CNN INSIDE POLITICS
Oklahoma Recovery Effort Suspended; Bush Arrives in Italy; Interview with Tom Ridge
Aired May 27, 2002 - 1600 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Judy Woodruff in Washington, Memorial Day 2002. Americans at home and abroad remember those who died for freedom.
JEFF FLOCK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Jeff Flock in Oklahoma, where the recovery effort has been suspended at this hour after yesterday's bridge collapse.
JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Jill Dougherty in Rome, where President Bush arrived Monday after an emotional day on the beaches of Normandy.
WOODRUFF: Also ahead, protecting the nation in a time of war. I'll go "On the Record" with Tom Ridge, the director of homeland security.
Thank you for joining us. For most Americans, this Memorial Day has been about much more than just holiday cook-outs and summer vacations. Instead, the focus has been on the men and women of the U.S. armed forces -- those who served and those now on active duty.
For the next hour, we will have complete coverage of Memorial Day ceremonies here in Washington, across the country and around the globe. We'll also consider this holiday in light of more recent events, including the attacks on September 11th and the ongoing war on terrorism.
Before we turn to Memorial Day events, there are new developments to report on that Oklahoma bridge collapse. Five people survived the accident, but investigators fear the death toll could reach a dozen. More than 10 vehicles plunged 60 feet into the Arkansas River when a barge collided with the I-40 bridge Sunday morning.
For the latest, let's turn back to CNN's Jeff Flock, who is near the scene -- Jeff.
FLOCK: Indeed, Judy. A flat-out nasty Memorial Day here in Oklahoma. And the headline today is that now, partly because of this weather -- we just had a big lightning strike out here -- the recovery effort has been suspended. That, as of about an hour or so ago. They pulled the divers out of the water, partly because of that lightning.
Also, they've had some problems with the recovery. And we'll tell you about that in a moment. But first, I want to take you out. This is Route 100 behind me. This is one of the routes that is the detour.
As you know, Interstate 40, a very, very heavily traveled road, about 20,000 cars go over that bridge that collapsed yesterday every day. And now of course, that traffic all needing to be rerouted around it.
Now, let's take you out to the scene. We are some ways away from that bridge right now because they don't want folks too close. But if you see some of the pool video out at the scene right now, you perhaps get a sense of what it looks like.
Both ends of that bridge, still collapsed down, one of them resting on that barge. And here is the problem that they say they are now in the middle of. Apparently they pulled out one additional car today, a Dodge. It had one female victim in it, bringing to four the number of both cars and vehicles that have been pulled out of the water.
When they pulled that out, they found something or -- it left something of a void. And a lot of debris collapsed into that. Rebar collapsed into that. And one of the sections of the bridge is there and they believe it is covering additional vehicles and probably additional victims.
So at this hour, Judy, it's impossible to say the number with any certainty of how many vehicles or victims remain at the bottom of the Arkansas River. They do say, however, they've brought in side- scanning sonar to try and begin to map the bottom of the river. And then they're going to bring in some additional cranes, hope to pick up that piece of the roadway and eventually then begin to get down to the victims.
As you see -- I don't know if you saw that or not -- that appeared to be another lightning strike off there. So right now, all of that suspended while the weather clears. That's the latest from here. Judy, back to you.
WOODRUFF: Jeff, we want you to stay safe and away from that lightning, of course. But what about the pilot of the tugboat, the boat that was pushing those barges? What do they know about him at this point?
FLOCK: He is an experienced tugboat captain, between 25 and 30 years of experience. There is a report today -- although I've not been able to confirm it -- that he has not only taken drug and alcohol testing, but has passed that, and did not have any drugs or alcohol in his system. Again, that is unconfirmed.
The initial report, of course, was that he had had some sort of a seizure or collapse. One other piece of information, again, a published report that the boat in question had some steering problems at previous times, and it was involved in two other accidents on other rivers.
That's as much as we know at this hour. Judy, back to you.
WOODRUFF: All right, Jeff Flock, who is joining us from Oklahoma. Thank you, Jeff.
As we monitor the recovery efforts under way there in Oklahoma this Memorial Day, we can report that the nation's highways are busy. An estimated 35 million Americans were expected to drive at least 50 miles from home over the holiday weekend.
And as the summer travel season begins, the airlines are hoping travelers return to the skies as well. CNN's Patty Davis has more on that.
PATTY DAVIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's a summer ritual: vacation. But this year, Christie Stallard, her 5-year-old son and her boyfriend, have chosen not to fly from Washington, D.C. to Connecticut. They are making the five to six-hour trek by car instead.
CHRISTIE STALLARD, DRIVING NOT FLYING: Drive versus fly. For me, it's the convenience of driving, putting all of the stuff into the car. And the hassle of going to the airport, waiting in lines, packing your stuff and checking it all.
DAVIS: Those who do choose to fly this summer are likely to see delays.
I think the word for the summer is "delay." And what we're telling our passengers is prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
DAVIS: While the number of passengers is still 10 percent below pre-September 11th levels, the FAA says the number of flights has rebounded.
JANE GARVEY, FAA ADMINISTRATOR: Some of the busier hubs like Chicago and Dallas, we're seeing, Atlanta, we're seeing at certain times of the day, certain days of the week, the numbers are even higher than last year's.
DAVIS: Longer lines and longer waits are predicted at airports.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have your tickets ready, please. Right this way.
DAVIS: As new federal screeners take over and have to learn the ropes.
DAVID STEMPLER, AIR TRAVELERS ASSN.: Some of these people have got to be trained and they're new at their job. And I think that's going to be the cause of delay. So it's going to be like two steps forward and one step back.
DAVIS: CNN has learned that the airlines knew as far back as five years ago that Osama bin Laden was threatening to hijack or bomb airplanes. Although there are no specific warnings about air travel this holiday, there is a sense of heightened alert within the aviation system. All the more reason not to fly, says Stollard. She was in the air on 9/11.
STOLLARD: We actually flew over the World Trade Center. Just, with a 5-year-old son, I'm a little bit more at ease, driving.
DAVIS: The FAA is confident and can keep traffic moving along this summer with new routes over Canada as well as over U.S. military airspace at busy times. And it's also going to have more frequent weather forecasts. But it says the wild card in all of this could be bad weather --Judy.
WOODRUFF: Patty Davis watching it all for us. Thanks, Patty.
Well, commemorations are under way around the nation and the world marking this Memorial Day. Across the Potomac River in Arlington National Cemetery, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz placed a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns.
After the ceremony, Wolfowitz told listeners that words alone are never enough to honor -- quote -- "America's fallen heroes."
President Bush traveled to Normandy, France, to pay tribute to those who died in service to America. Mr. Bush delivered his remarks from inside the American cemetery overlooking Omaha Beach, site of the 1944 D-Day invasion.
And in Afghanistan today, U.S. soldiers held a memorial ceremony at the Kandahar airport. The observance included service men and women carrying 51 torches, in honor of the 51 members of coalition armed forces who died during Operation Enduring Freedom.
The war on terror and the September attacks kept many tourists away from the traditional sites here in Washington. Now, just in time for summer, a new effort is under way to make sure that Americans don't overlook what the capital city has to offer. We decided to do some checking for ourselves.
(voice-over): Washington wants you back. In new tourism ads now in production, politicians and sports stars sing lines from Gershwin's patriotic song, "Of Thee I Sing," hoping to serenade tourists to the nation's capital.
MIA HAMM, U.S. WOMEN'S SOCCER TEAM: People want to, like I said, go out and show people that D.C. is a strong city, and it's a safe city.
WOODRUFF: Officials have taken many steps to make the city safer. But in this new security-conscious environment, how easy is it to visit the most popular spots? (on camera): First of all, Washington's world-famous museums are all still open. But there can be a few hassles. Here at the Smithsonian, they check your bags now. And on busy days, that can cause a backup.
But away from the museums, touring the city requires considerable advanced planning. Take the Washington Monument. It's the best view in the city. But getting up there can be tough. The tickets are given out at 8:00 in the morning and they go fast. Every ticket has a tour time on it. You take your ticket, go away, come back, stand line and go through a new security building that's been tacked on to the side of the monument.
(voice-over): At the other end of the Mall, the U.S. Capitol has restricted the public tours. Self-guided tours are no longer allowed. Instead, tourists line up early in the morning to get 550 tickets given out to the public each day. If you're not in line by 7:00 a.m., chances are you aren't getting in.
From there, it gets tougher. The popular FBI tour has been suspended until June 3rd. And if you want to get in, you have to reserve a month in advanced through your member of Congress. The Pentagon tour has been suspended indefinitely.
(on camera): And the White House, well, those public tours that were the highlight of a trip to Washington for millions of Americans have also been suspended indefinitely. Tours are resuming for carefully-screened organized groups like students and scouts and veterans. But for the casual tourist, this iron fence is as close as you're going to get.
(voice-over): The tourists don't seem to mind.
(on camera): Any hesitation about coming to Washington, given 9/11?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: None at all.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have to put your bag through, and back check and everything. But that's about it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know they need it. And so far, we're doing fine. They move us right through. And I guess I'm glad they do it, so I won't complain.
WOODRUFF: For all the security hassles and restricted access, the tourists are in fact back. The hotels reported 92 percent occupancy in April. That's up from post-9/11 low of 25 percent.
Protecting the Capitol and the rest of the country from another attack. Just ahead, my interview with Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge on the new alerts and the new challenges in the war on terrorism.
More on President Bush's visit to Normandy and the next stop on his European trip.
And later, a return trip to Bedford, Virginia -- a town all-too familiar with wartime sacrifice.
WOODRUFF: Governor Ridge, we're here at the Vietnam War Memorial and, as Americans think about all this on Memorial Day, and you come to this place, I'm sure, from time to time.
TOM RIDGE, HOMELAND SECURITY DIRECTOR: Yes.
WOODRUFF: What meaning does it hold for Americans today? You fought in Vietnam. You won the bronze star for valor. What meaning does it have?
RIDGE: I think when you wander in one group of soldiers, ultimately you wander with all the soldiers. When you come to this memorial, hopefully you're reminded that there were I think 2.6 million men and women who served in one form or another, fought for Vietnam.
The average age of those warriors back then was 19. Many of them volunteers, all of them citizen soldiers. So obviously you think of the sacrifice. And when you see their names, they become husbands and fathers and brothers and sisters. And so I think you really -- it becomes a much more personal experience.
But also I think this is a day that you think of all veterans. We've had, I think in the history of this country, somewhere between 45 and 50 million men and women who proudly put on their uniform.
WOODRUFF: You knew the war in Vietnam very well from having been there. That was in the 1960s. Today we're in 2002. Our country is engaged in a very different war, right here on our own soil. How is it different? I mean, is this one harder because it's here? How is it different?
RIDGE: I think you picked it up. We used to traditional -- when we think of war, we think of it in more traditional terms, with uniformed combatants, country fighting country. And this war, the war on terror, we have uniformed combatants and we've got great military doing great things in Afghanistan.
But we have shadow soldiers in this country. We know that al Qaeda brought in individuals. And because of the diversity and the openness of our country, they were shadow soldiers. They were here from day one to do us harm.
WOODRUFF: As we walk along this area with the Vietnam Memorial behind us, do you think Americans have come to grips, truly, with what it means to be fighting this different kind of war now?
RIDGE: I think we've made a great deal of progress in that direction. I'm not sure that 280 million Americans yet are ready to accept that it is a permanent condition, that it is..
WOODRUFF: And you mean that, permanent?
RIDGE: I think we have to not only operate from our perspective of the office of homeland security, but I've been talking to governors and I've been talking to mayors. And if we're going to secure the homeland, we have to secure the hometown.
WOODRUFF: In the last few days, you're very aware, a lot of terror warnings out there from top officials, from the vice president to the secretary of defense, FBI director and others. You have been out there with new information about terror threats in New York City and other places. Many different voices.
Is there a risk of too many voices here? A question of who is really in charge and who really should be giving this information out? Should it just be coming from one place, from your office?
RIDGE: I'm glad you used the word information warnings. Because you know, we developed a national alert system, a threat advisory system. And we said if we have credible information, corroborating information, that we have to change and the American public has to know we're changing our level of risk, our level of threat. The attorney general is going to make that announcement.
From time to time, we have agencies, the EPA, the FBI, the Department of the Treasury, a variety of agencies who may give information out to the sectors that they work with on a day-to-day basis. They are information warnings.
It's double-check your security precautions. Are you doing enough in one area or another, based on the information that we shared with you? It's not raising the national level of alert, it's just an information warning. It is a reminder, based on information that you see. Better go back and double-check the procedures.
WOODRUFF: It's not a national alert, however there was a poll done a couple of days ago that's just been released, showing 65 percent of Americans now think that a terror attack is likely in the next few weeks. That's up from 52 percent in March.
Is there a danger of raising the anxiety level of the American people? The stock market, for example, is down, and they're saying the reason is anxiety over a terror attack. Is there a danger of doing that, based on just generalized information?
RIDGE: First of all, there are two dangers. There's the danger about what you know and the danger about what you don't know. And I think one of the reasons that the anxiety level may be spiked is that, as a country, we're not used to the notion that from time to time, there will be federal agencies, based on some information they receive, going out to different parts of the country, different sectors of the economy, asking them to double-check their security procedures.
Based on -- the information is specific enough that it would warrant the warning, but not specific enough with regard to time and the type of terrorist attack. And as a country, we're not ready, I don't think, emotionally -- and I understand this. I think we all do -- intellectually and emotionally, because we haven't had to deal with this until since a short period of time, since 9/11. It's tough to digest.
WOODRUFF: Last question.
WOODRUFF: Should there be any question about who is in charge of homeland security in this country?
RIDGE: The president ultimately, he tasked the office of homeland security and gave me the opportunity to serve and the authority to get things done. And I think that's exactly what has been going on for the past seven months.
We've affected changes in the budget. We've got the national threat advisory system. We are working on critical infrastructure protection with companies all around the country. We work on a daily basis with 50 homeland security advisers. We've been working with mayors and governors. So I think it's pretty clear who's in charge.
And I think in time, when people look back, we'll say that the president gave Governor Tom Ridge the authority to do what he was tasked to do by the president of the United States.
WOODRUFF: I spoke with Tom Ridge late last week. You can see more of my interview with the governor at the INSIDE POLITICS section of cnn.com. That's at cnn.com/insidepolitics.
Just ahead, Memorial Day on foreign soil. President Bush was in France to honor fallen American troops. Then it was off to Italy as his European tour continues. We'll have the latest.
WOODRUFF: Checking our INSIDE POLITICS "Newscycle," another deadly suicide bombing in Israel kills at least two Israelis and injures more than 20 others. Today's incident was in a cafe outside a mall near Tel Aviv. Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat has condemned the attack.
In Oklahoma, authorities have suspended for now their efforts to recover bodies from the Arkansas River. They say debris from a collapsed section of the Interstate 40 bridge is complicating their work. The span collapsed yesterday after it was rammed by a barge. So far, four bodies have been pulled from the water.
Across the United States on this Memorial Day, Americans are remembering the men and women who gave their lives serving in the nation's military. These are scenes from a parade in Manhasset, New York.
Meanwhile President Bush is spending Memorial Day outside the United States. At a ceremony in Normandy, France, Mr. Bush paying tribute to the thousands of American and other Allied troops who lost their lives in the D-Day invasion. He and French President Jacques Chirac laid a wreath at a memorial in the American cemetery.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our wars have won for us every hour we live in freedom. Our wars have taken from us the men and women we honor today. And every hour of the lifetimes they had hoped to live. For some military families in America, and in Europe, the grief is recent with the losses we have suffered in Afghanistan. They can know, however, that the cause is just.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: After the ceremonies in Normandy, Mr. Bush flew on to Italy to continue his European tour. CNN's Jill Dougherty is in Rome, where Mr. Bush landed a few hours ago.
Jill, what is it that the president wants to accomplish during this short time in Rome?
DOUGHERTY: Well, Judy, right now, immediately, he's having dinner with Silvio Berlusconi, who is the prime minister of Italy. They also had bilateral talks. And those were -- at least one subject on the agenda was supposed to be the Middle East.
But the real centerpiece is going to come tomorrow, Tuesday, when Russia signs a new agreement with NATO. It's being called the Rome Declaration -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Now, Jill, it was just five years ago that Boris Yeltsin signed an agreement with NATO. Why do they need a new one?
DOUGHERTY: Well, the old one didn't work. That's shorthand for what happened. They essentially, five years ago, set up a council, a permanent joint council, it was called, in which Russia supposedly had some type of voice. But Russia complained that it was 19 against 1, the other members of NATO against Russia. They would go into their meetings, decide what they wanted, come out and say this is what we're going to do.
But of course, there was criticism on both sides. And then along came September 11th. President Putin, of course, moving firmly toward the West, helping in the war against terrorism. And so part of this, Judy, is kind of a payback to Mr. Putin for joining the western coalition.
And if it works -- and there is still a big if -- it will give Russia more of a voice. They will be at the table, at least on a certain number of issues -- Judy. WOODRUFF: All right. Jill Dougherty covering President Bush, who's meeting with other NATO members there in Rome. Thanks, Jill.
Here in Washington again, three more names have been added to the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial. Among them, Private First Class William Johnson of Cleveland, Ohio, who died four years ago from an injury he sustained in the Vietnam War.
Johnson's sister, Sandra Harvey, took part in a special ceremony today marking those new additions. And I spoke with Harvey just a couple of hours ago. I started by asking her to tell me about her brother.
SANDRA HARVEY, SISTER OF VIETNAM VICTIM: He was wonderful. He was kind and gentle. He wouldn't kill an insect. He kept a bee in his hand and let it out. And he loved fishing and walking.
Now, after he came from Vietnam, he would sort of stray out of the house. Sometimes I would wake up at midnight and he was just out walking. But he didn't live a full life, but he loved sitting under trees and watching sunsets.
WOODRUFF: Wounded in 1969 in Vietnam, he was just 20 years old. He'd only been in Vietnam a few weeks, friendly fire accident. And he came home a changed person.
HARVEY: Absolutely. Every dream he had died the day that he died. I mean, the day that he was shot.
WOODRUFF: That he was shot.
HARVEY: Yes. He had all kinds of dreams, of going into business for himself and doing things. He had taken some printing classes and thought about trying to set up a printing shop, and all kinds of things. And he just came home with those things not in his head anymore, you know?
WOODRUFF: Did he know what had happened to him?
HARVEY: No, he just knew that he -- something had happened. And do you know that he -- when he found out that he was wounded by friendly fire, because they expected him to die first, they sent him to Hawaii to die, and then to Walter Reed hospital to die. And he just came through. He was a walking miracle. And he wound up walking and talking very normally, you know, except for the mental capacity.
WOODRUFF: What does it mean to you to have his name added to the wall today?
HARVEY: Everything. Everything. We are so proud to have his name. You know, I think now, that I don't even feel that where his headstone is, is the place to go. I think this will be the place that I will come to to say -- and it's like it just finally closes it off. And this is where you mourn him. WOODRUFF: Sandra Harvey, we thank you very much for joining us. Sister of William Johnson.
WOODRUFF: Thank you very much.
HARVEY: Thank you.
WOODRUFF: We wish you well.
HARVEY: Thank you.
WOODRUFF: And when we come back: Bikers from across the United States roar into Washington. And we'll tell you why.
WOODRUFF: Every Memorial Day weekend, the Rolling Thunder Freedom Ride rumbles into Washington, drawing motorcyclists from across the U.S. Yesterday, an estimated 350,000 of them were here. The main purpose of this rally is to support veterans and those listed as missing in action.
Earlier today, I spoke with three members of Rolling Thunder: president and founder Artie Muller, national service director Mike DePaulo, and chairman of the board Mike Cobb.
I began by asking DePaulo why it's important to remind people about the meaning of wars and the people who have lost their lives.
MIKE DEPAULO, NATIONAL SERVICE DIRECTOR, ROLLING THUNDER: Memorial Day is just what it says: a day to memorialize and to remember the nearly two million men and women who have given their lives in service to the country by serving in the armed forced, the very mortar which binds the foundation upon which this republic rests.
And I can't think of any place more appropriate than in the nation's capital to give the wake-up call that we feel that we're trying to do to people and remind them that this is not the kickoff for summer. This is not a holiday. This is a Memorial Day. And we want people to remember, because it is happening today. We have tens of thousands of our people in uniform in harm's way. And we feel it's the appropriate place to be, to come.
WOODRUFF: Artie Muller, yesterday, you had tens of thousands of veterans, on their motorcycles, on their motorbikes, come here to Washington. You have been doing this for how many years? And is it harder, is it easier to get people to participate in this?
ARTIE MULLER, PRESIDENT, ROLLING THUNDER: It is getting much easier. We have a lot more people coming every year, not only from every state in the United States, including Hawaii and Alaska, but from all around the world.
We have people and veterans come from New Zealand, Austria, Australia, Germany, France, England, all around the world. And they come here because they believe that a lot of men have fought for the rights and freedom of other people, have been left behind in POW camps and in the stalags of Russia, in China, North Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia. And these men deserve a right to come home if they are still alive.
WOODRUFF: Has the U.S. government done everything that it could have done, Mike Cobb, in order to get these people back, these men back, and women?
MIKE COBB, CHAIRMAN, ROLLING THUNDER: No, I don't feel they have. They have done a lot. They have gotten quite a few of our people out. But it seems that they have slacked off a little bit. And it seems like they don't care anymore. It's just -- it's hard for us to accept that. We can't accept that. We have to have them all.
WOODRUFF: Why is that so important, Michael DePaulo? We have a situation where, just in the last few days in Afghanistan, there was a battle fought where special forces went back in there once, twice, several times, to try to find their comrades. What is that all about?
DEPAULO: Well, for one thing -- and it is hard, I think, for people who haven't served in the military to understand this. It's not hard for policemen or firemen. But there is a certain sense of camaraderie that you just don't find everywhere.
And we have a philosophy. Artie will tell you. And Mike will agree with me, I think. We do everything we possibly can to bring our dead and our wounded with us. And since 1918, 93,000 at least, 93,316 people who have worn the uniform of this republic have been abandoned or thrown away. One of the great examples: the 25,000 or so that went to the gulag, when they were liberated by the Russians and were held as bargaining chips, never came home.
WOODRUFF: And bring that up to date to today. You have been through the Gulf War since Vietnam.
MULLER: Michael Speicher, where is he?
WOODRUFF: You've been through Bosnia, and now Afghanistan.
MULLER: Michael Scott Speicher was our first pilot to go down. They wrote him off and put him as killed in action, body not recoverable. And then they found his plane, his canopy, other items of his. And there was a defector from Iraq that said that he captured him and he was alive. And he could be held there alive yet to this day.
WOODRUFF: What do you want people to know who are watching this about what you are trying to do?
COBB: We just want them to know that we're staying alert, trying to bring our men home. WOODRUFF: Michael DePaulo, Mike Cobb, Artie Muller, thank you all very much, all with Rolling Thunder. We appreciate you talking with us.
DEPAULO: Thank you for having us.
WOODRUFF: Thank you.
WOODRUFF: A pretty remarkable group.
When we return, Bob Dole shares his thoughts on Memorial Day and on administration efforts to alert Americans to the dangers of terrorism.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOB DOLE (R), FORMER U.S. SENATOR: But I don't think we can have eight or 10 voices, because people are confused. They don't know who is in charge.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: Senator Bob Dole, decorated veteran of World War II, you are here at the Vietnam War Memorial on Memorial Day.
Does this Memorial Day have a special meaning because of 9/11?
DOLE: Oh, I think it does have. And I am basing it not just on my feeling. I think it does myself. But I probably shook hands and talked briefly to a lot of people today. They didn't mention 9/11. I mentioned 9/11 in my speech.
But they are here. They've got their children here. They are honoring veterans. They are honoring everybody who may have lost their lives or participated in 9/11. So I think that it is very significant.
WOODRUFF: You said at one point: "Forget the greatest generation. This is the greatest generation." What did you mean by that?
DOLE: Well, you know, Tom Brokaw -- who we both know very well -- dubbed us the greatest generation n, of World War II. And there was always some question of Generation X: Did they have the stomach for this? Would they risk their lives or give their lives or end up with a life of disability?
And they have already demonstrated that. My old division, the 10th Mountain Division, is in Afghanistan. I have been to Walt Reed Hospital to visit some of those who were wounded. They are bright. They're smart. And they are ready to go back. They are much better prepared than we were. So, they are the greatest generation.
WOODRUFF: Senator, new concerns today about whether the United States is in a position to prevent another terror attack. I am sure you have been reading the stories of the last days. An FBI agent in Minneapolis wrote a very detailed memo, a scathing denunciation of what that agency did, in her mind, to prevent information from being looked at that she said might, might have prevented some of what happened on September 11.
DOLE: Well, I think it has to be looked at. And I have a lot of confidence in Senator Bob Graham, who is a Democrat from Florida, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and Peter Goss, a Republican on the House side on Intelligence.
WOODRUFF: Porter Goss.
DOLE: Porter Goss.
And they are both in Florida and they have been good friends. And they are going to try to get to the bottom of it. Now, whether you can determine all that has happened because of one incident, it's pretty difficult to tell. But let's find out what the facts are.
WOODRUFF: Should be there a full-blown investigation, do you think, of what happened?
DOLE: If they can do this in a bipartisan or nonpartisan way, as Porter Goss said yesterday, I think we wait and see what happens in the next two or three months. They are about six weeks along. By the time you get a commission, the time you get it set up, get the staff, you are looking at three or four or five months. Congress could well be in August recess, or probably beyond. It may call for a commission at some time.
But I think right now, we have got two good men in this case who are going to be in charge, one Democrat, one Republican, both from Florida, but both men of integrity.
WOODRUFF: In the meantime, how much confidence do you have that the agencies right now as presently constituted, the FBI, the CIA, can do the job?
DOLE: I have thought about that a lot. And you've got to believe they are people like you me and me. They are doing the best job they can. And maybe in some cases, I think they do need to shake the place up, need to change it. We're still fighting maybe what we did 30 or 40 years ago. We need to bring it up to date.
But the people themselves, by and large, are good, decent people. Now, maybe they need more leadership. Maybe they need to make changes, structural changes in the FBI. And I see the CIA is going to help out the FBI a little bit. But I still think, when it's all said and done, they will do a pretty good job.
WOODRUFF: Senator, repeated terror warnings over the last few days about New York... DOLE: It's tough.
WOODRUFF: ... about another -- a suicide bomber in the United States. Is this helpful, do you think, to the American people, or does it unnecessarily rattle us? What do you think?
DOLE: It probably -- I don't know unnecessarily -- it does rattle us a little bit. And we keep saying: "Well, is it going to happen tomorrow? Or, if not, why are they doing this?"
But the other side of the coin is, if they didn't tell us something and it happened, they would be all over everybody, every agency. But I do think they need to refine their procedure. It needs to come -- they need to speak with one voice, maybe Tom Ridge and Homeland Security, or, if it's really something on the radar scale, very high on the radar scale, the vice president, the president of the United States.
But I don't think we can have eight or 10 voices, because people are confused. They don't know who is in charge. And I think it would be helpful if one person was designated to make those statements.
WOODRUFF: Senator Bob Dole, thank you very much. It's always good to see you, sir.
DOLE: It's good to be out.
WOODRUFF: Bob Dole talking to us today at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
Well, President Bush remarks in Normandy today were reminiscent of the one of the most memorable speeches ever delivered by former President Ronald Reagan -- two presidents from the same party, but different generations in the same setting almost 18 years apart.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have gathered on this quiet corner of France as the sun rises on Memorial Day in the United States of America.
This is a day our country has set apart to remember what was gained in our wars and all that was lost.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RONALD REAGAN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You were young the day you took these cliffs. Some of you were hardly more than boys, with the deepest joys of life before you. Yet you risked everything here. Why? Why did you do it? What impelled you to put aside the instinct for self-preservation and risk your lives to take these cliffs? What inspired all the men of the armies that met here? We look at you, and somehow we know the answer. It was faith and belief. It was loyalty and love.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: Each person buried here understood his duty, but also dreamed of going back home to the people and the things he knew. Each had plans and hopes of his own and parted with them forever when he died.
Our nation and the world will always remember what they did here and what they gave here for the future of humanity.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REAGAN: Today, in their memory, and for all who fought here, we celebrate the triumph of democracy. We reaffirm the unity of democratic peoples who fought a war and then joined with the vanquished in a firm resolve to keep the peace. We will always remember. We will always be proud. We will always be prepared, so we may always be free.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: The grave markers here all face west, across an ageless and indifferent ocean to the country these men and women served and loved. The thoughts of America on this Memorial Day turned to them and to all their fallen comrades in arms.
We think of them with lasting gratitude. We miss them with lasting love. And we pray for them.
And we trust in the words of the almighty God, which are inscribed in the chapel nearby: "I give unto them eternal life, that they shall never perish.
WOODRUFF: This Memorial Day in Normandy.
When we return on this Memorial Day: The small town of Bedford, Virginia, remembers all of the men who gave their lives on D-Day.
WOODRUFF: As President Bush paid tribute today to Americans killed in the D-Day invasion in Normandy, some other Americans were in Bedford, Virginia, to visit the D-Day memorial there. Bedford lost more men per capita on D-Day than any other place in the United States.
Our Bruce Morton was in Bedford.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Excuse me. Can I have your autograph to give to my grandfather? He's a World War II vet.
ROY STEVENS, D-DAY VETERAN: Oh, boy.
BRUCE MORTON, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The generations meet at the D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia. Roy Stevens and Ray Nance are local D-Day veterans, part of Able Company, 116th Infantry; 35 Bedford men were in the first wave at Omaha Beach; 19 died in the first 15 minutes, two later, the highest per-capita loss of any American town.
We first met Ray and Roy at the Memorial's dedication almost a year ago.
RAY NANCE, D-DAY VETERAN: The people that we had in the outfit were so young. So many of them were killed. They didn't know what life was all about. They were just that young.
STEVENS: This is Ray. And this is me.
MORTON: Roy Stevens would have landed with his twin brother, Ray, but Roy's landing boat hit one of those boat traps. He got to the beach four days later, heard that his brother had been wounded.
STEVENS: So, when I went back over there, I was thinking, "Now, he's maybe in the hospital somewhere hurt." The first grave I came to was his. It was a cross. His dog tag was on it. And my buddy with me, he found his brother.
This flag you see is the one that they brought his body back in 1948.
MORTON: Roy, who lost his hand years later in an accident, still has the Purple Hearts they both won.
Now, a year later, he and Ray Nance visit the memorial often, the sound of make-believe bullets echoing off the water. Some 350,000 people have visited since the dedication.
NANCE: And I come up here real often. And it does bring it back a lot.
MORTON: And, of course, September 11 has happened since. America, the world have changed, but maybe not for today's soldiers.
STEVENS: Young people today have probably had the same fears. It may be good if they don't know what they are running into, because if they did -- you got to go forward. You can't go backward.
MORTON: Ray Nance worries about his country.
NANCE: I feel like the country as a whole has changed a lot since D-Day. They have grown lax, no carious, kind of, a lot of people. And I just -- it isn't good. I think our country is on a downslide.
MORTON: Roy, who speaks to students often, disagrees, but concedes this is a different war. STEVENS: This war now, we don't know who our enemy is. It's demoralizing, really. You just can't trust -- Ray may be partially right about that -- we can't trust what is going on in America today. But we got more good people than we have bad ones.
MORTON: The visitors come. The children stare and wonder, and maybe want to climb in and join the landing.
STEVENS: It brings back a lot of memories, even when we was training, doesn't it?
NANCE: Yes, it does.
MORTON: The old warriors remember that day more than half a century ago.
STEVENS: I never thought 58 years ago, that I'd be walking down here with you, talking to you about this.
MORTON: And how do they feel about the young Americans fighting this new, different war?
STEVENS: They are doing a good job. I think they are out there to protect us. And I think it's great that America looks up. And God bless America.
MORTON: Generations meet here to share a story, to mourn the many who did not come home, to honor and remember those who did.
Bruce Morton, CNN, Bedford, Virginia.
WOODRUFF: Bedford is about 200 miles southwest of Washington.
There is still more INSIDE POLITICS ahead, but first let's go and look at what's coming up at the top of the hour on "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS" -- Wolf.
WOLF BLITZER, "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS": Thank you very much, Judy.
On this Memorial Day, we are following several developing stories, including new leads on al Qaeda's lingering capabilities. We will also update you on the barge that collided into and collapsed an interstate bridge in Oklahoma. We'll get the latest from an investigator on the scene from the National Transportation Safety Board -- also, another suicide bombing in Israel.
All that and much more coming up at the top of the hour right after INSIDE POLITICS.
WOODRUFF: Here is what's in the works for tomorrow on INSIDE POLITICS: We will talk with Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle and his wife, Linda, one of a series of chats with Democrats thinking of running for president. And President Bush meets with Pope John Paul II at the Vatican.
CNN's coverage continues now with "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS." I'm Judy Woodruff.
And we leave you with some live images from around the nation's capital on this Memorial Day.
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Interview with Tom Ridge>