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FEMA Deploys 5,000 Workers in Florida to Aid in Cleanup from Hurricane Jeanne; Presidential Healthcare; "90-Second Pop"
Aired September 27, 2004 - 09:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Just about half past the 9:00 hour now on this AMERICAN MORNING. I'm Heidi Collins, in for Soledad.
RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Rick Sanchez, in for Bill.
In Florida, FEMA has now the largest relief mission of its history. Coming up, we're going to go back to Florida, recovering from Hurricane Jeanne. Also, we're going to hear from FEMA's director about how the agency is trying to get their job done.
COLLINS: Yes, no kidding. Five thousand people they've said they've deployed. I mean, that's an awful lot.
Also, Sanjay Gupta is going to be with us in a few minutes with the first part of his series on the health of the president. Apparently nothing left to chance, even if it means loading up a mobile hospital and taking it on certain presidential trips. Sanjay will tell us all about that in just a few minutes.
SANCHEZ: And let's check in now on some of the stories that's making news. And Carol Costello handling that for us. She's at the CNN Center. Carol, to you.
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you, Rick.
The Pakistani city of Karachi is on red alert this morning following the death of a suspected top al Qaeda operative. Amjad Hussain Farooqi was killed in a shoot-out yesterday, and authorities are concerned about retaliation for his death. Pakistani police are increasing security around foreign consulates and government offices. Farooqi was a suspect in the death of "Wall Street Journal" reporter Daniel Pearl.
Some new information this hour about where top al Qaeda leaders may be hiding. The U.S. commander of coalition forces tells Reuters News Agency it is unlikely Osama bin Laden will be found in Afghanistan. The lieutenant general says al Qaeda figures are more comfortable in regions where they're protected by foreign fighters, such as Pakistan.
And another week of testimony from the lead detective in the Scott Peterson trial. Defense attorneys will continue their cross- examination of detective Craig Grogan today. The defense wants to show that police focused on Peterson from the beginning and have not found any evidence implicating him in the crime. And the term mudslinging took on a literal meaning last night in storm-ravaged Florida. The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Miami Dolphins weathered the rain and the muddy turf spawned by Hurricane Jeanne at Pro Player Stadium. At times, the game looked more like mud wrestling than football. The game was a sellout, but the turnout certainly did not reflect it. Dolphins fans didn't miss much, though -- the Steelers won 13-3. And Rick, Miami -- well, Miami didn't look very good.
SANCHEZ: Stop rubbing it in.
COSTELLO: Sorry. It's so bad.
SANCHEZ: ... nice. Have we known each other long for you to do this to me on the air?
COSTELLO: Listen, I'm a Detroit Lions fan. I can make fun of anyone.
SANCHEZ: Your team is really good this year.
COSTELLO: Oh, well, they weren't Sunday. They're 2-1, though.
SANCHEZ: Yeah, thanks, Carol.
SANCHEZ: Let's go back to Jeanne now. A tropical storm moving through Georgia and the Carolinas. But once again, Florida took the brunt of the impact.
Jeanne is the fourth hurricane to hit Florida in six weeks -- first time a state's been hit by four hurricanes in one storm season. All big powerful hurricanes, by the way. This is since Texas, and that happened back in 1886.
First there was Charley. It made landfall in Punta Gorda, Florida, as a Category 4 storm on August 13th. With Charley's 145- mile-an-hour winds, it caused more than $7 billion in damages in the United States and killed at least 31 people.
Then came Frances, which came ashore as a Category 3 storm September 5th and, like Charley, battered the peninsula. Then Frances 120-mile-per-hour winds caused more than $4 billion in damages in the United States and at least 33 deaths.
And then after a slow crawl through the Gulf of Mexico, Ivan arrived as a strong Category 3 on September 16th. And when it came ashore in the Alabama/Florida border, it was packing 130-mile-per-hour winds. It's blamed for $3 to $6 billion in damages and at least 43 deaths.
And now Jeanne, hitting Florida near where Frances did, this time though as a Category 3 instead of a Category 2 storm. It happened late Saturday. It arrived with 120-mile-per-hour winds, has caused an estimated $4 to $8 billion or more in damages here in the United States. And Jeanne is responsible for more than 1,500 deaths in total, most of them in Haiti.
COLLINS: The Federal Emergency Management Agency has responded to storm-ravaged Florida with the largest deployment ever. And this man -- you've seen a lot of him lately -- Michael Brown, he's the agency's director.
Michael, I know that you spent so much time in Florida. But this time around, tell me what FEMA's greatest needs are at this point.
MICHAEL BROWN, FEMA DIRECTOR: Just for the teams to be able to get into some of these areas that have been hit time and time again, it's so frustrating for our teams. And we have over 5,000 people deployed trying to do recovery efforts.
And we move into an area, then we have to move out because of additional storms. If we could just have a two- or three-week period where we could just get down here and stay down here, we could make an awful lot of progress.
COLLINS: Michael, I want to go ahead and quickly listen to something that Governor Jeb Bush said yesterday, talking about his confidence that the state will have the ability to recover. Listen to this.
GOV. JEB BUSH (R), FLORIDA: I can honestly say that, a year from now, in spite of what's happened in the last six weeks, we will -- we will be stronger and we will be better because of what we've gone through.
COLLINS: How much time and money do you think it's going to take to get the people of Florida back to where they were before this whole season started?
BROWN: Well, let me tell you, Governor Bush is right on point. This state will make it through this. President Bush tells this wonderful story about having been to a small community where he and I toured a neighborhood that was totally devastated, and we vowed to come back a year later. And we came back and they were stronger and they were better.
And I think it's going to happen in Florida, too. We will be here as long as it takes. We will spend whatever it takes, as we do in any state, in any county in this country that gets devastated like this. So, we're here for the long haul. If that costs billions of dollars, that's what Congress has given us to do, we will spend that wisely. We will help Florida recover.
COLLINS: All right. And quickly, Michael, I know that people of Florida will be very, very happy to hear that. But when we're talking about this loss of power, which seems to be one of the major concerns right now, and it could be as long as three weeks before power comes back, how much tougher does it make it for you to get to the supplies that people need there? And are there generators available? What can be done to help out with that situation in particular? BROWN: Well, we do. We fly generators in, and we put those in the high-priority places that the state asks us to put those. Those might be hospitals. They might be comfort stations. They might be police or fire stations.
So, we put those in very high-priority areas that do the most good. But the power situation will improve. Yesterday, it was 1.6 million people without power. They reduced that by 450,000 people just overnight. So, they're making good progress right now.
COLLINS: We want to go ahead and get a little bit more perspective now. For the town -- or city, I should say, of Melbourne, Jack Schluckebier is standing by to tell us more about what is happening where he is.
Jack, good morning to you. Thanks for spending some time with us. Tell us how many people in Melbourne may have actually lost their homes altogether.
JACK SCHLUCKEBIER, MELBOURNE CITY MANAGER: I'm sorry, are you asking about power or destruction altogether?
COLLINS: I'm asking about people's homes, and we've heard a lot about the roofs being taken right off. But what about those who just have no home left whatsoever now?
SCHLUCKEBIER: I think there are probably several hundred, certainly in the areas -- south areas of this county. We haven't had as much of that in the City of Melbourne. We're very fortunately this time around.
I know there is quite a lot of damage in the south part of the county and in various spots from the wind damage.
COLLINS: Can you tell us about the shelters and the situation there? How many people do you think are in those shelters?
SCHLUCKEBIER: We had nearly 7,000 people in shelters.
SCHLUCKEBIER: One of our great stories during the storm was that a roof caved in on one of them, and we actually had to evacuate 350 special needs people in the middle of a hurricane. And that was quite an undertaking.
COLLINS: How did they fare this morning now?
SCHLUCKEBIER: Everything is much better this morning. As you can see behind me, there's traffic on the main thoroughfares. We didn't get the devastation here that they've had in other hurricanes around the state, but the power outages are still severe.
And we have to remember patience is going to be the word here. The power companies do not cause this, and they're doing their darned best to help us out and get back to normal programs here.
COLLINS: Yeah, Jack, it is such a frustration. We have been talking about it quite a bit this morning -- the power situation.
I just want to clear one thing out -- quickly, if I could, Jack -- the special needs people that you mentioned, we saw some video of them. I just want to find out how they're doing this morning. Everybody OK?
SCHLUCKEBIER: I think they are, yes.
COLLINS: OK. Very good.
We've also seen some footage, Jack, of just unbelievable erosion along the coast there, and these homes just falling right into the sea. How does the Melbourne coastline look now?
SCHLUCKEBIER: We're in pretty good shape here. I think the damage on the coastline was a bit further south. There were some exceptions, and people certainly along the oceanfront itself were harder hit. But we didn't see the erosion to roadway systems that has occurred elsewhere.
COLLINS: All right. Well, we certainly hope you are getting everything you need. Jack Schluckebier, Melbourne city manager, this morning. Appreciate your time.
SCHLUCKEBIER: Thank you, Heidi.
SANCHEZ: This has really been an amazing storm when you think about it. First it does a loop-de-loop out in the middle of the Atlantic. Then, it comes back and takes the exact same track that Frances had taken and, amazingly, it seems to be on that same track now as it gets into Georgia.
Rob Marciano is at the CNN Center with the very latest on this.
SANCHEZ: All right. Thanks a lot, Rob, appreciate that report -- Heidi?
COLLINS: All this week in a special series, Dr. Sanjay Gupta takes us inside the White House for a unique look at America's first patient. This morning, Sanjay shows us what it's like to be part of the White House medical team.
He's at the CNN Center now with more. Very interesting stuff. A lot of people don't know this, Sanjay.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SR. MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, really interesting. We've had a good time putting this together.
Listen, it's an election year, so we decided to take a look at our nation's highest office from a little different perspective. We examined many of the stories surrounding a president's health. We've gone back in history to put assassination attempts, medical cover-ups, and everything from the commander-in-chief's common cold to a former president's heart disease under the microscope. And those reports are going to be for you all week long.
Today, our physician tour guide for an insider's look at the White House medicine is Dr. Connie Mariano. She led the White House Medical Unit during the Clinton administration.
DR. CONNIE MARIANO, FMR. W.H. MEDICAL UNIT LEADER: You're on this plane, you're on his helicopter, you're in his motorcade. The doctor is always within a few feet away. So, you essentially shadow the president.
GUPTA (voice-over): Dr. Connie Mariano ran the White House Medical Unit under President Clinton. Five military doctors, five nurses, five physician assistants, three corpsmen or medics, and three administrators.
The mission: executive medicine. Keep the president healthy day to day. And protective medicine: treat the commander-in-chief in a worst-case scenario, like an assassination attempt.
The nerve center for White House medical care since President Hoover is an office next to the Map Room, across from the elevator the president takes to get to the West Wing from his residence upstairs.
MARIANO: It's beautifully situated, because it's right opposite the elevator, so the president and first family can just walk across.
GUPTA (on camera): How would you rate the medical facilities of the White House?
MARIANO: At the White House itself, it's very much your typical doctor's office. It's got a private exam room on the ground floor, which has a crash cart.
GUPTA ( voice-over): A crash cart is used for emergency resuscitation. The goal: stabilize the president and get him to a hospital.
Air Force One also comes equipped with tremendous medical capabilities, including a pharmacy, a burn kit, even an operating room table.
MARIANO: This is a patient like no other. Their decisions impact millions of lives.
GUPTA (on camera): Really interesting, as well -- when President Clinton went to Africa, there were no trauma centers nearby. So, the Air Force actually sent a field hospital ahead of time, complete with surgeons and set it up in an airport hangar just in case. They also always bring four units of the president's blood type, Heidi. COLLINS: Just unbelievable, Sanjay, what goes into all of this. But President Bush's doctor now, a guy by the name of Richard Tubb, tell us a little bit about him.
GUPTA: Yeah, like most doctors, Dr. Tubb is an Air Force colonel. They come from the military. He's trained in family medicine.
We actually requested to talk with Dr. Tubb, but the White House Communication Office declined that interview request. Brought up some interesting topics about the issue of just how much the public thinks they should know about any president's health. And that's a topic we'll cover later this week, as well, Heidi.
COLLINS: OK, speaking of, what are we going to see tomorrow?
GUPTA: Tomorrow, we're going to talk -- a really interesting topic -- we're going to talk about some of the elaborate cover-ups devised through the years, including John F. Kennedy and a secret briefcase. What does the public really know about the health of the president? And more importantly, what do they deserve to know?
The full primetime special, incidentally, is called "The First Patient." That's going to air Sunday night at 9:00 eastern. We're very excited about it, Heidi.
COLLINS: Yeah, well, so are we. Look forward to it very much.
COLLINS: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thanks so much.
SANCHEZ: And still to come, 2007 might be the year for our own personal space odyssey. Andy's going to be "Minding Your Business." He'll explain.
COLLINS: I've been waiting on that.
And Governor Schwarzenegger, his days as a cyborg may not be a thing of the past. "90-Second Pop" ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.
COLLINS: All right, well it's Monday. That must mean it's time for "90-Second Pop," right? Our band of AMERICAN MORNING idols, Andy Borowitz, taking shock to a new level in his new book, "The Borowitz Report: The Big Book of Shockers." And Sarah Bernard, contributing editor for "New York" magazine. And, of course, Toure, CNN pop culture correspondent and author of that book, "Soul City."
All right, guys...
ANDY BOROWITZ, AUTHOR, "THE BOROWITZ REPORT": It's turning into home shopping, OK? SARAH BERNARD, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, "NEW YORK" MAGAZINE: I know! We need, like, a 1-800 number on the bottom.
COLLINS: Maybe we do.
Hey, Toure, let me ask you about this now. Eighteen scholars at Yale University looking at several different aspects of Michael Jackson...
TOURE, CNN POPULAR CULTURE CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
COLLINS: ... talking about sexual, racial, and artistic aspects of him. Why?
TOURE: Why? I mean, any artist this big -- Madonna, U2 -- has got to represent something of their era. Right? You can do the same thing for Tom Cruise, need to be that big and that many people like you. You're going to mean something to that era.
And Michael Jackson means so much. I mean, going from the real black music of his Motown era to the crossover rock and roll-y music of his adulthood from the military thing to the violence...
COLLINS: So, they're not talking about the court case at all and all of that.
TOURE: No, they're leaving out the court case. That's not necessarily part of it. I mean, he's had a long life. He's had a lot going on. There's a lot sociologically to deal with, with Michael Jackson. Just even the videos where there is violence and children. Like, what is going on in your head?
COLLINS: But they're not...
BERNARD: But this is a good idea actually.
TOURE: Oh, absolutely. I mean, you can...
COLLINS: How can they not talk about the court case, though?
TOURE: Well, you could spend so much about Michael before you even get to the court case.
BOROWITZ: For example, you know...
TOURE: Even the coloring of his skin and how he's pushed that, you know, just getting lighter and lighter. What does that mean to African-Americans in this generation?
BOROWITZ: You know, these scholars spent two days at Yale, they still couldn't figure out the lyrics to "Billy Jean." They think it's "the kid is not my son."
BERNARD: I just want to know...
COLLINS: That is pretty sad. BERNARD: ... does this actually mean people at Yale can major in Michael Jackson?
TOURE: You should be able to major in Michael Jackson.
BOROWITZ: With a minor in Tito, yes.
COLLINS: Right, that's frightening.
Sarah, let's talk about this one now: Arnold Schwarzenegger. OK, they're talking about the "Terminator 4"...
COLLINS: ... and his possible role in it.
BERNARD: I know.
COLLINS: Can you do it as the governor of California?
BERNARD: I think you can. Well, actually, I didn't even realize that "Terminator 3" was as successful as it was. It made $460 million. So, of course they have to make another one.
Now, they introduced a lot of new characters. There is a terminatrix, Claire Danes was in it. So, they do have other cast members if they want to not have Arnold come back.
TOURE: And he's just going to do a cameo.
BERNARD: Well, that's the thing. He's not going to necessarily star as the T800. But what he's going to do...
BOROWITZ: Yes, that is going to be played by Gray Davis.
BERNARD: Right. And he doesn't even need a costume. But what they are going to try and do is coax him into some sort of cameo role. And I think that if he does that and if he makes it clear that it's not taking away from his day job, it would actually be great for him.
COLLINS: A cameo as the governor of California, as himself?
BERNARD: No, I think he's going to put the leather jacket on and the sunglasses, because people love seeing him, you know, fight evildoers. And that would be...
BOROWITZ: Well, President Bush had a big part in that Michael Moore film.
BERNARD: Right. So, it's only fair that he...
COLLINS: You know, it's true. All right, Andy Borowitz, Sarah Bernard, and Toure, thanks, as always, guys -- Rick?
SANCHEZ: All right, thanks a lot, Heidi. Boring group, huh?
Still to come, thrillseekers listen up. Andy's got news of some upcoming trips that are literally out of this world. He's "Minding Your Business." This is AMERICAN MORNING.
SANCHEZ: Welcome back to AMERICAN MORNING. The gang's all here, you'll meet them in a minute. But first, let's go to Andy and talk about what's going on on Wall Street.
ANDY SERWER, "FORTUNE MAGAZINE": Rick, what's going on on Wall Street is not particularly a good thing this morning. Stocks are trading lower. Not so bad, but not so good, either. Down 35 points -- we don't need that.
And you can see we're perilously close to 10,000. Why? Because the price of oil is getting towards $50 a barrel. We talked about that all morning for a variety of reasons.
And let's talk, Rick, a little bit about what's going on with Richard Branson. Are you ready for Virgin Galactic? OK. The British mega-entrepreneur says he's going to launch a passenger service into space in 2007. Serious business. This guy always has the most far- out ideas, and a lot of times they come true.
Cost will be about $200,000. Richard was at a press conference talking about his business venture. Let's listen to what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD BRANSON, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, VIRGIN: This will be run as a proper Virgin business, and the moneys we invest, you know, we expect to get enough passengers to make it pay. If space does not pay as a business, space will not have any future.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SERWER: You know, space does have a future, Richard. Sorry about that. I mean, probably after we're all dead and gone, but that's not exactly what he meant.
He's going to be doing this with Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. You're going to go up about 86 miles. You'll experience four minutes of weightlessness. You'll see the horizon from 1,200 miles away, all the way over there, and he's going to put about $100 million in it. And then, he says that an orbital hotel is next up for him.
SANCHEZ: You know, he's kind of like a modern-day version of Howard Hughes, but without the fingernails.
SERWER: Yeah. And he's not terribly secretive, either.
SANCHEZ: Anybody get that?
SERWER: Right, I got it. That was very good.
JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: So, this would become then -- an orbiting hotel would become the 86-mile-high club, right?
SERWER: Yes. I'm not sure what that means, but...
SANCHEZ: Yeah, sure, Andy.
Yes. he doesn't get it.
SERWER: I don't get it, Jack.
COLLINS: Jack, now, with "Question of the Day."
CAFFERTY: Yes. How important are the presidential debates? They start Thursday, and they've been sanitized by the Democratic and Republican parties and orchestrated and all these rules and stuff to where, you know, a lot of the meat's missing from the hamburger, if you know what I'm saying.
Jeff in Point Pleasant, Virginia: "I was hoping the debates would become an instrument to cut through the unadulterated crap which both campaigns have disintegrated into. Once again, the American public's the loser. If what you report is accurate -- and I have no reason to believe it's not -- then the debates are worthless."
Trumbull, Connecticut -- Sam writes: "The debates should be important, particularly this year when so many people seem to be on the fence. But the amount of interference in them by both parties and lack of viewership over the years is disturbing."
Wayne in Evans City, Pennsylvania: "The debates are a scam. That being said, could you please have Heidi e-mail me her NFL picks for next weekend?"
COLLINS: I'm so glad we got to mention that again.
SERWER: She's the best. Yes, you wanted to go there.
COLLINS: I was going to say, 11-2. Yes, but next week will probably..
CAFFERTY: She made us all look pretty silly.
COLLINS: Very sad.
COLLINS: All right, we're going to be back right here on AMERICAN MORNING in just a moment. Don't go away, everybody.
SANCHEZ: OK. COLLINS: We have to say goodbye really super fast. Thanks for being here, Rick, and for Jack and for Andy. Thanks so much for watching everybody.
Betty Nguyen is at the CNN Center now to take you through the next few hours on "CNN LIVE TODAY." Well, good morning. Thank you.
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