Return to Transcripts main page
Interrogating Umar Abdulmutallab; Search for Survivors in Chile; Rush for Housing in Haiti
Aired March 1, 2010 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ALI VELSHI, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Here's what I've got "On the Rundown" this hour. And this goes beyond politics and beyond money.
One million-plus people can't get their jobless benefits extended all because of one single U.S. senator. He's trying to make a point. But I am, too, and so are those million-plus people. I'm going to make my point this hour.
Also on the "Rundown," Utah lawmakers also making a point, but are they doing it at the expense of pregnant woman? A bill they passed could equating a miscarriage with a crime. We're talking to the bill's sponsor. And you know our legal analyst Lisa Bloom wants to weigh in on this one as well.
But first, we're going to go down to Chile, where they are still recovering from the 8.8 earthquake over the weekend. In fact, not just recovering. Rescues are still actively under way.
Soledad O'Brien is at a building where the search is under way for survivors. She's with us now.
Soledad, give us an update on what's going on where you are.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Ali, I can't really tell how clear a picture you have of this building, but what you have to be able to see in this sort of orange-looking building is that it had collapsed. It's completely tipped over. It's now on its side, and, in fact, all the balconies, et cetera, that would normally on the building looking outward are now face down into the ground.
So that is where the biggest point of impact has been, and that's where we're being told the most bodies have been found. It's pretty remarkable.
You can see they brought a crane in and they are trying to do an approach from the top. But also, at the same time, the bulk of rescue workers, many of them, are now in that crack, this massive crack that is taking place between the 9th and 10th floor. You can see how the building kind of split in the middle when it toppled over.
They have 47 people that they believe at this point are missing. And they are trying to figure out where they could be. They have nine now accounted for.
A little while ago they brought out the body of an elderly woman, a very frail looking woman. They believed, in fact, that they were having some kind of communication with her. They thought she was alive, but every time they would got closer the building would sort of compact and crush more.
By the time they got to her, she was dead. It was a very emotional thing for the rescuers. Many had tears in their eyes as they finally were able to get her body out.
So now they continue to figure out what they can do for those 40 to 50 others that they estimate are still inside this building. This side is one way they are going in. They are also going in the underside of the building, if you can imagine, by kind of dipping into the sub floor, tunneling down that way.
And then on the other side there are windows. And so they have been going in through some of those windows to try to make it into this building as well.
And you can see, probably, Ali, these triangular shapes.
O'BRIEN: Those are cut a meter by a meter by a meter, which means it's big enough for a stretcher to get through, so that if they are able to get a body, if they are able to get a live person out, then they can put them on a stretcher and bring that stretcher right out of the building.
So we've been watching them while they do this. I'm not sure what they are doing at the roof approach. Nothing looks particularly steady and stable at this point. And, in fact, the building to our right, which is even bigger, 21 stories, by my count, we have been told is not particularly stable, and they're a little bit concerned about that.
We haven't had an aftershock here in the last couple of hours, but I'll tell you, when you do get one, it makes you never want to go inside a building for a really long time. Certainly not in an earthquake zone -- Ali.
VELSHI: Soledad, the picture actually is remarkably clear, so we can see what you're saying, and I know a lot of people have been rescued from that building. The death toll around 700 -- a little over 700 right now. Certainly nothing compared to the 212,000 in Haiti.
But we don't want to minimize the amount of damage that's been done. In fact, you struggled for a long time just to get to where you are right now, which indicates to me there's a lot of infrastructure damage around Concepcion and in Chile.
O'BRIEN: Yes, absolutely.
You know, first, just getting into the country, which was challenging, of course, because they closed the airports. Once you got in country, you're absolutely right, the drive in, coming up north, there were many bridges out. Some of the roads at just some point kind of just are crushed and sort of fall down and collapse a little bit. So it's a little bit treacherous driving and it takes a long time, and that's been a real problem as they try to figure out what they're going to do to bring food and water and fuel to people.
We saw lots of people waiting in line to get gas, some stations that weren't even open. And we have seen lots of looters here, Ali, people who say, you know, no one's brought us anything. So if you don't expect us to kick open the windows of a supermarket or a food store, you know, we're going to do it.
VELSHI: All right. Soledad O'Brien, thanks very much for getting there after that much of a struggle. We'll be checking in with you and the team that we've got down in Chile.
We'll continue to cover all of this for you.
Now, listen. Haiti, we haven't forgotten about Haiti either, and there are some deadly rains coming in on Haiti. There is a rush to find more permanent shelter.
We'll be speaking with somebody from Habitat for Humanity about the efforts under way to get people under cover in Haiti.
Stay with us.
VELSHI: Another layer of misery in quake-ravaged Haiti. At least eight people are dead after a weekend of heavy downpours, according to the Haitian government. Relief workers worried that this storm is just a preview of the destruction, that it may sweep through the country with the coming rainy season.
I'm joined now by Mario Flores. He's the director of Global Response for Habitat for Humanity.
Some weeks ago, you may recall, we had the kits that you have, the shelter kits, that you were planning on sending about 10,000 of them to Haiti. Basic materials -- basically a tool box with a tarp and some basic tools to clean your land up and try and establish some shelter.
Where are we with that project?
MARIO FLORES, DIRECTOR OF GLOBAL RESPONSE, HABITAT FOR HUMANITY: Right. We are in the process of actively distributing those in the most affected areas. We have distributed a little bit over a thousand of those. Many more thousands are on the way. Some of them are being assembled right next door in the Dominican Republic.
VELSHI: Right. So you've got some that are being assembled here in the states, some in the Dominican Republic.
FLORES: In the Dominican Republican, yes.
VELSHI: And you want about 10,000 of those on the ground?
FLORES: Ten thousand are the ones that we have planned. And that is a very emergency type of assistance just to let people to have something to put over their heads.
VELSHI: Something to cut the rebar off their land or to clear --
FLORES: Try to find documents that are under the rubble, you know, try to set up a very emergency type of shelter.
VELSHI: Right. Your second step after these shelter kits -- which are remarkably -- simple, but they're remarkable -- your second step is transitional housing. Now, what is that? That's what we would almost think of as shanties, but they're a lot better than not having any housing.
FLORES: Exactly. As the name speaks about, it's a transitional stage. It's a middle stage between the very emergency assistance and the permanent reconstruction, the permanent house that we would anticipate families in Haiti would get.
VELSHI: So what does one of these temporary transitional houses cost?
FLORES: They cost between $1,000 and $2,500. And they consist basically of a wood frame with corrugated metal sheet roof and plastic sheeting wrapping around to form an enclosed area.
VELSHI: And when do you move into that stage in Haiti? When does that start to happen?
FLORES: We move into that stage almost immediately as we are able to find land that is clear from the rubble. And you could also set up those in open areas like soccer fields or any other open area that the government may tell us that we may build those.
VELSHI: OK. So you take a piece of land that's relatively clear, you build this temporary housing.
VELSHI: Now, you have something which I think is fascinating. We've got a picture of it here called core housing. This is your next step. This is permanent housing, and this is your animation that you have given us. But basically, this is used if somebody has their own land that's clear.
FLORES: Exactly. That's what we will anticipate being the long- term solution for Haiti. It's a core house that is permanent.
It has permanent materials in it. It's disaster-resistant. It's designed to withstand earthquakes and also hurricanes. And it also, of course, requires that the land is owned by the family, so the investment is sure to the family. VELSHI: Right. So, this house that we're looking at on screen, this has got a concrete base. It can sleep five people. It is expandable if that family ends up having more money. This is an example of it being able to be expanded for more people.
FLORES: Right. Exactly. Exactly. The whole idea is that we build the initial stage with the family, and then the family, as they go about, they can do incremental improvements, and also expand the house as to meet their final needs.
VELSHI: This is a model that you use all around the world.
FLORES: This is a model that we have used with a lot of success in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, in some other disaster-affected areas. But not only in disaster-affected countries. We also use these as a starter home in many of the developing countries in which Habitat works.
VELSHI: That's a good question. Let's just show that again, because I think this is fascinating.
This house, so this doesn't have to be about disasters. This house is about -- and you do this with donations, but it's about $4,000 to $6,000 in materials?
FLORES: Right. That's the cost. It includes labor, too. And $4,000 to $6,000, that's the cost in Haiti.
VELSHI: I see. OK.
FLORES: The cost varies depending on the location, of course.
VELSHI: And does a family get involved in the building of this, or is this -- you build them or your volunteers build them?
FLORES: No, no, no. The family has to become involved, because that's Habitat's model.
Habitat encourages families to contribute in the form of sweat equity. That's basically if they only they can do is to provide unskilled labor, just to carry materials around or do excavations, that's what we would ask families to get involved and contribute to building.
VELSHI: How long does one of those take to build?
FLORES: It depends. It might take from three to six weeks.
VELSHI: OK. So that's not going to be -- we're still a while away from that in Haiti?
FLORES: We are. For that to happen, we need to actually know the wider information, the elements of information.
For example, which areas are suitable for rebuilding, which are not? Because many areas are very high risk. So we do not anticipate rebuilding in areas that are located in this very high-risk location.
So we would need to work with the government in defining what are the uses of the land, in which areas we can actually rebuild, what are going to be the applicable building codes in Haiti for the reconstruction. And then to solve the issue of land tenure for the families who will be receiving this.
VELSHI: To make sure that it's their land and they can --
FLORES: Exactly. And they are receiving the house for themselves.
VELSHI: Mario, great to talk to you. Thank you for coming in. Good luck on this.
FLORES: My pleasure. Thank you very much.
VELSHI: Mario Flores is the director of Global Response for Habitat for Humanity.
We've been talking a lot about the unemployment logjam, been part caused by Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky. When we come back, Alison Kosik is at the New York Stock Exchange. She's going to bring us a little more information about unemployment benefits and this whole story when we're back in a minute.
VELSHI: OK. There's a bill now on the Utah governor's desk. It's sparking controversy nationwide.
If it's signed into law, Utah would still allow legal abortions performed by a doctor, but it would go further than any other state in making a woman criminally liable if she tries to end a pregnancy through other means. Critics say this legislation could open up a can of worms centering around the question of intent and responsibility. It would also give prosecutors power to inquire about a woman's intentions toward her unborn child.
Joining me now is the bill's sponsor, Utah Representative Carl Wimmer, and CNN legal analyst Lisa Bloom.
Representative Wimmer, thank you for joining us. Let me start with you.
You sponsored this bill. These provisions that we're talking about, what are we talking -- what was your intention in putting these in?
CARL D. WIMMER (R), UTAH HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: Yes, thank you.
We had a case here in Utah where a pregnant woman hired a man to beat her, kick her in the stomach multiple times in an attempt to kill her seven-month-along unborn child. And the man was charged with attempted homicide, as was the female.
It came out in the courts that under Utah law, there was no cause for action for any attempt for a woman to try to abort her child no matter what she did. No matter how heinous the act was, she could not be prosecuted no matter what she did. And so this case exposed a large loophole in state law, and this bill is going to be closing that.
LISA BLOOM, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, Representative Wimmer has been quoted as saying, "I'm pro life and anti-abortion, and I'm doing everything in my power to restrict abortions in Utah." And I think that's clearly what this bill is about.
To me, there's a bigger question here. Why is a 17-year-old girl so desperate that she's paying someone to beat her up? And the answer surely is because in 93 percent of the counties in Utah, she's not able to exercise her constitutional right to terminate her pregnancy. That's the real story here.
VELSHI: All right.
Representative, how do you address that, that she's got a constitutional right to get an abortion? How do you address that? Because it does seem like extreme measures to get somebody to beat you up to induce abortion.
WIMMER: Sure. Sure.
Yes, that's absolutely not true. She has the capabilities of obtaining a legal abortion here in Utah. This bill doesn't change that.
She still has -- any woman has the right and the ability to obtain a legal abortion here in Utah. What we don't want is we don't want women going and taking extreme measures and hiring a thug and paying him $150 to kick her in the stomach in an attempt to kill her unborn child who's seven months along.
VELSHI: Well, why wouldn't -- because it was seven months along, and that's the issue. She would not have been able to get an abortion at seven months along.
Here's the issue, that it talks about reckless behavior. And that has opened up criticism to the idea that, what's reckless behavior? If somebody wears the wrong shoes and slips on ice and, as a result, loses their child, can they be prosecuted for reckless behavior leading to a miscarriage?
WIMMER: Right. Yes, as of right now, in current state law, criminal homicide involves even negligent behavior. I'm strengthening the law, in fact, taking negligence out of there. Reckless is well defined. What it means is the person has to be aware of a substantial and unjustified risk that equates to a gross deviation from what the average person would do.
So it's a very high standard of criminal intent that the person has to meet. It's not slipping on ice, it's not going boating or four-wheeling or any of those things, it is an actual overt action that the person has to take.
VELSHI: Lisa -- Lisa, what's the danger, if there is one?
LISA BLOOM, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, the problem is if a woman has too many drinks, if she smokes, if she gets into a car accident where she was negligent, she's now going to be criminally prosecuted. Also the law, as I understand it --
WIMMER: That's not true.
BLOOM: -- doesn't just apply to the last trimester or post- viability, it applies to the entirety of the pregnancy. And Roe v. Wade is still the law of the land, a woman still has the constitutional right to terminate her pregnancy, at least until viability which is generally the first two trimesters. So the law strikes me as overbroad and potentially unconstitutional.
WIMMER: Yes, you're being fundamentally and intellectually dishonest, because that's just not true. We took "negligent" out of the law. Negligence would be a woman who smokes or drives in a car and gets in an accident without a seatbelt on. That is not reckless. We have a high standard of reckless here in Utah, the mental state for reckless. And it's not a gross deviation or an unjustified risk to drive without your seatbelt on. It's been taken out of context and that's just not true.
VELSHI: Lisa, what -- go ahead. Sorry.
BLOOM: OK. Let me give an example that everybody can relate to in reckless conduct. We talked about Michael Jackson case, and Michael Jackson's doctor is on trial now for -- or about to face trial for reckless charges, for giving a drug to Michael Jackson that potentially caused his death, doing that knowing it was so dangerous it could cause his death.
Well, a pregnant woman might take prescription medication, might take illegal drugs, might drink knowing that it's dangerous enough that it can cause death to the fetus. And criminalizing the conduct, I mean here's the problem with the law. We are criminalizing conduct by pregnant women rather than helping women who are in desperate straits, desperate measures. I mean, Utah is a state that's considering getting away with the 12th grade because funds are so short and yet we're going to spend all of our time and resources in the criminal law now to prosecute and investigate pregnant women who are so desperate to get an abortion that this is what they're resorting to? I mean, there's just so many problems with the bill from top to bottom. VELSHI: Representative Wimmer, the government -- the governor isn't clear, it's not clear from the governor that he's going to sign this bill. Where do you think this bill is going?
WIMMER: Yes, I got out of a meeting with the governor not 15 minutes ago. We were able to alleviate many of his concerns and many of the false statements that are actually being stated on your show at this moment. And we were are able to alleviate those concerns and I believe he's going to sign the bill.
VELSHI: Has he told you that?
WIMMER: He has not, but I think we have alleviated his concerns. In fact, there is a provision that protects a woman from following her doctor's orders or not following doctor's orders, so taking any type of prescription drug would not qualify under this bill.
VELSHI: But you get the point, Representative, that Lisa's making. That the dangers, of course, when you start to talk about reckless behavior and criminalizing reckless behavior with respect to miscarriages, someone who may not be thinking as clearly as you are on this later down the line may interpret this differently. And some law enforcement officer, some district attorney may see this differently.
WIMMER: It is very, very defined line in Utah what reckless behavior is, and nothing that I've heard, none of the examples I have heard given to me would reach the level of reckless.
VELSHI: Do you have an example --
BLOOM: May I ask a question?
VELSHI: Go ahead, Lisa.
BLOOM: Does this law apply in the first two trimesters?
WIMMER: Yes. There is a law currently -- there's a law on the books right now dealing with a fetal homicide which includes the term negligence in our current law.
BLOOM: No, but that's different because that's an outsider coming in and choosing for the woman. Your law is saying even if a woman chooses to terminate pregnancy in the first two trimesters, that would be a criminal act and that's completely inconsistent with Roe versus Wade.
WIMMER: Well, in fact, our fetal homicide law never distinguished between a doctor and the woman. And that's why we found out that you could not prosecute a woman for this case because there was two conflicting laws.
WIMMER: Yes. The question was asked --
BLOOM: Look, but you're familiar with the fact that Roe versus Wade says a woman has the constitutional right to have an abortion, even an intentional abortion, which most abortions are, in the first two trimesters?
WIMMER: And we are not doing anything to restrict them getting a legal abortion. All we are doing is restricting them from having somebody or causing the death of their own unborn child in a way that is not a legal abortion. Legal abortions will not -- they are not outlawed. They will still be allowed to get one here in Utah. We just don't want them taking extreme measures to kill their unborn child.
VELSHI: All right, Lisa --
BLOOM: Well, by "legal abortion," you mean medical abortion, but medical abortions just aren't available in 93 percent of the counties. That's the catch-22 you're putting Utah women are in.
WIMMER: Yes, they are very accessible within a few hours' drive in Utah.
VELSHI: All right, we'll continue that discussion another time.
Lisa, thank you very much for joining us. CNN legal analyst Lisa Bloom. Representative Carl Wimmer of Utah telling us now that he has just spoken to the governor of Utah and he feels the governor will, in fact, sign the bill into law. Thank you to both of you for joining us.
All right, we're going to continue our coverage of this story about Kentucky Senator Jim Bunning trying to -- or successfully blocking a provision to allow people on unemployment insurance to continue to get benefits after they expired to make a point that the provision should be funded before it gets passed.
Our own Dana Bash is on Capitol Hill. I think she's with us right now. When we come back, Dana's going to tell us about how she went up to Jim Bunning to try to get the answers that we've all been looking for toady and the response she got. She's just back from that. We'll be back with Dana in just a moment.
VELSHI: We're continuing to follow the story of Kentucky Senator Kim Bunning who, in order to make a point about how we should fund benefits that we extend, held up the extension of benefits to unemployed people, affecting almost a million unemployed people. Now we do believe that the Senate is going to take this up and deal with it, overriding what Jim Bunning was doing,
But our Dana Bash, our whole team is sort of on this story. Dana Bash was following Jim Bunning, trying to get an answer from him. She's now in front of our cameras. Tell us what happened, Dana.
DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Well, this is the story that we have been telling a lot lately of how one senator can really affect things up here. And as you said, this is about $10 billion worth in extensions of everything from transportation projects to some unemployment benefits to small business loans and alike. This is the kind of thing that usually just passes and it does with so-called unanimous consent, everybody agrees to it.
Well, Jim Bunning, as you said, is trying to make the point that, no, he wants it to be paid for. So we were staking out his office as he returned from Kentucky. And we found him on another floor getting into an elevator, tried to ask him for his explanation, he wasn't very happy and didn't want to give us an answer at that time.
Listen to what happened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN CARL, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: What is the issue? Are you concerned about --
SEN. JIM BUNNING, KENTUCKY: Excuse me.
CARL: -- people who are unemployed?
BUNNING: I have to go to the floor.
BASH: Senator, can you just explain to us why you're holding this up? I'm sure you have an explanation.
BUNNING: Excuse me.
CARL: OK, are you concerned about those that are going to lose their benefits?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: There you see there us tag teaming with our old friend John Carl who's now at ABC News. I can tell you that there was an obscene finger gesture that went towards John's producer, so that was quite a scene. He didn't want to talk to us.
But I will tell you that he didn't want to talk to us at that time. Senator Bunning did, in fact, go to the Senate floor, as he said he was doing, and gave an explanation. And I will show you some of the explanation of why he is holding this up. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUNNING: If we can't find $10 billion to pay for something that we all support, we will never pay for anything on the floor of this U.S. Senate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: So that's what he's saying. Look, I'm all for it, but we have to pay for it.
The democratic leader, Harry Reid, came right to the floor and he said, where was Jim Bunning when we were spending trillions of dollars in tax cuts and funding the war in Afghanistan and Iraq during the Bush years. He didn't have a problem with doing that without paying for it. So where we are is standoff.
VELSHI: Let's just dig into this a little bit. There are some interesting points here.
First of all, Jim Bunning is on the record saying he's not opposed to the idea of extending unemployment benefits. That's an important note, because there are some people in this country, notably the Club for Growth and conservative groups who are completely opposed to that. They think when people get unemployment benefits it makes them lazy and not get jobs. That's not Jim Bunning's perspective.
BASH: He's not, correct.
VELSHI: Number two, he is on the record as having voted for things that did not have funding in the past. He has voted, in fact, very recently for things that were not funded. So this business about only voting for things where there is a way to pay for them, while it might be very noble, it's not something he's always done.
BASH: And that's part of -- if we had a chance -- part o what we wanted to ask the senator. Which is that, you know, this is a new principle, if you will, that he's standing on. Why is that? And it is not something that any of his republican colleagues in the Senate or the House, frankly, are standing on either at this point, because they were all for passing this basically unanimously, but he is the one who stopped it. So what happens now?
By the way, just in terms of substance, what we are talking about, the $10 billion package, it is highway benefits -- highway plans. I will tell you that the Department of Transportation -- this has not gone unnoticed in the White House. They see that this is something that they want to play up politically. So the Department of Transportation sent out an e-mail that listed point by point, very specifically, Ali, what projects would be stopped. Because there were actually 2,000 workers for the Department of Transportation furloughed at noon today.
That includes a project that's not too far from here on a bridge. That stopped, the work stopped and we're going to show you that later on today. And this is something that is a stand-off now. Both sides making very much a political point.
VELSHI: Well, I have to tell you, after two and a half years of covering this economic situation that we're in, it seems to be a strange and unusual place to have staked his ground to decide to work on principle. And I think there are a lot of people in this country who agree we should pay for things that we do, it is just a very unusual place that Jim Bunning has decided to stake his ground.
Dana, thanks for your great work in --
BASH: And that's why democrats are not giving in.
VELSHI: Yes, well, thanks for -- thanks for the great work, and keep trying to track him down and we'll get you on as soon as we do.
Dana Bash on Capitol Hill.
Let me check in on some of our top stories right now.
One of those firms considered "too big to fail" is getting a little bit smaller. AIG is selling its Asian Life Insurance business to Prudential PLC of Britain. The price -- $35.5 billion, and you may want to make a note of that since you, the American taxpayer, own 80 percent of AIG.
Nuclear research in Iran. The new head of the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog agency says he can't confirm Iran's motives are totally peaceful. The world takes note because it was just last week the same official went a step further suggesting that Iran may be working on a nuclear warhead. Iran is already under three sets of U.N. sanctions.
And President Obama says all of America suffers when high school students drop out. He's taking aim at schools with graduation rates below 60 percent offering what he calls turnaround grants to fund drastic changes. Those changes could include districts shutting down their worst performing schools.
All right, take a look over my shoulder. There he is. There he is. It's Ed Henry. Every day at this time we talk to Ed Henry. This is "The Ed Henry Segment." And as Dana just said, the White House is taking notice of Jim Bunning. He has handed them -- he has pitched them a beautiful ball. We're going to see what the White House is doing about it with "The Ed Henry Segment.
By the way, if you want to find out what's going on at this show and in the world, follow me on Twitter @AliVelshi. Ed Henry is @EdHenryCNN. We'll be right back in a minute with Ed.
VELSHI: Every day at this time we talk to our senior White House correspondent Ed Henry. He's at the White House right now.
The introduction music changes every day and "You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch" it's not actually about you, Ed. It may be the theme music and -- by the way, that is an excellent shirt and tie combination. I feel like it's the one I have myself.
ED HENRY, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Did you also notice this over here? Look at this.
VELSHI: Is that a monogram? I like that. That's more of you than I need to see, but whatever. Ed, so "You're mean one, Mr. Grinch," might be --
HENRY: Josh is coming after me.
VELSHI: He's looking good. You guys are looking excellent. I'm glad to help the network out. The White House is sending out the message today or might be sending the message out that Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky has overstepped. He's gone one too far and he's now just being mean to people on unemployment insurance. Is that what the White House is trying to spin here?
HENRY: Absolutely, you're right. I mean, this is served up by Senator Bunning to the White House. You made the analogy about a pitcher serving up --
VELSHI: He's a hall of fame pitcher.
HENRY: Right, and he did serve it up to them because the strategy behind scene when you talk to top White House aides in general, they think in year one they were a little slow in terms of taking swings at Republicans who were blocking either nominations, legislation, the obstructionist charge.
We have heard it a lot more lately. For example, Senator Richard Shelby, Republican from Alabama, you heard the White House really tee off on him a couple weeks ago. He had a hold on various Obama nominees. He had a constituent issue in Alabama holding it up. He ended up giving in because the White House put some pressure on him.
He let many of the nominees through. They think now as well with Senator Bunning by putting out public pressure that they think eventually he's going to give in and that this will allow the White House to suggest, look, the Republicans are standing in the way of the president's agenda.
VELSHI: It's an interesting strategy because what they are not doing is not they're not taking on the whole Republican establishment. They're not even taking on the conservative movement. They are taking on individuals who seem to be operating outside the normal track of their own party.
HENRY: You're right and it's easier for the White House to pick that fight and find individual senators like Senator Bunning who appears to be not only fighting Democrats here but some of his own fellow Republicans who were kind of behind the scenes saying, let's let this unemployment assistance go through.
Because a lot of people are hurting out there and as Senator Bunning pointed out and we should stress Senator Bunning does have a point about spending. That's where he may get support around the country from peoplelike in the tea party movement who are upset about Washington spending.
He's saying, if you can't get an you have set to pay for $10 billion in unemployment assistance, how do you pay for a trillion dollar health bill, for example? That's why Senator Bunning isn't giving in.
VELSHI: And that's an interesting point. There is something valid there. The mystery is why he picked this bill and the very people it would affect to do it. HENRY: Politically, the optics aren't good for Senator Bunning on that. The White House knows it and that's why they're going after him.
VELSHI: Good to see you. You really are looking quite marvelous. You're a feast for the eyes, Ed Henry.
HENRY: Was there a hockey game yesterday? Have you seen the flags?
VELSHI: Yes, well, weren't you supposed to wear a jersey if Canada won?
HENRY: I missed the game. My son was playing basketball and he got the winning rebound that became an assist for the winning basket. So I missed it.
VELSHI: Nice. All right, we'll get you in the Canada jersey. Well, Ed Henry, our Senior White House correspondent. Everyday tune in for "The Ed Henry Segment" right here on CNN.
All right it is a race against time in Chile. Desperate rescuers are searching for desperate survivors amid the rubble of one of the most powerful earthquakes on record. Our CNN reporters are on the scene. Soledad O'Brien is at the scene of a rescue under way.
VELSHI: All right, we're back, going back to visit the situation in Chile. Soledad O'Brien has been working to get to Concepcion. She's there now. Fascinating story you told us about last hour. I wouldn't have known that wasn't a normal building until you explained that that is a building on its side.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, completely toppled over. Now the search and rescuers are in the triangles. Each triangle represents a floor. Trying to see if they can tunnel in far enough to see any bodies or anyone who's alive they could bring out.
A couple of things they learned about this building, inside is a young man. His name is Jose Luis Leon. He is 24-year-old who works at the railroad, which is just across the way there. He moved in just three months ago. This in fact is a relatively brand new building.
People here had told me it's about a year old at the most. It's called the Outdoor Real Apartment and it was full of young people and their families, meaning young children, babies. In fact, it was so new that some of the floors didn't have every apartment filled yet.
Those that were filled were young families and babies. So there is an expectation that when some of the numbers come out whether it's numbers of people they are able to rescue or more dire of people that didn't survive that many of them will be young people and small children -- Ali.
VELSHI: What are we hearing in this particular instance right now? You were describing to me earlier, I felt like I saw more people behind you. Those holes in the wall, are they still hearing knocking, banging? What is the scene?
O'BRIEN: They have heard knocking. In fact, they basically bored a triangle to cut across the building. On the other side are windows. There is another team from the other side going from the windows to the middle and the team has gone to what we would call the roof but it's really the side to see if they can cut through. At this hour we have no more information except a woman pulled from the rubble dead about an hour and a half ago.
VELSHI: All right, Soledad O'Brien, we'll continue to check in with you in Concepcion, Chile, describing and understanding what's going on there. Thanks, Soledad.
We're going to take a quick break, when we come back, I've got some things to say to Kentucky Senator Jim Bunning.
VELSHI: And now it's time for "The X-Y-Z of It."
Your next paycheck, your next meal, your home, a lot of us take those things for granted every single day and you know what, I bet Senator Jim Bunning has some place warm to sleep tonight. But the Republican from Kentucky is almost single handedly responsible for cutting a vital financial lifeline for more than a million down and out Americans. They are on unemployment benefits and those benefits are running out.
More than a million lives, futures hang in the balance and Senator Bunning blocked a measure to pass a 30-day extension to keep it coming. He did it to make a point that the government is spending too much money it doesn't have. He supports the extension but doesn't want to tack the price tag, $10 billion on to the growing national deficit.
Senator, while we are on the topic of paying for things, a million Americans are worried now about how they'll pay for groceries, for rent, how they'll afford the car and the gas that they need to find a job. Officially more than 11 million people are looking for work. Most experts believe the number is 50 percent higher than that.
Forty one percent of the unemployed have been in that state for more than six months. I know this. I hear from them every day. I am assuming, Senator, that you know at least a few of them, too. Unemployment insurance isn't pork. This is about food on the table and a roof over family's heads.
Even Bunning's GOP colleagues know that and they're planning on passing the measure to extend benefits later this week. Senator Bunning kept the Senate in session late on Friday night at one point offering the remarkable comment that he was missing the Kentucky/South Carolina game. His love of sports is legent.
He's a baseball hall of famer, but playing with people's livelihoods isn't a game, Senator Bunning. This won't make you a hero to the responsible spending set. Pick somewhere else to throw a wild pitch. Thankfully you are retiring. My guess is that the Kentucky voter would have gone to the bullpen next time around.