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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

On the Next Episode of The Lead

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politics lead

September 26th, 2013
07:32 PM ET

Roundtable: The fractured GOP

Long Islanders don't blush easy, but there may a be a tinge of red coloring Congressman Peter King's cheeks of late. The New York Republican said his office has been bombarded with "vile" phone calls over his criticism of Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas.

"I haven't heard such vile, profane, obscene language. Now I'm not saying Ted Cruz is responsible for all his supporters, but he has tapped into a dark strain in the American political psyche here," King told MSNBC.

To be fair, King has not pulled any punches in his criticism of the Texas senator, saying last week, "Ted Cruz is a fraud and he'll no longer have any influence in the Republican party."

But what's with all the Republican-on-Republican violence?

Our political roundtable with columnist for The Washington Post Clinton Yates, CNN senior political analyst and editorial director for the National Journal Ron Brownstein, and CNN contributor and former adviser to Mitt Romney Kevin Madden discuss.

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world lead

September 26th, 2013
07:13 PM ET

Was 'White Widow' Samantha Lewthwaite involved in Kenya mall attack?

(CNN) - British-born Samantha Lewthwaite was once seen as a kind of victim of the July 2005 London terror attacks - the pregnant wife of one of the suicide bombers who killed 52 people, now left alone to care for her children.

She condemned the attacks but then vanished. Now, Kenyan authorities say, she is the infamous "White Widow," alleged to be a supporter and financier of people linked to the Somali terror group Al-Shabaab.

Reports that a white woman was among the terrorists who stormed Nairobi, Kenya's, upscale Westgate Shopping Mall on Saturday - an operation for which Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility - have prompted a slew of media speculation that she might have been involved.

But no official confirmation has been given. A senior Kenyan government official said a woman was among the attackers. Yet it is "impossible," based on the government's photo evidence (and before a forensics examination is complete), to determine who that might be.

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pop lead

September 26th, 2013
06:53 PM ET

Actor Bill Hader ran from the 'SNL' altar, into the arms of Hollywood

Fans may recognize "Saturday Night Live" alum Bill Hader best when he's playing playing someone else, like James Carville, Vincent Price, Clint Eastwood, or the actor's most beloved "Weekend Update" character, Stefon.

CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper" met the actor where Stefon, and Hader, said goodbye to "Saturday Night Live" last season.

"This is where Stefon and Anderson Cooper were going to get married, and then Seth Myers ruined it up there. And the melee happened right here," Hader said, standing before the altar inside Park Avenue Christian Church.
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national lead

September 26th, 2013
06:19 PM ET

GOP congresswoman: Obama's unwillingness to negotiate debt ceiling is 'unrealistic'

When it comes to negotiations over the debt ceiling, a separate crisis from the looming government shutdown, Republicans are demanding, among other things, a one-year delay of the president's health care law, blocking Net Neutrality regulations, approval of the Keystone pipeline, and blocking the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating ash waste from coal fired power plants.

None of the demands have any obvious connection with the national debt. But Republicans are using something so critical for leverage on issues they cannot realistically get support for in the Senate.

President Barack Obama said Thursday that he "will not negotiate on anything when it comes to the full faith and credit of the United States of America."

"It's completely unrealistic for the president to say that we're not going to negotiate over the debt ceiling, that he thinks somehow that we should be just giving him another blank check to continue these record deficits," said Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Washington.
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politics lead

September 26th, 2013
06:01 PM ET

Pfeiffer: White House is not ‘negotiating with people with a bomb strapped to their chest’

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said a U.S. debt default could be catastrophic. But President Barack Obama said Thursday he will not "not negotiate on anything when it comes to the full faith and credit of the United States of America." That is, no negotiating with Republicans.

Yet, the American people support, by a two-to-one margin, a requirement for spending cuts when negotiating more borrowing authority for the government to pay its bills, according to a new Bloomberg News poll.

The White House "is for cutting spending. We're for reforming our tax code, for reforming entitlements," said senior White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer.

"What we're not for is negotiating with people with a bomb strapped to their chest," he added.
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