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CNN Live Event/Special

America's New War: Giuliani on Local Radio Show

Aired September 21, 2001 - 11:01   ET


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: We're going to try right now to dip into a radio show that Mayor Giuliani routinely does every week. At his side, Senator John McCain.

MAYOR RUDOLPH GIULIANI, NEW YORK CITY: America closed down for three days, Sunday, -- Saturday, Sunday, through the funeral on Monday, and they were glued to their televisions and they were totally involved in what was going on. And nobody was going to restaurants and no one was going to shows and no one was doing anything else but concentrating on this great drama that was playing itself out, that embraced all of America.

This drama is a longer one. We don't have a closure like the funeral that took place of President Kennedy. And people are still involved in it.

I was in Brooklyn the other night and in a section of Brooklyn that usually has a fair number of people out on the street and going to restaurants and shops, and I travelled through it in my van and I could see that they were inside watching their televisions. And I think New Yorkers will emerge when they are ready to emerge, and I don't think it'll take a long time. And I think they will be back. And I think there are some people that are frightened, there's no question about it. But I think most New Yorkers are not frightened. I think most New Yorkers are involved in watching this drama play itself out. And they are going to emerge, and they emerged more yesterday, they're going to emerge more today.

And it is true, one of the ways in which they can help us, people volunteer at our volunteer center all the time, and the family center, and we have so many -- we have more people than we can use.

There is a way that everybody can help us, New Yorkers and everybody all over the country. Come here and spend money, just spend a little money. Like go to a store, do your Christmas or holiday shopping now, this weekend. Think of it this way, usually New Yorkers are complaining and complaining and complaining that it's so crowded when they go shopping, right? Well, it's not crowded now. The stores are half empty. Go, buy the stuff you are going to need for Christmas, buy the stuff you're going to need for Hanneka, buy the stuff you're going to need for Thanksgiving, buy your birthday gifts for the next three or for months and you'll be ahead of everybody else. And the reality is that there's nothing that you should be concerned about that isn't being taken care of and thought of. So get out there -- I know the reason why you are staying home. It is not because you are afraid, I'm talking to New Yorkers now. The reason you are staying home is you're mourning and involved in this and you're a little confused. And go shopping, we're the best shoppers in the world. And I hope the stores are giving some bargains because going shopping at a time like this you're not going to want to pay full price.

JOHN GAMBLING, RADIO PERSONALITY: Well, you know, Mr. Mayor, along those lines, I was talking with a friend of mine who made the suggested that possibly between now and the end of the year we think about getting rid of the sales tax and maybe even organizations, businesses, giving a 10 percent patriotic discount or something.

GIULIANI: I like that discount part. The sales tax part -- I still have to collect some taxes.

GAMBLING: I understand.

GIULIANI: But the reality is, I expect to get all my Christmas presents this year. I don't expect anybody to be chinsing on Christmas presents. So you better go out and buy them now.

GAMBLING: All right, let me, If I might, I hope that the mayor of Jerusalem, Ehud Olmert...

GIULIANI: He is right here.

GAMBLING: ... can hear me, because Mr. Mayor, welcome to 77 WABC.


GAMBLING: But what advice -- you have experienced this sort of terrorism before. What advice can you give New Yorkers?

OLMERT: Well, I could repeat the words of Mayor Giuliani. I think we have experience a similar phenomenon every time there is a big explosion, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in the center of town, in the heart of Jerusalem. We then have this phenomenon of people staying at home mourning, are not happy to go shopping or not happy to go into the center of entertainment and so on. And the first request we have from them is go out, go to the stores, keep the normal way of life so that this will be the time for the terror.

One of the things that these terrorists are trying to achieve is to stop us from living our way of life. And we have to do the opposite, we have to carry on, and that's what we are trying to do.

I must admit that in all these years that we have been through terrible attacks, we never had anything similar to what you had in New York. This is, obviously, the biggest terror attack in any urban center that anyone can remember in modern history. And of course, the impact is a New York impact, and not something that we have been through. But terror is terror and killing innocent people is killing innocent people. GAMBLING: All right, we are talking this morning with Rudolph Giuliani, the mayor of Jerusalem, Ehud Olmert, and also Senator John McCain. They are in the office of Emergency Command Center here in New York City at 77 WABC.

Senator McCain, as we appear to stage for whatever attacks and battles are in our future, your background obviously is one of the military, how do you feel? And what words of advice to families with young men and women in the military do you have?

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: Well, I feel very confident. I thought the president's speech last night was very, not only informative, but motivating to the American people. And by the way, I've been going to those speeches since 1983, including former President Bush's speech after the Persian Gulf War, and I have never seen anyone receive the ovation and the warmth and affection that was extended last night to the mayor and governor of this state. It was a marvelous thing to see and a fitting tribute to the wonderful work that the mayor has done.

I believe that we will see a broad variety of military options exercised. The planning is going on right now. The deployment of troops is going on and forces into the Middle East. But I also think that the president -- one of the most important things that the president said last night is we have to have patience. We have to have patience and we have to prepare for some failures. This is the most difficult and complicated and complex kind of warfare and the most difficult part of the world to fight it.

And so, we are going to have to have patience, but there's not a doubt in my mind that we will prevail. We are the strongest nation in the world militarily, as well as economically, and we will prevail, but it's just going to take a great deal of time and effort.

And your question, what do I say to the mothers and fathers and husbands and family members and friends? Your young men and women are going to sacrifice and some may not return. But they do that for the same reason why they have done it throughout our history, that they are defending freedom and democracy and our very way of life, and we honor them and we cherish their service.

GAMBLING: We are talking with Mayor Guiani, as we do every Friday here on the "John Gambling Show" at 77 WABC.

And Mr. Mayor, we have on our telephones, 1-800-848-WABC, some folks. Most of America, I think, would like to talk to you this morning if they could, but George from long Island, you're going to be first up.

Good morning. You're on WABC, George.

CALLER: Good morning Mr. Mayor.

GIULIANI: George, how are you?

CALLER: It's a pleasure speaking with you. I have a suggestion to give you.

GIULIANI: Yes, please.

CALLER: Basically, we have a police auxilary now, and their function is just to support the police officers on a given minor situation. But you have a whole bunch of men that retired, they vested out. They are educated, they are trained, they're Vietnam era veterans. They could be put back in a second to work. The only thing they would lack is the updating of the laws. Now, with a few changes in Washington you could have a police reserve with these men in there, ready to go any time you need them. What do you think of that idea?

GIULIANI: I will pass that along to the police commissioner. The idea would be to take retired police officers or police auxiliary? I wasn't quite sure what you were talking about.

CALLER: Take the men that are vested, that got out early, who are still young.

GIULIANI: People who have retired, retired policeman?

CALLER: Right, they ducked out at 15 years. Make a reserve unit out of them, or put them in the auxiliary unit.

You have to change the law in Albany that you can collect a pension and paycheck at the same time. That's the big drawback. When you had a problem getting police officers last year, I called the chief of personnel and they gave me a whole run around why I couldn't come back into the job because I vested out.

GIULIANI: Well, we will -- I will pass this along, the police commissioner will discuss it today, and it is a very good suggestion. Thank you very much.

GAMBLING: George, thank you very much.

Mr. Mayor, yesterday yoy announced that the missing total has risen to over 6300, the reason being that many of the foreign casulties...

GIULIANI: Let me explain to you how that number may get effected in the next day or two.

GAMBLING: Well, I was going to ask you that exactly. Do you think it's going to get higher?

GIULIANI: I don't know the answer to that. I think it's going to change. The foreign consulates have given us lists of people that are missing. It may very well be that some of them were not in the World Trade Center. These are people who haven't, in essence, called home, and people in different countries in the world are worried that they may have been in the World Trade Center. And then over the next day or two, we'll be able to compare that list to the other list that we have of people that may have been in the world trades, and come up with a more accurate figure. So there is no question that the numbers that were eventually going to be dealing with here, are going to be in that order of magnitude, in the five or six, or possibly even slightly higher. But we really don't know yet. There are a lot of different missing persons reports. So it takes a while, usually a day or two, to go through all of them and make sure we're not reporting duplications or triplicates. But the official number right now is 6,333.

CALLER: Is there any thought to coming to the very difficult conclusion that the rescue, the search and rescue will just become recovery?

GIULIANI: I don't think we have to do it that way, and we've talked a long time about this. I think what will happen is, that over a period of time, the emphasis will change.

Right now, the chance of recovering anyone alive is very, very small. The chance of recovering significant numbers of people who survived is impossible. We're not going to recover significant numbers of people. We know that. We recognize that. The experts say that given lengths of survival and other situations, that there's still more time. But the experts have not dealt with a situation like this before, which is, 200- story buildings, that have been driven deep into the ground, that is still partially on fire underground. There are still three fires going on at the World Trade Center. So we keep alive the hope that maybe we can find a few people.

Now, all of that is important to describe, but it has no impact on the recovery efforts anyway. They are being done as quickly as they can be done. They are being done carefully, because we are mindful of not only recovering possible people that may survive, but the very difficult job of making sure that we recover human remains. So this will be a search mission and a recovery mission for quite sometime, because even if you get beyond the point where there's any hope at all of recovering anyone alive, we are still going to be doing it carefully, because we are going to be involved in trying to find as many human remains as possible. And if there is a miracle that occurs and we can find someone, we will obviously do that. So it's a difficult, very, very difficult situation.

I think as people become more knowledgeable about this, the focus will change to, how many human remains can we find, that we can identify with a particular human being? And we're not going to have a hundred percent success or anything like that in doing that.

JOHN GAMBLING, RADIO HOST: All right, it's 24 minutes after 10:00. You're listening to John Gambling. Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Senator John McCain and Mayor Ehud Olmert from Jerusalem on 77 WABC.

We have a lot of people on the telephone at 1-800-848-WABC. We are a national feed in many cases.

And Jim is next, Mr. Mayor.

Jim, good morning, you're on WABC.

Hello, how are you?

GIULIANI: Hi, Jim, how are you.

CALLER: Got two questions. First one, ex-military, we feel that the name of the mission should be called "The Sleeping Giant," because of all of these unusual names they've been giving us. And the second thing is I canceled a trip to New York just recently. Do you know when the actual sites and everything in that area will be back up and going again.

GIULIANI: New York is back up and going again. The actual -- so please come. We need your money. And we would like it take it from you.

CALLER: I will gladly come.

GIULIANI: But the actual site itself, we keep narrowing the hot zone. So that a lot of the area, two thirds of the area that was closed last week at this time, is now open. But the core area of the World Trade Center, the world financial center, and West Street, which ghost right through the middle of that, that's going to remain closed for quite sometime, because basically, you have a whole tactical operation that is going on there, in which trucks come in from the north, remove the debris and structures, and then have to move out. So the actual core area, where one and two World Trade Center and the whole World Trade Center complex is located, that will be closed for some time. But you can pretty much use the rest of all of Manhattan.

GAMBLING: Yes, Jim come to New York; 99 percent of it is open and ready and willing to handle you.

MCCAIN: Tell Jim -- this is John McCain. Maybe we should call it "Awakened Giant," rather than "Sleeping Giant."

GAMBLING: I think you are absolutely right, because, senator, we are definitely awake.

Mr. Mayor, we have had a terrible downpour overnight, better than an inch of rain. Has that effected the site at all?

GIULIANI: Sure it has. It is effected it in that the whole recovery effort has to slow down as a result of that. You can't move things as quickly. You have to move them more carefully, for fear you are going to drop something, or -- it has gone on, but it has to be done more cautiously. And now the weather is improving and we should be able to make a lot of progress today, and the weekend is supposed to be beautiful. We should make more progress over the weekend.

ZAHN: And you have been listening to the mayor of New York City doing his weekly radio address. He does this every Friday. He just confirmed that the chances of finding anyone alive is very, very small. But the rescue work continues.

Anyway, his best advice to New Yorkers or any of you who might be planning trips here, shop, shop, shop, you know, Prop up that local economy, buy, buy, buy. Senator John McCain, also a guest on that show and the mayor of Jerusalem, Ehud Olmert.