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NFL Chief: We Didn't Know What Was on 2nd Rice Video; Ravens Owners Writes Letter to Fans; Domestic Violence in the Spotlight; Judge Escapes Justice; Obama's "JV" Comment; Canada's Pipeline to ISIS

Aired September 9, 2014 - 21:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Hey, good evening. Thanks for watching the special extended edition of AC360.

Tonight breaking news, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell doubles down on the league's claim that yesterday was the very first time they or the Baltimore Ravens saw this video, Ray Rice beating his fiancee senseless.

Also tonight, people are finding that statement a little hard to believe. The league, you'll recall, before suspending Rice for just two games had already seen video from seconds later of Rice dragging his-then fiancee's unconscious body from that elevator, an elevator at a casino with sate of the art surveillance.

The casino says they gave the inside of the elevator video to local police, the county prosecutor, state gaming officials as well as Ray Rice's attorney. We cannot confirm whether the NFL asked for a copy. The league says, it asked law enforcement for any and all information including video but did not get it.

And here's what Commissioner Goodell told CBS this morning's Norah O'Donnell.


NORAH O'DONNELL, CBS THIS MORNING ANCHOR: How was it that the NFL couldn't get their hands on the second tape but a website called TMZ could?

ROGER GOODELL, NFL COMMISSIONER: Well, I don't know how TMZ or any other website gets their information. We are particularly relying on law enforcement, it's the most reliable, it's the most credible and we don't seek to get that information from sources that are not credible.

O'DONNELL: The question becomes, "Did the NFL dropped the ball or was the NFL willfully ignorant about what was on this tape?"

GOODELL: Well, we certainly didn't know it was on the tape but we have been very open and honest and I have also from two weeks ago when I acknowledged that we didn't get this right. That's my responsibility and I'm accountable for that. O'DONNELL: But what changed? I mean, on the first tape, she was lying unconscious on the ground being dragged out. Did you really need to see a video tape of Ray Rice punching her in the face to make this decision?

GOODELL: No, we certainly didn't. And I will tell you that what we saw on the first video tape was troubling to us in and of itself but what we saw yesterday was extremely clear, it's extremely graphic and it was sickening.


COOPER: It seems contradictory that statement that the first video is apparently only troubling enough for two-game suspension.

Tonight though as Norah O'Donnell asked, a lot of people wonder why having seen the first video or Rice dragging an unconscious woman across the floor, he and the leagues still managed to be shocked by seeing what preceded it. How they asked, "Does he think she got that way?" How did she get unconscious?

A lot of people are also asking about how badly the NFL really wanted the full truth about such a valuable and marketable player? Just moments ago, the Baltimore Sun published a letter from the Ravens team owner of some of the bigger money fans, seat license holders, suite owners and sponsors. He writes in part, "We didn't do all we should have done. We should have seen it earlier. We should have pursued our own investigation more vigorously. We didn't and we were wrong."

Joining us now, one of the best source and most trusted people covering NFL football, Sports Illustrated Peter King, Editor of the Monday Morning Quarterback which you can find at Thanks so much for being with us, Peter.


COOPER: What do you make of Roger Goodell's statement tonight that the NFL hadn't seen it and that they asked for it but they didn't get it?

KING: Well, I make that like most people make that I think the NFL should have worked more diligently to try to get this video. And I believe that in the future, one of the things they have to do is like what they did in the Richie Incognito mess a year ago, in a scandal a year ago involving the Miami Dolphins.

They need to hire an outside source and they need to give him full power to investigate a story. When there's something as potentially explosive as this, you can't leave it to chance that, "Well, we tried to get the video but couldn't get it." In today's world, you know that outlets like TMZ are going to double down and try to do everything they can to get a video like this.

So, you need to start playing that game. The NFL needs to start playing the information game along with places like TMZ. COOPER: Well, also if they had really wanted to get that video, they had, I mean, Jeffrey Toobin in our last hour pointed out they had a lot of leverage over Ray Rice and his attorney. I mean, if Ray Rice's attorney have this video, couldn't they have just said to Ray Rice's attorney, "Look, you say you've told us everything that happened inside the elevator, let us see the video."

KING: Well, I think that, you know, reading between the lines on Ray Rice's attorney and in possession of hat video, if you're Ray Rice's attorney and the commissioner says, "We want to see that video.", which I still think the commissioner should have done. But I think that Ray Rice's attorney would probably said -- knowing the contents of that video, he would have said, "We're not going to show it to you. We don't have to and we're not going to do it."

Because I think if Roger Goodell had seen that video at that time, you know, knowing what we know now, I think if he had seen that video at that time and then only given him two games I think that there's a good chance that, you know, he would have been, you know, extremely scrutinized by his own owners.

COOPER: Well, that's the point now. I mean, can Goodell survive this? I mean there's been no indication that he's gone to a point, you know, any kind of independent investigation about how they handled this to correct problem. Have you -- Do you think he will survive this?

KING: I think he will survive it, Anderson, because you have to understand this. I think that the powerful owners in the league realized that Roger Goodell has been on the job basically for eight years. And in that course of time he's asked to do things like, you know, keep labor peace with the union.

Well, in 2011, they got a contract with the players through 2020, so that's a home run. Every time he goes to the bargaining table with the television networks he hits not a home run but a grand slam.

COOPER: So he's popular among the owners?

KING: I think he's very popular in the owners because he's enriching all of them.

COOPER: It's interesting. Jeff Toobin joins us now along with Rachel Nichols, Jeff?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I mean, sure he's popular because his making the owners rich. But that's not how they advertise the NFL. The NFL advertises itself as, you know, a part of America. I mean, shouldn't we expect more from the NFL commissioner than just lining the pockets of billionaires who are already rich?

KING: Absolutely. No question about it and I'll tell you this, Jeff. I think that there are going to be some owners who are going to have hard questions and everyone -- they're going to want to know from Roger Goodell, you know, what did you know and when did you know it. Did you ever see that tape? And I think that some owners have asked him that directly. And he's going to have to convince them but I believe he will be able to convince them and I don't think his job is in danger as of now.

COOPER: And Rachel, you know, it's interesting in our last hour you were talking about this as you are leaving, I mean, there are other players who are playing right now who have been convicted. One of them is appealing the conviction but he's still allowed to play. There's no video of him allegedly dragging his wife room to room.


COOPER: But that's what his been convicted of.

NICHOLS: I would love to see all of this collective outrage being thrown right now at Ray Rice who is suspended now indefinitely. So he is off the table as far as the NFL is concerned right now. Thrown, at the process that is allowing Greg Hardy of the Carolina Panthers to play in the NFL.

There was no video of what Greg Hardy did but I want everybody to just imagine in their minds a video of this. According to court documents, Greg Hardy threw his girlfriend on to a hard bathroom floor causing bruises, picked her up while threatening loudly to kill her and explaining to her that the assault weapons and hand guns that he had spread out on a couch were all loaded then threw her on to that couch landing on those weapons and told her several time she was going to die.

She then later had to get medical treatment of course. Press charges. He was convicted, not just charged but convicted. He is now appealing for a jury trial...

COOPER: And the two men are saying, "Well, he's appealing...

NICHOLS: Wait. Run that video in your head. Imagine there was a camera there. How are we not outraged? There shouldn't have to be a video tape for the NFL to act and that is what's so troubling in this whole situation. TMZ doesn't put that video online, Ray Rice is still with the Ravens. TMZ doesn't expose some of the other stuff they exposed earlier in the summer and in February. The NFL should not be being led by TMZ, that's an outrage.

COOPER: Do you think -- Does the NFL really take domestic abuse seriously? Because, you know, there's this case with a player who has had multiple, I guess, in fractions on marijuana and suspended for a year.

KING: At the MMQB today, Anderson, we had one of the six experts basically brought in a couple of weeks ago by the NFL. You know, a woman named Esta Soler of "Future without Violence". And we had her write an op-ed piece for us and she basically said in it, "I was very encouraged a couple of weeks ago, what the NFL did, but to me, we are back to square one because of this Ray Rice story."

She's troubled by the fact that the NFL hasn't stepped forward and answered all the questions that at the time in the first 36 hours of it, the Ravens owners and officials had not stepped forward. So, I think what was such a good news story two weeks ago is turning -- is being tampered now into you have to prove it to us that you care about domestic violence.

NICHOLS: They're just not doing...

COOPER: And Goodell, I mean, tonight on CBS said that he leaves open the very real possibility that Ray Rice will play again at the NFL, do you think that will happen?


KING: I think Ray Rice will play again and I'll tell you why. Because I think that in America, we're a country of second chances and not only that but just think of this, Anderson. You know, even though there was no video tape, Michael Vick spent 19 months in Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary. I mean, he stayed in some of the harshest conditions in the United States and was totally -- I think everybody who is saying now that, "Oh, this is the worst thing they've ever seen with an NFL player. Just think back to 2007.


COOPER: There was a player who tweeted and I don't know who was it, I think it was a player -- a former player tweeted yesterday if Ray Rice...

NICHOLS: Sage Rosenfeld.

COOPER: ... had punched Roger Goodell's daughter like that, knocked her unconscious, do you really think he would be allowed to play in the NFL? Absolutely not, this was Roger -- one of Roger Goodell's daughters.

TOOBIN: What you're saying, you know, I think you always get in trouble when you say, what if this happened to your daughter. Well of course you're going to be outraged and want to punch the guy in the nose. But, what I'm saying is in general, America is a redemptive society. And to me, I would be very surprised if somebody thinks two years from now or 18 months from now, whatever it is that Ray Rice can help them and he has done everything.

NICHOLS: And let's not get lost...

TOOBIN: America is a redemptive society for all pro full backs...

NICHOLES: Yeah, but let's not get lost...

TOOBIN: I mean...


TOOBIN: That's why he's an incredible valuable player. I mean, you know, better than anyone how...

NICHOLS: Whether Ray Rice plays in a year or not is not the big picture problem. Come on. The big picture problem is domestic violence in this country and the way domestic violence is treated in the NFL and to worry about the fact that he might get a second change way down the road.

Remember, if Roger Goodell in the first place had suspended him for a year, which is what most people think with this indefinite suspension will end up being. He would have been hailed as levying the worst punishment ever given in NFL history for domestic violence.

So, let's not worry about whether Ray Rice plays in a year or two, let's worry about how the FNL is handling this case and the precedent they are setting and the message they are sending to the young men in this country.

COOPER: Rachel, good to have you on. Peter, thank you so much. Peter Kings and Jeff Toobin as well. Jeff is going to stick around.

Also, a quick reminder, make sure you set your DVR. You can watch 360 whenever you want.

Coming up next, what has become a kind of perp walk of fame when it comes to domestic violence? Shockingly enough and what happens after the rich and famous face charges?


COOPER: Our breaking news tonight, Baltimore Ravens owner apologizing to team stake holders for not investigating Ray Rice's assault on his fiancee more thoroughly which should underscore the -- this is all part of a pattern, a video from inside that Atlantic City the elevator showed a scene that's neither new to the NFL nor the celebrity world nor for that matter society at large.

Violence against women sadly chronic condition about the most you can say about celebrity victimizers is this. Wealth and fame don't stop abusers from being abusers, more in that from Jason Carroll.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We the jury in the above and title action find the defendant Orenthal James Simpson not guilty of the crime of murder.

JASON CAROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Today, maybe the most infamous public case of domestic violence. Even before the controversial acquittal on murder charges, there were allegations O.J. Simpson had physically abused his wife Nicole Brown Simpson that more than apparent signs of trouble heard and repeated 911 calls like this one in 1993.

NICOLE BROWN SIMPSON, WIFE OF O.J. SIMPSON: Can you get someone over here now? He's back. Please.

911 OPERATOR: Well, OK. What does he look like?

SIMPSON: He's O.J. Simpson. I think you know his record. 911 OPERATOR: OK, just stay on the line.

SIMPSON: I don't want to stay on the line. He's going to beat the shit out of me.

911 OPERATOR: Wait a minute.

CAROLL: Domestic abuse victims now had a public face. Post-Simpson verdict there seemed to be a willingness to reveal abusers no matter how famous. Actor Charlie Sheen pleaded no contest to a charge he attacked his girlfriend in 1996, then in 2010 she pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault after he held a knife to his then-wife Brooke Mueller.

That same year, there was the case of actor Mel Gibson.

MEL GIBSON, AMERICAN ACTOR: You need a fucking bat on the side of the head. All right. How about that?

CAROLL: In a recording, Gibson admitted to hitting his then girlfriend.

OKSANA GRIGORIEVA, GIRLFRIEND OF MEL GIBSON: You. What kind of man is that? Hitting a woman when she is holding a child in her hands, breaking her teeth twice in the face?

GIBSON: Oh, you are all angry now?

GRIGORIEVA: You are going to get to, you know, what?

GIBSON: You know what? You fucking deserved it.

GRIGORIEVA: You going to answer one day.

CAROLL: Gibson pleaded no contest to a battery charge.

Some public figures who have admitted to domestic violence have gone on to have successful careers. Chris Brown was sentenced to community labor after pleading guilty to assaulting then-girlfriend pop superstar Rihanna in 2009. Later, the two reconciled. Rihanna even featured Brown on her album and continued an on-again off-again relationship.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There can be a lot of reasons why a person might choose to stay with someone who's abusive to them. It doesn't happen when they're just getting to know each other. The abuse starts and escalates after she's already in love.

CAROLL: Many though do choose to leave. Halle Berry left her boyfriend in her 20s after she says he allegedly hit her so hard she lost part of her hearing in one ear.

Sean Penn was charged with felony and domestic assault allegedly beating then wife Madonna in the 1980s. He later pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and the couple divorced. And just last year, food network start Nigella Lawson left her husband, Art Tycoon Charles Saatchi after picture showing him with his hands around her neck popped up in tabloids, Saatchi said he did not strangle Lawson he was trying to get her to focus.

CAROLL: There are a number of high profile domestic abuse cases that make headlines but the reality is most cases are private happening behind closed doors with everyday people who do not come forward out of fear or shame.

Jason Caroll, CNN, New York.


COOPER: Well, for years that's exactly what Leslie Morgan Steiner did. She kept her abuse secret, told no one about the beatings by her first husband. Today, though, she's now a spoken advocate sharing her story publicly in a TED talk and her memoir "Crazy Love". Today, she's happily married and a mother of three children. Leslie Morgan Steiner joins me now. Thanks so much for being with us.

The man who matters between now we should point out is obviously not the man who abused you back then. It was just five days, I understand, before your first wedding that the abuse began.

LESLIE MORGAN STEINER, AUTHOR, "CRAZY LOVE": Yes. That's exactly right and there had been no hence of violence before that. I think it's one of the things that's so complicated about domestic violence that people don't understand is that is for so long, the love is so good and it's what makes it feels so crazy when the violence starts.

So my husband attacks me. Early in the morning, he choked me and I really thought he would never do it again. I promised you that's what I thought and I married him, the bruises on my neck just faded and then he beat me twice more in our honeymoon and for the rest of our marriage he proceeded to attack me, you know, every few days, every few weeks and it was something that nothing in my life could've prepared me for and also believe it or not, it wasn't until after the relationship ended that I realized that I was a battered woman.

COOPER: You know, we just saw Carol Costello on who said the exact same thing happened to her not to that extent but that it was years before she realized, wait, what happened to me was a crime.

STEINER: It's so common. I didn't know that it was a crime. I thought I was a strong smart woman in love with a troubled wonderful man who I wanted to help and it's part of why it's just so crazy is that, from the outside this sounds like insanity, even to me now it sounds like insanity. But back when I was with him I really -- I felt so sorry for him. He had an abuse of childhood himself. He was smart and funny and he adored me and I thought if I could just him get through this small problem that we would live happily ever after.

And it really took years for my denial to breakdown that I've realized that it was a twist between him or me and the only reason I'm here today is that in some very dark moments I chose me. COOPER: Is ever just once?

STEINER: Only if you leave after the first time and there are lots of women and men too, you know, because I have to say that men can be victims of domestic violence too. There are people who see the writing on the wall, if you will, and are able to leave. I wasn't one of those people. I had so much denial and also my ex-husband was really -- he was just such a sympathetic character in some ways. He was really truly charming and I had never felt so deeply understood by any human being in my life. And I just wanted -- it was like a drug. I wanted to get back to those early days before the violence had started.

COOPER: You know, many times people ask that question o, "Well, why didn't the woman leave? Why did she end up marrying him?" Which in many ways almost sounds like blaming the victim but I guess my question of what made you finally leave?

STEINER: Because there was one particular beating that was just so brutal. I was unconscious for most of it and I became convinced that he was going to kill me and I somehow was able to leave -- something changed in me during that time. But what you say is really, really important because it is a way of blaming the victims. You know, I wasn't stuck in a psychological trap disguised as love even though I'm smart and I went to Harvard and I am confident in lots of ways I was vulnerable to it. Anybody can be vulnerable to it.

COOPER: And he had isolated you. I mean, he'd taken you out of New York City. You were in a town, you didn't know other people. He isolated you. He determined who your friends and family were, you know, who you got to see, who you spend Christmas with. What is your message to other women out there who are maybe going through this right now?

STEINER: I think that you need to learn everything you can about relationship violence before it ever happens to you and I think the simplest thing to look for is don't confuse pity and love.

If you're dating somebody and they expect you to feel sorry for them then that is a huge red flag and that is what I see in Janay Palmer. She feels sorry for Ray Rice and she feels that she needs to protect him and I think that women have to really watch out for this and again, men has to watch out for too because we talk all the time about women and women are the vast majority of domestic violence victims but this is not about physical control of somebody. It's about emotional and mental coercion which doesn't always have to include physical dominance.

COOPER: Great advice for people. "Crazy Love" is the book. Leslie Morgan Steiner, thank you so much.

STEINER: Thank you so much, Anderson.

COOPER: I appreciate it.

Up next, an all too common though some might call it a lenient sentence for a federal judge allegedly beat up his wife at a hotel. There are similarities between what he did and Ray Rice has done. Remarkable. Details ahead.


COOPER: Crime and punishment tonight, a domestic abuse case that might make your blood boil but it's not about Ray Rice. Now in a moment, Jeff Toobin who is about as fired up about this as we've ever seen him but first the background from George Howell.


GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR AND REPORTER: U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller of Montgomery, Alabama finds himself on the other side of the bench, in a court room in Atlanta. A high profile client charged with misdemeanor battery after an alleged domestic violence case involving his wife. The cameras rolled as the judge gave her ruling.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you've agreed to complete the domestic violence intervention program, go for subsidies, assessment by whatever treatment might be recommended?

HOWELL: Fuller received a pre-trial diversion without having to admit guilt which is an attorney tells CNN is a standard ruling for first- time offenders when it comes to domestic violence. Fuller's lawyer says his wife had to agree for the pre-trial diversion to happen. Police arrested him last month after she called 911 for help at the Atlanta, Ritz Carlton.

911 DISPATCHER: What's going on?


911 DISPATCHER: Excuse me?

K. FULLER: Domestic dispute.

911 DISPATCHER: OK, with yourself and who else?

K. FULLER: I'm calling. I need help.

911 DISPATCHER: What's your name?

K. FULLER: Kelli Fuller.

911 DISPATCHER: OK. Do you need an ambulance?

K. FULLER: Yes, please.

HOWELL: The call continued as a second dispatcher conference in to help.

K. FULLER: I hate you. I hate you.


EMS DISPATCHER: Alabama EMS. What is the address of your emergency?

911 DISPATCHER: Kelli? Kelli? OK. She needs an ambulance. I'm sending the police. They're in a domestic fight now at the Ritz Carlton.

K. FULLER: Please help me, he's beating on me.

HOWELL: In a statement released last week, Fuller said that quote, "I deeply regret this incident and look forward to working to resolve these difficulties with my family where they should be resolved." He goes on to say quote, "I look forward to completing the family counseling that I voluntarily began several weeks ago and to successfully complete the requirements of the diversion."

As part of his sentence, he has to undergo a standard alcohol and substance assessment but his attorney says he does not have a drinking problem. Fuller says he looks forward to addressing the concerns of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals and is fully cooperating with their investigation. His attorney says, "Until that investigation is concluded, calls for the judge to resign are unwarranted."

George Howell, CNN, Atlanta.


COOPER: Back with us is Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin who has written extensively and intensively about this case, also Criminal Defense Attorney Mark Geragos who in full disclosure represents Chris Brown as well as Mike Tyson.

Jeff, this story really upset you and particularly that idea -- that statement that he made -- the judge made in which he said that it should be resolved in the family.

TOOBIN: Exactly. And that is precisely what's wrong with how we look at domestic violence that it is somehow a family matter. When you beat the hell out of anyone whether it's a wife, domestic partner, whatever, that is a law enforcement matter and it should not be dealt within the family whether, you know, Kelli Fuller wants to stay married to her husband, it's her business, but when he starts beating her up, assaulting her, that's the government's business and he should be prosecuted and he got precisely the slap on the wrist If you can even call at that that Ray Rice got a diversion into one of these Mickey Mouse council...

COOPER: And his record will be wiped clean.

TOOBIN: Exactly. And he wants to still be a federal judge. Can you imagine?

COOPER: That is the incredible thing, Mark. The idea that this guy is going to be on the bench, you know, ruling over other people's cases. I mean, you obviously have high profile experience with this with Mike Tyson, with Chris Brown. Does the court system in your opinion take a hard enough line in domestic violence cases? MARK GERAGOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, look, the problem with domestic violence cases is usually as you've seen with the Ray Rice matter. The women end up recanting almost immediately. In Ray Rice's case, they marry him and then come out and recant and that's what always happens.

I'm with Jeff. I understand what is Jeff saying which is, you know, how unbelievable it is that some federal judge is out there judging people, you know, slamming defendants left and right but the fact is, what are you going to do? Are you going to insinuate yourself into the marriage? Are you going to insinuate yourself into the relationship...

TOOBIN: Can I ask you, Mark? Absolutely. Absolutely. Why? Why? Because you subpoenaed these women. You can't assault people in the United State. You can't assault your wife. You can't assault people on the street and there are prosecutors' offices. You know this, Mark. They will arrest women and force them to testify because if they don't these women are going to wind up dead.

GERAGOS: What a great solution, Jeff. Let's take the victim. Let's arrest them. Let's put them in jail so that everybody else can feel really good about it. What sense does that make?

TOOBIN: It's not a matter of feeling good about it. It's a matter of enforcing the law against people who are violating it. Look, obviously you don't want to arrest. It doesn't happen very often. But let me just ask you something else, Mark...

GERAGOS: So what's the point of -- OK, Jeff, but why do you arrest the victim? Why do you put the victim in jail just because you want to feel better because it's domestic violence?

Remember what happens in all of these things. It's a, you know, there's a codependent relationship, I mean, the woman in Ray Rice was smacked down, she was put down on the ground and guess what, how long did it take her to marry him? Almost 30 days?

TOOBIN: And that's her problem but it's society's problem when this take place.

GERAGOS: Yeah, but why is it we insinuate ourselves into that?

TOOBIN: It's not in the matter of insinuating. It's a matter of enforcing the law. You can't assault people regardless of who they are whether you're married to them or not.

GERAGOS: OK. Well, I accept that but what are you going to do if you're a prosecutor? And God knows I never defend prosecutors, but if the prosecutor says, "OK. I want to prosecute this case. I've got a video. The woman just got smacked down. She's unconscious. He's dragging her out of the elevator." and two months later, she's marrying him. And what am I suppose to do? I'm going to subpoena her and put her on the stand? Will you just -- What are you suppose to do?

TOOBIN: Absolutely. Absolutely.


COOPER: That's the answer. We got to go.

GERAGOS: Jeff, that's the dumbest thing I've ever thought of.

COOPER: Well, we'll leave it there.

TOOBIN: Yeah, it's what you always think of what I said.

COOPER: Jeff Toobin, Mark Geragos thank you very much.

GERAGOS: But I love you, Jeff.

COOPER: We'll continue the conversation on Twitter.

Just ahead, President Obama backpedaling on his analogy comparing ISIS to a "JV team". Now, saying he wasn't specifically referring to the group of terrorist, ISIS, the group he'll address the nation about tomorrow night. We'll keep them on, that's next.


COOPER: Tomorrow night, President Obama is going to speak to the nation about his strategy for going after ISIS terrorist.

Right now, though, it's something he said months ago that's getting a lot of attention. Sports analogy about terrorist, a one that keeping him honest, the White House and the president himself are backpedaling on.

Now, back in January, President Obama gave an interview to David Remnick of the New Yorker and David is going to join me just a moment. During the interview, David asked about the president's assertion during the 2012 campaign that Al-Qaeda had been all but decimated. Remnick pointed out that the flag of Al-Qaeda was flying in Fallujah, Iraq and in several rebel factions in Syria towards to which the president responded, "The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on a Lakers uniform that doesn't make them Kobe Bryant."

Now remember this was back in January after ISIS had captured Fallujah but on "Meet the Press" just this past weekend, the president said the JV comment was not a reference to ISIS.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Long way, long way from when you described them as a JV team.

OBAMA: Well, I...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was that bad intelligence or your misjudgment?

OBAMA: Keep in mind I wasn't specifically referring to ISIL. I've said that, regionally, there were a whole series of organizations that were focused primarily, locally.


COOPER: The White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said essentially the same thing several weeks ago. Listen.


JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: So the president was not singling out ISIL. He was talking about the very different threat that is posed by a range of extremists around the globe.


COOPER: So that's the White House line now. Clearly, the president wasn't singling out ISIS but keep in mind though, ISIS certainly was among the groups that David Remnick was asking about. One of the groups the president seems to be describing with the JV analogy and David Remnick joins me now.

I mean, you would -- I'm not only asking about that but then when you followed up by saying, "Well the JV team has just taken over Fallujah.

DAVID REMNICK, EDITOR, THE NEW YORKER: Yeah. I'm afraid this has been -- it's just ingenious. And it was...

COOPER: You have no doubt he was talking about ISIS?

REMNICK: You know, it seemed to me, you know, and looking back on it that -- yes, he was referring to the group that had taken over Fallujah. I specifically said Fallujah and that's who it was and he's fully informed.

So even though the use of the term Al-Qaeda was the kind of umbrella term in that interview and in that exchange and even in the American dialect at that point for the most part. No, I think this denial is a bit, you know, it's putting spin on the ball.

You know, in many ways I think the president deserves credit on the foreign policies in ways we can discuss. But I thought this piece of a language and his communication in general on foreign policy in the recent months has been rather -- and surprisingly lax and out of the key, and quite frankly I think this speech tomorrow night is addressed at correcting that.

I think he knows that with all the talk of redlines that eventually got crossed and the world is messy and the JV team that his role as communicator when it comes to foreign policy has been subpar. And he's got to do a lot to correct that and tomorrow night is a very important event.

COOPER: I know. On the flipside of that, there's been a lot of rhetoric about ISIS which is frankly kind of stunning. I mean, for a group which -- I mean, yes, they have very publicly executed horrifically two Americans but they have now -- and they have taken over territory and they do have a big bank fund that they've gotten through oil sales and antiquity trafficking and all sorts of things taken it...

REMNICK: Over major points in Syria and Iraq...

COOPER: Right.

REMNICK: ... and occupying that sense in a lot of lands, some of it very empty but a lot of lands.

COOPER: Right, something which Al-Qaeda really was never able to do. So they have done things which other groups have not done but to hear Chuck Hagel saying this is -- we've never faced a group like this before that -- and there's been a lot of rhetoric, very alarmist rhetoric on it. Do you buy that? Do you believe all that? Because -- do you think that the runoff to the Iraq, everybody is suddenly media, suddenly is just went in lockstep with this whole story that the administration was spending about weapons of mass destruction.

It now seems like -- suddenly there's this hysteria over ISIS, a group which has, you know, in terms of things they've actually done against the United States and I'm not saying they don't want to but actually been able to?

REMNICK: I don't this hysteria but I think that everything that I've read and everything that the reporters of the New Yorker, people like Dexter Filkins...

COOPER: Right.

REMNICK: ... have come back and either published or about to publish about ISIS, confirms that this is a horrendous and extremely dangerous group. However, in the wake and we live in some ways in the post-Iraq world although we're still in Iraq in a sense and that in the wake of events of events like Colin Powell's performance on weapons of mass...

COOPER: Right.

REMNICK: ... destruction at the United Nations.

Presidents of the United States owe it to the American people to make careful, deep, convincing cases before the use of force. I think that should be a rule number one in my opinion. And I think until now, the president himself is not all in one place in a coherent convincing deep way made the case that one expects him to make tomorrow night.

COOPER: You know, when we look at where -- the press conference he gave when he announced 500 American military personnel are going to go to Iraq and he was asked a lot about mission creep and, you know, said, "Look, there's not going to be a mission creep."

There is no argument to be made that there is already been mission creep. I think Glenn Greenwald wrote like there's mission gallop, it's not just mission creep and gone now from sending an advisers to -- well, now we have to do air strikes in order to protect those advisers and protect Kurdistan. And now it's -- well now we are probably going to bomb inside Syria as well.

REMNICK: There was truth in that terrible moment in President Obama's appearance at the end of his vacation. The tan-suited moment when he said we don't have a strategy yet. It was one those kind of Freudian give away moments and they then rushed out to spin this and say, "Well, we don't have a strategy when it comes to the Syrian part of this as oppose to the Iraqi part of this," but it gave you every indication that there was no coherent strategy yet.

And look, I believe that it's far better to be extremely deliberative about these things than to rush toward war as our experience was in 2002 to 2003.

COOPER: It's also interesting though for a president who campaigned on and, you know, getting U.S. troops out of Iraq and in the war in Afghanistan to...

REMNICK: Now, he wanted to be...

COOPER: ... to be now be in this position where he is -- and, you know, he is doing it in the way he likes to try to do things at forming a coalition but basically you have the United States leading the way on what will likely be expanded bombing campaign against these groups in the Middle East.

REMNICK: Quite likely and it's certainly not what Barack Obama thought. He was becoming president to-be but he is the president in the real world.

David Remnick, thank you very much.

COOPER: Just ahead, young Canadians answering the call of ISIS joining its ranks, fighting, dying in Syria.

Drew Griffin digs deeper at the mosque in Calgary, Alberta where some of the young men worship.


COOPER: As President Obama prepares to outline a strategy for fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria, just toward North in Canada, ISIS is creating a national security threat.

The government estimates that 130 Canadians have already gone to fight for terror groups overseas. And almost weekly, parents learned their sons are gone and in many cases dying for a cause they barely understand. Nowhere is that more prevalent than in Calgary.

Our Senior Investigative Correspondent Drew Griffin.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: This city best known for a booming oil business, early September snows and its gateway to the Canadian Iraqis is reeling with news, two more of its sons have joined forces to fight with the radical Islamic group ISIS. Brothers Gregory and Collin Gordon disappeared in 2012 and now through disturbing tweets, Collin Gordon confirms he has taken up Jihad as an ISIS fighter. On August 21st, two days after James Foley was beheaded, Collin tweeted out under his new Twitter name, Ibrahim Canady, the video of James Foley loosing his neck is the perfection of terrorism.

How seemingly normal Canadian teenagers grow up to become 20-something Islamic radical fighters is a question that is becoming a national emergency even more urgent as they show up like Calgary's Farah Shirdon on YouTube videos burning passports and vowing to bring their fight home.

FARAH MOHAMED SHIRDON, CANADIAN ISIS FIGHTER: This is a message to Canada and all of the American tyrants, we are coming and we will destroy you by the will of God.

GRIFFIN: Canadian police estimate 130 Canadians have gone overseas for terrorist activities, 30 of them to fight in Syria and families and local Muslim leaders in Calgary say five are connected to justice, one downtown Calgary apartment building with a mosque on the ground floor. It's where a recent convert named Damian Clairmont began worshipping in 2012 before he, too disappeared.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did he sound like?

JUSTIN THIBEAU, DAMIAN CLAIRMONT'S FRIEND: Just normal, just as if he wasn't in Syria.

GRIFFIN: Justin Thibeau last talked to his childhood friend on December 23rd. Less than a month later, this former Catholic Nova Scotia born 22-year-old would be killed on an ISIS battlefield in Aleppo, Syria.

THIBEAU: I'd be lying because I didn't see it coming.


THIBEAU: I knew Damian. I knew what he was like. If he was there for reasons he thought true then there was nothing that could've stop him except death.

GRIFFIN: Damian Clairmont's mother says their son tried to commit suicide the day after his 17th birthday. He was troubled when he began converting to Islam in 2011. And suddenly he began to thrive the religion grounded in she said but that all changed when he began attending Calgary's moderate downtown mosque

Damian Clairmont joined a secretive prayer group. Five members of that prayer group would eventually head to the ISIS frontlines. Three of them are now dead including Farah Shirdon, the man who burned his Canadian passport on Youtube.

What is most troubling of all especially to the Muslim community here which has been outspoken in its opposition to radical theology is why these seemingly normal Canadian youngsters are going to fight as terrorist in foreign lands. The honest answer from Muslim community leaders, Mahdi Qasqas, Rahman Abdul Sadiq (ph) and Abdul Souraya is scary. They don't know.

MAHDI QASQAS, MUSLIM YOUTH SERVICES: That the same thing people say when somebody well off commit suicide or when somebody -- when good people do bad things. They always say why where they had everything they need. We need to understand the mindset...

GRIFFIN: But right now what you're saying to Canada and to me and to everybody is we don't know what is going on.

ADBUL SOURAYA, FORMER DIR. MUSLIM COMMUNITY COUNCIL: We don't understand it fully and this is why -- this is something that we're trying to address.

GRIFFIN: This week, these community leaders will stage an unprecedented summit between police, government and Muslim youth experts in an effort to stop what they call the criminal radicalization of Calgary's youth.

Any solutions will come too late for Justin Thibeau, his life-long friend is dead and Thibeau will never know exactly why.

THIBEAU: It could be anybody's kid and all those -- my friend Damian, the last person that I would ever expect. It could be anybody.


COOPER: That's fascinating. Drew joins us now live from Calgary.

Is there someone in Calgary who's preaching hate radicalizing these guys?

GRIFFIN: You know, Anderson, that is what's so confounding about this and I said it in the piece. The Muslim community here in Calgary is very moderate, outgoing, inclusive, they have very strong programs for youth development. And at that mosque there is no history of anybody preaching hate, preaching radicalization or even preaching going to Syria and fight. They believe that these guys are self-radicalizing just like they are in the United States and taking it upon themselves to go over there. And I think this really speaks to the power that we don't quite yet understand of this social media of ISIS and the pull, one guy goes over there and says, tweets back I've seen the tweets, "Come on, it's great. You'll love it." and they attract other guys to go.

COOPER: And not only are these young guys -- I mean, they are leaving Canada to fight but the Canadian government is concerned that they obviously going to come back in some cases.

GRIFFIN: Yeah. Some have come back. Canadian Public Safety Department says 80 have come back. They are trying to track them down, keep track of them. They've got stronger laws but what they're trying to do up here, Anderson, is be much more inclusive, kind of like a very softer version of, if you see something say something. They want people to see something early on, intervene, get these kids turned around before they get caught up in all these messages.

COOPER: All right. Drew, thanks very much. We'll be right back.


COOPER: That's it for us. We'll be back here tomorrow night at 8:00 and 9:00 Eastern with special coverage of President Obama's address to the nation.

CNN Tonight starts now.