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The legal and political disaster for BP expands, even as the environmental disaster for the Gulf becomes more evident by oil drenched pelicans

Aired June 5, 2010 - 18:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR, THE SITUATION ROOM Gut wrenching images from the Gulf of Mexico, as the oil disaster takes a devastating toll on wildlife.

Also, a CNN exclusive. Our own Kyra Phillips travels to the heart of the effort to cap that leaking well. Extraordinary access you will only see here on CNN.

And the latest on the spread of this catastrophe. Crude and tar balls now fouling beaches previously untouched.

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

An extraordinary look at the effort happening in the Gulf of Mexico. CNN's Kyra Phillips traveled with National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen to the actual rig that's trying to cap the leaking pipe. She is joining us now with an exclusive look.

Kyra, you're the only reporter allowed inside. Give us a quick update on what you saw.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I tell you, it's hard to say quick, Wolf. You know how complex this is? And for the first time, I saw why this is so complex. Being embedded with the admiral for two days gave me just a glimpse into his life, from what he deals with, starting at 4:30 in the morning, all the way to the end of the day. You wouldn't believe the phone calls from the White House to the Cabinet secretaries, to governors to congressmen, congresswomen, to the local fishermen. And then he's got to deal with this tremendous disaster in the Gulf. Trying to cap this oil gusher, and deal with BP every moment of the way to make that happen.

Finally, second day in, was our chance to see it firsthand. We unprecedented access, even had a chance to broadcast live from that explosion that happened 46 days ago. Take a listen.


ADMIRAL THAD ALLEN, NAITONAL INCIDENT COMMANDER: The real focus right now is to get that containment cap in place below the discovery enterprise, continue drilling the two relief wells. The first one is on the DD-3 that we're on right now. PHILLIPS (On camera): Let's make that connection, as they're working to get that top hat on right now, to seal that, how is this going to benefit --

ALLEN: The relief well is going to be below us, starting to be angled over and somewhere between 16 and 18,000 feet below the sea floor, it will intersect the well bore, and at that point, start pumping heavy mud in to drive the oil, the hydrocarbons, down to the reservoir to stabilize it so they can put a plug in, or do what they call a bottom kill. After that's done, there should be no pressure below the blow out preventer. That will allow them to actually remove and cap the well, bring the blowout preventer up and do forensic analysis here.

PHILLIPS: Explain the bottom kill, here, and how that is going to make what's happening on the Discovery Enterprise successful.

ALLEN: The intention is to bring the well bore up, well down below the surface near the reservoir, and then pump heavy mud in to counteract the pressure of the oil coming up. That will allow them to basically plug or kill the well. Once that is done, you can do things like remove the blowout preventer and bring it to the surface and find out what happened.

PHILLIPS: How soon do you think that could happen, Ted, or are you just working as fast as you can?

TED STUKENBORG, TRANSOCEAN: We're working as efficiently and safely as possible.

PHILLIPS: I know you don't to make any mistakes.

STUKENBORG: That's correct.

PHILLIPS: How has it been for you? What's it like to get up in the morning and deal with media scrutiny and have to come out here and do everything you can to make this happen?

CAPT. NICK SCHINDLER, TRANSOCEAN: It can be frustrating at times. The thing is, we have to make sure that the crew is focused on the job. At the end of the day, we want to drill this well as efficiently as possible. And we want to do it with no incidents, with want to do it with no injuries to anybody. In fact, we want to have everybody who comes on this rig go home in better condition than when they came on this rig.

Part of the problem is, there is a lot of outside scrutiny on what it is that we're doing out here. And I think the American population is wanting this well to be done. They want it now. We all want it done now. But we all have to understand that this is a well that killed 11 people. We have to understand that we're sitting over the top of one of the world's best drilling rigs. The well that we're drilling right now killed 11 people, and sunk a rig. And so we're no going to speed up. And we're going to do this as safe as possible. And we're not going to hurt anybody. And that's our goal.

PHILLIPS: What's the deal with the water spray that's taking place next to the Enterprise?

ALLEN: You can see the water being sprayed out of its stern. As the product is rising up, because we know there is oil coming out of the riser pipe until we get the containment cap on it right now, they're actually putting water over the surface to reduce the volatile organic compounds that come up off the oil that produce inhalant problems for the workers out there. So this is it actually a safety issue to put water over the top of the oil so fumes don't come up.

PHILLIPS: Because when we were flying in, the smell was so strong, it's like fresh tar smell.

ALLEN: And one way to reduce that is to spray water to reduce the vapors.


PHILLIPS: And, Wolf, that's another part of this story that we have been talking about. Of course, the environmental disaster that this has caused and now the issues with regard to health. Health of the workers that are out there, health of the fishermen that are out there, and you've got an admiral that is in charge of a massive response effort here, and at the same time, he's also got to be in communication with the Attorney General Eric Holder, as he considers weighing charges against BP; a company that the admiral has to work with right now to try and end this disaster.

BLITZER: It's a delicate tight rope. A very, very sad situation unfolding. Kyra, thanks for the excellent reporting. Kyra is on the scene for us, doing her work.

We're seeing more of the devastating toll the oil is having on wildlife. Birds covered in crude, literally gasping for air. Anderson Cooper saw it up close.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: We had just gotten off a boat, we were out on the water, and a lot of people anecdotally 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 out of the water, and we saw these three birds that had just been brought in. And really, I had never seen anything like this in terms of animals that are just so completely drenched in oil. Obviously, these birds were alive, but you could see them, they're gasping for breath, they're trying to breathe. Some of them can barely move, frankly. Finally, 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. And they were put into a cardboard box, and taken off to a facility, the 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.

They certainly looked in really, really bad shape. And the sad thing, it's just off shore of the dock on a series of sort of rocks that are like jetty. There were a number of pelicans just sitting, and a number of them 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 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 sickening to see it up close.

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

COOPER: You know, I -- 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 since, but just about just about everywhere I go, these fishermen who say I took the BP course in how to lay boom, I've been waiting around for weeks for a phone call, I want to help and I've got a boat. And they are not getting called up. BP will say there are only a certain amount of people we can hire and only a certain amount of room out there. But there is certainly a lot of skepticism among people on Grand Isle and elsewhere that they haven't got all the people they need, that they're doing as much as they can, especially when you see images like those birds.


BLITZER: President Obama returned to the Gulf Coast on Friday, one week after his most recent tour of the spill zone. Mr. Obama vented his frustration about this disaster to CNN's Larry King this week. They sat down for an exclusive interview at the White House.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am furious at this entire situation. Because this is an example of where somebody didn't think through the consequences of their actions, and it is imperiling not just a handful of people. This is imperiling an entire way of life, and an entire region for potentially years.


BLITZER: President Obama now visiting what's a potential crime scene. But should the attorney general have made the investigation public?

Also, new concerns about another BP rig in the Gulf of Mexico. What if disaster strikes again? And he's been one of the most outspoken critics of the federal response. Did his meeting with President Obama change anything? Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: We will ensure that every cent -- every cent of taxpayer money will be repaid, and that damages to the environment and wildlife will be reimbursed. We will make certain that those responsible clean up the mess that they have made. And restore, or replace the natural resources that were lost or injured in this tragedy. And we will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law anyone who has violated the law.


BLITZER: The attorney general of the United States, Eric Holder, announcing this week, a criminal probe into the Gulf Coast oil disaster. I asked the chairman of the Congressional Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, Massachusetts' Democrat Ed Markey, whether there is any evidence of criminal wrongdoing at this point.


REP. ED MARKEY, (D-MA), CHAIRMAN, SELECT CMTE. ENERGY IND. & GLOBAL WARMING: I think that there's enough evidence, for sure, to justify the opening of a criminal investigation.

BLITZER: Who potentially broke the law?

MARKEY: Well, first of all, BP said they had the capacity to deal with a spill that would be 250,000 barrels per day. Initially, they said that this spill was only 1,000 barrels a day. Then they upped it to 5,000 barrels per day.

BLITZER: But is that a criminal act, do you think, potentially?

MARKEY: We could go all the way down the line and spend the whole day going through the litany of things that have been identified that BP represented they could do, but they did not do. It begins with them certifying that the rig could not sink. And it goes right through all of the rest of the assertions made by BP. So it turns out -

BLITZER: So, you think BP was negligent?

MARKEY: At a minimum, they're negligence.

BLITZER: Was the regulatory agency that is supposed to supervise offshore oil drilling negligent?

MARKEY: I think there was a ticking time bomb that was allowed to be placed out in the middle of the ocean. I do believe that MMS did not do its job.

BLITZER: That is the agency of the Department of Interior. MARKEY: The agency responsible.

BLITZER: Should heads roll-one head has already rolled there. Should other heads roll? The secretary of the Interior, Secretary Salazar, for example. Should he stay on the job?

MARKEY: Yes, he should stay on the job. But I think this goes back to the "drill, baby, drill" era of the Bush administration. This is a time bomb that was set a long -- in the -- in the distant past.

BLITZER: Because you know the Obama administration had a year-and-a- half to clean it up.

MARKEY: I know that. But they did not actually put their person on the job until July of 2009. So most of decisions were made long ago, and far away, as part of a cozy relationship between BP and other oil companies, and MMS. And we're now beginning to see, unfortunately, the consequences of that.

BLITZER: BP put out a statement saying BP will cooperate with any inquiry the Department of Justice will undertake, just as we are doing in response to the inquiries that are already ongoing. You've got your own congressional investigation into this. Are they fully cooperating with your committee?

MARKEY: I think that there's a -- there's still a lot of denial on the part of BP . For example, just two days ago, Tony Hayward, the CEO, said that there was no evidence of any underwater plumes in the ocean. When, in fact, independent scientists at the University of South Florida, the University of Southern Mississippi, have identified those plumes. Again, in each instance, unfortunately, and increasingly, BP is more interested in their own liability than they are in the livability of the Gulf of Mexico, and we have to keep that in mind every day for the rest of this summer.

BLITZER: Let me see if you agree with Robert Reich, the former Labor secretary, during the Clinton administration, a man you know. He says this. He says, "It's time for the federal government to put BP under temporary receivership, which gives the government authority to take over BP's operations in the Gulf of Mexico, until the gusher is stopped. This is the only way the public will know what's going on. Do you agree with Secretary Reich?

MARKEY: Well, BP is not going into bankruptcy. It's not General Motors. For all intents and purposes, right now, the federal government is in the room on every decision that is being made by BP.

BLITZER: Should they take charge, though?

MARKEY: They are in charge. There is no decision which is now being made that isn't being supervised by Secretary-

BLITZER: Do you want them to go further?

MARKEY: I think that we're in charge right now. I mean, the president doesn't have a magic wand in order to cure all of the problems that were created by BP. But in terms of going forward and the way it's been for the last month, the federal government is in the room, supervising BP, making sure that all decisions are made in the public interest.

Credibility and competence of BP is in serious question. And as a result, the Obama administration has guaranteed and is on the job making sure that all decisions are made in the public interest and not in the private interests of BP.

BLITZER: But the federal government needs BP, because they have the expertise, which the Department of the Interior, the Department of Energy, the Pentagon, they don't have that expertise.

MARKEY: It's BP's spill. It is BP's equipment. But it's the ocean of the United States' government.

BLITZER: But the federal government says --


BLITZER: The federal government says they can't do it, they need BP.

MARKEY: And the people of our nation, so that's why our government has to be in the room with this private company, in order to make sure that the only decisions that are made are totally in the public interest and not in the interest of a private corporation that has caused this historic spill.

BLITZER: BP sent e-mails in March to the government agency, the Minerals Management Services in the Department of the Interior, saying they were worried about this well. Did the federal government do anything when they expressed their concern?

MARKEY: That's what an investigation is going to have to determine. That's why we're going to have to have every single aspect of this understood, not just in the preceding month, but going all the way back two, three years ago, when decisions were made with regard to what kind of in-depth safety precautions had to be put in place in order to avoid a catastrophic accident.

BLITZER: Congressman Markey, thanks for coming in.

MARKEY: Thank you. Thanks for having me.


BLITZER: There are questions about the Justice Department's criminal probe of the Gulf oil disaster. CNN National Security Contributor Fran Townsend says the Attorney General Eric Holder's announcement this week was rather unusual. She worked in the Bush White House also in the Justice Department during the Clinton administration.


FRAN TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: Wolf, there's sort of long culture and history in the Justice Department, not to mention regulations, ethics regulations, that discourage prosecutors, particularly someone as prominent as the attorney general, from holding a press conference to announce an ongoing investigation, or one they have started. And there are very strict guidelines about press interaction by a prosecutor after an indictment.

But you have to ask yourself why would -- what was the interest of the Justice Department in having a press conference at this stage? Clearly it's very early. They have many facts, many things to understand, e-mails, documents, interviews, before they'll be able to make a judgment. We saw a dramatic impact on the value of the stock at a time when Gulf residents really need BP to be able to be financially stable to pay their liabilities.

And so -- and what good purpose was to be served? I will tell you, Wolf, there are those lawyers here in town whose reaction was this was a political move. The administration needed to show some action, and so people are mad at BP, and saying you have a criminal investigation is at least indicating some amount of action. But it's not really the appropriate role of a prosecutor. They do their business normally quietly and behind the scenes.

BLITZER: So even if there is a formal critical investigation you said way, key word, investigation, you don't necessarily announce that. Is that what you're saying?

TOWNSEND: That's exactly right. And more often than not, Wolf, these investigations go on for a good long time before there is anything public.

BLITZER: And once there are indictments -- and if there are no indictments, there are no announcements.

TOWNSEND: That's right. For one thing, Wolf, it's a basic fear. Suppose you do an investigation and you find nothing. You don't want to hurt somebody unnecessarily. The second reason is, when you're doing an investigation, you really don't to signal to the target of that investigation that you're looking for documents and witnesses. Now, let's be honest. I think people -- the American people expect there's an investigation. There had been some press in Louisiana suggesting there was before the press by attorney general.

And so, you know, look, if there is -- if there is negligence and people were killed, there ought to be a criminal case here. It's just the question is one of propriety of having a press conference to announce your intention.

BLITZER: It was basically confirming what a lot of people suspected, and it wasn't just them, he had a bunch of U.S. attorneys with him there at the scene, right?

TOWNSEND: That's right. They put on quite a show, a force, if you will, by having not only the attorney general, but all those U.S. attorneys there, and clearly, they're willing to commit substantial resources.

BLITZER: I know you worked with Eric Holder when you were at the Justice Department. Get ready for a phone call.

TOWNSEND: I don't think so.

BLITZER: Fran, thanks. An angry one. Thanks, Fran.


BLITZER: What if -- what if the current disaster in the Gulf is only the beginning? Details of growing concern about another BP rig.

And CNN Political Contributor, James Carville, tells us about his chance encounter with the CEO of BP at a New Orleans restaurant.


BLITZER: It is already the worst environmental disaster the country has ever seen. But what if the oil massive spill in the Gulf happened all over again? Here is CNN's Carol Costello.


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): There's a lot we don't know about what caused this environmental disaster. But we do know this. At least two engineers fear it could happen again on another BP deep sea rig, 190 miles off the Louisiana coast. It's called Atlantis, the deepest deep water platform of its kind the in world.

MIKE SAWYER, ENGINEERING SAFETY CONSULTANT: It would look essentially like the Horizon incident is just a hiccup if there was a similar incident aboard the Atlantis.

COSTELLO: Mike Sawyer, and engineer working with whistleblower and former Atlantis consultant Ken Abbott, told us they have examined thousands of BP's internal documents. They share the information with Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva, who found it so disturbing that he and 18 other lawmakers sent a letter to the Minerals Management Service, or mms, the agency that regulates the oil industry.

"Atlantis may be operating without crucial engineering documents, which, if absent, would increase the risk of a catastrophic accident."

SAWYER: The engineering drawings and specifications are the primary means that workers use to ensure that they can operate the platform safely, and can ensure that they can shut it down, or at least control any unsafe events.

COSTELLO: BP told us in a statement it conducted its own investigation after Abbott filed a false claims lawsuit in 2009. The government declined to join that lawsuit, although a few weeks ago, a judge ordered the case to go forward. BP still insists, though, Atlantis absolutely is safe. But that's not enough anymore.

ANNOUNCER: If BP can imagine this kind of a disaster and federal officials cater to the oil industry, then who is looking out for you? COSTELLO: The consumer advocacy group, Food & Water Watch, posted this web ad after joining forces with Abbott. They filed a lawsuit against mms for failing to provide proof that Atlantis is absolutely safe.

WENONAH HAUTER, FOOD & WATER WATCH: BP Atlantis should be shut down until the safety information can be verified. And there should be an immediate investigation of all of the operating platforms, beginning with BP's, to make sure that their safety information is available, and in order.

COSTELLO: But the Obama administration and MMS, have no plans to order Atlantis to halt operations. Although MMS now says it's launched its own investigation into safety operations on the Atlantis.


BLITZER: Carol Costello reporting for us.

Up next, Billy Nungesser, one of the most outspoken critics in response to the oil spill. Also, CNN political contributor, and Louisiana native, Donna Brazile, gets personal about what the oil spill means to her and her family. Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM


BLITZER: As the disaster in the gulf grows, all eyes are on the federal response to the crisis. I discussed that with one of the most outspoken critics of the spill, the president of Louisiana's Plaquemines Parish, Billy Nungesser.


BLITZER: What is the current state of your criticism of the federal government in dealing with the issues?

BILLY NUNGESSER, PRESIDENT, PLAQUEMINES PARISH, LOUISIANA: Well, we just got approval for that - they're going to demand that BP pay for these reaches, so we want to thank the president for that. I really thought he would come through and he has. We're going to work with the Corps to get the other reaches approved.

We've still got some problems on the ground, but we're going to work those out. Hopefully we're going to get some more equipment in the marsh. We've got some difficulty in getting these large pools of - of oil out of the marsh. We can't leave them sit there, because they will end up further inland the next time the storm kicks up. So we've got to have some teams ready to go out and immediately get those out the marsh.

We've got some new equipment here in Venice, some oil separation equipment, and I'll be at the BP, with the Coast Guard of BP, at 5:30 in the morning. Hopefully we can get this equipment deployed and keep it out there, as the oil reappears in these ponded (ph) areas. We can suck it up and - and do the best we can where oil has come ashore. But those very islands (ph) is good news today. We're really glad to get that started because long-term, that's the only thing that's going to save Coastal Louisiana.

BLITZER: So, basically, I hear you saying that the meeting you had with the president last Friday helped this situation, and you're beginning to see a more energetic federal government response to the crisis that you're facing.

NUNGESSER: Absolutely. It - it obviously made a difference. He lived up to his word, and we're very glad. And I said all along, I knew the president cared. I could see it in his eye when he was down here the first time. We just needed a better line of communication and I can't thank him enough for moving forward and demanding BP step up to the plate and do the right thing.

BLITZER: What about Thad Allen, the Coast Guard Admiral, who's the National Incident commander, the man on the scene who's responsible. You were critical of him, but then you - you spoke with him, not so critical. Is he living up to his responsibilities right now?

NUNGESSER: Well, right now, absolutely. He's - he's heard our cries. He's taken that message back to the president and they decided to push BP to fund this. So I thank him, as well and we've seen a lot of new boots on the ground here. I know these local Coast Guard people care. We've just got to get organized and get the crews out there and save as much of this marsh as we can.

And, like we said, from day one, it's very difficult, if not impossible, to clean it up out of the marsh. That's why we need this first line of defense, and we're going to work hard very quickly to get that berm out there to give us the maximum protection and give us a fighting chance.

BLITZER: After you criticized Tony Hayward, the CEO of BP, he came out with a statement on his Facebook page, and I'm going to read it to you. He said this.

He said, "I made a hurtful and thoughtless comment on Sunday when I said that I, quote, 'wanted my life back'. I apologize, especially to the families of the 11 men who lost their lives in this tragic accident. My first priority is doing all we can to restore the lives of the people of the gulf region and their families, to restore their lives, not mine."

Is that good enough from Tony Hayward?

NUNGESSER: Well, let's see him step up to the plate and - and continue to fund the things that will save our coastline, make our fishermen whole, and - and support all the efforts. The communication line and the timeline between asking for help and getting it has been way too long. They have an opportunity to turn this thing around.

You know, they can put some things in place to make things happen a lot quickly. Don't - don't wait for someone to make you do something. Do the right thing. Let's - let's pull out every stop and do everything physically possible to save our coastline, our marshes and our way of life here.

Actions speak louder than words. Let's see BP step up to the plate now and - and really try to make a difference. Hopefully they will.

BLITZER: Hopefully they will, indeed.

Billy Nungesser, the president of the Plaquemines Parish. Good luck to you. We'll stay in close touch.

NUNGESSER: Thank you so much.


BLITZER: We'll go beyond politics with CNN contributors and Louisiana natives James Carville and Donna Brazile. You're going to find out why the oil spill is so very personal for both of them.

Also, what do the letters BP stand for? Jeanne Moos takes a "Moost Unusual" look at some most unusual suggestions.

Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: The oil crisis hits close to home for two of our Democratic strategists and political contributors.

James Carville is currently a New Orleans resident. He's from Louisiana. Donna Brazile is from Louisiana, as well. I spoke with both of them this week about their personal connections to the crisis. I asked Donna about Governor Bobby Jindal's claim that a drilling moratorium will cost thousands of jobs.


DONNA BRAZILE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, let me just say how I really feel, and that is I think that the moratorium should continue until we find out what caused the accident to happen. We need to make sure that there are proper safety procedures in place, that the sub sea blowout preventer problem has been fixed. And before we continue to drill - and I understand the economic impact, Wolf, for every one --

BLITZER: A lot of people will suffer in Louisiana.

BRAZILE: Look, not just the person who work on the rigs, but the people - the three or four people behind them, so I understand the economic impact. But can you imagine another - another disaster on top of the 20 million gallons of crude oil right now in the gulf?

BLITZER: So, you favor a moratorium on new deepwater exploratory operations?

BRAZILE: I believe that we should know exactly what happened before we continue drilling off the gulf.

BLITZER: Even the existing other drills similar to this deepwater drill?

BRAZILE: BP owns two of those drillings - two of those rigs out there. They co - they co-owned jointly (ph) on another two rigs. Now, why would we give them a license to continue to drill until we find out what happened?

Look, I do believe, I'm - I'm from Louisiana, and I - I understand the impact on the economy. But I'm worried about the safety and survival of 14 million people who live along those five coastal - Gulf states.

BLITZER: You know, we did a report yesterday saying there's another rig that could be in trouble right now and it's better to be safe than sorry. That's what I hear you say.

BRAZILE: I want to inspect those rigs. I'm not telling Governor Jindal not to advocate for reopening up those - those rigs, but let's make sure the proper safety procedures are in place.

BLITZER: You saw those pictures. Anderson Cooper and his team just came back. Those dead birds. I don't know if they're dead. Take a look at these pictures.


BLITZER: You can see that they're not dead. They're still breathing, but they're soaked with oil right now. As someone who grew up in that area, when you see those pictures, Donna, what goes through your mind?

BRAZILE: Nothing but anger. I'm angry. I mean, we're all are frustrated. We're frustrated at BP, the - the lack of a solution.

But I'm also worried that we're not going to get to - to those birds, to the other wildlife, to the - to the sea life and to human life. I'm worried about all of that. And, you know, I've been in constant communication with Lisa Jackson, the EPA administrator, because she was down there with Admiral Thad Allen.

BLITZER: She's from New Orleans originally, too.

BRAZILE: She's - and she's a proud graduate, too. I'm from LSU, so I don't hold that against her. But she's out there making sure the water quality, sampling the air, that's also very important for human life. Of course, we're worried about wildlife as well as the shell (ph) life as well.

BLITZER: What do you hear from your family?

BRAZILE: Well, they're worried because they don't know if this comes within the waterways during hurricane season. They're worried that, you know, that the - the inlets are protected. They're worried about the hurricane season because it's predicted to be one of the worst ever. But, you know, down in Louisiana, we pray.


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BLITZER: And let's bring in James Carville right now. He's just back here in Washington from New Orleans.

James, you've had some exciting moments over these past several weeks, some of them too exciting. But tell our viewers right now what happened last night. You're - you go out for dinner in New Orleans.

JAMES CARVILLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I'd actually driven up to Baton Rouge for a fundraiser from a (INAUDIBLE) -

BLITZER: He's a congressman.

CARVILLE: -- that's New Orleans Congress running for the Senate. And I was coming back and I called Ron Bernie (ph) and Mike Sherman (ph), two of my close friends at work with me who work in the mayor's office. I said meet me at 1179. Let's get some dinner.

BLITZER: That's a restaurant.

CARVILLE: Yes, it's a very kind of popular local kind of Creole, Italian place. The guy that owns it, Mr. Joe, is a very well known guy around town.

And so I walk in and somebody says, hey, that's Admiral Allen having dinner over there. So I go over because we had talked to each other on the phone and we're going to hook up and I said, admiral, you know, how are you doing? He kind of - he says, hey, sit down. I said, oh, look, you know, an admiral tells a corporal sit down, absolutely.

He said do you know who this is I'm having dinner with? And I look up and I said, absolutely. It's Tony Hayward.



And so we had like a pleasant conversation. We actually talked about our - I was working in Columbia and was going down there to see my friend, Ron delos Santos (ph), I worked for. And he and Admiral Allen have spent some time in Columbia with the Coast Guard Drug Interdiction and Tony Hayward had been there for BP.

And then --

BLITZER: So, let me just set the scene. So, it's Tony Hayward, Thad Allen and James Carville, the three of you. Now, you've been quite critical of Tony Hayward, everybody at BP. That must have been a little tense, that exchange that you had.

CARVILLE: It was - that was - you know, I mean, it wasn't - it was polite, but, yes, it was - it was, you know, it was tense.

And he asked me, he says, what can I do to - you know, you said some pretty harsh things about BP. What can we do to show you that we want to do right? And I said, well, I feel some harsh things about BP, and I said, you know, in all honesty I don't trust these and we're going - we're going to do things. We're going to show you that we really are committed to this.

And - so we just kind of talked. And he said, look, I want to come back in a year, and let's have dinner, and you're going to see that we're really serious. And I said, to tell you the truth, I'm - I've got to be honest with you, I'm very skeptical. I would love nothing better than to be wrong. I would love nothing better than to step back in here --

BLITZER: What do you want BP to do now that they're not doing?

CARVILLE: Well, I mean, you know, you're starting to see, I mean, that they're approving some of this stuff that the governor there is starting to do. A lot of people - there've been a lot of stuff about, you know, they come in, they put people on the beach, that they - you know, they're temporary hires. They say that people coming in and they have food poisoning and we report from a doctor they obviously don't have food poisoning. He said I can't say what they have, but they don't have that.

Be up front. Every piece of news we get from them is erroneous. They say a thousand barrels and then Mr. Hayward says we're just going on a government estimate. I said, yes, but - but Ed Markey (ph) finds an internal document you say one to 14,000. And I want them to be candid on - on the short side and tell people that they're going to -- you know, not just show people every day that they're going to stick with this.

And, if they do that, I'd love to have dinner and say, you know, look, I broke an egg over my head on television when I was wrong. I don't mind being wrong. And I'd love to be wrong about something that I'm - that I'm right - I'm predicting something bad. I'd love to come back and say, man, this is amazing what these guys have done.

BLITZER: We spoke to Billy Nungesser, the Plaquemines Parish president just a little while ago. He senses that after the president's visit there last Friday, President Obama, things are beginning to move a little bit more rapidly. He's - he's more encouraged than he was before.

CARVILLE: I hope he's right. Again, you know, I hate to criticize. I don't like criticizing my president. I don't like criticizing a president of my political party. I don't like criticizing the president who so many of the policies that this president had that I support and I think are good policies.

And I certainly don't harbor any - I mean, BP is to me is just a giant corporation. But, hey, I hope they surprise me. And I hope that, again, I hope a year from now we'll say, you know, it's an amazing thing, the - the commitment to the people of South Louisiana that came out of the BP and the administration.

But I'm skeptical. I just got - got to tell you, I'm a long way from getting there.

BLITZER: I know you are. Listen to Maureen Dowd of the "New York Times" writing today, "Obama wanted to be a transformative president and now the presidency is transforming him. Instead of buoyant, he seems to be - he seems put upon. Instead of the fairy dust of hopefulness, there's the bitter draught of helplessness."

And Tom Friedman writes this, "As you would say, Mr. President, this is your time, this is your moment. Seize it. A disaster is an inexcusable thing to waste."

It seems that you and these guys are all on the same page. You're deeply worried that this president isn't showing enough passion, energy and commitment.

CARVILLE: You know, look, I think that - obviously I want to try to be supportive. I'm doing everything I can. I do think that this thing was botched. I think it was a great political opportunity for them to be on top of this early and not start talking points about the deputy Secretary of Interior or whatever.

But, you know, I mean, the presidency (INAUDIBLE), you know, anybody like from South Louisiana knows, sometimes the baddest guy kind of sits quietly at the end of the bar and is sort of determined, and, I mean, if this president just shows that he's determined, he's committed, he's going to hold people, he's going to use the force of the federal government to see that this enormous wrong is righted, then I'll - I'll be fine with that.

You know, and I don't think people of Louisiana are waiting for him to come down and sort of weep with us or something like that. But they want to feel the force. I thought it was encouraging that the Attorney General was down there in - you know?

Let's see. Maybe - maybe things will happen and maybe we'll see, like, real action. We're starting to see that. Billy is starting to say that he's seeing things. The governor said today - thanked the president. You know, and the president -

They have to learn that we're Louisianans first. I mean, deep in - I mean, the blood of that state runs deep in my veins, like everybody else. And, you know, we've had - we've suffered enormous - enormous - two enormous engineering failures and these are not natural disasters or anything, nothing natural about shoddy, greedy engineering.

BLITZER: James, good luck.

CARVILLE: Thank you.


BLITZER: BP's logo gets an unwanted makeover. Jeanne Moos reports on some "Moost Unusual" ideas about what those two letters really ought to stand for.

And this reminder, join us Monday right here in THE SITUATION ROOM for an in-depth look at the effort to stem the flow of leaking oil. The situation is changing fast. We'll have all the latest developments Monday, 5:00 P.M. Eastern, right here on CNN.


BLITZER: BP's logo is getting a major makeover from people outraged over the spill. CNN's Jeanne Moos takes a look at the "Moost Unusual" modifications.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): While the oil spews out, so do the insults.

RAGING GRANNIES: Halliburton and BP, you suck.

MOOS: From a group calling itself the Raging Grannies, from comedians ridiculing BP's methods.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's see a pile of garbage and mud into the hole and cover it with a big hat. What, what?

MOOS: And everyone's finding new meaning for the initials BP.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: BP stands for bipolar. They don't know what the hell to do.

MOOS: The environmental group Greenpeace shot video of its members scaling BP headquarters in London.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've taken their flag and replaced it with our own flag.

MOOS: Their flag said British polluters.

BP's real slogan -

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Beyond Petroleum.

MOOS: -- may be Beyond Redemption.

Greenpeace is running a redesign BP logo contest. BP has become Boycott Petroleum, Blind Profit, Be Piratey.

The company logo has been transformed into eyes crying tears of oil, sardines in oil, bombs with the logo as the lit fuse and oil drips taking on the shape of ghosts.

One entry shoved BP's logo up a cat's behind. Meow.

In Manhattan, someone defaced an actual BP sign at a gas station.

MOOS (on camera): We're already a couple of days into the spill here at the corner of Crosby and Halsted in New York City, and still no cleanup.

MOOS (voice-over): Will they have to resort to top kill, top hat, junk shot?

BP had no comment when we asked for reaction to the attacks on their logo, a logo that got pulled off the podium moments before a press conference by President Obama's point man on the disaster. Then they tried to come up with solutions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm thinking right here --

MOOS: To plug the hole left by the missing logo.

Someone even rewrote Lady Gaga's hit song as a parody.


MOOS: Even Spongebob was done in by the oil slick in this image floating around the web. The Breaux Mart Grocery in New Orleans sold several $20 oil spill cakes showing the Louisiana shore with yellow booms separating the oil, chocolate frosting from the beach.

And the insults seem to be spreading, though maybe not as fast as the oil.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Take your broken drilling rigs and don't come back no more.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


BLITZER: A return from space. That and more, coming up next in our "Hot Shots."


BLITZER: Here's a look at "Hot Shots" coming in from our friends at "The Associated Press".

In Pakistan, a space craft lands, bringing a Russian cosmonaut and a Japanese astronaut back to Earth after six months on board the International Space Station.

In India, soldiers of the Central Reserve Police Force displayed their skills at a graduation day parade.

At Buckingham Palace, actor Patrick Stewart is knighted by Britain's Queen Elizabeth II.

And in California, look at this. Burrowing owls kicked out from their nest at a golf course.

"Hot Shots", pictures worth a thousand words.

I'm Wolf Blitzer. Join us weekdays in THE SITUATION ROOM from 5:00 to 7:00 P.M. Eastern, and every Saturday at 6:00 P.M. Eastern right here on CNN, and at this time every weekend on CNN International.

The news continues next on CNN.