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tv   The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  August 29, 2011 2:00pm-4:00pm PDT

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the water and food and whatever else. we work with emergency management to try to meet the needs of the people who are there and elsewhere of course, and i think it is unfortunate, but it is a necessary reminder of being prepared for a storm and evacuating if necessary because things like this can happen. >> kate meier please be safe as you are out on the roads. a lot of them suffered a substantial amount of damage in north carolina. kate thank you from the american red cross. that is it for me in atlanta at the cnn world headquarters. we go to washington, d.c. "the situation room" with wolf blitzer starts now. happening now, roads, homes, even entire towns under water, just some of the dangers left behind from hurricane irene. we're tracking the serious flooding threat in parts of the northeast. hurricane recovery is beginning further down the coast, some republicans are debating the role the federal government should play. this hour, disaster politics.
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who may be in need of damage control after irene? plus graphic new evidence of brutality by moammar gadhafi and his inner circle. this just as we're hearing his wife and several children have now escaped libya. the pressure now growing to make sure gadhafi himself doesn't get away. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." raging water in the northeast so powerful it can sweep away cars and swallow up homes. right now vermont is devastated by the worst flooding in decades. cnn's amber lyon joins us from brattleboro in vermont. set the scene a little bit, amber, for what's going on. what are you seeing? what are you hearing? >> reporter: well, out here, wolf, had i been standing out here earlier yesterday, i would be completely under water. i want to come here and show you
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this brook right here, this is pretty much representative of what's across this state. this is wet stone brook, flowing more like a river now. it's about four feet wider than usual and look over here where it just washed away the ground underneath this art iist studio building. no one was inside at the time, no one was hurt. we're waiting for the building to collapse and fall into the water. another problem, because the governor says every waterway in the state of vermont is flooded is that they're worried about the roads. 260 roads in this state currently flooded and they're warning people not to get out and drive on roads even if they look okay because although the top of the road might look okay it may be eroded underneath and if you're out there on your car you could sink into what would be circular to a quick sand road. right now the governor of vermont says that they are moving into a stage of search and recovery. they say there are still people
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missing, believed to be swept away by some of these waters. they also say that waters at higher elevations are starting to recede, good news there. however, waters, streams in lower elevations are continuing to flood and the waters are continuing to crest. big worry today, wolf, for the state of vermont and emergency crews here is how residents are dealing with the water. we have a sewer line north of here busted, the water is dirty, they're telling people to boil your water. we even have reports people monitoring twitter traffic that have complained of gassy smells in their town because propane tanks have been sucked away by the streams and just two blocks from here the town was cordoned off by emergency crews because there was such an intense smell of gas in the area. they're also warning people not to get into the waters, and above all, if you can, just stay home unless it's absolutely
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necessary to leave. and 50,000 people across the state of vermont are currently without power right now, and due to the fact that 260 roads are flooded, emergency crews and electric crews can't even give any type of an estimate as to when they're going to have this power back on, wolf. >> horrible devastation for vermont. amber we'll get back to you and also speak to the governor and senator from vermont as well. amber lyon reporting for us. we're also seeing very, very dangerous flooding in parts of new york state and elsewhere across the northeast. this hour after the remnants of hurricane irene blew out of the region and out of the country. analysts predicted the storm caused up to $10 billion in damage during its rampage along the east coast. at least 25 deaths have been reported in nine states. 5 million customers still, still don't have power. >> it's going to take time to recover from a storm of this
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magnitude, the effects are still being felt across much of the country, including in new england, and states like vermont, where there's been an enormous amount of flooding. so our response continues, but i'm going to make sure that fema and other agencies are doing everything in their power to help people on the ground. >> and let's talk to the head of fema right now, the federal emergency management agency, craig fugate, is joining us. mr. fugate, thanks very much for coming in. >> thank you, sir. >> you just heard the president, he wants to make sure you're getting everything you need. are you getting everything you need? normally we hear from states, if fema's doing everything they can. do you have everything you need right now? >> yes, the support and response again we've been talking with the states, we have daily conference calls. one of the things we've been working on is trying to stay ahead of what they may need as we move from response to recovery and as you said in some parts of the area of impact we're very much still concerned about the flooding and what the weather service tells us may be another two, three days before
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some of these rivers will crest. >> but money is becoming an increasingly big problem for fema, you're telling us. you're running out of money in short, right? >> well, we reached a point where we felt it was prudent not to continue to fund new work and older disasters but to continue funding support for the survivors of previous disasters as well as being able to ensure that we could undertake this response to irene. >> how much money do you need now in order to really do what fema was created to do, given the tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes? you got a lot of problems, floods out there, what kind of money do you need from congress during these tough economic times? >> well, part of this will be as we do the assessments for irene, you know, some of the numbers that are being put out there about damages oftentimes include insure costs. we look at fema costs borne by the taxpayer in support of either survivors or uninsured losses or you know, cost the government has to respond and rebuild from this disaster. >> because if we're saying $10
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billion in damage as a result of irene, how much of that is fema going to be responsible for? >> well that's part of what we'll find out as we begin damage assessments. you've heard some states are very much in response mode but particularly in north carolina as we look at the damages and start counting that up we'll have a better idea of what the federal share will be for some of these costs. >> i've heard from a lot of governors who were in a direct hit from hurricane irene the governors of maryland, virginia, new jersey, new york, elsewhere, they're very pleased with the federal response specifically the fema response. what do you say to congressman ron paul, though, who says really the federal government should not be in the business of what fema is doing? >> not much. i've pretty much focusing on the job at hand and undertaking the responsibilities that congress has given to fema and under the lead irship of the president. we're just focused on trying to deal with the disaster right now. >> are you getting any serious complaints from anyone as a
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result of what you did or didn't do this time around? >> not yet but again we'll do after actions but really we're still very much focused on the disaster at hand. particularly as you heard the impacts from river flooding, possibility of more impacts so really right now we're trying to stay focused on what's happening in front of us and then when we get to the other side of this we'll look at lessons learned and always try to improve our response before the next disaster. >> you've heard some of the criticism mr. few gaugate that hurricane irene was overhyped, expecting enormous disasters for example in new york stock exchange cinew york city, that didn't happen, the federal government, states, local authorities were hyping this whole hurricane irene? >> well, my condolences to the families that lost lives, to the homes that have been destroyed, to the communities that have been flooded. part of this is we work from a forecast, there's not so much precision we can say whose house will be impacted and who is not.
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i've been involved in a lot of hurricanes where we've evacuated and fortunately there was no damage and people could go home and that's good. there are going to be folks who can't go home, folks who lost homes and still don't have power and unfortunately there's people who lost lives. we prepare based upon the forecast and that's how we respond. >> under the theory better to be safe than sorry. >> you can't change the outcomes if you're not ready. >> good advice, federal emergency management agency administrator craig fugate thank you for the work you're doing. we'll stay in close touch. you can help those devastated by hurricane irene, visit our "impact your world" page at you're learning more about the fate of moammar gadhafi's family and seeing disturbing new evidence of his reign of terror and the latest on where gadhafi may, repeat may be hiding. verbal jabs between two
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there are dramatic developments in libya including the battle for libya. we're learning members of moammar gadhafi's family including his wife, three children and grandchildren have been granted entry into algeria, this amid new reports another son of the dictator, the military commander hamis gadhafi has been killed. arwa damon joins us. the struggle for libya continues. >> reporter: it most certainly does. the report they can crossed by land into algeria around 8:45 in the morning. their current whereabouts remain
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unknown as do the whereabouts of gadhafi himself but separately, the rebels here are saying that they killed hamis brigade, he leads the 32nd brigade, the most feared and loathed brigade. we are cold khamis was killed in an air strike around ten days ago and sprayedly told he was killed in a fire fight that took place on sunday around 40 miles southeast of the capitol tripoli. when it comes to the family itself beginning to flee, a top aide to gadhafi was saying this is an indication some members of the family have accepted defeat. he was comparing this to their surrender, but he also said that he believed that gadhafi himself was still in libya and would remain in libya until the end. >> you're also getting new information these horrific accounts that we've been hearing about these prisoners who were
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literally killed and tortured by gadhafi's men. what are you hearing? >> reporter: that's right, wolf, and these atrocities are absolutely hair raising. in fact they're so disturbing some of the rebels according to one site asked we wrap it up quickly because they were disturbed by what we had seen. we warn the images they're about to see some could find them very disturbing. they heard screams, gunshots, but it would be days before people discovered the magnitude of the horror within these calls. walls. he was picked up with gadhafi forces along with his brother in early august. "my brother and i were in the street, they grabbed us, blindfolded and cuffed us" he remembers. the detainees ranged in age from 17 to 70, he says. they were beaten, penned up like animals, and in their last days,
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deprived of food and water. he says he survived by dreaming of freedom, "that one day i would leave this place." early last week he thought that day had come. "the last day informed us they are going to release us. we all started planning," he says, "preparing to reunite with loved ones." this warehouse is around 10 by 10 meters, 45 by 30 feet and he says there were 175 people crammed inside here. at sunset, he says, the guards came and opened the door. he and the other prisoners thought they were going to make good on their word and set them free. instead, he says, the soldiers threw a grenade through the door and opened fire. monid made a run for it. "i ran away, i jumped over that wall but i don't remember anything else." though he survived, his younger brother and most of the others
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trapped in this hell did not. the warehouse is located in a lot on the back end of khamis gadhafi's 32nd brigade headquarters, the most feared and loathed unit of his father's military. when rebels finally secured the area and people felt safe enough to approach the warehouse, this was all they found. voluntary workers have pulled out the remains of at least 150 bodies. >> some of the bags, there are more than one body, some of them four, three in one bag. >> reporter: because the bodies you can't recognize the bodies? >> difficult because they are burned. can't recognize them. so we have some papers. >> reporter: the i.d.s of people from all over libya. do you know why these men who were here were detained? >> they are detained for some of them for nothing, just to sega dafie go out or just to raise the new flag with the new color,
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different color, not the green, not the green flag, this one. >> reporter: and in another corner of the lot, the people who have gathered report yet another atrocity, we're being told a number of bodies were also dug up right here, and the dirt, it's just, it's filled, it's crawling with maggots. the cost of freedom in libya, many of the victims will remain unknown, their families left without answers to their fate. and wolf, there are widespread fears that many similar sites, sites of such massacres, sites of mass graves will be uncovered in the future. the military spokesman for the transitional council was saying that they believe that 57 people were detained by gadhafi's regime but so far they've only been able to find 10,000 to 11,000 of them and there's now a search effort under way to try to uncover more mass graves, wolf? >> does the national
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transitional council, the group now in charge of libya, suspect, arwa, they're any closer to finding moammar gadhafi? >> reporter: well, at one point they thought that he was just to the area east of the airport, and they were basing that on the intensity of the fighting there but then the commanders told us that the gadhafi units there withdrew, moving to the southeast and the predominant belief right now is that he is in the south, that is where his tribe is from, but there is no concrete information as to exactly where he may be, so the search for him is certainly on. they hope since some of his family members did, in fact, flee this could discourage loyal is from continuing the fight although he himself is still believed to be in libya. >> arwa damon in libya for us, thank you. hurricane irene's powerful journey up the east coast may be over but many states are just now beginning to feel the full blow. ahead we'll take you on a chopper tour of new jersey's mass damage and flooding. plus new concerns the
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president obama one step closer to filling a key role in his economic team. lisa sylvester is monitoring that and some other top stories in "the situation room" now. what is the latest? >> the president is nominating alan krooug ecuing krueger to bw chairman of the white house economic council advisers. days before unveiling new plans for jumpstarting the economy. >> they will provide unvarnished
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analysis and recommendations not based on politics or narrow interests but based on the best evidence, based on what's going to do the most good for the most people in this country. and that's more important than ever right now. we need folks in washington to make decisions based on what's best for the country, that's not what's best for any political party or special interest. >> if confirmed by the senate, krueger will be the obama administration's third council chair. nasa is raising concerns the international space station may need to be temporarily abandoned, this comes after the crash of an unmanned soyuz rocket headed there last week. the accident is prompting the russian space agency to postpone its nexted manned mission to the station pending an investigation. nasa says a delay could prevent the ability to bring in replacements. gop presidential candidate and former u.s. ambassador to china jon huntsman is picking up an early endorsement from the
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attorney general in the critical primary state of south carolina. alan wilson, who is the son of republican congressman joe wilson announced his support for huntsman at an event today. arizona's senior senator john mccain is celebrating his 75th birthday on twitter. the 2008 presidential candidate adding "if i had known i would live this long, i would have taken better care of myself." 75 years old, he's in pretty good shape show. >> happy birthday to senator mccain. spent six years as a p.o.w. in vietnam. he's had a rough life. >> 75 and still going strong. >> i don't know if we can chip get that video up of the president and professor krueger at the white house making the announcement about the new white house chairman of the council, lisa, tell me, did they coordinate their outfits today,
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the professor and the president? >> look at that tie exactly. >> what do you think? is that a coincidence or had some sort of coordinator? >> i think it's a coincidence. you'd fit in, men of good taste is what we will say. >> he'd fit in. two days after hurricane irene hit north carolina, some people who refused to evacuate are paying a price. brian todd is with rescue crews on the hunt for people stranded by the storm. as irene was lashing the east coast, one republican candidate was joking about it. a closer look at the political fallout. site of pain... up to 12 hours. salonpas.
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roads torn apart by
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hurricane irene along the north carolina coast where the storm first hit land in the united states. irene left 2,500 people stranded in north carolina and some of them still are isolated more than two days later. our own brian todd is in stumpy point, north carolina. brian your team was the only news crew that went out with the national guard helicopters. how did that go? >> reporter: it went well, wolf but these people are pretty much cut off right now at least temporarily. this ferry behind me the only lifeline to the 2,3500 still on hatteras island. folks who have ridden out stronger hurricanes before are isolated and some surprised by how much punch this category 1 storm packed. this is what isolation looks like on the outer banks. highway 12 connecting hatteras island to the rest of the barrier islands, washed up, caved in, power lines down at the breach, the atlantic ocean
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flowing over it, a costly casualty of irene's storm surge. 2,500 people who ignored mandatory evacuation orders stranded here at least temporarily. the only way we could get there -- by riding with north carolina national guard helicopters on a damage assessment mission. we're flying over the ocracoke island on the outer banks. we captured severe damage to homes, flooding in whole neighborhoods and that critical breach on hatteras island. when we put down on hatteras we hooked up with abi midget. >> you ask in people people why do you live in california on a fault. >> reporter: david polk has flown several missions in afghanistan. >> reporter: they say they've been through worse. what do you think of that.
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>> anybody that rides it out they should have second thoughts before they do that. they're so unpredictable, the storms, the intensity. >> reporter: on the ground damage to the severed highway seems like it came from an earthquake and hurricane. this is what it feels like to be cut off from the outside world. i'm standing on 12 and still standing on highway 12. going into the water here, gets pretty deep. you got downed power lines over here, highway 12 connects us to manio and the bridges that go to the mainland. this isn't going to be up any time soon. at least a couple of weeks before this lifeline will be repaired. matthew williams offers more perspective. why do you stay? >> i don't know, i guess, i don't know. we grew up here, the main thing is getting back. when you're gone you're wondering your belongings, property, wondering how it is. your whole life is here, it's kind of hard to leave.
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>> reporter: for now, matthew williams and his neighborhoods have to rely on this to connect them to the outside, the state started running these ferries with food, medical supplies, highway construction equipment to hatteras island. the ferries move slowly, take about two and a half hours each way. >> ryan, are officials angry with the people for staying put despite the orders to evacuate? >> reporter: well at least outwardly they are not saying so. governor bev perdue was asked that question, she said no, she's not angry. she described the people on hatteras island as the real north carolinians, the true lifeblood of the place. it's costing taxpayer money to get the supplies out there. this is only set up in an emergency. and also if anybody is in need of dire medical attention it's probably going to take a helicopter flight to pick them up and get them out of there. that's several thousand dollars
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a pop as well. >> brian todd on the scene always, thanks very much. a record in the wake of hurricane irene in 2011, the united states has endured ten natural disasters causing $1 billion or more in damage. it's more fuel for politicians worried about the nation's soaring debt. we asked jim acosta to take a closer look into the politics of this storm and all the other disasters for that matter. what did you find out? >> this discussion is happening at an important time on this sixth anniversary of hurricane katrina, the debate over the federal government's role in disaster response is still raging and the tea party may be winning the argument. just as hurricane irene was slamming the east coast, the political rhetoric was approaching category 5 strength. gop presidential candidate breanna keilar joked the disaster was a sign from god that federal spending was out of control. >> washington, d.c., you think by now they'd get the message, an earthquake, a hurricane.
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are you listening? >> reporter: budget cutting fever could one day have an impact on how washington responds to disasters. ron paul would eliminate the federal emergency management agency, which he says bails out homeowners living in risky places. >> this idea that the world comes to an end if you don't have somebody at the federal level taking care of you, i mean it's a natural problem. its a wind, it's a storm. >> reporter: after last week's earthquake, house majority leader eric cantor insisted any disaster relief be matched with spending cuts. fema is making its own adjustment saying it would delay some rebuilding projects in joplin, missouri, where tornadoes struck earlier this year to respond to irene. emergency management experts wonder whether deficit hysteria is becoming a disaster in the making. >> i can't imagine being in a community devastated by hurricane irene and sitting back and wondering are you going to be able to repair your water treatment facility?
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is your school going to be repaired? >> reporter: in a speech announcing his campaign for president rick perry saw government as the problem. >> i'll work every day to try to make washington, d.c., as inconsequential in your life as i can. >> reporter: as the texas governor battled wildfires earlier this year, he saw fema as part of the solution. >> we're having to pick up 100% of the cost, historically, the federal government picked up 75% of the cost when there is a disaster like we have here, so there is no consistency with this administration. >> reporter: president bush learned the hard way washington matters in a disaster, which is why the current man in the white house was careful to look hands on during irene. >> this has been an exemplary effort of how good government at every level should be responsive to people's needs,to keep them safe and protect and promote the nation's prosperity. >> reporter: the problem for the
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president is that a dwindling number of americans actually have a positive view of the federal government, just 17% in the latest gallup poll, that's at the very bottom of any industry in american life right now, right after the oil and gas industry. wolf? >> not very good at all. >> not good. >> they want the federal government when they need the federal government. >> exactly. >> otherwise we don't want the federal government. >> easy to be up on fema when you don't need them but when you do need them they're higher. this note to our viewer, stay with cnn to see the republican presidential candidate's face-off, two weeks from today. i'll be the moderator when cnn hosts the republican presidential debate along with several tea party groups in tampa, florida, that's monday, september 12th, 8:00 p.m. eastern, only here on cnn. parts of new jersey are swamped by serious flooding. our own mary snow takes us on a helicopter tour of the hardest hit areas. and shocking find in libya,
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we've been getting some powerful ireports from up and down the east coast, showing the damage from irene. check out the raging floodwaters in the cat stills and upstate new york, smaller communities in upstate new york also took a harder hit than new york city, the big apple subway system and three major airports all reopened today, more than 600,000 people had no electricity in connecticut after irene blew down trees and power lines. there are hundreds of thousands of additional power outages up and down the east coast right now. new jersey has been on alert all day for more flooding as rivers crest. check out a military vehicle nearly engulfed by high water. let's go to mary snow went on a helicopter tour of the damage with national guard, joining us from pompton lakes with more. mary, what do you see? >> wolf, we're here in northern new jersey, some of the hardest areas hit by flooding. this is a national guard truck moving through.
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this flooding over here, this is actually much improved. >> move out of the way! >> reporter: earlier improved today. >> move out of the way! >> reporter: we're going to move out of the way for a minute. what happened here there was a fire at a home and it was believed that it was caused by a gas explosion and fortunately no one was injured in that fire because they had evacuated, but what prompted that was about 35 people in the town, we're told, called in, asking to be rescued and there have been rescued throughout the day, but we took a big picture look at pasaeic county, went up with the new jersey national guard today to get an aerial view of the county. the governor has said about nine rivers have reached or have reached near record levels or in some cases record levels through the northern part of the state, and if you take a look at the
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damage, it is widespread flooding, but it is intermittent, there are some pockets that are fine, and back to normal, and then you go to other parts of the county, where you could see extensive flooding. we spoke with colonel kevin haggerty of the new jersey national guard and he said what he is concerned about most is that some rivers have not yet crested and that waters are continuing to rise. here's what he had to say. >> we expect that we'll have a larger issue as the rivers crest and things become more of a water problem than necessarily a hurricane and a wind problem. >> so the worst isn't over because some of these rivers haven't crested yet. >> that's correct we expect the worst of the flooding remains before us. >> when do you expect that? >> next 24, 48 hours. >> here some of the residents have reported water up to about seven feet in some homes. what is happening now, people are starting to come back.
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as i said the waters are receding so as much water as there is, this is much improved from 24 hours ago, and you know, all these rescues of people coming out today, and there were town officials reported no one has been injured, what they're getting ready to do now is go on to the next towns where the rivers are continuing to rise and crest within 24 hours. wolf? >> mary, that military, looked like a military truck moving towards you, telling you to get out of the way, was that what they were screaming at you? >> yes, that's what they were screaming, bad timing there, wolf. it was the national guard coming through, and there were workers in there, we didn't see any residents in there, but yeah, they were telling us basically to get out of the way. >> which was smart, get out of the way of a big truck like that. >> reporter: exactly. >> thanks, mary. much more on the floods, the devastation caused by irene, that's coming up. also the former vice president dick cheney accused of taking cheap shots at the former secretary of state colin powell,
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and president obama takes on the wrath of hurricane irene, how did he do, that's all in our strategy session, that's coming up. my subaru saved my life. i won't ever forget that. love. it's what makes a subaru, a subaru.
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love. met an old man at the top asked him if he had a secret and the old man stopped and thought and said: free 'cause that's how it ought to be my brother credit 'cause you'll need a loan for one thing or another score 'cause they break it down to one simple number that you can use dot to take a break because the name is kinda long com in honor of the internet that it's on put it all together at the end of the song it gives you freecreditscore-dot-com, and i'm gone... offer applies with enrollment in
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let's get back to the dangerous flooding in vermont. peter shumlin joins us from the state capital of month pepelier. >> wolf, hold on, i've got the president on the other line. >> stand by, we'll get back to the governor of vermont and get a report on hopefully what he's talking about with president obama right now. let's move on and get to our strategy session. the former secretary of state colin powell is blasting dick cheney for shots he says the former vice president is taking at him as well as other former members of the bush administration in a new book that will be released officially tomorrow. >> mr. cheney has had a long and distinguished career and i hope in his book that's what he will focus on not these cheap shots that he's taking at me and other members of the administration
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who served to the best of our ability for president bush. >> the relationship between these two men is the subject also of my "situation room" blog, some of which let me share with you right now, "it was during operation desert shield and operation desert storm that i really got to know the then defense secretary dick cheney and the then chairman of the joint chiefs of staff general colin powell. during these days, they seemed to be a highly efficient team. we used to talk about a cheney-powell doctrine. flash forward to the years following 9/11, things clearly had changed. cheney, of course, was vice president, powell was secretary of state. i began to hear grumblings from their respective aides during those years that things were not necessarily all that smooth between them, no love lost, in fact, i remember one top adviser saying to me. let's talk about this in our strategy session, joining us our two cnn political contributors,
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democratic strategist paul begala from the democratic fund-raising group, priorities usa and priorities usa action and also republican strategist mary matlin used to work for dick cheney. how surprised you about the bitterness that developed between dick cheney and colin powell? >> well, full disclosure, my publishing line from simon and schuster published to the vice president's memoirs in my timeb. i'm confident when he actually reads the book that he won't consider the multiple positive praises for both the secretary and other bush administration officials and, of course, the president himself to be cheap shots. it's not a cheap shot book. chainy is not a cheap-shotter, but i will say this. as you noted, the official rollout isn't until tonight but after the secretary's impassioned interview we shot up
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to number one on amazon nonfiction so we thank him for that. as for the love lost and animus. i've been in the rooms, you've reported on those rooms. when you have the security of the country at stake and the young men and women on the front lines, yeah, you get into those kind of debates. they are not pretty. it's not about love. it's about doing what you think is the best, and i think it would be unusual for men of their stature and experience not to have the kinds of debates that the book is replete with describing. >> full disclosure, in addition to working for dick cheney, you now work for the publisher of his book? >> that is correct. >> so you have an interest in promoting the book which is your job. paul, hold on for a moment. i want you to talk about this as well, but the governor of vermont has just wrapped up a phone conversation with the united states. governor, can you hear me okay right now? >> yes, we're with you. >> okay. good. i don't know if you want to share with us what the president may have said to you, what you
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said to the president, but if you do, this is a good chance to do that. >> well, let me just tell you, wolf, first, my apologies. the president of the united states is the only person that i would put you on hold for. >> that's fine. >> having said that, you know, the president has just been extraordinarily helpful to us as has the entire team in washington. we're facing real challenges here in vermont. this hurricane just dealt us the most severe blow. extensive flooding, loss of life. as you probably know we have already had three fatalities. we're searching for another missing person now, and we have widespread devastation to our infrastructure, roads, bridges, rail, you name it. we've got, it so it real hit the southern end of our state and moved north, and it just really knocked us a hard punch, probably the toughest flooding we've seen in the state of vermont in our history. we've had our hands full and the president has been extraordinarily helpful. >> did you ask anything specific? what did you need the more? >> more resources.
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we have some communities that are entirely isolated, no power, no water no, sewer. they are getting what they can from the local grocery storks but they are running out of the supplies, so, you know, really what we need now is a higher level of services in terms of help than vermont would normally call for. you know, we have really widespread damage to very small communities. you've got to remember. vermont is a lot of beautiful mountains with valleys and small brooks that run into bigger rivers. well, our small brooks have crested, our larger rivers have not so we know that there's more trouble ahead. >> did the president give you a positive response? >> he's just been extraordinary. he really reached out to me and to us. he's sending the fema director up here tomorrow, and he couldn't be more helpful. >> a lot of us were expecting horrendous damage in north carolina, virginia, maryland, new jersey, new york. vermont was not necessarily on our radar screen. was it on yours? >> i've got to say a lot of
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monday northern quarterbacking going on in some of the media. they told us four days ago that we were in the eye of the storm, and by gosh they were right, and while it hit slightly farther to the west than they predicted, you know, it was within the range, and they said you're going to get extraordinary flooding, and so we -- we prepared for the worst and hoped for the best, and we got dealt the worst. you know, we've had -- obviously my heart goes out to the families who have lost their loved ones in the state. we're still searching for one other young man, and we have widespread damage. a lot of seniors and low-income people living in shelters lost their homes. we have had to evacuate our entire state hospital, our most vulnerable population. the list goes on and on, so we lots of challenges here and we'll dig our way through it. the great thing about vermonters is we're resilient, take care of each other and we have a great sense of community. >> i love vermont. you have a beautiful state.
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good luck to you and all the folks in vermont. we're praying for you and wishing you all the only. >> thanks, wolf. appreciate your support. >> thank you, governor peter shumlin, the governor of vermont. much more on the hurricane and disaster that has occurred. that's coming up later. we'll also get back to paul begala around mary matalin. much more to discuss with them when we come back. it's not just good for business -- it's good for the entire community. at bank of america, we know the impact that local businesses have on communities, so we're helping them with advice from local business experts and extending $18 billion in credit last year. that's how we're helping set opportunity in motion.
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let's get back to our strategy session. joining us once again is mary matalin, paul begala, our cnn political contributors. we just heard mary say what she said, paul, that this is not such a big deal, this animus, the hatred maybe that appears to have developed, at least on the surface, between colin powell and dick cheney. what do you think? >> well, i -- free advice to mr. cheney. when you're a moral midget like mr. cheney, is don't pick a fight with a real man of towering integrity like colin powell. it's a mismatch. the vice president cheney, the useful thing about this book, and i'm glad mary published, it
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because it allows us to have an honest debate about the cheney record and bush/cheney record. this is the record. ignored the al qaeda threat before 9/11. warned by national security professionals like richard clarke and others and ignored t.supposed to chair a task force on terrorism and he did nothing. he was warned by his own treasury secretary paul o'neill the policies he was putting in place would explode the deficit and he said, and i quote, deficits don't matter and he helped mislead us into the war in iraq. said we would be greeted at liberators and gave credence to the myth that saddam was involved in 9/11 and says that saddam has constituted nuclear weapons, all that have false, so i'm asking my followers on twitter where i'm at was dick cheney the worst vice president in history or just maybe the second or third? >> matter, go ahead and respond. no, i'm not responding. that is to colin powell is watching, that's a cheap shot. there's not one correct,
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factually correct statement in that litany so i quit listening. paul, i love you, you're my friend. i'm embarrassed for you, been i'm going to send you a free autographed copy of the book, and then you have a conversation. >> and i want to -- we don't have time now, guys, but i want to continue this conversation. in a few days when you both have had a chance. mary has read the book. paul you'll take a closer look at the book. i want you to come back and i'm going to interview dick chain' week from tomorrow. much more on this story coming up. thanks, paul and mary. they disagree. not surprising. and you're in "the situation room." happening now, deadly flooding, the worst in decades ravaging large portions of a small state. vermont is reeling in the aftermath of hurricane irene. also, relatives of moammar gadhafi flee libya. a wife and some of his children are now said to be in algeria, while another son is reported killed in battle. and new signs of a shakeup in
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the republican race for the white house with texas governor rick perry now soaring to a double digit lead over his closest rivals. we want to well comour viewers in the united states and around the world. breaking news and political head loins all straight ahead. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." this storm has gone, but the effects of hurricane irene are lingering, especially in vermont. you're looking at video of the worst flooding the small rural state has seen since 1927. the governor peter shumlin says, and i'm quoting now, just devastating. look at the water pouring over one of vermont's iconic covered bridges. he says whole communities are inundated along with hundreds of roads and countless acres of crops. across the state, torrents of water have been surging past homes and businesses and posing a deadly threat.
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three deaths confirmed in vermont. the governor says he's certain that number will climb. president obama, meanwhile, is promising help to storm victims there and all along the east coast. >> we're continuing to deal with the impact and the aftermath of hurricane irene. as i said yesterday, we're going to make sure folks have all the support they need as they begin to assess and repair the damage left by the storm. that's going to continue in the days ahead. it's going to take time to recover from a storm of this magnitude. the effects are still being felt across much of the country, including in new england and states like vermont where there's been an enormous amount of flooding. so our response continues, but i'm going to make sure that fema and other agencies are doing everything in their power to help people on the ground. >> cnn's amber lyon is in bratt brattleboro, vermont. set the scene for us once again, amber. a horrible situation in vermont.
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the governor tells me it's probably the worst flooding ever in that state. >> reporter: yeah, that's right, wolf, and the governor is also saying that although the weather out here right now is beautiful, we're not seeing any rain, they are conducting active search and rescues for people they believe to have fallen into rivers that are continuing to crest. also they say there still is active flooding going on in low-logue areas, and here in this town i think something that upset the residents the most is the loss of historic buildings, bridges, roads, including this one. take a look at this. this is an artist studio this. building is about 150 years old. they had yoga studios in there and people would do carpentry and also a medication center. look at the yellow tape and the boarded up windows this. building has been condemocrat i'm going to show you why. this is something happening in a lot of areas of this state. look over here on this edge. can you see where this brook, this is a brook normally. this is where kids play. it's about four times wider than
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usual, and yesterday it became a raging river and tore through here and then knocked out the bottom half of this building. the owner of the building had a woodworking shop under there, but as of now residents are just kind of sitting here watching in amazing waiting for this to possibly collapse. something else that people are worried about is how people are going to -- if people are going to enter these water and how they are going to react to the current flooding situation. it -- it definitely stinks out here, wolf. there's a steuer line that busted about a mile north of here, and you can smell that -- the remnants of that this this water, as well as about two blocks from here an area of the town is cordoned off because residents were smelling what they say smelled like gas from propane tanks that were taken away by the waters. so the governor says he's urging people to stay home, not go out and sightsee and try to stay in your homes. you know, unless it's an
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absolute emergency. especially on these roads because some of the roads may appear to be safe, but the underneath the ground was washed away by the rivers, and -- and they are just not strong enough to -- to hold a car, wolf. >> and i -- you've been speaking to average vermonters. what are they saying to you about how long this might last, this situation like this? >> reporter: they are -- they are in shock now, wolf. they say vermont is a mountain state. it's north. they don't get hit by tropical storms, and -- and they are really nervous because so many roads are blown out and flooded now that they are not going to have electricity and running water for -- for what could be weeks from now. we've talked to the residents just right across the street from here. they don't have electric. they don't have running water, and -- and they are worried as to when that's going to be turned back on. >> are they saying, amber, they were adequately prepared and adequately warned by authority of what was going to happen? >> reporter: well, they were. we spoke with a man who said --
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we haven't heard anyone said they didn't feel like they weren't warned. spoke with a member of the search-and-rescue team. he said he had to go out and rescue two dozen people who didn't listen to the warnings, didn't listen to the evacuation orders and chose to stay in their homes, and although these people weren't out driving on the streets or walking, the floodwaters came up to their homes and they had to be rescued, literally plucked out of their living rooms or -- or from the second levels of their homes because the water was pouring in so quickly, wolf. >> amber lyon on the scene for us. amber, thanks very much. let's stay in vermont right now, the unfolding disaster in that state is huge. we're joined on the phone by the state's independent senator bernie sanders. he's in the cap lutolf montpelier. senator, thanks very much. first of all, our condolences to you, to all the people in vermont, for the fatalities. have you ever seen anything like this in your state? >> no, we haven't. there -- i'm not an historian, wolf, but there are some who believe that this is the worst
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natural disaster to hit the state since the 1927 floods. three people are dead. one person is missing: we're talking about hundreds of road closures. you're talking about the rail lines being shut down. the state office complex being shut down. many hundreds of homes, some of which i visited today have been flooded. the state plex, the state office workers complex, where most state workers are located, is new non-functional, so we've got some serious problems. >> were the people of vermont adequately warned about this disaster? >> yeah. i think they were. the problem is what could not have been anticipated is that six to eight inches of rain fell in a very short period of time, and -- and brooks suddenly became, you know, raging rivers and that caused the damage, but i think the state did an
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excellent job in telling people to be aware of all possibilities. >> what about the federal government? who you are they handling vermont? >> very well so far. the fema people are here. they are coordinating activities with the state emergency people. i've just been on the phone with the secretary of transportation who promises us help. my understanding is that the governor has been in touch with the president so we expect strong cooperation between the feds and vermont. you know, we are a small state and while nobody at this point can assess the damage, you're talking tens and tens and tens of millions of dollars of damage, if not more than that, so for a small state this is going to be not only a terrible human burden in the sense of people. area of waterbury, vermont, where, you know, all of the basements were flooded, first floors were flooded. people can't live in them. electricity is out. businesses are shut down.
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it will have an economic impact. people without electricity, tens of thousands of homes without electricity, so this is, you know, for this small state that does not get hit by these types of things very often, this is pretty devastating. >> yeah. who would have thought a tropical storm, as amber lyon said, could devastate vermont of all places. normally you think about north carolina, florida, louisiana. >> right. >> but vermont not necessarily. one final question, senator, before i let you go. it's a political question. what do you say to reach can congressman ron paul who is a republican presidential candidate, libertarian, who says you know what, the federal government should get out of the fema business. it has no responsibility in dealing with issues like that? >> well, i've known ron paul for many years. i like ron paul, but on these issues he's completely out to lunch and i would suggest to ron to come to vermont and talk to people who are really hurting who need help. we are a nation. we're not 50 individual states, and when there were terrible disasters that hit louisiana or earthquakes that hit other parts
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of our country or tornadoes that hit the midwest, everybody in this country understands that as americans we stand together so that's what america is about, and vermont stands with other states when they are in trouble and other states will stand with us. that's what a nation -- that's what being a nation is about, wolf. >> good luck to all the people in vermont, senator sanders. >> thank you. >> appreciate you joining us. >> thank you very much. >> take care. >> one of the biggest challenges ahead of hurricane irene will be moving critically ill hospital patients out of the potential flood zones, but now some patients and hospital officials are finding out that evacuation may be easier than opening back up. let's check in with our senior medical correspondent elizabeth cohen. what's going on here, especially the folks with life-threatening conditions and they are dealing with a hurricane disaster on top of all of that? >> wolf, we've been in contact with the five hospitals that had to evacuate patients over the weekend. we're told that they are now doing just fine.
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>> on friday night they ship the patients out. on monday morning they brought them back in to five hospitals in new york city. eileen findlay's brother was being treated for brain cancer when he got the news he had to leave. >> it just feels like what else can you throw into this. bad enough having to live with this diagnosis and trying to get the medical help and then, you know, it's just every -- everything that you try to do. you just keep getting slapped back down. >> reporter: at new york university medical center, the hospital was almost completely empty over the weekend. on a busy night there are usually about 50 people in this emergency room and i can tell you it's kind of eerie in here. there's no patients. you don't have doctors, no nurses, no nothing. they are completely shut down. but the hospital did keep six patients who were so critically ill that moving them might have killed them.
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elaine and other nurses stayed to take care of them. >> it went seamlessly. able to provide all the services we would normally provide on any day. >> reporter: the staff trains for disasters year round and knows what to do. >> we have walkie-talkie systems so if the phones did go out we could get the command center. >> reporter: during the storm nyu suffered water damage and parts of the hospital lost power from con edison and one of the reasons why opening back up is harder than evacuating. it will take days to clean the up and bring the patients back in. >> do the hospitals in new york that evacuate d the critically ill patients believe they made the right decision? >> reporter: they are all over the map. one said mayor bloomberg made the right decision, could thing they evacuated even though they
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didn't need to and a nursing home executive said he was upset he had to? he said some of the places that the patients were sent took on flooding so he was very upset he had to take patients away. >> hindsight all smarter than before the fact. thanks very much, elizabeth cohen doing very good reporting for us. at the height of the emergency one police department felt victim to irene's floodwaters forcing officers to fend for themselves and dramatic developments in libya as relatives of moammar gadhafi flee the country and the lockerbie bomber near death. stay with us. we're in "the situation room." have i got a surprise for you! a mouthwatering combination of ingredients...
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relatives of moammar gadhafi are now fleeing libya. his wife, a daughter, two sons,
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some grand children are now in neighboring algeria. that's the word from diplomats in algeria. another son reportedly killed in battle, according to a senior rebel commander. our senior international correspondent nic robertson is in tripoli and is joining us now live. nic, other dramatic developments that you're picking up exclusively? >> reporter: indeed, wolf. first of all, if we look at this killing, the rebels say they have killed him. take that with a pinch of salt. be very careful. a week ago the rebels said they captured two of gadhafi's sons. the rebels admit they were lying to put fear into gadhafi loyalists to put down their weapons. afford no evidence of the killing of cami. that could be part of their ongoing psychological warfare operations against gadhafi loyalist.
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gadhafi's family fleeing. the national transitional council has told algeria, and algeria still sees moammar gadhafi as the leader here. the national transitional council have said that they want moammar gadhafi's family back, and if they don't get them back to put them on trial, they will say this by algeria as an act of aggressi aggression, they say, against the will of the people of libya, so the national transitional council taking this very, very seriously with their neighbor algeria here. they want gadhafi's family back, wolf. >> nic, you have a worldwide exclusive report that you broke here on cnn involving the convicted lockerbie bomber who was received as a hero when scotland and britain sent him back to -- to libya. tell us what you discovered, how you discovered it, because you've done some amazing reporting for us. >> reporter: wolf, this is one guy who might have some of the best kept secrets on who was actually responsible in the leadership here for authorizing the downing of pan am flight 103
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back in 1988. we knew that. we knew that he might speak out after gadhafi had left the city so we went to try to find him, and we found him in the neighborhood, right here in tripoli, wolf. we found abdel baset al megrahi's villa in an up market part of town. at least six security cameras and floodlights outside. this is megrahi's house and where he's been living for the last couple of years. going to knock on the door and see if we can get any answer. hello. for 15 minutes or so, nothing. i'm not sure if they have heard me so let's try the last-ditch means which is just shout over the wall. hello. hello, hello. >> then, all of a sudden, someone comes. nothing prepares me for what i see. megrahi apparently in a coma. his aging mother at his side.
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>> if you see, his body is weak. >> reporter: he had been expect it had die almost two years ago, but convicted pan am flight 103 bomber abdel baset al megrahi lives. and this isn't how he looked when he released from a scottish jail two years ago. he came home to a hero's welcome, freed on compassionate grounds because doctors said he'd be dead in three months. almost immediately he began renovating this palatial house, money no object. it doesn't take long walking around this building before you begin to realize, and looking at the marble here on these expensive fittings, to realize that it appears megrahi was being paid off handsomely for all those years he spent in jail. in the two decades since the bomb exploded on board pan am
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flight 103 over lockerbie killing 270 passengers, crew and townspeople, it seemed the secret of the attack would die with the bombers. megrahi always maintained he was innocent. just a month ago in a rare public sighting moammar gadhafi had him literally wheeled out for a pro-government rally. i'm seeing him now for the first time in two years. he appears to be just a shell of the man he was, far sicker than he appeared before. has he been able to see a doctor? >> no. there is no doctor, and there is nobody to ask, and we don't have any phone line to call anybody. >> reporter: what's his situation right now? >> he stop eating, and he sometimes is come in coma. >> reporter: so he's unconscious? >> yes. >> we just sit next to him.
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>> reporter: all that's keeping him alive, they say, oxygen and a fluids drip. i ask about demands he return to jail in scotland. >> my dad, he's still -- if you send him to scotland, he will die by the way, here or there. >> reporter: do you know how long he has left? >> nobody can know how long he will stay alive. nobody knows. >> reporter: it seems i've arrived too late. he's apparently in no state to talk. whatever secrets he has may soon be gone. now some of the former government officials here might also have details and know exactly who planned and who authorized the bombing of pan am flight 103, but if they were to speak out now they might implicate themselves. megrahi really seems to have nothing to lose in pointing the finger of blame at others, wolf. >> and when you saw him there, it looks like he's obviously near death. some have raised questions
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whether this was staged or anything like that. did you get the sense that there was possible that they staged this for -- for the tv cameras? what was your impression, nic? >> reporter: you know, wolf, when you walk into a situation like that, you've always got to be aware of that, and that was the forefront of my mind, and although i was sort of filming and talking to the family and i was in the room with him for perhaps six or seven minutes, i -- and i was checking for that, you can't really do what a doctor would do which is feel a pulse and take a temperature and get a really close look, but the way the family acted, they were very tense, nervous. there was a real air of sadness. there was a stillness in the room. he didn't move. i've been back to check the videotape. his eyes didn't flutter. they could have staged this. it could have been very carefully done, but when i looked at how thin his arms were and how paper thin his skin seemed to be, he does seem to be a man that's very sick. the sort of caveat there is he
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hasn't had a treatment from doctor for perhaps more than a week, about ten days, that he isn't eating food so perhaps with proper medical care he could revive a little bit, but he seems to be a man who is on we don't know how quickly but does seem to be a man going downhill, wolf. >> and the acting libyan justice minister i take it sin sifting that even if he were healthy, he would not be extradited to scotland or england or any place else, is that right? >> that's right. and the logic behind, that apart from the fact that this is a new government and still trying to find their way forward because the afterwards somebody from the national transitional council said maybe a new government would make a different decision, we'll see further down the line, but right now the national transition council needs to win the support of megrahi's tribe. it's a big influential tribe. that's why gadhafi went to so much trouble to get megrahi back to libya, and right now the national transitional council
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wants his tribe, megrahi's tribe on board to form a new government, and if they were to say hey, send him back to scotland to finish his jail sentence, you can forget getting the megrahi's tribe on board. there's something political about this as well. wolf. >> nic robertson doing outstanding reporting for us. thanks very, very much. elsewhere in the region in israel, search people have been injured in a stabbing spree. it happened early this morning in tel aviv. israeli police say a palestinian man stole a taxi and crashed it near a popular nightclub. he then jumped out of the vehicle with a knife in his hand and started stabbing people. four officers, three passersby were wounded before he was captured. new poll numbers show a clear shift in the republican presidential race as one candidate surges to a double-digit lead. and president obama's uncle under arrest in massachusetts. we're going to tell you what he's accused of doing. stay with us, you're in "the situation room."
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rick perry is leading the pack of republican presidential hopefuls. our brand new cnn poll shows 32% of republicans surveyed want the texas governor to be their party's nominee next year. that's a double-digit lead over former massachusetts governor mitt romney who comes in with 18%, congresswoman michele bachmann gets 12%. perry's style is clearly appealing to many republicans, but it's not without controversy. cnn's ed lavandera has more. >> i realize that the united states of america -- >> rick perry is described as a brash calculating politician but not above ending a satellite interview with a houston tv
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station a few years ago with this bomb. >> atos, mofo. >> reporter: adios mofo make an instant snapshot. it inspired t-shirts and coffee mugs. ray sullivan has spent more than ten years working with the governor. he says perry is a fun small town guy. what you see is what you get. >> the american people don't want robots. they don't want sound bite. they want spokes who speak from the heart, and that's what rick perry has always done. >> reporter: critics say behind closed doors the governor can be vindictive and divisive. >> he's smart. he's agrace iace -- aggressive focused on winning election,s. >> reporter: mike villareal was elected as a state representative at the same time that perry became governor and says perry rarely gets involved in the nitty-gritty details of policy. >> he delegates out responsibility to governing. governing decisions are largely driven by political polls, and -- and he keeps his sights
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set on winning the next election, and -- and so i -- i wouldn't consider him dumb on governan governance. i just think that's not his priority. >> perry sets a clear agenda, rolls up his sleeve and gets to work taking his message to the people. >> reporter: during rick perry's tenure as governor there's a long trail of stories saying campaign donors have received preferential treatment, been awarded lucrative state contracts or awarded to government positions. critics say the governor has created a pay-to-play political culture in texas. is the governor guilty that have? >> rick perry is the most scrutinized, analyzed, probed elected official probably in texas history. he's been very transparent. >> reporter: in last year's texas governor's race perry's opponent called him part-time perry. the attack came after the governor's official schedule suggested several dozen days without state business, and a working week averaging just seven hours in the first half of
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2010. perry says he works around the clock. >> i've been the governor for ten years, and if there -- if they have made anybody that can outwork me yet, please introduce me to him or her. >> reporter: even his staunch et political adversaries offer this warning, rick perry doesn't lose elections and should never be underestimated. et lavandera, cnn, dallas. >> let's dig deep we are our chief political analyst gloria borger. what's driving perry's rise, gloria? >> i think this gives you a sense of how unsettled the republican field really is. he just jumped into the race a couple weeks ago. already he's at top of the polls, but he has a wide appeal, and that is he speaks to tea party voters. he speaks to fiscal conservatives, and he speaks to the all-important evangelical voters. there was an analysis done by "the national journal" based on 2008 exit polls. let's take a look at, that and it shows that evangelical
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christians are 44% of all republican primary voters. they don't often get their candidates to the nomination. look at huckabee last time around, but they can be a great impediment if they don't like you. and if you look at perry's support among evangelical voters, it's twice what mitt romney has so that's a problem. >> that's not per's only appeal. >> no, it isn't. he does speak to the fiscal conservatives. he does speak to tea partiers. he has a job growth story to tell in the state of texas and also, wolf, and this can't be underestimated, he sounds a little different from the other candidates. he's somebody who says i speak the truth. of course, as we've learned, that can get him in some trouble, as when he called ben bernanke the chairman of the fed treasonness, there was some backlash amongst republicans so he's got to watch that as he continues this race, but i do think he's had a way of differentiating himself in this field so far. >> and it's fair to say in the
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early states. >> absolutely. >> iowa, new hampshire, south carolina, evangelical voters are key. >> well, iowa and south carolina in particular. let's take a look at our exit polls from 2008. evangelicals or born again christians were 60% of iowa caucus-goers and south carolina primary voters. but, and this is a big but, in the state of new hampshire they were only 23% of the new hampshire voters, and that's, of course, one reason why someone like john mccain, who is not particularly appealing to evangelicals won in the state of new hampshire. >> what i hear you saying is maybe perry could win iowa, not necessarily win new hampshire. >> right. >> but go on and win south carolina. >> you have mitt romney doing very well in new hampshire. could you have perry doing very well in south carolina, and iowa. and by the way, that's michele bachmann's big problem right now because she and perry are competing for the same voters. >> you're filling in for john
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king at top of the hour. >> i am. >> for our north american viewers. what can we anticipate? >> of course, as you've been talking about all day today, wolf, we will talk about the developments in libya. it's also the sixth anniversary of hurricane katrina. we will talk about the lessons learned from hurricane katrina as it -- and hurricane irene, and we'll see the differences in the way the federal government and the state governments reacted. >> important lessons to be learned indeed. >> absolutely. look forward to seeing it. thanks, welcome back. >> thank you. at the white house, the focus is on the economy, as it should be. ahead of a major new jobs initiative in the coming week, we're told, maybe next week. today the president nominated the princeton university economics professor allen kruger to head the council of economic advisers. >> he brings a wealth of knowledge to the job, a leading economist and for two decades he
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studied economic policy both inside ant outside of government. in the iffers two years of this administration as we were dealing with the effects of a complex and fast moving financial crisis, a crisis that threatened a second great depression his counsel as chief economist as the treasury department proved invaluable. >> let's bring in our chief white house correspondent jessica yellin. want to talk about alan kruger in a moment. let me talk about what the president might say in his major speech. i think it's supposed to come next week. i don't have an exact date. maybe you do already. are you getting new substance of what he's going to say? >> wolf, there are -- they are holding the details tight, but they are setting expectations very high. they have confirmed it will be next week and suggested that they actually haven't set a date themselves yet which is why we don't know it. today in the briefing, jay carney, the press secretary here, wolf, said that they expect that this jobs program
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will have substantial measurable impact on both the economy and on the unemployment picture if congress chooses to pass it in completion. the president is calling for quick action on this plan, once it's introduced. again, very high expectations and karcarney said this is a pl republicans should get behind. >> it's not a political package because it's precisely the opposite of it. we're talking about september of 2011, more than a year before the next election. this package will be focused precisely on job creation and economic growth. it will be made up of components that should have, based on historical experience, bipartisan support. >> reporter: but, wolf, so far there is no evidence that the white house has consulted with republicans on capitol hill about what is in the package, even though there are expectations it's targeted tax cuts, investment and infrastructure, et cetera, and the republicans i've spoken with
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are already voicing skepticism that this package will be far-reaching enough to have any meaningful impact on the long-term problems that are caution our unemployment, wolf. >> what do we know about the new chairman of the council of the economic advisers, professor alan krueger, replace iing aust goolsbee. >> reporter: while he's going through the nomination process he couldn't be involved in the jobs process. he's an expert in labor issues, the very kind of topics that affect unemployment and a very familiar face around here. served in the treasury department under tim geithner and also in the clinton administration so he joins a team of folks, senior advisers on his economic team that all worked together in the past, in the clinton administration and know each other very well and will rejoin one another to serve president obama here working ahead to solve this jobs problem for president obama in the coming year. >> we look forward to the president's speech next week and the substance of it.
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it's going to be a critically important speech for this president. jessica thanks very, very much. thousands of people flee hurricane irene's floodwaters including police in one new jersey town. the chief this recounts how they had to scrabbmble to escape at e height of emergency. plus, president obama's uncle arrested. we're learning new details. , my. should i scratch it? he's so cute, scratching would just turn him off. maybe i'll...oops. [ scratching ] that's better. [ female announcer ] there's a better way to relieve an itchy scalp. new head and shoulders itchy scalp care shampoo and conditioner, with eucalyptus. its formula immediately soothes and delivers long-lasting protection between washes. leaving hair manageable. new head and shoulders itchy scalp care with eucalyptus. respect the scalp. love the hair. and see katie before she goes home. [ male announcer ] with integrated healthcare solutions from dell, every file is where dr. ling needs it. now she can spend more time with patients and less time on paperwork.
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no one is immune to the flooding that hurricane irene has caused, especially in the northeast. take a look at this military truck that appears to be floating down the street in manville, new jersey, but the soldiers are still inside. they had to scramble to safety. police faced a similar situation not far away in the town of cranford. cnn's jeanne meserve is there and joins us now live. jeanne, what happened there? >> reporter: well, wolf, i'm at a residential area of cranford right now. it probably doesn't look too bad to you now, but we have k show you a photograph what have it
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looked like almost exactly 24 hours ago. the waters here have receded, as they have many places, but thousands of homes and thousands of businesses have been impacted, and they aren't the only ones. this soggy mess was the home of the cranford new jersey police department. not now. >> there was like a river running through here during the height of the storm. >> reporter: early sunday morning the rain spawned by irene sent the nearby river spilling far beyond its banks. when the police department realized it was threatened, officers scrambled to remove records and equipment. >> we did not have enough time. the water came up so quickly and cape into the back of the building so quickly that we had to evacuate ourselves >> reporter: town was in emergency with widespread flooding and downed trees. with the police department communications equipment destroyed 911 calls had to be rerouted to the fire department and the neighboring town.
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the police department scrambled to set up shop in a mobile command center provided by the county. in about two hours it was back in business, though some of the township's 50 or so officers were among those whose homes had been flood. >> very resilient. all of our officers have been out here since the -- the hurricane arrived in our community. they are all energized and working very hard for the community. >> reporter: but the community will pay a price. the chief estimates it will take more than $1 million to clean up the mess irene left in his department's headquarters. and wolf, this is the scene throughout this part of new jersey. you see people sifting through their belongings that got wet. here they are trying to dry out some family photographs. the overall cost in terms of money, in terms of memories, absolutely incalculable. wolf, back to you. >> a lot of heartbreaking stories all over the northeast, the mid-atlantic states. thank you very much. president obama's uncle
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being held without bail after being arrested in massachusetts. we'll tell you what's going on, and a new study shows if you're on a cholesterol-reducing drug there, could, repeat could, be unintended effects and those side effects could help you live longer. stay with us here in "the situation room." it's salonpas. this is the relief i've been looking for. salonpas has 2 powerful pain fighting ingredients that work for up to 12 hours. and my pharmacist told me it's the only otc pain patch approved for sale using the same rigorous clinical testing that's required for prescription pain medications. proven. powerful. safe. salonpas. ♪ got so many scratches and scars ♪ ♪ maybe time can mend us together again ♪ ♪ it's not what we've done but how far we've come ♪
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an obama administration official is confirming that the president's uncle was arrested last week for allegedly driving under the influence. onyango obama is the half brother of the president's father. a police official in framingham, massachusetts, says he was arrested wednesday after allegedly failing several field sobriety tests. he's reportedly being held without bail at the request of the immigration customs enforcement agency. rush is postponing the launch of a manned sideways craft, and that may have serious implications for the space station. lisa sylvester is monitoring that and the other top stories in "the situation room." what's going on here, lisa. >> reporter: hi there, wolf. plans to use a russian spacecraft to carry astronauts to the space station in late september are being pushed back for about a month. the postponement comes after an accident caused an unmanned
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russian cargo craft to crash shortly after launch last week. a nasa official says the delay could mean the space station might have ton temporarily abandoned later this year. federal authorities are searching for former nba player javaris crittenton in connection with the murder of a woman in atlanta earlier this monthch he's the suspect in a drive-by shooting on august 19th that resulted in the woman's death. fbi officials say he may be in los angeles. crittenton has been out of the nba since 2010 when he was suspended for a gun-related incident involving washington wizards teammate gilbert arenas. and polygamist leader an convicted sex offender warren jeffs is in critical condition after falling ill during a fast in a texas prison. jeffs was sentenced to life in prison, plus 20 years earlier this month for sexual assault. a prison official says he was sent to a hospital sunday night. a new european study finds that cholesterol-lowering medications can help reduce
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deaths for more than just cardio vascular disease. the new research indicates that the drugs known as statins may significantly reduce deaths from infection and respiratory illness. the findings come from follow-up research on subjects who took part in a 2003 study, but some experts are questioning the reliability of this type of retrospective research. wolf? >> so if you're caking crestor or lipitor or some of these statins, it may have some other effects besides reducing your cholesterol. >> exactly. more positive effects. they will have to do more research because it was a more what happens. >> some more research. some unpleasant surprises in the wake of hurricane irene. we'll answer questions about insurance that countless homeowners are facing right now. plus, we'll give you this storm as seen by one of the youngest and cutest reporters. >> raining.
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lucky homeowners up and down the east coast are taking a close look at their insurance policies in the wake of hurricane irene. and they better read those
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policies closely. cnn's lisa sylvester is joining us once again. information you have that that every homeowner should know about. >> yeah, absolutely, wolf. you can see the picture, the images, the water, the raging rivers. a big question are people actually covered, will they have money from the insurance company to rebuild and repair their homes? and it hinges on whether or not they have the straight insurance policies or if they have flood insurance. if they have flood insurance they're in good shape, however, so many people do not have flood insurance. they have the straight home homeowner's policy. we can show you, the source of this, a scenario of a 2,000 square foot, just a foot of water, you can see how the costs add up quickly. $2,600 for cleaning. almost $3,000 for dry wall. you can see how this adds up. we can go to the bottom again. this is just a 2,000-square foot
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house. we are talking about $52,000, more than $52,000 that might have to go out of pocket. what's happening in these days and the weeks ahead is you'll have claims adjusters who will be going over, trying to figure out if damage was caused by the storm, by the wind or whether it was caused by flooding. but there is a general rule of thumb here. >> when the water rises from below, such as a river or a lake or a stream that's overflowing or storm surge from the ocean that is all considered flooding. if you have water that enters from above, through say wind that has stripped some of the tiles off of your roof or blown in a window, and then you have wind-driven rain that brings water into your house, that is covered. but if it comes from below it's a flood and it is not. >> that's the general rule as it's the below, if it comes up from below it's considered flooding. if it comes from inside, it's --
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now we have the different scenarios. if a tree falls is that covered? it's going to depend. if it falls on a striucture, it is likely going to be covered. if your house is uninhabitable, it will be covered there. evacuations, that's maybe what you want to check your policy there. spoiled food is actually generally covered but it's limited to about $200 or $500 or so, wolf. >> we'll watch all of this closely with you. thanks very much, lisa sylvester reporting. good information. homeowners need to know about their insurance policies. over the weekend you probably saw the tv reporters riding out the storm live on came camera, but you may not have caught this 5-year-old cnni reporter. >> i definitely feel it -- for toys, say two. toys ! the system can't process your response at this time. what ? please call back between 8 and 5 central standard time.
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here's something that helped a lot of us smile even in the midst of irene's rampage. this amazing 5-year-old, cnn-i reporter. >> reporting from lewistown, pennsylvania. the rain is coming down more than it was before. the wind is probably going faster. i think this is just the starting of it.