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State of the Union

Terror in London; President Obama to Address Nation; Interview With Florida Senator Marco Rubio; Interview With Ohio Governor John Kasich; Presidential Candidates At The Republican Jewish Coalition Forum; Donald Trump Leads Latest CNN Poll; Former Vice President Dick Cheney's Bust Unveiling. Aired 9-10a ET

Aired December 06, 2015 - 09:00   ET




JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): A new terrorist attack, three people stabbed on the London tube, this after the massacre here that left 14 dead and the FBI searching for answers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a lot of evidence in this case that doesn't quite make sense.

TAPPER: How did this California couple become radicalized? And what can be done to stop it from happening again? Presidential Marco Rubio will tell us his plan.

And with America on edge, the president will address the nation tonight. On the day of the attack, he promised:

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The homeland has never been more protected.

TAPPER: Does he need to do more to assure Americans?



TAPPER: Trump on top.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What you would say to President Obama.

TRUMP: You're fired.


TAPPER: The Republican front-runner pulls even further ahead, as Republicans say they trust him most to fight terror.

TRUMP: Oh, I would handle it so tough, you have no idea. You don't want to hear -- you don't even want to -- you don't want to hear how I would handle it. We're going to get it stopped.

TAPPER: Plus, the top political minds will be here with insights from the campaign trail.


TAPPER: Hello. I'm Jake Tapper in Washington, where the state of our union is tense.

President Obama will address the nation from the Oval Office at 8:00 p.m. Eastern this evening, hoping to calm some of the fears that many Americans are feeling in the wake of the terrorist massacre in San Bernardino, California, carried out by an ISIS-inspired couple, and news of a shocking new attack in London. A man stabbed three people inside a tube station. Police there are calling it an act of terror.

A new CNN poll shows Trump is considered the candidate Republican voters most trust to handle the terrorist threat and ISIS. He has a runaway lead, topping the pack in our new CNN/ORC poll with a new high of 36 percent. His closest rival is now Senator Ted Cruz, who follows far behind at 16 percent.

Trump has been talking about the attack in San Bernardino on the campaign trail.


TRUMP: It turns out probably was related, radical Islamic terrorism. And I'll tell you what. We have a president that refuses to use the term. He refuses to say it. There is something going on with him that we don't know about.



TAPPER: Joining me on the phone is Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

And, as you heard in our intro, his voice is a little hoarse.

How are you doing this morning, Mr. Trump? Mr. Trump?

Is he there?

TRUMP: Yes, I can hear you. I can hear you.

TAPPER: OK. You sound awful. We will make this very...

TRUMP: Hello?

TAPPER: Yes. We will make this short.

You said to the Republican Jewish Coalition that there is something wrong with President Obama. What are you suggesting is wrong with him?

We're having a problem with our connection with Mr. Trump, who obviously is experiencing his own set of technical difficulties with his throat this morning.

We also wanted to talk to Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, who has been giving a very forceful presentation when it comes to how the ISIS attack should be responded to.

Let's roll that interview.


TAPPER: Joining me now is Republican presidential candidate Senator Marco Rubio of Florida.

Senator, good to see you. Thanks for joining us.


TAPPER: President Obama will address the nation this evening to talk about the fight against ISIS and the ongoing investigation into the San Bernardino, California, terrorist attacks.

When it comes to protecting the homeland, what steps should be -- should the government be taking that we are not taking right now, that the government is not taking right now?

RUBIO: Well, there's a number of things I hope the president will outline tonight. And I think they will all be part of a strategy towards defeating ISIS and all the broader risks we face to our national security, so not just ISIS.

But, for example, our security gathering -- our intelligence-gathering capabilities have been significantly diminished just in the last four or five days. For example, yesterday, we learned through the Associated Press that the records, the phone records of these two individuals that carried out this attack in California, we only have access to the last two years.

So, it doesn't give us a complete picture of, for example, the U.S. citizens' involvement for the last five years. So, I hope the president will work with us to reverse that, so the intelligence agencies have access to a full picture.

He's also issued a series of presidential directives that have weakened our ability to gather intelligence against potential adversaries. And so I hope that that will be changed as well.


And then, when it comes to ISIS and around the world, they're a growing threat in multiple countries. They're now beginning to pop up in Yemen. They're growing their influence in Afghanistan. They now have a very significant influence in Libya, as I have pointed out for months, and, of course, Iraq and Syria.

And so, by the way, I think Jordan is very concerned about attacks within Jordan that are -- could potentially be imminent at any moment. We have got a growing crisis here on our hands in the Middle East with ISIS.

So, I think it's important that the president begin to outline how they are going to be defeated. And airstrikes alone aren't going to do it, certainly not the limited airstrikes that are happening now. But apart from airstrikes, there must be a ground force put together to confront them. And it must be a ground force made up primarily of Sunni Arabs from the region, including Iraqis and Syrians, but also a contribution of troops from Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt.

The UAE has already expressed some willingness to provide ground troops to such an effort. This is a radical Sunni group. They need to be defeated by Sunnis themselves on the ground.

TAPPER: Right. Well, let me ask you about the surveillance aspect of what you were just talking about, because I asked the White House about the -- specifically about this Associated Press story.

And they say that, first of all, they have access -- now, under this new policy, this new program, they have access to more metadata than before in terms of the overall volume. And say that this is a criminal investigation now because of -- the attack is in the past.

And the Department of Justice has access to many, many years of calls. Are you saying that there's anything that changed in the recent days that, if it had not changed, that these individuals could have been detected?

RUBIO: I'm not saying that alone. The Associated Press is saying that, as they reported yesterday.

And, again, this talk about this being a criminal investigation goes back to exactly what my problems are with this administration. This is a terrorist operation within the United States. The fact that they were not told by ISIS go into the specific center on a specific date and conduct an attack fundamentally misunderstands the nature of this growing threat.

The homegrown violent extremist doesn't take specific direction from ISIS. They are inspired to take action. And, for example, how did these people come up with the money to buy these weapons and the ammunition and build the pipe bombs? This was potentially thousands of dollars of expenditures.

Are we going to be able to track down where that money came from? Again, they have -- they have lost an intelligence tool that was very valuable, because they're trying to go back to phone companies. Most of -- many of these phone companies are saying, we're not even going to retain records.

Others are only retaining them for 18 month. So, even if they have access to it, if the documents do not exist, they can't put together the broader picture of who these people are, who they have been dealing with, particularly the man, who has been in this country his whole life. Wouldn't we want to know as much about him as possible in an effort to perhaps identify others that were of assistance in this attack? According to the Associated Press, that information is no longer available.

TAPPER: He wasn't on anybody's radar. I guess that is the question, is, how would he have been detected if he wasn't on anybody's radar? And in terms of the woman, she's only been in this country for two years.

RUBIO: But that's exactly why the metadata program is so critical.

They -- people wind up on your radar that perhaps wouldn't have been on your radar. So, for example, for them to conduct this attack, I believe that it is highly possible, highly likely that they dealt with somebody at some stage in this process, whether it was a person who helped them finance this effort or individuals that provided weapons. And that's why you want access to the metadata, because...


TAPPER: Right, but the metadata program...


RUBIO: .... about those individuals -- go ahead.

TAPPER: It was the old program during all those years. That's what I'm saying.

If it changed recently, that's -- I understand what you're saying going forward, but in terms of finding Syed Farook, like, that was the under the old metadata program.

RUBIO: No, I -- yes, right.

But that's what I'm talking about, moving forward. This is not going to be the last attempt to attack the homeland. And so there are other individuals that were of assistance to them. Do we not want to know who those individuals were, even if a contact happened two-and-a-half years ago or two-and-a-quarter years ago?

And the reality is, under these changes in the law, that information will not be there for us to look at. And then those individuals could lead you to additional individuals.

Metadata alone isn't going to solve all the problems, but it's an important piece of a bigger puzzle that allows you to disrupt potential terrorist plots. And these are not plots like the 9/11 plot, where you had over a dozen individuals working together on a very specific plan over an extended period of time.

Homegrown violent extremists are going to be even harder to identify. And the one area you might be able to identify them before they take action is if they come into contact with someone that we know is clearly involved in terrorism, we suspect is involved in terrorism.

Again, there are individuals they talked to over the last couple of years that do belong on our radar now who may not be on our radar because we can only see the records for the last two years or whatever the phone companies are holding.


RUBIO: The law allows up to two years, but many of these phone companies have already said, we're not holding onto records at all.

By the way, I think those are the phone companies that are getting a lot of business from people who intend to do this sort of thing.


TAPPER: How does this proactive approach when it comes to having people on your radar in terms of the U.S. government looking for terrorists, how does it square with the fact that, on Thursday, the day after the attack in San Bernardino, you and every Republican in the Senate voted no -- except for Mark Kirk, I should point out -- you and almost every Republican in the Senate voted no on legislation that would have kept people on terrorist watch lists from being able to purchase firearms or explosives.

RUBIO: Because...

TAPPER: President Obama calls insane that people on the no-fly list can walk in and buy explosives or a gun.

RUBIO: Because there are -- the majority of people on the no-fly list are oftentimes people that basically just have the same name as somebody else who don't belong on the no-fly list.

The -- former Senator Kennedy -- Ted Kennedy once said he was on a no- fly list. I mean, there are -- I -- we -- there are journalists on the no-fly list. There are others involved in the no-fly list that wind up there.

These are everyday Americans that have nothing to with terrorism. They wind up on the no-fly list. There's no due process or any way to get your name removed from it in a timely fashion. And now they're having their Second Amendment right being impeded upon.

If these were perfect lists, that would be one thing. But there are over 700,000 Americans on some watch list or another that would all be captured under this amendment the Democrats offered. And that's the problem.

The vast -- there aren't 700,000 terrorists operating in America openly on watch lists. They include vast numbers of Americans who have names similar to someone we're looking for. Sometimes, you're only on that list because the FBI wants to talk to you about someone you know, not because you're a suspect. And, again, now your Second Amendment right is being impeded with.

TAPPER: I don't think it's accurate to say that a majority of them are on the list by accident, but let me... RUBIO: A very significant number of people on those lists are on there because they have names similar to somebody else. My office deals with dozens of calls every year from people that are on no-fly lists or identified lists of watch lists. It's not just the no-fly lists. That's not just the no-fly lists.


TAPPER: So, these watch lists should just be -- these watch lists should just be ignored?

RUBIO: No, they shouldn't be ignored. But they shouldn't be used as a tool to impede 700,000 Americans or potential Americans -- people on that list from having access to be able to fully utilize their Second Amendment rights.

There are many people on no-fly lists that are not terrorists, not just no-fly lists -- I apologize -- on any of these terror watch lists, because that amendment was not just limited to the no-fly list. That's not a perfect database. And it has a significant number of errors.

TAPPER: Senator Marco Rubio, thanks so much for joining us.

And please wish your wife happy birthday for us.

RUBIO: Thank you.


TAPPER: Coming up: President Obama says it's insane that you can be on the terror watch list, unable to board a plane, and you can still buy explosives or firearms. But Republicans disagree. We will have much more on that coming up.



TAPPER: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION. I'm Jake Tapper.

The family of the couple who killed 14 people in San Bernardino, California, this week claims they had no idea what the terrorists were plotting.

Donald Trump said he doesn't buy it. And he's called for more monitoring.


TRUMP: We have to start looking at families now. We have to look at them very, very tough.

I think his mother knew what was going on. She went into the apartment. Anybody that went into that house or that apartment knew what was going on. We better get a little tough and a little smart, or we're in trouble.


TAPPER: Joining me now is Republican presidential candidate and Ohio Governor John Kasich.

Governor Kasich, thanks so much for joining us.

So, Donald Trump, the front-runner of the Republican Party, says that he's not ruling out a data -- database of Muslims. He says, when it comes to going after ISIS, we should take our their families.

Should this be the national security policy of the Republican Party?

GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't -- I don't think so, Jake.

In terms of the families, look, we have these counterterrorism task forces across this country headed by the FBI. And -- and I trust the intelligence community. They need more tools.

I mean, Jake, one of the problems that we have is, these folks have been able to encrypt their messages. We know that that was the case in Paris. And we suspect it's the case here.

In other words, they can communicate, and our intelligence community, intelligence authorities cannot see those communications. This is really troubling. This is the issue of encryption. And in order to solve that, that problem is going to have to be solved by the technology companies, the government.

We are going to have to get together, because if, in fact, our intelligence community cannot see what is going on, cannot understand the communications, then we're operating in the dark.

And, look, we have a counterterrorism task force right here in Ohio. They're spread across the country. We work with them. It includes local law enforcement. And they have to have the tools that they need in order to be effective.

But to say that somebody knew something or whatever, that's -- I mean, we have to rely on the intelligence community to draw their conclusions and do their investigations.

TAPPER: Is there any evidence that encryption played a role in this attack?

In -- in the Paris attacks just recently, we heard the same call for encryption technology to be released to the intelligence community, and it seems as though that the terrorists there were communicating on Facebook. They were basically hiding in plain sight.

KASICH: Well, I think a lot of it, Jake, from the intelligence people I talk to, the ones that I'm familiar with here in our state, is basically the fact that these two out in California may have been communicating, but they may have -- as they say, have gone dark. In other words, I know that there were people being monitored who they

were in touch with, but we also know that these -- this couple had not been identified. So, no, I think the issue of encryption is for real. It's serious.

And the Congress needs to get on it, because we -- we are going to require a national solution. But, look, let's just go back to one other thing that I think is critical. I don't believe that we can defeat ISIS just from the air. And I don't think we can rely on just other people to take care of that job.


I believe the United States should be leading an effort right now to assemble a coalition just like we saw on the first Gulf War. And I remember when the ambassador from Egypt to the United States stood in the Rose Garden and pledged support. And we went. We were able to drive Saddam out of Kuwait. That was a serious matter. This is a much more serious matter.

And we should be using everything we can to assemble a coalition of the West and our friends in the Middle East. And we need to go and destroy ISIS where they are.

And then, Jake, you know, I have also talked about the battle of ideas. And we're increasingly beginning to wonder about why people affiliate with ISIS. You know, when people have no meaning in their lives, they begin to do things that sometimes can be totally crazy.

And so I believe that the West, along with our moderate Muslim friends, need to communicate that we're about civilization, we're about life, those kinds of things, but immediately destroy ISIS in a coalition on the ground. You mark my words. We will ultimately have to do it.

And the longer we wait, the more complicated and the more costly it will be.

TAPPER: Your campaign released a Web video last week that I want to ask you about. It likened Donald Trump to Nazis in some way.

Let's -- let's roll a little bit of that.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You might not care if Donald Trump says Muslims must register with their government, because you're not one. And you might not care if Donald Trump says it's OK to rough up black protesters, because you're not one. But think about this. If he keeps going and he actually becomes president, he might just...


TAPPER: So, Governor Kasich, it's based on the famous Niemoller poem about the Nazis, saying, first they came for the labor unions. I was not one. I did not speak up, et cetera, et cetera. The Nazis killed 12 million people. It seems a little extreme and perhaps even a lot desperate to compare Donald Trump to the Nazis.

KASICH: Well, Jake, that's not what is being done here.

And the gentleman that you hear speaking is a former POW who feels very strongly about the United States being united. This is a message about unite -- about uniting people.

When you attack Hispanics, when you characterize all Muslims in a very negative way, when you insult women, we don't think that that's good. We think, at this point in time, more than any other time, we need to have -- we need to have America united. And we need to have an American president who is going to unite us and not divide us.

And it's no more than that. And any read into it more than that is certainly not what was intended or what was meant.

TAPPER: On that line of criticism against the front-runner, Donald Trump, "The Washington Post" this morning in an editorial is calling for Republican leaders, Speaker Ryan, Leader McConnell, you, to state publicly that you would never endorse or vote for Trump.

They feel like he is that negative an influence in American politics. Are you willing to do that?

KASICH: Jake, I signed a pledge that I would support the Republican -- I think that's what we did at the first debate when we raised our hands.

But, look, I have to tell you, I have been -- I have been all over New Hampshire. I have had 37 town hall meetings and a zillion other meetings there. And I believe that Donald Trump will not be the nominee.

I think things will settle down. And I believe, at the end of the day -- and what I have heard in New Hampshire is -- is experience is what counts, somebody who has been a reformer, but somebody who has experience.

And I think we look for somebody at the end who knows how to land the plane. So, I don't think we will ever get to that point. And it's interesting "The Post" is saying that. I mean, I don't have any comment, other than the fact that I don't think we will ever get to that point. And I doubt that you think so either.

TAPPER: Actually, the truth of the matter is, I keep being asked this by people whenever I do interviews or family members. I see no evidence to the contrary that anyone other than Donald Trump will be the Republican Party nominee. He keeps getting stronger.

In our latest poll, he's 36 percent. Now, that's a national poll. But -- but do you just not believe these polls?

KASICH: Well, Donald, first -- or -- I'm sorry -- Jake, first of all, you know, it gets to be about who is going to vote. You know, it's not just about what a number is today.

I think David Brooks wrote an interesting column in "The New York Times" where he said, you know, I went rug shopping, and I like the bright one, but when the time came to actually buy one, that's not the one I bought.

And so my sense is that -- I mean, here, he came to Ohio, had a big crowd, thousands of people. And 10 minutes into it, you know, the crowd was leaving. He had about half the crowd by the end of his appearance.

I think people are very concerned about the current state of affairs. They want change. They absolutely want somebody that is going to shake it up, which I have done all of my life by balancing the federal budget and balancing the budget in Ohio.

But they also want somebody that has a real plan to move this country forward, both economically and, of course, in the area of national security and foreign policy.


So, do I believe them? No, I -- I don't necessarily believe what I see, because it's not a poll on likely voters. And I just can tell you what I see in New Hampshire. I'm in New Hampshire constantly. And I am convinced that, at the end, they are going to opt for somebody who has got the experience.

And I think it is going to happen all throughout the country.

TAPPER: I want to ask you about something that President Obama and Democrats in the Senate have been pushing for, whether or not people who are on these terror watch lists or no-fly lists should be allowed to purchase firearms or explosives.

A bill that would ban them was voted down Thursday in the Senate. How would you have voted on that bill?

KASICH: Well, Jake, on the no-fly list, we probably could keep them from getting guns and ought to ban them.

But, on the watch list, I can tell you that, even in our state, when we stop somebody, when our law enforcement stops somebody who is on the watch list, we don't tell them we're on the -- they're an the watch list.

We want to make sure that we can exploit all the information that we can possibly get. So, if all of the sudden, you tell everybody who is on the watch list that you can't do this or that, then guess what happens? Then we lose our ability to track. We lose our ability to gather information.

So, I think we have to be careful. Of course, it makes common sense to say that, if you're on a terrorist watch list, you shouldn't be able to go out and get a gun, although you will be able to get it illegally. But what we have to deal with is the fact that we don't want to tip

somebody off that they're under -- they're under review and that we could be gathering critical information to disrupt a plot.

I mean, all of this is about having the information to disrupt, not about -- that's what -- that's what the intelligence business is all about, because once it happens, we know how tragic it is.

So, what we have to do is make sure we do disrupt. We just arrested somebody like three weeks ago who was in Akron who pledged loyalty to ISIS.

TAPPER: Right.

KASICH: We have to know who they are. So, let's just balance this in terms of what is in the best interests of gathering intelligence and keeping us safe.

TAPPER: But let me just game this out.

So, somebody is on the terror watch list, not the no-fly list, where they would already. They're on the terror watch list. And so they're being surveilled. They go in to buy an AR-15, and you think that that person should be able to get it because you don't want to tip them off that they're on a terror watch list?

KASICH: Well, what I think, Jake, is I think we have to be careful in the way we do this.

Look, everybody wants to get a slick little answer and 100 percent answer. As governor of Ohio, I have to sit down with people who are very knowledgeable in a whole variety of ways. And then we look at it. And we try to figure out, what is the commonsense solution?

So, if there is a practical way to limit it, yes. But I think we also have to weigh it off against our ability to surveil. So, some of these things, just like the issue of encryption, for example, the technology companies are very concerned that if you give a gateway into the area of encryption, people could then -- the other people could go in and begin to hack those -- hack those people.

So, you have to sit down and you have to figure things out. It -- you know, the presidential campaigns don't always lend themselves to reasonable discussions, but, as a leader, as a CEO that has run a state, the seventh largest state in the country, you look at a problem, and you try to figure out unique ways to solve it.

And so this is something that has to be considered from many different sides, so we don't make a big mistake again.

TAPPER: Well, I hope you found this a reasonable discussion, Governor Kasich.


KASICH: Very good. Very good discussion, Jake. Just, it's -- things are not that simple in life. But you know where

you want to go. Go fix it. That's what I do in Ohio. It's what I would do as president.

TAPPER: All right, on message as you head out.

Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

KASICH: Thank you.

TAPPER: Join me tonight, as President Obama addresses the threat of terrorism.

CNN will have special live coverage of his Oval Office address. The coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. Eastern. His address is at 8:00.

Jeb Bush, the would-be front-runner, has slipped to 3 percent in our new CNN poll of Republicans nationally. Can he still mount a comeback? We will do a deep dive on the numbers when we come back.




KASICH: Last night I was watching "Schindler's List." Everybody here has seen "Schindler's List." If you want to look for a really good friend, get somebody who is Jewish.

TRUMP: I'm a negotiator like you folks. We're negotiators.


TAPPER: Those were some of the presidential candidates at this week's Republican Jewish Coalition forum.

Joining us today are some real (INAUDIBLE) Ken Cuccinelli, president of the Senate Conservatives Fund, Neera Tanden, president for the Center for American Progress, and CNN political commentators S.E. Cupp and Van Jones.

Neera, I know that presidential candidates bring out the pandering in all sorts of ways. We certainly see it with Democrats before Latino groups. It goes on and on -- "Schindler's List?"

NEERA TANDEN, PRESIDENT AND CEO, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: You know, I didn't -- I think part of it was pandering -- part was actually kind of feeding stereotypes. So -- which was more disconcerting to me, I mean, the idea that Jews are good negotiators et cetera. I mean, (INAUDIBLE) Israel --


TAPPER: We should point out by the way that you're not Jewish even though everybody in the world thinks you are. (LAUGHTER)

TANDEN: It's true. I could be offended for other people. It's true. So, I think, you know -- I mean, look, it's disconcerting to me. I mean, I turned to my Republican colleagues on the panel here to say how --

TAPPER: Mr. Cuccinelli, it was a little silly some of these moments. Ben Carson pronounced...


TAPPER: ... the name of a terrorist group Hamas (ph) I believe.

CUCCINELLI: Yes. Yes. That was a straight (ph) funny.

TAPPER: All we're saying is give peace a chance (INAUDIBLE).




TAPPER: You know what -- like it was a bad pun.

CUCCINELLI: Oh, yes. No, I know it's a bad pun too. My kids hate it.

TANDEN: Are you competing with Donald Trump (INAUDIBLE)?

TAPPER: Competing with Ken Cuccinelli (INAUDIBLE) --


CUCCINELLI: Well, we (ph) had (ph) a pun (ph) off. But, you know, the pandering is an immediate skin crawler.


And, you know, while it's terribly awkward to say, if you want a good friend get a Jewish friend. It's not bad. You know, if you're Jewish that's a compliment.

TAPPER: Right.

CUCCINELLI: It's just a really awkwardly phrased one. Like stumble forward awkward.

CUPP: But I think it made clear who in that room understood the issues that Israel is concerned with and who was pretending. You know, for someone like Ben Carson to have lived as long as he has never heard the word Hamas pronounced back to him is startling. It's remarkable. And --

TAPPER: S.E. was talking about threat of (INAUDIBLE) -- CUPP: (INAUDIBLE). Of (INAUDIBLE).

TAPPER: Which is --


CUCCINELLI: ... every night.


VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, I mean, I think it's bad. I mean, in some ways we kind of get the chuckles going on. There's something happening where you do have some leading Republicans who just go around offending different groups and apparently don't know it. They're all talking (ph) about (ph), the blacks love me.


JONES: There's like four things wrong with that sentence. There are only four words in it. S, yes, there's something going on here.

TAPPER: Let's talk about a more serious topic obviously which is the fact there was -- it now appears to be an ISIS inspired terrorist attack in the United States, the worst massacre in the U.S. since Newtown. And it happened the same day that President Obama -- it happened before President Obama said that ISIL does not pose an existential threat to the United States, that the homeland has never been more secure. If you were a politician, if you were running for president right now what would your message be?

CUCCINELLI: Well, that we do have something to worry about which the president has said that his confidence in dismissing it was really unsettling. It is consistent with the lack of a policy with respect to this whole problem reaching all the way to the Middle East. Not just here in the United States. And that lack of focus of direction -- every American sees it. And it's very unsettling.

So where does the policy come from? Thankfully we're going have a new president in a year -- in a little more than a year. And they're all being focused. Republican and Democrat, whether they like it or not -- some of them like it and some of them don't on these sorts of issues. And we have nowhere go but up. This president has bottomed out in terms of a complete lack of focus.

TAPPER: Van, I know you disagree with Ken. But obviously the White House feels like President Obama needs to get out there and say something different from what he's been saying because they have this presidential address this evening.

JONES: Well, I think there are two things. One is sometimes he can sound too lawyerly (ph) on this stuff. It's true, ISIS right now is not an existential threat. The Soviet Union, existential threat. (INAUDIBLE) wipe (ph) us out. Iran with the bomb, with a nuclear bomb. That's an existential --

TAPPER: But people aren't concerned about it being an existential threat. They're concerned about their kids getting killed.

JONES: That's my point.


JONES: So, sometimes he's too lawyerly (ph) on it.

I think now that you have a serious terrorist incident on his watch he has got to show that he's not going to talk about the details and the technicality. He's going to show that he's going to lead this fight in a different way. But I think he was talking more as a lawyer than a leader.

CUPP: Well, I'm glad you brought up Russia as an existential threat because we all remember when President Obama mocked Mitt Romney for suggesting that. And I think he relied --

TANDEN: (INAUDIBLE) Russia today --


CUPP: I think, he has relied largely on attitude to convince the American people, I got this. Whether it's threat of Russia, national security, and immigration policy that many people feel is too permissive. I got this.

And I think the American people 70 percent of them don't think he has a clear plan for ISIS. Doesn't feel like he's got this. So I think he needs to come out tonight and stop with the confidence. Stop with the, this is contained. Republicans are paranoid. And actually acknowledge some of the seriousness of the threats.

TANDEN: Look, I would agree that the country is scared and it's time for the president to really address those (ph) concerns and address it directly to the American people.

I mean I actually listen to Marco Rubio this morning and on the things he was saying we should do, like, form a coalition with other middle eastern countries to actually have them have more boots -- more of their boots on the ground. Those are the things we are pursuing. So, you know, I do think the president needs to communicate clearly to the American people what is happening, what we are doing, and additional steps we can take. And I think the truth is he also has to say to the American people that the continual language of political leaders to target Muslims is exactly what ISIS wants. And that I think if there is good will from all Republicans and Democrats to say no to that language. The fact that you have the leading Republican candidate saying we should monitor Muslims is exactly what ISIS wants to hear. And we have to say no to that as well.

TAPPER: We're going to take a very quick break. When we come back we're going to have news from our new CNN/ORC poll on the presidential race. Stay with us. We'll be right back after the quick break.




A new CNN poll shows Trump is the candidate. Republican voters most trusted (ph) (INAUDIBLE) and he has a runaway lead. He tops the PAC with a new high of 36 percent. His closest rival Senator Ted Cruz follows far behind at 16 percent. You can see Cruz, Carson, and Rubio all kind of bunched up in the teens and then it plummets from there. Let's talk about this with our round table.

Is this the race now? Trump far ahead. These other three Carson, Cruz, Rubio and no then kind of one else?

CUPP: Yes, it seems to be. As lamentable as I find this rhetoric and as unserious as I find his policy is -- unfortunately he gets daily affirmations of, you know, whether it's in San Bernardino or Paris that he is taking the threats or he is perceived as taking these threats more seriously than other Republican candidates and then the president and the Democratic field. And you know, you can talk about, again, the unseriousness of his solutions. But when he is able to bank on that and traffic on this kind of fear it's really hard to see how he gets knocked off his pedestal.


TAPPER: Ken, I know that the Republican establishment doesn't take its marching orders from "The Washington Post's" editorial page, but today's editorial calling for Republican leaders to state, "we will not endorse him if he becomes the nominee," does reflect a very serious concern among Republican establishment.

CUCCINELLI: Well, certainly we all look to the "Post" for guidance on things like this, not. But I mean for months and months and months now the top two or three candidates in virtually every national Republican poll have been anti-Washington, anti-establishment candidates.

I was with -- I met David Hoppe this week, Ryan's new chief of staff from K Street, which is not encouraging, and said, does the House leadership understand they are responsible for Trump. By which I mean the establishment. (INAUDIBLE) he's really the perfect anti-Obama.

You know, there were 16 other candidates that filled that role. They don't get it. And as they don't get it, they're going it keep behaving the same old way they've been behaving. Trump is not response so much to President Obama as he is the Trump phenomena to the failed Republican leadership in the U.S. Congress.

TAPPER: Neera, I want to ask you about a moment that Hillary Clinton had on the campaign trail this week when a woman in the audience asked her a question that was a little bit uncomfortable. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Secretary Clinton, you recently came out to say that all rape victims should be believed. But would you say that about Juanita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey, and/or Paula Jones? Should we believe them as well?

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I would say that everybody should be believed at first until they are disbelieved based on evidence.


TAPPER: Uncomfortable. Is this something that Hillary Clinton is going to hear more of, do you think?

TANDEN: I don't think so, actually. And I think she handled it really well. And I think that reality is that she's been on the campaign trail for a year or so almost. She'll be on it going forward. This is her race. It's about who she will be as president. I think it's good for people to feel free they ask any questions. But I think she handled it well and I don't actually see this, you know, this made (ph) coverage because it's not a question she gets very often. I think more people are concerned about what she will do as president than anything that happened in the past.

CUCCINELLI: When you have something in congruence with her previous statements about those three women. It's going to be bad.

TANDEN: Really? Really? How is it going to be bad?

CUCCINELLI: We have another -- if she's the nominee. If she's not indicted. We have a year more of Hillary Clinton. And this kind of contrast with her own past vicious attacks on these women, whether you think they were legitimate or not are going to be bad.

TAPPER: All right. Thanks to our -- that's to our panel. I'm sorry we have bills to pay.


Is there a bond only vice presidents can understand? Vice President Joe Biden reveals his surprising affection for Dick Cheney this week. What brought them together?


JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm afraid I have blown his cover. I actually like Dick Cheney.





TAPPER: Welcome back. I'm Jake Tapper.

There was a reunion of sorts in Washington, D.C. this week as former president George W. Bush attended the unveiling of a marvel bust of his vice president Dick Cheney in the capital.


GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Last week I told mom and dad I was coming here bust unveiling. Dad perked up and he said, "Send my best regards to old iron ass.



BUSH: Dick, that is indeed a badge of honor.



TAPPER: Vice presidents are the butt of a lot of jokes, but they are VIPs in the Capital. It's the subject of this week's "State of the Cartoonion."


TAPPER (voice-over): Former Vice President Dick Cheney was honored this week with the unveiling of a new bust on Capitol Hill. The busts in the capitol of vice presidents who are after all presidents of the Senate and can cast tie breaking votes are a tradition that dates back to the 1800s said to be inspired by Henry Wilson, Ulysses S. Grant's vice president, who suffered a fatal stroke while bathing in his office at the Capitol.

There are now 45 vice presidential busts on Capitol Hill including Vice President John Nance Garner. Who once said, the office isn't worth a bucket of warm spit, or words to that effect. Also, honored, vice president Spiro Agnew, who was forced to resign amidst allegations of corruption. Vice President Walter Mondale sat three times for the sculpture but between the first and second sittings, the dieting former vice president lost a lot of weight. It forced the sculptor to shave the jowls and face of the clay.

Of the vice presidents since the 1880's only Al Gore is not in the collection, though his is in the works. One suspects the version immortalized in marble will be the young, dashing, don't stop thinking about tomorrow Al Gore and not for instance that post-Florida recount William Howard Taft (INAUDIBLE) Al Gore. The goal is to be flattering after all and that's why the Cheney bust is the handsome, rendering by the artist not what the caricaturist from the left side of the aisle might dream up.



TAPPER: Be sure to join me for CNN's special live coverage of President Obama's Oval Office address this evening. Our coverage starts at 7:00 p.m. eastern. Thanks for spending your Sunday morning with us. You can catch me here every Sunday and weekdays on "THE LEAD" at 4:00 p.m. eastern. I'm Jake Tapper in Washington.

"FAREED ZAKARIA, GPS," starts right after this.