Return to Transcripts main page
Fareed Zakaria GPS
An Outsider's Perspective on Pope Francis; Interview with President Bill Clinton; Pope Visiting Inmates at Philadelphia Prison. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired September 27, 2015 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:00:05] TAPPER: Thank you for spending your Sunday morning with us. We'll be back in one hour with more of CNN's special coverage of the Pope's final day of his trip to America.
I'm Jake Tapper in Philadelphia. "FAREED ZAKARIA, GPS" and its interview with President Bill Clinton starts right now.
FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: This is GPS. The GLOBAL PUBLIC SQUARE. Welcome to all of you in the United States and around the world. I'm Fareed Zakaria.
Today, the 42nd president of the United States, Bill Clinton. I'll ask him about the race to be the 45th president of the United States in the 2016 elections. He's watching that carefully.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL CLINTON, 42ND PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The other party doesn't want to run against her and if they do they'd like her as mangled up as possible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: Also the nuclear deal with Iran. Did Iran take the West to the cleaners or did the world get a good deal?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: The nuclear agreement with Iran is on balance the right thing to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: Then it's said that Bill Clinton was born to be a politician, but now he's found his second calling. Finding solutions for problems plaguing the world. From the Syrian crisis to strife in the Ukraine, from hunger and illness to global warming. I'll ask him what works and what doesn't.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: I basically think there's more good news than bad news. It's just that the bad news captures the headlines. (END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: But first, here's my take. I'm not a Christian but growing up in India I was immersed in the religion. I attended Catholic and Anglican schools from ages 5 to 18 in which we would sing hymns, recite prayers, and study the scriptures. And the words and actions of Pope Francis have reminded me what I, as an outsider, have always admired deeply about Christianity. That its central message is simple and powerful. Be nice to the poor.
When I came to the United States in the 1980s, I remember being surprised to see what Christian values had come to mean in American culture and politics. Heated debates over abortion, abstinence, contraception and gays. In 13 years of reading, reciting and studying the bible, I didn't recall seeing much about these topics. That's because there's very little in there about them.
As Garry Wills points out in his perceptive new book, "The Future of the Catholic Church with Pope Francis," "Many of the most prominent and contested stance taken by Catholic authority, most of them dealing with sex, have nothing to do with the gospel."
The church's positions on these matters were arrived at through interpretations of, quote, "natural law," unquote, which is not based on anything in the bible. But Wills points out because those grounds looked weak, conservative clergy sought to bolster their views with biblical sanction.
So contraception was condemned by Pope Pius XI through a pretty torturous interpretation of a couple of lines in Genesis that state Onan spilled his seed on the ground. The ban of women in the Catholic clergy is a similar stretch. When the Anglicans decided to ordain female priest, Pope VI explained that women couldn't be priests because Jesus never ordained a female priest.
"True enough," writes Wills. "But neither did he ordain any men. There are no priests other than the Jewish ones in the four gospels. Peter and Paul and their fellows neither called themselves priests nor are called priests by others."
Wills even takes on abortion, opposition to which some Catholics have taken as fundamental to their faith. Quote, "This is odd," writes Wills. Since the matter is nowhere mentioned in the Old Testament or New Testament or the early creeds."
In fact, Wills points out, the ban is based on a complex extrapolation from vague language in one biblical verse. Psalm 138:13.
If you want to understand the main message of Jesus Christ you don't have to search the scriptures. He says it again and again. Blessed be poor for yours is the kingdom of God. Jesus has specific advice on how to handle the poor. Treat them as you would Christ himself. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. When you hold a banquet, Jesus explains, do not invite the wealthy and powerful because you do so in the hope that they will return the favor and reward you. Instead invite the dispossessed and you will be rewarded by God. [10:05:04] We live in a meritocratic age and we believe that people
who are successful are more admiral in some way than the rest of us. But in the kingdom of heaven the bible warns the last shall be first and the first last. In other words, be thankful for your success but don't think it makes you superior in any deep sense.
Commentators have taken Francis' speeches and sayings and variously attacked him or claimed him as a Marxist, a unionist and a radical environmentalist. I don't think the Pope is proposing an alternate system of global politics or economics. He is simply reminding each of us that we have a moral obligation to be kind and generous to the poor and disadvantaged especially if we've been fortunate.
If you have a problem with this message, you have a problem not with Pope Francis really, but with Jesus Christ.
For more go to CNN.com/fareed and read my "Washington Post" column this week. And let's get started.
Earlier this week I had the opportunity to interview President Bill Clinton at the offices of the foundation he started after leaving the presidency in 2001. The Clinton Foundation's big event of the year, the Clinton Global Initiative, kicks off this weekend in New York. We'll get to its work in a moment but before we do I wanted to talk about something we have to get President Clinton's views on. Politics, of course.
ZAKARIA: President Clinton, thank you so much for doing this.
CLINTON: Glad to do it.
ZAKARIA: There will be a new president in 2017, January. You're, some would say, the most skilled student of American politics. Why do you think Hillary Clinton is having a tougher time than many imagined? The lead in the national polls has narrowed. Iowa and New Hampshire seem tough.
CLINTON: Well, I think you know why. I think you know why. In 1992. I received a call before -- in '91 before I started running from president from the Bush White House. He said we've looked at the field. You're the only one who can win. The press has to have someone every election. We're going to give them you. You better not run. All of a sudden something nobody thought was an issue, Whitewater, that never turned out to be an issue winds up being a $70 million investigation and all the hammering happened and you ask voters, do you really believe this amount to anything? No. But do you trust him as much? No. There must be something.
So this is just something that has been a regular feature of all our presidential campaigns except from 2008 for unique reasons. Ever since Watergate something like this happens. And -- so I'd rather happen now than later. And it was always going to happen. The other party doesn't want to run against her. And if they do, they'd like her as mangled up as possible. And they know that if they leak things, say things that that is catnip to the people who get bored talking about what's your position on student loan relief or dealing with shortage of mental health care or what to do with the epidemic of prescription drugs and heroin out in America even in small towns in rural America, or how are you going to get jobs in the cold country given how much they've lost in the last 20 years.
So that just happens. It always happens. And we're seeing history repeat itself. And I actually am amazed that she's born up under it as well as she has. But I have never seen so much expended on so little. And you know, the difference is now, you know, when it happened before nobody knew anything about land in Arkansas so I didn't have many defenders. There have been a shocking number of really reputable press people who have explained how you can't receive or transmit classified information, how the government has no central authority for classification, that Defense, state and the intelligence agencies have their own.
And it's been a lot of really fine things. It's just that they don't seem to show up on television very much, and it is what it is. But I think she -- you know, she went out and did her interview, said she was sorry that using her personal e-mail called this confusion and she'd like to give the election back to the American people. And I trust the people.
[10:10:06] I think it will be all right, but it's obvious what happened. You know, at the beginning of the year she was the most admired person in public life and she earned it. Why? Because she was being covered by people who reported on what she was doing. The new STAR treaty, the Iran sanctions, tripling the number of people on AIDS getting medicine for no more tax money. America was -- when she left office our approval rating was more than 20 points higher than it had previously been.
What happened? The presidential campaign happened. And the nature of the coverage shifted from issue based to political. And it happened. You can't complain. This is not -- this is a contact sport. They're not giving the job away. And people who want to race wanted her to drop some. And the people in the other party desperately wanted it because she's already put out more positions on more issues and said how she would pay for them, I think, than all the others combined based on the two -- the Republican -- the two debates I saw.
ZAKARIA: You think it's a Republican plot, really?
CLINTON: No, I'm not going there because that's what -- it's not a plot. Makes it sound like it's a secret. No. I think that there are lots of people who wanted there to be a race for different reasons. And they thought the only way to make it a race was a full scale frontal assault on her. And so this e-mail thing became the biggest story in the world. So -- let's just suppose there were no presidential campaign and you didn't know any names.
And the State Department said for anybody who used personal device in the era of interoffice e-mail, would you please look and see if you have any e-mails that may not have been captured by the system. That is if you send one to somebody else that's already in there. One person replied. That person said yes, about 5 percent of mine weren't. Here they are. And I heard you had some record problems so here's all the rest of them, too.
And then the State Department says to that person said you gave us 1200 too many. Then that person said, I'd like to be the first secretary of state in history to actually have you make public interoffice e-mails. I want people to see what we do at the State Department. Have at it. And then they said, well, these are our documents. We've got to make sure nobody will be embarrassed. Then everybody else said, well, we want to look and see if we would have classified them.
All this is a fight that goes on every day in government. It's just that the American people never saw it before because no secretary of state ever said do that and did that. And then said, by the way, you know, I'll testify before this eighth Benghazi hearing. The other seven all led by Republicans concluded she did nothing wrong. This has never happened in the history of our republic before. An eighth committee.
She said, I want to do it in public. So they finally agreed to that. All the other people, too, said, can we please testify in public? We'd like the American people to know. They said no. They said, well then, would you please release our testimony? No. We'd rather leak out selective things to the press. So who's being secretive here? Obviously the only person who turned over e-mails, the only person that asked for them to be made public. The only person who held out for public testimony. The only person who has that aides be able to say.
I'm very proud of her. She's born up under this and she's the most honorable person I've ever known and the ablest public servant I've ever known. And I'm fine about it. I feel this was going to happen so it happened. I'm glad it happened this year.
ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, President Bill Clinton on the Donald Trump phenomenon. What did he make of it all and could the Donald really be the GOP nominee. When we come back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[10:18:52] DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Wow. Amazing. Amazing. Thank you. Wow.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: Again, as a great student of American politics, what explains Donald Trump?
CLINTON: Well, first of all, he's a master brander. And when you have a lot of people running and people are trying to make distinctions being able to put a personal stamp on it so people identify with who you are accounts for something, certainly in the beginning. So I think that. Then he said to the working class supporters of the Republican Party that have largely shifted over for cultural reasons, I'll give you 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 your incomes will go up.
Now that all will 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.
[10:20:18] And it remains to be seen what's going to happen. It's an unusual election. You know, there's -- 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. Talk about what they would cost and, you know, you can actually have a debate there where you can discuss the relative merits of their positions on health care or generating jobs or lifting incomes or whatever. But over there, it seems to be more about resentments and one liners. I don't know. It's interesting.
ZAKARIA: But could Trump be the nominee?
CLINTON: I think so.
CLINTON: I mean, how do I know? I don't understand -- I don't understand any of it very well. I've been out of politics a long time. I haven't run for office in 20 years. And also, I'm not mad at anybody. I mean, you know, I'm a grandfather. I love my foundation. I'm proud of Hillary. I'll do what I can to help her. But I'm not the best pundit anymore. I don't have a good feel for this. All I know is what I think is good for the country. And I think the country needs somebody who can give us broadly shared prosperity, help families and kids.
Try to reduce the impact of all this huge anonymous money in our political system, and in a world full of challenges keep big, bad things from happening and make as many good things happening as possible. That's how I would define the job of the next president. That's what I think. And so I think Hillary would be a great president. But I have -- I have no confidence in my political field anymore. I've just been out of it a long time. But I'm not -- I'm not mad at anybody. So I'm just happy to be here.
ZAKARIA: When we come back, I'll ask President Clinton what his thoughts are on the nuclear deal with Iran. Will it make the world safer or more dangerous?
[10:26:25] ZAKARIA: The Middle East. President Clinton arguably came closer than any other president has come to finding peace there. So what does he think of President Obama's managing of the U.S.-Israeli relationship? I asked him.
ZAKARIA: There are a lot of people who are very fierce supporters of Israel, both in Israel and in the United States, who think President Obama has not been sufficiently supportive of Israel and that there are unnecessary tensions that have been created between Israel and the United States. What is your view?
CLINTON: Well, he's certainly maintained their qualitative military superiority. And there's certainly been some very public squabbles not all of which are his fault. Mr. Netanyahu's trip to the Congress was rather unprecedented. On the other hand --
ZAKARIA: And unwise?
CLINTON: Well, you can ask him that. But here's what I think. I think that the most important thing is we'll have a new president, like, in January of 1917 -- I mean, 2017. And I believe the nuclear agreement with Iran is on balance the right thing to do because I don't believe that an Iranian nuclear capacity now would be just Iran. I think there'd be one to four other states that would get nuclear power in the Middle East.
Then I think you'd have a race on by all these various non-state actors to get fissile material and it could be a nightmare. I also think that 10 years is a very long time. There's a lot of people who say, well, 10 years from now they're just going to do what they're doing now.
In 1979, if somebody had told you that the Berlin wall would fall, the Warsaw Pact would collapse, the Soviet Union would come to an end in 10 years, nobody would have believed that. So a lot can happen in 10 years. Furthermore, even with the sanctions on the Iranians kept supporting their conventional military buildup and the terrorist capacity of Hezbollah. So I think on balance this is going to be a good thing but it's very important to be tough in enforcing it.
And the snapback provisions of the sanctions, it's really important that the United States work clearly, aggressively to keep all the countries on board with the snapback.
ZAKARIA: Ukraine. You've studied it very carefully. You also have dealt with Putin. Do you think Putin will finally blink in a sense? There's a lot of pressure on him, oil prices have collapsed. The European sanctions have so far held. Do you think he's looking for way out?
CLINTON: Yes and no. I was very disturbed when he gladly tore up the agreement I signed with his predecessor Boris Yeltsin promising to respect Ukraine territorial integrity. He said it was an agreement, not a treaty. He never ratified it by the Duma. But the good news is he says he will always honor the new STAR treaty which was negotiated when Hillary was secretary of state in the president's first term which makes the world safer place at a time when very few things do.
So that's good. But my guess is, that he's keeping his options open. I know the president is meeting with him during U.N. week. I personally think that's a very good thing. I don't think you ever ought to stop talking to try to work this out. And we'll just see. I don't know yet.
But I think the U.S. ought to be four square on the side of Ukraine and it's not just at a boy (ph) and it's not just military support, although I do feel we should give an appropriate level. I think we have to get everybody involved in helping them to make the changes necessary to grow their economy more. It's a very resource rich country. They can do a lot with agriculture. They can do a lot with other things. And if we can get them the energy they need, they can be somewhat freed up from the monopolistic position that gave the Russians to put the squeeze on them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, the Syrian civil war. It's into its fourth year with no end in sight. What is the solution? I will ask President Bill Clinton when we come back.
ZAKARIA: Refugees. What do you think is going to be the solution to this refugees coming out of Syria? Because they are numbering in the hundreds of thousands into Europe, into - already there in the millions in the neighboring countries. The Syrian civil war isn't going to end any time soon. What will happen?
CLINTON: Well, first, even and if there's a silver lining, ISIL has a model of how they want the world to work and how they want the Middle East to work. They want to redraw all the boundaries set after World War I.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
POPE FRANCIS (through interpreter): I will speak in Spanish.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His English is excellent. He'll speak in Spanish, not English, and I'll be translating.
POPE FRANCIS: Thank you for welcoming me and giving me the chance to be here with you to share this moment in your lives. It's a difficult moment. A time fraught with challenges. I know this moment is painful for you, but I also know that it's painful for your families and for all society. Because if a society or a family cannot feel the pain of the children, it cannot take their pain seriously. If the pain becomes normal or expected then that society imprisons itself. And it's condemned to imprison itself and to fall prey to its own suffering.
I stand among you a pastor, a shepherd, but above all as your brother to share in your plight and make it my own. I am here that we may join in prayer and bring before our God everything that causes us pain. To also bring everything that gives us hope, so that we may receive from him powers of the resurrection.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dear brothers and sisters, thank you for receiving me and giving me the opportunity to be here with you and to share this time in your lives. It's a difficult time. One full of struggles. I know it is a painful time, not only for you, but also for your families and for all of society. Any society, any family, which cannot share or take seriously the pain of its children and views that pain as something normal or to be expected is a society condemned to remain a hostage to itself.
Pray to the very things that cause that pain. I am here as a pastor, but above all as a brother to share your situation and to make it my own. I have come so that we can pray together and offer our God everything that causes us pain, but also everything that gives us hope so that we can receive from him the power of the resurrection.
POPE FRANCIS: I am reminded of the gospel when Jesus washes the feet of his disciples at the last supper. And the disciples were puzzled by this. Peter even refused and he said you shall never wash my feet.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think of the gospel scene where Jesus washes the feet of his disciples at the last supper. This was something his disciples found hard to accept, even Peter refused and told him you will never wash my feet.
POPE FRANCIS: Back then when you went to visit someone the host would wash your feet. People were traditionally welcomed this way because the roads were not paved. They were covered in dust with pebbles that would get stuck in your sandals.
After walking on these roads every one's feet were caked in dust, bruised or cut from the stones. So there was Jesus washing feet, our feet. His disciples' feet.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In those days it was the custom to wash someone's feet when they came to your home. That was how they welcomed people. The roads were not paved. They were covered with dust and little stones would get stuck in your sandals. Every one walked those roads which left their feet dusty, bruised or cut from those stones. That is why we see Jesus washing feet, our feet, the feet of his disciples then and now.
POPE FRANCIS: We all know that to live is to walk along different roads and paths, and that they all leave a mark on us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Life is a journey along different roads, different paths which leave their mark on us. And we know in faith that Jesus seeks us out. We know that he wants to dress our wounds and soothe our feet, which are sore from the long journey under the burden of loneliness. We know he wants to wash us clean from the dust that we've gathered along the way. Jesus does not ask us where we've been. And he doesn't ask us what we've done. Instead, he says unto us unless I wash your feet you have no share with me. Unless should I wash your feet, I will not be able to give you the life the father dreamed for you, the life you were created for.
Jesus comes to us to prepare our feet to walk in dignity as children of God once again. He wants to help us get our stride again, to get back on the roads, to find our hope, to restore our faith and our trust. He wants us back on those roads, back to life. He wants us to realize that we have a mission and that being confined during this time is not the same, will never be the same as being cast out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We know in faith that Jesus seeks us out. He wants to heal our wounds, to soothe our feet which hurt from traveling alone. To wash each of us clean of the dust from our journey. He doesn't ask us where we have been. He doesn't question us what about we've done about what we've done. Rather he tells us unless I wash your feet, you have no share with me. Unless I wash your feet, I will not be able to give you the life which the father always dreamed of. The life for which he created you. Jesus comes to us so that he can restore our dignity as children of God. He wants to help us to set out again to resume our journey, to recover our hope, to restore our faith and trust. He wants us to keep walking along the paths of life to realize that we have a mission and that confinement is not the same thing as exclusion.
POPE FRANCIS: Life means getting our feet dirty in the dust filled roads of life and of history. All of us need to be cleansed, to be washed, all of us, and I, the first among. All of us are being sought out by the teacher who wants to help us resume our journey. The Lord goes searching for us all to give us his hand. It's painful when we see prison systems, which are not concerned to care for wounds, to soothe pain, to offer new possibilities.
POPE FRANCIS: It is painful when we see people who think that only some others need to be cleansed, purified and do not recognize that their weariness, pain and wounds are also the weariness, pain and wounds of the society as a whole. The Lord tells us this clearly with a sign. He washes our feet so we can come back to the table. The table from which he wishes no one to be excluded. The table which has been prepared for all of us and to which all of us are invited.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Life means getting our feet dirty from the dust filled roads of life and history. All of us need to be cleansed, to be washed. All of us and me in first place. All of us are being sought out by the teacher who wants to help us resume our journey. The Lord goes in search of us. To all of us he stretches out a helping hand. It's painful when we see prison systems which are not concerned to care for wounds, to soothe pain, and to offer new possibilities. It's painful when we see people who think that only others need to be cleansed, purified, and do not recognize that their weariness, pain and wounds are also the weariness, pain and wounds of society. The Lord tells us this clearly with a sign. He washes our feet so that we come back to the table. The table from which he wishes no one to be excluded. The table which is spread for all and to which all of us are invited.
POPE FRANCIS: This time in your life can have but one purpose. To give you a helping hand to get back on the right path. To give you a hand to help you rejoin society. All of us are part of that effort. All of us are invited to encourage, help and enable your rehabilitation. The rehabilitation which everyone seeks and desires. Inmates and their families, correctional authorities, social and educational programs. A rehabilitation which benefits and elevates the morale of the entire community and of society as a whole.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This time in your life can only have one purpose -- to give you a hand in getting back on the right road, to give you a hand to help you rejoin society. All of us are part of that effort. All of us are invited to encourage, help and enable your rehabilitation. A rehabilitation which everyone seeks and desires. Inmates and their families, correctional authorities, social and educational programs. A rehabilitation which benefits and elevates the morale of the entire community and society.
POPE FRANCIS: I would like to encourage you to have this attitude among you and with all other people who are part of this institution. Forge opportunities for one another. Forge paths, forge new roadways.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I encourage you to have this attitude with one another and with all those who in any way are a part of this institution. May you make possible new opportunities, new journeys, new paths.
POPE FRANCIS: All of us have something we need to be cleansed of or purified from, all of us. May the knowledge of that fact inspire us to live in solidarity to support one another and to seek the best for all of us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of us have something we need to be cleansed of or purified from, all of us. May the knowledge of that fact inspire us to live in solidarity, to support one another and seek the best for others.
POPE FRANCIS: Let us look to Jesus who washes our feet. He is the way, the truth and the light.
He comes to save us from the lie that says that no one can change. The lie that says that no one can change. He helps us to journey along the paths of life and fulfillment. May the power of his love and his resurrection always be a path leading you to a new life.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let us look to Jesus who washes our feet. He is the way, and the truth and the life. He comes to save us from the lie that says no one can change. From the lie that says no one can change. And as we are seated now in silence, we ask the Lord to bless us. May
God bless you and protect you. Make his face shine upon you. May he grant you peace. Thank you.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Jake Tapper live from Philadelphia. We heard Pope Francis speaking to roughly 95 inmates at the Curran- Fromhold correctional facility, the largest prison in the Philadelphia prison system. Now we're told he'll meet with some of Philadelphia's toughest criminals inside this prison. He'll take to them his message of hope, and as he just said, rehabilitation. Pope Francis has visited many prisons after going to one in Argentina, his home country. He told a newspaper there that he asked himself, why did God allow that shouldn't be here. He will meet with more than 100 inmates and their families of all religions, we're told. Among the inmates are those who are awaiting trial, as well as those who have been convicted of crimes ranging from light drug offenses to murder, in some cases. Watching with me here in Philadelphia, CNN Vatican correspondent Delia Gallagher, as well as CNN political commentator, Van Jones. Van, I know this issue of prison reform is something you've been working on. What did you make of this?
VAN JONES, CNN COMMENTATOR: It's very powerful. I think this pope has done something. I think we may be downplaying this a little bit. Although you are giving this a lot of attention. You have people who are atheists, you have people who are not Christians at all, who are being moved by the example of this man. The rejected and the despised. The people who are addicted and convicted. Most powerful people don't want to have anything to do with them. They might talk about them but they are not going to go talk to them. You have got a pope going inside a prison, a U.S. prison and talking to people and embracing them and saying you can be redeemed. Nobody can be thrown away. His climate message around we don't have a throwaway planet, and his criminal justice message of you don't have throwaway people, are two parts of the same message. It's resonating far beyond Catholics on this morning.
TAPPER: Delia, how often does this pope visit with prisoners when he travels the world?
DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: Always. Always. It's one of the things in Catholicism that they call a work of mercy. It's something that Jesus said in the Bible, to visit the prisoners. And so in fact, every pope visits prisoners, but Pope Francis in particular has a special way of touching their hearts. He said something interesting today, which is that it's the job of society to accompany prisoners in rehabilitation, because of course this is the pope who doesn't believe in the death penalty. This is a pope who believes in the capacity for people to change and to be rehabilitated. So his emphasis in this talk was also on the fact that you can change, that and you can not only change on the spiritual level and be forgiven, but that you can change actually in the practical level and be rehabilitated.
JONES: I think it's really powerful that the pope has gone into a prison, President Obama went into a prison, and then you have both sides of the political aisle now saying we've got to do better with regards to criminal justice reform. So I think the pope is really adding to a momentum in our society to reevaluate. He's gone into many prisons, but only in the United States do we have 25 percent of the world's prisoners. We're only 5 percent of the world's population. One out of every four people locked up anywhere in the world are locked up here. It's especially powerful for him to visit a U.S. prison in the context of a growing bipartisan concern about the prison situation here.
TAPPER: Let's take a quick break. We're watching Pope Francis meeting with prisoners at the Curran-Fromhold correctional facility in Philadelphia. We'll take one quick break. We'll be right back.
TAPPER: Welcome back to CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION". I'm Jake Tapper. We're live in Philadelphia. We're watching the pope. Pope Francis is right now inside Curran-Fromhold correctional facility, the largest prison in the Philadelphia prison system. He spoke to the prisoners and their family members assembled there. He was sitting in a chair built by the inmates especially for this visit. And for those wondering why the pope would go to this Philadelphia prison, why he goes to prisons when he visits countries in general, as our Vatican correspondent Delia Gallagher just reminded us, I am reminded to look at Matthew chapter 25 verses 24 to 36. In which it says, I was hungry, you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty, you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger, you invited me in. I needed clothes and you clothed me. I was sick and you looked after me. I was in prison and you came to visit me."