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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Strongest Hurricane Ever About To Hit Land; Trump Holding Campaign Rally in Miami Tonight; Clinton Draws Praise for Benghazi Hearing; American Soldier Killed During ISIS Hostage Rescue; Drugmaker Offers $1 Version of $750 Life-Saving Pill. Aired 7-8:00p ET
Aired October 23, 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 next, monster storm. Hurricane Patricia, the most powerful hurricane ever recorded barreling into the Pacific Coast. Millions in its path, almost no time to evacuate. We are live where Patricia is slamming onshore.
Plus, Donald Trump taking a big hit in the polls today, gearing up to slam Ben Carson. Speaking at a rally this hour, we'll go live to Miami. And ISIS killing a U.S. commando in Iraq. The Intel for his mission terribly wrong. What happened? Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, breaking news. The strongest hurricane ever. Hurricane Patricia being called the most powerful in recorded history. Look at this picture of the mammoth storm. This was taken from the international space station. This is a storm defying history in almost every way, exploding overnight from nothing more than a tropical storm to a category 5 hurricane. That happened in just 24 hours. Now Hurricane Patricia is about to slam into the Pacific Coast of Mexico, with wind speeds at about 200 miles an hour and higher. Gusts well above that.
Millions of people, including an unknown number of American tourists, in its path tonight. Desperately trying to evacuate. Obviously, so little time, because no one expected this. Patricia is a catastrophic storm. Forecasters warning the potential for death and destruction is high. The fear as an enormous storm surges will cause massive flooding and mudslides.
Martin Savidge begins our coverage OUTFRONT tonight in Puerto Vallarta where the storm will make landfall. And obviously, Martin, you are minutes, maybe an hour or so away. I know it's very close. How bad are things right now where the storm's hitting?
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, given everything that you've just described, you would expect to come to us and you'd see utter devastation in the background and maybe me hanging on by my eyelashes. It's not happening, not here. That devastation is taking place, be sure. But it appears that this storm has tacked into the south of Puerto Vallarta. It is still going to get hit here, but it doesn't appear that it's going to be a direct hit. And that is, of course, for the people who live here and for all those that are evacuated, extremely welcome news.
Because this city, right on the coast, as it is, and being such a tourist Mecca, is so vulnerable. And that's what they feared, because there was so little time to prepare. They still were able to evacuate thousands of tourists, many of them are actually taken far away to get out of the path of this storm. And then the other local people here have been put into shelters. So right now, they're hunkered down, hardly anybody is out. Everything is shut down. The power is still on. That's good news. But the devastation hasn't occurred and it doesn't look like it's going to occur here. But again, I can't stress to you, it is happening. And probably not that far away. It is a horrific storm -- Erin.
BURNETT: I mean, some of the images we're seeing, Martin, are truly incredible. Do we have any sense of the human cost of this yet?
SAVIDGE: No, you don't. I mean, because of what we both have just stressed here is the lack of, you know, real lead time for preparation. This is an emergency manager's nightmare that you would have a storm that literally explodes off the coast with no time to essentially plan or even move people. They've done the best they've could. They've even pre-positioned heavy earth-moving equipment. We saw that on the seven-hour drive that took for us to get into the city. Almost all the traffic, of course, outbound. But we did see heavy earth-moving equipment being brought in. That's key, because roads are bound to be closed by mudslides, if not by debris. You can't move in the first responders and help if you can't drive down the road. So, it's going to be a very anxious night -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Martin Savidge, thank you very much, in Puerto Vallarta. Fifteen thousand tourists have been evacuated. There are still countless Americans in harm's way, though, tonight.
Amara Bessa is one of them. She's staying in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Amara, you were evacuated from your room this afternoon. Where are you right now?
AMARA BESSA, AMERICAN TOURIST IN PUERTO VALLARTA, MEXICO (by the phone): Yes, they evacuated everybody into the employee building, which apparently is supposed to be the safest building on site here. It's built out of all cement and they're in the process of boarding up all windows right now.
BURNETT: And what's it like? I mean, how many people are there? What's the situation in terms of food and water?
BESSA: It was pretty chaotic at first, you know, I think a bit of panic set in for a lot of people, and people were kind of rushing to get a space inside the building. It's actually ended up being about three floors here and they have pulled in pool chairs for people to be able to lay on. There were pillows and blankets being distributed and they were bringing around sandwiches and water for people. Certain areas of the building are a little nicer than others. We actually initially had air-conditioning in a few sections of the building, but there is an entire floor that did not. And it was about 100 degrees here in that area. So very claustrophobic because it was all boarded up.
[19:05:23] BURNETT: And you know, this was something that really wasn't expected Amara, it was a tropical storm, right, and then all of a sudden overnight, from nothing to the strongest storm in history. I mean, nobody expected it. I mean, do you feel like the resort you're at is prepared?
BESSA: Yes, you know, I think that they could be a little more prepared, but, I mean, we were actually headed the into Puerto Vallarta to the city for a dinner reservation when we found out the hurricane was coming. So, we were very unprepared. And then first thing this morning, you know, heard that it was going to be a category 5. So, I raced over to the market here first thing in the morning and everybody at the resort was doing the same thing, to get food and water and make sure that we would have something. I feel like, you know, I've never been through something like this. So they didn't give us a whole lot of information on how to prepare and they just told everyone to meet in the lobby at a certain time and then they evacuated everyone out of the building.
BURNETT: Well, we will be thinking of you, and good luck, Amara. I hope that the next few hours go safely for you. Thank you.
BESSA: Thank you so much.
BURNETT: I want to go now to Captain Chase Allen. He's a pilot with the 53rd weather reconnaissance weather squadron. He flew into Hurricane Patricia, recording winds of over 200 miles an hour. I mean, Captain Allen, this is the strongest storm in recorded history. What was it like inside?
CAPTAIN CHASE ALLEN, U.S. AIR FORCE: Severe turbulence. There was a lot of rain associated with the storm, obviously. The eye was very well-defined and very well wrapped around, I guess you could say. And so penetrating the wall was, like I said, severe turbulence and a lot of rain and it was a small eye wall, so we had to work really quickly to drop the weather instruments. Usually, in a storm, you have an item might be 30 nautical miles, so you have more time to work on dropping your weather instruments. In this case, everything happened so quickly with the small eye like that, there's a lot going on, and we were just having to work as a crew together and deal with the task at hand, and just back each other up all the way. So, it was pretty intense ride, but overall, worked out and we got some good data out of it.
BURNETT: I mean, it's pretty stunning though. I mean, how do you keep control? We're talking about the strongest storm in recorded history. How do you as a pilot stay in control with rain like that, with wind like that, with turbulence? I mean, it's incredible.
ALLEN: It is. The C-130 is a big airplane, so it's proven to handle itself well. And as a pilot, we just make sure if we're encountering severe turbulence like that, we remain correct altitude with the airplane and just keep control of the airplane and do what we need to do to keep safety, basically.
BURNETT: Have you ever experienced anything like this? I mean, you, obviously, have done this many times, going in around the eye walls and dealing with this. But when we say, you know, biggest in history, or strongest in history, what -- have you seen anything like that it?
ALLEN: I've experienced some turbulence -- I wouldn't say as severe, but I have had some turbulence that has definitely been a wake-up call. So, I was expecting this going in to Patricia, but this was definitely the most severe storm that I've flown to date, as far as turbulence.
BURNETT: And you were flying, I know, low, in order to get your instruments, in order to get all the data. What could you see when you looked at the surface of the ocean.
ALLEN: Normally when you break out in the eye, you would have what we call a stadium effect. So you'd see the whole eye wall from inside the eye, which is a really good picture, and you can look straight up, sometimes, see clear skies, but we didn't have any of that. We could just see lightning flashes and that was pretty much it.
BURNETT: All right. Well, Captain Allen, thank you so much for being with us.
ALLEN: You're welcome. Thanks for having me.
BURNETT: All right. I want to go now to meteorologist Jennifer Gray. And Jennifer, how bad is this going to be?
JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: This could possibly be catastrophic, especially for the town that this eye crosses over. And it is doing that as we speak. The good news about this storm, if there is any, is that it is small in size. It's powerful, but it's small. And so hurricane force winds only extend about 35 miles from the center, but you can see it approaching landfall right now. It is continuing to weaken, but winds, 190 miles per hour, with gusts of 235 miles per hour. This is unprecedented. We've never had a storm this strong making landfall. And so this is going to be devastating for the area where it is crossing over right now.
[19:10:18] La Manzanillo is basically the coastal town that we can find that is closest to where that eye is crossing. The official statement hasn't come out about it making landfall, but it is approaching, as we speak. It is going to move quickly, a category 3 by 11:00 tonight, so it's going to lose strength rapidly, but it is going to contain a lot of rain and we are going to see that storm surge that we've been talking about all day, that's going to come with that category 5 storm. So it is making landfall, as a category 5, Erin, and then it is going to be downgraded to a tropical storm. Rain is going to be a huge concern, as well. We could see anywhere from 10 to 20 inches of rain. And then once it enters this mountainous terrain, that's going to shred the storm and cause it to weaken. We could see mud slides in this area because of the terrain and the amount of rainfall that's expected -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Jennifer, thank you very much. We'll keep monitoring that as it gets ready to hit land, more fully up near Puerto Vallarta. OUTFRONT next, though, we are standing by for Donald Trump about
to speak live before a big crowd in Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio's backyard, as a second poll shows him trailing Ben Carson in Hawaii. Is it over?
Plus, Hillary Clinton coming off what's being called the best ten days of her political career. Has she really, though, put Benghazi behind her?
And a U.S. soldier killed in an ill-faded raid on an Iraqi prison. Tonight, shocking new details about how that raid went down and went wrong.
[19:14:55] BURNETT: You're looking at live pictures out of Miami, Florida. We're going to show you here, that's the podium where Donald Trump will be in a moment, holding a campaign rally right in the backyard of Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush. We're waiting to see if he attacks his top rival, Ben Carson. Because the latest poll out of Iowa shows Trump nine points behind Carson. The second day in a row of polling has shown Trump is not the frontrunner there. Jake Tapper just sat down with Donald Trump moments ago, asked him about these polls. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, first of all, I was really surprised to see it, because three nights ago, I was in Iowa. We had a packed house. We had 4,000 people and it was a lovefest. And I've done really well with the evangelicals, with the Tea Party and everything, and I just don't understand the number. But you know what, I accept the number. It means I have to work a little bit harder in Iowa.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, Sara Murray. She's live at the Trump event in Miami. Sara, obviously, that's pretty calm Donald Trump, but saying he accepts it and he is going to work harder. Not fighting back against it. How worried is his campaign against these two new polls?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Well, I think we're going to get a better sense of that here tonight, Erin. I think if you see Donald Trump come out swinging against Ben Carson, you will definitely get an indication they're worried. At any rate, this is a guy who loves the poll. He's probably going to be a little bit less excited to talk about those tonight.
MURRAY (voice-over): Donald Trump, who lives for the polls --
TRUMP: I'm leading in every single poll.
The reports are amazing. I love polls. I've been at the top of every poll.
MURRAY: No longer leads in all of them. Today, there's a new man on top in the Hawkeye State. Dr. Ben Carson, polling to the lead in Iowa. And it's not a small one. A new "Des Moines Register"/Bloomberg Politics poll shows Carson with 28 percent support. Nine points ahead of Donald Trump.
DR. BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm gratified by the fact that so many people are really paying attention to what I'm saying. Because none of the things that I'm saying are wild, crazy things. They are very logical things. And if people really sat down and thought about them rather than allowing themselves to be whipped into a frenzy.
MURRAY: Trump is fresh out of the campaign trail in Iowa, where he bragged about his lead.
TRUMP: I love these polls. And I say to people, when they always say, you love to mention the polls, nobody else does, they say, that's because they're losing. They're not stupid people.
MURRAY: Now, he's struggling to explain two polls in as many days, showing he's no longer on top.
TRUMP: I was very, very surprised to see sit, because I think we're doing well in Iowa. I have a feeling we're doing much better in Iowa than the polls are showing, if you want to know the truth. But we had an amazing crowd. I'm sure you saw it, because it was all over television.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I did.
MURRAY: Polls show Trump is still in first nationwide. But Carson is looking to solidify his position, going up on the airwaves with two new ads slamming Washington.
CARSON: Did you know Washington is built on a swamp? Massive government debt, stifling regulation, special entrance politics partisan dysfunction. Now it all makes sense. Washington is broken.
JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're on the verge of greatness.
MURRAY: Meantime, Jeb Bush in fifth place with just five percent support in Iowa is trying to regroup. His campaign is cutting salaries across the board and downsizing their staff at headquarters.
BURNETT: And that was our Sara Murray there. Donald Trump is going to be speaking momentarily and we'll going to be monitoring that to see if he talks about the polls, if he talks about Ben Carson. OUTFRONT now, the former Reagan White House Political Director
Jeffrey Lord, a Donald Trump supporter, along with Ana Navarro, she is our political commentator, Jeb Bush supporter, also friends with Marco Rubio.
Jeff, let me start with you. Two polls come out saying Donald Trump is now not on top and it's a pretty significant lead for Ben Carson. How concerning is this?
JEFFREY LORD, FORMER REAGAN WHITE HOUSE POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, you know, polls go up and down, but sure, I mean, Donald Trump is right to say that he's going to pay attention to them and work harder. I talked to someone in Iowa yesterday who gave me the following story, which I thought was very interesting. Burlington, Iowa is apparently has a population of about 25,000. Four years ago, Rick Santorum won Burlington, Iowa, with the grand total of 388 votes, period. Donald Trump had this rally, as he referred to, just this week, in which he had about 4,000 people present in Burlington, Iowa. That's an indication to me that perhaps these polls are not quite as accurate and reflecting what's on the ground. And I'm also told that about half the people in the audience were women. So -- and a lot of these people were people who have not been involved in politics before and are really out there, specifically for Donald Trump. So, I do think that we need to be careful when we look at these. But there's no question, you look at these polls and you work harder. That's what you do.
[19:19:50] BURNETT: And Ana, I mean, this is -- I guess, obviously, you're supporting Jeb Bush in fifth place in Iowa, so I mean, I'm sure you're not thrilled about the polls either. Are you surprised, though, that when you see Trump on top, and we just -- you know, two days ago, it was 100 days of Donald Trump on top of every single poll. Then all of a sudden, there were two polls, granted, just one state, but a very important state.
ANA NAVARRO, JEB BUSH SUPPORTER AND FRIEND OF MARCO RUBIO: Am I surprised to see Ben Carson on top? Not really. You know, in the Republican Party, we tend to do that. We tend to have -- and change it a lot. To Donald Trump's credit, and also Ben Carson, they have managed to stay on top for a very long time. Usually, we play a little bit more of musical chairs at a faster pace than what it's been in 2016. But I think as, you know, as the campaign goes on, as the year goes on, people are focusing on policy, people are focusing on the candidates, and I think you, you know, Donald Trump, his shtick got a little old after a while. He's had some issues with religious and faith voters. And I think people, frankly, like Ben Carson's personality.
BURNETT: So, let me ask you about this, Jeff, though, because now all of a sudden, look, Donald Trump has been the subject of an incredible amount of scrutiny and criticism, right? And that maybe gains you in the polls, but also can also start to hurt in the polls. Ben Carson now is going to be on top. He's going to start getting a little bit more of that. And he was asked today about being first place in Iowa. So, first, I want to play for you what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARSON: I'm gratified by the fact that so many people are really paying attention to what I'm saying. Because none of the things that I'm saying are wild, crazy things. They are very logical things.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: You heard him. He said nothing he's saying is wild and crazy. So let's let people hear for themselves what he's been saying. Here's Ben Carson.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARSON: You know, ObamaCare is really, I think, the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery. A lot of people who go into prison go into prison straight and when they come out, they're gay. I think the likelihood of Hitler being able to accomplish his goals would have been greatly diminished if the people had been armed.
I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I would absolutely not agree with that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Look, Jeff, are comments like that going to end up helping him? Now people will start hearing more of this, right? It's going to get more and more dissected. Is that going to help him rise more in the polls?
LORD: Right. Well, I think it depends on where. I think, you know, when you get away from East Coast America and West Coast America, those comments may resonate or some of them, at least. I mean, I think we discussed on your show, Erin, that the comment about Hitler.
LORD: And in point of fact, there was a rebellion and I mean, he is right, historically. But, you know, some of the others, I understand where they're going to be controversial in different places. But you know, we're talking Iowa here, and I think there might be a lot of folks who agree with it or some of them at least.
BURNETT: Ana, final word?
NAVARRO: Well, you know, Erin, Donald Trump has been saying outrageous things for what, four, five months now and it hasn't hurt him. So I think some other things that Ben Carson is saying resonates with the base. He became a mythical figure for the republican base when he took on ObamaCare, in front of President Obama, at the National Prayer Breakfast. And, you know, he's become a figure and high profile for that.
BURNETT: All right, well, I thank you both very much --
LORD: Watch the immigration issue, though, Erin. BURNETT: Yes.
LORD: Watch the immigration issue. I think Donald Trump will take him on there.
BURNETT: All right, we will see. Of course, Donald Trump, so everyone knows, these are live pictures of Donald Trump speaking. We'll going to be watching this to see whether he does talks about these polls, Hillary Clinton and Benghazi or Ben Carson, and bring you those key points comments if he does. You can see more of Jake's interview with Donald Trump this Sunday on "State of the Union" as well at 9:00 a.m. here on CNN.
And coming up next, we're going to go back to Mexico for the latest on the strongest hurricane in history, Hurricane Patricia, the category 5 storm with Texas and Louisiana in its sights.
And Hillary Clinton won the debate, survived a grilling on the hill, got rid of Joe Biden, tonight, her lead in Iowa widening. Is the race for the democratic nomination over?
[19:28:00] BURNETT: And we're following the breaking news at this moment. The strongest hurricane ever recorded has made landfall. Literally coming onshore as I speak. It's a category 5 storm, sustained winds of a nearly 200 miles an hour, hitting the Pacific Coast of Mexico. The storm surge inundating homes, businesses, resorts. Tens of millions in the storm's path. Flights to and from the United States canceled, and many a vacationers stranded. A lot of the shelters don't have food, water, or power because the storm got so strong, so quickly, it was completely unexpected.
Rosa Flores is OUTFRONT live in Guadalajara, Mexico. And Rosa, what is the scene where you are tonight?
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Erin. Well, my team and I just arrived to Guadalajara. We flew in from Chicago. And I can tell you that there is a calm before the storm here. A lot of folks are actually evacuating in this direction. We've been monitoring all of the Twitter feeds and all of the cables from the federal government. They have activated every single federal agency imaginable, because they know that this is a wicked storm that's on its way. And they're comparing it, Erin, to a storm that hit in 1959. Authorities had said, you know, hurricanes were first reported in 1949, they were being recorded. This is how far back they're having to go, because they're expecting this hurricane to be just so incredibly devastating.
Now, they've got about 1,700 shelters established in the outskirts of that coastal area. Now, that will only take about 258,000 people, and so they're bracing for it. They're asking the folks to evacuate from those coastal areas. You probably learned that about 15,000 tourists have been evacuated through these areas. So, again, Erin, there's a calm before the storm here in Guadalajara and some of those folks from the coastal areas head to this part of the state. BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Rosa Flores, reporting
live, as we said, from the path of the storm tonight. And tonight, Hillary Clinton is closing the books on what it says may have been, but I think it's fair to say, has been the ten best days of her campaign. A new poll out of Iowa showing her with an 11-point lead over Bernie Sanders. That's just days after their first debate, and of course, it's just about a day after Vice President Biden said he's not going to run. And these headlines sum up yesterday's marathon hearing on Benghazi.
The verdict: Hillary Clinton emerged unscathed after 11 hours of questions.
So, is this the turning point for the Democratic front-runner?
Jeff Zeleny is OUTFRONT.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: (voice-over): Hillary Clinton is back on her feet.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hello, everybody!
ZELENY: And confident after the strongest ten-day stretch of her campaign.
CLINTON: I can't tell you how great it feels to be here on this beautiful day out in the sunshine.
ZELENY: A commanding debate performance, escaping a Joe Biden challenge and emerging unscathed from a grilling Benghazi hearing.
Today, a victory lap in Virginia.
ZELENY: A summertime controversy becoming a fall triumph.
GOV. TERRY MCAULIFFE (D), VIRGINIA: You want to talk about a fighter, how about those 11 hours of testimony yesterday?
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
ZELENY: Virginia governor and long-time Clinton confidant Terry McAuliffe leading the cheers.
MCAULIFFE: This is why she needs to be our commander in chief.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
ZELENY: The Benghazi hearing has hung over Clinton's campaign like a dark cloud. But she stood her ground and kept her cool during a session that lasted 11 hours, knowing not everyone is on her side.
CLINTON: I really don't care what you all say about me. It doesn't bother me a bit.
ZELENY: Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy conceded he learned nothing new.
REP. TREY GOWDY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I don't know that she testified that much differently today than she has previous time she's testified.
ZELENY: With the testimony behind her, Clinton is trying to build on her momentum.
CLINTON: You know, a lot of things have been said about me, but quitter is not one of them.
ZELENY: Today, she basked in the glow of the crowd.
Linda Brown, a Virginia Democrat, said the Benghazi hearing was a lifeline for Clinton's candidacy.
(on camera): How have these last ten days been?
LINDA BROWN, CLINTON SUPPORTER: I think the nation should be applauded. I think she should be applauded. She looks great. She endured 11 hours almost without sweat. It was awesome.
ZELENY (voice-over): She's on the rise in Iowa. A new Quinnipiac poll today shows her at 51 percent, up 11 points from a month ago. Bernie Sanders holding steady at 40 percent.
The Democratic field is now down to three. Former Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee, the latest candidate to drop out.
LINCOLN CHAFEE (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Obviously, it's a good week for Secretary Clinton.
ZELENY: And Clinton extended a hand to Joe Biden as she tries to fire up the Obama coalition.
CLINTON: So I agree with what Vice President Biden said the other day in the Rose Garden -- Democrats should be proud of that record of achievement. And we should defend it!
ZELENY: Now, the Clinton campaign is celebrating, at least for now. Saying today it recorded the biggest fund-raising hour of its entire campaign last night, from 9:00 to 10:00 p.m. Eastern, just after she stepped from the witness chair. She's heading to Iowa tomorrow to try to keep this momentum alive and she'll be joined by someone we've seen very little of this year, that's Bill Clinton, who's about to take his behind-the-scenes role to the forefront and start campaigning even more -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Jeff, thank you very much.
And OUTFRONT now, Jennifer Palmieri. She is the communications director for Hillary Clinton's campaign here with me in New York tonight.
Look, you've got a smile on your face. It's been a great few days for your candidate. Clinton has an 11-point lead in Iowa. Is this a sign that Bernie Sanders is not a threat anymore? That she can move on behind that?
JENNIFER PALMIERI, HILLARY CLINTON CAMPAIGN COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER: No, she's always been doing better in Iowa than she has in other states. So, 11 points is -- she really had not been as high as that, but that's about where she's been. So, this is -- we feel great she's had a couple of great weeks and the debate was the high point. You know, yesterday, we were very proud of how well she did under difficult circumstances, but that was a great moment for to be able to talk about issues and what she would do for people as president.
But it is still, you know, you know, both Iowa and New Hampshire are very close. We know, you know, the system to get the Democratic nomination, it's built to be hard and it's built to be very competitive. And Senator Sanders is a really strong competitor. He has very committed supporter. So, this is great, but we know --
BURNETT: You're not getting ahead of yourself.
PALMIERI: No, polls go up and down. And it is going to be a real fight to win Iowa and to win New Hampshire and then go on from there.
BURNETT: So, just periodically, talking about the best hour in fund-raising after her testimony. Now, that isn't your fault or not your fault, but obviously your campaign or the Democrats have hit the Republicans over making Benghazi politicized, right? That's been the argument.
And yet the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, so that's the DCCC, sent out an e-mail yesterday to raise money after the hearing saying, look at how great she did in this hearing.
[19:35:03] PALMIERI: Yes.
BURNETT: Is that in poor taste? Are you frustrated they did that?
PALMIERI: No, it's fine. This is -- our view was, she wanted to go to the hearing -- her hope was that the hearing would be about, what can we do to prevent future tragedies like Benghazi, to protect diplomats? It really didn't end up being that way. The Republicans have, even outside the committee, made it partisan, operated in a partisan way.
So, our campaign didn't do that. We had -- we had a lot of social media happening last night about standing with Hillary. We didn't actually do fund-raising but -- last night, but what was interesting is just to see that people wanted to rally around her, which was nice after -- right when the hearing ended.
BURNETT: So, after the hearing, the chairman of the Benghazi committee was asked about whether he learned anything new, Trey Gowdy. His answer was, I'm sure he's not happy with this answer, but let me just play it for you, Jen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: There are things you learned today?
GOWDY: I think some of Jimmy Jordan's questioning. Well, when you saw new today, I mean, we knew some of that already. In terms of her testimony? I don't know that she testified that much differently today than she has the previous time she's testified. So, I'd have to go and look at the transcript.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: All right. Maybe an honest answer, but honestly not a good one. There were a couple of things in there, though.
PALMIERI: She did testify the last she has, because nothing's change and the line of questioning hasn't changed.
BURNETT: But there were a couple of things that at least the public didn't know, right? They didn't know she sent an e-mail to her family members saying it was a responsibility -- it was an al Qaeda- linked group was responsible. The American public didn't know she had spoken to an Egyptian official quickly after the attack and said, it's not linked to the video and it was an al Qaeda-linked group.
The American public didn't know that. Those were new things to the American public. Is Benghazi really behind her?
PALMIERI: I think so. The moments that you noticed with the e- mail to her family and with the call to the Egyptian prime minister, and I was working for President Obama at the time of Benghazi. Those first few days afterwards, it was very confusing. There was literally the fog of war and we had intelligence coming in that said conflicting things.
So, what you saw in her public statements at the time, what you saw in her private correspondents with her family and in phone conversations is the best information we had then. And the situation kept changing until, eventually, a still relatively muddled picture emerged of a lot of factors that contributed to this. It was partly the video. You know, there was terrorist activity behind this. The man who was eventually arrested said the video had inspired him.
So, but what is revealed when you are able to see how these pieces, what happens behind the scenes is what it's really like to be there, which is conflicting information, and that's what that was reflected on, and that's stuff that has been covered before. I think it's fine and sort of interesting for people to see what happens behind the scenes, but that was the best that she knew at the time.
BURNETT: All right. Jennifer Palmieri --
(CROSSTALK) PALMIERI: Yes, if Chairman Gowdy didn't get anything new out of
it, I don't know that they were asking the right questions.
BURNETT: All right. Appreciate your time tonight.
OUTFRONT next, an American commando killed during a rescue mission in Iraq. We're learning shocking new details about just how little the U.S. even knew about this mission before the Pentagon put American Special Forces lives' on the line.
And remember that drug company CEO named the most hated man in America, his company raised the price of a drug by 5,000 percent. Well, we have a new report tonight how a rival is giving him a run for his money.
[19:42:45] BURNETT: Tonight, major questions about why an American died fighting ISIS. Thirty-nine-year-old master sergeant Joshua Wheeler was shot and killed by ISIS during a hostage rescue mission in Iraq. And tonight, officials are admitting they don't even know who America's top fighters were trying to rescue when they sent them in on this mission. How did this happen?
Jim Sciutto is OUTFRONT with breaking details tonight.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Faced with the first U.S. combat death in Iraq in four years, Pentagon Secretary Ash Carter made clear that U.S. troops will continue to face danger there.
(on camera): The administration has taken great pains to say, it's not a ground combat, it's not a major combat rule.
ASH CARTER, DEFENSE SECRETARY: They will be in harm's way. There's no question about it. And I don't want anybody to be under any illusions about that.
SCIUTTO (voice-over): A U.S. military official confirms to CNN that Master Sergeant Joshua L. Wheeler, 39, of Roland, Oklahoma, a 20- year military veteran, was a member of the elite Delta Force. The deadly battle was the first time U.S. forces have directly engaged ISIS fighters on the ground in Iraq.
In a joint operation with Kurdish commandos, U.S. special operators from the Delta Force raided an ISIS compound to rescue hostages thought to be in imminent danger of execution.
U.S. war planes bombed makeshift ISIS training camps, staging sites, and bridges in the area and five helicopters brought in nearly 30 U.S. Special Forces and 40 Kurdish troops.
The U.S. forces were not meant to enter the walled compound or directly engage the ISIS fighters, but when Kurdish fighters inside the compound were overwhelmed, the U.S. commander made the decision to enter the firefight.
Master Sergeant Wheeler was shot inside the compound and died later after being transported to a military hospital in Irbil.
When the mission was over, U.S. aircraft overhead destroyed the compound.
U.S. troops are deployed to Iraq on a train, advise, and assist mission. However, under current rules of engagement, they are allowed to return fire when they or their partner forces come under attack.
CARTER: When a firefight ensued, this American ran to the sound of the guns.
[19:45:02] And all the indications are, it was his actions and that of one of his teammates that protected those who were involved in breaching the compound.
SCIUTTO: This risky mission was launched to U.S. military officials after U.S. surveillance spotted freshly dug mass graves inside the compound. U.S. officials say that 70 prisoners were rescued, 20 Iraqi security forces, as well as Iraqi civilians and interestingly, ISIS fighters accused by their own group of spying.
Missing, however, were the Kurdish captives they were originally sent in to rescue.
SCIUTTO Defense Secretary Carter says he is proud of master sergeant wheeler. That he, in his words, ran to the sounds of the guns. He made a decision to go into that firefight, but Carter also made clear that there will be more dangerous missions like this going forward in Iraq. He said, U.S. troops will continue to be in harm's way -- Erin.
BURNETT: Jim Sciutto, thank you.
And I want to go now straight to the former CIA operative, Bob Baer, who spent a lot of time in this area.
Bob, you just heard Jim saying, the defense secretary says there's going to be a lot more raids of this kind. In this raid, the U.S. didn't know who they were going to rescue, they didn't know what they were up against, they had none of this information.
What do you say?
BOB BAER, FORMER CIA OPERATIVE: Well, Erin, I don't worry about our fighting force's capabilities, especially Delta. They're very, very good at doing assaults like this. But what's clear to me at this point is that they were relying on Kurdish intelligence.
I spent years working with the Kurds, and you have to trust me, it's not very good. So, we're putting lives on the line for a group which we really can't trust in terms of the accuracy of their intelligence. You know, it's just -- it's dangerous. And if we keep on doing this, letting the Kurds lead us into raids like this, we're going to lose a lot more people.
BURNETT: So, it also, in a sense, feels a little bit like mission creep. You have U.S. Delta Forces on the ground, fine, they may be the best of the best, but they're the ones making the decision if U.S. Special Forces are engaging in combat. We've been told there are no combat forces in Iraq. The defense secretary is now saying there are going to be others in harm's way.
This is combat.
BAER: This is combat. We're in a ground war now. We're back in a ground war after four years. We've had helicopters helping the Kurds for the last year. These Blackhawks, heavily armed, have been going and backing them up.
But now once you put people on the ground to save this mission, and you're up against an enemy that's determined and they don't mind dying and that's what makes it so dangerous. If we keep on getting deeper into this, again, we are going to take a lot more casualties.
BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you very much, Bob Baer. Pretty sobering report on how this happened.
Well, next, the CEO who jacked the price of a life-saving drug to $750 a pill promised to slash the price. So far, he hasn't done it.
But now, someone is forcing his hand. We have an exclusive story you won't want to miss, next.
[19:51:58] BURNETT: Tonight, competition for the $750 pill. A pharmaceutical CEO caused outrage for hiking the cost of life-saving pill by 5,000 percent and he promised to cut it, but so far he has utterly failed.
So, his hand is forced. There is an alternative now and Kyung Lah is OUTFRONT with exclusive access to the lab creating it.
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the market's answer to price gouging.
(on camera): How much is each pill here?
JOHN SAHAREK, IMPRIMUS PHARMACEUTICALS: Each pill is 99 cents.
LAH (voice-over): Just under $1 a bill, compare that to Turing Pharmaceuticals.
TV ANCHOR: It was $18.
MARTIN SHKRELI, TOURING PHARMACEUTICALS CEO: It was $18. TV ANCHOR: And you took it to $750.
LAH: When CEO Martin Shkreli raised the price of Daraprim a whopping 5,000 percent a month ago, outrage followed. The 32-year-old former hedge fund manager became an Internet pariah, headline as the most hated man in America, a new icon of modern greed and big pharma's biggest expletive.
Shkreli on FOX Business Channel defending his price hike of a drug that helps people with compromised immune systems like HIV and cancer patients, pregnant women and children.
SHKRELI: We can make it and turn a profit, and we can take some of that profit and put it back into research for this disease.
LAH: Shkreli still hasn't lowered the price, something he promised to do four weeks ago but won't tell us why he hasn't. Only about 100,000 patients a year use it, too small for competition.
Shkreli's company was the only pharmaceutical selling this drug, and that got Imprimus Pharmaceuticals thinking.
(on camera): If you can sell it for $1 a pill, how much does it cost to make this?
SAHAREK: That's a good question. Well, it's less than a dollar a pill.
LAH (voice-over): With the drug outrageously priced, they sense a market opportunity, a chance to help all those patients Shkreli just outraged with a close cousin of the pill.
(on camera): Why not make more money? Isn't that what drug companies are all about?
SAHAREK: Well, there is probably a point inflection if we try to push the limits and collect a little bit more money, we're going to go against everything we stood for as an organization.
LAH (voice-over): Their mission is to get affordable reformulations to patients in need says Imprimus. Imprimus is still a for-profit company. Here ringing the NASDAQ opening bell this summer. Ninety-nine cents a pill, that's profit enough, they say.
Their Facebook page flooded with support -- bravo, heroes, patients calling in with emotional thank yous.
CONSUMER: Thank you. Thank you for saving lives.
LAH (on camera): Does greed have to be the rule when it comes to pharmaceuticals in America?
SAHAREK: Absolutely not.
BURNETT: So, Kyung, you have the CEO who jacked this price up and said he was going to cut it and wouldn't cut it. How is this company able to sell the same pill for less than a dollar?
LAH: Well, the CEO says the way they're able to do it is that even though all the ingredients in the medicine, these are FDA approved, they did not have to file with the FDA for their compound.
[19:55:02] So, they're able to save millions of dollars, able to cut the prices and still at 99 cents a pill, they're able to make a significant profit.
As far as what Shkreli thinks about all this happening behind me, he says, hey, he doesn't think it's a threat and calls this a publicity stunt.
All right. Kyung Lah, thank you very much.
And we'll be right back.
BURNETT: Thank you so much for joining us. Have a wonderful Friday night and a wonderful weekend. Be sure to set your DVR to record OUTFRONT so we can watch us at any time.
"AC360" starts right now.