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Hurricanes Threaten Northeast And Caribbean Islands; Residents Assess Irma Damage In Hard-Hit Florida Keys; Primetime Emmy Awards Get Political; Spicer Jokes About Crowd Size In Emmy Awards Cameo; Colbert, Celebrities Take Jabs At President Trump; The Lasting Legacy Of The Vietnam War. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired September 18, 2017 - 06:30   ET



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Two hurricanes churning in the Atlantic and posing a threat to the northeast and Caribbean islands still reeling from Irma a week ago.

CNN meteorologist, Chad Myers, has our latest forecast. What are you seeing, Chad?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You know, I don't even see an eye on Jose anymore, but that doesn't mean it's not a dangerous storm for rip currents, tides, swells here across part of the North Atlantic. It will so far miss the U.S. turning to the right and kind of dying out here in the Atlantic.

But still 75-mile-per-hour winds or so very close to the coast and 45 miles per hour on land. Saw some tweets from our Chris Cuomo this weekend. He said that he was on Southern Long Island, and he's never seen the surf so high and that's way out to sea.

But Maria, a much bigger threat, this is the storm that is forecast to be a Category 4 as it moves very close to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. This is another area that has already been hit. The boards are laying on the ground.

The roofs are already gone. Can you imagine being hit with 140 miles per hour? Again, all that projectile stuff flying around, very dangerous. The same kind of danger that Anderson Cooper and I had with Jean and Francis near -- in the Atlantic Beach in Melbourne with the 2004 storms. The first storm tore it up, the second storm blew it around.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: That's what I was concerned about. All right. Chad Myers for us at the weather center, thanks so much. It was just one week ago that Hurricane Irma devastated Florida. Residents in the hard-hit Florida Keys still trying to get their homes back together.

CNN's Nick Valencia live in Miami with the very latest. Hi, Nick.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John. It was a weekend filled with an incredible amount of emotion, anxiety and optimism as residents returned to the Keys for the first time since Hurricane Irma hit. In some cases, they had been displaced up to 10 days.

I spoke to one resident who evacuated all the way to Wisconsin, and was going back to the Keys but he was unsure of what he was going back to. Local officials were warning residents to temper their expectations.

Nearly a third of the homes in the Keys are either now uninhabitable or destroyed. But what we saw over the weekend was for the first time in a long time, a feeling of hope among the residents here. They have a lot to be hopeful for.

At the height of the storm, there was more than 6.5 million people without power in the state of Florida. This morning, 90 percent of them have their electricity back. Debris removal continues across the state. Cleanup is under way in a lot of the counties affected.

If there is any indication that things are getting back to normal, today the kids in South Florida will return to school for the first time in more than a week -- Alyson.

CAMEROTA: On a lighter note, TV's biggest night adding a hefty dose of politics. The top moments from the Emmy Awards for you, next.



CAMEROTA: The Emmy Awards last night had lots of memorable moments, but one in particular has everyone buzzing this morning.


STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, EMMY AWARDS: What really matters to Donald Trump is ratings. Unfortunately, at this point, we have no way of knowing how big our audience is. Is there anyone who could say how big the audience is? Sean, do you know?

SEAN SPICER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This is the largest audience to witness the Emmys, period. Both in person and around the world.

COLBERT: Wow. That really soothes --


CAMEROTA: All right. Let's bring in CNN media analyst, Bill Carter, and CNN political analyst and "New York Times" deputy culture editor, Patrick Healy. Great to have you guys. So, Patrick, was this a tacit admission from Sean Spicer that when he said those very same words in the White House press briefing room that they were a lie, not true or a joke?

PATRICK HEALY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. I think Sean Spicer has been looking for a moment like this to show that he's ready and willing to sort of go there and make fun of himself and definitely create some space from President Trump.

[06:40:05] But they've created a lot of discomfort. There were a lot of Democrats, liberals in that audience, watching home on TV, who were not ready to go kind of the normalizing route.

I think you just look at Melissa McCarthy's reaction during that moment. She has said before, you know, my impression of Sean Spicer is not a joke between me and Sean Spicer. This is our joke, critique of the Trump White House and the politics. It's not something that a lot of people are comfortable with.

BERMAN: First of all, I'm not sure it was a tacit admission. It felt like an explicit admission that perhaps Sean was saying things that weren't true when he said the crowd size was the biggest ever. Bill, it was funny.

BILL CARTER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST: You have to give comedians a comic moment. Here's Stephen Colbert. He wants to be funny. This is a funny bit. Look at the audience reaction, they went wild when they saw this.

CAMEROTA: It is blurring the lines of our world. Stephen Colbert wants to be funny, but Sean Spicer is tasked with telling the truth. So, how are we to analyze this?

CARTER: Here's the thing. The people who criticized were mostly people who say he's a liar and hypocrite, et cetera. But you know, he was criticizing Trump as well. He was saying this moment turns out to not have been particularly true and he made things up, the way he was making things up there.

So, he was mocking himself and he was mocking Trump and I think that's partly what the show is about. It wasn't like they weren't shots at Trump all over the place. He was called Walter Whiter than White. He was called a lying bigot by Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda.

CAMEROTA: We got it. Let's listen to some of these -- some shots at President Trump.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your show has been, oh, that thing you say about Trump being bad. Ah! It's so fresh, so fresh.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Back in 1980 in that movie, we refused to be controlled by a sexist, egotistical lying hypocritical bigot.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And in 2017, with still refused to be controlled by a sexist, egotistical lying hypocritical bigot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to thank Trump for making black people number one on the most oppressed list. He's the reason I'm probably up here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We did have a whole story line about an impeachment, but we abandoned that because we were worried someone else might get to it first.


CAMEROTA: Poor Dolly Parton.

CARTER: If you're one of the people who criticize Hollywood for being nothing but liberal out there -- types, Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda are perfect examples of that. That wasn't funny. Julie Louis-Dreyfus's line was pretty funny. That was a joke she was making.

CAMEROTA: Things always get political. That is always fodder. But Sean Spicer thing was a new wrinkle, adding a real person saying fake things as the punch line. All of that is where it gets muddy.

HEALY: Right. I mean, Stephen Colbert made a very deliberate choice. He wanted to have this moment. You know, we thought bringing out Spicer out there, having Melissa McCarthy in the audience, you know, would create some bang.

But that's the thing, last night it is still nine months into the Trump presidency. There is a lot of discomfort around this. Donald Trump is going to the U.N. this week. He will be talking about North Korea, going to be talking about the Iran nuclear deal. I mean, it's still --

CARTER: Giving a big kiss to Sean Spicer. President Trump sends out a tweet calling the North Korean president rocket man and he tries to be funny with -- you know, a video of him hitting Hillary Clinton. Are you going to laugh at this or laugh at that?

I mean, at some point, you have to sort of say, OK, you give people the space to try to be funny and then decide. Did that make me laugh? Then that's funny.

BERMAN: (Inaudible) the latest chapter in this dystopian novel that we are all living right now. Look, (inaudible) won the Emmy, which is just goes to show. This idea that you have someone sort of blurring truth and the celebration of the blurring of truth is interesting.

CAMEROTA: Very quickly, is Sean Spicer going to have any problem getting a job? Yes or no?

CARTER: I don't think so --

CAMEROTA: He'll make money and do just fine?

CARTER: -- and this will help him undoubtedly because he made fun of himself.

BERMAN: All right. If you are not watching the Emmys last night or if you were watching the Emmys, you missed something truly wonderful on a different stage and we are talking about award-winning documentarian, Ken Burns' powerful new series ten years in the making. He joins us with the lasting legacy of the Vietnam War coming up.



BERMAN: The Vietnam War forever changed the U.S. as a nation shaping our political discourse, shaking our confidence on the world stage and creating a distrust in government still felt until this day.

Emmy-award winning documentary filmmaker, Ken Burns, captured this war from all sides in a new series of "Vietnam War" on PBC. Here's a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of the things that I learned in the war is that we're not the top species on the planet because we're nice. We are a very aggressive species. It is in us. And people talk a lot about how well the military turns kids into killing machines and stuff.

And I've always argued it's just finishing school. What we do as civilization is to learn to inhibit and rope in these aggressive tendencies and we have to recognize them. I worry about a whole country that doesn't recognize it.

Because think of how many times we get ourselves in scrapes as a nation because we're always the good guys. Sometimes I think if we thought we weren't always the good guys we might actually get in less wars.


BERMAN: Finishing school, simply chilling.

[06:50:02] Joining us now, Ken Burns, great to have you here, an honor, sir. Loved the first episode last night. Look, growing up in the '70s and '80s, '90s, everything was referred back to Vietnam, the gulf war, the second gulf war. People always look back at Vietnam.

KEN BURNS, PRODUCER/DIRECTOR, "THE VIETNAM WAR" ON PBS: It's the ghost we have been carrying around more than five decades. It is this defeat, failure, however you want to call it that sort of kind of is sitting on one shoulder and asking us to evaluate so much of our current moment from these terms.

But if you think about it, Vietnam has been buried for most of us because it didn't turn out so well. Most people just buried their head in the sand like an ostrich or assumed kind of defensive postures about it where they got some ideas, some argument about it.

They are in their hardened psyllas, the way we are today. Nobody is budging and so what we felt is what would happen if you unpacked all that happened there and then repacked it with just the facts.

My co-director, Lynn Novak, and I have no axe to grind, no political agenda. We're just calling balls and strikes is, but we'd like to follow from (inaudible) opening the film question. What happened? We put it together.

The only way to do that is by hearing from North Vietnamese voices and South Vietnamese voices and Vietcong voices because Americans when they talk about Vietnam usually just talk about themselves.

CAMEROTA: And then can you connect the dots between what happened in Vietnam and what's happening today. Were the seeds planted during Vietnam that have led to the great distrust in American institutions?

BURNS: I think something metastasized into Vietnam where we began to see that our leaders were consistently, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy but particularly Johnson and Nixon. They just weren't telling us the truth.

They were saying one thing on the evening news and you can hear now from the tapes in retrospect, they knew and felt exactly the opposite of that. Unfortunately, what happened is that we developed a healthy skepticism that metastasized into cynicism.

We have to figure out how to separate them. Our film is what happened back then. Mark Twain said history doesn't repeat itself, but it rhymes. You can hear a lot of rhymes today that go back to Vietnam, a White House in disarray obsessed with leaks, mass demonstrations against the administration.

Big document drops of stolen classified material, asymmetrical warfare, accusations that a political campaign reached out during time of a national election to a foreign power to affect that election. You know, on and on and on.

And then you realize that maybe understanding Vietnam might be a key to how we deal with today. The film isn't trying to say, hey, we finished this before the Iowa caucuses in terms of the editorial content.

So, we don't have a thumb on the scale or a dog in this race. But we do know that good history always speaks to the present moment. It has the possibility, as John McCain said the other day, of healing.

What happened is the wounds of Vietnam have not been healed in this country. We are on a divide which we just see as this absurd extension about it. We are arguing about who liked the Sean Spicer appearance at the Emmys versus who thought it was a terrible idea and that hyper-partisanship was born in Vietnam.

BERMAN: It's so interesting because you mentioned us that Sean Spicer moment and this discussion would not have happened except for what happened in Vietnam.

BURNS: Exactly. And we can begin to say we need a little bit all across the board from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on down to our own little fingers on the Twitter feed, which is we need some discipline to remember that this country works when we do things together. This country works when we're transparent. This country works when we have a definable objective, which we didn't have in Vietnam. This country works when we know how we're going to get out. This country works when we're transparent and admits our own mistake.

Nothing better than a high school coach on Friday night saying, look, we stunk. They were terrific. We have lost that. Now it is all a defensive posture. A lot came from Vietnam. Our idea is that this is such a seminal moment.

We think it is the most important moment since the second world war. As we are finishing our series on the second world war 10 years ago, we looked up the historical road and there was this big thing. It was almost like saying the bridge is out. All these warnings. Don't go through the barriers.

Bridge out three miles, one mile. We broke through and then in some ways we find ourselves in midair going, wait a second, the bridge is out. We haven't really recovered from that. We are trying to figure out how as a country we might do this.

[06:55:08] The hyper-partisanship of today needs actually -- I don't think you can put the genie back in the bottle, but we ought to be able to realize that that person that we think is now terrible or some people say that the opposite party is the enemy, that is born in Vietnam.

If we can pull those fuel rods out, we might be able to have a civil discourse and listen to the better angels of our nature.

BERMAN: Going back to your first documentary, the civil war.

CAMEROTA: The film is "The Vietnam War" on PBS. It airs nightly through Thursday. Thanks so much for sharing it with us.

BURNS: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: President Trump getting ready to make his debut on the world stage of the United Nations. What will he say? How will he address his past criticism of the U.N.?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The speech is a tremendous opportunity to reach so many world leaders at the same time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is going to go after North Korea very aggressively.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't have a lot of time left. We don't have a run way left to land this plane on.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have never been in a state of greater concern about this nation. CAMEROTA: The president mocking Kim Jong-un and Hillary Clinton on Twitter just days --