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Joe Biden Speaks At Parade In Iowa; Crowds Gather For President Trump's July 4th Event; DHS Doctor Says Migrant Children Gets Same Care His Kids Would; NYC Will Have The Biggest Fireworks Show In The Country. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired July 4, 2019 - 11:30   ET


JOE BIDEN, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: I wasn't conspicuously absent.


I was doing other things. I'm going to -- I've been to the border before. I'm going back to those places. I have seen it. I'm going to go back. I'll be back to whether it's Homestead or down on the border. I'm going to be there.

Look, the idea, guys, is that I'm not following anyone else's rules, and what I'm going to do, and how I'm going to make my case to the American people, and let them decide.

REPORTER: About that, sir, do you think that your party would imperil a chance at meeting President Trump next year if you come out for opposing private healthcare insurance? Does that worry you?

BIDEN: Say that again?

REPORTER: If the party comes out for eliminating private healthcare insurance, do you think that could imperil your party taking back the White House next year?

BIDEN: Well, that's a decision for -- that's not my position. My position is we have a great -- Barack Obama and I spent a lot of time and did something he did something no other president has done. He built an incredible foundation for our healthcare, the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, as the republicans call it. And I'm proud to be associated with it.

What we should do is build on that. It took a long time to get there. It's solid. It's put 100,000 -- 100 million people who were out there and who were in a position where they had pre-existing conditions in America, that in, fact, they're all covered now, has put -- 20 million people got coverage that didn't. The numbers go on. We have done something really good. Now, we should build on that.

The first thing I would do as president is go out and say, look, here is the deal. We're going to eliminate all the changes that this administration made trying to kill Obamacare, number one. And we're going to add to it a public option. And the public option says whether you have employer-based insurance or private insurance or you're in the exchange. You can join up for a Medicaid -- Medicare- like provision in the law and not dump 300 million people on Medicare all of a sudden. You would be able keep it.

If you don't like your employer-based health insurance, well, you can sign up and get this other plan. But if you like it, you're able to keep it. That to me seems -- and I'm opposed to any republican who tries to take down Obamacare and I oppose democrats who try to do it. I think it's a mistake.

REPORTER: Sir, your campaign said that you wanted to focus on the future in the debate. Now that you have come out of this first debate, how do you plan to go forward to the second debate? What changes do you need to make to your preparation? How do you --

BIDEN: Well, look, it depends on whether or not the rest of the team on the stage wants to talk about the future. If -- here is what I'm not going to do. I'm not going to go back and use the same tactic they're trying to use. If you notice, I'm the guy everybody is talking about, you know? I mean, like somehow -- any way.

But I'm not going to go back and talk about the record of anyone from 10, 20, 30 years ago. There's a lot out there. There are a lot of people who would like to do differently than they did. But everything is lost in context as well. The context of the time is something that the vast majority of people don't know from 25 or 30 years ago. And so you can easily distort it particularly in 60 seconds if you have 30 seconds to respond.

And so, what I'm going to do is answer the questions I'm asked and try to move the debate where I think the Democratic Party needs to go in order for any one of us to win. How are we going to distinguish ourselves from all that Trump stands for? What are we going to do to bring back the middle class and working poor? What are we going to do to restore some sense of civility and honor and decency to this country?

I mean, look, the 4th of July, the 4th of July in the past, I was raised and I bet none of you need to answer, I'm not allowed to ask you questions, you were all raised to think 4th of July is to celebrate our togetherness, what we did. What they did on Philadelphia was they said, we're bringing disparate groups of people together, colonies that didn't like one another very much. They brought them together. It says, we the people, we the people. And it talks about honor and dignity and it's missing now and it's hurting us terribly, terribly around the country. I'm going to be speaking about this a little bit later at Marshalltown after the -- anyway. So, anyway --

REPORTER: Sir, are you happy with your debate performance? Are you happy with your debate performance?


REPORTER: What do you have to say to those who might --

REPORTER: What about Justin Amash leaving the Republican Party?

BIDEN: Pardon me? REPORTER: Justin Amash announcing he'll be leaving the Republican Party today and he's going to become an independent, do you have any reaction to that, that he should talk to the democrats?

BIDEN: Well, you know, where there's faith, there's hope.

REPORTER: Sir, you've been dropping in the polls. What do you make of the polls where you've been dropping since that debate performance? And what do you say to the people --

BIDEN: I'm still way ahead.

REPORTER: But what do you say to the people who think you might be --


BIDEN: All right. Thanks, everybody.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN AT THIS HOUR: All right. You're listening right there to Joe Biden taking a break from the parade route on this 4th of July to speak with reporters, saying a few very interesting things, talking about a lot of topics.

Interesting though, making the case, lamenting that he wants to debate the conversation to move on from the conversation that has been happening since the last debate, which was about his record on civil rights and his record on busing, him saying that he's ready for everyone to move on.


A couple notes though, I do want to mark something that he said that we'll have to watch if he sticks with this when he says, I'm not going to go back and talk about the record of someone 10, 20, 30 years ago. Let's see if that sticks. We'll have much more on this special edition of At This Hour, the special 4th of July edition right after this.



BOLDUAN: President Donald Trump is hoping for what he's called the show of a lifetime, a 4th of July celebration on the Mall. Democrats are saying that he's politicizing though what is traditionally a non- partisan event and wasting millions of dollars on it.

Well, top brass in the military will be at the President's side tonight. Others are concerned. The former head of U.S. Central Command, General Anthony Zinni, telling The Washington Post this, put troops out there so we can thank them. Leave tanks for red square. So what will the President say tonight and what's happening on the Mall today?

CNN's Kylie Atwood is there in the middle of it for us all. Hey, Kylie. hat's going on there? KYLE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: Well, even though there has been controversy leading up to this event, it's been clouded in criticism, really, as you mentioned, about the high cost or about politicizing the military or about making this into a Trump rally. But folks that we have talked to here on the ground have come from across the country. They have come from California, they have come from Washington State, Colorado, Florida. And despite the fact that some are Trump supporters and some are not Trump supporters, there is an atmosphere of celebration here for the 4th of July, for the holiday that this is.

Now, when you ask them why they have come to Washington, a lot of them say it's their first time and it is president Trump who drew them here. He asked them to come and so they came. And they're excited to see the military weaponry of the United States that will be on display and Trump has talked about time and time again, even Tweeting this morning, teasing the military flyover by Air Force One.

But they're headed into the National Mall right behind us. They have to go through some intense security to get there because he will be speaking on the Lincoln Memorial, which is not the traditional route. Usually, folks, the presidency, they speak at the White House. But they are headed in through security and they are bringing everything with them. They've got chairs. They have sunscreen. They have snacks. And they're going to be there for hours leading up to the President's speech, which will be tonight around 6:30 P.M.

BOLDUAN: Kylie, thanks so much. I really appreciate it. And we'll see what the President has to say tonight, as Kylie said, at 6:30. CNN will be carrying his remarks live.

Still to come, dramatically different stories, a government watchdog calling facilities for migrants at the border a ticking time bomb. That's a government report. But a DHS doctor now tells CNN that he's proud of the medical care migrants have received. More on that next.



BOLDUAN: Once again today, we are hearing two dramatically different accounts of the conditions inside migrant detention centers at the border. A DHS official who is also a physician telling CNN, though not giving his name, the following, says I'm a doctor and a parent. I take care of everyone in our care like I would want my own children taken care of. The medical care has been good so far and I'm proud of what we have done.

But then there's this, of course, drawings from children just released from one of those border facilities, showing their perspective, showing people behind bars, people in cages. That's on top of the images that were released in a government-produced report this week, calling conditions so overcrowded, these facilities, calling it a ticking time bomb.

Joining me right now is Dr. Colleen Kraft. She is the past President of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Doctor, thanks for being here again.


BOLDUAN: So you hear what this doctor with DHS has told CNN yesterday that they're proud of the medical care being given to the migrant children in their custody. We don't know what facility this doctor is working at or talking about, really. But given what you have seen, should they be?

KRAFT: I think that the people who are working with the families coming across the border are doing the best that they can, but we have evidence that a lot more could be done. So we have worked to give our message that we need pediatricians there to see these kids, to train the medical personnel, to monitor the conditions that can make these children even sicker, and to be on site so that these kids get the care that they need from a pediatric expert.

BOLDUAN: Yes. About these drawings that were released by the American Academy of Pediatrics, they're so sad. What do you see in these pictures?

KRAFT: We often use art therapy to help out kids who have been traumatized. And this is really an example of we allow kids to tell us what they see and what they feel and put it on paper so that we can help them through some of the trauma that they have experienced. But I see trauma there. I see sad experiences, scary experiences, places that kids shouldn't be.

BOLDUAN: Yes. That is definitely something that jumps right off the paper when you look at those images.

I was thinking this morning that a year ago when you and I first spoke, it was the height of the family separation crisis. And you told me then that the academy was reaching out and offering services to help DHS and help care, as you're saying right now, and help care for these migrant children.


Has anything come of that offer?

KRAFT: So there have been some relationships formed. And, in fact, the last group of A.P. folks who went to the border went with CBP. They have had the A.P. make an training tape for their emergency medical personnel and that's being used in their training. And that's a great first step but it's not enough. It's one thing -- you know, you've looked at a YouTube video on how to bake a cake or pull an engine, but it's not the same as having somebody beside you training and making sure that you're doing the right thing.

And so we still advocate that we have pediatricians on the ground in the centers training the personnel, monitoring conditions.

BOLDUAN: I mean, as a pediatrician, if they would allow you in, besides training videos, which are wonderful but obviously not enough, what would be your first priority if you and other pediatricians were allowed in?

KRAFT: The first priority would be to look at the conditions and make recommendations on how children should be treated while they are there, because we've made the recommendation that children don't belong in detention, but to look at that environment and make some health and safety recommendations first and foremost. And then secondly, to work with the personnel who are there and train them how to recognize an acutely sick child, a severely sick child from a moderately sick child.

BOLDUAN: Yes. For a lot of folks, and I hate to say this, but it does seem that when it comes to the crisis that we are seeing, it's out of sight, out of mind for a lot of folks, especially when it comes to the border crisis and the children that are being held there. I know that it's a concern of yours when you talk about this. What do you want Americans to understand about the urgency of this situation?

KRAFT: I think America has to decide something very fundamental. How do we value the lives of children? And we start there because if we value the lives of children, then any child who comes into our care needs proper nutrition, proper sleep, proper places to play, good environments, healthy environments, pediatric care.

And despite everything that's gone on with the immigration debate, we can start with taking care of children, because we foundationally believe that children have value.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely right. Dr. Kraft, thank you so much.

KRAFT: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Thank you for being here.

Coming up for us, it is the nation's largest 4th of July fireworks display, and it is in New York City. New York's finest, of course, has their eyes on the ground, in the air, on the water, to make sure that the celebration goes off without a hitch. A live report, next.



BOLDUAN: Let's take another live look at our nation's capital. Moments ago, the national Independence Day parade kicked off, heading right down Constitution Avenue. Look at the crowds. Hello, everybody. This is, of course, the traditional annual 4th of July celebration that we've become so accustomed to in Washington. You see the parade route right there. Not to be confused this parade route with President Trump's big event that is taking place this evening, and we will bring that to you as well.

But if you are looking for the nation's biggest fireworks display, you have to come to New York and the 43rd annual Macy's fireworks extravaganza. Millions of spectators are going to line the East River to get a firsthand look and millions more, of course, will be watching at home. CNN National Correspondent Brynn Gingras is in Manhattan at one of the best spots to see the fireworks tonight. Brynn, do not move. You only have several hours to wait for the big show.

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I know, right, Kate. I'm like, why am I here now? I should be here hours from now. Anyway, this is a good spot if you are in New York. The reason that it's a good spot is because, I'm going to zoom in, and, of course, this is the iconic Brooklyn Bridge. Well, for the first time in five years, fireworks are actually going to launch from the Brooklyn Bridge.

I don't know if you could see it, but we're going to try zoom in. There're 15 packets of fireworks along that bottom part of the bridge. Those are fireworks. Those are going to be launching off the bridge. It's incredible.

And the reason I know that is because we had a rare opportunity yesterday to really fly around with the NYPD, get on the harbor unit boats, which are all in the water. You've been seeing them going by. And just talk about the security measures, because you can imagine what an undertaking it is for them.

There are thousands of officers that are going to be here on the streets, but, of course, also up in the air, on the water. They have been working on this plan for tonight for months.

But it's really been the last week where they really ramped up and, you know, put together their plan and started doing scuba diving underneath the barges that are going to be holding the fireworks. They have been working with the emergency service guys to get the Macy's people up the Brooklyn Bridge to the top to put the fireworks there and then just, of course, sweeping this giant area of lower Manhattan and Brooklyn to make sure it's all safe and secure for all those spectators who are expected out here tonight.

But, again, we got that rare opportunity yesterday. We were able to talk to the Chief of Special Operations, which handles all these specialized units within the NYPD.


CHIEF HARRY WEDIN, CHIEF OF SPECIAL OPERATIONS, NYPD: There're rooftop observation posts that you will not see but they will see you when you're out there. You have explosive detective canines at every entry point and in some of the areas. So it's a great, safe event people should come out and enjoy themselves.



GINGRAS: Yes. And, of course, NYPD has the most incredible technology at their hands. And listen to this, Kate.