New York Times" almost seven years after competing on the show, many regained much, if not all of the weight they had lost.
Scientists say they can pinpoint why. It turns out that their biology simply fought the diet, making it difficult to keep off the pounds. For instance, Rebecca Wright weighed 279 before the show, she weighed 140 at the 2009 finale and now she's gained almost all of the weight back.
The conclusions, of course, are important for all Americans trying to lose weight. And here to explain, Dr. Kevin Hall from the National Institutes of Health who led the study. Thank you so much, Dr. Hall. Appreciate you are being here.
KEVIN HALL, SENIOR INVESTIGATOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF HEALTH: My pleasure.
TAPPER: So you found that metabolism was a main reason why these contestants gained the weight back. They also lost leptin, the hormone that controls cravings. How does this all change when people lose weight so rapidly? What happened here?
HALL: Right. So it's an amazing biological response that the body has so when people try to lose weight. So you're right, metabolic rate, the number of calories the body is maintaining just to maintain life, it goes down, it gets suppressed.
So you don't require as many calories in your diet as you did before you lost the weight. The hormone leptin after the weight loss goes down dramatically, which basically makes you hungrier and also acts in some sense to slowdown metabolism. So if you're trying to keep the weight off, you're fighting your biology. It's possible, people can do it with a lot of effort, but the body does work against you.
TAPPER: So the body ultimately gets used to being heavier and then when they lose the weight, the metabolism is still at the old rate. Is it possible to change your metabolism as you lose the weight?
HALL: That's a great question. You know, we're just beginning to understand the fundamental biology here. You know, there's a lot of claims about a certain kinds of foods, et cetera, et cetera. The evidence for that scientifically is very limited.
So we're really trying to better understand this process so that we can actually help people in the future. But right now, the kinds of studies that we are doing are really trying to measure this carefully and figure out what is actually responsible for these changes.
TAPPER: What about the people who have weight loss surgery? Do they have the same problem?
HALL: Right. So it's a great question. One of the things that we know is that people who undergo certain kinds of weight loss surgery are remarkably successful even in the long term in maintaining that weight loss.
We did a study a number of years ago comparing those folks to these "Biggest Loser" contestants and one of the things that we showed was their metabolic rate after the surgery does slow for the first six months.
But then it actually recovers back to a normal amount for their new normal body size. Whereas if you try to do this with lifestyle alone like the "Biggest Loser" contestants, they have to persistently fight their body's response. So there's something special about the surgery.
TAPPER: It's almost as if, though, you're delivering horrible news if you are that overweight and you lose it, you're going to gain it all back no matter what.
HALL: Well, they didn't gain it all back. So I think that's part of the positive news here. These folks were actually relative to other lifestyle interventions were successful at maintaining about 12 percent weight loss, which is clinically significant.
[16:50:04]It's important for their health. They actually became more physically active, which independent of weight loss is good for their health. Whether or not they should have lost so much weight, so quickly in that early time frame I think is questionable.
But there is some positive news here. It is possible over the long term to fight your biology, but it is hard and people should know that weight loss is not a temporary thing. They have to do it persistently throughout the rest of their life.
TAPPER: So Doc, where does the study go from here?
HALL: Well, we are really just basically trying to understand, like you said, why is that bariatric surgery is so successful? Why does it not have these changes in metabolism and folks that don't undergo the surgery are really fighting.
And so if we can better understand what special about the surgery then perhaps, you know, we don't actually have to have the surgery and we can intervene in a way that will make it easier for people to lose weight and keep it off over the long term.
TAPPER: All right, Dr. Kevin Hall of the National Institutes of Health, thank you so much.
HALL: Thank you.
TAPPER: And the producers of the "Biggest Loser" responded to the study saying, quote, "We have comprehensive procedures and support systems in place, which we routinely reevaluate to ensure all contestants receive the best care possible.
It's a catchy song that sounds perfect for a Hillary Clinton rally maybe, but does the song really fit the message of the campaign? A look at how candidates may be misusing music next.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. In our money lead, a new lawsuit says Starbucks iced drinks have too much ice. A Chicago customer filed a $5 million lawsuit against the coffee chain claiming its cold drinks don't have the amount of actual liquid that is adverted.
Starbucks responded to the charge saying, quote, "Our customers understand and expect that ice is an essential component of any iced beverage."
Our Pop Culture Lead now, politicians are very selective in the music they used at their rallies, but they may be missing the message from some of the songs that they pick.
Joining me now is Rich Cohen, contributing editor at "Vanity Fair" and "Rolling Stone" magazine, who has a new book out, "The Sun, The Moon and The Rolling Stones." He has also toured with the band. Rich, you've got quite a unique take on the politics of rock music.
RICH COHEN, AUTHOR, "THE SUN AND THE MOON AND THE ROLLING STONES": Well, yes, which is, you know, fun election and thinking that we tell American history like in a book or class what a great way to tell it would be as a play list.
When you go looking to history, you find out what the singers and writers of the songs actually believe they meant is almost the opposite of what the politicians are saying they meant.
And most recently you see it with Donald Trump and the Rolling Stones and start me up, but you see it all through American history. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
COHEN (voice-over): To their fans, they are rock stars on tour, using borrowed sound tracks for stories all their own.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're going to make America great again.
COHEN: Presidential campaigns forever link America's best songs through its most divisive political figures. What's left is a mix tape of misunderstanding for us to unwind. Donald Trump and I both love the Rolling Stones.
I covered the band on tour and wrote my latest book, "The Sun, The Moon and Rolling Stones" about the history of the band. Trump loves to keep crowds happy me by playing "Start Me Up" and "Brown Sugar" without permission and without it seems understanding.
See, "Brown Sugar" is about interracial sex and heroin. The lyrics borrowed from Black Music by the Stones in 1969. The song is a product of the kind of diverse ethnic and racial culture that some Trump supporters seemingly reject.
Trump's Democratic rival used Tom Petty's "American Girl" to push the idea of a female champion in 2008. But Hillary Clinton's theme song was actually written about desperation and loneliness.
A mood so tangible that many believed it was about suicide. Clinton's new tune is unmistakably positive. Katy Perry's "Roar." An anthem about moving on after a public split.
Staying positive worked for Bill Clinton in 1992. The campaign hit play on Fleetwood Mac's "Don't Stop" as infidelity rumors swirled. Text will never stop believing in America. Subtext, Bill cheating but we're voting for him anyway.
Whistling past the graveyard is nothing new in politics. After all, Franklin Roosevelt's theme song at the height of the great depression was "Happy Days Are Here Again."
But perhaps the most famous musical debate was between The Giffer and The Boss. For Bruce Springsteen's 1984, "Born In The USA" was about desperation. Reagan knew what would win the crowd.
RONALD REAGAN: America's future rests in a thousand dreams inside your hearts. It rests in the message of hope in songs of so many young Americans admire, New jersey's own Bruce Springsteen.
COHEN: So as you listen in, remember, the tension of our history is the difference between what rock stars say and what politicians want you to hear.
TAPPER: Great essay, Rich Cohen. Thank you so much. The Sun, The Moon And Rolling Stones," a great book. It comes out May 10th. COHEN: Thanks, Jake.
TAPPER: And that is it for THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. Turning you over to Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM." Thanks for watching.