cannot handle the job that its supposed to be doing because of all the bureaucracy wrapped around this megaorganization that is so stuck. i think it needs pressure from the outside, particularly from the white house. >> drew, good to have you on the story and thanks to all of you for watching today. wolf starts right now. hello, i'm wolf blitzer, it's noon in mexico city, 1:00 p.m. here in washington, 8:00 p.m. in damascus, syria, wherever you're watching from around the world, thanks very much for joining us. we're keeping an eye on two major developing stories right now. first the fallout from the surprise passing of the u.s. supreme court justice antonin scalia, and the battle between the white house and republican-controlled senate over replacements. former president george w. bush
makes a much-anticipated return. he'll hit the campaign trail in south carolina to support his brother, jeb bush, who spent a good part of the weekend defending the family name. but we start on the steps of the u.s. supreme court where the flags are now at half staff in honor of the dean of the current line-up of justices. 30-year veteran antonin scalia passed away over the weekend. our correspondent joey johns is at the court for us, joe, what do we know about memorial plans? >> reporter: frankly i've talked to them just a little while ago, still no word on what is going to happen here at the court or elsewhere. awaiting for word. he does have a large family, nine children. the scalia family does. sop we're waiting for word on that, wolf, we know also that justice scalia was a devout catholic in his own words, attended mass at a church in falls church, virginia, we snow also that previous justices have had memorial services right here
at the court. in fact, in 2005, john roberts, who was later confirmed as the chief justice of the supreme court was one of the palm bearers. there are options for memorial service here, something at a church, maybe both, just awaiting for word. haven't heard anything yet, wolf. >> what about as far as the courts business is concerned right now. do they move ahead? will there be a delay in the schedule with just eight justices on the court right now? >> reporter: well, as you know, the court works much better with an odd number of justices so that in the event of a close case, there's one person who can break the tie. with eight justices, it becomes a lot more difficult, the court is expected to go forward with its business to the extent its possible, if there is a close case and a 4-4 tie, then that case would not be press den shl, in other words, the lower court's ruling would hold. so other options would be for
john roberts and the other justices to rehear cases at a later date, or simply put them off until a nominee is confirmed. that could be some time given the posture on capitol hill right now, wolf. >> certainly could be, joe, thank you. let's get to the presidential race right now. federal face on the republican campaign trail today. the former president, george w. bush makes his return to the campaign trail today in south carolina. the big event is an evening rally with his brother, jeb bush. athena jones is joining us live from north charleston in south carolina right now, athena, this is the former president's first time on the campaign trail at his brother's side, why now? >> reporter: hi wolf, that's a very good question. governor bush was asked that question on "state of the union." he said this is the right time when the interest level sl high, when people are watching. he also interestingly said we're nearing the beginning of this process. now, a lot of folks might say,
look people have been interested in the gop race for the nomination for months. and they've been watching closely for months. and we are far from the beginning of this process, we're at the third contest coming up on saturday, and that's what this is all about. governor bush finished sixth in iowa, fourth in new hampshire, he really wants to have a strong showing here in south carolina, and he's hoping that bringing out his brother is going to help him do that. but of course, as we saw object debate stage -- on the debate stage sunday morning, on twitter, donald trump has been relentless in going after both jeb bush and his brother, george w. bush, take a listen to him talking just now in mt. pleasant just a few miles from here, take a listen. >> jeb bush, who i don't think is going to do well, even though his brother is coming into town which is of course lovely. ever ask yourself why his brother went salad for so many years? don't ask yourself that. it's nice. frankly, i think he should have used his family a long time ago.
i told him, why didn't you use the last name, it's better than a hyphen, it's better than exclamation points. >> reporter: so there donald trump offering jeb bush a little bit of advice. here's the thing, this state has been very good to the bushes in the past. george w. bush and his father george h.w. bush won primary victories here. and that is why we're seeing the former president coming out tonight at his brother's side, wolf. >> as you know, athena, south carolina is a stronghold for veteran military, military veterans in the 2012 republican primary, 21% of the voters then identified themselves as military veterans. does president bush help secure at least a bigger chunk of that veteran vote for his brother? >> reporter: well, the hope is that he'll help at least somewhat. at one of the bush aids described this race as a demander in chief test. where a lot of voters hear a
great deal about that commander in chief role, the head of the military with such a strong, such a big military and former military population here. the bush campaign chief strategist told me that they expect bush to do well here because he has the skills to be commander in chief. it's one thing that governor bush said he expected his brother to make the case for, that he knows what it takes to be demander in chief and that jeb bush, from his years as governor has the skills to do it. and so that is certainly the hope of the campaign. and aid also told me that the fact that governor bush is the first to spell out a plan for defeating isis is something that could be helpful to him here in this state. and so, they're pulling out all the stops, this is another stage, a new stage in the race for jeb bush, wolf. >> thanks very much, athena for that report. and reminder to our viewers, you'll be able to see president george w. bush's campaign stop. live coverage coming up later today in the situation room,
6:00 p.m. eastern. while george w. bush has stayed out of the race until now, his name was invoked plenty of times in saturday night's republican presidential debate. senator marco rubio offered praise, but donald trump fired insults, blaming the former president for the u.s. not being prepared for the 9/11 attacks and for the war in iraq. that didn't stop trump, listen to this. >> i am sick and tired of him going after my family. my dad is the greatest man alive in my mind. and while, while donald trump was building a reality tv show, my brother was building a security pratapparatuses to kee safe. and i'm proud of what he did. and he's had the gal -- >> the world trade center came down. >> don't go after my brother for that. >> joining us now from manchester, new hampshire, he was the former white house chief
of staff under president george w. bush, he's now the president of the franklin pierce university, andy karr, thanks very much for joining us. i want to get your reaction to the trump attacks that we heard saturday night at that debate. he said, basically said that 9/11, you can blame president bush because there were warnings, he didn't do anything about it, to prevent 9/11 from happening. what's your reaction to that? >> oh, that denies the reality of the situation. i was there. and i did read the intelligence, and i did know about al qaeda, i did know about osama bin laden and no one took the expectation that there was going to be a plane used as a weapon of mass destruction on september 11th, 2001, it did happen. and president bush demonstrated phenomenal discipline and great leadership to guide our country after that attack. and it was an attack. it wasn't just a terrorist attack, it was a massive attack from a country. and george w. bush did provide
strong leadership, he rallied the world, he didn't do it to make friends, he did it to protect us. and the effort that he put in to gaining the respect of our allies, gaining the admiration of the neutrals and introducing fear to our enemies was very critical and did a very good job of uniting the country in that effort. and he did put the infrastructure in place to protect us and we've been very fortunate that infrastructure has been there. >> the argument that trump makes, and others make as well as that in the months leading up to 9/11, there were intelligence reports that bin laden determined to attack the united states, the president had that daily briefing in texas during the summer leading up to 9/11, but you guys never connected the dots, could never figure out what was going on. what do you say to that argument? >> well, it is true that during the previous administration's to george w. bush, the government put barriers between the fbi and
the cia, and some other intelligence agencies, so it was very difficult to be able to find the dots, never mind connect them, and that was addressed by the reforms that were put in place after 9/11. and president bush led that reform effort. it was very critically important that president bush provided the leadership that he de. he did it. it didn't fit with the priority that he had when he ran for office. he thought he was going to be talking about restoring our economy which he also did and leaving no child left behind in education, which he tried to do, the reality is the world changed on that september 11th, 2001, day, it was a spectacular day, and i whispered a second plane hit the second tower, america was under attack. that's when the president of the united states had to step up and keep the oath of office that he took. and this is about picking a president right now, and i want to have a president that will have the courage to protect us, to make the tough decisions that must be made and i'm convinced jeb bush is the right person to do that. and i believe that it's not the issue that you debate right now
in a primary campaign or even in a general election campaign, necessarily going to be the issues that the president will face. i witnessed a president making the tough decisions having to be made when you couldn't have anticipated the challenge. that's what jeb and his background qualify him to be president. >> the other argument that trump makes as far as the war in iraq in concerned, the war that started march 2003, while you were white house chief of staff, the president, president bush was president of the united states, was that there was evidence that there may have been some weapons of mass destruction in iraq, but a lot of evidence suggesting there wasn't. and the war turned out to be a disaster. he basically said, he said very bluntly that president bush lied about that. your response. >> well, first of all, most of the world, in fact, i'm not aware of anyone in the world at that time, that didn't believe saddam hussein either had weapons of mass destruction or
could constitute them quite quickly. there was a debate about so what? would he do it? and the french didn't think he would do anything, but the world thought he had weapons of mass destruction, afterall he used them on his own people. he also is not complying with united nations, 16 times he was given the chance to comply with the united nations, he didn't do it. there should be consequences t that. president bush put a coalition together that challenged saddam hussein to do the right thing, he still refutzed to do it, and the coalition that president bush led brought a consequence to saddam hussein, and that was important. it did change the world. we did not find weapons of mass destruction. we did find a world that was challenged and troubled, and we're still living with that challenge and trouble. i think president bush exercised phenomenal courage by putting a surge in place that helped us do much better in that war against iraq and created a climate where a government could be installed there and start to work towards
peace and that president obama let that whole situation go to the point that we now have isis and that's a challenge and that's why jeb bush would be a good president. he saw the work that george w. bush did and saw the work that barack obama didn't do and he'll put a good plan together. he announced that in iraq, it was a good speech. >> jeb bush says the war was a mistake, the u.s. should not have invaded iraq, do you agree with him? >> you know, again, you don't have that luxury, you have to deal with the cards you dealt, at the time i was confident that president bush was doing the right thing. i still think he exercised the right kind of leadership, but the weapons of maesz destruction have not shown up. i think shah doom hussein was a menace to the world, he would have been a greater menace and complicated the situation much more significantly, especially for our great allies in the region that were, and still
should be, israel and the saudi arabia government and the responsible loim in the middle east that was also not confidentable with saddam hussein's leadership. it was bigger than the weapons of mass destruction. shah doom hussein had a chance to be an ally and he never stepped up and said is that he would be. >> andy karr is the former white house chief of staff under president george w. bush. thanks very much for joining us. >> thank you, wolf. and for the first tylenol in this campaign, all six of the republican -- time in this campaign, all six of the republican candidates will answer in two town halls only here on cnn. they'll be live wednesday and thursday night at 8:00 p.m. eastern, moderated by aroundson cooper, ben carson, marco rubio, and ted cruz kick it off wednesday night. john kasich, jeb bush, and donald trump will field questions thursday night. that beginning 8:00 p.m. wednesday and thursday nights, only here on cnn, 8:00 p.m.
eastern. coming up, the senate majority leader mitch mcconnell says the next president should get to child abuse the replacement, not president obama, but do all of his republican colleagues agree? and hillary clinton adds another day in nevada to reschedule. we're going to talk about how important an win there is to her campaign. i took mucinex to help get rid of my mucusy congestion. i'm good all day. [announcer:] mucinex keeps working. not 4, not 6, but 12 hours. let's end this
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it promises to be an epic fight between president obama and senate republicans. the outcome could determine the future recommendation of the supreme court and possibly control of the united states senate. the president says he will appoint a stream court nominee to replace jus disantonin scalia, but mitch mcconnell vows not to confirm an obama nominee. our senior portfolio reporter is with me right now. we're watching what's going on. how does this play out, at least in the short term? >> looks like republicans are digging in. it's interesting. when you look at the conference, 54 members and break it down. you have people who are dead set against doing anything. people who are running for president, specifically, ted cruz, marco rubio, et cetera. then you have folks who are in the middle, uncertain about what to do. people are moderates, not saying whether or not they would want to vote on a nominee.
and you have vulnerable, blue-state republicans, people like pat tumy from pennsylvania, who will be at the center of this political storm that democrats are going to go after and hope that they can revolt and push the party leadership to at least have a vote on a nominee and right now, mitch mcconnell, the minority leader who sets the schedule, says that the next president should decide who to choose, but he has not said yet whether or not he would deny a vote altogether. >> because the democrats would need 60 votes to break a filibuster. they have two independents, angus king of maine, and bernie sanders of vermont. they would need another 14 republicans to join them, that's a pretty high hurdle. >> that's a high hurdle. not just the blue state senators, and there are not that many of them, but moderates and people who could seem to be gettable votes. one is lindsey graham. he voted for alina keegan and sonia sotomayor, i had chance to
talk to him and he said the president can only get a nominee who is a consensus nominee. who is that consensus nominee, he said, orin hatch. there's no chance, but the message is saying it's going to be very hard to get anybody through in this environment. >> someone like susan collins of maine, a republican. it'll be tough to get her support, i assume, although she may be one who might be open to it. >> she may be. i've tried to reach out to her office, no word yet. we'll see, i'm sure the white house will target her as well. >> they need 14 been that's a high hurdle. thanks very much. the senate's top democrat is calling for justice scalia's seat to be filled right away, the senate majority leader harry reid says i'm quoting now, with important issues pending before the supreme court, the senate has a responsibility to fill vacant sis as soon as possible, it would be unprecedented in recent history for a supreme, for this supreme court to go a year without, with a vacant
seat. the vermont senator is the ranking democrat on the senate committee, he is joining us now from burlington, vermont, senator, first of all, do you agree that it's almost impossible to get to that 60 vote threshold? >> i don't know where the 60 votes comes from. the constitution law says the majority, and that's 50 plus one. >> but if they decide to filibuster, if they decide to filibuster, you need 60. >> if they decide to filibuster, it'd be totally unprecedented. clarence thomas had a close vote, but certainly less than 60 votes in the senate. we've had a lot of nominees,less than 60. i think what we have to do is stop looking at some of these things, the republicans are talking about the republican playbook, not what the country needs, but what the republican playbook says. this is the playbook we should follow.
the constitution of the united states. and constitution makes it very clear is a vacancy to the president and nominates somebody, and the senate votes them up or down. that's always been the way. you know, we've only had one time in this country that we've had a vacancy for a year in a supreme court. and that was civil war types and that's an entirely different time. we don't to want use that precedent. heck with the democrats were in charge of the senate, and it was ronald reagan's last year, we put through his nominee to the supreme court. its been done i think seven or eight times since the beginning of the country. it is totally irresponsible to suggest you go -- >> well, let me -- >> 15 oar 16 months. >> you're the ranking democrat of the judiciary committee, if the republicans, one or two or
three decide to filibuster, you would need 60 votes, getting from 46 to 60 -- >> if there's a filibuster -- >> that's impossible, right? >> you're right. they could. that would be irresponsible. we've had filibusters before, vote on somebody for an hour and then go on to it just to express displeasure with the nominee. but in the 40 years i've been there, nobody, nobody has actually worked seriously to block a vote on a supreme court be it the republicans or the democrats. it would be irresponsible. and some -- i heard one republican say, well we don't have time. oh come on. the republican leadership has sat in more recesses, more vacations this year than i've seen in my years at the senate -- just cancel one of those.
>> what if senator grassley, the chairman just says, you know what, no hearings and delays it like that? >> well, he has that power. i mean, orin hatch killed i think 65 or 70 of bill clinton's judges, unprecedented number, more than ever done before in history by just refusing to have hearings on them when he was chairman is one of the reasons why i did an unprecedented number of hearings for george w. bush to bring it back to the way it should be. >> here's -- it may be in the weeds, but there's been some speculation that the president in his frustration in his final year in office could try to do a recess appointment for supreme court justice, is that realistic? >> that shouldn't even be a question. the question should be, the united states senators, all of whom get good salaries, good staffs, good offices, have a lot
of time, are they going to do the duty? are they going to do what their oath of office calls for? are they going to show responsibility to the country and vote? have a real vote on a presidential nominee? now i know a lot are afraid to because they're afraid it might hurt their reelection. so what? we all cast difficult votes. >> 54 republicans, 44 democrats, two independents, let me quickly play a little clip. this is ted cruz who knows a lot about the supreme court, clerk for the supreme court was a solicitor general in texas. listen to what he says the responsibility is right now. >> the senate's duty is to advice and consent, the senate is advising, we are advicing that a lame duck president is not going to be able to tip the balance of the people are court that we're going to have an election. >> all right. go ahead and respond to senator cruz. >> well, he also said that we'd never had a vote on supreme
court nominee in a life presidential election year, of course we've done it a dozen times, most recently for president reagan. he'll say a whole lot of thing, he's running for election. everybody in the debates are saying a whole lot of things. the constitution says one thing, and that is the president shall nominate and then give advice and consent. let's have the courage to stand up and vote, put your name on how you'd vote, and let the american people know how you voted. a lot of them don't want to do that. i don't think that's being very senatorial. >> senator patrick leahy, thanks for joining us. >> thank you. democratic presidential candidates, they're spreading out to the campaign today. bernie sanders by the way, he's in michigan. we're going to hear why hillary clinton is spending extra time right now in nevada.
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xfinity lets you download your shows from anywhere. i used to like that song. senator bernie sanders is campaigning in michigan today. the democratic presidential candidate is expected to meet with families affected by the tainted water crisis. he's also scheduled a rally just an hour or so from now. hillary clinton meanwhile is getting ready for a campaign rally in nevada today. she was originally scheduled to move on to florida for a rally there, fundraisers, but instead decided to spend another day in nevada. she sent her husband, former president bill clinton to headline the event in florida. we are following all of this stuff, the democratic contest, which is getting intense right now. why spend an extra day in
nevada, i thought poll numbers were looking good this saturday? >> that's right, the campaign is particularly worried about nevada, and she has enjoyed this lead, but i don't think that they're confident enough in where hillary clinton is in the poll numbers and maybe where the momentum is. i spoke with sanders campaign aids, and while they're managing expectations, they're certainly not saying that bernie sanders is going to win in nevada. they also feel that they have some good momentum going into the caucuses on saturday night. and then the other thing is you know wolf, is that when you're talking about caucuses, they get a little squirrely, compared to just voters going to the cast a ballot. it's a little different. it's a little harder to predict, so when you're looking at polls, you can't be as sure that the numbers are exactly where they are. >> and she's beating tomorrow, i take it, in new york, with african american leaders, right? >> that's right. she'll be meeting with mark moral of the national urban league, also with cornell brooks, who heads up the naacp,
and al sharpton is going to be there. this is about a week after he met with bernie sanders. you'll remember that bernie sanders won the new hampshire primary with a very big win, and the next day he took a bit of a victory lap, and that included meeting with al sharpton in harlem. this is with an eye to south carolina where the african american vote is key to a democratic victory. you've been seeing both of these candidates getting endorsements, hillary clinton from john lewis from the congressional black caucus pac, bernie sanders from civil rights icon harry belafonte. they're trying to show certainly they are concerned, they both have made visits to flint, michigan, which is a largely black city. obviously dealing with the lead in the water crisis. they are trying to tell african american voters that they are the best candidates to represent them. we'll see, you know, who wins that. >> south carolina, the democratic primary that's coming up, what more than 50% of the likely democratic primary voters
are african american, unlike in new hampshire or iowa, it's very, very tiny number. >> right now hillary clinton definitely has the advantage in south carolina. nevada, more competitive as we look at these two races. >> probably one of the major reasons she's having the meeting tomorrow. thanks very much. pope francis celebrating mass in southern mexico today. we're going to tell you why it was a historic stop for the pope on his trip through mexico. we'll be right back. he's agreed to give it up. ok, but i have 30 acres to cover by sundown. we'll be with him all day as he goes back to taking tylenol. yeah, i was ok, but after lunch my knee started hurting again so... more pills. yep... another pill stop. can i get my aleve back yet? for my pain... i want my aleve. get all day minor arthritis pain relief with an easy open cap. you premium like clockwork. month after month. year after year. then one night, you hydroplane into a ditch.
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just a while ago, he celebrated mass in indigs now plalanguagin. >> we are last year the pope apologized to the peoples in south america for what he called crimes by the catholic church, and today similar issues in north america. what was his bottom line message today? >> reporter: you know, he focussed on the environment, wolf. he focussed on his environment, mentioning that among the poorest of the poor, is mother earth. and then he said, he looked at all of the people in the crowd, and said, you know, you, have been used and abused by just so many for centuries, i including many elites. take a listen.
>> translator: some have considered your values, culture, traditions to be inferior, others intoxicated by power, money, and market trends have stolen your lands or done things which contaminated them. how sad this is. >> reporter: he also said that in modern day, we use and abuse the earth as well. and that we have a lot to learn from the people. wolf. >> rosa, the trip is certainly without, isn't without controversy, on wednesday the pope scheduled to say mass in washington r juarez. especially from some political types like donald trump, for example, what kind of reaction
though is it getting on the mexican side of the border? >> reporter: you know people in mexico see it very differently, wolf. they think about the 80,000 people who have died in the drug war since 2006. they think about those routes, those smuggle routes that smuggle not only drugs, but also people, and about the 19 to $29 billion that the american consumer pays for drugs. so it's very personal for people in mexico and many are offended by what donald trump has said from the beginning of his campaign, calling mexicans rapists and criminals, it hits people here in the heart. so what they're hoping to hear from pope francis are words of hope and mercy. >> rosa flores covering the pope's visit to mexico, rosa,
thank you very much. up next, just when you thought the presidential race here in the united states couldn't get anymore intense, a u.s. supreme court vacancy is stirring things up out there on the campaign trail. our panel standing by to take a closer look at how the supreme court fight is affecting the race for the white house. of my . i'm good all day. [announcer:] mucinex keeps working. not 4, not 6, but 12 hours. let's end this this just got interesting. so why pause to take a pill? and why stop to find a bathroom? with cialis for daily use, you don't have to plan around either. it's the only daily tablet approved to treat erectile dysfunction so you can be ready anytime the moment is right. plus cialis treats the frustrating urinary symptoms of bph, like needing to go frequently, day or night. tell your doctor about all your medical conditions and medicines, and ask if your heart is healthy enough for sex. do not take cialis if you take nitrates for chest pain, or adempas for pulmonary hypertension, as it may cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure.
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the race for president of the united states was already tumultuous, but now the fight over a u.s. supreme court vacancy is shaking up the race even more. let's talk with our panel. also joining us from new york, our cnn commentator, tara. tara, first of all, republicans are betting that a lot of vacancies will galvanize the party, is that a risky bet? >> not necessarily. i think that given the court, given what a larger than life conservative man scalia was, we have candidates other than donald trump and a couple other's, but most candidates can
articulate the importance of the supreme court. and i think they can use that effectively as an issue this time. normally, it's not. they don't think that supreme court justices is really a sexy issue during a campaign season, but this is not a conventional campaign season. losing a supreme court justice at this point, hasn't happened in a while. sop i think that republicans can effectively leverage this, highlighting the seriousness of electing the next president of the united states, and that doesn't bode well for necessarily a trump. >> democrats can leverage this debate as well, make this a big issue going into the presidential election. >> i think so too. i agree it would drive up the importance of the supreme court in the election. particularly for the base, you know, people really pay a lot of attention. but i think there's a risk here for republicans in the larger narrative. and it's this obstructionism, i'm getting in the way of the president doing his job of the senate doing their job to confirm nominees. people want the government to
work. and one of the problems that the republicans have had is the narrative that through government shutdowns and other things like this, they're obstructionism puts partisan politics ahead of the greater good of the country. i think that's the risk for them here. and democrats should be dragging that message. >> go ahead and respond to that, tara. >> the problem for republicans is if they don't message is correctly. democrats have done this before. senator barack obama joined in a filibuster against samuel alito when he was up for the supreme court position, which he ultimately won. chuck schumer, he's another one. he's saying, oh, push it through, the president has a right to get his nominee. yeah, but chuck schumer was the first person to say with 18 months to go in bush's term that he doesn't deserve to have another supreme court justice. we can't allow a third person to be nominated by george bush, god forbid. so yes, the president has the right to nominate, but with the
advice and consent of the senate. so if they make the argument for the american people to understand the importance of waiting until the next term, think they can then win that. it should be about the constitution. >> doug, you've heard the argument several times that the democrats in this particular case are being hypocritical, because if the shoe were on the other foot, they would be doing what a lot of the republicans want to do right now. your response to that? >> that's not a new story line in washington, is it? >> but it's true. >> i think back to my point, the stepping into the larger narrative about obstructionist republicans in congress. in this case, short-changing the supreme court when there are a lot of important cases before it, important to the lives of the american people. they're in a risky position that they could have a democratic president and a democratic senate during this next year. they also have the prospect of cases coming up, it's a bit of a mixed bag, from lower courts that would stand if there were a
tide that conservative, republicans, won't like. i think there are plenty of dynamics here but if democrats focus on what has been a problem for republicans consistently, that they don't want the government to work for the american people. this is another example of blocking what the government is supposed to do. short changing the supreme court, holding it hostage for a year, that sort thing. that taps into the narrative that people find discomforting about the way republicans have been in washington. >> we're going to hold the supreme court hostage and use that kind of language when that's not what we're doing. court can rung, can function just fine, if there's only one, you know, one justice short. the supreme court actually has a choice to hold over important cases if they want to. the supreme court runs pretty much its own ship if it wants to. the constitution says it only
needs to have one chief justice if the congress decides the makeup of the court in either other instance. justices have recused themselves before so there's only been eight justices in a case. so there are ways for the supreme court to continue to function just find one supreme court justice short but we can't allow the other side and people like doug to use language like that and not hit back hard with our counterargument. and this is why waiting in the best interest of the american people -- >> the american people voted twice for president obama. he's doing his job. the senate needs to do their job. >> the senate's job is to advise and consent. if the president puts up a nominee, that's not a consensus nominee, then it's the senate's job to block it. that's why we have a balance in government. >> all right, guys, we're going to continue this debate presumably for months and months and months, guy, thanks very much. coming up, cnn gets exclusive access to the front lines of syria's battle against
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two hospitals and a school in northern syria are attacked within hours of each other. bombed from the air in a series of devastating strikes. most recent attack hit a hospital supported by the group doctors without borders killing at least seven people. earlier, an air strike targeted a hospital and a school in a town not far from the turkish border. 15 people are dead. the turkish prime minister is blaming russia. the u.s. state department just released a statement condemning the air strike. our senior international correspondent fred pleitgen. what are you learning about these deadly air strikes? >> they were absolutely devastating, wolf, and they also came in two contested areas, in the north of syria, one more towards the east, close to the turkish border and the other one
in idlib province on a contested highway the syrian government has tried to take back from rebel forces. it's unclear who conducted the air strikes. the turks are saying it was the russians. one air strike killed 15 people. it was apparently a cruise michelle launched from the caspian sea. the russians have not commented. it is clear these air strikes were absolutely devastating, 15 people killed in one air strike alone. also, a school that was sheltering internally displaced people hit as well, a devastating incident that has caused not just condemnation from the u.s., from the united nations as well. >> you were also given exclusive access to the front lines of the syrian government's campaign against isis, against the rebels there, inside syria. what did you see? >> well, it was on the fringe of raqqah province so right on the edge of isis' self-declared capital. we went to the front line there
and spoke to one of the commanding generals. he said the war up there is a lot different than in cities like aleppo. it's less urban combat, it looks like a conventional war. a lot of artillery working constantly, a lot of tanks, armored personnel carriers. desert landscape. you see assad's forces there. they have the high ground in these places and are firing there into the desert. the commander there said it is russian air power that at this point is allowing the syrian military to hold up against isis and make advances as well. one of the things he said is he believes the russians continue to do what they're doing right now, the syrian military might be able to breach the town of raqqah, so the capital of isis territory, why the end of the year, but of course we know in a civil war there always are a lot of ifs, wolf. >> fred pleitgen has been doing excellent reporting for us on the front lines in syria. not every day that a news organization has this kind of access. fred, be careful over there.
we're grateful for the access you have. we're going to have more from fred coming up tomorrow. that's it for me. thanks very much for watching. i'll be back at 5:00 p.m. in "the situation room." for international viewer, "amanpour" is next. for viewers in north america, "newsroom" with brooke baldwin starts right now. hi there, i'm brooke baldwin. thank you for being with me on this president's day, monday. for you, any moment now, donald trump is expected to hold a news conference in all-important south carolina. and of course with every trump news conference we're not quite sure what the republican front-runner might have to say. we'll watch it, we'll take it live when it happens. meantime, as i mentioned, it is president's day today. but what i can definitely tell you is a seismic shift is happening for the first time in 12 years. one of america's most colorful, much maligned presidents is hitting the campaign