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Pope Francis En Route to Philly; John Boehner Steps Down; Pope Francis' Example of Humility; Philadelphia Welcomes Pope for Epic Visit. Aired 9-10a ET

Aired September 26, 2015 - 09:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: All right. There it is. The Vatican and American flags mounted to the American charter jet called Shepherd One. Not the Vatican's plane. It's a chartered jet, hence, the name American on the side. Inside, an Argentine pope in America for the first time, coming from Italy and now going to Philadelphia. A very nice trip so far for Pope Francis. We had a moment just shortly ago where he was climbing the stairs.

For all the concerns about security and protection, were the stairs that proved the most challenging thing for the Holy Father. The wind's blowing. He's got that long vestment. He's got the sciatica, he's got the bag in his other hand, there he is all alone on the stairs, nobody is rushing up to help him. He's got the top of his vestment blowing over his head. It was a little nerve racking for a second. We try to play it off lightly. We don't want to scare anybody.

But when he gets to the top. Here's a beautiful thing about this man, Jorge Bergoglio, now Pope Francis. We can't see him, right? But when you do get a chance to see his reaction, he is laughing. We can only imagine what he was thinking to himself. Maybe the real Holy father has been telling this Holy Father that it's been too easy for you thus far. Don't forget, these are tough trips. So he made it into the plane. He's now getting some rest. He's going to have a quick trip to Philadelphia.

Boy are they waiting for him. This place is turning out perhaps like never before. There's a lot of security. There's a lot of anticipation. So let's start our coverage. We have people everywhere on every angle.

CNN international correspondent Miguel Marquez is live at Independence Hall. The Pope is going to be there. What do we know?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The cradle of democracy he will come to today. Washington was big politics, and New York was big city. This is going to be big, big crowds. They're already gathering here. You guys excited? People holding up sign, harmony, many of the themes the Pope has been talking about here. In the next couple days there will be millions to see him.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) POPE FRANCIS: The lord will be with you.

MARQUEZ: Pope Francis departing for his final stop on his U.S. tour this morning after touching so much hearts here in the Big Apple. Now, the people's Pope off to the city of brotherly love. Philadelphia where he's expected to draw a crowd surpassing a million people.

Like he did at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York, the Pontiff will start his Philly trip by celebrating mass at the city's cathedral, the Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul.

The Pope will then visit Independence Hall, the birth place of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. Here, Pope Francis is expected to deliver one of his biggest speeches on immigration and religious freedom to an estimated 40,000 people.

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: The excitement is really building here in Philadelphia. We had a great sendoff in New York but in a certain sense the party has yet to begin.

MARQUEZ: The Pope is ending his day at the World Meeting of Families. The largest gathering of Catholic families from around the world.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a once in a lifetime and for the city (INAUDIBLE).

MARQUEZ: Pope Francis will also lead his closing ceremony on Sunday, his last mass on U.S. soil.

The pontiff expected to draw up to two million people, making his Madison Square Garden mass of 20,000 seem in attendance seem punitive.

God is in the city, he said Friday, urging them to always remember the forgotten, the sick, the needy. A sentiment he displayed as he walked into the arena blessing children with special needs. Their parents in tears.

POPE FRANCIS: Don't forget to pray for me.

MARQUEZ: Over 100,000 people bore witness to the leader of the Catholic church in his nearly 40-hour New York tour. People ecstatic to be in his presence even if for a fleeting moment like the tens of thousands that line the streets of Central Park.


MARQUEZ: Now, what you're looking at here, a shot right across the street from Independence Hall, the National Museum of American Jewish History, we've established a camera up there. So you can get a sense of me and all my friends, thousands are here.

How exciting is this? There will be tens of thousands here at Independennce Hall, and then tonight, for the vigil, for the - for the festival of families, about 500,000. For the big mass tomorrow, for the festival of families, really the anchor event for the Pope's trip to the U.S., about two million people are expected, Chris.

CUOMO: Well, we can feel the enthusiasm. Thank you for introducing us to those great people there, Miguel. We'll check back with you. We know we see the Pope's plane taxiing. He was just waving out the window saying good-bye to New York for the last. He's on his way here to Philly.


On the phone right now is Philadelphia's mayor Michael Nutter. He's going to meet the Holy Father at the airport in just about 30 minutes. Mayor, I have advice for you, you were watching the Pope climb the stairs, the wind was high as it is down here right now. He had a little trouble with his vestments. We know he was struggling with his sciatica, so make sure you got people there to make sure he's OK when he comes down those stairs, mayor.

MAYOR MICHAEL NUTTER, PHILADEPHIA (on the phone): Absolutely, we have a lot of love for him. And we're going to take care of him very well here in Philadelphia. We're excited and looking forward to his arrival.

CUOMO: How have the preparations gone and what do you expect in terms of turnout and tone?

NUTTER: Well from a preparation standpoint, Philadelphia is geared up and ready to go for some time. We've been planning on this visit for probably now two years, having known that we were the host city for the World Meeting of Families. And then subsequently when Pope Francis announced that he would be coming.

So from a final standpoint, everything is a go sign. In terms of people - there will be a lot of people here. Everyone is not RSVP'ing or calling the office to let me know if they're coming or not, but we are expecting a lot of people in Philadelphia. You'll see the incredible shots of hundreds of thousands of folks out on the Ben Franklin Parkway. Certainly, as far as numbers in Independence Hall, as well as, of course, anticipating the papal parade, which we have a couple of them and the concert tonight.

It's just going to be a fantastic weekend in Philadelphia.

CUOMO: Where does this rank in significance in terms of big things that have happened in your city?

NUTTER: Well, this will be the largest - it's certainly the largest and most impactful event in Philadelphia in modern history. There's no question about that. In terms of the number of people, the presence of the Pope. The first World Meeting of Families ever to take place in the United States of America, taking place in Philadelphia. The Vatican picked the city because we're the biggest city that does big events well. So it's huge for all of us.

CUOMO: Now, nothing is purely positive. There's been pushback about how hard it is to get around. People may be staying away or going down the shore. The cost has been an issue. What's your take? NUTTER: Well, actually, none of those are not real issues. The World

Meeting of Families organization is reimbursing the city for any additional costs. So there is no cost issue. That was worked out in the contract. In terms of people, you know, access, the city is free and open, obviously as we saw in both New York and Washington, D.C., I mean, you have to have, you know, bike rack and prevent vehicles from being in certain areas.

None of those issues are issues here in Philadelphia. Folks are excited, they're looking forward to the visit. We're about to board the bus to go and meet the plane. So this is happening right now.

CUOMO: Right. I know you're hearing those criticisms, we'll always chase the money. We'll see how that shakes out. But when he gets here, Mr. Mayor, he's going to be talking about very traditional value issues within the Catholic Church. But really they'll resonate beyond any faith. What do you hope the Pope touches on?

NUTTER: Well, we know he'll talk about immigration and religious freedom. Obviously, there's a mass on Sunday. The Pope has demonstrated time and time again that he'll talk about what he wants to talk about. That's going to be an exciting moment for all of us just to hear from him, the speech that he made with the joint session of Congress (INAUDIBLE) with President Obama, Pope Francis speaks his mind. It's clear, and we look forward to the message.

CUOMO: Well, I've been with you before, mayor. I've seen you handle tough situations. But this is a moment for you today as well when you meet the Pontiff. Have you been practicing what you want to say? How it's going to go, what's your moment going to be like?

NUTTER: I've had the fortunate occasion to meet Pope Francis twice now. Once last year and once this year. What I usually do is check in with my mother first, ask her what she thinks I should say. She's done me well each and every time. So of course, first is, your holiness, welcome to the great city of brotherly love and sisterly affection, we'll go from you.

CUOMO: Yes, I had to learn that second part. We had the governor on before, I didn't know the sisterly affection.


CUOMO: Philadelphia, are you going to expand the actual name of city or just the meaning?

NUTTER: That's our motto in Philadelphia and we live by it every day.

CUOMO: I know you do. This is a great place to people, you're great to us. We know the Pope's going to get a warm welcome. Mr. Mayor, as always, thanks for talking to us, joining us on "New Day." enjoy the moment you're going to have. We'll all watch you on TV soon. He's coming. He just took off.

NUTTER: I can't wait. Thank you very much. All right. Bye-bye.

CUOMO: Take care, Mr. Mayor. Let's get back to Alisyn. There's a lot of other news this morning as well. Alisyn.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN: OK. let me tell you some of our top stories because House Republicans are trying to figure out who will lead their caucus after Speaker John Boehner's bombshell announcement that he will step down next month. Democrats see the move as proof of a fractured GOP (INAUDIBLE) between establishment and Tea Party wing.


Boehner said he only finalized his decision hours before his announcement.

It was a lavish sendoff for visiting Chinese president Xi jinping. The White House rolling out the red carpet at a state dinner Friday, hosted by President Obama and the First Lady. Some 200 guests attended that event. And this followed talks between the two leaders reportedly reaching an understanding on curbing cyber espionage but President Obama threatened sanctions if Chinese hackers persist.

So, Bobo, meet your brother Beibei. The Washington Zoo's month old giant panda cub has officially been named. The first ladies of U.S. and China had the honor of revealing the panda's name to the public Friday. Beibei means precious treasure. The zoo went against the Chinese tradition of waiting 100 days in favour of having the two first ladies in person take part in that naming ceremony. Look how cute.

We do want to show you live pictures right now, this, of course, is the Shepherd One which is shepherding the Pope to Philadelphia from New York. Of course, we are following every single move on the Pope's journey. His last stop in the U.S. will be Philadelphia. That's where Chris is. He will be following that arrival with bated breath. So many people there waiting to see the Pope.

But first, what does John Boehner's resignation as speaker mean for the Republican Party? Who will replace him? We've got Margaret and John (INAUDIBLE) to break it down.



SEN. JOHN BOEHNER, HOUSE SPEAKER: Listen, it was never about the Pope, all right. There's no doubt about whether I could survive the Pope. I don't want my members to have to go through this. I certainly don't want the institution to go through this. (END VIDEO CLIP)


CAMEROTA: Well, that was John Boehner explaining why he will resign his position as speaker of the House and from Congress next month. So who will fill that position and what does it mean for a potential government shutdown. We're joined by John Avalon, he's a CNN political analyst and editor in chief of "The Daily Beast" and Margaret Hoover. She's a CNN political commentator. She's also a Republican consultant and Sirius XM host. Great to have you guys in the studio. Thanks so much for being here.


CAMEROTA: Wasn't there a mutiny to try to get rid of John Boehner, isn't that why he resigned?

HOOVER: Well, no. I feel very strongly about this. As a Republican sitting at the table, John Boehner could have survived any challenge coup. Of course, he has had coup challenges, supposed, purported overthrow in the midst but he had to votes to remain in Congress. And he could have remained in Congress until the end of this term.

What happened was and some say divine intervention. It was not overstated but he did clearly have a spiritual moment with the Pope, viewed this as the culminating achievement of his career as a Roman Catholic bringing the Pope to speak to Congress. And had known that he was going to resign around November 16th anyway. Just woke up the next morning, said his prayers and decided this is the moment for him.

JOHN AVALON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: So that the glass half full.

HOOVER: That's what really happened.

AVALON: There's no doubt that he is a man of faith and the Pope's visit contributed but let's also be real. You've got a looming government shutdown brought on by the kamikaze caucus last time. Boehner is exhausted by the fact that he's had to fight so many folks on his far right. It's exhausting, it's thankless, and frankly, deciding to fold in the face of that threat right now, says very bad things about the ability to deal and make a deal with those extremists on the right who want to shut down the government.

CAMEROTA: Margaret, it sounds what you're saying, on the shockometer, it wasn't that high for you?

HOOVER: Nobody expected it would come yesterday morning. But Boehner himself had decided that he was going to remove himself from the equation in order to not disable to institution. Look -

AVALON: Nobody knew.

HOOVER: Nobody knew. He made the decision that morning. He was thinking about it that night. Bob Cassic, bless him, from "The Washington Post," great reporting, they all had a hunch that something may be coming. But nobody knew. This was a surprise.

CAMEROTA: Here is what President Obama had to say about the resignation and what he thinks he may have hopes for next.


BARACK OBAMA, U.S. PRESIDENT: My hope is there's a recognition on the part of the next speaker. Something I think John understood, even though at times it was challenging to bring his caucus along. That we can have significant differences on issues. But that doesn't mean you shut down the government. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: OK. That sounds like wishful thinking.

AVALON: "A," that's the way government should work. "B," there's a divide within the Republican Party. There's folks who want to take it off the cliff because they want to see something burn rather than engage in actual governing.

CAMEROTA: But, they're saying they're standing on their principles.


CAMEROTA: They say John Boehner compromised too much.

AVALON: Yes, it's fantastic to feel like you're standing on your principles when you do it at the expense of the country and you get the warmth of your ideological purity but it's totally self fitting to the exercise of self government.

The second thing that's really important is this, you know, it is not for nothing that Boehner and Cantor, who President Obama has had to negotiate with basically during the duration of his term, ended up being forced out of their positions despite really consistently opposing the president because the far right felt they did not oppose him enough. That is a crazy sign of times.

HOOVER: Well, here's the challenge of Boehner stepping down now. People like you and other people are creating and perpetuating this narrative that they want to scalp him.

AVALON: Yes, they do.

HOOVER: You know, Boehner stepped down for his own reasons and they didn't want to scalp but they are emboldened now because they believed they want to scalp. They (INAUDIBLE) moment with the Pope. They are not going to be trying to get government working any better.

CAMEROTA: That raises - I mean that raises the question who is next? Is it a tea party or, you know, a blessed person or is it an establishment person?

Have you seen this movie before?

HOOVER: Yes, you will see the same movie you saw with John Boehner with Kevin McCarthy when he was the speaker. Because Kevin McCarthy is a great guy but he's going to have all the same challenges that John Boehner had. He's going to have a tea party caucus. (INAUDIBLE) who is going to want to throw tactic, push the government to a shutdown every turn you get. Nothing is going to change.

AVALON: You know, look, watch out. I mean, this is not a good sign for times ahead. If deeper divisions in the Republican party aren't healed and now you place a California conservative, an Ohio conservative, California conservative this is not a sign of good times ahead. CAMEROTA: You brought up Eric Cantor, he has a piece in "The New York

Times" today talking about this and what has gone wrong. He says "it's imperative that we fight in what we believe it but we should fight smartly, I have never heard of a football team that won by only throwing Hail Mary passes, yet that is what is being demanded of Republicans leaders today. In politics, this means incremental progress, winning hearts and minds before winning the vote, the kind of governance Ronald Reagan perfected."

Incremental process. Nobody wants to hear that.


AVALON: But that's the reality of governing. You know (INAUDIBLE) what they're doing trying to tackle its own quarterback. And that's what we've consistently seen on the part of the Republican caucus. They need to deal with reality, not some fantasy of ideological fear.

HOOVER: Even I understood that sports analogy.

AVALON: You're welcome.

HOOVER: Peter King said "you have to start playing tough because he's people are playing tough with us," within the Republican Party.

CAMEROTA: How does that look like? They wanted sometimes John Boehner to reign them in but how could he? What would he have done?

HOOVER: Look, there needs to be some real reckoning on the Republican side. If, we are - first of all you 2016, (INAUDIBLE) on the government now this would have been very damning for Republicans going into 2016 and into the primary Republicans need to - the response is 150 of them that wanted to pass immigration reform, for example, need to start standing up and stop being afraid of this tea party caucus of their primary challenges and stand for their principles. The other guys are standing for their principles. These guys need to do it too.


CAMEROTA: Very quickly, is it Kevin McCarthy?


AVALON: That's the overwhelming thought.

HOOVER: One hundred bucks right now.

AVALON: Hundred bucks. All right. We'll followup with you on that.

CAMEROTA: Well, I like that. John, Margaret, great to see you guys. Thanks so much for coming in.

All right. Meanwhile, the Pope's plane is expected to land very soon where Michael Smerconish is. Michael, tell us what's going on.

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Pope's plane is expected to land here in Philadelphia soon and you can feel the excitement building. When we come back, we'll talk about Pope Francis' example of humility and what one foreign policy expert says is an absence of greatness in our leaders today.



CUOMO: All right. Let's show you some live pictures of the Philadelphia airport. We're waiting. There are the stairs, missing a plane. That's a funny picture. But, soon, it will look normal, there will be a plane in front of those stairs. The stairs have come into sharper focus after what we just witnessed on the Pope's departure from America's New York's JFK.

He had trouble going up those stairs. He's got sciatica, he's got those long vestments, so they'll take some special care when he gets here to Philadelphia. You have Michael Smerconish here, with me here in Philadelphia, your city. Good to see you, brother.


CUOMO: Yes. Let's talk about something else here for a moment. Not just Pope Francis and his message in Philadelphia but what he signifies as a leader. A very great mind that we often have on CNN is Aaron David Miller. He's the vice president for New Initiatives, a distinguished scholar for the Woodrow Wilson International Center and author of "The End of Greatness."

Now, to wit, Professor Miller has a piece that he wrote that Pope Francis shows the greatness that is missing in leadership today. Expound, professor.

AARON DAVID MILLER, NEW INITIATIVES VICE PRESIDENT: It's really good to be here with both of you guys. I keep telling you, Chris, I'm not a professor, but that's OK.

CUOMO: And I will keep calling you that.

MILLER: I know you will. I've been in Washington for 40 of my 66 years, frankly, I've never seen anything quite like this. I use the word "great" maybe 10 times a day. Great movie, she's a great tennis player. He's a great guy. And I have no idea what it means. We've basically emptied it of any real significance because we can't really understand what we can't see.

So, the "r"s will claim Ronald Reagan. The "D"s will look back and go back to Jack Kennedy and before Jack Kennedy, Franklin Roosevelt. All of us could claim Martin Luther King but we're talking now about leaders who exited the political scene in this city, in my city 30, 40, 50, 70 years ago.

So, here comes the Pope, against the backdrop of a broken and dysfunctional Congress. The polls indicate that Congress ranks somewhere south of France and north of NFL replacement drafts. A campaign trail that highlights negative attacks and bombastic politics. Here you have a guy who comes along and captivates - actually, the three former capitols of the United States, New York, Philadelphia and the current capital, Washington. And he does so with an extraordinary uncommon commonness. A humanity. A compassion, a sense of goodness. And the most important quality - a real sense of authenticity which is lacking in our political quest.

I don't think there's a leader in the world today who we can all agree with some conviction actually means what he says. And is committed to the things that he wants to do. I find all of that, frankly, in contrast to the absence of a greatness in our politics. Final point, and I'm not blaming us, I mean, it's hard to be a great leader, greatness by definition is rare. The big heroics acts, the crises of the Washingtons, Lincolns, and FDRs, thankfully, are over.

But we've transferred our need for greatness from our political class in which we no longer believe, to our sports figures and our entertainers because it's a lot easier to buy a ticket and to appreciate greatness in sports than it is to invest in our politicians. All of this is swirling around in my head as I watched the last several days which I found to be extraordinary.

SMERCONISH: He's a smart guy.

CUOMO: He is. That's why I call him professor.

SMERCONISH: You know what he makes me think, Chris, is the fact that when you ask some young people today what do you want to be when you grow up, questions that your parents asked you and mine asked me, unfortunately, a number of them will say famous. Substance is in short supply. How do you become famous? Well, you need to get hits. How do you get hits? You say things that are incendiary and you become noteworthy for all the wrong reasons. I think that that plays a role in that which Aaron is describing.

Substance is in short supply. Think about the presidential candidates on one side of the aisle who are leading the league. Are they leading the league with substance? No, it's with sound bites for all the wrong reasons. In contrast to this man.

CUOMO: And yet, to take Francis at his own word, it is not always the man, it is often the message. You want the right messenger. But what does he tell us while he's here? Forget about Catholicism. Forgot about (INAUDIBLE) or any faith. He said be better to each other because you're interconnected, you're interdependent and that's what life is all about. You don't have to believe anything to love that.

It's also in stark contrast to what we see in politics.

[09:30:00] What's winning right now in 2016 is finding ways to put the other guy down. So Aaron David Miller, I ask you this, how do we do better now that we have achieved what we are lacking?

MILLER: I think that's the question of the hour. The book I wrote states that greatness is a function of character. You have to have the kind of internal and external attributes that give you the capacity to lead. Greatness is a function of capacity. You have to know what you're doing.

But sadly in our political system, or maybe this is the way the founders intended it. It's the third "C," character, capacity, and third C, crisis, which really generates the opportunity for leaders to lead. And, frankly, thankfully, you know, our three greatest presidents, Washington, Lincoln and FDR confronted the three challenges in the nation's history, they overcame them. That's why I argue in the book, we don't want another great president. We want a president who, frankly, reflects good qualities, presidents who are competent, presidents who are morally grounded. And presidents, frankly, who can find a way, through transactional politics, to bridge some of the divides that are now threatening the actual act of politics.

And politics, as the pope reminded us isn't some sterile exercise in order to promote yourself shamelessly, it's about remedy. It's about a commitment to the collective good and I think that's really important. You know, one additional point, Chris, you pointed it out to me, the media 24/7 doesn't prevent the emergence of great leaders, but it really does in its constant assault break them down.

And what you saw here I find remarkable. What you saw here in three or four days the most intense media coverage of any politician or religious figure in recent memory, was not the media dragging this man down. He -- the media served to uplift him. It doesn't show his imperfections and flaws and showed his basic compassion and his goodness. I found that in our argue culture, tear-down media, to be another example of how extraordinary an individual he is.

You know, he's not running a country. He's not running for re- election or any election. And I don't want to compare him to FDR, Barack Obama, Jack Kennedy, Ronald Reagan. But the reality, is his capacity to listen, his basic goodness are attributes that are missing in the ferocious and shark-infested politics of our day. And if we can learn anything from him, anything at all, and Boehner I think gets it, in his emotional responses, it's the basic goodness. It's the notion of raising us up so that we can also fulfill the promise of what this country was meant to be and do it in a way that serves the betterment of all.


CUOMO: Please?

SMERCONISH: There are great people among us, I think what Aaron is saying is, they're not being rewarded by the current process that we're utilizing. To the extent that is what you say, I'm agreeing with you.

CUOMO: Negativity is often a proxy for insight in the media. We see it too often. People criticized the coverage of the pope saying it's not negative enough because that somehow shows some distortion of balance. But it is ironic that some of the criticism that will be reserved for Pope Francis will come from his own conservative Catholics and what stands he takes on the issues here.

SMERCONISH: It's true.

CUOMO: Michael's a smart guy, Aaron David Miller has three names, that's indicative of intelligence. So, we always love to have him here. Thank you for joining us, Professor.

Now, take him off before he yells at me.

Let's take a look at the live picture. Philadelphia is the place to be, the City of Brotherly Love, and what is it? What's the other part, the womanly -- sisterly affection?

SMERCONISH: That's new. That's just been added since you got here.

CUOMO: Other things that we added since we got here is the pope. He's expected to land here any minute in Philadelphia. More of what we can expect ahead next. Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection. You better learn it, you live here.


[09:37:41] CUOMO: They're getting the music ready here in Philadelphia. Pope Francis about a half hour away. This odd picture of a staircase leading to nowhere. Reminds of the Led Zeppelin song "Stairway to Heaven", no, but stairway to a pope soon enough when the American Airlines charter that he's on sits down here in Philadelphia and will be the finale for what has been a phenomenal trip for Pope Francis.

Michael Smerconish and I are joined by CNN Vatican correspondent Delia Gallagher. And there's a lot anticipation of here.

We do want to show what happened when the pope was leaving because it's all over social media right now and we don't want people to exaggerate what it was. But it's worth showing. He was climbing the stairs, we know he's struggling with sciatica. As he going up the stairs, there's some high wind, there's a robe, he wound up tripping a couple times. It was scary because he's alone on those stairs.

You know, he is always surrounded by his cadre of security and that vestment, it's such a constant problem for him Delia. But a zucchetto and prop (ph) that he has to wear.

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: You've probably never tried to do it, Chris, but walking up or downstairs in a dress is a difficult thing.

CUOMO: You clearly do not know my past. But you are right about this, and when he got to the top, what I loved about it, when you finally get to see his face, he's laughing. He's smiling. He takes everything in stride is what people love him so well on this trip so far.

GALLAGHER: He's taking it in stride. I don't know about his aide. I know they did deliberately let him go up the stairs on his own. They tend to do that. But possibly not the best decision, considering the length of the trip, he's tired and the bad knee. CUOMO: There he is waving out the window.

I love that it's rumbled for him in the vestment that it's not perfect and he doesn't care. I feel like that combination metaphorically is symbolic of that.

SMERCONISH: I don't know if I could have walked up the stairs in the schedule that he maintains and his travel. I'm whacked if I fly for three hours to Florida. He got off that plane from Cuba and it was hit the ground running.

CUOMO: He's been going, and Delia says he always has a grueling phase, but this has to be exceptional.

Now, in terms of how he's received, tell us the story that now is all over the place. Michael was telling us about it before, we saw it in the papers about How much people wanted to covet what he touched after his big speech.

SMERCONISH: So, I expect one of the dignitaries will be greeting him at Philadelphia International Airport momentarily will be Congressman Bob Brady, who's also the head of the Democratic City Committee.

[09:40:04] And as you well know, this is a very Democratic town. Congressman Brady is very Catholic in his outlook, he eagerly approached the dais where the pope had spoken to the well of Congress and took the water glass. He took the water glass from which the pontiff had taken three sips, returned to his office -- but left a lot of water.

So, then he called Senator Casey into his office. Apparently, they were each dipping their fingers in the water as if it was holy water. Brady took the water out of the glass to have it used to bless his sons. So, the missing glass and the water is a big story in Philly.

CUOMO: So, the trinity of sips, the glass of water, are they getting what they think they got, Delia?

GALLAGHER: I think they are. It's a relic. The pope touched it. I mean, eventually with John Paul II, his vestments and a lot of things that he touched. I have a rosary that he gave me and that sort of thing becomes a relic. It's something that the pope has touched.

CUOMO: The beautiful thing about this pope, boy, he would hate that. You know, he'd like the people taking in the enjoyment, he really wants it to be about the message.

Do you think that's also the part about coming off the conversation we had with Aaron David Miller, what a leader he is, he has really satisfied the hunger of the American people.

SMERCONSH: I'm sure that the pope would have bought in to everything that Aaron just said in terms of what's lacking today, in terms of those qualities that we honor and that we put on a pedestal, too much it's the celebrity factor, which despite the attention he's receiving, he doesn't seem to covet to any extent. So, I think he has his priorities in line.

CUOMO: W is his history how he's regarded leadership versus putting it on people to do for themselves?

GALLAGHER: Oh, well, I think he believes in both. I mean, government has to help. Leaders have to help. We heard that at the U.N. and he believes, for example, that a state should support its unemployed and poor and so on. But certainly believes in the individual initiative. And the capacity for each person to do better, to reach out, to be a neighbor to their neighbors, you know, love your neighbor as yourself. That's his fundamental preaching.

So, I think it's both. And I think in terms of character, you know, what the professor, as you called him, was saying earlier, one of the things that Pope Francis talks about is the fact that we don't build character because we have such a uniform society now. I think media works into that where the models put up for children or for teens are always the same. And so, to have character, you have to be willing to be a little different.

And the pope said it the other day, be willing to fail, be willing to stand out, be different. I think that feeds into character. He's certainly willing to do that.

CUOMO: I can't say he haven't said yet today, but his significant phrase "haciendo lio", make a mess, make a ruckus, get in there, mix it up. Sure, you'll fail. Sure, you'll fall. Sure, you'll get dirty. But it's in the right way.

All right. The pope just landed. There's his plane taxiing behind, an American Airlines charter known as Shepherd One.

We're going to take a quick break to show you him his final descent as he gets down here in Philadelphia right after this.


[09:46:37] CUOMO: OK. Here we go. We're in Philadelphia.

And just moments ago, Pope Francis arrived here at the airport. Big host of dignitaries as always ready to meet him. There's the plane, Shepherd One, that's what they call the American charter. Those stairs getting ready to attach to the plane. He'll be greeted.

A special person this time, a retired police officer who was wounded in action is going to give flowers.

SMERCONISH: Richard Bowes.

CUOMO: Richard Bowes.

And this has been something we've seen that's consistent, the message the pope wants to send is what with these?

SMERCONISH: Well, it's in recognition not only of his service to his community and to the nation by virtue of wearing a uniform and being a victim of senseless violence, but also, Chris, because of the strain that it then put on the family, the way in which this family, I think they have three children, was able to endure, remain intact and together withstand everything they had to go through.

CUOMO: Delia, family, a layered metaphor for the pope. You'll see it here in specific here with the world meeting on the family, the festival of the family, that the pope is joining now. In terms of how we live our life as a family and what we do and then extending that metaphor grander in terms of the family of humanity, yes?

GALLAGHER: Oh, absolutely. I mean, he has come forth to celebrate on the theme of the family, he is having a meeting at the Vatican in October on the theme of the family because he thinks the family is the main sustainer, if you will, of society. And, you know, everything comes from that. Literally, people, in the first instance have children. And in the second instance, raise them in healthy, happy, loving families and therefore society.

So we have a need to educate them and give them jobs and take care of them in their old age. So it is all related for this pope. And he believes that the government had a responsibility also to ensure that families are taken care of in our society.

SMERCONISH: What's interesting is that he'll be greeted momentarily by the mayor of Philadelphia, Michael Nutter. But presumably the next mayor of Philadelphia is City Councilman Jim Kenney, I say that because he's won the Democratic nomination and there's a huge registration edge that favors the D's.

Councilman Kenney won't be there but he will spend the day at an LBGT picnic where Margie Winters will be present. She, of course, one half of a lesbian couple and she was fired as a Catholic educator in the suburbs of Philadelphia. It became quite a local controversy, Archbishop Chaput weighed in on the part of her firing even though it's not part of the archdiocese. And so, that subplot continues, Chris.

CUOMO: All right. Here we are. The pilot coming out, not the pilot, but, you know, one of the workers on the plane there getting it right. Making sure the stairs are properly affixed, especially after what we just saw.

SMERCONISH: The best news of all, cloudy but no rain in the forecast for the next two days.

CUOMO: Oh, really?

We've got Rosa Flores of CNN on the plane right now.

Rosa, tell us about the departure.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Hi, you know, we all are rushing out the door.

CUOMO: There he is.

FLORES: Excuse me, Chris, excuse me if I'm a little mixed here.

[09:50:05] But I asked about stumbling on the steps just moments ago, and I didn't quite get an answer. They are definitely checking for us to see if there was anything, you know, that happened to the pope. Or if that indeed was a symbol. I'm not sure exactly what the video looks like, Chris, because I was on the plane when he was boarding.

CUOMO: All right. Rosa, we just saw him come down the stairs. He's meeting Archbishop Chaput right now. He made it down the stairs just fine.

And remember, look, the reality is the hope is hurt, as we'd say this with sports. He's got a bad knee. He's got sciatica. He doesn't want people helping him. He is a proud man. He wants to show strength and he made it down.

Now, he is saying hello to everybody. We want to show you as much as we can. We do have to take a quick break. Come back with us and we'll show you the opening moments of the pope's final stop here in Philadelphia.


CUOMO: The pope is here. He has landed. He is coming to Philadelphia. There he is getting into that Fiat which magically arrived at the same time he did. It has become such a symbol of what he is about.

It's not grand. It is basic. It makes sense for him.

Michael, what have you taken from this so far?

SMERCONISH: So, he heads now in our direction.

[09:55:00] And what I'm hoping is that people from the Philadelphia area, 4 million Catholics in the five-county area, that they will turn out for the pontiff, because there has been a lot of discussion in Philadelphia in the last couple of weeks, with the closure of the Schuylkill Expressway, the closure of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, and a big rail station, will people show up? Have they been frightened off?

No rain in the forecast. I am here. I have walked the streets. There is plenty of area. It's a moment for our city to shine.

CUOMO: I wonder what he left behind there. They just handed the pope something before he leaves. And one thing is for sure, if they can't see him, I think what Pope Francis would suggest, listen to the message and put it into practice in any way that works for you.

CNN's special coverage of the pope's visit to Philadelphia is going to continue with Anderson Cooper and Christiane Amanpour after a very short break. Please stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: This is the moment the city of Philadelphia has been preparing for for months and waiting for for a decade. Pope Francis now here for the final and biggest leg of his historic U.S. tour. The City of Brotherly Love is opening its arms wide to embrace him.