Return to Transcripts main page
Massachusetts Senate Race; Haiti Survival Stories: Woman Buried Alive for a Week Survives; Orphans Leave Devastated Homeland; Rescuers Find Newborn Girl in Ditch; Saving Haitian Orphans
Aired January 19, 2010 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, everyone. Campbell Brown is off tonight. Thanks for joining us. I'm John Roberts.
Breaking news: Polls have just closed in Massachusetts, a cliffhanger special election in one of the very bluest states in the nation. The big question tonight, will Ted Kennedy's Senate seat fall into Republican hands?
For the Obama White House, the stakes are enormous. The outcome could set back the president's plan to reform health care. The best political team on television is here to tell you everything that you need to know.
And in Haiti tonight, some miraculous stories of survival. People are still being pulled alive out of the rubble one week after the devastating earthquake. We will have the very latest on the ground in Haiti coming up.
But we start with tonight's political drama in Massachusetts, Democratic candidate Martha Coakley, the state's attorney general, facing off against State Senator Scott Brown. At stake, the Senate seat held for 46 years by Ted Kennedy.
And the Democratic candidate, according to the latest polls, is in trouble.
CNN's chief national correspondent, John King, is at Scott Brown's campaign party in Boston.
And there are many people tonight, John, Democrats among them, who believe that could be a victory party tonight.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There is certainly a sense of excitement here, John, a great sense of anticipation.
The candidate you mentioned, Scott Brown, he is a state senator. He's meeting right now with his campaign team. They are analyzing their own input, their own intelligence, if you will, from key precincts around the state. And they're waiting for the early returns.
Now, consider the stakes you just highlighted. This was Teddy Kennedy's seat for more than 46 years, perhaps the best known liberal in the United States. Just 14 months ago, President Obama carried this state by more than 25 points over John McCain.
And, yet, the people of Massachusetts could send a message tonight by sending a Republican to Washington to replace Ted Kennedy. And Scott Brown has played on the theme, make me the 41st senator, meaning he wants to go to Washington, break the Democratic 60-seat filibuster-proof majority in the Senate right now.
Scott Brown has campaigned again in a state Obama carried by such a huge margin by saying, I want to vote against the Obama health care plan. I want to fight the president. I think the stimulus plan was wrong. I think there is too much spending in Washington.
He says he doesn't think the president is doing enough to create jobs, thinks the president is not being bipartisan enough. And he mocked, John -- one of the key appeals to independent voters here was any time a Democrat described it as Kennedy's seat, we have to keep Kennedy's seat, Scott Brown would run around the state saying, no, this is the people's seat.
And so, you have a populist Republican who even the Democrats in this state concede has run a better campaign, had better ads and has more energy. And Republicans here in Massachusetts think they are on the verge of what would be drama for them.
It has been more than 30 years since there has been a Republican United States senator from the state of Massachusetts. In this room tonight, they believe in just a few hours, they may have a victorious candidate who will reshape not only this state's politics, but the dynamic in Congress and without a doubt change the dynamics in this early month, the first month of midterm election year -- John.
ROBERTS: John, a word we talk about, a political phenomenon, we talk about always on election night and actually leading up to it is the word intensity, particularly important with a special election like this, because everybody is not coming out to vote for a slate of candidates.
As far as Republican intensity, enthusiasm to get out and vote goes, what did we see heading out into the polls today?
KING: The intensity is off the charts in the Republican favor. The key question is, is that enough? Because Democrats still outnumber Republicans in Massachusetts by a 3-1 margin. There are more independents than there are Democrats or Republicans.
Now, Scott Brown is polling very well with those independents, but there's not an independent party. There's not an apparatus to turn them out. So, he needs that intensity to convince people to come out to vote.
And we have seen relatively high turnout in some of the key places in the state where we would look for that. The question is, is that enough, the natural intensity, the independent anger, the anxiety over the economy and other issues, enough to overcome, in Boston, in Worcester, in Springfield, in places where the Democrats can rely on the mayors, on the labor unions, on the African-American organizations.
Is the independent and Republican intensity enough to overcome the Democratic apparatus? We will have the answer to that question, John, pretty soon.
ROBERTS: All right, John -- John King for us tonight at Brown party headquarters, where they're going to be having some sort of party tonight.
Meantime, let's get a look at the other side of the political fence.
Our national political correspondent, Jessica Yellin, is live at Democratic candidate Martha Coakley's headquarters in Boston.
And what's the mood like there, Jessica?
JESSICA YELLIN, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: John, I was just watching John King's report, and that was the first time I have seen Brown headquarters. Wow. It looked like a party there.
It is nothing like that here. I have to say most of the people at this room are actually media, so there is not a lot of excitement here. There's a lot of anxiety, a worried anticipation that this candidate is not going to do what they expected even a month ago, when she had a 30-point lead, when Democrats assumed it was a walk, a cakewalk, for her.
And when the Coakley campaign essentially coasted for many weeks -- that's the consensus opinion of Democratic operatives in this state, that she just coasted, did not mount the kind of campaign one has to mount to win in a big state and took it for granted. And they're very concerned she's going to pay the price tonight -- John.
ROBERTS: All right, Jessica Yellin at Coakley headquarters, we will keep checking back with you tonight.
Right now, let's go to Washington, bring in Wolf Blitzer. He will be watching the returns all evening.
Do we know anything at this point, Wolf?
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: The polls have closed. We know that, John. We know we're going to be spending a lot of time watching these results. Right now, zero percent of precincts have reported anything, although we do expect very soon to start getting the initial results.
And we will show them, obviously, throughout the night. We will also get some early indications as to who seems to be on top and who is not doing necessarily all that well. So, this is a moment that a lot of people have been waiting for.
Remember, John, it's not just Massachusetts. This follows Democratic defeats in Virginia, a Democratic defeat in New Jersey. If Massachusetts now sends the Democrats another such message, a state that Barack Obama carried -- only a year or so ago, he had 61.8 percent to John McCain's 36 percent -- if Democratic Massachusetts goes Republican in the Senate race tonight, it's going to send a powerful message to the Democrats and a powerful message to Republicans.
And the fate of health care reform hangs in the balance. So, there's a lot going on.
ROBERTS: Wolf, typically, on an election night, we have an elaborate exit polling operation, gets us an early indication of how people are voting, which way the vote may be breaking for one candidate or the other, the issues that they voted on. We don't have that tonight, so are we getting all the results the old-fashioned way?
BLITZER: Yes. But we will get county-by-county results. They will be coming in. They will give us a strong indication.
And, at some point, once a lot of these votes have actually been counted, we might be able to project a winner, assuming, assuming that the results are decisive. We don't know if this is going to be a single-digit or a double-digit win for either of these candidates.
But we have got a lot of experts working behind the scenes right here in Washington looking at all those ballots, looking at all the votes. And so we should be getting some results fairly soon, John.
BLITZER: All right, Wolf Blitzer for us tonight.
Wolf, we will keep checking back with you.
Our senior political analyst, Gloria Borger, is in Washington tonight as well.
And, Gloria, a number of obvious questions that arise out of this election. If the Republican manages to take Kennedy's seat, what does it do to health care? What does the White House do to go forward with its agenda? And what does it mean for November?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, those questions are exactly the questions they are talking about at the White House right now.
They know that they have to figure out a way to get something done on health care reform. Honestly, they don't have any good choices here, because, if they push something through very quickly, they could be accused of using gimmicks. And that's not a very good choice for them.
Losing health care reform is almost unimaginable for them, the president's number-one domestic priority. If they lose, they look like they can't govern the country as the Democratic majority. They look ineffectual and weak. So, that is a terrific, terrific problem for them.
I think you are going to see them try and get something done very quickly on health care reform one way or another and then pivot in the State of the Union, pivot and say, I heard you. I have heard the voters. We have to think about jobs. I have to think about you.
And you're going to hear, I would believe, a more populist Barack Obama, because that is actually what seems to working in Massachusetts.
ROBERTS: All right. Well, that gives him only a week to pivot, because, as we know, next Wednesday is the State of the Union address.
BORGER: They're pretty good at that, John.
ROBERTS: Yes. Gloria, stay with us, because we will get you back with some of the other members of the best political team on television to kick this around in our next segment here.
In Massachusetts, meantime, the voters have spoken. And if you had any doubt about what the national significance of this election, listen to what some of them told us just a little while ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want a change in Washington. I want things to change. I want the health care to go down in defeat. And that's why I'm here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Obama has been in office long enough now that he's catching the blame for all of the stuff that he inherited. He hasn't made it go away yet. Nobody could have. I wish somebody could. If I believed that somebody could, I would say, yes, get them in there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To put so much energy into the health care bill, when there are so many other issues out there -- and of course it's an important issue, and of course it's important for everybody to have health care, but I think to invest so much energy into it is a detriment to some of the things that he should be focused on.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This race has become a mandate for something much larger. We have been working hard on Martha Coakley's race, not only because we feel that she's the right person for Massachusetts, but also because we understand the significance of this race.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: A single special elections, typically, they don't matter a whole lot, but this one certainly does.
We will be back in a minute with the best political team on television as we await results in that Massachusetts Senate race.
Plus, breaking news out of Haiti tonight. Survivors are still being pulled from the rubble this evening after being buried alive for a week, remarkable tales of survival.
ROBERTS: Along with our special election coverage tonight, we're also seeing incredible new images coming out of Haiti.
A woman in her 70s trapped since the quake hit last Tuesday has been pulled alive from the rubble near Haiti's National Cathedral. Right now, rescue teams are carefully trying to get to four other trapped survivors in that same location. But, once rescued, there is a new battle to get them help. We're going to go live to Haiti in just a few minutes, so stay with us for that.
We're also watching tonight's breaking news, the Massachusetts Senate race that could cost the Democrats their Senate supermajority and bring the president's health care agenda to a screeching halt.
Let's bring in now the best political team on television. It's a big one tonight. In Washington, Democratic strategist and CNN contributor Paul Begala, Republican consumer Alex Castellanos, Erick Erickson, managing editor of the Web site RedState.com. and CNN senior political analyst Gloria Borger. With me here in New York is John Avlon, a contributor to The Daily Beast. And CNN senior congressional correspondent Dana Bash is on Capitol Hill.
I would love to spend some time kicking around topics, folks, but we're out of it just introducing the panel.
ROBERTS: John, let's start with you.
Independents are going to decide this race. As John King was saying, 51 percent of voters in Massachusetts are unenrolled, meaning that they're more or less independent. And Brown is leading 2-1 among independents. Why is he getting their vote?
JOHN AVLON, AUTHOR, "INDEPENDENT NATION": Well, because independents have turned against Barack Obama and the Democratic- controlled Congress since the spring on overspending and the growth of government. So, this should be a real wakeup call to both parties. Brown has been able to connect with them. He is a pro-choice Republican, fits well with their beliefs.
But it's a real wakeup call to Democrats, business as usual anymore not cutting it, 51 percent, even in Massachusetts.
ROBERTS: Paul Begala, we heard from a voter just before we went to the commercial break who says, I want change in Washington. I seem to remember that slogan from somewhere not too long ago. I think I saw it on a T-shirt. What's going on?
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, sounds familiar.
ROBERTS: It does.
BEGALA: I think John Avlon makes good points.
People in the middle, particularly, but actually at both fringes as well, they really want change. That's how we got Barack Obama in there. And the challenge will be, should Scott Brown win -- I think he's going to, frankly -- it looks like he's run a much better campaign in a very difficult state for Republicans -- Democrats are going to have to reconnect with those voters and try to make the case to them -- and I think they can -- that they are, in fact, the change and that those deficits that all those independents hate, they were caused by the other guys.
Those were all Republican/Bush deficits that the Democrats are now trying to pay down. And I think they have to make that case. They have not done so. They certainly haven't done so in Massachusetts.
ROBERTS: Alex Castellanos, Martha Coakley was 15 points up at the turn of the new year. What was it that Brown did to turn around his fortunes in such a grand fashion?
ALEX CASTELLANOS, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, Brown caught a wave. And it's the same wave that hit New Jersey. It's the same wave that hit Virginia. And now it's hit Massachusetts.
And, basically, this is populism. This is Washington's out of control and Americans want to do something about it. This is America saying, look, children shouldn't play with matches. You guys are setting the country on fire with spending.
And with all due respect to my good friend Paul, it wasn't George Bush that drove America's debt to $13 trillion. That's what the Obama administration was doing.
BEGALA: Yes, it was.
CASTELLANOS: So, that's what things -- I think people are upset about.
What did Brown do? He campaigned and said, you have got a choice. It's either one of us or one of them, a populist campaign. And that's what worked.
ROBERTS: Well, certainly, Alex, President Bush added $5 trillion to the debt and drove it near $13 trillion.
CASTELLANOS: And Republicans got kicked out of office for that. And so the Democrats' answer to that fire was to pour kerosene on it. They doubled down on what Republicans did wrong.
And I think voters are saying a pox right now on both of your houses. A new, fresh-faced Republican Party, a bottom-up Republican Party that says, you know what, why don't we listen to the American people and do some commonsense things like not spend more than we take in is what's working at the polls. And I think Paul is right. It's a wakeup call.
ROBERTS: Go ahead, Gloria.
BORGER: A majority -- 76 percent of the voters in the presidential election say they wanted change. A majority of independents now say this isn't the change they wanted.
And I think that's the problem for President Obama, and it's the problem for Martha Coakley tonight. What they didn't want is this notion of big government that they think they are getting, and that may be a communication problem -- as the White House says, we need to communicate better -- or it may be an issue problem, which is that maybe they wanted health care reform, but they didn't want huge health care reform.
And their jobs aren't coming back, but they see that Wall Street folks are getting bonuses. So, there is a disconnect there that they did not expect from President Obama. And I think she's suffering for it.
CASTELLANOS: Gloria, if I could add, I think there is a communications problem, but it's not that Washington isn't communicating. It's that Washington isn't listening.
CASTELLANOS: Voters all this summer, in August, said, stop. Slow down. We don't know what you're passing in these 2,000-page bills, but we know how much they cost. And you know what the Obama administration said? We're going to keep right on don't it.
So, it's now not the issues. It's that Washington doesn't listen.
ROBERTS: Folks, we have got to take a pause. Stay with us for just a second.
We will be right back with more on this. And Wolf Blitzer has got some early results. We want to take a quick break. And we will get back to Dana and Erick Erickson right after this. Stay with us.
ROBERTS: Breaking news now out of Massachusetts and the special election there to replace Senator Ted Kennedy, Martha Coakley, the Democratic candidate, against Scott Brown.
Let's go to Wolf Blitzer. He has some early results.
BLITZER: Very early.
One percent of the precincts have now reported, John. You can take a look, Scott Brown, the Republican, with 54 percent, to Martha Coakley's 45 percent. About 13,000 votes have actually been cast. And he's developing a slight lead, but it's still very, very early.
We're going to see these numbers changing, though, very rapidly over the next hour or so, because a lot of these counties are going to be reporting, the precincts coming in, so we're going to get a good taste of what's going on in Massachusetts. At some point, John, I suspect we will be able to project a winner, assuming one of these candidates has a decisive lead. But you know what? We will do it the old-fashioned way. We will wait to see the votes actually counted.
ROBERTS: Yes. As we should point out again, Wolf, we got no exit polling data tonight. As you said, we're doing it the old- fashioned way.
Let's get back to the best political team on television.
And, Dana Bash, before we went to the break, Alex Castellanos said that Scott Brown caught a wave. Do you think he really caught a wave, or was Martha Coakley just not the candidate that people were looking for in Massachusetts? Did she have some missteps?
DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think the answer to that question is both. Alex is right, and there were some missteps, many missteps.
And talk to any Democrat, they're very eager to tell you about that here on Capitol Hill. But in terms of the question of the wave, I have talked to -- just even tonight -- in fact, I should tell you that I'm standing outside a meeting of all House Democrats.
I talked to several of them, some of whom are in districts that are not in Massachusetts. They are pretty red districts and they are Democrats representing them. And they said we didn't need Massachusetts to tell us that there are big problems out there. People not really happy with the way things are going here, whether it's about the way Congress is spending, the way things really haven't changed very much or health care.
And one interesting thing, Alex says that things went too fast on health care. What I'm hearing from some Democrats is, it took too long. They spent too long, months and months and months, debating and talking about health care, and not focused enough on the issues that they're hearing about back home, actually, the number-one issue, jobs.
ROBERTS: And, Erick Erickson, let's hear from you here.
ROBERTS: A year ago -- let me just put this question to you or this thought to you. A year ago, the story was, Republicans were decimated. How were they ever going to come back from this? And since then we have had turnovers in New Jersey and Virginia in the governorships, a potential win here in this very important Senate district in Massachusetts.
Going forward, in 2010, if you're a Republican, how are you feeling and how do you think this is going to play out in November?
ERICK ERICKSON, EDITOR IN CHIEF, REDSTATE.COM: Well, you know, those Republicans, they're just never competitive in New England. At least that's what we have been hearing for the past year.
Jim DeMint wanted Waterloo on health care. Massachusetts is delivering Waterloo tonight, it looks like. We don't know for sure, but, even if Scott Brown gets close, the fact that we're taking seriously that a Republican in Massachusetts is running close to the Democrat establishment candidate, frankly if I were a Democrat or a Republican establishment guy, I would be a little bit sick tonight, because Scott Brown ran against the Republican establishment and he ran against the Democratic establishment.
The national Republican Senate committee gave only $500,000, and did so without anybody -- under the radar, so they wouldn't get credit for it. Meanwhile, Jim DeMint goes out with his Senate conservative fund and pounds the table for Scott Brown. And he's going to win, it looks like.
You know, the irony here, though, is that Obama's unicorn of hope and changes is dying under Ted Kennedy, that, if Ted Kennedy had decided to resign or retire when he found out just how bad his health was, instead of wanting to be a martyr for the cause, the Democrats wouldn't be in this position.
AVLON: This is all about independents.
ROBERTS: Let Paul just make a point there about this...
ROBERTS: Go ahead, Paul.
BEGALA: Yes. Just let me defend Senator Kennedy's memory here from what was really a low blow.
ERICKSON: Well, look, it's true, Paul.
BEGALA: He gave every ounce of his energy until the day he died to try to represent the people of Massachusetts. And they loved him.
And if he were on the ballot today, even with the wave that Alex talks about, it would be a landslide for Ted Kennedy. Campaigns matter and candidates matter. And Teddy Kennedy would have won today. I doubt Erick would even try to argue with that point. He would win in a landslide today.
ERICKSON: Oh, I think Ted Kennedy would win.
But, you know, had Ted Kennedy gone on and resigned, instead of trying to be the person around whom everyone rallied, the Democrats would not be in the position...
ROBERTS: Let's let John Avlon in here...
AVLON: One thing independents hate is this partisan bickering back and forth, and that's in part what this is a reaction to, this old play-to-the-base politics that are trying to declare independence for a long time.
There are two things this is really about. One, independents have been deficit hawks since at least Ross Perot. And the overspending has been alienating them. The second thing is that independents don't like unified control of government. They see it leads to ideological arrogance and legislative overreach. And that's the other thing that is happening tonight.
ROBERTS: If we could, folks, sorry, just hold on to that point, because we have got some more breaking news. Wolf Blitzer has got some more results. We will get right back to you -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, John, 5 percent of the precincts have now reported. The numbers are coming in quickly. And take a look. It's narrowed a little bit, Scott Brown still ahead with 52 percent to Martha Coakley 47 percent, about 54,000 votes for Scott Brown, 49,000 for Martha Coakley. So, it's narrowed a little bit. It was 54-45. Now it's tightening up a little bit.
But, remember, only 5 percent of the precincts have reported. It's still early. But get ready. We're told a lot more precincts are about to report.
ROBERTS: All right, Wolf Blitzer, we will keep going back to you.
Let's wrap it up with our political panel.
Just got about a minute left, folks, so some quick thoughts.
Gloria, you were about to say?
BORGER: Well, yes, I was just going to go to the checks and balances. You're right. People do like checks and balances. They don't like one-party rule. They like a confident president, but they don't like a president they believe is arrogant and telling them what they should believe is good for them.
And they didn't make the case to the American public that this health care bill is good for them.
ROBERTS: All right, Alex, final thought?
CASTELLANOS: This may be actually a good day for Barack Obama, in the sense that, instead of waiting of November of this coming year to really lose his Democratic majority in the House, he in effect may lose it now. Democrats may start moving away from him, and he may have to govern in a more bipartisan way, reaching out to Republicans, moving away from the left, more towards the center and some conservative ideals. It may center this administration.
BEGALA: I think this is not about left and right. I think it's about up and down.
Alex earlier talked about populism. And that looks like why Scott Brown did so well. Let's watch these Democrats, see if they take on Wall Street a little stronger with some of the reforms we need, see if they take on Wall Street to make them pay back the TARP money through this fee that the president has proposed.
I think 2010 could be an up-down populist argument from the Democratic side this time, instead of the Republican side.
BASH: And, John, I will tell you, on Capitol Hill, Democrats insist that they do want to do that. That is their plan for the next 10 months before all House Democrats have to go to the polls. The question is, how long is it going to take to finish health care, now that it is, frankly, a complete mess, if, in fact, the results go the way we think they will?
ERICKSON: I hope the Democrats keep smoking what they're smoking. In 2008, the independents wanted to prove they weren't really racists. And in 2009 and since, they have been proving they aren't socialists either.
ROBERTS: All right.
Thanks very much, folks. We will keep you on standby. Don't leave us just yet, just in case we need to come back on a point.
But Wolf Blitzer has got some more results for us in Washington.
BLITZER: Now 7 percent, John, of the precincts have reported, tightening up once again a little bit more, but, remember, it's still early, 51 percent for Scott Brown, the Republican, 48 percent for Martha Coakley, the Democrat -- 69,600 to 65,500.
But it's still early. Seven percent are coming in, and we're told we're going to be getting a lot more fairly soon, so we will check back and we will get that information to our viewers.
ROBERTS: The race tightening up. Wolf, we will keep going back to you.
And we will be back right after this with more coverage of the catastrophe in Haiti. Stay with us.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ROBERTS: Breaking news as we watch the returns coming out of Massachusetts for the special election for the seat that was Ted Kennedy's for more than 46 years, and here's the latest figures right now.
Scott Brown, the Republican, is leading -- well, I don't know who that was -- is leading Martha Coakley 52-47 percent. Our last report from Wolf it had tightened up. It was 51-48. Now stretching out the lead again, but as you can see, only a small percentage of the vote counted so far. It's coming in fast and furious, though, folks, so stay with us.
To breaking news out of Haiti, and right now rescuers in Port-au- Prince are racing to save four people trapped for a week in the rubble of the earthquake. This is going on in the ruins of the National Cathedral. Searchers have good reason to believe that the victims are still alive under the rubble. They already have one incredible success story from today.
Our Ivan Watson is on the scene and joins us now with the very latest. What's happening now, Ivan?
IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, right now, John, we had an arrival within the last hour and a half of a larger contingent of Polish and German rescue workers. And they brought big lights that lit up the area. The team that was here already, they were working practically in the dark except from the headlights of their own cars here.
Now they say they have not had any contact with the victims inside in more than two hours. The last contact was one of the sniffing dogs that sensed that there was somebody still alive under the rubble. Around 2:00 p.m. local time, more than six hours ago, they heard tapping intermittently coming from inside.
Now it is very difficult work. They're digging through sand and gravel, and the rescue workers say they dug down more than 10 yards through this mountain of rubble here to the ground floor. I'm going to step out of the way so you can see the conditions that they're operating in over here.
Now, they don't -- are not 100 percent sure if there are, in fact, two victims there. They've gotten some indications of life from some nine rescue equipment earlier in the day and then from dogs that have been working in the area. There is a Mexican canine team here, John, that have been moving around and they recently found the body of a priest, because we are operating, really, in the shadow of the ruined National Cathedral.
Now incredibly, miraculously, you could say, hours ago, Anderson Cooper and his team here, they witnessed the escape, the rescue of a woman in her 70s, Anna Zizi (ph), and she was treated at an outdoor field clinic just a block away from here and recently airlifted by a Coast Guard helicopter for treatment aboard the U.S. ship, the USS Baton. So it has been a remarkable day here and work is still under way. The new team that has come in have come in with some heavier equipment, some pneumatic cameras, and they continue from this very, very delicate work to try to see if there are more survivors underneath this rubble, John.
ROBERTS: Ivan, the place where the rescue workers are looking now, where is that in relation to where this woman was pulled out just a little while ago? And do you know the condition of the rubble where she was, how big a space she was in, how tight that might be, how much room that the rescue workers have to work in there?
WATSON: It was just described to me that in the current operation they were in such a narrow space that they could only work two people at a time. And they're digging.
I'll just show you. They're digging, John, through sand and rubble and gravel, basically. This is really difficult material to try to move through, and the danger here is that it can then collapse in on the rescuers and create yet another emergency here. So they have to move very, very slowly, shoring things up as they go. And they don't even, in this case, know how many yards away the exact location of the possible survivors might, in fact, be.
And one thing even complicating this further, there is nobody on the ground here who has given them a map of the architecture of this building, telling them which room survivors might have been in. And they believe there might have been as many as 20 children here. That's what German rescue workers are telling me, and several adults.
It is painstaking, dangerous work, but help has come on the way. There is much heavier equipment here. There are now generators and lights as well as some security, which is also essential to help protect these people as they're doing this work.
But, John, I have to say a block down, it's pitch black. It looks -- the scene looks downright apocalyptic with entire buildings down, fires guttering from some of the survivors that are just camping out in the darkness. Very difficult situation.
ROBERTS: It is difficult to comprehend the extent of the devastation there. Ivan Watson for us on the scene this evening. Ivan, I know you're going to be staying there and reporting throughout the evening on what's going on, so we look forward to getting back to you in just a little while.
More than ever, the rescue operation is a race against time. It is now eight days since the earthquake. Typically, the chances of survival dwindle after three or four days. In fact, 90 percent of earthquake survivors are typically rescued within the first 24 hours. Of course, miracles do happen. The longest case of an earthquake survivor being rescued is 14 days.
And we are seeing a lot of people being brought out alive a week into the aftermath of this earthquake. So incredible what's going on on the scene there in Haiti.
The scenes of devastation can be difficult to watch, but then you come across something like this. Take a look at this. It's an urban search and rescue team from Los Angeles County pulling a woman from the ruins of a collapsed building. And then something extraordinary happens. The crowd surrounding them bursts into applause in chants of USA. USA. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CROWD: USA, USA, USA, USA, USA, USA, USA, USA.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: Every night in our Haiti coverage we put a special focus on those most at risk, Haiti's children. Before the quake strike, dozens of American families were in the process of adopting Haitian orphans. Tonight, many of those children are making their way to new homes here in the United States. We'll show you.
Plus, early results from the Massachusetts Senate race. We're following it all throughout the night. Stay with us.
ROBERTS: We return to the Senate race in Massachusetts. Let's go to Wolf Blitzer who's got the breaking news. What are the numbers looking like now, Wolf?
WOLF BLITZER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Almost 400,000 have already been counted in Massachusetts, and Scott Brown, the Republican, holding steady. He's got 52 percent to 47 percent, 200,000 to 182,000. Seventeen percent of the precincts reporting, so he's got about an 18,000-vote margin right now. This is 17 percent, but they're coming in very quickly so I suspect we'll have a lot more precincts reporting over the next several minutes, John. So we'll update you as we get more information, but right now the Republicans still ahead.
ROBERTS: All right, Wolf Blitzer for us tonight. Wolf, thanks.
One story that we're really focused on in Haiti is the plight of that country's children. Here's a scene of hope from today.
Fifty-three Haitian orphans ranging in age from just nine months to 12 years old are safe in the United States right now. Their orphanage in Port-au-Prince was destroyed. They arrived in Pittsburgh today.
Adoptions were already under way for most of the children. The rest will be placed in foster care until a family can be found. Now countless other children are still caught in Haiti's rubble and chaos.
Soledad O'Brien is live for us in Port-au-Prince tonight with the story of one baby girl. She's only a week old, and her parents are nowhere to be found.
Hi, Soledad. SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, there. And yes, sort of a big mystery. One of the reasons it's so hard to get into Jacmel, which is where we found this baby, about 25 miles outside of Port-au-Prince, is the roads. If you see these boulders you had to drive by, they've been able to finally clear the roads and that's allowed more aid to get through.
And so one of the things we saw today while we were in the middle of doing the live shots, all of a sudden someone said, there's a baby, there's a baby. And it turned out in fact a week-old baby had been found. Someone found this baby lying by a ravine. But, of course, many, many questions.
It didn't look like the baby had been trapped in any rubble or the earthquake. In fact, the umbilical cord still attached, looked like the baby had been born, but where was the mother? Was the baby abandoned? Was in fact the mother dead? Had she died in the quake?
Unclear, they took that baby, swaddled it after giving it a little first aid treatment, she didn't need much. They estimated the baby's age to be about a week, which, of course, will be the same time approximately when the earthquake struck, and they put her in a car and then took that baby to the U.N. compound where she will get some more help. But it's clearly been chaotic.
You know, there in Jacmel, they had tent cities much smaller than they have in Port-au-Prince, but an indication I think where the baby being sort of just discovered of how chaotic it is with people living on the streets. It's been a real problem there.
Hospitals as well have told us the chaos that they're in in terms of what they need. They need anesthesiologists desperately. They need orthopedists to be able to do surgery. They say what they're able to do now is all that they can do, and they need to see some -- you know, for the patients who have these severe brain trauma, severe head trauma, they need something else more than these doctors who've been working around the clock that are internists and pediatricians more than they can provide.
So they literally were begging us for help. They see 70 patients today at this makeshift hospital in Jacmel.
Finally, the U.S. Marines have landed. They came to Leogane, which is not too far away from Jacmel. It's between Port-au-Prince actually in Jacmel. And we had a chance to see them as we were heading back home handing out MREs and water to a large crowd, thousands of people or so who would come by to get some supplies.
So for these areas that are outside of Port-au-Prince where we have been getting some frantic messages about the fact that they've been ignored, that help has been slow to get there, it's really a sign, I think, that things are beginning to turn as far as some supplies and some services go -- John.
ROBERTS: All right. And just so that folks can orient themselves to where this is, this is on the other side of the epicenter to Port-au-Prince. It's on the southern coast of Haiti, and we'll keep watching that story very closely.
Soledad O'Brien -- Soledad, thanks so much. And we'll be back right after this.
ROBERTS: Breaking news out of Massachusetts, the latest numbers in the Senate race. Our Wolf Blitzer has been watching.
Wolf, what are the numbers? And do we have any idea where the voters are coming in from?
BLITZER: We don't. I know they're coming in county and county and about a quarter of the precincts have now reported. More than half a million votes have been counted. Scott Brown, the Republican, continues to maintain his advantage, 52 percent to 47 percent. He's got about -- what? 28,000 or so margin that he's ahead, 288,000 to 260,000. This is a quarter of the precincts now reporting.
It's been steady for him. As you know, John, throughout ever since they started counting the votes but still, 75 percent of the precincts have not yet reported. We do expect many of them to be reporting within the next half hour or so, so the numbers will change.
ROBERTS: We'll stick with it. Wolf, thanks.
As we have been showing you, there are still countless Haitian orphans in need of help. Bobby and Sherry Burnette run their own orphanage in Haiti. It's outside of Port-au-Prince. As part of their relief organization, Love a Child, we last spoke to them on Friday evening.
Today, we wanted to know what's been going on there ever since.
SHERRY BURNETTE, LOVE A CHILD: I would say the situation is fine. We have just had so many people come in who come in across the border who can't find a place to stay, a hotel, and I think that our orphanage has kind of become a safe haven for them. They've stayed here, all kinds of people, people I don't even know.
We've had to take in an orphanage that was affected by the earthquake, so we got 11 more kids in that, you know, added to our orphan kids.
There are so many people staying in this orphanage that I can't even count them all.
S. BURNETTE: And we've got so many victims there that we set up a makeshift disaster surgery center and relief center there for the wounded, so there are so many people here.
ROBERTS: Wow. BOBBY BURNETTE, LOVE A CHILD: And John --
ROBERTS: Yes, go ahead.
B. BURNETTE: And, you know, it's been, I think, what? Seven or eight days since the earthquake and so we're 37 miles from the town, Port-au-Prince. And we've been going out all day long, every day, since day one of the earthquake, picking up all the people off the streets. And I thought by now you would go down all of Port-au-Prince you couldn't find nobody. But there are --- and they've been bringing to us and then they sew them up, and people screaming and children crying. It was 24 hours a day, and now we're doing surgeries.
We got major doctors in here. But still today, they have brought in several more truckloads a day, and they said they'd be coming all through the night, all through tomorrow. But I thought by now all the people would be off the street, have been helped. But boy, I tell you, they're not.
ROBERTS: And the last time we spoke to you, the last time Campbell Brown spoke to you, you were running short on supplies. Have you gotten everything that you need now? Are you getting more of it? You mentioned that you got some medical supplies.
B. BURNETTE: Yes, we have medical supplies come in, and now we've had some food come in across from the Dominican Republic side. The airport scene like in Port-au-Prince is bottlenecked up, and the bureaucrats down there, Lord have mercy, can't do nothing down there much. But they're coming in through the border, and so we have food now.
ROBERTS: Let me ask you about the children there at the orphanage. We're in the seventh day, just completing the seventh day of this catastrophe, this ordeal. How are the children holding up? What's the effect been on them?
S. BURNETTE: Well, it's taken days for the children to try to get readjusted. They are still sleeping -- they were sleeping way outside away from the orphanage on the gravel on sheets.
B. BURNETTE: Like everybody in Haiti.
S. BURNETTE: Yes, and then they got a little brave. They decided that they were going to all sleep inside but right next to the door. And then the first little aftershock came along, they were back out in the yard again.
So, you know, they're still not sleeping in their rooms at night. They're afraid the cement ceilings are going to fall in on them. But, you know, every night they just drag their little sheets down and they sleep by the door.
B. BURNETTE: By the door.
S. BURNETTE: Bless their hearts, and they're just afraid. So we're just letting them work that out by themselves.
ROBERTS: Well, that's great. And how are you folks holding up? I'm sure you haven't had a whole lot of sleep in the last seven days.
S. BURNETTE: Pretty exhausted. Pretty exhausted.
B. BURNETTE: We've been going 24/7. And these crazy aftershocks, there's been about 50 of them. I don't know what they're saying back in America, but I would say at least 35 of them. You may think I'm exaggerating, but I would say they're earthquake size. This house has shook like it's a piece of paper. That gets on your nerves. I mean, the stress of it.
ROBERTS: Bobby and Sherry Burnette from the relief group Love a Child in Haiti doing the good work down there.
We're getting new numbers every few minutes in tonight's down to the wire Senate race in Massachusetts. Right now, Republican Scott Brown hanging onto the lead by five points at this point.
We'll take you right back to Boston for the very latest. Stay with us.
ROBERTS: Breaking news here on CNN. Wolf Blitzer has got the latest numbers for the Massachusetts special election. What do we got, Wolf?
BLITZER: About 750,000 people's votes have now been counted, John. Take a closer look.
Scott Brown, the Republican, holding his lead with 52 percent to 47 percent for Martha Coakley. Thirty-six percent of the precincts, more than a third have now been counted, 750,000 votes. They're coming in very quickly.
I did check with our folks, John. You'll be interested a lot of these precincts so far are from the western part of Massachusetts and that's a little bit more rural, maybe a little bit more Republican. So there are still a lot of votes to be counted in Boston and the suburbs, so this isn't over with yet. We're watching closely.
ROBERTS: All right. We'll see how things change through the evening.
John King, by the way, is at the Brown campaign party in Boston where they've been entertained by the Doug Flutie band for a while.
And, John, I guess the question that's on everybody's mind tonight is, should Brown pull out a win tonight, what happens to the health care bill?
KING: It's a fascinating question and the burden really would be on the president of the United States. Scott Brown said earlier today when he was voting that he would go to Washington and he's happy to talk to the president about health care and happy to cooperate, but that he doesn't like the spending in the bill, and he thinks it would raise taxes. So the question is, will the president say forget what happened in Massachusetts, we'll try to rally the Democrats? Or will the president suddenly get conciliatory, John, and reach out and maybe backpedal a bit and try to make a deal?
ROBERTS: All right. How's that Doug Flutie band, by the way? He's on what, the drums?
KING: You know, he was a great college quarterback. You might remember the Hail Mary against D.C. A pretty good pro quarterback, turns out he's a pretty good drummer, too.
ROBERTS: He actually played for my Toronto Argonauts some years ago as well. So, you know, it crossed the border.
KING: That's right.
ROBERTS: So what would a Brown win portend for the mid-term elections? Obviously, the Democrats feel like -- the Republicans feel like they got ahead of steam after the turnovers in New Jersey and Virginia. If they put this one in the win column, what does that do to Democratic fortunes in November?
KING: In a state the president carried by 26 points 14 months ago, where Democrats outnumbered Republicans three to one, if Scott Brown wins tonight, that means independent voters swarmed over to him. That means a lot of Democrats abandoned their president. That would send a serious case of jitters, John, if not panic, across the Democratic race.
Look at where the big races for governor and senator, many of them, if not most of them, are in states where independent voters will make the difference. Right now, those voters seem to be as mad at the Democrats and the president as they were at George W. Bush and the Republicans just back 14 months ago in November 2008.
ROBERTS: All right. John King for us tonight at the Brown party. We'll have more new numbers coming out of the Massachusetts Senate race right after the break. Don't go away.
ROBERTS: The latest returns now in the Massachusetts special election. Here's Wolf.
BLITZER: Now we've got a significant number, almost a million votes, John, have now been counted. Scott Brown, the Republican, holds his lead at 52 percent to 47 percent, almost half the precincts, 45 percent, have been counted.
As I said, a lot of these out of the western part of Massachusetts but some are coming in now from the major urban areas around Boston, so it's still a contest. We're watching very closely. Certainly not ready to project a winner yet. We'll see what happens over the course of the next hour.
ROBERTS: And, Wolf, we know you'll keep watching it very closely. Let's go back to Brown party headquarters where John King is.
And, John, few people know Massachusetts politics like you do. If Brown pulls off a win tonight, how did it happen?
KING: It happened because number one, they ran a better campaign. Number two, he did get some late financial help at the end from the Republican Party in Washington. But, John, most of all, he tapped into the same economic discontent and anxiety that Barack Obama tapped into in 2008, and he also went right after independent voters.
A lot of Democrats said we have to keep Teddy Kennedy's seat. Scott Brown went across the state saying it's not Kennedy's seat, it's the people's seat. A lot of discontent with the party in power. In 2008, that party was the Republicans. Right now, it's Barack Obama and the Democrats. And these people in this room tonight, John, think Massachusetts is about to send a very big message.
ROBERTS: You know, John, we've talked about how much of this was President Obama and anger at his agenda, how much of this was just Martha Coakley running a bad campaign. A prominent Democrat that I spoke to tonight, said, hey, take a look at two weeks ago or three weeks ago, Martha Coakley was up by 15 points. So if she was up by 15 points then, the anger couldn't have been the president's agenda. What do you make of that argument?
KING: If you talked to smart people up here, Democrats and Republicans, they say it's all of the above. They say she didn't run a very good campaign. She went down essentially over the Christmas holidays. That's when the terrorist incident happened.
Scott Brown was a very sharp contrast on that issue. The president came up here. The economic news has gotten worse, John. So everybody here says don't just blame the president, don't just blame Martha Coakley. The Democrats up here call it a perfect storm, but they also say guess what? The elements of the storm here can be found in many of the states across the United States right now, and smart Democrats up here say they hope the president gets the message because they think he needs to make a shift.
ROBERTS: All right. John King watching it for us tonight at Brown party headquarters. He'll be there all night.
That's all for now. Thanks for joining us.
"LARRY KING LIVE" starts right now.