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America's New War: Barry Bonds Continues Home Run Chase; Gauge of Mood at Airports as They Reopen

Aired September 18, 2001 - 00:45   ET


JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: We've got a caller in New Jersey. Charles, good evening.

CHARLES: How are you today, Jack?

CAFFERTY: I'm all right. How are you getting along?

CHARLES: Oh, pretty good. I sort of got tore up by it Sunday and helped me get by a little bit. When I saw that fly by Sunday morning, it hit me really hard. I mean it just tore me up. I mean you could really appreciate the space -- the scope of this thing. It's horrendous.

Anyway, I'd like to make a quick point if possible.

CAFFERTY: Sure, go ahead.

CHARLES: Well it goes back to like your first show. I also want to thank you guys for doing this, I mean letting us peons out here put our two cents in.

CAFFERTY: Peons you're not Charles. You know we're all in this together. You know the President right on down.

CHARLES: I know.

CAFFERTY: And we've heard from all kinds of people. So you know I'm glad to have you on the air. Go ahead, what is it.

CHARLES: What my concern was is aren't -- isn't it time for new world organizations? When we got hit, we said we want blood. I've heard people say they want to make Afghanistan a parking lot. We can't do that. There's innocent people there.

CAFFERTY: That's right.

CHARLES: We got whacked and then NATO and then NATO said you whacked us, you whacked us. But NATO's the old Russia, cold war. What about a new organization, maybe called WAIT, world against international terrorism.

CAFFERTY: Not bad. I like it. CHARLES: OK. Rush -- well it's going to be a long wait. I'm going to tell you, I may not see -- I'm 50 I may not see this in my lifetime.

CAFFERTY: Yes, I'm 58, so yes. No, I understand.

CHARLES: Russia could jump on board, China could jump on board, North Korea. Iran maybe might. They're teetering on the fence. They don't know where to go. But a new world organization, and it would also give America a chance to step back a little bit. Just run out there. We're going to whack and make you -- that's what caused this whole mess in the first place.

CAFFERTY: That's right. And I read a column in one of the newspapers saying you know if you start dropping bombs on Afghanistan you kill a lot of woman who are pregnant with children. And a lot of folks that just have -I mean just like what happened in the World Trade Center here. And you don't want to do that.

I appreciate hearing form you. And I like the idea. The President told the nation to get back to work. Rudy Giuliani who has emerged as perhaps the most towering figure in all of this in terms of leadership, guts, courage, tough guy who had his eye on the ball from the second this thing happened. He told the city of New York to get back to work. We all went back to work today, but perhaps as way to kind of put salve on some of the open wounds across this nation they started playing baseball again today.

The morning financial show I do on CNNfn, we got busy because we had one of our staff members who's a big giants fan watching the Barry Bonds home run chase. I hadn't thought about it until 30 seconds ago, right ahead of the report we're going to get now from Frank Buckley at Dodger Stadium. It's nice to be able to think about how many home runs Barry Bonds has.

Frank, what's going on tonight?

FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jack, sorry I lost you for a second. It's a little loud here the -- at Dodger Stadium. Chavez Ravine, you might be able to hear behind me that they are singing take me out to the ball game. It's the seventh inning stretch here. The baseball fans really do seem to be lost in the moment. They're enjoying themselves again.

They are mindful, however, of what has happened as we go through the stadium and talk to people. We talked to one woman who actually started crying as we were talking about the events of the last week. And as the fans were entering the stadium this evening, it was a different atmosphere. There were the reminders. They were given American flags as they stepped into the stadium.

Also, they were handed envelopes that would -- for disaster relief if they wanted to make a donation to disaster relief. Also increased security situation here with no coolers being allowed. Increased police presence, no cars parked within 100 feet of the stadium. All of it reminders for both players and fans that this is a new day in America, even at the ballpark.

CAFFERTY: Is it true, Frank, that they've replaced...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Security, not knowing who is going to come into the park, what's going to come into the park. So, that was my thoughts.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pretty apprehensive. Our seats are under the overhang, and that concerns me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A bomb or some crazy guy, or something happening.

TONY GWYNN, SAN DIEGO PADRES: I think it's affected us all. We're all a lot more cautious. We're all checking people out up and down. If you've been on a plane here in the last couple of days, you've done that. Coming into Dodgers Stadium today was a lot different than it's ever been. Security guards, dogs sniffing in the clubhouse. And that's kind of the world, I think, kind of the world we're going to be in for a little while here.


BUCKLEY: And that's from Tony Gwynn, the baseball player for the San Diego Padres. Gwynn is someone who could've been affected by this on a professional level. He has announced his retirement at the end of this year.

And we've lost 91 games in Major League Baseball during this stoppage, in fact it's the only non labor stoppage that Major League Baseball has suffered since 1944 during World War II. So, Gwynn would have suffered in terms of not being able to play his final game at a home stadium in San Diego.

However, Major League Baseball has decided to just postpone those 91 games. They will play them at the conclusion of the season, so Gwynn will get to play his last game before a home crowd in San Diego.

CAFFERTY: Frank, who's winning?

BUCKLEY: Right now the Padres are winning, and I think it's 4 to 1? No, 5 to 1, oops. 5 to 1 here in the bottom of the 7th. I can tell you, the Dodger fans, we're talking about them getting lost in the moment. In the 6th inning the Dodgers had 3 runners on base, ended up stranding all of them and didn't bring them home. But the fans were really into that moment. We had the wave go by a couple of times.

The people out here in Los Angeles are clearly removed by geography from what's happening in New York, but I would say that every single person in this stadium, setting aside the children, have seen the images and have been touched by what's happened in New York. It's not to say that they're not feeling what's going on, but this seems to be, at least from the fans viewpoint at the moment, to escape it, to get back to the American pastime, and to resume their lives.

CAFFERTY: That's great stuff. Frank, thanks very much. Frank Buckley at Giants' -- Dodgers Stadium. Tomorrow night in San Francisco, for those of us who want to focus on something besides the hard news of the day, the Giants entertain Houston. The opening pitch at 7:15 Pacific time. Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants in pursuit of the all-time home run record. He has 63 currently, the last 3 coming in a single game. Mark McGwire of the St. Louis Cardinals holds the all-time record. Was it 70 or 71, Ellie? Yes? 71, I think. 71. Ellie's our director.

Joe in Utah is on the phone. Good evening.

JOE: How's it going?

CAFFERTY: Good, how are you doing?

JOE: Good. My question is, if we decide to go in and use ground troops, how are we going to get our ground troops in if, say, Pakistan and neighboring countries aren't going to let us go through their borders, or if we can even trust those countries?

CAFFERTY: It's a perfectly legitimate question. I assume they could airlift them in, but that would be certainly risky and expose them to all kinds of things. It's something that will have to be worked out by the Pentagon planners.

The other big debate going on, Joe, is whether to use ground troops in Afghanistan or not. I mean Russia spent 10 years on the ground in Afghanistan fighting those people, they finally gave up and went home with their nose very bloody. So, if they decide to go in, how they get in is probably yet to be determined.

All right, we are going -- I'm sorry, Ellie. Go where? Oh, the Denver guest. Right.

We're talking with Thomas Nulty who earlier was on. Talking about -- he runs a big travel company that caters primarily to business. It is huge, I mean he's got 6,000 employees, they operate in 16 foreign countries besides the United States.

We were talking about you being on an airplane today, Tom, and I'm curious about what did it feel like inside the passenger compartment? What did it feel like in the terminal? How palpable was the emotional response to this thing that happened?

THOMAS NULTY, PRESIDENT, NAVIGANT INTL.: It was actually very normal. In fact, it was more calm in the airport than usual. I think most people showed up early. Most of the travelers were pretty calm, they were all relaxed. Nobody rushing to the flight, because we were all there early.

I actually talked to my seat mate and several of the other travelers, and they felt just as I did. They were really trying to get back to business. They know how important travel is to their business, the fact they've got to see their customers, they've got to sell their products. They were just kind of excited about getting going.

There was a little apprehension, I'm certain, even I had a little bit. But the reality is that things are going to be back to normal. You could tell that the security was much heightened. They do keep non travelers out of the concourse area right now, and the lines were a little bit longer. But it really wasn't that bad. It was pretty easy traveling.

CAFFERTY: Talk to me for a minute about your perception of two different parts of the traveling community. You have leisure travelers and you have business travelers. Businesses may change their travel plans for their executives for a number of reasons, although a lot of work gets done on airplanes now. There are telephones, there are laptop computers. And the leisure traveler travels for a while different reason.

Give me your sense, based on your experience and knowledge, of how those two segments are likely to be impacted, not just in the short term, but maybe a little longer term.

NULTY: It's interesting. Today, the flight right next door to the airplane that I took, was a flight to Hawaii. I tell you, that lobby was 100 percent packed, and those people were headed for vacation. So, even today there were people out there, leisure travelers getting going.

But leisure travel will be a little soft, I'd say, until Thanksgiving. If there are no more incidents up to that point, I think you'll start seeing people wanting to get back out there to visit those friends and relatives, and then hopefully there will be a strong Christmas season as well.

I think up until that point, however, I think leisure travel is probably going to be pretty soft and it's going to take a few months for people to get the confidence back to start traveling. You'll start seeing resort travel and everything. I mean there's some great bargains out there. I mean it is going to be inexpensive to travel, and even hotels and other things are going to be offering bargains as a result of this because the demand isn't there right now.

CAFFERTY: Now, on the other side, the business ledger, which is more closely associated and related to your company. What do you see happening there?

NULTY: You know I see that -- we surveyed several hundred of our customers today, and we think that it's going to be very, very soft for the next two weeks.

But starting at that point, it appears that they think they're going to start coming up to about 75 percent of where they had been prior to September the 11th, and then about eight weeks out it looks like they're all projecting that they'll be back on the road at 100 percent of where they had been in the past. So, it should start picking back up.

The real key is, make sure there are no more incidences. CAFFERTY: Yes, that's -- if we can do that, then the confidence of the flying public will return a lot faster than if there's any sort of follow up.

Tom, sit tight with us if you will. We'll talk about tips for people who are traveling, folks who are holding tickets...

NULTY: Great.

CAFFERTY: ... other issues affecting your expertise in this area.

We've got a caller in Arizona. Bruce, what part of Arizona? I've got a daughter who lives in Tuscan.

BRUCE: That's exactly where I'm calling from.

CAFFERTY: What's going on?

BRUCE: Well, you know I've been in the business for -- this is my 26th year on the airline business. I was in Washington in May. I talked to some congressman from our congressional delegation regarding the aviation trust fund. Passengers have been paying to this fund for years. Every time they purchase a ticker, there's over $10 billion in that fund.

CAFFERTY: How much?

BRUCE: $10 billion.


BRUCE: Why isn't this money -- why can't this money be used for security at airports?

CAFFERTY: Well, that's a good point, and maybe even a better way to phrase the question is why wasn't it used before this happened. Maybe this could have been headed off.

My hunch is it's going to be used now. The attorney general, John Ashcroft, announced today that among other things, they're going to put armed sky marshalls on private flights.

What part of the airline business are you in? Are you a member of a flight crew, or are you on the ground?

BRUCE: I'm on the ground. I've been there for all those years.

CAFFERTY: Armed marshalls riding these planes. Do you think that will help?

BRUCE: Armed marshalls would help. I'll tell you, security has really tightened up. I can't go into details on it...

CAFFERTY: I understand, and I don't want you to. BRUCE: ... it's a lot better than it's ever been. We could take some of the pages still from the Israelis, the El-Al flights. They've got a good system.

CAFFERTY: All right. Good luck to you. I appreciate your views, and I bet that $10 billion gets spent pretty soon.

We're going to do a station break. You're watching CNN's HOTLINE. I'm Jack Cafferty. The shows coming live from New York City, and it'll be back in a moment.



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