Return to Transcripts main page


Rising Fight against Confederate Flag from South Carolina Statehouse; Space Industry Facing Changes; Pope's Message to Ecuadorians; Christening Royal Baby. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired July 5, 2015 - 06:30   ET



ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: The fight against the Confederate Flat is raising on on this Fourth of July holiday weekend in South Carolina. Ahead of this week's vote on the future of the controversial flag, hundreds rallied at the State Capital calling for its removal. We have this report from CNN affiliate WIS.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On the anniversary of America's independence, this large crowd faced one flag.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think this is marvelous. This is what true independence is all about.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: While crying for this one to be taken down.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's been a long time coming. This flag belongs in a museum.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For opponents of the Confederate Battle Flag, when it's flown on South Carolina's Statehouse grounds for decades, the division comes from a difference of opinion. On Saturday, hundreds of critics including members of the NAACP once again made their case on what the bars and stars represent.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's kind of a stain on our state. You can't really deny that the only thing that it really symbolizes is racism.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was -- to represent segregation, and so it represents segregation to me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But supporters have said it's a symbol of Southern heritage and tribute to the Palmetto state's Civil War dead. But that's a view point many hear said they still don't accept.

REP. JAMES SMITH (D) SOUTH CAROLINA: To honor the dead who have fallen under that banner, to honor the terms of surrender, it compels one to furlough the flag forever.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Flag opponents once again argued its connection to Dylan Roof, the man charged with gunning down and killing nine people at Emanuel AME Church.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Decent people, God-fearing people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, the question for this group, will South Carolina lawmakers finally take action in the coming days?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I come here a lot, I'm driving by here a lot. And I feel awful. I really would like to see it come down this week. It would be great.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (singing): Take it down, South Carolina.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A feeling shared on this Fourth of July.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (singing): Take it down, South Carolina. Take it down, it's got to go. Take it down, South Carolina.


BLACKWELL: So, yesterday I spoke with CNN contributor and former member of the South Carolina House of Representatives Bakari Sellers about the ongoing effort to take down the Confederate Flag there at South Carolina statehouse. But he thinks the flag could be down as soon as next Thursday or Friday.


BAKARI SELLERS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: This has become a very tense debate. Many legislators, including the governor herself, have been receiving threats from around the country throughout the South. Many of my colleagues are just ready for this flag debate to come and for this flag to come down. We anticipate next Thursday or Friday being the day, in which we can finally lower the flag and place it in a museum where it belongs. I think when that flag comes down we'll be able to breathe a sigh of relief. But we also understand that that flag coming down is not the end of anything. It's just the beginning of a long journey we have in South Carolina for healing, reconciliation and moving our state forward.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk more. HLN legal analyst Joey Jackson joins us now. And Joey, good morning to you.


BLACKWELL: So, there's no certainty here. I mean even those who are most optimistic about the flag coming down or staying, some are now preparing for court remedies, courtroom remedies to protect it or to bring it down. If the legislature votes to take it down, are there any options for those who want to keep it up in the courts?

JACKSON: You know, I think those options are very limited, Victor. And so, let's start here. We know that we're a great democracy. We celebrated the country's independence yesterday. Happy Fourth of July belatedly. And so, the reality is, is that the way we exercise our freedoms in this democracy is to have independent governments, right? We have one unified government, that's our federal government, and then we have, of course, 50 independent states. And they vote on a variety of issues. Whether one state is pro death penalty, another state may not be. At one state you have lax gun laws, in other state, you have very stringent guidelines. And so, the way in which this issue needs to be determined is how the laws of South Carolina make it determined. And that is through two-thirds vote of the legislature.

And so I think the remedies are really now. And we're seeing that in large measure through the robo-calls that are being made to people in the community to talk to their elected representatives, to voice their concerns to their elected representatives so that they could get the vote necessary to pass.


JACKSON: ... and so in essence in the event that the legislature through the laws of South Carolina after a healthy debate -- and there are very strong emotional sides on both sides, Victor, we know that. But after debate has gone on, and after there is a vote by two thirds of the houses, that's the law. And so, you know, like anything else, you could potentially challenge it, but I think that any legal remedy thereafter would really be rather weak and in essence once the legislature votes to take it down, I think that's pretty much the end of the day, the end of this debate. If they vote to take it down.

BLACKWELL: Yes, if they vote to take it down. Because I'd imagine that that explanation applies to activists who want it to come down if indeed the legislature does not vote to take it down. What would be the impact or is there an impact on other states with maybe not the Confederate Flag on state property or on the statehouse grounds, but other controversial symbols that some may disagree with?

JACKSON: It's a great question, Victor, because it raises the issue of the parade of horribles. In other words, you know, this is a symbol, a flag symbol, and you could get from both sides the issue, whether or not it's a matter of heritage and Southern pride, a memorial for Confederate soldiers or whether it really is symbolic, a past history that would rather be forgotten and whether it raises issues of racism.

And so, you could say that there are other symbols, perhaps in this state or other states that may be problematic to the public. However, at the end of the day, while it may raise the issue of others coming forward with symbols that are not really near and dear to them, again, I turn to the issue of a democracy.

And when it happened, as we know, it's been up since 1961. There was a compromise to not fly it over the state house, but to put it on adjoining grounds to the statehouse. Right there, not over. But adjoining. And so, that was the compromise reached then. But any other symbol that you can talk to or we can have a discussion about, the end remedy is through your elected officials. We are a society of laws, Victor, and ultimately, again, I come back to two-thirds of both houses, that's an awful lot of votes that are needed.

BLACKWELL: Yeah. JACKSON: But in the event that they get those votes, then it ends the debate. In the event they don't, well, then presumably people will continue to be lobbying, continue to be making robocalls and to continue to voice their concerns over what their elected leader should do. But in a democracy the majority prevails. And so, we'll see as this debate ensues whether or not the majority says take it down or whether or not Southern heritage, you know, that debate is something that resonates with the state representatives and they say, you know, we're going to leave it up, it's not racism it's heritage.


JACKSON: The other side thinks a lot differently.

BLACKWELL: The conversation starts on Monday. Joey Jackson, thank you so much.

JACKSON: Thank you, Victor.

BLACKWELL: Now, the Confederate Flag debate, as we know, is not limited to South Carolina or that flag on the statehouse grounds. Daytona Beach, Florida, let's go there. This weekend, NASCAR is holding a voluntary flag exchange program. Fans can swap out their Confederate Flags or any flag of their choice for an American flag. But some fans are vowing to bring the Confederate Flag no matter what. Friday Confederate Flags were waving high before a practice run at the Daytona International Speedway.

KOSIK: The pope bringing his message from the Vatican to some of the poorest areas in South America. He's about to arrive and when he does, it will most likely be a rock star welcome. We are live in Ecuador, next. And ahead, relief for the International Space Station. But find out why this rocket may not help the United States take control of the space race.



KOSIK: It's his first trip to his native Latin America as pontiff. Pope Francis is on his way to Ecuador. And -- what you're looking here is video from just a short time ago, of the pope leaving Rome. And this is going to be the first papal visit to South America in 30 years. Preparations actually for his arrival have been under way for months. CNN's Shasta Darlington is live in Quito, Ecuador. Good morning, Shasta. We know that the region is home to almost 40 percent of the world's Catholics, but the church has actually been losing ground there. So, how is the pope's visit going to be viewed there?

SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alison, there is a lot of excitement. You're seeing all these families. They're going to be camping along the route that the pope is going to take in his pope mobile here in Quito and Guayaquil and these cities throughout the region. They're going to be camping in the park. So, there is that excitement. On the other hand, Pope Francis faces some pretty unique challenges. The Catholic Church, as you mentioned, has been losing ground to these protestant evangelical churches that are popping up in corners, in the really poorest communities. And often the pastors are reverends from the local indigenous communities. We actually visited one right here in Quito to get a chance for what he will be facing. Take a look.


DARLINGTON: Every Saturday, they join in song and prayer at this church on the outskirts of Quito Ecuador. Lead by Reverend Glemma (ph), some parishioners break down in tears.

This is what Pope Francis is up against. These small churches that literally open their doors just a few steps from the people they want to reach.

Here, among some of the city's poorest, for every Catholic Church, there are a half dozen evangelical and Pentecostal temples, often in so called garage churches like this one. These young parishioners visit the sick and needy. "God put us on Earth for a reason," she says, and my reason is to visit those in need and talk to them about God.

But with the emergence of Pope Francis, a champion of the poor, there's a renewed enthusiasm among Catholics. School children in Quito have practiced this greeting.

Welcome, Pope Francis, he sings. Ecuador receives you with songs of love.

The big question is, can he get people back in the pews.

David Carbajal (ph) was raised evangelical, but started attending the Catholic Church when he married. With Pope Francis he says he finally feels Catholic.

David is telling something very interesting here. Not only is this a Latin American pope, very charismatic person, but this will be the first time in 30 years that a pope has landed here in Ecuador. And that really speaks directly to the people.

For Father Robin Calle, Pope Francis is building a foundation.

"What the pope is doing is generating a kind of internal movement in the church to build on that foundation, he says.


DARLINGTON: But it's too soon to talk about impact.

First, priests have to embrace the pope's message. And parishioners, especially the young, have to feel motivated to return to the fold.

DARLINGTON: Now, just to get an idea about how much things have changed, Alison, a generation ago more than 90 percent of Latin Americans were Catholic. Now it's just 69 percent. So, the hope is, this visit will really help fire up the bases and get people excited about being Catholic again.

KOSIK: Well, just from your piece I can feel the excitement of his visit. Shasta Darlington, thank you.

BLACKWELL: Well, after a few failures and a long wait, the International Space Station is receiving a welcome wakeup call from a Russian rocket.



BLACKWELL: This morning -- maybe you can't tell from this shot, but this is a breakfast delivery. It was to the International Space Station. You see a Russian rocket arrived overnight carrying, let's be honest, a lot more than breakfast. Three tons of food and water, fuel and oxygen and other supplies. There had been some failures to get this supply ...

KOSIK: Mission.

BLACKWELL: Mission, correct, to the International Space Station. But thanks to this mission, NASA's Scott Kelly who continues his year-long mission on board the floating laboratory and other astronauts now have enough food to last until October. This routine supply mission took on extra importance.


BLACKWELL: Because the three times over the last year, a rocket filled with supplies failed to make it to the space station. Those problems may be part of the reason why some say America is falling behind in the space race. CNN's Tom Foreman explains.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Victor. Hey, Alison. The successful launch of this Russian rocket will put at ease some of the worries that people have had about the astronauts on board the International Space Station, including two Americans, knowing they will now have food, enough water, enough basic supplies. But every failure along the way raised serious questions for the space community.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The maximum thrust and liftoff.

FOREMAN: The launch from Kazakhstan brought a worldwide sigh of relief less than a week after groans of disappointments as a rocket from the American space company, SpaceX, disintegrated.

It was the third spectacular failure to resupply the ISS in the past year. Two, by U.S. firms, and many space analysts suggest these are simply the growing pains of an industry in transition.

Astrophysicist Charles Liu ... CHARLES LIU, ASTROPHYSICS PROFESSOR, CITY UNIV. OF NEW YORK: It's an exciting time, but as always, it's new and interesting, and we're always crossing our fingers with every launch.

FOREMAN: Back in the 1960s, NASA was unquestionably winning the worldwide space race.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's one small step for man ...

FOREMAN: But over the decades, political pressure grew to find cheaper ways to get America into orbit. So private companies started developing rockets, capsules and some insist it is all making space less expensive.

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANALYST: But as you drive the cost down and try to come up with new ways of building rockets, in a way that hopefully is cheaper, you're ultimately going to find the outer edges of the envelope, as we say. They're pushing the envelope right now.

FOREMAN: Against the backdrop of those challenges, SpaceX and Boeing have been given government contracts to build the next system to take Americans into space, so U.S. astronauts won't have to hitch a ride with the Russians anymore. NASA says the setbacks will not upset that plan.

MIKE SUFFREDINI, MGR. ISS PROGRAM, NASA: We've always assumed that we would lose a vehicle every so often. Space flight is very hard.

FOREMAN: And they say, amid all the rockets red glares, the U.S. remains a leader in space exploration.

LIU: And at the same time, we should feel very happy and very grateful to the fact that there are so many nations in the world, so many entities, international collaborations that are producing results that no single nation can achieve alone.

FOREMAN: And it's important to point out that the space community has had a lot of success including SpaceX and other companies. They have managed to put a lot of rockets over the air over the past year successfully. And in just a matter of days a U.S. space probe will pass very close to Pluto. That's a long way away, and that's a very successful mission. Victor, Alison.

KOSIK: A feud may be brewing between two top GOP rivals, Jeb Bush taking aim at Donald Trump following recent controversial comments. Ahead at the top of the hour, hear what the former Florida governor had to say and Trump's fiery rebuttal.

And a royal christening happening today. It's a big day for Britain's princess Charlotte. Find out who's going to be at the ceremony and who won't.




KOSIK: The newest edition to the royal family has a big, big day ahead of her. Princess Charlotte is going to be christened today. She has made only one other public appearance. So many well-wishers are hoping to catch a little glimpse of her. But to hear more about this, royal correspondent Max Foster is joining me now. You are not in London, though. You are gracing us with your presence here. I'm so happy to have you here. So, we haven't seen here her in public yet. Is the public really going to get a good glimpse of her?

FOSTER: Yeah, I mean it's all about the public. That's what extraordinary. Prince George's christening was behind closed doors in London with one camera allowed just filming going in, this is a private service inside the church where actually Princess Diana was also christened. So William always creating those links on these occasions. But, no cameras inside the church. Outside, the public opened invitations for anyone come along to see them, so they're going to take Charlotte and George over to the public, the paddock across -- away from the church, which is a very rural area. And this is, you know, a huge mass of grounds. They're already, you know, - they are already sort of sleeping in these fields to try to get a glimpse. But that's - it's a real sort of change, that actually. A much bigger event. And that's really -- I think Prince William and Kate really decided they want to involve the public more in these events.

KOSIK: Yeah, I mean this is a fine line for the family, wanting their privacy. I mean, this is a little baby, and wanting to share it with the crowds that are forming outside. I assume they've been lining up for days?

FOSTER: Yeah, well, I think a couple of days at least. I think - William's got an awkward relationship with the media, and in terms of his privacy because he was hounded as a child with his mother being the biggest star in the world. He doesn't want his kids to have that. So they live in a very protected environment mainly in Norfolk where this church is where they got a private house. But they do recognize that there's a public interest in them as well. So, what they seem to be doing is having every six months or so a public event, which they make as big as possible and allow as many people to take as many pictures as possible. So, I think that's how they're trying to balance things.

KOSIK: But never really satisfied the public completely. I'm sure. Tell me who's going to be attending, tell me who's not attending.

FOSTER: Well, very, very small. So the queen is going to be there with Prince Phillip and then William's parents and Kate's parents and Kate's brother and sister as well. Harry is away in Africa at the moment. And then the godparents, who are -- one of them is one of Kate's cousins, but the other is a friend, old friend. So, a tiny little service. And British papers are making quite a lot of the fact that even most of the royal family are going to have to watch this unfold on TV as they come out as well. So, it's about privacy, creating normality for these young kids. But also recognizing the public needs to be there as well. They've had to -- there is quite a complicated operation bringing the royal -- from London, which is probably -- the crown jewels in the Tower of London. So, it has to have a special secret, so -- bringing that up, very valuable piece, and also they had some water brought over from the River Jordan as well to baptize her. So, it's quite ...

KOSIK: Well, it sounds exciting. I can't wait to watch what I can see. Max Foster, thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: And thank you for starting your morning with us. We've got much more ahead on the next hour of your "NEW DAY." It starts right now.


BLACKWELL: New punches thrown in a growing political fight. Jeb Bush now saying Donald Trump is just plain wrong for comments he made, calling Mexican illegal immigrants rapists, but Trump says, Bush is out of touch.