Couric interviews the 9/11 Jersey Girls

Katie Couric visits with the 9/11 widows that teamed up to push for an investigation into the attacks and continue to fight for reforms.

Video to the right -->>

Partial transcript below:


"For Lorie Van Auken, Mindy Kleinberg and Patty Casazza, Sept. 11 still happens every single day….
When their husbands, John, Kenneth and Alan, died in the World Trade Center, they left behind six children who are still dealing with that loss.
But Lorie, Mindy and Patty aren't just single moms and grieving widows. Just a few months after Sept. 11, they teamed up with fellow widow Kristen Breitweiser. They became self-taught, some say self-appointed, experts on 9/11 and began to push hard for an investigation.
They were dubbed the 'Jersey Girls' and joined forces with other 9/11 families to fight a White House reluctant to mount an investigation. They finally wore Washington down.
'Tom Kean, who was head of the 9/11 commission, said 'I doubt very much we would be in existence without them,' meaning without you all. Why was it so important for you to make sure that commission was created in the first place?' Couric asks Van Auken.
'We had questions that were not being answered. We knew we were still at risk. We knew that we couldn't make changes without an accurate and truthful look back at what had gone wrong,' she replies.
On the first day of hearings, Mindy testified.
After 15 months of grueling testimony, the commission's final report came out with 41 urgent recommendations. These included distributing homeland security funds based on risk, making major improvements in airline passenger screening and securing nuclear materials. But two years later, the commission's chairman says some of the most important recommendations have not been fully implemented....
The 'Jersey Girls' blamed the Bush administration, and just before the 2004 elections, they went public. The women announced their support for Sen. John Kerry, saying he fully embraced all of the 9/11 commission's recommendations.
But taking sides came at a price.
'Rush Limbaugh referred to you all as Democratic campaign consultants, not grieving family members. Ann Coulter, in her book, wrote, 'These broads are millionaires, reveling in their status as celebrities and stalked by 'griefarazzis.' I've never seen people enjoying their husbands' deaths so much,'' Couric tells the women.
'We fought for their safety as well as our own,' says Van Auken. 'We were never coached by anybody, never funded by anybody.'
'Party difference does not enter your mind when your loved one just called you on the phone to tell you he's gonna die. It's so not political, it's just life and death, if you want to know the truth of it,' Casazza says.
'We have not learned the lessons from 9/11,' Kleinberg adds. 'And when the building blows up or you have another attack, it's not going to make me feel like 'I told you so.' It's going to feel desperately horrible that we could do nothing. Walk with us now so you don't have to walk in our shoes.'"
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