CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
America's New War
Aired September 27, 2001 - 22:00 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.
AARON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: A week ago tonight, President Bush declared that freedom was at war with fear. Today the president took the offensive, simply by taking to the air: the president's first flight since September 11th. Mr. Bush went to Chicago to outline his airline security plan. Now the president, of course, doesn't travel commercial, but his secretary of transportation did.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want you to know that Norm took a United flight.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: No small symbolism there.
In Pakistan, a sight we've haven't seen since September 11. A big rally in support of the United States, as Pakistan gets ready to send two delegations to Afghanistan tomorrow.
Very different than what we saw yesterday in Afghanistan's capital. The empty U.S. embassy burned in Kabul. But the word is the Taliban have asked Osama Bin Laden to leave. And sources say some Taliban members are now defecting.
In New York, a scene from late last night so powerful, we thought we should show it again today. A body removed, a chaplain giving his blessing. More on that moment a little later in the broadcast.
And many families in New York filing for death certificates now say their greatest hope is just to get a body back. For most even that hope, tragic in itself, won't be fulfilled.
We have a lot of ground to cover tonight. And we begin with the president's plan to reform airline security. Although much of it had leaked out before, Mr. Bush formally unveiled his plan at one of America's busiest airports today, O'Hare in Chicago.
He needed to reassure passengers and workers threatened with job cuts and an industry losing tens of millions of dollars a day.
Our senior White House correspondent John King joins us with on the president.
John, good evening.
JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good evening to you, Aaron.
This a day that reminded us of the very fine line facing the president and the government. On the one hand, Mr. Bush trying to announce new steps to reassure the public it is safe to fly on a plane. Yet at the same time, are some of those steps perhaps so extreme that they'll convince passengers they might still have something to worry about?
KING (voice-over): Flag-waving airline workers welcomed the president's plea for Americans to take to the skies.
BUSH: One of the great goals of this nation's war is to restore public confidence in the airline industry. It's to tell the traveling public, get on board. Do your business around the country. Fly and enjoy America's great destination spots.
KING: Mr. Bush urged governors to deploy the National Guard immediately to beef up airport security. And he promised armed sky marshals, improved cockpit security, and federal oversight of airport checkpoints.
BUSH: We will not surrender our freedom to travel.
KING: But with the new security measures came other steps that could give passengers jitters. Airspace over the White House and the capitol has long been off limits, but new government rules will restrict more airspace over things like damns, power plants and other "key industrial assets and areas that are important to protect national security."
Before September 11, pilots risked fines and losing their licenses if they wandered into restricted airspace. Now, planes will be subject to military intercept. And an administration memo describing the new rules says failure to follow instructions then "could result in the use of deadly force."
MICHAEL TOMLINSON, PRIVATE PILOT: Prohibited airspace has been prohibited for a long time. And folks are supposed to know how to deal with it. Suddenly becoming fatal airspace is not something I really want to have to contemplate.
KING: The Pentagon and the new regulations make clear use of lethal force is a last resort.
HUGH SHELTON, JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: The last thing in the world that one of them wants to do is engage a commercial aircraft. And so, don't get the impression that anyone is flying around out there has a loose trigger finger. That's not the case.
KING: If he cannot be reached, the president has authorized senior Air Force officers to make the call about shooting down commercial jetliners.
KING: And that arrangement has some in the Congress nervous. So even as the House and Senate promised to quickly on the president's security proposals, some key lawmakers say they will pressure the administration to move the authority for shooting down higher up the military chain of command -- Aaron.
BROWN: John, a couple things the president didn't do. He didn't federalize the entire screening process, as some people wanted, and he didn't allow guns in the cockpit.
KING: That's right. On the guns point, the president simply thinks that is not the answer, that arming pilots would put too much responsibility on them. And in fact, put a weapon in an airplane that could be used for the wrong reasons.
On the issue of federalizing airport security, Aaron, that will be the big debate when this issue moves down to the Congress. Many Democrats, some Republicans think the federal government should completely take over that responsibility. All those airline check -- all those airport check-in workers should be federal employees.
The president wants federal oversight, federal testing, federal training and federal rules, but not to make those federal employees. That will be a big debate when this moves to Congress next week, perhaps the first at least semi-partisan fight since the tragedy of September 11.
BROWN: John, thank you. Our senior White House correspondent John King tonight.
Even the toughest airline critics believe the president's reforms are at the very least, a good step forward. But the images of September 11, the phone calls from inside those hijacked planes, will stay etched in many minds, probably most American minds for a long time to come.
And many say they will never feel safe flying again. So tonight, the passengers' story from Rusty Dornin in San Francisco.
RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The counter here is quiet, eerily quiet. It's business as usual for right now at San Francisco International Airport, where planes often leave the runways half empty, the numbers of passengers down about 50 percent.
Now while travelers were unanimous in applauding President Bush's efforts to bolster security, they were not quite so unanimous when it came to say whether they think it will restore confidence in flying.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel a little apprehensive leaving this morning, but everything was pretty much as usual, and felt pretty secure. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm a white knuckle flyer anyway. And then, this just added to the, you know, the anxiety.
DORNIN: Knowing that the military could be given approval for a commercial jetliner to be shot down if it was hijacked and if it was endangering an American city was a sobering thought to some.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think everybody's, you know, going to be nervous about that, but we can't let this stop our economy and stop business and stop our lives.
DORNIN: So it wouldn't stop you from getting on a flight?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just quit my job because I got tired of all the traveling and the nightmare and changed so I wouldn't have to travel. The only reason I'm traveling now is because I'd like to get home to my father's funeral.
DORNIN: But will increased security measures encourage you to fly more?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, not necessarily.
DORNIN: Not good news to airport officials here or anywhere else in the country. San Francisco International is expected to have an $85 million budget shortfall this year as a result of the attacks.
Airport officials say it will just take time to restore people's confidence in flying. One flight at a time.
Rusty Dornin, CNN, San Francisco International.
BROWN: Well there's no doubt what the president proposed today is ambitious. A half a billion dollars, he said. But to some, it is not enough.
We're joined now from New Orleans by the mayor of that city, Marc Morial. He also serves as president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
Good evening. It's nice to see you again.
MAYOR MARC MORIAL, NEW ORLEANS: Good evening. Good to be with you.
BROWN: What is it that doesn't make you happy here?
MORIAL: Well, our assessment is certainly to compliment the president, because I think he took some bold and decisive steps. We would like to see the federalization of those security checkpoint workers, but I want to stress that we're pleased with the steps that the president has taking. We think they will help to reassure and certainly build the public's confidence back in flying, which is especially cities like mine...
BROWN: We got him back. Let's see if we can get the mayor back. There we go. Mayor, we lost you for a second.
MORIAL: I'm sorry.
BROWN: That's not your fault, believe me. Go ahead and finish your thought.
MORIAL: I said we are pleased with the steps that the president has taken. They've been bold. They've been decisive. And we'd like to see the federalization of those security checkpoint workers.
And I know there will be a debate on Capitol Hill about that, but what the president did today, I think will go along way in helping to reassure the public and rebuild the confidence in getting on an airplane.
BROWN: Other than the federalization issue, are you satisfied, for example, with the number of sky marshals that are being talked about? Are you satisfied with the incremental steps being taken to fortify cockpit doors? Are you satisfied with National Guardsmen being available -- and women at airports?
MORIAL: I think National Guardsmen is a good step because it'll created a visible presence inside the airport. I do think, however, that our goal ought to be to have a sky marshal on every plane.
Would it be expensive? Yes. Would it reassure people? Of course it would.
The changes in cockpit doors and other measures, ideally, you'd want to do it immediately, but because of the mechanical and the design challenges, and just the logistics of bringing all of the planes to a place where these doors could be retrofitted, I understand that's going to take some time.
The important thing is that there are steps being taken now. And they are immediate to reassure the public. We're dealing a psychological trauma in this nation. And it's going test our resolve.
And I hope that people out there will realize that the aviation industry, until September 11, has had an excellent safety record. And the tragedy of September 11 compels us to take some additional bolder decisive steps. And I think President Bush did that today.
BROWN: Mayor, you're the mayor of one of the great convention cities in the country. I wonder if people are going feel that good about getting on an airplane and flying to your city if they walk past armed soldiers, the way we do in many European countries in fact? Or if that might not have an opposite effect, if that might just unsettle people all the more?
MORIAL: I think in light of September 11, that that will reassure people. Before September 11, if it had been tried, I think most of us would have opposed it because we would have believed, as you said, that that might create fear.
But what we're faced with has been the largest, most dramatic terrorist attack in history, one that's taken the lives of many, many innocent people. One that struck right at the heart of our civil aviation system.
And I think we've got take bold, decisive, but carefully thought out steps. And I think that's why the president rejected guns in the cockpit. I think that's a good thing. But also, why the idea of National Guardspeople, because National Guardspeople are available. This can be implemented immediately. And we certainly would welcome them in our airport.
BROWN: Mayor, it's good to talk to you again.
MORIAL: Good talking to you.
BROWN: Marc Morial, the mayor New Orleans, joining us this evening.
When we come back, we'll talk with one of the CEOs of one of the nation's largest airlines and much more, too.
ANNOUNCER: Still ahead, the FBI releases photos of the suspected hijackers, hoping for more leads in the case.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN ASHCROFT, ATTORNEY GENERA: This is another step in what in effect is part of a national neighborhood watch.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: Also inside President Bush's inner circle. Exactly who has the president's ear?
Plus, emotions and worries, rekindled for a generation that survived world wars.
BROWN: On September 10, Continental Airlines was one of just two U.S. airlines that was turning a profit. The next day, September 11, it joined the rest of the industry facing serious financial problems.
The company's CEO, Gordon Bethune, was the first to sound the alarm. Continental was also the first to layoff workers. Bethune's fight for government help was key in the industry getting $15 billion worth of assistance.
Willow Bay, the anchor of CNN's "PINNACLE," sat down with Bethune to talk about the future of airlines.
WILLOW BAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Some of your colleagues have said this assistance is very helpful, thank you very much, but this industry is still in great jeopardy. Is that the case? GORDON BETHUNE, CEO, CONTINENTAL AIRLINES: Well, I think there are winners and losers in the marketplace. And I don't think the government should decide winners and losers. I think that's a fair put.
As I told you, we were doing OK (UNINTELLIGIBLE). And so, there are going to be winners and losers, even after this debacle, but what we needed was some stability in the interim, to make sure that we don't all lose here and let the winners prevail later on.
BAY: And how long do you expect that this showdown in demand will last?
BETHUNE: Well, we said, you know, we would expect given the other events like the San Francisco earthquake when people were afraid to visit a destination, up to 90 days of fairly distinct drops in passenger traffic. That's why how many days can we go at 50 percent revenue loss.
BAY: 90 days of dramatic drops, but how long before demand reaches levels that would make you happier?
BETHUNE: Well I mean, I can't tell you. I would hope next summer.
BAY: Do you expect you'll see additional layoffs?
BETHUNE: I hope not. If we have restoration of the public confidence in air transportation, I know our government's working hard do that. I know that all of us in the industry are, I think people will come back.
I don't know the psychology. This is the first time it's ever happened to anyone, but sooner or later, you know, you've just got to go to Seattle. And it's a long, long drive from Houston so I think people will get back on the planes, as they should.
BAY: There's some proposals floating around for the government to step in, to help employees that have been laid off by the airline industry. Is that a good idea?
BETHUNE: I know that there are a number of proposals. I think the government will in their own mind make up their mind on that. I think that there are unemployment benefits. And I know that we've got some bridge with medical coverage.
If the government decides in their wisdom that they want more, I know there are a lot of people who have not yet got the news, in other industries. As this trickles through our economy and to the Boeing plants and the GE's and the Honeywells and the cruise ship lines and the travel agents.
I can't tell you. I don't know anyone who's not going to be affected. I'm not sure the government can meet all those expectations.
BROWN: On that point, Bethune is not exaggerating. We've seen cab drivers, the rental car business, travel agents hurt directly by the airline crisis. Some estimate that for every airline job that's created, or in this case destroyed, six other jobs are related, created or destroyed.
We're joined now by Michael Miller, who is the editor of "Aviation Daily." He joins us again from Washington, D.C. And Thom Nulty, the president of the corporate travel management firm, Navigant. He joins us from Orange County, California. Good evening to both of you.
Mike, let me start with you. Seems to me, you can't bail out human emotions. You can't legislate calm where there's fear?
MICHAEL MILLER, EDITOR, "AVIATION DAILY": Exactly. I mean, part of what a lot of people want to do is say, well, you know, we may shoot down those commercial airliners, which is what the Bush administration is saying, but at the same time, we want you to go back flying and we want you to take to the air and go to Disneyworld.
It's a little too soon to really get people en masse to fly again. I mean, I flew yesterday, and Thom, I guess, flew today. We're seasoned business travelers. And the business travelers are the ones that have to be on the road, but they're only the ones in the front of the plane. And the back of the plane's still empty.
BROWN: Thom, you did fly today out of Denver, if I remember this correctly. What was it like?
THOM NULTY, "AVIATION DAILY": You know, the airplane was 100 percent full. I will tell you that the security check going into the airport was extensive. The line took well over an hour. People that did not show up at the airport two hours in advance probably missed flights, but it was crowded.
BROWN: What was different about the security?
NULTY: You know, well it appeared to me, there were a couple things they were doing differently in Denver.
One, they insisted that you put your cellphones and pagers through the x-ray machine The other thing they were doing was making everybody -- all these business travelers take their personal computers out of their cases and run them through the x-ray machine individually. And then they were taking each one of the computers, one at a time, and dusting them for explosives and putting them in that explosive examination machine.
BROWN: And just -- because you deal a lot with business travelers, Are you seeing -- is that business which is huge to the airlines because business travelers pay a lot of money, is that coming back?
NULTY: You know it is. I surveyed 250 of our largest customers that spend about $2 billion a year on airline tickets. And in that survey, they told me that last week, they'd be travel about 60 percent of normal. And they said this week, 70 and working their way up to 90 percent of normal in about a 6 week period.
But we're actually coming back a little faster than that. This week, for example, at Navigant, the first three days of this week, we're running at about 80 percent of where we were last year for the exact same period, the same three day period.
So I think it's coming back faster than we think. And it is the business travelers who know they need to travel for their own businesses to be successful.
MILLER: If I can add a point on to that.
BROWN: Please do.
MILLER: A lot of people do fear what has gone on in the past, but a lot of people also don't realize whether there's a plane crash or an accident or something out there, the American public is pretty resilient. And there is had a period of mourning. And this period that we're now in, as Gordon Bethune said, could be long. We don't really know, but people are coming back.
And I mean, I talked to Southwest Airlines yesterday. They're saying that they're not going to layoff, that their loads are pretty good. People are flying with them. So we may have actually seen some overreaction by some of the airlines out there.
BROWN: That's what I want to ask you about. I'm curious if you think -- and I've heard grumbling about this, that there has been an overreaction, that the airlines in their layoffs so quickly have exacerbated the problem?
MILLER: Well I personally think that they have. I mean, I don't have all the numbers from all the airlines. So I know that some of them were hurting pretty badly. We have to keep in human mind that the airlines were going to lose $4 billion this year, even before September 11.
So this was going to be the second worst year on record. Now there's forecasts of $10 billion in losses. So it's bad, but to think that six or seven days after all this, you can layoff 20 percent of your workforce based on a gut feel, to some degree may be an overreaction. Or at least judging by the smartest airline out there, Southwest Airlines.
BROWN: Are they parlaying an awful tragedy into a government bailout that is bailing them out, not just for the tragedy, but for bad business long before?
MILLER: Well, the government bail out actually is only worth a couple days of airline operations, $5 billion spread among the industry, it's kind of like spreading among the auto industry. It doesn't go that far, but it did stop the bleeding. As for bailing out companies that were already going to be cutting employees, unfortunately, I think that's the case in a few companies, a few airlines but right now we're still going through the survival of the fittest.
The $5 billion was stopgap. There's still maybe some casualties, but there probably were going to be some casualties anyway. There always air airlines that stop and go, but the alive.
BROWN: Thom, you've got five seconds. Just yes or no, were you nervous on that flight today?
NULTY: I was not nervous, not at all.
BROWN: Were the people sitting around you a little nervous?
NULTY: They were not. It was business as usual.
BROWN: Thank you, Thom Nulty and Mike Miller, for joining us tonight. And we look forward to talking to you again. Thank you.
When we come back, who's advising the president and separating fact from fiction. When it comes to war politics, this special report continues in just a moment.
BROWN: One hates to predict, but it's hard to imagine that the attack of September 11 won't be the defining moment of the Bush presidency.
This is a president that had virtually no experience in international affairs. No military experience to speak of.
A man, who by and large, was most comfortable dealing with domestic issues.
But he is surrounded by old hands experienced in diplomacy and war. And he's relying only them now.
Here's or senior political correspondent Candy Crowley.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Cheney, Powell, Rumsfeld, Rice. Separately they have racked up decades of serving Republican presidents from the Cold War to the Vietnam War to the Gulf War. Together they're one of the most experienced foreign policy teams in history, advising a president new to the global arena facing a new kind of war.
In late December, he viewed what he had put together and pronounced it good.
BUSH: General Powell's a strong figure and Dick Cheney's no shrinking violet. But neither is Don Rumsfeld nor Condi Rice. I view the four as being able to complement each other.
CROWLEY: Over time, the four pillars of the new construct against terrorism have crossed each other's paths and served in each other's jobs. During the Gulf War, the current vice president was the defense secretary. Secretary of State Colin Powell, the nation's chief diplomat, was then chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, the nation's top warrior. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, the oldest of Bush's power quartet, worked in the Nixon administration in 1969. His deputy was Dick Cheney.
The commonality of experience and differing roles has led to both rivalry and understanding. Powell is a soldier and knows the limits of warfare, particularly against the unknown.
POWELL: It isn't always blunt force military, although that is certainly an option. It may well be that diplomatic efforts, political efforts, legal, financial, other efforts may be just as effective against that kind of an enemy.
CROWLEY: Rumsfeld on his second tour of duty as defense secretary is a close-mouthed, tough and savvy administrator, tasked with preparing for war.
DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: But I'm inclined to think that if you're going to cock it you throw it and you don't talk about it a lot.
CROWLEY: Looking for ways to bring nations together and preparing for war are often opposing tasks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POWELL: One question and then we have to leave it.
QUESTION: Did you discuss at all how close you might be rounding up Osama bin Laden?
POWELL AND RUMSFELD: No.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROWLEY: But despite talk of friction between these two alpha males, there is little sign of it in public and in private, the president long ago invited it.
BUSH: There's going to be disagreements. I hope there is disagreement, because I know the disagreement will be based upon solid thought.
CROWLEY: Less public, but no less the players, Vice President Cheney and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, who enjoy the most treasured of Washington assets: proximity. Sources say Cheney, who fought a war with Powell and has a 30-year relationship with Rumsfeld, is the natural bridge in any nuanced difficulties between the two. Rice, the president's foreign policy tutor during the campaign, is with him most often and knows best what's on the president's mind.
Said one source, Condi's a contemporary, the president's most comfortable with her. But when the four are together, the source added, it's Powell who dominates.
(on camera): A friend of Rumsfeld and Powell says any friction there is more institutional than personal. If you talk to Don and Colin, says the source, they're fine. Adds another source, they talk to each other daily and neither hides the football from the other.
Candy Crowley, CNN, Washington.
BROWN: In the weeks since the attack, it seems we've experienced this sort of national adrenaline, rush of good will. New Yorkers have been nicer to each other, the rest of America nicer to New Yorkers.
In Washington, arch enemies have embraced literally. And right now, the president's approval ratings are at a record high. But history teaches that approval ratings in times of crisis ought not be misread.
We turn to our senior analyst Jeff Greenfield with on that.
JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: This surprised me, Aaron, because you've herded off. And since the attack, there are no Republicans today, no Democrats, just Americans. United we stand.
We know when the United States goes to war the public rallies behind the president at first, but take the longer view and the story is surprisingly different.
ANNOUNCER: It's 1917 and Woodrow Wilson signs a declaration of war...
GREENFIELD (voice-over): Democratic President Woodrow Wilson let the nation into World War I in April 1917. The next year, as the war ended, Republicans won a mid-term land slide, capturing both houses of the Congress, a big reason why Wilson could not get the U.S. to enter the League of Nations.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the opposition, which was set, which was centered in the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee...
GREENFIELD: In 1920, Republican Warren Harding won the White House in had a landslide.
We all know how united America was in World War II, but just 11 months after Pearl Harbor, Republicans won 10 Senate seats and 47 House seats, coming within seven seats of taking the House over.
Two years later, FDR did win a fourth term, the only time in this century that a party kept the White House after taking the nation into war.
HARRY TRUMAN, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If aggression is successful in Korea, we can expect it to spread.
GREENFIELD: President Truman sent troops to South Korea in June, 1950 to repel an invasion from the north.
TRUMAN: A major increase in taxes to meet the cost of the defense effort.
GREENFIELD: Just five months later, Republicans won 28 House and 5 Senate seats and in 1952, Republican Dwight Eisenhower took the White House in a landslide.
DWIGHT EISENHOWER, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It is my duty to the American people.
GREENFIELD: The escalation in Vietnam began in the spring of 1965. In the midterm elections the following year, Republicans won 47 House seats and four Senate seats. Two years later, Republican Richard Nixon won the presidency.
And what happened to the first President Bush after the Gulf War victory in 1991?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our warmest congratulations on the brilliant victory of the Desert Storm operation.
GREENFIELD: Thanks in large measure to a brief recession triggered by the buildup of that war, he lost the White House to Democrat Bill Clinton a year later.
GREENFIELD: Now, politics may be far from on the mind of the president and his advisers right now, but if they do look over the horizon they may find this history unsettling, except for one point: what President Bush is going through now is so utterly different from what any president, I think, has ever faced.
BROWN: Let me ask one of my probing questions. Why?
GREENFIELD: A lot of times, if the war goes on and stalemates, people hold it against the incumbent president.
GREENFIELD: Yes. And except for World War II, the economy often suffers during a war; inflation goes up, there are shortages. People lead less comfortable lives and they tend to take it out on the party in power. And we also have to remember that in midterm elections, the party in power usually loses congressional seats.
I must say, looking this up, I was surprised. I didn't realize this was the pattern.
BROWN: Thank you. I didn't either. We'll talk a little bit more about this with a noted presidential historian in just a moment.
BROWN: A little bit more now on presidents, politics and war. We're joined from New Orleans, presidential historian Doug Brinkley. Nice to see you, welcome.
DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Thank you.
BROWN: Let's start where we left with Jeff. Why do you think it is that voters don't reward presidents after the war is over?
BRINKLEY: Well, I think it's important what the objective the president sets out. Take Korea, for example. Harry Truman made the objective to -- at first off, it seemed to be simply to push the North Koreans out of South Korea. Then it became to kind of liberate all of Korea.
So, as the years went by, the American people got frustrated with Korea. The body bags started coming back and we started -- his limited war did not seem to be working, at least not to the full potential that we had hoped for. In other words, it wasn't a clear victory.
So, Dwight Eisenhower in 1952 ran for president of the United States saying elect me and I will get us out of Korea. Not only that, I, General Eisenhower, will go visit the area and will find a way out this. And, Truman, by the time he did not run for the that second term when he could have had a 25, 25 percent approval rating, because he didn't live up to what the hopes of victory.
In the same, you would see with Vietnam with Lyndon Johnson. Johnson did have a mandate of sorts with the American people, but what he finally in March of '68 had to say I'm not running for reelection anymore, because he was so unpopular, because he didn't define what our mission was there.
Nixon, in '68, won that election by saying, I have a secret plan to end the Vietnam war, peace with honor. So, I think it's important that the Bush administration right now be very careful of their rhetoric. It's easy to say we want bin Laden dead or alive. If they don't produce his head on a stick for us to see in the coming months, you can see that 90 percent approval rating take a real dip.
BROWN: I just think that one of the problems the administration has, and they've struggled with it all week, is defining what winning in this war is. They talk about this is going to go on for years and years and years. It's a different kind of war. You're not going to see it. All of that. That strikes me politically, at least, I'm sure that's not their biggest concern today, as a trap.
BRINKLEY: It's politically dangerous because the Bush administration is going to be defined almost completely on how they deal with the war on terrorism and, as an equivalent of that, the economy. But if our economy dips and this war on terrorism drags on, we want some results, and if we don't get some quick results, meaning bin Laden, who has become now this symbol that we want, then the Bush administration could find that they don't have such a cake walk, and that dissent will start creeping in in the corridors of Congress.
BROWN: Is the model here for how a president ought to behave in a time of war, FDR?
BRINKLEY: You never go wrong with FDR on how a president should behave, because, after all, here was a man in a wheelchair telling us, first during the depression, we have nothing to fear but fear itself. Then, going and telling us after Pearl Harbor that we can fight a two front war, one in the Pacific, one in Europe, and win.
But I think most presidents realistically in the White House turn to Abraham Lincoln, because just imagine the gloom and doom when Lincoln arrived in Washington. He had Fort Sumpter occurred. We had half of our country split in two. Across the Potomac River you had a Confederate army building up, which at the famous Battle of Bull Run. In Maryland, which was neutral in the Civil War, but it was filled with assassins; people that wanted to kill Lincoln. At any minute, Washington could have been sacked, and there was Abraham Lincoln walking around White House contemplating the very survival of the United States of America.
So, when presidents get in dark, gloomy moods, traditionally Abraham Lincoln is who comes to mind, not Franklin Roosevelt.
BROWN: There is a bit of self-evidence in this question, but Lincoln's time was a lot different from Roosevelt's from this president's, if for no other reason than we're in the middle of the information age. How does that change what a president might have to do and how we will -- we, the country, would judge him?
BRINKLEY: That's a wonderful question. I think it's a Vietnam war question. Remember the images of Vietnam, of napalm and agent orange and infant children in little villages, you know, running around naked and America troops killing them. Those -- that led to an anti-war sentiment.
Since that time, you see presidents trying to control the media. Look at Ronald Reagan in the Grenada invasion of 1983, I think a very underestimated foreign policy event. That was our war between Vietnam and the Gulf War and Reagan essentially banned the media and kept secrecy on Grenada, and caused the press to be very angry, but the American people loved it and he ultimately got the results he wanted in that Cold War, which was to start the campaign for democracy around the glove.
And then, in the Gulf War, it became a televised war. It almost seemed unreal, like a great video game. This isn't going to be quite like this. This, as Colin Powell and others in the administration said, we're going to have to be doing covert activity. We're going to be relying on financial things that we won't be seeing. A lot of information is not going to be made available to the public. And that has to be a little frustrating. America wants to see a result, and this result might not come in awhile. I think President Bush would be wise to do what John F. Kennedy did when he had to challenge the Soviet Union with the space program and NASA and say we will put a man on the moon, you know, within the decade, and we did it.
I think President Bush needs to push that marker back and say we will have a war on terrorism and whip the enemy within a decade. I think it would be the smarter to do that than have our hopes run too high right now.
BROWN: Do you of wonder how different FDR's conduct would be if it were played out in the information age?
BRINKLEY: Oh, of course. Washington, back in World War II, was a, you know, such a quiet, little, sleepy, almost southern town. So little information got out. The press would, you know, there was never a -- only one photograph has ever surfaced of Franklin Roosevelt in a wheelchair. Can you imagine a group of photographers refusing to photograph him in a wheelchair as a courtesy? That won't happen today.
But also remember that the information age is what's going to help us get bin Laden. I mean, I think the ability now to track down financial records, to use satellite photographs, to end up tapping phones throughout Afghanistan and, of course, our high-tech weaponry, the information high-tech age is what the United States has going for it against this sort of middle, you know, kind of the barbarian hordes in Afghanistan right now.
BROWN: Doug, thanks. Doug Brinkley in New Orleans tonight. I hope we'll talk again soon. Thanks for your time.
BRINKLEY: Thank you.
BROWN: We have much more coming up. We'll be right back
BROWN: Quick update on the day's top developments.
The president has given mid-level generals the authority to order domestic planes shot down under, quote, "extraordinary circumstances."
In New York, gridlock eased a bit today, the first day of mandatory carpooling in many of the entrances into the city. The real test, however, will come tomorrow, when many will return from the Yom Kippur holiday.
And two of the three candidates to succeed Mayor Rudy Giuliani say they would be willing to delay Giuliani's departure, perhaps three months or so, to ease the transition of power. The hold out, Democrat Fernando Ferrer, who says it would set a bad president.
The latest now on the investigation. CNN has learned that at least five of the suspected hijackers spent a night in Los Vegas together one month before the attacks. Today, Americans got their first chance to attach many of the suspects faces to the tragedy of September 11th. The FBI released photos of all 19 suspected hijackers, hoping for valuable new information.
For more on that, here's Justice Department correspondent Kelli Arena.
KELLI ARENA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The FBI is releasing the photos of the alleged hijackers, says Attorney General John Ashcroft, in hopes of generating more leads.
JOHN ASHCROFT, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: This is another step in what, in effect, is part of a national neighborhood watch. We've been receiving tens of thousands of tips from across the country, as individuals have provided for us information valuable to this investigation.
ARENA: There's just one catch, the FBI is not 100 percent sure all the photos match the names on the list. The use of false names or passport photos is still a possibility.
ROBERT MUELLER, FBI DIRECTOR: I think we are fairly certain on a number of them. But you will see in the packages that we put out, that we have not indicated those that we are certain on, in the hopes that we will obtain more information that will assist us in making an absolute positive identification.
ARENA: These are the faces of the men the FBI says hijacked American Airlines flight 11, which crashed into the first World Trade Center Tower. Five hijackers in all, one very key player. Mohamed Atta, possibly the pilot. He studied in Hamburg, Germany with two of the suspected pilots of other flights. Intelligence sources say he was observed meeting with an Iraqi intelligence agent in Prague, though it's not known what was said.
Five more faces, from United Airlines flight 175, which hit the second tower of the World Trade Center. The key player, investigative sources say, Marwan Al-Shehhi. He studied in Hamburg with Atta and attended the same flight school at the Venice Airport in Florida.
On American Airlines flight 77, which crashed into the Pentagon, an ominous connection. Khalid Almihdhar, he was observed last year meeting with a man in Malaysia, who authorities suspect was later involved in the bombing of the USS Cole.
And on flight 93, which crashed into Pennsylvania, the government named four hijackers. Investigators believe passengers wrestled with these men for control of the airplane to prevent them from crashing into another target. The probable pilot, Ziad Jarrah, who got his flying license in Hamburg, where he studied at a technical university there.
Some of the hijackers, according to FBI director Mueller, may be related to one another. And he said one or more of the suspects had contacts with Al Qaeda, the network headed by suspected terrorist Osama Bin Laden. Along with finding any possible associates of these men, the FBI says its main focus is on preventing any future attacks.
ASHCROFT: It's fair to say we're under a heightened state of alert. And without any specificity as to a particular target, a particular place, or a particular time.
ARENA: The FBI says its pursuing more than 200,000 leads, and that more than 300 people remain in custody for a variety of reasons. Robert Mueller going out of his way to say the FBI is playing by the rules when it comes to detaining anyone questioned in relation to the case.
Kelli Arena, CNN, Washington.
BROWN: A moment from ground zero, when we continue.
BROWN: Earlier this week, we heard from some recruits who were headed off to boot camp. If they knew war at all, they knew the Gulf War and they knew it from TV.
Tonight, some Americans who knew war up close over the decades. Here's CNN's Jason Bellini.
LEWIS GROSSMAN: This is me, when I was in the army.
JASON BELLINI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Lewis Grossman remembers what he felt like at 18, serving his country, saving the world. Now, a new war is re-igniting his patriotism.
GROSSMAN: I wish I could contribute to helping the war, but I'm 76-years-old, so that's out of the question.
BELLINI: They acknowledge their time left on Earth is short. But these nursing home residents, as they watch the news on TV, are re-experiencing old emotions.
KOPEL LEDERMAN: To tell you the truth, I'm here 62 years in this country, and this is the greatest misfortune I've ever seen.
BELLINI: Kopel Lederman left Poland before the Holocaust, and joined the U.S. Army in time for World War II.
LEDERMAN: The other day when they had the memorial in Yankee Stadium, Placido Domingo was singing the Ave Maria. Well, I'm Jewish, but the Ave Marie touched me that I was crying.
BELLINI: Zoe Brown knows better than most what families of those killed in the terrorist attacks are going through. She knows their wounds, like hers, may never heal. Her sister died in the war a half century before.
ZOE BROWN: She was only 32-years-old. And that, it's made me feel so horrible about war. When it touches your family, that's when you really feel it. That's why I feel so sorry for the people in the Twin Towers. They had families that they lost and I can feel how they feel.
KEI KIKUCHI: I went through World War II, the bombing of Tokyo. I was hit by a bomb. My sister was killed by it. We lost everything we owned. And it's not the anger or anything, it's just the memories that hurt.
BELLINI: Their lives, begun all over the globe, and likely ending here, all share war as their most pivotal life experience.
Eva Spinosa, at 83, remembers an entire regiment from Puerto Rico leaving to fight in World War II and not coming back. She holds a letter from her grandson, an Army Ranger based in Germany, whose been deployed somewhere.
EVA SPINOSA: They are not allowed to tell where.
BELLINI: Nettie Ketchel, at 96, just wants to leave a world at peace in peace.
NETTIE KETCHEL: I don't want to die worried. That's silly, isn't it?
BELLINI: No, it's not silly.
No one wants a world filled with tragedy to be the last thing they see.
Jason Bellini, CNN, New York.
BROWN: And finally for this hour, about this time last night we were watching live pictures coming into our bureau from the World Trade Center site. A dozen workers, maybe more, were focusing all their efforts on one relatively small area. This is what they found soon after our broadcast be ended.
Rescue workers pulled one body, a lone body, from the rubble. As they did, everything stopped and grew quiet. A chaplain was brought in to give a blessing. Hats were taken off. Some tears shed. Grown men to their knees. A blessing administered.
These are the moments down there. The latest number of missing and presumed dead now, 5,960. The number of confirmed dead 305.
Our coverage continues after this break.
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