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Donkey Carts Used in Rocket Attack; U.S. Officials: Al Qaeda Ready to Strike U.S. Interests; Bloomberg Will Not Turn Over 9/11 Tapes

Aired November 21, 2003 - 22:00   ET


AARON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening again everyone.
I will concede that the assassination of President Kennedy was an enormous event in my life. Like many kids in that time, JFK was special if only because he seemed so young and hopeful though it was more than that.

Like many of you I believe I remember it all, where I was when I learned, coming out of study hall, and how I learned, a kid named Steve Westerburg (ph) told me and then made a tasteless joke about Mrs. Kennedy.

I remember sitting in the gym. The whole school was there watching those early hours of the coverage and, except for Sunday School, I believe I did nothing but watch for the next four days.

Our coverage of the anniversary ends tonight with two of the voices who should end the coverage, Senator Edward Kennedy and Walter Cronkite. We'll get to that soon.

But first the news of the day and the whip and the whip begins in Baghdad with CNN's Walter Rodgers, a busy day for him, Walter a headline.

WALTER RODGERS, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Aaron, the headline here is the U.S. military tries to downplay the significance of today's recent rocket attacks here in Baghdad but there was nothing trivial about it if you were at ground zero -- Aaron.

BROWN: Walter, thank you. We'll get back to you at the top tonight.

Next to a warning of more attacks possible CNN's David Ensor with that David a headline.

DAVID ENSOR, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Aaron, U.S. officials are saying there are indications that al Qaeda may once again be plotting to attack against U.S. interests soon most likely overseas but the homeland cannot be ruled out -- Aaron.

BROWN: David, thank you.

On to 9/11 and more than two years after the fact the battle over the tapes documenting that day, CNN's Jason Carroll has been working on that for us, Jason a headline.

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Aaron, a commission investigating the events surrounding 9/11 says it needs to listen to the audio tapes from rescue crews from that day but New York City's Mayor Michael Bloomberg says that request is "ghoulish" and he's not turning over the tapes without a court order -- Aaron.

BROWN: Jason, thank you.

And finally to Dallas, Texas, 40 years (AUDIO GAP), CNN's Kelly Wallace is there so Kelly a headline from you tonight.

KELLY WALLACE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Aaron, it is very quiet here at Dealey Plaza this evening but a steady stream of visitors expected tomorrow/ Even though there will not be any official ceremony marking that tragic anniversary people likely to come to remember the late president. Others though coming here seeking answers -- Aaron.

BROWN: Kelly, thank you. We'll get back to you and the rest shortly.

Also coming up tonight as we said we'll bring you a large portion of our conversation that we had the other day with Walter Cronkite. We'll hear about how he first learned the president had been shot and the blur of the next few days for him and for all of us who were watching him that day.

And also Senator Edward Kennedy on how he chooses to remember his brother Jack and his brother Bobby as well.

And we'll wind up the evening with a look back at morning papers, what the front pages looked like the morning after the president was killed. We may get a few of tomorrow morning's papers in as well, lots to do in the hour ahead.

We begin with Iraq and as good a picture of any is the state of the game there, the picture of a soldier, night vision eyepiece, Kevlar body armor and all guarding a donkey and a cart, hundreds of which can be seen on the streets of Baghdad every day which makes them practically invisible though not anymore.

Again, here's CNN's Walter Rodgers.


RODGERS (voice-over): It could have been much worse as these rockets that failed to fire a test the blast of the first rockets disconnected the battery wires which could have triggered a much larger volley with 4-foot-long missiles.

This is the cart carrying the rockets spilled over, still standing a badly traumatized and singed donkey which the Iraqi insurgents used to haul their missile launcher.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right copy impact on the 14, 15 and 16th floor, only one casualty thus far, over.

RODGERS: The critically injured man is an American civilian contract employee. These U.S. soldiers still disinclined to allow pictures showing that the war does continue.

One of three targets in the rocket attacks, the Palestine and Sheraton Hotel complex housing some soldiers and many journalists. Seven rockets hit the Palestine a little after 7:00 a.m. This man's room is just down the hall from mine. Later he said to me this was our lucky day.

This 107mm rocket exploded one floor above mine getting me out of bed in a hurry. The hardest hit room at the other end of the hall was fortunately unoccupied.

Across the street at the former Sheraton Hotel, a bellboy was injured when more rockets hit there. The Iraqi Oil Ministry was also struck by between seven and ten more rockets starting fires.

Near the Italian Embassy another donkey cart missile strike was foiled by Iraqi police. Hundreds of donkey carts ply Baghdad making them an ingenious cover according to an American general. All four donkeys used in these attacks survived and are now in coalition care.


RODGERS: The key to the United States winning the battle against the insurgents here in Iraq would seem to lie in better intelligence on the ground yet even with most Iraqis knowing the Americans are here to help them the Iraqis are reluctant to cooperate the reason being they would see themselves as betraying their fellow Iraqis over to the American occupiers -- Aaron.

BROWN: Walter, why do we think these targets were hit? Why the two hotels, the oil ministry a little more obvious?

RODGERS: They were spectacular targets. As the Army officials here today said the insurgents were out to grab the headlines. They clearly succeeded in doing that. These targets had no tactical military significance but they did capture the eyes of the world and let the world know that the insurgents can hit pretty much when they want on a spectacular albeit audacious raid like this -- Aaron.

BROWN: Walter, thank you very much, Walter Rodgers in Baghdad tonight.

On to global terrorism, the State Department has issued a warning tonight, another warning to Americans traveling overseas. There is according to this bulletin a growing possibility of a new terror attack or attacks.

It came shortly after the intelligence community put out an advisory of its own. In very familiar ways it doesn't really say a whole lot except to say that for a number of reasons the government, once again, is concerned.

Here's CNN's David Ensor.


ENSOR (voice-over): U.S. officials are warning that there are indications al Qaeda could attack again soon against U.S. interests most likely overseas.

The warning comes after the government's new terrorist threat information center housed at the CIA sent out an advisory Thursday night to federal agencies telling them there is increased chatter among potential terrorists, that on top of the state of attacks in Turkey in recent days and before then the attack in Saudi Arabia are prompting the warning officials say.

They are particularly concerned about the next week or so, the last days of the Muslim holidays of Ramadan and the days immediately after. While the greatest concern is about U.S. facilities and American companies overseas, U.S. officials say the homeland is not immune.

ROBERT MUELLER, FBI DIRECTOR: While the attacks we see today are in Turkey or Riyadh or Bali or someplace like that or places such as that we cannot be less vigilant. We cannot let down our guard. We must understand that al Qaeda and other terrorist groups wish to attack Americans within the United States.

ENSOR: There were warnings about al Qaeda around Ramadan last year too and in Mombassa, Kenya Israeli tourists were attacked.

(on camera): The Department of Homeland Security warned state and local around the county that there is a high volume of intelligence suggesting al Qaeda is plotting another attack against an American target. It calls for vigilance and it says that aviation could be involved. The terrorists would like to use a cargo jet to attack a critical infrastructure target.

David Ensor, CNN, Washington.


BROWN: A day after the bombs went off in Istanbul, Turkish authorities say they have a number of people in custody. No word yet on who or how many or much of anything else, the Turks keeping quite quiet today.

Officials did, however, express a concern that as many as 1,000 people may be involved in terror sleeper cells around the country any of whom could have taken part in the suicide attacks yesterday. Thirty people died. About 450 people were wounded in the bombings which targeted the British Consulate and the offices of a banking company based in Britain.

The commission investigating the attacks on 9/11 hasn't exactly had an easy time of it facing resistance from the White House on turning over key documents and similar pushback from a number of other federal agencies too. Tonight you can add the city of New York to the list. The commission wants audio tapes of emergency radio traffic on that day. This is, needless to say, emotionally loaded material but the commission believes it's necessary to its work and says it's willing to go to court to get it, reporting for us CNN's Jason Carroll.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tower 2 has had a major explosion and what appears to be a complete collapse.

CARROLL (voice-over): Some of the most emotional moments on September 11 were heard on radio traffic between emergency crews.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a lot of debris and people are literally falling out all around us.

CARROLL: Those crucial moments could also reveal information about the city's response. A commission mandated by the federal government to investigate the attacks wants the tapes but New York's Mayor Michael Bloomberg refused.

MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, NEW YORK: But I find it ghoulish that anybody would want to look at the last personal conversations that some of these people who gave their lives to save others had.

CARROLL: The commission subpoenaed the city for the material saying it's trying to prevent future mistakes.

THOMAS KEAN, NATIONAL COMMISSION ON TERRORIST ATTACKS: By finding out all about that response we can say what you need to do next time to make it better. I mean this should be something the city should be welcoming.

CARROLL: Some victims' families agree. Sally Regenhard's son Christian was a firefighter killed on 9/11.

SALLY REGENHARD, LOST SON ON 9/11: We have to look at what happened, how did this happen, why were we so unprepared so that we can never, never repeat this again.


CARROLL: The commission also met resistance from the Federal Aviation Administration as well as the Department of Defense but ended up reaching deals with both of them. New York City's Mayor Michael Bloomberg once again says, Aaron, that he will comply but only if the court orders it -- Aaron.

BROWN: Is there a negotiation going on here?

CARROLL: At this point not that we know of. At this point both sides have made their statements in terms of where they stand but no negotiations at this point but the mayor did say that he is open for any sort of negotiations should they come.

BROWN: Jason, thank you very much.

Ahead on NEWSNIGHT some of the day's other top stories.

And later, a very interesting interview we think with a man who for many of us was the voice and the face of the coverage of the Kennedy assassination, our conversation with Walter Cronkite.

And we'll also hear from the president's younger brother, Senator Edward Kennedy about his brother's legacy.

That and much more as NEWSNIGHT continues on a Friday night from New York.


BROWN: Again with much of the rest of the program devoted to the events of Dallas, both tonight and 40 years ago, we want to take a very quick look at some of the other stories of the day before we move on.

President Bush back at the White House, home from Great Britain, came back about dinner time in the east. He spoke briefly with reporters on the White House lawn urging members of the House to approve the Medicare prescription drug bill.

With just hours to go before a scheduled vote of things looking very close, the president made a number of calls from Air Force One to lawmakers trying to win their support.

And just a bit of heat today over the first Republican campaign ad of the season produced by the Republican National Committee and airing this began in Iowa. It says in part: "Some are attacking the president for attacking the terrorists."

Some Democratic candidates, as you might imagine, are treating this as a slam said John Kerry: "If George Bush wants to make this election about national security I have three words for him, bring it on." Howard Dean plans to use the ad as a fund-raising tool.

And a few more items now from off the campaign trail starting with the tangled case of Zacarias Moussaoui. In court documents released today his legal team argues for a Federal Appeals Court to grant their client access to three members of al Qaeda now in U.S. custody.

Their testimony, according to the lawyers, will show that Mr. Moussaoui was at most a bit player in the 9/11 conspiracy. The appeals court has scheduled oral arguments in this most important case for early next month.

An American diplomat says 24 prisoners now being held at Guantanamo Bay will soon be released. Several dozen more will be transferred to the custody of their native countries. The envoy was in Spain to discuss the case of a Spanish prisoner now being held at Guantanamo. He was not among those scheduled to be released and the envoy had nothing to say about who is on that list. And an inkling if not exactly a hope that at least some movement on the issue of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Gaza, a respected political correspondent for Israeli Television Network is reporting that Prime Minister Sharon plans to remove a number of settlements over the next year to make way for a Palestinian state.

No word on what settlements or how big. Mr. Sharon, he reports, is once again pouring over maps and planning where the displaced settlers will go. No comment yet on the report from either the Palestinian Authority or formal comment from the Israeli government.

Coming up on NEWSNIGHT back to that awful day in Dallas and the man who told us the president had been shot that the president was dead. We'll talk with Walter Cronkite.



BROWN: If you've ever been to Dallas you know it's pretty easy to miss the city's most famous or infamous landmark. The only monument is to G.B. Dealey, a local newspaperman who just before the turn of the last century helped found the "Dallas Morning News" and tirelessly promoted growth in the city.

On the north side of what's known as Dealey Plaza at the corner of Elm and Houston Street sits an equally non-descript brick building once used to store school books. To this day visitors to Dallas who remember the assassination or are curious about it make their way to the plaza to see where it all happened. Perhaps a few more than usual will show up there tomorrow on the 40th anniversary.

CNN's Kelly Wallace is there now, the site of the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Kelly good evening.

WALLACE: Good evening, Aaron.

There really is a tragic irony about this place. Dealey wanted this to be the center of Dallas, a source of civic pride but after that day 40 years ago tomorrow it became the source of the city's greatest pain.

It's relatively quiet here this evening, more television crews in fact than visitors but hundreds of people were touring this area throughout the day, some leaving flowers to remember the late president, one person leaving a note saying: "Mr. President, we still miss you 40 years later."

There will not be any official ceremony tomorrow to mark the tragic anniversary. That is in keeping with the Kennedy family desire to remember the president's life not the way he tragically died.

There will be some events, though, one in the museum that is now located inside that former Texas School Book Depository Building, the place where Lee Harvey Oswald is believed to have fired the fatal shots.

There will be an exhibit, very intimate photographs of the president and Mrs. Kennedy taken by then White House photographer Jacques Lowe. But also in keeping with how so many people have questions about what exactly happened here conspiracy theorists will have a silent march tomorrow at about 12:30 p.m. local time. That is the time President Kennedy was struck.

Many people coming here and focus on that X in the middle of Elm Street and that is the place where the fatal bullet is believed to have hit President Kennedy as he was riding in that motorcade with his wife and with the Texas Governor John Connally and his wife.

Still many people come here. It stirs up a lot of emotions, anger, sadness, disbelief, but again so many people coming still searching for clues because, Aaron, as you know a majority of Americans, 75 percent in fact according to a Gallup Poll earlier this month, do not believe that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone and caused such a national tragedy 40 years ago tomorrow -- Aaron.

BROWN: Just a couple of questions. First of all, I'd never seen the X. I didn't know that they had done that but that aside the people who have come today, you've been there most of the day, are they young people, people who honestly -- were they alive when the president was shot?

WALLACE: You find a mixture of both and what you find is people who were alive on that day, again this is no official survey but I found talking to people, people who were alive on that day seemed to believe the government's explanation that Oswald acted alone whereas younger people, people who were not born on that day seem to question and seem to believe that perhaps this was a greater conspiracy -- Aaron.

BROWN: That is fascinating actually. I mean it's one of those things you'd like to poll on. Thank you, Kelly, Kelly Wallace in Dallas who will be there tomorrow as well.

The assassination of John F. Kennedy changed so much in America and it's not far reached to say that it affected our business, the television news business as much as anything.

Television news had begun to establish a foothold in the country during the Cuban Missile Crisis and two years later the president was shot and millions and millions of us tuned in and stayed tuned in for days.

ABC News hardly existed at the time but NBC had a great group of correspondents, Frank McGee and Tom Pettit, Sander Vanocur and, of course, Huntley & Brinkley.

But for whatever reason and there are lots of them the man people most remember was Walter Cronkite. Sometime in those four days he became the most trusted man in America.

CBS didn't completely own the story and in truth got beat on a big part of it but that's for journalism buffs. For most everyone else there is Mr. Cronkite in perfect pitch through four horrible and historic days. We talked the other afternoon.


BROWN: On that Friday, the 22nd of November, '63, where were you when you heard the president had been shot?

WALTER CRONKITE: I was sitting there minding our company's business I suppose as Ed Bliss our editor for the program, a very dignified and wonderful chap, he was at the tele-printers over in the corner of the room and as an old United Presser my ears were always attuned for that five bells of a bulletin, bing, bing, bing, bing, bing.

And I heard them bing, bing, bing, bing, bing across the room and I looked over to the tele-printers and Ed Bliss is looking like this and he's saying shots rang out in Dealey Plaza. I said oh, no come on. Come on. He said, wait a minute, here is the second bulletin. The motorcade has deviated from the route and apparently is going to a hospital.

Well, by that time, wham, I'm up and active and going over to the printer to try to follow it and meanwhile shouting for our producer, who happened to be Don Hewitt, who later on went to fame, of course, as a producer of "60 Minutes" and I called for Don, screaming for Don as I went toward the printers.

And he heard me eventually back in the control room somewhere and he came out and immediately we ordered up, tried to order up a television camera. It turned out we learned then, and ever since then there's always been a hot camera and available to the CBS newsroom, but at that time we brought the camera in ten or 15 minutes before the evening news and that was good enough.

In this case we didn't have a camera hot so I ducked instead into an announce booth, so-called, which was a voice over booth which we could do just what we were going to do, a bulletin and we interrupted the soap opera in progress.


CRONKITE (voice-over): Here is a bulletin from CBS News. In Dallas, Texas, three shots were fired at President Kennedy's motorcade in downtown Dallas. The first reports say that President Kennedy has been seriously wounded by this shooting.


BROWN: Now, you do this essentially this radio bulletin. I mean you do a voice over bulletin and say the president perhaps has been shot.


BROWN: How long does it take you, how long does it take them to get a TV camera set up for you to get behind a desk for you to be on television?

CRONKITE: I think we recall there was about 15 minutes, 15, 17 minutes something like that.

BROWN: Were you going nuts?

CRONKITE: Yes, absolutely, absolutely going crazy.

BROWN: How long after you got on television did you find out that the president was, had been shot, fatally shot?

CRONKITE: We didn't learn that he had been fatally shot until they announced that he was dead. They never gave us any kind of a hospital bulletin that he was even critical.


CRONKITE: At the airport in Dallas and throughout the streets of Dallas, the Dallas police have been augmented by some 400 policemen called in on their day off.


BROWN: Obviously, the magnitude of the moment had hit you. I mean you knew this was as serious as anything you had ever done and television had ever done. Were you nervous?

CRONKITE: No, I don't think so. No, I wasn't nervous at all. You know, Aaron, the thing about a situation like that that you're living through as a living on air reporter at the moment.

I compare us with something we've only learned in recent years about the trauma that is suffered by hospital and other emergency workers, hospital staffs and firemen, policemen who go through the terrible human tragedy of people dying right in their hands practically, being carried burned from a building, whatever the story is, shot on the streets.

At that time the job is everything. You've got to concentrate on doing what you're supposed to do and are trained to do and I think the same thing is true of us news people because I had no -- no personal sense of tragedy in this thing until the moment when I had to say he was dead.

BROWN: Right and that moment...


BROWN: ...people will remember perhaps as well as any moment in their lifetime.


CRONKITE: From Dallas, Texas the flash apparently official President Kennedy died at 1:00 p.m. Central Standard time, 2:00 Eastern Standard time, some 38 minutes ago. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: You take off your glasses and you wipe a tear, you know. How do you -- when you think about that moment now, 40 years later, would you do it differently?

CRONKITE: Probably not. Because that moment was purely extemporaneous in every sense of the word.

I certainly -- it wasn't -- I hadn't planned to have a tear in my eye at that moment at all. I wouldn't have thought of that. I would never have yielded to that if it had been a thought.

BROWN: Do you regret it?

CRONKITE: No, I don't regret it at all. Not at all. I would have regretted it if I had broken down and couldn't have continued, that I would have regretted.

But this brief show of emotion was something that I think is perfectly natural, and I don't blame an on-air person for showing emotion. It seems to me that you really don't want people reporting to you who don't have any sense of the emotional impact of a given moment in history.


BROWN: We have more from Mr. Cronkite in a few moments. The funeral and the conspiracy theories in part two of our conversation.

As we go to break, Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas, the plaque, the place where the president died.


BROWN: Walter Cronkite was on the anchor for the CBS News for that entire long, painful weekend when John F. Kennedy was shot. The moment itself, the killing of Lee Harvey Oswald, the funeral, all of it.

Today we are used to round the clock television coverage of stories great and not so great. But 40 years ago, it had never happened, not until that weekend in late November of '63.

More now of our conversation with the man who became known as the most trusted man in America.


BROWN: Was the network on the air nonstop?


BROWN: In the middle of the night it was on the air?

CRONKITE: Yes. BROWN: Television had never done that before?

CRONKITE: No, no, this was certainly a new experience for all of us. There's an interesting fact about this thing. The network canceled all commercials, and there were no commercials all through the weekend until the following Tuesday, I guess, or something. No commercials at all.

CRONKITE (archival footage): Oswald's arrest resulted from a theater cashier's tip, Mrs. Julie Postal (ph) telephoning police from the Texas Theater.

CRONKITE: And this was true across the country. Local stations did not put any local commercials in, except one station. There was one station that the owner insisted he was going to do commercials right on through, and he interrupted our programming for all three days to put his local commercials on the air. Yes.

BROWN: Where was it?

CRONKITE: I'm not going to tell you.

BROWN: Have you thought since about sort of what happened that weekend with television, that people came to you, came to Mr. Huntley and Mr. Brinkley, came to you not simply to get new information but for something else.

CRONKITE: I think too much has been made of the fact that this was the day that made television what it was...

BROWN: Really?

CRONKITE: ... as the -- as the machinery of a democracy of simultaneous experience. But it wasn't the first time this had happened. We forget radio, Pearl Harbor and radio.

BROWN: Sure.

CRONKITE: That December 7th, that Sunday the nation was tuned into the radios, and experiencing this same sense, this sense of unity in a tragedy that had occurred to the nation, just as they were later on with the Kennedy assassination.

BROWN: Monday is the funeral. How vividly do you remember that day? Do you remember...

CRONKITE: Well, I'll tell you how vividly I do. If you force me, I'll shed a tear. John-John, that moment was just more than I could abide practically, and I still feel that way about it. That little guy standing there and saluting, incredible.

BROWN: It is one of those -- I mean, it's a perfectly awful moment, but it's -- it was a perfect moment in a sense, I mean to see that child put his hand up.

CRONKITE: Yes, yes. Yes, it was too much. I mean, it was too much for my emotions, and the people's emotions. I think people all over the country had the same feeling about it. If it were planned, it couldn't have been a greater drama.

BROWN: Does it surprise you that 40 years later, people, many people, maybe even most people still believe that we do not know what happened?

CRONKITE: I think that's probably so. I think that's probably so.

The conspiracy theory is so entrancing that people are inclined to grasp onto one conspiracy idea or another, or to make up their own over the few set of circumstances they can put together. And this is, I suppose, absolutely inevitable.

We really did get a pretty good report from the Warren Commission.

I have the theory that I think a lot of us news people have, that if a lot of people know about a conspiracy, there's no way in the world it's going to be kept a secret.

Now, the one way that that one is countered by the conspiracy theorists is that the Mafia committed the murder, possibly under the pay of Castro or under their own dislike for Bobby Kennedy and others, and that the Mafia was perfectly capable of killing off all of those who were involved in such a way that there are no witnesses who can now spring the secret.

I don't believe that either. I just think that that is all too complicated, highly unlikely. It seems to me that all the evidence points to Oswald working alone.

BROWN: Did -- that weekend, your work, did it change your professional life? Did it change you? Did it change how people saw you? Did it -- is that the moment that you became what I know you hate when you say this...

CRONKITE: "Famous"?

BROWN: Well, famous you were. Was that the moment you became the most trusted man in America? I know.

CRONKITE: Oh, I don't know. Aaron, I don't know about that.

I would like to think, as all of us like to think about our careers, that it is the total of our experience that is what has impressed people, either as a writer or a broadcaster or whatever. I would hope that that's the situation in my case.

BROWN: Does it seem like 40 years ago?

CRONKITE: No, no. It doesn't. It might have seemed like it up to a few months ago, when fellows like Aaron Brown and others want to recount the details. There have been a few interviews about this sort of thing. BROWN: Yes.

CRONKITE: So suddenly it, doesn't seem like 40 years ago.

BROWN: Thank you for your time.



BROWN: The great and wonderful Walter Cronkite.

Before we go to break we want to thank CBS News president Andrew Hayward and the CBS News library. They graciously, graciously provided all of those excerpts for use from their coverage of 40 years ago. They were wonderful to help us out, and we appreciate it a lot.

Ahead on NEWSNIGHT, the president's brother, Senator Edward Kennedy on his brother's legacy and more.

And again, we take to you break by taking you to Dallas, and to Dealey Plaza, and this note, which reads, "Mr. President, we still miss you 40 years later. For one brief shining moment, we had Camelot. We just didn't know it. Rest in peace. From a grateful and proud immigrant/American."


BROWN: Earlier this week, we showed you some photographs taken by Jack Lowe, photographs of President Kennedy and his family. One of those images has stuck with us ever since.

It shows the entire family at what must have been the height of family glory. They'd just learned that Jack had been elected president in 1960. In less than a decade from the moment that picture was taken, the family would be decimated by the assassination of two sons, the death of the patriarch Joe, and the near death and scandal involving the youngest son, Ted.

Ted Kennedy, who has served in the Senate now for four decades, almost never talks about his brothers' deaths, but he sat down this week with CNN's Jonathan Karl, especially for NEWSNIGHT.


JONATHAN KARL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ted Kennedy's devotion to his brothers has never faded. He almost never talks about their deaths, though. The subject is simply too painful.

SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Well, I think about my brothers every day. I mean, they're members of the family we lost every day and obviously this time of the year is of special importance and consequence.

It's in the time of November 20, my brother Bob's birthday, and we try to celebrate that, his life and commitment to the kinds of causes that he was concerned on, human rights, making progress in poverty.

And we had the anniversary of President Kennedy. So, which is a different time, although we obviously have tried to give the focus and attention to President Kennedy's birthday in the spring. And that is what our family wants to give focus to and that's the -- that's what we give attention to. And we hope all the members of the family and the people that care the most about their memory would give focus to.

KARL: President Kennedy projected an image of youthful vigor. He was celebrated as a war hero for his valor in World War II.

But in recent years, newly unsealed medical records reveal the extent of his health problems and near constant pain.

KENNEDY: I remember back, you know, from after the war for the times that he had to go in and he was operated on.

I mean, he'd come home on a Friday afternoon, go into his room and he'd read and write, and he wouldn't -- He'd to bed early and be exhausted.

I'd come out on Saturday morning for an hour, go back in and nap in the afternoon, because his back was bothering him.

So that would be one weekend. Another weekend, he'd come down. He'd play, you know, go out and play golf and do all kinds of things. So this was a constant kind of wearing part.

I think it wore on him as pain does on any individual, but I think he had an inner constitution of steel. And I think -- and he was enormously determined when he made up his mind, and he was determined to deal with the physical ailments.

KARL (on camera): Did you have a sense that he was in a hurry, like he wanted to get a lot done quickly?

KENNEDY: Well, there was a lot going on then. There was a lot going on then.

I mean, as you point out, there's one, an incredible -- the series of challenges. I mean, you had the economy. You had the whole issues on the -- on race and whether they were going to make the progress, discrimination. You had the Berlin wall going up. You had Checkpoint Charlie. You had the Cuban Missile Crisis. You had Oxford, Mississippi, and people getting shot and killed in terms of the race issue.

You had the determination to go to the moon and start the Peace Corps.

So there was a lot going on at that time. I mean, he enjoyed the challenge. He got a lot out of it, and he worked hard at it, and I think he made a big difference.

KARL (voice-over): The Cuban Missile Crisis would be President Kennedy's finest hour. After a tense standoff that put the United States on the brink of nuclear war, the Soviets removed their missiles from Cuba.

At the time, Ted Kennedy was in the thick of his first campaign.

KENNEDY: I had a debate in the final night of the Cuban Missile Crisis with my opponent, George Lodge, and the issue was American foreign policy. And they said, "Before we start the debate tonight, can we pause while President Kennedy goes on?

And he announces the end of the Cuban Missile Crisis. And I said, "That's my foreign policy. What's yours, George?"

And that sort of ended the evening.

KARL (on camera): You, of course, came and took over his Senate seat here. And you had the time...

KENNEDY: We don't use the word take over. You know, we have a process by which we have elections in Massachusetts, and I was greatly honored to win that. So -- And honored to follow in a tradition, and I'm still deeply honored. I never take it for granted.

KARL: If you were to sum up shortly what is the legacy of President Kennedy?

KENNEDY: Well, it's -- I think really to -- he believed very deeply that public service was a noble profession. And was really, I think, probably the most enduring and lasting part of his legacy.

And the fact that people could get a sense of satisfaction and making a difference in other people's lives, and that that ought to be, really, the test of the civilization. I mean, and not just being looked at in terms of money and greed.

He understood that, and I think that sort of represented his best spirit, and I think that has a resonance and an echo still out there today. It certainly does for me.


BROWN: Senator Edward Kennedy, and we thank him for his willingness to do what we know is quite difficult, to sit down and talk about all of this.

"Morning Papers," which includes a look back, after the break.


BROWN: OK, time to check morning papers from around the country. We're going to look back at the headlines from 40 years ago and some for tomorrow, as well.

This is "The Chicago Daily News." I don't believe it's still in business. And it was an afternoon paper, I gather, because this was their edition on Friday afternoon. "President is Killed. Bullet Pierces Head. Texas Sniper Flees." So this was before -- was pretty early in the story, before it was before Lee Harvey Oswald had been taken into custody. The picture -- I'm not sure if you can tell, some of this is pretty grainy. But it's the shot of Mrs. Kennedy. She's trying to get out or reach back across the limousine.

"The Dallas Morning News," that's a paper to have collected from that day. "Kennedy Slain on Dallas Street. Johnson Becomes President."

There's a lot of other headlines in all of this, but we can't make them out, to be perfectly honest. I think it says "Pro-communist Charged With Act." I'm guessing.

"The Boston Herald," the president's hometown: "President Kennedy Assassinated. Lyndon Johnson Sworn in, Governor of Texas Wounded, Dallas man Accused as Killer. First Lady Nobly Bears Her Tragedy. Three-day Ritual Starts Today. Mass on Monday. New president, 'I'll do my best.'" I remember hearing that, at least I think I remember Lyndon Johnson saying that.

Here's "The Boston Herald" for tomorrow, "What Might Have Been, JFK remembered." That's a nice picture, isn't it?

But other business goes on, Michael Jackson over there, and "Backlash: Church Warns Policist of Catholic Church, Gay Decision May Cost Votes."

This is how the "Everett Herald" in Everett, Washington, it's about an hour north of Seattle. Headline, the story 40 years ago, "Assassin's Bullets Cut Down Nation's Chief Executive and Governor of Texas. Lyndon Johnson Takes Oath as 36th President." A couple of pictures on that. "President Kennedy is Killed" is the banner above the "Everett Herald," our good friends in Everett, Washington.

How much time? Thank you.

"Chicago Sun-Times": "Kennedy Kill. Suspect, 24, Charged as Assassin. Johnson the New President." That's the way the "Chicago Sun-Times" reported the story 40 years ago.

And it's just an inch of an story down here, "Why was JFK Shot?" Other matters take the front page of the "Sun-Times." The weather tomorrow there is stodgy. I think for most of us, the weather will be reflective 40 years later.

We'll update our top story in just a moment.


BROWN: Before we go to break tonight, a quick update of our top story.

Rocket attacks in Baghdad today. Army commanders calling them militarily insignificant, but they made quite an impression. Rockets fired from donkey carts hitting the oil ministry, as well as two hotels occupied by both the military and members of the press, CNN's Walt Rodgers included. Two people wounded in the attacks. One of those injuries is critical.

Monday on the program he is the legendary coach and motivator of young athletes. And for many years, to many in a corner of Central Pennsylvania, Joe Paterno could do no wrong.

Then the Nittany Lions started losing. Isn't that how it always works? Now Penn State football fans are starting to think about the unthinkable, life after Joe Paterno.

That's Monday on NEWSNIGHT. Have a terrific weekend. "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT" is next. Good night for all of us at NEWSNIGHT.


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