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Remembering Iconic Star Wars Actress; Historic Visit to Pearl Harbor; Some Latinos Now Backing Trump. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired December 28, 2016 - 09:30   ET


[09:30:00] VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell, in for Carol Costello. Thank you for being with me.

Reaction now is pouring in after actress Carrie Fisher's death. And while she's best known for her iconic role in "Star Wars," capturing the hearts of many as Princess Leia, you remember the buns, Fisher's role as author and advocate had a major impact on many others as well. CNN's Paul Vercammen is live in Los Angeles with more on her life and legacy.

And, Paul, we understand that there are lots of people who were out there at the star there yesterday out there who were mourning or I should say celebrating her life.

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I'm glad you put it that way, Victor, because out there on Hollywood Boulevard, they would at first be a little somber, and then they would just start smiling and remembering Carrie Fisher. Some revealing they had their first school boy crush on her. Let's reflect on her life.


CARRIE FISHER, ACTRESS, "STAR WARS": I should of expected to find you holding (INAUDIBLE) leash.

VERCAMMEN (voice-over): Carrie Fisher, best known as Princess Leia in "Star Wars" has died. Fisher had a heart attack Friday during the final 15 minutes of a flight from London to Los Angeles. According to TMZ, Fisher was on a ventilator the entire time she was hospitalized, never regaining consciousness. She's seen here in an audition tape with soon to be co-star Harrison Ford.

FISHER: When R2 has been safely delivered to my forces.

VERCAMMEN: Critics pointed to the strong chemistry between Fisher and Ford, and with good reason. Fisher recently revealed that she and Ford were off-screen lovers.

ELLEN DEGENERES, "THE ELLEN DEGENERES SHOW": Forty years, is that right?

FISHER: Forty years. I thought I'd wait.

DEGENERES: OK. So you revealed that you were having an affair with Harrison Ford.

FISHER: I was.

DEGENERES: You -- well, you say it.

FISHER: Yes, I did.

DEGENERES: But -- all right. So how did that stay a secret for 40 years? How does --

FISHER: I was good at that, wasn't I?

VERCAMMEN: Fisher was born in Beverly Hills, mother, actress Debbie Reynolds, and father, singer Eddie Fisher.

FISHER: I was primarily brought up by my mother, but I saw my father.

VERCAMMEN: Fisher poked fun at the absurdities of show biz life and all manners of self-medication, including taking pills to control her emotions.

FISHER: Any mood stabilizer is a weight gainer. So whether you feel better, but then you're fat. So what you gain is a loss. It's just -- it's not a good situation.

VERCAMMEN: Fisher spoke about being bipolar and often turned pain into humor, also writing, "Wishful Drinking" and "Shockaholic." Fisher was briefly married to singer Paul Simon in the 1980s. Years later, she gave birth to a daughter, Billie Catherine, from her relationship with agent Bryan Lourd. She debuted in the acclaimed film "Shampoo."

FISHER: I'm nothing like my mother.

VERCAMMEN: In between the "Star Wars" movies, Fisher landed a number of meaty roles, in "Soap Dish."

FISHER: I think we've found our waiter.

VERCAMMEN: And as Meg Ryan's wise-cracking friend in "When Harry Met Sally."

FISHER: Someone is staring at you in personal growth.

VERCAMMEN: But nothing could, would or perhaps should loom larger on screen than Fisher in "Star Wars."

FISHER: It transported you. It was extraordinary entertainment filmmaking.

LARRY KING, TALK SHOW HOST: Do you like the princess?

FISHER: I have her over sometimes. She's a little bitchy, you know?

KING: Yes.

VERCAMMEN: Carrie Fisher was 60. (END VIDEOTAPE)

VERCAMMEN And, of course, the princess was glued, if you will, to Luke Skywalker, Mark Hamill. And perhaps he had one of the more poignant tweets on social media about Carrie Fisher when he reflected on his friend. Among other things he was talking about how he'll remember her, "who played her blurred into one gorgeous, fiercely independent" woman that she was our princess. Hamill had been very, very, very emotional early in the day and barely said anything at all. He said he was grateful for the laughter and the wisdom and the kindness, and even the bratty, on-screen persona that she had, "self-indulgent crap" that he said "my beloved space-twin gave me through the years." Mark Hamill weighing in there, Victor. And it was -- I was glad to see that he was able to compose himself and get out some words because earlier in the day all he had said was basically no words, #devastated.

BLACKWELL: Yes, it came to a blow to -- to -- it came as a blow to many. Paul Vercammen for us there in Los Angeles. Paul, thank you very much.

Now, coincidentally, Fisher's death comes just days after the latest installment of the "Star Wars" saga, "Rogue One," hit theaters. And while Fisher's appearance as a hologram in that film, it was in last year's "Star Wars" episode 7 where she delivered this classic line.


FISHER: Rey, may the force be with you.


BLACKWELL: Wow, her final line there.

Joining me now, Michael Musto, columnist for

Michael, good to have you back.

Someone you interviewed. What do you know that we don't know about Carrie Fisher

MICHAEL MUSTO, COLUMNIST, OUT.COM: That she was one of the most hilarious and perceptive people you'd ever want to meet. She was show biz royalty from birth and she quickly learned to pierce through the baloney of show biz and tell the truth. People took the high, she took the low. She dished the dirt. And she made it about herself. She was self-deprecating. And in the process, she actually educated people about different issues and different travails that she was going through.

[09:35:08] BLACKWELL: Challenges that many don't discuss, depression, some mental illness, drug and alcohol substance abuse. Talk more about the role that that played and her value to not just her fans but to a country that maybe wasn't a huge fan of the saga, of the "Star Wars" films.

MUSTO: Well, she was great as Princess Leia and Leia was a feisty, strong heroine. Kind of a screwball heroine and Carrie was perfect in the role. But she had a better role as herself telling the truth on these issues, as you say. And this was a time when celebrities did not reveal that they were battling drug dictions, for example, or that they had just gotten out of rehab. That was considered career non- enhancing. And Carrie came forward and not only told the truth, but made it humorous and also spun gold with these great books. "Postcards from the Edge" is one of the best movies ever made about show biz.


MUSTO: And it's not a strict autobiography, however. So don't look to it to see exactly about her relationship with her mother or her addictions. But there's a lot of Carrie in there.

LEMON: And beyond writing that book, which later became a film, she had her hand on and in a lot of scripts that many people don't know she did some work behind the scenes.

MUSTO: Well, people think you see a movie, one person wrote it, but there's actually a whole team and what -- they have what they call script doctors. Carrie was one of the top script doctors in Hollywood. She knew everybody writing screenplays. So they would call her and say, I'm in trouble, I need some laugh lines. I need you to punch this up. I need you to trim it down. And she was expert at doing that. But she was better at doing her own stuff.

LEMON: Yes. And part of what she offered was a role model to young girls, and to women, and that is part of her legacy. You know, there are a lot of people who say, don't wait until someone's gone to give them the flowers and the nice words, but we're seeing a lot and hearing a lot of those nice words about Carrie Fisher. We didn't know she was a role model for so many.

MUSTO: She was because her life was an open book. She didn't set out to be a feminist or a role model for women, but she did own her womanhood, like say like Madonna, and she went through some terrible experiences, bad relationships, but she was open about it and she was always willing to laugh about it and move on to the next chapter. And that's what made her a role model for women.

LEMON: Is there a single moment you think of over these last 48 hours or so?

MUSTO: When I read the tweets from people like Mark Hamill, who are so devastated they can't even respond, it's very touching.


MUSTO: And I feel for Debbie, her mother, because Carrie and Debbie had developed such a strong bond, that they completed each other's sentences.

LEMON: Yes. She, as we're learning, has been -- she will be missed by many and was a role model for a lot of people who up to this point had not articulated that and it's glad -- I'm glad that we're hearing that now. Michael Musto,, thanks so much for being with us.

MUSTO: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right, still to come, an historic visit to Pearl Harbor. President Obama stands with the prime minister of Japan and delivers a powerful message.


[09:41:13] BLACKWELL: Welcome back. I'm Victor Blackwell, in for Carol Costello this morning.

Let's turn now to the historic visit to Pearl Harbor. President Obama and Japan's prime minister come together to remember the lives lost. Meanwhile, Obama, appearing to take a swipe at President-elect Donald Trump during the tribute, never mentioning the president-elect's name, but urging Americans to fight against hate in the country.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It is here that we remember that even when hatred burns hottest, even when the tug of tribalism is at its most primal, we must resist the urge to turn inward. We must resist the urge to demonize those who are different.


BLACKWELL: CNN's Athena Jones is in Honolulu with more on what the leaders have to say.


An historic day at Pearl Harbor. A day 75 years in the making. These two leaders, the U.S. president, and the Japanese prime minister, coming together for the first time on the USS Arizona to pay their respects to the dead. Both leaders later delivering emotional, moving remarks, evoking the sights and sounds of that day in 1941 when so many people didn't come home. More than 2,400 lives lost on the day of those attacks. Both leaders stressing the power of reconciliation. It was, in fact, the title of Prime Minister Abe's speech.

Here's more of what President Obama had to say.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As nations, and as people, we cannot choose the history that we inherit, but we can choose what lessons to draw from it, and use those lessons to chart our own futures.


JONES: President Obama said that Abe's presence at Pearl Harbor shows what is possible between nations. How former adversaries can become the closest of allies. Prime Minister Abe called the relationship between the U.S. and Japan

"an alliance of hope," and said his visit to the USS Arizona left him speechless.

One thing that Prime Minister Abe did not do is offer an apology for the actions his government took back in 1941, but it's important to note that President Obama did not apologize in Hiroshima back in May for the U.S. dropping the atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Both leaders choosing, instead, to deliver forward-looking speeches, focusing on the future of the U.S./Japan relationship.


BLACKWELL: All right, Athena Jones here in Honolulu. Thank you so much.

Well, still to come, his immigration policies forced many conservative Latinos to dump Trump before Election Day. So why are they back on the Trump train now? We'll get an answer to that after the break.

But first, a look back at some of the political figures we lost in 2016.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Justice Scalia will hold the Bible.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: For almost 30 years, Justice Antonin "Nino" Scalia was a larger than life presence on the bench.

NANCY REAGAN, FORMER FIRST LADY: What should you do when someone offers you drugs?

KIDS: Say no!

REAGAN: Every woman is entitled to her opinion and her -- and her right to -- to give that opinion to anybody, particularly the man she's married to.

SHIMON PERES, FORMER ISRAELI PRESIDENT: We will continue (INAUDIBLE) fight back. We will to continue to fire rockets and get back rockets.

JANET RENO, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I, Janet Reno, do solemnly swear --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States.

RENO: That I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Janet Reno became the longest- serving attorney general of the United States in more than 100 years.

[09:45:03] FIDEL CASTRO, FORMER PRIME MINISTER OF CUBA (through translator): I don't know how the world will remember me, but I simply hope that the world, and especially our people, remember me as what I really am.



BLACKWELL: Twenty-three days now until the president-elect takes office and it looks like he'll have the backing of some conservative Latino leaders who dumped him during the election. They pulled their support after this speech back in August. You'll remember this.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: For those here illegally today, who are seeking legal status, they will have one route, and one route only, to return home and apply for re-entry like everybody else.

We will break the cycle of amnesty and illegal immigration. We will break the cycle.

ALFONSO AGUILAR, PRES., LATINO PARTNERSHIP FOR CONSERVATIVE PRINCIPLES: He gave the impression, and the campaign gave the impression, until yesterday morning, that he was going to deal with the undocumented in a compassionate way. And in that speech, he's basically saying, we deport you or we self-deport you. It's even worse than what he initially proposed. So today I'm saying, not -- not only I'm not -- I'm considering withdrawing my support, I'm telling you today, I'm withdrawing my support from Donald Trump.


BLACKWELL: All right, so that was Alfonso Aguilar the morning after that speech in Phoenix. He was president of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles and former chief of the U.S. Office of Citizenship. That interview was back in September. The question is, how does he feel today?

So joining us now is Alfonso Aguilar.

Good to have you back.

So I --


Certainly. I've read that you are back on the Trump train. Why?

AGUILAR: Well, you know, look, this -- I can -- I think we can agree this has been an a-typical election, a rocky road for a lot of Latino conservatives. I wanted to support Mr. Trump. But that speech was very difficult for me. I did not agree with some of the aspects of his immigration plan so I didn't feel I could continue supporting him. So that's why I withdrew my support.

[09:50:21] I didn't vote for Hillary Clinton. I left the ballot blank.

But, look, the election is over --

BLACKWELL: Yes, you made that clear --

AGUILAR: The election is over. Donald Trump is the president-elect. He's going to be our president. I'm a conservative. I believe for the good of the country we have to support him. I agree with most of his proposals and I think even on immigration, I'm really encouraged by the statements that he has made since he won the election. He said that after we build a wall and we remove those undocumented immigrants who have criminal records, he's going to make a determination about the rest of the undocumented population who he called "our terrific people." And he also said --

BLACKWELL: So let me -- let me jump in here, because I have a few questions. We don't have much time together.

The ten-point plan that Donald Trump proposed in that speech back in August is still the policy of the Trump-Pence team. So what politically has changed? You say that, you know, he's called the people who are here terrific people. In the speech during which he announced his candidacy, he said that "Mexico's sending rapists and drug dealers, some, I assume, are good people." That's just a rhetorical change from good to terrific. What's the policy change that has you back on board?

AGUILAR: Well, again, the question is -- and it was never 100 percent clear what he wanted to do with those undocumented immigrants who have no criminal record. He seems to be saying now that he's going to make a determination that he wants to be -- about them that he wants to be constructive, perhaps find a way to provide them a path to legal status. Look, all the Republicans --

BLACKWELL: Where is that? Where -- where has Donald Trump said he's considering giving them a path to legal status?

AGUILAR: I'm not saying he hasn't. I'm saying he is striking a positive, constructive tone. Look, Victor, the alternative we have is to just oppose him or to try to be constructive. Politics is the art of the possible. I agree with Donald Trump on most of his proposals, as I've said, so I'm going to work with him, support him on an agenda that I think is going to help the Latino community. And even on immigration, I think we can work with him. We'll work with him and we'll try to see if we can find a solution that is constructive that actually helps bring people that have no criminal record out of the shadows.

BLACKWELL: I want to go back to the initial question because you said that, quote, "after that speech in August, it was, quote, "very difficult" for you, somebody who works with the Latino community, to defend that plan. I want to go back to policy, because policy is what's going to affect lives here.

There has been no policy change. You said, and I think you're pointing to that "60 Minutes" interview where he talked about the undocumented people in this country who have not committed crimes, that they are terrific people. Those are his words. But he said --


BLACKWELL: He assumed that some were good at the start of his campaign. What is the policy you're pointing to, because you've made several turns here. You were -- you were suspect -- a bit suspicious of Donald Trump, then you were on board, then you were off board, now you're back on board. What are you pointing to, to make these pivots?

AGUILAR: Well, I -- let me -- no, I'm not the only one, as I've said from the -- from the start. This has been an atypical election. This has been a roller coaster of an election. So we have been unsure where he stands on immigration.

I'm not going to defend that ten-point plan, even though I agree with most of those points of that ten-point plan. But what I'm saying is, that I think we have a president who is not ideological on many issues and I think that we may be able to work with him to actually put forward a plan that is constructive and may actually bring people out of the shadows, people who have no criminal record. I think that's a possibility. I'm not going to -- I'm not saying it's going to happen.

But, again, he won the election. I'm not just going to stand in opposition to Donald Trump. I agree with most of his positions. I'm not enamored by his style, his way of talking about things, but he's the president of the United States and I'm willing to give him a chance. Again, I agree with many of his positions, but I do think, even on immigration, if we're constructive, if we are at the negotiating table, he likes to talk about deal making, I think we may be able to get to a position that Latinos' can welcome and respond favorably to.

Talk about those who benefited from DACA, from the president's executive order. He said that it's unfair just to send them back home. He recently said that. That he's going to -- he's going to find a solution to help those people out. That's something that he didn't say during the campaign. I think that's -- that's also a departure from some of the things he said during the campaign. So, look, we still have to see what the administration is going to be about on immigration and I want to be in the negotiating table working with him.

[09:55:21] BLACKWELL: Yes. Yes.

Your concern, in just the previous answer was how vague some of the answers are. As it relates to DACA and the dreamers, those who were brought here as children, his answer on that question of what to do with those young people was, we're going to work something out to make people proud. Another vague answer. Hopefully we'll get some meat on the bone, as we say, from his answers from the transition team.

Alfonso Aguilar, good to have you on.

AGUILAR: Thanks for having me.

BLACKWELL: A quick break. We'll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLACKWELL: Good morning. I'm Victor Blackwell, in for Carol Costello. Good to be with you this morning and thank you for being with me.

After days of accusations and diplomatic finger pointing between the U.S. and Israel, Secretary of State John Kerry is set to lay out a road map to peace for the Middle East. Now, the speech is set to begin at the top of the hour and it comes after the U.S. refused to veto this U.N. resolution condemning Israeli settlements in east Jerusalem and the West Bank. It's a move that infuriated Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

And President-elect Trump is not staying silent, unleashing on the Obama administration this morning on Twitter, saying that Israel has been treated with disdain and disrespect. We're covering this major speech from every angle with the latest on what we should expect to hear from the secretary and in-depth analysis on what this means going forward.

Let's start now with CNN global affairs correspondent Elise Labott at the State Department.

[10:00:01] Elise, everybody here (INAUDIBLE) right, John Kerry leaves office in three weeks. Will this speech have any lasting effect beyond January 20th?