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tv   New Day  CNN  February 21, 2018 5:00am-6:00am PST

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>> we're going to come up with solutions. >> lazy legislation for far too long. >> we would like our fbi to not be focused on something that is clearly a hoax. >> our high schoolers are looking like leaders and our leaders are looking like high schoolers. >> to stand over the bodies of children and poke your finger the eye of your adversary is as low as you can possibly go. >> a new report details the internal white house struggle over jared kushner's access to classified material. >> will affect the valuable work that jared is doing. >> isn't the problem nepotism? that's really what this is all about. >> this is "new day" with chris cuomo and alisyn camerota. >> we want to welcome our viewers around the united states and the world. this is "new day." about 100 students who survived the high school massacre will soon march to the state capitol in florida. they are taking their fight from gun reform drektly to lawmakers and the governor. they have already suffered a
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setback. the republican controlled house refused to even debate an assault weapons ban yesterday. instead they chose to debate a bill that declares pornography a public health risk. >> this comes as president trump directing his justice department to draft a ban on bump stocks. the president will host victims of mass shootings at the white house today as the national debate over gun control takes center stage at a cnn town hall tonight. cnn's dianne gallagher is live in tallahassee with our top story. >> reporter: we're outside the tallahassee civic center right now. in just a few moments, about 100 of those students, survivors from stoneman douglas will be coming through the lobby. they slept on the floor in sleeping bags, pillows and blankets inside the civic center. then they'll come back out here and march to the capital. they have lists of demands.
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each student is hoping they'll get a chance to talk to these lawmakers about what it is they want to see happen so they don't have school shootings at other schools like what happened at their school one week ago today. they're setting it up sort of like this. they have a roughly 70 meetings with republicans and democrats, about ten students per meeting because they say they want the one-on-one feel. they feel they'll be more effective that way. it's a more personal feel to these meetings. they're also going to meet with the republican attorney general, pam bondi, and they're also going to meet with republican governor rick scott. they're walking out. they've got their pillows, their blankets, coming to this bus. they're coming in small groups because they're trying to -- again, these are kids, trying to get all their stuff together. they got about an hour and a half to two hours of sleep most of them told me overnight. some of that was excitement. others told me they were staying up late writing speeches, writing bullet points. they want to make sure they get this right. they know this is an
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opportunity, something they say was organic, that they created and they don't want to miss. they don't want to lose that. some of the kids i talked to, sophomores, juniors, seniors, say they were writing up these talking points. that want to make sure that their feelings on gun control, on mental health are going to be expressed properly to those lawmakers. again, i say they're going to get that time with the governor. that's later this afternoon. you can probably see the bus here. all this media, these students have been really good at getting the attention, using social media. they know that. they say they realize they come from a point of privilege. these are well educated kids from a mostly affluent community, and they're using what they learned in school to try to get this attention. we'll keep on this and be marching with them to the capitol. >> that's such a good point. if there's one group of americans who know how to be tested, it's public high school students. they do it all the time. and so they have the skills to
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kind of perfect these talking points as they head to the capitol. obviously we will be watching them as they set off. thank you very much. let's speak now with some of those students in tallahassee. we have julia bishop and daniel bishop. they attend marjory stoneman douglas high school. they're coming to us via face time. you're on the move and you're going to carry us with you as you walk to the capitol. daniel what messages are you bringing to your state lawmakers and the governor today? >> to please just hear our cries, please just hear our cries. we're absolutely begging. we survived something that no one should have to go through ever again. that's why the never again movement is happening. >> julia, specifically, do you feel it's your responsibility to present the lawmakers some specifics of what you want, or are you just starting this conversation? >> ultimately we want it to be
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both. we are going to give them ideas for what we want the legislation to be, what we need to have passed in order that there are no mass shootings in the state of florida and also the country itself. but any step is a step in the right direction. we know that right now in our country there is -- people are unwilling to work together, but we need to put gridlock aside. we don't need across the aisle, but we need to come to the middle of it and make some compromise. >> we're looking at live pictures as you're talking to us. obviously the technology of this is going to be a little bit compromised because you guys are on the move. you're marching with your laptop via facebook. we appreciate that you're giving us this bird's-eye view of how you're all first putting your sleeping bags in the bus and heading to the capitol. listen, guys, yesterday you had what i would consider to be a setback to your movement which
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is the state legislature decided not even to take up debate about assault weapons. they voted not even to talk about it. >> we were heartbroken. we were really, really upset. >> also, this fuels the fire for us to come with even more passion, and we're going to tell them exactly why -- >> obviously we're having a little bit of audio problems because they're in motion as they're heading out of their building. can you guys hear me? >> yes, we can hear you. >> i guess my point is, i understand you were heartbroken, but it does light a fire under you. the question is, how long can you guys sustain this? obviously high school students have other pressing issues. you have tests to take, college to get ready for. you have all of your after school activities. how long can you keep up the passion and the stamina for what this is going to take?
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>> this is the most important thing right now. this is above everything. >> ultimately everything else has been pushed aside because there are innocent lives at stake, and we don't want this to happen to anymore people. we don't want people to have to go to school and feel unsafe. >> are you prepared for how long of a haul this is going to be for all of you? are you prepared for how hard it has been for adults to try to get any change to gun violence for the past decade is? >> i don't know if i'm prepared, but i have to be. i know i have to speak up for the people who can't speak because they have either fallen or don't have the ability. >> they're injured, hurt. our friends are shot. they're recovering in the hospital right now. we know that we at least owe this to them, to put up a good fight. we're not going to rest just because people are unwilling to listen or they have their own opinions on what they should be doing in order to fix this issue. we will not stop fighting and using our voices.
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>> never. never, ever. >> julia and daniel bishop, thank you very much for being with us as you make your march to the state capitol. obviously we will be watching you every step of the way. thank you very much for taking the time. >> thank you very much. >> thank you. our dianne gallagher is walking with the kids as they make their weigh to the statehouse. who do you have with you. >> i have dmitry hoff with me. i rode the bus down with him. talk to me about -- you told me you were up all night trying to make sure this went right. what did you do overnight in the civic center? >> it was kind of chaos back in the rooms. i was in the hallway, between there and my cot, using my cot as a desk. research gun laws, statistics, making sure i had every tool in my arsenal to go up against the congresspeople and our representatives to make sure i had an airtight argument for whatever they though at us and making shew my concerns were
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addressed. i was up all night working on a speech that i hopefully will be able to do at the press conference at 12:15. it's a joint effort. a lot of teens working together, i was working together with the people that were in my group, coming up with strategies and things like that, and topics, like what we want to talk about. >> who specifically are you going to meet with? do you know yet? >> i know our liaison is with moss moskowitz. we're meeting with a lot of people. but particularly names i don't remember off the top of my head. >> are you meeting with republicans and democrats? >> yes, we are. we're meeting with a lot of republicans who did not -- republicans and democrats who did not vote yesterday. they decided not to cast their vote. so i plan on asking them why they didn't cast their vote. what made them think this wasn't an important vote. to us it was extremely important. >> there was a phone call on the
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bus yesterday. congressman ted deutch. talk to me about that, where he was offering support for you guys. >> congressman ted deutch has offered his support, and i think it's really bornt that one of cower congress people has our back through out this entire experience. it's great to know we can contact his office at any time if there's anything we do need up here, any information we need or need to speak to anybody about that. it's really -- i like it a lot. >> thank you very much, dmitri. they have a long, full agenda. >> thank you very much. let us know what develops along the way. joining us is cnn political analyst david gregory and reporter and editor at large for cnn politics chris cillizza. we're featuring these kids because they're a different aspect than what we've seen before. victims who have a reservoir of sympathy for what they've lived through and old enough to speak their own mind. they're not alone at all. you've got 97% of americans
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polled saying they want things to change with background checks. you have to be careful about the general and specific. 97 is huge. do you think this could be a tipping point? >> i think something is different in what we've been talking about, young people, high school students who have faced this horror, fa is to face. they're also of a generation where they have grown up since the time they were in preschool actually, where they have had to do active shooter drills at their school. all of us of parents of kids who have had to explain what that is and why that's necessary, that's a horrible thing to have them face that reality. there's a new generation of activism that has to only begin here. that student was talking about getting up to speed on gun laws and being able to debate lawmakers. it's more than that. as we've been saying, it's about activism in terms of registering voters, about channelling the
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energy to vote on this issue, whether in state government or in primaries for congress races or even at the presidential level. >> chris cillizza, we're watching them as they're getting organized, gathering together. chris, you're a jaundiced political type. >> that's fair. >> a cold-blooded reality check, when 100 teenagers show up at the statehouse with the zeal and the passion these kids have, having lived through this tragedy, do lawmakers sit up and take notice or just pay them lip service because, guess what, you're not voters yet. >> look, politicians pay attention to anyone who is passionate. passion equals your chances of voting going up. they are ultimately in the customer service business. if you were standing for re-election every two years, you would listen to what your stints
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would say. what i think we have to be careful of, this is 100 kids. they have done a remarkable job i think of drawing attention to this, speaking out, organizing in ways we haven't seen in the past. i think nothing changes until everything changes. i can give you -- i can cite you chapter and verse of ways in which these shootings play out in the past in which the moment toum pe tum peters out. maybe that will happen here, too. maybe it won't. you have to hold open the possibility that change is possible. i think what is hard oh owed david touched on this, politically i think the most important thing. people who support gun rights have a very dedicated history of voting on that issue. it's not everybody. but it's enough. people who want more -- what
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they would call common sense gun control measures. there's a sliver of people who vote on that issue alone. it is not enough for lawmakers to feel as though they will pay political pain and price for doing something like you saw in the florida legislature which is not being willing to debate the idea of a assault weapons ban which i can't imagine passing in that chamber but even debating it. they're not afraid -- there's no consequence on that side. there is a consequence on the pro gun right side. that to me is the inequality you see politically which makes this harder. >> david, give us a quick point and then i want to get back to the kids. >> this is not just about presidential leadership. we've seen presidential leadership before on this issue. it can help and maybe under president trump he'll get something done on background checks, access to guns if you're under 21. that's not the only factor here. >> also, look, that's the point.
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what you say to a pollster is one thing. what you do at the polls is another. gentlemen, we'll check back with you in a little bit. tonight, to seize the momentum, cnn is going to have a live town hall. you'll see students from stoneman douglas high school. you'll see lawmakers who are relevant in florida, and they will discuss this demand for gun violence reform. what will it be like? we've got kaley har dick live in sunrise, florida, with a preview. >> reporter: chris, that passion, zeal and outrage we've seen from some of the students, the survivors of stoneman douglas is coming to the bb&t center tonight. this arena just 15 miles from the high school will be the forum from this high school. parents, teachers and administration asking questions of elected officials and even a spokesperson from the nra. more than 5,000 people are expected to attend. among those on stage, congressman ted deutch,
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democratic representative for this district. as we've heard this morning and as many students have told me, he's been a tremendous resource for many students over this past week. also, florida's two senators, democrat bill nelson and republican marco rubio, a guy who the spotlight is on. these teenagers have not been shy about calling him out for the millions of dollars he's accepted from the nra, and i wouldn't anticipate they hold back on him tonight. also, as i mentioned, national spokesperson from the nra will be present as well. we should mention president trump and florida governor rick scott were both invited but declined to attend the event or appear via satellite. this event tonight we anticipate being emotional and powerful. >> absolutely, kaylee. that will be fascinating to watch. in just moments, the students you see on the right side of your screen, they will begin their march to florida's state capitol to bring their message. chief of staff john kelly
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all on america's best unlimited network, t-mobile. wemost familiar companies,'s but we make more than our name suggests. we're an organic tea company. a premium juice company. a coconut water company. we've got drinks for long days. for birthdays. for turning over new leaves. and we make them for every moment in every corner of the country. we are the coca-cola company, and we're proud to offer so much more. we are staying on top of breaking news. these students survived the florida school massacre. they are getting set to march to the state capitol in florida. they are calling on state lawmakers and the governor to make changes to gun laws. you can see our own dianne gallagher, she's marching alongside the students. she joins us live.
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what's their message, dianne? >> reporter: alisyn, we literally about two minutes ago started walking toward the capitol. i have seen your suzanna with us. what's the message you're taking to the capitol? >> we're taking that a tragedy like this can never happen again and we will never let it happen again. >> what do you want from lawmakers, what do you want them to do to make it never happen again? >> today we're really just hoping they'll be receptive to what we're saying and listen to what we went through and just be sensitive to that. i mean we obviously want them to listen to our ideas on policy, but for now, if we could just get them to actually care about the matters we're talking about, that's probably the first step. >> reporter: how did you feel yesterday when they voted not to even take up the discussion on that assault well upon ban? >> it's a minor setback. if this is going to be a long-term mission, which i
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really hope it is, that's just one thing. they could always propose another bill similar to that. we're working on small steps first. we'll see what happens. >> reporter: thank you so much, suzanna. most of the students i've talked to here have said they understand nothing is going to happen overnight. they recognize that this is not going to be something that they snap their fingers, talk to these lawmakers and suddenly everything changes. they seem to recognize this is a long haul affair. that they are hoping many of them, especially the seniors and juniors, once they turn 18, they register to vote, they will use their power of voting as well as their power of their voice. again, marching to the capitol, chris, alisyn, back to you. >> dianne, thank you very much. we have breaking news for you. reverend billy graham has died. word is circulating right now, he was 99 years old, born in 1918. the name is a household name in
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america, one of our most famous ministers. in fact, part of his congregation has been in parkland, florida, doing crisis management after the massacre there. he preached around the world speaking to presidents and world leaders. he had literally been a facet of spiritual life since the '50s in this country. >> absolutely. he has been a spiritual adviser to all sorts of presidents from harry truman to barack obama. joining us now, reporter cnn political analyst david gregory who has been able to underscore just how influential this man has been in our lives. >> in popularizing faith as a televangelist, someone who did it after world war ii in los angeles. he's a famous part of the sam
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rin any story of unbroken who went to a billy graham revival whose life was changed and became a born again christian and stopped drinking. it was billy graham who was one of the forerunners of the televangelist movement. he joined the southern baptist convention. he popularized faith and the evangelical movement like no one else had, and at the same time had this political resonance, some of which was controversial. he was close friends with richard nixon and had a blind spot for richard nixon and some of his anti-semitism. didn't shy away from speaking out against communism, offering advice on matters of war and peace and more up to date, for a president i covered, george w. bush, even at an advanced age was incredibly influential in the lives of our leaders.
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it was in conversation with billy graham that president bush said he found a renewed relationship with god, became a born again christian himself and set himself on a course that was so important in his own life. so this is just a tremendous loss in the world of faith, in our national life, in our political life. billy graham was a titan. >> "time" magazine once referred to billy graham as the pope of the protestant movement. for a long time, he was the cohesive point for the evangelical movement in this country. he was someone who favored non-denominational christianity which was a new idea in the '50s and '60s. he started with the baptist church, but started to engender this idea that it's not about the organization, it's about the faith and how it is lived as a mission. >> that's right. i would say i think the
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influence of billy graham on mainstreaming evangelical thought into politics, particularly republican politics, 1980s, 1990s, into the 2000s. the evangelical movement as a political force has faded somewhat. the election of donald trump i think is a coda to that, a bookmark. but in the '70s, '80s, '90s, billy graham's influence and the evangelical movement's influence on social politics in the conservative movement, vast. almost impossible to overstate the ways in which he helped transform what sort of conservatism, what republicanism, particularly on the social side meant and what kind of voters made up the
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republicaning c coalition for t years. i don't know if it's a one-time change due to donald trump, but we're in a change period from that. for two-plus decades, that was the dominant -- one of the dominant voices within the conservative movement. >> i think what you're teaching on and what david can build on is he believed in sort of the big tent philosophy. he insisted, even in the '50s his revival meetings be integrated racially. i was interested to read that he bailed out martin luther king junior and insisted on preaching together as well. >> the non-denominational movement, the modern evangelical movement which went beyond the denominations is incredibly popular because of how
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accessible billy graham was, modern day evangelist like joel osteen are incredible in their reach around the world. i've been to joel osteen's services. billy graham was the forerunner of that, making it more acceptable, breaking down a lot of barriers which also engendered criticism within evangelical circles and certainly does among modern evangelicals. there are a lot of enter denominational fights. billy graham was one of the first to break through all of that to reach a broader audience. to add, what chris was referring to, this incredible political influence as america's preacher, certainly the preacher to the most powerful figures in the country. >> what a run he had, also. to die at 99 years of age. he fought like crazy. i think it was in the '90s he was diagnosed with
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hydrocephalus, some type of parkin stop's thing, that's when the son came in. still going strong. refinally lost him at 99. we'll talk more about him throughout the show. gentlemen, thank you of helping us put meat on the bones. billy graham gone at the age of 99, died at home with family. we're fleeing the survivors of the florida massacre, bringing their message directly to lawmakers. we'll have a live report and we'll talk to the students next. m really passionate about- i really want to help. i was on my way out of this life. there are patients out there that don't have a lot of time. finally, it was like the sun rose again and i was going to start fighting back now. when those patients come to me and say, "you saved my life...." my life was saved by a two week old targeted therapy drug. that's what really drives me to- to save lives.
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breaking news for you. these are live pictures. these are the students who survived the florida school massacre, and they have arrived on the steps of the state capitol. they are beginning to go in, get checked in through security. cnn's dianne gallagher is with them. dianne, how was the march? >> reporter: really short march, just a few blocks up here. the kids are incredibly organized. we were going to try to talk to some of those kids, but they had meetings right away. they said, look, this is the reason we're here, these meetings. i do have a teacher with me,
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geography teacher. >> government teacher. >> reporter: my apology, government teacher. >> talk to me -- >> i'm their teacher. i came with a colleague. i had all these kids in class, all the famous kids now, david and emma. you're obviously compelled. it affected us as well as them. i luckily got out, i'm here along with the kids as well. i drove them up -- actually it's for you guys. we're going back tonight for the debate. i volunteered to be the guy to drive a few of them and be back for tonight. >> reporter: as a government teacher, how do you feel about them using that voice to come up here? >> it's amazing. i hope it endures. i'm -- i'm kind of at a loss for words. they're all bright, as we've seen. they're passionate. they were working -- seven-hour
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ride yesterday, the donations from the clooneys and from oprah, trying to figure out who would control the money and where it would go. they're on point with this. it's a matter of trying to decide -- we're going to washington to march. i just hope something gets done. it was deflating yesterday when we found out about the votes, right when we got out of the car. that was the first thing we heard about, and none the nonsense they voted on yesterday. it's sad. we've all gone through a lot. when we're not here, we're at a funeral. >> you came later yesterday because you were going to the funeral. how are you balancing the grief. this is the one-week anniversary, how are you balancing the grief and the activism. >> it's hard. i've been there 20 years. i'm a father of two daughters. you want to try to stay strong in front of the kids. it's -- again, that's what we're
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there for, me and my colleague that came up with me. we're trying to stay in the background. we're not trying to be on tv. whatever they need, we're here for them. >> reporter: thank you so much. chris, alisyn. >> let's get good perspective, someone who understands stanthe politics down there, miami beach mayor phillip levine, democratic candidate for florida governor. we know you have an ad out about this situation, mr. mayor. it's important. give me your read on what the likelihood of change is at the state level in florida given what we saw yesterday. one of the senators said, well, it was a procedural vote. yeah, 36-71 to not even debate assault weapons with all those kids watching. instead they took up porn as a public safety issue debate. >> chris, it's a sad state of affairs. on a positive note, i was with some of those students at the
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high school. i was right there with them. let me tell you, we have a new greatest generation. the strength, the power, the emotion, the take action attitude of those students makes anyone feel proud. i'm a parent, you're a parent, chris. i went to high school in broward county. i can tell you we're going to see this new crop of activists come. as far as what's going to happen in tallahassee, unfortunately as you know, he who pays the piper picks the tune. right now we have the nra paying the piper. folks like marco rubio, governor scott, richard corcoran who control tall has, they're going to do absolutely nothing. they're going to run the clock out and wait until this session is over. it's unfortunate. change and hope is on the way and that comes with the governor's election this november where we can kick the bums out and do what's right for floridians. we need change. we need to protect our children and schools and protect our state. >> what would you propose? >> what i would propose, first of all, permanent ban on assault rifles. number two, strong, better
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background checks. number three, let's make sure those with mental illness do not have access to weapons. chris, with that said, i am a gun owner. i have a concealed weapons permit. no one is trying to take people's guns away. we want to make gun ownership safer in the state of florida. if for some reason this legislature doesn't act, as i said in my commercial, we will. we'll go right to the people. we'll pass a referendum. you may not know this, chris, in the state of florida mayors are prohibited from doing anything. they will be removed from office and severely fined. that's a law this group out of tallahassee passed to stop local leaders from taking action. >> you're saying mayors aren't allowed to put in their own gun legislations, otherwise there's a penalty. i g et that. i say you want to get rid of assault rifles. you can't have an assault rifle now. that's what we see with the arm light 15. do you think you can get that done with a referendum or legislative process in florida?
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there are deep, deep roots of gun ownership and second amendment defenders there. >> i agree. but there's a lot of parents and kids and a lot of people that know we want to keep our children safe. i want to take to it the people of florida in the form of a referendum. we need the mayors of the state of florida, the commissioners, council people to make their own laws and not let this group out of tallahassee make our state so unsafe like they've done. >> we're watching the kids right now, holding up their signs. they have a unique brand of passion because of what they just lived through, mr. mayor. governor scott says that he's going to try to get something done by this friday. he's going to have something presented. what do you expect it to be? he used language that was pretty innocuous. he did mention a safer school. do you think he's going to propose something that has to do with the threat or with making schools safer, maybe having armed guards or some kind of resource money? >> chris, he's going to do everything he can to protect his
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nra backing. this is the same governor who bragged he passed more pro gun legislation than any governor in the unto can. he's not going book on his base. he's going to try to do everything he can to gloss this over. this is the same governor who woke up -- these are the folks listening to the nra. i don't expect anything. i do know one thing, chris, hope is on the way. change will be happening in november in florida. >> mr. mayor, thank you very much. we'll be watching closely. appreciate your perspective this morning. we are following breaking news. evangelist billy graham has died. he was 99 years old. we will speak with someone who knew him very well about his influence next.
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we have breaking news for you. evangelical leader billy graham has died at 99 years old. joining us is david brody, the chief political correspondent for the christian broadcasting network. david, sad news, but, of course, he was 99. he had an incredibly long run and full life. tell us of the significance of this man. >> well, there's so much to talk about, and you have limited time, obviously. i will say this. it's one of those moments at least as a christian for sure that you remember where you were when you heard the news the billy graham died. it's one of those -- with michael jackson or whoever it happens to be, you just remember that day. that will be part of this story
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today with billy graham, everyone will remember that, especially as it relates to christianity and folks that follow jesus. the legacy of billy graham, what can you say, alisyn? this is a guy that shared the gospel around the world with over 215 million voeks at all those crusades we hear about. i was on with chris just a week or so ago, "the faith of donald trump." in that book we talk about billy graham. the president himself saying he remembers watching the crusades with his father on the television with his father. in terms of all those evangelical rallies he had all around the country, new york and all those places. this is a moment we knew would be coming, but at the same time it's not only just sad, but in a way joyous for a lot of folks
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because of what he did with his life and how he shared the good news of jesus christ. it's a wonderful legacy. >> you touched on this. he's been a spiritual adviser for so many presidents, starting with harry truman, and every president since. we just heard from david gregory about the very significant impact that he had on george w. bush's life. >> he's spoken to these presidents live, not just ordinary americans, but presidents of the united states. one of the significant legacy moments for billy graham, he was able to accomplish a bipartisan spirit in a world, quite frankly, alisyn, that was not so partisan back in the day. look at franklin graham. he's been a polarizing figure to many folks on the left, obviously left and right. billy graham came along at a different time and was able to show both sides, both presidents
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the love of jesus christ. franklin graham doing the same thing, by the way, that his father is doing, but in a different polarized climate. you can see this shift in culture at what franklin graham is doing, same as his father, but billy graham had far more success as relates to the bipartisan approach. >> i don't know if it's just a different climate. isn't it a different philosophy? we talked about how billy graham believed in the big tent approach, all-comers, everyone was welcome. it was non-denominational. obviously the climate has changed. do you think that's different than the message of current modern day evangelicals? >> i think you can ask franklin graham about this. i would say this, alisyn. franklin graham's approach would be the same as billy graham's approach, jesus loves everyone, republican, democrat, independent, ham sandwich. it doesn't matter. i think the culture has changed. when the culture changes, you
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become a warrior. billy graham lived in a time that the culture wasn't as under attack, at least from that standpoint, from a biblical standpoint. when billy graham was alive, there was prayer in public schools and bible reading in schools. nowadays since 1963 and the supreme court decision, it's not there anymore. christians feel the culture slipping away from them. i think franklin graham has stepped into the role of biblical truth teller, if you will. whereas billy graham didn't have to do as much of the time. >> billy graham has made gallup's list of the most admired people in the world 60 times. thank you for sharing your remembrances and what you believe his legacy is. >> thank you, alisyn. >> this man stood not only as a representative of things to people who shared his faith. politically he meant a lot, too. we'll bring in david axelrod. he'll join us with a look at graham's impact on politics. when i received the diagnosis,
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more on our breaking news. evangelist billy graham has died at 99 years of age, felt throughout the christian world, but also in politics. joining us is televangelist joel osteen. thank you for making yourself available. >> glad to do it. thanks, chris. >> so what does the loss of billy graham mean to you? >> it's personal, chris, because i grew up as a preacher's kid in a preacher's home. he was always my hero, growing up and watching him. his life of integrity and honesty and passion for people. we knew this time was coming, but it's still interesting to think the billy graham is not here with us. to me it's the loss of a hero. >> what does your generation of the faith community owe to him?
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>> i think we owe to continue on what he started, and that is preaching good news and letting people know about crist and the love and respect that we can show one another. i think it's to continue on in that passion. he took great steps of faith. he paved the way for young ministers like myself doing television ministry which wasn't heard of back then and going across the globe and for a few weeks, people weren't like him, and he took some criticism for it. i think it's opened the door for us. we don't just reach out to people from our faith, but open the door to something bigger. >> let's talk about that. you have unique perspective. you know how difficult it is to build a following. you've done it with huge success. do you ever think back on how difficult it must have been for
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him, those forays into television, in terms of how you're supposed to express your faith, but what he meant as a pioneer. >> it is. back then that was -- i was very young, of course, but it was -- he took some big steps of faith and he pioneered it and even some of those meetings and the different things he did overseas that were unusual. i loved his vision. i loved his integrity. the other thing, too, chris, is not a lot of -- this is not a great statement. but not a lot of ministers made it to his age with integrity and honesty and faithfulness. there are plenty, but not well known. that inspires me. it's not where we start, it's how we can finish.
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chris, he reached out to young ministers like myself. i was able to visit with him. when i did, i was meeting my hero. but all he wanted to talk about was me. he didn't want to talk about what he did. he talked about my big church and how i got up there and how i did this. i left there says what a gracious man, what a humble man, turning his focus -- he's the legend. i'm a learner. he just wanted to encourage me. >> that's a very interesting story, thank you for sharing that with us. joel, one of the reasons we wanted you on here, you are very well known in your own right. for you to cast your eyes up at billy graham says a lot about how he is revered within the faith community and you're van gel cal movement. thank you very much for joining us. i'm sorry for your loss and the loss of your community. >> thank you so much, chris. my pleasure. joining us is cnn senior political commentator david a el rod. david, tell us your house about
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billy graham and what he meant to president obama. >> well, billy graham ushered the evangelical movement into the television age. he became the face of the evangelical movement. as has been pointed out, he was much more bipartisan in his approach than some of the more prominent voices that we hear today in the evangelical movement. not all, but some. there was an inspiration in the '80s on the part of some political actors to turn the evangelical movement into a political movement on the right. billy graham wasn't part of that. billy graham was someone who related to presidents of both parties up to and including the one i worked for and was assiduous about that, about trying to stay out of the scrum. he created the conditions for
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the evangelical movement to really move back into the mainstream of our political conversation. >> what was his relationship with president obama? was he considered something of a spiritual adviser? did the two men talk or meet? give us a little bit of the inside story. >> i honestly don't know how much they communicated. he was a presence in every oval office. this has been pointed out previously. he counseled presidents of both parties. obviously earlier in his life he was more prominent. he was a frequent visitor in lyndon johnson's oval office. for example, after having supported richard nixon for president in 1960. and notably, he did not allow himself to be used in the jim crow movement, even though he came from the south. that was an admirable thing. something i'm sure president obama appreciated. >> absolutely. we're just reading stories about
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his relationship with martin luther king junior and how he went to the jail and bailed him out and insisted they preach together and insisted some of his revival meetings, all of them, be integrated, and it was just a big tent philosophy that he had. >> to his everlasting credit. absolutely. david gregory who has written a book on faith, told us about the impact he had on george w. bush's life. the story that david shared was that he was inspired to become born again because of billy graham. >> which was in many ways lifesaving for him. i sat down with michael gersin from the post the other day who worked for president bush, an evangelical himself. he talked very much about how much that influenced the life and world view of george w. bush. yes, billy graham was a touring figure in american society.
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as i said, the real face of the evangelical movement at the dawning of the television age. >> such a great point. he had impact individually as we see with george w. bush and obviously on a grand scale. david axelrod, thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. time for cnn "newsroom" with john berman. see you tomorrow. >> this is cnn breaking news. >> good morning everyone. i'm john berman. the breaking news this morning, a giant of american religious life, giant of american life, period, is gone. billy graham died just about an hour ago at his home in north carolina. he was 99 years old. cnn's kyra phillips on a remarkable century of influence. >> reporter: he was america's pastor. in times of tragedy, billy graham was there to comfort the nation. >> we come together today to


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