Return to Transcripts main page

NEW DAY SATURDAY

Dale Earnhart Jr Family Unhurt in Plane Crash; China Preparing Military Response to Hong Kong Protests? Global Recession Fears Examined; Gun Violence Protests Organized; Marjory Basco Funeral Draws Hundreds of Mourners; Alaska Salmon Population Affected by Heat Wave; Dangers of Breathing Polluted Air; Actor Peter Fonda Has Died. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired August 17, 2019 - 06:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEO)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Shaky markets and unpredictable trade talks are stoking fears of a recession.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You have no choice but to vote for me because your 401(k)s down the tubes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Basco no longer has remaining family after his wife was killed in the shooting. Not only did hundreds show up to the service, but more than 400 flower arrangements and cards were sent in from all over the world.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Three 2020 hopefuls made their pitch to African- American church leaders and black millennial voters in Atlanta.

SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Christ does not strengthen you to sit on the sidelines. This is not a spectator sport.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Scrambling to get out are Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and his wife Amy and two pilots. Their first concern is Dale's 1-year-old daughter.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is a miracle that they got out before the flames overtook the plane.

(END VIDEO)

ANNOUNCER: This is "New Day Weekend" with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN HOST: Good morning. So glad to have you with us. We begin with some video that was taken moments after a private plane carrying NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt, Jr. crashed in Tennessee. This is remarkable.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: Yes, here's the video and you can see Earnhardt, Jr., his wife, along with their 1-year-old daughter escape. Look at this. You see them climb out of that burning plane. They're followed pretty quickly by the family dog, the plane's pilots. PAUL: The NTSB says the plane slid off a runway Thursday afternoon

after making that hard landing and bounced at least twice before the right rear landing gear collapsed. And then you see it just burst into flames. In fact, listen to the 911 calls from the people who were watching the family escape.

(BEGIN VIDEO)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Crash right across the street right in the highway. There's fire everywhere. There's somebody getting out. Now they're -- they're trying to get out now. There's a baby, one, two, three, four, five -- five people and a dog.

(END VIDEO)

PAUL: Dave Faherty from CNN affiliate, WSOC reporting here. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO)

DAVE FAHERTY, WSOC CORRESPONDENT: You can see black smoke pouring out of the back of the plane and a man running toward the wreckage. Moments later flames shoot up from one of the wings just seconds before the door to the plane pops open. Scrambling to get out are Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and his wife Amy and two pilots. Their first concern is Dale's 1-year-old daughter. She was handed to the first person off the burning plane who rushed her to safety. The video shows one person falling to the ground and then the family's dog running from the wreckage. These two women called 911 from their office nearby watching in horror as flames spread across the plane.

LACY PASQUALE, WITNESSED PLANE CRASH: I just couldn't believe it was happening especially right here in front of our office. And then when we saw them escape and them hand a child out, both of our hearts just sank.

BETH BARE, WITNESSED PLANE CRASH: It was really scary. There wasn't much time for them to get out and it really is a miracle that they got out before the flames overtook the plane.

FAHERTY: Both women say it was just 30 seconds to a minute later before a second explosion caused flames to engulf much of the plane. We could see NTSB investigators around the plane for much of the day. Feet away, skid marks in the grass from the Cessna citation business jet at the end of the runway before it went through a fence and ended up on the four-lane highway. For much of the day, race fans stopped by to see the wreckage including Bobby Loveless his son whose middle name is Dale after Junior's father. What do you want to say tonight?

DUSTIN DALE PARLIER, RACING FAN: That you're in our prayers and just be blessed. Make a quick recovery.

(END VIDEO)

BLACKWELL: Our thanks to Dave Faherty for that report. Of course, there is the investigation that must go on. The NTSB has interviewed the pilots and recovered the plane's flight data recorder to figure out what happened.

PAUL: We want to bring Coy Wire in to this because there's some history that needs to be acknowledged in a situation like this. Earnhardt, Jr., swe know was on his way to the race in Bristol, Tennessee, when the plane crashed. That is not lost on people who know the history of this family.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Imagine the weight of the emotions this family is experiencing not just with the plane crash but the Earnhardt family has been through so much. Back in 2001, Junior's father, Dale Earnhardt, Sr., died in a crash at Daytona Motor Speedway. A racing legend, fan favorite, he was actually driving slowly on the final lap attempting to hold back other divers so his son, Dale, Jr., could win the race. His car got bumped. It ran into a wall. Dale, Jr. ended up finishing second not knowing his father had crashed. Dale, Jr. was able to recover from that devastating news. He's gone on to become one of the biggest names in this sport's history; a winner of 26 races over his career including two at Daytona where his father passed away. Fans voted Dale, Jr., NASCAR's most popular driver 15 consecutive seasons before his retirement in 2017. After this plane crash this past week, the strong NASCAR community, the drivers, fans, flooding social media with tweets of relief and gratitude that Dale, Jr. and his family were okay.

[06:05:00]

They were all discharged from the hospital on Thursday. There's a statement from NASCAR that said, quote, "We're extremely relieved to learn that Dale, Amy, Isla, and the pilots of the aircraft are safe and we commend the first responders and medical staff for their quick action. We look forward to seeing Dale back at the racetrack very soon." Dale, Jr., an analyst for NBC's NASCAR coverage was on his way to Tennessee for tonight's race at Bristol Motor Speedway. He will not be part of the broadcast so he can be there with his family.

PAUL: Obviously. Yes, obviously. Coy, thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: Right now, tens of thousands of marchers are in the streets of Hong Kong as pro-democracy protesters kick off the 11th straight weekend of demonstrations.

PAUL: And just across the border in mainland China, look what's happening there. We're seeing dozens of paramilitary forces gathering. One officer telling CNN they're on a temporary assignment, yet wouldn't explain why the troops were stationed in that particular place. Let's bring in CNN's Paula Hancocks live in Hong Kong with the latest. Paula, good morning to you. What are you hearing about that force that seems to be at the border?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Victor and Christi, at this point, they are not giving much more information than that. There is no sign of any imminent crossing of the border into Hong Kong to help with the protests that have been ongoing here and it's also worth pointing out that there are here of late that the Chinese soldiers, military are inside Hong Kong at this point that are also here. There's about 6,000 soldiers that are here. You do not see them. They keep a low profile. But the fact that we were able to see those images, the fact that our Matt Rivers up on the border there was able to film the police that were doing that drill there shows that this is what Beijing wants these protesters to see. They want to remind them that they are just across the border should they be needed.

We've been hearing from police here in Hong Kong that they have the situation under control. Basically saying exact opposite of what the chief executive Carrie Lam said, saying they're on the brink of no return. They say they have the situation under control. This is another of the protests this weekend that we are expecting. This is a march that's been going a couple of hours. It's now ended peacefully. Of course, we're waiting for the big protests that are coming up on Sunday, as well, that could be hundreds of thousands of people on the streets of Hong Kong according to the organizers; at least that is what they're hoping.

It's not just that the struggle on the streets of Hong Kong at this point, this is also turning into a bit of a realization from the police that they have to fight for public opinion, giving a face-to- face background briefing to reporters including CNN, pointing out that if these protesters didn't use violence, then the police wouldn't use force, saying that they have to use teargas and dispersal methods against what they call violent criminal behavior. So it is definitely a P.R. fight as well as a pro-democracy fight here; a fight from the police to try and keep things under control. But as it goes on the border, those in Shenzhen, the Chinese police at this point, there is no -- no indication whatsoever that that will be involved in the near future.

BLACKWELL: And that would have significant ramifications if they were to cross over into Hong Kong. Paula Hancocks, for us there. Thanks so much.

PAUL: We're bringing in Javier Hernandez. He's a China correspondent for "The New York Times." He is joining us from Beijing. Javier, thank you so much for being with us. I want to get your take first of all on what's happening this morning. Is there a sense that what we're seeing on the border there, is it a sense that it's a reinforcement, a warning of some sort, or is it plausible that real military action is imminent here?

JAVIER HERNANDEZ, CHINA CORRESPONDENT FOR "THE NEW YORK TIMES": I think Beijing wants to send a clear signal not only to the protesters but to the west that it is prepared to act should it feel there's a real threat to sovereignty in Hong Kong. And while I think it's still remote that Beijing would do anything, they're too worried about the reputational hit that would entail. I think there's this increasing, growing audience in the mainland that's pushing for some concrete action.

PAUL: So China's "Global Times" editor-in-chief told CNN this: "Unrest on the streets needs spiritual support, incitement and encouragement, and that's exactly what the U.S. and the west are offering in a very deliberate and intense way. I'm wondering how this is being framed in China. Why is the Chinese government just based on that statement alone, it sounds as though the government's attempting to incriminate the U.S. in this.

HERNANDEZ: Well, it's a very deliberate strategy by Beijing now to portray these protests as the work of foreign governments. They want to say that the United States and other countries in Europe are trying to use these protesters whom they refer to as violent thugs to carry out what they see as a revolution in Hong Kong.

[06:10:00]

And it's important to note that there's no real evidence of that but I think it's a popular talking point among the Communist Party here. They want the public to rally behind them. They want this sense that this is a fight for the life or death of Hong Kong. They framed it in those terms. It's very kind of battle cry kind of terms. And their goal ultimately is to hopefully put in their view enough pressure on Hong Kong, on the government in Hong Kong so that these protester will abandon their protests. That doesn't seem likely any time soon.

PAUL: Is that a particularly -- an indication, what you're talking about there, that they just want to focus on the U.S. and the Hong Kong -- the Hong Kong protests? Putting those two together? Or is this a message to the U.S.? Is there retribution here for the escalating trade war?

HERNANDEZ: It's definitely important to look at this in the context of the trade war because there is a sense in China that the Americans are the enemy right now. That the United States is trying to hold China back, it's trying to interfere in China's internal affairs. And for a lot of average Chinese, I think the message resonates. There's a sense when you walk the streets of Beijing, for example, that America is just kind of upset that China is gaining power and America is slipping in its status as a superpower. S And so these propaganda points are meant to drive up this message that the United States is to blame for a lot of China's problems, and that it's time for the United States to abandon even its comments on this matter. China would prefer that the rest of the world remain silent on the Hong Kong protests. But it seems like that's not going to happen either. You know, American politicians including President Trump occasionally have brought this issue up.

PAUL: So let me ask you this, coupled with the protests you see there and let's bring up some of the pictures we have again of the paramilitary forces who are on the border of mainland China and Hong Kong today, when you couple these two things together, what does the U.S. do moving forward?

HERNANDEZ: I think the Americans really want this to be an issue that is -- is addressed by the Chinese government, but I think President Trump is -- is reluctant because he's obviously fighting the trade war, it's very difficult sometimes to figure out what the strategy is. And so when you talk to American human rights groups and American politicians, there's a sense that Hong Kong is an important issue, that the United States should speak out about this. I think there is a sense from the White House that one day they might speak out about it, the other day they might not and there's no sense of a coherent strategy yet. PAUL: There are reports that China has some anxiety regarding these

last three months of protests that they've been seeing in Hong Kong that could - that could motivate dissent obviously on the mainland. But if people on, as you've talked about on mainland China primarily hear the news that China is giving them - the propaganda there, their version of these protests, how founded is that alleged anxiety?

HERNANDEZ: I think it's a big part of what you see here. I think there is this sense that if this nationalism domestically keeps increasing, if there is more and more of this propaganda out there, that the people might put even more pressure on President Xi and others to react harshly to the situation in Hong Kong. That's what a lot of people fear. They fear that the government has kind of backed itself into a corner, that it has to deliver something, it has to take more aggressive action in Hong Kong whether that's a forceful crackdown or more stringent economic punishments. It's unclear. But I think the growing anxiety within the mainland and the growing pressures could actually back the Communist Party into a corner and force it into a direction it might not have anticipated.

PAUL: All right. Javier Hernandez, appreciate so much your insight on this. Thank you for being here.

BLACKWELL: The New York City Medical Examiner's Office says Jeffrey Epstein died of suicide by hanging. Now you'll remember it's been almost a week since Epstein was found dead in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center. He was being held there awaiting trial on charges of operating a sex trafficking ring, including paying girls as young as 14 for sex. He pleaded not guilty to those charges. Epstein's lawyers say they are not satisfied with medical examiners' conclusions there. They plan to independently investigate the circumstances surrounding his death.

PAUL: So we have to talk about maybe a breather we're getting today just because the markets aren't open.

[06:15:00]

BLACKWELL: Right.

PAUL: But what a week it has been on Wall Street. Investors worrying about a recession not just in the U.S. but around the world. What are the implications to that?

BLACKWELL: Plus, a climate crisis is causing the salmon population in Alaska to die off. We'll have more on that ahead.

PAUL: And he was afraid that no one would show up. Look at this -- hundreds of people are there to help an El Paso widower say goodbye to his wife.

ANTONIO BASCO, EL PASO WIDOWER: We had wonderful years; they were the best years of my whole life.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLACKWELL: Nineteen minutes after the hour. Welcome back. So this week we saw the Dow jump more than 300 points, that was yesterday. That was after recession fears sent the stocks tumbling earlier in the week.

PAUL: Yes, the U.S., though, is not the only country that's worried about a recession obviously. CNN's Julia Chatterley takes a look at nine other countries that are getting jittery.

JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There has been plenty of speculation this week about whether the U.S. economy is headed for a recession. We've seen warning signs flashing in financial markets and the trade war seems to be getting worse, not better. Now for a lot of economies around the world, though, that recession risk is not even up for debate. In fact, it's looking pretty imminent Donald Trump's trade war has huge implications both inside and outside the United States. It's clearly weighing on global growth, helping push economies which were dealing with their own specific issues right to the brink.

[06:20:00]

There's plenty of them. I've got seven to look at here where recession could strike in the very near term. Let's start with exporting nation Germany. They make lots of things that are sold to consumers, both in the United States but also China. So they've taken quite a hit here. Think Volkswagen cars or even Siemens washing machines. Now this week Germany said their economy actually shrunk last quarter ending what's become known as the golden decade of growth. If that happens again this quarter, Europe's largest economy will then be in recession.

All right, next up, think Great Britain, think Brexit. There is so much uncertainty still whether there's an if or even how they'll exit the European Union. The companies and investors are simply avoiding putting money there right now. What about Italy? Never-ending political problems, government changes, and high debt to boot. The weak global economy isn't helping their manufacturers right now one bit. What about the U.S. southern border? Mexico, just nearly avoided recession. The political tensions with President Trump, we've got tariff threats and the border wall issue means plenty of economic uncertainty. Companies now on both sides of the border are simply hoping a new North American trade deal can get agreed by the contentious Washington.

Latin America's largest economy, Brazil, also suffering from high unemployment and weak industrial production. Finally, what about Singapore and Hong Kong where growth has also slumped? Over in Hong Kong, we've also seen weeks of protests impacting the economy, both places are clearly small, but they're also vital hubs for international trade and finance. These are all classic barometers of global growth. So when things go sour, alarm bells start ringing. Now the fact that so many economies are faltering at once underscores just how connected we all are by global trade, but the uncertainty about economic policy, about political turmoil and, of course, the trade war is now threatening to create a perfect storm that costs jobs and costs people money all around the world. But the big question now is, even if the U.S. consumer remains strong, can the U.S. economy remain resilient as the rest of the world slows. Julia Chatterly, CNN, New York.

BLACKWELL: Julia, thank you. Let's welcome back now "POLITICO's" White House reporter, Daniel Lippman. Daniel, good morning to you.

DANIEL LIPPMAN, "POLITICO" WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Good morning Victor.

BLACKWELL: So there's a new Pew poll out in the last few hours -- overnight that shows that nearly half of Americans are confident in President Trump's ability to, you know, manage the economy, get favorable trade deals. It's continuously one of the high points if not the only high point of his polling and his job approval. The president downplayed the indicators we saw this week. How seriously are the people around the president taking this potential for a 2020 downturn?

LIPPMAN: They're taking it very seriously because it would totally undermine their main argument for Trump's re-election. He's said at rallies, you know, love me or hate me, you have to vote for me because your 401(k) will take a big hit if whoever my democratic opponent takes office or wins the election. And so if we are in a recession next year, then what is his argument going to be and so he is actually privately worried about what's going to happen in the economy or what could happen. His advisers, as well, around him, they are trying everything they can to avoid that potential outcome.

BLACKWELL: So the "Washington Post" is going a step further and reporting that the president is telling confidantes that he doesn't really believe some of the numbers that are being reported about the economy. You know, it would undermine his narrative for re-election, but the president could really just tell his base these numbers are fake. That's what he about in 2016. Those job numbers, those aren't real. He says the same thing about China and the tariffs, that Americans aren't paying those, China's paying those. And some people believe him. What's to suggest that he wouldn't turn to the numbers and say fake news?

LIPPMAN: Yes, that's something we should watch out for. It's almost like the Groucho Marx line "Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?" I mean if people are losing jobs and the commerce department is reporting lower economic growth or even a recession, then Trump does not like to hear that. And so even though he's relied on those same numbers in the last couple of years to brag about how well the economy is going, it is totally conceivable that he could say that this is fake news, even coming from his own government.

[06:25:00]

And also we should remember that a lot of this slowdown could be attributed to what he has done in terms of the trade wars, the tariff that's has hurt business confidence and made it harder and more costly for U.S. manufacturers to get parts and for, you know, agriculture and other industries to sell abroad. And so -- he's also undermined the confidence in the Fed which has hurt the markets. He has himself to kind of blame for some of this stuff.

BLACKWELL: Yes, you'll remember the president last year told an audience that what you're seeing is not really happening. So there's potential the president will do that with the numbers if they get worse. Let's turn to another narrative that the president has used as his success or has called it a success, the ongoing negotiations with North Korea. This has now been late this week the sixth short-range ballistic missile test in a month. The president says he's not worried about them because they don't hit mainland U.S. but of course there are American troops in the region, tens of thousands of Americans who are within reach. Policy first, is there any acknowledgment in the White House that what they have tried for the last 30 months has not worked?

LIPPMAN: I think there is some acknowledgment from John Bolton that the national security adviser who's much more hawkish that this strategy needs to be looked at because he is of more aggressive -- in terms of holding North Korea accountable, he talks all the time about how these are serious U.N. Security council violations. Even though Trump says they're fine, that doesn't, you know, it is literally in the text of those resolutions that you can't have ballistic missile tests. So they just -- the North Koreans choose to violate them. But we should remember, to be fair to the White House, that many administrations in the last couple of decades have also had no luck with North Korea. It's a tough country to deal with and they view it as in their national security interests to improve their weapons systems and to keep nuclear weapons, and so they think that they can just wait out Trump, and they'll be watching for the election, as well.

BLACKWELL: Yes, sure. I think it's important to point out as you did that this is not exclusive to the Trump Administration, that there have been difficulties with North Korea and trying to get them to give up their nuclear program. But also, this president has taken several steps further than any previous president, with the two summits, going to and taking the step into North Korea as well. Now let me ask about the politics, it was just last spring about 16 months ago when the president was smiling behind the podium at a rally and his supporters showing "Nobel, Nobel," for the Nobel Peace Prize. There have been...

LIPPMAN: I'm not sure (inaudible).

BLACKWELL: Yes, you've seen that I'm sure you've seen that. There have been the missile tests, lack of any progress toward denuclearization, the full stop of repatriation of the remains of the Korean War dead. Are there as concerned about the deflation of this narrative as they might be about the economic story they're trying to tell?

LIPPMAN: I think they -- they know that most voters are not going to candidly vote based on this, you know, nuclear deal that they couldn't really bring to fruition. And so they are going to talk about other things. They're going to amp up the immigration talk to try to get supporters, you know, for the president to vote on that issue. And they're going to just ignore this failure, and they're going to say what is, you know, could a democratic president do anything better? I think the issue is that they oversold what they had gotten, and Trump bragged too much about his personal chemistry with Kim Jong-un. And that, while it's important, it's great to have good relations, that doesn't mean that they're going to just hand over the nuclear weapons to the White House.

BLACKWELL: Yes, bright, sharp line in the separation from the Obama Administration as it relates to the approach but not so much in the fruit, in the consequences of that approach. Daniel Lippman, always good to have you.

LIPPMAN: Thanks Victor.

BLACKWELL: Christi?

PAUL: Gun-control rallies are taking place across the country this weekend. But we're in El Paso where a man who lost his wife in a shooting two weeks ago says he still can't believe she's not coming home.

(BEGIN VIDEO)

BASCO: To wait for her to walk in. I've even tried calling her on the phone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have?

BASCO: I've tried to.

(END VIDEO)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:30:00]

BLACKWELL: This is just another tragic story about gun violence in our country. This starts with an argument between rappers. It started on social media. It may have led to the death of a 9-year-old girl in Dallas. Here's what happened, Tyree Simmons turned himself in to police and is now facing a capital murder charge. Police say he started shooting into the wrong apartment. Brandoniya Bennett was killed.

MAJOR DANNY WILLIAMS, DALLAS POLICE: They said, I'll be back to air out this place. That's a common term saying they're going to take a shooting it an apartment complex. They left the location. Less than ten minutes later, witnesses saw the kids running back toward the same apartment complex.

PAUL: Brandoniya was shot as she sat on a couch inside her apartment. She had just gotten her nails done for the first day of school and was planning to start fourth grade on Monday. You know, in every state, in every state this weekend people are coming together, calling for gun- control legislation. Rallies taking place in more than 100 different locations. There's a direct response to the recent shootings obviously in El Paso, Dayton, Gilroy, California. These events are being organized by Every Town for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action.

BLACKWELL: So the advocacy groups are calling for the senate to approve universal background checks and other red-flag measures. The groups are also spending nearly $1 million on ads against several republican lawmakers this weekend including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

[06:35:00]

PAUL: Now the El Paso Strong rally is set for this afternoon. More victims of the Wal-Mart shooting are being laid to rest by their families and among them, 63-year-old Margie Reckard.

BLACKWELL: Almost 1,000 people - some of them - most of them complete strangers. They lined up to hug Antonio Basco as he said goodbye to his wife last night. She was killed because she shopped for groceries two weeks ago. Basco stood for hours next to his wife's casket and thanked every person who came to pay their respects. Gary Tuchman spoke to Mr. Basco before the funeral about his late wife and coming to terms with his loss.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Tony Basco loved only one person in the world and now she's gone.

And she loved you a lot.

BASCO: You know what, I don't even know what she seen in me sometimes. We had wonderful year; the best years of my whole life.

TUCHMAN: Tony has no other family. His wife, Marjory Reckard had just a few family members but none in the El Paso area. Attendance at her funeral was expected to be minimal until the internet took over. Tweets from journalists to media outlets sent out messages of support for Tony. Then there was this Facebook post from the funeral home reading, "Mr. Antonio Basco was married 22 years to his wife Margie Reckhard. He had no other family. He welcomes anyone to attend his wife's services." People from all over the United States have contacted the funeral home as well as Tony to say they planned to attend Margie's funeral.

There are going to be hundreds of people here probably from all around the country. How does that make you feel?

BASCO: I love it. I mean it's nice to see people really caring about people. There's going to be a lot of people; I told you it was important.

TUCHMAN: They had been married for 22 years. Tony says his life had been very difficult prior to meeting her. What would you like people to know about Margie?

BASCO: She was a caring, loving, the most beautifullest person.

TUCHMAN: Every day now he goes to the memorial site next to the Wal- Mart, taking exquisite care of Margie's memorial, making sure the flowers and the wind chimes which she always loved so much look the best they can. When did you meet her?

BASCO: Omaha, Nebraska, in a bar.

TUCHMAN: And you were single, she was single?

BASCO: Yes, never been...

TUCHMAN: And was it love at first sight?

BASCO: Man, you can't imagine.

TUCHMAN: Tony is still waking up each morning in disbelief that she is gone.

BASCO: I sit at my table, I look at the front door, waiting for her to walk in. I've even tried calling her on the phone.

TUCHMAN: You have?

BASCO: I've tried to.

TUCHMAN: At the memorial site, Tony tells Margie that someday he will meet her in heaven.

BASCO: What you been up to? What do you do up there? Wish you'd tell me something.

TUCHMAN: Tony is now beginning a new life alone, but for at least one day at Margie's funeral, he won't be.

BASCO: She made me the happiest man in the world and the luckiest. There's nobody luckier than me in this whole world.

TUCHMAN: Gary Tuchman, CNN, El Paso, Texas.

PAUL: That had to have been a moment for him to stand there and see all of those people come up for him without knowing either one of them.

BLACKWELL: In addition to all the people who showed up, more than 400 floral arrangements were sent in from across the country.

PAUL: And I heard some came from Japan. They came from around the world.

BLACKWELL: Yes, it's amazing.

PAUL: We wish him the best. We wish him the best and hope that he finds a family, a community there where he is.

BLACKWELL: Twenty-two years.

Still to come, NOAA says July was the hottest month ever recorded. Allison Chinchar is here.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: That's right. We're going to talk about economic impacts from a massive die-off of Alaskan salmon. Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:40:00] BLACKWELL: So we've talked a lot about the temperatures this summer.

PAUL: How can you not?

BLACKWELL: How can you not, right? What we've learned that we've just lived through the hottest July ever recorded. That's according to NOAA.

PAUL: It follows the hottest June ever recorded making this one of the hottest summers in recent history. Here's the thing -- water temperatures have broken records with temperatures so high that several varieties of Alaskan salmon have been killed. And here's the thing -- CNN Meteorologist Allison Chinchar with us now, it's the numbers of salmon that are being killed off. That's alarming.

CHINCHAR: In the short term, there's a little bit of economic panic but there's also the long term. Nearly about 1,000 of these Alaskan salmon have gone through this what they call a die-off. Again, we'll never know the exact number of exactly how many died. They're attributing it to hot temperatures, not necessarily just from this week although it was very hot in Alaska this week. But they're thinking that most of the damage was actually done about a month ago when they were first coming up that main stem of the Yukon River. Temperatures in the river would have been about 70 degrees. That may not sound all that bad to us but they're used to temperatures closer to 60 degrees. That much of a difference is too much for the fish. Maybe a day or two they can handle it but for that long-term journey that may make, that becomes too much. Heat stress takes over, and they end up dying from that. And yes, unfortunately, that's the thing.

It's the economic impact. In the short-term term, yes, this is a big tourist thing. People fly to Alaska just to be able to go salmon fishing. But the thing is, you're talking about 1,000 out of a migration that expect is about two million. In the short term it's not going to cause too many issues but here is the main concern. Those fish are no longer going to spawn eggs. Four to five years from now when they would have made that migration trip themselves, now they have to start worrying about are those numbers going to be there. So it's more of a long term concern rather than a short-term what's happening now especially since we're starting to see more and more of these where you end up getting hot months. Is this going to be the new trend? Are the fish not going to be able to make the full journey? That's what we're talking about, how hot is it actually across portions of Alaska?

Here you can see the Yukon River, this blue line highlighted right through here and the Koyukuk River, this is some of the areas where we saw that mass die-off. This is the anomaly of temperatures showing pretty much all of Alaska was above average for the month of July. It was actually the warmest July on record for even Alaska, not just from a global standpoint but even in Alaska.

[06:45:00]

Anchorage averaging a temperature of 65.3 degrees. That's about 6.5 degrees above average just for that month. So far in August, we're also averaging well above normal; about 8.2 degrees above average. Six of the last nine days were actually record highs. Again, it was also from the global standpoint, too, talking about how warm it is. The exception to that, guys, was actually Arkansas and Oklahoma; Hurricane Barry is to blame for that keeping the temperatures a little bit cooler than they normally would have. But those are the only two states that did not have at or above temperatures for July.

BLACKWELL: Wow. Allison Chinchar, thanks so much.

PAUL: Thanks Allison.

So there is a new study that shows breathing in polluted air every day can cause as much damage to your body as a long-term cigarette habit. We're going to talk about the specific cause of the damage and the resulting health problems.

BLACKWELL: And be sure to tune in tomorrow night for the final episode of the CNN original series "The Movies." That's tomorrow night at 9:00 eastern only on CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAUL: Listen, this is jolting. A new study shows exposure to polluted air is similar to smoking a pack of cigarettes a day.

BLACKWELL: Jacqueline Howard, writer for "CNN Health and Wellness" is with us now. I mean yes, we know that obviously polluted air is bad for us.

PAUL: Right.

BLACKWELL: But this bad? Like smoking a pack a day? I mean what damage is it doing to our lungs?

JACQUELINE HOWARD, WRITER FOR "CNN HEALTH AND WELLNESS": It's pretty eye-opening. So there is this new study that found if over the long term you were constantly breathing polluted air, so let's say you live in a city with air pollution for over ten years, that can irritate and inflame your lungs in a manner similar to smoking cigarettes. So specifically that irritation can lead it a type of COPD called emphysema. We've long known that emphysema is associated with cigarette smoking but now we can say that it's linked to air pollution, as well.

PAUL: So when we talk about air pollution, where is it coming from? Is it coming from factories? Is it coming from traffic?

HOWARD: Yes, so all of the above. And specifically when you do look at this association, it's particularly strong when you look specifically at ground-level ozone. Ozone is a part of smog and it's really not rare, like we know that it's pretty common. In fact, it's even estimated that in general about 90% of people around the world breathe polluted air. It's likely that you may live in a city with air pollution.

BLACKWELL: You can quit cigarettes, you can't quit air. We cannot stop breathing.

PAUL: Right.

BLACKWELL: But let's talk about actual cigarettes. If you look at a pack of cigarettes now, the warnings are big, bold letters, smoking these can kill you, these can cause cancer. There are some proposals for new graphic warnings now. What are those?

HOWARD: That's right. The FDA gave us a sneak peek at these proposals recently and what they're proposing is that they want some graphic warnings with color images to take up the top half of the front and back of cigarette packs and to take up about 20 percent of cigarette advertisements. So these are draft versions of these warnings; the FDA has until March of next year to issue final versions. But we're getting a sneak peek of what these warnings might look like and they're going to mention health risks tied to smoking like cancer, diabetes, even conditions that could lead to blindness. They're pretty jarring.

PAUL: Wow.

BLACKWELL: And people will still pick up a pack of cigarettes. The top half ...

HOWARD: The top half...

BLACKWELL: ... with that warning. All right.

PAUL: Jacqueline Howard, thank you so much.

HOWARD: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Hollywood legend Peter Fonda has died. We take a look at the highlights of his career next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO)

PETER FONDA, ACTOR: Not every man that can live off the land, you know. You do your own thing in your own time. You should be proud.

(END VIDEO)

BLACKWELL: That was actor and director Peter Fonda. He died yesterday in Los Angeles. His career was defined by his role as Wyatt in the 1969 movie "Easy Rider." Fonda was nominated for an academy award for the screenplay.

PAUL: He was also nominated for best actor for the title role in "Uly's Gold" in 1998. The family said Fonda died at his home from respiratory failure due to lung cancer. He was 79 years old.

BLACKWELL: The next hour of your "New Day" starts after a quick break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Shaky markets and unpredictable trade talks are stoking fears of a recession.

[07:00:00]