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New New York City Mayor's Swearing In and Speech

Aired January 1, 2014 - 13:00   ET


DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR: Right now, firefighters are at an apartment building in Minneapolis where there has been a massive explosion. Their extremely difficult rescue mission just ahead.

Also, the defining issue of the Obama presidency is being put to the test. New health insurance coverage and reforms kick in today under Obamacare. And there's a lot at stake after the botched rollout of the website.

And today, people in Colorado are buying recreational marijuana legally for the first time. They started lining up at 2:00 this morning to be part of history.

Hello. I'm Dana Bash in Washington. Wolf Blitzer is off today.

We begin with that fiery explosion in Minnesota. It happened this morning at a three-story apartment building in Minneapolis. The force of the blast so strong it may have thrown people out of the windows. And some people may have been trapped inside the burning building. Our Ted Rowlands is following the story from Chicago.

Ted, do investigators have any idea yet what caused the explosion?

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, they don't, Dana. That's what they're working on now, the fire is for the most part out. They're sifting through it, looking at what potentially could have happened and making sure there are no victims still within the debris, 13 people in all taken to local hospitals. Several of them in critical condition.

This fire was reported at 8:20 this morning and it was a massive explosion. The pictures really tell the tale for itself. Just an amazing fire that sent people literally out of their third story windows. It's unclear if they jumped out or actually were blown out. Many of the people that are injured are being treated for trauma.

Firefighters say when they arrived they had their hands full.


CHIEF JOHN FRUETEL, MINNEAPOLIS FIRE DEPARTMENT: Crews were able to make entry into the first floor of the structure. Keep in mind when they arrived, there were flames shooting 20 feet out of the second, third floor windows. Crews did make entry into the first floor of the structure. Did what they could to do any primary searches of that first floor area. ROWLANDS (voice-over): Three-story building, Dana, the first floor is a grocery and a mosque. And there is no indication on the cause here, but as you might imagine, there are groups in Minneapolis on the scene right now who are very sensitive, making sure that this is not an intentional act and is not potentially a hate crime because there is a mosque involved here.

But again, there's no indication that this was intentionally set at all. There is no cause at this point. But there is some concern.

DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR: Absolutely. And the temperature has to be playing a big role in this. It is bitterly cold in Minneapolis, I think -18 degrees with the wind chill.

How is that affecting the firefighters and their efforts to contain this?

ROWLANDS: Well, it was a tough road because of that; literally the hoses were freezing at times and the firefighters had to be circled in and out, circulated in and out. Brief shifts because of the potential for hypothermia and frostbite.

The biggest concern was that the fire hoses were so difficult to handle and the water was freezing up as they were trying to douse those flames which made a very difficult job that much harder.

BASH: Absolutely, Ted. I know you'll stay on this. Thank you very much.

Now to the severe weather threat that's affecting not just Minnesota but dozens of other states this holiday week. Two storms, one in the Midwest and the other in the South, are on a collision course. They're expected to plow into each other over the East Coast tomorrow and Friday, creating a snowstorm and a major travel headache for more than 70 million people.

Before we get to that, we actually are going to go to New York City where Bill Clinton is about to do the ceremonial swear-in of the new mayor, Bill de Blasio.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I congratulate Public Advocate Jane (ph) and Comptroller Stringer (ph). I thank all of the people who are here.

I'm not sure we introduced one of our guests, but I want to say I'm grateful that the governor and first lady of Puerto Rico are here because it is reminds us what's special about New York.

I was so honored when Mayor de Blasio asked me to preside over the ceremonial swearing-in. As the 109th mayor of New York, he has a job that is older than our republic itself, in a city that is most famous for its commitment to remain forever young.

It is no accident that somebody somewhere along the line decided, that cold or not, a new beginning should always be made in the new year. It's been a great joy for Hillary and me to see the mayor's progress because he worked in my administration with Governor Cuomo and Senator Gillibrand and HUD, because he managed Hillary's first remarkable campaign for the U.S. Senate, because he has served with such passion, and because he represents with his family the future of our city and the future of our country.

I got a big kick out of watching New Yorkers fall in love with Bill and Chirlane and Chiara and Dante.

You know, with all respect to the television show, they're our real modern family.


CLINTON: I also want to thank Mayor Bloomberg who has committed so much of his life to this city.


CLINTON: He leaves the city stronger and healthier than he found it.

More people are coming here than leaving. With all of our challenges, people know somehow deep down inside there's something special about New York. So I'm grateful to both mayors, for Mayor Bloomberg for his years of service and for the legacy he will leave and to Mayor de Blasio for his good and caring hands.

I wanted not to say much except the oath, but I have to say this. I strongly endorse Bill de Blasio's core campaign commitment that we have to have a city of shared opportunities, shared prosperity, shared responsibilities. We are interdependent. Look around. We can't get away from each other. We have to define the terms of our dependence.

And this inequality problem bedevils the entire country, and I can tell you from my work, much of the world.

But it is not just a moral outrage. It is a horrible constraint on economic growth and on giving people the security we need to tackle problems like climate change. We cannot go forward if we don't do it together.

And I am very grateful that all of us in our many different backgrounds are committed to supporting our mayor, our new government, in this great endeavor. This is a gift we could give not only to New Yorkers, not only to the state, but to the country and, indeed, increasingly to the entire world.

We are going to share the future. We need to share it in a positive way.

And with that in mind, I would like to ask the 109th mayor of New York to come forward and take the oath of office.

(APPLAUSE) CLINTON: The mayor is taking the oath on a Bible once used by President Franklin Roosevelt. It is altogether appropriate that he should do that.

Please raise your right hand, state your name and repeat after me.

I, Bill de Blasio.


CLINTON: Do solemnly swear

DE BLASIO: Do solemnly swear

CLINTON: -- that I will support the Constitution of the United States.

CLINTON: -- that I will support the Constitution of the United States.

CLINTON: The constitution of the state of New York.

DE BLASIO: The constitution of the state of New York.

CLINTON: And the charter of the city of New York.

DE BLASIO: And the charter of the city of New York.

CLINTON: That I will faithfully discharge.

DE BLASIO: And that I will faithfully discharge.

CLINTON: The office -- the duties of the office of mayor of the city of New York.

DE BLASIO: The duties of the office of the mayor of the city of New York.

CLINTON: According to the best of my ability.

DE BLASIO: According to the best of my ability.

CLINTON: So help me God.

DE BLASIO: So help me God.


MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK: (speaking foreign language).

Like it is for so many of you, my family is my rock. Their wisdom, their compassion and sense of humor make each day a gift to cherish. But what makes today so special isn't just my family, but our larger New York family. Yes, I'm borrowing from Governor Cuomo. Our family of New York.

We see what binds all New Yorkers together, an understanding that big dreams are not a luxury reserved for the privileged few, but the animating force behind every community in every borough. The spark that ignites our unwavering resolve to do everything possible to ensure that every girl and boy, no matter what language they speak, what subway line they ride, what neighborhood they call home, that every child has the chance to succeed.

We recognize the government's first duties, our city government's first responsibilities, to keep our neighborhoods safe, to keep our streets clean, to ensure that those who live here and those who visit can get where they need to go in every borough. But we know that our mission reaches deeper. We are called to put an end to economic and social inequalities that threaten to unravel the city we love.

So today we commit to a new, progressive direction in New York. And that same progressive impulse has written our city's history. It's in our DNA. Nearly a century ago, it was Al Smith who waged war on unsafe working conditions and child labor. It was Franklin Roosevelt and Francis Perkins who led the charge for the basic bargain of unemployment insurance and the minimum wage. It was Fiorello La Guardia who enacted the new deal here on the city level, battled the excesses of Wall Street and championed a progressive income tax, from Jacob Reese (ph) to Eleanor Roosevelt to Harry Bellefonte, who we are so honored to have here today. It was New Yorkers who challenged the status quo, who blazed a trail of progressive reform and political action, who took on the elite, who stood up to say that social and economic justice will start here and will start now. It's that tradition that inspires the work we now begin. A movement that sees the inequality crisis we face today and resolves that it will not define our future.

Now, I know that there are those who think that what I said during the campaign was just rhetoric, just political talk in the interests of getting elected. And there are some who think that now, as we turn to governing, well, that thing will just continue pretty much the way they always have. So let me be clear. When I said I would take dead aim at the tale of two cities, I meant it. And we will do it. I will honor the faith and the trust you have placed in me. And we will give life to the hope of so many in our city. We will succeed as one city.

And we know this won't be easy. It will require all that we can muster. And it won't be accomplished only by me. It will be accomplished by all of us. Those of us here today and millions of everyday New Yorkers in every corner of our city, you must continue to make your voices heard. You must be at the center of this debate. And our work begins now. We will expand the paid sick leave law because no one should be forced to lose a day's pay or even a week's pay simply because illness strikes. And by this time next year, fully 300,000 additional New Yorkers will be protected by that law. We won't wait. We'll do it now.

We will require big developers to build more affordable housing. We will fight to stem the tide of hospital closures. And we'll expand community health centers into neighborhoods in need so that New Yorkers see our city not as the exclusive domain of the 1 percent, but a place where everyday people can afford to live, work and raise a family. We won't wait. We'll do it now.

We will reform a broken stop and frisk policy, both to protect the dignity and rights of young men of color and to give our brave police officers the partnership they need to continue their success in driving down crime. We won't wait. We'll do it now.

And we will ask the very wealthy to pay a little more in taxes so that we can offer full day universal pre-k for every child in this city and after school programs for every middle school child. When we say a little more, we can rightly emphasize the "little." Those earning between $500,000 and $1 million a year, for instance, would see their taxes increase by an average of $973 a year. That's less than $3 a day, about the cost of a small soy latte at your local Starbucks. Think about it. A five-year tax on the wealthiest among us with every dollar dedicated to pre-k and after school. Asking those at the top to help our kids get on the right path and stay there, that's our mission. And on that, we will not wait. We'll do it now.

Now, of course, I know that our progressive vision isn't universally shared. Some on the far right continue to preach the virtues, trickledown economics. They believe that the way to move forward is to give more to the most fortunate and that somehow the benefits work their way down to everyone else. They sell their approach as the path of rugged individualism. But Fiorello La Guardia, the man I consider to be the greatest mayor this city has ever known, he put it best. He said, I, too, admire the rugged individual, but no rugged individual can survive in the midst of collective starvation.

So please remember, we do not ask more of the wealthy to punish success. We do it to create more success stories. And we do it to honor a basic truth that a strong economy is dependent on a thriving school system. We do it to give every kid a chance to get their education off on the right foot. From the earliest age, which study after study has shown leads to greater economic success, healthier lives and a better chance of breaking the cycle of poverty. We do it to give peace of mind to working parents who suffer the anxiety of not knowing whether their child is safe and supervised during those critical hours after the school day ends, but before the workday is done. And we do it because we know that we must invest in our city and the future inventors and CEOs and teachers and scientists so that our generation, like every generation before us, can leave this city even stronger than we found it.

Our beloved city is no stranger to big struggles and no stranger to overcoming them. New York has faced fiscal collapse and the crime epidemic, terrorist attacks and natural disasters. But now, in our time, we face a different crisis. An inequality crisis. It's not often the stuff of banner headlines in our daily newspapers. It's a quiet crisis. But one no less pernicious than the ones that came before.

Its urgency is read on the faces of our neighbors and their children as families struggle to make it against increasingly long odds. To tackle a challenge this daunting, we need a dramatic, new approach, rebuilding our communities from the bottom up, from the neighborhoods up. And just like before, the world will watch us as we succeed. We will remember what makes new York New York. A city that fights injustice and inequality, not just because it honors our values, but because it strengthens our people. A city of five boroughs all created equal -- black, white, Latino, Asian, gay, straight, old, young, rich, middle class, and poor. A city that remembers our responsibility to each other.

Our common cause is to leave no New Yorker behind. That's the city that you and I believe in. It's the city to which my grandparents were welcomed from the hills of southern Italy. A city in which I was born, where I met the love of my life, where Chiara and Dante were raised. It's a place that celebrities a very simple notion that no matter what your story is, this is your city.

Our strength is derived from you working together. We will make this one city. And that mission, our march towards a fairer, more just, more progressive place, our march to keep the promise of New York alive for the next generation, it begins today.

Thank you and God bless the people of the city of New York.

DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR: Bill de Blasio giving his acceptance speech as the first Democratic mayor in two decades in New York City with a very, very forward-leaning pretty boastful discussion about the progressive ideals that he has, promising that they weren't just political campaign slogans, but he promised to really try to change things and make New York a very, very different place.

We're going to talk a lot more about this and about the man who introduced him, swore him in, Bill ,Clinton and what this means for the Clintons, not just Bill de Blasio.

Stay with us. We're going to have more - a lot more of this on the other side of the break.