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CNN NEWSROOM

Obama's Veiled Warning Against Trump; Saving Horses from California Wildfires; Army/Navy Rivalry More Than a Ballgame. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired December 8, 2017 - 14:30   ET

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


[14:30:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: -- coming up next with Joshua and Ben.

Also breaking news involving the Alabama Senate candidate. Speaking of, a woman, one of the woman who accused Roy Moore of sexual assault when she was 16, she spoke moments ago about remarks she says were written by Roy Moore in her high school year book. Is she still standing by that claim? We'll hear from her coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:34:51] BALDWIN: Former President Barack Obama is issuing a stark warning about today's politics. Speaking before the Economic Club of Chicago, he cautioned against the recent groundswell of nationalism and referenced Nazi Germany to emphasis not becoming complacent and disengaged. CNN obtained the cellphone video of his remarks.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We don't have to tell people what they should do.

(LAUGHTER)

But I wouldn't underestimate the very simple act of being engaged, paying attention, and speaking out. And typically, that's what it comes down to in a democracy. And I do think because we have been so wealthy and so successful, that we get complacent and assume that things continue the way they have been just automatically. And they don't. You have to tend to this garden of democracy, otherwise, things can fall apart fairly quickly. And we have seen societies where that happens. Right? Now presumably there was a ballroom here in Vienna in the late 1920s or '30s that looked pretty sophisticated with the music and art and literature and science that was emerging, it would continue in perpetuity. And then 60 million people died. An entire world was plunged into chaos. So you have to pay attention. And vote.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Wow, Obama did not name President Trump directly. Critics are already calling this veiled attack against his successor. Joshua and Ben are back with me.

Ben Ferguson, when you first heard that audio, what were you thinking?

BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think it was sad that the former president of the United States of America would go to the point of somehow fear monger people saying our democracy is in bad shape just because he doesn't agree with the political opinions of Donald Trump. That the next things that's going to happen you'll have 60 million dead people. The Holocaust was a horrific thing in history that let's hope will never come close to being matched anywhere in the world. But for political purposes to then use it to your advantageous because you don't like who is in the Oval Office, I think is probably a low point, I think, in Barack Obama's career. I've never heard him say something like this or go to this level. This is Internet conspiracy type crazy talk and it's unfortunate that it came from Barack Obama, especially knowing just how horrific the Holocaust was. You don't make comparisons ever, especially for a political point to attack someone politically because you don't like them or their policies. That's sad and sick.

BALDWIN: The conservative media having a field day with this. Jumping to headlines like Obama compares Trump to Hitler.

Joshua, did he think this through?

JOSHUA DUBOIS, FORMER OBAMA WHITE HOUSE RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS DIRECTOR: There are some folks being political here and it certainly wasn't President Obama. You must have watched a different video. Because I saw a thoughtful statement from a statesman who loves his country, says we have to keep watch. The reality those things did happen less than 100 years ago in this very world. And we need to make sure they never happen again. And, you know what, we do have certain threats to our democracy right now. Just was it last week or a week before the president of the United States is using his Twitter platform to retweet and share a false video from the right-wing group in the U.K. Back in August, the United States the president is looking at a march in Charlottesville saying there's good people on both sides. There is a reason to be worried. He didn't speak directly to President Trump. But he's saying we have to keep watch.

FERGUSON: Come on. It was very clear he was implying this was towards the current administration. You are a smart guy. Let's not act like that wasn't directed towards Donald Trump. Own it.

OK. If Barack Obama is going to say this, and it's going to represent the Democratic Party, at least be honest enough it's clear he was talking about the current administration and Donald Trump and trying to make a comparison. That's just disingenuous to imply someone wasn't talking about this administration. It's clear he was.

DUBOIS: Yes, sure.

[14:40:06] FERGUSON: You said these were thoughtful words and well planned out by Barack Obama. Do you think he was being vague and not talking about this administration when you just described his words as well planned and thoughtful? Come on.

DUBOIS: I think it's fascinating from our friends on the other side that we start using words like "disingenuous" and questioning people's motives right away. The president was talking about history.

FERGUSON: Who was he talking about here?

(CROSSTALK)

DUBOIS: If I could finish.

(CROSSTALK)

DUBOIS: If you wouldn't mind letting me finish.

FERGUSON: I'll let you finish. But tell me who he was talking to then if you said he wasn't towards Donald Trump.

(CROSSTALK)

DUBOIS: He was leaving it up to Americans like you and I to reach our conclusions. And I'm concluding that Donald Trump through his actions retweeting a right-wing fascist in the U.K., that are allies.

(CROSSTALK)

DUBOIS: I'm concluding these are threats to our democracy that occurring in this country today. And that's something that I'm concerned about. The president is not going to weigh into partisan but it's up to us to be mindful and watchful of these threats to our democracy. Unfortunately --

(CROSSTALK)

FERGUSON: You just gave three examples.

DUBOIS: I can give more.

FERGUSON: Connecting the caution, the everyone paying attention, that Barack Obama just made directly to Donald Trump, but then you say two sentences earlier that this was not directed towards Donald Trump and the administration.

DUBOIS: Because I'm not the president of the United States.

(CROSSTALK)

FERGUSON: So you are connecting it, but no one else should. Got it.

DUBOIS: No, you can. I can. But he wasn't. I can, as a citizen of this country, listen to the president's words and make my own conclusions. You've made conclusions as well.

FERGUSON: So your conclusion is --

(CROSSTALK) FERGUSON: -- it's against Donald Trump, but you want people to believe that it wasn't when Barack Obama said it.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: We hear what Ben feels. I've been listening. That's basically my job. And I hear Ben saying it was clearly Donald Trump referencing Donald Trump. And Joshua saying it's up to the American people to be the ones to decide who they think President Obama, the inference was about.

Needless to say, thanks for being on. It was a healthy discussion.

DUBOIS: Thank you, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Gentlemen, so I appreciate the extra time. Thanks so much.

(CROSSTALK).

BALDWIN: Ben and Joshua, thank you.

Coming up next here, California, the chilling images from the fires there. Horses scrambling to escape the flames. Look at that. We'll talk to one man who already lost one of his thoroughbreds and trying to save the others. Back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:47:03] BALDWIN: It just won't stop. Now six wildfires burning in southern California. These two new fires, the Lilac is in San Diego county, and Liberty just north of there. So together, all six account for 160,000 acres of scorched earth. There is some good news. Crews are starting to make progress on containing the massive infernos in L.A. and Ventura County.

But some of the thoroughbred seemed hopeless. Set free from their barns to escape. Trainers say they report hearing them scream as they race away. My next guest lost one of his race horses and one is still missing.

And joining me Billy Koch, founder and managing partner of Little Red Feather Racing Club.

Billy, I'm so sorry for you. These are absolutely gorgeous creatures. How close have your horses come to these flames?

BILLY KOCH, FOUNDER & MANAGING PARTNER, LITTLE RED FEATHER RACING CLUB (via telephone): Thank you, first of all, for having me on.

Before I get started, I want to talk closely, so many heroes down here that rescued some of these horses. Nearby farms and training centers. And it's really amazing the out pouring of support and volunteers that have driven down to Del Mar Racetrack where many of the horses are. I heard last night or this morning over 800 horses down there. Some race horses. Some riding horses and pleasure horses. And those people, from the bottom of my heart, and anybody who is in our industry, just thank you.

BALDWIN: Oh, Billy.

KOCH: I wasn't there last night. My trainer, Phil, was there and he used the term apocalyptic. I'm sure everyone has seen the footage and horses running wild and did their best, but unfortunately there were casualties, it's just a nightmare. It's not funny, but you never really how dangerous and serious it is until it hits home. And our industry has come together. And it's just been amazing.

BALDWIN: It is emotional for you. And understandably so. Can we just close this out? I love how you thanked all the wonderful people helping you out. And of course, Del Mar Racetrack huge thanks to them. Tell me why these beautiful animals are so special to you.

KOCH: You know, personally I grew up with them. And they are my passion. And we have at Little Red Feather so many incredible partners. We ran a partnership. So we have over five or six hundred partners that are a part of these majestic animals. They bring so much joy to us. And they do, you know, they just do everything in their power to provide thrill and excitement and they are so beautiful, it's just a shame what has happened here. I don't really understand it.

[14:50:09] BALDWIN: Just seeing them running, seeing them running from the flames. It is heartbreaking.

Billy Koch, thank you so much for spending a couple minutes with me. We wish you the very best. The communities, the people, the animals, everyone, and everything matters, just so much.

KOCH: I really appreciate you having me on. I'm sorry I got emotional. You are always a help.

BALDWIN: No, no --

(CROSSTALK)

KOCH: If there are volunteers who want to go to Del Mar Racetrack, there are tons of horses there that need water and just to be moved. We just found seven horses nearby farm that we hauled to Del Mar. And you can obviously give. LFR is our personal charity. You can also get another charity.

BALDWIN: We'll get the information out there.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: We'll get the information put out there. I promise you, Billy Koch. We'll put it on my Twitter. @brookeCNN and Del Mar Racetrack.

Billy, thank you. Let's stay in touch with you and your horses. I appreciate you very much calling in from southern California.

Coming up though, next, we have to talk about the president. President Trump rallying just 25 miles from the Alabama border tonight and just four days before Alabama special election. This is happening as new poll is in, showing the president's approval rating hitting a new low. We have a live report coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: All right. Army/Navy, it is one of the oldest rivalries in all of college football but, obviously, much more than a ballgame.

Coy Wire has more in today's "Bleacher Report" from Philadelphia.

Coy, who is with you?

[14:55:47] COY WIRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brooke, I have a whole crew. We'll say hello in a minute.

We have to talk about this Army/Navy game. Since 1890 and has been American game. Features the future defenders of our nation. Playing not just for the love of the game, but deep respect for one another. And for a chance of earning bragging rights of a lifetime. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Army/Navy is definitely the best rivalry. Everything going on in the world or even in this country, this is the one thing everyone can come together and watch Army/Navy game.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the only game where every competitor on the field that these people are going to watch are willing to put their life on the line for everybody that's watching. There is no other game like that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WIRE: This game is seething with tradition. They are here to represent and cheer on Army's marathon team who started last night as 6:00 p.m. and running the game ball all the way to Philly. They will come by any minute. I'll hop in and take that game ball over to the field.

And what happens when I say go Army.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: (INAUDIBLE)

WIRE: Go Army.

(CHEERING)

WIRE: It's going to be incredible game. The 118th edition of the Army/Navy game right here in Philly, is tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. eastern.

BALDWIN: I know sailors that would take issue with this crowd. I love this game.

Coy Wire -- (CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: thanks to the you and the crowd.

Back in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)