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America Under Attack: Clinton Visits New York, Bush Expected Today

Aired September 14, 2001 - 00:53   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JIM CLANCY, CNN ANCHOR: OK. Well, we want to go back to New York City. It's been the end of another day of struggle for many people as they try to dig through the wreckage of the World Trade Center and the buildings surrounding that complex, trying to find someone still alive. Garrick Utley is looking at that situation and much more. Garrick.

GARRICK UTLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And, Jim, we're looking at it from a different perspective, inside the forecasted rain, thundershowers and lightening, above all, are moving in fast on midtown Manhattan. So, we just thought it was a better part of valor to be cautious and move off the roof of our CNN bureau here in New York inside.

As you've been mentioning, we've been reporting too, President Bush comes to New York tomorrow. A presidential visit has always caused a consternation because traffic is being tied up. Bill Clinton, when he was president, came frequently to this town and half of Manhattan would be nearly paralyzed during those visits.

But today, Bill Clinton, because he lives just north of the city, has his office in Harlem as we all know, is able to drive south into Manhattan to visit with some of the people who are out there looking for their loved ones, their friends and family, still holding onto hope that they may be alive, even though that hope has to dim with each passing day.

Here are some scenes and some of the sounds as the former president talked with people.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I had two children in the military. This is dad. He was in on the first tower the other morning. He said that he was in on the first . (INAUDIBLE). Thank you very much. Thank you very much.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: This lady came up to me. She said, "This is my husband. He's missing. He was in the Marine Corps and two of his sons -- two of our sons are in the military. You commanded them, and I want my husband back."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you were president, what would you do now?

CLINTON: The important thing is that I'm operating as a civil servant and I'm going to support Hillary. That's what I'm going to do.

They know what they have to do. They have to find the facts and they have to take appropriate action. And I can tell you this, it may or may not be simple, easy and quick.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

UTLEY: Former President Bill Clinton today in those moving scenes here in Manhattan. It was taking place at an armory in New York City, which is being used as a meeting place, brining people together with their searches with their very human stories. You might wonder, Well, how many stories are there out there like this? We can put a number on it, more or less. At least 4,760 of those stories. That's the number missing that the city officials have put for those believed to have been lost or buried under the rubble of the World Trade Center.

Jodi Ross of CNN has been bearing witness to what has been happening there. She's over there at the armory and she's going to check in with us right now and give us the latest. Jodi.

JODI ROSS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Garrick. The feeling here tonight, the mood here tonight, of course, somber and quiet. There were hundreds, maybe thousands of people here earlier looking for family members, friends and loved ones.

The weather is menacing here. It feels like it's about to rain, but that doesn't stop people from coming, not even just people looking for missing people, but actually people trying to help out. We've seen shirts being handed out, food passed around.

It seems like everybody sort of want to get into the spirit, wants to help as much as they can. It's harder to stay home and do nothing, they say, than not come out here and try to do something. As we talk to people tonight, there's a feeling of hope, they believe, that their family, friends and loved ones are missing. They continue to put up signs and posters.

All around me here people have posted pictures, information about the person that's missing, statistics, the last time that person was seen, where in the World Trade Center they worked, what floor they were on, all the details that they can give. You can also do that over at the armory behind me. That's open 24 hours.

They're encouraging people to show up there, register the name of the missing person and give all the information they can. So, hopefully people will continue to do that through the night in spite of the rain that's beginning to fall.

Back to you, Garrick.

UTLEY: Thank you very much, Jodi, the sort of interesting and what is now being called a war against terrorism. That very human meeting place in midtown Manhattan is an armory.

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