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Honoring Lives 15 Years After the Terror Attacks; Interview with NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton; Trump, Clinton to Visit Ground Zero Memorial; President Obama to Deliver 9/11 Remarks at Pentagon; Nation Pauses, Reflects 15 Later; Clinton Regrets "Deplorables" Comment. Aired 7-8a ET
Aired September 11, 2016 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[07:00:08] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: You know, we are always so grateful to have you with us. Thank you for being here. I'm Christi Paul.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good morning to you.
A day of remembrance across the country. We're going to show you live here, Freedom Tower as you look at Lower Manhattan, where it was the worst ever attack on U.S. soil, 15 years ago today.
PAUL: Thousands of people, remember, were killed when hijackers crashed planes into the World Trade Center as well as the Pentagon, and a plane went down in Pennsylvania as well. The victims as old as 85 and as young as just 2 years olds.
For a lot of people involved, I mean, these are wounds that haven't healed even 15 years later. And that wouldn't be a surprise to anybody, the site of the Twin Towers collapsing, it's just too painful for a lot of people to watch.
Well, this morning, there's a group of first responders commemorating the day at the 9/11 Memorial outside Jerusalem. Take a look at this. This is the only such memorial outside the U.S. that lists the name of every victim.
BLACKWELL: Now back to New York where the Lower Manhattan skyline changed forever, a little less than two hours away from the moment of silence that will honor the exact moment when the first tower was hit.
Joining us live, New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton. Commissioner, good morning to you.
BILL BRATTON, NEW YORK CITY POLICE COMMISSIONER: Good morning.
BLACKWELL: Commissioner Bratton, first, would we look back at that day, most people across the country are seeing themselves where they were watching it on television. They weren't in New York. They certainly weren't members of the department, 23 NYPD officers died that day. From your perspective, what does this day feel like it? What does it
mean to you?
BRATTON: Well, the day is always a very poignant one, a very different morning than that morning. That morning was the brilliantly clear skies and for a week afterward, there was not a cloud in the sky. This morning very over cast, maybe very befitting. This is a day of mourning, but also a day of celebration, a day of celebration because there's a new tower. That tower is a symbol we are winning and they are losing, the terrorists, and they will continue to lose.
BLACKWELL: Let's talk about the security situation there, and the headline, the banner question here. Is the city safer today than it was 15 years ago?
BRATTON: Actually, I'd have to give you a mixed response on that. Our capabilities, police, security forces of the United States are much stronger, much more collaborative. Here in New York, they're actually seamless, the relationship between us and all of the agencies we have to work with.
But there's no denying that the threat -- the threat that we face is a very different one. Al Qaeda is still struggling to get back in the game, similar to what happened here on 9/11. ISIS is the new and more imminent threat there. Embrace of social media, that they have a caliphate, even though the caliphate is shrinking, the threat is a very different one.
So, we are better prepared than ever. In this city, we have not had a successful attack since 9/11, but the threat is constantly changing and in some respects expanding.
BLACKWELL: You mentioned the change in the threat there. For most of the attacks we've seen in the last 15 years have been terror-inspired clearly on a much smaller scale, but few if any really terror directed. As you said, anything is possible, what's the probability of another large scale al Qaeda-style attack from your department's intelligence?
BRATTON: From our perspective, that probability remains very high, not necessarily in the near term, but this is something that is not going to win today next month, next year. This is something that's going to continue through our lifetimes and the lifetimes of our children. That's the nature of it. And the morphing of it over the last several years, since 2014 when ISIS really came into being, the enabling, the inspiring, the directing, all of those capacities and capabilities have made this a very different set of initiatives that police and certainly the federal government law enforcement has to deal with.
BLACKWELL: Are there any credible threats that the department is investigating or concerned about?
BRATTON: At this particular moment, this particular day, this particular event, there are no credible threats directed against this day, this event here in New York City. But at any given time, the almost 1,600 officers I have for this department who are committed to dealing with intelligence and counterterrorism are dealing with a constant stream of threats, some real, some imagined, imagined in the sense they're trying to create the sense that they're coming at us all the time.
It's a constantly changing landscape and we are constantly changing to face it, to prevent it. And God forbid if and when it happens, and we believe that (INAUDIBLE), that we'll be prepared to respond very quickly, very forcefully and very effectively.
[07:05:09] BLACKWELL: You are leaving the department in just a couple of days. I believe it's the end of the week. On a personal note, what's next for you, Commissioner?
BRATTON: Well, leaving the department is with mixed feelings at this particular time where the threat still remains, but I've had the benefit of coming back after 9/11. 9/11 was the inspiration for me to come back into policing, first in L.A. for seven years and now here in New York. In L.A., to create their counterterrorism capabilities. Here in New York, to build upon a platform that my predecessor Ray Kelly built and now, successor Jim O'Neill will build upon, a platform that would expand to deal with ISIS.
I leave feeling very good that we have since 9/11 responded, grown stronger and I feel that for myself personally that I've had a life that has allowed me to contribute and I'll continue to contribute in the private sector. I hopefully will remain involved. But it's time for somebody else to step up to the plate and deal with the future.
BLACKWELL: All right. Just a few days away. For at least five more days, New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, thanks so much for being with us and for the service of all the members in the department.
BRATTON: Thank you.
PAUL: As we reflect and remember the people who died 15 years ago in the September 11th attacks, CNN Films is taking a look at the chaos and the courage in the aftermath. Here's a preview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Around 8:30.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Run for the gas leak or an odor of gas in the street.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't think anything of it. You get on the rig, you go. You say that's the odor of gas.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jules was riding with the battalion chief Joseph Pfeifer (ph) videotaping it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was just another call. I'm riding with the battalion chief.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We checked the area with meters. It was kind of routine.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was 8:46 in the morning. That's when this stopped even resembling a normal day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Tonight, watch the CNN Film "9/11: Fifteen Years Later". It's at 8:00 p.m. Eastern, and 11:00 p.m. Eastern. Award-winning actor and producer Dennis Leary is going to introduce the new anniversary edition of this film.
BLACKWELL: All right. Turning to the race for the race. Regretful, not sorry. How the Clinton campaign is trying to frame her "basket of deplorables" comment as a double standard.
PAUL: Also, an architect known around the world makes his mark on Ground Zero. Look at this. It's an emotional and architectural tribute to the people who died.
[07:11:37] BLACKWELL: Well, both presidential candidates will pay their respects at Ground Zero this morning to honor the nearly 3,000 men, women and children who were killed in the attacks at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and onboard crashed Flight 93. The tragedy left many families broken. So many victims without graves now immortalized as names on that permanent memorial in New York.
Joining me now from Ground Zero is CNN correspondent Rachel Crane and CNN national correspondent Suzanne Malveaux is at the White House.
Rachel, I want to start with you. Let me start with the candidates and how they're planning on paying tribute throughout the day.
RACHEL CRANE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Victor, both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are expected to attend today's memorial but not in a formal campaign capacity, as has become tradition in an election cycle. Both have agreed to suspend campaigning and also advertisements during this day of mourning and remembrance.
Behind me stands the ultimate symbol of our country's resilience, a new tower occupied, a city-wide moment of silence will happen at 8:46 this morning, that, of course, commemorating the moment that that first tower was hit. The reading of the names will begin by the victims of the families of the nearly 3,000 people that perished that day. And then those moments of silence will continue of course throughout the morning, marking the moment the second tower was hit, the moment the two towers fell, the moment the Pentagon was hit and also the moment that Flight 93 crashed.
Now, also, this is not the only moment of remembrance this afternoon. There will be several throughout the city, several throughout the country. A memorial will happen at the New York City fire museum to commemorate the 343 firemen who were killed that day. And the tribute in lights will be illuminated this afternoon and will dim out at dawn -- Victor. BLACKWELL: You highlight there that the lost was felt far beyond the
city of New York.
Rachel Crane for us there, thank you so much.
PAUL: Of course, President Obama is paying tribute to the victims of 9/11 as well. He'll participate in a moment of silence later this morning at the White House before he heads over to the Pentagon. And there, he'll deliver remarks where the 184 people died.
CNN national correspondent Suzanne Malveaux is live from the White House this hour.
What more do we expect from the president today, Suzanne, and good morning to you?
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christi.
Well, of course, there's so much focus on Ground Zero. A lot of people believe that sometimes the Pentagon and the people who perished there get less attention. So, that is something that the president really wants to address. As you said, there's going to be a moment of silence here at the White House at 8:46.
And later this morning, the president will travel to the Pentagon, that is where they're going to have a ceremony for the victims, their families, as well as those first responders, a lot of Pentagon employees. There will be Taps. There will be the replaying of the national anthem.
And then we'll hear from the chair of the joint chiefs will speak briefly, as well as Secretary Carter and the president will follow.
Some of the messages this morning are really going to be about resilience. It's going to be about the American people, the heroism that was exhibited on that day. But also a message that we are a safer country, that we have a stronger homeland security and that many lives have also been saved since 15 years ago on September 11th.
[07:15:11] Let's just take a brief listen. This is kind of a preview, if you will, of the president's message. This is his weekly message to the American people.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We stand with the survivors who still bear the scars of that day. We thank the first responders who risked everything to save others. And we salute a generation of Americans, our men and women in uniform, diplomats and our intelligence, homeland security and law enforcement professionals who serve and in some cases have given their lives to help keep us safe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: And also President Bush, First Lady Laura Bush are going to commemorate as well. They're going to be at a church service this morning in Dallas, but then they're going to go to the Dallas, the football game, the Cowboys game. The opening there, the coin toss is going to be shared with two NYPD officers who were there on Ground Zero 15 years ago. There will be a ceremony at half time.
And interesting to note, Victor and Christi, is there will be taped messaged from President Bush and President Obama that will be aired at those games throughout the country today at various football games. The NFL taped those messages last month. They will be from President Bush and President Obama again acknowledging the first responders and sending a message of unity to those in the country today.
PAUL: Good reminder, especially during a football game, when we're in the midst of thinking of so many other things. Good reminder.
Suzanne Malveaux, we appreciate it. Thank you, ma'am.
MALVEAUX: Thank you.
PAUL: Let's remember too the children of 9/11. CNN is sitting down with ten young people who lost a parent 15 years ago today. And they are so gracious to share how this tragedy has affected them and their families to this point.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NICOLE PILA, 17 NO2, 2 THEN: Most people when they lose someone, they have a grave to go to and that brings some closure to that person. But for us, this is our parent's grave.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Plus you'll hear from frustrated, some say angry Hillary Clinton in the aftermath of the attacks and you'll see how that could play a role in her run for president. You'll hear from a journalist who says that it could give us a glimpse into what to expect if she wins the election.
[07:21:10] BLACKWELL: The subject of one of the most iconic photos of the 20th century has now passed away. Greta Friedman, she is the woman standing here, the nurse standing in the middle of Times Square kissing a sailor. It was taken on V-J Day. That was '45, the day when Japan surrendered in World War II.
Friedman says she didn't know the sailor who grabbed her for the kiss, but she told the Veteran's History Project he kissed the woman dressed like a nurse because he was grateful to the nurse who took care of the wounded soldiers. How about that? Friedman was 92 years old.
PAUL: Well, Hillary Clinton will attend the annual moment of silence at Ground Zero in honor of the people who died on 9/11. It's her response in the wake of that attack that's getting some attention today during her run for president. A British newspaper and New York radio station are claiming the Clinton of today is vastly different than the Clinton that we got to know during the 9/11 tragedy, specifically that New Yorkers got to know.
See this photo here, that's the day of the disaster. Then New York junior senator there seen listening to firefighters as they toured Ground Zero. And now, "The Guardian" newspaper and WNYC radio have released audio revealing Clinton's reaction to those attacks and her criticism of the Bush administration and New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani for insisting that air quality over the city was, quote, "safe and acceptable". Listen to this.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), THEN-U.S. SENATOR: Maybe in the immediate aftermath, the first couple of days, nobody could know. But a week later? Two weeks later? Two months later? Six months later? Give me a break! They knew and they didn't tell us the truth.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
PAUL: Just a little while a go, I spoke with a writer for the newspaper about Clinton's reaction then and what it really means for a potential Clinton presidency now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EDWARD PILKINGTON, JOURNALIST, THE GUARDIAN: One very familiar thing about Hillary and one much less familiar thing, was that she immersed herself in the detail. She got really into it. She learned all about the medical conditions that arose for the first responders, the respiratory problems, the cancers that started to crop up, and the doctors that we spoke to said they're incredibly impressed by how much knowledge she sucked up. They called her a sponge for information.
And I think that's a side of Hillary that we all know well, a politician who likes to be incredibly well-briefed on any subject before she talks about it.
PAUL: Well, I would --
PILKINGTON: The less familiar thing was that she also came across as incredibly impassioned, angry, very, very much a sort of visceral person who was in contact with the people she was dealing with, and everyone you spoke to who was with her at the time, particularly firefighters and police officers said that she had a one to one connection with her that was very powerful and they have never forgotten. And I think that's a side of Hillary Clinton that's much familiar to us here today in 2016.
PAUL: Firefighter Richard Als (ph) is somebody that you talked to. He had been at Ground Zero 20 minutes after the second tower collapsed. He was there for two days, two nights. He called Hillary Clinton and his interaction with her, he said she was compassionate. He called her a fighter. You had the former firefighter's union president Peter Gorman saying
that she was effective, that she was an empathetic leader. I'm wondering, he also said, she may not be the most natural politician. Do they see her differently today than they saw her back then?
PILKINGTON: Yes. Little bit of context is helpful here. Bear in mind that the firefighters of New York are not natural Hillary Clinton supporters. They represent working class, working people from the outer boroughs.
[07:25:02] They tend to have a conservative bent. They're the kind of -- actually, many of their supporters would nowadays be Donald Trump supporters. So, this is not a natural political alliance.
And yet, they talked about very strongly post-9/11 this personal connection they had with Hillary Clinton. And they were genuinely puzzled. I put it to them, how does she come across to you today? And they said that they were puzzled by how much she's struggling to get her message across on a wider national platform, and that they regretted the fact that Americans across the country didn't seem to get her, to understand her like they have managed to do having this close relationship to her.
And I think, you know, that chimes a bell with what's happening in this political cycle. The polls suggest she's still struggling with her favorability rate, which is pretty low. And, you know, in Donald Trump, she has an extraordinary rival, because the one thing about Donald Trump, whether you love him or hate him, there is no lack of connection. I mean, everybody in America, whether they're fans or foes of his, seem to have like an electric plug stuck in the wall with him. There's no lack of connection. And I think she on the other hand is finding that difficult.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: An architect known around the world makes his mark on Ground Zero with an emotional and architectural tribute to those lost 15 years ago today. And you have to be there at the particular moment and to pay attention to appreciate that detail. We'll show it to you.
[07:30:01] BLACKWELL: Bottom of the hour now. Welcome back. I'm Victor Blackwell.
PAUL: And I'm Christi Paul. So grateful to see you this morning as we take a moment with you here to reflect, to remember the people who died 15 years ago today on the September 11th attacks.
Gloomy morning over the Manhattan skyline. You see the sun peeking up there. There's One World Trade Center standing tall in the distance, kind of the middle there. That, of course, near the footprints of near where the Twin Towers once stood.
At Ground Zero at 8:46 a.m., there's going to be a moment of silence followed by the reading of the names of the nearly 3,000 people who killed that day. In fact, last hour in Washington, the American flag was unfurled. Here it is, flowing down the side of the Pentagon. The tradition started the day after the attacks when firefighters draped that flag across the damaged building.
In just a few hours, President Obama is going to deliver some remarks there and we'll bring you live coverage throughout the morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: To just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables, right? The racists, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, you name it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: That's the comment that Hillary Clinton now says she regrets. She's not apologizing for it, just expressing some regret. Clinton's characterization of half of Donald Trump's supporters sparking that uproar on Saturday. Now, the political heat led to Clinton walking back those comments.
This is a part of a statement she released, "I was grossly generalistic," as you heard her say, "and that's never a good idea. I regret saying half. That was wrong."
She goes on to say, though, it's deplorable that Trump has built his campaign largely on prejudice and paranoia and given a platform to hateful views and voices.
Let's talk about this walk-back with Ron Brownstein, CNN senior political analyst and senior editor for "The Atlantic".
Ron, good morning to you.
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Good morning.
BLACKWELL: So, a couple of weeks ago, when Tim Kaine said that Donald Trump was pushing the values of the KKK, David Duke, Republicans pounced then. But Kaine didn't express any regret, didn't apologize.
What do you make of how Clinton is handling this and why she expressed regret?
BROWNSTEIN: I just want to start, Victor, like you, of expressing my thoughts for everyone on this lonesome day, as Bruce Springsteen, who suffered losses 15 years ago.
Look, I think that it is never a good idea to borrow Hillary Clinton's own language, to impugn the motives of the people voting for the other side. It's just categorically not a good thing to do. But I think it is revealing that she is not fully abandoning her critique and here's why I think it is revealing -- as you know, I believe that the fundamental dividing line in our politics is culture, not class. And the Democratic coalition is now composed primarily of the groups in society that are most comfortable with our increasing cultural and racial diversity.
And that coalition, millennials, minorities, college educated, secular whites, I think want to hear Hillary Clinton defending those values against a Republican nominee that they view as uniquely hostile to them. So, I think it is she had to -- as I said yesterday, she was inevitable that she was going to qualify and walk-back this language, because it is not a good idea to attack people who aren't voting for you.
But I do think the fact she's staying on this terrain is revealing. Democrats are now as comfortable, if not more comfortable than Republicans in fighting on cultural terrain.
BLACKWELL: And there are many Democrats who said that her comments did not warrant an apology, and one of those Democrats, her running mate Tim Kaine said it didn't merit an apology.
Let's go to this new ABC News/"Washington Post" poll though. National polls, Clinton up five points here, 46 over 41, Trump just a few points outside the margin of error. But I want to go to the internals and the enthusiasm gap, because I think this is important, 13 points separating Trump and Clinton, Trump at 46, Clinton at 33. And then right behind that, the number of people who are absolutely certain they are going to vote almost all of Trump's supporters, 93 percent say they're certainly they're going to vote. Only four out of ten for Clinton, what do you make of those numbers?
BROWNSTEIN: Yes, Clinton's problem throughout has been to generate enthusiasm. Her biggest motivator for her coalition is antipathy towards Trump. But again, if you look at the internals of this poll, what I've called the North Star of this race is that roughly 60 percent of Americans every time the "Washington Post" and ABC have asked, have said Donald Trump is not qualified to be president. Roughly 60 percent say they believe he is biased against women and minorities. Those numbers hold up in the new poll.
And one of the outcomes, one of the manifestations of that is that in this survey, Hillary Clinton is leading among college-educated white voters by six points.
[07:35:03] No Democrat in the history of polling going back to 1952 has ever carried most college educated whites. Those are voters who are in the way between where Donald Trump is and where he needs to be. And they're not wild about Hillary Clinton but most of them view Trump as unqualified and question whether he is fair to women and minorities.
And that is the biggest obstacle he has to resolve if he's going to make this even tighter in the final two months.
BLACKWELL: Yes. I followed you on Twitter. You said that unqualified number is the barrier for Trump. He's got to get that number way down as we get closer to the Election Day. BROWNSTEIN: And there's no change in it in over the year. It's been
between 58 and 64 percent every time they've asked the question, has said he's unqualified. So, changing that perception in eight weeks that's been there for 15 months is not impossible, but that's the challenge.
BLACKWELL: All right. Ron Brownstein, thanks so much.
BROWNSTEIN: Thank you.
PAUL: There is still quite a bit to talk about regarding the race for the White House. We've got a panel next. And on it, one woman who wrote an article called, "9/11, the night race didn't matter." Is it possible to get back to a point like that again in our country? We'll talk about it in a moment.
BLACKWELL: We're taking you live to the Pentagon this morning. And you see the flag there draped over the side of the building. And if you think back to that era, it was September 12th of 2001 when firefighters who were putting out some embers on the roof hung the first flag over the side of the building as President George W. Bush was coming to the building that day.
[07:40:02] That flag has moved off to an army history center. But again this flag hangs nearly 15 years to the day that the first flag hung 15 years after the 9/11 attacks.
PAUL: And I want to get back into the political discussion that we were just having about the shape of our country as we head into this presidential election. And to do so, I want to bring in Republican congressman, former Republican congressman from Georgia, Jack Kingston. He's also a senior advisor for the Trump campaign. And Ambassador Suzan Johnson Cook, she's a Hillary Clinton supporter and a former U.S. ambassador.
Thank you both so much for being with us.
JACK KINGSTON, TRUMP CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISOR: Thank you.
SUZAN JOHNSON COOK, HILLARY CLINTON SUPPORTER: Thank you.
PAUL: Absolutely. So, Victor just had this conversation about the basket of deplorables controversy that has popped up.
We know that Donald Trump has reacted to that in an interesting way, Jack. He retweeted a tweet from Barack Obama from back in 2012 saying, "We need a president who's fighting for all Americans, not one who writes off nearly half the country." Why go back to President Obama at that point?
KINGSTON: Well, I think that he was referring to the Mitt Romney 47 percent comment, which is what Hillary Clinton was really doing in one say, saying that there's a half of the country or half of the Trump people that I don't care about.
I've got to tell you. To me, particularly on the eve of 9/11, this is an extremely offensive comment to call American voters deplorable just because you disagree with them philosophically. It's a sad moment.
This is the time particularly on this day and this time we need to be unified as a country. Hillary Clinton is trying to pretend like she's the unifier. She lost all her moral ground.
PAUL: Help a lot of people understand Trump, who has called immigrants rapists and who has said demeaning things about woman and who has called people losers, how is he unifying?
KINGSTON: Well, I think, number one, he's apologized. Two, he's toned down the rhetoric.
And I think at the time when we're going into the home stretch, we need to be talking about economics, we need to be talking about national security, and we don't need to be calling people racist, sexist, Islamophobic and so forth.
And then, really, think about what Bill Clinton said. He said make America great again is code talk. He said if you're Southern, white, American, that you know what that really means, even though it's a phrase he's used repeatedly himself.
But I got to tell you, it is offensive to me because I'm white and I'm Southern. But I don't look at the world that way and I don't think our candidate should. We should be looking at we're all Americans and we're faced with a very poor economy and we're faced with a disastrous foreign policy that we need to do something about.
PAUL: I want to ambassador -- thank you, Jack.
I want to get to Ambassador Cook here. Do you want to respond to that?
COOK: I definitely do.
PAUL: And is the comparison to what she said, is the comparison the 47 percent said by Mitt Romney, is that a fair comparison?
COOK: Well, let me respond first to what he said, because he's trying to make Trump this big unifier now that he's toned down the rhetoric. We wouldn't have to be toning it down if it hadn't gotten to this point. So, it's increased, the disunity has increased in the nation, and a large part of it is because of Trump.
As an African-American woman, I've been insulted because what he has said has been deplorable. So what Secretary Clinton said basically has represented what a lot of us have been feeling, who are African- American, who are women, who are immigrants, that we have actually been dumped on and trumped on.
So, now, as we go forward, for him to reach back to something that President Obama said to also bring down Secretary Clinton at this particular point is really reaching for straws. Let's talk about how do we go forward. It is 9/11. It is a time for unifying.
As one who was on the front lines of 9/11, I understand that that night it was not black, it was not white, it was gray. It was gray soot covering everyone.
PAUL: I wanted to get to that exactly. You wrote the night race didn't matter and you wrote talking about when you went down to 9/11 or the Ground Zero that night and all you saw was the soot, that it was coming down like snow, you wrote. And saying, for a few short days, we worked together, cried together, worshipped together, covered with gray, no black, no white, only American.
Victor and I were commenting just a little bit ago when we saw video of our leaders, of our Congress people standing on the steps of the capital after 9/11 singing "God bless America". Can you see -- how can you see America coming together again like that without another 9/11? Why does it take that?
That's to Ambassador Cook first, please.
COOK: Hopefully, it will not take another tragedy and terror. You know, they were standing on the steps the next day, but there were also people that particular day that it happened whose names were never called, who didn't make it congress, PAAs, people who worked on 9/11.
[07:45:09] And so, we worked together, it's unity. What it will take is people really having a mindset to go forward together, not to say things that are deplorable, not to say things that divide, but to have a mindset for us to work together. So, it's not just the congressional delegation, it's every day American citizens who says we're going to walk together, we're going to work together, not try to have camps that hate and divide but work together in unity.
PAUL: Jack, go ahead and respond.
KINGSTON: Let me say this, Christi, I stood on the Capitol steps and sung "God bless America" that day. I don't -- and where I would disagree with the ambassador is, I didn't see it as some few days of national unity. I've always felt that America is going to have its divisions and it's going to have its disagreements, but we're still a unified America. And I don't see America in terms of this, you know, one camp or the other.
Despite what candidates may say, I think the American people still remain unified that this is the greatest country in the world and it's a country that can get even better and we can do it when we pull together. We've got to face the national security issues that are in front of the country. We've got to strengthen our economy and get more jobs out there. But I see America as a land of a lot of optimism. I don't see the land of great divisions that seem to be focused on so much these days. So, I'm optimistic.
COOK: I've never been more proud to be an American, but we have not walked together in this particular time period. And when we say things that hurt people, that's not going to help us unify.
KINGSTON: Well, I hope that Hillary Clinton will apologize, instead of doing that half-hearted "I regret". But I think --
PAUL: I'm so sorry, we've run out of time. I appreciate both of you being here, especially on this day when we get to talk about trying to unify everybody and remembering why we're here and what it was like in those moments after 9/11, because it was very profound, as you both know, both being there. Thank you so much. We appreciate it.
COOK: Thank you for having us.
PAUL: And I want to extend to you an invitation to watch an exclusive interview on CNN. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaking to Chris Cuomo on topic ranging from 9/11 to national security. That interview this morning at 9:00 a.m. Eastern on "STATE OF THE UNION", right here, of course, on CNN.
BLACKWELL: And remember, the children -- I know you probably understand it theoretically that there were children left behind after that. But maybe you never heard from them. Well, you're going to get that opportunity.
CNN sits down with ten young people who lost a parent on September 11th. They share their memories of that day and how they remember the parents they loss.
PAUL: Also, look at this structure. Some say it's a bird spreading its wings. This is meant to be a sign of healing in remembrance of 9/11. I talk to the architect who explains its purpose and a very special element of it that involves the light that shines through it.
[07:51:41] PAUL: Well, for a city that was brought to its knees 15 years ago today, we want to show you what is there today. The new World Trade Center transportation hub in New York City there.
This is the first time that it's been open on the anniversary of 9/11.
I spoke earlier to Santiago Calatraba, he's the building's architect and he's internationally known. He's left his mark on skylines all over the world. But I asked him about his goal, particularly for this design.
SANTIAGO SALATRAVA, TRANSPORTATION HUB'S ARCHITECT: A building like that should be related to the memory of the victims, although in a silent way and probably being more than anything else a monument or a -- remembering us how important life is.
PAUL: Talk to me about the light, because as I understand it you designed this in such a way that there is light at specific times going to specific places in the building. How did you do that? SALATRAVA: Yes. One thing, from the very beginning, I admired in the
master plan was a certain point, it got references of the city, the order of the buildings in a crescendo, creating a beautiful (INAUDIBLE) around the memorial park. And there other side also the fact that there was a marking two directions in the (INAUDIBLE) -- it was marking two directions in an item called the watch of light.
I thought this is an important reference that they have to take. So, separating the building and making a single element as I have done and orienting it to the second direction of the wedge of light, I could achieve a gap and transform this beautiful idea of the wedge of light, represent the time, the cosmical time in which the sun is situated in the moment of the collapsed of the second tower.
PAUL: You likened the design to a bird being released into -- or being released from a child's hand. What gave you that inspiration?
SALATRAVA: When we have done the ground-breaking, we took my daughter. She was 7 years old, and from the school and brought it and she released two doves. We have done all this effort in the hope that people are welcome, that there was distraction, people find -- you see an ambience of light, of beauty and of commerce, of meeting together, of welcoming. This is our goal.
PAUL: It is such a beautiful building. It's good to understand and appreciate all the effort and the thought and emotion that went into it because you know how special it is not just to the people of New York but, as you said, to the world. Thank you so much.
SALATRAVA: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you.
[07:58:02] PAUL: Of course, the attacks on September 11th took the lives of nearly 3,000 people. And among those, we're talking mothers and fathers who left behind young children, some who weren't even born yet.
BLACKWELL: And CNN's Brooke Baldwin sat with a group of those children. They belong to Tuesday's Children, which is a group that was formed after 9/11 to serve the children in the families impacted by terrorism. Each of these kids lost a parent in the attacks and they share memories from that day.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was with my grandfather that day. My other siblings were at school. We had the news on, which a 4-year-old shouldn't see. Another fireman who retired from my dad's house called my mother at work and said, was my dad working? She said yes. So she left work to pick up my other siblings and then came to pick up me. And my grandfather just had a gut feeling and front of all of us just
said, "I lost my son today, I lost my son." My mom was actually furious at him that he had already had no hope, that he had already had that feeling that he was gone. But I, at the time, wasn't comprehending what that meant. I think it took a few months until I realized that he wasn't coming home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: We see how this affected the families still to this day, of course. There are a lot of events planned this morning to honor those people.
BLACKWELL: Yes. In less than an hour, at 8:46 a.m. Eastern, there will be a moment of silence at Ground Zero followed by the readings of the names of the victims.
PAUL: Later in Washington, President Obama will be a delivering remarks at the Pentagon where 184 people lost their lives that day.
BLACKWELL: And in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, there will be a ceremony and reading of the names for the passengers and crew of Flight 93, which crashed into a field, and we'll bring you live coverage throughout the morning right here on CNN.
PAUL: But we thank you for spending time with us this morning.
BLACKWELL: "INSIDE POLITICS" starts right now.