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Video Released of Syrian ISIS Congratulating ISIS in the Sinai for Downing Jet; Plane's Two Flight Recorders Support Theory That Bomb Brought It Down; Carson Slams Reporters Over Questions About His Past; Carson's Hip-Hop Ad; Trump to Host SNL. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired November 6, 2015 - 20:00   ET


[20:00:07] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening.

We begin tonight with breaking news and what is looking more and more like the deliberate downing of Metro Jet flight 9268. The latest development, a propaganda video from ISIS in Syria congratulating its Egyptian (INAUDIBLE) for blowing up the Russian airbus calling it revenge for Russian airstrikes in Syria and warning of more to come.

Our security experts will have a lot more to say momentarily about the video on what's on it. It came as investigators analyzing the plane's two flight recorders say the data leads them to conclude that a bomb brought it down. Now in short, they believe that someone or some group murdered 224 men, women and children.

The black box dives with American and British intelligence what happened to the A-321 which is heading back to St. Petersburg from the Egyptian resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh. Now, this is intelligence the two governments have now shared with the Kremlin which today took drastic action on travel to and from Egypt. The TSA took action as well on flights coming into this country and we will talk about effect as well.

A lot to cover, all of these, tonight. Plus, more to CNN investigation reveals about ongoing security problems at major American airports.

But first, our Pamela Brown with very latest on flight 9268.


PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Investigators analyzing the plane's black boxes say sounds of an explosion can be heard on the cockpit voice recorder. And according to French media, those investigators say with confidence, those sounds did not stem from technical failure.

As Russian drone scoured the debris fields in the Sinai Peninsula, focus remains on Egypt's Sharm el-Sheikh airport where the aircraft departed. British intelligence officials believe an insider at the airport may have planted a bomb in the plane's cargo hold right next to the aircraft's fuel line according to the BBC. ROBERT LISCOUSKI, FORMER ASSISTANT SECRETARY, HOMELAND SECURITY: Yes,

food service workers, baggage handlers, maintenance personnel, all sorts of folks that have legitimate access to it. And if you look statistically, working on those folks, somebody is going to be a bad actor someplace. They may not have a terrorist intent but somehow perhaps they can be exploited.

BROWN: U.S. and British intelligence officials say chatter coming from ISIS in the Sinai Peninsula suggests the terrorist group could be behind the potential plot. Russian officials say that intelligence has been shared with them, but Egypt says it knows nothing about it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We would have like the U.K. not to make a decision until the full reports concerning the crash has been published.

BROWN: Today after U.S. and British officials share their intelligence, Russian president Vladimir Putin made the bold announcement that Russia is suspending all flights to Egypt. Officials in Egypt continue to push back saying it is still too early to know what caused the crash.


COOPER: Pamela Brown joins us now.

So we understand you just got new information about the so-called chatter from ISIS.

BROWN: That's right. We have learned who was on the receiving end of that chatter, Anderson. And apparently, according to sources we have been speaking with, it was ISIS in Syria. So intelligence officials were able to pick up communications between ISIS in the Sinai Peninsula, this affiliate of ISIS, and essentially the mother ship, ISIS and Syria. And apparently ISIS in the Sinai Peninsula was boasting about the bomb, boasting about bringing down the plane. But intelligence officials I have speaking with say this has been inconclusive because they don't know if it was an attempt by this active ISIS branch in the Sinai Peninsula to gain favor with the mother ship to try to impress them, one in fact, they won't really behind anything with the plane crash. However, it is serious enough for officials here in the U.S. And as we have heard in Great Britain and elsewhere to say a bombing is a strong possibility. And now, we have learned as a result of this intelligence that perhaps other factors Russia has now stopped flights to Europe. So it is concerning but again, Anderson, there have been no conclusions.

COOPER: You mean stop flights to Egypt.

BROWN: Stop flights to Egypt, that's right.

COOPER: OK, Pamela Brown, thanks for the reporting that update. I appreciate it.

We just learned that some of the extra security measures we spoke about at the top of the broadcast will be instituted airports in Cairo, Oman, Jordan and Kuwait. A lot to talk about with the panel. CNN aviation correspondent

Richard Quest, CNN safety analyst and former FAA accident investigator David Soucie, also former CIA officer Bob Baer and CNN terrorism analyst Paul Cruickshank.

Richard, I mean, in the days up to now, people are saying, well, look. If this was a bomb planted on board this flight by someone that worked there, this is a game changer.

RICHARD QUEST, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: And remains to be. If this was a bomb, if this was a bomb, we know it's an explosion and everything points towards it being a bomb. And so let's continue our discussion if you like on that assumption.

If it is a bomb that has been put on this plane then all the planning that's gone into post 9/11 really goes for nothing when it comes to these weaker airports. And what U.S. authorities are going to haves to do, along with the British and others, is go into these airports and systemically work out what's gone wrong and beef up the security. Otherwise the alternative is very simple. You don't get direct flights to these - to major countries.

[20:05:06] COOPER: What I don't understand, though, I mean, it's not as if the Egyptian government doesn't have a ton of military personnel and a ton of secret police, I mean, if they wanted to bolster security at airports, they could bolster security at airports.

QUEST: Well, as I -- I don't want to tread on the toes of my colleagues here. But I suspect what they are going to tell you is you can have all the security alike. But if some go bad, then you are in a worse situation than nothing at all.

COOPER: Paul, I mean, should it be that complicated to try to protect the back end of these planes, the ground crews who have access to them?

PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, if you have an insider at the airport that's a holy grail for a terrorist group. And ISIS in Sinai I just thought, as to Richard's point, has a track record of recruiting insiders inside Egyptian military, inside the Egyptian police. They carried out an attack in Cairo in 2014 where a senior police colonel actually gave them insider information. They have that kind of track record. So it is plausible that they did manage to recruit somebody at Sharm el-Sheikh airport. And there is concern now they recruited other people at other airports in the Middle East. And I think that's one of the reasons why there are new security precautions for certain airports in the Midwest coming into the United States.

COOPER: Robert, the fact that the BBC is reporting the bomb was placed in the hold of the plane prior to take off. I mean, again, if an insider work in the airport is there, in terms of security where do you go from here?

BOB BAER, CNN INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY ANALYST: Well Anderson, the problem is these planes are essentially indefensible. I mean, you can take a couple of ounces of (INAUDIBLE) explosives which is basically nothing. You can take a detonator the size of a pencil eraser and have a device that can bring down an airplane. So what do you do about the cleaning staff? I mean, you know, someone could just simply come in and put this in the side in the overhead compartment, knock down an airplane. What do you do about as Paul was saying, what do you do about the police supposed to be guarding it and people that switch loyalties to the Islam make state?

Egypt is a very dangerous place. It is in the middle of an Islamic insurgency. And I just simply don't know how you defend an airplane in, you know, secure it in Cairo. That's why the Russians and KLM and everybody else are cancelling cancel flights to even Cairo. And you can't leave with your own luggage. I mean, people are very, very worried at this point because they don't know where the threat is coming from and they don't know which airports are secure and which are.

COOPER: So David Soucie, in terms of the investigation, how do you narrow down the details on what sort of device this was, et cetera, unless you actually find remnants of the device?

DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST: Well, there are some tale, tale signs of what type of device it was that will be disclosed as they put the airplane back together. But how it got in there is the biggest key of all and the system for that is where it needs to focus. And that's where even investigators will focus back there. Even before they know what it is, Anderson, they don't have to prove that it is a bomb to heighten security and to reevaluate their protocol of how this get this done. But as far as the investigation goes, what happens on site, they are going to be looking for the fracture point, the very first point as which the aircraft cracked. From there look for debris, for residue for even the smallest bomb if you know where the first fracture point is. It is the place where first started the crack.

COOPER: But David, how big of a problem is to the fact - I mean, from everything we know publicly at least, Egyptian investigators haven't been investigating this as a terrorist incident. I mean, there were reports early on they weren't interviewing people at the airport, ground staff at the airport and at least publicly they have not been out in front on this.

SOUCIE: The damage has been done there, Anderson. That needs to be done right away. People memories' change. Things change. There is videotapes that may or may not be accessible. Now, there were when it first happened. There is a lot of lost information by assuming and we talked before about why they waited to see they kept telling Russia and they kept the prime minister why don't we wait and see until the report is done. You can't do that in safety. You react right away. Safety is reactive to some extent then you learn from that and become proactive. But in the meantime, you have to take those security measures and dial them back if you have to. But the fact that they didn't do that right up front could be a very damaging to the investigation.

COOPER: Richard? QUEST: The game changer aspect when it comes to aviation and

terrorism and this particular incident is the federated nature of ISIS or Al-Qaeda if they were in another scenario. In the past, you had terrorist organizations very much related to a specific area with a specific cause and a specific goal and ambition. But this federated nature where as you were saying, the chatter is going backwards and forwards. And the words is going to back to Syria or where it might it be. This is what makes it much more difficult because we are now dealing with something we haven't dealt with before on a larger scale, with more airports, and that's why the TSA announcements tonight with the ten individual airports is so crucial. And my guess is what is going to happen is the U.S. along with a few other countries will go into those airports to actually see whether or not they can remain safe.

[20:10:17] COOPER: And Paul, I mean, again, you have -- it's not just people who are in the Middle East. I mean, you now have foreign fighters, people from Europe and the United States have gone there to fight for ISIS, gain experience and then can come back to Europe and --

CRUICKSHANK: Absolutely right, 6,000 Europeans now believed to have gone and fight for in Syria and Iraq for the variety of jihadi groups. Fifteen hundreds, and I'll say that again, 1500 believed to be back in Europe right now around 200 Americans believed to have traveled. President Putin the other day said around 7,000 individuals from Russia are in the former soviet states have traveled to fight in Syria and Iraq. Big threat for Russia, as well. ISIS tonight promising more attacks and more attacks against Russia aviation.

COOPER: So Bob, where does it go from here in terms of trying to protect planes in the future?

BAER: We are going to have to clean up our airports first of all. Minneapolis there was an airport worker that worked for Delta Airlines, leaves Minneapolis, goes to Syria and dies. But the fact is he did work at that airport. And what is to stop somebody instead of going to Syria carrying the battle to Minneapolis. That's what concerns me is our airports, these people are not vetted and if you -- they are not vetted and can get bombs on and it's a real threat and it is something we need to do, you know, to take care of right now.

COOPER: Bob Baer, appreciate it. David Soucie, Richard Quest and Paul Cruickshank, as well.

Just ahead tonight as Bob Baer just said more on the subject, more on airport ground workers, what a CNN investigation reveals about security shortcomings at big airports here in this country. If you fly, you want to see this. You might think with all the screening you see, there is no way for bad guys to get dangerous information on the flight. As we discovered, only can they, they have.

Later, we have more breaking news, usually Ben Carson as you've probably never seen him before getting rather hot under the caller. We will show you his face-off tonight over the stories he's been telling about his past. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:15:48] COOPER: The breaking news tonight a flurry of new developments in the crash of Metro Jet 9268, a video from ISIS in Syria congratulating ISIS in the Sinai for downing the jet. A reported data from the airbus' two flight recorders leading European investigator to conclude that a bomb did in fact destroy it.

Action as well from TSA beefing up security on some flights from certain global airports and into the United States. Now there is all that and focus on that and focus on security short comings at the airport in Sharm el-Sheikh especially involving all he behind the scenes people get airlines ready to fly. Now, you might think that these vulnerabilities would have been taken care of a long time ago, but you would be mistaken even in the United States. Even some of the nations' busy east airports.

Last year in Atlanta unscreened baggage turned out to contain dozens of firearms being smuggled on to planes by a Delta employee.

And as senior investigator correspondent Drew Griffin reports the reason is simple even if it makes no sense.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Fifty-four thousand employees at Los Angeles international report to work without mandatory bag checks, no body screening and dozens of doors like this one where a badge and a code gets you right on the tarmac. You think that scary? Put yourself in a shoes of L.A.'s airport police Chief Patrick Gannon.

Right now what we have in place doesn't appear to me to protection against the lone wolf scenario.

CHIEF PATRICK GANNON, LAX POLICE: When you say lone wolf, are you talking about somebody a lone Wolf that has access to the --.

GRIFFIN: I'm talking about --

GANNON: Best credential employee.

GRIFFIN: That guy right there that just walked in with a backpack, with the mug, we don't know what's in his backpack, we don't know what is in his mug and we don't know what in his heart or in his head.

GANNON: That's correct.

GRIFFIN: Does it concern you?

GANNON: It concerns me all the time with 54,000 badged employees that work in a large airport like this, there is no way that you're going to have the ability to screen every single person that comes to work in the airport.

GRIFFIN: L.A. tries to minimize the risk by maximizing random checks like this one. Airport workers never know exactly when or where spot checks could occur. Employees also face background checks, yearly updates, and a system built around everyone watching out for anyone who might seem suspicious, but chief Gannon admits nothing is foolproof.

As we've been at airports across the country, we have not really seen anything that could prevent what Atlanta went through, which was guns being smuggled out of airports.

GANNON: No, I agree. I agree. In any airport throughout the United States and here also, there is never a 100 percent guarantee that somebody couldn't who wanted to do something illegal or wrong couldn't make that happen.

GRIFFIN: What happened in Atlanta prompted a reaction at airports across the country and you can see why. These are the guns smuggled on to as many as 20 flights by one Delta airline baggage handler. Authorities say that baggage handler took the guns to work in his backpack which was never screened. The motive, pure profit selling the guns in northeast cities. But Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson's general manager, Miguel Southwell testified to a congressional committee the real danger the gun running exposed is the threat of potential terrorism.

MIGUEL SOUTHWELL, GENERAL MANAGER, HARTSFIELD JACKSON ATLANTA AIRPORT: We started to see that people have been recruited to engage in a terrorist act. People from the United States. So now we have a greater insider threat.

GRIFFIN: In the wake of last year's gun smuggling incident. Atlanta instituted full airport employee screening. A CNN investigation earlier this year found that only two other major U.S. airports, Miami and Orlando, conduct full employee screening by requiring employees to pass through metal detectors just like passengers.


COOPER: So Drew, why is the screening only in three airports? Why not every airport in the country?

GRIFFIN: You know, Anderson, airport administers say moving toward full employee screening would simply be too costly and time consuming for these airport workers to wait in line like you and me.

[20:20:05] COOPER: Wouldn't everybody be safer, though, if every airport had this kind of screening?

GRIFFIN: You would think. But actually the TSA says it studied this and says no. They did a full review following that Atlanta gun smuggling case and concluded that full screening of airport employees nationwide would not lower the overall risk to the public. But what they did do is announce for frequent background checks for these workers every two years. And for airport workers, they are going to face these increases of random screenings that do take place.

But again, day to day, Anderson, a badge is all you need to get into work at most airports.

COOPER: Drew, appreciate the reporting, thank you.

Just ahead tonight, more breaking news, Ben Carson facing tough questions about his past and even what he himself has said and written about it. Just a short time ago, he spoke with reporters and you will see this was not the low key Dr. Carson we all got used to see.

Later, the uproar over NBC's decision to bring Donald Trump back to "30 rock" and showcase him on "Saturday Night Live" this week.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Donald promised for the whole show he is not -


[20:25:00] COOPER: Breaking news on the campaign trail. Just minutes ago, we saw a new Ben Carson, a side rarely people have seen before. An intense back and forth with reporter, Dr. Carson hit back hard when questioned again about claims he made about his past including that he had been offered a full scholarship to West Point when he was in high school. Here is what Dr. Carson had to say.


BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They were saying you would be a tremendous addition to the military and we can get you into West Point with a full scholarship. And I simply said I want to be a doctor. I really appreciate it. I'm very flattered.

They had been looking through everything, they have been talking to everybody I've ever known or ever seen. There has got to be a scandal. There has got to be some nurse he's having affair with. There has got to be something. They are getting desperate. So next week it will be my kindergarten teacher who said I peed in my pants. I mean, this is just ridiculous.


COOPER: As the news conference went on, Dr. Carson got more animated, all this came before his campaign event began. He is expected to speak shortly to the black Republican caucus of south Florida, part of the outreach her is staring to win the support of African Americans.

CNN's Sunlen Serfaty joins me now with the latest.

And so, I mean, let's talk about, you know, it does seem like a different Ben Carson up there tonight pushing back very hard on these reports regarding his scholarship offer to West Point and his history as a kid.

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Anderson. This was a sight of Ben Carson that we just have not seen on the campaign trail before with much more combative and much more aggressive than we have seen him in the past. It's very clear that all of this was scrutiny over his past record is really getting under his skin. So he is very forceful and pushing back against all these reports. At times he seems almost exasperated as he even had to be standing at that podium addressing repeated questions by reporters, not only about his incidents of violence, but also this report today about West Point. And he is really did, though, reveal a hint of something that could be important. He has not given the names of any victims on this violence. He said that perhaps sometime soon he might be putting someone forward potentially one of those victims to speak in his words he said so that the media can eat them up so certainly will be interesting that's what we'll be watching.

COOPER: He also went after reporters for their vetting of president Obama before he was elected.

SERFATY: That's right. He is really trying to redirect some of the spotlight and the focus on him and redirect that sort of scrutiny to the media saying this should be all about the media. They are trying to tarnish my image calling it a witch hunt. And he did go after reporters saying when Barack Obama ran for president, he believes he was not held to similar scrutiny. Here is what he said just moments ago.


CARSON: Why are you guys not interested in (INAUDIBLE)? Let me ask that. Can somebody tell me why? Please. I'm asking you why it's so. No, no, no, don't. I don't change it. I'm asking you, will someone -- will someone tell me, please, why you have not investigated that? You're saying that something that happened with the words of scholarship was offered is a big deal but president of the United States, his academic record not being sealed, tell me -- tell me how, tell me how there is equivalence here. It doesn't matter where it is. Tell me how there is equivalence there? Tell me somebody, please?


SERFATY: So he also went on to kind of raise additional questions that he thinks reporters should have asked then senator Obama when he was running calling into question of characters from his own past (INAUDIBLE). And Anderson, Carson really made a specific prediction. He said he thinks this all will help him. He said it will help (INAUDIBLE).

COOPER: All right, Sunlen Serfaty. Thank you.

More now on the claims Dr. Carson has made about violence as a teenager. He said he once tried to stab a friend that it was a critical moment in his life and his memoir. He portrays the incident as a transformative moment, a turning point where he left his rage behind. The problem is CNN hasn't been able to find anyone in his past that remembered him that way. This morning on CNN's "NEW DAY," Dr. Carson slammed the reporting.


CARSON: This say bunch of lies. This is a bunch of lies. It's a bunch of lies, attempting, you know, to say that I'm lying about my history. I think it is pathetic. And basically, what the media does is they try to get you distracted with all of this stuff so that you don't talk about the things that are important.


COOPER: CNN's Maeve Rusten (ph) did the reporting that you just heard Dr. Carson dismiss and discourage. She joins me now.

You have been digging on the story for weeks. Though, it is the first time you reported on this program. Take us through what you found.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I just have to point out, first of all, that Dr. Carson mischaracterized our story, which you can read at

[20:30:02] But what we set out to do was really to explore this very informative part of his life. He's talked a lot about these incidents of violence that he said occurred when he was a teenager, you know, more than 50 years ago. The stabbing, attempted stabbing incident hitting someone over the head with a lock, bashing people with bats and bricks and, you know, rocks and so we just felt it was really important to go out there and talk to people who knew him about that time in his life, about this transformation that had taken place and we certainly were expecting to talk to eyewitnesses to these incidents, people who were victims of these incidents and it asked the campaign for help in finding some of these people.

The campaign would not cooperate and we called many, many classmates in Detroit, my colleague Scott Glover went to Detroit to talk to neighbors. We talked to neighbors, elementary school friends, junior high school friends, high school friends, none of them could recall any of these incidents of violence and then said - said that image of Dr. Carson that he's portrayed himself as in his book was really unrecognizable to them. He was, you know, a smart, calm, a polite kid, very obedient to his mom.

So, we still are looking for people to talk about these things and the Carson campaign has hinted that perhaps some of these people will come forward.

COOPER: We heard Carson saying that the reporting is a bunch of lies. Is there -- I mean, parts of it he is specifically taking issue with?

RESTON: Well, I think he's taking issue with the idea that, you know, that he said to us why would you have been able to find any of these people that were involved in these violent episodes in my youth unless I told you who they were, which I find curious because I mean I think if you're going around the neighborhood with -- hitting people with bricks and bats then people are going to hear about that especially in a close knit neighborhood like the one that he grew up in.

So he's also just saying that, you know, we haven't talked to enough people or the right people and once again, I would say that, you know, we went to the campaign, asked them to provide names and friends and acquaintances of Dr. Carson. They refused to cooperate. We went back with our findings and said hey, listen, we can't find this Bob that you've talked about in the stabbing incident. We can't find Jerry who you said that you hit over the head with a lock and then for the first time, Dr. Carson came out and said that those were - were fictitious names and so, that's why all of the Bobs and Jerries that we talked to, couldn't remember those incidents.

COOPER: All right. Joining me now is CNN political commentators Tara Setmayer and Amanda Carpenter, both former Capitol Hill communications directors.

Amanda, let me start with you. The fact that, you know, we're talking that whether one of the leading presidential candidates did, in fact, once tried to stab a friend a long time ago, and by the way, the candidate insists he did, what do you make of this? Is this much to do about nothing? Does it matter?

AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it does matter, because it is essential part of his biography. And the thing that puzzles me the most about this, is not that reporters are asking questions, but that he seems baffled that reporters are asking questions. Ben Carson made a decision not to work with a CNN reporter on this story. He's paying a price for it, and he's paying some of an unfair price, because the story that Politico wrote later that questioned another element of his biography, was not accurate. It was not fair, but now it's all sort of being conflicted together and blowing up in his face and you saw the intense reaction that he had.

Listen, he's a first tier presidential candidate who is in the lead. His campaign needs to know how to answer questions both fair and unfair and the amount of time it took for him to correct the political story, I mean so many people were questioning what was going online today. It's just - he's not going to survive as a front runner if he can't answer questions.

COOPER: Tara? How do you see it?

TARA SETMAYER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I agree with Amanda. I think there are several narratives going on here. The biggest being that when you are a top tier candidate, you are going to be held to a different level of scrutiny and you have to be prepared for that. This is the big leagues and today and what happened today and the Carson campaign's reaction to it shows that they are not ready for prime time and that they have been relying on the platitudes of attacking the media and being a victim of bias reporting, which listen, that's fair as conservatives we know there is a double standard. We've gone through it all the time. This isn't new and it plays great to the GOP primary base and yes, that's allowed cover for anything that may have been legitimate in that political story, or any of the questionable details that Ben Carson has kind of changed with these stories. This isn't the first story. Remember, there was questions about the pope yes robbery when he brought up the incident about that he was part of an armed robbery and told them in a pop eye's organization ...


COOPER: I think you want to talk to that guy.

SETMAYER: Right, you want to talk to the cashier, and then there was no record of that actually happening according to Baltimore police. So, that was in question. Then, his answer during the debate last week about Mannatech, the supplement company, he said he had no affiliation with them. Well, it turned out that, in fact, he did. He taped testimonials and gave paid speeches. They muddled up that response and had to backtrack and backtrack, and now you have this one. So you need to have message discipline. If you are in the right, then you have to have message discipline. You can't keep giving the media an opening to sit there and question your credibility, and then turn it around and blame it on the media for questioning your credibility when you open that door.

COOPER: Amanda, do you think this actually hurts Dr. Carson? So far this campaign, I mean, has hurt Donald Trump, the other leading outside candidate, or has it, and why should we think this would be any different with Ben Carson?

CARPENTER: He scored a political benefit because Politico got their reporting so wrong when it came to whether he was offered a scholarship or not. A lot of people rallied by his side. Politico just went so far beyond the pale. I'm actually worried about that, because I think that Politico story damages the good questions other people are asking that need to be asked and he does need to be vetted. All of this kind of comes from a problem that we see again and again, where he is not precise with his language.

SETMAYER: Exactly.

CARPENTER: This pervades when it comes to policy proposals, when it comes to his biography. You have to be very precise, and when you're imprecise with your language, people are going to interpret it different ways. And this is something we keep seeing, and he has to find a way to correct it.


COOPER: It's also interesting, Amanda, because some people might say, well, why do you focus so much on his biography? Because he is an outsider candidate, because he doesn't have a political record of votes, really what he has is his biography. That's what he's been running on, and obviously his issues. So that's why, you know, that's really all there is to kind of look at. We got to leave it there. Amanda, good to have you on. Amanda Carpenter, Tara Setmayer as well, always good to have you.

Just ahead, Ben Carson's latest efforts to court African-American votes. Can he win votes with a hip-hop ad? We'll hear from some of the voters the new ad is aimed at.



COOPER: Tonight's breaking news, Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson getting tough with reporters. Wasn't the only Carson related development, though. This week, he rolled out a new campaign ad featuring the rap artist Aspiring Mogul. Take a look.


ASPIRING MOGUL (rapping): Support Ben Carson, for our next president to be awesome.

CARSON: America became a great nation early on not because it was flooded with politicians, but because it was flooded with people who understood the value of personal responsibility, hard work, creativity, innovation, and that's what will get us on the right track now


COOPER: Fair to say the ad aimed at young African-Americans is getting mixed reviews. Here is Gary Tuchman.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: On the campus of the prestigious Morehouse College in Atlanta, we're asking students and employees from Morehouse and from nearby Spelman College and Clark Atlanta University, to do some listening to Ben Carson's new radio ad. Let's listen to the radio spot together. The Carson campaign has released the ad in several cities, targeting younger African-American voters.

ASPIRING MOGUL: Ben Carson 2016, and support Ben Carson for our next president it'd be awesome

TUCHMAN: There is a prevalent consensus here.

What did you think of the music, first of all?

AUTUMN STANLEY, COLLEGE STUDENT: I thought it was a little corny. Definitely I thought it was a little corny.

TUCHMAN: Do you like the music?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. I think it's pretty corny but it's funny.

ASPIRING MOGUL: If we want to get America back on track, we got to vote Ben Carson a matter of fact.

TUCHMAN: But corny doesn't necessarily mean it does not work for some of the people it's targeted for. Student Shetoya Miller likes Hillary Clinton as of now, but.

Does it make you think, OK, I'll take another look at you, Ben Carson, is that enough to do it, hearing that radio ad?

SHETOYA MILLER, COLLEGE STUDENT: Yeah, it's catchy. I'll go and look him up after that. It's pretty funny. Like, who is this guy?

TUCHMAN: Others though feel it doesn't work at all. STANLEY: It is a little stereotypical, as if like, all African-

Americans do is listen to rap.

TUCHMAN: Will this radio spot be enough to say, let me do a little more investigating?


TUCHMAN: How come?

SHERES JOHNSON, SPELMAN COLLEGE EMPLOYEE: I would like to hear him say some positive things when he's in a debate and some things that I feel is well thought out in a debate. A radio ad isn't going to change my opinion.

TUCHMAN: This Morehouse student says it's either Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton for him.

Can you see any of your friends saying, you know, he, this is, maybe I'll consider voting for him after he comes out with a commercial like this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, not at all.

TUCHMAN: Another person who is not so sure of the ad is actually the candidate himself.

CARSON: There are people in the campaign who felt that was a good way to do things, and they are entitled to their opinions.


CARSON: You know, I support, you know, them in doing that, but, you know, I probably would have taken a little different approach.

TUCHMAN: But even so.

CARSON: I'm Ben Carson and I approve this message.


COOPER: Gary, has Dr. Carson specifically courted African-Americans during campaign stops?

TUCHMAN: He has, Anderson. This past August, for example, he was at one of the most famous soul food restaurants in the United States, Sylvia's, which is in Harlem in New York city, and that's a place Democratic candidates usually go to, but he went there. He was there for two hours. He ate. He talked and got some positive reviews and some not so positive reviews. But what it comes down to is this. Election day is one year away from this Sunday, literally, November 8th, 2016. Republicans know they are not going to get a hefty percentage of African American votes, but they would like to get a higher percentage than they got in 2012, and that's one of the reasons for this radio ad buy.


COOPER: Gary, thanks very much.

Up next, NBC under fire. Protesters calling on the network to dump Trump from this weekend's "Saturday Night Live."



COOPER: "Saturday Night Live" as you probably know is playing the Trump card this weekend. Donald Trump will host tomorrow, much to the outrage of Hispanic groups offended by his comments on Mexican illegal immigrants. They are calling on NBC to dump Trump. The network, though, not backing down, the show it seems will go on. It's a reunion of sorts for Trump and the network. Over the summer you'll remember of course the former "Apprentice" star and NBC parted ways. He's now heading back into 30 Rock. Randi Kaye reports.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hi, I'm Donald Trump and I'll be hosting SNL with Sia.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And the ratings are going to be -- huge.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That may be true, but his appearance as host is hardly without controversy. All of it dating back to when Donald Trump first announced his run for the White House, when he made what many called derogatory comments about Mexican immigrants, suggesting they are drug dealers, criminals and rapists. Already at least 340,000 people have signed petitions to get Trump bumped from "Saturday Night Live." The protests aren't just on the street outside NBC's New York studios, they can be heard in the nation's capital, too, where one representative demanded Trump lose his privilege to appear on TV until he apologizes.

REP. LUIS GUTIERREZ, D-ILLINOIS: His statements should disqualify him from being able to take the stage in any entertainment venue and speak to the American people as if what he said was no big deal.


KAYE: The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda sent a letter to the network that reads in part, "allowing Trump to host "SNL" will legitimize and validate his anti-Latino comments." Also California's Latino Legislative Caucus wrote the network, "Inviting a host who believes the largest ethnic group in the country consists of rapists and criminals with lots of problems is not only wrong, but it makes NBC Universal complicit in demeaning an entire community." Still, NBC isn't backing down, telling CNN, no comment.

TRUMP: Thank you very much.

KAYE: This won't be the first time Trump has hosted the sketch show. He first did so back in 2004, often making fun of himself. TRUMP: This place looks like the Liberace museum.

KAYE: Over the years, he's also been a target for cast members.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good evening. I'm Donald Trump. Of course, most of you know who I am already because I'm rich and I'm handsome.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Trump, if you can just step on your mark.

KAYE: Meanwhile, a Latino group is offering to pay $5,000 to anyone who disrupts Donald Trump's appearance. The group says the person must be heard saying "deport racism" or "Trump is a racist" during the show and get his or her name in the media. Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


COOPER: A lot to discuss. Joining me, two CNN political commentators, Jeffrey Lord is a Trump supporter and former Reagan White House political director, and Maria Cardona is a Democratic strategist who was a senior adviser to Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign. Maria, does it seem odd to you that Trump's appearance on "SNL" is where some activists are drawing the line? He's all over the television almost all the time. Why is this hour and a half of "SNL" suddenly the breaking point?

MARIA CARDONA, 2008 SR. CLINTON CAMPAIGN ADVISER: Well, I think part of it is, Anderson, that being invited to do "SNL," as you know, is a huge platform. It is reserved for I think the highest form of celebrity for the highest form of people of the moment, and so to the Latino community, it seems like a slap in the face for "SNL" to be giving this kind of platform of an hour and a half to somebody who's been so offensive to Latinos in this country, and it's also very curious to see that just five months ago, NBC put out a statement right after Donald Trump made those very offensive remarks, saying that those remarks -- slashing ties with Donald Trump -- and saying those remarks did not comport or did not represent the values and the principles from NBC. What happened in those five months? Clearly what they're focused on is that they realized he's still a ratings juggernaut, that he's at the top of the polls -- and perhaps they didn't think that he was going to be at the top of the polls. So their values and principles just went out the window.

COOPER: Jeff, does it seem a little odd that NBC on one hand is trying to have their cake and eat it too, severing ties with Trump when he was under fire for comments about illegal immigrants, and then asking him to host "SNL" now?

JEFFREY LORD, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Well, I think they have had all this time, five months or whatever it is, to understand that the American people think that Donald Trump had a point about illegal immigration, which was the point he was making. Not about immigration. Donald Trump is the son and grandson of immigrants, so it's not about immigration. It's about illegal immigration.

I'd say, Anderson, I look at this and I see this as just more race card playing. The American left, the Democratic Party in particular, long history, right from the get-go of playing the race card. It's the party that's on record in its platform supporting slavery, segregation, lynching. They were the Ku Klux Klan, then they turned to racial quotas, interning Japanese Americans because of their skin color. Now it's illegal immigration. What all these issues have in common is judging people by skin color, dividing people by skin color, and that's what is going on here, and there is nothing more to it than that.

COOPER: You're not saying the Democratic Party was the only party that was involved with the --

CARDONA: Thank you.

COOPER: -- segregation, with interning Japanese citizens during the war?

LORD: Well, I've read their platforms and I failed to find this in any Republican platform. I mean, if there is one out there, that's fine, but I've gone through all their platforms. You know, I'll send you the "Wall Street Journal" article. They wrote extensively on this kind of thing over the years.


COOPER: How does this relate to Donald Trump on "Saturday Night Live"?

LORD: Sure, sure, because it's race card playing. What I'm suggesting to you is this is what the Democratic Party does and has always done. It plays the race card. The races shift. It used to be southern whites. African-Americans, Hispanics, Japanese Americans. They divide by race.

CARDONA: Jeffrey, this has nothing to do with the Democratic Party.

LORD: That's their thing.

CARDONA: I can make you a list of thousands of Latinos who consider themselves Republicans who were offended by what Donald Trump said.


And the fact that you can sit there and talk about what you're talking about, underscores the fact that you don't understand, and the people who support Donald Trump do not understand how offensive his comments were to the fastest and now largest majority in this country. But if you keep talking about that and --

LORD: Wait, wait, wait --

CARDONA: You'll probably not (ph) like (ph) what I'm about to say. I actually think Donald Trump can very well be the Republican nominee, and if he is, I guarantee you, he will never get to the Casa Blanca with that attitude.

COOPER: Maria, to Jeff's earlier point that he was talking about illegal immigration, not all immigrants from Mexico, does that make a distinction to you?

CARDONA: No. And here is where the fundamental misunderstanding not just of Jeffrey, not just of Donald Trump, but of Republicans in general -- that Latino community feels a kinship with undocumented immigrants that have been here for years, working hard, contributing to this country, and wanting above anything else to be Americans. And most Latinos in this country agree that they should have that chance to become legal, and most Latinos in this country either know somebody or have somebody in their family who are undocumented. So they take it personally. And that is a fundamental misunderstanding of the Republicans that is going to lead to them never making it to the White House.

COOPER: Guys, we are simply literally out of time. I got to go to a commercial break. But, Jeffrey, we'll have you back, obviously, Maria Cardona, as well. Thank you and we'll be right back.

CARDONA: Thank you, Anderson.

LORD: Okay.