A Time To Rebuild Lives

Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, who was among those at Ground Zero Thursday morning to remember the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks, tells The Early Show co-anchor Hannah Storm CBS/The Early Show

Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, who was among those at Ground Zero Thursday morning to remember the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks, tells The Early Show co-anchor Hannah Storm that her focus in on how to protect the city on the future.

The former first lady says, "It's a day for looking back and honoring those we lost, but it's also a day for thinking about the present, trying to help rebuild lives, as well as the physical infrastructure of our city, and to be resolved to do everything we can to protect ourselves going forward."

New York's economy was hit hard by the attacks and there is still much that needs to be done to help New York recover, she says.

The high cost of New York's recovery has resulted in the closing of firehouses and cutting back on police. Clinton has backed a bill that would financially help the firemen who were heroes.

She says, "I feel very strongly that the people who rushed toward danger who, I think, saved thousands of lives, deserve all of the help that they need. They deserve continuing medical care because we know - based on a program that I helped to fund, to give clinical exams to our firefighters and our police officers, our construction workers and others - that about half of them are suffering from what is called the World Trade Center cough and pulmonary, respiratory function problems.

"And we need to be very sure that the residents and the people who work in the immediate area today have good quality air in the indoor of their homes and businesses, so there's still a lot of work to be done."

She recently accused the EPA of caving in to pressure from the White House and indicating that air quality around Ground Zero was less harmful than it actually was.

Questioned about security, she says, "My goal is, as the senator from New York, to do everything I can to protect and defend our people, to make sure that we are a strong leader so that we can have more allies and not enemies around the world. It's a very dangerous world we're in right now."

Told that in an earlier interview former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said the unity among the political leadership two years ago has given way to divisiveness, Clinton says she sees it as healthy debate. It is healthy for Americans to ask tough questions, she says.

"I'm not yet satisfied we've done enough on homeland security. I don't think we've given our firefighters, our police officers, our residents and hospitals and resources centers the need to prevent us in the event of another attack. I don't think it's being divisive to say we're doing better and ways to go about doing better."

The senator also urges Americans to remember the victims. "This is very hard day," she says. "Like so many New Yorkers And Americans, I knew people who perished on Sept. 11. I have come to know many of the family members who lost loved ones and some of the people who were so grieveusly injured by burns and falling debris from the sky."

  • Tatiana Morales

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