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tv   Wolf  CNN  February 26, 2015 10:00am-11:01am PST

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. >> thanks for watching, everybody. wolf blitzer starts right now. hello i'm wolf blitzer. it's 1:00 p.m. here in washington 8:00 p.m. in jerusalem. wherever you're watching thanks very much for joining us. he's one of the world's most wanted terrorists. his distinct british accent was always clear. and now we're learning the identity of the man called jihadi john. he's apparently the man seen beheading two american isis hostages and taunting a japanese hostage. we now know his name is mohammad emwazi. we're live from london. what else do we know about emwazi and the group that helped reveal his identity? >> what we know about him now is
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that he was university educated here in london. studied computer technology. graduated 2009. and then according to the organization that will help verify who he was, this is an organization called cage. they say he came to them to complain to them about abuses at the hands of the british intelligence services. emwazi said to this group, capable, that he went to tanzania as part of a graduation present from his parents, but he said he was arrested at the airport there, sent back to britain. questioned by british intelligence agents on numerous occasions. cage puts forward this narrative therefore that emwazi became radicalized because of the way he was treated by the british intelligence services. they say he bears no reassemblysemblance
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to the emwazi they knew. what we don't know about, and this is very important, is why emwazi in the first place got on the radar of the british intelligence services. before 2009 before this cage organization picks up the narrative, and certainly here to the metropolitan police in london they all have that sort of information. but they are refusing at this time to confirm the identity of jihadi john. they say life is still at stake here that they have an ongoing terror investigation. so officially in britain, no confirmation of who he is. >> this profile of emwazi comes from a well to do background obviously intelligent, goes to a major university. studies computer sciences. all of a sudden he decides to become inspired, if you will to become a radical jihadist. goes off to africa and winds up
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in syria. then we see him on videotape beheading american journalists. it's very strange how this transition occurred. what else are you learning nick? >> well, according to the came organization they say emwazi became frustrated with the british intelligence officials here because they were trying to recruit him into the intelligence agency. they say he went to live in kuwait for about eight months where he had a computer job in 2010. came back at the behest of his parents. they say ultimately his father suggested that he change his name and he tried to go back to kuwait. it was only then according to this group that he went to syria. and three days later, this group says that his parents informed the police he had gone missing. four months later the police told the family he had been in syria for some time. in these situations often the families are last to know. this cage organization may well have been misled by this young
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man creating the impression he was being unfairly picked upon. however, this cage organization has represented former guantanamo bay detainees. they have represented the interests of young men and women from this country who've gone off to turkey to sort of help refugees there. but the narrative they're creating is not just about emwazi emwazi. they're saying this is happening to a lot of young people purchased by the intelligence services here. this is a narrative that a lot of people here would really call into question the way they presented it. and the key information again and i come back to this because it's most important, this cage organization despite having a a lot of information about emwazi, offer nothing, nothing about what he was doing really before 2009 to attract the attention of the intelligence officials in britain. mi5 would not have sought him out to interview him unless there was a substantial reason and we're yet to learn about
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that wolf. >> we're going to get more on this guy. that's coming up. thanks very much. nick robertson in london. >> other important news they came to the united states legally, but now three then men, two of them legal permanent residents, are accused of plotting against the country that put them in. this is a photo cnn has just received named abror a by above. the other two men were arrested in new york city. the men are accused of attempting to join isis and shoot law enforcement officers. local police including fbi agents. joining us now to talk about more of this is cnn will ripley joining us from brooklyn. two of the men were just about to leave the country. one of them was about to board a flight in new york for turkey hoping to then sneak across the border into syria. what else do we know?
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>> reporter: we know that 19-year-old suspect paid $571 for that ticket because that's all he could afford. you can see behind me the apartment building where he lived. a pretty modest apartment building in a very diverse neighborhood. the coney island neighborhood here in brooklyn. raises questions whether they had the means to conductivities like this. we also know the 24-year-old, he was arrested at his home also in this neighborhood. he was a delivery driver. like we hear a lot about these want to be jihadists, they blended it but it was their online language that were the warning signals that got the attention of the fbi. >> there was online mentions on websites if you will, basically, they were pretty blunt. they were talking about potentially killing the president of the united states. that obviously got the attention of u.s. law enforcement authorities last summer.
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they've been watched ever since, right? >> reporter: that's absolutely right. the fbi actually paid a visit. they realized at that point that these young men didn't pose an immediate threat because the fact they didn't have the means to conduct the type of activities they were talking about online. but the game changed a bit when you brought in the addition of this other character who was arrested down in florida. the 30-year-old who we are also learning was a part-time student at the new york city college of technology. it's believed he was doing that to extend his visa. we know he overstayed his visa and is accused now of giving these young men money, trying to encourage them to go to syria and fight for isis or conduct brutal acts of violence right here. very unsettling for the people who live here. >> thank you. as you can see a lot of developments related to isis terror today. with us to talk a little about
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this more is mack thorn berry, the chairman of the house arms services committee. thanks for joining us. what can you tell us about this guy jihadi john now identified as mohammad emwazi. >> i don't have information other than what your reports indicate. what strikes me is he is one person apparently there is some more information about, but there are approximately 20,000 of them foreign fighters that have gone to iraq and syria to join isis. so i think it's interesting as we dig down a little more on him or the guys that were arrested in new york but we need to keep the scale of the problem in mind. that this is far bigger and far more dangerous i think than the managers or a lot of folks want us to believe. >> based on what you know emwazi we've seen him on videotape with the knife actually beheading americans and
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others. obviously he's a dangerous terrorist out there. but these three guys arrested two of them in new york one of them in florida, are they serious terrorists or just a bunch of losers? >> and how far are you willing to let it go before you know? and that is the challenge. here's what i think is so crucial is that intelligence information is the key. and i worry that we have through leaks and voluntarily tieing our own hands have less information about terrorist threats whether they are coming from al qaeda, isis or home grown varieties, we have less information now than we had just five years ago. yet as we've just been talking, this threat is expanding and growing in many ways. and so that is one of the key issues i think that we need to be careful about tieing our own hands any further in the collecting of information that can help us distinguish the losers from the serious
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terrorists. >> i know there have been major u.s. air strikes over iraq and syria, coalition-led air strikes. and there are reports out there now that the u.s. is searching for the leader of isis. maybe they're also searching for this jihadi john as he's called, mohammed emwazi. do you know whether or not these air strikes are specifically targeting these kinds of isis leaders? >> well, if we have specific information about a leader obviously they are targeted. but there are other targets as well. one of our big challenges to go back to my previous point is we have very limited intelligence on the ground to help us identify targets. and this whole controversy about well we can't have ground troops the president even included that in the draft aumf proposal but that limits our ability to gather information on
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the ground and target leaders, infrastructure training camps and that sort of thing. and that's necessary to be effective. >> i want you to listen to james clapper. he's the director of national intelligence. he was testifying up on capitol hill today. listen to what he said. >> when the final accounting is done 2014 will have been the most lethal year for global terrorism in the 45 years such data has been compiled. >> he sounds pretty ominous. sounds like it's going from bad to worse. your analysis. >> i think he's right. by any objective measure of the statistics there are more terrorist groups more terrorist fighters more terrorist attacks, more people who have died from terrorist attacks around the world in -- last year than there have been before. and the question is, are we going to be serious about coming up with a strategy to push back
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not just against this organization or that organization but against the whole movement. and that was a consistent theme in the hearing we just had on the aumf that it's not just the legal authority to take military action. you have to have a real strategy that will be effective against this movement. so far, we don't have one. >> aumf is the authorization for the use of military force that's now under consideration in the united states congress. thanks very much for joining us. >> yes, sir. >> the chairman of the house arms services committee. still ahead, we're talking a closer look at the man now identified as jihadi john. how does identifying him help in the fight against isis and what does his profile tell us? plus all of the 2016 -- almost all of them the republican presidential front runners, they're together in one place today here in washington d.c. we're going to talk a little bit about what's going on in the race for the white house.
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stay with us.
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so i know how important that is. we're continuing to follow the latest developments on a terror story out of the u.k. we're learning now the identity of the man who had been known as jihadi john. u.s. officials tell us his name is mohammed emwazi. he's from west london but was actually born in kuwait. our national security analyst is joining us on the phone right now. what have you learned about him, peter? >> well, he sort of fits the profile of what we'd expect in a
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leader of isis. he's got a background in computer programming. he is in his early 20s. this is pretty typical for somebody who would be a senior leader of a terrorist organization doing these kinds of things. you think about the lead hijacker on 9/11 studying for his doctorate at a german university. even in this country, major nadal hasan, a army psychiatrist and an army major from a middle class family. there's a comforting idea that these people are the dispossessed but they tend to come from quite well off backgrounds. >> not somebody looking for a job. came from a relatively well to do background. some of the people who knew him in london say he may have been radicalized at least in part because british police were after him, they were questioning him, and apparently had been a
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little bit rough with him. all of a sudden he decides to head off join isis and become a beheader if you will. what do you make of that interpretation of his motivation? >> i don't buy it at all. i think the police were onto him for a very good reason. he was already radicalized. looks like he was on a safari he was joining the al qaeda affiliate there. i've been talking to somebody who knows the families of the hostages taken by jihadi john. they are saying that he would often force the hostages to watch videos of al shabaab which is sort of quite telling. i don't buy that. i think police were onto him and the radicalization preceded the fact that they interinvestigated him. >> i tend to agree with you as well. thanks very much. does the identity of jihadi john
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change much of the strategy. let's get more analysis. the ceo and director in london. also joining us from colorado, bob berry, cnn security and intelligence analyst. what do you make of this guy, bob? >> emwazi i think he looks like he's twice exiled. it's not a kuwaiti name. possibly african origin. most of kuwait can't fully integrate the family. they make some money, move to london. he was 6 years old. he would have a hard time immigrating into british society. i agree with peter, he was radicalized by the conflict in somalia. tried to go there. join shabaab. was picked up and roughed up in the rest of it. so he was looking for a conflict
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very early on. british authorities couldn't do much with him. they knew he'd been radicalized, but that's not enough to go to jail. he makes his way onto syria, by then he's completely radicalized by 2012. i don't see any fault on british authorities here letting this guy slip away. fbi, mi5, cannot arrest these people and detain them indefinitely if they haven't commit add violent act. >> sasha, you've studied this radicalization of these young people including some women as well. what's your analysis how this guy went from studying computer sciences at a major university and all of a sudden winds up beheading individuals on behalf of isis? >> as you heard from peter i think it's not an uncommon tale. i think the unmasking of this man is an important thing. he became iconic in isis supporting circles as you know.
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his image has been shared much more broadly even than the impleenchtd movement. it gives us a chance to demist fie the man and his motives. and i think we need to be doing that a little bit more. i do think this -- this phenomenon has of course highlighted a couple of major problems we're facing. the first is that we are seeing a whole range of individuals that have been on security service radars slipping through the net. we've seen that now of course with these girls that have gone off to syria. we've seen that to some extent with the paris attacks. it speaks to the extent of the challenge but also the nature of the challenge as we've just heard. i think the other piece of this that's interesting is it underscores the extent to which this -- this movement is entirely super national. entirely if you like unrooted. this young man born in kuwait growing up in the u.k. obsessed
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with al shabaab, essentially people unconnected with the gee yoe political context, the geo political grievances of the places that they're fighting for. this of course being propogated and fueled by this internet radicalization that we're seeing of course isis taking on the charge with very effectively. >> we're going to be learning a lot more about emwazi in the coming days for sure. sasha, bob, guys thank you very much. still ahead, more christians in syria, they are taken hostage by isis. and now there are new reports of isis destroying ancient artifacts in a mosul museum. we're going live to northern iraq for the latest on both of these horrific stories.
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isis is now even more dangerous than before. the violent group seized more christian hostages taking over nearly a dozen of their villages in north eastern syria over the past few days alone. they are now holding more than 260 christian hostages in syria. we're in iraq in northern iraq watching what's going on. hundreds captures thousands forced to flee. what's the latest on these christian hostages, ben? >> reporter: the latest we've heard is that according to the human rights network, 262 people at this point are believed to have been kidnapped by isis
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since day before yesterday. now, the original reports were between 70 and a hundred. now 262 it's believed that many of them are women, children and the elderly. we understand now that thousands of families have fled that area as isis has launched this onslaught. they've apparently taken 11 of these syrian christianville lanls. and of course the worry is that many of them may end up as slaves others executed. we had received reports yesterday that some of them were transported to the de facto capital of the -- of isis in raqqa. clearly, it's very difficult to get information out of there. what is clear is that there are many now in a very dire situation. wolf? >> amid all of this we're getting some upsetting new
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video, video showing isis destroying valuable meaningful items, historic artifacts. give us some context. >> reporter: this was video that was posted on the internet this afternoon. and what you see is -- first of all, there's a man who explains why they're doing it. he says that these artifacts, these idols these statutes that god has ordered them to be destroyed. and he says he must destroy them even if they're worth billions of dollars. then you see one statute after another on pedestals being smashed to the ground into pieces. then you see other men with sledgehammers breaking them up. then you see a man with a drill who is defacing one of the famous winked bulls of ninava. these date back to 700 b.c. it looks like they're going
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through the museum of mosul and ransacking it destroying almost everything. we spoke to a source in mosul today who says this video only tells part of the story. the other part is that many of the truly valuable items in that museum have already been sold through turkish intermediaries onto the black market. >> very disturbing images indeed. as you say probably just the tip of the iceberg what's going on in mosul, the second largest city in iraq. two million people live there. shocking shocking indeed. thanks. be careful over there. as concerns over terror grow the debate in congress over the funding of the department of homeland security is intensifying with the clock ticking now. john boehner, he was actually sending some kissing noises to reporters today. we're going to tell you what's going on. .
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republicans in the house say that leaving out that immigration language is simply unacceptable to them. our chief congressional correspondent is joining us from capitol hill. we only have a few hours left. where do things stand now. >> they're in limbo. it's kind of hard to believe that this is happening yet again, but that is the case. we expect the senate to move probably later today to actually approve a bill fully funding the department of homeland security. that is a big concession by the new republican majority leader mitch mcconnell. the big question today is what it was yesterday and probably will be tomorrow what is the house going to do what is john boehner going to do. those of us in the press tried
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to answer that question over and over again. his answer was pretty much the same pretty much a nonanswer. one of our colleagues up here asked a smart question. he said, we know what the senate is going to do. can you please just give us an answer. and his response was i guess vintage boehner. watch this. >> you going to put on the floor, you going to kill it let them vote on it have you even had this discussion? >> when we make decisions i'll let you know. >> let me translate that for you. he was basically saying kiss my you know what knowing boehner the way we do here. he's just not going to go there. it is certainly maybe frustrating for us. more frustrating for those who work at the department of homeland security those going through airports those thinking about security knowing that perhaps the tsa agent who in 24
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48 hours is going to help them through the airport might not be paid. this certainly has real world effects, but ill is still very much up in the air how congress is going to handle this because at the end of the day, you still have republicans pressing their leadership not to give in and fund the department of homeland security without also passing a measure to stop the president's executive actions effectively granting legal status for undocumented immigrants. >> those actions have been stopped at least for now because a texas judge said they're unconstitutional. for all practical purposes none of that is being implemented. we'll see if they can figure this out. i assume they will. the israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu meanwhile is getting ready to fly off to washington d.c. he's supposed to land here in washington on sunday. he'll then address a joint meeting of the u.s. congress on
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tuesday morning. it's not a routine trip by any means and it's eliciting an unusually angry response from top white house officials. when you ache and haven't slept... you're not you. tylenol® pm relieves pain and helps you fall fast asleep and stay asleep. we give you a better night. you're a better you all day. tylenol®.
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plus for a limited time, get a free security camera call 1800 xfinity or visit the war of public word between the israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu and top white house obama administration officials clearly deepening right now with the angry public rhetoric about as bad as i've seen it. the white house is upset that benjamin netanyahu accepted an invitation to address a joint meeting of the u.s. congress tuesday morning. five days, he'll take the microphone on capitol hill. white house officials are clearly making their frustration known. tuesday it was the national security advisor susan rice calling it destructive. her word, destructive.
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wednesday was the secretary of state john kerry questioning the prime minister's judgment when it comes to iran and slamming his overall record including his support for the war against iraq back in 2003. let's go live to jerusalem. what's been the reaction to these angry words coming from top obama administration officials? >> reporter: well, the israeli prime minister is trying to just keep focus on the issue which is iran. yesterday, he was talking to party members and said listen i really have a lot of respect for the white house, i have a lot of respect for president obama, and his staff, he didn't mention secretary kerry or susan rice by name but clearly the implication was that he was trying to answer their criticism in saying listen i need to keep the world focused on iran. i need to save the israeli people from a possible iranian
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nuclear weapon and that's what i'm going to do when i give me speech. he realizes this political fraught tone surrounding the visit, but his aides telling me he's trying to keep focus on iran he's coming to washington knowing all of the fanfare surrounding the visit, but is really going to keep a low profile and stay focused on the iranian issue. >> he thinks this is also going to help him in his bid for reelection. two weeks after that he's got an election. the polls show it's pretty tight right now. he believes arousing address before congress potentially could help him, right? >> reporter: well, that's certainly right. security is his one issue wolf. that's really all he talks about. you know listen, it helps him to keep security in the forefront. housing prices food prices also a big issue here. he's not talking about that.
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to keep the issue focused on iran and security this is where he does well. a recent poll that just came out moments ago said the israeli public is split on this speech. 38% say he should be giving it. 38% disapprove of this speech. on the issue of iran prime minister netanyahu polls very well. most israelis feel he is the one to protect the israeli people from iran and an iranian nuclear weapon. by keeping focus on this one issue, he thinks that is his way to boost his election. as you note it's very close. but i might add president obama is not very popular here in israel when it comes to the iranian issue. three out of four israelis don't think president obama will protect israelis against iran. this is really his issue and he's hoping not only will he be
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able to make a dent in the negotiations but that it will have been effect back here at home. >> monday morning addressing the pro-israel lobbying group in washington. the white house and apec just announced that susan rice herself, she'll be speaking before that congress as well. the u.s. ambassador of the u.n. normally is a president or a secretary of state. they're going a little bit lower this time aren't they? >> a little bit lower. as you know over the last week, there was talk about sending someone even lower, perhaps a deputy secretary or someone else. i think that the white house realized they needed to send someone of stature because there was a lot of talk about whether the white house would snub apec to send a message to prime minister netanyahu. i think in the end, they realized they would not be snubbing the prime minister they would be snubbing the american jewish community and the very relationship that they
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say that the prime minister is trying to daniel. so i think they upped the ante a little bit. the president and secretary of state have said they'll be out of town. >> we'll see what happens when netanyahu is here in washington sunday monday and tuesday. i know you're coming back to cover that visit as well. safe travels. thank you very much. some of the republican party's most influential comforts have gathered to consider their potential favorites for president. this man, he's getting a lot of buzz right now. he speaks out later today. we're going to find out why his popularity among conservative republicans is growing and growing.
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all right. this just coming in. the u.s. federal communications commission just approved what's called the net neutrality rules extending government's reach over the internet. the major rules would ban internet service providers from blocking access to legal content applications services or nonharmful devices. it would not allow the process known as throttling and not allow broad band providers to offer so-called fast lanes. they approved the rules 3-2. they will not be official until possibly later this year and likely face challenges in court. if you're going to run for
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president of the united states as a republican, one of the groups you need to impress is the group called cpac. this is where the top conservative opinion leaders and money raisers of the republican party, they get together they decide who's up who's down among potential contenders for the race istie said when asked about his temperament a few mints ago. >> if i didn't care there's no reason to do this. >> sit down and shut up? >> sometimes people need to be told to sit down and shut up. [ cheers ] >> and you know -- >> i'm sitting down by the way. >> yeah. and quite frankly, laura, some more of that stuff should be happening in washington, d.c. because there's so much ridiculous stuff being spewed especially out of the white house. someone should say it's time to shut up. >> the wisconsin governor scott
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walker he's scheduled to address cpac later today. a new poll from quinnipiac shows walker up by a wide margin and iowa getting almost double the support of his closest competitor senator rand paul in texas walker has surged to second place just one percentage point behind texas senator ted cruz well ahead of the former texas governor rick perry. joining us now from the cpac meeting our chief political analyst gloria borger and national political reporter peter hanby. walker what's up with him, because he's getting up and up in this poll in iowa critically important republican caucus state obviously as well as texas. >> reporter: i think he's the person that people here really want to see. he appeals to the grassroots folks that are here. wolf look this is somebody who has not had national appeal. but he only has a 7% unfavorable
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rating. nobody has a 7% unfavorable rating. that's because people believe that he can kind of united the party. he's got an economic reform message. they believe he's shown that he has a spine in winning that recall election in the state of wisconsin, taking on the unions. and they also believe that he could win if he goes up against someone like jeb bush or hillary clinton, reaching into another generation. >> and he's won the state-wide elections in wisconsin now about three times. peter, what's are folks over there at cpac talking about specifically the reaction to the new jersey governor chris christie? >> reporter: look he spoke just before we came on the air. i talked to a bunch of republicans about his speech. it was a good speech. don't forget he came here last year and there were lots of questions about him. is he a moderate. he talked about his pro-life credentials, his positions on social issues. he's been to iowa 12 or 13 times
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now. so he knows how to talk to conservative audiences. what was interesting inny q and a with laura ingram she asked about jeb bush. and christie tried to frame himself a little bit as an outsider that jeb bush will be the guy who you want if you like back room deals. he's the establishment guy. >> elite. >> exactly. so he's trying to use jeb bush a little bit as a foil and position position himself as an outsider still palatable to donors. >> he made the case he's sort of the guy ready to take on any question. he sort of made a reference to jeb bush. look if you like screened questions and people coming standing up in an audience when you know what question they're going to ask you, that's not me. i've had over 100 town hall meetings. and i'm there to talk to you directly. so another jab at jeb.
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honestly i'm not sure who he kind of jabbed more than "new york times" or jeb bush today. >> reporter: wolf one thing that's interesting about chris christie he's sort of been deflated in the poll numbers and in the media. but his speech is still new to a lot of people here. he's still introducing himself to a lot of people. it's too early to count chris chris christie out. he got a good reception here. >> reporter: i think you can see what's going on from all the other candidates they're setting up jeb bush. when he reports at end of this fiscal quarter he will raise an eye-popping amount of money. they're trying to say okay he's the establishment guy. he's the money guy. but we're the people who can really represent the republican party. >> peter, tell us why the cpac meeting is so important to he's republican presidential hopefuls. >> reporter: well look i think this is a good chance for activists, the sort of base republicans, to kick the tires
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with these people that they see on tv all the time. they get to see them in person. there's lots of back room meetings at this place. i saw one advise for scott walker who's tasked with conservative outreach sort of walking around doing introductions. it's still the quote unquote invisible primary. so these camps are just meeting people. one thing to point out about this place, there are so many young people here. this is like spring break for college republicans. >> reporter: i'm glad you're saying they're young. >> reporter: way younger than me. they're having a good time. this is sort of a carnival parties, late night drinking. for the candidates a chance to introduce themselves to the political right. >> reporter: in the last presidential election this was the audience that mitt romney declared himself severely conservative to. that was sort of a point in time when people started questioning mitt romney's authenticity. and i think that's what people are kind of looking for here today. they sort of a truth meter going on here. >> reporter: a little bit of a
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risk in overbandpander. >> they're wrapping up with a little straw poll where we get a brief indication where everyone stands? is that right? >> reporter: i think we can expect that rand paul is going to win that one. once again. i think it will be his third straight win here. again lots of young libertarians come to this event. it's his audience. >> guys thanks very much. that's it for me. i'll be back 5:00 p.m. eastern in the situation room. for our international viewers, ahman chris chief an /* /* christiane amanpour comes up next.
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hello. thanks for joining me. i'm anna cabrera. u.s. officials confirmed the identity of geejihaddy john that masked man beside the hostages later beheaded. he is from london we know. two u.s. officials plus congressional sources tell us his name is mohammed enwafi born in kuwait raised in a middle class family. this is his former home. somehow he is believed to have become the mouth piece of this terrorist organization known for death, rape kidnapping and slavery, isis. all along, authorities