Return to Transcripts main page


Special Coverage of the White House Correspondents' Dinner

Aired May 1, 2010 - 19:00   ET


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everybody. I'm Don Lemon.

Welcome to our special coverage. We're covering all the glitz and glamour at the White House. Some of Washington and Hollywood's biggest names are in the nation's capital right now for the 2010 White House Correspondents Association dinner. And we are bringing it to you live.

You're looking at the red carpet right.

I want to tell you what you can expect to see tonight. Famous faces on the red carpet, of course. And in just about an hour, the president and the first lady will be introduced there. Then there is a presentation of colors and the singing of the national anthem, of course.

The Armed Forces Band will then perform until dinner is served. And once dinner is over, First Lady Michelle Obama will preside over the presentation of several scholarships by the White House Correspondents Association. This is what happens every year here.

And that's when the president will take over after that, but he is just the opening act. Because the main act for tonight's show is the "Tonight Show's" Jay Leno. And you'll have a front row seat for it all live right here on CNN as we take another look at the red carpet arrivals.

We'll go back to that in just a moment.

But, you know, we have some news that we need to get to here. We want to update you on that massive and potentially devastating oil spill spreading across the Gulf of Mexico at this hour and slipping closer to the U.S. coast.

In the meantime, when you watch this show -- while you're watching this show over the next hour, the next 60 minutes, nearly 9,000 gallons of crude oil will gush from a manmade hole in the ocean floor. More than 1.5 million gallons have spilled so far, and no one is quite sure how to stop it.

U.S. Coast Guard commandant, Admiral Thad Allen has been appointed as incident commander there. The most immediate risk is a massive toxic oil slick moving toward the Louisiana coast. Governor Bobby Jindal is expected to call up 6,000 national guardsmen to assist with the clean-up efforts. You're looking at -- that was a press conference that the governor held just a short time ago. We'll bring you his comments in this broadcast in just a little bit later on. But, of course, we have this story covered for you. We have been top of it since this tragedy really began.

As always, CNN has reporters and cameras deployed across the region to bring you live, up-to-the-minute coverage. There you see some of our correspondents who are stationed there.

President Obama is heading to the Gulf Coast tomorrow to get a firsthand look at this situation.

We want to go to CNN's Brian Todd. He is in Venice, Louisiana.

Brian, where is the slick now in relation to where you are? And night is about to fall.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Don, it's not too far away from here. According to what officials are telling us -- right now, we're told that the slivers of the oil from the leading edges of the slick are about, you know, 20 or so miles from here, but they're already kind of affecting the outer barrier island, the barrier patches and kind of snaking toward this place.

This is one of the areas where the oil is expected to make its first significant accumulations here in Venice. It's also one of the key staging areas. We got a fishing boat right there.

Officials here are frantically trying to recruit fishermen from this area and elsewhere to lay boom in these areas to prevent the oil from getting here. They have not been able to deploy them yet but they hope to do that in the coming days.

Again, Venice, where I'm standing, is supposed to be one of the first significant accumulations. You can see the surf here. Not yet. It has not happen here yet.

But here's the problem. The surf out here is pretty rough and it's also rough in the outer areas along the coast. And that is preventing some boom from being laid and it's also washing some of oil over the booms so when it does start to come toward here, the booms may not work so well.

So they're also trying chemical dispersants that they're going to shoot to the bottom of the sea where the oil is coming out to try to dissipate that -- a lot of debate over that, too. Environmentalists are saying those dispersants are just as harmful as the oil itself. But B.P. says its gotten approval to use it, that they've been cleared environmentally by the government to use that kind of dispersant. So, they're going to try do that in the coming hours as well.

But this is one of those places where the oil could hit first in its first significant landfall -- Don.

LEMON: Hey, listen, Brian. We talked about this a little bit earlier, the government wanting some answers from Halliburton on capping that leak. Can you tell us about that?

TODD: Right. Yes. The government wants to know what Halliburton was doing as far as the cement casing of the pipeline that goes from the floor to the rig. It's a key part of the operation. The casing helps cap any leaks. It also helps fasten the casing to the hole in the bottom of the ocean.

Halliburton had four people onboard that rig. They were doing the cementing. Halliburton says, everything we were doing was fine. They were up to snuff as far as safety standards.

But the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee wants the documents. They want to know exactly how that casing operation went. The reason is because problems in the cement casing process have been blamed for oil rig accidents like this one several times in the past. So, that's going do be a key part of the investigation.

LEMON: Brian Todd, thank you very much for your reporting. We'll check back with Brian.

The attorneys general of all five Gulf Coast states plan to meet tomorrow in Mobile, Alabama, to discuss their legal options. That includes possible lawsuits against B.P.

Meanwhile, Florida's west coast is bracing for the oil slick to arrive. Governor Charlie Crist today flew to Pensacola to get a briefing on the state's preparations for the onslaught of oil.


GOV. CHARLIE CRIST, FLORIDA: I think we've deployed everything we have at our disposal by signing the executive order declaring a state of emergency.


LEMON: And CNN's homeland security correspondent, Jeanne Meserve, is in Pensacola Beach tonight. What are you seeing there, Jeanne?

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're not seeing anything at this point, Don, nothing at all. And they're not expecting to see any impact through Monday. People here, as you can see, are still enjoying the beach.

People here are worried about this environment but also very much worried about this economy. Look what we have here -- bars, we have beach shops, we have surf shops, and the owners of these businesses know that if the oil comes, the tourists will not.

We spoke a little bit earlier to the assistant mayor of Pensacola City. And she was saying it's particularly hard to take because this area has just finally gotten back on its feet after Hurricane Ivan in 2004, which really knocked them for a loop here. And she said there's some frustration on the part of government officials and residents because there just isn't that much they can do. Here's a bit of what she had to say.


DEP. MAYOR JEWEL CANNADA-WYNN, PENSACOLA, FLORIDA: I feel helpless, you know, on what to do, how do we stop it. No one seems to actually know exactly how to stop it, how to stop the leak, how do we -- how do we work it? And it's just these feelings. In hurricane seasons, you know, you can't stop the hurricane, but you can prepare, get ready. And we're great at that.

But how do we deal with an oil spill? It's just -- it's a helpless feeling.


MESERVE: In 2008, tourists spent about $65 billion in this state. They're responsible for about 1 million jobs here. But sometimes, the big numbers don't tell as much as the small stories.

We met a guy a short time ago, Mike. He owns a pizza place here. He also lease as fishing pier from the state. He has a million dollar facility over there where he provides bait and tackle and whatnot over there.

And he said his big season was just about to begin and now the threat of this oil spill. He's afraid he's going to lose absolutely everything he owns.

As one local resident said to me earlier, "It is going to kill us."

Don, back to you.

LEMON: And, Jeanne, you remember, after Hurricane Katrina, much of that area was shut down for a long time.

All right. Thank you very much for that, Jeanne Meserve.

I want to get now to our meteorologist, Jacqui Jeras. She is checking the wind flows and also the water there to see what the weather situation is like.

And from the look that I see that you have, it's not helping.

JACQUI JERAS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: No, it's not. It's definitely hurting this hour, Don. The winds are very strong out of the southeast, which means it's pushing that oil spill closer to the shore and these winds are going to stay strong like this as projected on, through the weekend into your Monday until Tuesday as we advance this. And it will show that the cold front is going to move on through, and we'll finally get offshore flow.

So, we were talking at least another two days before we expect these conditions to improve. And, of course, those winds also create choppy waves. We've got nine to 11-foot seas. Another system that's bringing in the strong southerly winds, it's also bringing severe weather tonight. We have what we call a PDS, or a particularly dangerous situation, ongoing across parts of Arkansas right now. We're expecting a big outbreak of tornadoes. No warnings here right now, but I guarantee you, that will change before I talk to you again -- Don.

LEMON: All right. We'll check back. Jacqui, thank you very much. A very important story we're following.

Plus, Massachusetts is facing its own state of emergency tonight after a catastrophic break in a pipe bringing water into Boston. Tap water is said to be unsuitable for drinking and the entire area is under a boiled water order.

The leak is in a 10-foot diameter pipe outside of Boston. As many as 2 million people may be affected by the crisis. The pipe is now dumping 8 million gallons of water per hour into the Charles River. Officials insist the water flow for firefighting can be maintained during the emergency. We'll keep you updated on that one.

Tonight, we're bringing new meaning to the term "political party." The White House Correspondents' dinner just beginning in Washington tonight. And see how Washington is getting this party started.

Make sure you stay with us. We're live at the red carpet in just moments. And guess who is going to be with us. You know her from HLN. She has her own show and also "The View."

Who I am talking about?

Joy Behar is going to join us live. And, also, our very own political editor, Mr. Mark Preston, sitting here to guide us through it all.

We're back with live coverage from the White House Correspondents' dinner -- moments away.


LEMON: All right. This is really the best stuff on television. So, you might as well stay tuned here. We're covering -- live coverage of the White House Correspondents' dinner.

And now, we want to get you live to Washington. A member of our family is there. She's also a big Hollywood star. You see her every day on "THE JOY BEHAR SHOW," and also on "The View."

Hi, Joy Behar.

JOY BEHAR, HOST, "THE JOY BEHAR SHOW": Hi, Don. How are you?

LEMON: I see you there --

BEHAR: I'm here with Quinton Aaron. LEMON: Yes, I see that.

BEHAR: And we're here at the correspondents' dinner. Can you see us?

LEMON: I can see you. I hope you're having --

QUINTON AARON, ACTOR: Hi, Don. How are you doing?

LEMON: Hi, Quinton. We're doing great.

Quinton Aaron, one of the stars from "The Blind Side."

Hey, Joy, listen, this is going to be fun and I'm sure this is going to give you lots of ammo for next week to talk about.

BEHAR: Yes, I've already tweeted a couple of times, because, you know, tweeters out there want to hear exactly what's going on. So, I'm tweeting.

And, you know, just to be here with Quinton Aaron who's the star of "Blindsided," and co-starred with, of course, you know, Sandra Bullock. But that's -- he was the star of the movie, right, Quinton?

AARON: One of them, yes.

BEHAR: He agrees.


LEMON: Hey, Joy, are you -- are you finding the Washington group a little bit uptight tonight or is everyone kind of loose and hanging out and having fun?

BEHAR: Did you say something? I mean, it's hard to hear you.

LEMON: Joy is having trouble here. I said, are you finding the Washington crowd a little uptight tonight or are they hanging out and having fun?

BEHAR: No, it's up as high as it's going to be. I still can't --

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Don, I'm going to translate.

LEMON: Yes. Our Kate Bolduan. Kate, ask her what I said please.

BOLDUAN: No problem. Joy, what are you -- what are you expecting this evening? Are you looking forward to rubbing shoulders with Hollywood elites? What are you looking for?

BEHAR: Laughs, laughs, laughs. I expect Obama to be hilarious. I expect Jay Leno to be hilarious. I'm just looking around, you know. I just met -- I saw the Jonas Brothers go by. I got excited.

BOLDUAN: Who are you looking for?

LEMON: Hey, Kate, can you do me a favor? Ask joy this question for me, Kate.


BOLDUAN: One second. Yes, of course, Don. I'm listening.

LEMON: Yes. Ask her this question. Listen, you know, the tragedy that's going on in the south, this is -- Joy is going to be hanging out with politicos tonight. There are some people who are being critical of the president for speaking tonight when on the eve of when he's going to down to New Orleans.

Joy's a comedian. What does she make of it?

BOLDUAN: Well, this is going and this is very fun. Some people have been critical of President Obama that he's coming to this event this evening rather than going down to the Gulf where the horrific oil spill is going on right now.

BEHAR: I presume he'll be going there anyway at some point.

BOLDUAN: As a comedian, how do you handle it? What is your advice? What's your take of it?

BEHAR: Yes. How does he handle? I think he just has to deal with it head on and say he'll -- he's going to go down right after this. And we're going to have a couple of laughs and then he'll go.

Life does not stop just because tragedies occur. They do occur all the time, don't they? Different things -- but as long as he goes. He has to go. We don't want one of those, you know, Katrina things where he's flying over, no. We don't want that.


LEMON: There's been that criticism.

BOLDUAN: That's serious stuff, Don. Enough -- I ask one question. What are you looking for this evening? Who are you excited to meet?

AARON: Everybody. Everybody. I'm very excited right now standing here with her. You know, my first time here. I feel like I'm at the Oscars again, you know, just in D.C., you know? So, Hollywood came to D.C. tonight.

BOLDUAN: Have a great time. Enjoy, Joy. Thank you.

BEHAR: Bye, Don. It's always a pleasure talking to you.

LEMON: Bye, Joy. Give her a big hug and I tell her I said, so what, who cares.

BEHAR: I'm sorry. I can't hear him. BOLDUAN: I'm translating everything, Don. Don't worry. We're having technical issues this evening. Go ahead, Don.

LEMON: Thank you very much. That's Joy's little trademark, so what, who cares.

I'm talking to Mark Preston here. So, thanks to Kate Bolduan. And to Aaron there -- Quinton Aaron and also to Kate Bolduan.

So, Mark Preston, our political editor, joins us now to talk about all of this. A little bit of problem, they have some audio issues going on there. Sometimes it's tougher to do, you know, a live shot from Washington, as it is from Baghdad or something, you know, from Iraq or somewhere.

So, listen, Mark. Let's talk about the political angle of this. We talked about the president. And I think Joy Behar gave -- maybe gave an answer that many Americans feel that is right on. Other Americans are saying, no, the president should not be going to this event when there's this huge tragedy going on. And she mentioned Katrina, as other people have been mentioning.

What do you make of this and how the president is going to handle this?

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: Well, you know, it's certainly one of those situations that if he didn't go, then what would we make of it, you know? The president can't multitask. He can't do a lot of things.

You know, when President Bush was in office, he was criticized often for going down to his ranch, down in Waco. And people said, how could you leave the White House, you know, and go to Waco?

The fact of the matter is, when you're the president, you should be able to multitask and it's a very, very intense job. And I think for a couple of hours, you know, out of the week step out of it and let your hair down a little bit.

LEMON: And you know what he's going to say tonight, right, Mark?

PRESTON: Well --

LEMON: Can you hold that thought --


LEMON: -- because we have to get a break here? And we're going to talk about it.

We already kind of know what the president's remarks are going to be -- some of them at least, not all of them. Our Mark Preston is going to update us on that in just a little bit, after the break as we say here in the business.

So, make sure you stick around because we're talking about black ties, ball gowns, and the first couple. I'm sitting here with Mark Preston, our political editor. And we're going to take you through the White House Correspondents' dinner tonight. More red carpet coverage of this presidential party is just ahead.


LEMON: All right. So here's the thing. It's a Saturday night, right? So why not? Why not have a little fun on a Saturday night and hobnob with the big wigs, really big wigs, right? The big guys, Mark Preston? We're talking about the president, the first lady.

Mark Preston joins us. He's our political editor. He's going to guide us with this. What I do with that? I can't even see it. Where did I put my glasses?

I love it when I'm on my BlackBerry and I'm looking, where is my BlackBerry? Have you ever done that?

PRESTON: I've done it often.

LEMON: Anyway, I'll move on. So, guest list. Let's talk about that. Before you talk about what the president is going to say, as we said before the break.

We're hearing, this was rumored but not confirmed -- Ryan Seacrest, Terrence Howard, and there's also politicos like Alec Baldwin, because we know Alec is an actor but also he gets involved in politics. Ewan McGregor, Jimmy Fallon, Mariska Hargitay, on and on and on.

Earlier with Wolf Blitzer, what his name? I forget the actor, just slips on my mind. Dennis Quaid -- we saw Dennis Quaid just a little bit earlier. Let's see -- and on and on. This is quite a big guest list here, but at the top of that guest list, the president and the first lady and, of course, the entertainer for the evening, beside the president who will be speaking, Jay Leno.

What's the president going to talk about?

PRESTON: Well, you know, Don, I spoke to somebody in the administration earlier today and said, look, give me a little general sense of what you expect the president to say -- as well as somebody who really helped put the speech together. They said, first and foremost, expect the president to make fun of himself because if you can't make fun of yourself, then you can't make fun of others.

So, expect the president to take some pokes at himself. He's going to take a few pokes at you as well and myself, you know, the media, because why not, it's the media's dinner.


PRESTON: And, you know, and this is an interesting process.

LEMON: It doesn't take a White House Correspondents' dinner for him to do that, you know? He can do it in the Rose Garden. He can do it during a speech. So, he'll do it tonight. But it will be a lot funnier. We'll see.

PRESTON: It will be a lot funny. And from what I'm told, too, is that he actually had a lot of input into doing the speech. This is something that takes several weeks to do. A lot of people collaborate on it. And then, of course, we'll see it tonight at around 10:00.

LEMON: OK. So, listen. I just to go over it again. This is huge. Bon Jovi, we're told, Timothy Geithner, (INAUDIBLE); Valerie Jarrett there who's a White House senior advisor; Susan Rice, U.N. ambassador, is going to be there; Madeleine Albright, former secretary of state; Howard Dean; Brian Williams from NBC; Matt Lauer; Meredith Vieira, one of favorites.

Meredith, we -- Meredith and I had a good time out in Los Angeles covering Michael Jackson. She's a great, great lady.

So, listen, another great, great lady -- Mark, stand by -- we want to get to is our Kate Bolduan joining us from the red carpet in Washington.

Kate, you spoke to and spotted a lot of famous faces tonight. You're looking dashing. I'll put it that way.

BOLDUAN: Oh, thanks.


LEMON: -- on television.

And thanks for helping out with the Joy Behar interview. Who have you spoken to or who have you seen?

BOLDUAN: Well, I've got to tell you -- I actually had to make a list of the people I've seen. You know, we work off notes normally, but I'm more used to the famous people, Washington-style famous people than the Hollywood-style famous people.

I mean, the list -- it's a wide range. This event, it's gotten -- become a very big deal in the past few years and it has drawn a lot of Hollywood glamour. Jessica Alba just walked by. We've seen Alec Baldwin, Dennis Quaid, Patricia Arquette, Michael Douglas we've seen.

For all -- all of our teen fans that are watching CNN, Justin Bieber came storming through a little while ago. I spoke with Chris Tucker. Many people are coming through. All of them really are saying that they're really here to see what this whole thing is all about. They hear a lot about it and they're excited to see what this is all about because it really brings Washington, Hollywood, and journalists all together for an evening of kind of letting your hair down.

I believe we have a little bit of sound prepared from one interview I did with Dennis Quaid who was accompanied by Wolf Blitzer this evening. If -- let's see if we have that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DENNIS QUAID, ACTOR: I love coming here, just the vibe of this whole town. And it's very much like Hollywood, really, and -- in a way, only the currency is different, this is for sure. But I'm looking forward to this evening. I've never been to a correspondents' dinner.


BOLDUAN: And you probably -- I don't even think I was part of the sound bite, but you should have heard right after that, Don. Wolf Blitzer stepped in and he made sure that Dennis Quaid knew that where Wolf Blitzer is, "THE SITUATION ROOM" is. And so, he was currently in "THE SITUATION ROOM."

So that gives you a little window of the kind of mood that is going on here tonight as people head in for the dinner.

LEMON: So, they're hanging out together. It's like, you know, "I Love You, Man," the movie, that kind of man date Dennis Quaid and Wolf Blitzer hanging out.

Did you say Justin Bieber? Is he everywhere?

BOLDUAN: I -- actually, if you will remember, the last time Justin Bieber was near the president, it was during Christmas in Washington event that went on and the president had never heard of him before and said now announcing Justin Biber -- I mean Bieber. It was (INAUDIBLE), and I will tell you that he is a celebrity. He got more screens and flashbulbs from where we were standing on this side of the red carpet than many celebrities did.

LEMON: Yes, really funny.

You know, I saw you earlier -- I couldn't communicate with you because we were having trouble with the audio.


LEMON: With Scott Brown -- I wanted Scott Brown to do that famous "SNL" wink that he had to do on "Saturday Night Live." But I didn't my -- I didn't get to tell you that.

Hey, thank you, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Yes. And oddly enough I did ask him if he had brought his famous truck that he actually campaigned on, and he said that he brought his truck here to this event. And I don't know if his wife really enjoyed that because she was dressed to the nines and that truck leaves something to be desired. Mark Preston can tell you more about that.

LEMON: Hey, I got to tell you, you know, I grew up down in Louisiana and my mom and dad went out in trucks and ball gowns all the time. That's how we do it. That's how we roll.

(CROSSTALK) LEMON: So, Kate Bolduan -- oh there, Kate, listen, I'm being told. This is his truck. So, I don't know if you can see, but there is Scott Brown apparently either getting into his truck, is that him, or it could be the valet. Who knows?

BOLDUAN: Oh, yes.


BOLDUAN: I'm wondering.

LEMON: It's him getting out of the truck. It's him getting out of the truck.

All right. Kate, stand by. Thank you. And it's good to have a little fun. We're always talking about serious stuff with you standing in front of the White House and it's good to let your hair down a little bit. Kate, thanks again.

And we're very cognizant --

BOLDUAN: Of course.

LEMON: -- Mark Preston is here as well -- of what's going on down in Louisiana and we're waiting to see how the president addresses that. So, we'll be covering that for you as well.

But there are lots of stars tonight. We're at the White House Correspondents' dinner, and we've got all of the people who are going to be there. We're going to have -- show the president, of course, his speech, an also tonight's entertainment, Jay Leno, we'll take that live for you.

But we're going to continue here on CNN throughout the evening on the red carpet, live coverage of the White House Correspondents' dinner.

Hey, listen, have a little fun on a Saturday night. Sit back. Enjoy. If you're an adult, have adult beverages and watch CNN. We'll carry you through the whole time. We promise you a good time.

We're back in a moment.


LEMON: Listen. I want to tell you we're covering the White House Correspondents Dinner, a live special coverage right here on CNN. And we have been talking to the stars. Joy Behar joined us earlier, Scott Brown, the Massachusetts senator. He's a politician, I guess a bit of a political star as well, and Dennis Quaid. And a lot of other stars dropping by the red carpet to speak to us.

We're going to continue our live coverage in just a moment.

But first, we're going to turn to some developing news that's happening throughout the country. That oil slick that's threatening the Gulf of Mexico, and right now many people who depend on the gulf for their livelihoods are wondering if they still have jobs.

Tonight CNN's David Mattingly is live for us Daulphin Island in Alabama. David, night is about to fall. What is it going to bring for the folks there?

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, the minute this oil began to encroach upon the most productive waters for the U.S. fishermen. The fishermen all over the Gulf Coast surrounding this area knew that their season was over.


DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Bayou La Batre, Alabama, time has run out, boats that should be fishing are tied to shore. We found crews deploying the town's last line of defense, a floating yellow boom.

(on camera): At this point the job is actually pretty simple. This boom is anchored to this barrier island over here to my right. Now the barge just has to back out to deploy all of this boom material. But this is a massive, massive undertaking.

What you see here is just the beginning.

(voice-over): Hundreds of miles of boom will be deployed to protect oyster beds and fish spawning grounds. But these lines that are designed to stop oil also stop fishing boats.

(on camera): Does this mean the season is over as long as this boom is out here?

WAYNE ELDRIDGE, BOAT CAPTAIN: As the boom goes up, the boats won't have access to the fishing grounds. And so their season is over.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Signs are all over town.

STAN WRIGHT, OWNER, WRIGHT BRAND OYSTER: Here's where we process - chuck the meat out of the shell.

MATTINGLY: This should be the peak of the oyster season but when I went to (inaudible) oyster processing business, I found out that these are the last of the oysters.

WRIGHT: You're looking at probably the last product until this oil stuff is cleaned up.

MATTINGLY (on camera): How long is that going to be?

WRIGHT: I don't know. It could be weeks, months, or years. We don't know. We don't know how much damage it's going to cost our oyster field.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): By the end of business Saturday, Wright is shutting down and he's worried he could be out of business permanently. I hear the same thing from Raymond Barbour. His processing business ran out of crabs in the morning. When these crawfish are done, that's it.

RAYMOND BARBOUR, OWNER, JR. BARBOUR SEAFOOD: We're sunk. That's what I'm saying. We're out of business.

MATTINGLY: The oil spill could do more damage at Bayou La Batre than any hurricane. The town's seafood economy runs on catch from Louisiana waters, now fouled by oil.

(on camera): You're the mayor of Bayou La Batre?

WRIGHT: That's correct.

MATTINGLY: What's going to happen to this town?

WRIGHT: Our income is going to be nothing.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): There aren't many economic options. Workers here get paid by the pound. Most seafood workers are immigrants from Southeast Asia.

VINXAYSANA WESSON, SEAFOOD WORKER: (inaudible) a little scared but they're (inaudible) on how it's going to turn out yet but they're not making plans yet but this town is a seafood town. You take that away from them, it won't be a town anymore.


MATTINGLY: These seafood workers and these fishermen, Don, just the first victims in what could be a colossal economic disaster here.

LEMON: Thank you very much for that. David Mattingly reporting tonight from the Gulf Coast down in Alabama. We really appreciate it. When we get back to David and other correspondents tonight after the White House Correspondents Dinner.

We want to turn to education now though. Every school in America is looking for an academic edge right now. And success can hinge on something as simple as student attire. In today's "Perry's Principles," CNN contributor Steve Perry takes a closer look at the impact of school uniforms.


STEVE PERRY, CNN CONTRIBUTOR (on camera): Normally I'm the principal enforcing the uniform policy but today I'm here at North Star Academy in Newark, New Jersey, observing others as they use uniforms not only to improve the way the students look but the way the students perform in the classroom.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Silently begin writing song names for song seven.

ART WORRELL, DEAN OF STUDENTS: Our uniform policy is pretty strict. Any teacher at any point in the day might correct a student if their shirt is untucked. But if they cannot be in uniform for that day for whatever reason, it's an item we can't replace here, they would in an in-house suspension with me or they would be sent home.

PERRY (voice-over): The faculty here at North Star has said that these are the elements that are part of our success.

DAVID SEGARRA, 9TH GRADE STUDENT: Usually kids around my age they kind of like judge me, oh, you like go to that strict student. 100 percent of our students actually graduated and go into college. Only 23 percent of your students go to colleges, how can you judge me?

JADA ANDERSON, 9TH GRADE STUDENT: It's important that a school does have a uniform to prevent things like bullying and teasing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How did I teach you guys to figure it out?

PERRY: When you focus on the details, you're able to do great things.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know it's hard to stop writing.

JULIANN HARRIS, 9TH GRADE ACADEMY LEADER: When you look at students, you can't tell what their home financial situation is because everyone is wearing the same uniform. It also helps minimize distractions to learning. Students are not focused on the latest fashions, what they're wearing. They're focused on their education.

PERRY: What does the uniform policy do to add to your success as a school?

WORRELL: I don't think uniforms by themselves are the solution to this. It's one of a hundred things we do to have a really successful school.


LEMON: Our thanks to our education contributor Steve Perry. "Perry's Principles" tonight. How long will the party last? et the play by play right at the White House Correspondents Dinner right here on CNN. It's going to be fun. We're going to take you there live throughout the evening. We're live in the red carpet. It's like a conveyer belt of famous people. It looks like Washington, all of a sudden, Hollywood has gone to Washington.

One after another, celebrities from L.A. and D.C. talk to us. L.A., D.C., worldwide. Our coverage continues after the break. What are you laughing at, Mark Preston?


LEMON: Welcome back, everyone. To our live coverage of the White House Correspondents' Dinner. I fell like, you know, we're covering the Oscars or something. Mark Preston is our political editor. He is joining us now. This is why - it's funny because we talked about Justin Bieber earlier. I will share a tweet about that in just a second but on the twitter, we have a special twitter account I want to say, set up. If you're on twitter, go to, which means White House Correspondents' Dinner. It's a twitter list. So, I'll tweet about it again but that's where you can go.

So, you've got some pictures to share with us, sir?

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: Sure. You know, Don, we were talking about Justin Bieber and we were talking about Hollywood on the Potomac. And that's certain what we're seeing tonight here, here in Washington, D.C.. We're here in Atlanta but up there in Washington, D.C., it's Hollywood on the Potomac.

But let's take a look at this tweet right here from Justin Bieber. Now, if you're under the age of 20, you know, who Justin Bieber is. If you are over the age of 18, you know who Kim Kardashian is. Let's take a look at what he said, look, it's my girlfriend. Justin Bieber, who probably is not old enough to drive a car with Kim Kardashian there. So again, you're seeing two very big maybe A-list, B-lists.

LEMON: You know, that Justin Bieber, I mean, he gets often. He hit on Barbara Walters on "The View." He also hit on Beyonce and now Kim Kardashian. So, hey, good for him. He's playing around in the big leagues.

Listen, we want to tell you, we're -- again, we're having a little fun here and we are vamping, as we say, in the business. Because there's no live picture yet because they're getting the doors closed. Just a little bit red carpet arrivals was at 6:00 p.m. Eastern, the doors open to the International Ballroom at 7:00 p.m.. It's 7:42 now, 7:50, the head table guest proceeds to their assigned seats.

And then after that, we'll be able to show you inside and you'll be able to see a little bit more. So this is sort of the period that's a little bit of a blackout but we're having a lot of fun here.

PRESTON: Sure. And let's just start talking about what's going on, Don, what you have right now is in the basement of this hotel. These very long security lines. You have all of these reporters, all of these Hollywood stars, they all have to go through metal detectors.

And the reason being is because the President is going to be the guest of honor. Of course, he's going to give the big speech. So, that's what we're seeing right now. And then again, as you say in a few minutes, we'll certainly see what's going on.

LEMON: Yes, we'll see it. (INAUDIBLE) famous faces on the red carpet just about an hour from now, really it's about 15, 20 minutes from now, we should see the president and the first lady, and they'll be introduced. Then, the presentation of colors and singing of the national anthem, the Armed Forces band will then perform until dinner is served.

Once it's over the first lady is going to preside over a presentation of scholarship award ceremony there for the White House Association and then the president takes over, and of course, Jay Leno. I wonder if he's going to say anything about Conan O'Brien. One never knows, do one. Hey, look, West (ph), show the twitter board, the one to the left. A little bit, my twitter board. Turn left. There you go. That one.

So here we go. Someone tweeted this to us. Slack adjuster says "showing Scott Brown getting out of his truck, WTF is bad." Have a little - come on, lighten up a little bit, man. He went to a White House Correspondents' Dinner in his truck. Do I have to go through all of this? In his truck. It was part of his election. It's a famous truck. Most people show up in limos, he's in a truck.

OK. Linda Lee says adult beverages, "LOL". If you're sitting at home and an adult, enjoy an adult beverage, sit back and watch. Addicted to Jeter (ph) says "did you say Justin Bieber? What is he? Everywhere? "LOL." I love Don. Go away, kid.' I like Justin Bieber. By the way, Justin Bieber and I share the same birthday, March 1st. Did you know that?

You should always include I love you man, man references in your broadcast. I was making a little joke saying that Wolf Blitzer hanging out with Dennis Quaid was on a mandate. I love you, man.

OK. I am being told we're going to Kate Bolduan? Kate Bolduan joining us now from the red carpet. Kate, real quick. Go back to the twitter board. Kate, I want to show people this. Shog (ph) said @donlemoncnn called "Kate Bolduan dashing. She looks so good I'm not going to quibble it."

There you go, Kate Bolduan. What do you say to that?

BOLDUAN: I can handle a lot of stuff. But you always, this time of year, you do a very good job of making me blush on live television.

Don, thank you very much. Thank you.

I don't even know what we're supposed to be talking about at this point. Oh, my god. OK. So many more celebrities as well as many people that I consider celebrities, Washington elite, have been coming through. Donatella Versace. She actually had a hilarious conversations with Joy Behar. Our very own Joy Behar a little while ago. Jon Bon Jovi went running by as well. And Kim Kardashian, you talked about, we did a short interview with her.

Funny moment that I had with RNC chairman Michael Steele. We were talking to him earlier and you'll remember, Don, that the president had got a lot of laughs at the expense of Michael Steele last year in his speech, and so - and I know you were interested in hearing from him. I asked him about that. He said, yes, he sure did. I brought my flack jacket this year. I'm ready for it. So that was pretty funny.

But one thing and I think we have the tape ready for you. One thing that we had a very unique moment here, one person brought a very special item with her to this dinner Olympic gold meld medalist Lindsey Vonn. Listen here to this. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LINDSEY VONN, OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST; Tory Burch gave me a nice little case because they didn't give me one.

BOLDUAN (on camera): There you go. This is the only person at this dinner that can say that she has a gold medal in her purse.

VONN: It's heavy though.

BOLDUAN: That's wonderful.

VONN: Yes.

BOLDUAN: Who are you looking forward to meeting this evening? I mean, I'm sure you meet a lot of celebrities. Are you looking forward to meeting anyone in particular?

VONN: I mean, I think President Obama, most of all, but, I mean, I could name a long list. And most of the people I could name just walked in behind me. So I feel - you know, just - I feel kind of awkward being here because there's so many, you know, amazing and talented and beautiful people here, but I'm going to do my best to fit in and, you know, just enjoy the night.

BOLDUAN: Excellent. Wonderful meeting you. Have a great evening.

VONN: Thank you very much. You too.

BOLDUAN: Thanks so much.


BOLDUAN: She was very excited. She was very sweet. She said she herself was star struck in all the people that she was meeting. We have heard over and over, Don, many people are very much excited to hear President Obama. He got a lot of laughs last year. And as you can tell, this is a black tie formal event but there really is nothing formal about this whole evening. Everyone here seems to be having a lot of fun and everyone is very much looking forward to President Obama as well as Jay Leno making his fifth appearance as the featured entertainer here. So he's quite a veteran of this White House Correspondents' Association Dinner.

LEMON: All right. Thank you. More ribbing of our Kate by Don Lemon coming up in just a bit. Kate, so stand by and get ready. You've got to have a thick skin when you're working with me on these occasions. Thank you, Kate. We'll check back in just a bit. We're going to get you there live. You're going to see the president here on CNN. You'll also going to see Jay Leno as our Kate Bolduan mentioned and the first lady here on CNN.

As we go to break here, I want to show you just a tweet. I said, hey - I told Mark Preston, I said, Mark, this is as fun as covering the Oscars. I feel like it. One said, glebee(ph) says "Don, this is better than the Oscars. Did not watch the Oscars. Did not watch the Oscars. This was must-see TV for twitter fish aficionados last year. Group TV. They watched us last year when we covered it. They're watching it now and we're going to show all of it to you live.

It's going to be great evening here on CNN. Our Mark Preston is here, our political editor to help guide us through. You never know who else is going to drop by, including our Kate Bolduan as well. We're back with live coverage of the White House Correspondents' Dinner on CNN. Stick around and enjoy it. We're going to have a little fun here tonight. Back in a moment.


LEMON: Hello, everyone. Live coverage of the White House Correspondents' Dinner. This is the Hilton in Washington, D.C.. It's known as the Hickley (ph) Hilton, inside the ballroom. So now we're getting these live pictures in and we're going to continue to cover this throughout the evening. You're going to hear the president speak as well as Jay Leno. So stand by. Back to that in a moment.

We're going to give you your top stories first.

BP could pay a heavy price for the oil slick creeping closer to the Gulf Coast. Attorneys general from five Gulf Coast states will meet tomorrow in Mobile, Alabama, to discuss their options. Lawyers say this oil spill could eventually cost more than the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster. At least 26 lawsuits have been filed so far against BP.

The governor of Massachusetts says it's too soon to know how long it will take to fix a catastrophic water main break near Boston. The entire area's under a boil order water order. Tap water isn't considered suitable to drink now. Governor Duval Patrick has declared a state of emergency for Massachusetts. Eight millions are leaking out of the pipe every hour.

Some popular children's drugs are being pulled off store shelves because they may not meet quality standards. The voluntary recall covers dozens of over-the-counter children's medications including children's versions of Tylenol, Motrin, Zyrtec and Benadryl. The maker McNeil Consumer Healthcare says there are no reports of any medical problems. It says the recall is just a precaution.

Young girls lured from Nepal to India by promises of a better life but instead they are condemned to a life of sexual slavery. This week's CNN hero has made it a personal mission to rescue these girls.


RADHIKA, SOLD AT AGE 18 (through translator): They came and said they would take me to my sister's house. So I went with them. After six, seven days I didn't know anything. Someone came to me and explained I had to do the bad job. I realized I was actually sold into the brothel.

If we said no then they would start beating us with the sticks, throw hot water on us or just tie us a corner with a rope. ANURADHA KOIRALA, MAITI NEPAL: Families will never, never give up girls. They are always strict. These are all criminals, the traffickers. Oh, this gentleman, he was trafficking 32 child at a time on a bus. The parents did not go to the police station. They come with their photographs to complain to us that their child is missing. That is how we know.

RADHIKA (through translator): I always imagined how I would get out of that place. Now I feel like this is a new life for me.

KOIRALA: When they come, I talk to them. I say, now you're safe. You're at home, be relax, I will talk to you later. And then I don't talk to them for a few days. They are in my confidence, very quickly.

If they want to go home, they can go home. If they want to catch the criminal I go myself to catch the criminal.

Nowadays, we are planning from the high level and we do the - we will catch a criminal today. Hopefully we'll be successful.

These are all the convicted criminals. See 15 years, 12 years, 12 years and 64,000 rupees. I always thought people who did good work serve the nation, serve the world are heroes for me. Selflessly without any vested interest.


LEMON: To nominate someone you think is changing the world make sure to go to

Hey, listen we're live in Washington tonight, special coverage of the White House Correspondents' Dinner, just getting some pictures inside. There you see the big-timers, hobnobbing with the president and the first lady, all the politicos and Hollywood stars. Live coverage coming up. Don't go away.