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Fiorina Slams Trump Ahead of Big Debate; Ben Carson Visits Ferguson, Reflects on Race; Rick Perry Suspends Presidential Campaign; Al Qaeda-ISIS Feud May Pose Danger to U.S.; Obama Marks 9/11 Anniversary. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired September 11, 2015 - 17:00   ET


[17:00:12] WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now, face-off. The stage is now set for the GOP debate. With the Republicans already ripping into one another, Carly Fiorina will get a chance to go after Donald Trump, but Ben Carson says he's not taking the bait.

Raw emotions. Still grieving for his beloved son, Joe Biden bears his soul with our new poll showing Hillary Clinton trailing Ben Carson. In an election match-up, does Biden have the strength to make a final run for the White House?

Al Qaeda versus ISIS. On this 9/11 anniversary, one terror leader openly scoffing at another. Could a stepped-up rivalry, though, pose new dangers to the United States?

And tennis star takedown. New York's police commissioner apologizes to former tennis star James Blake. You're going to see how he was tackled and handcuffed by undercover officers. Now Blake says an apology is not enough.

I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Just five days from now, 16 Republicans take the stage in two GOP debates at the Reagan Library. The candidates are already going for one another's jugulars. Will they keep up the personal attacks?

Carly Fiorina will get a chance to get back at Donald Trump in the main event. She's already throwing some jabs of her own, but Ben Carson says he's not taking the bait, taking the high road as he rises in the polls.

Our new CNN/ORC poll shows Carson leading Hillary Clinton in a hypothetical general election match-up.

And as Clinton slides, can a grief-stricken Vice President Joe Biden find the emotional strength to jump into the race. You're going to see his heartfelt explanation to Stephen Colbert.

Our correspondents, analysts and guests, they're standing by with full coverage of the day's top stories. Let's begin with our senior Washington correspondent, Joe Johns -- Joe.

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, this summer of personal attacks and sniping in the Republican race for the nomination just stepped up another notch today in the run-up to the CNN debate next week.

Carly Fiorina went on offense against Donald Trump, taking a page from the same Democratic playbook that was used against her in her failed run for the Senate.


JOHNS (voice-over): Former CEO Carly Fiorina, once attacked by Democrats as a corporate jet conservative.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A million-dollar yacht and five corporate jets.

JOHNS: Now using a similar line of attack against Donald Trump.

CARLY FIORINA (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Leadership is not about the size of your office, the size of your airplane, the size of your helicopter.

JOHNS: Fiorina now officially set to debate Trump and the other top contenders on the main stage at the CNN Republican debate next Wednesday at 8 p.m. Eastern. The frontrunner's rude comments about Fiorina's face now looming over the campaign.

Trump often doubles down on his most controversial remarks, but this time seems to be trying to walk it back.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (via phone): Many of those comments are made as an entertainer, because I did "The Apprentice." And, as everybody said, as an entertainer, it's a much different ball game.

JOHNS: Before that he offered a different explanation on CNN.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: You know it's not presidential.

TRUMP: I'm not talking about looks. I'm talking about persona.

JOHNS: All of this because of the these words reported by "Rolling Stone" magazine. Trump, after seeing Fiorina on television: "Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president? I mean, she's a woman, and I'm not supposed to say bad things, but really, folks, come on, are we serious?"

Trump still has strong support from Republican women voters right now, according to the latest CNN/ORC poll. Fiorina's response was calibrated.

FIORINA: I'm not running because I'm a woman. I've never been a token in my life. And I don't expect people to vote for me because I'm a woman. I expect them to vote for me because I'm the most qualified candidate to do the job.

JOHNS: By the way, Fiorina herself has weighed in about the looks of a female opponent in politics. Check this out.

FIORINA: Louda (ph) saw Barbara Boxer briefly on television this morning, and said what everyone says: "God, what is that hair?" So yesterday.

JOHNS: At the time, in 2010, Fiorina was running for the Senate and eventually lost to Barbara Boxer.


JOHNS: And there was yet another jab -- and there was yet another jab at the frontrunner today. Governor Bobby Jindal released a video ad that intersperses Donald Trump's comments about how well he's doing in the polls, matched up with sound bites from actor Charlie Sheen's infamous interviews, using the catchphrase "winning." The attack ad ends telling the viewer, "It's time to get serious" -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Joe. Thank you.

Ben Carson, running a strong second in polls of Republicans, is in Missouri, where he's been talking about unrest, race and respect, but he says he's not taking the bait on Donald Trump.

[17:05:06] Let's go to our national correspondent, Suzanne Malveaux. She's there for us.

Suzanne, you had a chance to sit down and talk with Dr. Carson. How did it go?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, it was -- it was quite different than the public appearance he made earlier, where he really didn't want to answer those questions. But one on one, he did.

And he took on the criticism from Trump, a statement that Trump had made about something very personal and dear to him. That is his faith. He said that he was not a big person when it came to faith, and this came on all of a sudden from Carson, really implying that this was politically motivated. He also talked about his changing stance on abortion.

And here's how Carson responded.


DR. BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, it's very easy for anybody to go back and investigate my past. And it's very easy for them to see that, you know, my faith is not something that I take lightly. And it's been an important part of my life.

You know, fortunately, you know, I've written books. You know, "Gifted Hands" came out in 1990. Read through that. You'll see that faith has been a very important part of my life.

So I don't think that that's a very difficult one.

MALVEAUX: And the other thing, and then we'll move on, but he specifically said this, and it sounds like an ugly accusation to me. When he says that you were heavy into the world of abortion. This is coming from somebody who was pro-choice before, who has changed his position.

Either he's implying that as a doctor you performed abortions, or he's saying as a part of your research, the fetal tissue that you used came from aborted fetuses. Is either one of those true?

CARSON: Well, I've made it very clear that, first of all, I've never done an abortion, and wouldn't approve of it, and never have. Even when I was pro-choice. Personally, I was against it.

Some of the research that was done, I obtained tissue, turned it over to the pathologist. Do they sometimes compare it with tissue blocks? Absolutely.

MALVEAUX: So just to be clear, it did not come from fetal tissue from an aborted fetus?

CARSON: I did not -- you know, I can't tell you where all the tissue blocks come from. I have nothing to do with it whatsoever. Every pathology department in the world has a host of tissue blocks that they compare things with. And you know, honestly if I went and inquired where everything came from, and compared everything, I'd never have time to get any surgery done.


MALVEAUX: I also asked him, Wolf, about his debate prep, how he is doing with that. He was frustrated the last go-around that he really didn't get more airtime, but since then he has climbed to No. 2. And here's his strategy.


CARSON: I've been living my life by having town-hall meetings where I don't screen the questions. That's probably the best preparation that you can possibly have.

MALVEAUX: Is there something you're doing to prepare to get ready? And are you going to do something to get in there before, you know, the long stretches of time like the last debate where they -- it seemed like there was a...

CARSON: Well, I'm not going to interrupt and jump and scream and say, "Hey, you guys are ignoring me." You know, since I will be center stage this time. Maybe it would be harder for them to ignore me. So, but no, I, of course, will continue to talk to, you know, my consultants and resource people about things that they think are important. You know, that's something I do on a fairly regular basis. I get updates every single day.

MALVEAUX: And how are you feeling about the update now? The fact that since the last debate, you are now in the No. 2 spot, right behind Trump in Iowa? CARSON: I think it's wonderful. I -- I saw the results of another

survey that was done today: head to head with Hillary, and I was five points ahead of her.


MALVEAUX: And Dr. Carson stressed the need for respect and a dialogue in the race, also here in Ferguson, Wolf, de-emphasizing what he calls the divisiveness of race. What was interesting, he did not meet with Black Lives Matter here. He has disagreed with them in the past. But he says he is open to talking with them in the future -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Suzanne Malveaux with Dr. Ben Carson. Good work, Suzanne. Thank you very much.

Joining us now are CNN political commentator S.E. Cupp. Our political commentator Ryan Lizza. He's the Washington correspondent for "The New Yorker" magazine. And our senior political reporter, Nia-Malika Henderson.

Nia, let's take another look. Dr. Carson just mentioned it. The new CNN/ORC poll, among registered voters out there nationwide, it shows Carson could actually beats Hillary Clinton in the general election. He beats her 51 percent to 46 percent in this hypothetical matchup. What do you make of that?

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, he's clearly had a very good summer. On the one hand, you've seen him climb in the polls, and he's going head to head in many ways with Trump at this point. And the opposite is certainly true for Hillary Clinton. She's taking it live. On the whole, I think she's down ten points since the last poll.

[17:10:15] In talking to Carson's people. They feel like, you know, he's kind of running a race in some ways like Donald Trump, a sort of slow and steady race. He has a demeanor that's very much opposite of what Donald Trump's sort of demeanor is. I covered him on the campaign trail. Sometimes you have to lean in close to actually hear what he says. He speaks so softly sometimes. And you saw that there in that interview with Suzanne Malveaux.

And one of the things I also think, that he could possibly challenge a Hillary Clinton on is African-American voters. His people think that, if he's in the general election, he could get maybe 15 percent of the African-American vote and that would certainly eat into whatever the Democrat -- the Democrat would want to do in a general election.

BLITZER: Yes. He does speak softly. Reminds me of what Trump said the other day after Ben Carson was critical of him. He said, reminding everyone that Jeb Bush has low energy, according to him. He says that Dr. Carson is -- makes Jeb Bush look like the Energizer bunny compared to him.

S.E., Carson refused to get into this fight with Trump today, saying his comments the other day maybe were misinterpreted. Does this work for Dr. Carson to take the high road? S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't think he is taking the

high road. When you -- when you attack someone's faith, question someone's faith, I don't think that's taking the moral high road. I think when you do that, you should expect someone to come back at you.

And I think Ben Carson has sort of refashioned himself as Pastor Carson. And that's an intentional thing to try and get evangelical voters. But I'd like to remind people that Ben Carson has taken jabs at people in the past that I think many of us would consider below the belt. He's called President Obama a psychopath for dressing too well. He called President Obama an anti-Semite for his Iran deal.

Now look, I question President Obama's policies on a daily basis, but Ben Carson is certainly not above the -- you know, getting down and dirty. And I don't think the moral high ground is a place that he is actually very comfortable living in.

BLITZER: Someone not afraid to go after Donald Trump is Bobby Jindal, Ryan. He's -- his latest dig at Trump's the use of the word "winning." They released a new video comparing Trump to the actor Charlie Sheen with the message "Trump is Charlie Sheen 2.0." Watch this.


TRUMP: We're leading in every single poll.

CHARLIE SHEEN, ACTOR: I'm sorry, winning.

TRUMP: But the polls have been through the roof, every one of them.

SHEEN: Winning.

TRUMP: Kanye West has been so great, I would never say bad about him, because he says such nice things about me.

SHEEN: Giant marquee names comes through your caller I.D., and it's like, winning.

TRUMP: But I'm winning in all the polls.

SHEEN: Winning.

TRUMP: I'm winning in all the states.

SHEEN: You make a choice to win. You win.

TRUMP: I'm winning everywhere.

SHEEN: Wow, winning.

I'm winning. I win here and I win there. Now what?

GRAPHIC: It's time to get serious.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BLITZER: OK, Ryan. Why is Governor Jindal really going after Trump

like this?

RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: The -- the genius of that ad is the last line, sort of the opposite of what Jindal has been doing the last two days in terms of getting serious.

If you look on Bobby Jindal's Twitter feed over the last 24 hours, it is just a series of attacks against Donald Trump. He's put out another video, different than the one we just saw that also is kind of da-da.

Look, why is he doing this? Because this is the way to get attention in the first, you know, social media presidential election of our lives. You go on Twitter. You attack. You release something that, you know, sort of BuzzFeed-style viral ad.

And frankly, nobody heard from Bobby Jindal until this week. As Donald Trump points out, he's down, you know, in 1 percent in the polls. This, for better or worse -- I think worse -- is how you -- what you have to do to get five minutes on a TV these days. Donald Trump has completely changed this election into a back-and-forth on Twitter of personal attacks.

BLITZER: Guys, stand by. I want to remind our viewers, the Republican presidential candidates now only five days away from their second debate. It will air right here on CNN next Wednesday, September 16, live from the Reagan Library in California. The debate will also air live across the country on Salem Radio Network.

We'll be right back with more on Joe Biden, the vice president of the United States, considering a run for the presidency, getting very emotional.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

[17:19:29] BLITZER: The breaking news we're following right now. There he is, the former governor of Texas, Rick Perry. He's about to announce his's suspending his campaign for president of the United States.

He's speaking in St. Louis at the Eagle Forum right now. We have now been told by a senior Perry adviser confirming to our political director, David Chalian, that Rick Perry will suspend, in effect, pull out of this race for the White House.

Let's bring in S.E. Cupp, Nia-Malika Henderson, Ryan Lizza, Brianna Keilar. Let's get some reaction.

S.E., not a huge surprise. Several of his paid employees, his staffers, have been let go in recent weeks, but it's still the first major Republican presidential candidate to effectively drop out of this race. CUPP: Yes, you know, when I talked to Rick Perry about a year ago after he appeared on "CROSSFIRE," and I talked to him about running this season, and he said, "You know, I'm looking forward to it. I want a redo. I have really studied up. I've gone abroad. I've brushed up on my foreign policy. I made a mistake running in the midst of having back surgery."

So I was excited for his campaign, because he was excited for his campaign. And I really thought he could have done a better job. I actually don't think this was his fault. I think, you know, in the summer of Trump, it's really hard to stay alive as long as you have to, to wait this out.

BLITZER: You know, Ryan, a lot of us remember four years ago, I think almost exactly at this point when he was running for the Republican presidential -- and he was a front-runner. He was one of the top two or so Republicans in this race.


BLITZER: Then he had that blunder at the debate. Couldn't remember one of the cabinet departments he wanted to eliminate. And that seemed to be the beginning of the end of his race for the White House.

LIZZA: That's right. He was the Donald Trump for a moment in that race in 2012, really giving Romney a challenge. But he never -- he never overcame the unfortunate "oops" moment in that debate.

And it's a reminder of how a big deal these debates can be, and if you make a big mess-up like that, it can define you for good, especially when you have a giant field, like we have this cycle, when you don't have a lot of opportunities.

One thing to say, though, is you know, this is a two-term governor of one of the biggest states in the United States. And he couldn't make it to the starting line of this campaign, which tells you something about the moment we are in right now in American politics, where being a governor or senator is not an asset in this Republican primary.

BLITZER: He was a three-term governor of Texas...

LIZZA: Thank you for the correction.

BLITZER: So four years ago he was about 40 percent. He was doing amazingly well, and then all of a sudden, the whole situation crashed for him. He was basically, at this point four years ago, almost exactly where Donald Trump is right now. A lot of people are pointing that out right now.

Nia-Malika Henderson, you're with us, as well. It's not a huge surprise, as they say, because he simply couldn't raise the money, and he couldn't even pay staffers, right?

HENDERSON: That's right. They're laying people off and cutting their salaries in South Carolina. That was supposed to be a big state for him. I think it also underscores that he's dropping out, how people just want fresh blood.

If you look at Huckabee, he's not doing so well. Santorum, who was running again after he did so well in 2004, he's at the bottom of the polls, too.

So even in these states where you would think these folks would do well, because they have ties, and they sort of have a built-in following, they're just not doing so well. You saw with Rick Perry, kind of refresh his both look and approach to politics, but it just want enough.

And this year, when people want something new, they want something they haven't seen before, and that's why Trump is doing so well and people -- you know, there's bells (ph) around Rubio. There's bells (ph) around Scott Walker. Because they just -- they're just sick of what they've seen before.

BLITZER: You know, Brianna, it's interesting. He's dropping out just before the second Republican presidential debate. He was in the second-tier debate, not in the main platform, the earlier debate. But I guess he must have simply concluded it isn't worth it any longer. He sees reality, and he's going to go back to Texas.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. And not being on the main stage now for two debates, because he, as well, was not on the main stage in the first debate. And it was really Carly Fiorina who stole the show at the kids' table, as it was sort of jokingly called.

And then seeing himself in -- not in the main stage in the second debate, you just look at the field and I think there's so many Republicans who check boxes in a way that Rick Perry was already checking. But the writing was on the wall. There were some stop advisers, particularly one top advisor in an early state, who hadn't even heard from Perry for a month. So it did sort of seem like it was just a matter of time.

BLITZER: We're going to have much more on the breaking news we're watching. Hold on for a moment, guys. We'll take a quick break.

Much more. Rick Perry, the former Texas governor, he was a frontrunner four years ago, trying for a second chance. Not working out: very, very low in the polls. He had deliberately gone after Donald Trump very, very strongly. It didn't pay off for him. He is now dropping out of this race for the White House. Much more right after this.


[17:29:24] BLITZER: Let's get back to the breaking news. There you see him. Rick Perry, the former governor of Texas, the Republican presidential candidate, about to announce that he's suspending -- specific legal words -- suspending his race for the White House right now. A line in his prepared speech says he has made this decision.

We're going to stand by. We'll hear exactly what he has to say. But let's bring back our political experts, including S.E. Cupp.

S.E., you know, Rick Perry on paper, he had a lot going for him. And recently, he decided to make that move, really going directly after Donald Trump. I remember he came to Washington. He was giving a speech blasting Donald Trump, thinking maybe that would help him. It clearly did not. Trump sort of basks in the fact that Rick Perry's ratings, or poll numbers, went down after he directly went after him. What do you make of that?

CUPP: Yes. It was almost this perfect storm for Rick Perry. Here comes Donald Trump encroaching on one of Rick Perry's signature issues, immigration. And I think he thought rightly that it was safe to go after this businessman who was speaking very offensively about this issue and bring his record to bear and his experience to bear. Obviously that backfired.

I'm not sure that's exactly why or the only reason that Rick Perry's campaign can't go any further, but it reminds me a little bit of 2012 and Tim Pawlenty. You know, Tim Pawlenty got in in May of 2011. And by August, mid-August of 2011, he ended his campaign. And I remember seeing him a few months later socially and I asked him, you know, knowing what you know now, do you wish you had stuck in a little bit longer?

Because at that time Republicans were not enthusiastic about Mitt Romney and they had Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, and had maybe Tim Pawlenty stuck around and the field had cleared, he might have been the viable alternative. There's not much you can do when you run out of money, but I'm wondering if Rick Perry, once this huge field whittles down, if Rick Perry thinks, maybe I got out a little too soon.

BLITZER: Tim Pawlenty was the governor of Minnesota and there were high expectations for him that didn't exactly work out.

CUPP: Yes.

BLITZER: And you're absolutely right, he dropped even before that first contest. The caucuses in Iowa.

And Nia-Malika Henderson, it's still important to know that this is the first casualty of this race for the White House among the Republicans. Presumably fairly soon there are going to be some more.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Because as S.E. said, it takes money to run for president. You can't just sort of live off the fat of the land because you've got to pay people in these different states. You've got to try to build an infrastructure. And one thing that would be interesting to see is who gets Rick Perry's people. He had a pretty good team in South Carolina, people he hadn't been paying for awhile.

Do people start to try to poach those folks that he had, particularly in South Carolina, some top folks there who really know the state, who starts to encroach on what Perry had tried to lay down in South Carolina. We have to see who drops out next. I mean there are so many people

who are really at the basement in terms of these polls. They're going to be featured in our CNN debate, but again, can they just continue to live off the fat of the land rather than seeing some increase in their poll numbers. So we'll have to see who's next. I mean, you've got people like Gilmore, even Jindal. He is not doing too well in the polls.

People like George Pataki, again, great resumes. These people, in a prior field, they might have been standout candidates, but in this field, it's not so much experience that a lot of these voters are looking for. They're looking for attitude, they're looking for this populist rhetoric that Donald Trump really has mastered so far.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It really is amazing what a difference, Wolf, four years make in this.

BLITZER: All right.

KEILAR: An d-- sorry, Wolf?

BLITZER: Hold on for a moment, Brianna. I want to get to you but he's getting ready to announce that he's suspending his campaigns.

Rick Perry at the Eagle Forum in St. Louis.

RICK PERRY (R), FORMER TEXAS GOVERNOR: An extraordinarily powerful economic place. From 2007 through the end of 2014, 1.5 million jobs were created in that one state. While the rest of the country collectively lost 400,000 jobs.

Those are conservative policies. It is a place where life was protected and people flocked there. They came in droves. We added some six million people to our populations during that decade. And in case you're asking, are you thinking it wasn't because the weather is so great in August that they came?


PERRY: They came there because they -- there's still a place where freedom matters, where freedom reigns. For me the message has always been greater than the man.

The conservative movement has always been about principles, not about personalities. Our nominee should embody those principles. He or she must make the case for the cause of conservatism more than the cause of their own celebrity. I still believe in the power of that message, a message that offers hope, redemption and solace in the midst of storms.

When I gave my life to Christ, I said your ways are greater than my ways. Your will is superior to mine.

[17:35:13] Today I submit to you his will remains a mystery, but some things have become very clear to me. That is why today I am suspending my campaign for the presidency of the United States. We have a tremendous field of candidates, probably the greatest group of men and women. I step aside knowing our party is in good hands, as long as we listen to the grassroots, listen to that cause of conservatism. If we do that, then our party will be in good hands.

And I want to share with you -- I give you this news with no regrets. It has been a privilege for me. It has been an honor to travel this country, to speak with the American people about their hopes and their dreams. To see a sense of optimism being prevalent, despite this season of cynical politics.

And as I approach the next chapter of my life, I do it with the love of my life at my side, Anita Perry. We have a house in the country. We have two beautiful children, two absolutely adorable, beautiful, smart granddaughters, four dogs and the absolute best sunset you have ever seen from the back porch of that house.


PERRY: Indeed life is good.


PERRY: I am a blessed man.

BLITZER: All right. So there you have it. Rick Perry, the former governor of Texas, three-term governor of Texas, the Republican presidential candidate, announcing he's suspending his campaign right now.

The word "suspend" is a legal word. They can't just say they're dropping out because there's some technical money issues that have to be followed. You suspend a campaign, you can continue to fund raise a bit. If you cancel it right away, presumably you can't, so the lawyers always tell these candidates who are dropping out, use the word "suspend," don't say simply dropping out. But it's clear he no longer is a candidate for president of the United States.

We'll take a quick break. Much more right after this.


[17:42:59] BLITZER: On this the 14th anniversary of the airline hijackings and terror attacks on New York City, the Pentagon, Shanksville, Pennsylvania, we're getting new warnings about a suddenly out-in-the-open feud between the leader of al Qaeda and the leader of ISIS. Experts say the feud could be dangerous to the United States.

CNN's Brian Todd is joining us now, . He has more.

Brian, explain what's going on.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, tonight U.S. intelligence officials and terrorism analysts are telling us the open wound nature of this message from al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri is extraordinary. Repeatedly he personally attacks ISIS' brutal and mysterious chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. This could bring serious consequences not only to each of them but also to American counter terror units trying to combat them.


TODD (voice-over): They famously split, are competing for recruits, and now it's personal. Tonight for the first time we hear al Qaeda leader Ayman Zawahiri openly attack ISIS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi by name. In an audio message Zawahiri calls Baghdadi an ISIS illegitimate.

AYMAN AL-ZAWAHIRI, AL QAEDA LEADER (Through Translator): We do not acknowledge the caliphate. And the Muslims are not obligated to pledge allegiance to it. And we do not see Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as one worthy of the caliphate.

TODD: This is pure frustration, analysts say, over Baghdadi and ISIS heavily recruiting jihadists, and stealing al Qaeda's propaganda thunder.

NICHOLAS PALERMO, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: You can compare it to two drug gangs or two mafia mobs. And here they are, one is encroaching on the other's territory.

TODD: A U.S. intelligence official tells CNN this could reflect Zawahiri's bitterness after ISIS rejected his attempts to mend fences. But there's clearly personal animosity at play.

WILLIAM MCCANTS, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: Zawahiri and Baghdadi hate each other a lot. Zawahiri from his perspective sees Baghdadi as an undisciplined disobedient upstart. Baghdadi for his part sees Zawahiri as too meddlesome in other people's affairs. TODD: The broad side from terrorist leader toward the other brings a

strong warning tonight from one of Congress's top Homeland Security leaders, that al Qaeda and ISIS will now ramp up efforts to outdo each other with deadly consequences for America.

[17:45:04] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you see that kind of competition, I worry that they're going to up the ante to try to win -- be the winning game in town and attack the United States.

TODD: The competition has already started. Taking a page from ISIS' playbook, al Qaeda has recently stepped up its calls for lone wolf attacks. In its "Inspire" magazine, pleading for its followers to assassinate American business leaders like Bill Gates, the Koch brothers, Warren Buffett, but Zawahiri also indicated they could work together to attack the West, saying if he was in Iraq or Syria, quote, "I would cooperate with them in fighting the crusaders."

PALERMO: He does not want to take all his cords off table. Because if the Islamic State begins to gain more momentum and it becomes even stronger than it is now over al Qaeda, and it is, then Zawahiri wants to leave his options open.


TODD: A U.S. intelligence official tells CNN they cannot rule out some cooperation between ISIS and al Qaeda, but he also says the level of distrust and enmity between these two leaders may prevent a full reconciliation that might heighten the tension, might heighten the threat against the U.S. -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Could Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi retaliate against Zawahiri? Is that likely to happen?

TODD: Analysts say he could and that he probably will, Wolf. Now with al Qaeda fighters not far away physically from ISIS units in Syria and Iraq, Baghdadi could order some kind of attack on al Qaeda. He could also very easily issue his own public messages against Zawahiri or have his followers do that on social media. As one analyst put it, this guy is a barbarian. Of course he's going to respond.

BLITZER: Brian Todd, thanks very, very much.

Let's get some analysts. Joining us now, the former CIA officials, our CNN counterterrorism analyst Phil Mudd.

Phil, what is this message from the al Qaeda leader, Ayman al- Zawahiri, calling ISIS illegitimate tell you? Could this be a competition that is about to take place between these two terror groups, ISIS and al Qaeda, with the U.S. the target?

PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: Boy, it could have been a competition a few years ago, but right now if I'm Baghdadi, I'm looking at Ayman al-Zawahiri and al Qaeda in the rear-view mirror. Al Qaeda has a minimal presence now in Pakistan compared to where we were 14 years ago. Their leadership is decimated.

This message to me is interesting because first Zawahiri is going to be reluctant to come out and so openly confront Baghdadi, but more interestingly what he is saying is that Baghdadi does not represent the message that bin Laden wanted transmitted. I think what he's saying is this is not just the difference between getting out- recruited, it's a fundamental ideological difference.

BLITZER: Phil Mudd, thanks very, very much.

MUDD: Thank you.

BLITZER: We'll stay on top of this story for our viewers.

Coming up, the breaking news in the presidential race, Rick Perry, the former Texas governor, just announced he's suspending his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.

And President Obama uses this anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks to make his first public remarks about the threat of Russian troops in Syria.


[17:52:24] BLITZER: President Obama took part in several events today to mark today's anniversary of the 2001 terror attacks. He and the first lady observed a moment of silence at the White House. And this afternoon the president held a worldwide town hall to take questions from U.S. troops.

Let's go to our White House correspondent Michelle Kosinski to bring us up to speed. A very emotional, powerful day today, Michelle.

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It was. And yes, this is the first time we've heard from the president directly on Russia's new military activity inside Syria. And he went a step further than what we've been hearing from his administration over the last couple of days. I mean, the White House keeps saying that Russia's intentions are unclear in Syria and that they hope it's directed at fighting ISIS. But today the president hazarded a guess as to what exactly they're up to and he called Russia's calculations a big mistake.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It appears now that Assad is worried enough that he's inviting Russian advisers in and Russian equipment in. And that won't change our core strategy, which is to continue to put pressure on ISIL in Iraq and Syria. But we are going to be engaging Russia to let them know that you can't continue to double down on a strategy that's doomed to failure.


KOSINSKI: And he says this is going to be a long discussion the U.S. is going to have with Russia and it's apparently one that's been going on for a long time. I mean, he said four to five years ago he had a conversation with Putin warning him that supporting the Assad regime, providing it with money and arms, was a mistake. He said that Putin did not heed that warning and that now Russia needs to, quote, "get smarter."

If there's any good news the president said that Russia does share the U.S. concern in countering violent extremism. They also see ISIS as dangerous. And the president wants the U.S. to work with Russia on that. But he said that Russia's continuing support for the regime is going to prevent a political settlement and a ceasefire that the U.S. sees as very important also in fighting ISIS -- Wolf.

BLITZER: And there -- this whole war against ISIS, it seems to be going on and on and on. Is there any indication the president is getting ready to take some new steps?

KOSINSKI: Not anything we're hearing from the White House. I mean, today they were asked directly. I mean, we asked the question, does the president still believe that the coalition is winning the war against ISIS? And that's a question they don't want to answer directly. And that's something we've heard for a long time.

What they did was list a long string of what they see as progress. But the way they keep framing it is, the U.S. sees this as a long fight. The president knows that there are going to be periods of progress as well as setbacks. And they say important progress has been made overall, Wolf.

[17:55:10] BLITZER: Michelle Kosinski at the White House, thank you.

Coming up, with the Republicans already ripping into one another the stage is now set for the GOP debate. Carly Fiorina will get a chance to get back at Trump but Ben Carson says he's not taking the bait.


BLITZER: Happening now, breaking news. Perry out. The former Texas governor Rick Perry suspends his presidential campaign and takes some serious swipes at Donald Trump who had been targeting Perry with sharp attacks. Is Perry the campaign's first Trump casualty?

Trump versus Fiorina. Donald Trump offers a new explanation for his controversial slam against Carly Fiorina.