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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Top Al Qaeda Leader Calls For Attacks On U.S. Soil; Kerry: U.S. Willing Walk Away From Iran Talks; Source: GOP Leader Warns Trump About Tone On Immigration; Presidents Bush, Clinton Share The Stage. Aired 7-8:00p ET
Aired July 9, 2015 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:08] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT tonight, breaking news, a top al Qaeda leader threatening the U.S., declaring war. This as we're learning about multiple planned terror attacks across the country.
Plus, a rare event happening now. Bill Clinton and George W. Bush in the same room talking politics side by side. We will going to go there live.
And a little girl found dead near Boston. Her identity a mystery. Who is Baby Doe? Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. And OUTFRONT tonight, we begin with breaking news. A top al Qaeda leader calling for attacks on the American homeland. This from the new leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. That is the group the United States says is the terror group's most dangerous. And this is coming as the FBI tonight also reveals law enforcement thwarted several terror attacks targeting Americans over the Fourth of July weekend. They say from coast to coast. One major plot that we are learning more about tonight involved explosives on Fourth of July parades in the New York/New Jersey area. Now, these terror attacks appear to be inspired by ISIS. And were said to be, quote-unquote, "enabled by militants overseas."
We begin our breaking news coverage tonight with our chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto OUTFRONT. And Jim, we have got these new calls, these breaking news from the new leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula calling for attacks on the American homeland.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Kasam Alrani (ph), he replaced the former leader, you may remember was killed in a U.S. drone strike just last month in Yemen. And in this call, he says that supporters should all of you must direct and gather your arrows and swords against the United States. And keep in mind, there's a bit of competition going on here. AQAP losing some supporters to ISIS, like ISIS, directing attacks against the U.S., including against the U.S. homeland. And one thing I will tell you, Erin, that even though U.S. counterterror officials say that a lone wolf attack inspired by ISIS may be the most likely attack in the U.S., they still say the most capable terror group in terms of more spectacular attacks is AQAP. BURNETT: Yes. That's right. They have the training. They have
the history. Something obviously news that's very important to watch tonight. You also have new details though, Jim, I know breaking, on where the terror plots were based. And frankly, just how close they came to actually executing these attacks over the weekend.
SCIUTTO: That's right. We know that there were a number of arrests, more than ten arrests. ISIS-related arrests in the last four weeks. And some of those arrests tied to plots timed to the July 4th holiday weekend. So, you can say that days or weeks before those plots were meant to take place, that's when law enforcement moved in. We have got some details about which ones they are talking about in particular. There was one cell where a man in New Jersey and New York were working possibly on bombs at parades time to the weekend. That was in fairly early stages when that was disrupted. But we're told that there was more than one plot timed to the weekend that was disrupted. And I will just add one more detail, Erin. And that is, that even though that weekend has passed, the July 4th holiday, that the state of the alert as described to me is still very high as concerned as they were about the weekend, Erin, they are still concerned about the threat today.
BURNETT: They are. And they are very worried of course going up until the end of Ramadan coming up. Thank you very much, Jim Sciutto.
And also tonight, now down to the wire. We are hours away from a new deadline for a nuclear deal with Iran. Secretary of State John Kerry today threatening to walk.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: We are not going to sit at the negotiating table forever.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And right now, according to a top democratic senator, President Obama says chances of a deal are, quote, "below 50/50."
Nic Robertson is OUTFRONT from the talks in Vienna tonight live. Nick, this deal, after months and months, more than a year, almost 18 months, could it really fall apart?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Erin, it sounds like we're sort of back where we began. Secretary Kerry today saying that the Iranians side need to make tough choices. I was speaking with a senior Iranian official little time ago. He told me it is down to the U.S. to make those tough choices, that the U.S. is going to stop coercing and putting pressure on Iran, that Iran and the U.S., their trust deficit is just growing rather than diminishing some of the differences through these negotiations. The senior Iranian official says that they think that they can get a deal, that they are willing to stay here however long it takes. But their bottom-line is, it's not them that needs to shift. So, what you have here is seemingly entrenched positions. It's hard to imagine hearing what we're hearing from both sides at the moment on how they will going to bridge the gaps here.
BURNETT: Just pretty incredible that we are at this point. As you're saying, Nic, you know, sitting there waiting after all of this time, this could fail.
Nic Robertson, thank you very much. Live from Vienna.
And Fareed Zakaria is OUTFRONT. Fareed, you agreed that this deal could blow up?
[19:05:10] FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST, "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS": I have always felt that there was a deal to be had but then it was going to be very tough to get to it because you had hardliners on both sides, in Washington and in Tehran. And I always felt the hardliners in Tehran were much more significant. Because the chief hardliner in Tehran is the Supreme leader of Tehran. And so, I think Secretary Kerry is actually right. It is up to Iran to make some very tough choices. And the fact that the differences aren't narrowing, that they still persist after really what has been a year of negotiations suggests, you know, they know what the issues are at this point.
BURNETT: Right. And sort of like they couldn't get past the most important things. They kept putting them off. And then, when you reach them, you realize nothing has changed. They're still the most important things.
BURNETT: I mean, this is coming on a day a U.S. navy ship and a helicopter were repeatedly targeted by laser device by an Iranian ship. So, this was going on at the same time. The sort of aggression according to a U.S. defense official. When does the United States actually walk?
ZAKARIA: Well, I think if the United States walks, it's actually in a pretty good position, especially if it seems as though Iran was recalcitrant, Iran was the obstacle. Because remember, the status quo is not bad for the United States. Iran's nuclear program is frozen. And it is frozen with the agreement of the P5+1, that is the five permanent members of the Security Council, Russia, China, Great Britain plus Germany. And you have an extraordinary situation where you have the world's leading powers enforcing what is meant to be a temporary freeze of Iran's program. But that temporary freeze could go on for a while. It's Iran that needs the deal.
BURNETT: Iran -- all right, so now, you know, it's interesting, our reporter Fred Pleitgen filed a piece for this program the other night. It was basically a long scroll. And Iranians all signed their names. Right? They want the nuclear program. They were chanting death to America. You know, I have been in Tehran and heard people chanting, Death to America." They were very nice as they were doing it. But this is part for the course in a sense to have that kind of behavior. Does Iran really want this? I mean, that's a crucial question in this deal. I mean, how bad do the people really want this deal if it means giving up that nuclear program that they say is so secret? ZAKARIA: I think overwhelmingly Iranians want this deal because
they want it because they want integration into the world. Iran is a 5,000-year-old country that has traded with the world. It really does not like this idea of being this isolated pariah. But we will talk about Iran.
ZAKARIA: The regime in Iran, which may represent 20, 30 percent of Iranian public opinion also, obviously is of two minds. There are powerful interests within the regime in Iran that benefit from isolation, just the way that Cuba's communist party benefitted from isolation.
BURNETT: Yes, there are. Right.
ZAKARIA: They have all the smuggling contracts. They have all the state-owned enterprises.
ZAKARIA: So, there are elements in Iran that are suspicious of an opening to the world, because they know as Iran would integrate into the world, their power would weaken.
BURNETT: And Fareed, you know, President Obama has a huge, huge personal stake in this. Back in 2007, a CNN debate, he said he talked to Iran, he talked to North Korea, and now he's gone head. You know, this has become something that people perceive that he sees as crucial to his legacy. Just recently told the "Atlantic Magazine" about these talks. About how much they mattered to him. He said, 20 years from now, I still going to be around, God willing. If Iran has a nuclear weapon, it's my name on it. I think it's fair to say in addition to our profound National Security interest, I have a personal interest in locking this down. Does he want this too much?
ZAKARIA: You know, I think that there is an element of him clearly that desperately wants to bring the Iranians --
BURNETT: He wants to be the guy who does it.
ZAKARIA: It's the only major country that is outside the world right now.
ZAKARIA: You know, the other ones in North Korea and Cuba they are tiny.
ZAKARIA: Iran has 80 million people. If to bring it in, would be a big deal. But give him credit. Barack Obama is also very serious about nuclear non-proliferation. This has been a core issue for him. He comes at it sort of from the Left rather than the Right. But he is deadly serious about it. So, I think he was honest in that Atlantic interview. He does not want to do anything that facilitates the path to an Iranian --
BURNETT: Because, then that's his legacy. And quickly before we go, the breaking news tonight on al Qaeda declaring war on the U.S. Homeland. As Jim Sciutto points out, they have the capability and the training to pull off major attacks that ISIS doesn't. How significant is that threat?
ZAKARIA: You know, I think it's always difficult from the outside to downplay these things. Because people at the FBI and the CIA working night and day to prevent it. I tend to think this is more bluster. Al Qaeda has been making threats like this. For now, let us remember 14 years they have not been able to pull something off. Once we started tracking them, tracking the money, tracking the people, it's much harder to do. You can inspire a lone wolf. It's very hard to do, you know, complicated, spectacular attacks when you have the whole of the U.S. government and other governments chasing you all the time.
[19:10:14] BURNETT: I hope that you are right. All right. Fareed Zakaria, thank you so much. And good to see you.
And OUTFRONT next, Donald Trump telling CNN the head of the Republican Party told him to tone it down. The problem is, no one can control Donald Trump.
Plus, George Bush and Bill Clinton, right now, you are looking at a live picture, they are on stage together side by side, they will going to be talking about, well, politics. And it's kind of an ironic day. Because the race between their brother and wife just got a heck of a lot nastier today.
And a major moment in history, the confederate flag on South Carolina capitol grounds coming down. We are going to go live on this historic day to South Carolina.
[19:14:26] BURNETT: Tonight, the head of the Republican Party trying to reign in Donald Trump. A republican source telling CNN that RNC Chairman Reince Priebus warned Trump about his tone on immigration. But Trump has a slightly different version of the events.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He did say, you know, if you could keep it down a little bit, but you can't change your personality and I understand that. But it was really a nice call, a congratulatory call. And it was just a short call.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Dana Bash broke the news about the phone call between Trump and Priebus. And, you know, Dana, I have been covering Donald Trump for a long time, ten years. And no one has ever told Donald Trump what to do. Right? DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Successfully,
BURNETT: Yes. Right. Exactly.
BURNETT: It hasn't worked out so well.
BASH: Yes. Look, I mean, I think the bottom-line here is that from my understanding of this phone call is that it was a wide ranging discussion. Reince Priebus, the RNC chair was returning Trump's phone call. It sounds unusual for the two of them to talk. They talk with pretty frequently. And the whole idea that Reince Priebus was trying to get across to him was that they and he in particular has spent the last four years almost trying desperately to get back in good graces with the Hispanic community that they did very, very poorly with back in 2012 at lower market. Mitt Romney only got 27 percent of the Hispanic vote. And if you look back to George W. Bush, he had 44 percent. And obviously, the Hispanic community is growing and not shrinking in this country. So, that was the gist of what he was trying to get across to him. Like, you know, basically look, man, you are not helping here, because rhetoric and approach is a big part of it, not just policy.
BURNETT: Interesting. Now, of course, Donald Trump not backing off what he was saying at all. But of course, you know, if you push Trump too far, you don't know what he will do. He could lash out with those --
BURNETT: -- comments on steroids.
BASH: That's exactly right. And one of the things that I have just been hearing in phone calls that I have been making to some Republicans who are kind of watching this and -- holding their breath this whole Trump debate is concern that, well, wait a minute, you know, if we push him too far and make him feel like he is not part of the Republican Party, then who knows what would happen if he doesn't get the nomination and decides, you know, what? I'm going to go out on my own. You could you have a Ross Perot situation where he would be a third-party candidate. And what has historically happened is that he might siphoning off both from the Republicans. Now, there's no indication at this point that that would happen. But as he said he certainly marches to his own drum.
BASH: And anything is possible with Donald Trump.
BURNETT: And of course, Donald Trump has taken a hit on the business side. But today this one made me laugh. The FAA actually had named navigational codes after Trump. Now, who knew? But they did. And they were called Donald, Trump and, you are fired. I mean, all right. Putting aside just the whole outrageousness of that situation, what is this all about?
BASH: Yes. I mean, apparently the FAA -- I didn't know this. Maybe you did. Who knew? That they have these exactly, navigational codes. You know, I mean, I guess they have to have fun over there too. Named after famous people in and around places that they have had an impact. This is in Florida, in Ohio apparently LeBron has one. So it's not unusual. But the fact that they decided to do away with it, let us know that it existed in the first place. I think it's kind of unbelievable.
BURNETT: All right. Dana, thank you very much.
And I want to go straight now to our senior contributor for the Daily Caller, Matt Lewis, republican strategist Rich Galen and Ari Fleischer who served as White House press secretary for President George W. Bush. And I want to note on that front, at this moment, we are monitoring this. This is going on. Everyone, we will going to bring you in here live as they start talking. George W. Bush, Bill Clinton talking to each other live. Politics are going to be on the table. We will see whether it's fireworks or all love. We will go there live as I said as it gets going.
Matt, let me start with you though. Aside from the navigational bombshell of the day from the FAA, which I have to say who knew, the head of the Republican Party calls Trump, tells him to tone it down. They're afraid of him.
MATT LEWIS, SENIOR CONTRIBUTING, THE DAILY CALLER: Yes, they are afraid of him. Because he is toxic for the republican brand. You have people -- Marco Rubio want to appeal to Hispanics. He talks about his father who was a bartender, and he says, that journey from behind the bar, to behind this podium, is the essence of the American dream. That's a conservative message about the American dream that I think would appeal to a lot of Americans. It's very stark contrast to what Donald Trump is saying. The problem is, you can't exclude Trump from these debates. You can't be heavy handed. He's in second place.
BURNETT: Yes, he is.
LEWIS: Or first place depending on the pole. And that is a lot of Americans, release a lot of base conservatives like Donald Trump right now. So it's a very delicate situation.
[19:19:32] BURNETT: Right. And Ari, you know, to the point that Matt is making about the American dream, obviously, you hear that with Marco Rubio. But to a lot of people, aside from these horrible comments that Donald Trump made in the past week or so, Donald Trump stood for the American dream. This was a guy who talked about making billions, had the apprentice, was giving people their shot at the American dream. That's part of the reason he appealed to people.
ARI FLEISCHER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY FOR PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, a lot of the American dream is with making money. And Donald Trump has done that. But many people who made money in America. That doesn't mean they can all be or should be the president of the United States. You know, I just don't think that Donald Trump has the temperament to be a good or effective president. And I also ideologically just to have to worry about who Donald Trump is. You know, he was a democrat for much of his life.
BURNETT: That's right.
FLEISCHER: He is pro-choice. He is for tax hikes. And he is a huge -- he was a considerable donor to Hillary Clinton and Harry Reid, the democratic former leader of the Senate. So, ideologically, I'm not sure he's a conservative. He isn't. He is an opportunist and an entertainer. And I do think he has the potential to be very damaging to the republican brand.
BURNETT: And Rich, what about the backfire possibility? Reince Priebus calling Trump and telling him to tone it down. Should he have done? Go ahead. No. Should he have done it?
RICH GALEN, FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR FOR NEWT GINGRICH: No, I think that's what we would want our RNC chairman to do. He is a very qualified guy. He has had a really good run at the RNC. He knows his business. And I think however the phone call happened, whoever called who or who called who back is of no moment. I think the fact that America now knows that the chairman of the Republican National Committee talked to Trump and said, this is not being helpful, that's about all he could do. You can't give him a timeout. So, but I think that was helpful for him to do that. And I think it was helpful for the RNC to talk about the fact that the phone call happened.
BURNETT: And you know what's interesting, Matt, you mentioned the debates. Look, Donald Trump easily is going to make the cut. He is going to be on the first cut. He is going to be on that main stage with Jeb Bush and Walker and Rubio and everybody else. But some are saying GOP leaders should kick him out. Should they do that? Should they take that stand or should they say, anybody can run for president and the voters are the ones who decide?
LEWIS: Yes. Absolutely not. You cannot exclude him. I mean, look, they set the criteria that you have to pole at a certain percent to make the debates. I mean, that used to keep the riffraff out, that used to keep the French candidates out. But Donald Trump is now polling in second place or whatever, first place depending in some early states and national polls. So to retroactively change the rules I think would be horrible and send a horrible message. It would send a message that the game is rigged, that the republican establishment doesn't care about the grass-roots conservatives who might be supporting Donald Trump. And look, this should be an opportunity for people like Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio. Don't look at it as a problem. It's an opportunity for a Sister Souljah moment. Somebody has to take him on.
BURNETT: And Ari, you know, we just -- we saw the live picture and we're going to be going there live in a moment, you're going to be with us with Bill Clinton and George W. Bush talking.
FLEISCHER: Yes. BURNETT: They are now talking about elections. So, maybe --
obviously, Jeb Bush is going to come up. Jeb Bush though has dismissed questions about Donald Trump. He tried to completely stay out of it. Take a listen, Ari.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Dissatisfaction with politicians. Do you think that's why Donald Trump is having success?
JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't know if he's having success. We will see on the long haul.
BAIER: So, when you hear Donald Trump, is he bad for the GOP?
BUSH: I have already stated my views about Donald Trump.
BAIER: You are done?
BUSH: I'm done. I'm through. I gave my views.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Is that smart, Ari? I'm done. I mean, you know, I know he sounds little frustrated with it. He kind of wants it to go away. But is it smart to not engage?
FLEISCHER: No, I think it's a mistake. I do think the Republicans have -- are duty bound to talk about who they are and correcting where Donald Trump is wrong. Donald Trump sends difficult signals for Republicans, particularly in terms of growth and -- and bringing new people into the party. What he said about people who come to America as immigrants is reprehensible. And it should be corrected. So, if I were Jeb, I would have spoken out. And Matt's point about the debates is exactly right. Some smart republican is going to use the debates as a way to rise above Donald Trump and make him look small. And I think that's going to be a very well received. Remember Erin, 60 percent of republican primary voters have an unfavorable opinion about Donald Trump. Trump has a unique appeal to the most anti-establishment fed up, all politicians are bad, grass- roots. That's his appeal. And he can't grow it. It's going to stay locked in at a relatively ardent but small number. But it does give an opportunity to a smart republican to rise above.
[19:24:06] BURNETT: All right. Thanks very much to all three of you. Matt, Ari and Rich.
And OUTFRONT next, let's look at this live picture. Because we will going to be going there. They are now heating up, presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush side by side. I mean, honestly, if Bill Clinton put his arm down, they would actually be holding hands. And they are good friends. We're going to be taking you there live. Bush under fire tonight for charging $100,000 to speak to a group of veterans wounded in the Iraq war. More on that story coming up.
And nearly, 50 million people have clicked on this image of a four-year-old girl. She was found dead. Why has no one claimed her? And who is responsible? The Baby Doe mystery coming up OUTFRONT.
[19:28:56] BURNETT: And OUTFRONT now, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton together on the stage talking politics. One is the husband of a democratic presidential candidate, the other the brother of a republican candidate. Let's listen in.
GEORGE W. BUSH (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Even those who are less likely to vote for you to -- I mean, one of the most unique relationships I had was with Ted Kennedy. A lot of it had to do with you. And there were some issues we could agree on. A lot of issues we didn't agree on. But I knew when to -- I tried to convince him on what issues. You have to know the people you are dealing with. Republicans were generally easier for me to work with, particularly when I was riding high. A little more of a challenge after '06. But it turns out that if you are polite, kind, considerate to people, they are a lot more likely to listen to you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Give an example of that on the international stage. That more of persuasive. We are watching the debate, the negotiations on the deal right now. The talk about use of that persuasive style in an international setting.
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT: Well, by the time the issues get up to the president, there has been a lot of persuasiveness going on. That's what you have the secretary of state for and the National Security Council for.
And, generally, the issues are pretty cooked by the time you get there. And always -- I know Cuba knows this. Never negotiate principal to adviser unless you are the one providing the adviser. You always want somebody playing their hand and person has to go back and say, well, I got to make sure Bush OKs it. So, I never got myself in a position where -- I have to get back to my principal.
So, always go principal to principal if you are negotiating. Never go, you are the principal with a non-principal. I don't know if I confused that or not. Do you understand?
BUSH: You need (ph) to understand it.
BUSH: And so, I'm kind of avoiding your question.
MODERATOR: OK. I will move on then if you would like me to.
BUSH: I got to know, this -- look, I spent -- I had 26 meetings with Putin one on one. More or less, I think. And every one of them started with, how is your family? So, Laura and I went to his house, met his little girls. And, you know, dad loves to talk about his kids and his daughters.
So, I started off, how is your daughter doing? No matter how difficult the subject would be. The whole purpose was to try to create a human bridge, a connection. Then we would get to the issues at hand.
MODERATOR: So, one of our scholars observes that obviously, you have an authentic friendship. You spent time together and really enjoy it. I know you know some of the folks that are running for president.
And so, the question is, what are your thoughts on the way that they, the candidates, can elevate the discourse so that it's foundational for governing and then tell a few stories from the campaign trail. You have been on it for many years, both of you.
MODERATOR: President Bush, you want to start?
BUSH: Well, you know, I think the discourse generally is lowered by surrogates. And the Internet is a brutal place these days for political figures because there's a high degree of anonymity. There's no personal responsibility whatsoever. People say whatever they want to say. It kind of becomes currency.
I suspect -- I know Jeb and I'm confident Secretary Hillary will elevate the discourse. I can't attest to their surrogates. I can attest to this surrogate. I'm not going to be a surrogate.
But it's --
BUSH: You know, look, I really -- I think American people expect to be some sharp elbows in a campaign. I think what really discourages them post-campaign, the inability to govern in a way that is congenial. And hopefully, that will change. It goes in cycles, by the way.
MODERATOR: President Clinton, then we will --
WILLIAM J. CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT: I may be naive. They say you get naive when you get long in the tooth.
But, you know, I think they ought to have these debates both in the Republican primary and in the Democratic primary. And I think that I expect it to be very vigorous in the primaries. And then, whoever wins the two primaries will have a hard debate.
But they need to keep in mind that what we are trying to do is to take the advantages America has -- and Mark Cuban say, we talked about it. We're well positioned. But we haven't proved yet that we can solve the problem that's bedeviling the world. That is that we can create jobs, that we have a large percentage by workforce and we can have shared prosperity.
We ought to show respect for the debate by trying to be as specific and clear as we can about the policy choices before us. And we can trust the American people and enable the process just by saying, look, it's not that simple.
[19:35:05] If it were simple, we would have already done it.
But these are the five things we think are most important. This is what I would do about them. I think the more we can keep on that and the less we can just do what I see and so much in the media today is this sort of culture of anger and resentment. We got to rise above anger to answers. Rise to a real response, because if you get this job, I can tell you, the next day it doesn't matter what was wrong with your opponent in the election. Next day, you are on your own. You walk in there and you don't have somebody with you, whichever desk you pick. You got to show up for work and make decisions.
So, that's all I hope. I hope we clarify for the American people that this is a big bunch of choices, they're not simple, but we are -- we can do it. Look, the quality of these young people proves -- and the assets and the system of freedom of choice we have proves it. But we got a lot of tough decisions to make. That's all I really care about besides I know who I would like to win.
But the more important thing for America is that we know what the heck we're deciding on and we make a pretty good decision.
MODERATOR: So this is the -- we're back to graduating the scholars. What advice do you have for them as they return to their communities and, you know, obviously, you heard Jake's call to action? What is your advice for them?
BUSH: Don't watch a lot of TV.
MODERATOR: Read like Mark Cuban.
BUSH: Actually, act. Do things. Don't be afraid of failure. I'm not worried about this crowd.
MODERATOR: President Clinton?
CLINTON: I agree with that. You know, the only thing I would say, if it -- whatever it is, doesn't work out, get up. I lost two elections. I was the youngest former governor in American history after the Reagan landslide. I had one guy appointed to the cabinet walk across Main Street in Little Rock to avoid being seen shaking hands with me for fear that the guy that beat me would fire him. That was a humbling experience.
And I think you got to realize, there's no personal ambition you have which can be extinguished by anybody else. Only you, by giving up your dreams, can extinguish them. And if it doesn't work out exactly like you intended, it will still take you some place interesting and you will make a difference. So, my advice is, what George said, don't be afraid to fail. But
you probably will whether you are afraid to or not. And it's scary. You just got to get up.
The world belongs to tomorrow, not yesterday. Don't give anybody else permission to take your life away. Just keep living. And keep giving.
And never make the perfect enemy the good. Never think that what I'm doing is too little to make a difference. That's not true. That's not true.
Do something every day. Someday, for all of us, it will be our last day. What will matter were all the steps we took along the way and what they amounted to. Not the home run we hit on day X. And I wish you well.
MODERATOR: President Bush --
MODERATOR: Do you want to add to that?
BUSH: I was stuck on the some day may be your last day line. I thought that was pretty profound.
MODERATOR: So, this is maybe a good setup for this question. Are scholars have said they were surprised by both of you, that you were not what they expected. They thought what they read --
BUSH: One thought I couldn't read.
CLINTON: The other one thought I could.
MODERATOR: How do you react to that with respect to the filter of the media and how to -- what that means for them as they try to present their true selves and have people understand who they are, know their heart and so forth?
BUSH: You know, I don't know. I mean, I think we're both pretty confident people. And if people don't get us, what we're all about, then you just got to keep moving on.
[19:40:00] I try not to worry about it.
I can't tell you the number of people who have told me -- that say you are taller than I thought you were.
MODERATOR: I'm not sure that's exactly what they meant. But --
(LAUGHTER) BUSH: I'm 5'11" since I was 18. I don't know. I mean, image is
image. You have to be confident of what you believe. If you have a set of believes you are willing to defend, image doesn't matter.
And yes, you get -- people say things about you all the time. If that's the criteria for success for you, then go into the fetal.
CLINTON: I would also say, if you cover political news, you have to realize that it's in the nature of things -- conflict is better news than concord, even though cooperation works better than conflict. If that's all you put on the evening news at night, you'd go broke.
So, the nature of evening news will be to make people into two dimensional cartoons instead of three dimensional people. It's just the nature of the beast.
And I think -- you just need to always keep your caution light burning in the back of your head on that.
I also think the nature is -- suppose we were in a campaign against each other. He would have narrative and I would have mine. We would try to convince you that our narrative was better than the other. That's OK.
But the people covering the campaign, they develop a narrative, too, a story line. It's almost impossible for the real story to be the same as the story line. It's very hard for the American people to be well informed if the story lines swamp the real story.
You just have to keep all that in mind as you try to be good citizens. And still show up. Most important thing is showing up.
MODERATOR: So, we want some people to show up for the second class of scholars. We're launching the recruitment today. And people can apply, those who are watching livestream at presidentialleadershipscholars.org.
So, for those who are pondering --
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: All right. So, you have been listening live to George W. Bush and Bill Clinton talking together.
I joked at the beginning that they were close enough to hold hands. They did hold hands for a moment.
Ari Fleischer is back with us, knows George W. Bush better than anyone, was the White House press secretary.
I watched you every day live giving those updates on the war, Ari, like many Americans.
And CNN political commentator and Democratic strategist Paul Begala, who served in the Clinton administration as counsel to the president.
So, you know Bill Clinton incredibly well. And, of course, you are senior advisor to Hillary Clinton's super PAC.
So, you are watching your friends, your former bosses on stage there. What do you make of what he had to say, Ari, when George W. Bush said, I know Jeb and I'm sure Secretary Hillary, that's how he put it, will elevate the discourse?
ARI FLEISCHER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, it goes back to our earlier segment, Erin, when Governor Bush, Jeb Bush was asked about Donald Trump and he didn't take the bait and didn't want to get into the issue with Trump.
Jeb does not like to throw the elbows. Jeb is much more of a wonk, a policy person, a serious minded governor. And that's going to be an issue he will have to deal with in the campaign because as President Bush said, campaigns are about throwing elbows. The trick in the campaign, though, as Paul knows, you have to throw the right elbows in the right manner and not too tough, because the American people get tired of it. They do understand there are differences between candidates.
And it's the articulate candidate who can do it well who can make the difference and establish who they are.
BURNETT: And, Paul, what is your take on what they had to say? I mean, you know, what is so captivating about watching these two talk is that they at one point probably hated each other. They are not really good friends. They are genuine friends. Yet, they couldn't be on more opposite sides of this election now.
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Let me tell you something, this will surprise Fleischer. I hope he's sitting down. When I was banging on George W. Bush -- and I think history proved me right when I was a professional Bush basher. Bill Clinton at one point told me, be careful, he has a lot of street smarts.
BURNETT: Paul, you know what? I'm going to interrupt you for one second. I'm going to come back to you. They are talking about their granddaughters. So, let's jump into that.
MODERATOR: So, I think that's the end of the program, I think.
MODERATOR: Everybody, please join me in thanking the two grandfathers.
BURNETT: We will get the sound bite turned around. Obviously, I just missed it.
But continue your point as you were saying. Paul was always right, proven right in every point he made against Ari Fleischer. Continue your point.
[19:45:00] BEGALA: I was a big Bush basher and I don't make any apologies for that. As President Bush himself said, surrogates are often much tougher
than the principals. I was a surrogate. I was happy to be a tough guy on president bush. Even at the time, even in the campaign, even with his Vice President Al Gore running against George W. Bush, I remember president Clinton saying to me, be careful, Paulie, this guy has got a lot of street smarts. Don't underestimate him.
He's always -- President Clinton has always loved the Bush family ever since when he defeated President Bush Sr., President Bush Sr. was so gracious to him. He did not need to be. George H.W. Bush was such a class act and had a profound impact on President Clinton. He authentically likes George W. Bush and I think you saw it there.
BURNETT: You definitely did.
BEGALA: It's maybe difficult for people to understand. But I do think there's something about sitting in that Oval Office and being one of four people alive and only 43 in our entire history who have had that responsibility, I think it does give you respect for folks who have served there, too.
BURNETT: All right. Both of you stay with me. We're going to take a pause. When we come back, you're going to hear what they had to say about their granddaughters. I promise. I'm not going to leave you hanging on that, as well as what George W. Bush had to say about the election and losing the election. Those comments coming up right after this.
[19:50:11] BURNETT: All right. You are looking at live pictures. Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush posing with graduates of their leadership program. They appeared for 20 minutes. You saw quite a bit of here live on OUTFRONT. They are genuine friends.
I'm joined by Paul Begala, obviously former adviser to Bill Clinton, now raising money for Hillary Clinton super PAC. Ari Fleischer, the former press secretary for may years for George W. Bush, is with me as well.
Gentlemen, let me just play -- you know, they both talked about losing an election. One is about to lose another one for sure. Maybe both, right? But for sure one of them, at the least.
Here is what George W. Bush had to talk about losing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: Losing an election isn't fun. You lost one. I lost one. He lost one to him. And yet they ended up having a friendship.
So, you have to ask the question, how does it happen? How did -- people think are bitter enemies in the political arena able to put aside victory and defeat. I think in dad's case, that winning and losing an election was not the most central thing in his life. Most central things in his life turned out to be his faith and his family.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And, Ari, that says something about why so many Americans now when you lock at polls, they love George H.W. Bush. In fact, more Americans approve of George W. Bush now than Barack Obama. I mean, you see that in the polls.
I guess the question I have for you, though, is, the American people may love the two men that you see on the stage right now, but do they really want to see someone related to one of them becoming president in the Oval Office again?
FLEISCHER: Well, that's exactly what primaries will test and the general election will test, you know? Hillary, if she's able to win -- and I think she is the front runner, I think she's going to have a rough time in Iowa and New Hampshire to Bernie Sanders, he's authentic, he's genuine, he's principled liberal. I think that's for the Democrats to decide.
Same thing on the Republican side. If the Bush name is so bad and people want to have something that's different, that will become clear in the primary. Jeb has to stand on his own two feet, make his own case, as his own man, he's very capable of doing that.
But, look, Erin, the good news is here it's always up to the voters to decide. Just because the candidates decide they're running doesn't mean they're going to win.
BURNETT: Right. And, Paul, a lot of people say, they love Bill Clinton. They vote for him again. He knows if he's actually running if they feel that way.
But with his wife, there does seem to be a feeling of disenchantment, right? Why else would Bernie Sanders be surging?
BEGALA: This is wrong, I mean, subjectively wrong. Not just because I love them, but it's not in the data. Bernie is surging but Hillary's favorables are still -- among Democrats, OK?
BEGALA: Still sky high. It's not they are rejecting her. It's that as Ari points out, we want a contest in my party. We do not want a coronation.
And Bernie is speaking to a very powerful and wonderful populist liberal tradition in my party. And he's going to do well. He'll win his share. He'll get his share of voters and he will earn them, and that's a good thing.
But I do think it's wrong to conflate both Hillary and Jeb as if they have the same problem. They don't.
There's a few places where Hillary is going to have to disagree and distance herself from her husband's legacy. BURNETT: OK.
BEGALA: DOMA, for example, the Defense of Marriage Act, which Hillary completely against. Bill Clinton has renounced as well.
But mostly, people think Bill Clinton was a good president. Mostly, people think George W. Bush not such a good president. When you get to specifics, you saw Jeb took five days to answer whether the Iraq war was a good thing.
BURNETT: And maybe because of what you heard his brother say, how important family is and you want to talk about that. He didn't want to be disloyal.
I want to play for you, though, a moment to show these men's friendship. I joked about them holding hands. They did hold hands. They talked about their granddaughters. Clinton saying Bush told him how amazing it would be to be a grandfather. Here's how that exchange played out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: Last night, my granddaughter, 9 1/2 months old, for the first time when I walked in the room, she said, there is your granddad and she pointed at me. That was worth more than anything anybody had said or done for me or paid me or anything else, and I don't know enough a month of Sundays. Everything you said about it is true.
BUSH: Yes, last night my granddaughter spoke to me in mandarin.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: I guess they can't let the competitive nature ever go away, Ari.
FLEISCHER: I guess that's right. That's the beauty about being a former president. They can really let their hair down, be individuals, not have the sharp elbows and share wonderful war stories. It's a great thing about America.
I'd like to see more of that of people in office. It does come when you are no longer a non-combatant.
BURNETT: It's true, Paul. You know, there's no way they would have acted like this before.
[19:55:00] Now they are. They're like the nation's grandfather figures.
People like them both. I mean, I bet you there's people watching tonight, looking at one or the other going, I used to hate it when that guy opened his mouth, I want to kill him, and now I like him.
BEGALA: It's so important. Now, the truth is -- we beat each other's brains out but we're friends. And the truth -- I worked in campaigns all around the world, Europe, in Africa, Latin-America, in the Caribbean, Middle East -- our distance between the two parties is not as great perhaps as in other countries.
And it's really important for national unity. We're a polarized country right now. Very important for national unity to see these two families with their complicated history with all the competition and the competition about to intensify. But to see this moment where the two leaders of the two families can get along like that is wonderful.
BURNETT: It is, and I wonder when people have a moment they think it's wonderful and they wonder, do they really want to have another one of those families in the Oval Office? That's the big question as you both say.
BEGALA: I do.
BURNETT: Thanks so much to both of you. I really appreciate it.
We'll take a brief break. We'll be right back.
BURNETT: And thank you so much for joining us. Be sure to set your DVR to record OUTFRONT. You can watch us anytime. We'll see you back here tomorrow night.
"AC360" starts with Anderson Cooper right now.