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Aftershocks Rock Haiti; Stunning Republican Victory in Massachusetts
Aired January 20, 2010 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi there, everybody, and welcome.
We have got two big stories that are dominating our broadcast tonight. In Haiti today, the strongest aftershock since last week's deadly earthquake strikes terror in an already reeling nation, hope fading for survivors, but miracles are still happening eight days later. And CNN's team of correspondents is live in Haiti for us tonight.
Here at home, the White House struggling to explain away the results of last night's election shocker in Massachusetts. But try as they might, the vote is being seen as a referendum on President Obama.
The big questions tonight, what is the comeback strategy? What is this going to mean for health care reform? Tonight, the best political team on television is here with me to look at what is next for the White House, for Congress and for you.
But we are going to start in Haiti tonight. With time running out, the rush on right now to find survivors, and amazingly, people are still being found alive.
Our Anderson Cooper watched as a 5-year-old boy named Monle (ph) was freed today. This was just hours after a magnitude 5.9 aftershock. Take a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: I want to show you the -- the face of hope in Haiti, a little boy by name of Monle Alise (ph).
I was at General Hospital about an hour-and-a-half ago, when he came in. His uncle brought him in, in a vehicle, took him out, rushed him through the hundred -- crowds of hundreds of people who were waiting.
This -- this little boy, according to the uncle, was pulled out of the rubble of his home today.
He is being treated by a doctor and a nurse from the International Medical Corps. They say, remarkably, he's not in that bad shape. He's severely dehydrated. They're giving him, obviously, fluids right away.
His body was essentially starting to feed on itself. There was a smell, actually, of alcohol emanating from his organs, which the doctor assured me is the smell of someone who has this syndrome of wasting, the body, as I said, just sort of consuming itself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: And Anderson Cooper is joining me now live again from Port-au-Prince.
And, Anderson, do you have any update on how the little boy is doing? Is he going to be OK?
COOPER: Well, doctors when I left him a little while ago said that they believe he is going to make it. He is severely dehydrated.
When you pinch his skin, it doesn't really bounce back. If you pinch your skin right now, it immediately bounces back. If you're severely dehydrated, the skin actually just stays kind of crumpled up. He also has that -- the thing that people who are starving has, which is basically the body starts to consume itself, consuming the muscles and the like. And that is what that smell comes from.
But the nurse and the doctor say that he is likely to make it. And, you know, when you ask how is it possible for someone to survive eight days, you know, the fact that he is young, he was probably in good health before this all began. His uncle says he doesn't think he had access to food or water.
But it is just extraordinary. And certainly on a day in which you go to General Hospital, because of that aftershock, all the patients were evacuated into the courtyard. They were laying out in the hot sun, only two tent that the Red Cross had provided. A lot of the Haitian-American doctors who are working there against all odds, with little supplies, were incredibly frustrated that their patients are sitting out in the sun.
This aftershock that we experienced this morning really set back medical efforts in a big way at that hospital. They say it set it back a day or two.
BROWN: And, Anderson, I know you visited this destroyed school today also. Tell us about that and what you found.
COOPER: Well, we went to actually a school just the other day in Leogane, which is about an hour south of Port-au-Prince. It was quite just obviously a horrific scene. There is no talk of searching for survivors there. They had already brought in a bulldozer and were going through the rubble looking for the remains of 100 to 110 children who were in a school that was run by four nuns.
The nuns perished in the earthquake as well. And what was so disturbing is that while there were a handful of men who were volunteering, hadn't eaten in days, still volunteering to bring dignity to these children, and to get these little children a burial, there were others there were for searching for food in the rubble. And as soon as the bulldozer would stop, they would go to the rubble and literally look for food, because they had heard there was a storehouse there, look for cooking oil. It's -- again with all the aid coming in, all the supplies coming in, there still seems to be bottlenecks to the airport, distribution problems, logistical problems. And there are a lot of hungry people and most importantly I think right now a lot people in desperate need of medical care.
People are still dying. One doctor from a very good aid organization, Partners in Health, estimates as many as 20,000 people are still -- are dying every few days because they are not getting this desperate surgery that they need, surgery that will save their lives.
BROWN: Anderson Cooper with the horrifying details still coming out of Port-au-Prince for us tonight -- Anderson, as always, thank you.
We are going have a whole lot more coming up ahead from Haiti, including a look at rescuers who are now working with specially trained dogs, their senses critical to finding buried survivors, obviously time running out here.
We are also going to continue our focus on Haiti's children, many awaiting adoption here in the U.S. But we're also going to tonight talk a little bit about how some of the aid organizations want to slow down that process given the chaos and confusion on the ground in order to make sure that these are not children who have just yet to be reunited with their parents. So, we're going to talk about that a little more about coming up.
But we are now going to turn to the other big story we have all been following here at home. One year to the day after President Obama took offense, it is the Republicans who are celebrating tonight.
Massachusetts senator-elect Scott Brown will be on Capitol Hill tomorrow getting to know his colleagues. His victory already has President Obama and the Democrats changing their strategy on health care reform. Listen to what the president told ABC News today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Here's one thing I know, and I just want to make sure that this is off the table. The Senate certainly shouldn't try to jam anything through until Scott Brown is seated. The people of Massachusetts spoke. He's got to be part of that process.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: And Wolf Blitzer is joining me now.
And, Wolf, what has been the White House response to the pretty dramatic loss here?
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: I think they are trying to assess their options. And not of the options are great. A lot of them are bad, and many of them are even worse.
One option would be to see if they can get 218 votes in the House that would pass the Senate version. Then the president could just sign that into law. It's unlikely that that's going to happen. There are so many Democrats in the House of Representatives who don't want that, don't like the Senate version.
So, then they have to decide, are they going to just scale it back?, come up with some sort of procedural way to find 51 Democrats in the Senate that could pass some form of health care reform, which they think is better than nothing? Because, if they come away with nothing, they think it will look awful for them going down the road. So, they have got some options, but none of them are very good.
BROWN: And what are we talking about, what kind of bill, a very scaled-down...
BLITZER: They could do a very scaled-down version, just do some stuff that would reduce the costs, let's say, or get rid of some of the insurance problems, people who have insurance, they can get kicked out, stuff like that.
But it isn't going to be the massive kind of restructuring that they would have liked. If they got that Senate version passed through the House, they could then tell some Democrats in the House, you know, we will pass some separate legislation with this procedural way where you only need 51 votes. That will then redefine some of the things they hate in the House.
But it gets very, very complicated. And it's not going to be easy.
BLITZER: Let me bring in our very own John King.
I know you have been talking to a lot of Republicans who are talking about sort of riding this wave. I mean, they do feel this was a referendum on not just health care, but on the president and his agenda overall, don't they?
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. In a blue state that the president won by 26 points just 14 months ago, a Republican wins, and a Republican who was little known just months ago.
And, remember, there are still only 12 percent registered Republicans. They're outnumbered 3-1 by Democrats in Massachusetts. So, how did he win it? He tapped into the independent frustration, the very same frustration President Obama tapped into, on the economy, on the lack of progress creating jobs, on what many independents believe is still the same old poisonous partisan Washington that President Obama promised to change.
So, Scott Brown tapped into that. And look for Republicans to try to copy that model elsewhere, especially in states where independent voters are so important. They're unafraid now. If there was any hesitation to run against Obama on health care and the economy, Republicans will be emboldened by this.
And, Campbell, terrorism was used by the Republican candidate. He himself is in the National Guard. The Christmas Day incident, many people believe, was a turning point in the race, where he suggesting to his opponent, the Democratic attorney general, too soft. You would get the terrorists a lawyer. You would let them be tried in the federal courts. I think that's the wrong approach.
It's not been talked about enough, perhaps, is how much we will hear more of that, especially with those trials scheduled in New York in the months ahead.
BROWN: Right, such a reminder to people.
All right, stand by.
We are going to remind you where we were one year ago today, President Obama sworn into office. Take a look, hundreds of thousands witnessing this historic moment, the one word, promise, change. We will flash-forward to last night, another candidate claiming the change mantle. But this time, the outsider is a Republican. Today, Barack Obama represents the status quo for some, quite a turnaround in 12 short months.
The president has many supporters wondering if he lost some of the magic, the intangible element that turned his campaign into a cause. Can he get it back? That is our big question when we come back.
BROWN: Tonight, one thing is very clear. To borrow a phrase from George W. Bush, Massachusetts voters sure delivered a mini- thumping to Barack Obama. Whether he likes it or not, the special election is being seen as a referendum on the White House.
Well, now, one year to the day since his inauguration, the president faces three huge challenges right now, none of them easy. Number one, he has got to salvage health care, his top domestic priority. He has got to convince Democrats to stay with him right now, even though many of them want to run for the hills. And he has got to make sure Republicans don't co-opt his image as the outsider who will change the culture of Washington.
Well, Scott Brown did a pretty good job of that last night. So, can the president pull it off?
Here now, the best political team on Washington. We're going to pick up with all of them.
David Gergen, let me start with you, I guess. It is certainly being seen as a referendum on the president, I guess fairly or unfairly. What does he do now?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, first of all, I think we ought to be very clear that he can come back. Ed Rollins and I were there together with Ronald Reagan when he went down the first early time. And he came back. And Paul Begala and I were there with Bill Clinton later on when he was down.
BROWN: You have seen this story before, right?
GERGEN: We have seen this story before. And both presidents went on.
They were in a rough position at the end of the first year, and they both went on to win reelection. So, it's possible to do. I do think it requires some serious rethinking and recalibration. And I would hit the reset button in the White House. We can talk about that.
BROWN: Well, they already are, aren't they, Gloria, hitting the reset button at the White House. You are hearing little rumblings of this new strategy. What is it?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think they all realize that they have to figure out what they're going to do on health care, they have to figure that out pretty quickly.
As everyone is saying, there's no good choices. But either they get something done, and maybe it's scaled back -- I think that is what the president wants -- and then they move on. And what they do is, they take a turn. And they take a turn to fighting this sort of insider Washington image that somehow Barack Obama now has after one year, to becoming the anti-insider again, to becoming the reformist again, to becoming the populist again, to becoming anti-establishment again.
And one easy way for them to do that is to talk about financial remember, is to talk about jobs, is to talk about taxing Wall Street. And that is one way he can try and get his mojo back. And I was told today by a White House adviser that, at a minimum, at a very minimum, to start, you are going to see Barack Obama getting outside of Washington a lot more than he has been.
BROWN: Donna Brazile applauding.
BORGER: ... Donna Brazile is applauding.
But is that enough, Donna? To beat up on Wall Street, beat up on the banks, try to create a boogeyman, probably fairly in Wall Street and the banks, and traveling the country, is that going to be enough? Is it a good strategy? DONNA BRAZILE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, first of all, there is no evidence that the voters in Massachusetts rejected President Obama. What they rejected was status quo politics. They rejected a candidate who they believed was not up to the task of fighting for them.
Scott Brown came across as someone who was ready to go to Washington, D.C., to present change, to work to reform Congress. And that's what I believe Scott Brown was able to do. He was able to convince a lot of independents and some soft Democrats that he is a fighter who can bring results. So, there's no evidence that this was a rejection of Obama. And let me just say something about health care.
BROWN: That's a Republican who just totally co-opted Obama's message.
BRAZILE: And more Republicans should co-opt it and perhaps work with the president.
BRAZILE: But there is one thing we should also say. Many of those who are opposed to health care, Campbell, because I have a lot of friends who are opposed to it, they are liberal Democrats who don't think this bill goes far enough.
So, we need to be very careful in trying to project that the health care debate is over in Washington, D.C. No, it may -- the conversation will change, but this debate will continue.
BROWN: OK. Stand by on that one, because we are going to get a little bit more into whether health care lives or dies more specifically, but I want to let the Democrats have their moment to give the president a little bit of advice, Paul Begala, before I go to Alex and let him gloat.
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, a couple things.
First off, you do have to pass health care, maybe skinny, maybe light, my full-on. But Democrats are already going to be attacked. You may as well have the accomplishment.
And guess what? They actually believe in this. Popular or not, they believe in it. And there is precedent for this. The country didn't like Bill Clinton's economic plan at all. It was terrible in the polls, but it ushered in -- and no Republican voted for it, and it ushered in great prosperity.
So, first, you've got to pass health care. Second, you have got to put other points on the board. That was a big phrase we used in the Clinton White House, put points on the board. Go back to your reform agenda, Mr. President. Challenge the Republicans. My goodness, Barack Obama doesn't take money from lobbyists. How about challenge the Republicans to do the same?
On December 8, when Barack Obama was proposing tougher regulations on Wall Street, you know what the House Republicans did? They met behind closed doors with 100 Wall Street lobbyists in the Capitol itself.
BEGALA: Call them on that. Challenge them.
No, but my point is, draw a contrast. So far, all the Democrats are doing is playing defense. Well, our health care bill really won't kill your grandmother.
No, how about we talk about the other fellow? Guess what? We get to criticize their ideas and plans now. Let's put the Republicans on trial. Where's your plan for the deficit, by the way?
BROWN: Go ahead, Alex.
BEGALA: What you are going to cut? What Cabinet agency or program you going shut down? What you are going to cut? What's the spending?
ALEX CASTELLANOS, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: When you have governed miserably, and people don't like what you're doing, then -- and you can't defend it, what do you do? Let's attack the other guy.
BEGALA: Yes. I can defend it, but what you are going to cut? What you are going to cut?
BROWN: Let me give Alex his due. I want to hear the Republican perspective on this overall.
CASTELLANOS: Some advice for President Obama, what he needs to do is take a page out the Begala/Clinton/Gergen playbook, and say, the era of big government is over again, because people are not only upset that Barack Obama is spending trillions of dollars we don't have, can't afford, and can never pay back.
They are upset that they have told him this and the Democrats in Congress, and they are not listening. That's why they have lost the center and that's why they have lost this, the populist, the working- class guy.
CASTELLANOS: So, if he does not do that in the State of the Union, if he does not do that in the State of the Union, if he does not make that real change, like Clinton did, he could be a one-termer.
BORGER: Can I just say, there may be a center in the country, but there is no center in the Congress. And that has been this president's problem.
BROWN: All right, everybody, hold that thought. I got to take a quick break.
But we are going to talk about the center, because they clearly decided this election.
John Avlon and Ed Rollins, stand by.
A lot more when we come back with our panel.
And we are also going to go back to Haiti and take you aboard a U.S. Navy ship that is helping thousands of quake victims. We have some new video we're going to share with you tonight. Stand by.
BROWN: And we're back now with our political panel to talk about last night and what on earth this could mean for health care reform.
And let me start with Ed Rollins.
And, Ed, is it over? Or...
ED ROLLINS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it does haven't to be over. But what is over is, the Senate bill cannot pass the House, and the House bill cannot pass the Senate.
BROWN: What does that mean?
ROLLINS: Well, that means they can go to conference, which is what the process normally does, and let some Republicans come in, and give up on some of the things that they think are really important.
If they don't do that, then I don't think they are going to get a health care bill. I think, at the end of the day -- and I disagree with some of my friends here -- this was a lot about Obama yesterday and this was a lot about health care. It may not have started out that way, but it ended up being that way. It ended up sort of being a referendum on what is going on in Washington. And that is Nancy Pelosi, that is Reid, that's the president. And people don't like what is going on there right now.
BRAZILE: But I want to take Ed on, OK, because Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have delivered some real important initiatives for the American people. Today, if you have a credit card and you saw your interest rates balloon, now there is relief for you. There is relief if you are in crisis with your mortgage. The Children Health Insurance Program, you want to repeal that because Nancy Pelosi...
ROLLINS: No, I don't want to repeal it, but I want to you go out and I want you to debate it across the country.
BROWN: You are an independent. You are coming at this without a partisan perspective, presumably. Why don't you appreciate the argument that Donna Brazile is making?
JOHN AVLON, AUTHOR, "INDEPENDENT NATION": As an independent, I will tell you, when independents started breaking with this administration and the Democrats goes back to February and March of last year. It's backlash against the bailouts, the unprecedented budget and the stimulus bill.
Independents have been consistent. Barack Obama won them over by eight points in 2008. But what happened is, all of a sudden, they started see the same old/same old from Washington, narrow partisan play-to-the-base approaches to politics, overspending. And independents have always been fiscally conservative and socially liberal, libertarian.
And what is Obama introduced himself to the American people by saying there are no red states, there are no blue states. Well, last night proved that, all right? The bluest -- supposedly the bluest state is actually 51 percent independent. That should be the wakeup call. It's not a mystery about what Barack Obama needs to do. He needs to reconnect with independents in the center, period.
BRAZILE: so, he should have ended George Bush's tax cuts to the wealthy, he should have ended our occupation in Iraq, he should have just stopped the Bush/Cheney government right on the spot, and not addressed the economy?
AVLON: The perception among some folks on the left is that the problem...
AVLON: Some folks on the left are saying, the problem with the popularity is that the president hasn't been liberal enough. That is a mistake. That is a fundamental misreading of where the independents are in this country.
Bush was unpopular among independents because he was fiscally liberal and socially conservative. He was on the exact opposite side of where independents are. But too much of that ground has been ceded. And that is why independents are swinging against Democrats right now.
ROLLINS: If ask the American public, is the economy better, with 10 percent unemployment, than it was a year ago, after we spent trillions of dollars, they will say no. And that is what they said yesterday. And that's going to be this campaign in 2010.
BROWN: But here is what -- not only he is in trouble with independents, if you believe John Avlon, David Gergen, but he has got a huge problem with his base right now.
GERGEN: He does have a huge problem with his base.
And I tell you, Campbell, he has got one week to figure this out.
BROWN: No pressure. No pressure at all.
GERGEN: Well, he's got one week, because, a week from tonight, he is going to give his State of the Union. And that's going to be -- set the course for his entire year.
And he has got to decide, am I going to go bold? Am I going to go with my base? Am I going to keep fighting for these things that progressives want, or am I going to try to go more to the center on a variety of things? Those are big decisions. He has got some huge, huge questions now hanging over him.
BORGER: And, Campbell, usually, State of the Union speeches are kind of laundry lists about, these are the 25 things I need to accomplish.
We have heard 25 things from President Obama. What he needs to do is not do 25 things and focus in: I'm going to do these things that are going to make a difference in your life, because I heard your message. You know, people like confident presidents, but they don't like presidents who they feel aren't listening to them.
BROWN: But has he really tried to 25 things?
GERGEN: How about 50?
BROWN: You could say a few big things.
BROWN: I wasn't like Bill Clinton. And, all the sudden, we went, oh, that didn't work. Let's go to school uniforms and more police on the streets, and those little things that people feel and connect with. He has done a lot, but he has taken on the big ones.
BORGER: Sure. He has a big challenge. Let's not forget, we have to give this president some credit. He came into a huge financial crisis in the country, which he had to take care of. That was job one.
You can disagree about he took care of it or he didn't, but he did something. Be then he made a decision. I'm going to continue with the rest of my agenda. I'm not going to scale it back. I'm not going to scale health care reform back. I'm going to go for universal. I'm going to do immigration. I'm going to do education. I'm going to do -- and so people didn't get a clear message.
CASTELLANOS: Even when the American people told him, don't do that. Concentrate on what is important to us, and that's the economy and our jobs. That is what the president hasn't been doing. He hasn't been listening at all.
GERGEN: Let me add to that, because one of the reasons that he ought to think about slowing it down and focusing on jobs and the economy, look at the contrast between people are judging his domestic performance, which has seemed very helter-skelter, a lot of whirl, vs. national security, where he has been extremely deliberative, some would say to a fault.
But it's been focused. It's been taken in stride. And he's getting high marks for his foreign policy. Surprisingly, he is getting higher marks on foreign policy. Afghanistan and Iraq and terrorism are going -- which are not supposedly his strong suits, he is doing pretty well in.
And I think that is because it is managed, focused and done in a more leaderly way. He is -- I think one of the things he has to do is take back power from the Congress and put it in the White House and exercise power there.
BROWN: And here is -- and we are almost out of time here, but, Paul Begala, here is the challenge, is you have all of these Democrats, be they red state Democrats or his liberal base, whatever. They are all feeling skittish about something right now, right? How do you herd cats? Honestly, if that is the challenge, to lead on the domestic priorities at the same level, how do you that?
BEGALA: But you lead. You do what Gandhi said, what Barack Obama said all through the campaign. Become the change you seek in the world.
Jobs is a central issue. He needs to explain to the country why health care, the deficit, energy, his real priorities, are jobs issues. He needs to explain that to us. Will Rogers said of Franklin Roosevelt that he explained the banking system so well that even a banker can understand it.
BEGALA: This president has that kind of gift. And he needs to do that. There is a couple of good models. There's Roosevelt, Bill Clinton, who I worked for. But look at Ronald Reagan. Ronald Reagan's his first State of the Union address, he spent an extraordinary amount of time explaining why what we Democrats called the Reagan recession was really the Democrats' fault. It's the president of the United States standing at the rostrum of the House of Representatives. Go back. I read the speech today. Go back and look at the work he put in to finger- pointing, blame assignment, and partisan explanation of the economy.
And you know what? It worked for Reagan.
BORGER: You think it would work for Obama?
BEGALA: Because it happens to be true. They ruined the economy and Obama inherited it.
CASTELLANOS: Paul is right.
BEGALA: He and Gergen wrote that speech. It's brilliant.
ROLLINS: Reagan wrote that speech.
CASTELLANOS: Paul actually made, I think, an important point. What is Barack Obama's great gift? His ability to inspire.
CASTELLANOS: When he gets trapped into this some people are too successful in America, that's our problem, we have to punish the rich, it's a very small, dark narrative. I'm going to take a plank from someone else's house to build mine. It's not an American story.
Reagan, that was never his story. Reagan's story was, we can go all forward together.
BROWN: To be continued many, many nights going forward.
BROWN: Many thanks to the best political team on television.
We do have some more breaking news out of Haiti tonight. One story we are really focusing now is on the plight of that country's children, and, tonight, relief workers telling us what Americans can do to help. Take a listen.
BROWN: Tonight, the ground is still shaking in Haiti. A magnitude 4.0 aftershock hit. This was just within the past hour.
This morning, there was a 5.9 aftershock, the most severe to hit Haiti in more than a week. I believe one injury was reported.
The Pentagon is sending a ship equipped with cranes that could help restore Haiti's crippled main port and help ease the distribution of aid. More than 600,000 rations and 200,000 bottles of water have been distributed by American troops, but a third of Haiti's population is still in need of help.
We also want to update you right now on the latest news on some of the people who have been rescued in Haiti. You saw these incredible pictures last night.
This is a woman in her 70s pulled out of rubble near Haiti's National Cathedral. Well, tonight we've learned that she is in stable condition. She is being treated by doctors on the USS Baton. Thousands of people are still missing obviously.
Soledad O'Brien met a mother who has been desperately searching for her son with nothing to go on but rumors. And Soledad is live for us tonight in Port-au-Prince.
And I know you talked to this mother today, Soledad.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
BROWN: Describe her situation and what she said.
O'BRIEN: Oh, it's bad. It's terrible. And it's absolutely heartbreaking. And unfortunately, there are a lot of people in this position.
She was in this slum, really in a ravine, and it's kind of difficult to access. You have to walk up these high stairs.
She came to us. The ravine itself actually didn't suffer a lot of damage. I mean, it was always very poor but because of the infrastructure problems now, they're really desperate.
And she showed us a picture of her son whose name is Daniel Jean (ph) and she said she doesn't know where he is. He's 24 years old and he was the financial source for the family. She has five other children and she's absolutely desperate. It was just heartbreaking to watch a mother, you know, completely at a loss. One thing she did say, though, was that there was a rumor and there's so many rumors flying around this country, I have to tell you. She said there was a rumor that he had been picked up by Dominican military forces that choppered out of the country and so maybe he's in the Dominican Republic. And we told her that we would sort of reach out to folks and see if we could confirm that.
But, you know, there are so many people in these dire straits because as the main wage earner, if he is not found, if in fact he has died, then what does she do? She has five small children. What becomes of her?
There are charities. There are orphanages in the area that can reach out and help, but this story is repeated and repeated and repeated all around this country.
The very issue here is incredible poverty and people who really before didn't have a home bunch, you know, then, now really have significantly less. And the real issue is this lack of infrastructure that the country has always had. How do you get things to people?
One of the women who runs the Life House orphanage told me today, she said, you know, I went to one of these big center to get resources, to get supplies. And they said, listen, if you're not caring for 40,000 people, we can't help you.
Well, there are probably 5,000, maybe 7,000 people she could help and she could be a distribution center. She has a wonderfully well-run orphanage but just kind of stuck. So, you know, she needs security to manage that and then she'd be able to hand out relief, and the relief has to get to her.
I mean, it's amazing the number of times we've seen people just show up with a 100-pound bags of flour or rice or canned goods and just sort of, you know, OK, now, you can make it another couple of days. It's really, really bizarre. And that's kind of the situation that we have seen over and over and over again in this country -- Campbell.
BROWN: And, Soledad, I know you also witnessed a U.N. team that was breaking into a bank today to try and secure the money. Describe what you saw there?
O'BRIEN: It was so bizarre because we saw not one but two U.N. tanks that were in the street. And we thought what is going on here. And it turned out, probably about 30 to 35 armed U.N. soldiers were getting into the capital bank. And we talked to one of the soldiers who said they, you know, they weren't told exactly what they were retrieving but they went in and grabbed something and then took it out and then secured the building again.
We were told by the U.N. who say they are peacekeeping forces. Their troops are securing money and property. And this is a priority, they say, you know, in a country with a zillion priorities. But they say their aim is to salvage the banking system so money can flow. And you know, we've seen so many destroyed banks, the goal is to set up, they say, 20 to 40 places that can sort of act as the de facto backs so people will be able to access their money.
But I got to tell you, with the destruction in this country, where are the records? Do the people have records? Do the banks have records? How that will work, I don't see it happening any time soon -- Campbell.
BROWN: All right, Soledad O'Brien for us tonight. Soledad, thank you very much. Today, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that she is not satisfied with the pace at which help is getting into Haiti, but she made it clear she's aware of the difficulties involved here.
Tonight, our Dr. Sanjay Gupta follows two doctors, two brothers who don't have time to wait for that help and they are hurrying to save one victim after another. Take a look.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it was the end of the world.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You though it was the end of the world.
(voice-over): They're Haitian surgeons. Jerry and Marlo Vitan (ph). Yes, they're twins. And in this community, they're also heroes. When the earthquake hit, they stayed open for business.
(on camera): These are the two of the most renown general surgeons in Port-au-Prince and trying to do everything they can, obviously, for patients. But the problem is what happens even if they provide the best health care they can with the resources they have, there is no plan after that.
The international community is saying, look, we are providing a lot of aid to Haiti. We're providing a lot of money. We're providing a lot of resources. What do you say to that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't feel it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today, it was six days after -- six or seven days, one week. Honestly, I don't say they don't send, bring. But I personally don't feel it.
GUPTA (voice-over): But today, they have far more pressing matters than worrying about when international aid will come. Hardly any food, minimal water, and not enough pain medications. Patients are literally screaming for help.
(on camera): The sounds that you never hear are sound that you never want to hear again. There are children screaming, knowing that they are going to have so much pain as they try and dress these wounds. There's not much they can do for them. There's not much in the way of pain medications that can give for them. And then all the patients waiting, knowing that they're next, knowing that they're going to endure that sort of pain, it's nearly impossible to watch.
Oh, wow. It's obviously a young boy who has significant injuries. You can see his legs he's got -- this is a severe scar. And these -- has a lot of crush injury here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Exactly.
GUPTA: This leg you decided to save though.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, we save that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We save that. But this, we can't save it.
GUPTA: So what do you do?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a lot of patients waiting here. They finish operating, but doctor -- I cannot go to the street because I don't have home. And I think to help I ask everybody who helped to think about how to put -- thinking about house. They don't have house.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The people -- yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They don't have house.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can't leave without house.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're on the street. And people we give health care. They cannot go on the street. It's impossible.
GUPTA: And even near the end of the day this is basically what continues to happen. Trucks coming in with patient after patient after patient. This hospital is already full to capacity, but these two doctors are going to continue to take care as many as they can.
BROWN: And Dr. Sanjay Gupta is with me now from Port-au-Prince. And, Sanjay, you're seeing the survival stories. People still being brought out of the rubble even a week later, but they're still in danger even if they make it alive. Talk to us about what they're facing now.
GUPTA: Yes, there's no question, I mean, we do hear these extraordinary stories of survival. And just to give you a little bit of medical frame of reference, typically around three to four days without water, someone will lapse in unconsciousness. Five to seven, five to eight days perhaps, someone can live but very, very difficult. The longest known survivor without water was this marathon runner, this Italian guy who got lost in the Sahara. By the time they found him, he lost 33 pounds, he needed 16 liters of fluid to rehydrate him. So that just gives you a little bit of sense of what these people are going through.
And then you're absolutely right, Campbell. Typically you're worried about renal failure, kidney failure. You worry about heart problems. You put these patients though in intensive care unit, give them all kinds of medications to make sure their heart is stabilized. And instead as you saw on those images, Campbell, they're outside, oftentimes under the blazing hot sun. It is remarkable that they stay alive as long as they have, but we're starting to see that sort of second wave of preventable deaths occurring as a result of that.
BROWN: Sanjay Gupta for us tonight with that. Sanjay, appreciate it as always.
Today, the Navy's floating hospital, the USNS Comfort, arrived off Port-au-Prince with a thousand beds and a medical staff of 550. We are going to have a report from that ship that is making a difference between life and death for many, many of these survivors.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're at the Port-au-Prince municipal nursing home where there is a truly desperate situation. People starving, people thirsty, people sick, old people living outside. They have absolutely, absolutely no idea what they're going to do with these people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: According to the United Nations, there were nearly 400,000 orphans in Haiti before the earthquake. Well, that number now obviously, tragically higher.
Brid Kennedy with Concern Worldwide describes for us the challenges right now in caring for them all. Take a listen.
BRID KENNEDY, REGIONAL DIR., CONCERN WORLDWIDE: I guess that they are. The children are always the most vulnerable in a crisis situation and they are no exception here. In Haiti right now, there are thousands of children who are very, very vulnerable. They have seen their parents who are very distressed after the earthquake. Their houses, their homes, their lives have been totally upset. Their school life, everything is being totally upset. Many of them have lost their parents, one or both. And so they are extremely vulnerable.
BROWN: And, Brid, where are these kids sleeping? What are they eating? I mean, who is actually taking care of them right now?
KENNEDY: For most of the children, the concern I think that they are coming to us with a carer (ph). And so we are not seeing children in huge numbers who are abandoned and left by the roadside.
BROWN: Do you have medical care, supplies to help them?
KENNEDY: Yes, we have medical care. There are several centers, health centers that are set up. They are baby units and there are mother and care units that are set up. In the mother and care units, they will receive psychosocial support, but they will receive counseling because many of the mothers or carers who are looking after them, they themselves are traumatized. So they are needing support so they can look after themselves, so they will be in a stronger position to look after the children.
In addition, what we are planning to bring psychosocial support for children, we are providing medicines. We are providing food and support, as much support as we can.
BROWN: And do you have what you need in order to do that? Are your supplies holding?
KENNEDY: Right now, we don't have all our needs. We have a lot of our needs met. There are more supplies coming in later on this week, which will be used and distributed to the different house centers that we are working in in Port-au-Prince.
BROWN: And, Brid, what do you think is going to be the biggest challenge for these children especially going forward? Is it hunger? Is it posttraumatic stress? Is it their safety? What do you think is going to be the biggest hurdle here?
KENNEDY: I think it is going to be a mixture of all of those. There are a number of abandoned children in Port-au-Prince prior to this crisis. There are more of them now, and they are all within the context of a very traumatized adult population. So yes, they are going to face a lot less love in their lives. They're going to face non-schooling. They're going to face lack of medical facilities and then they are likely to get into poverty and into practices that are not good for them and their health.
BROWN: Brid Kennedy with Concern Worldwide, Brid, best of luck to you. We hope you have everything you need. We really appreciate you taking a few minutes to talk to us.
KENNEDY: Thank you very much, Campbell.
BROWN: Coming up, battered earthquake victims are quickly filling up the USNS Comfort. We're going to take you aboard the Navy's floating hospital ship, working hard right now to live up to its name.
BROWN: The U.S. Navy hospital ship "Comfort" arrived off of Port-au-Prince today. This ship has a medical staff of nearly 550, and it is the last best hope for so many desperate quake survivors. CNN Chris Lawrence went aboard. Take a look.
CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We follow the same route hundreds of patients are starting to follow. On board a Navy helicopter and in a quick couple minutes out to sea where the big, white ship is like a beacon for overwhelmed doctors in Port- au-Prince. Besides the 40 beds in the E.R., the USNS Comfort already has five operating rooms up and running.
(on camera): The heartbeat of this operation.
(voice-over): There's also a team of U.S. Navy translators to help doctors and patients communicate.
MMFN GILBERT LAGUERRE, U.S. NAVY TRANSLATOR: And then they tell you something and you try to explain to the doctor what they're saying, and sometimes you can be frustrated.
LAWRENCE: Gilbert Laguerre grew up in Haiti and struggles to watch what's happened on shore.
LAGUERRE: I can't describe it. It's -- never seen anything like this.
LAWRENCE: The military says the Haitian government is making the recommendations for which patients should come here. Doctors tell us they don't know if they'll see 3,000 patients or 30,000.
(on camera): The Comfort has about a thousand beds nearly as many as Johns Hopkins. But at some point soon, they'll all be filled.
CMDR. TIM DONAHUE, U.S. NAVY: You know at one point soon, we're going to be filled to capacity.
LAWRENCE (voice-over): Which raises the question, what happens when these doctors don't have any free beds and needy patients are still waiting to be airlifted on board?
DONAHUE: We're talking with folks that recognize completely what you just said. You know, we have to be able to treat as many patients as we can. We've got to be able to move these folks on. You're not going to be able to live on the ship indefinitely.
LAWRENCE: Commander Tim Donahue says there are roughly 20 facilities in the U.S. that are willing to accept patients. And officials are talking with countries like the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Peru about opening their hospitals as well.
BROWN: And Chris Lawrence is now joining us live. Chris, do we know how long the Navy is planning to keep the Comfort there?
LAWRENCE: Yes, Campbell, I asked a bunch of the crew members that. They said there is no end date in sight. It's open ended. But they said they've got supplies for about two months on hand. And we got keep our eye on those agreements with all those other hospitals because the Comfort has to have places to hand these patients off to.
BROWN: Absolutely. Chris Lawrence for us tonight. Chris, thank you very much. Today in Haiti, rescue dogs from around the world are in action trying to save lives. Next, we're going to catch with a canine team that's out of Los Angeles. They are searching for signs of life still in Port-au-Prince, when we come back.
BROWN: Haiti's government puts the confirmed death toll from the earthquake right now at more than 72,000 with other estimates ranging as high as 200,000. But survivors are still being discovered. Rescue dogs playing a major role in finding people still buried in the rubble. And Brian Todd caught the Los Angeles County dog team hard at work today in Port-au-Prince. Watch their story.
BRIAN TOOD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This L.A. County fire and rescue team had positive hits from this building earlier with a canine team that just brought a dog back. The dogs were combing up in that crevice, in that building earlier. You see this team leader going up there now. This dog is about to follow him.
We're here just a short time ago when some of these dogs had positive hits. He's barking now. Some of them had positive hits earlier up there, so they think there may be someone alive. And they're excavating it right now.
My photographer Floyd is going to walk with me over here, Floyd, why don't we just move this way a little bit. It's caused quite a commotion on this intersection because this L.A. County team has also brought sonar, kind of a panging device. I'm going to show you that in a second Excuse me.
If you see that orange device over there, Floyd can just zero in on that. That's where they detect possible motion, any kind of human motion that can be very, very faint. It's essentially running a sonar detector in there. You see some of these L.A. County guys up here going down into the building right now. They're just starting to bring some more teams in. They think there may be someone possibly alive in that building.
BROWN: And more than ever the rescue operation is a race against time. It's been a week since the earthquake, and you may have heard some of the stats before. But typically the chances of survival dwindle after just three or four days. In fact, about 90 percent of earthquake survivors are rescued within the first 24 hours. Of course, miracles do happen. The longest case of an earthquake survivor being rescued is 14 days.
"LARRY KING LIVE" is coming up in just a few minutes. Also coming up, a 6-year-old Haitian boy badly hurt but he is alive tonight in good hands. And we'll tell you about that.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BROWN: We want to leave you tonight with an image that for us captures Haiti's hope and uncertainty right now.
Take a look at this 6-year-old boy. We don't know his name. We do know he is in good hands tonight. He arrived on an American hospital ship with severe injuries, among them a crushed pelvis. He knows his older brother survived the quake, but he hasn't heard from his parents. He doesn't know if they are alive or dead.
Tonight, that little boy being cared for by American doctors. But what happens when he leaves that ship? Where will he go?
This is just one story and one child but for us, he represents thousands.
And that's it for now. Thanks for joining us everybody.
"LARRY KING LIVE" starts right now.