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tv   CNN Newsroom  CNN  September 10, 2011 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT

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>> what we find is that what lies within the dust is not just tragedy, not just illness, but also opportunities to figure out what went wrong, how to avoid making those same mistakes, and how to protect all of us the next time tragedy strikes. i'm dr. sanjay gupta. i'm dr. sanjay gupta. thanks for watching. -- captions by vitac -- you're in the "cnn
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newsroom." i'm don lemon in tampa, florida, tonight where preemgss are under way for monday's cnn tea party republican debate. we begin with the tenth anniversary of 9/11. security is extra high tonight as final preparations are made for sunday's dedication of the 9/11 memorial site at ground zero. a massive police presence rolled into lower manhattan just a short time ago as part of a security sweep. a hunt is on right now for three stolen truck including two that belong to a company that worked at ground zero. we'll take you live to the site in a few minutes, but first -- >> leroy homer. >> earlier today the 40 people who died board united airlines flight 939 were remembered at a ceremony in shanksville, pennsylvania. george bush who was president when the attacks happened and former president bill clinton were among the dignitaries to speak at today's dedication. the site features a long marble
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wall with the names of the flight 93 passengers and crew. they are credited with fighting back against the hijackers and preventing the plane from reaching its target. president obama has proclaimed this weekend national days of prayer and remembrance. he will attend tenth anniversary events tomorrow in new york, washington, and pennsylvania. today, the president and first lady paid their respects to fallen troops at arlington national cemetery. and along with the preparations to remember the victims and events of 9/11, there is anxiety tonight of another possible terror attack timed to the anniversary. susan candiotti is standing by for us at ground zero. a short time ago, we saw police making a very public security sweep. you were standing above the highway overlooking the memorial when we saw you last time here on cnn. that sweep was happening live. you have since moved. why? >> well, they're conducting a
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security sweep from our position overlooking that memorial. right now we're down on the street and it's a completely different atmosphere. we can no longer look over the memorial, but here, different situation. this is mainly a commercial district, not residential. it's quiet anyway at night. taking a look now, we're in an area where our movements are restricted. as you can see, there's a bit of traffic now. and looking down the street as well, you can see the ground zero is just beyond there where all the lights are. you see the high rises. there you see looming ahead of you, this is one world trade center. it is the -- going to be the largest building they say in the country and possibly the western hemisphere. it's also going being built as the i'vest and strongestable, much stronger than the world trade center was so many years ago. if you can make it out on camera, you can see that the building is bathed at this hour in red, white and blue, red on the bottom, white in the middle,
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blue at the top. this is the -- going to be the tallest, already is the tallest building on new york's skyline. >> yeah, i'm glad, thank you so much for taking our viewers to manhattan. traffic was at a standstill when you showed the video. now traffic seems to be whizzing by on the westside highway. we want to know, there's some of the events earlier tonight. you can see a wall of police cars and red lights there on the westside highway and really surrounding the entire ground zero area there, property there. listen, i want to talk to you as we look at this video, what about the investigation as i've told viewers? they were saying there were these stolen trucks and some possible suspects. update us on that. >> that's right. first let's talk about those -- the investigation into those suspects. we have new details that developed today about the timing involved here. as you know, they've been looking at the possibly three men who might be involved in the terror plot. and they determined that two of
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the three might have been traveling to the united states last week. however, we are learning tonight from our sources that so far, no leads have panned out, that definitely put those people in the united states. however, of course, investigators continue to work under the assumption that they may have made it here and they're continuing to track down those leads as best they can. >> all right, susan candiotti, thank you very much. stand by. we may be getting back to you because we're going to speak very shortly with new york city police commissioner ray kelly live on cnn and get an update on all that information. it's not the specific nature of the terror threat that has many people on edge. it is the timing. the tenth anniversary of 9/11 is a historic moment. i spoke about its signatures with former fbi assistant director tom fuentes. >> if they can do that tomorrow or over this weekend it ensures everlasting fame that they pulled it off on the ten-year anniversary. i think that's what the
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authorities are concerned with, not just the people that may have been dispatched from pakistan or other reports that have come up over the weekend that come up all the time. those are almost daily reports that come in, but that somebody that's not even on the radar is sitting alone and has already decided they're going to be very famous if they can do anything at all tomorrow. >> make sure you stay with cnn all day sunday for extensive special coverage of the tenth anniversary of 9/11 and stay tuned tonight. we'll speak with ray kelly live on this broadcast. you'll hear this hour, you'll see john king's interview with vice president joe biden, his predecessor as dick cheney recently defended waterboarding as a deterrent. biden pushes back with very harsh words later ahead this hour on cnn. shampgsville, pennsylvania, was a place where the fourth hijacked airliner crashed before it could reach its target.
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the 40 passengers and crew of united airlines flight 93 were remembered today at a dedication of a new memorial to their heroism. david mattingly was there. >> ten years ago, shanksville, pennsylvania, was the site of a violent act of terrorism. there was a great deal of uncertainty, fear, and anger surrounding this site. well, today we find it completely transformed. this pastoral setting now very peaceful with grasses and wildflowers growing everywhere. the dedication of this memorial today was for the bravery and courage of the passengers and crew of flight 93. and it was emotional time not just for the family members of the people on board that plane, but also for former president george w. bush. >> with their selfless act, the men and women who stormed the cockpit lived out the words greater love hath no man than this than a man lay down his life for his friends.
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and with their brave decision, they launched the first counter offensive of the war on terror. >> but through all the ceremonies today, there was a sense of a job that has not yet been finished. former president clinton called attention to the fact that this memorial site has not yet been completed. ten years after the crash of flight 93, they're still trying to raise the funds needed to get every feature that they've designed for this location actually erected and available to the public. he called on everyone to donate to the cause and to get this memorial finished. he borrowed a line from todd beamer, one of the passengers on board flight 93 when the former president said, let's roll and let's get this monument finished. david mattingly, cnn, shanksville, pennsylvania. >> all right, david, it was one of the most poignant moments in the days following the september 11th terrorist attacks. >> i can hear you, the rest of the world hears you.
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and the people -- >> the new york city firefighter who inspired some inspirational remarks by then president bush joins us live next. there's so many choices. the guests come in and they're like yeah i want to try this shrimp and i want to try this kind and this kind. they wait for this all year long. [ male announcer ] it's endless shrimp today at red lobster. your favorite shrimp entrees, like garlic shrimp scampi or new sweet and spicy shrimp. as much as you like any way you like for just $15.99. [ trapp ] creating an experience instead of just a meal that's endless shrimp. my name is angela trapp. i'm a server at red lobster and i sea food differently.
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and i am a phoenix. [ male announcer ] find your program at [♪...] >> male announcer: now, for a limited time, your companion flies free, plus save up to 65%. call 1-800-sandals. conditions apply. you may not know his face but his voice is a part of one of the most iconic moments following the september 11th attacks. >> as we mourn the loss of thousands of our citizens -- >> i can't hear. >> you i can hear you! i can hear you, the rest of the world hears you.
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and the people -- and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon. >> what a moment that was. everybody remembers that moment. that was firefighter rocco chiricella who shouted to president bush to speak up as the president spoke to a crowd at ground zero just three days after the attacks. rocco joins us now live from new york. rocco, you know, you were already retired on september 11th but you rushed to the scene. >> that's correct. >> to help with the rescue effort. what went through your head to do that when you saw that happening? >> i didn't get that last part, don. >> i said, what went through your head for you to run into those buildings and to run to help people when you saw it happening? >> well, i'd been a new york city firefighter. i was retired. i want to make sure that that's
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understood because i went down that night but watching as a kid, you know, those buildings being built every week they added a floor and to see it all now on the ground and 32 acres of a pile of junk with 3,000 people's lives in there and at that time, we didn't know how many people were this in there, we're talking 10,000. you've got to remember, the numbers they were ordering body bags by the thousands claiming this was going to be bigger and worse than what it was. but 3,000 people were in there, and the focus was on trying to hope and pray that there was somebody alive in there. i know they got a few people out in the beginning, but hope was diminishing fast. and as the moment and hours were going by, it was fruitless to think anybody was going to be alive in that pile of rubble. >> it's ten years, big anniversary. but i'm wondering for someone who had direct involvement like
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you, does it make a difference, one year, two years, six years, ten years? >> every year is -- every day's important, especially being a new yorker. you know, and seeing what's going on today with the alerts and the constant threat to our freedoms that we've grown accustomed to over the last ten years. you know, it's always engrained in your memory. so especially being a new york city firefighter that knows what his brothers and the rescue workers that were immediately called on down there, they didn't know this was an act of war. this was the first plane hit the building. the guys did their job. they went in that building immediately. when the second plane hit the building, the tables were turned and now to think that we're now in a war zone, this is not a regular fire. this is not a high-rise fire. this is a war zone. and some people say to me, well,
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you know, you guys get paid to do this job. i said after the second plane, you think possibly there was a third plane coming or a fourth plane coming? we didn't know what to expect. these firefighters didn't know what to expect at that point but they were brave. >> nobody had any idea. >> they showed what they do. >> nobody had any idea and they don't call you new york's bravest for nothing. i want to ask you, what compelled you to shout out to the president and what did his response mean to you at the time? >> you got to remember, don, i -- it was very important for the rescue workers that were involved with this effort down there. you know, we were in a bad state of mind those few days, and it was just trying to organize and get find the bodies for the families. but we needed something and the president came down, starred to speak and we were hoping for something. and i couldn't hear him. that's the bottom line.
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i just couldn't hear him. and people were starting to say we can't hear you. and i just couldn't hear him. i said come on. i can't hear you and before you know it, he responded. he lifted the crowd of rescue workers and i didn't know it was going to be a historic moment. i didn't know the that. and i think it pulled the country together at that point. it shaped president bush's response at that time to what he needed to do and his administration i guess. but i didn't know the full impact of it for me c just not being able to hear him. >> rocco chiericella, retired at the time of 9/11 and just jumped in to help save people. rocco, thank you so much. we appreciate your bravery and what you do. take care of yourself, okay? >> thank you, good night. all righty.
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okay. as we mentioned to you at the beginning of this broadcast just a couple minutes ago, worries tonight about the fear of another terror attack surrounding the anniversary. it surrounds the anniversary of the september 11th attacks and new york city police commissioner ray kelly joins us now by phone. commissioner, we know you're very busy right now. we want to thank you up front for joining us. what's the status of this terror threat? >> well, it's still ongoing. nothing significant has changed. you know, the threat has been identified as being credible and specific. and uncorroborated. and that's pretty much where it stands. and we have taken this threat seriously. obviously because it, you know, it coincides with the tenth anniversary and we know that will osama bin laden at least in the notes that were found after the s.e.a.l.s eliminated him
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spoke about doing something on or near this anniversary. as a matter of fact, the notes were the actually show that there was one discussion or treatment of this issue prior to 9/112010. so, we have to -- have to take all threats seriously but this one in particular. >> so, listen, i know you can't talk too much about the investigation. obviously you don't want to tip people off. so far though, you haven't found anyone, any of the three men, nothing, nothing has been uncovered so far. basically you're just on alert and you want people to be vigilant as well? >> that's correct. the mayor said the other night, we ask the public to go about what they're normally going to do, but to be vigilant, to look at their world through the prism of september 11th. everyone's world changed and we say if anything out of the ordinary or anything suspicious, please give us a call. new york, that's 311, for
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nonemergencies and 911 for emergencies. >> listen, what -- can you tell us anything about, we heard earlier about the possibility of stolen trucks and some suspects. is there anything credible about that? >> well, there were some stolen trucks. there was one truck, a budget econoline that was stolen in jersey city two days ago, and obviously, in an area the size of the metropolitan area, probably population close to 20 million people, we have vehicles stolen every day. but in this instance, the thieves took special precautions not to be seen, not to be detected. they disconnected all of the alarms, took the dvd out of the recording devices. and it struck the investigators in jersey city as being particularly unusual and a lot of care shown in making certain that they weren't identified. so, that vehicle is still out there. we obviously have a plate number
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and we're looking for the vehicle. there were two other trucks that were stolen on september 1st and 2nd. these belonged to a construction company that does work at the world trade center site. and had about $70,000 worth of tools in it collectively these two trucks. so you know, most likely they were stolen for the tools, that's a whole lot of money for tools, but you know, in an abundance of caution, we are certainly looking in a much more intense way for these vehicles. but there's nothing at this time other than what i told you that tied them into this threat. >> if people may try to put two and two together, three suspects, three trucks stolen but again for viewers, you don't believe it has anything to do with terrorism or you don't think the suspects are connected to the stolen trucks? >> well, we're not ruling it out.
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but there's nothing, you know, of significance right now that would connect these thefts to the threat that you know, that we're facing. >> new york city police commissioner raymond kelly. thank you so much for taking time out on a busy night. best of luck and i'm sure you want everyone to stay safe there in new york city. thank you, sir. up next here on cnn, a preview of the gop con earneds who will take the stage here in tampa monday night for the cnn tea party republican debate. our senior political editor mr. mark preston joins me right after the break. later on this hour, talk show host and author tavis smiley shares his new initiative on education that deals with the staggering dropout rate among african-american males. e hotspo, you can connect up to 5 wifi devices to the internet with lightning-fast verizon 4g lte speed. a gaming device. ereader. mp3 player. connect any 5 for wifi on the go.
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for several weeks, michele bachmann could do no wrong in the eyes of republican voters. the presidential candidate was sailing along until texas governor rick perry entered the race. with her campaign in trouble, can she get her mojo back at the republican debate? mark preston joins us now live. as i said, she could do no wrong but on the same day she won the straw poll, perry made his announcement. >> it took all the wind out of her sails. when we were in new hampshire in june, she did fantastic in that cnn debate. the next morning we saw her doing interviews on cnn and she was on top of the game. she's coming to tampa and needs to try to get back. the fact of the matter rick perry took away all that tea party support that would propel her candidacy. >> people are now saying it's a
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two-person race, rick perry who got in the race three and a half weeks ago and mitt romney. they are i guess being pitted against each other and social security is the issue. >> and could very well be the issue here in tampa on monday night. romney is going after rick perry on his comments regarding social security saying it was a ponzi scheme. let's look at this quickly that mitt romney's campaign is distributing here in florida as we speak to try to take perry down a little bit. look what it says there. the two candidates, only one will protect what's important to you. no subtle message there, especially in a state like florida where social security is so important to seniors. >> it's targeted to the people who they think that it affects most, i'm sure. >> no question. >> what do the other candidates have to do on monday night to come off looking like -- what do everyone besides romney and perry have to do on monday. >> just single out michele
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bachmann. she needs to show up here and try to get back that tea party support. be interesting to see if she attacks rickerry. everybody else need to break through because they are so low in the polls right now, we're heading into a tough election season right now. if they can't get their mojo back on plond, their candidacies could be in a lot of trouble. >> you never say never in politics. we're saying it's over for this and than candidate. and lots of candidates have been counted out before and then they come back. >> john mccain back in 2007 if you remember. his campaign imploded not once but twice. he turned it around. he came back, he wouldn't republican nomination. you're absolute right. you can never say never. but you know what? you need to get on your game. >> i think there is something about conventional wisdom up until now when it comes to the tea party. they have certainly changed the game in many ways. this debate is the first one of its kind ever. i don't know, michele bachmann could come back. you know, as a winner. she could come back or any other candidate come back.
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we don't know. >> she needs to do better than just have a good performance. she needs to hit a grand slam. how does she do that? try to take on rick perry. >> always good stuff, mark preston. don't miss monday night's republican party at p.m. eastern here on cnn. we'll be live from here in tampa, site of the 201 republican national convention, the debate monday night p.m. eastern only on cnn. there's been lots of buzz about the debate. i'm online and i've been getting lots of messages from you. connect with me on facebook on my blog keep them coming. what was it like on 9/11 for a child, from a child's perspective? president bush was speaking to danyelle green's class when the terror attacks occurred. you're going to hear from her next. ...60 calories. ya' know those jeans look nice. they do? yup.
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not too much, but the things i remember, we read and someone came in from the side door and told him something. then we continued to read. then his face got red and he looked stunned. and then as we finished reading, he was whispered something in the teacher's ear and he left. they showed us videos about the towers falling. >> but you didn't know. you said when you were in second grade, in elementary school and junior high school, you didn't realize how significant it was? >> not that much. i didn't realize till high school. like ninth grade, was a part of history. >> really? it started to sink in in ninth grade. what started to sink in? >> like about terrorism and like what actually happened and all of it. >> how are the other kids doing? does it affect, do you think you guys at all? obviously, not like the people who lost loved ones but does it hold a special meaning for all of you? >> uh-huh. i guess it brings us together because we did it as a group.
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it made us feel like, i don't know, closer in a way. it was happy for us but sad for others. >> what do you want people to know about being there on that day, witnessing the president, the expression on his face or the teacher trying to explain it to you and then the ten years that have passed since? what do you want the whole world to know about you kids and you? >> actually, what i really want is for like teachers to like even though they're in elementary school still talk about terrorism and what happens when it happens like i want them to actually teach the kids so they won't be like, oh, well i don't know what that is like we were when we were young. >> it has to make you feel sad when you think what it stands for. >> it made me feel sad. even though it was a good day for us because it was a great opportunity but for the other people who lost loved ones -- it was very sad. >> danyelle green. now 17 years old. new jersey dedicated its own
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remarkable memorial today on the banks of the hudson river. the empty sky memorial consists of twin calls etched with the names of the 746 people from new jersey who lost their lives on 9/11. the walls point toward lower manhattan and the skyline that once included the twin towers. governor chris christi spoke the an the dedication and vowed the garden state would never forget those lost on september 11th. a security alert forces an evacuation at dulles airport outside washington, d.c. and there are new worries now about another terror threat causes a security sweep in new york. you're looking at live pictures now coming on the 9/11 tenth anniversary. we'll have a live report after the break. also, floodwaters in pennsylvania are receding, but residents may not have the homes to return to. store, it's really not about you. they say, "well, if you want a firm bed you can lay on one of those, if you want a soft bed you can lay on one of those." we provide the exact individualization that your body needs.
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hi there. i'm susan hendricks at the cnn headquarters in atlanta. back to don if tampa in a moment. first a check of the top stories we're following. in new york, security is especially tight right now at ground zero ahead of sunday's tenth anniversary of 9/11. a short time ago, police performed a massive very public security sweep of the area. a site where the twin towers once stood will be formally dedicated as a memorial. police are on edge as you can imagine because intelligence out of pakistan suggests a terror threat could be in the works. in pennsylvania today, take a listen. all of the 40 names read including an unborn baby, a
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dedication ceremony in shanksville on the eve of the tenth anniversary of 9/11. former presidents george w. bush, bill clinton as well as vice president joe biden were there to honor the heroic actions of passengers and crew members aboard united airline flight 93. the marble wall is inscribed with the names of the 40 passengers and crew members who fought back, fought the hijackers and prevented the plane from reaching its target. president obama and the first lady visited arlington national cemetery to pay their condolences families mourning loved ones who served in the military and visited a section of the cemetery where soldiers who served in iraq and afghanistan are buried. the president has proclaimed this weekend as the national days of prayer and remembrance. obama is expected to attend memorial services in new york, washington, and pennsylvania. it has been a brutal year in texas. the state is experiencing its driest ten months since 1895. really, on the record books.
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and to make matters worse, firefighters say they spotted 24 new wildfires today. that's in addition to 179 wildfires that crews are battling this past week that have charred more than 170,000 acres and destroyed more than 1400 homes so far. the president declared an emergency in texas on friday. paving the way for federal aid. the floodwaters are beginning to recede in the state of pennsylvania, and in the northeast, which is much needed there. the evacuation offereds may soon be lifted. but the governor warns many families may have no place to go back to, their homes destroyed after flooding wiped out their families. more than 2,000 homes we're looking at. many neighborhoods are still underwater and more rain is in the forecast. the flooding from tropical storm lee killed at least nine people and forced the evacuation of 100,000 in central pennsylvania and upstate new york, as well. frightening moments on the fields today.
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university of minnesota minnesota football coach jiri hill suffered a seizure late in the game. after 15 minutes on the field, the coach was taken to a hospital where he is reported in stable condition. the team doctor says the coach's vital signs were normal and perhaps the heat combined with dehydration affected him bate. the see zur occurred as the team was driving from what would have been a tying touch down. this is the third time in his career that coach jerry kill has had a seizure on game day. we wish him well. now back to don in florida. don? >> susan, thank you very much. intelligence agencies investigate the latest terror threat. a report from washington is next. plus, vice president joe biden's criticism of waterboarding under his predecessor dick cheney's watch. it is a cnn exclusive right after the break. but first on this eve of the tenth anniversary of 9/11, our cnn hero is a new yorker who was deeply move by the outpouring of
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help his city received during the attacks. jeff parness established a non-profit that sends volunteers from new york to rebuild other disaster-stricken communities. take a look. >> september 11th was a very tough time for the fire department. guys i went to the academy with. afterwards, people came from everywhere to help us out. it was incredible. you knew you weren't alone. >> thank you guys. >> for a new yorker to see that outpouring of kindness and generosity was more powerful than the terror that happened. that really changed me. i'm jeff parness and i just want to show the world that new yorkers will never forget what people did for us following 9/11. every year on the 9/11 anniversary, we take volunteers from new york and send them to some part of the country where they had a disaster and help folks rebuild. >> nice to meet you. >> the tallest thing in the town is a grain silo, it's definitely a little bit of a culture shock. >> rebuilding homes or barns or churches is our way of saying thank you.
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now more than half our volunteers are not from new york. people from all the small towns that we've helped keep showing up to help the next community. they're from louisiana and california and indiana and illinois. every year he see more t-shirts from more locations. >> after katrina we jumped on his bandwagon. this paying it forward is could be teenage jus. >> like this can dysfunctional family reunion of disaster survivors. >> it's the relationships that help you heal. >> it's about using the 9/11 anniversary to celebrate the volunteer spirit. >> we'll see you all next year. >> people say thank you for doing this. i said you want to thank me? show up on the next one. >> so, ah, your seat good?
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got the mirrors all adjusted? you can see everything ok? just stay off the freeways, all right? i don't want you going out on those yet. and leave your phone in your purse, i don't want you texting. >> daddy... ok! ok, here you go. be careful. >> thanks dad. >> and call me--but not while you're driving. we knew this day was coming. that's why we bought a subaru. if by blessed you mean freaked out about money. well, we suddenly noticed that everything was getting more expensive, so we switched to the bargain detergent, but i found myself using three times more than you're supposed to and the clothes still weren't as clean as with tide. so we're back to tide. they're cuter in clean clothes. [ laughs ] thanks, honey. yeah. you suck at folding. [ laughs ] that's my tide. what's yours? [ female announcer ] find the tide that's right for you at
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vice president joe biden was in shanksville, pennsylvania, today for the dedication of a memorial to the passengers and crew of united airlines flight 93. he praised the courage of those on the plane who fought the hijackers causing the plane to crash before reaching its target.
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he also talked with cnn's john king about the current threat against the u.s. and said he couldn't rule out any other attack in the future. >> we're having a conversation at a time when the country is dealing with what we are told is a specific and credible terrorist threat. what more do we know after the initial intelligence? >> we haven't been able to confirm what was credible information we got. we've already were beefing up for the tenth anniversary. when we took out bin laden and got information out of his compound that his intention was encouraging his followers to do this. and then we didn't hear a thing until several days ago, and there came credible information stream. >> any evidence the guys in that stream have entered the united states? >> i -- i'm not going to comment on that. >> why? >> we have not been able to confirm the credible evidence we received. >> i want to read you something you said.
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senator joe biden said on september 12th it, your first speech after the terrorist attacks i see in in this tragedy the beginning of the end of organized legitimized terrorist activities. >> i believed that then and i think we are getting close. we have done great damage to the most unified and lethal organization al qaeda. they are less coordinated. they are less capable and we're relentless in pursuing them. >> enhanced interrogation tactics and waterboarding, the former vice president talking in the contempt of this specific threat we're worried about today, he says if you were still using those tactics, maybe there would be a detainee somewhere where you get this intelligence out of pakistan, you use those tactics you might have more information. >> i've been engaged in this for 36 years. the chairman of the foreign relations committee, member of the intelligence committee, vice president of the united states involved in this issue. i've seen zero evidence that it works. and i think there's abundant evidence that it hurts us
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internationally and hurts our security by making a mockery who we say we are and giving rationale for those who want to do us harm to recruit people. i would argue the opposite. >> i think a question a lot of americans will ask on the tenth anniversary is, am i safer? >> yes, you are safer. we have made a real dent in al qaeda. they're less capable. we have much more coordination with our international partners. we have much more coordination between the fbi and our local law enforcement, homeland security has made considerable investments to make our airports and the rest safer. but look, john, there is always the possibility of a lone wolf. there's always a possibility of an incident occurring. but i do not believe there's anyone right now the capable of putting together the kind of extremely complicated planned operation that took place on 9/11. >> and you can see the rest of john's interview with the vice president on monday's "john
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king, usa" at 7:00 eastern only here on cnn. talk show host and author tavis smiley is next with an important new report on education and a staggering dropout rate among african-american males. we're back in two minutes. how 'bout we start with the guaranteed low price on the carpet... the pad, and installation. let's get peace of mind for a lifetime. it all adds up to better carpet at a better price and a great-looking room, transformed. more saving. more doing. that's the power of the home depot. get 12 months special financing on carpet purchases when you use your home depot credit card. get 12 months special financing on carpet purchases wso to save money, i trained my dog and this cockatoo to play all the hits of the '80's woman: hit it, mr. butters. ♪ ♪ take on me... ♪ ....take on me ♪ take me on...
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in tonight's what matters our partnership with "essence" magazine we focus on one of america's long-time challenges
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that seems to be getting worse especially in this tough economy. the apply the of young african-american males who drop out of school and get into a life of crime and eventually prison. this tuesday night at 8:00 p.m., pbs looks at the problem with a special tavis smiley reports called "too important to fail." tavis smiley joins me now from new york. thank you so much for joining us. you get right to the source and ask young black men about why they didn't stay in school. >> so help me understand that. i think i get that we understand it. it was interesting but you weren't paying attention so why not -- if it's interesting, why not pay attention. >> because i grew up like when i was , my sister got killed in front of me. being suspended, kicked out and sent back home and stuff like that. >> so tavis, listen, there's no question these young men experience what no child should have to experience or live through. but you know, tavis, many like them get beyond it. did you learn specifically about
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why these teens end up on the wrong path? >> in short because they are a disposable generation. too often young black boys in this country, don, as you well know having done this work for years, too often they're rendered invisible and disposable unless and until they get caught up in a flash mob in philadelphia or some other major american city. then all of a sudden, when they're in trouble, we want to pay attention to them. we either pay on the front side of this country or the back end. i'm suggesting in the special we've got to pay more attention on the front end to the lives of these young boys who are rendered invisible in this country. i live in l.a. and work in l.a. but i'm in new york to participate in a number of activities. it seems the best we can ever do for any slain american or americans is to do our part to make america a better nation, to make america a country as good as it's promised, politically,
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socially, economically and culturally. i suspect if you were to talk to those folk who perished on that day, tomorrow, ten years ago here in new york city, most of them i'm sure would tell you that education for them was the great equalizer. they were allowed to work in this historicster in part because education gave them an opportunity. for all americans regardless of race, color or creed, education has to be the great equalizer. we can't leave complete groups of persons behind in america. >> yeah, and i'm glad you mentioned why you're in new york. you got ahead of me. thanks for mentioning that. i think that people categorize this problem like poverty overall. you keep fighting but there's no real solution. after you're reporting, is there a way you see we can increase the number of black male high school graduates? >> well, the good news is again, you've reported on this before. there are all kinds of examples that work in this country.
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the promise academies in philadelphia. urban prep in chicago. there's a wonderful program for young men who are incarcerated in alameda county in oakland. i went to l.a. and oakland and philly and chicago not just to look at the problem but to consider some solutions so clearly there are things that work. but so often in this country, we look right past good ideas because we're so aware to political ideology and own the focus our time trying to replicate and scale up those things that work. clearly on tuesday on pbs, we're going to talk about the challenges, about the crisis. i would never do work without pointing us to some solutions. we can arrest this development like anything else in america, what are our priorities? how much does it matter to us? >> yeah, i think you're reading my mind, tavis. i was going to say there are a number of solutions. i looked at the video. i saw urban prep academy, a great example especially with a
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number of young men they have graduating high school and going to great colleges at that. people are going to say, why focus on young black men? why not do just young black people? that's a very good question. the cooperation for public broadcasting cpb which funds much of the work that pbs and npr do, funded by cpb for the next couple years are engaged in a program called the american graduate program. on public television and radio for the next two or three years, you'll see a concentrated effort targeting how we turn around the education process in this country. so this for me is one of a number of primetime specials we're going to be doing on pbs. the first one happens to focus on the crisis of young black boys. your question is prescient and brilliant. at the end of the day, these are our children and the price, the cost that we pay in this country long-term for ignoring wholesale groups of people even young black boys is the price we
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really don't want to pay. we talk about what the cost to this society are when we ignore, again, large sectors of our society here again, we can't do that if we think america is going to ever close the gap between the have gots and the have nots in this country. if america is going to be a great nation again, we have to make sure that nobody literally gets left behind. too many folk are being left behind and the group being left the farthest behind are young black boys. imagine the irony of us celebrating you're a black man, i'm a black man, surprise, surprise. we celebrity the election of the first african-american president of these united states and at that very moment, black folk are falling deeper into poverty, farther behind in education. that irony is not lost on me and i'm not going to stand by and let history regard our generation as having done nothing about this issue while we celebrate a black plan in the white house but black people by and large are catching hell. >> hey, tavis, thank you.
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you do this every night. i'm up against the clock here. we deal in time. give us a website before we run. >> smiley. >> all right, thank you very much. 8:00 p.m. on tuesday. pbs. it's a special tavis smiley report called "too important to fail." thank you for your time, sir and coming up, libya's opposition firefighters go after one of gadhafi's last strongholds but face resistance. your top stories straight ahead. [ angela ] endless shrimp is our most popular promotion at red lobster. there's so many choices. the guests come in and they're like yeah i want to try this shrimp and i want to try this kind and this kind. they wait for this all year long. [ male announcer ] it's endless shrimp today at red lobster. your favorite shrimp entrees, like garlic shrimp scampi or new sweet and spicy shrimp. as much as you like any way you like for just $15.99. [ trapp ] creating an experience instead of just a meal
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