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2016 Presidential Politics; A Closer Look at Pope Francis. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired September 26, 2015 - 08:00   ET



BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: -- understands that in governance, you don't get 100 percent of what you want.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This clown, Marco Rubio, I've been so nice to him.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Look at that beautiful sight here in Philadelphia, as we welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. You see Alisyn and Michaela there in New York. Michael Smerconish and I are coming to you from the city of brotherly love. It is called Philadelphia, the final stop of Pope Francis' six-day U.S. tour.

Just minutes ago, Pope Francis' motorcade, that famous Fiat, pulling out of the papal nuncio. He is now heading downtown toward a military helicopter pad.

He is getting on there, a Marine chopper, will take him to the airport before heading here. We're at the Benjamin Franklin Parkway where hundreds of thousands are expected to gather to see the pontiff.

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN ANCHOR: It will be another busy day for the Holy Father beginning with mass, shortly after his arrival, he'll then deliver a major speech on immigration and religious freedom at Independence Hall, and end his day with a parade down this parkway around city hall and also speak at the Festival of Families.

CUOMO: What a trip Pope Francis has had. He capped off the whirlwind New York tour with a big mass at Madison Square Garden, like 20,000 people. Not all of them Catholic, by the way, which is a great ticket to have.

He was asking people to be light traveling through our streets. Called them to love immigrants, the homeless, the forgotten, the elderly, but now we're going to see a different papal presence at the Festival of the Family. We'll tell why and what that might mean.

We have comprehensive coverage. We start with CNN's Sara Ganim. She is on pope watch at the heliport at Pier 11 in New York City. What have you got there? You staked out your territory. What's the latest?

SARA GANIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Chris. We hear the pope is just moments away from Pier 11, on the lower east side. Those are the Marine helicopters that we expect him to board. You said, it was a whirlwind tour here in New York, after 40 hours meeting with school children, immigrants and the poor.

He's kind of sneaking out of the big apple this morning before everyone wakes up on a Saturday morning, just a very small crowd here gathering. Much different than what we saw when he arrived here about a day and a half ago.

But I'll tell you what hasn't changed, and that is security, Chris. We're seeing now that this street that I'm standing on, it loops down the lower edge of Manhattan is now closed down.

There's actually a motorcade that appears to be arriving here, but not quite sure if it's the pope just yet. But the FDR highway above us also shut down. You see the coast guard out here guarding this Pier 11 where he is.

You know, he's going to board this helicopter. It's going to take him to JFK International Airport. About 8:30 this morning, he's going to get on that flight, with that, Chris, that is the end of his tour of New York City.

And everything moves to where you are, to Philadelphia, to the city of brotherly love where he will wrap up this historic U.S. trip -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right, Sara, give us a tip, look for the Fiat. When you see a Fiat, it will have a pope in it in all likelihood.

GANIM: I know, it's a tiny car, Chris. It's a hard thing to see out here, but we do see some flashing lights.

CUOMO: But it's become a huge symbol.

GANIM: I think he's on his way.

CUOMO: We'll keep live pictures up so we'll see when he gets there. The pope is expected to then get here in about an hour and a half. CNN's Miguel Marquez is live in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia with a preview of the pope's events. Miguel, I hear there are already people getting into the pew?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's just the beginning of what we're going to see. If Washington was big politics with the pope, and New York was the big city, it is going to be big, big massive crowds here in Philadelphia over the next couple of days.

Millions expected to come out to see the pontiff. He will start this morning at the Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul where he will give a mass. And then 4:30 this afternoon, we're still eight hours away from when the pontiff will be here at the cradle of American democracy.

And people are already gathering. We expect about 50,000 here at a vigil this afternoon for the Festival of Family, the World Family Meeting, there will be about a half million. Tomorrow for the big meeting, the big mass for the world family meeting or Festival of Families, up to 2 million people expected.

He'll also meet with prisoners at a local prison here, something that the pope has done many times before underscoring many of the themes that he's talked about, immigration, freedom of religion, and helping the poorest, the neediest, and those in the greatest peripheries of society -- Chris.

[08:05:06] CUOMO: Miguel, thank you for setting the context and giving us a sense of the content. We will leave up to the live pictures both from where he's coming from and where he is going to, which is of course where we are here in Philadelphia.

Let's bring in CNN Vatican correspondent, Delia Gallagher, and CNN religion commentator, Father Edward Beck, to talk about what's come here.

Delia, I've been trying to depict this as departure as something that will draw some contrast to the pope what you've seeing before. You've been shooting it down. I will try again.

Here in Philadelphia this was the World Meeting of the Family. Pope Benedict agreed to come here. Pope Francis making good on that, it was started in '94 by John Paul II.

But here, they're going to be talking about things that are very different in nature than what the pope has addressed before in terms of content and emphasis. These are more hard-line family issues and positions that aren't as popular as what the pope has been saying so far.

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I continue to say that the pope will be doing both. He will obviously be re- emphasizing, you know, the family for the Catholic Church consists of the mother and a father, a man and a woman and lots of children or maybe not too many children, remember, the pope said, two or three children. I didn't want to say --

CUOMO: Rabbits is what he said --

DALLAGHER: OK, so he said, and two or three children is OK. But, anyway, the traditional teaching of the church, marriage is between a man and woman, no abortion, no birth control, so on, stands for this pope. And we're going to hear that.

But he's also said that we don't need to talk so much about the traditional teaching with regard to abortion or gay marriage, for example. We can talk about also welcoming people and about encouraging people. About making sure that those who have felt excluded because of some of the teachings don't stay away.

CUOMO: Right. However, there is a portion of the church, especially in America the conservative wing who says, we want those people to stay away, Father Beck because they don't follow the teachings and we are Catholics.

What makes us Catholics is our orthodox, our rules, and we have Pope Francis telling people don't worry about the rules so much and we don't like it. Is he going to give those people some satisfaction here in Philadelphia?

FATHER EDWARD BECK, CNN RELIGION COMMENTATOR: If satisfaction means rules matter first and foremost, then no. Mercy inclusion and serving the poor matter first and foremost. Family is extremely important to him.

Since when has family become about gay marriage or abortion? Why are these the only issues we're talking about when we're talking about family life? What about how families impacted by the economy? What about families struggling in what he calls unfettered capitalism?

All of those issues are related to family too. So I think the needy has focused on same-sex marriage, abortion, to this pope, he's said those are not the paramount issues when it comes to family life. And you will hear him talk about family life in many different contexts when he's here.

CUOMO: The reason that the media has focused it on it, comma -- and you, you, as priests keep saying that marriage, you're stopping our ability to have religious freedom. You're forcing us to be in the midst of gay marriage, which is an insult to our faith.

We have that Kentucky clerk who said she couldn't sign the licenses because this is an infringement on her faith. Now, you're trying to make it easy to get to abortions and slip around, and you're supposed to be defending the line, Pope Francis, the captain of that team?

BECK: Right. The church teaching on marriage is based on natural law. It means it has to be open to procreation. That is not going to change. That means man and woman procreating. That is the basis for Catholic teaching on family.

However this pope says when someone does not meet that guy who in the norm, do you tell them to go away, you're not included or do you say there's still a place for you, come in dialogue with us.

It's that excluding people or including them, a virtue, what you do and how you do it, and then your hearts change. He believes you do that first, the change comes second.

CUOMO: Nobody is going to like though. That's not good for either side because if you believe in gay marriage, I'm not going to convert. I'm gay. You're not going to change me. On the other side, you don't want that inclusion because want the hardline.

Let me see if I can get a phone call into Pope Francis see if he can answer this -- they're heading down the east side of Manhattan to get to the heliport. You can see he's going there. He's going to be getting in the Marine choppers, getting to the airport and coming here.

[08:10:07] Why are we obsessing on this point? Because people love to see the pope in motion so that you can see all the people who come out to see him just to get a glimpse, just to have some contact to a man who I think has even exceeded the expectations of not just boosting his church.

But making people no matter what they feel or if they feel nothing enjoy a message of inclusion during a time in our American and political culture that is so divisive.

And we'll get back to this discussion because I feel that I was really slapping you around from a logical perspective. Delia, help him out.

DALLAGHER: I do want to say, you know, when the pope said, who am I to judge? That started the whole thing. It started his popularity, both with a more liberal side, a little bit of confusion on the conservative side.

And it's true. It's a very fine line to walk because you don't want to judge the person. You do want to set up a model for what the Catholic Church considers a good way to live. That's a question that's gone back for 2,000 years and before to the Greeks.

How should we live? What is the best way for us to live? Of course, in the Catholic idea that there is a God that has certain ideas about how is it good for to us live. So I think the pope is trying to set out that positive angle.

This is a way, you know, we think it's good for you to live. But, of course, the church does make certain judgments. There's got to be a balance somewhere.

CUOMO: That means rules. That is the emphasis for a lot of people, father. You know that, I'm not arguing the points. I'm just laying that out to you.

BECK: The rules are supposed to support the relationship with God. If they don't support the relationship with God, you should get rid of them. That has been the church's perspective. They don't exist for the sake of just having laws.

GALLAGHER: But one of the interesting things is when we say somebody changes the approach or changes the practice, in effect, what happens is perception, is reality. If you change the approach, maybe you don't need to change doctrine.

BECK: Right.

CUOMO: Hold on for a second, look at the screen. Everybody's got the smartphones. You here's the supporting vehicles. There's the Fiat, it's small on the screen because it's small and the other ones are big. Remember, we love that it's small.

We love that speaks to what Francis in his native tongue calls his humility. It's a criticism of the Vatican and the church in its highest forms and he doesn't like that. Also, he talks about global warming. He wanted something that was more economical.

GALLAGHER: Chris, I have to say in Italy, that is not a small car. That's a medium size car. They're wondering why we're making a big deal about this because in Italy, it's not so small. Have you ever seen a smart car?

CUOMO: Yes, I have one in my back pocket right now.

BECK: Did you hear Delia's theological reason for why we have this Fiat?

CUOMO: What is it?

GALLAGHER: I think the pope wanted to drive around in the capital of New York City, the word Fiat which is Mary's first word to the angel, he said, you're going to give birth to Jesus, and she said, be it done to me, you've heard that. So in Latin it means yes, Fiat. I think the pope is driving around with this big yes and it's a message for everybody to open up.

BECK: See, he kills two birds with one stone, small car and Marian theology.

CUOMO: Delia is the Vatican reporter. Have you heard that from anybody else?

GALLAGHER: No, I've just made it up.

CUOMO: Has anybody ever suggested it to you in any way?

GALLAGHER: No, but I'm so in tune in the last 17 years with what the Vatican thinks.

BECK: Theology comes from the people up, right, and you are the people?

GALLAGHER: No, I think somebody at the Vatican thought about that and this is going to be fun to watch.

CUOMO: So you give me a hard time about what I think is going to be a change in the tone because of what the church says. But you feel comfortable with the Fiat, et cetera, et cetera?


CUOMO: What do you think, please tweet Delia. We'll keep our eyes on the pope. Going into the chopper and we'll be following his departure.

But also House Speaker John Boehner is set to step aside. Right after he was with the pope, he said this is how it came down in his heart and his head. What does this mean going forward? Is this going to help or increase a divide in the Republican Party? We discuss.



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to NEW DAY. And here is a shot of downtown Manhattan heliport. The pope has just arrived there. He will be soon be boarding that helicopter, and he'll be flying to JFK airport where he will then get in Shepherd 1, the airplane, as it's known, when he flies in it, and heading, of course, to Philadelphia for his final stop in this incredible U.S. journey.

We've been watching every step of the way the enthusiasm for him. So, you can't see the pope's Fiat behind that big helicopter. But it is there, and very soon, he'll be taking off and of course, we will show this to you and show you all of the live comings and goings as they happen.

Meanwhile, other big political news, of course, that is that Speaker John Boehner is resigning not only his speakership but also leaving Congress. He will be leaving next month. Now what, who will fill that position?

We are joined by Michael Smerconish. He is the host of CNN's "SMERCONISH" and a CNN political commentator. Michael, great to see you. I know you're having a wonderful time in Philadelphia.

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST, "SMERCONISH": Keeping Chris in line. That's what's I'm doing.

CAMEROTA: Well, it is a full time job as Michaela and I can tell you. So thank you for giving us a day off on that front. But let's talk about this stunning news that surprised Capitol Hill yesterday and what Speaker John Boehner said he said it didn't have to do with the emotional meeting that he had with the pope. But it's sort of hard to separate those two out yesterday.

SMERCONISH: It felt like an impulsive decision, didn't it? It leaves a skeptic like me wondering what's the rest of the story because you don't just give up that gavel and yet, on the other hand, it makes perfect sense to me that he was probably sick and tired of trying to herd cats.

Eric Cantor, he wrote an op-ed in "The New York Times" and he said no football teams win by throwing Hail Marys alone. And constantly the opposition to John Boehner is wanting to throw that Hail Mary pass in opposition to the president. It can't be an easy job. So your question of who's next? I say, geez, who really could manage it given the competing forces.

[08:20:06] MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Let's talk about, you know, what's going to happen in a second. But I want to play some comment because obviously, there's been varying reaction and strong reaction because it caught so many people by surprise. There was a very interesting and telling sound that I want play from Republican Peter King. Let's listen to that.


REPRESENTATIVE PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: I think it signals that crazies have taken over the party. This has never happened before in our party where a person doing the job, speaker of the House was removed from office because of a small faction, if you don't agree with them, you shut the government down. This is insanity.


PEREIRA: So, I'm curious, what are your thoughts? I mean, obviously, there is divisiveness. There's a division in this party right now. Democrats are going to say it shows the fractured nature of the GOP.

As you mentioned about looking forward, how are they going to mend those fences and how are they going to bring those two sides, the establishment and the Tea Party together in the future?

SMERCONISH: You know, it's interesting you heard Peter King talk about the crazies. Charlie Dent who is a moderate congressman from Pennsylvania much like King said it's the rejectionists within the party. They're both talking about the exact same influence.

Michaela, we see it in the presidential race, those individuals who are the vein of Boehner's existence are the ones supportive of a Trump candidacy or a candidacy of Ben Carson or now perhaps of a Carly Fiorina.

This schism within the party has got to be resolve and they've got to grow the tent or they will win House seats, but not the White House.

CUOMO: But the other side of that is what does a political party want most? It wants to win. But second to that, it wants to know who it is ideologically. That is something that's very significant for partisans.

You know, it's not just about all the jaundice things that we cover in politics and the fact that they could get Boehner to leave has to mean one thing. The timing is compounding, it simply is.

Even though the speaker spoke himself on it, we didn't really get any clarification on that and it is weird that right after his biggest moment he leaves unless he knew there was a bad moment coming, unless he knew that this week thought why don't you wait until Monday and then do it.


CUOMO: Maybe it's because they have a bomb waiting for him about funding the government, but not Planned Parenthood. They were going to put Boehner on the spot. He was going to get taken out so right after the pope and his big moment. He was going to get thrown under the bus again and get pushed out. He didn't want to go out on his own terms even it was awkward.

SMERCONISH: You know what I thought was significant? The individual who spoke most warmly about Speaker Boehner is President Obama.


SMERCONISH: I look at that and I said, you know, those two probably could have negotiated the grand bargain years ago on entitlement issues and all the fiscal reforms that we know is necessary. That said to me that Obama recognizes Boehner as a guy who would really rather negotiate the deal and instead I think --

CUOMO: Then why didn't it happen?

SMERCONISH: Because I think he couldn't control his caucus. I think that Boehner could not control what Peter King calls the crazy element within the party.

CUOMO: But numerically, he could have done it.

SMERCONISH: I don't think he had the numbers. I think that it such an obstinate hard core that they would never allow it to take place.

CUOMO: So how much do you put on Boehner's leaving on Obama for the president not working more with them and enforcing him into a position --

SMERCONISH: I think it's a two-way street. I heard individuals say Boehner just took his first ride on Air Force One. To me, I think Obama should have invited him sooner. I hope that he did. I blame both of them.

I remind you of something. This gentleman who is going to speak talked about polarization in his remarks the other day. I'd love him to say more about that in Philadelphia.

CAMEROTA: Michael, hold that thought for a moment because we are watching the helicopter fire up its propeller there. The pope is now on board. And as we know, the pope will be flying from his helipad in downtown Manhattan to JFK where he will get on Shepherd One, the plane that will be taking him to Philadelphia.

Of course, we will bring you that live when that happens. But first, we're going to take a very short break so we can watch the pope continue his journey. We'll be right back.



CAMEROTA: Welcome back, everyone. You are looking at live pictures.

PEREIRA: Beautiful.

CAMEROTA: That is the pope flying in a Marine Corps helicopter. It is called Marine One when the president is in it. But it is carrying the pope right now to JFK Airport right by the statue. That's beautiful, a great point. Look at that, a perfect morning, perfect morning for this. PEREIRA: Yes, we saw him just moments ago take off from the helipad there in Lower Manhattan, kind of quite a departure from New York. Different from what we saw as tens of thousands of people gathered to see him. But now had he heads off to Philadelphia where we know there's great expectation about his arrival there in the sister of brotherly love and sisterly affection from the governor.

CAMEROTA: Yes, we've heard sisterly affection. That's wonderful. That's a great shot, right there.

PEREIRA: On their way to JFK, and then they will fly to Philadelphia.

CAMEROTA: We will bring all of that to you live as it happens.

But another big headline to tell you about today because there was this conservative crowd. It was at the Value Voters Summit and it actually booed Donald Trump when he insulted GOP rival Senator Marco Rubio.

So what is the spat between these two and why did the voters reject Trump in that way. Let's bring in Ron Brownstein. He is our CNN senior political analyst and editorial director of the "National Journal" and Ryan Lizza, CNN political commentator and Washington correspondent for "The New Yorker."

Guys, thanks so much for being with us on this special Saturday morning. So let me play this moment when Donald Trump was doing his usual thing, he was attacking his GOP rivals. But this time it got a different reaction, listen to this.


TRUMP: You have this clown Marco Rubio. I've been so nice to him. I've been so nice. No -- but he's in favor of immigration. And he has been. He has been. He was the gang of eight. You remember the gang of eight that was terrible.


CAMEROTA: So Ron, explain that moment. That was the first time we've heard a crowd seem to turn on Donald Trump.

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, "at long last, sir," as someone once said. Look, I mean Donald Trump has had this extraordinary posture of anytime anyone shows any life in the polls he attacks them personally, I mean with language that you really don't hear from a presidential candidate and certainly would not expect from a president, to call one of your rivals a clown.

And you know, look, Rubio has come up a little bit in the polls. He has criticized Donald Trump on his knowledge of foreign policy. So Trump went after him in the same way that he went -- has gone after a succession of other candidates. The difference is that, Rubio -- I think people have kind of just hit their limit with it.

Rubio does have vulnerabilities with the right particularly on the Donald Trump then turned to, his support on immigration reform but I think that kind of, you know, serial personal attacks on the candidates one by one by one, who knows, maybe they've hit the wall.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN HOST: Yes, maybe it's wearing thin. You know, it's interesting Ryan, anybody that's done any public speaking knows the rule that you should know your audience -- right. Was this a miscalculation on Donald Trump's part?

RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know, I think he assumed that the audience was with him as they have been in most of his public appearances. And when he goes after one of the governors or senators from the right, you know, he usually attacks from the right which is obviously popular in a Republican primary. I think he usually assumes he's on safe ground.

As Ron pointed out, Rubio's biggest vulnerability with conservative voters is the fact that he was a member of the Gang of Eight, comprehensive -- the attempts to pass comprehensive immigration reform. But I think what, as you point out, what he didn't realize is that Rubio is very strong with that crowd. He's very strong with evangelical voters. If you look at the polls, he has very high approval ratings.

There's not a big faction of the GOP that dislikes Marco Rubio. He's considered one of the candidates who has, if he gets a little more publicity, has a lot of potential because people aren't against him.

So, I think you're right. I think for once, Trump misjudged. And boy, it's a big moment of opportunity for Marco Rubio here.

CAMEROTA: I want to play another moment that was really interesting at the Values Voter Summit. And this involved former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee. And he was talking about what distinguishes him from the rest of the pack. He brought up a name and it was not Kim Davis, it was Hillary Clinton. Listen to this moment.


MIKE HUCKABEE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I know something about the Clintons because I've been fighting them all of my political life over the past 25 years.

There's only one person that's going to be on that debate stage for the Republicans who have consistently challenged the Clintons, defeated the Clinton machine and lived to tell about it. And that may be the most important of all.


CAMEROTA: So, Ron, that was an interesting tack. I mean he wasn't going after his rivals. He was going after the big kahuna.

BROWNSTEIN: Right. Clinton machine though -- you know, that extra word means a lot. I mean he didn't defeat the Clintons. He defeated their supporters in Arkansas. I think Mike Huckabee, like many of the second tier candidates, is looking for a way to kind of get further into the conversation.

I mean he's struggling I think with the sense that his moment kind of came and went. In 2008 he was the principal -- he was the principal conservative alternative to John McCain in the end. But he has struggled to kind of regain that lane.

The blue collar populism that he identifies with has largely been superseded by Trump and I would point out if we kind of think about, you know, the way people talk about Trump being exempt from the laws of political gravity. It's really not so.

Even if you look at the CNN/WMUR poll, something we talked about before, the one that came out this week, he was running twice as well among Republicans without a college degree than Republicans with a college degree. This class divide is very real. And I think it is largely a reflection of the temperament issue, the doubts that have been engendered by the way he's treated the other candidates and other figures in the race.

PEREIRA: Ryan, Ron -- we'll leave it there. Thanks so much for joining us on this Saturday. We'll be talking about it more ahead. I'm sure.

All right. Let's head back to Chris in Philadelphia.

Oh look at that -- nice timing.

CAMEROTA: Beautifully done.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Pope Watch: the marine helicopter has set down at JFK. We're waiting for the Pope to board the American airlines charter that is taking him here to Philadelphia. The call signal on it is Shepherd One.

Father Beck insists I let you know that it's not his plane. The Vatican has no fancy plane. It's not like Air Force One. In line with Pope Francis' humility, they're using a charter. Be that as may, he's about to get on that plane to come here.

And when we come back, we're going to give you some more perspective on Pope Francis the man. We did a documentary on it that you can see online. CNN will keep showing it to you. And We're going to speak to a man who knows the Holy Father, Father Hernan Paredes.

[08:34:56] And when you come back with us to Philadelphia, you'll get a different sense of Pope Francis and why he's so special.


[08:38:29] CUOMO: All right. Let's look at some live picture -- what is this now? Is this the Pope touching down? That was just part of his sortie before. This is the second of three Ospreys -- that's what they call those curious looking marine helicopters.

The Pope has not touched down yet. Why? It is tough to get that perfect picture of the Statue of Liberty. They gave him a couple circles around it. Obviously, the Pontiff had not gotten the pictures he wanted yet to complete his album of experience. So he's up there getting a little bit more tour time, taking in the city before he leaves. He will be touching down soon.

I'm serious. The Pope hasn't touched down soon. They think they're giving him a little bit more of an aerial tour. Then he's going to come over here to JFK. That's probably the Pope right there, as I said, trying to get that all elusive picture.

All right. So -- oh it's tape. All right -- I'm wrong.

All right. So let's go to a man who knows the Pope well and still calls him Jorge. Father Hernan Paredes, a long time friend of Pope Francis and reverend at St. Ignatius Loyola School in New York City also my home parish.

Father it's very good to have you. We did a documentary on Pope Francis as Bergoglio. We went back to Buenos Aires and friends that he's had for 50 years and more said he has always been the same. Tell us if that is your experience and how that can be.

FATHER HERNAN PAREDES, ST. IGNATIUS LOYOLA SCHOOL: Well, thank you Chris. It has been a pleasure to meet Pope Francis, for me just as Jorge, Jorge Bergoglio -- the man, the priest, the Pope now that is humble and a great man.

[08:40:03] I was yet a young scholastic, about 30 years ago, when I was sent to Buenos Aires. Pope Francis at that time was the superior of the Jesuit community that we have a lot of good things to share and to lead.

And he was the leader of the community, that's for sure. He was the one who pulled us together, the one to bring us together in prayer and as well we had to play. He was the man of the family. No wonder that he's leaving New York to go to the meeting of -- to meet all the families of the world. And he's the man who has been happy and at home in this great city that is New York.

So, it is always with Jorge the case that he wants to be closer to the people, to the people that he knows, to the people that he can call friends. And you can see here, he has been smiling. He has been going to Harlem to be with children. He has been at Madison Square Garden blessing Catholics.

And he's the Pope, who is not the pastor for Catholics only. He's a man who is able to embrace everybody.

CUOMO: Right. Right now, we see the Holy Father, Jorge as you call him, landing in his helicopter at JFK, in that marine Osprey helicopter. He's going to be getting on to a plane and coming here to Philadelphia.

Now, the reason that you call him Jorge is because you've known him a long time and because he's ok with it. Give us a story that kind of shows how this Pope is different in terms of he does not take himself, seriously in certain ways. He takes his message and his mission. Tell me about when he saw you in New York, he gave you a little smack in the face, said you got too American.

PAREDES: Well, that was in -- actually it was in Rome, he was housing at St. Martha at Vatican City. He said, he said the man who knows me and probably the first thing that he wanted to say to me was, "Oh, you're too American." And he was happy to see me not only at that time, but always.

He's a man who knows how to embrace, how to welcome you, and in this case, before he came to New York, to the states, I would say he was able to see this country through my eyes.

Of course, he has seen the country. He has seen the love of the people. And so, he doesn't need to touch my face or to hear my voice or the things that I have to say to him. He knows that we are great people living here, people who love him. And people who care for others.

It is something that Pope Francis will take with him to -- back to the Vatican. It will be the love of the American people, the love of the simple people. And at the same time, he will feel more at ease. Before coming here, remember, this is the first time that he comes to America.

CUOMO: Right.

PAREDES: He was -- he has been always shy, uncomfortable, I would say both. And he didn't like to come before but --

CUOMO: All right.

PAREDES: But now that he had this opportunity to come to Philadelphia -- that was the first intention but then to Washington and to New York. He knows that he's at home, he's with the people that he loves and the people that love him. It's just great.

CUOMO: All right. Father -- thank you so much for the perspective. We're going to take a quick break now. I'll see you back at St. Ignatius, Father.

And when we come back from break, we'll get a little glimpse of the Pope getting ready for his next step here in Philadelphia.


[08:47:45] CUOMO: Welcome back to a special edition of NEW DAY. There he is, Pope Francis. Where? I only see nuns. No, he's in there. Look for the white zucchetto, see it? That's Pope Francis. He's out of the helicopter right now. He's getting some flowers and he's getting ready to get on his American Airlines charter and come here to Philadelphia.

It has been so important to him to show his embrace on every level -- the nuns especially. There's been controversy about their role and their relationship within the church. The less fortunate, giving messages of inclusion.

He took Washington, D.C. and New York City by storm and did it in the best way by challenging us to be better stewards of the earth and to all those who occupy it, especially the needy.

Now he comes to Philadelphia and he comes with a message of its own kind about the sanctity of the family, sanctity of the family -- the religious role of the values that families should inculcate in the next generation. And some of that is, of course part of accepted church teachings but also accepted part of the division within the Catholic Church in this country.

But by any indication, Michael Smerconish, as he comes to Philadelphia, this has been a buffo success for the Catholic Church and for the image and legacy of Pope Francis.

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST: The bar's been set high by New York. But I love your hometown being a preamble to mine because the best my friend is yet to come I think in Philadelphia.

CUOMO: I hope it is true in this case because it never has been before. But what do you expect when the Pontiff comes here?

SMERCONISH: Well, I think that the type of scene that you're seeing right now at JFK is going to be replicated live here in CNN in about 45 minutes when he's greeted by Archbishop Chaput and Governor Wolf who you just had and Mayor Nutter. And I can tell you that people in Philadelphia could not be more enthused to welcome the Holy Father.

CUOMO: Delia, quick insight into the stamina and the mettle of this man. He has a limp, we know it's sciatica, we know it's not a big deal. But his schedule has taken us to task. What is it about him? Does he have the stamina?

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, he keeps up this kind of a pace, even in Rome you know. Obviously, the distance that he has to travel being abroad is something but the pace he's got to keep up in Rome with meetings and greetings and events is grueling as well.

[08:50:04] And a papal spokesman just yesterday told journalists that, you know, the Pope needs physiotherapy for his knee, for his back and he's not able to get it on this trip. So partially, that explains a little bit of the fatigue.

But in general, of course, it's just your basic fatigue of a 78-year- old man. And as you say, even the journalists and the younger people can't keep up with him. But Chris, I think it's the interior strength that is --


GALLAGHER: -- pulling him through because he's a man on a mission. He believes that he needs to get out and see people go out. That's what he's telling everybody but in particular he thinks he needs to do it because we've before when he was in Buenos Aires, he didn't like to travel. He didn't want to travel. He wanted to stay with his people.

But now his people are the whole world.

CUOMO: Now the flock is bigger.

GALLAGHER: So he has to go and visit them. And it is grueling, I'm sure he'd much rather stay at home. But, this is his mission. And he's taken it on full speed. You know, he's just accepted that this is part of what it means to be pope in the modern age.

CUOMO: I wonder if he would rather stay home. He seems so excited by this. You know, the CNN documentary unit is amazing. And they put a lot of time and resources into doing a documentary about Pope Francis. We went down to Buenos Aires and Flores where he grew up. Talked to all his old friends and they all say that this man ascending the staircase -- look how fast he's getting up there -- except for that step.

It's not just a job, it is a mission for him. He's getting there, his vestments are getting in the way. Now it's the top of his vestments getting in is way. He struggles when he comes in and out of that plane.

Geez, look at the Holy Father, get over there and get him.

GALLAGHER: That wasn't very good.

CUOMO: All right. He's all right.

Now between the sciatica and the long robes, it was tough for him. I bet he's got a smile on his face as he's saying hello to everybody there. But they're going to have to rethink him coming up and down the stairs.

But the point is it's not just what he does, it's who he is. It's not about his belief, it's about who he is as a person as well -- a smile on his face as he stumbled up the stairs.

We're going to leave this right here. Pope Francis has made it safely -- the most perilous part of his journey has been getting up the stairs and ascending on to the charter that will take him here to Philadelphia.

Quick break -- we'll have more in a moment.


[08:55:52] CUOMO: Pope Watch continues. There's the Pontiff's plane. He's ready to come here to Philadelphia. For all the worries about security, the only danger so far was getting up those stairs. But he made it and he's on to Philadelphia. We'll be right back.