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Interview With Tom Ridge; Interview With Rudy Giuliani; Interview With Charles Schumer, Hillary Rodham Clinton

Aired May 19, 2004 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, exclusive: Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge and then former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani. Both speaking out for the first time about their testimony today before the 9/11 Commission in a gripping, emotional session less than two miles from Ground Zero in Manhattan.

And later also exclusive. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and her fellow senator from New York Charles Schumer plus commission chairman Tom Kean and vice chair Lee Hamilton and they're all next on LARRY KING LIVE.


KING: We begin with Secretary Tom Ridge, Department of Homeland Security, testified before the 9/11 Commission today. He was governor of Pennsylvania, when one of the planes and the tragedy of 9/11 hit and land -- crashed in his state. What was the main purpose in your testimony today, Governor?

TOM RIDGE, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: Larry, the commission gave me the opportunity to explain to them how far we've come since we began work going through the Department of Homeland Security to protect this country. They gave me an opportunity to show them, I think, hopefully successfully, that day in, day out, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, it's our job to get better, smarter, and to provide more protection and security of the country. So we had a very good discussion of things we have done as well as our way ahead.

KING: Have you learned a lot from this commission?

RIDGE: The commission was designed to vet out some lessons, some are very good, some of them very painful. But whether the lessons are good or bad, we have to learn from them and make sure that we don't make the same mistakes twice.

It was pretty clear throughout not only the commission testimony in the past couple of days, but in briefings that we've had with some of the officials in New York that one of the major challenges that they had was -- dealt with the ability to communicate, the fire and the police, the comparability and the compatibility different equipment, hoses to hydrants. And one of the many things we have done -- one of many things we've done in the Department of Homeland Security is set technical specifications. We have a short-term fix for the communication problem. We're working on a long-term fix for the communication problems. So I think the 9/11 commission, as it looks for a way ahead and makes recommendations, one of the more interested observers of those recommendations will be the department. I suspect there's more we can learn from their inquiry and from their many sessions and the background work that they've done over the past year.

KING: Is it safe to say, Governor -- do you like Governor or Mr. Secretary.

RIDGE: I like "Governor," but I answer to just about everything. Not everything, but just about.

KING: Is it safe to say that, God forbid, another 9/11, it would be handled better?

RIDGE: I think the question is appropriate. We operate under the presumption that we will be attacked again. When, where and how we don't know but that's the basic assumption around the operation of the department. I think clearly, and unequivocally, we are better protected and better prepared to prevent against an attack. (r)MDNM¯But if one occurred, I would say without a doubt, at the federal level, at the state level, at the local level, we would be in a far better position to respond. Let's not take away anything from the first responders in New York and the Pentagon and even in the fields of Pennsylvania. They did an extraordinary job under the most horrific circumstances. But I think even though they set a very high threshold, I think we'd be able to take it several steps higher.

KING: Do you have a major fear for this summer, with the two conventions, the Olympics overseas, et cetera?

RIDGE: Larry, this year, there are quite a few high-profile events. You just named several of them. The Olympics, two conventions, the G-8 conference down in Georgia. On a day-to-day level, Larry, while some of these events, we'll add additional security, our job every day is add more security, not just in these particular states or in these particular cities but around the entire country. The answer is there are some events, high profile, very symbolic. As we go about our election, they will add and lay on additional security, but that is, quite frankly, in addition to the other work we're doing every day, with mayors and governors and the private sector, different sectors of our economy to make sure they raise their level of security. What we want to build over the next several years is a permanent layer of security and then we want to sustain it. And that's something we're in the business of doing every single day.

KING: Are you particularly concerned the next time about chemical, biological-type warfare?

RIDGE: We don't have the luxury of guessing what our enemies might use against us. So by design, we have working simultaneously, be it research and development, because we see a lot of technological solutions out there. One of the things we have done and will do in the future is integrate people and technology to provide more protection. We don't have the luxury of of guessing what they might do. We have to move ahead on many many simultaneous tracks, chemical, biological, radiological, traditional explosives. You name it, we're looking for ways to detect and to prevent them.

KING: Speaking of the alert system, do you want people, especially when you go on high alert, not only to be more careful, but do you want them to report things they don't feel right about?

RIDGE: We do want people to understand that the alert system is something that is a signal to them that we believe, and when I say we believe, that is several members of the president's Cabinet believe that the threat is higher tomorrow than it is today. It's also a signal to the states and to local governments and to companies that they've got to ramp up security. By and large, we want citizens to go about living their lives. We want them to be vigilant, absolutely. We want them to be prepared. We have a ready campaign and our goal by the end of this year is have 50 percent of American families have a communication plan with their kids, have a ready kit and then just stay informed. Then we want them to be free. So we say normally to citizens, they say, "What can we do, how can we help?"

We say be prepared, be vigilant and be free. Enjoy living your life as an American and let the security professionals at the federal, state and local level worry about security and prevention.

KING: Are those alerts more for them than for us?

RIDGE: The alerts are a notice to the public, they are a signal to security professionals to ramp up. I will tell you, Larry, that as the months go by and actually, we began last year, now that we have the department, now that we are establishing lines of communication with our partners, and they are full partners at the state and local level, we have been sharing private information with them. We coordinated with the FBI. The FBI shares some information with them. Frankly, it's not always made public.

Our goal down the road, as we raise levels of security acrocc the country is to have to refer to the national alert system less, not more. I think that's a plausible, reasonable and responsible thing to do. We can target information, target our recommendations and work with individual communities, work with particular companies, work at particular sites to ramp up security because we know that when you go ramp it up nationally, it's labor-intensive, it's costly. We need to balance that against our ability to target information and make very specific recommendations. That's the business we've been into. We will get better and better at that in the months ahead.

KING: Because of the sensitive nature of your job, will you be involved in the campaign?

RIDGE: I will not, Larry. The president and I -- excuse me -- made the decision quite some time ago that I should go about the business of everyday of working to use our people and technology to make America safer and not be involved politically.

KING: Thank you, Governor. We'll be calling on you a lot. Always great to see you. RIDGE: Thank you, Larry.

KING: Governor Tom Ridge, the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. When we come back, the former mayor of New York testified today. He's out now in San Francisco. Rudy Giuliani will be with us. Don't go away. As we go to break, sights and sounds of that tragic morning.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This just in, you're looking at obviously a very disturbing live shot there. That is the World Trade Center. We have unconfirmed reports this morning a plane has crashed into one of the towers of the World Trade Center.



KING: We now welcome to LARRY KING LIVE an old friend, the mayor of -- former mayor of New York. Mayor Rudy Giuliani is with us tonight in San Francisco. He testified before the 9/11 Commission this morning. By the way, just as a postscript, last night, Rudy, we did a whole tribute to Tony Randall. During that program, it was mentioned how you officiated at the wedding. I understand you will speak at the funeral on Friday, right?

RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK: Tony was a remarkable man, he was a great New Yorker, and an absolutely gifted comedian and a developer of theater in New York. I mean, he did so much for the New York theater that I think he really belongs in some very, very special place, as one of the great New Yorkers.

KING: And you're going to speak at his funeral, right?

GIULIANI: I am. I will. I will. I had the great honor of performing his wedding ceremony when I was the mayor of New York City. And he would always tease me about it. Sometimes, when he would introduce me, he would say that I married him. Then we would have to describe that I presided over the ceremony, that we weren't -- I guess in this day and age of the new forms of marriage, that might even be funny. Who knows.

KING: Back to 9/11, and that -- was that hard for you today emotionally?

GIULIANI: Yes. It was very -- it was very difficult emotionally. It is any time I have to relive what happened that day. And this was -- it was particularly difficult. Not -- the commission was very, very, I think -- conducted themselves in an absolutely appropriate way. It's not because of the commission that it was difficult. It's difficult because it's very hard to relive all of the events that happened that day and to think about all the people that I was with, you know, shortly before they died. I have so many friends and so many people that I care about and so many people that I've come to know who lost lives there, that it is just difficult to go over. But it was very necessary to do it.

KING: How did you react to the people yelling out? We had to have some compassion, I guess. Those were people I guess who lost relatives.

GIULIANI: Oh, yeah, I reacted exactly that way, with compassion and with understanding. I mean, I feel -- I understand exactly what they're going through. Maybe I just -- I just channel my anger in a different direction.

They're very, very angry. I couldn't go to the World Trade Center, Ground Zero, I still can't drive past it. I try to avoid it. When I do drive past it or I have to go there for a ceremony, I'm very, very angry. But I've always been able to channel my anger absolutely 100 percent on the terrorists who did this. They accomplished this horrible deed. Everything else that happened, the things that were done right and the things that were done wrong and maybe even the mistakes that were made, were all made by people acting in good faith, trying to deal with an impossible and a very, very difficult situation.

And I think they have to be approached with compassion, all those people have to be approached with compassion, both the people that maybe are angry and displacing their anger in one place or another, or the people who made decisions that may, you know, in hindsight have turned out to be slightly wrong, or they were doing it for the right reasons. I mean, all those firefighters, police officers, rescue workers, 911 operators, they were all trying to save lives.

I think Senator Gorton did the best analysis today, in which he demonstrated that they were successful in saving thousands and thousands and thousands of people. It was without any doubt the greatest rescue effort in the history of our country.

When I was first informed, I was told that there was 12,000 people that died at the World Trade Center. It turned out to be less than 3,000, a horrible number but a lot less than it could have been, because firefighters and police officers did the thing that they had to do, they stood their ground. They stayed in the building, they didn't panic. They didn't -- so many people come up to me and tell me that the only reason they got out calmly and easily is because, they'll say to me, I saw your firefighters walking up the stairs as we were walking down, and that's the only reason we were able to get out of that building.

So that's the overall picture of what happened. And then there are things that went wrong. In any catastrophic emergency, things are going to go wrong. And they should be focused on in a constructive way, not with, you know, not with highly charged language being used. It hurts so many of these families in all different directions.

KING: In retrospect, though, if their anger is based on you had some warnings and should have -- there should have been some prevention in here, how do you react to that?

GIULIANI: Well, I mean, first of all, the anger -- even if there were some things -- and I don't believe there are in the things that I've seen -- but even if there were some things that maybe, with the benefit of hindsight, knowing the end of the story, those things now become more significant -- what happened is the people just missed them, in good faith. They had no desire to hurt anyone, harm anyone. The major -- the major actors here are the terrorists who attacked, Osama bin Laden, the terrorists who continue to threaten us.

One of the things we were able to do right after September 11 as a country is we united ourselves. And we didn't start -- we weren't fighting with each other, we were standing tall against our enemies. And this tends to have us kind of feeding on each other.

The warnings that I have seen -- you know, I don't have -- I'm not privy to everything, but everything I've seen and I guess everything you've seen, none of it would suggest to me the kind of an attack that took place. And even if I had been given those warnings, it would have been no different to the warnings that I had received a year before, two years before, three years before. I had closed down the area around the Stock Exchange, I had closed down the area around the federal courthouse, I had closed down the area around the United Nations, all of that based on information that we had received, City Hall. And sometimes I used to be criticized for going too far in the direction of doing that. But I did it based on information that I received.

KING: When we take a break, when we come back, we'll ask Mayor Giuliani about preventing the next or what to do when the next happens.

Still to come, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and Senator Charles Schumer, both senators from the state of New York. Don't go away.


QUESTION: Mayor, what's the situation right now?

GIULIANI: The situation is that two airplanes have attacked apparently -- what?


GIULIANI: All right. Let's go north, then.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) he's a great leader. 3,000 men were murdered does not mean


(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: Angry people at the hearing. Our guest, Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York who testified before that commission this morning.

Mayor, would you agree with what Tom Ridge just said, that when and if that next attack occurs, we will do better, unequivocally?

GIULIANI: Yes. I believe we will. Again, as the secretary said, that's to take nothing away from the people who responded in New York, in Washington, and in Pennsylvania. I think, given the fact there was no warning, and they had to deal with the worst attacks in the history of this country, they did and absolutely unbelievable job of saving a lot more lives than we otherwise could expect. But you learn from things. I mean you are -- now, people are better prepared, they've gone through even more drills and exercises. Hopefully some of the communications problems will be solved which really will only be solved if we have a dedicated frequency or bandwidth for emergency services. The technology of radios can only go so far. If too many people are in the same bandwidth, trying to make calls, they step on each other. So the answer here has to be a frequency or bandwidth that is dedicated to emergency services. If that happens, then you'll have a difference. But if it doesn't happen, you can do some improvements with technology of radios, but you will probably have pretty much the same result.

KING: Is it do-able?

GIULIANI: It's do-able but the FCC has to approve it. It has to push it through a bit. The idea is if there's an emergency, the emergency personnel get priority and you have a width that is dedicated just to them and nobody else can be on that, nobody else can use it. And there's a lot of controversy about that.

KING: Why would anyone be against that?

GIULIANI: Well, there are people against, because it deprives other people of being able to make calls, it takes away bandwidth from others. I mean, there's a whole controversy about it. But that needs to be solved. If that's solved, then communications still will never be perfect. You have a cell phone, I have a cell phone, they go out, even when there are no emergencies going on, right? So, radio communications by wave will never be perfect, there'll always be some degree of interruption but that will make it better.

KING: Let's take a call for the mayor. Lexington, Tennessee, hello.

CALLER: Thank you. I'm a great admirer of you both. Gentlemen, I was wondering how Mayor Giuliani felt about the mentality that was expressed by some of the audience this morning, when a certain woman held up a newspaper and yelled, "My son was murdered because of your incompetence."

What do you think about that mentality that individuals were murdered by the system -- because it really disturbs me that that was thought. GIULIANI: Well, you know, I understand the anger, because if you've lost a child, I guess almost anything can happen to you, any kind of anger can occur.

But I mean, there's a distortion in that thinking, right?

The murderers were the people who flew the airplanes into the building and nobody had any warning of that. Then everybody else reacted to that. Then you can have questions about whether they reacted properly or improperly or they didn't. But they're certainly not the murderers. It's also in this idea of seeking blame and saying somebody should have read more into a communique or whatever, the amount of guilt they're trying to put on people is horrible. It's really is horrible. Some person who didn't read acommunique correctly is not responsible for what happened here. The people who ordered it, the people who flew the planes in the building, they're the people responsible for it.

KING: You can't honestly say you would have reacted differently if you had that August 6th White House memo.

GIULIANI: No. you know, I was asked that today. If that had been shared with me and I had been briefed on that, would I have acted any differently?

It would have been no different than the kind of warnings that we had gotten for two or three years. It didn't mention a specific place. It didn't mentionr a specific method. We had security all over the city. We had buildings closed down, not closed down, but we had security erected around them. The Port Authority -- the World Trade Center was one of the more secure buildings in the United States in terms of entering and exit. The whole idea was --the premise was suicide bombings and bombings, there was no premise concerning aerial attack, and that's the part that was unanticipated.

KING: We have a couple minutes left with the mayor. One more quick call.

Winnipeg, Manitoba, hello.

CALLER: Mayor Giuliani, I feel privileged to personally thank and congratulate you on your leadership on 9/11. My question sir, is, not withstanding difficulties in Iraq today and given al Qaeda's continued activities, what do you say to those who suggest that America should abandon leading the world in the fight against terrorism?

GIULIANI: Well, we can't and we won't. I mean, they declared war on us. Just in describing again today what happened on September 11th which is very painful and emotional for me, it reminds me every time do it, that we were attacked. And it was war -- there was a war going on in the streets of the city of New York on September 11th, 2001, like a nuclear attack, with many people killed, this tremendous cloud float going through the streets of the city, people being knocked down by debris.

So, maybe those of us in New York understand this better than anyplace I think, those of us in America do. But,we were attacked. And the best thing to do with terrorism is to go on offense rather than back where we used to be on defense. We've got to search them out, we've got to find them. We have to try to do everything we can to destabilize them. And America, certainly under George Bush, President Bush, America is going to continue to lead the effort against terrorism. We are going to be on offense. We're not going to be on defense and allow this to happen to us again.

KING: Are you particularly concerned about the Republican convention in your city in August?

GIULIANI: I have great confidence in the New York City Police Department. I think Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly have done everything they can do to improve, from the time that I left office, they've taken specific steps trying to learn from the lessons that maybe were taught by what happened on September 11th. There's nothing and no place that's perfectly secure anymore. But I think you're going to have the best security that's possible. Just like I think the rescue effort in September 11, 2001, in New York, I don't think any other city could have carried it out as well as New York City did, with the great firefighters and police officers that we have.

KING: Thank you, mayor, see you at Yankees Stadium. Be well.

GIULIANI: Take care.

KING: Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York.

And when we come back, the two senators from New York, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Charles Schumer. They'll talk about those commission hearings today and the aftermath, right after this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Clear out of this area now. Go, we are evacuating this part of Manhattan. Get out of here now. Lets go, folks. Let's go! Let's go! Come on!


KING: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE. We now turn our attention to the two high elected representatives, the two Senators from the state of New York, the senior senator, Charles Schumer and the junior senator, Hillary Rodham Clinton. They are both Democrats.

Senator Schumer, what's your follow-up to what we just heard tonight from Governor Ridge and Mayor Giuliani, and the whole hearing this morning?

SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER, (D) NEW YORK: Well, the bottom line is I think the commission's doing a very good job. They're getting to the bottom of this. And we have to learn what went wrong, not to point fingers of blame, but rather to figure it out in the future and make it much less likely to happen.

Both Kean and Hamilton, particularly, are leaders. I know them both well. They're nonpartisan. They're not interested in being nasty or finger-pointing or political. They just want the truth so we can move forward. So, overall, I give the commission very high marks.

KING: Senator Clinton, what did you make of the emotional reaction of some of the people in the audience there this morning?

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, (D) NEW YORK: Oh Larry, I think we all understand the emotion. Chuck and I have been together on this so many times meeting with so many people who lost loved ones, who were injured. And there's a lot of grief and anger and distress, which is totally understandable.

I think the commission has taken exactly the right tone. They're going at this, not only in a nonpartisan independent way, but in a very calm way, that I think builds a lot of confidence. So that when they come out with their report, they will be able to give us some insight into what happened. But I hope, even more than that, they can give us some suggestions from their investigation, about what we all should be doing to get better prepared for the future.

KING: Senator Schumer, do you agree with both Ridge and Giuliani, that when and if it happens again, reaction will be better?

SCHUMER: Yes. I think -- look, I think we're considerably better prepared than we were before 9/11 on two fronts. On offense, I think we know more about al Qaeda and other terrorist groups. We're able to thwart some of the things they are doing. We have a ways to go there. And on defense, we're better, too. That's not to say we're where we want to be, but we're better off.

One caveat though that I would give hereis, the terrorists are smart. And when they hit us again, if they do, God forbid, they'll probably do it in a different way than they did it before. And so to just say, well, how are we going to prevent planes from flying into buildings and evacuate buildings is not going to be good enough.

Tom Ridge, I think, said it well earlier tonight. You have to look at every front, because they look for our weak pressure point, the place we're doing the least -- and they can learn that from the Internet -- and then they strike.

KING: Senator Clinton, is there something you're more fearful of?

CLINTON: Larry, I spend a lot of time on the Armed Services Committee, with respect to homeland security, trying to think of every way that we remain vulnerable. We have made a lot of progress. But I agree with Chuck, we can't ever let our guard down. We have to keep asking, what more do we need to do? We've got to have the right strategies, both on offense and defense to protect ourselves.

I think we've learned a lot since September 11. I'm not sure we've implemented, yet, everything we've learned, or that we have thought creatively enough, unfortunately, like the terrorists. I mean, we have to sort of get inside their minds to predict what they might do to us, in order to prevent that from happening. KING: Senator Schumer, Mayor Bloomberg says that New York received only $5.47 per capita in homeland security grants this year, second lowest in the nation. He said the grant distribution is pork barrel politics at its worst. Do you agree?

SCHUMER: Yes, I think the mayor has a point here. We should not, sort of, take the homeland security dollars in an airplane and just spread them randomly in the country on a per capita basis, or even worse. And that's because certain areas have higher vulnerability. We have to focus on the highest need areas.

In the first year, the formula was pretty good. Hillary and I worked on that and we were able to get the high needs areas to get the dollars they need. But I guess as you go forward from 9/11, and it is true, each area thinks they have their own needs, it sort of got spread out more now. Something good may have happened. I was with Tom Ridge right in the anteroom here, as he came out, and I was ready to come on, and we had a five minute conversation about getting that formula back to the way it was two years ago.

KING: What did he say?

SCHUMER: He said he would do it. And he's -- I believe he wants to do it. I just hope others in the White House don't overrule him. Last year, I think he also wanted to do it, but we didn't -- we didn't get the kind of cooperation we needed. But it should be done on need, not simply on per capita.

KING: Senator Clinton, what's your input?

CLINTON: Oh, I agree with that completely. You know, Chuck and I have been beating this drum for three years now. We have said over and over again we that don't have enough money and we haven't allocated the money in a way that reflects what the real threat is.

Every piece of intelligence I see, with respect to threats always mentioned two cities, New York and Washington. There are other places mentioned, but it's a continuous drumbeat of intelligence with respect to both of these cities. So, we have to do a better job.

I have spoken with Secretary Ridge numerous times. I saw him also as he was leaving the set. And he does want to do the right thing, but the president and the Office of Management and Budget all have to weigh in with our colleagues. It's just the nature of legislating that people feel like they've to get their piece of the pie.

The problem is that the most important areas to protect need more help. And I hope that this year, we get the kind of results that we've been promised in the past.

You know, I spoke at the Conference on Mayors back in February. Before I spoke, the president came. And he said, I know that the homeland security aid, has been stuck, we're going to get it unstuck. Because we have a second problem, it's not only that we don't get enough money targeted where it's most needed, lots of times it gets stuck in the pipeline, it doesn't get out of Washington fast enough, it doesn't get out of a state capitol fast enough. It doesn't get into the hands of the first responders, the police and the fire departments that are really the people on the front line.

So, Chuck and I have been sort of sounding this alarm now. I hope that finally, we're going to be able to get the kind of reaction that will give us the money we need in New York, Washington and in the high threat areas.

KING: Senator Schumer, how do you assess the security for New York City this summer, the Republican Convention?

SCHUMER: You know, New York City has been doing a great job. Our police, our fire, our emergency people -- people learned on 9/11 how phenomenal they are. Hillary and I knew how good they were long before that, and we see it now. And they're doing a great job.

New York City is going to spend, you know, over these few years, probably close to a billion dollars on its own security. It is really not fair for the taxpayers of New York City, this is a national and international problem. We're a national city in so many ways, to do it.

But given that constraint, New York City, both under Mayor Giuliani and Mayor Bloomberg, I give them both credit, said, look, even if we're not getting the federal dollars we need, we're going to spend them.

I think the convention is going to go really well. I think that New York has a great robust tradition of protest. And we're going to see a lot of protest, but it's going to be safe, it's going to be secure. And I have a lot of confidence. I've told people. A lot of people have asked me, they say, "Well, should I go away? Should I close my business down?" I said, "Nope, you watch, New York is going to do a very fine job."

KING: But Senator Clinton, are you worried?

CLINTON: Well, I think you always have to be worried. We live in very difficult, dangerous times with respect to global terrorism. But just because you're worried, doesn't mean that you can't go about your ordinary, daily life. You have to keep things in the back of your mind. We need every New Yorker, every American to be more vigilant. If you see an unaccompanied bag, or backpack, you need to report it. So, we do need people to be, you know, a little more alert, but not alarmed.

And I agree with Chuck, I think the convention is a great event for New York. I want the Republicans to have terrific time. I want everybody to appreciate the greatest city in the world. And we have the finest police and fire department and emergency response team that you could find anywhere in the world. Everything that can humanly be done, will be done.

But I just want to underscore what Chuck said. We're reaching really deep into the pocket of the New York citizen in order to pay for the extra security and everything that goes along with protecting and preparing for New York. And we need some more help from the federal government in order to be able to do everything we know needs to be done, and to be able to afford to do it.

KING: We'll take a break. We'll be back with some more moments with our 2 Senators. And we'll close it out with Governor Kean and Lee Hamilton, the chairman and vice-chairman of the 9/11 Commission. Don't go away.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, I said, that's going to go down, like the first one. And it came down, and it was just this sound, this rumble and this mass cloud coming at us. It's intense.




KING: We start with Senator Clinton this go around. The 9/11 Commission report is due July 26, Senator Clinton. Do you expect the White House to vet it right away and let it out?

CLINTON: I hope so. I don't want this to be part of the political process. And I think the sooner that it's out, the better for everybody. As I say from my observation of the commission, I think they have conducted themselves admirably, really above politics. Obviously, they have strong-willed opinionated commissioners. That's the American way, they have opinions about things. As a group, I really believe they've tried to just focus on the issues that they could address to try to come up with some facts about what happened and some recommendations about where we go here. So I hope it gets out as soon as possible.

KING: What do you think, Chuck?

SCHUMER: I agree with Hillary completely. One point here. You know, the White House has gotten the ability to look at the report and redact certain items. I hope those redactions, you know, where they block things out are as few as possible. I think one thing I hope they learned is, in a sense, the truth will set you free, you can't win on something as cosmic, as important as this, hide things, hold things back. That's been the history, when they tried not to cooperate in the early days, they basically had to, and it was frankly the will of the families, the families you heard earlier, you had earlier on your show and we heard today, who just pushed this, and they are sort of the beacon of this report. They've had such passion to get the truth for the right motivations completely. Instead of just cursing the darkness with a hole in their hearts because of the loved ones they lost. They're trying to do some good here. So the White House ought to just put it out quickly and redact anything that has a national security purpose but nothing else.

KING: And off track just a minute for a moment. We have about three minutes left. Senator Clinton, do you think New York City should get the Olympics?

CLINTON: Of course. It's not even a close call.

KING: As busy as that city is, you need that?

CLINTON: You know what, if you want something done, give it to a busy person. If you want something done really well, give it to New York. I just feel like it would be such a great tribute to the courage and resilience of New Yorkers, to bring the Olympics to a city that deserves it and can really give the world a great time.

SCHUMER: If we have the Olympics here, Larry, the Olympiads and the people performing and the people who come, they've not seen nothing like this yet. It will be just the greatest. There's a little bit of anti-American sentiment on the IOC, from what we've been told, especially among the European nations. We hope they can overcome that. New York is not only a national city, we are a universal city. Everyone abhorred what happened on 9/11. There would be no better way to repudiate the terrorists and back up New York than choose New York to be the center for the Olympics.

KING: But Senator Clinton, look at how much money -- you've talked about money already, how much you're laying out in security, what you would have to lay out for this would be enormous. Of course, you would get a lot back.

CLINTON: Well, part of the plan for attracting the Olympics is to make some very important investments in our infrastructure. There are so many people excited about bringing the Olympics to New York that there will be so much private money that will go into developing the infrastructure that we need. I'm just confident that New York can pull it off in a world-class way and I hope that the world will give us this opportunity to do just that.

KING: You think you got a shot, Senator Schumer?

SCHUMER: I do. I think that we have an indomitable fellow there, Dan Doctoroff, who's had this idea. He's sort of -- you know, you say one person can't make a difference. He went to a soccer game -- there was an international soccer game in New York City. He's a native of Michigan like so many people, came from somewhere else and he loved it and it hit him as he was at the soccer game, why don't we try to get the Olympics here. He's pushing and pushing. He will be lobbying every one of those IOC commissioners. I think he's going to win them over. It's the right decision to come to New York. I have hope, maybe faith, but certainly hope that the IOC, the commission will do the right thing and bring it here. And again, we'll have the greatest -- it will be the greatest time for the world, a unifying factor for a world that's now so divided.

KING: And finally, for both of you. Senator Clinton, do you have a favorite for John Kerry to select as a running mate?

CLINTON: Larry, it's such a personal decision. I'm going to support whoever John picks, I have a lot of confidence in his judgment. I think he's doing a terrific job on the campaign trail, he's gaining ground every single day. This is a big and important decision for him but he's going to make one that he feels good about. I think it will be a terrific ticket and a winning ticket in November.

KING: Senator Schumer, do you have anyone you particularly would favor?

SCHUMER: I have my own thoughts. I think we're best to leave this to the presidential nominee. The chemistry is important. He's got to feel right about it. And, if he feels right about it, I think everyone will feel right about it. So I'm not going to impose my -- if he asks me privately, I'll tell him my view. I'm not going to shout it out to tens of millions of Americans here. Let him decide and we'll back who he chooses.

KING: Both of you will campaign extensively?

CLINTON: Absolutely.

SCHUMER: No question about it.

KING: Thank you both very much for sharing this time with us. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and Senator Chuck Schumer. Before that Governor Tom Ridge, secretary of national security and Mayor Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of city of New York. We'll take a break and when we come back, we'll close out the program with Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, the chairman and vice-chairman respectively of the 9/11 Commission. Don't go away.


KING: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE. And we wind up things tonight with two distinguished Americans. They are the chairman and co-chairman, respectively, of the 9/11 Commission. In New York is Governor Tom Kean, former governor of New Jersey. And in Washington, D.C., is Congressman Lee Hamilton, the former Democratic congressman from Indiana.

Quite a day, Governor Kean. What surprised you most about these hearings in New York?

THOMAS KEAN, CHAIRMAN, 9/11 Commission: Well, you know, the emotions are still raw in this city, even a couple of years later. The people -- the intensity feeling by the family, the other people in this city, that hasn't gone away. And I guess I knew it hadn't gone away, but I didn't realize just how strongly people still felt.

KING: Congressman Hamilton, how about the mixed feelings of we're apparently hearing everything -- they did a great job, to other sides saying there were a lot of weaknesses. Where do you come down?

LEE HAMILTON, VICE CHAIRMAN, 9/11 Commission: Well, first of all, I think the praise for the heroism of that day is really beyond our words. That was unanimous. Everybody recognizes the extraordinary deeds of heroism that day.

Having said that, as you look at the events of the day, you had the responsibility -- we have the responsibility of trying to find out if things went wrong at any point or could they have done better, how do you fix it. So there is an element of criticism in the commission's statements. But that does not in any way detract from the enormous heroism of the day by the New York police and fire and emergency responders.

KING: Governor Kean, when the crowd erupted a little, was that hard, since those people were mostly people who lost loved ones?

KEAN: No, it wasn't. And it wasn't surprising. I mean, it wasn't surprising, one, because, as I said, the emotions are still so raw. And secondly, it's New York.

You know, both of us live in this area. Our emotions show, and we erupt a bit. But it was -- but overall, I thought it was a very constructive hearing. I felt we learned things that we hadn't known before. And I've got some feelings about some recommendations at least I know at this point that I'd support.

KING: I want to get to that.

Congressman, were you surprised at the conflict between the fire department former commissioner, Chairman Thomas Von Essen, and between Commissioner Lehman?

HAMILTON: Oh, I think something like that was to be expected here, because there is some tension within the New York City system between the police and the fire. But what emerges from this, I think, is that -- at least for me -- is the necessity of having integrated command systems present when you have one of these horrible tragedies strike.

We heard the phrase often "the fog of war". This was the fog of enormous tragedy. And no one should expect that everything runs smoothly under those circumstances.

But I think most of the commissioners came away feeling that some kind of an integrated command system is necessary in any kind of tragedy of this magnitude, that communications have to be sharply improved. And then I think another thing that came out, for me at least, was the necessity of the private sector doing its role in terms of evacuation, getting their employees out.

KING: Governor Kean, you said you have some recommendations in mind. Are there any you could tell us?

KEAN: Well, the ones that my vice chairman, Commissioner Hamilton, just mentioned are ones that come immediately to mind. One of the surprising things to me was they conducted fire drills in those buildings, and then we asked them about the problems that occurred in the stairway when 9/11 happened, and they never went in the stairway. So they were unaware of the configuration, they were unaware of which doors were going to be open, they were unaware of the fact that there were walkways between some of the stairways.

So there were a lot of problems that occurred when people were trying to get down just because they had never ever been in those stairways before, in spite of the fact they had fire drills. Or another thing is go in the halls. So a recommendation that fire drills have got to happen and that the private sector has to have an emergency plan for evacuation, an emergency plan for finding their personnel, and maybe even an emergency plan for continuity of business if a tragedy does happen.

KING: Lee, is one of the big things that came to the front is that no one, no one in all the plans they make and all the contingencies thought of a hijacked aircraft with suicide bombers?

HAMILTON: Absolutely. I think that comes out again and again in the testimony. We just did not have the imagination, if you would, to envision flying commercial jets into the World Trade towers. And one of the things you have to do in defending against terrorism is to kind of let your mind loose, if you will, get away from the normal framework within which you think of terrorist attacks and think of ways and means that would really be unique.

We didn't do that before 9/11. We ought to do it in the future.

KING: July 26 is the day that the report will be seen. Both of you gentlemen again in June after the session in Washington. Are you going to make that date definitely, Governor Kean?

KEAN: I believe we will, unless something totally unexpected happens. We're working very hard, our staff is working seven days a week. If you want to call them 10:00 tonight, I expect you'll get somebody. They're working very hard, and we're on target. So I think we should get the report in at the time which Congress has requested it.

KING: And that goes to Congress and the president?

KEAN: It goes to Congress and the president.

HAMILTON: And the American people.

KEAN: That's correct.

KING: Thank you both very much for your continued distinguished service.

Governor Tom Kean, the chairman, and Congressman Lee Hamilton, the vice chairman of the 9/11 Commission.

And I'll be back in a couple of minutes to tell you about tomorrow night. Don't go away.


KING: Hope you enjoyed tonight's edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Very informative, and what an array of guests.

Tomorrow night, Governor Ann Richards, the outspoken former governor of Texas. Speaking of outspoken, hey, "NEWSNIGHT" is next. The host is Aaron Brown. Don't go away, he's coming up right now.


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