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THE SITUATION ROOM
Interview With Florida Governor Rick Scott; Hillary Clinton Attacks; Storm Targets Florida. Aired 18-19:00p ET
Aired August 28, 2015 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Attack mode. Hillary Clinton opens up on Donald Trump amid new criticism that the GOP front-runner is being hypocritical by letting his allies raise money from secret donors.
Planned escape. New information that the killer of two TV journalists was headed for a specific location, as we see disturbing images of the apartment he left behind.
And remembering Katrina. When the massive hurricane battered the Gulf Coast and nearly destroyed New Orleans, Anderson Cooper was right in the middle of the devastation. Now he's back with a look at the reborn city.
We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: Let's get to the breaking news.
Florida's under a state of emergency right now; 20 million people are bracing for what's so far been a very deadly storm. As it churns across the Caribbean, Tropical Storm Erika has already killed at least 12 people on the island of Dominica. More than 20 others are missing.
And it slammed Puerto Rico with heavy rains and strong winds. Florida residents are being warned to take this storm very seriously.
Hillary Clinton goes after Donald Trump and his hair. She says hers is real, except for the color. She wonders if the same is true for Trump.
The GOP front-runner, meantime, boasts about his wealth and calls for transparency when it comes to money and politics, but he may be opening himself up to being -- to a little bit of a new wave of criticism by allowing his allies to raise funds from secret donors. I will speak with the Florida governor, Rick Scott.
Our correspondents, our analysts and guests, they are also standing by with full coverage of the day's top stories. We will have much more on that threat posed to Florida by Tropical Storm Erika.
But let's begin right now with Donald Trump's apparent turnaround on fund-raising.
Our political reporter, Sara Murray, has been on top of this story for us.
What else are you learning, Sara?
SARA MURRAY, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, so much for being so rich he doesn't need anyone's money. It looks like Donald Trump and his friends are changing their tune, getting a little help from outside donors.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm really rich. I will show you that in a second.
MURRAY (voice-over): The Republican front-runner rallying fans with a promise to fund his own campaign and reject big donors.
TRUMP: I will just take a vote. How about if I take all this money and promise? I swear to you that I won't do anything for these people. What about that? No? Nobody's going to buy me.
MURRAY: Mocking his rivals for their aggressive fund-raising.
TRUMP: Everybody that puts money up for Jeb Bush, it's like he's a puppet. He's totally controlled by these people.
MURRAY: And slamming dark money in politics.
TRUMP: I think the most important thing is transparency. You have to know who you're dealing with. And right now, you don't. You don't.
MURRAY: All as Trump helps his allies raise money from secret donors, Trump appearing at fund-raising events for outside groups supporting him, where donors are pressed for thousands of dollars, according to an invitation, the money going not only to a super PAC, but also a second group, one that can collect unlimited donations without ever naming its donors.
Trump's campaign dismissing the notion that the move could open him up to charges of hypocrisy, saying Trump himself did not solicit
donations from any of the attendees. But it's a sharp turnaround for a candidate who once said this.
TRUMP: I don't need anybody's money. I'm using my own money.
MURRAY: To this take in a recent CBS interview.
TRUMP: I would even take big contributors, as long as they don't expect anything.
MURRAY: Today, Trump spending his evening at a $100-per-person event in Massachusetts at the $1.9 million estate of an auto dealership executive. While the host it calling it a fund-raiser, the candidate dismissing it as no such thing.
TRUMP: I have done some meet-and-greets.
MURRAY: And downplaying his incoming donations.
TRUMP: We have a small group where people. I guess it's over here, where people can send in -- one woman sent in $7 and 30-some-odd cents and wrote a beautiful letter, and people sending in $10 and $20. And I like that kind. It's not a lot of money, ultimately.
MURRAY: Now, even though Donald Trump's campaign is insisting tonight's event is not a fund-raiser, the big sign outside calling for cash or checks upon entry is certainly sending a different message -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Big checks payable to Donald J. Trump for President or get some cash ready for entry. All right, thanks very much for that. Don't go too far away.
Hillary Clinton is stepping up her attacks on Donald Trump and his hair as the Democratic National Committee has been meeting in Minneapolis. A lot of attention is on someone who's not there. We're talking about the vice president, Joe Biden.
Our senior Washington correspondent, Joe Johns, is on the scene for us.
So, John -- Joe, what is the latest that's going on over there?
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, it was a frenzied day here in Minneapolis, behind the scenes, campaign aides and volunteers for Hillary Clinton doing all they can to gin up support for her, even in advance of the first voting, which is still months away, while out in front of the cameras, what was essentially going on is that this was a chance for the Democratic candidates to preach to the choir.
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm just getting warmed up.
JOHNS (voice-over): Hillary Clinton staying on offense against Republicans as she addressed members of the Democratic National Committee today.
CLINTON: Today, the party of Lincoln has become the party of Trump.
JOHNS: Her top target, Donald Trump.
CLINTON: Trump actually says he would do a much better job for women than I would. Now, that's a general election debate that's going to be a lot of fun.
TRUMP: I do use hair spray.
JOHNS: Clinton clearly has been keeping an eye on the outspoken Republican front-runner, including his insistence yesterday that that famous coif is his own hair.
CLINTON: If anyone wonders if mine is real, here's the answer. The hair is real. The color isn't. And come to think of it, I wonder if that's true for Donald too.
JOHNS: But behind the scenes at this Democratic huddle, lingering questions about Clinton's use of a private e-mail server while secretary of state.
CLINTON: Well, all I can tell you is what I have been telling you for months, which has the benefit of being true and factual. And that is that I never sent any classified material, nor received any marked classified.
JOHNS: Clinton's rivals, meanwhile, made their pitches to the party's power brokers.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (VT-I), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We need a movement which takes on the economic and political establishment, not one which is part of that establishment.
JOHNS: Notably absent from the meeting, Vice President Biden, who was expected to announce this fall whether he will join the Democratic field. President Obama said, if Biden decides to run, it will be up to the voters to decide.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What I would say is that both Joe and Hillary are wonderful people, great friends. Joe's been as good a vice president as I think we have seen in American history. Hillary Clinton was one of our best secretaries of state.
The truth is, though, the great thing about American democracy is it's not up to me. I'm just one voter. It's going to be up to the American people.
JOHNS: While the wait continues for Vice President Biden to make up his mind, the return to the stump for some of these candidates is almost immediate, Lincoln Chafee and Martin O'Malley going to Iowa tomorrow for an immigration forum -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Joe Johns, thanks very much.
Sara Murray is still with us. I also want to bring in our senior political reporter, Nia-Malika Henderson, our political commentator Ryan Lizza. He's the Washington correspondent for "The New Yorker" magazine, and "TIME" magazine's political reporter, Zeke Miller.
Nia, Hillary Clinton's willingness now to actually attack Donald Trump out there. She did it at the DNC. We just saw that. Does she now see in a general election Donald Trump as her real competition?
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: No. I mean, I think Democrats are sort of hoping and praying that they get Donald Trump.
But I don't think she really thinks that's going to happen. She is having fun, I think, attacking Donald Trump in those speeches. She calls him the flamboyant front-runner and obviously is able to make the hair jokes about Donald Trump in a way that she's not able to make them about Marco Rubio, I guess.
So that helps her, I think, to sort of get into the conversation and she's obviously clearly now having fun with it. But I think the ultimate takeaway is that sentence where she says, it used to be the party of Lincoln and now it's the party of Trump. They basically want to tar the entire Republican brand, which is trying to then rebrand itself, with the Trump brand.
BLITZER: What's your analysis, Ryan?
RYAN LIZZA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think you're exactly right about this.
Look, the Democrats believe that Donald Trump is toxic for the Republican Party, and I think you talk to a lot of Republicans in Washington, they believe that. He is setting back all of the strategic goals of the Republican Party in this election, which was to reach out to new constituencies, to reach out to younger voters, women, nonwhite voters.
He's not doing that. His strategy is very different than what most Republican strategists argued at the beginning of this campaign. I think Hillary Clinton looks at polls and general election matchups where Trump gets absolutely clobbered by her. I think it's great strategy for her to define the Republican Party with Trumpism.
Most Republicans agree that that's a big problem.
BLITZER: I want to get back to your reporting, Sara, on Donald Trump's evolution, shall we say, on going out there and raising money for his campaign. As you reported, originally, he was going to spend his own money for whatever it cost, up to $1 billion. But now he's actually going to some of these fund-raisers, including fund-raisers where there's secret donors, if you will. What's going on here?
MURRAY: Well, look, I think there is a realization.
And his campaign would not admit to this. They say he's still self-funding. But if he's in this longer than he thought he would be, I think he sort of thought he would get in and have his big moment, and now he's at the top of the polls, and he wants to stay in longer, and that is costly. [18:10:10]
And I think we're testing the limits of how much of his own money he really wants to put in. The reality is there are a couple secret PACs that have sprung up to support him. This is the only one that he's appearing at events for. And that's a tacit endorsement, whether his campaign would like to admit that or not. I think it's a realization of how expensive presidential politics are.
BLITZER: Is this the super PAC that's being run by his daughter's in-laws?
MURRAY: This is -- they had an event at his daughter's in-laws' house. But it's not being run by them. It's sort of right now being run by some consultants out of Colorado at the moment. It's a little sketchy.
LIZZA: Who are -- by the way, another little side note to this, those consultants in Colorado, what are they? Lobbyists. So it's not just that he's got a super PAC that's raising big money. The Colorado consultants are registered lobbyists in the state of Colorado.
ZEKE MILLER, "TIME": They're the best lobbyists.
BLITZER: You're suggesting lobbyists actually want something? Is that what you're saying?
MURRAY: Perish the thought.
BLITZER: What's your analysis, Zeke, on all of this?
MILLER: Part of the problem for Donald Trump right now, raising money, raising money from lobbyists, is that he's at the position where he's been positioned in his campaign. He gets his best applause lines when he says, I can't be bought. I work the system better than anybody else can. I know all the tricks, I know all the lobbyists, I hired the best ones, and I don't need them. I can self-fund this whole thing.
And now if he's self-funding -- if he's not self-funding anymore, if he's polling -- if he's raising money from donors, fund-raising, he's going to open himself up to the same attacks that he's using against Jeb Bush when he attacked Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio for going to the Koch summit a couple of weeks ago. He's opening himself up to that exact same attack.
MURRAY: He starts looking like the regular politician that he says he's not.
(CROSSTALK) HENDERSON: But they can't really attack -- they can't Trump for
doing what they're doing, right? They can't really come out and say, oh, you're using a super PAC, because they're using a super PAC too.
LIZZA: You can't take politics out of politics. We have seen this with other celebrities or businessmen who enter the arena bashing Washington, bashing politics, and eventually they realize they have to play by some of the same rules and they start to look like hypocrites. This is sort of the first moment where Trump's having to deal with that.
MILLER: It's really expensive to fly that 757 around the country too. It's a big plane. It's bigger than it needs to be. It's part of his show of force, if you will.
MILLER: That costs him a lot of money that adds up real fast. At a certain level -- he budgeted a certain amount for this campaign, he's gotten farther along the process than he was betting on, and now he has to make that up shortfall.
LIZZA: You're saying he couldn't -- you don't think Trump could actually afford to self-fund? You think it's more expensive than he realized?
MILLER: He's not that liquid. We know that from his finances. He's not the most liquid person of his net worth. So he'd have to divest some of his holdings, and he doesn't seem to be willing to do that.
BLITZER: He says he's worth $10 billion, and he brings in $400 million a year, and he says this is not necessarily all that much money, as far as he's concerned.
MILLER: Yes, certainly not, when you're dealing with these sums of my money.
One of my favorite stats from 2012 is what Sheldon Adelson spent on the entire campaign, $150 million. His net worth fluctuates by that on a daily basis. For Donald Trump, this sort of investment right now, $5 million, $10 million he's looking to spend right now through the end of the year, that's not a lot of money in the grand scheme of things for him. But it does -- if it goes up to $20 million or $30 million, he starts to have to make tough decisions.
BLITZER: All right, guys, stand by. We have much more to talk about. We will take a quick break.
More with our analysts and our reporters right after this.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [18:17:56]
BLITZER: We're talking politics with Sara Murray, Nia-Malika Henderson, Ryan Lizza, and Zeke Miller.
Lots to talk about. Let me play this clip once again. This is Hillary Clinton making some fun of Donald Trump's hair, but also getting into a serious issue of his assertion that he's better on women's issues than she is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: A lot of people have said a lot of things about my hair over the years.
So I do kind of know what Donald is going through. And if anyone wonders if mine is real, here's the answer. The hair is real. The color isn't. Just yesterday, he attacked me once again and said I didn't have a clue about women's health issues.
CLINTON: I mean, you can't make this stuff up, folks. Trump actually says he would do a much better job for women than I would. Now, that's a general election debate that's going to be a lot of fun.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: She's basically saying, Nia, bring it on.
HENDERSON: Yes, bring it on.
And the Quinnipiac poll shows that she does well among women; 67 percent think she would be good on these issues. And I think it's the reverse for Donald Trump; 67 percent say he wouldn't be good on women's issues.
She wants this debate. I think she -- even when she said earlier this week, when she compared Republican positions to terrorists, that was in a way to sort of smoke them out as well, because all of them piled on her and she likes this sort of matchup, with 16 men piling on her on women's issues.
You see her having fun there and sort of hitting her stride. So this is very much a fight she wants to have.
BLITZER: All the Democratic candidates, they're in Minneapolis at this DNC event. But hovering over the event is someone who's not there, Joe Biden, the vice president of the United States. The president seems to have a little difficulty in deciding which one of these two candidates, Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden, he would support.
But are you getting any sense that he's getting closer and closer to a final decision one way or the other? [18:20:05]
LIZZA: If you look at what he said this week, what was reported that he said, the comments he made about his heart and his soul sort of being pretty banged up because of the death of his son, he seemed to be pouring a little bit of cold water.
It must sting a little bit for Joe Biden. This guy's 72 years old. Every Democratic vice president that he grew up watching eventually secured his party's nomination. Muskie did it. LBJ did it. Mondale did it. Al Gore did it.
And he's probably sitting there thinking, why not me? Why am I the only Democratic vice president that has not inherited my party's support? It's sort of been stolen out from under him by Hillary Clinton. I think he's right to take a look at this race. I still think in the end that he realizes it's too difficult to unseat her and that he positions himself as the alternative, the sort of insurance policy in case Hillary Clinton -- in the unlikely event she just collapses.
BLITZER: What are you hearing, Zeke?
MILLER: Much the same, that he's looking at the next month time frame.
But look at that time frame, that's also the same time when the pope is coming to town in three or four weeks, and then right after that you have the fight over the government funding. Will there be another shutdown or not? And that's where you need -- where the president needs Joe Biden to be there in the room with Mitch McConnell to get something done, to keep the government open.
All of those things point to this maybe not going in that direction of him running, the comments this week again. It doesn't sound like he has his heart in it. At the same time, he's one of the most popular figures in American national politics right now. He jumps in, a lot of that goes away. By not being in electoral politics, he's in a lot stronger position and that's really a great way for him...
BLITZER: On the issue of honesty and trustworthiness, he does a lot better, at least right now, in these national polls than Hillary Clinton.
HENDERSON: He does. But, as Zeke said, he gets in this thing and all of that sort of goodwill and the good poll numbers, as we have seen with Hillary Clinton...
LIZZA: Yes, remember where her numbers were when she was secretary of state?
HENDERSON: Yes. Yes. BLITZER: When you're secretary of state, your numbers are
usually pretty good. But then when you get in the political arena, obviously, they go down.
MURRAY: Right. That's when they start taking a hit.
And I think that is also part of the concern for someone like Joe Biden. If your heart's not fully in it, if you're thinking about your legacy, and you're watching what Hillary Clinton is going through right now, maybe it seems less worth it to jump into the arena.
But I still think that, if I'm Hillary Clinton, sure, you're keeping an eye on what Joe Biden is doing, you're trying to smoke out what his intentions are. But she's got bigger issues on her hands. When polls are coming out and the number one word people are associating with her is liar, you sort of got to be laser-focused on your own voters and making sure that they feel comfortable with you and just kind of waiting out Joe Biden.
BLITZER: She was a lot more subdued today, the Q&A she did with the reporters, when she was asked about the e-mail controversy that's still hovering over her.
HENDERSON: Yes. She was less lawyerly and certainly not flip in the way we have seen her before, making jokes about Snapchat, talking about wiping the server clean with a cloth. I thought she was pretty sure-footed and very sort of calm.
They realize they have got to turn a corner in terms of how she's been talking about these e-mail issues and I think she's done that this week.
BLITZER: That's not going to go away necessarily any time soon?
MILLER: No, look, there's an investigation at the Justice Department over this, right? The State Department will continue to release e-mails. And it will continue to be a story until she -- and then there will also be a congressional investigation in the fall.
So, no, this is not going away. I think well into next year, we're going to be talking about this.
BLITZER: I'm sure that's one of the reasons that Joe Biden is looking at the possibility, wondering if there's anything there. Maybe they will need him at some point.
MILLER: But he's got to be careful not to confuse the general electorate's argument that, oh, maybe Clinton isn't trustworthy, and Republicans' attacks on her over the e-mails with Democratic voters. If you look at the -- her numbers among Democrats are very, very strong.
BLITZER: All right, guys, don't go too far away.
By the way, the Republican presidential candidates now only a few weeks away from their second debate. It will air right here on CNN on September 16, live from the Reagan Library in California. And CNN will also host the first Democratic presidential debate October 13 in Nevada.
Just ahead, 20 million people are under a state of emergency right now in Florida, bracing for a killer storm that's brought death and destruction to the Caribbean. I will speak live with the Florida governor, Scott Walker -- not -- Rick Walker -- Rick Scott, I should say. excuse me.
And new information that the gunman who killed two young journalists planned his escape with a specific destination in mind, even as we see disturbing pictures of the apartment he left behind.
BLITZER: Breaking news: Florida now under a state of emergency, as it braces for what so far has been a very deadly storm, Tropical Storm Erika now churning across the Caribbean, edging closer and closer to the United States. It's already brought death and destruction to the island of Dominica and heavy rains to Puerto Rico.
CNN's Alina Machado is in Miami for us tonight.
So, what's being done there, Alina, to prepare?
ALINA MACHADO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, people are already taking precautions, bracing for the potential flooding we could see if Tropical Storm Erika reaches Florida.
People are on high alert, waiting to see what Erika decides to do.
MACHADO (voice-over): With heavy winds, severe rain, and dangerous flooding, Tropical Storm Erika is wreaking havoc across the Caribbean.
The violent storm washed out roads and destroyed homes on the island of Dominica. Now the storm is threatening Florida, with a majority of the state's nearly 20 million residents in its projected path.
GOV. RICK SCOTT (R), FLORIDA: We have got concerns all across the state now, because it's going to be coming clear across the state.
MACHADO: The storm is expected to make landfall as early as Monday morning. Florida's governor is taking every precaution, declaring a state of emergency, and calling up the National Guard. SCOTT: The biggest concern now is, one, we don't know how much
land it's going to go over. We don't know how much water we're going to get.
MACHADO: Tonight, Florida residents are preparing for the storm: stocking up on supplies, taking no chances.
SCOTT: You stop and think about your family for a second. Think about your entire family. Make sure every member of your family's ready.
MACHADO: And being ready is really what it's all about. We've already seen residents being cautious. They are going out there; they're filling up their gas tanks. They're stocking up on essential items like water and nonperishable food items.
And you have to remember that it's been about ten years since south Florida has been impacted by a storm. The last time that we saw a storm here was back in 2005 with Hurricane Wilma. That storm claimed the lives of at least six people, Wolf.
BLITZER: Alina Machado in Miami for us. All right, Alina, we'll stay in close touch with you.
I want to get the latest forecast from our meteorologist, Jennifer Gray. She's at the CNN weather center. What is the latest forecast, Jennifer?
JENNIFER GRAY, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, Wolf, we just got the updated track during the last hour in your show. And there is a little bit of a weakening that's going to take place with this storm. And also the track has shifted a little bit farther to the west.
I want to show you why the storm is most likely going to weaken over the next 12 to 24 hours. Let's go to the floor.
We can show you where the storm is now. Just to the south of the Dominican Republic in Haiti. And there are some very high mountain peaks on the Dominican Republic in Haiti. Hispaniola has some mountain peaks as high as 8,000 to 10,000 feet. And what happens when you have a storm interact with that land mass is it's going to shear that storm apart. It's really going to tear it apart. It's going to cause this storm to become very disorganized and weaken. That's what's expected to happen, and that's why we've seen changes to that track in the last hour and a half.
So here's the latest on the storm: 50-mile-per-hour winds, basically the same as what we saw earlier today, moving at about 21 miles per hour.
So the latest forecast, the track has moved farther to the west. It has it weakening to a tropical depression once it approaches Cuba Saturday afternoon. All of this interaction with land over Cuba is really going to disorganize this storm. Once it gets north of Cuba, by Sunday afternoon, could possibly
re-strengthen over the warm water south of the Florida Straits. But it's not going to have a lot of time.
But the latest forecast track has it possibly re-strengthening to a tropical storm and then heading towards the west coast of Florida. It is going to dump a lot of rain. Regardless of how strong this storm is, it is going to dump a lot of rain across portions of south Florida, and they need the rain. South Florida does, especially the Miami area. They are in a drought. Tampa does not.
So by the time this storm gets to Tampa, they're already so saturated. We could see quite a bit of flooding in Tampa. And then this storm is going to continue its track northward.
Here's the computer models. They've been shifting east and west over the past couple of days, most of them agreeing on this track. But Wolf, this is something to monitor, especially with that intensity quite unknown at this moment.
BLITZER: And if it avoids Florida and just one of those tracks shows it going into the Gulf of Mexico where the water is very warm, that storm could really pick up, right?
GRAY: Absolutely. Any time the storm enters warmer water, if it can get its act back together again once it crosses over Cuba, we could see some re-strengthening. And that's when you'd really want to watch it, especially if it goes into the Gulf of Mexico.
BLITZER: All right, Jennifer, thanks very much.
The state of emergency right now covers every county in Florida. The governor, Rick Scott, says the danger is very real.
Governor Scott is joining us right now. Governor, thank you so much for joining us. I know you're incredibly busy. But what's the latest information you're getting about this Tropical Storm Erika?
SCOTT: Well, what Jennifer said is right. Our biggest concern right now is the water, how much rain we're going to get. The southern part of the state can take some water, but it looks like it's going to come -- the track is going to come right back into Tampa. And Tampa is saturated. The Hillsborough Peninsula (ph), all those counties have just been saturated. They've gotten so much water. We still have some flooding that's from -- from a few weeks ago.
So -- but being on the west side of the storm track means looks like we'll get a lot of rain. And so I've brought -- I'm mobilized part of the National Guard. We have another 8,000 members we can mobilize. Our county emergency management teams are working well. We're going to make sure all of our citizens are prepared.
What you do every day by letting them know what's going on is important. I've said to all of our citizens, follow the news. CNN does a great job. Let people know where this is and get prepared. [18:35:08] So you've declared a state of emergency. Walk us
through, practically speaking, what that means as far as getting ready for whatever happens.
SCOTT: So what we do is it helps our emergency management teams all across the state, because they can get positioned. It helps our utilities get positioned. Our utilities across the state are prepositioning. We believe mobilize our National Guard, which we've mobilized some of our National Guard. It's faster to mobilize the National Guard. It's basically position everybody for what's going to happen.
But we're going to continue to follow it. We're doing constant calls with our county emergency management teams, with our utilities, with the Red Cross, keeping everybody informed. We're making sure all of our citizens stop and think about their families. Three days of water, three days of food, radio. Make sure you know what your evacuation route would be.
Wolf, as you know, a lot of people moved to the state since our last hurricane. We always have a lot of visitors. We have about 100 million visit areas year now in our state. We've got to keep all of them informed to get ready for whatever happens. We're going to pray for the best but prepare for the worst.
BLITZER: Yes, because I've lived through some of these storms, hurricanes, in Florida over the years and elsewhere, as well. You lose power very quickly, as well. You've got a lot of senior citizens who are living in high-rise buildings. What do you do about that once the power goes out at hospitals and nursing homes, places like that?
SCOTT: Well, the first thing we're doing, we're already calling through people that we think might need emergency shelter. People that might need it for healthcare reasons. We have worked with our hospitals to make sure they have the backup power they need.
We are prepositioning utility workers and utility assets to try to prevent problems or if there's a problem it quickly comes back online. We have worked -- we've let all our National Guard members that we might mobilize know that we might mobilize them.
So it's basically saying, OK, so if this happens we're ready to make a decision and react right, right now. But again, all of our citizens have got to do their part. You know, be prepared yourself. Don't completely rely on our first responders, who I know are going to do a great job.
BLITZER: You know, it's interesting. And I'm not suggesting that what you're bracing fare right now is anything along the lines of Katrina, but this is the 10th anniversary of Katrina. We all know the devastation and the death that caused.
Looking back, what lessons have you learned from Katrina, some of these other storms, that should be applied right now?
SCOTT: Well, you look at Katrina, but we just had the anniversary of Andrew which hit south Florida, 1992.
So most of it is our citizens, one, need to be prepared. Because you don't know what's going to happen, if you're going to lose power. So you need to make sure you're ready. But then on top of that, preposition your assets. Know where your vulnerabilities are.
We've improved our building codes, all sorts of things to help prevent the problems after Andrew, in particular. So we've done a lot of the right things in our state. We're already making sure at the southern part of the state we're pushing water out of our canals and things like that.
So we're positioning ourselves to be ready for whatever happens. But Wolf, you have to understand, remember three years ago right after the Republican convention we had a hurricane right at that point that missed us. Ultimately went to Louisiana. But we had 20 inches of snow -- or 20 inches of water in Palm Beach county, which no one anticipated. We had a lot of flooding there.
So we had -- we just have to be prepared and follow it. Because you're not sure what's going to happen.
BLITZER: At a minimum you can have high winds, and you're going to have a lot of rain right now. Let's hope it doesn't get worse than that. Let's hope it doesn't even get to that point. Governor, thanks so much for joining us. Good luck to you, good luck to everyone in Florida.
SCOTT: Thanks, Wolf.
BLITZER: Rick Scott is the governor of Florida.
Tropical Storm Erika, by the way, is hitting just as this country marks the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. All along the Gulf Coast there's still a lot more rebuilding that needs to be done. To find out what you can do to help, visit CNN.com/impact, and you will be able to impact your world.
Just ahead, a disturbing look into the apartment of that Virginia gunman as we're now getting new information about the deadly rounds he fired at a TV news crew.
And we're also getting the first account of the murders from the lone survivor, her husband now revealing what she saw as the attack unfolded.
[18:44:17] BLITZER: We're getting new information showing just how ferocious the gunman was in killing two TV journalists and wounding their interview subject. He unleashed a hail of bullets at his targets. And now we have new details suggesting he was methodical and cold-blooded as he carried out his plan and his escape.
Let's go to our justice correspondent, Pamela Brown. Pamela, what are you learning? PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Tonight we're learning
the gunman, Vester Flanagan, fired off 17 rounds, fatally striking Adam Ward and Alison Parker in the head in what police call a well- planned and premeditated attack.
The lone survivor is still recovering in the hospital and her husband is now sharing new details about the horrific murders. Tonight we're getting a new account of what happened inside Wednesday's deadly attack from lone survivor Vicki Gardner. Her husband Tim telling ABC News Vicki never saw the gunman, Vester Flanagan, before he opened fire.
TIM GARDNER, VICKI GARDNER'S WIFE: He shot three times at my wife. And she was trying to dodge everything. He missed twice, and then she dove to the ground and curled up in a ball and that's when he shot her in the back. Pulled the trigger several times and only fired once.
BROWN: But he says that one bullet nearly took her life.
GARDNER: She got up and walked to the ambulance after being shot, but she didn't know the extent of her injuries at that point. But the surgeon told me that a couple of centimeters and she wouldn't be walking and she wouldn't be alive.
BROWN: New video offers a glimpse inside Vester Flanagan's bare Virginia apartment. In the video obtained by NBC News, his bed is stripped, dirty dishes filled the sink, and there are head shots of himself taped to the fridge.
MARY ELLEN O'TOOLE, FORMER FBI CRIMINAL PROFILER: It sounds like he was almost in a free fall. Had he had support, had he had maybe some mental health intervention, had he had that, that could have prevented him from continuing on that downward spiral where revenge was really the answer for him.
BROWN: Despite boasting on social media following the shooting, court records show Flanagan texted a friend after the attack, alluding to having done something stupid.
Investigators tell CNN, they believe Flanagan was heading toward a specific location when they confronted him heading north on a Virginia highway. Evidence also indicates the former reporter had been planning his attack for some time. And the car he rented days before the murders, police found a possible disguise, including a wig, shawl, and sunglasses. They also found three license plates as well as a gun and ammunition.
Today, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe visited the local station where Alison Parker and Adam Ward worked.
Outside, Parker's father called on politicians to look hard at gun laws after yet another senseless attack. ANDY PARKER, ALISON PARKER'S FATHER: I want to go to the
Virginia legislature and I want them -- I want them to look me in the eye and tell me why can't we have a reasonable proposal, any reasonable background check, the things that common sense dictates.
BROWN: And the father also says he is disappointed he hasn't heard from either Virginia senator. Of course, we're talking about Senator Warner and Senator Kaine -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Thanks very much for that report. Let's get some more on what's going on.
Joining us now, our law enforcement analyst Tom Fuentes. He's a former FBI assistant director. Also joining us, our senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.
All right. So, Tom, he was heading supposedly to a specific location, he had this sort of planned out, he had supplies in his rented vehicle, a wig, three license plates in his car. Based on all of that, what was he, in your analysis, what was he planning to do?
TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: I'm not sure, Wolf, you know, even analyzing this, because he's still using his cell phone, which he'd have to know that can be tracked by the authorities. Even when you're not making a call, you're in communication with a cell phone tower. So, they can tell pretty closely on the map where he's at, that he was headed eastbound on Interstate 66 towards Washington.
So, even if he went to a specific location, the cell phone would give up that location to the authority.
BLITZER: He did manage to get, what, about 200 miles away from the scene of the crime, right?
FUENTES: Well, he did. He had the other car. But he had to know that this is not going to last. He's not going to stay on the loose for very long. But they're going to be able to track him down.
BLITZER: Jeffrey, we also learned today that based on his writings, evidence taken from his apartment, he identified with individuals who had committed mass murder, including at Virginia Tech University, 32 people were killed then, about 10 years or so ago, as well as the September 11th attacks on the U.S.
Might he have even been planning some sort of larger attack? What's your sense?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: You know, I don't know what he was planning. You know, I think when we look at situations like this, we have to have a lot of humility. Remember, the legal system has a difficult enough time figuring out what happened in the past, much less predicting what people are going to do in the future. You look at that apartment. It's a bare apartment. But there's
nothing there that says that, you know, an evil, evil act is coming. It's simply very, very hard to look at someone who's had mental problems or employment problems and say, this person is going to do something terrible. It's just something that the legal system, the medical community, is just not capable of doing.
BLITZER: What do you think about these pictures that we see from that very bare apartment, Tom? Some pictures, the only pictures we see are pictures of himself on that refrigerator.
FUENTES: Well, one thing we know for sure is how narcissistic he was. It was all about him, it's been all about him for many, many years. But I want to agree completely with what Jeffrey just said is it's very difficult to predict what they're going to do.
[18:50:00] And what we're trying to do as rational thinking human beings is try to get into his head when he was not a rational thinking human being.
And so, the fact that it looked like he might have intended this or he had a place to go, or he was going to try to escape, we don't know and he may not have known.
BLITZER: We've got to learn some lessons, Jeffrey. I'm sure you agree that there -- maybe there had been people close to this killer, whether friends or family or someone, who might have detected that there's a real serious problem here, right?
TOOBIN: Yes. And certainly anyone who knows that someone is having a really serious mental problem should try to get that person help.
But, I mean, the issue of guns never goes away in this country. I mean, the fact that you had someone like this who had access to powerful weapons, which he used, I mean that's something that's sort of fallen off the political map. After Newtown, President Obama did -- you know, made a full court press and he didn't get it through a Democratic Senate. So, you know, gun control is an issue that has been around in American life for a long time, but it really is a complete non-starter at this point for better or for worse.
BLITZER: All right. Jeffrey, thanks very much. Tom Fuentes, thanks to you as well.
Just ahead, ten years after hurricane Katrina, our own Anderson Cooper has now returned to New Orleans. He is standing by to join us live when we come back.
[18:56:16] BLITZER: Ten years ago tonight, Hurricane Katrina was baring down on the U.S. Gulf Coast. It went out to kill more than 1,800 people, have triggered catastrophic flooding that devastated the city of New Orleans.
CNN's Anderson Cooper was on the scene for us. He is back in New Orleans tonight.
Anderson, you were there. You witnessed what was going on. Give us a little sense of what you are seeing today.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, I think, you know, everybody I have talked to today, they all really start off saying the same thing which is, can you believe it has been 10 years. And I think for people here on the ground, it doesn't seem like that long ago, certainly.
And in many ways, you know, this city has come back. But it's a different city than it was. Much of what was great in the city remains. But there's 100,000 fewer African-American citizens in this city. There's parts of this city in the Lower Ninth Ward that have not had the kind of rebirth that many other parts of the city has.
So, you know, it's a tale of rebuilding. It's a success story, but it's uneven. And even, you know, all the officials here acknowledge that and say there's a lot of work do and they are very thankful.
I mean, you hear that today, a lot from people, just very thankful that the world paid attention, that the federal government paid attention and people came by the thousands over the last ten years to help this city rebuild.
BLITZER: A lot of us remember the interview you conducted ten years ago with then-Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana. Let me play that exchange you had with her.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARY LANDRIEU (D), LOUISIANA: I want to thank Senator Frist and Senator Reid for their extraordinary efforts, Anderson, tonight. I don't know if you heard. Maybe you have announced it. But Congress is going to an unprecedented session to pass a $10 billion supplemental bill tonight to keep FEMA and the Red Cross up and operating.
COOPER: Excuse me, Senator. Excuse me, Senator, I'm sorry for interrupting.
I haven't heard that because for the last four days, I've been seeing dead bodies in the streets here in Mississippi. And to listen to politicians thanking each other and complimenting each other, you know, I got to tell you there are people here who are very upset and very angry and very frustrated. And when they hear politicians, you know, thanking one another, it just -- you know, it kind of cuts them the wrong way right now.
Literally, there was a body on the streets of this town yesterday being eaten by rats because this woman had been laying in the street for 48 hours. And there's not enough facilities to take her up. Do you get the anger that is out here?
(END VIDEO CLIP) BLITZER: Passion, anger that you showed, Anderson. A lot of us
remember looking back on that moment. What goes through your mind now?
COOPER: You know, it's hard to hear that because it brings back a lot of the memories for all of us who were on the ground in Waveland about what we saw, and the conditions that people were living in, people's possessions were gone. I mean, Waveland was -- by the gulf, was just destroyed. In many places, there was nothing left standing.
And I think part of that frustration was hearing politicians giving one account of how things were going but then seeing on the ground -- you know, not seeing National Guard troops and not seeing the response that we were being told was happening. And it may have been happening other places but where I was and where many other people were stationed, we didn't see that.
BLITZER: Anderson, thanks very much. Thanks for being back there today. Thanks for all your reporting ten years ago as well.
This important note to our viewers, Anderson will be back later tonight with an "AC360" special report on the Katrina anniversary, that starts s at 8:00 p.m. Eastern, only here on CNN.
Remember, you can always follow us on Twitter. Tweet me @WolfBlitzer. You can always tweet the show @CNNSitroom. Please be sure to join us again right here in THE SITUATION ROOM on Monday.
Have a nice weekend. Thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.