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President Biden`s Historic Visit To Ukraine; Venice Canals Start To Run Dry. Aired 4-4:10a ET

Aired February 22, 2023 - 04:00:00   ET


COY WIRE, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Hello, lovely people. Wonderful Wednesday to you. I`m Coy Wire, and we are so grateful that you`re making us part of your day

right here on CNN 10, the best 10 minutes in news.

Random thought for you before we start. Why is it that we park on a driveway, but we drive on a parkway?

All right. Let`s shift into high gear now. We start today with more on President Biden`s visit to Ukraine. On Tuesday, the president gave a speech

in Poland after making a surprise visit to Ukraine on Monday, nearly one year after Russia started its invasion there.

The president recommitted the support of the United States and its resources to Ukraine. This despite the rising costs of sending aid. The

U.S. has already given about $30 billion and recent polls show public support for America continuing to send weapons to Ukraine is fading as

well, down to 48 percent last month when 60 percent of Americans supported it back in May.

Just hours earlier on Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin slammed the West in his annual state of the nation Address in Moscow, casting Russia as

the victim, saying that it was Ukraine and its Western allies who started the war. He says Russia`s military efforts in Ukraine are to protect

themselves and Putin offered no signs of backing down from their presence in Ukraine.

So why did President Biden risk entering an active war zone that isn`t showing any signs of settling down in the near future? Biden was not the

first president to make a trip to a war zone, but he is the first to do so without a U.S. military presence in the region to protect him.

Here`s CNN`s Brian Todd to tell us about other U.S. presidents who traveled to war zones and why they did that.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was at the height of World War II and the conflict still wasn`t going America`s way.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt engaged in a high-stakes game of misdirection, tricking journalists into thinking he was taking a train to

his home in Upstate New York, but he secretly switched trains in Baltimore, headed to Miami, then took a series of arduous plane hops and ended up in

Casablanca, Morocco. It was January 1943, the first time a sitting American president rode on an airplane, a trip shrouded in secrecy so that FDR could

strategize with Winston Churchill, a journey fraught with danger.

TIM NAFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: In World War II, you not only had the possibility of the commander-in-chief being shot down, but the

technology was such that air travel was not as safe in the 1940s as it is today.

TODD: Some U.S. troops in Morocco didn`t know their president was coming until he rode past them in a Jeep. Historians say war zone trips for

American presidents have always been complicated, even dating back to the civil war.

LINDSAY CHERVINSKY, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: At least presidents have gone to war zones in the past starting of course with Abraham Lincoln in the

civil war. There are those famous pictures of him in his top hat visiting union soldiers to boost their morale. But it is a big risk.

TODD: Lyndon B. Johnson went twice as president. Richard Nixon once to Vietnam while the war there was raging.

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN, RICE UNIVERSITY: I know when Nixon went in 1969 to Saigon, all of his advisors were saying don`t do it,

it`s too dangerous.

TODD: George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump went to Iraq and Afghanistan to visit U.S. troops.

NAFTALI: When those presidents went to Kabul and Baghdad respectively, they were taking huge risks.

TODD: When George H.W. Bush as a former president visited Kuwait in 1993, Saddam Hussein`s intelligence service tried to have Iraqi operatives

assassinate him, a plot that was narrowly foiled.

Presidents have taken these risks to boost troops morale, to strategize with other commanders and sometimes to decide whether a war should even



TODD: That was Dwight D. Eisenhower`s objective as president-elect when he took a secret trip to South Korea in December 1952.

NAFTALI: Eisenhower not only went to meet the troops, not only went to meet the South Korean leader, but actually took a plane over Chinese and

North Korean positions to get a view himself of the nature of their defenses. That`s an extremely hazardous trip.


TODD (on camera): Historian Tim Naftali says despite the sometimes- incredible risks, the rewards are very high, that as commander-in-chief, it`s crucial for a president to show their commitment to the fight and to

show that not only to American forces but to their adversaries as well.

WIRE: Ten-second trivia:

What Italian city is also known by the nickname La Serenissima?

Palermo, Genoa, Venice or Florence?

Meaning serene, La Serenissima was a nickname for the Republic of Venice.

Ah, Venice, the floating city with people being serenaded and gondolas as they drift through winding canals under hundreds of walkways and bridges.

But those famous canals look a lot different right now. They`re so dried up that many of the gondolas and water taxis are sadly sitting on empty

waterways. And there are fears that Italy will face a drought for a second straight summer following an extremely dry winter.

Now, these images are a stark contrast from those of just a few years ago. In 2019, water poured into restaurants, shops and famous landmarks like

Saint Mark`s Basilica in Venice as it battled its worst flood in 50 years.

Here`s reporting from CNN international correspondent Scott McLean during that time as we try to imagine the scope of issues Venetians had to deal

with the last several years.


SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): High tide on Saturday was actually welcome relief for Venetians struggling with the

worst flooding in half a century. It filled historic Saint Mark`s Square but was not enough to do more damage than already done.

This cafe opened for the first time since Tuesday`s high watermark sent more than a foot of water inside enough to break the dishwasher and the

fridge. This waiter told us, we are Venetians, roll up our sleeves and start working again. Venice is our lady; we will protect her.

Meanwhile at Saint Mark`s Basilica, the water at the door didn`t knock before entering. But it still got their attention.

PIERPAOLO CAMPOSTRINI, ST. MARK`S BASILICA BOARD MEMBER: We have a -- we have more than this level of water.

MCLEAN: It`s not uncommon for water to enter the outer atrium. It was even a special drainage system to handle it.

But Pierpaolo Campostrini says it was just the second time there`s been significant flooding in the main chamber. Ten centimeters there and another

meter in the crypt the water came and went quickly but the salt in the water stays in the 900-year-old walls much longer, eating away at the

marble and brick near the floor and even on the mosaic ceiling.

And that`s the damage.

CAMPOSTRINI: And that`s the damage.

MCLEAN: The basilica has survived centuries of threats but nothing like the one it faces today.


WIRE: For today`s story getting a 10 out of 10, you`re going to meet George, a young Detroit Red Wings fan who went to his very first game and

he and his mom were in for a huge surprise when George became a big time hit on the jumbotron.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was George`s first hockey game and the jumbotron eat him up. Detroit Red Wing fans booing. Opposing

fans from Vancouver cheering. Every time George came up, even if he didn`t quite get it, the opposition --


MOOS: The home team --


MOOS: George finally cracked a smile and went viral. King George, they called him. I see a George bobblehead night.

But it didn`t give George a big head.

CHELSEA MILLER, MOM: Like he didn`t know it was about him, and just kept saying like, yes, red team`s winning.

MOOS: Chelsea Miller describes her four-year-old son as shy amid a whirlwind of attention.

MILLER: There were probably at least 100 people that asked to stop to take pictures with him and high fives and can I get an autograph even.

MOOS: Mom says they were hoping his sign would get George on camera, but they weren`t expecting this.

MILLER: Everyone just made it so special for us.

MOOS: University of Michigan hockey wondered, George, do you need a Michigan jersey for the next game?

George`s grandma here and he definitely needs a jersey.


WIRE: Nothing brings people together like sports.

Hey, today, is #yourwordwednesday, so follow me @CoyWire on Insta, Snapchat and TikTok, and put your challenge word in the comment section of the most

recent post and we`re going to choose one fun one to work into tomorrow`s show.

The last word was Brobdingnagian meaning gigantic, and it`s with great pleasure that we give a Brobdingnagian shout out to Maple Grove Middle

School in Maple Grove, Minnesota. Thanks for subscribing and commenting on our CNN YouTube Channel.

See you tomorrow, lovely people. I`m Coy Wire and we are CNN 10.