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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

The Fourth In America; Joe Biden Speaks As America Celebrates Fourth Of July. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired July 4, 2021 - 19:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[19:00:00]

JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: The Fourth of July fun begins right now on CNN.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: America. From the lights of Lady Liberty and the Capitol dome of democracy. To the melodies of Music City and the glittering strip of Las Vegas. From the soaring sky scrapers of Chicago and the towering arch in St. Louis. To the red rocks of Colorado. And the Golden Gate of California. America is coming back.

And on this July 4th, we celebrate our nation's independence and our renewed freedom to come together. Tonight, the largest fireworks show on television with dazzling displays in cities all across the USA, and powerful musical performances including the Beach Boys with John Stamos, Billy Ray Cyrus, Black Eyed Peas, Blues Traveler, Brad Paisley, Chicago, Flo Rida, Foreign, Cool and the Gang, Nelly, Ne-Yo, REO Speedwagon, Sammy Hagar and the Circle, Susanna Hoffs, Tasha Cobbs Leonard, and Trisha Yearwood.

Now a CNN Special Event. THE FOURTH IN AMERICA.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

DANA BASH, CNN HOST: We are live in Washington, D.C. with spectacular views of the U.S. Capitol and National Mall. Look at the crowds already gathering at the Lincoln Memorial. Our country has been waiting for this moment. A time to celebrate. And you can see people are gathering to do just that. And soon, fireworks will light up the monuments on this very special Independence Day and you will see it happen live right here on CNN.

Happy 245th birthday, America. I'm Dana Bash along with my colleague in New York, Don Lemon.

Hey, Don.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Hey, I'm literally applauding because I can't stand it. I'm so excited about what is going to happen tonight. I'm so excited about today. Look, you don't get, Dana -- I don't know if you can see me, more American than this. I got my gear ready.

BASH: Yes.

LEMON: I got a -- you may be doing most of the talking because I got my hotdog. I got my local beer.

BASH: That's good. Do you have apple pie?

LEMON: American made. And then I'm going to go get a huge scoop of apple pie just as soon as I'm done with this. And so I'm excited.

BASH: Well, I've got sparkles. I don't wear sparkles on TV very much. So that's where I'm going tonight.

LEMON: I got a big giant red shirt. When have you ever seen me in that? And I got a wardrobe change for you a little bit later. They didn't put my jacket on because it's so hot. But, you know what, it's summer and we're celebrating. And as you said, America, 245 years old.

America, you look great at 245. And guess what, a huge display of fireworks tonight. 18 different firework shows tonight so viewers out there, let me tell you, make sure you keep on your TV, keep on your phone, keep your tablet right here. No other place than CNN.

Dana and I are going to reintroduce America to America. And what a place to start with the Statue of Liberty, the beautiful Statue of Liberty is going to have an amazing view tonight. So we're going to head further north, north, up the river in Manhattan to show you some stuff as well. That's where the action will really be. Look at the Empire State Building. I mean, come on. The Manhattan skyline, the Empire State Building are going to light up with an electrifying display of colors and you're going to watch it live right here.

Those crowds that you talked about, Dana, they're everywhere. They're going to gather along the East River waterfront and in Midtown Manhattan for one of the largest displays ever in the nation. The largest ever. One up. And then we're going to take you to Boston where I'm sure they're going to be drinking more than tea.

There's going to be more than a tea party tonight. That's where you're going to witness a return of fireworks to Boston launched right from -- where else would it be? The Boston Common. Crowds on both sides of the Charles River are going to gather for a very great view there.

Dana Bash, are you with me? Are you excited? You look great. Hey, before we show the rest of America what's going to happen, can I see your fingernails?

BASH: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

BASH: Pretty good, right?

LEMON: Red, white and blue America, baby. Right there. You don't get more America than that.

BASH: I'm in the spirit.

LEMON: OK.

[19:05:02]

BASH: I'm in the spirit. But you know what?

LEMON: I'm going to let you do some talking. I'm going to eat my hotdog. All right.

BASH: OK, good. Enjoy it. Because, you know, you're talking about fireworks and that is going to be a huge part of tonight. But we're going to see another part of history. And that is the return of live music across America.

I want you to look at Nashville. Crowds are lining up. Look at that. It's unbelievable to see that. In America. As we're coming out of this pandemic. What they're doing there is they're waiting to see Brad Paisley, and we're told by those involved in the production that crowds could reach in excess of 200,000 people.

Now, I want to bring you to Fort Lauderdale beach. Our CNN drone is there. The Beach Boys are going to perform right there by the ocean. Now we're going to Missouri. REO Speedwagon is getting ready to take the stage in the Ozarks Amphitheatre. And in Philadelphia, Flo Rida and Bebe Rexha are about to rev up the crowds.

All of these performers and many more are going to be here tonight. They're going to be singing their biggest hits and you're going to be able to sing right along with them right here on CNN.

And you know, this is a hopeful moment for America. This hour we're going to go to the White House which is behind me. You see the beautiful shot there. President Biden is about to address the nation about where the U.S. stands coming out of the coronavirus pandemic -- Don.

LEMON: Yes. Listen, Dana, as I'm here on the East River, people are ready to party. There is a ship of party people going right behind me right now.

(LAUGHTER)

BASH: Did you finish that hotdog?

LEMON: Where the fireworks are going to be --

BASH: Should I call you Joey Chestnut?

LEMON: Oh, not -- look at them. They're ready to party. I love it. I love it. So I didn't finish. I got a big giant bite out of it.

BASH: OK.

LEMON: We have boats out here on the East River. And they're ready. We have people in buildings, we have people at the restaurant where I am. I mean, it's going to be amazing. So, also, Dana, do you hear that music?

BASH: I do. LEMON: America? By Neil Diamond? Do you hear it?

BASH: Love it.

LEMON: Well, Neil Diamond, if you are watching, we have a huge surprise for you in the next hour. First, though, do you know where we're going to go? We're going to go to the former city that I used to live in. The head of where CNN is. We're going to go to Atlanta. The crowds are gathering there and they're going to hear, and you will, as well, Ne-Yo. Let's go to hot-lanta.

NE-YO, MUSICIAN: Is everybody ready to party? Clap your hands. Everybody, just clap your hands. Hey.

(NE-YO PERFORMS "LET'S GO")

[19:10:10]

NE-YO: Make some noise if you're having a good time. That's what I'm talking about.

(NE-YO PERFORMS "SEXY LOVE")

NE-YO: All right, ladies and gentlemen, the time has come to turn up. Everybody, clap your hands.

(NE-YO PERFORMS "CLOSER")

[19:15:39]

NE-YO: Make some noise if you're having a good time. Let's go. Everybody in the place, come on. Hey.

(NE-YO PERFORMS "CLOSER")

NE-YO: Well, the party is not over. We not done, y'all. Happy Fourth of July. Are we ready? Clap your hands.

(NE-YO PERFORMS "TIME OF OUR LIVES")

[19:20:14]

NE-YO: Thank you so much for rocking it with us. One time, (INAUDIBLE) dancers up here. Happy Fourth of July. Peace and love, everybody.

LEMON: Yes. Ne-Yo. He said, drop it like it's hot. Drop it like it's hot.

BASH: That was incredible.

LEMON: I'm dropping like it's hot. Ne-Yo.

BASH: So you're standing up, I'm sitting down.

LEMON: That was great.

BASH: I'm just chair dancing. Wasn't that great? Awesome, Ne-Yo.

LEMON: There's nothing better than a good chair dance. I know. Ne-Yo was great. He put us right in the mood. It's exactly what we needed.

BASH: Totally.

LEMON: Him dancing on a rooftop in Atlanta with fireworks going off where he is. But guess what? We have Ne-Yo which is fantastic, but we've got a whole lot more coming up, Dana. So it's going to be amazing. By the way, I ate the entire hotdog. Just a little of the beer.

BASH: Yes.

LEMON: I have a long way to go. Yes, I've got a ways to go.

BASH: OK, good. I'm --

LEMON: So --

BASH: You know, you're better than I am. I'm going to wait on my champagne until -- at least until it's dark.

LEMON: You know, I'm a little crazy. So I'm doing what Ne-Yo says.

So coming up, Dana, we have live performances from Flo Rida, the Beach Boys and Billy Ray Cyrus. But look, since we're in Washington, you could see the -- look at those crowds on the National Mall in Washington. It is fantastic.

The president of the United States, Joe Biden, is going to give his Independence Day address to the nation. And you're going to see it right here on CNN. Don't go anywhere, anyone.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:26:32]

BASH: You are looking at live pictures here in Washington, D.C. That is a camera atop the Washington Monument where you can see crowds have come to gather. They're coming together to watch the fireworks here in Washington. And nearby at the White House, President Biden is going to address the nation very soon.

Welcome back to CNN's FOURTH IN AMERICA. I want to get straight to CNN's White House correspondent Arlette Saenz.

Arlette, what do you hear from your sources about what the president is going to say on this July 4th?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Dana, President Biden will use this Fourth of July holiday to really tout the progress made against COVID-19, as so many Americans are back together celebrating this Independence Day. But a White House official says that even while he's celebrating this progress, the president will also make clear that the job is far from over. The celebration of course is taking place as there is rising concern

within the White House about the Delta variant, particularly in those areas of the country where vaccination rates remain low. The White House officially failed to meet its target of having 70 percent of American adults with at least one vaccine dose in their arms. That currently stands around 67.1 percent.

And the president in his speech tonight, part of his message will be urging Americans to get vaccinated not just to protect themselves but also to protect others. Now this Fourth of July barbecue that's taking place on the South Lawn is the largest gathering this White House has hosted since President Biden took office. The guests on the South Lawn will be treated to one of the best views of the fireworks here in Washington.

About 1,000 guests were invited. Military families as well as essential workers, which is giving the president another opportunity to thank so many people for the service and sacrifice made over the past year of the pandemic -- Dana.

BASH: Arlette, thank you so much. We're going to get to the president momentarily. But before that, I want to go to the National Mall where excitement is building. You can see the crowds are very, very big. What a difference a year makes. And we are going to see some spectacular fireworks.

I want to get to CNN national correspondent Suzanne Malveaux.

Suzanne, tell us what's happening there.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Dana, it's great to see you. It is a party here in Washington, D.C. I mean, just check it out, we got thousands of people who have already gathered under the steps of the Lincoln Memorial here. They've been here since early afternoon. No requirements for masks, for social distancing, for checking temperatures unlike what we have seen throughout the year.

This is just a relaxed group of folks and they've come out here, Dana. Just take a look here. We're talking by the reflecting pool underneath the National Monument. That's where those spectacular fireworks will be going off. They will start promptly, promptly at 9:09, last for 17 minutes. It's an amazing choreography with classical music. And then it will be over.

It is night (INAUDIBLE). Last year, the mayor, Mayor Bowser said do not come and people didn't come because of concerns of COVID. She says this year, 70 percent of adults, she says, have received at least one dose of the vaccination, the critical vaccination so she says it is safe. Come out here. That D.C. is basically open for business.

Dana, folks here are listening and I've talked to a lot of them tonight. And they just are breathing a sigh of relief as they come out here and celebrate this moment -- Dana.

[19:30:00]

BASH: A lot to celebrate, indeed. We are looking at pictures of the White House. We expect to see President Biden. Let's listen.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today -- today, we celebrate America.

[CHEERING AND APPLAUSE]

BIDEN: Our freedom, our liberty, our independence. The Fourth of July is a sacred day in our country, a day of history, of hope, remembrance, and resolve, a promise and possibilities.

Before me stands monuments to the greatest and the goodness of our nation, monuments of light and liberty. There is a towering memorial to George Washington, a general who led our revolution. The President who set our nation on its course.

There's a memorial to Thomas Jefferson whose words about liberty and equality literally changed the world.

And across the Tidal Basin from the Jefferson Memorial, there stands Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. His arms crossed, his eyes fixed a head toward the Promised Land where equality is not only an aspiration, but a reality.

[CHEERING AND APPLAUSE]

BIDEN: They help define who we are, guide what we do, remind us of the work that history has given us in our own time.

This year, the Fourth of July is the day of special celebration for we are emerging from the darkness of years -- a year of pandemic and isolation. A year of pain, fear, and heartbreaking loss.

Just think back to where this nation was a year ago. Think back to where you were a year ago, and think about how far we've come -- from silent streets --

[CHEERING AND APPLAUSE]

BIDEN: From silent streets to crowded parade routes, lined with people waving American flags; from empty stadiums and arenas to fans back in their seats, cheering together again. From families pressing hands against a window to grandparents hugging their grandchildren once again.

We're back to traveling again. We're back seeing one another again.

Businesses are opening and hiring again. We're seeing record job creation and record economic growth, the best in four decades, and I might add the best in the world.

[CHEERING AND APPLAUSE]

BIDEN: Today, all across this nation, we can say with confidence, America is coming back together.

[CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] BIDEN: Two hundred and forty five years ago, we declared our

independence from a distant King. Today, we're closer than ever to declaring our independence from a deadly virus.

That's not to say the battle against COVID-19 is over. We've got a lot more work to do. But just as our Declaration in 1776 was not a call to action -- it was a call to action, not a reason for complacency or a claim a victory -- it was the call to action. The same is true today.

Back then we had the power of an idea on our side. Today, we have the power of science.

[CHEERING AND APPLAUSE]

BIDEN: Thanks to our heroic vaccine effort, we've gained the upper hand against this virus.

We can live our lives. Our kids can go back to school. Our economy is roaring back.

Don't get me wrong. COVID-19 has not been vanquished. We all know powerful variants have emerged, like the delta variant, but the best defense against these variants is to get vaccinated.

[CHEERING AND APPLAUSE]

BIDEN: My fellow Americans, it is the most patriotic thing you can do. So, please, if you haven't gotten vaccinated, do it, do it now, for yourself, for your loved ones, for your community and for your country.

[19:35:10]

BIDEN: You know, that's how we're going to stay ahead of these variants and protect the hard-won progress we've made. We never again want to be where we were a year ago today.

[CHEERING AND APPLAUSE]

BIDEN: So today, while the virus hasn't been vanquished, we know this, it no longer controls our lives, it no longer paralyzes our nation, and it's within our power to make sure it never does again.

And for that, we can thank the scientists and researchers, the educators, and all the other frontline and essential workers, like many of you here today ...

[CHEERING AND APPLAUSE]

BIDEN: ... who became the light to see us through the darkness. I hope you know that you, the American people, have been part one of the most remarkable achievements in American history.

But in this moment of joy, we know that this day falls hard on all those who have lost a loved one. As I've told you before, each day, I carry a card in my pocket with my

schedule on it. And on the back of that schedule, on that card, I have the number of Americans who've lost their lives to COVID, the precise number.

As of tonight, that number is 603,018 people who have lost their lives. They are husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, grandparents, friends, neighbors, co- workers.

And we must remember, all of those who lost this year -- that we lost, families lost to other causes, other causes of death, and cruel twists of fate. They too left behind loved ones unable to grieve, or mourn, or find closure. Each of them meant the world to someone they left behind.

And those who have through all this, know that to heal, you have to remember, we have to remember them, and we will. We will commit to always remember them, that's what we'll do.

I long said that America is unique. Unlike every other nation on Earth, we were founded based on an idea. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people are created equal, endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, among them life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and while we've never fully lived up to those words, we have never given up on them.

They continue to animate us, and they remind us that at our best, we, as Americans believe. We, Americans, we believe in honesty and decency, and treating everyone with dignity and respect; giving everyone a fair shot, demonizing no one, giving hate no safe harbor, and leaving no one behind.

We lead by the power of our example, not the example of our power. We're part of something so much bigger than ourselves. We stand as a beacon to the world. It's a code. It's a code, uniquely American code, it is who we are.

All the service members in your family who are here tonight, today, all of you serving around the world, it is the greatest honor to serve as your Commander-in-Chief.

Jill and I --

[CHEERING AND APPLAUSE]

BIDEN: Jill and I, and our entire family, thank you for your service and sacrifice. Like so many military families, thinking of all your loved ones who served, we think of our son, Beau today, you're all part of a long chain of patriots who pledged their lives and their sacred honor in defense of this nation, and democracy around the world for freedom and fair play, for peace and security and opportunity, for the cause of justice, for the soul of America itself.

But the defense of all that we love doesn't fall on your shoulders alone. It falls on all of us, every one of us, every American. [19:40:10]

BIDEN: Each day, we're reminded there's nothing guaranteed about our democracy, nothing guaranteed about our way of life. We have to fight for it, defend it, earn it.

Folks, it's up to all of us to protect the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The right to equal justice under the law, the right to vote, and have that vote counted. The right --

[CHEERING AND APPLAUSE]

BIDEN: The right to breathe clean air, drink clean water, and know that our children and grandchildren will be safe on this planet for generations to come.

[CHEERING AND APPLAUSE]

BIDEN: The right to rise in the world as far as your God-given talent can take you, unlimited by barriers of privilege or power. One of the great gifts of the spirit of independence -- and think about this, one of the great gifts is our capacity to see ourselves whole and see ourselves honestly.

What we have gotten right, what we've gotten wrong, it is a measure of the greatness of America, and we are a great nation. We don't seek to bury the wrongs. We face it, we work to make it right.

You know, history tells us that when we stand together, when we unite in common cause, when we see ourselves not as Republicans or Democrats, but as Americans, then there's simply no limit to what we can achieve. None.

[CHEERING AND APPLAUSE]

BIDEN: And today, we see the results of the unity of purpose -- the unity of purpose in forging in our nation -- we're forging our nation, for together we are beating the virus; together we're bringing life into our economy. Together, we will rescue our people from division and despair. But together we must do it.

Over the past year, we've lived through some of our darkest days. Now, I truly believe I give my word as a Biden, I truly believe we're about to see our brightest future.

[CHEERING AND APPLAUSE]

BIDEN: Folks, this is a special nation, a great nation, and there is a timeless truth about America. The most powerful idea in the history of the world in the hearts of the people of this country, it beats in all our hearts. No matter your race or ethnicity, no matter your gender identity or sexual orientation, no matter your disability, no matter your faith, it beats in the hearts of rich and poor alike, it unites America.

Whether your ancestors were native to this land or brought here forcibly and enslaved. Whether you are immigrants from generations back, like my family that came from Ireland, or you're coming here today, looking to build a better life for your family, like our fellow Americans I just swore in in the White House two days ago.

[CHEERING AND APPLAUSE]

BIDEN: The American creed, we use that phrase, "the American creed" is we're all equal, created equal. It was written a long time ago, but the genius is that every generation of Americans has expanded wider and wider to include those who were excluded before, that's why it's never gathered dust in our history books, it is still alive today, alive in our hearts, alive in the work of our hands, alive not only in the history we read, but in the history we're making.

My fellow Americans, now, we are the guardians of that very ideal America. It's up to us to save it, to preserve it, to build on it, and I know we will.

On this sacred day, I look out to those monuments on our National Mall and beyond them into the hearts of our people across the land and I know this, it has never ever been a good bet to bet against America. Never.

[CHEERING AND APPLAUSE]

BIDEN: We just have to remember who we are. We are the United States of America, and there is nothing -- nothing we can't do if we do it together.

[CHEERING AND APPLAUSE]

BIDEN: Folks, Happy Fourth of July, America. God bless you all and may God protect our troops. Thank you. Thank you.

[CHEERING AND APPLAUSE]

[19:45:10]

BASH: President Joe Biden delivering a fiery speech -- a fiery speech, because he is, as the people there are as well excited about where America is on this July 4th, the first July 4th that he is celebrating as President of the United States.

And Don, I have to say, there was a lot of kind of patriotic talk, but the thing that struck me the most was when he said that it is patriotic to get a vaccine. It is because millions and millions of Americans have gotten a vaccine that you can see the pictures that we see today, right there, and that people can go and they can feel free on this Independence Day to celebrate this holiday.

LEMON: I will just -- I just have a few things to say about this. Optimism, inclusion, unity from the President of the United States, and the first -- all three of those are important, as we have a helicopter -- an NYPD helicopter show going on -- there it is live going on right over us. It's live on CNN. It is amazing to see the resources of this city come

together, the resources of the world. You see the fire boat out there, red, white, and blue.

New York City is ready tonight, and what a patriotic display coming right out of the President of the United States who gave such a speech about patriotism, about being an American, about swearing in new Americans, and new immigrants into this country.

It is what America is about, and I think the truest thing that he said is that America is coming back and we are coming together, Dana Bash, that's exactly where we need to be.

Think about it where we were a year ago, you and I, anchoring this show and socially distancing with masks. And here we are, where we have thousands upon thousands of people gathered in cities, millions really all across this country.

BASH: Absolutely. It is -- there's a lot to celebrate, and I was thinking the same thing, Don, about where we were exactly one year ago. The fact that we brought all of the music to people who were home. And now, whether you're home or on your tablet or wherever you are, you can feel it through the music, but there's more freedom to go out and about as we see with these incredible pictures of the National Mall, which is right behind me.

LEMON: Amen.

BASH: So, not only is all of this returning, the gathering, the fireworks we'll see, but the concerts are returning. We're going to go where else? The beach and we're going to watch the Beach Boys and also to Philadelphia for Flo Rida and Bebe Rexha. The Fourth in America is back with Trisha Yearwood.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:52:21]

LEMON: And welcome back everyone to CNN's Fourth in America. We're so excited to be here. Look at all the crowds gathered all around this nation.

The Beach Boys concert is getting underway, and we're going to head there soon for your favorite hits, including "Wouldn't it Be Nice," one of my favorites. Wish we all could be, "California Girls," right? So, "California Girls," and "God Only Knows."

But first, one of my favorite country music singers. Here's Trisha Yearwood starting with her hit "Every Girl In This Town."

TRISHA YEARWOOD, SINGING "EVERY GIRL IN THIS TOWN."

[19:58:53]

LEMON: What a very moving performance by Trisha Yearwood. It is the Fourth in America, everyone and the New York City skyline is going to light up very soon with a spectacular display of fireworks. Look at that.

Look at the waterways in New York City lined with boats and people who are ready to get out and enjoy. We are bringing you more than a dozen firework shows all across this country, including celebrations in Washington, D.C. and beyond.

The lights over the National Mall begins in about one hour.

I'm Don Lemon here in New York along with my very fabulous and gorgeous colleague in Washington D.C., Miss Dana Bash.

Dana, there is a lot of great music straight ahead for us.

BASH: A lot of great music and I mean, look behind me, what a great place to have an office this evening. But the greatest thing is going to be watching what is going on with these musicians minutes away from Flo Rida, Philadelphia, he is performing his biggest hits.

Then we're going to get good vibrations from the Beach Boys as they perform some of their iconic songs in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

But first, a country music legend with a special rendition of a Neil Diamond classic, here is Billy Ray Cyrus and the New York Youth Symphony performing, "America."

BILLY RAY CYRUS AND NEW YORK YOUTH SYMPHONY PERFORMING "AMERICA."