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New York Magazine Profiles Clinton; Lunch Shaming in Schools; Honoring Fallen Service Members. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired May 29, 2017 - 08:30   ET



[08:32:10] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When people in power invent their own facts and attack those who question them, it can mark the beginning of the end of a free society. That is not hyperbole. It is what authoritarian regimes throughout history have done.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: All right, that was Hillary Clinton blasting President Trump at a commencement address at her alma mater, Wellesley College, though she did not say his name.

Our next guest spent time with Clinton for a "New York" magazine piece that hits newsstands this morning. Joining us now is Rebecca Traister. She's a writer at large for "New York" magazine.

Rebecca, great to see you.


CAMEROTA: The article says Hillary Clinton is furious and resigned and funny and worried. You just spent time with her at her Chappaqua home. Describe her demeanor.

TRAISTER: Well, I mean, she was very frank and she was candid in a way that I think she is somehow sometimes found it hard to be in the past when she's been running for office and had so much public opinion, so much riding on public opinion of her, and she -- she spoke very freely and very candidly about politics, about her role, about what she'd just been through, about her experiences of having been this historic figure in this historic campaign against the man who is now our president. She spoke about what it was like to be in the second debate.

CAMEROTA: And is she furious? I -- I mean I know that's the headline, but did you find her furious?

TRAISTER: Yes, well, I think -- well, she's -- she's certainly mad about what's happening in the country. I mean she talks to me in the piece about how it's very difficult to be furious on her own behalf, in part because it's hard to be a woman who expresses fury on her own behalf on the United States. But also because what she's mad at. And I think you could hear it in that Wellesley speech too is what the administration of Donald Trump is doing. And this is stuff she talked about as the candidate. And now that she's no longer a candidate, she is, as she calls herself, an activist citizen, she's angry from an activist perspective about what the Trump administration is doing. So, yes, I think she is furious.

DAVID GREGORY, CNN ANCHOR: So I'm curious about her role and how she sees her role, because she is an activist citizen. She's got a huge forum. And certainly until the time when she writes her memoir about the election, she'll be listened to. Does she have awareness, though, about the fact that the Clinton years are over and that there's got to be a need for Democrats to find new leadership in a new way to oppose Trump and get back into power?

TRAISTER: Oh, I think she's very aware of that. She said to me several times in the interview, I'm not a candidate anymore. I'm not running for anything. And, in fact, one of the things she's doing is starting this C4 (ph) called Onward Together, which is directing some of the fund-raising money that came her way and some of the lists that she has toward new organizations. And those new organizations, including something called Run for Something, which brings young people into politics, Emerge, which brings women into politics and trains them, lot of those organizations are about bringing a new generation of people into politics. So it's not only where she's turning her energies, but where she's, you know, sort of trying to help turn attention and money is to creating a new generation of politicians. So I do not think that what she's talking about right now, I certainly didn't get the impression that it's about building anything for herself or for the Clintons. I think she's very aware of the fact that she is not -- she is no longer a candidate and no longer directing the Democratic Party in any direction.

[08:35:41] GREGORY: Is there any more self-awareness about why she lost beyond where she feels aggrieved, Comey, Russia, et cetera, but other, any other self-awareness about that?

TRAISTER: Yes, she -- I mean she certainly understands that there were messaging failures, that there was a difficulty breaking through with some of the things that her campaign wanted to do. She's very careful not to point too many fingers at her campaign, which I think is part of where -- where the media gets distressed is because she's -- she's not taking apart what her campaign did badly. The -- the reason she says that to me in the interview is that she feels a tremendous amount of affection for them and she doesn't want to speak ill of them.

As far as blaming herself, you know, she had spoken a few weeks ago, in fact, in an interview with Christiane Amanpour, she said, I take responsibility. I take full responsibility, personal responsibility. And that -- that wasn't enough or many people. They wanted more specifics. She said she's writing about them in her book, which is what she told me as well.

I don't think she wants to spend a lot of time sitting around talking about everything that was wrong with her, which I think is frustrating for some people who would like nothing more than to hear that. And so I think that's creating some of the frustration. But, yes, she certainly is willing to point out her own shortcomings in passing, but she also does believe that there was this unprecedented interference and she's anxious to talk about that, too.

CAMEROTA: Rebecca, your article is so insightful. It is comprehensive, it's long, but you -- you look at sorts of things that we don't normally get a glimpse at with her. I mean even -- even the appearance of how different she looks now, how different you found her. You encountered her when you went to Chappaqua.

But you're struck, as we always are, those of us who have interviewed her one on one, how different she is one on one, how much less guarded, how much more real and natural she always seems than she does through a TV screen. And I thought it was fascinating, Rebecca, that you asked her, in terms of self-reflection and awareness, have you ever considered therapy.

GREGORY: Yes, I know.

CAMEROTA: You just went there, you know, and you said, have you ever considered therapy? Have you ever done it? And what did she say to you?

TRAISTER: She said, uh-uh. She said, that's not how I roll was what she actually said. She said -- and I should say, she said it's great for anybody who wants to do it and she said that she and her husband had been in marriage counseling in the late '90s. But she said that therapy for herself was just not how I roll.

GREGORY: There was a good quote that just, you know, it can work for people but it's just not how I get through stuff.

CAMEROTA: That's right.


CAMEROTA: She said during the commencement that she has gotten through some stuff with chardonnay.

GREGORY: Yes. Right.

CAMEROTA: That's her preferred vehicle to get through stuff.

GREGORY: You get right (ph).

CAMEROTA: Rebecca, thanks --

TRAISTER: That's true.

CAMEROTA: Thank you very much. Great article. We recommend it to everybody.

GREGORY: All right, coming up after the break, one state taking action to help kids who are single the out in a school cafeteria. We'll explain lunch shaming and show you how New Mexico is taking the lead, making sure kids don't feel left out.


[08:42:32] CAMEROTA: Time now for the "Five Things to Know for Your New Day."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says after meeting with the president last week it's clear the U.S. is not the reliable partner European nations have depended on in the past.

GREGORY: White House officials are pushing back, saying senior adviser Jared Kushner is not taking a leave of absence. It comes in the wake of reports that he tried to establish a back-channel to Russia during the transition.

CAMEROTA: South Korea and Japan strongly condemning North Korea's latest ballistic missile test. Japan's prime minister promising to respond with concrete action together with the U.S.

GREGORY: A Mississippi man arrested for allegedly shooting and killing eight people, including a sheriff's deputy and two children. The rampage began after the suspect got into an argument Saturday night with his estranged wife.

CAMEROTA: A member of the Navy's sky diving team was killed Sunday when his parachute malfunctioned. The Leap Frogs were jumping into Liberty State Park for Fleet Week in New York Harbor.

GREGORY: For more on the "Five Things to Know," go to for the latest.

CAMEROTA: Just to show you what it takes to anchor, to co-host with David Gregory, I am now -- I'm really not -- how talk are you?

GREGORY: I'm 6'5".


GREGORY: I protest creating artificial height. I mean I just think it's wrong and I'm glad we're exposing it for what it is.

CAMEROTA: All right, good, so that is that journalistic investigative report.

Meanwhile, this important story. New Mexico becoming the first state in the U.S. to ban schools from singling out students who don't have enough money to eat. This troubling trend is called lunch shaming, and it is on the rise apparently across the country and it leaves children, of course, feeling humiliated and ashamed. CNN's Martin Savidge has more on this.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Thirteen-year-old Addison Re (ph) doesn't talk about that day at lunch at school but her dad does. DON RE, FATHER: What a kick in the face that would be for a kid, you


SAVIDGE: He's talking about what he says a cafeteria worker did after realizing Addison owed money on her meal account.

RE: So the woman took her tray of food from her and set it aside and offered her a cold cheese sandwich and a white milk.

SAVIDGE: Don Re says his daughter was humiliated by her school in front of everyone.

RE: It's borderline bullying, in my opinion.

SAVIDGE: Actually it's called lunch shaming and it happens in more schools than parents realize.

SAVIDGE (on camera): According to the School Nutrition Association, 76 percent of school districts across America have students with school lunch debt.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Even though the average school lunch costs about $2.50, administrators say schools don't have the funds to absorb the debt. So, in many districts, when a student can't afford their lunch, they get an alternate meal, which can be very different. Critics say it only turns school lunch into a lesson in ridicule.

[08:45:17] MICHAEL PADILLA (D), NEW MEXICO SENATE: So it's very clear, you know, what your home life is like to the other kids.

SAVIDGE (on camera): Right. You know who the poor kids are.

PADILLA: That's right.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): And it gets worse. Online you can find posted photo of children bearing what look like school ink stamps on their arms and hands demanding payment. They are literally branded.

SAVIDGE (on camera): How does this happen in America today in a school?

PADILLA: Well, it is. It's shocking that this is even a thing that's still going on.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): For Michael Padilla it's personal. Growing up, he knew poverty and hunger. Now a state senator, he's spear-headed legislation making New Mexico the first state in the country to ban any kind of lunch shaming.

SAVIDGE (on camera): How did you feel it the past?

PADILLA: Once in a while, in the legislative process, we get something right. And this is one that we got right.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): So Padilla says 21 other states have reached out to him to see what they can do and an identical bill has been introduced into Congress, which could bring a federal law so that no student should ever again have to face a choice between hunger or shame.

Martin Savidge, CNN, Albuquerque, New Mexico.


GREGORY: Good for New Mexico. Thank you, Martin Savidge.

So, in just a few hours, President Trump will honor fallen soldiers in his first Memorial Day wreath laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. Retired Lieutenant General Mark Hertling joins us live with a personal take on this national holiday, coming up next.


[08:50:20] GREGORY: On this Memorial Day, you're looking live at pictures of Arlington National Cemetery in our nation's capital. Actually, northern Virginia. This morning, President Trump will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns, honoring fallen service members. He just tweeted about it, too. He looks forward to paying his respects and writing on Twitter today, "we remember the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in serving. Thank you, God bless your families and God bless the USA."

Joining us now, CNN military analyst, Lieutenant General Mark Hertling.

And, general, it's good to see you, particularly today, to reflect on what Memorial Day really means. And you do so in such a special way by honoring those who have fallen who were in your command.

LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yes, this -- this is a tough day, David, for a lot of those who have lost friends on the battlefield, but also those who have lost their loved ones who paid the ultimate price and sacrificed for the ideas which are behind our country. And, you know, truthfully, it -- this is a day for celebration for most Americans because they get to go to the beach. It's the beginning of summer. It's very beautiful. But I tell you, truthfully, I know a lot of my friends who have a tough time on this day, as I do, thinking about those who sacrificed and gave their all.

CAMEROTA: And, general, we know you've done this before with us in the past and it's such a powerful ritual that you do. You have a box in which you keep keepsakes and photographs. And so share that with us of what you look at today.

HERTLING: Yes, well, actually, three of us, Alisyn, have this box, General Retired Marty Dempsey, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Mike Skaparotti (ph), who's the supreme allied commander in Europe today, and myself. We were all together in Baghdad in 2004 when the tradition of making these cards started. And later on, after that tour, I bought the box for the three of us and had it engraved with sort of our motto of make it matter, a reminder that we do the things we do so that the world can be a better place. And, yes, there's -- in my particular box, there are 253 cards with pictures of soldiers who gave that sacrifice under my command.

CAMEROTA: We're looking at those right now. Obviously, everybody has their own personal life story that was cut short in service to our country. Do you -- can you share anything personal with us as we look at these?

HERTLING: I can, Alisyn. You know, every day what I do is, this box is in my desk at work and I open it up and take one card out and pray for the families that they're carrying on without their soldiers and think about them. And -- and this week in particular, one struck me as very strange. It's coming up on your screen. And it's this young man, Lieutenant Tim Brown. When I picked up his card, I saw his photo and -- and he's got this just big old grin on his face and he's got the desert floppy hat and he's got the one hand thumbs up. This kid was a 2004 graduate of George Mason University from Connecticut. Graduated from college and then joined the Army and went through officer candidate school and became a lieutenant. He was with us in northern Iraq in 2007 and '08 and he was killed in combat as part of the 1st Armored Division that year. Just a great kid. Soldiers loved him. He always had that irreversible smile on his face and he left a mother behind.

So those are the kinds of stories. There was another one that I'll give you. And the other -- only other one I'll give you this morning is Staff Sergeant Colitta Davis (ph). She was a medic who volunteered to go out on patrol with a bunch of infantry men and she was killed in that patrol, leaving behind three children in Alaska. She was from Nome. And everyone in that unit just adored this young woman. And they named the medical clinic after her in Iraq. She was in northern Iraq with the 10th Mountain Division. And just an unbelievable young person whose light was extinguished way too early.

GREGORY: General, it's one of the things that to me is important about Memorial Day is when we -- because we have such a professional armed forces now, and we do not have a draft, it is the danger that we lose an emotional connection with those who serve and fight. And there's always been those disparities, even with a draft. But do you worry about the loss of that emotional connection?

HERTLING: I do, David. It's tough. You know, less than 1 percent of our nation who are eligible to serve do. So we have 99 percent of our country who don't understand this kind of service, even though they may be doing other things, and there is becoming an increasing disconnect between the civilians in the military and our country. And it's unfortunate. And that's why these kinds of stories are extremely important.

[08:55:001] And, you know, one of the things that comes up every year is, people thank veterans for their service. Alisyn and I had a conversation about this last year where I said, don't thank me for my service. Instead, honor those that we're honoring today and try and find a way to instill their memories in your daily life and make your country better by the things do you.

CAMEROTA: I remember and I do carry that with me. General, as we do always the poignant stories and powerful ones that

you share of these young people, so thank you very much for being on and reminding us all of what Memorial Day is.

HERTLING: Thank you, Alisyn and David.

CAMEROTA: All right, we'll be right back with "The Good Stuff."


CAMEROTA: We have a special Memorial Day edition of "The Good Stuff." Milton Mockerman joined the U.S. Navy back in 1944 and he fought in World War II. But his time in the service cost him his high school diploma. He was promised that he could graduate when he returned home, but it never happened.

[08:59:56] So at 89 years old, he contacted his high school in Michigan and they agreed to help him and the veteran proudly walked across the stage receiving his hard-earned diploma.


MILTON MOCKERMAN: I don't know how -- how you'd put it in words, but it does mean a lot.