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President Obama Speaks to CNN; Progress and Devastation in Oil Leak Disaster

Aired June 3, 2010 - 18:00   ET



Happening now: critical progress and spreading devastation, an important milestone in the efforts to stop the flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. But it's coming too late for a lot of wildlife. We have some gut-wrenching new images just coming in.

Also, a CNN exclusive -- CNN's Kyra Phillips travels with Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen to the heart of the effort to try to cap that leaking well. She has extraordinary access to the high-stakes operation. You will see it here, only on CNN.

And also live this hour, Anderson Cooper with more on the suffering wildlife, and Dr. Sanjay Gupta on the mental toll of this huge disaster.

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

These are images BP probably doesn't want you to see. They are very, very hard to watch, the disturbing, heartbreaking video just coming in to us from Grand Isle in Louisiana. It shows seabirds completely covered in oil and clearly suffering.

Our Anderson Cooper and his team sent this in to us just a short while ago. We're going to be speaking with Anderson about it in a little while. He is standing by live.

But we begin with the effort to stop the flow of crude. This is a live picture of the source of all of the oil that is still flowing relentlessly.

CNN's Tom Foreman is monitoring what's happening at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico right now.

Tom, I take it there was some progress today. Explain precisely to our viewers what has happened.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, we're hoping it's progress, Wolf. We have had a lot of false leads in this, as you know, all along the process.

But let's talk about what they did in terms of sheer physics down here. Bottom of the Gulf here, the blowout preventer, the big 50- foot-tall device we have been talking about all along, this is where the pipe, the riser you hear talked about, bent over and started leaking at locations down in here, and certainly up here there were leaks as well.

What they did is, they came in with a giant pair of scissors in effect and they cut this off. So, these leaks are gone now, because they're cut off from the supply. Then the second part of it was over here. They used this giant device which was a diamond wire cutter sort of thing which came in here to try to cut off that pipe cleanly.

We know from what we were told this didn't really work. They got partially through, but couldn't do it all, so they had to bring in those big scissors again and cut through this pipe, which is about 22 inches across. It's a big, heavy pipe.

So, in the end, after doing all of that, what they had, Wolf, was a clean cut at the top with oil coming out here. Now they're trying to lower back in with another cap to put over that. Let's talk about that cap a little bit. I'm going to move this out.

Remember, we tried the bigger one earlier, and that one failed. The reason it failed was because it was filled up with what are called hydrates. This is a -- it's a chemical reaction that happens down there, where essentially, as methane comes out of here, it freezes into crystals.

And those clogged up the pipe. This is a different operation than what they tried earlier. The other one was bigger. This one is smaller, but there are several things to consider.

Inside here, they have a way of pumping in both methanol and warm water, which should warm this area enough to keep those hydrates loose and the oil flowing up. In addition, you will notice this big business up here. This is pumping apparatus to help keep a steady stream going.

So, if all of this works properly, as you see here, this will lower down over the wellhead. They will pump it up, and, by keeping it warm, they will be able to contain some of the oil. How much? We don't know. But we do know this, Wolf. They have six different other versions of this head to fit on there if this one doesn't work, each with slightly different engineering.

That's the progress so far, Wolf. We're just waiting, as we have all along for weeks now, to see if it works.

BLITZER: Let's hope it works. Tom, thanks very much. Good explanation -- good explanation.

It's hard to look at these heartbreaking new pictures coming in from the Gulf Coast right now, birds covered in oil.

Joining us now is CNN's Anderson Cooper, whose crew shot these disturbing images.

Anderson, tell our viewers the story behind these awful pictures. ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "ANDERSON COOPER 360": We were on Grand Isle today, just about an hour ago, when we had just gotten off a boat. We were out on the water. A lot of people anecdotally had been telling us on Grand Isle that they were hearing that more oil was coming ashore, a lot more oil was out there, and there was talk that they were receiving more animals.

So we went to the dock area, and we had seen a pelican covered in oil earlier that some relief workers were -- had put into a cage and were bringing it to a facility to be cleaned. And then we got off the water and we saw these three birds that had just been brought in.

And, really, I have never seen anything like this in terms of, you know, animals that are just so completely drenched in oil. Obviously, these birds were alive, but you can see them. I mean, they're gasping for breath. They're trying to breathe. Some of them can barely move, frankly.

Finally, they were -- they were just picked up by the woman who had brought them in. She, herself, was coated in oil, because she had been handling the birds. They were put into a cardboard box and taken off to a facility. There's a facility in Fort Jackson where all of these birds are cleaned and they attempt to save them, if they can.

I mean, these three birds, I can't tell whether or not they're going to make it. I mean, they certainly looked in really, really bad shape. And the sad thing is, just offshore of the dock on a series of sort of rocks that are like a jetty, there were a number of pelicans just sitting, and a number of them were -- were -- some of them were clean, but there were a number of them which were -- clearly had oil just coating them.

And they were attempting to clean themselves with their long beaks. Some of them would stretch out their wings as if to kind of try to dry off their wings, but, of course, that doesn't really do anything to get rid of the oil. And these pelicans are just really kind of immobilized, sitting there.

You know, it's, unfortunately, a scene that people have heard a lot about and are becoming used to, but it's -- it's sickening to see it up close.

BLITZER: Did you get any indication that more people are getting involved in trying to deal with the -- with this spill right now, because, over the last several days, you have been telling us, you go out there and you don't really see enough workers?

COOPER: You know, I -- you -- there were a number of boats out there today. But there's still -- I mean, you talk to people -- and, again, this is anecdotally -- I don't have a big-picture sense, but just about everywhere I go, I meet fishermen who say, you know, I took the BP course in how to lay boom. I have been waiting around weeks for a phone call. I want to help. I have got a boat.

And they're not getting called up. BP will say, well, look, there's only a certain amount of people that we can hire at any one time and only a certain amount of room out there. But there's certainly a lot of skepticism among people on Grand Isle and elsewhere, that -- that -- that they haven't all the people that they need, that they're doing as much as they can, especially when you see images like those birds.

BLITZER: And I assume that the birds that we're seeing, these are not isolated incidents. They're going out all over the place. This is just the tip of the iceberg. I just assume that, Anderson.

COOPER: Yes. I mean, we literally just happened upon this scene. I mean, there had been -- we had scene a flurry of activity about an hour before that, where various boats of, you know, bird experts had found a whole group of birds that were just sitting immersed in oil, and they had been bringing them in.

And they -- you know, we actually went out in the water and followed them out there. We couldn't go in their boat because they had a BP person with them. And I guess, you know, there are rules for this sort of thing. They don't want journalists. But they said, you know, if you can get a boat, you could follow us.

And so we were able to get a boat, and we just went out and followed them for a while, and they weren't able to find any more when we were there, but, by the time we separated from them and got back, one of their boats had come in with these three -- three birds on them.

BLITZER: What a sad story. Anderson, thanks very much.

Anderson's going to have a lot more, his own eyewitness account coming up later tonight on "A.C. 360," 10:00 p.m. Eastern.

And eye-popping bill for BP -- the Obama administration has sent the company and others tied to the Gulf oil disaster an invoice -- this is just an initial invoice -- for $69 million. In a statement, the Deepwater Incident Joint Information Center says -- and I'm quoting now -- "The administration expects prompt payment and will take additional steps as necessary to ensure that BP and other responsible parties, not American taxpayers, pay all of the costs associated with the oil spill" -- that statement just coming in.

President Obama talks about the oil disaster in an exclusive one- on-one in-depth interview with CNN's Larry king over at the White House today. They also discussed Israel's deadly raid on a humanitarian flotilla bound for Gaza.


LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": Have the scientists discussed, what about a hurricane?

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know, I did -- I had a Situation Room meeting about a week-and-a-half ago, where we got the report that this could be a more severe-than-normal hurricane season. And I asked, well, how does a potential oil spill interact with a hurricane? And it turns out that -- and, now, these are all estimations and probabilities. It turns out that a big, powerful hurricane, ironically, is probably...

KING: Good?

OBAMA: ... less damaging with respect to the oil spill, because it just disperses everything, and the oil breaks up and degrades more quickly.

It's those tropical storms and tides that would just wash stuff into the marshes that would really be an ecological disaster. But, look, we have got a couple of tasks right now. Number one, BP has to shut down this well. Now, the only guaranteed shutdown is the relief well, and that's going to take a couple of months.

In the meantime, we hope that, by cutting the riser, putting a cap on this thing, they can funnel up the oil, and that will help. In the meantime, we have still got all these barrels of oil that are sloshing around in the Gulf. They move with the currents. We don't always know where they are.

But what we can do is make sure that our response doesn't hold anything back, that we put everything we have got into Louisiana, which has been hardest hit so far, Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida.

KING: A couple of other things. Former President Carter has condemned the Israeli raid against those ships in the flotilla trying to break the blockade of Gaza.

OBAMA: Right.

KING: Where do you stand on that? A former American president has condemned it.

OBAMA: Well, you know, the United States, with the other members of the U.N. Security Council, said very clearly that we condemned all the acts that led up to this violence. It was a tragic situation.

You have got loss of life that was unnecessary. And so we are calling for an effective investigation of everything that happened. And I think that the Israelis are going to agree to that, an investigation of international standards, because they recognize that this can't be good for Israel's long-term security.

KING: Premature, then, to condemn Israel?

OBAMA: Well, I think that we need to know what all the facts are, but it's not premature to say to the Israelis, and to say to the Palestinians, and to say to all the parties in the region that the status quo is unsustainable.

We have been trying to do this piecemeal for decades now, and it just doesn't work. You have got to have a situation in which the Palestinians have real opportunity, and Israel's neighbors recognize Israel's legitimate security concerns and are committed to peace.


BLITZER: You can see the entire exclusive interview with President Obama on "LARRY KING LIVE" later tonight, 9:00 p.m. Eastern, 6:00 Pacific, only here on CNN.

Jack Cafferty's coming up next with "The Cafferty File."

Then, we will have some more highlights from Larry's exclusive interview with the president. What does the commander in chief have to say about growing calls for the U.S. military to take over the oil spill response?

And the psychological impact of the disaster, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, he's working that part of the story for us. He will be joining us live. Stand by.

And CNN's Kyra Phillips reporting exclusively from the heart of the effort to cap the leak. She has some extraordinary access that you will see and hear only here on CNN.


BLITZER: Let's check in with Jack for "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: In Ohio, a cop says it looked like you were speeding, he can write you a ticket, no proof needed. It makes things a lot easier for law enforcement, you know, if they don't have to be bothered with the burden of proof. It's a true story.

Ohio's state Supreme Court ruled 5-1 that independent verification of a driver's speed is not necessary, things like laser guns or radar or actually clocking how fast you're going. The court says an officer's visual estimate will work, as long as the officer is trained, certified by a training academy, and experienced in finding speeders.

Come on.

Supporters say officers undergo extensive training, where they have to visually estimate the speed of vehicles within one or two miles an hour of their actual speed. Nevertheless, law enforcement officials insist they won't be getting rid of their radar guns any time soon, and that it's rare for officers to give tickets based solely on their observation.

But Ohio's highest court says, if they want to, it's quite all right. The case stemmed from an appeal of a traffic ticket issued near Akron, Ohio, in 2008. In that case, a police officer ticketed a driver because he said it looked like the driver was going too fast.

Without any technical assistance, the cop determined the motorist was going 70 miles an hour, when the speed limit was 60. The driver said the court's decision stinks. The driver is right.

Here's the question: What else will police be able to do without proof if they can now give speeding tickets if they simply think a car's going too fast?

Go to, and give us your thoughts -- Wolf.

BLITZER: It's pretty shocking when you think about it, Jack, you know?

CAFFERTY: Well, it's absurd.


CAFFERTY: But, you know, hey, it's Ohio.


BLITZER: Get ready. You're going to get some e-mail now, Jack. Thank you.


BLITZER: Let's get back to the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico right now.

President Obama talked about it in an exclusive interview with CNN's Larry King over at the White House. Larry asked the president about calls for the U.S. military to take charge.


KING: Senator Nelson wants the Defense Department, he says, more fully involved, more troops.

OBAMA: Yes, you know, I think that there's a mistaken understanding.

First of all, the Coast Guard is part of our armed services, and they're responsible for the coordinating, along with the responsible party, in this case, BP, to make sure that recovery efforts are top- notch.

And what I have said to Thad Allen, who's the national incident coordinator, and is somebody who has been dealing with oil spills for 39 years now, is, whatever you need, you will get.

KING: So, if he says troops, they will get troops?

OBAMA: If he says that there's equipment that's helpful in dealing with this problem, he will get it.

But, keep in mind, that all this stuff has to be coordinated. Right now, we have got over 20,000 people who are working there. We've authorized the activation of 17,000 National Guardsmen. We've got 1,700 vessels already in the water.

And what you don't want is a situation where everybody is stepping on each other and not doing the best possible job in coordination with the state and local levels.


BLITZER: Remember, the entire interview of the president and the -- and Larry King coming up 9:00 p.m. Eastern on "LARRY KING LIVE."

Let's talk about what we just heard, though, from the president with our national security contributor, Fran Townsend. She was the homeland security adviser to President Bush. She worked in the Clinton Justice Department as well.

When the president said the Coast Guard is part of the armed forces, our armed forces, he said, the Coast Guard is not part of the Department of Defense. It's part of the Department of Homeland Security. So, technically, is the president right?


Let's remember, while the Coast Guard -- the Coast Guard's moved around during the course of its history. It's been in the Treasury Department, the Transportation Department. And with the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security, it was put there. But it is recognized as one of the uniformed military services of this country, along with the Army and Navy and the others.

And people often forget that. And I think that's what -- the misimpression, misunderstanding the president was trying to correct. His point here is, if Thad Allen is the national incident commander, needs resources from the Department of Defense that will be useful here, here's going to get it.

But we have heard from officials in the Department of Defense and the around the country there is no special capability. The Department of Defense doesn't have some magic bullet that's going to stop the flow of oil. If they did, they would have it.

BLITZER: But they could do a more effective job, presumably, in cleaning it up, not necessarily stopping it, but going out there, the U.S. Navy and others, to try to deal with the oil that's getting closer and closer, not only to Louisiana, but Alabama and Mississippi, and now even Florida.

TOWNSEND: Well, I -- that's right, Wolf. And so the question really becomes is, there capability like that in the Department of Defense that Thad Allen needs and hasn't called on, and why?

I don't think the coordination of all the resources has been quite as good, to-notch, to use the president's phrase, as he suggested in the interview. I mean, let's remember, the president said, we're throwing everything at this. We have given them all the resources they need. And yet, a couple days after he made that statement, he said he would ask Thad Allen to triple the number of people devoted to cleanup. This has not really been flawless, and so frankly the coordination of the massive amounts of resources that are required there is a huge task, and the question is, does Thad Allen have all the support he needs to coordinate those resources?

BLITZER: We know the U.S. military is excellent in coordinating a massive response, as they were during Katrina as well.

TOWNSEND: That's right. That's right.

BLITZER: Thanks very much for that, Fran Townsend.

CNN's Kyra Phillips is with the Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen right now. We will travel into the Gulf for an exclusive inside look at the spill zone. Kyra is there with Admiral Allen.

And we will also look at the human suffering caused by the spill, and it is enormous. Our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, says there's a new kind of complaint he's hearing right now. Sanjay will join us live.


BLITZER: We will check in with Kyra Phillips and Sanjay Gupta. They're on the scene in the Gulf of Mexico for us right now.


BLITZER: There are new developments in the oil disaster coming in to THE SITUATION ROOM right now. We're going to take you on board the rig to try to cap that leak. Kyra Phillips is the only reporter to get exclusive access. We will check in with her.

And the bad call that cost A Major League pitcher a perfect game -- even the White House is now weighing in.


BLITZER: Let's get back to our top story.

It's an -- a very, very difficult situation happening underwater right now. We're about to get an extraordinary look at the effort on the surface of what's going on.

CNN's Kyra Phillips traveled with the national incident commander, the Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, to the actual rig that is trying to cap the pipe. She's the only reporter to visit this site, and she sent us this exclusive report.


KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: This is actually the first time that we have been able to talk to you and all the workers here on these rigs. This is basically your vessel. I mean you are in charge of the workers here.

Tell me how tough this has been on you guys. I -- I know there's been a lot of scrutiny, a lot of criticism.

How are you guys taking that in and how painstaking is this for you?

THAD ALLEN, COMMANDANT, UNITED STATES COAST GUARD: It's -- it's a very tough job. You can understand that. Mel Major Three (ph) is working on the relief well. The job activity that's going on right now around us and we're trying to stay focused on what we're are doing. It takes time to drill a well -- a relief well, to do it safely and effectively, which was what we are trying to do. All of these other vessels are actually trying to stem the flow of oil at this time. So that's been very difficult. And the most difficult thing is to keep everybody focused on what we are doing here, keep them safe and get the well drilled.

PHILLIPS: And, Lee, everybody in this country wants -- is -- I mean they're screaming, can't you work faster?

Can't you do something?

Can't you stop that oil from gushing?

And you said to me, no one wants this done faster than you guys that are on this operation. But explain why this is tedious and why it's so time-consuming.

ALLEN: Well, from our end of it, as far as drilling the relief well, it's got to be designed. It's got to be drilled. It's -- it's not a fast process. It's not a fast process to drill any well. And it's got to be developed and drilled.

Our goal was to stem the flow of oil for a long-term solution, not the short-term solution. So that's what our main activity is.

PHILLIPS: And there are actually members of this crew that are related to the 11 that died in this explosion.

How tough has that been for them to come to work?

And do you think of those co-workers that you lost every day when you wake up and work these long days?

ALLEN: Well, it's been very tough, especially for people that lost people. We all know somebody that worked over there. We're all relations. It's a small industry. It's a small company, relatively, when you -- when you think of the number of people on the rigs that we have.

So we've all got some association with members that were on the Horizon, both those who were lost and those that survived. So we try to stay focused on that. We're trying to give the support to the guys who lost family members and -- and just trying to -- try to keep focused on what we're doing now.

I do know that -- that the few individuals that I've discussed this with at -- they are having a hard time sleeping at night. And they want everybody to know that we're doing everything that we possibly can. Like Lee Lelan (ph) said, you know, this is probably the world's most critical well in the oil industry. We're not going to rush. We're not going to hurt anybody. We're going to protect everybody.

And we're going to remember that this is the place where we had a catastrophic event. There was a loss of life. And it's on one of the world's best offshore drilling rigs. So that, in and of itself right there, is more reason to respect this well. We're in deep water. All these vessels around here are going to be working safe. We're all working together. And at the end of the day, that's all we want. We want people to come out here and go home safe.


BLITZER: All right. Kyra filed that report just a little while ago.

We're going to go to her live. That's coming up after the break. Stand by for that.

And you've probably heard about possible physical health effects from prolonged exposure to the oil spill.

But could it also be causing deep psychological problems, as well?

Our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta -- he's standing by, as well. We'll speak with him live.

And when it comes to bad sports officiating, you could call it a perfect storm. A pitcher's chance at history destroyed by an umpire's mistake. I'll talk about it with John King.

Stay with us.



BLITZER: CNN's Kyra Phillips has had some incredible access to what's going on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico.

She's joining us now live from Baton Rouge -- you're back on the ground right now, Kyra.

Walk us through a little bit about what you're hearing about the success or failure of this latest effort to contain this gusher. PHILLIPS: Well, as, you know, Wolf, I just came straight from the rigs. I was able to see everything firsthand. I was able to talk to the workers that have been walked -- working through the day and through the night trying to cap -- you know, put a cap on this gusher.

And I can tell you that according to the workers there on the rig, in addition to Admiral Thad Allen, this has been the most positive part of the day so far because that cut was successful. And they've been able to lower that top hat. And it's a very slow process. And that's one thing that I said to the workers. I said -- because they told me they can't even watch the news anymore. It's been really frustrating and heart-wrenching for them, because they feel that no one understands how hard they are working and how fast they are working to handle this. But it's a very slow and methodical process because they don't want to make any mistakes. They're very concerned about safety, as you can imagine. And they want -- they want this they want to get this right. So it's a very slow process of lowering that top hat and trying to make a connection to where they -- they severed the pipe. And because they -- they couldn't get a clean cut, Wolf, as you know, as the top hat comes down, it's going to be a bit crooked. And that's going to be the tricky part. And that's what we're waiting to see.

I wish we could have stayed longer. But as you can see, the weather got intense and we had a small opportunity to get out of there, otherwise, we might have been stuck there for who knows how long. And, of course, the admiral had to move on to a number of things he has to tend to with this response.

So we, unfortunately had to leave quickly. We wanted to spend more time. But that's where they were when I left just about an hour ago.

BLITZER: All right. Kyra.

We're going to check back with you tomorrow.

Kyra's doing some excellent reporting for us on the scene. She's had exclusive access.

Thanks very much.

We've heard about cleanup workers and others in the Gulf region experiencing some physical symptoms that may be related to the exposure to the oil spill.

But what about the psychological impact of the disaster?

Our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, is looking in to this for us -- Sanjay, what are you finding out?

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, it's interesting here, Wolf. And I should point out, the noise you hear in the background is a riverboat passing by in this area. This particular area, it's no secret, has been hit very hard. After Katrina, specifically with regard to mental health, a lot of doctors left. A lot of clinics were shut down. And so you had fewer resources, while at the same time the demand for those resources was going up. So that was sort of the starting point. And we know that things like depression, anxiety, PTSD, those increase after some sort of event like this.

What -- what is interesting and what I found today, Wolf, is that when you look at something like Katrina -- a natural disaster -- it certainly has an impact on people in terms of their mental health.

When you have a disaster like this, the oil disaster, which is manmade, it seems to have a more profound impact. It seems to lead to higher rates of frustration, depression, later on down the line.

So there's lots of data looking at previous disasters all over the world. And that's really what they're struggling with. There are not enough resources and increased demand. And now something that, at least from a mental health standpoint, may be even worse than Katrina.

BLITZER: Sanjay, tell me a little bit about this special that you have coming up later tonight on "TOXIC CHILDHOOD." We saw your special last night. It was amazing. But walk us through what we're about to see later tonight.

GUPTA: You know, there's so many things that we think we know absolutely to be true in science, you know, certain levels of what is toxic, you know, based on the best available science at the time. Years later, sometimes decades later, we found out some of those things weren't true.

And the concern was could people have been harmed during the time that that science was still being collected?

But part of this special tonight, "TOXIC CHILDHOOD" took a trip back 60 years to look at how our society has changed.

Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Life today is so much more pleasant. Yes, it's good to be alive today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's 1947, Anytown, USA.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No doubt you've heard of DDT, jet propulsion, the atom bomb -- in short, the better known wonders of the modern world.

GUPTA: I'm here to take a look at the latest wonder product, the pesticide DDT.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a handful of concentrated death. Hmm.

GUPTA: That sounds dangerous.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But this new insect destroyer contains a lot of DDT, not just a little. Its DDT content is even higher than government specifications.

GUPTA: But it's nothing to worry about, right?

After all, they said it was safe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Used right, it is absolutely harmless to humans and animals.

GUPTA: You could use it anywhere in the home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's perfect for ridding Fido of those unwelcome house guests.

GUPTA: It's even safe around children. A generation of new pesticides -- liquids, powders, sprays -- everywhere. Look, we all know how this turned out. The promise of safety was completely untrue.


GUPTA: And good evening.

I'm Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

That film clip was a 1947 version of an infomercial. And it was actually shown in department stores to try and sell the new pest killer, DDT. They did seem so naive back then about the dangers.

But do you know what?

There is evidence that we're starting to repeat the same pattern, using chemicals that we're told are safe today only to find out that they're not. So tonight in "TOXIC CHILDHOOD," we ask questions.

How are common chemicals impacting the health of our children and what can we do to minimize the risks for our kids?

As a reporter, a doctor, and, most importantly, as a father of three, I believe it's time for some real answers.

So we begin tonight with the very latest science that reveals a broad mix of chemicals now entering our children's bodies before they're even born.


BLITZER: It's an amazing special. You can catch the rest of the provocative special later tonight. It includes ways you can protect yourself against potentially harmful chemicals. Sanjay Gupta, M.D. "TOXIC AMERICA." It airs at 8:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

Thank you, Sanjay, for doing this.

Will the baseball commissioner reverse the bad call that cost a pitcher a perfect game?

Bud Selig has just made a decision. We'll have the latest.

Plus, the story behind Osama bin Laden's, yes, boarding pass.

CNN Jeanne Moos takes a Moost Unusual look.


BLITZER: The Associated Press is reporting that baseball Commissioner Bud Selig has just decided he will not -- repeat not reverse an umpire's bad call that cost a Detroit pitcher a perfect game.

Let's talk about it -- everybody's talking about it -- with CNN's John King.

He's the host of "JOHN


That begins right at the top of the hour.

I don't know anyone who doesn't say -- I mean maybe there are people who think they should let this stand. But everybody I've spoken to, John, thinks they should reverse it.

JOHN KING, HOST, "JOHN KING USA": It's a very tough one. You know, the governor of Michigan says it's a perfect game. At the White House today, Robert Gibbs said maybe we'll have an executive order. We call it a perfect game. Baseball has a very long tradition, as most sports do, of not overturning a decision. If there's not an instant replay -- and there's not in baseball in a situation like this -- the long tradition is that the game is over, maybe you admit you made a mistake, but you don't overturn the results.

BLITZER: Let's...

KING: And the...

BLITZER: Let's watch the play.

KING: Sure.

BLITZER: Turn around. And we have it up there. We'll see -- we'll see the batter hit it and then throw the -- throw the ball.

Watch this.

You see it?

It looks like -- all right. I don't know if we have it in slow motion, but if we do -- there it is right there.

Watch this.

KING: Yes.

BLITZER: You see, he catches it.

KING: Yes.

BLITZER: The batter is clearly, clearly out, but they call it safe.

KING: A bit of what we call a snow cone there, the ball at the edge of the glove. But the ball's not moving. And you see that when you see the instant replay.

Now, the umpire is there. This is moving at full speed, not instant replay. But what strikes you here -- there will be some outrage, why don't they reverse this?

What everyone should focus on, though, is what an amazing display of class and dignity by all involved.

Armando Galarraga (ph), the pitcher, he has a perfect game. I mean there's, what, 21 of these. It would -- it would have been the third one in twenty something days. But it would have been only the 22nd in the history of baseball. And he just kind of smiles and shrugs, what do you mean he's not out?

And then after he says the umpire came and admitted he made a mistake, they exchanged hugs, they again exchanged handshakes today at home plate before the day game today.

The class indignity by everybody here is quite amazing. If that had you, Wolf, or that had been me...


KING: -- you realize, you're a lot calmer than I am. If that had been me, I don't think I would have been smiling like that.

BLITZER: You know, I think, just me personally, Bud Selig should have reversed it. Maybe he still can. He's the commissioner. He can do whatever he wants.

KING: What he says they are going to do is review with the players' union and the managers and the umpires union maybe some ways around this in the future, but to have some specific circumstances like this, a perfect game, a no-hitter where you might bring in replay. There's no replay right now for call safe or out at the bases. They're going to have some kind of review. I bet that's what you do get out of this. If you have something so important -- a potential perfect game -- that they (INAUDIBLE).

BLITZER: Baseball has go to go to the 21st century. They've got to have instant replay. They've to deal with this, because it's just too heartbreaking to have to live with what we saw yesterday.

KING: Let's go to the videotape.

BLITZER: Yes, that's correct. It's good enough for football, basketball, tennis. They should do it for baseball, as well. KING: Commissioner Blitzer has spoken.

BLITZER: I have spoken. That's my opinion. And I'm sticking by it, John.

Are you going to have more of this at the top of the hour?

KING: We will talk a little bit of baseball, as well. A lot of other important news, but the baseball is always part (INAUDIBLE).

BLITZER: Baseball is good.

KING: And remember, the NBA finals start tonight, too.

BLITZER: Yes. I'll -- I'll be watching tonight.


Jack Cafferty is coming up next with your e-mail.

Then, get this -- the boarding pass that forced an airline to apologize. It's for Osama bin Laden. CNN's Jeanne Moos takes a Moost Unusual look.


BLITZER: Let's check back with Jack for The Cafferty File -- Jack.

CAFFERTY: The question this hour is, what else will police in Ohio be able to do without proof if they can now give speeding tickets if they simply think that a car is going too fast.

Steve writes from Texas: " It sounds like the speed traps throughout the Buckeye State will be wallowing in more ill-gotten cash than a Wall Street bank. More practically and less sarcastically, this ruling will erode the sort of community trust that law enforcement needs to do its job correctly. And I hope the Ohio laughing will reverse itself during the next session."

An ex-cop writes this: "I was trained by a highly regarded 10 month law enforcement academy. The extensive speed estimate training was limited to about two hours of guessing the speeds of cars driving by. This is an inappropriate decision by the Ohio courts. Even police have to be kept honest. And thinking or guessing that is car is going too fast doesn't cut it."

M writes: "I went to training to stay out of Ohio. So far, it's working."

Nik in Austin, Texas: "Don't act so surprised. Law enforcement officials have been overstepping their authority for decades and the court system always supports them."

Missy writes: "As long as people still have the right to fight the ticket in court, it shouldn't matter. Without proof, I can't imagine these tickets will hold up in court."

Peer writes: "Nothing new, I once got a ticket because the cop could hear my motorcycle was speeding. Very impressive."

John writes: "Did you see the blown call in Detroit's almost perfect game yesterday Yes, even highly trained professionals get it wrong."

Anton writes: "That's what you get if you live in Ohio."

And Tim writes: "We might as well just skip sobriety tests, too. If you appear to be drunk in the eyes of law, you are a drunk, so long as the officer has been well-trained in identifying drunk people. What could possibly go wrong?"

If you want to read more on the subject, go to my blog at -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Will do, Jack.


See you tomorrow.

Coming up at the top of the hour on "JOHN

KING USA," he'll have an interview with President Obama's senior energy and climate adviser, Carol Browner, talking about the oil spill and energy policy. Stand by for that.

But first, some most unusual names turning up on an airliner boarding pass.

Jeanne Moos will tell us about some passengers you probably wouldn't want to be seated next to.

Stick around.



BLITZER: Here's a look at some Hot Shots coming in from our friends over at the Associated Press.

In Ukraine, activists of the Ukrainian women's movement dress as policemen to protect -- to protest their lack of rights.

In Afghanistan, a young girl peeks out of a hole in a tent at a local school.

At a gallery in London -- look at this -- an employee tip-toes through a new art exhibit.

And in China, a man cycles past an advertisement for this summer's World Cup soccer tournament in South Africa. Hot Shots -- pictures worth a thousand words.

What if you were at the airport and heard the P.A. announcer make a final boarding call for Osama bin Laden?

Jeanne Moos has the story of a most unusual boarding pass.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: (voice-over): Welcome aboard, Mr. Bin Laden?

Yes, Osama bin Laden is the name on a boarding pass, sitting in seat 7C. But before you get all fired up at British Airways, the boarding pass was part of a photograph on the cover of a staff publication at Heathrow Airport.

The question is, how did this name get on there?

(on camera): Osama bin Laden may not actually have been flying, but the rumors were -- rumors that this may have been a prank, perhaps carried out by a disgruntled employee.

(voice-over): One of its unions has been carrying out strikes against British Airways. The airline apologized for the bin Laden boarding pass and explained that "the photograph in question had been downloaded from an Internet image gallery." It's almost identical to an Osama boarding pass that's been floating around the Internet for years. British Airways says, "Unfortunately, the details of the boarding pass were not noted."

You call him a detail?

But as someone posted: I suppose one thing about it, you would be perfectly safe if he was on your plane." It sort of reminds us of the airport prank pulled by Australian comedians called The Chasers using names sounding like Al Qaeda and terrorists.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Terry Wrist or Al Kyder.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, it was just -- it happens to be the names we used to book some domestic tickets this week.


MOOS: They managed to get their boarding passes.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And then when I didn't board the flight, they even paged me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. This is the final boarding call for (INAUDIBLE) for Franklin Al Kyder.


MOOS: From Terry Wrist to terrifying. Wait until you see the takeoff at the Dallas/Fort Worth airport.

(voice-over): But it wasn't a plane, it was a car taking off at the toll plaza. Twenty-two-year-old Yasmine Villasana got out of the car before it blew up. She was charged with driving while intoxicated. She told police she had only one vodka and cranberry and had been rear-ended. Chevy Impala cleared for take-off.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


BLITZER: All right, Jeanne, thank you.

Remember, you can always follow what's going on behind the scenes here in THE SITUATION ROOM. I'm on Twitter. You can get my Tweets -- -- all one word.

Thanks very much for watching.

I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.

"JOHN KING USA" starts right now.