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American Morning

Kabul Under Attack; Aftermath of a Disaster

Aired January 18, 2010 - 08:00   ET


KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning to you. It's Monday, January 18th. We're coming up on 8:00 here in New York on this AMERICAN MORNING.

Glad you're with us. I'm Kiran Chetry.

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you. I'm John Roberts. Thanks for being with us.

Here are the big stories that we'll be telling you about in the next 15 minutes.

We're following breaking news from Afghanistan, Kabul under attack today, explosions, infernos and gun battles in the heart of the city. The Taliban claims that 20 militants got into the presidential palace and other government buildings. We'll go live to Kabul in just moments for an update.

CHETRY: And also, tens of millions of dollars in food and medical supplies now on the ground in Haiti. The problem is: it's slow to reach the millions of people who desperately need it.

U.S. military officials are now setting up distribution points trying to speed things up. Twenty-two hundred marines should be arriving today as well. They're going to be helping to get the need -- get the aid to the people who need it the most.

ROBERTS: It is hard to believe that Democrats are worried about losing the Senate seat held by Ted Kennedy for 46 years. With the special election coming up tomorrow, polls show Republican Scott Brown and Democrat Martha Coakley in a virtual tie. Is there a modern day Boston tea party in the works? We'll ask the political editor for the "Boston Globe" this morning.

But, first, breaking right now in Afghanistan, Kabul is under attack. Buildings were burning, the city was shaking overnight. The Taliban claims that about 20 of its members entered Afghanistan's presidential palace and other government buildings.

Our Atia Abawi has new developments. She is live in Kabul this morning.

Atia, what have your sources told you about today's attack? I mean, just listening to that video there, it was a raging gun battle.

ATIA ABAWI, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It was a raging gun battle. There were explosions all morning and throughout the afternoon here in Afghanistan. It started around 9:40 in the morning, local time. This was as President Hamid Karzai was swearing in 14 members of his cabinet.

The Taliban claiming that they were able to make it into various ministries, including the ministries of mines and justice.

They also attacked the Serena Hotel. This is a five-star hotel.

And the capital of Kabul has been a target in the past, and, obviously, is still a target today.

They also targeted an area that is full of civilians, civilians in the market place. Many of them are just trying to sell food, vegetables and fruits to help feed their families.

So, we're waiting to hear more on just how many civilians were killed. Right now, the government is saying that five people have been killed. Dozens more injured.

When we talk to the Taliban, they are claiming that they killed 31 people; that they had 20 insurgent fighters able to infiltrate the heart of Afghanistan, the capital of Kabul. They say that 13 were able to make it out safely and are in safe houses at the moment. And five of them killed -- some of them in suicide attacks, including using an ambulance to get into a crowded area, detonating that ambulance, killing obviously people in its path.

Right now, we're just waiting to hear just how many more civilians may have been killed, how many more people were killed, and just how the Taliban were able to infiltrate the capital. We did see an attack like this in February of 2009. But we did not expect to see something so brazen again -- John.

ROBERTS: Atia, what's the Taliban's response to all of this?

ABAWI: Well, the Taliban gave a reason as to why they attacked the capital of Kabul, why they chose today. Today, obviously, is a symbol for the Afghan government, the cabinet ministries.

And two weeks from now, President Hamid Karzai is supposed to go to London, on January 28th, in a conference hosted by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and a way forward for Afghanistan and it's a strategy to move forward in Afghanistan, and a big part of that strategy is going to be the Taliban reintegration and reconciliation program. This is a program that has been going on with the Afghan government for several years but it hadn't been support by the international community until recently, and also support by General Stanley McChrystal and President Barack Obama.

The Taliban say the reason they attacked today is to show the Afghan government that they will not fall for this, that they do not support the integration program, and they see it as a way of the Afghan government and the international community dividing the Taliban -- John.

ROBERTS: Atia Abawi for us in Kabul this morning -- Atia, thanks so much.

CHETRY: And turning now to the latest developments in Haiti. Search and rescue teams, many from America, finding survivors six days after the disaster; 61 people have been pulled from the rubble alive. With food and medicine slow to arrive, there is chaos though in Port- au-Prince. There's been a lot of looting, a lot of gun fire.

Twenty-two hundred marines are scheduled to pull into Haiti's port today. And they will be helping distribute the millions of dollars in donated food to the people who so desperately need it.

And a CNN exclusive -- we have video of a camera that was rolling inside a home in Haiti when the earth began to shake.


CHETRY: Everyone in the house was able to get out safely.

While Port-au-Prince is getting most of the world's attention, but Tuesday's earthquake didn't discriminate. A lot of Haitians living outside the city are barely hanging on and badly in need of help.

Let's bring in our Anderson Cooper now. He is live in Port-au- Prince. And he's been doing a lot of traveling outside of the capital as well.

Anderson, what did you find?

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kiran, we went to Leogane yesterday, which is about an hour or so south of Port-au- Prince. It's along the coast on the water, and kind of a beautiful, sleepy little town. It's leveled -- this town.

The authorities there estimate as many as 80 percent of the structures there are damaged. The stadium in the town has been taken over into makeshift encampments where there are perhaps 1,000 to 2,000 people camped out.

It's very ordinarily though. You know, at the first, when you first see, do you think, maybe it's chaos. But there is order in this camp. People are respectful of one another. There are families there. They are cooking.

There are people who have been separated from their loved ones. We talked to a little girl who was told her mother is dead. She was told her father is dead but she doesn't know for sure. This girl is now living with a lady she -- a neighbor that she just knew.

We went to one of the schools in town, which was a missionary school, and it was run by four nuns. The nuns are dead. They are -- they are now searching through the rubble for the remains of what may be as many as 110 children. They've already pulled out dozens of children, and they put them in a dump truck that was sitting there while we were there. And then there's no place to bury people in town, we were told. So, the people who were -- volunteers who -- the Haitians who were there who are just volunteering to collect these little kids were just going to drive out of town somewhere and dig a hole and put kids in that.

At the same time, many young men in town were just sitting nearby waiting for the bulldozer to stop moving the debris, and then they would run in and try and get any cooking oil or any food that was still in the rubble, or even notebooks that they might be able to sell, get a little bit of money and buy some food.

I talked to one of the rescue workers -- or the recovery workers, I should say -- and he hadn't eaten since the earthquake. And yet, in spite of his own hunger, he was there just trying to help, just trying to bring respect to bring these little children home.

CHETRY: It's so heartbreaking to hear. In the meantime, it's a story that we've heard repeated amid some of the miraculous survival stories as well.

Let's just talk for a second, Anderson, about the aid situation. We understand that more aid is coming. There is a lot of aid at the airport ready to go, but it's still not either enough to go around or they're not able to get it out quickly enough.

What's the situation with that?

COOPER: You may know more about it than I do, because, as you know, when you are here, you're very limited in what you see. You hear rumors, but unless I've actually seen something myself or hear it from another CNN correspondent, I don't really want to repeat it.

I've seen food being handed out, no doubt about it. U.N. peacekeepers I've seen giving out food. The World Food Program has said they've be given out, you know, tens of thousands of these high- protein biscuits to people. We have correspondents at some of these handouts. U.S. troops, I know, have begun handing out things as well.

But you're right; it is -- at this point -- not enough, clearly. And the level of organization is still trying to ramp up. They're still trying to get, you know, medical teams in all of the places that need it.

In Leogane, Karl Penhaul was there yesterday, at the same time, we were -- four doctors from Doctors Without Borders, it was the first time they were able to get to the town. Medical personnel were just starting to get to that town. But -- I mean, there was just dozens of people coming forward with all sorts of injuries. Some of them had to be just turned away because there weren't enough medicines there, there weren't enough bandages and the like.

So, as much as there is need here, there is need in other areas Port-au-Prince. Leogane is just one of them.

CHETRY: Anderson Cooper for us in Port-au-Prince this morning -- thanks so much. And be sure to watch more of Anderson Cooper's live coverage of the Haiti earthquake on "AC360" tonight, 10:00 p.m., right here on CNN.

ROBERTS: Other stories new this morning. He simply went through the wrong door. That's what an attorney says happened when a man set off security alarms at JFK International Airport in New York. The man now faces criminal charges. Saturday's security breach delayed dozens of flights and forced passengers to be re-screened.

CHETRY: Ted Kennedy's old seat is up for grabs with the special election coming up tomorrow. President Obama was in Boston trying to save a seat for his party and a key vote for health care reform.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We know that on many of the major questions of our day, a lot of these votes are going to -- a lot of these measures are going to rest on one vote. We have had one year to make up for eight. It hasn't been quick and it hasn't been easy, but we've begun to deliver on the change you voted for.


CHETRY: Polls show Republican Scott Brown and Democrat Martha Coakley are in a virtual tie. If Brown wins, he would then break the filibuster-proof 60-seat majority the Democrats currently hold in the Senate and that they need to get health care passed.

ROBERTS: So, how worried are the Democrats? And how did they let Senator Kennedy's seat get this close to slipping away from them? We'll put that question to Scott Helman. He is the political editor at the "Boston Globe," someone who knows this race better than just about anyone, live at 8:30 Eastern.

CHETRY: Well, hope still remains for missing college students in Haiti. Their parents and loved ones are pleading for more help, more information. We're going to be joined by them in just a moment.

It's 10 minutes past the hour.


CHETRY: Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning.

Haiti's Hotel Montana lies in ruins this morning. It was destroyed in Tuesday's earthquake. A group of students from Florida's Lynn University was staying there when the ground began to shake and the roof caved in. Four of those students and two professors are still missing this morning.

Their families join us live now from Deerfield Beach, Florida, right now. Some very concerned loved ones. We have Cheryl and Leonard Gengel, as well as -- those are parents of Britney Gengel. We have Jean and John Gianacaci, the parents of Christine. Matt Sears (ph), who is Courtney Hayes' boyfriend. And also, Kelly Bruno, the daughter of Professor Richard Bruno, one of two professors also missing.

Thanks to all of you for being with us this morning.

CROWD: Thank you.

CHETRY: Let me start with you, Jean. It's been six days now. What is the latest information that you guys have you received about the search and rescue attempts for your daughter, Christina, and her classmates and professors?

JEAN GIANACACI, DAUGHTER MISSING IN HAITI: Yesterday, we receive add lot of positive information that they were getting into a lot of pockets in the hotel, and finding people alive. So we're very hopeful that today they will find more. Our very brave students that returned to -- those returned alive and well from Lynn University provided the rescue teams with much information about where our students were and the locations of where there were at the hotel.

So, I think that's going to be instrumental in finding them as well. But we need more help down there. I just don't understand why the government has not sent more teams in to rescue these Americans.

CHETRY: What do you think that they're -- they should be doing that they have not been at this point, Jean?

GIANACACI: Anything that they need to do to get those kids out of there and these two professors. I don't care what it is. I mean, this is the United States of America. We have resources that are just unbelievable to us, get whatever we need to have down there down there, ASAP.

CHETRY: Right, I totally understand where you're coming from. This has got to be just a horrible situation.

GIANACACI: These kids were not on spring break. These kids were on a mission of hope providing to the poorest of poor, food and being in orphanages and helping people. These kids were not on a joy ride. They chose to go to Haiti.

CHETRY: Right. To help...

GIANACACI: So, get them back.

CHETRY: Yes, right, to help with that need down there.

GIANACACI: That's right.

CHETRY: And, Len, let me ask you about this, because I know it's been a rollercoaster ride for all of you, these families of the other missing girls. You were told Thursday that Britney and the other girls had been found, and that they were underway to the Dominica. Later that night, the university said they got, quote, "bad intelligence" from their contractors and the girls have not been found.

You know, what's like to have so little information and then to be getting erroneous information in this life-and-death situation?

GENGEL: Kiran, we went from a nightmare on earth to absolute elation on Thursday, got on a plane from Boston, flew down to Florida, only to be told at ten o' clock at night that they got the wrong information from Red 24. And, you know, what do you say or do but pray and have hope? And, we have been here since then and all these families. And we are desperate, desperate for the government to get down there and send 1,000 troops. We need military presence to that hotel. That is what we need. Our children and their fathers need to be brought home. Please.

CHETRY: As I understand it, there's 2,200 marines as well as others that are going to be headed, that are going to be actually on the ground quite soon in Haiti. Have you received any information about whether or not that indeed will happen, that the military is going to try to get over there and assist in the rescues?

GENGEL: We have not heard from one government official yet. We would appreciate it if they would call the university and give them an update as to what they intend on doing, ASAP. Time is of the essence. Tonight at 5:00 is six days of hell.

CHETRY: I totally understand. There seems to be at least a glimmer of hope as you guys are talking about this. Just yesterday they pulled out a 62-year-old woman from the rubble of the hotel, and other than a little bit of dehydration she was okay. Matt, as you hold out hope that Courtney is found safe, does that give you hope that perhaps if they get in there today, that you will find her alive?

MATT SEARS, GIRLFRIEND MISSING IN HAITI: Absolutely. That's what we have been going on, hope. And to hear that story yesterday was phenomenal news for that family and for our family, for our families. It was great to hear that. Courtney is the strongest person I know, you know. Both mentally and physically. She can survive this. And she can survive this. And she just -- they are alive down there, they just need to be found, and found soon.

CHETRY: Absolutely. Kelly, your dad was part of the group. He was the professor, Richard Bruno, who was accompanying the group, a medical doctor for more than 20 years in the foreign service. Perhaps those skills, he will be able to put to use in this situation. What are you thinking right now as you hold out hope and wait for word about your dad?

KELLY BRUNO, FATHER MISSING IN HAITI: Well, that's exactly I think what we are holding on to right now. And that's what we believe, that he is -- if he is capable of helping people, that's absolutely what he is doing. He has always been a fighter. He is a strong person. And he -- this is not the first time he has gone to Haiti. He has gone -- he went to Jamaica with food for the poor last year. He has been to Haiti before to offer medical assistance. So, if he is able to help in any way, I know that's what he is doing, and hopefully -- well, hopefully we will confirm that soon.

CHETRY: I can sense some of the frustration in talking to you, Len and Jean. And John, let me ask you about this, apparently Lin University sent two contractors to help with the rescue efforts on the ground, to help look for Christina and the others, and also, you know, as we talked about before, there are more resources going to this hotel right now. What else do you think they should be doing to try to locate your loved ones?

JOHN GIANACACI, DAUGHTER MISSING IN HAITI: They have to continue to do what they are doing, but there is just a complete lack of communication. We need answers. We need to know who is where when they pull people out, where they are pulling them out from. We just need more people there. The frustration of not knowing what is going on, I can't explain it. We just don't understand in today's environment, we need to know who is there and what is going on. What area are they pulling these people out. It has got to happen. It has got to happen today.

GENGEL: Kiran?

CHETRY: Yes, go ahead.

GENGEL: There has been a lot of reporting. We have been glued to CNN about all these tents and people staying outside. Our children and our fathers have been in cement. We need to get people there and get them home. You need to help us. Get Anderson Cooper on the fly up there. We need your help. We are running out of time.

CHETRY: And you know, you are here on TV right now, what is your message to anybody listening today in the U.S. government, anybody who has any power to do anything?

BRUNO: I have to say, that as a parent, there is never -- we are very appreciative of everybody working around the clock and they are down here, they are working hard, and we understand that and we very much appreciate it. But as a family member it's never enough and it is fast enough. We are working against the clock now and everybody knows it. Now is the time for the U.S. government to step up, step up and bring these people home.

CHETRY: Well, we got your message, certainly. It's an unimaginable nightmare for all of you. Please know that our thought and our prayers are with you. And if there is anything we can do to help, we certainly will do it. So, best of luck and I hope that you guys hear good news today. Thanks for joining us.

BRUNO: Thank you, Kiran.

GENGEL: Thank you.

ROBERTS: Wow, I can't imagine what they are going through. Just can't.

CHETRY: Their daughters are you know, underground, I mean, trapped in this hotel. And, you know, they don't have enough information. You can understand how that must be just driving you crazy?

ROBERTS: Yes, you would want to be down there and be there and just go through every moment of this, just you know, trying to help out any way you can, and to be where they are and just disconnected from the whole thing, it's just - wow. I can't imagine what it would be like as a parent going through all that stuff. It's twenty-one and a half minutes after the hour. Christine Romans "Minding Your Business" coming right up. Stay with us.


ROBERTS: Coming up at 24 minutes after the hour. This just in to CNN. You remember last week we showed you Dr. Sanjay Gupta tending to that fifteen day old girl who had a head injury. Thankfully, she did not appear to have a brain injury. Last we know she was doing all right. But there is a more serious situation that Dr. Gupta has been called to. He has been flown out to the USS Carl Vinson, the aircraft carrier, just off the coast of Port-au-Prince.

Apparently, there is a 12-year-old girl onboard the aircraft carrier, who has a laceration, an open wound in her head, and potentially a piece of concrete stuck in her brain. The folks onboard the "USS Vinson" called Dr. Gupta out for a consultation. As you know, he is practicing neurosurgeon. So he has flown out there and is doing an assessment on this young girl to figure out how to proceed for now.

We hope to hear from him very soon. But, again, as you know, such a shortage of doctors down there in Haiti. We are seeing all of these doctors, Dr. Gupta, Besser, who is working for ABC, other doctors who working for other networks, journalists were sort of putting aside the journalism hat for the time being while they helped to tend the wounded there in Haiti. So, there is a desperate, desperate need. And we hope to hear again from Dr. Gupta very soon about what is going on onboard the aircraft carrier "Vinson."

CHETRY: All right. Meantime, Christine Romans is "Minding Your Business" for us at twenty-five minutes past the hour. She joins us with, I guess some good news and bad news when it comes to filing your income tax returns.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: That is right, a very, very popular homebuyer's tax credit. As you know, $8,000 dollars available to you through stimulus money for you to get $8,000 back on the purchase of a new home, if you buy a house today or if you recently bought a home and are expecting to file for that for that homebuyer's tax credit, you cannot e-file. And you need to expect some long delays.

No electronic filing. Extra paperwork you are going to need. For example, a copy of your driver's license, a lot of mortgage documents, a proof of your residency. And you can expect those up to four months delays. Why? Don't blame the IRS. It's because so many people tried to scam this thing over the last few months, and 89,000 people frankly trying to claim the tax credit and they were not allowed to. Shady tax preparers trying to do this. So, this means that you are going to have to paper file. And you have until April 30th to buy the home. You need to close by the end of June if you are still thinking about this. But don't expect the money real quick. ROBERTS: Do you have a "Romans' Numeral for us this morning?

ROMANS: I do. 5405.

CHETRY: Oh, that was a good one today. That was the form you need.

ROMANS: That's the form number. Put it in your brain. 5405. This is a very, very popular program. So, you are going to need to spend a little extra time to make sure that you have dotted your I's and crossed your T's, to get your money back.

ROBERTS: Christine Romans "Minding Your Business" this morning. Thank you, ma'am.


ROBERTS: The last full day of campaigning in the Massachusetts for the race for the senate seat that was left vacant by the departed Senator Ted Kennedy. 46 years it has been in Ted Kennedy's hands. Everybody thought it was going to be a lock for the democratic nominee, who is Martin Coakley there on the right hand side of the screen.

But Scott Brown, over there on the left hand side of the screen, suddenly has drawn neck and neck. Could he pull it off? Scott Helman, the political editor with the "Boston Globe" joins us coming right up. Twenty-seven minutes after the hour.


ROBERTS: Coming up at 30 minutes past the hour now, that means it's time for this morning's top stories. And there is brand-new information on the attack that we have been following all morning long in Kabul in Afghanistan. The Taliban claims twenty militants infiltrated the heart of Kabul, including the presidential palace. Our Achia Baui reported that seventy attackers used an ambulance to get into a crowded area. The government says five people were killed in that attack. The Taliban says five of their fighters died, some of them in suicide attacks.

CHETRY: The man who shot Pope John Paul II is out of prison. Mehmet Ali Agca was released this morning and taken to a military facility. He served 19 years in an Italian prison for that 1981 attack. In 2000, Italy pardoned him and he was extradited to Turkey. He served 10 years for crimes, including the murder of a Turkish journalist.

ROBERTS: Former President Bill Clinton will be in Haiti today to deliver emergency supplies and meet with volunteers. He is the U.S. special envoy to Haiti. Mr. Clinton will also meet with President Rene Preval and other leaders about coordinating post quake relief efforts. President Obama asked former presidents Clinton and George W. Bush to lead a fund raising campaign for disaster victims.

Right now, Democrats are desperately trying to keep Ted Kennedy's Senate seat from slipping away. Yes, sounds incredible, doesn't it? It's the last day of campaigning in the state of Massachusetts. Polls show Republican Scott Brown and Democrat Martha Coakley are in a virtual tie. Even the president campaigned for Coakley over the weekend, because his entire domestic agenda could depend on this race.

Joining us now from Boston is political editor for the "Boston Globe," Scott Helman. So, Scott, not long ago when she declared for the race, Martha Coakley had a double digit lead over Scott Brown. What happened?

SCOTT HELMAN, POLITICAL EDITOR, "BOSTON GLOBE": I mean, this was supposed to be a walk. I mean, you said it, it's really incredible that here we are, a day before the election and Ted Kennedy's seat is actually up for grabs. I mean, what happened is essentially two things. One, I think Coakley's campaign operated for a long time as if this was going to be a fairly easy race, and two, Scott Brown's campaign has done a very good job, capitalizing on, you know, anger in Washington, anger over health care, anger about the deficit, the sort of throw-them-out mentality. And so you got the sort of confluence of those two things and suddenly the polls are tied.

ROBERTS: Yes, so the air of inevitability very often can turn sour. He is also - you know, you look at the breakdown of the electorate in Massachusetts. You have 51 percent of people who are "unenrolled" and 37 percent have declared as democrats, 15 percent who have declared as Republicans. But when you look at the independents, I guess, you know, a lot of the 51 percent might call themselves independents. Brown is out polling Coakley by a substantial margin. How is he appealing so greatly to those independents?

HELMAN: Yes, it's interesting. I think you said it. This is the heart of the matter now. It's, you know, what is going to be his margin among the independents. If it's small enough, Coakley wins. If it's large as it is shown to be in these polls, you know, he can walk away with this thing. You know, I think, there are a lot of independents who don't like the health care bill.

They are, you know, famous, for sort of thinking on their own, and so some of them may have voted for Obama and now a year later, they feel disappointed. I mean, he has sort of capitalized on this sort of anger, in the sense of - I think to some extent the sense of entitlement the Democrats project about the seat, particularly it being Kennedy's seat. That's the kind of thing that's also turns independents off.

So you know, it's impossible to know exactly who is going to come out tomorrow because we have never done this before. But you are absolutely right. It is all about who the independents go for?

ROBERTS: President Obama was in Massachusetts yesterday stumping for Coakley, saying you put in the healthcare reform bill, front and center, saying this is what is at risk if Scott Brown gets elected. How does that argument fly in Massachusetts where you already have and there are complaints that it doesn't work properly but you already have a version of universal health care? HELMAN: Yes, it's a very good question. I mean, one unique thing about this is, of course, we have already done this or done this to a large extent. We have I think 97 percent of our residents here covered by insurance. And so Scott Brown is very sort of smartly said cast this whole health care argument about Massachusetts, saying, you know, why are we in Massachusetts, where we, you know, figured this out, or we are on the road to figuring it out, trying to subsidize, you know, Kansas and Nebraska and all these other states that don't have it.

And I think there are a lot of people here who feel that way, who feel like kind of what's in this for us, if you will, and I think the president coming to town - I don't think it was more to tell people in Boston and Massachusetts, look, my agenda is at stake, I think that's part of it but also part of it was simply just to fire up the Democratic base, because by all accounts the Republicans are a lot more excited about this race than the Democrats, and that could be disastrous for Coakley tomorrow.

ROBERTS: You know, in the off year election, the Democrats had a couple of big losses in New Jersey and the state of Virginia where the governorships flipped. If President Obama puts his political capital on the line backing Coakley and she loses, what does that mean for the president and what does that mean for the Democratic party in November?

HELMAN: Yes, this is going to be the conversation here going forward. I mean, clearly, what governorships in New Jersey and Virginia, there is already some, a fair amount of worry among Democrats about what that means for the midterms this year. I think if Coakley loses, particularly with Obama coming, you know, Republicans, of course, are going to be so excited. They're going to feel so emboldened by this result. I mean, winning here of all places for Ted Kennedy's seat. So I think you're right. I think it's a real risk for the president to come here.

At the same time, you know, it's a real risk for him not to come, because if she loses and he could have put her over the top, as you say a big part of his agenda, you know, which is health care, it really rides on the result here.

ROBERTS: So where is he really getting the vote out? I've heard that South Boston is real fertile ground for him?

HELMAN: I think a lot of the area south of Boston, the sort of south shore tends to be a slightly more conservative area. There is, you know, despite Kennedy's home on the cape, I think Cape Cod is a good area for Scott Brown. He has also made a big push for, you know, sort of independents in the suburbs, a sort of ring around Boston, kind of to the northwest and southwest.

So, you know, Coakley's big thing is that she needs to get the Democratic cities out. She needs to get Boston and Cambridge, and you know, new Bedford and some of these sort of old industrial cities that are big union towns. And so far we haven't seen a lot of evidence of that. ROBERTS: And of course, the other big question here is what happens if Brown wins, how do the democrats respond with the health care bill? Do they enticed the House to simply pass the Senate version of the bill so it doesn't have to go back to the Senate, and then there is this idea too of well, if you can kind of slow-walk the process to swearing Brown in, should he win, you've got time to pass the bill.

Republicans are making the argument, that if Brown were to win tomorrow, Senator Ron Kirk, who is the interim, immediately loses his voting power. And even though he isn't sworn in, Brown gets that voting power. Is that an argument that they can effectively make in court?

HELMAN: Yes, it's Paul Kirk and he has said look, I am still a senator. I am here to do what I was sent here to do. I mean, look I think Republicans are trying to make hay out of the fact that, you know, if Scott Brown were to win, that Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi will get together and find a way to have the vote before he gets there or delay to certify his election. I mean, I think there are all kinds of things in play. I mean, you know, look it seems fair to me to have Paul Kirk or, you know, vote on the things that he's there to vote on until he's not there.

But I think you are absolutely right. If Scott Brown wins, immediately the conversation Wednesday morning are going to be, you know, do we go to reconciliation or do we force this things through or do we pass the health bill? What are we going to do? And I guarantee you, there are very high level conversations going on about that right thing right now.

ROBERTS: Paul Kirk, don't know where Ron came from, because it was very early in the morning when I wrote that down. Scott Helman, good to talk to you this morning. Thanks for joining us. We will be watching this one real close. All right.

CHETRY: Well, still ahead, his father is missing in Haiti, a son turns to CNN for help. Jason Carroll and his brewsters out on the street with just a photo on their blackberry device. So, how did it all end? We're going to check in with Jason. 37 minutes after the hour.


CHETRY: 40 minutes past the hour. Welcome back to the most news in the morning. The cloud of despair that engulfs Haiti continues to be punctured by some stories of hope and survival. And our Jason Carroll is live in Port-au-Prince. And Jason actually went looking for a father after his son contacted us here at CNN in New York. And said, please, is there anything you can do to tell me if you can locate my father. So how did it go, Jason?

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, actually it turned out really well. You know, basically we get - there were thousands of people out there who were looking for loved ones here in this city, in Haiti, in Port-au-Prince. The problem is those people can't get out. Communications are down. We got an e-mail, we had some free time on our hands for a moment, and we decided let's go out there and let's see if we could find the 73-year-old man whose family was desperately looking for him.


CARROLL (voice-over): When news of the quake broke and images of destruction powered in, Sachiel Mondesir sat in New York frustrated and worried, unable to reach his father, Jean Serrie (ph), who was in Port-au-Prince for a funeral.

SACHIEL MONDESIR, FATHER IS IN HAITI: I started (INAUDIBLE) because I knew my dad was down there and I had no idea what just happened so I was very afraid.

CARROLL: Mondesir tried everything but communications were down. The U.S. embassy, out of reach.

MONDESIR: It was a sense of, you know, helplessness where you can't do anything for the person that you love. So I did not know what to do.

CARROLL: So Mondesir took a chance and sent an e-mail to CNN asking for help, attaching his father's picture and address. Armed with the information, we set out to find Jean Serrie (ph). Our local driver snaking through complicated streets asking questions along the way.

Finally we spot the address in a neighborhood called Delmar 24, the Mondesir home destroyed. No sign of his Sachiel's father, but we did find his aunt.

(on camera): Basically what I am doing right now is showing her a picture that I have of this man on my blackberry here that was sent to me. This is his picture here. So we've made our way to his - we found his home here in this area, and we found one of his relatives that has his passport. She says his Sachiel's father is alive and took us to a small camp where they have been staying with other survivors.

We wait, and no sign of Jean Serrie (ph). But several hours later - that's him! Hey, how are you? We have been looking for you! It's so good to see you. There are a lot of people back in the United States who are looking for you. Your son.


CARROLL: Yes, yes. How are you? How are you doing?

JEAN SERRIE (PH): I'm all right.

CARROLL: This is how we found you. This is a picture of you.

JEAN SERRIE (PH): Yes, that's me.

CARROLL: That's you, yes? (voice-over): CNN producer Justin Dial (ph) used our satellite phone to make an important call.

JEAN SERRIE (PH): Sachiel, how are you doing? OK. I am fine. Are you OK? I am fine. Everything OK with me. OK.

CARROLL (on camera): What was it like to finally hear your son's voice? How was that for you? Nice?

JEAN SERRIE (PH): Sachiel? Very nice. Very nice. He's my last son.

CARROLL (voice-over): More than 1,000 miles away, a grateful and relieved son.

MONDESIR: It's almost like a dream that, you know, you have not heard from him, and to speak with him now again, you know, it's hard to explain emotions. I was extremely happy to hear from him.

CARROLL (on camera): Take care of yourself. Be well. Be safe.


CARROLL (voice-over): Mondesir was anxious just to thank our crew in a city with so much despair, one family is thankful for the ending they had hoped for.


CARROLL: You know, it was so great, Kiran, to experience that moment. As you can imagine, Jean Serrie (ph) told us that he actually originally had a flight booked on Air France that was supposed to leave this Wednesday. Obviously, that is not going to happen because commercial flights aren't coming in or out and won't be coming in or out. We are hearing by Wednesday but Jean Serrie (ph) says that's all right.

What he's basically doing is keep doing what he has been doing, checking on his friends and other family members. He did lose a cousin. He did lose several other friends in the earthquake. But you know, the best part of this is he is all right and his family at home, they know it. Kiran.

CHETRY: Yes, certainly some good news amidst all of that tragedy we have been seeing. Jason Carroll, thanks so much.

Also a reminder, if you or someone you know is searching for family members or friends in Haiti. You can tap into CNN's global resources. Send us your photos and relevant information; they are going to be added to our searchable files. And if you're in Haiti and you're safe please look through the photos, if you have access to a computer, share the information you have. You go to

ROBERTS: Here at home we've got some weather problems on the East Coast we've got rain, wind and snow. And out in the West Coast it's about to get wet as well. Our Rob Marciano is tracking the national forecast. He is in the weather center. He'll be joining us in just a moment.

It's 45 and a half minutes after the hour.


CHETRY: All right. Welcome back to The Most News in the Morning.

We are following extreme weather right now and boy what a mess out there out west. We've just heard that in western Washington they had some really strong wind gusts that knocked out power to several thousand people.

ROBERTS: Yes, when you get snow in the mountains, it's a good thing. But everywhere else and the wind it's not a good thing. Rob Marciano is tracking the extreme weather and he is with us. Hey, Rob.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning guys and that's one of several storms that will be slamming into the West Coast, the Washington State getting the brunt of that wind storm; more rain and snow on the way for California. Rain and snow right now across parts of New England and some of this has been piling up fairly readily.

Check out some of these numbers already: in New Hampshire, 10 inches; Rochester, seeing 7.3 and Manchester seeing 6.5. And at the airports, we've got 30-minute delays at LaGuardia right now and two and a half hour delays to Boston because of the snow and the ice. And fog and freezing fog will be a problem across the central part of the country and across the West Coast as mentioned. We are looking at the potential for seeing more in the way of storminess.

Winter storm warnings are posted for interior portions of New England, we already showed you some of those snow totals, so it's beginning to verify already. And not only the dense part across parts of the central part of the country, but some of that fog especially in Chicago is freezing just a bit.

All right, storm number one coming in. Not only do we have wind across parts of the Washington, but we're starting to get some tropical moisture into this and as these storms roll into California over the next several days, we'll look for rains that could cause floods. And in some of those burn areas, you're starting to see mud slides and debris flows and in mountain snow, which at first is beneficial, because snow is always good for water storage, but eventually we're going to start to see an avalanche risk as well.

So hopefully they will get the lights turned back on in parts of western Washington with those high winds. And less in the way of wind in Washington with these storms, with more rain and potentially flooding rain across parts of California throughout the rest of the week -- John and Kiran.

CHETRY: Rob Marciano for us. Thank you.

ROBERTS: All right. Now, let's check in with Kyra Phillips in the "CNN NEWSROOM" for a look at what's ahead in our next hour. Kyra good morning. I take it you are following Dr. Sanjay Gupta's trip out at to the "USS Carl Vinson" today.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly what I wanted to talk to you guys about. How about Dr. Sanjay Gupta? I mean, first we saw him working on that 15-day year old baby and now we did, we just got word that he is aboard the "USS Carl Vinson", you guys, to work on that 12-year-old girl. He was actually asked to come onboard and work on that.

And let me ask you, did you guys see him last night where -- over the weekend with John King? Because John asked him that question, "Sanjay, we've been seeing you out in the field. We saw you with the 15-day-old girl."


PHILLIPS: "How do you balance being a journalist with a doctor?" And he said, "Well guys, I'm a doctor first."

ROBERTS: Exactly. Yes, yes and we saw him in many different places over the course of these years that he's been with CNN, where he pitches in where necessary.

CHETRY: Right, I mean, most recently he went in when other trained doctors who were there to do their jobs left in that situation in that makeshift hospital. He sat there all night long and took care of 25 patients after other people deemed it too unsafe to stay. So basically it was his crew, a Haitian nurse and Sanjay.

ROBERTS: Yes. Kyra you're also going to be talking about the situation with the orphans there, Kyra?

PHILLIPS: Yes, well, you know, what can I tell you, my soft spot is with the kids, sort of like Sanjay as well. You can't let a child stand alone in a situation like that. Just like the orphan situation. I wanted to know, what if I wanted to adopt a child, could I do it now? What's the process?

We're actually going to talk to a woman that runs an orphanage. She's going to have a bunch of the kids with her and we're going to let folks know, hey, if you are interested, this is what you're going to be able to do. Because apparently the Haitian government just has to sign off on it, the U.S. has to agree and people will be able to pitch in and adopt quickly if they are interested in doing that.

ROBERTS: All right.

CHETRY: Amazing in some cases, the adoptions that people have been waiting months or years for have been expedited. So a glimmer of hope...


CHETRY: ... because of this tragedy.

ROBERTS: All right we'll see you soon. Seven minutes now at the top of the hour, thanks.

CHETRY: Kyra thanks.

Well, where are the Americans and their medical support? Our Elizabeth Cohen is going to be looking into these teams that are trying to get to the patients who need it most in Haiti.

Fifty-three minutes after the hour.


CHETRY: Welcome back to The Most News in the Morning.

Thousands of people still don't know what to do or where to go in Haiti, they are waiting for food, for water and for medical care, and they are worried about violence.

ROBERTS: After the earthquake hit Haiti, President Obama pledged full U.S. support to help the victims. But our senior medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen, in Port-au-Prince says doctors say U.S. support is sorely lacking.


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: they are desperately looking for a place to get this young man to have surgery because he needs much more than what they can do here. So we lent Doctor (INAUDIBLE) our satellite phone so that he could try to call some people, calling anyone he can think of to get to a more sophisticated hospital.

If you don't get him to a better hospital tonight, what will happen to him?


DR. JENNIFER FURIN, HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL: Families are obviously going to be upset. They've been sitting here with their loved ones who they were excited to see them alive, only now to watch them die a slow, painful death from their rotting flesh because the infections are out of country and they need surgery. I've been here since Thursday no one except the Israeli hospital has taken any of our patients.

COHEN: I am just amazed. I'm just amazed it was here. This is like another world compared to the other hospital. Imaging department? I mean, imaging. My God, they have machines here.

They have actual operating rooms and it's just amazing.

What is the machine? It's a ventilator?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, and ventilator and monitor, and oxygen. COHEN: They don't have this at the little hospital I came from. The Israelis set up a field hospital. Have the American government set up a field hospital?

FURIN: Currently, not yet.

COHEN: The Israelis came from the other side of the world.

FURIN: It's a frustrating thing that I really can't explain.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I said it's something -- it makes you almost embarrassed to be an American.

FURIN: The situation is beyond desperate at this point. The disaster was the quake, but this is the disaster that's following in its wake. These patients were so thankful to have lived through the quake, and now they are slowly dying in these hospitals. We are desperate.


ROBERTS: Elizabeth Cohen reporting this morning. You see that so much in Haiti. You have people who were pulled out of the rubble, and maybe have a small injury. It gets infected, gangrene has -- you know they can get septicemia not as a result of the injury itself, but the aftermath and the complications.

CHETRY: And the rest of the workers and aid workers warned about that before this. They said, this is where it's going to be crucial getting that aid in there and we still seem to be having bottle necks when it comes to being able to do that.

ROBERTS: Yes. I mean obviously the situation in Haiti is terrible in terms of trying to get aid out. Much of that area where they are trying to get the aid to is just absolutely ruined, it's a catastrophe. And even at the best times, given fabulous logistics, you'd have a difficult time. But as you can see, the situation is growing more and more desperate, even as they try to get things out there as quickly as they can.

Coming up tonight at 8:00 p.m. Eastern, a special two-hour edition of "LARRY KING LIVE"; celebrities, leaders and activists will join Larry to show you how to take action and be a part of a global outrage.

CHETRY: You can continue the conversation on today's stories. Go to our blog,

That's going to do it for us. Thanks so much for being with us on this Monday morning. We'll see you back here tomorrow.

ROBERTS: Meantime the news continues with Kyra Phillips in the "CNN NEWSROOM" -- hi Kyra.