tv At This Hour With Berman and Bolduan CNN September 25, 2015 8:00am-9:01am PDT
pope-related resignation of the top of the pinnacle of power in the united states congress. ist been a remarkable and dramatic day. and there is only more to come. >> we'll be back with a lot more. in the meantime, let's go to anderson and chris. >> wolf, christiane, thanks very much. we're here at ground zero. and the pope is set to be on his way here for what promises to be an extraordinary morning here in lower manhattan. >> and also we're dealing with speaker boehner stepping down. not just as speaker but saying he's going to resign his position in congress. his timing is curious, the role with the pope being so strong and what it will mean in the timing of the budget process. why now, is the big question. we're getting some answers, but plenty to look into. >> let's talk to our kevin madden, joining us along with gloria boring ger, michelle kosinski. kevin, what do you make of this? >> a lot of people are pointing to john boehner's emotional
response while the pope was speaking yesterday, creation the throng out on the west front of the capitol yesterday. and if anybody who's worked with john boehner would be able to tell you that john boehner is an emotional guy is not news. he is somebody who wears his heart on his sleeve. he's somebody who treats staff like family. and is also somebody who's a very committed catholic. seeing all of that really didn't -- i didn't think it was much news. what i did find was news is when john boehner was asked about the historical significance of that moment and saying that this topped all other days that he'd ever had working in the congress. this is somebody who's been there since probably the early '80s. that, i think, had a tremendous -- that made me stop and think. and then when you hear this news today, you recognized the profound impact of the pope addressing the congress had on john boehner. he is at his core an institutionalist. by that, he cares more about the
institution of congress than he does about party. and i think his -- this decision today is a reflection of just how important he thinks it is for the institution to move on and to have new leadership. >> but it's interesting time, though, anderson, because if he's such a devoted catholic, nobody questions that, he he has a pope in the country whose signature phrase is, get busy, mix it up, don't be fatigued in the search for progress. at the same time that message is coming, he's stepping aside. it has to be more than just about what's going on with his faith. somebody something to do with the pragmatism of the political situation in his party. >> also, kevin,ist one thing to step down as speaker. it's another thing to leave all together. >> yeah, it's true. but once you're a speaker, i think, the role of that -- of that job, which is to listen to everybody in the conference, to work both sides, to bring both together, to build the coalitions you need, to get things done, it's very hard to go back to being -- to being a
rank and file member. and i think that would -- could very well serve as a distraction, having a former speaker, just another member of the conference. so, i think this is an effort by john, again, to do everything he can to help not -- to help the conference move forward, but to also help the institution move forward with new leadership. and i think that is an indication of just how strongly he believes in the institution. >> dana bash, everyone saying they're surprised here, the timing is a big deal, what it means in terms of moving forward with the budget process. what are you hearing from people in terms of how much of a surprise this is and what the motivations are? >> of course, that's the answer. not so much about the fact that john boehner was ready to leave, because that's been quite apparent for some time, just for those of us who cover him and especially those who are very close to him, that it has been more and more difficult to kind of rein in the unruely caucus
and also he didn't plan to stay very long. but the fact that he did it so abruptly and nobody from my reporting had a heads up, even those who are closest to him in the house leadership, until really shortly before, really tells you how quick this decision was. and i can tell you, according to somebody very close to john boehner, he didn't make the decision until last night, in part because he was swept up in what happens with the pope. his day with the pope, the fact that it was two decades in the making on his personal behalf, as somebody who grew up as a devout catholic, who was trying to use his position as speaker and a member of congress to make this historic event that happened, that happened yesterday, come to fruition. i'm told he made a final decision last night, he slept on it and he didn't even tell his staff. people who have been working for him for years and years and years until this morning.
so the answer is, yes, it was very surprising. just down the hall from where i am right now, there was a regular meeting of house republicans, where they were going over the legislative activity that was coming up. that is when, after he talked about the legislative schedule, after that, it seemed very monday dangerous he dropped the bomb, saying he was going to not only leave, but leave at the end of october. so, in one month. and i'm told that, chris, you'll appreciate this, after he discussed the fact that he had only planned to stay for two terms, but he decided to stay longer after his deputy, eric cantor, was defeated by a fellow republican to the right, he decided to stay a bit longer. i'm told after that, he recited the prayer of st. francis. and that is something that made a lot of people, i'm told, in the room, as you can imagine, get quite emotional, not the least of which was john boehner himself.
>> i know we just got sound in, dana, to stand by from nancy pelosi. let's listen to what she had to say and then we'll talk about it with dana. >> our speaker announcing his resignation. that resignation of the speaker is a stark indication of the disarray of the house of republicans. a demonstration was their obsession with shutting down government at the expense of women's health and a sign of the failure of the house of republicans to be willing to engage in dialogue for the good of the american people and for us to move forward. >> kind of an oblique defense of john boehner there by implication of attacking what she would see as an unreasonable aspect of his own party. you know, i expected something different. >> i did as well. >> you know, as you well know, the political relationship and the personal relationship is
often very different. that is certainly the case between pelosi and boehner. they are at odds, you know, to say the least politically, not so much personally. so, dana, to you, pelosi took that as an opportunity to talk about the politics going on and maybe that may well be a motivation for the speaker to step down, but what will this mean now going forward? >> well, first off, let me speak to what you were just talking about with regard to john boehner and nancy pelosi, who have been kind of the co-leaders of the house for, what, about ten years now. they -- if you look at the history of how leaders interact across the aisle, they have not had the warmest and fuzziest of relationships. you know, it has historically been kind of common place for even those who very much disagree to have regular meetings, even if it's just to kind of get a sense of the schedule. they did not historically do that at all. they didn't have regular
meetings. they didn't have meetings very often. i think they certainly had and have a respect for one another, but they don't have the kind of personal relationship that you would expect them to have. having said that, what is interesting is that over the last six months or so, they have had more of one. in fact, they made a deal just about six months ago on something that was very significant to kind of fix a major problem with the medicare system with regard to how doctors are paid or not paid. and they did it the old fashioned way. they did it with john boehner and nancy pelosi, talking one-on-one, their staffs talking one-on-one. it was a major bipartisan deal. the way it used to work around here, chris. and so that was maybe an indication that john boehner had sort of had enough of his right flank, those who had been giving him so much of a problem, made it almost impossible for him to lead around here.
and maybe an indication that he was trying to kind of get the power back and do what is in his heart, and i know kevin madden has been talking about this because he worked for some time for john boehner, he is at his heart a legislator, a deal-maker. he worked with ted kennedy on education reform. but it is impossible to do that in this day and age with the environment, not just in washington, but with the republican rank and file. >> all right, dana, thank you for that. we'll come back to you. right now on your screen, you'll see live picture of pope francis coming where we are, anderson cooper and i, ground zero. he'll be met with cardinal dolan, archbishop of new york, the gentleman on his left. they are going to get into a car, we're told, so they can travel around this very large plaza, go to both reflecting pools, those, of course, are the original sites of the world trade center, the twin towers. and they're going to pray at each. there are certain steps of the ceremony here that will culminate in pope francis giving his message of what this place
means to him and what he thinks it should be used as in terms of motivation for everyone else. anderson, that will come after he meets with some of the families of those who lost loved ones. >> from our vantage point now, overlooking the south reflecting pool, we can see there are a number of people, probably 100 to 200, perhaps, people. we know he's going to be meeting with family members, also first responders who worked on the site. they are going to be meeting with pope francis. there will be time for pope francis to talk with them, to hear from them, to hear their stories, to hear about their loved ones who lost their lives here. and then there's going to be an interfaith prayer service inside below ground zero, underground, which should be one of the, sort of emotional high points. that is obviously something we'll bring to you as well. >> i think you're touching on something that's going to matter most this morning.
this, we're talking about john boehner, talking about pope francis, he's a very emotional man, connects deeply with those who have lost, the disenfranchised and he's going to meet a set of families here who have really lost everything. and in the most dramatic way that they did. so, it will be very interesting to see how the pope processes talking to these families that we see beneath, the people who are surrounding the reflecting pool, a very unfortunate distinction is to get in today the way they have and be situated the way they are. you are someone connected to the loss of 9/11. that's who was invited to that proximity. so, after he meets with them, it will be interesting to see how pope francis communicates what he's feeling and the message he conveys to the rest of the world. >> this is obviously something he has been looking forward to throughout his trip here. meeting with the family members and having some time to absorb the full impact of what occurred
here on september 11th. there are now -- you can hear some applause and cheers going up from the crowd who have assembled here. they have been coming here for several hours, going through security. >> watch him as he moves around. you see a more solemn face on the pope francis. as we've been reminding, if you watch him move and he seems as though he's limping, it is because he is. but it's not anything serious to worry about. the vatican has confirmed the pope has, for a very special man, he has a very common malady, he has sciatica, which is a nerve impingement that goes down his leg, makes him limp slightly. it acted up in cuba. they say he's fine and he has incredible energy for how much he's undertaken on this trip. >> let's listen in as family members and first responders greet the pontiff.
left of pope francis. obviously, that is the pope's interpreter, who is helping him communicate with the family members. >> pope francis was supposed to take to a cart to help him move around. it shows that his resolve to respect the dignity of this occasion and of this place and of these people that he has continued to stay on foot. he prayed for a long time. you know, anderson, he has not been anywhere like this. there is no other place like this. and he will be nowhere else on this trip, and maybe anywhere in the world, that has this kind of significance. to stand at that reflecting pool, as you and i have many times, to look down and remember what was there. up until now, this has been a tour of celebration for pope francis, but now he is dealing with one of the darkest moments in american history, at least, and it will be very interesting to see how he processes it. it was so important for him to meet with the families. they were added to this. he wanted to make sure he met with them before he did any
speaking. that it was certainly to be their occasion to be respected. we did see a little bit of the influence of francisco. you and i have been here many times. you've covered this for a long time, to hear cheers here is a very rare occasion. but we've heard them for francesco. >> we're also joined by cnn religious analyst, father robert beck. there was a moment when pope francis was praying at the south reflective pool, from our vantage point, there was something so stark about the giant -- the size of this giant reflecting pool and one lone man in white standing at its corner in silent prayer. >> anderson, i'm wondering if we're not going to hear him make mention of that pool, because, you know, water has great symbolism, especially in the christian tradition. it is a sign of rebirth and new life. and so as he stands there at this pit of death, i'm wondering if he will also say that there's remembrance here and hope in this place of death and despair. i'm also very interested to see
the interreligious dialogue and this prayer that takes place. remember, we're in a debate in this country about fundamentalism, about the muslim tradition. and in some ways, i think here we are going to talk about how do faiths need to come together. and he is going to stand there with an imam and rabbi. this pope had a delegation that traveled for the first time to the holy land. he brought an imam and rabbi with him. that's never been done before. again, we have this entinterfai dialogue and prayer with this pope. >> and you see one by one family members coming up, having some time, no doubt, telling pope francis about their child or their brother or sister or husband or wife, showing -- in this case, showing a photo of
somebody who was killed here on september 11th. want to bring in a vatican reporter for le republica. you have followed pope francis throughout his time as pope. what do you make of what you are seeing here at ground zero? >> i'm remembering also pope benedict came here, but over these years, there has been now a new threat on the international scene. there's no more al qaeda. it is the isis. during his speech, to the u.n. assembly, the pope made a very clear reference to the atrocities of isis against ethnic and religious minorities. and he has asked a joint of the international community. this is very important, because
the pope has said that it is negative if only there is an intervention of one nation, which is not coordinated with the other members of the international community. so, in this speech he gave the indication that it is a necessity, top members of the u.n. organization really join in stopping, preventing and fighting the isis terrorism, which is a great danger today in the middle east and also in part of africa. >> marco, let me ask you something. it's very important to francis on this trip to meet with people, especially the less fortunate. he's meeting now with a very special group of people to america. these are the families of the victims of 9/11. knowing this pope the way you do in covering him, how do you think it will affect him? what do you think he will take from meeting him? how do you think he will use it in his message here today at ground zero? >> for him, it is always
important to meet real people. also in his speech to the u.n., he was just saying to the politicians, never forget that you have to deal with real suffering, with real lives. so, in this moment when he speaks to these victims of september 11th, for him it is a very important moment because he really doesn't want to make up speeches or nice ceremonies. he is always searching the personal contact with people, with their lives, with their wounds, their problems, with their tragedies. certainly, being at this site of ground zero will enforce his will to be the voice of conscience on the international level to fight terrorism and fundamentalalism or all over the world with joint effort of everybody.
>> we're joined also by bruce, biblical scholar. i think it's so important for so many family members that their loved ones be remembered, their names be remembered and talked about. and i think clearly we saw family members talking to this pontiff, telling him the names of their loved ones who are no longer with us, showing him, at least in one case, showing him what we saw to be a photograph of a loved one. >> well, 9/11 has come to mean so many different things, but for those of us who live in new york, it's very personal. almost everybody knows somebody who lost a family member. and part of what it means to be alive is to tell your story and to have him interested in hearing those particular stories is very meaningful. to kind of move to the larger point, i think it's worth remembering the first pope who came to the united states was pope vi. it was 50 years ago this week, and that was in the middle of
vatican ii. the most contention within vatican ii conference was the discussion of inter-religious dialogue and co-existence. there was a big force that was against the catholic church opening its arms to others. but in the end, in part because of paul vi's personal intervention, the vatican ii became the symbol of conversation. i bring that up for those people who feel despair among the relationship define jews, christians and muslims and who choose to focus on terrorism and the negativity, which is quite real, we have seen dramatic change in the relationship between christians and jews, change is possible. >> right. bruce, that's a strong point. but father beck, let me bring you in on this.
yes, everything bruce said matters so much in terms of why pope francis has come here, his message of tolerance is absolutely true. however, context often compromises a message. and, yes, there's a temptation when people talk about 9/11 to want to find some positive resolution in it, that we need to seek peace, but that is not an easy thing to say for those who suffered through this event. 9/11 for many is still an unrighted wrong. their families were lost and they believe that that which is responsible is still very much out there. and the idea of seeking peace to many is unsettling. how do you think the pope navigates that, tries to talk about peace in a place that is still very raw for people, no matter what is built on top of it? >> i think, chris, he does it within the context of his christianity. that passion and death leads to resurrection. that's the fundamental mystery. and i think he'll point to suffering is not the final word. that there's hope and remembrance of love here that
has risen from these ashes. and he will focus on that. >> meeting with some dignitaries, charles schumer, who we talked to last night, who was also at st. patrick's. we should point out before meeting with dignitaries, he was meeting with some other family members. some was unplanned. some family members were preselected but some was also impromptu, meeting with more families who are at the site. we should point out, there are several -- maybe 100 to 200 or so people who have not met with pope francis, but who are around the south reflecting pool, just wanted to be here and lucky enough to be able to be here on this day, to get a glimpse of the pontiff. >> remember, if you're that close to the reflecting pool, it is an unfortunate distinction to have, because the way this was planned out, they had people who were attached to the victims come to be closest to the reflecting pool for obvious
reasons. those are the sites of where the towers were. this was very controversial when they were deciding. aren't s anderson, you know of your great coverage of the day, what to do with this space. and the families were very divided over it. when they came up with the compromise of the reflecting pool, the metaphor value was this would be an eternal waterfall that would come into this pool. it's regenerating of itself. of course, it pointed to what father beck was talking about earlier, about the idea of water being eternal and replenishing. but this is such an important place for so many people and to have pope francis here will mean a lot, that he gave this priority. >> and the interfaith service that we have been talking about, that's going to be in foundation hall, which is underground. it's an extraordinary setting. we actually see one of the foundation walls, which is still in place. so, that will be something. obviously, we will be bringing it to you live.
he'll also be at the museum. he's moving indoors, it looks like right now, but he'll be shortly headed toward foundation hall. >> it was interesting, anderson, in the speech to congress he brought up fundamentalism, religious fundamentalism. he says every religion has fundamentalists and it's never wrong and never black and white. it's never that simple. don't demonize people because of their religion but there's a danger to fundamentalism. here we see the evidence of that danger right behind us. and he wants to move to something else for all traditions. >> bruce, this day for pope francis, it's an extraordinarily busy day. a major speech like that at the united nations. that's enough for one 78-year-old man on any day. now this event and this service here at ground zero. he's also going to be holding a mass in madison square garden. he's also going to be visiting a school in east harlem.
and as well going through central park to -- which is a ticketed event. people will be -- thousands of people will be in the park there to see him. it's an incredibly busy day for this man. >> as we've seen as the week has unfolded, there seems to be a thematic unfolding we're witnessing as well. sort of be one was sort of coming to america and being welcomed here. be two, if you will, was the sort of political official washington part that was -- that ceremony at the white house and spectacular speech before congress. today the envelope opens even wider, right, so that we have sort of international interfaith day with these big, symbolic events of the morning, followed by these sort of classic new york moments where he's going to, as you said, visit the poor, drive through central park and then go to madison square garden. kind of a big part of new york
to have mass. >> you know, we've been talking, bruce, about the impact that francis has everywhere he goes. and i think whatever the grandest expectations were, he has exceeded them already. but i have to tell you, all of us are connected to people who live here and grew up here to what happened on 9/11 through people who are no longer with us. and there are a number of people whom i know who are coming down here today because pope francis is here. and they haven't been here in a long time. that this could mean more than just a step for francis in his understanding of new york and america. that for so many of the families who are involved here, anderson, this is a moment for them that pope francis of the holiest of people is in the place where they saw the most evil in their lives. >> we're going to take a short break. pope francis has moved indoors. it's going to be a few minutes before we see him again. there's that interfaith service. we'll take a short break. our coverage continues in just a moment.
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here in lower manhattan. i'm here with chris cuomo, as well as father edward beck, bruce, as well as others. you're looking at foundation hall. this is the site of where an interfaith prayer service is going to be taking place. just to give you a sense of what you're going to be seeing over the next 30 or 40 minutes or so, the pope will come into foundation hall. there will be a prayer of remembrance. then there's going to be prayers for peace by -- there will be a hindu prayer, a buddhist prayer, christian prayer, muslim prayer, a prayer in the honor of the deceased. you will hear some thoughts from pope francis himself. a chorus, the young people's chorus of new york city will sing "let there be peace on earth," and that will end the multireligious event. >> this may be the most powerful image that pope francis will behold certainly thus far on his trip.
that wall you see on your screen right now, it has the metal fittings on it. it's at the back of the stage. that was not built for this memorial. that is part of the original foundation of the twin towers. it is what was holding back the waters of the hudson in this part of manhattan, what they used to call the battery area where the world trade center is, where wall street is. was largely added to the island of manhattan. because of that they had to put in these deep foundational walls. that wall weeps, it looks. there's a debate as to whether or not architecturally that was structural or not, but i tell you, it's a powerful image to see the water trickle down that wall, how people look at it and the reverence it commands of people. it will be interesting to see pope francis, who's right in front of it now, how that wall affects him, what it means, because the people in that audience right now, anderson, that wall means very much to them. >> let's listen -- let's take you into foundation hall. ♪
communities of new york city our civic and public officials and the board of the september 11th memorial foundation, i renew to you our welcome and our joy at your visit. welcome, holy father. now, i can tell you, we in new york are sinners. we are sinners. we have many flaws. we make many mistakes. but one of the things we do very well is sincere and fruitful inter-religious friendship. our ancestors came here for religious freedom, and they found in new york city an
atmosphere of respect and appreciation for religious diversity. about which you just spoke at the united nations. we, who have the honor of pastoring our people, we work together, we pray together, we meet together, we talk to one another, and we try to serve as one the city we are proud to call our earthly home, while awaiting our true and eternal residence in heaven. so very often do we recall the faith of the psalmist, god is in the midst of the city. and your prayer and your presence and your words this morning inspire us. so, thank you for being here. [ applause ]
>> you may be seated. >> in this place where horrendous violence was committed falsely in the name of god, we representatives of the world religions in this great city of new york, gather to offer words of comfort and prayer. with love and affection, we recall the victims of the 9/11 attacks. we pray that their souls, and the soul of all those first
spo responders are forever remembered for an eternal blessing. today and every day may we understand our shared mission to be in the words of pope francis, a field hospital after battle, to heal the wounds and warm the hearts of a humanity in so desperate need of comfort. intolerance and ignorance fueled those who attacked this place. the courage of today's gathering distinguishes us from the opponents of religious freedom as we stand together as brothers and sisters to condemn their horrific acts of violence and honor each life that was lost unconditionally, as we read in the koran that one life lost is like all mankind and one life saved is like all mankind. to god all life is sacred and precious. where others fail, let us be the peaceful reminders of that notion to his creation. >> the book of psalms teaches us
that we should all love peace and we should pursue peace. let us honor those killed in this place by becoming, in the words of st. francis, instruments of peace. where there is hatred, let us sow love. where there is injury, pardon. where there is doubt, faith. where there is despair, hope. where there is darkness, light. and where there is sadness, joy. >> men and women from all walks of life ran to this place in hopes of saving lives. the sole intent of those first responders was the protection of others, regardless of the cost to them as individuals. as the worst of humanity sought to take life, they exemplified the best of humanity through their selflessness, willing to give their entire life in hopes of saving another. their story is one that each of us should carry forward with us,
both in thought and in action, as we move forward from this place. the koran declares that "allah is with those who are righteous and those who do good." let us embody their unconditional love, their continued strength, their unwavering hope, and their pursuit of good, as we seek to build a much needed peace. >> so, let us learn to share this big apple we all call home in all of its diversity and all of its flavor. through friendship and dialogue, may the timbre a tonality of each of our faith traditions be heard in the great symphony of our city and nation. let us celebrate, affirm and build on our shared commitment to inter-religious dialogue. in the words of pope francis,
may we respect and love one another as brothers and sisters. may we learn to understand the sufferings of others. may we live to see the day, as envisioned by the prophet micah, everyone will sit under their own vine and under their own fig tree and no one shall make them afraid, for the lord almighty has spoken. >> the koran states, o mankind, we have created you from a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes so is that you might know one another. we have gathered here today as men and women who seek to meet ignorance with understanding. through our knowing of each other today, let us move beyond a mere toleration of our differences and work towards a much-needed celebration of them. let us be bold enough to build partnerships with new friends and allies and together be the reason that people have hope in
violence and pain. we ask you in your goodness to give eternal light and peace to all who died here, the heroic first responders, our firefighters, police officers, emergency service workers and port authority personnel, along with all the innocent men and women who were victims of this tragedy simply because their work or service brought them here on september 11th. we ask you, in your compassion,
to bring healing to those who because of their presence here 14 years ago, continue to suffer from injuries and illness. heal, too, the pain of still-grieving families and all who lost loved ones in this tragedy. give them strength to continue their lives with courage and hope. we are mindful as well of those who suffered death, injury and loss on the same day at the pentagon and in shanksville, pennsylvania.
our hearts are one with theirs as our prayer embraces their pain and suffering. god of peace, bring your peace to our violent world, peace in the hearts of all men and women, and peace among the nations of the earth. turn to your way of love those whose hearts and minds are consumed with hatred and who justify killing in the name of religion. god of understanding, overwhelmed by the magnitude of this tragedy, we seek your light
and guidance as we confront such terrible events. grant that those whose lives were spared may live so that the lives lost here may not have been lost in vain. comfort and console us, strengthen us in hope, and give us the wisdom and courage to work tirelessly for a world where true peace and love reign among nations and in the hearts of all. >> ladies and gentlemen, kindly take your seats.
blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see god. blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of god. blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. >> o allah!