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Thousands Dead in Chinese Earthquake; Killer Storm Hits Small Oklahoma Town; Relief Trickling Into Myanmar; Men Losing More Jobs Than Women

Aired May 12, 2008 - 13:00   ET


BRIANNA KEILAR, CO-HOST: And our reporter in Beijing is Jaime Florcruz. He's joining us now from China's capital. Jaime, what can you tell us?
JAIME FLORCRUZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, the death toll continues to rise. Now it's about 8,600. But that could still rise very quickly, because they have -- the rescue operation is just under way, and the people have yet to reach the epicenter of the Wenchuan County, which has about 110,000 residents.

It's still -- they're still unable to reach the place because the roads have been made impossible to cross. Many roads have collapsed. And many houses and buildings and structures in this area have also collapsed.

The Chinese prime minister himself leading the rescue operations. He is about 100 kilometers or about 50 miles away from the epicenter. He says every minute counts, and he's ordered the Chinese soldiers to lead the way in reaching the epicenter and the disaster areas there -- Brianna.

KEILAR: Jaime, what type of capability does the Chinese government have to take care of people affected by this earthquake?

FLORCRUZ: The Chinese government typically is well-equipped and well-trained to respond to natural disasters like this one. However, we are told that even the Chinese soldiers are finding it hard to reach the disaster areas because of the impassable roads, as well as the rain that have been pouring in the area.

This is a very mountainous area. Typically, they are populated by very few people and, therefore, these rescue teams are finding it hard to reach there at this point -- Brianna.

KEILAR: Jaime Florcruz for us in Beijing.

Let's head over now to the CNN weather center, where Chad Myers has the very latest.

Chad I understand you some information about the geography of this area, as well as the earthquake?

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, a little bit rugged right where the fault happened, but then you get Chengdu, and this is a very big city: 10 million people live within about 55 miles of the epicenter of this.

It was a 7.8 earthquake. It is now up to a 7.9 earthquake. And as we take you in, this is Sichuan province. You've all heard of Sichuan chicken. This is where it comes from. This is the spicy region of China itself.

The big orange dot, that is the large epicenter of the largest quake. We just had about an hour and five minutes ago a 5.5 aftershock. Notice the mountainous area here, how the terrain is. And then that big red and that yellow and green circle. That's the shake map.

And go up on top: violent shaking in that red in the entire area, almost 100 square miles of violent shaking from the 7.9.

Then we get you down to Chengdu. This is a very large -- almost 11 million people live here from time to time, as the people come in and out. Let's zoom right down. This is a major metropolitan city. You can see baseball fields, soccer fields. You can see the town. And you can also see the haze, the haze that hangs over this area almost all the time.

We'll put on the shake. Back up to strong. Strong shaking in a town of almost 10 million people right now. There will be more damage and these -- these, I'm afraid, these fatality numbers are going to go up significantly.

KEILAR: All right. Chad, thanks very much.

And here at the international desk, as new information and new pictures are coming in, we're also monitoring Chinese media outlets. Among them the Xinhua news agency. This is a state-run news agency, the biggest source of news in China. And as I said, it is controlled by the government.

We're also monitoring CCTV, which is the television news channel in China, again, run by the government. You can see here CCTV actually engaged in its evening newscast. We're going to continue to monitor that right here from the international desk.

Meantime, some of the best visuals, some of the best information that we've been getting in here at the international desk has come from I-Reporters, I-Reporters like Peter Olsson.

He felt the quake that shook China around 2:30 p.m. local time. He's in the major city Chongqing, and this is southeast of the epicenter. He's joining us now by phone.

Peter, just tell us what you were doing and what you felt went this earthquake first struck.

PETER OLSSON, CNN I-REPORTER: We were working in the office area within the factory compound. And just before 2:30, we felt the building was shaking, loose objects were moving. And it didn't take long before everyone knew that something wrong was going on.

So that office building was evacuated fairly smoothly. All of the people get out, gathered on the outside of the building.

KEILAR: And you are -- you are a Swedish national, correct, Peter?

OLSSON: I'm a Swedish national working for World Calk Abrasion (ph) here in Chongqing.

KEILAR: So tell me about this. Because I understand that your daughter, right, was in school at the time? Were you able to contact her right off the bat?

OLSSON: Yes. One of the issues connected to the quake was that the fixed telephone network, as well as the mobile network, did not operate. So we were not able to get in contact with our family. It actually took us about an hour and a half before we managed to get contact with them, and I understood that they were safe.

KEILAR: So, tell us when you went outside what type of damage did you see in your area. Was it severe?

OLSSON: Here, in Chongqing, we live in Chongqing City. There are no signs of physical damage.

KEILAR: All right. It appears that we have lost communication with Peter Olsson.

But just want to let you know, again, that we are monitoring CCTV, Chinese television. They're in the middle of their nightly newscast at this point. You can see right there.

And we are monitoring all of the latest figures that are coming from CCTV as well as the Xinhua news agency, the state-run news agency in China.

Also want to let you know, we have a number of reporters in the area. Kim Yuan (ph) is in Hong Kong. We just spoke with Jaime Florcruz in Beijing. And at this moment John Vause is heading to Chengdu. That is the capital of the Sichuan province where this earthquake took place.

And when he does arrive -- obviously, it's a situation where it's a very remote area, takes some time to get there. It takes time for information to come out of the area. So we are efforting that at this point, and we're getting you the latest information. We'll bring that to you as soon as we can -- T.J.

T.J. HOLMES, CO-HOST: All right, Brianna. Thank you.

Something else we're keeping a close eye on is a tragedy, really, in this country. Three states, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Georgia, those three states hit by one stormy path of destruction. In the wake of violent weather, devastated towns and 22 dead.

Meanwhile, for the survivors, this is as you're seeing here, only part of the cleanup that lies ahead after a weekend string of tornado- filled storms. CNN's Susan Candiotti is in one of the hardest hit spots, Picher, Oklahoma where people fear their small town may never recover.


SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The killer storm that churned through Picher is so unsparing it even stripped bark from trees. A 20-square block area was crushed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was the closet.

CANDIOTTI: His home is history, yet John Hutchinson (ph) somehow can muster a smile.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because I'm alive.

CANDIOTTI: He and his family huddled inside a closet as this frightening massive black funnel cloud barreled toward his home and ripped it right from its foundation. The family landed about 70 feet away with a closet door on top of them.

(on camera) And -- but the storm shoved you way over here. And where did you wind up?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Under this door just on the other side of this little table.

CANDIOTTI (voice-over): It was one of several tornadoes that wreaked havoc this weekend.

In Picher, a young mother died shielding her toddler. The baby is hospitalized. Police say two women were crushed inside their home. Three others died when they were thrown from a car.

Sue Sigel (ph) is thankful she wasn't home. Her house is a heap of rubble. The widowed school teacher is now getting help from students and others to salvage what she can, including a cherished souvenir from a fellow Oklahoman.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mickey Mantle autographed book -- autographed ball.

GOV. C. BRAD HENRY (D), OKLAHOMA: We're just fortunate there weren't more fatalities.

CANDIOTTI: Oklahoma's governor toured the devastation. Picher's had more than its share of it. The old lead and zinc mining community is fast becoming a ghost-town. It's in the middle of a multi-million- dollar federal housing buyout and environmental cleanup blamed on contamination. And now this.

(on camera) What does this tornado do to the town of Picher?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's just the finishing blow to a dying town.

CANDIOTTI: Susan Candiotti, CNN, Picher, Oklahoma. (END VIDEOTAPE)

HOLMES: Well, that same storm system that brought tornadoes to the Midwest and south is bringing a different kind of misery to the mid-Atlantic, and this is it: flooding. Roads under water and there have been evacuations in several states.

Up to four inches of rain fell. Tens of thousands of customers are reportedly without power. And homes across the region have been damaged.

There's also a report of a sinkhole 30 feet wide, 10 feet deep in Camp Springs, Maryland, near Washington.

Also, a hundred more firefighters have rushed into action in east central Florida where hot, dry, windy weather could fan strong -- or more wildfires. Four blazes scorched more than 3,000 acres in two counties and forced hundreds of people to flee their homes.

Firefighters have made progress against three of the fires, but they're still having particular trouble with the biggest one. And it's burning some 2,300 acres. They're also facing wind gusts up to 30 miles an hour along with low humidity. The flames had forced part of Interstate 95 to shut down, but it is now open again.

KEILAR: A cyclone-battered land tries to recover. But getting relief to Myanmar is a massive undertaking. We'll hear from a leader with the World Food Program who will tell us what the agency is doing right now.

HOLMES: And we'll go live to Hong Kong for the latest on the earthquake that's killed thousands of people in China.


HOLMES: That is the first plane load of U.S. relief arriving today in Myanmar. Two more are scheduled to arrive tomorrow.

Water, mosquito netting and blankets are on board, as well as a U.S. military official trying to convince Myanmar's military government to let the world in. The military junta refuses to let outsiders to take relief supplies to cyclone survivors. That means aid is trickling and not flowing into those hard-hit areas.

A CNN correspondent in Myanmar says people are running out of food, running out of water. Meanwhile, dead bodies pile up around them. Disease threatening to claim even more victims.

Junta officials put the death toll at nearly 32,000 now. U.N. officials say the number is two to three times that.

Myanmar's government just does not have the equipment to pull off a relief mission of this scale. That is frustrating the groups who have food and supplies ready to go, just to watch them collect dust.

Marcus Prior is with the U.N.'s World Food Program. He joins us now by phone from Bangkok.

Sir, we appreciate your time. Food, supplies starting to triple in, as we've been saying. That's great to hear. But this still just is not happening fast enough.

MARCUS PRIOR, WORLD FOOD PROGRAM: No, it's not. And it's extremely frustrating. We estimate that, given the fact that probably 750,000 people in Yangon and specifically down in the Irrawaddy Delta need immediate, urgent food assistance, we're only getting perhaps, if we're lucky, 20 percent of the required food assistance down into the affected areas.

Now, that is already to say that we're making significant progress. We fed at least 30,000 people, but many more than that, because the reports coming in from the remote areas are slow to get back to us. So we're making progress. People are receiving food. But it is too slow, and it's not enough right now.

HOLMES: And we know it's slow because a lot of the area is just a mess right now, in shambles; it's hard to get around. That's part of the problem.

But also, what is government there in Myanmar specifically doing that is holding you up? What are they saying is the problem with them just allowing a free flow of world aid in there?

PRIOR: Well, for us at the moment, one of the key things is that our international staff have access to the affected region because, yes, the infrastructure has, in many cases, been completely destroyed. We have the kind of logistics, personnel, emergency experts who could come in and help open up a lot of these areas to humanitarian traffic, working with the local authorities.

We also have the personnel who can help get food into some of the toughest places that you could imagine. And the delta is an extremely difficult place to move around, even before a cyclone strikes. We're looking at ways of bringing in food by water, simply because boats will be the only way to reach some parts, even though we understand that many of the boats in the area, perhaps 80 to 90 percent were actually destroyed by the storm.

So it's a massive, massive challenge. But this is exactly what the World Food Program excels at. And that, I think, makes it even more frustrating for our teams, knowing that they've got the experience, they've got the skills, but they're just not being able to put them to use.

HOLMES: Are you not comfortable, is the World Food Program not comfortable putting some of these supplies in the hands of the military there, of the military junta, the ruling party? Or are you to a point where, "You know what? Just let us get the aid on the ground and you know what? Do with it what you will"? Is it just more important to get the stuff on the ground and let the military hand it out how they see fit?

PRIOR: It's extremely important that we have an accountability process with our donors, the people who give us the money to do these operations.


PRIOR: And they expect us to do it in a certain way. It's as simple as that. Having aid workers on the ground is probably the best way to ensure that the right people get the food, and that's what's absolutely crucial.

We do work closely -- we've had an operation in Myanmar for 14, 15 years. We have close relations with authorities in the country. And through that, we are getting better and better access and better and better signs that that access will improve in the days to come.

HOLMES: Well, it's going to be my next question. I guess there is hope on the horizon that possibly -- unfortunately, it's happening at this late hour. But possibly, they will start to open up and let more of you all in there and do, like you said, what you all do best.

Sir, give us -- this might be a bleak assessment -- but give us just the blunt truth here. How many people right now are we at risk of losing because the military government there is not allowing this aid in? We know the death toll is somewhere around 32,000 officially. But how many more could possibly be killed and die that didn't have to die because of this slow response that the military junta is only allowing?

PRIOR: Well, I wouldn't want to speculate on that, because I think it would be futile. The World Food Program's job is to count the number of lives we save.

And at the moment, we know that there are hundreds of thousands of people in that delta region who urgently, urgently need supplies, not just of food, but of fresh drinking water. Particularly, at the moment, of shelter. We understand that the weather forecast for the next few days is for a very, very large amount of rain to fall.

So there are enormous needs. And it's just essential that organizations like the World Food Program, our sister U.N. agencies and nongovernmental organizations are allowed to do our job.

HOLMES: All right. Mark Prior there, U.N.'s World Food Program. Like he has said, standing by, waiting to do their jobs. And trying their best to get in there and do it.

Mr. Prior, thank you for your time. Thank you for the update, and good luck getting in there and getting that help to people who need it.

And we know many of you out there do want to help. And at we have a special page on the devastation in Myanmar, complete with links to aid agencies that are organizing help there in the region. It is your chance to impact your world. Let us be your guide.

KEILAR: Well, if you've been laid off recently, odds are you're a man. Why women are looking more recession-proof. Ali Velshi is live with details coming up.


KEILAR: Often when we hear about gender and jobs, it's women who are on the short end of the stick: pay gaps, the glass ceiling, you know the drill.

Well, today the headline is different. American women seem to be weathering this stormy job market better than men.

Our man in New York, Ali Velshi, why is that?

ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is a very interesting story, Brianna. One that we look at data every month, but a friend of ours from "Businessweek" went and sort of looked at it specifically and found something that was a very interesting trend.

In the last six months, men in America have lost 700,000 jobs. Women have gained 300,000 jobs. That is not something we expected to see.

Now, what it's got to do with, and it makes a lot of sense, Brianna, is the type of jobs that are dominated by women versus men. We've lost construction and manufacturing jobs, which are dominated by men. We've gained jobs in the health care and health care -- in health care, in education, in government services, in retail, things that are dominated by women. So by virtue of the types of jobs we're involved in, that's how we're seeing this all play out.

It does not narrow the salary gap between men and women. In fact, some people say it's even gotten worse in the last year. But the bottom line is, women do seem to populate the types of jobs that we're seeing growing. There aren't many sectors, but women are populating those while men are populating the ones we're seeing lost.

KEILAR: Very interesting, indeed. Ali Velshi for us in New York, thanks.


HOLMES: Barack Obama now leads the battle for Democratic super delegates. The so-called unpledged super delegates who are the unpledged delegates who can pick whoever they want to and even change their mind along the way if they like.

Congressman Tom Allen of Maine and a fellow super delegate from Hawaii have thrown their support to the Illinois senator, giving Obama now 275 of those super delegates to 273 for Hillary Clinton.

Earlier this year, Clinton led the super delegate race by more than 100.

Leading our political ticker now, Hillary Clinton's donor of last resort, Hillary Clinton. Campaign chairman Terry McAuliffe says the New York senator tells him she'd be willing to lend her campaign more of her own money to keep things going. In the past few weeks, the Clintons have loaned more than $6 million to the campaign for a total of more than $11 million. The Clinton campaign is said to be $20 million in debt.

Well, John McCain picking up the fight against global warming. The presumptive Republican nominee says the U.S. needs to do more. But many of his own party, including the Bush administration, aren't so sure about that.

McCain's weeklong push is seen as an outreach to independent and Democratic voters in swing states.

A former Republican plans to give McCain and a Democrat to be named later some competition. You recognize that man, Bob Barr, a former congressman from Georgia. He's entering the race for president as a libertarian.


BOB BARR (L), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You might say Bob Barr, why are you running for president? Isn't there a field already out there? Don't we already have candidates out there? Aren't the issues already being discussed? Will not there be a fair debate of the issues that are important, not just to the American people today, but to their children and their grandchildren? And the answer is, no, we do not.


HOLMES: You might remember, Barr got national attention when he helped lead the impeachment of President Clinton. The Libertarian nomination will be decided at the party convention, which begins ten days from now. He actually has some competition from another man you might know, Mike Gravel, the former Alaska senator, who's now running as a libertarian, as well.

Barr quit the Republican Party two years ago.

KEILAR: Are unsafe practices at clinics putting your health at risk? Why dozens of patients are testing positive for hepatitis C. We'll tell you where it's happening and what you can do to protect yourself.


KEILAR: It's 29 after the hour, and here are three of the stories that we're working on here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

The death toll from a massive earthquake in China is staggering, and it is only getting bigger. So far, more than 8,600 people are confirmed dead, and authorities still haven't reached the area where the 7.9 magnitude quake was centered.

One hundred extra firefighters are now on the front lines as a string of wildfires scorches two eastern Florida counties. It is actually feared that high winds could fan these flames, which have already forced hundreds of people to flee their homes.

One hundred fifty potential jurors now being questioned in R. Kelly's child porn trial in Chicago. The R&B star is accused of videotaping himself having sex with an underage girl -- T.J.

HOLMES: All right, Brianna.

We're going to get the latest now on that Chinese earthquake, as you just mentioned, some of the details and the horrible details we're getting in.

This is where a lot of it is coming in, this is our international desk. Producers and editors are working the phones, working the Internet, working all those sources to get the best information we can about what is happening on the ground. And here is, as you said, the latest -- the Chinese government now trying to rush help to some of those worst hit areas. But a number of roads are blocked, so it's hard to get that help in there.

The official death toll, as we mentioned, has now passed 8,600. That is according to state-run Chinese news. Within the past hour, the U.S. geological survey said the quake had a magnitude of 7.9, not 7.8, as reported before. Now, 7.9 is major, that is a major earthquake, folks.

With more now from Hong Kong, CNN's Kyung Lah is keeping an eye on this story for us.

Please, Kyung, tell us the latest.

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well T.J., the very latest that we're hearing from those rescuers trying to reach the epicenter of this earthquake is that they are now just miles away. But as you indicated, there are a lot of roads that are blocked. Those roads are cracked from the earthquake. There are boulders and trees that have fallen in there. And these rescuers are slowly, slowly, making their way to the epicenter.

And you mentioned the figure -- 8,600 people who have died in this quake so far according to China's state-run media, but that number may go up when those rescuers hit the epicenter because 112,000 people live in that hard-hit area. We are starting to get snapshots of some of the towns that are right around the epicenter.

In one town called Beshuan (ph), there are 160,000 people who live in that town, 80 percent of the structures there are damaged, or they have collapsed in some way. So if you can imagine a town of 160,000 people and so many structures have been damaged, it is a chilling snapshot.

We are also following a story that really is heartbreaking. There is a high school -- and if we can show you the still pictures of some of these cranes as they're trying to remove the rubble -- 900 high school students very early on, were reported trapped in that building. It's their high school. What we are hearing so far -- 50 of those students have died. We do not know what has happened to the rest of those students.

But again, they are trying to -- rescuers trying to get to the epicenter, and we should hopefully know more within just hours, T.J.

HOLMES: And this, Kyung Lah, tell us, this epicenter we're talking about and some of these harder hit areas are mountainous regions. A lot of the buildings there are built on sediments (ph); it's not like in the major cities. So we might see, unfortunately, higher death tolls and just more of that massive destruction because of just the nature of the buildings that are in some of these mountainous regions.

LAH: Let me paint a picture for you of this particular province. It is very mountainous. It is very beautiful; it's spectacular. But it's also, as you say, these houses are built on hills. And so, when those rescuers can, first of all make it through those mountainous, rough terrain and they actually get to the epicenter, they are bracing for perhaps more fatalities.

HOLMSE: That is horrible to hear.

Kyung Lah for us there. We do appreciate you today.

Kyung Lah for us from Hong Kong. Thank you so much. We'll be checking in with you again.

We're also monitoring, again, state-run media there in China, also Web sites, news wires, everything we can get. We're also hearing from witnesses now. Chinese international state-run TV talked to a young man, Joe Young (ph), who was there.

Let's take a listen to what he told Chinese international state- run television.


VOICE OF UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The apartment is on the 16th floor, I took the emergency exit but I feel something is falling from my building. When I went into the street I found it was so crowded, but generally people are very calm. And all of the supermarkets and the stores are all closed. People made aware that the emergency notices (ph) are everywhere, especially downtown of (INAUDIBLE), because it was so crowded downtown, highly commercial region.

But anyway, we can gather information from the government, from the radio, from the television, all the local television are giving the coverage on the earthquake. I do interview some foreigners -- they say they are deeply impressed by the security guard's quick response and the calmness of the (INAUDIBLE) citizens. Generally, everything is still under control.


HOLMES: And again, just one of the eyewitness reports we are getting out of China. They will continue of course to do their work here. Editors and producers at our international desk monitoring the situation there in China, getting us the very latest.

Also we have a correspondent who is on his way to one of those tough regions, one of the hardest hit regions at the epicenter of the earthquake. Hope to get those reports as soon as we can. We're on it.

KEILAR: If the polls are on target, Hillary Clinton could be celebrating a blow-out victory soon after the polls close tomorrow night in West Virginia. CNN's Sean Callebs in Charleston with CNN Election Express.


SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He may be looking more and more like the Democratic nominee, but in West Virginia, it's Barack Obama who is playing catch up.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I believe in our ability to perfect this nation.

CALLEBS: Here in this labor intensive blue collar state, Hillary Clinton's message plays well.

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're going to get rid of any provision in the tax code that gives a penny to anybody who exports a job out of West Virginia.

CALLEBS: And at the American Legion Lodge in Huntington...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's a fighter.

CALLEBS: ... you'll find a group who may not agree on issues, but all want to see the next president help stimulate their state's economy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: West Virginia has a lot of assets. We educate our people and then export them because we don't have jobs.

CALLEBS: The latest census figures show West Virginia ranks 48th in household income, ahead of only Mississippi and Louisiana. Steel, coal and other industries have seen jobs erode here. The population is dwindling as well. But they say, bills just keep going up.

RED DAWSON, WEST VIRGINIA RESIDENT: The cost of health care is out of sight, just like gasoline.

CALLEBS: In West Virginia, gas tops $3.85 a gallon. The plea to candidates from people like Charity Conner -- find a way to put more money in her pocket.

CHARITY CONNER, WEST VIRGINIA RESIDENT: This is not good. I'm a stay-at-home mother of two children and my husband is the only income. This is very hard on us. Gasoline -- not just gasoline -- groceries, clothing, everything went up.

CALLEBS: And as you may imagine from guys who gather at the American Legion, America's armed forces are on their minds.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the problems of West Virginians are the problems that we have all over the country and that is -- we're trying to build a nation overseas in Iraq when we ought to be trying to build this nation, rebuild this nation.


CALLEBS: And if we take a closer look at the voter registration breakdown in this state, Democrats outnumber Republicans by close to a 2-1 margin. Still, the state GOP says don't concede anything yet because look at what happened in 2000, 2004. George Bush carried the state in those years -- Brianna.

KEILAR: So why is this expected to be such an easy win for Hillary Clinton? The numbers, between Barack Obama and Clinton, are just staggering.

CALLEBS: Yes, they are.

In fact, if you listen to what the state Democratic executive director says, he thinks there could be 35 percent, perhaps even 40 percent. The reason, if you listen to the voters, they say that what Hillary Clinton has been saying for a long time plays right into their big concerns. It is a demographic that is very favorable to what she has had to say for such a long time.

This is a state that doesn't have a lot of money. It has a lot of people without health insurance. Without having a lot of money and watching gasoline prices skyrocket this year and even talking about a short benefit, like this tax break during the holiday, that's something that is -- means something to people here in West Virginia -- Brianna.

KEILAR: So you mentioned the 2000, 2004 general election results, that West Virginia went for President Bush. Does it look good for John McCain? Obviously his folks are saying, it does look good.

Does it really good though, Sean?

CALLEBS: Let me tell you what the state Republican Party is saying, and some of the voters that we talked to. Some of the people that we sat done with yesterday in the American Legion Hall said that -- you know what -- they're going to vote in the Democratic primary. But come November, they are going to vote for John McCain.

Now, some of them do have concerns. They say that he's not conservative enough for them. That may sound odd talking about people who are going to be voting in a Democratic primary. The state GOP says, if you look at poll numbers, John McCain does extremely well, beats in the polls, either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.

So, the state GOP is expecting McCain to carry the state come the fall. We'll just have to wait and see.

KEILAR: All right. And, Sean Callebs, you should certainly know, this is your home state after all.

Thanks for keeping us posted there in Charleston, West Virginia. Appreciate it.

CALLEBS: Thanks.

KEILAR: And of course, Hillary Clinton surrendered her superdelegate lead to Barack Obama a short time ago. Coming up, we're going to be talking with two superdelegates, one an Obama supporter, and one a Clinton supporter. We'll get their view on the situation regarding superdelegates.

HOLMES: And are unsafe practices at clinics putting your health at risk? Why dozens of patients are testing positive for Hepatitis C. We'll tell you where it is happening, and what you can do to protect yourself.


KEILAR: Well you might not know it, you might not want to think about it even, but syringes are sometimes, not always, not routinely, but sometimes they're reused in many health clinics and doctors' offices.

Is that is how dozens of patients in Nevada got infected with Hepatitis C? Well that is the big question, and medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen, is here with the details on that.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, you think when you go to the doctor's office and they come at you with a syringe, that this is the first time that it's been used. But that is not always true.

Roy Insco found out the hard way.


COHEN (voice-over): Roy Insco is Googling how long he has to live. He has Hepatitis C. He's one of thousands of people who got a colonoscopy at a Las Vegas clinic this medical building. Nevada officials closed it down when they found that syringes of the clinic were being used over and over again, infecting people with Hepatitis C.

Repeated calls and e-mails to the attorney for the clinic's owner were not returned.

ROY INSCO, DIAGNOSED WITH HEPATITIS C: I do this about six times a day.

COHEN: Now, Insco suffers from stomach problems. He's lost weight and may eventually need a liver transplant.

INSCO: The more I read, of course, the more shocked and dismayed I became because it doesn't seem that there is any cure whatsoever. COHEN: Insco was even more surprised to find out that he's not alone. In the United States, there have been 14 documented outbreaks of Hepatitis C since 1999 involving dozens of patients. Among them, 42 patients in one New York City outbreak, 102 cases in Oklahoma, 99 in Nebraska.

(on-camera): It all comes down to this -- the syringe. Let's say you're at the doctor's office and the patient before you has Hepatitis. When they give that patient a shot, microscopic amounts of tainted blood can seep back into the syringe. Then if they go and use it on you, you could get Hepatitis, even if they snap off this needle and put on a new one.

INSCO: There's not a law against that? That's shocking to me.

COHEN (voice-over): It's a story Evelyn McKnight knows all too well.

EVELYN MCKNIGHT, HONOREFORM: We really need to start learning these lessons.

COHEN: McKnight was treated at a Nebraska clinic for breast cancer eight years ago. Health officials shut the clinic down after determining syringes were used over and over again. While McKnight's cancer is in remission, she now has Hepatitis C.

MCKNIGHT: It's like having the flu all day every day, every day of your life.

COHEN: McKnight is petitioning Congress for stricter regulations. One patient, one needle, one syringe.


COHEN: McKnight and others in Nebraska sued the insurance company that belong to that clinic. It denied liability, but it did settle out of court.

KEILAR: Seem like a question I shouldn't even have to ask you. It seems like it should just be a no-brainer -- but how do you make sure that it is a new syringe?

COHEN: There's no way to truly, 100 percent make sure. And certainly, if the syringe is wrapped up and you see them unwrap it, that's a great sign.

But another thing you can do, and I recently had to do this when I went to the doctor, is that if they're about to use a syringe on you and you haven't seen it in its wrapping, you can say, look, I know I sound paranoid, but I've read stories about how sometimes these syringes are reused. Has that syringe been used before? And they may lie to you, but it sort of decreases the odds that you're getting a syringe that someone else has used.

And another -- we have several other tips actually for how to avoid infections at the doctor's office and hospitals. If you go to, they are all there. Because actually hospitals -- you are more likely to get an infection at a hospital than you are at a doctor's office. So these are important things to know about.

KEILAR: Always great information at Empowered Patient.

Elizabeth Cohen, thanks so much.

COHEN: Thanks.


HOLMES: All right, Brianna.

With two more Democratic superdelegates announcing their preferences, Barack Obama now leads Hillary Clinton in the superdelegate contest 275-273. Joining us now, two of those superdelegates.

First up there, you see Obama supporter, Joe Andrew. He is in Washington.

And also Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee, a Clinton supporter, is joining us from Houston.

Mr. Andrwe, if this interview was happening two weeks ago I would have been introducing you as a Clinton supporter. You made a lot of news, and ruffled a lot of feathers when you switched support from Clinton to Obama. You thought that you'd be subjected to a lot of attacks, personal attacks, for doing just that.

Well, in the past week-and-a-half or so, have you been the subject of those attacks from the Clinton camp for switching your allegiance?

JOE ANDREW, OBAMA SUPERDELEGATE: Well, T.J., as you know, there's always a lot of surrogates for both these campaigns that do things that probably the campaigns wouldn't like and certainly wouldn't support. So, the attacks I've got I certainly wouldn't want to try to attribute them to Senator Clinton or her campaign.

Like millions of Americans, T.J., I just didn't know much about Barack Obama months ago when I endorsed Hillary Clinton and like those millions of Americans, I have become inspired by him during the process.

HOLMES: But Mr. Andrew, I have to ask you here, you've worked closely with the Clintons for years. You have known them intimately for years. And you're telling me from what you're watching essentially from a distance, Barack Obama, in a matter of months, was enough to make you switch your allegiance from people you knew so well -- just from watching this guy from afar?

ANDREW: I've got have tremendous admiration for Senator Clinton and for even more admiration for President Clinton. I'm very proud of him, and I think he'll go down in history as one of the great presidents. But I think millions of Americans have been inspired by Barack Obama because they see in him someone who is rejecting this old politics, politics that I, myself, was part of. I have sparred here on your programs with everyone from Lee Atwater to Karl Rove --

HOLMES: We don't want you to spar with Sheila Jackson-Lee today necessarily.

ANDREW: I would never do that.

HOLMES: Congresswoman Lee, let me get you in there. You talk about this inspiration that so many millions have gotten from Barack Obama.

Have you yet to be inspired? Any chance you're going to switch you're allegiance from Clinton to Obama?

REP. SHEILA JACKSON-LEE, CLINTON SUPERDELEGATE: But T.J., first of all, I'd like to offer my sympathy to the people of Burma and the people of China who have gone through enormous tragedy over the last couple of days.

Senator Clinton yesterday was in West Virginia wishing mothers a happy Mother's Day. And I wish them a happy Mother's Day.

Senator Clinton is staying focus on the issues, and that is things that I care about -- access to health care by all Americans, and bringing those troops home in 60 days. So, she provides inspiration as well to women all over the world, in fact. And she's playing the game. She's playing the game that the Democratic National Committee set the rules for, which is that there are a number of primaries to go through -- June -- and that's she's she's doing.

We can be proud of that. We can be proud of Senator Obama for what he's done, but we can acknowledge that this is the pathway that the Democrats have set up and she's in the game.

HOLMES: Can we acknowledge as well that many people think she should, the reality of the situation -- which is she can't really catch up when it comes to that pledge delegate race? She's behind, if you don't count Florida and Michigan, she's behind in popular vote, now superdelegates. Just the odds are stacked against her. That's a reality that many say she is just in a state of denial, as David Letterman said.

JACKSON-LEE: Well, you know what, the pundits and comics have their role, and those who believe that America is set on a new path for a new vision of change with experience and best preparedness are doing their thing. We have a phrase down here in Texas, that said hold your horses. And so to Americans, I say hold your horses, because we've been used to what we call McDonald primaries, where you get it real quick. Well, in 1992, President Clinton didn't finish until June. And there are voters out there waiting in Kentucky, and Oregon, South Dakota, waiting in Puerto Rico, to vote.

I don't think she's in a state of denial. And I think Senator Obama's been very respectful of the process, because he's still in the process. And I believe we, as Americans, should respect this Democratic process and let it go through to the finish.

HOLMES: Let me get Mr. Andrew back in here. I assume you don't necessarily agree with that. Do you think this thing should play out? And is harm being done, in your opinion, by Hillary Clinton by staying in this? She maybe damage Obama if he does end up being the eventual nominee.

ANDREW: Well, I think the only question, T.J., is missed opportunities, not harm. I think both the Clinton and Obama supporters agree that John McCain is out there talking about how he's an environmentalist. We need to come together to point out that it's simply not true. We need to be able to, you know, challenge those people who are listening to John McCain and challenge the things that he's saying. That's the missed opportunity here.

HOLMES: Do you think there's a case to be made if she ends up being ahead in popular votes? Maybe not delegates, maybe not superdelegates, but if more people essentially voted for her in this primary season, isn't that a case that maybe she should be the nominee?

ANDREW: Well, each individual superdelegate, and unfortunately it's going to depend on the superdelegates now for whoever becomes our nominee, is making judgments based on there are things that they think that matter. Some will choose the popular vote. Some choose just to vote in their congressional district or their state. Each is making a judgment, but the judgment is coming not overwhelmingly for Senator Obama.


HOLMES: Do you agree with that, Miss Jackson? Overwhelmingly, do you agree with that, Miss Jackson? Last word.

JACKSON-LEE: All right, T.J., let me just say this. We've got to learn to count. There are 12 months in a year. The election in 2004 was really run between John Kerry and President Bush in the months of September, October and November. Democrats will have a chance to talk about the war, the environment, health care. We will come together. Let this race play out for the betterment of this party. Let them show what we are made of. We can do this. We can come together. And I believe Senator Clinton and Senator Obama will show this world and show this nation what Democrats are truly made of. And we will be victorious in November 2008. I'll bet you that. It will work for sure. Let this race go on.

HOLMES: Well, all right then. We will end on that note. And like you said, we all need to work on our math a little bit. We are learning a lot about math this primary season.

JACKSON-LEE: I tell you.

HOLMES: Joe Andrew...

JACKSON-LEE: Keep Florida and Michigan. HOLMES: All right, Obama supporter, Joe Andrew, and of course a Clinton supporter there, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee, we appreciate you both being here today.

JACKSON-LEE: Thank you.

ANDREW: Thank you.

KEILAR: A beautiful wedding in Crawford, Texas. We're going to look at the wedding album and tell you what the father of the bride had to say.


KEILAR: Spectacular -- that is how President Bush described his daughter, Jenna, wedding. The ceremony had none of the Washington pomp and circumstance some might have predicted. Instead, Jenna, who is 26, married 30-year-old Henry Hager Saturday at sundown. This was at the president's 1,600-acre ranch in Crawford, Texas.

Beautiful, right?

There were 200 guests. Most of them friends and family, T.J. And the bride, this dress here, this is Oscar De La Renta. Her twin sister, Barbara, of course was her maid of honor.

And it was a bipartisan wedding, in case you were wondering.

HOLMES: Really?

KEILAR: Yes, the pastor who officiated has endorsed Barack Obama.

HOLMES: How did he get a ticket to the wedding?

KEILAR: I don't know. Did he endorse him after he got the invite? I don't know.

HOLMES: Yes, we didn't know until after the fact, I'm sure.

KEILAR: Reaching across the aisle for the wedding.

HOLMES: How do you keep that secret? Cameras out. No one got a shot. We got a shot of the tent from, like, eight miles away, or whatever it was.

KEILAR: That's how you do it. You have a gigantic ranch, the cameras are at bay and there's just really no way to get in.

HOLMES: Well, congratulations to them both.

Well, also for you now, some news about driving to the post office and mailing a letter. Both costing you a little more today.