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Interview With California Congressman Adam Schiff; Plane Crash Caught on Tape; Jordan's Revenge; Ex-CIA Official: 100,000 Ground Troops to Defeat ISIS; Jeb Praises Bush Family Record

Aired February 4, 2015 - 18:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now, astounding crash. Investigators are studying the close-up video of a passenger plane hurtling toward a bridge. Our analysts, they're standing by to take us through every stunning moment and clues about what went wrong.

Dramatic rescue. A child is pulled from the plane wreckage alive along with more than a dozen others. How did they survive while so many passengers did not? We're getting new information this hour.

And firing back. Jordan's military plans its next move against ISIS after executing two terrorists in retaliation for the brutal murder of a captured pilot. Tonight new questions about the dangers of an escalating air war.

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You are in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Tonight, survivors of a harrowing plane crash are starting to share their stories as the search goes on at the crash site and the death toll rises. People around the world have been astonished by video of the TransAsia Airways flight plunging out of the sky after takeoff from Taiwan.

This hour, 31 people are confirmed dead, including the pilot and the two co-pilots, 12 are missing, 15 are injured, but remarkably they are alive. We just got in new video from another angle showing the plane going down. It's more evidence as the investigation into this crash gets under way.

Our correspondents, our aviation experts, our newsmakers, they are all standing by as we cover all the stories that are making news tonight.

First, let's go to our aviation correspondent, Richard Quest. He has the very latest -- Richard.

RICHARD QUEST, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Wolf. The pictures are dramatic. But even they perhaps don't bring home the full horror of what happened when this ATR plane literally fell out of the sky.


QUEST (voice-over): A car with a dash cam moves across a relatively empty bridge, when a passenger plane suddenly appears out of control. Disaster strikes. The TransAsia flight's terrifying turn came shortly after takeoff from Taipei. The plane had 58 people on board. Tonight, for the first time, we're hearing the pilot's mayday distress call before the crash.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mayday, mayday, engine flameout.

QUEST: On its way down, The plane's wing tears into a concrete barrier and then the twin-engine turboprop plunges into a shallow river.

Along the way, a taxi is clipped and nearly crushed. Both people inside survive. Emergency crews were quickly on the scene. And a desperate race is on to rescue the survivors. Miraculously, more than a dozen people emerge from the water and the wreckage. They are dazed and bloodied, but they're alive, including this toddler carried to safety on a rubber raft and taken to shore.

The recovery operation went through the night. Bodies were found, wreckage removed. A giant crane pulled the plane's ravaged fuselage from the shallow water and crews pass along smaller pieces of debris by hand. TransAsia officials publicly offered condolences to the passengers and crew.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We express our deep apologies.

QUEST: They say the plane was new and recently serviced. Investigators are studying the aircraft's black boxes which were recovered and are apparently in good condition.

The dramatic video of this crash also is providing clues, with analysts focusing on the movement of propellers, possibly pointing to a sign of engine failure. It's the second deadly crash of a TransAsia ATR-72 within the past year. And the families of victims are not surprisingly demanding answers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The airline didn't pay attention to us. Their attitude is terrible.


QUEST: Wolf, putting it all together, you have the most dramatic pictures of a terrifying crash for an airline that's already had one major fatal incident in the last 12 months, which raises questions obviously about the safety of the airline and calls into question once again the infrastructure and the piloting skills in many in Asia.

BLITZER: Richard, I want you to stand by. We have more to discuss.

But we're now getting some more information about survivors, including the toddler who came out of that plane crash alive.

Pamela Brown is here in THE SITUATION ROOM. She's looking into this part of the story.

And it's so, so dramatic.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: It really is. We saw some of the video in Richard's piece there. We know one of the survivors was this little boy, Wolf, and according to Taiwan's official news agency, a 1-year-old toddler and his parents did survive this crash.

As we said, a dramatic video captured at the scene shows the rescue of survivors taking place.


BROWN (voice-over): Moments after this harrowing plane crash, rescuers race to the scene. This toddler somehow survived. He was pulled from the wreckage and placed into the arms of a rescuer in a boat.

DR. KRISTY ARBOGAST, CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL OF PHILADELPHIA: A child has several advantages in a crash. Their bones are more pliable, so they can withstand forces, higher forces without fracture.

BROWN: On land, rescuers are seen rushing other bloodied survivors on stretchers to the hospital.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): These patients seem to have been hit by huge force from the outside. They have suffered trauma from their heads to their legs and to their limbs and bodies.

BROWN: Amazingly, a taxi driver and passenger inside this mangled car hit by the plane also survived. The driver told the Taiwanese press he fainted when it happened. One first-responder who went inside the plane right after the crash told "The Taipei Times" many passengers were tangled up in their seat belts and hung upside down.

Aviation experts say surviving a crash like this depends on a number of factors, including altitude, fire and better planes.

MARY SCHIAVO, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Seats are supposed to have greater g force resistance. The flammability standards are increased. Making a plane crash survivable has been something that our own NTSB has been very interested in for years.


BROWN: The toll so far in this crash, 31 confirmed dead, 15 injured and 12 still missing, officials said, but that search-and-rescue operation still ongoing, looking for the unaccounted for and hoping to find more survivors, Wolf.

BLITZER: Let's hope they do. All right, thank you very much, Pamela Brown reporting.

Let's bring back our aviation correspondent Richard Quest, along with Stephen Frederick. He's a former pilot of an ATR twin-engine turboprop, along with our CNN safety analyst David Soucie. He's a former FAA safety inspector, and CNN aviation expert Miles O'Brien will be joining us as well. But let's talk a little bit about what's going on. Listen to the

pilot, Miles, the pilot's final words before the plane crashed. Unfortunately, we don't have that sound.

Let me ask David Soucie. I think we have the sound. Basically, he says, mayday, mayday, engine flameout.

All right, so, David, what does that say to you?

DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST: What it says to me is that the pilot knew that he was in trouble. The left engine had quit. Basically flameout means that something caused the engine to not produce thrust any longer. The flame is out in the engine.

BLITZER: Pick that up a little bit, Richard Quest, because it does show the urgency. They only had a few seconds to make some critically important decisions.

QUEST: Absolutely.

This is by far and away a critical moment. But it's also -- and this is what's interesting. The plane had taken off. It was in the initial climb. It was about 1,300 feet, as I understand it. So it had altitude. And it had some power. Planes are -- all commercial aircraft of this nature are designed to fly on one engine, even at most the critical moment of flight, and on top of that, Wolf, pilots are trained.

It is in many ways -- it's a criticism sometimes that the one thing they practice again and again and again is losing an engine on takeoff. That's why this is going to be particularly worrisome and they're going to look at it, the investigators, because if it was just a question of losing an engine on takeoff, then really why did the plane come out of the sky?

That's going to be something that will be of crucial importance with the black box and with the investigation.

BLITZER: Stephen Frederick, you have actually flown this plane, this ATR-72. Take a look at the video once again. Does it appear as if the pilot was trying to take back control? What's your analysis? What do you think might have happened?

STEPHEN FREDERICK, PILOT: Well, there's a lot that we're still going to learn in the investigation, Wolf. But there's also a lot we can see from the video.

When the airplane first shows up, you see it in a slightly nose-down, wings-level attitude, as if it were gliding. As it gets closer to the highway, there's a change in the pitch attitude and it appears the aircraft wing stalls or loses lift. That's what causes the dramatic turn to the left. And it's what causes the aircraft to come down more forcefully and crash into the highway.

BLITZER: What's your bottom line? What do you think might have happened?

FREDERICK: Well, since it flew three to four miles from the airport from takeoff, it appears that it could have had a single-engine flameout, it could have had a dual-engine flameout. Those are things we're going to learn.

The still photographs from the video appear to show that the left engine propeller was feathered, that is that the blade was into the wind, rather than against the wind, where it would be drawing power. But the fact that it made it so far from the airport indicates to me that the failure occurred later into the flight when that crew should have been able to have altitude and airspeed in excess in order to continue that flight safely.

We have also seen where an ATR-72 went into the waters off Palermo several years ago because of fuel exhaustion. Those things can happen where both engines come out and stop producing power.

BLITZER: Is this a pretty safe plane, David Soucie?

SOUCIE: Yes. It's a very safe plane. There has been some incidents in the past, its spotted history.

But this seems to be something different. It's very different than what we have seen in the past. Most of the ATR problems have been with weather conditions, flying in weather, icing, that sort of thing. It doesn't appear that that had anything to do with this. But I would like to address that feathering, though.


BLITZER: Before you discuss feathering, explain what feathering is.

SOUCIE: What feathering is, is when the loss of the power happens, the engine automatically aligns the prop with the flight of the aircraft so that it doesn't stand this way. If it stays this way, you have basically got a 12-foot -- larger-than-12-foot diameter block in the wind, which can cause that left engine to be just a drag and then cause that left wing to stall, as the former pilot there was talking about.

So, the autofeather is very important. That's the last thing the pilot does before he pushes the throttles forward is, on the checklist in flight manual, it says autofeather on. If that's missed, if that step is missed and that engine goes out, this is the result I would expect.

BLITZER: You agree with that, Stephen Frederick?

FREDERICK: Well, it's very possible.

The ATR has automatic systems where they will autofeather the propeller. They will up-trim or give more power to the operating engine in case of an engine failure. The pilots would be checking and verifying that the mechanics actually have worked the way they were designed to work when the computer tells them that there's a loss of power.

BLITZER: Richard, how does anyone walk away alive from a crash like this? Because it seems so horrendous. You see that plane basically upside down, crashing into the bridge and then going into the water.

QUEST: Well, I don't mean to sound facetious when I say this, but it is an element of luck, because you know, it's where you are sitting on the aircraft and the type of accident that the plane suffers.

For instance, if you are at the back and the plane comes down tail first, well, you know, then you are in the wrong position. They tend to suggest the front of the plane -- the back of the plane is safer because obviously in most crashes, the front hits first.

But the way people survive these things, besides sheer unadulterated luck, the survivability -- incidentally, I was looking at a statistic. If you look at ATRs, roughly 33 percent of passengers do manage to walk away from an accident on the ATR. And the reason, of course, most passengers walk away from it is they have done their due diligence. They know where the emergency exits are.

They are ready to leave the aircraft in the event of an emergency. They are not wearing headphones or concentrating. They are ready. And that is why -- it's a bit like eat your vegetables. That's why paying proper attention to the safety briefing remains crucial for every passenger.

BLITZER: It certainly does. You have to listen to those flight attendants and heed what they are saying, especially when the pilot or the co-pilot comes in with instructions as well.

Stephen, how difficult would it have been to land this plane on that narrow river, like what happened in the miracle in the Hudson in the United States, if the pilot had not clipped the bridge?

FREDERICK: Well, as I said, it almost appeared that he had changed his flight path to try to stretch his glide, if he was in a glide there, before the stall occurred.

It would have been -- again, the reason we have referred to the landing on the Hudson River as a miracle is because it was. It's not a normal situation. You are -- you have to be very lucky to pull one of those things off. In a river, it's little bit different than the ocean or where you have got a larger river where it's choppy and you are dealing with waves and the motion of the water.

But the problem here is, he was also aligned at 90 degrees to that river when he went in. He would have had to make another turn to align with the river to land on it.

BLITZER: Yes. Good point.

David, there have been five recent Asian airliner plane crashes. Some of them have been catastrophic, as we all know, Asian airliners, some of these in the last 12 months. Is there a problem here, or is this simply bad luck, coincidence? SOUCIE: I know that the ICAO has been looking into this to find that

string that ties these accidents together. So far, they haven't really found any singular thing.

But as with the United States maybe 10 or 12 years ago, we had to change the way we looked at accidents, change the way we looked at safety. It's not just about the fatalities or the crashes. It's about the culture and how you view safety and each person that contributes to that. And there may be some of that going on in Asia. I know that ICAO has written several reports about this.

It's something that's definitely being looked at now.

BLITZER: Certainly is.

David Soucie, Richard Quest, Stephen Frederick, guys, thanks very much.

Still ahead, there are new dangers in the air war against ISIS after the brutal murder of a captured pilot and deadly retaliation by Jordan. The U.S. and other nations are bracing for what is being described as a nightmare scenario. I will speak with the ranking Democrat of the House Intelligence Committee, Congressman Adam Schiff. He's walking into the THE SITUATION ROOM right now.

Congressman, thanks very much for coming in. We will talk in just a moment.


BLITZER: Swift reaction from Jordan to the horrifying ISIS killing of a Jordanian F-16 fighter pilot.

Just hours after the terrorists released video showing the man being burned alive inside a metal cage, Jordan hanged two jihadi prisoners aligned with ISIS. And now the country is stepping up airstrikes on ISIS as well.

Our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr, is joining us. She's got more on the fallout from this latest ISIS horror.

What are you learning, Barbara?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, King Abdullah of Jordan expected to step up his country's participation in the airstrikes. But will any of this be enough to stop ISIS?


STARR (voice-over): As people march across Jordan, King Abdullah vowing a severe response to the murder of Jordanian pilot Muath al Kaseasbeh. Jordanian troops lining up to pay their respects to the pilot's family.

But in Raqqa, Syria, cheering as video of the pilot's execution was shown on big screens. All of this raising more concern about remaining hostages, including a British journalist and a female American aid worker.

And new questions about the dangers of the air war. The United Arab Emirates stopped its air strikes, worried if one of its pilots went down, whether U.S. V-22s are close enough to even attempt a rescue -- a nightmare scenario for every country.

(on camera): Is this administration prepared for the possibility that an American pilot could go down over Iraq or Syria?

CHUCK HAGEL, OUTGOING DEFENSE SECRETARY: Barbara, any time you introduce American military power anywhere in the region, there is always risk, absolutely there's risk where people who are conducting strikes in Syria.

STARR (voice-over): Jordan wants to increase its air strikes but it may not be so easy.

COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET.), FORMER AIR FORCE INTELLIGENCE OFFICER: They will have a difficult time doing that on their own. They need a bit of help when it comes to planning a modern campaign against moving targets like this.

STARR: U.S. officials insist no change in military strategy is being contemplated.

But in his confirmation hearing to become the next secretary of defense, Ash Carter suggested time could be running out.

ASHTON CARTER, DEFENSE SECRETARY-DESIGNATE: You don't want them to settle in and you don't want the population to settle in to having ISIL rule them in their barbaric way.

STARR: Raising real doubts about whether the coalition is winning the war.

LEIGHTON: ISIS still controls large amounts of territory. It has not been rolled back by the air campaign. It has not been rolled back by any of the other actions.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: We are not winning and that is the opinion of outside military experts, literally every one of them I know.


BROWN: And Jordan also wants the U.S. to speed up delivery of precision bombs and other military gear that could help it as it steps up those airstrikes -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Which are about to intensify dramatically, we're told.

All right, thanks very much, Barbara, for that.

Let's get some more. Congressman Adam Schiff, a Democrat of California, he's the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee. He's here in THE SITUATION ROOM with me. Congressman, thanks very much for coming in.



BLITZER: Do you agree with Senator McCain, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, that ISIS right now is winning, they have the upper hand?

SCHIFF: I wouldn't say they are winning.

I think, certainly in Iraq, they have been stopped in terms of the momentum. We have gained back some of the ground from ISIS with the assistance of the Peshmerga and with the assistant of Iraqi special forces. But in Syria, they have gained ground. And equally disturbing, al-Nusra, the al Qaeda franchise in Syria, has also gained ground and they gained it not so much at the expense of the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad, but more at the expense of the moderate opposition.

And that's very concerning. At the same time, I think we do have to prioritize Iraq, where we have a ground force we can work with and a government we can work with, much as it is agonizing to watch the civilian atrocities going on in Syria.

BLITZER: But the Kurdish forces, they are very good, but they need weapons. And so far they are not getting them directly from the United States. They're still going through Baghdad.

The Iraqi military, some of them are OK, but a lot of them run just away as soon as there's any threat whatsoever. They leave their U.S. weapons and they abandon positions like they did In Mosul. Is that getting any better right now?

SCHIFF: Well, I think it's getting a bit better.

But still what you are saying is exactly right and it points up the problem with what the Iraqis would like to do, which is move into places like Mosul sooner than later. I don't think they are ready. i don't think they are going to be ready for some time.

And I don't want to see the Iraqis go rushing into Mosul and need us to go in and bail them out. So, it's important that we take the time to train them and equip them well enough, so that they can fight this fight themselves with our support.

BLITZER: But the U.S. spent 10 years training and equipping them. And as soon as the ISIS forces came into Mosul -- that's the second largest city in Iraq, nearly two million people -- what did those Iraqi forces do? They ran away. They left their tanks, their armored personnel carriers and they just ran away as quickly as they could.

SCHIFF: This is I think a good illustration of the point that we can't let the military calendar get ahead of the political one. You are going to have to have changes in the politics on the ground in

Iraq, where the Sunnis feel they have some stake in the governance of that country. Otherwise, as you say, the troops are going to melt away, the population is not going to support the effort to free these cities of ISIS' grip.

So, the political dynamic is equally important. And we can't get too far out militarily.

BLITZER: All right, Congressman, stand by.


BLITZER: We have a lot more to discuss on what is going on. A lot of people are suggesting right now is a turning point in this whole campaign against ISIS.

Much more right after this.


BLITZER: Right now Jordan is stepping up its airstrikes on ISIS after a release of that video showing a fighter pilot burned alive inside a metal cage. An air war alone is unlikely to defeat the terrorists.

We're back with Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff of California. He's the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee. A lot of the experts say air war can degrade but not destroy ISIS. You need forces on the ground. Do you agree?

SCHIFF: Absolutely. And I think that's been proven time and time again. The question is, whose forces should those be? I don't want to see it being American ground forces carrying the heavy load again.

BLITZER: So who's going to do the forces? Because you and I have discussed the Iraqi military so far pretty inept. The Kurdish forces, they're brave but they don't have the weapons. The Free Syrian Army not doing -- they're not even trained to fight. Right now there's a bunch of terrorists basically in control.

SCHIFF: Well, it's going to have to be Iraqi forces and the Kurdish forces and ultimately going to have to be Syrian forces, as well. There's some things that I don't think we're in a position to do and sustain over the long term. If you look at our occupation of Afghanistan, I think it's probably front and center Case A as to why a long-term military occupation is not a substitute for getting local forces to take on the fight themselves.

BLITZER: As you know, there's an American woman who's being held hostage by ISIS right now. What -- I know it's a very sensitive issue, understandably so. What you can tell us about this woman?

SCHIFF: Well, there's not a lot I'm allowed to say about that, except that we're going to make every effort to protect Americans whenever they're taken hostage to identify where they are, to identify if there's any method that we could use to rescue them. We don't have this fight alone. Obviously, we're working in partner

with many other nations that also have, potentially, hostages in this region. So this is a top priority. There are limited things that we're able to do.

BLITZER: The guy we're showing you tonight, Jihadi John as you can see him on the monitor there, how big of a deal is this guy? Should he be a target, a major target for the U.S. right now?

SCHIFF: I think he certainly should be a target. And at the end of the day, we're going to get this guy. And he's going to get his just desserts.

But I don't think he's the one calling the shots. He's part of their production crew. And we have to hold the leadership of ISIL responsible and everyone that's supporting that leadership. His day will come. I have every confidence of that.

BLITZER: I'm still confused why the British intelligence, they know who he is. They've got his picture. They've got his name. They've shared it with the United States. Why isn't that made public? Why do they keep that secret?

SCHIFF: Well, there may be several reasons why they don't want that identity out there at this point. I'm not in a position where I can go into those reasons. But we obviously want to use every advantage we have in terms of trying to identify the who, the where, the when so that we can interrupt the hostage situations so we can take out responsible parties. So I'm confident they have the reason.

BLITZER: For whatever the reason, you believe it's a legitimate intelligence collection reason why they're not doing that? Is that what I'm hearing?

SCHIFF: Yes. You know, I don't think these decisions are made lightly. This isn't a situation either, where in other cases you can ask for the public's help in identifying where are they, who are they? Here, we're not likely to get that kind of information. Everyone, I think, understands the difficulty of this hostage situation.

BLITZER: It's a horrible situation. Ukraine is really exploding right now, as you will. Five thousand people have been killed. We showed those pictures of the next airport basically levelled right now.

You want President Obama to support arming the Ukrainian military in the face of what the U.S. sees as Russian aggression?

SCHIFF: I do. And I'm leading a bipartisan letter to the president, urging that we provide defensive arms to Ukraine. This is something I've been advocating for some time.

We have given Putin every off-ramp possible. He's not interested in off-ramps. He's interested in accelerating the violence. He's interested in changing the facts on the ground and destabilizing Ukraine in the future. And we have to step up, not only because it's important to Ukraine and its future. But it's also important for our allies in the region that they know we have their back.

BLITZER: What do you mean by defensive weapons?

SCHIFF: Well, we need weapons that can help take out some of the tanks and other heavy equipment that the Russians are shipping across into Ukraine from Russia.

BLITZER: Anti-tank weapons?

SCHIFF: Anti-tank weapons, we need better radar systems. We need better communication systems so that the Russians can't intercept the Ukraine battlefield communications. A lot of defensive weapons and communications and logistical support we ought to give Ukraine.

BLITZER: Is the president going to that in.

SCHIFF: I think he will.

BLITZER: Next week after his meeting with Angela Merkel?

SCHIFF: I don't know if it will be that soon, but I think we're moving in the direction of providing stronger support and military support for Ukraine.

BLITZER: All right. Adam Schiff, congressman from California, the ranking Democrat on the Intelligence Committee. Thanks for joining us.

SCHIFF: Thanks, Wolf.

BLITZER: Just ahead, growing concern an American pilot could be captured by ISIS. We're going to talk about that and more with our terror experts.

Plus, we'll have much more on that plane crash caught on camera. We're learning new details of the -- this latest air disaster.


BLITZER: We're following the very swift reaction by Jordan to the murder of one of its fighter pilots, burned alive in a cage by ISIS. Just hours after the chilling video surfaced, Jordan hanged two jihadi terrorists with ties to ISIS. And now the king wants to step up airstrikes.

Let's dig deeper right now with our experts. CNN counterterrorism analyst Philip Mudd; our national security analyst, Peter Bergen; the former Jordanian minister, Marwan Muashar; and CNN military analyst, retired Lieutenant General Mark Hertling.

Minister Muashar, the execution of these two terrorists, including this female terrorist, were you surprised that Jordan acted that quickly, especially hanging this woman?

MARWAN MUASHAR, FORMER JORDANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: No, I wasn't. Public opinion was asking for it. It was actually boiling, still is boiling. But let's remember, these were on the Death Row already. They're not -- people were already sentenced to death.

But given, you know, the need for careful planning of any intensified air strikes against is, I think everybody was looking for something quick to basically diffuse some of the tension in the country.

BLITZER: We're hearing that Jordan's air force now, which is very capable, despite the loss of that pilot of the F-16, they want to intensify the airstrikes and really punish ISIS. You're hearing the same thing.

MUASHAR: I have no doubt about it. But again, I think it's not going to be an emotional response. You need time to identify targets, to plan operations. So I don't think we should expect anything quick. But it will be, I think, intensified.

BLITZER: The UAE, which is among the closest friends the United States has, Peter, in the region, the United Arab Emirates, they halted their participation in the airstrikes after the Jordanian pilot was lost, because they don't think the U.S. has adequate locations for search-and-rescue operations if they lose a plane and a pilot.

PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I can't address that issue. But I mean, it's interesting the UAE has sort of stepped -- you know, their help for the United States was very much kept secret until relatively recently. I mean, we've had UAE special forces in Afghanistan fighting. We've had -- they have a significant air facility for the United States.

I think it's difficult for them to -- I mean, you know, there would be a big cost for them if a plane went down. They're -- they're not necessarily -- it's very late in the game that they started saying, "Hey, we want to be part of this" in a public manner.

BLITZER: What about that? What about the coalition that's developing, General Hertling? Do you see it getting stronger, getting ready to take more action against ISIS or sort of falling apart?

LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: I do, Wolf. I see it getting significantly stronger, because the more you publicize these kind of devious acts by DAISH/ISIS, the more people are going to understand what a scourge this organization is.

And I think that what's happened in Jordan, which has been a very capable force in the past, for them to say, "We want to contribute more because we understand that we were next, we as a country were next in ISIS's crosshairs," tells me that they understand the dangers associated with this organization.

BLITZER: The video that ISIS released, 22 minutes with music, a lot of propaganda, a lot of talk and then, of course, the actual burning alive of this pilot. What's the point? What are they trying to achieve by releasing a video like this, which will so antagonize all decent people around the world?

PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: This is a brutal conversation. There's risk for ISIS. There's also benefit, believe it or not. The risk is you're not just talking about a western journalist. You're talking about a fellow Muslim who was burned to death. You have to go through a process to explain why this was appropriate to validate what they did. And that's a fair amount of the video.

The second piece, the brutal (ph) piece, is the opportunity for ISIS to explain to a potential recruiting ground in Jordan why ISIS is a defender of the faith, to link the king of Jordan to the United States, which appears prominently in the video. So it's not just ISIS trying to justify what they did. It's ISIS trying to say, "Hey, for those of you who want to join us, there are reasons we are doing this,, and those reasons are perfectly appropriate."

BLITZER: Marwan Muashar, what's been the reaction in Jordan -- in Jordan, you're the former foreign minister of Jordan -- to this video.

MUASHAR: Well, in fact, just the opposite. People are galvanized now. They are asking for more strikes against ISIS. The division that existed in the country before, where some people doubted Jordan's participation and did not want to be part of that coalition, that division at this, for the time being, is done. The country is united in its demand to fight ISIS more.

BLITZER: You believe, Peter, this is a turning point in the U.S.-led war against ISIS right now?

BERGEN: I do. I mean, historians will record two turning points. One was the execution of James Foley, the American beheaded. That basically precipitated this big coalition. And now we have essentially much of the Arab world saying, this is completely unsupportable. So I think when historians look back, they will see those two events as the beginning of the end for ISIS. It may take a year. It may take two years, but I think it's inevitable that they will be severely degraded at the time.

BLITZER: General Hertling, John McCain says ISIS is winning right now. Mike Morrell, the former deputy director of the CIA, says to defeat ISIS, not to degrade, but to defeat ISIS, 100,000 ground forces are needed. Do you agree?

LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: I agree with the fact that several hundreds -- several tens of thousands of ground forces are needed. But they shouldn't be ours. And I don't want to get into politics, Wolf. But I am strongly in disagreement with Senator McCain.

This is a war that many of us have fought in. I've spent over three years in Iraq. And I understand -- I believe the culture of the country. Other people can't win this war for them. This has to be Iraqi forces doing this as well as in this case now Jordanian and, hopefully, eventually, Syrian forces.

BLITZER: But very quickly, Jordan is not going to send ground forces in to Iraq and Syria, right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I don't see that in the making at all. It doesn't have the capability. There's no domestic support for it. It will do everything except ground troops.

BLITZER: Yes, and a lot of us don't have a lot of confidence in the Iraqi military given their behavior over the past year or so. Basically just simply running away in the face of a few ISIS guys coming in.

All right, guys. Stand by. We're going to continue our coverage of what's going on. We also have stunning new video of that plane crash, including remarkable stories of survival.

Stay with us.


BLITZER: It's the first major policy speech of a presidential campaign that seems all but certain. Jeb Bush, son and brother of presidents, praising his family's record in his speech to Detroit Economic Club and weighing in decisively on the vaccine controversy sparked by Rand Paul and Chris Christie.

Our chief congressional correspondent Dana Bash is in Detroit for us. She's there and she was watching the speech.

Dana, how did it go?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, it's interesting, Wolf. Bush sources say this was really crafted to set the right tone on the kind of presidential race he would run if bush does run in terms of style and substance. But it was the unscripted Q&A that was really revealing.


EMCEE: The honorable Jeb Bush.

BASH (voice-over): He wants to be different kind of candidate, but Jeb Bush knows there's one thing making that hard, his name.

JEB BUSH (R), FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: If I have any degree of self- awareness, this would be the place where it might want to be applied.

BASH: When asked how he would overcome voter reluctance to elect a third President Bush, he said he learned from experience running for Florida governor.

BUSH: I ran when my brother was governor and my dad was just out as president. I ended up losing the first time. But people didn't connect to me.

BASH: The next time he won by creating his own identity.

BUSH: People knew I just wasn't the brother of George W. and the son of my beloved dad. I was my own person.

BASH: But he didn't run away from either President Bush, just the opposite. BUSH: I love my brother. I think he's been a great president. My

dad is the greatest man alive, and if anybody disagrees, then we'll go outside unless you're 6'5" and 250 and much younger than me. Then, we'll negotiate.

BASH: His father would call his goal for this maiden 2016 policy speech laying out the vision thing.

BUSH: America's moral promise isn't broken when someone is wealthy. It's broken when achieving success is far beyond our imagination.

BASH: Planting his flag on turf Republicans have largely ignored at their peril. The growing number of Americans struggling to make ends meet.

BUSH: Today, Americans across the country are frustrated. They see only a small portion of the population riding the economy's up escalator.

BASH: Bush advisors say if he does run for president, he's determined to set a new tone. Avoid slash and burn politics. He tested that out on the controversy raging inside the GOP about vaccinations.

BUSH: Parents ought to make sure their children are vaccinated.


BUSH: We need to get anymore detail of that. I mean --

BASH: Instead of slamming some potential Republican White House competitors for making questionable comments about vaccines, he said this.

BUSH: I think it's better to say parents have the responsibility to make sure their children are protected, over and out.


BASH: This is very much a general election kind of speech to the masses, not so much a red meat speech that you usually aimed at GOP voters during the primary season. It played pretty well here in Detroit, Wolf, to business people, members of the Economic Club. Whether that is going to play as well on the stump to conservative voters, to be determined -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Certainly will. Dana, stand by.

I want to bring in our chief political analyst Gloria Borger.

What sort of struck you from this performance?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: First of all, this wasn't a speech bashing President Obama. He did say that the economic recovery is not as fast or as strong as it should be. But this was a speech about laying out a vision as Dana said about what he called America's moral promise. And then when he got into the Q&A. What I noticed is: (a), he's a lot more comfortable with that format

than he is reading the teleprompter. He's not really good at that. And he answered the questions very directly, which I think may be that will change as he's on the campaign trail. But he answered the question directly about vaccinations, about the Bush dynasty and also on immigration. Wolf, he made it very clear that DREAMers should be welcome in this country. Something that might not play really well in Iowa or in South Carolina, but he didn't shy away from it. I think in the Q&A, he was a lot better than he was in the sort of canned speech.

BLITZER: The DREAMers being the children of illegal immigrants who come to the United States basically lived here their whole lives, raised in the United States and he wants them basically protected and have down the road a pathway --

BORGER: Pathway to citizenship, and should be welcome.

BLITZER: How did it play in the room, Dana? You were there in Detroit.

BASH: It did play well in the room. I agree with Gloria. He was much more comfortable in the Q&A. There was actually one part of the speech where he went off-script. He wasn't reading from the teleprompter and he was just speaking off the cuff. It was about an issue that is near and dear to his heart, education. And it was that part of the speech that he was the most comfortable, the most conversational. I think that was quite telling, as you kind of look at him going forward, the kinds of things that he is going to be talking about.

We know he's interested in education, for example. It's also like immigration one of the issues that separates him from many conservative voters particularly in early states like Iowa where his position on what's known as Common Core, federal guidelines for education and, of course, immigration, they're anathema to them. So, that's going to be an interesting line that he's going to walk. But he's clearly determined to kind of stick to what he's going to stick to as if he's running against a Democrat, not just a group of Republicans.

BORGER: Right. And, you know, the question is, Wolf, whether you can start out by running a national campaign when you have to go through the primaries. And you know, as Bush has said before, you got to lose the primary, some primaries to win the general. But, actually, he does have to win some primaries.

So, whether he can keep this national campaign going and get a constituency to vote for him in states like Iowa or South Carolina, you know, really remains to be seen. I think what we saw today was his determination to set out a vision first rather than coming out with a negative campaign just bashing Barack Obama. I think he clearly wants to make this about what his agenda is going to be for the future. Once he's under attack by Republican opponents, we'll see how long that lasts.

BLITZER: He was very concise, very short, didn't make a long statement about vaccinations issue right now, as far as measles are concerned. How did that go for him, Dana?

BASH: Well, I mean, that was one of his biggest applause lines in the room. And again, I think that that is so symbolic of what he wants to do, according to many of the aides that I've talked to. He wants to just say his piece and move on.

Other potential Republican candidates who agree with him, we need vaccines, have been much more personal and harsh against those who have -- not necessarily say that we don't vaccine, but made questionable comments about the affects of vaccines, Rand Paul, Chris Christie. There's been some personal attacks. He didn't do that and he made a point of saying that he's not going to do that because he doesn't see a need.

BLITZER: Gloria, did he seem at all rusty? Because he's been out of politics for several years now.

BORGER: Yes, he did. And we're used to a president who really reads from the teleprompter quite well. And what you saw in Jeb Bush is somebody who's not really comfortable with the teleprompter. But on the Q&A, it's very clear that he's a lot more comfortable in that format. And if I were running his campaign, I'd say, put him in that format.

Remember, John McCain did well until the town hall format, not so well off the teleprompter. I think it's the same kind of issue here.

BLITZER: And he believes that Mitt Romney, Gloria, Mitt Romney's decision to drop out, he was never formally in, but not to run. That has really potentially helped him.

BORGER: I think it's potentially helped him. I think you can make the case that it's potentially helped other candidates like Marco Rubio, for example. I would also say that Chris Christie and Rand Paul did not have a great week last week and this week on vaccines. And I think you'd have to say Jeb Bush was reacting to their bad week by saying, you know, your kids ought to get vaccinated.


BLITZER: Dana, go ahead. Quickly.

BASH: Just real big picture. We know a lot more about him by name than we do as a person and what he stands for. And a very much big part of this speech and one's he's going to give in the near future are going to be kind of filling in the blanks about who Jeb Bush really is. Not his father, not his brother, who the person is.

BLITZER: All right, guys. We got to leave it right there. But our conversations will continue to be sure. Thanks very much. Remember, you can always follow us on Twitter. You can always tweet me @wolfblitzer. Tweet the show @CNNSitroom.

We'll see you back here in THE SITUATION ROOM tomorrow.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.