Return to Transcripts main page
Tropical Storm Fay; Religion and the Election; The League of First Time Voters; Michael Phelps Gets Eight for Eight
Aired August 17, 2008 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Florida looks nervously to the south, as Fay turns through the Caribbean. Rick Warren drew both Barack Obama and John McCain to the same stage last night. We'll talk to him directly here live about the Faith Forum.
And the invisible man may not be fantasy for much longer. Are you kidding me? A material that can actually make you disappear? That's right. IT's all coming at you from the CNN NEWSROOM.
Hello again, everybody. I'm Rick Sanchez. It is hurricane season, so here we go. Two words for the Florida Keys tonight -- get out! This is evacuation traffic on US-1 that you're looking at right now. Visitors strongly urged to leave. Residents advised to leave and seek higher ground. The first whispers of Tropical Storm Fay already flapping flags in the Keys and those who refuse to depart, the locals of course, are already hunkering down and stocking up, and saying I'm fine; I'm going to stay right here.
Let's look at where Fay is as we speak, bearing down on Cuba, as you can see. See all the magentas and the reds and oranges. This is a message, by the way, from Florida Governor Charlie Crist.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV CHARLIE CRIST (R), FLORIDA: My main message today is to remind our fellow Floridians to remain calm, remain vigilant, stay in touch with your local authorities and messages through your radio and local television. Floridians should not focus on the storm track necessarily. They should be aware that impacts can be broader than where the storm track is indicated. As Craig tells us all the time, don't follow just the black line that goes up the middle of the cone. It goes outside of that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: As you might imagine we're going to be all over Tropical Storm Fay. CNN's John Zarrella is in Key Largo. He's been there many times, by the way. Meteorologist Jacqui Jeras is watching the radars and tracking models for us as well. Jacqui, let's start off with you, because this is one of those difficult storms to track, because it is a parallel line that's going to be skipping across another parallel line, the West Coast of Florida. Where it decides to make that turn, who knows, right?
(WEATHER REPORT) SANCHEZ: Advisories and an immediate advisory, I like that. I want to show you on a map now here. It's the reason for urgent tone to the residents in Florida to evacuate. It is an official evacuation route. But the problem is we are talking about US-1. Anybody out there been to the Florida Keys? US-1 is one road, folks. One side goes one way, and the other side goes the other way. It stitches the Keys to the mainland. It is 127 miles of trouble, if something slows down or stops traffic. I have been on it. John Zarrella has been on it many times. We both spent most of our adult lives in that part of town. How are they managing this so far, John?
JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Rick. So far, so good. This is the US-1 you've been talking about, the one way in. We're actually at Key Largo, at mile marker 100. So 100 miles from here to Key West. And it has been a steady flow of traffic all day long leaving the Keys. Further north, as you leave Key Largo, massive traffic jams as they head up into Florida City, bumper to bumper traffic, cars, trailers with boats on them, mobile homes, all kinds of vehicles heading out of the Keys, because they issued a mandatory evacuation for non-residents, tourists. And that guy, he's leaving, too.
So all of those folks are getting out. But, you know, what really worries emergency managers here, what if the next time it is a big one? Will the locals listen if they're ordered to leave?
ZARRELLA (voice-over): When the Labor Day storm of 1935 was over, 400 people were dead; roads and bridges and buildings were gone. The worst, but not the last.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hurricane Ester is continuing to move northward and is now heading for the Florida Keys.
ZARRELLA: Then there was Betsy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Suffered heavily.
ZARRELLA: And George, Rita, Wilma. Despite all that, Floridians can be stubborn.
SHERIFF RICK ROTH, MONROE COUNTY, FLORIDA: The worst issue is the fact that the people don't want to leave. We issue a mandatory evacuation order. They -- the ones that have left last year, they generally leave again this year. But most of them don't leave.
ZARRELLA: Next to New Orleans, the Keys are considered one of the last places you want to see a hurricane. The pearl necklace of islands are connected by two-lane bridges; 100 miles of road in places only a few feet above sea level.
BILLY WAGNER, FMR. EMERGENCY MANAGER: I can assure you that if Andrew would have passed into the latitudes and we'd have gotten the main impact of that storm and the number of people that chose not to leave, we'd have lost thousands of people. ZARRELLA: Officials have elaborate evacuation plans for tourists and residents, as well as a road map for getting relief supplies in once the storm passes.
DAVID PAULISON, FEMA ADMINISTRATOR: We have a tremendous amount of pre-scripted mission assignments we did not have during Katrina with a lot of federal agencies. We have the Department of Defense with heavy lift helicopters.
ZARRELLA: For those reasons, emergency planners here say they're better prepared for a major hurricane than perhaps anywhere else.
ZARRELLA: Now, of course, these are the kinds of plans that no one here ever wants to see taken off the shelf. But if they have to be used, the only way they're going to work, emergency managers tell us, Rick, is if the locals will listen and leave, and that is a big question mark. Rick?
SANCHEZ: The big differentiator here, we should be honest about this, if you live in Florida, especially in South Florida, and you hear about a Category One storm, you're less apt to act. Two, you start to move. Three, you're going. Four and five, you're shaking in your boots. Right?
ZARRELLA: Yes, there's no question about it. The ones and the twos, for the most part, you're fine. They will not necessarily order you to evacuate unless you are in a low-lying area. Once you get to the major categories, threes, fours and fives, it is a whole new ball game and there are limited roads out of here, if it is in the Keys or even on the mainland. As you know, 75 on the West Coast north, 95 on the East Coast north.
So it's tough when you talk about evacuations of millions of people. Fortunately, with Fay, that's not likely to be the case.
SANCHEZ: Now about those hurricane parties. No, let's leave that for another day. John Zarrella, thanks so much for that report. We appreciate it.
Take a look at so far what Fay has been doing. This is in Cuba. We have some pictures as well. Where is -- this is from Hispaniola, which is essentially Haiti and the Dominican Republic put together, for those of you who may not know your geography. That's where Fay really came to life Friday. At least five people reportedly died in the Dominican Republic. Several had died in Haiti as well, when the storm's torrential rains triggered flash flooding there and swept away many of the bridges.
By the way, speaking of how people behave during storms or maybe how they should behave, we'll be joined in a little while by General Honore. You remember General Honore from Katrina, sent there by the federal government to try and do the best he could to kind of put things back together again. He's here. In fact, he's standing right behind me, not far from where I am right now. He's going to be joining us to tell us what perhaps should be done in a place like South Florida, as they're being approached by a hurricane that looks like a category one, possibly a category two. He knows his stuff.
By the way, you know the drill on this. When weather makes news, we depend on you to help us tell the story. What we ask you to do is send us an i-Report. Just go to iReport.com, or type iReport@CNN.com into your cell phone.
Here's a story now the whole world seems to be watching, many with amazement, the Georgia/Russia conflict. Russia says it will begin pulling its troops back from the Georgian territory tomorrow, after signing the cease-fire agreement yesterday. But there was no word on whether the Russian troop deployment could be complete. Meanwhile, Russia's president is suggesting that he might keep Russian troops in the break-away regions where this bloody conflict got started, South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
CNN's Kathleen Koch joins us from Crawford, Texas near the Bush ranch. What do U.S. officials think of Russia's latest promise?
KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rick, frankly, not very much. It is important to point out that this is actually the first day in five days -- first time in five days that President Bush himself has not spoken out personally about the crisis in Georgia. Instead, the members of his security team went before the television cameras today and they had stern words for Russia. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who came here to Texas to brief President Bush on the situation, said she was skeptical that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev would follow through.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECRETARY OF STATE: The Russian president said several days ago Russian military operations would stop. They didn't. The Russian president told President Sarkozy that the minute that cease-fire was signed by President Saakashvili, Russian forces would begin to withdraw. They didn't. Now he has said that tomorrow, mid- day, Russian forces will withdraw and withdraw to their pre-August six-seven lines. This time, I hope he means it.
You know, the word of the Russian president needs to be upheld by his forces or people who are going to begin to wonder if Russia can be trusted.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KOCH: Defense Secretary Robert Gates says that because of the crisis, the U.S. is doing, quote, a serious re-evaluation of its relationship with Russia. Both Rice and Gates say there are several options of consequences that could occur if Russia does not follow through, pull its troops out of Georgia. However, the administration will still not commit to any specifics, saying those will really depend on Russia's actions going forward. Rick?
SANCHEZ: All right, Kathleen. Thanks so much for watching that for us. Up next, he questioned the candidates on matters of morals and faith. Pastor Rick Warren is going to join me live to break down last night's historic forum.
Then there is that cone of silence thing. We'll be right back.
SANCHEZ: Think about things like abortion and moral failure, not necessarily in that order though, just a couple of the topics that Rick Warren asked both Senators McCain and Obama to talk about during last night's Civil Forum. Here's what they said in their own words.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My greatest moral failing -- and I have been a very imperfect person -- is the failure of my first marriage. It's my greatest moral failure. I think America's greatest moral failure has been, throughout our existence, perhaps we have not devoted ourselves to causes greater than our self- interest, although we've been the best at it of anybody in the world.
I think after 9/11, my friends, instead of telling people to go shopping or take a trip, we should have told Americans to join the Peace Corps, Americorps, the military, expand our volunteers, expand what you're doing, expand the great missions.
RICK WARREN, SADDLEBACK CHURCH: What point is a baby entitled to human rights?
MCCAIN: At the moment of conception. I have a 25-year pro-life record in the Congress, in the Senate. And as president of the United States, I will be a pro-life president and this presidency will have pro-life policies.
SEN BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I had a difficult youth. My father wasn't in the house. I've written about this. There were times where I've experimented with drugs. I drank in my teenage years. What I trace this to is a certain selfishness on my part. I was so obsessed with me and the reasons that I might be dissatisfied, that I couldn't focus on other people.
And I think the process for me of growing up was to recognize that it's not about me.
I am pro-choice. I believe in Roe v. Wade. And I come to that conclusion not because I'm pro-abortion, but because, ultimately, I don't think women make these decisions casually. I think they wrestle with these things in profound ways, in consultation with their pastors or their spouses or their doctors, their family members. And so for me, the goal right now should be -- and this is where I think we can find common ground -- and by the way, I've now inserted this into the Democratic party platform -- is how do we reduce the number of abortions?
(END VIDEO CLIP) SANCHEZ: There you have two of the responses on two of the questions. Each allotted the same amount of time, by the way, the way we divided that up. Pastor Rick Warren of the Saddleback Church and the author, of course, of "The Purpose-Driven Life." Who hasn't read or heard of that book? Let me start you this way. Were you surprised -- I was just listening to Barack Obama there. Were you surprised that he didn't respond the way Democrats have almost consistently responded in the past, if they happen to have or share his position. They say something like, look, personally I'm against abortion, but I'm not against a law that allows it.
You asked him specifically when does a baby get human rights. He said, it is above my pay grade, at some point. Were you taken aback by his nuanced response?
WARREN: No. Actually, Rick, I think what we saw last night was two personalities exactly playing according to form. I see Barack Obama as kind of the thoughtful consensus builder. I see John McCain as the happy, straight forward warrior. And they both answered exactly according to casting. Just the way they work. One of them tends to get right to the point. Barack is more nuanced. He's more -- he thinks things through.
He's a constitutional attorney. And so it didn't surprise me at all. In fact, it was a good balance to show the difference.
SANCHEZ: I heard somebody on our air today actually say the following statement: it seemed to me, he said, that Senator McCain was doing an interview with Wolf Blitzer, whereas Senator Obama ma was doing an interview with Oprah Winfrey. Two different styles. I think you picked up on that.
Let me ask you about this. Last night I heard you say that McCain would be in a cone of silence. Then half-hour into the event I hear our guys here at our political desk announce McCain has just arrived at the worship center. I'm thinking, hey, if he just arrived at the worship center, he couldn't have been in the cone of silence. Right?
WARREN: Well, that's true. He was in a cone of -- a secret service motorcade. That's exactly for sure.
SANCHEZ: But you said -- I'm going to pressure you just a little bit, because I love this cone of silence thing, and I want to borrow it with my four kids at home, by the way. "We flipped a coin," you said, "and we have safely placed Senator McCain in a cone of silence." That's what you said. Did you think at the time -- when you said that, did you think he was in the cone of silence -- did you think he was in the building?
WARREN: Actually, yes, I did. There was actually a question I got to Senator Obama in advance that I didn't get to Senator McCain because he wasn't there. I actually wrote down on a piece of paper the very first question, because I wanted them both to be relaxed. I said here's the very first question. I gave it to both of them. But I also told Senator Obama, since there was one question where I was going to ask for a commitment, it was a commitment later about would you allow a president's emergency plan for orphans.
I thought if I was going to ask for a public commitment, I ought to let him know in advance. I got to tell Barack Obama that in advance. I did not get to tell John McCain that in advance. It caught him by surprise, I'm sure.
SANCHEZ: Just out of fairness. Look, this is CNN, we try to be as exact as we possibly can. I just wanted it on the record. Of course, there will be people out there who will say, well, if he wasn't there, like a half-hour before the event started, what would have stopped him from watching an event that was on all three channels, on the radio, there's Blackberries, the Internet. There's everything else. I guess you don't know and I don't know whether he had the questions or not.
WARREN: You know what? In the first place, we asked them. We flat- out asked him, did you hear any of the debate -- I mean any of the discussion. And I trust the integrity of both John McCain and Barack Obama that they said they would abide by the rules. They knew the rules way in advance, that I would not give them the questions. I did tell them all of the themes, and went through all of the themes, said here's the kind of question, the themes that I'm going to deal with. I'm going to probably throw out a question about the economy. I'm going to probably throw out a question about climate change, which by the way I never got to, and a number of other issues.
But I would not give them the wording of what specifically -- like for instance, it is one thing to say I may ask a question about the courts. It is another thing to say, which of the existing Supreme Court would you not appoint.
SANCHEZ: Well, yes. Let's be fair, we called Senator McCain's office and they said that, no, we did not listen; we did not know. So what you're saying is part of that, we're just going to have to go on the honor system. We certainly respect that.
Let's switch a little bit on the topics here. Going back to Barack Obama; did you expect him to say that he's against abortion personally? And were you surprised that he didn't say that?
WARREN: Well, again, I know both of these guys pretty well.
SANCHEZ: I'm asking you this question as a pastor.
WARREN: I wasn't surprised by either of their answers. I figured that's what they were going to say.
SANCHEZ: Let me try another one with you then. I'm looking at this now as somebody who was really enjoying the event, sitting in front of my television watching this. There was one --
WARREN: The one thing I regret, Rick, is that I can't tell you how many times I wanted to ask a follow-up, because I could have gone for 30 minutes on every one. I know the pain of a journalist now, because they would say something and I'd go, yes, but what about. And I wanted -- every bone in my body wanted to ask, yes, but -- but I decided to go for breadth rather than depth, because I knew I wouldn't get a lot of questions asked if I did follow-ups.
SANCHEZ: You know what you're doing now? You're feeling my pain now. There is this producer who talks to me in this little thing right here, who's constantly telling me, hurry up. Let me ask you this one -- there was another point -- I'm trying to pick up on things I think will get more shelf life in the news. I think maybe that Barack Obama response on abortion may or may not get some shelf life. McCain had a response to you when you asked him what constituted a rich person. And he kind of threw out the term five million in income. I was thinking to myself, there are people all over America right now going, five million? Do you think the average American -- how close do you think he was, his figure, to what the average American thinks is a rich person?
WARREN: He instantly knew that. That was one of those ones where the staff kind of grimaces and goes, oh! I honestly believe -- I've said this before -- that everybody in public life, Democrat and Republican, should get a five percent grace factor, because everybody says stuff you say that's stupid, you don't believe. And later you go, I wish I hadn't said that. I've done it. I'll say stuff on this interview with you that I go, I didn't believe that at all. You know?
We just have to not play gotcha on stuff like that and go, OK, he didn't mean that.
SANCHEZ: By the way, for the record, I've never made a mistake. Just ask my wife and kids.
WARREN: Oh, that's good!
SANCHEZ: Rick Warren, you're a good man. I appreciate you taking time with us. Congratulations. You held an event. You had people there and you had all the networks on you as well. A job well done, sir. We appreciate your time.
WARREN: Thank you, Rick.
SANCHEZ: By the way, in case you missed it, you can see Barack Obama and John McCain tonight on CNN. The replay of the Presidential Forum on Faith, hosted by Reverend Rick Warren. There he was. It begins at 8:00 Eastern.
Coming up, the talk of faith and the future of politics does not end here. I sat down with a group of Jewish college students for their perspective on faith and this election cycle.
SANCHEZ: Yes, I twitter. There's something else I do. I go all over the country trying to talk to energized voters about this election cycle.
Tonight, voters of faith. First, young Jews in Chicago. And, as you might imagine, Israel and Palestine dominate part of the conversation. Here now my "League of First-Time Voters."
SANCHEZ: Is there something about this particular election that you think makes it different from elections that you've seen your parents vote in or care about or talk about in the past?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely, I think we're living in a very historical moment in U.S. history. And with the issues that we have to decide here, I think this is a really important election.
SANCHEZ: What's historic about this particular era?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that particularly when you look at U.S. foreign policy, I think that we see a really stark decision in this election between the competing camps and how we want to take U.S. foreign policy forward in the next 50 years.
SANCHEZ: Do you think the Iraq war has set back the cause of freedom between Palestinians and Israelis?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I think that Bush is unable to really engage in that dialogue. And he's said that ok, you guys can do whatever you want, Israel you have full power of your security and we've basically put off the question of what goes on in Israel for eight years. I just don't think he has the political will within that scenario.
SANCHEZ: Somebody argue?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would disagree wholeheartedly with that. I think the issue was not the Iraq war and not that aspect of our foreign policy. I think the issue comes in the fact that to negotiate you need to have a partner with whom to negotiate. And negotiating with Hamas is something that's not only not in the best interest of Israel but I do not think it is in the best interest of this country.
SANCHEZ: Of the candidates out there right now, who is the one most capable in your opinion of dealing with this situation that we've had to deal with in the Middle East?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Barack Obama.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Barack Obama.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because he is absolutely an internationalist. He's perceived as someone that can be objective. I think he's someone that knows how to articulate both sides while still asserting that Israel has a complete right to advocate for its security and do all measures for security.
I think he's looked at as more of an objective party than Bush is and has so much more credibility in the whole international community and I think with Palestinians. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would say McCain simply because I disagree with his look on foreign policy generally speaking. I don't see why Obama is more qualified.
SANCHEZ: Why do you like McCain?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just am more I would say conservative in my aspect in how I see foreign policy.
SANCHEZ: A traditionalist in that sense.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's really what it would be. I don't see how just because Obama is very trendy and because he can speak well, I don't see how that necessarily gives him -- I didn't say that's all he was, I just don't see that somehow gives him more credibility.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The reason he's supporting Obama is because he says that he can be objective. And I think that's really telling you with the great foreign in Obama's candidacy because he wants to be even-handed but doesn't have the moral clarity to see that what Israel is doing is in its self defense and what Hamas and Hezbollah doing is seeking the destruction of another people and another country. And so I think that that's why John McCain is the best leader on this issue.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think one of the biggest disappointments with the Israeli-Palestinian situation is that we're aware of the fact that Palestinian people have a lower quality of life than people living in Israel and that's not because of Jewish people or because of Americans, it's partially because of the Palestinian leadership. But that doesn't mean there isn't things that Israel and the United States could be doing to improve their situation.
And I don't think that electing McCain who is somebody who I feel would favor enhancing the military, putting more money into it, even though we outspend all our closest competitors already, I don't feel like McCain's the person who is going to want to go in and talk things out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The biggest problem though in the Middle East right now is the threat from the Iranian nuclear program. I think that we need to be very concerned about the possibility of a nuclear bomb being used as a suicide weapon. And the threat we've seen from radical Islam is a willingness to die to kill your enemy.
So I think that it is a threat we need to be concerned about coming from Iran is the development of a nuclear weapon which poses an existential threat to Israel and a massive security threat to the United States.
SANCHEZ: Do you think that's the most important issue?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The most important issue. And I want to see a Democrat or Republican when they're in office making that their top priority making sure Iran doesn't go nuclear on our watch.
(END VIDEOTAPE) SANCHEZ: All right, we're going to be talking about Fay in just a little bit. And by the way, Fay could do some serious damage. That's why we are going to be all over this thing. These are some of the pictures.
As you could see people are battening down the hatches and if you are a boater, you especially. But usually boaters are pretty good about knowing what they got to do.
Rodge give us a shot out here, I want folks at home to see who's joining me in just a little bit. There he is, General Honore. We're going to be talking about this in just a little bit.
Stay with us, we'll be back together in just a moment.
SANCHEZ: We've been telling you about the Fay situation down in Florida, right? Well, apparently there's something else we got to deal with now. Let's go over to Jacqui Jeras. Jacqui what do you have?
JACQUI JERAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, a real serious flooding situation going on right now in northern parts of Arizona, the Grand Canyon area. A lot of people have been evacuated here. There've been heavy rains here since Friday really, and that has breached a dam in this area and has flooded a small village.
So about 200 to 400 people we're getting word have been evacuated by helicopter and brought to a safe area. This is in the Redland dam area flooding one of the villages. So this is tourists and residents both which have been evacuated.
We've got the flash flood warnings in effect here at this small little strip for the showers and thunderstorms that have moved through and for that dam breach.
As we continue to get more information on that, of course, we'll bring it along to you -- Rick.
SANCHEZ: Let's talk about Fay, if we can now; it's a potential Category 1. You told me yesterday this thing could possibly grow to a Category 2.
SANCHEZ: Most likely what? Skirting the west coast, some say the older, more mature coast of Florida.
JERAS: That's right, yes. I still don't think we're probably going to see a major hurricane out of this one. And a lot of that reason is as we parallel the coast and get up into this area, take look at these clouds here that are moving across. We've got some really strong winds pushing through and that wind sheer as we call it will break down the storm a little bit. And I think that's why we aren't going to likely see a major hurricane out of this. But 1 is the official forecast right now. I think a 2 you certainly can't rule it out and it is something that we need to be prepared for. The storm is trying to get itself a little bit better organized down here south of Cuba.
So we think some strengthening will be expected. But that is going to moving over the island and will probably weaken a little bit. Once we get north here of Cuba, and back out in the open waters, we'll have a much better idea I think of where this is going.
But the concern is that we're getting that parallel track. And you know hurricanes and tropical storms do all kinds of little wobbles and bobbles and really could make the difference between getting a storm a direct hit further south or further north.
And I want to help illustrate that for you just a little bit. Sorry about that, switching my maps here.
What I did is I took the cone of uncertainty and the track and I put it a little zoomed-in version for you. Now, we always tell you not to focus on the skinny line because there is a big area of uncertainty.
But let's just say that this is the line that it takes. And why you need to be worried if you live in Tampa, why you still need to be worried if you live in Cape Coral, for example. First of all, the tropical storm force winds from this storm extend out more than 100 miles from the center of the storm.
So take a look at how far the distance is in this area. That's only 78 miles. So you're still going to be dealing with nasty conditions here, flooding rains and you're also in the bad part of the storm, the right front quadrant as we call it, so you have the threat of tornadoes.
And what about Tampa? Take a look at how close that line gets to you. Even if it does stay away from you here, that is 36 miles away. So Rick, we're talking about big impacts even as this thing stays several miles away from the coast.
SANCHEZ: I want to bring in somebody now who I think most of the nation has come to respect for what he did when he was really thrust into a situation down in New Orleans in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina.
General Russell Honore is good enough to join us now to talk about this. And as you imagine because it's almost -- since you got us through -- or as good as any human being could have gotten us through that dire situation in New Orleans, this has become a very important life's mission for you, to get people to know what readiness is really all about so that doesn't happen again. Right?
LT. GEN. RUSSELL HONERE, U.S. ARMY (RET.): Yes. I run across the country weekly giving speeches on preparedness. But basically using the model that the Red Cross has brought to us; have a plan, have an evacuation kit, have a radio. And I still see audience in Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas where out of 3,000 people, maybe two or three of them have a weather radio.
SANCHEZ: In Florida we're talking about this particular hurricane today. Floridians should be more worried about these types of scenarios for several reasons
We're talking about just this a moment ago, and Jacqui was illustrating this just a bit. When you live in Florida, the hurricane comes up parallel. It's not like the panhandle where it's going to hit you -- which camera am I on -- it is going to hit you this way so it is easier to predict. This thing could turn in any direction.
HONORE: Absolutely. The uncertainty of a hurricane particularly as this hurricane, the time of year it is coming, the way it is approaching, it still has a lot of surprises to it.
The challenges along the coast of Florida when you look at the population and the possibility of the hurricane coming at high tide, watch high tide folks, as this hurricane start to come in at high tide, you're going to get a natural surge that could back the water into those low-lying areas. Miami is between eight and nine feet of elevation. When you get into Tampa or those areas, it is significantly less.
SANCHEZ: And this is important, too. You were in New Orleans and there were places you couldn't get to. Access becomes a problem. Florida's a peninsula, same problem there, right?
HONORE: Multiplied many times. Because in New Orleans you could come to it from Mobile or you could come to it from Houston.
HONORE: You don't have that option on the peninsula of Florida.
The other significant part of Florida is the density of the population and the roads that go north are limited. Tomorrow night you could go to bed and this storm could be bearing through Key West at a Category 1.
You could wake up the next morning and it could be on the Florida coast as a 2. A hurricane 2, storm will knock out cell towers, it will knock out power.
SANCHEZ: That means access to transportation, all the other --
HONORE: I'm not trying to scare people.
SANCHEZ: No, no we get it.
HONORE: I wanted them have make informed decisions and tomorrow night if you go to bed, you live along the south Florida coast and don't have a weather radio, you need to establish a means for somebody to wake you up if that storm starts coming towards your home.
SANCHEZ: And let's show it to them one more time. This is it-- why not go and get one of these? HONORE: Order it online. You can go down to the local store. Many grocery stores have them.
SANCHEZ: It will save your life.
HONORE: Save you life because it will wake you up in the middle of the night. A few hours early warning can mean a lot, particularly if you live in low-lying areas, particularly if you have relatives that are disabled. The disabled do not fare well in the storm if they have not thought about it early.
SANCHEZ: And we've said this many, many times before, but it bears repeating -- that it makes a wonderful gift. You want to help somebody out? Get them something like that.
HONORE: And as I see it, well you need one in your pack. Now the deal is you got to buy one and give to one of these young folks out here who don't have one. But let's be prepared tomorrow evening and get out of town, if you can.
SANCHEZ: Hurricane preparedness. Pass it on.
SANCHEZ: I love that.
Thanks so much, general. We appreciate you being here.
HONORE: Good luck, Florida. And the National Guard down there's are doing a great job.
SANCHEZ: Thank you sir.
Abducted at gunpoint and it's all caught on camera, a tragic story coming out of Texas. We'll tell you how this one ends.
SANCHEZ: I want to bring you up to date on some of the stories that are making news across America.
A store clerk in Texas whose abduction was caught on camera Friday has now been found. But it's not good news. Police discovered Mindy Daffern's body in a remote area about 50 miles from the store. The man who abducted her at gunpoint is in jail on charges of aggravated robbery and kidnapping. He is expected to be charged with capital murder.
An eight-alarm fire on a California Air Force base has caused more damage than the military first thought. A spokesperson says that the fire destroyed or damaged at least 230 vacant homes at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield. The military says the homes used to house enlisted personnel but were no longer occupied and scheduled to be demolished anyway.
Meanwhile, base residents were ordered to stay indoors with the windows closed to protect themselves from all of the smoke.
Search crews outside of Denver have found the wreckage of a missing plane that carried this Texas family. There were no survivors. Energy executive Thomas Jacomini and his wife, 8-year-old son and 6- year-old daughter were on board the aircraft.
A hiker found the wreckage and their Cessna which was last seen leaving Steamboat Springs, Colorado Friday morning. They were headed to the Houston suburb of Sugar Land, Texas.
A scientific break-through that sounds like science fiction; a cloak that makes things suddenly disappears. Really? It's a live look at an amazing technology, disappearing stuff. We'll be right back.
SANCHEZ: Welcome back. That's Jacqui Jeras back there setting everybody straight about Fay.
I'm Rick Sanchez. This is the World Headquarters of CNN.
I saw a headline this week about scientists getting closer to developing a so-called invisibility cloak. What? Sounds like something out of a Harry Potter movie right, remember this? Wait, where'd I go?
RON WEASLEY: What is it? Some kind of cloak. Well, let's see then. Put it on.
HARRY POTTER: My body's gone.
WEASLEY: I know what that is. That's an invisibility cloak.
POTTER: I'm invisible?
SANCHEZ: An invisibility cloak. University of California-Berkeley doing some research on this and Xiang Zhang is in-charge of the whole thing.
All right, and I'm certainly interested, but still somewhat befuddled. What in the heck are you talking about sir? What is this thing?
XIANG ZHANG, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA-BERKELEY: Well, this actually is, we are -- our discovery is about actually a very fundamental property that we can bend the light. At our desire especially with bend the light in the wrong direction, that never been done before in the history.
SANCHEZ: Is this a molecular change, is it atomic, I mean or is it just using mirrors to fake people the way you know folks have been doing for many, many years? ZHANG: Well, this is not exactly. What happen is we view this composite materials which are mixture of metals, diametrics (ph) or insulators. And those actually are very tiny metal structures we carefully architect or engineer that -- when the light passes through these both media, it respond collectively just like 1,000 people actually in the Olympic opening stadium. They wave and form a big -- wave pattern.
SANCHEZ: So-- but do they actually, before you get too much into the explanation, because I know you'll loose me, do they actually disappear? I mean if you used this -- if you use this on me and you were standing in the room, would you really not see me?
ZHANG: Yes. Well, this work actually is about these fundamental properties. Now, if I use these materials in the future, that could develop a cloak that can actually surround you and direct the light around you but never touch you.
SANCHEZ: So I imagine the military has been calling you a lot you and asking you about this, right?
ZHANG: Well, again this study, this scientific breakthrough is about fundamental studies of how you bend the light in a very strange way. There will be many applications, cloaking certainly, some year down the road is one of them. But what actually I see is there -- technology could be benefits from this.
For example, we are working on a concept of technology, called superlens. That can actually view things, a piece of lens from this materials and it gives you a superb power to resolve a very small feature size of molecules, or DNA or virus that people never been able to see before.
SANCHEZ: So, it can have a life-saving implication or affect. Xiang Zhang, thanks so much doctor for joins us, excellent information. I'm still somewhat confused, though.
He set the gold standard at the Olympics; the incredible Michael Phelps. Now, this is a guy who's worth another look.
SANCHEZ: I'm sure you know this guy is just incredible. Eight Olympic events, he takes the gold in every single one of them.
U.S. swimmer, Michael Phelps broke the Olympic record medal today in Beijing. And there he is with all eight of them. That's amazing, isn't it?
No other athlete in modern, Olympic history has accomplished this feat. Until now, of course it was Mark Spitz who had seven gold medals in 1972 Games; that was the number to beat. Phelps got his eighth medal in the 4x100 m medley relay.
President Bush called the 23-year-old swimmer this morning to congratulate him. Phelps says he's just flying real high right now. This is the athlete everyone's talking about. Now CNN.com will be talking to him as well, and you can, too. Michael Phelps joins cnn.com live this Tuesday. And if you're a big Phelps fan, go to ireport.com right now and submit your own video question for him. We're going to let him see you and answer your question. Don't miss Michael Phelps live Tuesday 8:30 Eastern only cnn.com/live.
We appreciate you joining us every weekend here.
Now we're making it easier for you to keep up with what we're doing, planning, talking about. In fact, I'm twittering as we speak. That's right, I twitter and I'm proud of it.
Sign up to follow my updates and get a minute to minute, day-to-day look inside my world as our team covers the news for you.
So, how do you check into this, right? How do you find out what I'm even talking about if you've never heard of the term twitter? Go to www.twitter.com/ricksanchezcnn. You can find me at MySpace, the address there www.myspace.com/ricksanchezcnn. And you can find me at Facebook as well. But that's a little harder to do because they don't have an easy way to do that for you.
Thanks so much for being with us. Before we do anything else, let's toss it over now and see what's coming up on our next show.