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tv   The Lead With Jake Tapper  CNN  March 31, 2016 1:00pm-2:01pm PDT

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can classify their method. in a criminal trial, you have to show the chain of custody. you have to talk about your method of extracting this type of information because we need to ensure in the context of a criminal trial that the information isn't tampered with. so it's going to be a really interesting play-by-play now that the fbi has this technology. >> misty marris, thanks so much. "the lead with jake tapper" starts now. >> thanks, pamela. what you talking about, donald trump? that's a little marketing for the new series "the eighties" which premieres tonight. right now we have "the lead." breaking news, donald trump making a surprise trip to the rnc here in washington. amid fast and furious outrage from both sides of the abortion debate, after mr. trump appears to take three different positions on abortion in three hours. trying to prevent the ultimate terrorist attack. leaders from close to 60 countries joining president obama to try and rid the world of nuclear weapons, and
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especially to keep them out of the hands of isis. plus, tech, lies and audio tape. the governor of a state smack dab in the middle of the bible belt fighting a sex scandal, allegations of an affair, trying desperately today to save his job. good afternoon, welcome to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. donald trump meeting with republican party officials here in washington, d.c., this afternoon as his rivals pounce on his multiple answers on whether after an abortion ban a woman who gets an abortion should be punished. first, mr. trump said yes. quote, there has to be some form of punishment. then his campaign said the issue is unclear and should be up to the states. then trump issued a statement saying under a ban, only the doctor would be held legally responsible, not the woman. adding, quote, my position has not changed. which is not true in any
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possible understanding of the words position, not and changed. governor john kasich said today presidents don't get do-overs for any republicans that may be wavering on trump. let me issue this caution, that anyone out there predicting trump's political demise among republican voters, you've been wrong many, many times before. jim acosta is live for us from milwaukee, wisconsin. jim, trump meeting with republican national committee officials this afternoon after all three republican candidates this week appeared to walk away from their pledge to support whomever wins the nomination. >> reporter: that's right, jake. it seems like they had plenty to discuss. with the wisconsin primary just days away, donald trump has been in washington today. he just wrapped up a meeting with reince priebus. meanwhile his rivals are slamming trump, on abortion and
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national security. for ted cruz and john kasich the hope is this rough week is just a turning point leading to their moving up in this campaign. turmoil, donald trump was all smiles. crisscrossing washington in his motorcade, trump sat down with top rnc officials behind closed doors. later vowing in a tweet that he will bring the party together. even as john kasich and ted cruz furiously try to block his road to the white house. >> i have to tell you that as a commander in chief and leader of the free world, you don't get do-overs. you need to be able to get it right the first time. >> reporter: kasich and cruz are now tag teaming trump over his gaffe that women should be funnished if they undergo an illegal apportion, a position he abandoned hours later. >> do you believe in punishment for abortion, yes or no, as a principle? >> the answer is that there has to be some form of punishment. >> reporter: on a popular conservative radio show cruz attacked trump as uninformed.
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>> i think it was just the latest confirmation that donald has not thought seriously about the issues facing the country and he's willing to say just about anything to try to get elected. >> reporter: and while team trump was prubrushing off the comments as merely a slip-up. >> there was a misspeak here and you have a presidential candidate that clarified the record. not once but twice. >> it takes restraint, it takes judgment, it takes experience. not wild-eyed suggestions. >> reporter: kasich blasted trump for another jaw-dropping comment that he would not rule out using nuclear weapons in europe. >> i would never take any of my cards off the table. >> it is not the way that a lord of the free world or commander in chief of our country to be so casually talking about the use, by the way, of nuclear weapons. it just shows that he's really not prepared to be president of the united states. >> reporter: looking to push back on that notion, the trump
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campaign confirmed the real estate tycoon met with his recently announced foreign policy team. >> and that's why i'm supporting ted cruz for president. >> reporter: back in wisconsin, the next contest on the calendar, cruz appears to be widening his lead and running a new ad featuring the state's governor, scott walker. still fuming over his war of the wives with trump, cruz cracked a joke on jimmy kimmel that revealed the texas senator is not quite ready to forgive and forget. >> and if i were in my car and getting ready to reverse and saw donald in the backup camera, i'm not confident which pedal i'd push. >> reporter: now, this is a crucial period in the campaign for trump. if he loses wisconsin and then the next contest in colorado, it may be difficult for trump to protect himself as the presumpive gop nominee. kasich once again predicted today that this race is headed for a contested convention and as one gop operative -- top gop operative said to me today, jake, after kasich's comments today about trump not being ready to be president, the ohio
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governor all but ruled out being trump's running mate. as you said, jake, predictions of donald trump's demise have been put out there before. jake. >> thank you so much. wisconsin is not the only big contest coming up for republicans. voters there will weigh in next tuesday, but the next big contest after that is new york's primary on april 19th. on april 26th, voters in five states will head to the polls. for more on this exciting race, let's go to republican strategist ana navarro, communications director for senator ted cruz alice stewart and karen jerno. karen, let me start with you. you saw that clip of cruz on the jimmy kimmel show joking running over donald trump. does that offend you at all? >> of course it offends me. it should offend every american. this is a presidential race. this is not a time to be joking about the front-runner and essentially running him over and causing him harm or death.
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to be honest with you, if he wasn't ted cruz he probably would be reported and investigated pie the secret service. that's a death threat to our nominee. >> alice stewart from the cruz campaign, i'll give you a chance to respond to that. >> it was a joke. it was late night comedy, give me a break. you know better than that. he was saying it in jest. look, who is donald trump to be talking about something like that when he's talked about walking down the streets of new york shooting voters and they'd vote for him anyway. this is a joke, you know it, get over it. it was a joke, you know that. >> alice, a new cruz ad says he's the only candidate who can beat hillary clinton in november. but john kasich is actually doing better in hypothetical matchups against clinton than cruz is. >> well, still, poll after poll shows that a head-to-head matchup with ted and hillary clinton that he has a chance -- he statistically has a better chance to beat hillary.
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certainly more than the head-to-head matchups with donald trump and hillary. we're looking at the next contest, which is wisconsin, which is coming up soon and we're in a great position there. poll after poll shows us in a two-digit lead over donald trump and kasich way behind. look, we're having great momentum heading into wisconsin. we have the endorsement, as you said, of governor scott walker. we have large crowds, enthusiastic crowds and really working hard. our goal right now is our next contest ahead, which is wisconsin. >> okay. >> doing well there, racking up delegates and racing on to new york. >> ana navarro, let me bring you in. the super pac supporting john kasich put out an ad attacking ted cruz today. take a watch. >> lyin' ted. lied about ben carson to steal a win in iowa. lies about being the best for the gop, when polls show he can't even beat hillary clinton. >> okay. first, wow. but let me note that kasich attacked trump and now we have
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this group attacking cruz. i guess no more mr. nice guy for governor kasich? >> well, it's the super pac, right? so they would argue that the campaign and the super pac do not coordinate. i actually know the people who run the super pac and the campaign, i think that's true. >> any reaction to that ad? >> i think it's memorable. i think it's funny. can i tell you something? i am so glad ted cruz went on late night tv shows and is showing a sense of humor. look, this primary is now in the realm of surreal and cuckoo crazy. >> it's surreal town. >> we're not going to get through this thing, we've got months and months left. we're not going to get through this thing without the aid of a little humor and maybe a little alcohol so lighten up. it's good for republicans to le reach a demographic in a late
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night show that you might not reach during the day. >> ana, i'm going to interrupt you. this is not -- that's not the type of humor we want when we're talking about especially my candidate who has secret service protection for a reason. there are people out there that are there to physically harm him, okay. so when we're talking about another presidential candidate talking about backing up, you know, over him with a car, that's not funny. >> let me just remind you that just a few weeks ago -- let me just remind you a few weeks ago senator lindsey graham was joking about ted cruz being murdered nobody being found guilty of it if it was tried in the senate. so nobody has used sense of humor more effectively so far than donald trump. >> let me bring alice stewart in. go ahead, alice. >> sure, jake. it's no surprise that the trump
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team is going to focus on this. but let me remind them, a large majority of that interview last night, it was a phenomenal interview, i encourage people to take a look at it, it was on the issues. it was on foreign policy. how is ted going to take his message to the people in the country that have yet to hear his message. one of the key components that i'm sure the trump team does not want to have a conversation about is how ted is the best qualified to handle foreign policy and eradicate isis and strengthening our military and rebuilding the relationships with the countries that have been decimated through the last seven years. obama administration. that was a large part of the interview that the trump people i'm sure don't want to talk about because he doesn't clearly have any foreign policy -- >> we're happy to talk about it. >> karen and alice and ana, thank you for joining us. i appreciate it one and all. donald trump angered a lot of republicans with his comments on abortion so just imagine the reactions from the democrats running for president.
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hillary clinton and bernie sanders teeing off on trump. that story next. plan plan why do so many businesses rely on th postal se because when they ship with us, their business becomes our business. that's why we make more e-commerce deliveries to homes than anyone else in the country. here, there, everywhere. united states postal service priority: you
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welcome back to the "the lead." i'm jake tapper. donald trump's remarks about abortion also infuriated many on the left.
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hillary clinton and bernie sanders are echoing the same message on the campaign trail, calling the republican front-runner's abortion comments horrific and shapeful. let's bring in brianna keilar. clinton and sanders both campaigning in new york today. clinton represented the empire state for eight years in the senate, but brooklyn-born sanders says he's going to try to beat her on her home turf. does he actually stand a chance there? >> reporter: well, the clinton campaign certainly hopes not, but the issue here, even though you see hillary clinton ahead in the polls right now, between now and the april 19th primary here in new york, you have wisconsin, the big state, you also have wyoming. bernie sanders could do well there, perhaps add to those wins that we saw over the weekend in washington, alaska and hawaii. and because of that, clinton is trying to blunt his momentum. hillary clinton campaigning for the second straight day in her adopted home state where a group of students interrupted her rally.
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>> she wins, we lose. >> oh, i kno the bernie people came to say that. we're very sorry you're leaving. i have earned nine million votes in this election. i have one million more votes than donald trump and i have 2.5 million more votes than bernie sanders. >> reporter: clinton is fighting on two fronts, turning to the general election even as bernie sanders challenges her in wisconsin, which holds its primary on tuesday. >> just yesterday donald trump said women should be punished for having an abortion. >> reporter: her campaign releasing a new video. >> what donald trump said today was outrageous and dangerous. >> reporter: as sanders also takes aim. >> but to punish a woman for having an abortion is beyond comprehension. i don't know what world this person lives in. >> reporter: but clinton is trying to cast sanders as out of
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touch with the concerns of women. >> senator sanders agreed that donald trump's comments were shameful, but then he said they were a distraction from, and i quote, a serious discussion about the serious issues facing america. to me this is a serious issue. >> reporter: the vermont senator is trying to take on clinton in new york, where democrats vote in a few weeks. at stake a whopping 247 delegates. a new quinnipiac university poll shows clinton with a 12-point lead here, but sanders is promising a challenge, buoyed by a potentially strong showing in wisconsin next week and union support that he has been courting. >> we call that a steel worker small. >> reporter: as he did today in pittsburgh. >> not only did i oppose nafta, i stood on picket lines with workers in opposition to this disastrous trade agreement. secretary clinton supported nafta. >> i thank you for your votes
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for her. >> reporter: bill clinton tried to shore up his wife's backing from labor visited with four different union groups in new york city today. bernie sanders may be behind hillary clinton when it comes to pledged delegates, jake, but he is actually winning the money game. his campaign says that he has raised $40 million this month and this they're hoping to best last month when he raised $43 million, outpacing secretary clinton by several million dollars, jake. >> all right, brianna keilar, thank you so much. they served our nation. many still suffer the effects of war, yet one technicality allows the government to deny any care to many of these veterans and at record rates. plus he's confessed to a mistake but did he have an affair? the mounting pressure in a sex scandal that could cost one governor his job. back after this quick break.
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welcome back to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. time for our buried lead. that's stories that we think are not getting enough attention. a very troubling report about the nation's veterans. a record number of our vets are being denied basic va benefits. the study finds that those who served in iraq and afghanistan are almost twice as likely to be rejected access to benefits than vietnam vets and four times more likely than those who served in world war ii. why? take a look. at least 125,000 american veterans who served our nation since september 11th are being treated by the va as though they never even put on a uniform. the department of veterans affairs has ruled them
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ineligible for veterans benefits not because they didn't sacrifice, but because they left the military without an honorable discharge. >> the stakes for this really couldn't be higher. if the va doesn't recognize you as a veteran, not only do you lose the dignity of acknowledgement of your service, but you lose those really basic services. >> the staggering numbers come from a new report from veterans advocacy group, the national veterans legal services program and harvard, which found that the va is denying valuable benefits at unprecedented levels. >> i got shot at by one of those the other day and it blue my [ bleep ] leg off. >> this is steven raymond in 2003. a youtube video capturing some rare downtime during his first deployment to afghanistan. after nearly eight years of service and his second war zone deployment, raymond's wife threatened suicide, he says, if he left again so the infantryman went awol. >> there's been times where it seems like the firing squad
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would have been a better option. >> reporter: he finally returned to his unit, desperate for help. he was sent to prison and given a bad conduct discharge. >> they let us know that we were basically going to go out and have -- basically our lives were going to be ruined. and that's really kind of how it ended up being. i have four children. not to be able to provide correctly, not to have any type of medical care, not to have anybody to talk to, just no benefits whatsoever. >> raymond tells cnn that he ultimately lost his family and ended up sleeping in the streets. the law denies any benefits to those who have been discharged dishonorably, but the report says that operating on its own discretion, the va takes it even further, denying benefits to those like raymond, who received neither an honorable nor a dishonorable discharge. >> the va has set aside not only those with dishonorable discharges but two categories above that. dishonorable, bad conduct and other than honorable and placed them in limbo.
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>> so raymond's two tours in war zones notwithstanding, as far as the va was concerned, he was not a veteran. he was ineligible for housing assistance or job training or crucial medical care. in a statement to cnn the va says, quote, we recognize that there could be a variety of reasons that service members receive other than honorable discharges and va benefits can greatly improve the quality of their lives. adding that this new report provides them, quote, an opportunity to do a thorough review and make changes. in ray monday's case, swords to plow shares recently managed to get the va to re-evaluate and he now receives some benefits, but this story is the exception. >> instead of treating everybody as a number, perhaps really do something because there's a lot of guys out there that need help. >> here's another hurdle that our veterans have to jump. the review process for these so-called bad paper discharges is unnecessarily complex according to the study, taking an average of more than three years to complete. the world lead, how can anyone keep nukes out of the
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hands of isis? leaders from around the world are here in washington to talk about just that and what sounds like donald trump endorsing the idea of more countries, not fewer, getting nuclear weapons. >> you're better off if japan protects itself against this maniac in north korea. we're better off, frankly, if south korea is going to start to protect itself. >> saudi arabia with a nuclear weapon? >> saudi arabia, absolutely. vo: across america,
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ask your doctor about non-insulin victoza®. it's covered by most health plans. welcome back to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. tapping today's world lead, fears of loose nukes getting into the hands of terrorists. more than 50 world leaders have gathered today in our nation's capital at a security summit to discuss reducing the world's stockpile of nuclear weapons.
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this as republican front-runner donald trump calls for more countries, such as saudi arabia, japan or south korea to develop their own nuclear arsenal. let's get right to cnn's white house correspondent michelle kosinski. michelle, how is the white house responding to these comments from the republican front-runner? >> reporter: we've already heard them call it incredibly destabilizing. but here we are talking about some of the biggest threats facing humanity. the risk of nuclear material falling into the wrong hands. and the first question, the first question from deputy national security advisor ben rhodes at the press briefing today was about donald trump and his words this week multiple times on why he might not mind proliferation. here's his response. >> it would be catastrophic were the united states to shift its position and indicate that we support somehow the prelif rags of nuclear weapons to additional countries. it also flies in the face of decades of bipartisan national security doctrine.
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>> in some of trump's words he talks about why japan should have nuclear weapons to counter north korea's threat and today there was a tri-lateral meeting. president obama and the leaders of japan and south korea. we've confirmed that trump's words didn't come up in that meeting, but a spokesperson for the japanese foreign ministry said of course they and in fact the rest of the world are very closely watching the american campaigns. jake. >> michelle, concerns about isis possibly obtaining nuclear material to create a dirty bomb. i imagine that's a major topic of conversation there as well. >> yeah, it really is but it was interesting to hear the white house downplay the threat from the belgian attackers, at least from the aspect of we know there was some surveillance of a top nuclear scientist in belgium and possibly a threat against nuclear facilities there. the white house says, look, a country like belgium has incredibly tight security around its nuclear facilities. we know that isis would like to
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get its hands on nuclear material but they didn't see that sort of surveillance necessarily as a significant risk. experts say the bigger threat, the broader threat could be radiological material that's in hospitals and industries around the world. about 130 countries, thousands of facilities, jake. >> michelle kosinski, thanks so much. joining me now to discuss this now is james woolsey. thank you for being with us. >> good to be with you. >> how likely is it that isis or a group like it could actually make a nuclear weapon? >> they could make a nuclear weapon if they had the right handful of scientists. they could make a simple one such as the one we dropped on hiroshima 50, 60 years ago. >> that was a simple one? >> that was a simple one. indeed we dropped that in war time without it ever having been tested in the history of the world. what was tested the month before was a different kind, a
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plutonium weapon that was somewhat more sophisticated and more complex. but the weapon itself is probably not going to be obtained by a terrorist group very easily because they have to get quite a bit of fissile material. it's far more likely that they would come up with radiological material such as 20% enriched uranium from a hospital or something like that and blow it up, scatter it around and that would keep people from wanting to work or live in that area for many, many years. >> for decades, yeah. you've been a critic of the iran nuclear deal. president obama's attempt to prevent iran from getting nuclear weapons. i'm sure you applaud the goal but disagree with the deal. president obama in a "washington post" editorial said the deal closes every single one of its paths to a nuclear weapon and iran is now being subjected to the most comprehensive inspection regimen ever
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negotiated to monitor a nuclear program. do you agree with that? >> fundamentally. pretty much every word, including the as and thes. first of all, the provisions about inspections are awful. if i am an inspector and you are the iranians and i say i would like to look here, you can say, no, i've just decided to designate that a military facility so we'll say you can't go there. >> has that happened that you know of. >> not that i know of yet. but another problem with the agreement is that the paper, the material, the appendices that the statute requires be transmitted to the other people -- other countries in the negotiation has not been transmitted. and so the agreement really is not under way legally. now, they have, i think, avoided so much of the legal requirements in putting this together that that shouldn't be too surprising. but another thing that they have
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done is said that if -- again, let's suppose that i'm an inspector and you're the iranians and i say i really would like a sample drawn from this square kilometer up in your northern desert, because i've got some information i just want to look into there. they say we'll provide you with a sample and go down to their southern desert and provide a sample. they do whatever they want and that's the way the agreement is structured. it's fundamentally an awful agreement. >> i want to get your reaction to donald trump's response about nuclear proliferation, the number of countries that have nuclear weapons. take a listen to what he had to say to anderson cooper earlier this week. >> it's been a u.s. policy for decades to prevent japan from getting nuclear weapons. >> maybe it's going to be time to change. pakistan has it. at some point we're better off if japan protects itself against
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this maniac in north korea. we're better off frankly if south korea is going to start to protect itself. >> saudi arabia a nuclear weapon? >> saudi arabia, absolutely. >> i have never heard a politician call for more countries to get more nuclear weapons than fewer. what is your response? >> well, i agree with you and not mr. trump. i think there are some countries we'd worry about more than others. japan getting nuclear weapons would probably be somewhat like france having gotten them. it's not a fund -- likely to be a fundamental enemy of the united states. >> saudi arabia? >> but once you start expanding the numbers with the saudis and others, the next time you have a crisis in the middle east, instead of one country perhaps having nuclear weapon, you may end up with two or three sunni states and two or three shiite states and the passions and angers in some parts of the world have deep historical roots. i would just as soon not have a situation where more and more countries are getting nuclear weapons and a crisis could go
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really haywire rather than just be an angry confrontation. >> ben rhodes called it destabilizing. you agree with that? >> i essentially agree with that. >> all right. former cia director james woolsey, thank you so much. always good to have you here. up next, dirty talk caught on tape. he admits it's his voice fant siegds about fondling a female. can the alabama governor survive calls for his resignation. it's the '80s on tv. a cnn special looks at all the laughs and we'll have a star from an '80s tv show. who's it going to be? you'll see, coming up. you both have a
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we're back with today's
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national lead. a sex scandal rocking politics in the deep south. there are growing calls for alabama's republican governor robert bentley to resign amid claims that he had an affair with an aide. that aide rumored to be rebecca mason. she resigned yesterday. bentley's wife of 50 years sought a divorce after he fired his law enforcement chief and after titilating voice recordings surfaced. let's go to eleelena. governor bentley might face impeachment over this scandal? >> reporter: that's right, jake. he might face impeachment on grounds that include incompetence and moral turpitude. that last one deals with adultery. some lawmakers believe these could be used to impeach the governor who now finds himself involved in a sex scandal. >> today i want to apologize to the people of the state of alabama. >> reporter: alabama governor robert bentley, under fire after
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sexually explicit recordings of him became public. >> when i stand behind you and i put my arms around you and i put my hands on your breasts and i put my hands -- and pull you real close, i love that today. >> reporter: he doesn't deny the legitimacy of the recordings but said they were made two years ago. we don't know who he was talking to. >> it was a period of time in my life that i have made inappropriate comments. >> reporter: he also maintains he never had a physical relationship with the woman at the center of the scandal, top aide rebecca mason. >> i have never had a physical affair with mrs. mason. i can assure the people of alabama that as their governor, i have never done anything illegal. >> reporter: last week, spencer collier, the governor's former
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law enforcement chief, held a news conference to accuse the governor of having an affair and inappropriately using resources to cover up that relationship. collier was fired last week, the day before the governor spoke to reporters about the allegations. now there is mounting pressure for the governor to step down and at least one alabama state lawmaker, ed henry, says he intends to start the impeachment process next week. mason, meanwhile, resigned from her post wednesday, saying in a statement my only plans are to focus my full attention on my precious children and my husband, who i love dearly. they are the most important people in my life. thank you for your prayers for our family. now, governor bentley and his wife divorced last week according to the recordings were made by someone in the bentley family to figure out if bentley was involved in a relationship. an attorney for the governor's
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ex-wife did not respond to our request for comment. as for the governor, he is denying any wrongdoing. his press secretary told me this morning he has no plans to step down. jake. >> thank you so much. in other world news today, a new study suggests that young people watching me right now could see the city they're watching me from potentially flooded. why? because of the west antarctic ice sheet. new research finding that it is disintegrating so fast your kids and your grandkids, well, they might not be able to dream about living in new york city or philadelphia or washington or miami because there might not be a new york city or philadelphia or washington or miami at the turn of the century. tom foreman is in the virtual room. tom, this sounds really stark. how seriously is the study being taken? >> very seriously by scientists out there, jake. and because the western antarctic ice sheet is a big deal. as you noticed, it's huge. they have noticed warming there since the 1970s and long said if
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you had significant melting by the end of the century you could see water levels rise 6 or 7 inches around the world and they have already recorded melting there. but this new study says what if it happens a whole lot faster? what if you see a lot more than this, and this is why they think that's possible. they came up with a computer model that basically combines all the different things we've tried to measure out there. the heated air up here that's making things melt above. the heated water that's chewing away at the edge of the continent out there and then of course the caving that results. and if you put it altogether, yes, it could happen a whole lot faster, maybe twice as fast as we've seen so far, jake. >> so how deeply might that affect coastal region, and what happens if the world cuts way back on greenhouse gases to stop
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the warming, could that have an effect? >> these scientists say, first of all, this is just a possibility. they're not saying it will happen, but they think you have to take seriously the possibility it could happen. what does it mean? look at this. look at this nasa image. every place that's red on here is already under some threat from rising sea levels. yes, cities like new orleans and venice and new york can put up levees and dikes and dams and water diversion projects and they can slow it down or maybe fight back against it. but if it's happening faster, they have to do it faster, which means it probably costs more, which means more places can't really do it necessarily very well. as for stopping it, this has always been the concern with the western antarctic ice sheet. scientists say they fear that if you get into a broad collapse down there like this, if you see a lot of this happening, they think it will be catastrophic. it will happen very quickly in gee logic terms and recovering from it do take thousands of
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years, even if global warming has been stopped entirely, jake. >> tom foreman, thanks so much. today's pop culture lead, it was the most watched tv show ever and one of the most popular critically acclaimed series of all time. our next guest was one of the stars. mike farrell joins me next. hold-onto-your-tiara, kind-of-day. live 24/7 with 24/7 digestive support. try align, the undisputed #1 ge recommended probiotic. in new york state, we believe tomorrow starts today. all across the state, the economy is growing, with creative new business incentives, the lowest taxes in decades, and new infrastructure for a new generation attracting the talent and companies of tomorrow. like in rochester, with world-class botox. and in buffalo, where medicine meets the future. let us help grow your company's tomorrow -
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today - at people love me for saving them over half a grand when they switch to progressive. so i'm dabbling in new ventures. it was board-game night with the dalai lama. great guy. terrible player. ♪ go paperless ♪ don't stress, girl ♪ i got the discounts that you need ♪ it's a balancing act, but i got to give the people what they want -- more box. any words for the critics? what can i say? critties gonna neg. [ applause ] the what?! [ laughs ]
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show show me more like this.ns. show me "previously watched." what's recommended for me. x1 makes it easy to find what blows you away. call or go onliand switch to x1. only with xfinity.
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welcome back to "the lead." choppers, just call me jake "radar" o'tapper. you're hearing the theme song from "mash" one of the many tv shows that will be discussed in this evening's cnn documentary series "the eighties." it was influential, critically acclaimed and its final episode in february, 1983, was watched by a record-breaking 105 million
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viewers. here is a little bit of the final scene of that show. >> i'll see you back in the states. i promise. just in case, i left you a note. >> what? >> captain b.j. hunnicutt saying good-bye to his friend hawkeyepierce. more than 60% of american households tuned in. not including super bowl, that show remains the most watched show in history. joining me now is b.j. hunnicutt himself, actor and activist mike farrell. thank you for joining us. it's an honor to have you on the show. did you realize at the time how iconic and well watched that show would be? >> we had no idea.
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we knew the show was popular but we had no idea what the audience reaction was going to be. we hoped it would be good, and it was. >> i'll say. can you believe it, that it's still, not including super bowls, the most watched show in history? >> you know, i love it. i just love it. i love doing the show, i love being part of it, i loved what we were saying and the fact that it registered that way to the audience. it was astonishing then and is astonishing now. >> few casts, if any, seemed to have the chemistry you guys seemed to have, even through so many changes of the cast. was the chemistry as good when the cameras were off? were you guys having as much fun as you seemed to be having? >> we had more fun than you can imagine. we had more fun. people always ask me was it as much fun as it looked like and we always say it's more fun than you can imagine. the relationship has continued today. >> you still talk to alan alda
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and loretta swift and the other cast members? >> oh, sure. we're in regular touch. we're involved in different things in our lives, but that experience has welded us in a way that will never be broken, i think. >> you're probably the most politically active former cast member. the show evolved over time. it was always funny but it took on almost a darker tone towards the end. why do you think that happened? >> well, i know we all were aware of the fact that the show was speaking to many issues that the public was concerned about. we wanted to show that war hurts, you know, that blood isn't spilled without cost. that there was a reason for people to go and do what the characters we portrayed were doing. but also that the decisions that were made that put people in those situations are not always the ones that you want to encourage. >> what was your favorite moment from the show?
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>> when my agent called me and said you've got it. i think -- i think we did an episode called "the interview" which was sort of an edward r.murrow episode and we were invited by the writer, producer, directors, to essentially write our own versions of the interview to our own characters. that was really a salute to each of us and it was also an extraordinary opportunity, i think. but, you know, that hug with alan is something that will stay with me for the rest of my life. >> the character of b.j. hunnicutt, who you played, he evolved to a degree. he became -- he was so charming and fun and then at the end when he has to cut a rope and leave somebody behind from a helicopter, his character changes forever. >> yeah.
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one of the things we wanted to show and that was part of the -- i think the ongoing theme in the last episode was the cost. people pay a price for that experience. and it's not something that one should take lightly. major -- colonel -- i say colonel. father mulcahey lost his hearing. major winchester lost his music. hawkeye lost his sanity for a while. all of those things -- all of those things happen to people in the war. as you indicated earlier, you do a lot of work with vets. i think people don't really fully appreciate what we're asking of people when we send them to war. >> mike farrell, thank you so much. such an honor to have you on the show. really appreciate it. tune in for the premiere of "the eighties" at 9:00 p.m. eastern. turning you over to wolf blitzer in "the situation room." happening now, gop