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BP To Put up $20 Billion, Waging War on the Spill, Good News for Credit Card Holders, A Desk Without A Chair, Powerhouse Duo Fight for Same-Sex Marriage
Aired June 16, 2010 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(VIDEO CLIP IN PROGRESS)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think he started hollering loud enough, early enough. He should have been jumped on the head right from the get-go. It wouldn't be for BP paying these people right here, they would be in drastic, drastic problems.
JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Will this be here in ten years?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It may be here but it may be under something else. Not a bait shop. But I might have to karaoke three times a week instead of just one.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROOK BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: And CNN "NEWSROOM" continues right now with T.J. Holmes in for Ali Velshi who's on the Gulf Coast.
T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, hello there, Brooke. Thank you so much. We are still standing by for the president, folks. Want you to know that first. Let's tell you what we've got on the rundown. This is what we're working on today. President Obama, he's scoring off with the BP bosses at the White House today on this Day 58 of the Gulf oil disaster. Again, we're expecting to hear from the president from the Rose Garden at any moment. When that happens, we will take you there live. You won't miss a minute of it.
Also, Retired General Russel Honore says "we need to act like it's World War III." He's going to be joining us live with his battle plan for killing the oil. And also a big day in San Francisco. In a courtroom there, in a legal battle over same-sex marriage, Prop 8, opponents of Prop 8, getting help from two powerhouse attorneys who were once fierce opponents.
All that coming up in the next couple of hours. But first, we do want to start with the oil. Day 58 of this oil disaster. Fifty-eight and the oil just keeps on coming and it keeps on gushing. We're keeping an eye on this because we keep getting updated numbers, but we're told it's some 106 or 60-plus thousand barrels have been collected from the Gulf oil spill since they put the cap in place.
That's great news but still, they have upped estimate for how much is leaking out. You remember back in the day, we were told a thousand barrels a day, 5,000, then 12 to 19, then 20 to 40? Well now the estimate is 35 to 60,000 barrels leaking every single day. So even though they are starting to collect more and more, we're being told now that more and more could be spilling out.
And also, a big note today. News we just got out of the White House. That in fact, the president, in talking to the BP executives, they have now come out and said that in fact, they are going to set up -- BP -- is going to contribute at least to an escrow account that is going to go towards paying out claims for so many people in the Gulf Coast who have been affected by this oil spill.
The president, of course, last night in his address from the Oval Office talked about this escrow account but now we're hearing the number $20 billion. Going to be operated by a third party. So BP nor the government going to be in charge of this account.
Let's bring in our senior political analyst Gloria Borger who certainly has been paying attention to what's been happening. She is here with us today. Gloria, good to see you, as always.
Tell me, first of all, with the president -- with this $20 billion escrow account we're hearing about, is there any way he would have told us about this last night if he didn't already have pretty good assurance that it was going to happen?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. Well, what he didn't give us last night was the monetary figure of $20 billion, and that's the word that we're getting out of the White House today. And we also know that it's going to be an independent fund, as you pointed out, that's going to be led by a very tough gentleman, Kenneth Feinberg. He was the man who oversaw the payments to the victims of 9/11. He is now the administration's pay czar, capping those executive salaries on Wall Street.
So he's clearly someone with a lot of credibility on issues like this. I think, though, there are a lot of unanswered questions like will it only be BP paying into the fund? You know, there are other companies that own part of this rig. Who's going to be covered? When will it start? How much money would go in immediately or would you continue just to replenish it? So those are things we really still need to learn from the president.
HOLMES: Yeah, still a lot of questions. And you mentioned Transocean, maybe Halliburton -- others companies that maybe had something to do with this, are they going to pay into it. But for the president, it may be one of the first real concrete things he can point to and say, I'm on it, and he can -- he got this done.
BORGER: Right. And this is good for the White House. They're breathing a sigh of relief here. They're the ones who forced this. They're the ones who came up with this idea. And, you know, the president promised last night in his speech that he was going to hold BP accountable, and today you see concrete evidence of that. That BP is going to have to pay up to the people in the Gulf who have lost their livelihoods, and we just have to find out the details about it. But I think that folks in the Gulf, hearing this news, are going to be quite happy about it. But, again, questions about how it's going to be administered, and who is going to be eligible, and how much money they're going to get, and how it's going to work all needs to be ironed out.
HOLMES: Well, Gloria, one more thing to you. What was your reaction last night? What have you seen in reading today the reaction out there for the president taking last night that moment to quite frankly, get a little political? To talk about moving forward with possible energy legislation. Tell me how you received that, how others have received it, and how will the American people?
Do they have the stomach for another big battle up on Capitol Hill? It's going to cost a lot of money.
BORGER: You know, my Blackberry started buzzing last night the minute the president started talking about his energy policy largely from republicans saying, you know, this is not the time to politicize this. The president pointed out, of course, that he has been talking about a new energy policy since he was a candidate.
I'm not sure that makes people in the Gulf feel any better. The White House clearly wants to use this as an opportunity to take a turn to energy policy. But the reaction that I was getting was people saying, look, first he needs to plug the leak. He needs to deal with all the issues that we've got in the Gulf. And then we need to deal with energy policy.
The White House says we can do both things at the same time. But there are lots of folks -- not only the in republican party, but the democratic party -- saying, you know what, we're not sure we can do all of this.
HOLMES: And just as you always do, helping me do my job, you help me tee up this next sound bite right now, speaking of republicans who started sounding off as soon as the president talked about that, Mitch McConnell, the leader in the Senate. Let's listen to what he had to say about it.
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MITCH MCCONNELL, SENATOR MINORITY LEADER: I can't think of anything more inappropriate than to suggest that a national energy tax is an appropriate reaction to this environmental disaster in the Gulf.
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HOLMES: All right. You hear there, Mitch McConnell, and again certainly echoing we're what we're going to hear from many republicans. Gloria, I think we're going to see you again in this next couple minutes.
HOLMES: And couple of hours, even. BORGER: Great.
HOLMES: So good to see you. Good to have you as always. Thanks so much.
Of course, a lot of people thinking right now, wondering right now exactly how to go about attacking. Really. People using military terms right now -- how do you attack what is essentially an assault on the Gulf Coast right now?
Well one person who has an idea -- who knows about war, who knows about tragedy, who knows about catastrophe, Retired Army Lieutenant General Russel Honore. He's a CNN contributor joining us now.
Lieutenant General, good to see you, as always. Let me ask you, what do you think of the terminology that's been coming out? Some of the military terminology about attacking and assaulting? What do you think about that language being used here on this -- now on this Gulf oil?
LT. GEN. RUSSEL HONORE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it's certainly what we need to do. We have been playing defense basically waiting for the oil to hit the shoreline. It's reflective in the governors and the parish and county presidents that say get it before it gets to the shoreline and that needs to be done in a more deliberate way of going out in the federal waters with a team of people that can command and control on the water -- which is the BP boats commanded with Coast Guard and Navy assets.
And you notice I'm saying Navy, T.J., because the president didn't mention the Navy last night. But the Navy has enough of what we call brown water Navy that can go in there and provide the command and control for those skimmer and the boats of BP and provide a command and control that we know where the boats are. We've got absolute command and control where we can skim that oil before it gets to the shoreline.
HOLMES: Well you literally have a battle plan for this and hold on one second. To our viewers, we're taking a break, but General Honore is standing there in front of a white board, because he's going to give us a demonstration and let us hear his battle plan after the commercial break.
Also, need to let our viewers know, in fact, we're standing by to hear from the White House. We're told they're moving his remarks inside. Going to be in the east room instead of in the Rose Garden because of weather issues but that's neither here nor there.
We're going to hear from the president after the meeting with the BP executives. Again, hearing from the president again on this Day 58 of this oil disaster. Eight minutes past the hour. Quick break. We are right back.
HOLMES: So welcome back. Just a reminder, we are standing by to hear from the president. Expecting to hear from him from the East Room of the White House after his meeting with BP executives. When that happens, we will take you there live.
Want to return now to our conversation with Retired Army Lieutenant General Russel Honore. He's in Cincinnati for us. And Russel Honore, I want to explain to people kind of first of all, what your mission, your plan is, and we'll just put this up on the wall and then I'm going to turn it over to you. But this is part of the mission as General Honore sees it.
First and foremost, you got to stop the oil as soon as possible. Remove the oil in the ocean, take care of people and restore the coastline. Seems like some pretty fairly simple stuff you need to be doing, but still it hasn't been done, much of it.
But also the other part of the war plan, the plan itself, set a deadline for a stop of this oil and mobilize the Army, Navy, Northcomm, Air Force, establish FEMA military agencies in every parish and county as well. So General Honore, you talked about how this needs to be certainly a war plan here. Draw up that war plan for you. Where should our resources, where should our military be?
HONORE: Well, first of all, in a disaster like this, the governors are in charge of everything on the land. They're the senior elected official. When the federal government go in, they should be working to support these governors.
We haven't seen as much of that as we need to see. When a governor asks for something, it should be resourced. And the governors have in their control the National Guard.
But rememberrnatgionaemember, the National Guard is a land-based organization. They do not operate generally other than bodies of water like rivers. They do not operate in the lapearls. So we need the Navy to be mobilized. We need to mobilize part of the CVs, as well as their brown water Navy with vessels like Baton that has the ability to come in and command and control. Let's take a sector right off the Florida coast, T.J..
HOLMES: All right.
HONORE: In this case, we would have a Navy admiral, probably a two-star admiral, working in conjunction with the Coast Guard with the vessels out at sea with Air Force aircraft flying over as well as with the National Guard on the shoreline. That's commanded by the governor.
HOLMES: Now, what are those vessels doing, General Honore?
HONORE: The vessels are going out --
HOLMES: Those vessels or aircraft, what are they doing?
HONORE: They're looking for the water. Looking for the oil.
HOLMES: Okay. HONORE: These vessels under Navy command would then command the BP ships, the skimmers and other techniques they're going to use to go to that oil and stop it before it gets to the shoreline. And that's been the frustration of the governors. There's not enough command and control on the sea right now to be able to do this. Find the oil. And if I may use the word kill the oil, before it hits the shoreline. We need more forces.
HOLMES: Why can't we do that, General Honore? Why won't we just do that?
HONORE: I don't know. The president spoke last night about the National Guard. That's true. The National Guard operates on the land. They do not operate on the water. And that's why the department of defense -- I don't know why they're dragging their feet on this, but they ought to commit some of the Navy, some of the Marine Corps assets and some of the Navy assets like CVs and vessels like the Baton to go in and command and control these ships, find the oil, get it out of the water. That's what needs to happen now.
HOLMES: Well, Lieutenant General Honore, hopefully somebody was listening. You said they're just dragging their feet. I assume somebody's thought of this, had this idea and it just hasn't gone done, but in case they haven't thought of this, hopefully they're watching. General Honore, it's always good to have you --
HONORE: And T.J.?
HOLMES: Go ahead. Go ahead.
HONORE: We have an outfit called Northern Command. They're out of Colorado, It's a Four-star headquarters. Their job is to defend the United States, whether it's natural disaster or a terrorist attack. They can support Admiral Allen.
Admiral Allen is the right man at the time. He needs more assets and he needs to get it now, and the only way we're going to get that with the capable we need -- with satellite communications, ability to see overhead -- is the United States military and we need to move on that and move on it now.
And I think that's what the governors and the parish presidents are looking for so they can look to that two-star general and say I want this to happen and then that general have the ability to override all federal agencies.
HOLMES: All right, General Honore, we hope they're listening to you once again. Good to see you, as always. I know we'll be talking to you plenty, General Honore. Thanks so much.
HONORE: Thank you.
HOLMES: And to our viewers, we're not going to be too far away from this story here on Day 58 of the oil disaster. Standing by to hear from the president from the White House. We'll take you there live when it happens. In the meanwhile, we do need to talk to some of you out there who may be unfortunately a little behind on your credit card payments. That's bad news. But there maybe is some good news in here. Credit card holders about to get a whole lot more protection. We will tell you about that, next.
HOLMES: All right. Some good news if we can call it that. You're about to get a pretty good break on those pesky credit card fees. Starting in August, you're going to be a lot more protected from a whole bunch of those credit card fine-printed headaches.
Our Christine Romans joins us here. Well, I love any scripts that has to do with an economic story that starts with good news. So there is good news. Let's go with that. But still, a lot of people are hurting. It's still bad news if you're behind on a credit card or anything.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN HOST: Yes.
HOLMES: But still, this can help out.
ROMANS: Well, my warning here for repeat violators, people who are repeatedly late on your credit cards, it's not going to help you very much. I mean it's meant for people who are getting gouged by late fees. Late fees in many cases they were much much higher than the minimum payment you were late on, for example.
So this is -- I would call it the finishing touches on those overall new laws to protect you against credit card -- egregious credit card behavior. And here's what it is. It's the Federal Reserve saying that they're going to limit most fees to $25. So you can not get slapped with a $39 fee, and most fees, for example, if you are $5 over the limit, then it has to be an appropriate fee, like $5 for being over the limit $5. It bans inactivity fees.
T.J., this was really -- we were really shaking our heads on this one, as soon as the new protection laws went into effect. If you didn't use your credit card one month, suddenly you were getting a $19 fee. So even if you put the credit card away so you wouldn't overspend, you were getting fees for not using it. And again the fee can't exceed the violation. So if you charged a latte and didn't have the money for the latte, you can't be slapped with a $25 fee for that.
But again, if you are a repeat violator, the fed gives the credit card companies the power to, you know, raise your fee or charge you fees because, of course, they have to be reimbursed. So moral of the story here is pay on time. But if you slip up every now and then, your credit card company can't gouge you.
HOLMES: The point that really usually -- besides these late fees possibly that kills people, these interest rates that sometimes just shoot up unexpectedly and inexplicably. Can we get some protection there?
ROMANS: And we saw in January 2009 before the credit card laws were coming into effect that all of these credit card interest rates started going up. The fed has asked every card company that it raised rates to go back and check out, make sure they have a reason why they raised those rates. But again, if you -- if you have a credit card and you have missed a few payments over the past year or two, your credit card company has the right to raise your interest rate.
If you have missed a couple of payments, they have the right to raise their interest rate. You're still going to see some credit cards out there, T.J., with really high interest rates, too, because that's still perfectly legal. But you know, personal finance experts will tell you, if you pay it off in full every month, the interest rate is zero, no matter what the APR says.
HOLMES: There you go. Well this is something. A lot of people are hurting, depending on credit cards during this tough financial time.
ROMANS: That's true.
HOLMES: They're just trying to get by and make it, and by, some of credit card companies took advantage. But maybe this is going to balance the playing field a little bit, Christine.
ROMANS: You cannot get more than a $25 fee and that is a big improvement.
HOLMES: All right, Christine Romans, appreciate you as always. And as a reminder, Christine is the co-host of "Your $$$." You can catch her and Ali Velshi, Saturdays 1:00 p.m. and Sundays 3:00 Eastern time.
Well getting a good workout at work. Your boss won't accuse you of sitting down on the job when we tell you about a new invention. Stick around for that one.
HOLMES: And an update now from the White House, and in fact, the president now scheduled to speak at 2:00 Eastern time. So that's going to be top of the hour, about 35 minutes from now.
The president speaking after his meeting today with BP executives at the White House this morning and also after we're getting word that, in fact, $20 billion will be going into an escrow account that will go towards making whole the people of the Gulf Coast affected by this oil disaster. We'll take you there live when the president begins to speak.
Meanwhile, you gym enthusiasts out there. You can finally get a light aerobic work out at work, but you'll have to stand up to do it. It's a new invention called the trek desk, and it combines a desk with a piece of gym equipment. Gary Tuchman has the Edge of Discovery report for us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: David Lee walks 25 miles a week without even leaving his office.
DAVID LEE: It's quite comfortable just to walk, you know, all day long.
TUCHMAN: Lee owns a trek desk, a height-adjustable work station designed to fit over a treadmill. It allows users to type, talk and think on their feet.
STEVE BORDLEY, CEO, TREK DESK: And when people come up and see it, initially their reaction is, walk all day? Stand? Won't that hurt my feet? Won't I sweat? You walk at very slow speeds, just like walking down the hall, and you don't sweat when you walk down the hall, you won't sweat when you walk on a trek desk.
TUCHMAN: The trek desk costs around $500, but Doctor Elizabeth Joy believes the health benefits could be priceless.
DOCTOR ELIZABETH JOY: When you're walking you're burning about twice as many calories as you are sitting. Walking while you work should help people lose weight.
TUCHMAN: Gary Tuchman, CNN.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: Then wouldn't everybody be funky at work all day long from working out at the desk all day? That's just my concern. Stay with us here. Again we're waiting to hear from the president. You're going to hear from him when he starts to speak at the White House at the top of the hour.
Meanwhile, something else we want to share with you today. Closing arguments happening in the battle over same-sex marriage. And leading the fight for the Prop 8 opponents, two powerhouse attorneys once fierce opponents. You, of course, remember Bush vs. Gore? The two attorneys in that case now fighting this together. This is a story only out of Hollywood. Stay here.
HOLMES: Well, in a San Francisco courtroom today, closing arguments began in a legal battle over same-sex marriage. The battle is likely to move from California to the U.S. Supreme Court. It's a giant legal gamble by those fighting for the right for same-sex couples to marry.
But it's also the story of two powerhouse lawyers who have turned the partisan divide on its head. Ted Olson, a republican, and David Boies, a democrat. Famous arch rivals in Bush vs. Gore have now joined together in this fight. It reads like a novel, which may explain why Hollywood had a lot to do with it. CNN's senior political analyst Gloria Borger reports.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORGER: It's a script that could have been written in Hollywood. The opening shot? A lunch in the Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel and it starts where you might expect, with a Hollywood heavy hitter. Director and actor, Rob Reiner.
ROB REINER, DIRECTOR/ACTOR: Well this was after Proposition 8 went the wrong way for us.
BORGER: The lunch took place in November, 2008, a week after the election. Obama won the White House.
UNIDENTIFIED: What do we want! When do we want it?
BORGER: But gays and lesbians lost the right to marry in California.
ROB REINER, DIRECTOR/ACTOR: Well we were trying to figure out what to do next. And then we thought about the idea of a possible legal challenge to proposition 8. And serendipitously, a friend of my wife's came by the table.
BORGER: The friend suggested they would find an ally in her former brother-in-law, who turned out to be Ted Olson, a towering figure in the conservative legal movement.
(on-camera): So that stub stunned you, right?
REINER: Yes, it more than stunned me. It stunned me, but I said if this is true, this is the home run of all-times. I mean, the idea that Ted Olson, this arch conservative, the solicitor general for George Bush, who had argued Bush v. Gore, and basically put me in bed for a couple of days.
I was so depressed after Bush v. Gore, was interested in gay rights. I thought, let's check it out.
BORGER: But didn't you have any doubts about Ted Olson?
REINER: You know, they say that politics makes strange bed fellows. Well, you don't have a stranger bed fellow than me and Ted Olson.
CHAD GRIFFIN, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN FOUNDATION FOR EQUAL RIGHTS: I was skeptical absolutely
BORGER (voice-over): Chad griffin was also at the polo lounge that day. He and Rob Reiner are old friends and political allies. They met when Chad was just 19, and a press aide in the Clinton White House.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNE HANEY, AMERICAN ACTOR: Good morning, Mr. President.
MICHAEL DOUGLAS, AMERICAN ACTOR: How are you today, Mrs. Chapil?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BORGER: He gave Reiner the West Wing the tour when the director was scouting for his film, "An American President". They decided Griffin would be the one to make this first uneasy call to Olson.
GRIFFIN: Much to my surprise, it was an issue that he clearly thought about. But the moment I hung up the phone, I realized that there was a chance I was talking to someone who overnight could become the most important, significant advocate for marriage equality that this movement has ever seen.
TED OLSON: We talked for a while on the telephone. And then he said, can I come and talk to you in your office in Washington, D.C.
BORGER (on camera): Weren't you stunned?
OLSON: I wasn't so stunned. I'm a lawyer. I represent cases involving the constitution. This is an important constitutional question. Yes, I think that when we -- we hurt people when we tell them they're no good.
We tell them that they're not equal to us. And we say, your loving relationship doesn't count? The words in the California Constitution are that your relationship is not recognized.
What harm do we do? What harm do we do to those individuals every single day to their family, to their friends? We're putting a badge on them that says unequal. And that's contrary to everything we believe in this country.
BORGER (voice-over): So Ted Olson took the meeting with Griffin. They kept it a secret, though.
(on camera) Here you are with Donald Rumsfeld.
(voice over) After all, Olson is a conservative legal icon.
(on camera) Of course, one of the first things you see when you walk through the door in this office is -- a picture of Ronald Reagan.
OLSON: He was a wonderful, wonderful man to know and to work for. And, of course, President Bush is here, too.
BORGER (voice over): That would be bush 43.
GEORGE BUSH, FORME PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And I will to the best of my ability --
BORGER: The president whose election Olson successfully defended before the supreme court in 2000. A memory that wasn't lost on Chad Griffin.
GRIFFIN: I knew I was in foreign territory. But I saw enough in that office to know just how Republican, you know, of a world that Ted Olson comes from. And my world could not be more different than that. BORGER : Also on display was Olson's extraordinary legal track record. With 44 supreme court victories under his belt..
(on camera) And here are the quills. Now, you get one of these every time --
OLSON: Every time you argue a case in the supreme court, at the desk is the quill.
BORGER (on camera): Weeks later, Reiner says the deal was sealed here in his California home.
(on camera) Was this kind of like an out of body experience for you? I mean here you are sitting and talking to Ted Olson, whom you probably regarded as --
REINER: Yes, the enemy.
OLSON: The devil, they say. The devil.
BORGER: : Now -- what are you?
OLSON: Well, I'm a devil to a different group of people.
ED WHALEN, CONSERVATIVE LEGAL ANAYLYST: It really is a betrayal of everything that Ted Olson has purported to stand for.
BORGER (voice over) Ed Whalen, now, a conservative legal analyst and former Olson fan, now like many conservatives, feels betrayed.
WHALEN: He was viewed as someone who fought the good fight. I think most people assumed that he was a man of principle. I thought it was a shocking act on his part.
BORGER (on camera) : And so do you think he has destroyed his reputation?
WHALEN: I think so.
OLSON: This is a case that challenges the status of individuals.
BORGER (voice-over): So why did Olson do it?
OLSON: People say that you must be doing this because someone in your family is gay. That is not the case. I'm doing this because I think it's the right thing to do.
BORGER: And once Olson made the decision, it became an emotional journey.
OLSON: A younger woman who works here is a lawyer. She came up to me, and she said, Ted, I want to tell you what I think about what you're doing.
She said, I'm a lesbian and I don't think you know me. We haven't worked together. My partner and I have children.
I can't tell you what you're doing for us by taking this case, and she started to cry. And then I did.
BORGER: Then Olson made another move right out of central casting. He wanted to hire a co-counsel. Of all people, the liberal David Boies, his former supreme court rival, the man he beat in Bush versus Gore. The director loved it.
REINER: And then when he suggested that we get David Boies to be his co-counsel, I thought, wow. To get the two guys who opposed each other on Bush v. Gore, to team up was saying that this is a nonpartisan issue.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They share an abiding belief --
BORGER: Not to mention, irresistible public relations.
WHLAEN: I think Ted recognized that this odd bed fellows combination, so to speak, would get a lot of attention.
BORGER (on camera): So people call them the odd couple.
WHALEN: Well, it is a very odd couple, isn't it?
BORGER( voice over): Or is it? judge for yourself.
OLSON: As we were getting ready to argue Bush versus Gore, did we have this conversation?
We said, someday, someone is going to come to us who will want to get married, and they'll be gay. And we'll do this together.
We actually talked about that.
BILL O'REILLY FOX BUSINESS NEWS HOST: That second part I don't remember.
HOLMES You know amazing there, Gloria, they look like such buds given what was going on back during Bush v. Gore. But just-you mentioned it a little bit there in the piece., But just how great a backlash did Olson get from the conservative community?
BORGER: I think he's still getting it. It was very tough. He told me that he polled a lot of his friends within the conservative community. Those who are libertarians, he said, really supported him, and he said he was surprised by the amount of support that he got.
However, I will tell you in talking to conservatives, you saw Ed Whalen in the piece there. They're scratching their heads. How can this conservative legal icon be teaming up with David Boies, of all people, a liberal, to fight for gay marriage in California? Ted Olson believes it's a constitutional right. The equal protection clause. And he says it's just what he had to do. Even though he's been ostracized.
HOLMES: And you know, no doubt, two great lawyers who could help in any case. But you also talked about the pr aspect of it. How beneficial do they think that has been to have these two teamed up?
BORGER: Oh absolutely. You know, it's interesting, because Olson himself told Rob Reiner and the rest, look, I need someone to team up with. And he was the fellow who decided to call David Boies. And you'll hear more from both of them later.
HOLMES: Yes, part two coming up next hour. We'll see you back here as well. Gloria, great stuff. Thank you so much. We'll see you again shortly.
And also reminder to our viewers, coming up here on CNN, just a few days, the concept of family can mean one thing to you, can mean something else to another.
And our Soledad O'brien, following a same-sex couple in their struggle against the legal and personal obstacles to becoming parents.
Can these men achieve a life as mainstream as their parents? Watch Gary and Tony have a baby, June 24th, 8:00 eastern time.
Also just hours after saying he'll make them pay, President Obama sat down with BP executives. We'll tell you what, if anything, came out of those meetings. Stay with us.
HOMLES: Taking a look now at some stories making headlines. BP has agreed to set aside $20 billion to help victims of the Gulf oil disaster. The escrow account agreement came during meetings earlier today between top BP executives and President Obama, who we do expect to hear from in about 20 minutes from the White House. We'll see that live
Also, Mexican president Felipe Calderon says a recent surge in drug related violence is the United States' fault. In a televised address h blamed growing drug use in the U.S. He also said he needs the nation to support the fight against drug cartels. Calderon said it's a war that times time and lives.
Also, new home construction has fallen more than many experts thought. Housing starts, are down 10 percent from April single family home construction was down almost twice that. These numbers are the first since the home buyer tax credit expired.
A lot of people have a lot of ideas out there, how to get us off oil. Imagine powering your car with algae grown on a farm. Sounds kind of far-fetched, maybe even futuristic, but it's happening. Now.
HOLMES: We've got the "Big I" for you today, the big idea. Everybody has some ideas right now about how to get us off of oil. How can we get off of this stuff that's causing so many problems in the Gulf right now?
Well we've got a big idea for you today. The "Big I" has to do with fueling your car with algae. You heard me right. Algae. It's called green crude. Let's turn around here and show you how this would work.
Starting here on the far left and on the second picture as well, what you're seeing there, that is essentially algae farm. Now, it's fueled, if you will, by the sun, and also from factory emissions and what not. So you have essentially these big fields, kind of like rice fields, I'm told, where you grow this algae.
Well, move over, you grow this algae and then you get-- you harvest and extract essentially the oil from this algae.
At that point, you take it, you refine it, and then you take it and you put it in your car. You put it in jets. You use it just like anything else. You've got this oil. Sounds like a brilliant plan to some, sounds simple enough as well. So what's the catch?
Let's bring in C.J Warner here, who can help us make sense of this. C.J. Hello to you and I have to tell you, we were all fascinated by this particular idea. The first question a lot of people have, though, even if you do it this way, with this algae, can I use this stuff in the car I have right now, or will I need a specially modified vehicle?
C.J. WARNER, PRESIDENT, SAPPHIRE ENERGY: T.J, you can absolutely use it in your car that you have today, in it today's jets, in today's diesel engines. It's a crude oil. It's produced just the way mother nature produced today's crude oil, but we speed it up and grow it in farms today.
And once we refine it in today's refineries, no one will be able to tell the difference between what we use today and the material that comes from all gee.
HOLMES: Okay. Are we doing this anywhere right now, and we see it working, and how wide of a scale are we doing it right now?
WARNER: We are working on the development right this minute. We're growing algae in open ponds in Las Cruces, New Mexico. And this September, with help of the US government and some funding that we received from the DOE and the USA, we'll be starting to build our first 100 barrel a day algae farm.
HOLMES: 100 barrels a day. Now that doesn't sound like a whole lot right now. Is it possible to do this on a large enough scale that you could take care of the energy needs of this country?
WARNER: We absolutely can. I think, T.J., that's probably one of the most exciting things about algae, technology, is it does have the potential to provide 100 percent of our crude needs.
So with 50 million acres planted in algae, which is actually less than what we have planted in corn today, or wheat or soy, we can produce 100 percent of our crude needs. And today, with our own internal production with conventional crude, we're only producing 28 percent of our needs. So think of that.
HOLMES: You said 100 percent. How long before we get to that point? How much--are we talking decades down the road? Was this something you and I will never see in our lifetimes?
WARNER: No, no. This is coming. And it's coming soon. So this development plant that we're building in September is a very critical sort of first move for us to shakeout all the bugs, get everything going and understand exactly what we need.
And once that's up and running, it will give us the engineering details we need to build the first commercial plant, which will start under construction in 2015.
And once we have that, the sky is the limit. We can build as many farms as we're ready to build.
HOLMES: And I want to know, as well, how long does it take, that graphic I showed and kind of walked our viewers through, how long does it take to get from algae growth to gas tank? That whole process, how much time are we talking about?
WARNER: Right. So once you actually have a farm up and running with all your intermediate processing, the algae grows so fast that we harvest it probably about every seven days. We actually run it in a continuous process but If you think about from seed to oil it's about seven days.
HOLMES: About seven days. And no waste, nothing is going to be left over that we have to get rid of.
WARNER: We are designing our system to be fully sustainable. So when we extract the oil, we actually send the biomass after it's digested back to the ponds so that the nutrients in that biomass can be used by the new algae that's growing.
HOLMES: All right. There you hear it, folks. C.J. Warner sounds like she has the solution, She's president of Sapphire Energy. Thank you so much for sharing the "Big I", the big idea with us today.
And we hope to follow up with you plenty down the road until I put some algae gasoline in my Chevrolet, all right?
WARNER: T.J, thank you.
HOLMES: Thanks so much. Well there's just one big idea that someone has now, that can certainly help out in this time of need on day 58 of this Gulf oil crisis.
We talked there about alternative fuel to replace crude oil. But how about stopping this history making leak in the first place? One Florida company wants to use, get this, magnets.
HOLMES: A lot of people right now have a lot of ideas about how to genuinely help out in the Gulf oil spill. Some have ideas about how to stop the spill. Others have ideas about how to clean it up.
BP has been getting tense of thousands of e-mails and calls from private citizens, companies as well saying, hey we've got something we think can work.
Well how about magnets? Let me introduce you to the guy now, who says he has an idea about using magnets that could possibly work. His name is Dr. Rainer Meinke. He is the chief scientist and co-founder of Advanced Magnet Lab Inc.
Coming to us from Orlando, Florida. Sir, magnets to stop the oil spill. A lot of people might be scratching their heads. So I know you're a scientist. We're not. So as simple as you can, explain to us how this would work.
RAINER MEINKE, CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER, ADVANCED MAGET LAB INC. Yes. Good afternoon. Thanks for having me.
HOLMES: Yes, sir.
MEINKE : Our company develops clean technology for all sorts of applications. Now when we talk about clean technology, it means a clean environment. And when we heard about the first attempts that failed to siphon up the oil from that underground spill, we started to think about what we could do using our technology.
And if you want to really do something a mile under down on the ocean floor, you have to have something which is very reliable, low-tech and very robust. Now, if you think about permanent magnets, we all know permanent magnets, I actually brought some here, you all know that these kind of magnets can be extremely strong.
One has tried to close the oil spill by introducing a kind of mud into that spilling oil pipe. Now, this kind of mud can be easily washed away. What you really would like to have something is a material which is very heavy and a material which is sticking together by itself, something like a concrete but that doesn't need to cure.
HOLMES: Well Help us. How would this work. We see these pictures. We see this hole. We see this well. We see this oil gushing. How would a magnet specifically -- would you put a bunch down there and they're supposed just to stick and clog it up and stop it, is that it?
MEINKE: That's a very good question. What we propose to do in one of these scenarios here is, first of all, the idea is to close the oil well right from the bottom. And what you can do is you introduce a tube into the spilling oil pipe which is rather large and you introduce chunks of permanent magnets into that pipe. And we have calculated that these permanent magnets, since they are very heavy, despite the flow of the oil, they will sink under gravity to the bottom of that oil well.
They will stick together. They will form a plaque which basically nobody can break apart. And it will also stick to the iron casing of the oil well itself.
HOMES: This hasn't been tried, though, correct? Before we let you go here. This hasn't been tried?
MEINKE: It has not been tried.
Well we finally got one. Spain heavily favored Spain just went down to little ol' Switzerland. CNN International Isha Sesay, my dear friend, good to see you there. We have been waiting on something to happen (VIDEO GAP) can one to no nil up being
HOLMES: So we don't know -- I know it's an idea. But it's worth giving it a shot probably as well. Dr, Rainer Meinke. I wish we could speak to further. But that gives people an idea of just the kind of ideas that are out there.
We absolutely appreciate you sharing that with us. Maybe somebody is listening and you might get a call. Dr. Rainer Meinke again he is the Chief Scientist co-founder Advanced Magnet Labs in Orlando Florida for us today sir. thank you so much.
And to our viewers, of course we are here a week in just about. We've finally seen a big upset at the World Cup. We're going to be going live to Johannesburg find out what happened and who went down. Isha to(oh) Sesay, she's going to back with us next
HOLMES: All right. You've been watching the World Cup, of course you have. Everybody's waiting for something big to happen, a big upset. a huge story. Please explain the fever there now that we have a big, this a huge upset.
ISHA SESAY CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and T.J. do no mock (ph) this is for real. Everyone was looking at Spain, they're the Euro 2008 champions. So they're heavily favored in this year's tournament.
And you know they've had the tag of perennially being underachievers. They were coming into this night full of confidence. The Swiss in comparison, they're considered footballing minnows and yet there you have it. In the fifty second minute the Swiss were able to put a goal past one of the best goalkeepers in the world.
And there you have it. In football, that's the great thing about this tournament. T.J. and I know you're not the biggest of football fans.