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At This Hour

Biden Delivers Eulogy For Former Secretary Of State Madeleine Albright; Jury Search Restarts In Parkland Killer's Sentencing Trial. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired April 27, 2022 - 11:30   ET



KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: I want to take you now to Washington, Washington National Cathedral. President Biden, now we're getting the eulogy for America's first female Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Their goodness and grace, her humanity and her intellect. She turns the tide of history. David, Daniel, Jack, Jake, Ben, and Ellie, you're too young to remember this but when the Iron Curtain fell, the Berlin Wall came down, our world faced one of those inflection points, once in a generation moment of upheaval, but opportunity as well.

People in nations around the world were deciding the future they wanted to make for themselves. Be your grandmother. Be your grandmother. As a Madam Ambassador, as the first female Secretary of State in American history, made sure those nations and those people knew exactly where the United States of America stood and what we stood for. You know, all through it, her beloved sister Kathy, and her brother John can attest she never forgot where she came from and who she was.


BIDEN: President Obama, President -- Secretary Clinton, Vice President Al Gore, members of Congress, cabinet members past and present, today, we honor a truly proud American who made all of us prouder to be Americans. I also want to welcome the distinguished guests and dignitaries who have traveled from around the world to celebrate a daughter in the Czech Republic, who knew -- who knew what it meant to endure war and flee persecution.

With her friend, Vaclav Havel, when he died, I remember when Madeleine eulogized them, she used these words, "he casts light into places of deepest darkness and reminded us constantly of our obligations to one another." These words -- these words apply equally to Madeleine.

When I got word that Madeleine passed, I was in mid-air on my way to Europe to meet with our NATO allies in Brussels to help try to continue to keep the strong, strong alliances together our organization an international response to Russia's brutal and unjustifiable war against Ukraine. It was not lost on me that Madeleine was a big part of the reason NATO was still strong and galvanized as it is today.

A few days later, I traveled to Poland and spoke about all that was at stake in our world and for democracy and freedom. It's just under assault from forces of autocracy, and oppression. Many are tired of hearing me say I think we're at another inflection point in world history where there is literally a severe contract -- a confrontation between autocrats and democratic nations.

President Clinton. Bill was not lost on me that you spoke at the same Warsaw castle that I was about to speak at 25 years earlier. In my case, it was evening, the interior of the castle a beautiful courtyard holds about five, 600 people. And mostly Poles and Ukrainians were present when I spoke and I'm sure many of the audience spoke English, though likely not their first language.

When I mentioned the name, they were respectful of what I was saying. But when I mentioned the name of Madeleine Albright, there was a deafening cheer. They all stopped everything. They started to cheer. It was spontaneous. It was real. For her name is still synonymous with America as a force for good in the world.

Madeleine never minced words or wasted time when she saw something that needed fixing or someone who needed helping. She has got to work. As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from the time I was a kid, God, there were the good old days, I was the chairman or the ranking member for a good part of that time. And in the 90s, I can attest that Madeleine, with significant help from the President of the United States, kept the committee really busy.

And our work to halt the genocide in the Balkans, support new democracies in eastern and central Europe, to develop Plan Colombia and all those undertakings, Madeleine was an incomparable ally and advisor beyond the President, to me, and to others in the committee. She always had a knack for explaining to the American people why it mattered to them that people everywhere in the world were struggling to breathe free.


BIDEN: Madeleine stopped when she left the government. For decades, she was the nexus of the foreign policy community. Always, and I mean, always on top of the latest developments, always speaking out for democracy, and always the first to sound the alarm about fascism. Presidents and leaders around the world continue to solicit her advice, including me. When I asked her last year to chair the Defense Policy Board, she built businesses. She pumped out New York Times best-sellers ever bought both highly pressured and deeply salient and constantly best-sellers. I think I've read them all.

You know, and she -- and she mentored generations of rising foreign policy experts, the "foreign policy establishment," you know. And the thing that I noted that was deliberate and remarkable to others, not unlike Secretary Clinton, was that she made sure that young women knew they belonged at every single table without exception.

Today, across our government and around the world, Madeleine's protegees are legion. Many are here today, each carrying with them, a spark lit by her passion and her brilliance. I think part of the reason why Madeleine was such a successful diplomat was that she understood something I've always believed.

And my boss, President Obama, when I was vice president, used to kid me because I repeat so often because I believed she understood something I've always believed that all politics, especially international politics is personal. And all ultimately, it's personal. She can go toe to toe with the toughest dictators, then turn around and literally teach a fellow Ambassador how to do the Macarena on the floor of the UN Security Council.

You all think I'm kidding. I'm not kidding. She thought it was too difficult to teach me how to dance though. She was right. No matter where she was, she understood people. She cared about people. And all of that was grounded in an education game by watching her father, George -- Josef Korbel, and her mentor as well. She learned diplomacy at the dinner table. And throughout her life, nothing mattered to Madeleine more than the family. Nothing.

Madeleine had the same role that I do and others here do. No matter what's happening in my day, as President Obama can tell you, or who I'm meeting with when one of my children calls, I take the call. She was the same way. And Alice, Katie, her grandchildren, each of you -- each of you is literally a tribute turn enormous -- to her enormous capacity to love. I know it's hard but I promise you she's always with you, in your mind, in your heart, and part of your soul. And I promise you, you're going to have a tough decision. You're going to be asking yourself, what would she want me to do? Not a joke.

Remember I said it. That's going to happen. And Kathy and John, the connection the three of you maintain through your lives was always an anchor to Madeleine through all the ups and downs of life. What a gift. What a gift. What a family. You know, from that first transatlantic crossing on the USS America to landing any nations around the world in that big blue and white plane, emblazoned with the words, United States of America.


BIDEN: Madeleine understood her story was America's story. Her story was America's story. She loved to speak about America as the indispensable nation. To her, the phrase was never a statement of arrogance, it was about gratitude. For all this country made possible for her was a testament to her belief in the endless possibilities that only America could help unlock around the world. And her two understanding of what America's power could achieve. One is united with and motivated by enduring American values. That's why there was nothing she loved more than swearing new citizens to this great nation of ours.

She'd light up reminding them that she once stood where they stood. Having gained the blessings of liberty, she wanted nothing more than to share them around the globe. To Madeleine, from my perspective, there was no higher mission, no greater honor than to serve this great experiment of freedom known as the United States of America. May her memory continue to be a blessing to our nation and may we remember her words and her deeds. May she always be a light to all those in the darkest places, a reminder of our obligation to one another. And God bless Madeleine Albright.

BOLDUAN: President Biden there in an eye-touching and personal tribute to Madeleine Albright, America's first female secretary of state. A huge force in foreign policy for decades, as the president said her name is synonymous still have an America that is a force for good in the world. The president is alluding to what it means to have her passing in this moment in history when he said I think we're at another inflection point in the world where there's literally a severe confrontation between autocrats and democratic nations. The services for Madeleine Albright continue. We'll be right back.



BOLDUAN: New this morning. The search for a new jury is underway in the sentencing phase for Nikolas Cruz. He's the man who murdered 17 people at a Florida High School in 20 -- 2018. The judge scrapped two weeks of questioning of hundreds of potential jurors because of an error that she made.

The judge admitted to the mistake, dismissing 11 Jurors before they were properly questioned by both defense attorneys and prosecutors, and the judge now agreeing to restart the entire jury selection process. Once seated, the jury will decide if Cruz is sentenced to death or life in prison without parole. The reset regardless is pushing back the start of the sentencing trial to late June further delaying justice once again for the families of those killed.

Joining me right now is Manuel Oliver, his son -- his 17-year-old son, Joaquin, was killed in this part -- in this Parkland School shooting attack. Manuel, thank you for being here. What is your reaction to what's playing out in the courtroom here with this sentencing phase? So far, it seems so messy.

MANUEL OLIVER, FATHER OF SLAIN PARKLAND STUDENT JOAQUIN "GUAC" OLIVER: It's been messy, it's very offensive, you know. We really want to close this chapter. There's a lot going on in our lives. So going through this is kind of delaying everything just because someone's making mistakes, in this case, the judge, it's really frustrating. I think we deserve better and I'm hoping that these move a little faster moving on.

BOLDUAN: Yes. I mean, it sounds like a small thing, right, just jury selection. From a thousand, I think it was like a thousand-person jury pool narrowed down to 200, and then with this happening, you -- disappointing is one way I guess to put it but the frustration must be really quite real because this seems pretty pro forma how this should be playing out.

OLIVER: Well, not only that. You have to add to all those things what really happens in our day-to-day life. I mean, I have my son with me when we -- I've been fighting along with my wife in every possible way to defeat gun violence, and so we want this to be at least the easy part of everything that happened to all, the easy part of the whole nightmare.


OLIVER: And it's not. I'm hoping that justice will actually bring justice. And but all these delays are not even close to justice is more and more suffering every single day that we see that this is our move that we're following.

BOLDUAN: Yes. And after Joaquin was killed, your mission as you just stated has become taking on gun violence in America. And the latest example of this epidemic happened just Monday, in South Carolina. I know you've noted this as well. But for folks who have not seen it, I want to play this. Watch this.




BOLDUAN: That's the kid's baseball game, the players, the coaches, the families diving for the safety, as you can hear dozens of shots ringing out, fired in a nearby parking lot. Now, thankfully, no one was hurt, police say. But Manuel, what do you say to people who are going to see that, and at this point, they're going to say at this point, nothing's going to change, this is the new normal?

OLIVER: It's a new bad normal. I -- you know, what, Joaquin played more than eight seasons of baseball so I've been in that exact same situation. And you never know what could happen during those games. Eight Americans, we have the -- we think that carrying a gun will make our space safer for some reason. Someone sold that idea to all of us.

At the end of the day, we're protecting from each other, we're afraid of each other, there's a war going on in here. You don't have to go that far. So what (AUDIO GAP) going on in here, we are our own enemy. And when you see kids running out of the field, afraid because there's someone that decided to purchase a gun, the system allowed him to -- or her to purchase a gun, and he could carry it into a baseball game, I don't care whether the state means or the city is, that is wrong. A good person or what they call responsible gun owners could easily in a minute turn into a bad person or responsible, going on.

BOLDUAN: I mean, you very publicly -- I mean, you've taken your fight all the way to Washington, DC. I mean publicly protested on a construction to crane outside of the White House to get the president's attention to your cause. A few weeks later, you joined him at the White House as he was making an announcement on gun violence. Are you satisfied at this point with what you're hearing and seeing from President Biden on this?

OLIVER: No, but I'm -- but I'm satisfied with what we're doing and we're -- what we are asking people to do. We just launched it that same day that I was on that crane, the shop campaign. You can see the numbers of people dying since Biden is in the office. Now, when I was able to get into the Oval Office, finally, and have a little chat with the president, I told him, Mr. President, you know that we're going to keep on doing this.

You know that the resistance, that these disruptive actions will help you to bring out and call out anyone that is against saving lives. Because I really believe in Biden and his good intention, but it's not enough. You are the president of the United States and you have a war in your own country so let's fight it together. Our resistance, our campaigns are only helping you to reach your goals.

BOLDUAN: Manuel, thanks for coming in.

OLIVER: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Thank you all so much for watching. INSIDE POLITICS starts after this break.