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Pope To Meet Bishops At Seminary; Pope Families Can Be Hard, But Full Of Hope; Pope To Tour Prison, Meet Inmates; Donald Trump To Unveil Tax Plan. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired September 27, 2015 - 06:00   ET



[06:00:31] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Pope Francis ending a whirlwind trip to the United States. One more very packed day including a meeting with prison inmates and celebrating mass in front of more than a million people.


POPE FRANCIS (through translator): Families have the difficulties. Sometimes plates can fly.


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, the lighter side of the pope before he heads home. Pope Francis has a little fun, we saw last night laughing and telling jokes, going off script with the crowd late night in Philadelphia. We will show you more of Pope Francis' fun with the crowd.

PAUL: Plus President Obama kicking off two days at the United Nations. Talks with Russia are high on the agenda, we hear, a lot of people wondering if he can find some common grounds with Vladimir Putin.

It is Sunday! We are so grateful for your company as always. Welcome. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: Good to be with you. I'm Victor Blackwell. This morning Pope Francis begins his final and really what could be the biggest most important day of his historic U.S. tour.

PAUL: The city of brotherly love definitely opening its arms to embrace him as he is returning the love that we have seen so far. Largest crowd yet expected today at the pope's final mass. We want to show you some of live pictures here.

This outdoor mass here and some are predicting 1.5 million people will attend. Obviously, still dark right now, but what you're seeing could be packed with people by 4:00 today.

BLACKWELL: Certainly will be. Last night there were also huge crowds for the Festival of Families, but proved to be a lot more than a musical event as the pope took the stage. We'll have more on that in a moment. But first, here is Rosa Flores on what we can expect today.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is time to say adios to Pope Francis. Today is his last full day in the United States after a two- country tour that included Cuba.

Now, today is an action-packed day for him. In the morning, he visits with the bishops. He has gone off-script before when he speaks to his brothers. After that, he visits with inmates. Now, that is expected to be an emotional encounter for the pope.

In Bolivia, he walked inside that prison and during his speech, he said I am here as a sinner. I am a man who has been forgiven and very touching for the inmates there.

Then the day wraps up with a giant mass here in Philadelphia. Now, this is expected to be the biggest mass in the United States because it's going to be at Benjamin Franklin Parkway, open-air, tons of people.

We don't have exact numbers yet, but it's expected to be the biggest mass in the United States. Again, it's time to say adios to Pope Francis. He heads back to Rome, and, of course, we will be following every step. Rosa Flores, CNN, Philadelphia.

PAUL: Rosa, thank you so much. Now the pope's speech last night was vintage Francis let's say. It was warm. It was funny, and it was full of craze. Listen to how he spoke to the faithful about being part of a family.


POPE FRANCIS (through translator): Some of you might say, of course, you speak like that because you're not married. Families have the difficulties. Families will quarrel. Sometimes plates can fly. And children bring headaches.

I want to speak about mother indoors, simply, simply. Families, there is always light because the love of God, son of God, open also that part of us.

[06:05:10] But just as there are problems in families, we have to remember that there is the light of the resurrection afterwards, because the son of God brings that part. Forgive me, but I have to say that the family is like a factory of hope. It's a factory of resurrection.


PAUL: So joining me live from the Benjamin Franklin Parkway where the mass will be held is Polo Sandoval. I know it's quiet there now, but when you're expecting 1.5 million people, how long before people show up?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christi, right now you find only press and police here at Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The last seven to eight hours have been crucial. Look behind me. You can see a small army of workers. They are converting what was yesterday's concert stage into a religious sanctuary.

Yesterday, there was this very interesting looking digital screen protecting some of the video images. You can see that has now been taken down and now the golden cross stands out at the steps of what is the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

We are already seeing people line up because as soon as the gates open here in a matter of minutes we expect people to make a mad dash to secure a good location around the perimeter. This area here observed for special guests, but the general public is invited to assemble along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

The majority of them have will to watch the mass on large scales and 40 have been set up throughout the downtown area and along the parkway. Walking through those crowds yesterday, there seems to be this feeling that is OK with them, as long as they are at least within a mile of the pontiff.

This is a very special day for them as a million people are expected to attend but, ultimately, we will have to come at 4:00 when the mass is celebrated and what will the pope do during that mass.

PAUL: The scramble as we have seen throughout this whole trip of people just trying to get a glimpse of him. Polo Sandoval, so appreciate it. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: So as Rosa Flores mentioned, later this morning, the pope will be sitting down with a hundred inmates from a correctional facility. Let's talk about that visit.

We are joined by CNN religion commentator, Father Edward Beck and CNN senior Vatican analyst, John Allen. Good to have you with us this morning.

John, I want to start with you. There were so many who expected that we would hear from the pope during that joint session, maybe someone would perceive as the more critical elements of his visit.

I want to put up on the screen something he said in 2014 about incarceration and the abolishment of the death penalty, quote, "all of its forms." He said in the Penal Code of the Vatican the sanction of the life sentence is no more. Should we expect something more critical than the message that most are expecting today?

JOHN ALLEN, CNN SENIOR VATICAN ANALYST: Well, when the pope holds these meetings with the inmates, I mean, these are not policy talks. These are the pope acting as a pastor. You heard Rosa talk about that meeting he had with prisoners in Bolivia when he walked and said, I'm a sinner among sinners and I want you to know I too have been forgiven.

He talks all the time about what he describes as a throw-away culture, a culture in which whole categories of people are regarded as disposable and certainly on that list he always includes prisoners.

That said, clearly one of the reasons that he chooses to hold these meetings with inmates is because he wants to make a statement about rehabilitation. This is a pope who strongly opposed to the denial penalty and he is strongly opposed to life imprisonment.

He believes the criminal justice system should not be punitive but an opportunity for people to turn their lives around and I think that is the symbolism of what he is doing this morning.

BLACKWELL: Father Beck, we have seen, over the past couple of years, the pope washed and kissed the feet of inmates. That is on Holy Thursday, of course. But what should we expect later today, the interaction between not just the inmates, but also the corrections officers and some of these families?

[06:10:03] FATHER EDWARD BECK, CNN RELIGION COMMENTATOR: Victor, you know, this is the time for the pope to be the pastor that he wants to be. Now prison is also a metaphor. He has been saying this whole trip that we are all imprisoned in many ways.

If you could have seen him last night go off-script and to witness it and to be that close to it, it was electrifying. Why not throw out all of the texts and let this man speaks from his heart and come alive what he wanted too?

When he walks in the prison today you will see what we saw last night. That's when he comes alive when he can relate his people. Not when he has to have his head in a text, but when he connects people.

We had six families who came to this stage behind us and they told their poignant stories about family life and their struggles, a family from Argentina. He was visibly moved by that.

I think that connection gave him the energy to stand up, throw the text away and say I'm going to tell you about family life. I know it's hard and the plates fly as we heard, but God is love.

So I think that we have to let him be the pastor that he is because that what he really wants to do.

BLACKWELL: John, let's look ahead to the homily today. Are we expecting that covering the pope as you have that this will be something that was prepared before he left Rome or is this something that would be likely reflective of his time in Cuba in the United States, something that has taken shape over the last week or so?

ALLEN: Victor, I think the honest answer to that question is God and the pope only know, I mean, yes, there is a text that has been prepared in Rome before he left, you know, there's a team of speech writers in the Vatican that helps with this sort of thing.

If there is one thing we know about Pope Francis, he is very sensitive to moments, and if he feels that there is something in that moment this morning perhaps has been building up within him along the way on this trip, then as you just heard Father Edward rightly say, he will not consider himself a prisoner to his own text.

He is perfectly capable of setting that aside and opening up his heart in his mind and sharing it with that crowd. That said, you know, the big theme here this morning certainly will be the family.

Remember, the pope is here to sort of wrap up this World Meeting of Families the Vatican sponsors that has been going on in Philadelphia all week. There are people here from more than a hundred countries.

This morning, the bishops he is meeting with are not just American bishops, but bishops from all over the world, who have been here in Philadelphia for this meeting. So certainly we are going to hear the pope reflect on the theme of the family.

Whether he does that through the vehicle of his prepared homily or something that wells up in him spontaneously, all I can tell you there, is stay tuned.

BLACKWELL: We will. John Allen, Father Edward Beck, thank you both.

Of course, we have complete coverage of the pope's final day in America all morning and afternoon right here on CNN.

PAUL: Donald Trump says he's got a plan for your taxes and he is going to lay it out, we believe, tomorrow.

Plus, a night under the stars turns into panic and chaos. Look at the pictures we have coming in here as two people are fighting for their lives after they were hurt during a music festival in Arizona.

Plus, Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin, the heads of the United States and Russia, they are meeting at the United Nations. This is a frosty relationship of the two sides so what can we expect?



BLACKWELL: It's 17 minutes after the hour now. New this morning, in the race for the White House, Republican frontrunner, Donald Trump, will soon be making a major policy announcement, unveiling details of his tax plan.

His campaign manager says the plan will be released Monday morning. Last week, Trump said the plan would call for middle class tax cuts and tax hikes, closing for loopholes for wealthy hedge fund managers. Listen.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's going to be very specific. I think it's a plan that is going to create great incentives and I think a plan that will make people happy, other than maybe the hedge fun guys who make hundreds of millions of dollars and pay very little tax. I mean, those guys will not exactly love me.


BLACKWELL: All right, let's break this down with CNN political commentator and conservative radio talk show host, Ben Ferguson. Ben, good to have you back.


BLACKWELL: Good morning to you. First, before we get to the tax plan because we want to unpack this a bit. I want you to listen to with what former President Bill Clinton told CNN's Fareed Zakaria. His thoughts about Donald Trump and we'll talk about it.


FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN ANCHOR: I got to ask you about Donald Trump and as a great student of American politics, what explains Donald Trump?

FORMER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: Well, first of all, he's a master brander. And when you got a lot of people running, and people are trying to make distinctions being able to put a personal stamp on who people identify with who you are, it counts for something, certainly in the beginning.

Then he said to the working class supporters of the Republican Party that have largely shifted over for cultural reasons, I'll give you an economic reason to vote for me. I'll build a wall around the southern border of America and I'll stop buying Chinese imports.

So now that will all have to be flushed out in the course of time and I'm sure the other future debates will do it. But he's got a lot of pizzazz and zip. He's branded himself in a clear way and he's generated some excitement. And it remains to be seen what's going to happen.

It's an unusual election. You know, there doesn't seem to be much interest yet on their side, I think there is on our side, because both Hillary and Senator Sanders have laid out pretty detailed positive policy positions.

Talked about what they would cost. And you know you can have a debate there where you can discuss the relative merits of their position on health care or generating jobs or whatever. But over there it seems to be more about resentments and one liners, I don't know, it's interesting.

ZAKARIA: Could Trump be the nominee?

CLINTON: I think so.


CLINTON: How do I know? I don't understand any of it very well.


BLACKWELL: President Clinton says he doesn't understand any of it very well, but I wonder how that assessment plays in the primary fight. FERGUSON: I think it's last months, I think so, should be replaced with I hope so. Hillary Clinton is hoping she is running against Donald Trump because I think she believes she believes she can pick apart his grandiose ideas.

[06:20:11] And Bill Clinton is right about one thing about Donald Trump. He is an incredible marketer. He has made this debate a lot more fun, just the ratings we saw here on that debate on Wednesday night at CNN were incredible.

It was like it was a Super Bowl event for politics all because Donald is in it. But I also think you got to look at the details and a lot of these other conservative candidates are now going to be pushing on him on actual details and plans.

He has the big ideas. But can they actually back them up and that is where I think he is vulnerable.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about these details because we are expecting this tax plan to be released. What does he have to say and from what has been hinted thus far, an increase or closing loopholes for the hedge fund managers? Is there an appetite of increasing taxes on anyone in this primary electorate?

FERGUSON: I think there is some, but I also think the other candidates will say do we need to be spending this much time on a small sector, hedge fund managers? Look how few people are in that industry.

Is it going to have an impact on the average American if we raise their taxes is in the answer is no. But it also is a brilliant move politically because it's somebody who an insane amount of money anticipate and you're the rich guy in the room saying they are not paying enough money.

So from a political standpoint it is a great idea. You're talking about raising taxes on a very wealthy and small group of people that you associate with, so it looks like you're going to police your own.

And I think this is more about politics than it really is about tax policies. It's more about winning votes and getting people excited about you than it is about actually having any impact on the economy for the average American.

BLACKWELL: Yes, but what we will have to see, Ben, is if he will carry this narrative throughout the rest of the week without stepping on it. He released that second amendment paper, but we didn't hear more about it because it was more about the criticism. Ben Ferguson, we'll talk more about it. Thank you so much.


BLACKWELL: And of course, catch all of Fareed Zakaria's wide range interview with President Clinton today on "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS" at 10 a.m. Eastern, right here on CNN. PAUL: It was just chaos at an Arizona concert. The crowd rushed the stage. Two people are seriously hurt. We'll let you know what happened.

Also new details this morning about that deadly crash that killed four people in Seattle, what investigators have uncovered now?



BLACKWELL: At least seven people were rushed to the hospital in Tempe, Arizona. This happened after crowds just flooded toward a stage at an outdoor music festival. Some concert goers described the seen as chaotic, but the concert reportedly went on after the injured were treated.

PAUL: The death toll in Thursday's stampede outside Mecca is still rising. According to Saudi Arabia state-run news agency at least 769 people were killed in that chaos and the cause is still under investigation.

BLACKWELL: Federal investigators say the duck boat involved in a fatal accident on the Seattle Bridge had an axle broke and whether it was a factor in Thursday's duck boat collision is unclear. Four international students from North Seattle College were killed and about 50 other people were injured in that crash.

President Obama is kicking off two days of meetings at the UNGA speaking to the General Assembly and holding a private meeting with Vladimir Putin of Russia. Can these two world leaders find some common ground here?

Also as Pope Francis wraps up his first trip to the U.S., we will talk to a lifelong friend of the pontiff and find out what he was like before he became the pope.


PAUL: Some mixed mortgage rates for you this week. Here's your look.