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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Haitian Children Face Uncertain Future; President Obama Targets Big Banks
Aired January 21, 2010 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: We're live again, once again, in Port-au-Prince.
And, tonight, two big stories, the one here, of course, and the one back in Washington, where President Obama is trying to stop Wall Street from gambling with our money, then getting bailed out with our money when they lose. Once again, we will be talking to Wolf` Blitzer. He has that angle, a much more populist-sounding President Obama these days, along with best political team on television.
On the quake, we have a lot to talk about today, new aftershocks today, new pictures of just how destructive the first few seconds were and how poorly even outwardly modern buildings did in the shaking. These are government offices, Haiti's equivalent of the IRS, simply falling to pieces.
And, tonight, we have been telling you about the people but with treatable conditions who are dying because medical necessities like antibiotics are not getting where they're needed. Well, today, 360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta went in search of supplies. He actually went to the airport by himself for accountability. He's "Keeping Them Honest" tonight.
We also went to a pediatric ward today at the hospital. We have focused a lot in the last two weeks, last week-and-a-half, on orphans being united with their parents in the United States. But what about all the kids who remain here whose parents have now died? In the pediatric ward today, we met a little boy. He knows his first name. His name is Johnny (ph).
But he doesn't even remember his last name. His parents are dead. He has no clothes. He has a broken leg and he has nowhere to go. And the nurses who are caring for him, they're not going to let them leave their -- their tent, because he -- they don't know where he's going to go or what he's going to do. And there are many patients facing the prospect of an uncertain future, just like him. We will have their story ahead in this hour.
But a story tonight, we begin with the question of looting. We have more scavenging, really, than looting, desperate people looking for food. We have seen some incidences and we have seen police fire in the air to ward off looters. We have -- showed you that show a few days ago.
But, today, our Karl Penhaul came across a scene that we had not seen before, three men shot in the back by Haitian police officers over bags of rice. Take a look.
KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As we drove up to this busy crossroads just beyond the Port-au-Prince Airport, we spot two Haitian police officers detaining two young men.
Then, a single shot rang out.
(on camera): As we were stopping the truck, more shots rang out and we clearly saw the two detainees falling to the ground.
(voice-over): This is where we begin rolling our camera.
(on camera): As we got here to the spot, it became apparent that the incident was somehow connected to bags of rice.
(voice-over): Both men lie bleeding, both shot in the back by the police. We saw one officer firing shots while his captive was on the ground. Twenty-year-old Gentile Cherie is gasping for breath. He is dying.
The other young man is unable to stand. He's stunned, but speaking. He says they didn't steal the rice. They were not looting.
"The cops jumped on us. It was a gift. It was a gift," he says again and again. Five bags of rice are scattered nearby.
"A truck stopped, and we jumped on, and the driver gave us the rice as a gift, but the cops shot us," he says.
This patrolman was one of three involved. He won't answer. Minutes after, this police area commissioner arrives. I ask him if the police have a shoot-to-kill order for suspected looters.
"Nobody can do this in any country. Even if somebody was stealing a bag of rice, nobody has a right to do this," he says. He promises to investigate and says he's calling an ambulance. We wait. No ambulance arrives.
Passing United Nations peacekeepers stop a truck and load the wounded man aboard. A small crowd carries another wounded man who says he was waiting for the bus when he took a stray bullet in the side. He tells us he's a Christian minister who was going home after applying for a job as a policeman.
We asked around in the small shops. Witnesses told us nobody was looting. This story owner says the rice bags fell from the truck and passersby simply picked them up.
Two-and-a-half-hours after the shooting, and Gentile Cherie's body was still on the sidewalk.
PENHAUL: Nearby, his mother had come to grieve. (END VIDEOTAPE)
COOPER: Karl Penhaul joins us now.
First of all, we should just point we actually had an aftershock while we were watching that piece. It's always surreal. It's a feeling you never really forget.
PENHAUL: Exactly. You're not going to get over that, those kinds of feelings. You don't really know what it is the first...
COOPER: We both sort of stood here and looked at each other, like, "meh."
PENHAUL: Oh, you were pushing the wall.
COOPER: Right, right.
This piece, I mean, it raises disturbing questions about, is there a shoot-to-kill policy on looters? Do we know? I mean, that -- the commissioner said no, but, clearly, these three guys are shot in the back.
PENHAUL: Right, exactly. I mean, these guys were clearly shot in the back at point-blank range. We saw that. We weren't rolling on that at that moment because we were driving past to go somewhere else.
But, after the first shot we heard, we looked, and e clearly saw two of these men being shot in the back. But is there an overall shoot-to-kill policy? That, we don't know. You were down at some looting the other day. I came along a little while later.
PENHAUL: And, there, the cops were firing in the air. There was no shoot-to-kill policy there, but here, certainly...
COOPER: And, there, they were firing in the air really at the behest of an American businessman who owned two properties who had given them guns and said, you know, occasionally fire in the air. And he would give them the order to fire in the air, and they would do it.
There's not a lot of sympathy in Haiti, though, for looters. There is -- among regular you talk to, if somebody is stealing for necessity because they're hungry, you know, people maybe look the other way. But if people know that somebody is stealing for profit, there's a lot of anger toward that person.
PENHAUL: Right. Absolutely right. But, here, in this particular case, first of all, we didn't witness the event that sparked this whole incident. And witnesses there at the scene said these men were not looting, they were not stealing... COOPER: Right.
PENHAUL: ... that those bags of rice fell off a truck. And so maybe it's the reflection of the kind of tension here, that everybody is on a hair-trigger.
COOPER: Do you see police fanned out in a lot of places? Because I have really only seen them at gas stations.
PENHAUL: Exactly. And these guys were at a crossroads very near the eastern end of the airport. It was kind of a strategic point as well. They're not across the city. It's not a general lookout to keep...
COOPER: And it's not really a police force that one -- that citizens can call in the event of trouble. I mean, it's not a sort of police force in the traditional sense that we think of it.
PENHAUL: No. And let's not forget we're talking about the Haitian police. These haven't got the best human rights record in the world.
PENHAUL: Already, they're under investigation for summary executions, the kind of stuff we...
COOPER: Right. I mean, the prison, which is destroyed, was supposed to hold only 1,200 to 1,300. They had 4,600 people in there, who, by the way, have all escaped, but clearly overcrowded, very dangerous conditions, obviously, a lot of work that needs to be done here.
Karl, thank you, amazing story today.
Search-and-rescue teams started packing up today, the odds of finding another survivor like 5-year-old Monley Elize growing very slim. Finding him exposed a growing problem, children whose parents are dead, killed by the quake, and there's just no system right now in place to take care of them.
COOPER (voice-over): Outside the crumbling pediatric ward at General Hospital, a nurse sings of God and grace.
COOPER: You can't hear the singing inside the pediatric tent, because Wanda Smiley (ph) can't stop screaming. She's 11 years old. Her legs are broken. No one's sure exactly what else is wrong.
COOPER: Nearby, a little boy with a broken leg sits silently watching it all. His name is Johnny. He doesn't know his last name. His parents are dead. He has no clothes and nowhere else to go.
DR. MARIE FRANCE CONDE, AID WORKER: Right now, he has a broken leg, a broken -- a femur, as well as a broken -- he has several fractures on that leg. But no one is here for him.
COOPER (on camera): What will happen to him?
CONDE: Last night, I did not sleep thinking about Johnny, because I got up. I said, maybe I should take Johnny home. And I said, I know it's not going to be possible.
COOPER (voice-over): For kids whose parents are possible, there is no clear system. That's part of the planning that needs to be done.
CONDE: We don't have much. That's all we have.
COOPER: Dominique Toussaint, a Haitian-American nurse from Harlem, doesn't cry in front of the children, but, outside the tent, she's overcome by it all.
DOMINIQUE TOUSSAINT, HAITIAN-AMERICAN NURSE: Everybody has infections. It seems as though, to me, like they're going to eventually die. I don't even have something to wash my hands. I have one bottle of hand sanitizer. We can't do anything under sterile technique. It's impossible not to have, you know, horrible infections. You know, the medications we're giving them, we could use some stronger medications. We don't have them.
COOPER (on camera): It also seems like a lot of the medication -- the supplies you do have are not built for children. They're not geared for children.
TOUSSAINT: They're not. Like, I just went to get an oxygen tank. It took forever to get the tank. It took forever to get a mask. The mask we have is probably too big to even fit on my face, it looks like. We have no -- the needles on our syringes are too long. We have nothing for the kids. It's like the kids are forgotten almost.
COOPER: It's like the kids are forgotten?
TOUSSAINT: Yes. So, we're just doing the best we can. I mean, it's frustrating. I'm -- I'm overwhelmed.
COOPER (voice-over): It is overwhelming -- for nurses and children. The injured keep coming. There's no space to be had.
COOPER: So, a lot of the supplies that -- the medical supplies they are seeing aren't really geared for children. It's not the right dosage for children, as you heard from that nurse. The syringe -- the I.V.s aren't the right size. They're too big for the little veins of a child, even the oxygen masks, just another of the frustrations that the medical workers here are facing.
As we have been tracking the issue, the problem with medical supplies getting in, Dr. Sanjay Gupta is going to look at that for us ahead.
We're also going to check in with Wolf Blitzer for all the political news ahead tonight. There's a lot more from here in Haiti and from Washington and points in between.
We will be right back.
COOPER: And welcome back. We're live in Port-au-Prince.
As I mentioned, there was just an aftershock when we were playing Karl Penhaul's story for you. I just want to show you what it -- what an aftershock kind of looks like. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... an aftershock right now.
COOPER: There was just an -- there was an aftershock.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: I think Karl Penhaul has quicker reflexes than I do. He -- he was ready. I wasn't. I just sort of sat there.
Nine days after the quake, lifesaving supplies still not reaching enough Haitians. And, as we have been saying every night, people are dying because of delays, preventable deaths. That's what it's called in the medical world, preventable deaths. Stupid death is what a friend of mine, a doctor with Doctor Without Borders, Milton Tectonidis, calls it, deaths that don't need to occur, because of antibiotics, which only cost a few cents, because -- because somebody can't get into surgery in time.
It's maddening. It's frustrating for the doctors for the nurses, who want to save lives, who are here. They're volunteers. With so much aid sitting in the airport, it's almost incomprehensible that people are still dying. People keep talking about security concerns, but, in some places, sure, there are definitely security concerns. In other parts of town, there certainly aren't, and you can walk around no problem.
Yesterday, Sanjay met two doctors, twins, who are at their wit's ends trying to care for patients without the resources they need. Sanjay decided just to see for himself how hard it would be to get supplies to those doctors. "Keeping Them Honest," he went to the airport with his producer.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It's like, everywhere I go -- I was just walking through the airport even, outside the airport -- people are saying, we need supplies. How do we get them?
We know they're in there. How do we get them out here? That's -- people just keep asking me that same question over and over again.
All right. So, now we're going to go into the airport here and see if the next step of this works or not. Well, just take a look out here at all the people that are waiting. And I can tell you that a lot of people are waiting because they're simply hoping that some of these supplies make it outside the airport and to them.
OK, we're now in the airport. It took about five minutes to get in here. We're in the airport. To give you an idea, I mean, obviously, the airport, itself, is still very, very desolate inside, but we're going to get to the airstrip. That's where we're hearing so many of these supplies are.
I don't know if you can hear me or not, but when we talk about all these supplies sitting here, just take a look, I mean, boxes and boxes of supplies, all kinds of different formula in there. There's antibiotics, pain medications. There's all sorts of different things.
I'm just wondering if I can get some antibiotics.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will walk you over there.
GUPTA: Should we check in here first?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, that's what we will do, and walk around to the other...
GUPTA: They seem very much like they want to help. We're going in to see if we can get some antibiotics, at least, to try and take care of these kids. And we will find out.
There is a lot of supplies here, though. We're able to basically walk into a couple of these tents, tell people what we needed, and get lots of supplies here, lots of antibiotics, lots of pain medications, all sorts of things to try and treat so many of the injuries that we have seen. These are medications that people haven't had up until now. It took us about 15 minutes. We got a bunch of it. And we're going to try to distribute this to the hospital.
Basically, just went into the airport and just tried to take as many of the things that we thought you guys would need, based on what the twins were telling us.
So, some of this, probably broad-spectrum antibiotics.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very good.
GUPTA: Lots of different pain medications. All that screaming this morning, hopefully, you can...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This will take care of that.
GUPTA: Hopefully, it can help. All right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sanjay, thanks.
GUPTA: You're welcome.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
GUPTA: So, we came here today and we were able to pick up some of those supplies ourselves. We just asked them, and they gave them to us, right.
COL. BEN MCMULLEN, U.S. AIR FORCE: Right.
GUPTA: We want to take them to that hospital and give it to them, because kids, adults, as well, need this stuff today. Does that surprise you, what I have just described to you?
MCMULLEN: There is stuff here waiting to be taken out. That's a true statement. Is it a lot? I can't speak to it.
I will tell you, the reason you probably got it is because everybody on this field, specifically the U.S. government side, is dedicated to getting as much stuff outside as I -- as they can. Does it totally surprise me that some are doing without? No, it doesn't, not -- not totally.
Do I hope it gets better? Without a doubt. We're doing our part to get things out there, and certainly get things into the airport. And it is -- it's a shame, because you would hope that everything could get out there within seconds. But that kind of infrastructure just isn't in place.
COOPER: And, you know, that's what's interesting, there's so many good people here from all over the U.S., so many, you know, the soldiers who are trying to get this stuff out, the doctors who want to get this stuff. I mean, everybody wants to do the right thing.
COOPER: And, yet, there's a bottleneck, it seems.
GUPTA: They're getting it all to the airport. And the colonel that I was interviewing at the end, that's sort of his mandate, get as many of these supplies in as possible.
He talks about the Doctors Without Borders, for example. And he says, we have landed 2,000 flights over the last several days. He says about 150 of them have been for security, and the rest have been medical/humanitarian. You know, China wants to set up an operating room over here. The Israelis want to set up some stuff.
So, you have lots of people requesting supplies. And that's his jobs. The problem is the next step after that. You're supposed to show up with your badge, with a lot number, go clean your supplies, walk out with them. We could do it. You know, we just walked in. But it's much harder for other people. They're just not able to get their supplies and take them out.
COOPER: And what happened at the airport? I understand Brian Todd ran up to you with a little boy? What happened?
GUPTA: Yes. No, you know, this -- over and over again, this happens. And Brian came up with an 8-year-old boy who had suffered a terrible brain injury, and they were looking for a doctor, a brain surgeon in this case, and ran over, and looked at the boy. And he clearly had a significant brain injury.
And, Brian, obviously, another reporter at CNN, he and I know each other well. That boy needed to be stabilized immediately. So, we took him over to a tent. I was able to give him some medications to essentially shrink his brain a bit, buy him some room, and we got him a medevac to the Comfort, where they have a CAT scan machine. So...
COOPER: I was interested. This is the first time I had heard -- when I talked to the nurses in the pediatric ward, these Haitian- American nurses and doctors who have come down from New York for the week, they were saying that, for kids, the medicine is different, and they need a different, I guess, size of medicine, dosage, that even the I.V. needles aren't the right size.
GUPTA: Yes. I mean, even these medications that I picked up today, it was interesting, because I said, all right -- he's like, how many adults, how many kids? And I said, well, this is a pretty large hospital. I would say about half and half.
So, there's different formulations...
GUPTA: ... for these various medications.
COOPER: Yes, another of the difficulties here in trying to get relief to those who need it.
Sanjay, again, another great day.
And much more from Haiti ahead this hour, and also plenty of "Raw Politics," big political news today, President Obama proposing new rules for Wall Street banks, plus a sweeping Supreme Court ruling with huge implications for the midterm elections -- all that ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: A lot of the survivors here in town have sought refuge in the stadium. It's basically just an open field. It's become a makeshift city of tents -- not even tents, actually. It's basically just bedsheeting.
People have made little private areas. They're surviving as best they can.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: And so it goes in Leogane, a town an hour from here, people surviving as best they can days after their city crumbled around them.
We have a lot more from Haiti ahead, new stories to report from the quake zone.
But, first, Wolf Blitzer is standing by in Washington with the day's big political news -- Wolf.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Anderson, thanks so much. You guys are doing an amazing, amazing job. And all of us are grateful to you for what you're doing.
There's a lot of "Raw Politics" here in the United States tonight, starting with the news that sent some bank stocks plunging today. One year after his full day in office, President Obama called for new limits on Wall Street banks. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have to enact commonsense reforms that will protect American taxpayers and the American economy from future crises as well, for, while the financial system is far stronger today than it was one year ago, it's still operating under the same rules that led to its near-collapse.
Never again will the American taxpayer be held hostage by a bank that is too big to fail.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: The president's proposal needs the approval of Congress to take effect, but there was no mistaking a change in Mr. Obama's tone. He said today he's ready for a fight, if that's what the financial industry wants.
He also made a promise to the nation's mayors, telling them his budget for the upcoming fiscal year will include more investments in cities.
So, what's driving all of this?
Our senior White House correspondent, Ed Henry, is joining us.
What's the answer, Ed?
ED HENRY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, what's driving this is, long before the Massachusetts Senate race, this president was taking on Wall Street, trying to clean it up to try and say, look, we need to prevent another crisis, we need new rules of the road, and it really wasn't going far, and it was clearly overshadowed by his fight on health care reform.
What's different since the Massachusetts Senate results that were awful for the Democrats is the tone, as you mentioned, and the president really trying to add a new urgency to it.
The key to what he said today was, basically, that people on Wall Street are trying to stop reforms, and, if they want a fight, I'm ready for this fight.
He's trying to cast himself as the reformer who is sort of fighting for the little guy, taking on the bankers. And let's face it. They're very unpopular. They're a fat target, just today, Goldman Sachs announcing earnings of nearly $6 billion. They're giving out more bonuses, et cetera.
And, so, this president realizes they're a -- they're a rich target. And, when you talk to his inner circle, they say this is some of the populist anger that the president tapped into as a candidate in 2008. Scott Brown tapped into it in recent weeks. This president now wants to tap into it before these midterm elections, Wolf.
BLITZER: Is he trying to change the subject from health care reform?
HENRY: There's no doubt that they say he's still going to fight for it, but that it's slipping to the back burner. It's no longer the top thing he's talking about.
Tomorrow, I'm going to be traveling with him to Ohio. He's going to have a town hall meeting talking about jobs, going beyond just taking on Wall Street, but also taking on -- you know, going to Main Street and talking up jobs.
I'm told he will be also talking a lot in the State of the Union next week about this second recovery program he's talked about before, but hasn't really fleshed out in too much detail. And the point there is that maybe if the -- some of the rhetoric against Wall Street is sort of Al Gore in 2000, the people vs. the powerful, this is a little bit about Bill Clinton in 1992: I feel your pain.
He knows people are hurting out there, and he's really got to hit that jobs issue, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Ed.
Ed Henry is at the White House.
To some, it sounds an awful lot like President Obama is flexing his populist muscle. He's now been in office full year.
"TIME" magazine columnist Joe Klein interviewed the president for the cover story in "TIME"'s current issue, "Starting Over: Can Obama Revive His Agenda?" He's joining us, along with other members of our panel, including our political analysts Jeffrey Toobin, David Gergen, Gloria Borger, also Joe Johns.
What's the answer to the question you put on the cover, Joe, Joe Klein? Can Obama revive his agenda?
JOE KLEIN, COLUMNIST, "TIME": Well, I think he certainly has the time to, and he is still pretty popular with the American people personally. I mean, between now and the November election is like a million years in politics.
And what they're going to do is what you saw today. They're going to go after big Wall Street. They're also going to go after big government, especially in the State of the Union address. And there's going to be very strict fiscal discipline measures in there, no matter how much he talks about giving money to the cities.
And the third thing that they're going to do is to place a lot of emphasis on infrastructure programs. That big portion of the stimulus package that passed last year hasn't really come online yet. There were no shovel-ready projects. They're about to start coming online.
And you can bet that Barack Obama is going to be in Lorain, Ohio, tomorrow and in cities around the country when these projects come online to promote them.
BLITZER: David Gergen, can he do it quickly? Can he get that motivated base of his up there, because, right now, the Republicans are motivated, the conservatives, not so much the Democrats?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, what Joe Klein has outlined, I think, would be a boost for the president. It could give him a focus on jobs and a second recovery program.
But, Wolf, I don't know how he can slink away from health care reform. It has been a -- the signature issue of his first term. He made universal coverage, you know, his single biggest priority, after economic recovery. And now he's taking sort of a hands-off stance toward the House and Senate, letting them figure it out, and the whole thing is beginning to fall apart on him rapidly.
And I just don't think -- I think his supporters know that. They're not fooled. They're going to see, hey, wait a minute. You're -- you -- what happened to health care? You know, we spent a whole year doing this.
So, I think he has got to address that. I do think, today, he was more forceful. And in backing a plan that has been put forward by Paul Volcker, I think he showed a lot of sensibility that will appeal to people. The banks won't like it, but this is a reform that is supported by many people who observe the financial sector and believe, not only in the United States, but in Europe and elsewhere, these kinds of reforms ought to be put in place.
BLITZER: Everyone on board on his team, Gloria, as far as this new populist tone, taking on the big banks?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, that's a very interesting question, Wolf.
You know, I spoke with a bunch of sources inside the administration today. And it's -- it's clear to me that, while they have been working on this plan about the banks since over the summer, there are divisions inside this White House, particularly coming from Treasury, although Secretary Geithner seems to have changed his tune a little bit on it, Larry Summers, inside the White House.
And -- and there are those political folks who say, wait a minute, you need to take this populist tone, because, of course, the banks right now are the perfect foil for this administration, in terms of getting the public with them and also fighting the Republicans in Congress.
BLITZER: Joe, the speaker, Nancy Pelosi, today said what a lot of us expected. They don't have the votes, the Democrats, in the House of Representatives, 218 votes needed, to pass the Senate health care reform bill.
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: No, no good choices. And the question is, what is this administration going to do? Because there are a lot of people, particularly in the House, who are very concerned about the possibility that, if you don't do something on health care, the voters are going to punish you.
A lot of people were around back in 1994 when this very same scenario sort of played out. So that's a problem for them.
What do they do? Yes, it's probably going to come to us in pieces. Because it's just about the only thing the administration can do right now. It's just a bunch of bad choices for the president.
BLITZER: Jeffrey, there's a debate among Democrats and liberals right now. Should the president go to the moderate center this next year? Or should he go back to that liberal left-wing base and try to motivate them to get them going? You've read about this debate.
TOOBIN: Yes, I have. But I think the answer is in the substance, not in the politics. He has to have policies that work.
If he can get unemployment down from 10.2 percent to 8 percent, which is a very tall order, the base will be happy. The moderates will be happy. I think they have to worry about the substance, not the politics, because in a bad economy, everybody's going to be unhappy, and the Democrats will get slaughtered in November.
BLITZER: In your cover story, Joe Klein, in "TIME" magazine, you paint the picture based on your interview and all of your reporting of this president as a loner right now. Explain what's going on.
KLEIN: Well he's, you know, he's very much a policy wonk, and he spent the first year really devoted to policy. And he as much as admitted to me that he kind of let the politics part of the program down. I think he understands that he has to be much more of a politician than a policymaker.
And the answer to your question to Jeff is that he has to do both. He has to go left to meet the populist mood in the country. But there's also a kind of conservative populism that's angry at big government.
And in that case, it's anger at the congressional leadership that has allowed this health-care reform program to go on so long. And, you know, I think that there's a great deal of feeling, both on the Hill and in the White House, that despite what David Gergen says, it would be good to get this behind them.
BLITZER: All right. Stand by, guys, because we have a lot more to discuss. Our panel is here. They'll weigh in on the sweeping U.S. Supreme Court ruling that could have a huge impact on the midterm elections.
Plus, all the latest information coming in from Haiti. Anderson and his team have been doing some new reporting tonight on the plight of orphans and the delays in getting them help.
BLITZER: We're back with our panel and more "Raw Politics." Today the U.S. Supreme Court reversed a decade's-long trend to limit the money from corporations and unions spent to influence political campaigns.
The 5-4 ruling frees these powerful groups to spend their huge war chests directly on political ads for and against specific candidates. This reversal comes as crucial midterm elections are getting under way.
Let's dig deeper with Joe Klein, Jeff Toobin, David Gergen, Gloria Borger and Joe Johns.
Jeff Toobin, in a nutshell, what did the Supreme Court decide, practically speaking?
TOOBIN: By a 5-4 margin, the conservative majority on the court said corporations are like people. They have First Amendment rights. And spending money is like speech.
So as a result of that reasoning, they said, "You cannot stop a corporation from spending money, from buying commercials, from putting up posters that say 'vote for Barack Obama' or 'vote for Sarah Palin'." They have saying that corporations -- and its mostly corporations, although it applies to unions, as well -- that they can go out and campaign on their own, which may revolutionize how campaigns are run in this country. BLITZER: So much money, David Gergen, already is being spent on political commercials. How much more can be spent?
GERGEN: Well, there are a lot more can be spent. The ban really applied -- it was the McCain/Feingold bill, which has really been sort of gutted here in regard to corporations, and that is it banned the corporations from spending money in the weeks leading right up to the election. They could spend it earlier. Now they can spend it all the way up to it.
I think many, many Americans, including Republicans like John McCain, would prefer to put limits on corporations so they cannot spend money without -- as much as they want, in effect. Just as I think a lot of us would prefer to have limits on millionaires. But there is this inconvenience, and that is something called the First Amendment.
And I think it's right, Jeffrey. I may be wrong about this, but I think the court has ruled in the past that corporations do have First Amendment rights, that they're treated as people for purposes of First Amendment.
So this was a reach by the court. Didn't have to go this far in this case. They could have issued a much more narrower ruling, but they decided to reach. I do think the court here is guilty of something conservatives say they don't like, and that is judicial activism.
BLITZER: Well, let me bring Joe Klein in. Joe, is it -- a lot of the reaction today, most of the Democrats were very unhappy with the Supreme Court decision. A lot of Republicans weren't happy.
Does that automatically mean, coming into the midterm elections in November, the Republicans will benefit from this decision, the Democrats will lose?
KLEIN: Well, I think you're going to see an awful lot more heat and probably less light. Unions have been very active through front groups. And I think that, if we're going to do this, I want to see the corporation's name on the ad. So that if they're actually going to come out and support a candidate, I want to see which corporation it is and have them not do it through some sort of front group.
The one part of this whole issue that -- that mitigates this somewhat is that, because of the Internet, you have a lot more activity now by average folks, campaigns that can raise huge amount of money to combat, you know, big entities like corporations, which the Obama, you know, campaign proved in 2008.
BLITZER: They really showed, Joe, that you can raise tons of money out there and you go around that system.
JOHNS: Absolutely. They showed it very effectively.
The very interesting thing here, is from the previous segment we were talking about how the president is moving to a populist place. The Democrats, though, angry about this ruling, may actually have found something that they can talk about this fall, and that's the issue of corporations and the power and the money going into elections. So it's something you can yell about.
BLITZER: Because -- because Gloria, if the labor unions could go out and spend as much as they want, that's going to be good for the Democrats.
BORGER: Well, it is. But I mean, people's heads are going to explode with the number of television ads that they're going to be seeing in the midterm elections.
But there's also an interesting consequence to this, Wolf. And that is that individual members of Congress still have limits. There are still limits on what they can get in their campaign. So they're going to say, "Wait a minute. Why are there limits on me when corporations can spend and special interests can spend as much as they want promoting my opponent or promoting me?"
BLITZER: I spoke -- I spoke earlier today with John McCain, the co-author of the McCain/Feingold legislation, which was effectively thrown away today. He was not very happy. But there's a limit to what he and his colleagues who support it can do right now.
All right, guys. We'll continue this discussion down the road.
By the way, a program note. Next Wednesday the 27th, President Obama will give his State of the Union address. CNN's coverage will begin at 8 p.m. Eastern.
We'll have a lot more coming up later, but right now let's go back to Anderson in Port-au-Prince -- Anderson.
COOPER: Hey, Wolf, guys, thanks very much.
Coming up, the youngest victims. Gary Tuchman reports from an orphanage devastated by the earthquake. Mourning the dead, struggling to keep the living alive. We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Ca va? Ca va? Ca va bien?
OK. You know, it's amazing that, given all the things that little kids have been through, I mean, they still, you know, can smile, and they're excited to see you. You know, I'm sort of an oddity here. So they come up and want to shake your hand, want to say hello.
It's amazing what people can go through and still -- still can go on. Still wake up every day and put one foot in front of the other.
(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: One foot in front of the other. That is what they are doing here across Haiti, every single day. Incredibly strong people we've met. And can't help but get the sense that they will prevail in the end.
Soledad O'Brien has been reporting on a group of orphans. Tonight, I want to give you an update on their fate. Sixteen kids put on a bus. The USA (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the adoptions have visas.
From the bus they were choppered to the airport in Port-au- Prince. A chartered plane was waiting for them. They were flown to Florida to meet the parents waiting to adopt them. They have a new country, a new life, new families.
Many other orphans remain, of course, in Haiti. What's going to happen to them? Gary Tuchman reports on one orphanage that is desperate for help. Here's his report.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When the Our Lady of the Nativity orphanage was hit by the earthquake, there were 130 infant-to-4-year-olds inside.
Of that group, these 74 children now live outdoors, with strictly rationed food and water, but they are the lucky ones. The rest of the orphans were killed, buried under tons of rubble. And now these neighborhood men digging with their hands and basic tools, trying to recover bodies of these tiny children.
One of the orphanage buildings still stands. The children who were in this building are the survivors. The children who were in this building were not.
Eveline Louis Jacques runs the orphanage and was standing outside when the quake hit.
EVELINE LOUIS JACQUES, OUR LADY OF THE NATIVITY ORPHANAGE: I called "Jesus, Jesus, help me, help me."
TUCHMAN: There are two bodies inside this hole, covered by a sheet, but the neighborhood men can't remove them, because they are blocked by tons of wreckage. Eighteen more were recovered earlier, but 36 other children are still somewhere under where these men are working.
Salvadoran and Guatemalan rescuers found one survivor here last week, but the bodies were left behind.
The orphanage places its children with French families.
(on camera) Were the children who died being adopted by families in France?
JACQUES: Yes. Some of them was -- the adopting process was just -- the process was over. TUCHMAN: The process was over. So do those parents know?
JACQUES: All of them -- they are crying, you know, suffering.
TUCHMAN: Suffering a lot?
JACQUES: Yes. Yes.
TUCHMAN: A short time ago while we were standing on this precarious mountain of rubble, we felt a relatively strong aftershock. There was a lot of concern, because we thought there might be another collapse. The workers scattered for a while, but only a couple of minutes. Then they went right back to work.
(voice-over) All the children's clothes are now drying in the sun on the sidewalk in front of the orphanage. The surviving children have received some food, water and medicine from the U.S. Navy and U.N. troops. But no outside help is at the collapsed building, where so many children are now entombed.
COOPER: Gary Tuchman joins us now.
Such a sad story, my God. I mean, all those -- all those poor kids. There was a reunion. Jenna, the little girl who was on your lap a while ago.
TUCHMAN: We do have some happy orphan news. That was Jenna, who we met last week in an orphanage. Tonight flew to her new home with her new mother, Elizabeth Dowling (ph).
Elizabeth was watching our CNN story last week. She saw Jenna and goes, "That's my daughter." Well, ultimately this Sunday, she flew to Florida, the little girl. We saw her off on an Air Force plane. And then the airport in Florida.
And then tonight they flew into Denver, Colorado. And trust me, as Anderson knows, the climate in Denver is a lot different than the climate here in Port-au-Prince. It was warm in Denver. So she didn't have to wear a heavy coat, got in the car and then little Jenna, 22 months old, went to her new home in Denver, Colorado, with Elizabeth Dowling (ph).
Elizabeth is a wonderful lady, Anderson. She just has wanted to be a mother for a long time. She's a first-time mother. She brings her daughter home. She's so excited, and it's wonderful that they are together. She was so worried after the earthquake. She didn't know if her daughter was alive.
COOPER: Can you imagine, though, with that little girl, after all she's been through, suddenly be in this home, this nice home with a family? It's just incredible.
TUCHMAN: You know, we fell in love with Jenna when we met her. Didn't know anything about Elizabeth Dowling. And I can tell you, Elizabeth is going to be a wonderful mother to Jenna and may they live a good life.
And I'll tell you: Jenna some day may be a world champion skier. I know if I lived in Denver, I would be a world champion skier.
COOPER: All right, yes. Gary, thanks for that.
You know, if you missed any of our reports, you can go to AC360.com to see all the pieces our team has filed since the earthquake struck.
Tomorrow night, a historic event that we're part of. CNN joins in a global telethon. It's called "Hope for Haiti Now." Joined by -- hosted by George Clooney, Wyclef Jean. And Dr. Sanjay Gupta and I are going to be part of it with live reports from here in Haiti.
"Hope for Haiti Now" airs tomorrow night, 8 p.m. Eastern, on CNN. Performances by Bruce Springsteen, U-2, Taylor Swift, Jay-Z, Beyonce, Madonna and a lot of other people. Right after 10 p.m. Eastern, George Clooney, who is behind this amazing fundraiser, joins us here on 360. And we, of course, are going to be dedicating that edition of 360 all to Haiti, as well.
Coming up, covering the catastrophe. Some thoughts with Dr. Sanjay Gupta, our own Gary Tuchman, and Ivan Watson. They'll join me live when we return.
COOPER: And welcome back. We're here with Ivan Watson, Gary Tuchman, and Sanjay Gupta.
First of all, Gary, last night you showed a story which I admit I've been thinking about nonstop. There's an old-age home near the airport. These people have been abandoned. Is there any update?
TUCHMAN: No. They've been abandoned, and they have soiled mattresses. And some of the old people wearing diapers, and the diapers aren't being changed for people. No clothes whatsoever. No food, no water. We did the story.
We're happy to say, not completely satisfied but some food has come in. They have some water now from an emergency group. And very importantly, a big tarp has been put over, because they've been outside, so if it rains, they have protection now.
COOPER: They're still outside, and they don't have real caregivers around the clock or anything like that.
TUCHMAN: They're still outside, and the need a lot of help. And the problem is there's no plan what to do with them. And many of these people can't walk, can't move.
COOPER: And this is one just age-old -- old-age home you just happened to know about. There are probably others in this city that are just as bad if not worse. TUCHMAN: That's the problem. We're looking for them. We're looking for those stories to tell. But this is typical of what we're seeing around Port-au-Prince.
COOPER: Ivan, last couple days, anything that stands out?
IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Today, the most impressive aid distribution I've seen, Anderson, was done by the U.S. Army, the 82nd Airborne, at a golf course that's become a massive, basically, a refugee camp. Thousands and thousands of people on this golf course.
And there were choppers coming in every ten minutes, and the soldiers, the officers estimate they're getting about 60 people through a minute. I saw them revolving them through, giving them water, giving them food rations and even, in some cases, hand radios to spread information through the city.
COOPER: That's cool. Sanjay, how about you?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sort of the same thing. I mean, there's been some improvements, I think, overall in aid. You know, they say there's 300 water and food stations now out there; 600,000, I think, MREs have been distributed overall.
But still, the medical stuff is still a little bit irritating. I think -- as you know, we went in there and got some of those supplies ourselves. As you said, Anderson, I think everyone that we talked to really kind of understands the problem and is trying to do the right thing. But it's one of those examples where it's just so confusing still, I think, on so many levels that it's hard for people to actually execute what they want to do.
COOPER: And I -- you know, we've been covering and a lot of media, I think, have been covering, there's a lot of interest in the orphans who are being reunited with parents, adoptive parents back home.
But let's not forget, I mean, there really is this whole new crop of orphans here. First of all, there's many orphans who live in orphanages, which they're not up for adoption, the orphanages which they're raised in here.
But also, you now have all these kids who don't have their parents or they only have one parent. And the question is what's going to happen to them? And there really, at this point, doesn't seem like -- kind of, obviously, it's early days, but not a system in place what to do with them. So you have a lot of doctors and nurses who have these -- these kids, wounded kids, and they don't know where to send them. They literally don't want to release them, because they'd go out in streets.
GUPTA: Yes. The orphans, adults as well, as you know. But you know, it's an interesting point. I mean, would they -- how much time is spent looking for parents? And how long do you wait before calling them an orphan?
GUPTA: I mean, you know that some of these bodies are unidentified. And you know, so how do you figure that out?
COOPER: The Red Cross has a history in other conflicts of reuniting. In Rwanda, in the wake of the genocide, they had a big reuniting effort. So there's clearly got to be some sort of effort to match people, and I think that's already begun somewhat. But, you know, I guess it's just too -- too early at this point.
TUCHMAN: Sanjay and I were at the General Hospital the other day. Bill Clinton was there. And Sanjay was talking to the former president.
Ten feet away from where they were talking, there was a little boy who was about 14 months old laying on the cot. And there was a woman sitting next to him. I thought maybe the woman was his grandmother. The woman was just there to comfort him. The boy's parents died. They have no -- and he's seriously wounded. They have no idea what they're going to do with him.
COOPER: Yes. If you don't have a loved one with you in the hospital here, traditionally it's the loved one who brings you food. It's not the hospital who brings you food. You know, you see people whose moms are sitting there swatting flies off them. But if there's no adults in their life, the kid just sits there as flies are crawling all over them. And there's only so much -- so many doctors and nurses around that they can go talk to.
GUPTA: These images are so hard to see. It's funny because I get so many e-mails from viewers, so many people saying, "I want to adopt. I want to take -- bring one of these kids home." And it's heartbreaking.
COOPER: I think all of us have had that impulse and just want to, you know, do something.
Guys, thank you very much. Appreciate it, as always.
A lot more coverage coming up. Stay tuned. More news on politics and what's going on here in Haiti. We'll be right back.
COOPER: We'll have more from Haiti in a moment. First, let's get caught up on some of tonight's other important stories. Tom Foreman joins us with a "360 News & Business Bulletin" -- Tom.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Anderson.
A rainy, muddy mess in California tonight. Just south of San Francisco, a mudslide has left an apartment complex teetering on the edge of a cliff overlooking the Pacific. The trouble is linked to a series of storms pounding that state. Some areas have received more than 10 inches of rain this week. Toyota is recalling about 2.3 million vehicles to fix the accelerator pedals that can stick open. The recall affects various model SUV and sedans from several model years. The problem in this case is different from that pedal-under-the-floor mat trouble that triggered an earlier recall.
Former senator and Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards fessing up. He says he is the father of his mistress' child. Edwards said in a statement today, quote, "It was wrong for me to ever deny she was my daughter."
And it's a wrap. Conan O'Brien is leaving NBC and "The Tonight Show." His farewell is tomorrow night. Those close to the negotiations say O'Brien and NBC worked out a deal to pay Conan the comedian $32 million and $12 million to his staff.
Jay Leno returns as the host of "The Tonight Show" on March 1.
Now back to Anderson in Haiti.
COOPER: Tom, thanks a lot. We have a lot more from Haiti at the top of the hour, including a deadly incident involving rice, gunfire and Haitian police. Why were these men -- why were two men shot in the back? Decide for yourself, next.
COOPER: Welcome. We are live in Port-au-Prince once again tonight. Two big stories. The one here and the one back in Washington, where President Obama is trying to stop Wall Street from gambling with our money and getting bailed out with our money when they lose.
So again, tonight, Wolf Blitzer is going to join us, handling that angle, a much more populist-sounding President Obama, along with the best political team on television.
All tonight, you know, we've been telling you about all the people with treatable conditions who are dying here in Haiti because medical necessities like antibiotics are not getting where they're needed.