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Apology to BP; New Orleans Open for Business

Aired June 18, 2010 - 09:00   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: All right, good morning, everyone. I'm Fredricka Whitfield in for Kyra Phillips.

Sixty-two reports of tornadoes including at least one killer. A chance of more twisters today.

An oily tar moving east. The iReporter who shot these pictures says a fun day at a Florida beach suddenly turns quiet and sad. We are two months now into the Gulf oil disaster.

And before you crack open that can't of Spaghettios, make sure it's not part of a massive recall. It seems that 15 million pound batch wasn't quite processed enough.


TONY HAYWARD, BP CEO: We've launched an investigation. I believe we should have waited for the results of the investigation. I'm not prepared to speculate. I can't pass judgment on those decisions. I'm not sure exactly who made the decision.

I'm afraid I can't recall it. I can't recall that either, I'm afraid. I can't answer your question in that form. I'm afraid I can't answer that question. I generally don't know.


WHITFIELD: All right, the grilling of BP's chief executive. Lots of sizzle. Very few answers. And one moment that seemed to take even Tony Hayward by surprise.

It is still reverberating that jaw-dropping comment coming courtesy of this congressman, Texas Republican Joe Barton. In the first minutes of yesterday's hearing, he sparked outrage by apologizing to BP and ripping the White House for demanding money be set aside for the victims.


REP. JOE BARTON (R), TEXAS: And I'm ashamed of what happened in the White House yesterday. I think it is a tragedy of the first proportion that a private corporation can be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown.


WHITFIELD: And since that moment, he's really changed his tone.

CNN's congressional correspondent Brianna Keilar is in our Washington bureau.

So, Brianna, Barton faced as firestorm from within his own party and even some are saying he should be stripped of some of his powers even after he has changed his tune.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. He's facing this, Fred, from not just Republicans either Democrats, from everyone. And he isn't just any Republican. He is the top Republican on this very powerful committee. The Energy and Commerce Committee.

So as soon as he said this in the hearing, people were very surprised. And then Democrats pounced on this. And they kind of said hey, look what Republicans are saying. And then you had many Republicans, especially gold state Republicans, who were saying no, no, no, this is not what we are saying.

We don't agree with this. We think that the only person who should be apologizing here is BP. And then it went higher. It went to Republican leadership -- according to several Republican sources -- who said to Barton that you must apologize immediately. You must retract this apology to BP immediately, or we will strip you of this important position.

And that is when we saw Joe Barton kind of back pedal in the hearing and say this.


BARTON: I want the record to be absolutely clear that I think that BP is responsible for this accident and if anything I've said this morning had been misconstrued in an opposite effect, I want to apologize for that -- misconstruction.


KEILAR: And right after that he also issued a much stronger written statement that said, "I apologize for using the term shakedown with regard to yesterday's actions at the White House in my opening statement this morning and I retract my apology to BP."

Still unclear, Fred, what's going to happen with his leadership position being the top Republican on this powerful committee.

WHITFIELD: Meantime, this Texas congressman is also kind of affectionately known as an oil man. Explain his relationship with the oil industry and what might have provoked him to say what he said.

KEILAR: Well, you know, we can't draw a connection. What we can tell you is that oil and gas, the oil and gas industry, is one of his top campaign contributors. This is according to the Center for Responsive Politics. One of the groups that keeps track of these donations. So over the course of 2009 to 2010, about $100,000 in donations. That's not unusual certainly for a Texas Republican. I will tell you that. And this idea that Barton really, I think, was pressing in here -- what he was really saying was that he thought that this was kind of -- government overreach.

It's actually not a novel concept. We've heard this sort of -- assertion from some other Republicans. Mostly Republicans who are aligned with the Tea Party Movement in this idea of limited government.

But he said it in such a public venue and he said it in such a way that it really became a lightning rod. Unlike any of these other comments that we've heard.

WHITFIELD: Brianna Keilar in Washington. Thanks so much.

All right, as the oil disaster grows, more tourists are abandoning their plan to vacation along the Gulf Coast. So BP is shelling out tens of millions of dollars to let people know that the region is still open for business.

CNN's Chris Lawrence is in New Orleans where city officials are scrambling to save tourism there and the local economy as a whole.

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, Fredricka. There is a real concern. Already we've seen some of the tour companies along the coast already their businesses are hurting. And there is a real fear that that tourism bust could start spreading to other parts of Louisiana and the Gulf.

That's why BP has shelled out $15 million each to the states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama and $25 million to Florida, all to -- for them to use in terms of tourism.

Louisiana putting their money to use, creating these new ads and new campaign to try to get people to come here, to not let the Gulf spill affect their plans to come here.

But there -- it's funny. There is an ad that didn't make the campaign. It was sort of a poke at the British -- at BP and at the British. The ad sort of was set against the statue of Andrew Jackson and it said, this isn't the first time that New Orleans has survived the British, in reference to the war of 1812.

BP had no comment on it. But ultimately they decided, well, that might have been some of the folks of the UK which is New Orleans' biggest foreign market so they took that out of the campaign.

But they did put another one in that takes a more direct stab and at target much closer to home which is the federal government. This ad has a picture of, like, one of the famous shrimp po-boys and it says, "Thank God there's not a moratorium on this." An obvious stab at the Obama administration and, you know, its six-month moratorium on oil drilling here. Again, that New Orleans' irreverent sense of humor. But really there is nothing funny about the worries that people have about tourism here and just how big of an impact even a small decline can make.


STEPHEN PERRY, NOAL CONVENTION AND VISITORS BUREAU: If we don't get to market and change how those who are seeing the massive Katrina depth of media coverage, we're looking at losing about -- quite at half a billion dollars over eight months if we had a 10 percent decline. So only a 10 percent decline here in New Orleans would produce nearly half a billion losses over eight months, would cost probably 7 to 8,000 jobs.


LAWRENCE: Yes, that's why the mayor of New Orleans Mitch Landrieu just sent another letter to BP asking for an additional $75 million over the next three years to help promote tourism in the wake of the oil spill -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: Chris Lawrence, thanks so much, from New Orleans.

Meantime, in Utah, a convicted killer was executed by firing squad overnight. Ronnie Lee Gardner's life ended just after midnight with five shots. Four bullets and no final words. Witnesses say his execution was sudden and violent.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The loudness of the guns shocked me even though I grew up with a Winchester 30.30 in my house and shot it many times. But I think when you see it actually hit a human being, and you watch them move to some extent, it was violent. And -- I didn't find it to be clinical at all.


WHITFIELD: All right, the shots rang out just hours after the Supreme Court denied a last-ditch appeal.

It was only the third time a firing squad has been used since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty back in 1976.

Gardner was put to death for murdering an attorney back in 1985 during an attempted courthouse escape.

And take a look here. Incredible pictures of tornadoes out of Minnesota. More than 60 reports of tornadoes, at least two hit the ground with deadly results. More severe weather could be on tap today.

And right now, let's take a quick look at an iReport from Ft. Walton beach, Florida. Look at what's washing up on the shore there. Our iReporters David and Annette Stamm say the water was just fine until around 11:00 yesterday morning. Then gobs of this oil arrived.


ANNETTE STAMM, IREPORTER: It's all over the beach. Everybody just kind of standing.


WHITFIELD: At least three people were killed and dozens injured after a series of tornadoes ripped across North Dakota and Minnesota.

Take a look at this funnel cloud right there in Minnesota. Always incredible and remarkable when caught on tape. Pretty ominous sight there.

Tornadoes flattened homes, and uprooted trees, downed power lines and even tore through a hog farm leaving pigs roaming the streets.

And in neighboring North Dakota, a skinny kind of funnel cloud right here. It did a whole lot of damage near Grand Forks, a small subdivision of mobile homes. Also took a major hit there.

I guess we have to get used to it because it seems like all weeklong we've had some very crazy, nasty, severe weather. And now to see this region of the country, Reynolds, with that kind of tornadic damage, pretty alarming.

REYNOLDS WOLF, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It really is. And we may see more of that happening in today. And the reason why is because that same system, that same area of low pressure, continues the march across parts of the Midwest.

It was a loud morning for people in Chicago. If you're tuning in, the reason why it got kind of loud was because that boundary that swept right across parts of the Great Lakes now moving into -- portions of Michigan. It has weakened considerably.

Meanwhile, out to the west, we're seeing this line that's beginning to intensify a bit. Our friends sitting in from, say, Ft. Dodge, maybe even Des Moines, perhaps even Omaha, you got the stronger storms.

And later into the afternoon, what we might be seeing is more of this spread out into the western half of the Great Lakes, into the Ohio Valley and across parts of the Midwest.

Now, we're talking about the possibility of severe thunderstorms, maybe large hail, damaging winds, and would not be out of the realm of possibility to have possibly a few more tornadoes pop up across the landscape -- so, certainly something to watch out for.

Another bay of severe weather we're dealing with would be the severe heat that continues to drop off across the parts of the southeast just -- we're talking about the highs of the 80s and 90s. But then, when you factor in the high humidity, that is really the big difference maker where it's going to feel much warmer, 90 degrees for New Orleans by the afternoon. But with the high humidity, it's going to feel like it's over 100.

Same deal in Houston, Dallas, 96 degrees is the air temperature; 86 in Washington, D.C.; 72 in Boston; 76 in New York; back into Phoenix, very dry, about 103 degrees.

Dry or not, heat is heat. And, Fredricka, that is brutal, 103 degrees.

WHITFIELD: Oh, yes. That's pretty sizzling stuff.

WOLF: You bet.

WHITFIELD: All right. Thanks so much, Reynolds. Appreciate that.

All right. In Alaska now, a long shot candidate for the U.S. Senate is getting a boost from the Tea Party Express. The group says that it's willing to spend big money on this man, Joe Miller, in hopes that he can knock off Senator Lisa Murkowski in the Republican primary. The activist organization gave Miller a closer look after Sarah Palin endorsed him earlier this month.

But Senator Murkowski is better known and better financed. So, Miller's backers have their work cut out for them ahead of the August primary. So, the big question now: who is this guy?

CNN's political producer Shannon Travis is live in D.C. So, Shannon, give us a little background now and why should people be paying close attention to him.

SHANNON TRAVIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's exactly right, Fred. That's the question everybody asking is: who is this Joe Miller guy? Who's a little known candidate.

He's been in Alaska for about 16 years. He is a lawyer. A West Point grad, a Yale Law grad. This is his first statewide office -- running for office.

And the Tea Party Express thinks that he is the one. Obviously, Sarah Palin thinks the same way. It's going to be a really interesting race -- a race that not a lot of people were watching beforehand. But certainly, a lot of people will be watching now.

WHITFIELD: And so, what's the target of Murkowski? I mean, how, you know, will Miller and those who back him try to discredit her?

TRAVIS: Well, you probably have been hearing a lot about how the tea party activists are on a, quote, "rhino hunt." People that they feel are Republicans in name only, the way too moderate.

Murkowski voted for the bailouts. She's pro-life. A lot of -- a lot of these tea party activists thinks that she's just way too moderate and they think that they need a -- what they call a constitutional conservative, like Joe Miller, to actually get her out of there.

It's not unlike what they did for -- a lot of tea party activists when they targeted Utah Senator Bennett, Bob Bennett, when they backed -- there was an establishment candidate in the Nevada Senate race, Sue Lowden, and they actually backed Sharron Angle instead, and now, she's the nominee. So, it's not unlike what they've done in other races, going after these so-called moderate Republicans.

WHITFIELD: Yes. The tea party got the trophy when Scott Brown in Massachusetts won his race.

TRAVIS: That's right.

WHITFIELD: And so, is the tea party feeling very galvanized that when they throw this kind of support, whether it be Joe Miller or anybody else, that they're getting people's attention, they're taking -- they're being taken very serious by the electorate.

TRAVIS: Absolutely. Absolutely.

And then, of course, don't forget the tea party darling, Sarah Palin. There might be a little bit of bad blood between her and Murkowski. If you remember back in 2006, Palin actually beat Murkowski's father in the GOP primary for governor. And Palin now is blasting Murkowski, again, as being too moderate.

But Murkowski, when Palin resigned last year as governor, Murkowski said that Palin was abandoning the state and she also was openly critical when Palin started to talk about death panels in the health care legislation. So, it might be a little bit of bad blood between those two.

WHITFIELD: All right. Shannon Travis, thanks so much. Appreciate the update.

OK. How about this? Boosting women's sex drive. The FDA will have a lot to say today about a new drug being touted as the female Viagra. We'll outline the government's surprising findings.


WHITFIELD: All right. The verdict is in on a new drug designed to boost women's sex drive, and early word from a Food and Drug Administration panel is back. The so-called female Viagra is, quote, "not compelling and may even be a flop."

CNN's senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen is live from Gaithersburg, Maryland, where the announcement is being made -- Elizabeth.


Actually, the way to think about this is that this panel hasn't actually concluded that this drug is a flop. That's what they are considering right now. Is this drug safe and is it effective? Does it help women whose libidos are low? And is it safe for them to take?

But, first, let's take a step back and look at it this way: it's been more than 12 years since Viagra was approved for men. And now, the race is on to have a drug for women.


COHEN: When a man has a sexual problem, he can go to the pharmacy and get some help.

All right. Tell me, how many drugs do you have for men with sex problems?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Currently three prescription medications: Viagra, Levitra and Cialis.

COHEN: And how many drugs do you have for women with sexual problems?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Currently no prescription medications.

COHEN (voice-over): It's been 12 years since Viagra came on the market. And still, there's no similar drug for women.

(on camera): Sheryl Kinsberg, you're an expert on female sexual health. This just seems unfair.

SHERYL KINSBERG, PROF., CASE WESTERN RESERVE UNIV.: Well, you're right, it does seem unfair.

COHEN: Will we at some point see the demise of this double standard for men and women?

KINSBERG: There are two potential treatment options right on the cusp for being available for women.

COHEN: Let's meet the contenders. The first one is BioSante Pharmaceuticals in Chicago.

All right. So, Stephen Simes, you're the CEO of BioSante Pharmaceuticals. And here's your product, LibiGel. And now, just for the sake of demonstration, there's no drug in here.


COHEN: It's just the gel. So, tell me how a woman will use it. Lay it on me.

SIMES: So, it would be a pea -- we call it a pea-sized amount of gel. Just rub into your arm, and that's the dose for 24 hours.

COHEN: That's it, once a day?

SIMES: Once a day.

COHEN: In the real drug, there's testosterone.

SIMES: Correct.

COHEN: And that does what to women's sex drive?

SIMES: It increases desire to have sex and then, subsequently, it increases the number of events. We're not looking to make women wild. It's just to restore the testosterone they used to have.

COHEN: Stop number two on our tour of female sexual dysfunction is the New York area, where another pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim has developed a drug. This time, it's a pill.

And I'm here with Michael Sand who's in charge of the clinical research.

Now, the drug is called flibanserin. And tell me, in studies, what does it done for women who've taken it?

MICHAEL SAND, BOEHRINGER INGELHEIM: Half of the women noticed significant benefit on their desire, on their satisfying sexual activity and decrease in their distress.

COHEN: So, there are chemicals in the brain that deal with how sexy we feel. And what does your drug do with those chemicals?

SAND: We think that flibanserin is altering the brain chemicals in a way that restores that balance to what women had before they lost their desire.

COHEN: The company that comes up with the female Viagra, they've a lot to gain, don't they?

KINSBERG: I think the company has a lot to gain but women have more to gain.

COHEN: Maybe some women who are having problems, they don't need a drug. They just need a different guy.

KINSBERG: Some women, I think, will do very well with the testosterone treatment. Some will do well with flibanserin. And some really will do well with a new partner. It's not fair to say only one treatment for one problem.


COHEN: Now, the gel that you saw in my story, that's not going to be on the market for several years. But the pill, that's what this group is talking about in the room behind me. If this panel of experts gives their stamp of approval, it would be on the market by the end of the year -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: Wow. So, today, they actually will give a thumbs up or thumbs down. And then it's just that simple -- by the end of the year, it will be available. Or will there be another committee involved or another layer of FDA approval?

COHEN: Right. This is the government, so there are several layers of committees involved. And it's looking, I have to say, as you sort of alluded to at the beginning of this segment, it's looking a little doubtful about whether they are going to get approval.

And let me show you why: when you see these numbers, Fred, you will understand what I'm talking about. When women did not take flibanserin, they had 2.8 sexually satisfying events per month. When they did take it, they had 4.5 sexually satisfying events per month. Those are not jump up and down numbers especially when you consider that the drug has some downsides. Some of the women who took felt dizzy, they felt nauseous, they felt tired. Apparently, these problems went away after they took the drug for a while.

But still, what these panel of experts have to think about is: is this drug good enough to sort of balance out some of those side effects. Sort of put it another way, is it really worth putting this drug on the market? And that's what they're going to be deciding by the end of the day.

WHITFIELD: All right. Elizabeth Cohen, thanks so much -- coming to us from Gaithersburg, Maryland.

COHEN: Thanks.

WHITFIELD: All right. The disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Oil has polluted four states now, but the ripple stretch all the way cross the ocean. We'll tell you how Great Britain is now viewing yesterday's showdown on Capitol Hill.


WHITFIELD: All right. Stocks claw their way out of negative territory late yesterday, and now, the market is on track for a second straight weekly gain.

Alison Kosik is at the New York Stock Exchange with more on that. Allison.


We are looking at a quite start to the trading day. We're not going to be getting much economic news. So, investors are likely to hold on to what they have as they head into the weekend.

But the Dow is up 220 points this week. Thanks mostly to a big rally we had on Tuesday. Gold prices continue building on the record high. That was hit yesterday. Gold closed at $1,248.70 an ounce. Prices have been high because of economic tensions in Europe and worries about the strength at the recovery in the U.S.

Investors buy gold as a safety play. And we're also keeping an eye on shares of Ford Motor after the automaker jumped into fifth place on JD Power and Associates initial quality survey. It places Ford in the top five for the first time in 24 years. Right now, Ford's shares are up a fraction. Meantime, shares of Toyota are slumping just a bit. Toyota dropped from sixth place to 21st place in the JD Powers survey. No doubt because of all those recalls.

All right. Let's check on the overall numbers. Just minutes into the session right now, the Dow is up about one point, the Nasdaq up about two. And finally, Fred, here's some positive economic trend for dads. The National Retail Federation says spending on gifts and special events for Father's Day will rise this year by about 4 percent. The bulk of the spending about two-thirds of it is going to be done at discount and department stores, about 40 percent plan to treat dad to a special dinner or brunch. And here's one more factoid for you. Men are going to be spending an average of $12 more on their dads than women will. Why do you think that is, Fred?

WHITFIELD: Your guess is as good as mine.

KOSIK: I think they're pretty close.

WHITFIELD: I think so, too. Alison Kosik, thanks so much and good to see you.

KOSIK: You bet.

WHITFIELD: All right. Free checking with no minimum balance may become as extinct as your old pass book savings account. The "Wall Street Journal" reports that Bank of America and other banks are preparing new fees. The monthly maintenance fees would apply to checking accounts with little activity. You wouldn't get charged the fees if you maintain a high balance, use the bank's credit and debit card, or use bank services like investment advice on a regular basis. The fees would make up for some of the money that banks are losing because of regulation.

All right. It is day 60 of the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. And BP's chief executive, Tony Hayward, has seemingly made few friends on Capitol Hill. Some lawmakers say he dodged their questions in yesterday's hearing. Texas Congressman Joe Barton is backing off from his jaw-dropping comment. He outraged Democrats and so the Republicans when he apologized to BP and said that damages fund for the victims that the White House has set up was nothing more than a White House shakedown.

And more Americans are becoming frustrated as the crisis enters a third month now. A CNN opinion research corporation poll shows that six in ten Americans disapprove of how President Obama is handling the oil spill.

And we may soon have new details on the crisis. We're awaiting the start of a new briefing from the government point man on this oil spill once Admiral Thad Allen of the U.S. coast guard begins speaking, we will take his comments live.

The gulf oil crisis is also being watched in Great Britain, of course. Millions of people there have investments and retirement savings tied to BP and its future survival. CNN's Jim Boulden is in London with a view from there. So, Jim, what has been the reaction to the hearings taking place in Washington? A reaction there in the UK. JIM BOULDEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you're absolutely right, Fredricka. The main point here really is what will happen to the future of BP. Many people here, of course, feel very bad about what happened. Some of the business leaders here would have to say, though, they think it's a tad unfair to just focus on BP in all of this. As you know, of course, with the testimony yesterday, no surprise really.

Some of the newspapers had it on the front page. The financial times says that he was mauled by Congress, and the "Guardian," one of the very most popular papers here, says that Mr. Hayward is the most hated man in America. I'll leave that to you -- for that judgment. However, some people did watch the testimony --

WHITFIELD: All right. Jim, let me interrupt you real quick. Admiral Thad Allen now is at the microphone. So, let's listen in.


ADM. THAD ALLEN, NATIONAL INCIDENT COMMANDER: We actually were able to cover 25,000 barrels of oil. This is our new combination recovery system of both the Discovery Enterprise which has leaked (ph) by the riser pipe to the well head, and our exploitation of the choker line, additional oil out and the processed on the Q-4,000 and that is gas and oil which just flared off. This is significant approved moving (ph) forward, however, we know because of the new flow rate numbers that we need to increase capacity. There are additional vessels being brought into the area, and we anticipate by the end of the month of June the capacity will increase about 53,000 barrels a month.

Following that thought a decision made will be reached mass capacity with the recovery system we have on the scene with the containment cap. At that point, the officers will be to actually unbolt the plans and that small section of pipe that remains where we needed to shear cut and actually replace it with a very solid bolted on cap that can be linked to a new flexible production system and allow us to use production platforms and shuttle tankers. Once that's in place, we have the capability at that point to increase capacity on the production to 60,000 to 80,000 barrels.

That should be somewhere around the middle part of July. We continue to move forward on that. It's proceeding apace. Regarding the relief wells, development driller three which is drilling the first relief well is now 10,677 feet below the sea floor, starting to close in on the well board. Development driller two is 4,662 feet below the sea floor and they continue on task. Some of the things we're working on this week, we've had an extraordinary response to our vessel opportunity program in excess of 2,000 vessels operating around the Gulf.

Our goal is to create a command and control system that tracking system where we can most effectively utilize these vessels of opportunity. We only have watermen out there that have local expertise and passion and want to channel it and make sure we're creating unit of effort. To that in, we're doing a couple of things. We're organizing these vessels of opportunity in groups, establishing a leader with the capability to communicate. A lot of the folks are very, very small and may or may not have radio systems.

We're also putting automated identification system, tracking devices on the larger vessels so would can bring those into our common operating picture and have them actually display on a computer. We've actually brought in extra aircraft into the area to increase surveillance as well. Most recently, three additional 865 aircraft were deployed to air station in New Orleans to provide overhead sighting. The goal is over this week and into next week is to create a command and control structure and if needed (ph) backbone to also effectively deploy and utilize all those 2,000 vessel opportunities that are out there.

That reflects somewhat of a change in situation in both the supply and demand of assets. Most recently earlier this week, we announced the new flow rate numbers, and as you know, we think it's somewhere around 35,000 is the most probable, but the ranges go up to 50,000 or 60,000 barrel as day at the high end of the scientific evaluations. To that end, we need to redouble our efforts regarding skimming capability. From shore out to about 50 miles as we have all these dissaturated (ph) oil starts to close shore. We have the opportunity to do that with the vessels of opportunity that have volunteered their services to us.

And now, it's a matter of putting that together and command and control structure. This is something that is on a scale that far exceeds anything we've done in the domestic response before, but it's also an indication of the willingness and the passion of local people get involved and help us in this cleanup. So, the whole issue moving forward is going to be unity of effort. Regarding may personal activities and what I've been doing, I was down in Fort (INAUDIBLE) yesterday and our vessels with the opportunity to -- with fish guides out of the Barataria Bay. When I looked up the jock up rigs, preposition boom on the barge is down there.

Later on today, I'll be meeting with the Deputy Secretary David Hayes from Interior and Deputy Secretary Lute (ph) deputy secretary of homeland security. We will go down to Grand Isle. We will also get a briefing on the vessels of opportunity and hopefully get out of the water and see what they're able to do down there. This follows several of the trips I made to Grand Isle with the president where we met with local watermen regarding the best use of these vessels of opportunities.

So, I would tell you this is focused on vessel of opportunity week for us and getting the command and control down right so we can most effectively apply these resources. To that end, the best place we can apply them right now is in the -- area from onshore to 50 miles off where we have these patches of oil and trying to get to it before it comes on land. With that, I'll be glad to take questions, folks?


WHITFIELD: All right. You've been listening to Admiral Thad Allen there, giving update. He's the government point man on this Gulf oil spill containment effort. He was talking about hopefully in the near if you, they'll be able to utilize the 2,000 or so vessels that are being made available in order to help in the cleanup effort. And he also said that they will be redoubling their efforts on skimmers being used 50 miles offshore. We'll continue to monitor his comments as they go into the question and answer period of that press conference.

Meantime, our viewers are still weighing in on Tony Hayward's testimony yesterday and the congressional hearing overall on the Gulf oil disaster. Our Josh Levs is helping us keep track of all of it. Where do we begin, Josh?

JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I tell you, let's do a little bit of both. This is a little bit what we just had from Allen and then we're going to do a little bit of what our viewers are talking about. I just want to recap something he just said because it's so interesting and so important. He's saying, said they managed to collect 25,000 barrels yesterday. And the reason that is so significant is that's a big job from what we were seeing the day before when they collect the 18,000 barrels. And the reason, what he's talking about is that they now have two ships operating. They have the international drill ship up here, and they've added the Q4000 as well, and each of them is working a little differently.

The Enterprise drill ship collects. The Q400 basically burns the stuff, but what they have is a substantial job in the amount of oil is being collected in one day. So, that's a little bit of good news and that's going to kind of counterpoint against what we've been hearing from our viewers. A lot of them are very upset about the kind of stuff they were hearing yesterday out of BP.

Let's jump over to our blog here. This is from our blog I can't believe Representative Barton. How dare he apologize to BP? Then turn around and condemn President Obama for doing the right thing for the quote, "small people." Everyone knows what that quote refers to, a BP official the other day.

This one from Tennblake, Hayward looked as if he was sitting there thinking about his next holiday out. These people (BP) have done nothing but lie and manipulate the Gulf residents and the American people.

Here's another one from Pitmedden, it is regrettable that Hayward is being made the fall guy. He was working for his company and the shareholders and that was what he was paid to do.

And one more from the blog here, from Mike, what a show. First they waste time with ridiculous comments for their own agendas and then they finally get to the questions of which they already know the answers and Hayward acts like an ignorant dummy. Obviously, they're not holding back.

Let's go over to Twitter. Why did Barton apologize to BP for the so-called shakedown by White House? Perhaps Barton should apologize to those killed instead. Another tweet. What kind of assurances and restitution would they want if their family were killed, their home and way of life destroyed?

I think we can tie up with Facebook. I suspect Hayward is saying nothing because he's been warned about the long line of American lawyers forming at the door and foaming at the mouth, ready to sue BP.

Let me show you how you all can weigh in. I think we have a graphic here that shows the blog, Facebook, Twitter. Throughout the testimony yesterday, we were interacting with you and listening to your responses. And we will continue to do that today as more and more news comes in about that horrible oil crisis -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. Thanks so much, Josh. Appreciate that.

OK, listen up, parents. If your kids like spaghettios, you need to know about this. Three different kinds with meatballs are being recalled. That's 15 million pounds out there. We will tell you what the problem is all about.


WHITFIELD: A look at our top stories right now. It is day 60 of the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster. And Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has new criticism for the joint cleanup operation. He says the coast guard, federal officials, and BP need to show a greater sense of urgency.

And Arizona Governor Jan Brewer says she is stunned and angered by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's comment to Ecuadorian TV. Clinton said the government will file a lawsuit against Arizona's immigration law. Brewer says if the government is planning a sue, the least it can do is inform the state first.

And Campbell Soup Company is recalling about 15 million pounds of Spaghettios. The varieties are Spaghettios with meatballs, Spaghettios A to Z with meatballs and Spaghettios fun shape with meatballs. The voluntary recall is because of possible under processing.

We're right back in a moment.


WHITFIELD: All right, while Joran Van Der Sloot waits to face justice in a Peru murder case, he is cooling his heels in one of the world's most violent prisons.

Reporter Jean Casarez of our sister network, "In Session" got a look inside this prison. And so Jean, you even saw Van Der Sloot and you even checked out his jail.

JEAN CASAREZ, CORRESPONDENT, "IN SESSION" ON TRUTV: Well, that's right. We got an exclusive look inside the Castro Castro Prison; its right here on the outskirts of Lima. When we finally got in and there were so many security measures to get us in.

But we were very much amongst the general population. We could talk to anybody, we could interview some. We wanted to go to the cellblocks on the top level. There are 12 different pavilions there at the prison; they house inmates according to their crimes. They told us we couldn't go up there because of security concerns.

But we were taken to where Joran Van Der Sloot was. They moved him out of his cell. We got some shots of him as he being taken to an office building next door.

And then, we were taken into his cell, a very humble abode. But I must say, I think I have seen worse in some prisons. He had a mattress that looks pretty flush; I think it'd be comfortable to sleep on. Sheets, heavy blankets and he had I guess, quote, unquote, "his own bath room" there. That was something that I think we're not used to -- not a toilet, a hole on the floor.

But some of the clothes that we saw him in the video when he was arrested and different parts during his transportation from Chile back to Peru, they were hanging right there on hooks in the room.

WHITFIELD: And so Jean, give me a little bit more about where we understand Van Der Sloot is being held. There were initial reports that he was in isolation. And then there are other reports that he's interacting with some of the toughest baddest. So what -- what is his situation?

CASAREZ: He's definitely in isolation -- protective custody as you call it under the law. There -- it's a unit with ten different cells. They're all singular cells and they're for high-profile defendants or issues with security.

He is there along with -- in another cell, an alleged hitman from Colombia, a young guy much like Joran Van Der Sloot. They interact, we understand. They talk. They can go and watch television together. But he's very much cut off from the general population.

But the director of the prison told me that the goal is to actually work Joran Van Der Sloot into general population and that may come sooner rather than later. It all depends on security concerns.

WHITFIELD: Jean Casarez thanks so much from "In Session" joining us now from Lima, Peru.

All right, first an apology, then another apology -- an apology for the apology. Breaking down the mess that Representative Joe Barton now finds himself in with CNN's chief political correspondent and "STATE OF THE UNION" host Candy Crowley.


WHITFIELD: All right. We're watching lots of stories developing this hour. Let's check in first with our Ted Rowlands who's in Draper, Utah. TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ronnie Lee Gardner, a convicted double murder was executed early this morning here in Utah. He was executed by firing squad, yes, firing squad. Coming up, we'll tell you exactly what happened and we'll have eyewitness accounts from inside the execution chamber. That, at the top of the hour.

KAREEN WYNTER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: I'm Kareen Wynter, in Hollywood. Religion and gay marriage clashed once again in the Golden State. I'll have that story at the top of the hour.

COHEN: I'm Elizabeth Cohen in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Will the FDA approve the so-called female Viagra, a drug for women with unhappy sex lives? I'm at the FDA meeting right now and I'll have more for you later this hour.

WHITFIELD: All right, thanks so much, ladies and gentlemen.

Plus, twister after twister after twister, dozens of them reported in the Midwest and Great Lakes region. At least two people are dead. We're keeping a close watch on the situation.


WHITFIELD: All right. Other than a few dozen apologies and a smattering of "I don't recalls", not much else came out of yesterdays congressional hearing with BP CEO Tony Hayward. Let's bring in CNN chief political correspondent, Candy Crowley, host of "STATE OF THE UNION". Good to see you.

So it was very interesting because Congressman Barton really took a lot of peoples' breath away right at the beginning of the hearing only to later on in the day apologize and try to take it all back. This is going to be a difficult uphill battle for him, is it not, particularly as it pertains to him keeping his power in Congress and maintain the respect from his colleagues?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And that's part of the reason why you saw him come back and apologize for his apology to BP. That and the fact that the Republican leadership took a look at that and thought, to be apologizing to BP is not a great place to be, particularly since the spill is ongoing, the wildlife still threatened, any number of things still happening.

This is not the time to be apologizing to BP.

And it fits into -- and they knew the Democrats would seize on this as the Democrats did to say, "You see, they're for big oil companies. All these small businessmen, the fishermen, the hotel owners, they're all suffering down there, and what do the Republicans do?" Because it doesn't just become one Republicans, it's the Republicans.

So, look, they saw this coming but it was a little too late to put the genie back in the bottle because they're still getting slammed for it today. WHITFIELD: And if you are Tony Hayward, do you leave this hearing thinking that you did everything you could, say everything that you could, or did this hurt Tony Hayward and BP further?

CROWLEY: Well, I think it probably depends on what your definition of hurt is here. Did he help himself with the American public with people on Capitol Hill and specifically with residents of the Gulf Coast? I seriously doubt that he helped himself.

If you take into account that the Justice Department is looking into whether there are criminal charges to be filed against BP, you know there will be hundreds of civil suits against BP, your lawyer is probably pretty pleased at this point.

You don't want to fess up to being reckless. You don't want to fess up on the record, sworn under oath to a number of things. And so I suspect that he spent a good deal of time with his lawyers before we came out and testify at the Capitol Hill.

WHITFIELD: Candy Crowley in Washington thanks so much. Of course, we'll be watching "STATE OF THE UNION" this morning -- this weekend on Sunday with Candy Crowley, 9:00 a.m. Eastern time.