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THE SITUATION ROOM
Oil Spill: Lessons from the Past; White House Summons BP Execs; Obama Meets with Rig Blast Victims' Families; Oil Leak Worse Than Believed?; Family Members of Oil Rig Workers Speak Out
Aired June 10, 2010 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: And you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Happening now: Much more oil may have been gushing out of that ruptured well than previously thought. A government panel has just sharply raised the estimate of the oil flow for the weeks before the pipe was capped. Stand by.
Eleven oil rig workers lost their lives in the explosion, which triggered this environmental disaster. Their families met today with President Obama at the White House. I will speak with a relative of one of the victims.
And growing fears that the culture, the whole way of life along the Gulf Coast is now threatened.
We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
For the first time, oil penetrates a key waterway on the Gulf Coast. Here are the latest developments.
The Coast Guard has closed off Perdido Pass, the main water access route to the Gulf in the Alabama resort of Orange Beach. The beach is stained with oil after waves of pollution entered coastal Alabama's inland waterway. Administration officials say BP has agreed to speed up payment of claims to people affected by the spill. Officials say BP will no longer wait until businesses have closed their books for the month.
A massive wall of sand to keep the oil out -- what they're building in Louisiana right now is like some medieval fortification, the last line of defense against an invasion from the sea.
Our Brian Todd is joining us with a behind-the-scenes look at this incredible operation.
Brian, walk us through it.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, this is a very ambitious effort, massive in scale, and based on what we saw, is going to require some impressive resources.
TODD: The very image of a battle line against the oil, miles of embankment called berms, built on their own offshore or attached to barrier islands like this one. East Grand Terre, Louisiana, the only way to get there is by boat.
First step in making a berm? Dredging for sand offshore.
(on camera): This is the dredger over here, where the whole operation begins. They pump the sand from the seafloor up through the pipe. On the right-hand side of it, the pipe winds around, goes to a larger pipe that goes down into the sea, goes straight to the barrier islands.
(voice-over): After moving thousands of feet underwater:
(on camera): It comes through these massive pipes onshore right here, and then this one actually goes back into the ground to take the sand wherever else on the island they need it.
(voice-over): It then rockets out of the pipes. This is mostly water, only 25 percent sand. So, they have to pump in large volume. Bulldozers then have to move fast to fortify the piles.
(on camera): Standing on top of one berm, a lot of thick and very dark sand here. This is going to be about six feet off the water at its peak, about 20 feet wide. You can see this plume of sand and water, massive amounts just being pumped out of that pipe behind me. This is going to stretch for miles.
(voice-over): Only a few miles of berm have been built off Louisiana so far, because the state had to wait for the government's approval and for BP's money. State officials tell us the fortification here got started before the Deepwater Horizon spill to protect the coast against hurricanes.
But it's being added on to the governor's ambitious plan for dozens of miles of berm.
GOV. BOBBY JINDAL (R), LOUISIANA: They're literally assembling pipes as we talk. They're moving dredgers. Even before we got approval, the state hired contractors to go out there with magnetometers to find the pipelines, test the dirt.
TODD: The plan is for the berms to stop and soak up the oil in the barrier island regions before it hits the coast, but environmentalists warn the dredging could intensify coastal erosion, could possibly rip apart undersea oil and gas pipelines and could change the flow of the water, altering its salinity and hurting fish.
I spoke about that with Coast Guard Lieutenant Commander Dan Somma, whose unit is assigned top oversee the cleanup in this area.
(on camera): Do you think that this has its kind of downsides, too, environmentally?
LT. CMDR. DAN SOMMA, U.S. COAST GUARD: There's always -- there's always upsides and downsides. This sand naturally moves, because these are natural barrier islands, so, during a hurricane, these sands would be moving naturally anyway. This process just sort of speeds that along.
TODD: Now, in response to the concern from environmental experts, state officials have changed their plans for the construction of some berms, nixing some areas that federal officials have determined to be ecologically sensitive -- Wolf.
BLITZER: I know it's not cheap, but what's the price tag for these berms?
TODD: Well, BP has committed about $360 million to the effort. The governor told us a couple of days ago that they have gotten the first $60 million. This is a state project, but BP's paying for it. You can look for that price tag to certainly go up probably as this moves along.
BLITZER: All right, thanks very much, Brian Todd, on the scene for us, as he has been.
An emotional session over at the White House today, as President Obama met with relatives of the 11 workers killed in the oil rig explosion. The White House says the president assured the families that he will be there for them -- quote -- "long, long after the cameras are gone."
Peggy Kemp lost her son Roy in the explosion.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our main objective here today is to make sure that safety regulations are actually enforced and not merely neglected. It is so important for this to never happen again, also, to make the companies accountable for their actions.
We also support drilling in the Gulf. It is such a -- such an economic need, and it will devastate the Southern states if that was ever halted.
No one can ever understand the pain that the families have gone through, and we hope and pray that that will never happen again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Ahead, I will speak with a widow from this oil rig disaster. That's coming up later this hour.
There's more at stake in the Gulf oil disaster than a lot of people realize. Some say the region's culture could be destroyed, along with the environment.
CNN's Anderson Cooper is joining us now with that part of the story.
Anderson, I know you have spoken with a lot of folks along the Gulf Coast who are really worried that this will affect their entire way of life.
ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "ANDERSON COOPER 360": Well, certainly, I mean, certainly the fishermen and all those who, you know, are linked to that industry and linked to the coast.
But even in New Orleans itself, you know, there's concern that this has been -- prior to this spill, this was a great year in New Orleans. I mean, there's good things happening in the school system. The scores are up, a lot of positive developments. There are more restaurants open than there were before Hurricane Katrina.
And city leaders are trying to get the message across that the city of New Orleans is still alive and well, and they want people to come, they want people to come and eat the seafood, and the restaurants are open. I talked to Terence Blanchard today, a world-renowned jazz trumpeter, composer, very famous jazz musician, just about the strength of the culture here, the strength of the life here and how it remains and also how this compares to Hurricane Katrina.
Listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TERENCE BLANCHARD, MUSICIAN: It's amazing in that Katrina, you know, was an event where the hurricane hit, did its damage. We had a certain number of days in the aftermath of trying to solve the situation of saving people here.
But this is 52 days of an ongoing tragedy, 52 days of not being able to solve this issue. So, while Katrina was massive, and it was very hard for us to get our minds around the level of damage, we're not even at that point yet. We're not even at the point where we could really assess the damage, because it's still -- it's still occurring, and it's still growing.
So, for me, in a certain sense, this is much bigger than Katrina, you know, because it's going to have a broader-reaching effect.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: And we will have a lot more with Terence and obviously all the day's other stories from the Gulf later tonight, Wolf.
BLITZER: Have you heard the big headline, this new estimate of how much oil was spewing out before they did the cut-and-cap containment procedure, doubling it from -- 12,000 to 19,000, they thought then. Now they're saying it's closer to 20,000 to 40,000 barrels a day. I don't know about you, but those are shocking numbers.
COOPER: Well, you know, it's actually not shocking, given what we have learned about BP making it difficult for these scientists to actually do their work.
You know, if -- if BP actually wanted these numbers out, if they actually wanted people to know how much oil was flowing out exactly, we would know right now. And we would know because they would have allowed direct access to these scientists to actually measure the flow. They have not allowed that.
Not only have they not allowed that. They have been slow in releasing Video, crucial video, that these scientists need to actually determine the flow. So, the fact -- these scientists are doing the best they can. They have three different groups working and this is just one of the group's estimate.
There's another group who has also been tasked by the government who still hasn't released their upward estimate of what this flow is. Some of the scientists I have talked on that panel say it could be 100,000 or more. So, we don't know how much oil is flowing and we will never know until -- until scientists are able to directly measure, and that can only happen if pressure is put on BP to allow it to happen.
BLITZER: Good point, Anderson. Thanks very much.
Anderson is going to have a lot more, a special edition of "A.C. 360" coming up live from the Gulf Coast later tonight, 10:00 p.m. Eastern. You will see it only here on CNN.
Jack Cafferty's coming up with "The Cafferty File."
Then: He says he spends more time fighting BP and the Coast Guard than he does fighting oil. Now, the Plaquemines Parish president, Billy Nungesser, is venting his frustration here in Washington on Capitol Hill. We're following him.
Also, an exclusive look on board the rig trying to kill the leaking well in the Gulf. CNN's John Roberts gets access you won't see everywhere else.
And the Louisiana governor, Bobby Jindal, is fighting President Obama's drilling moratorium. The governor goes one-on-one with CNN's John King.
BLITZER: Jack Cafferty's here with "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.
JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf, apparently, it is already working.
Arizona's tough new immigration law doesn't even go into effect for another seven weeks, but a lot of the state's estimated 460,000 illegal aliens are leaving Arizona now. "USA Today" reports that records from schools, businesses, and individuals suggest that many worried legal and illegal Latinos are fleeing Arizona.
Schools in Latino neighborhoods show big drops in enrollment. In one elementary school, 70 kids have been pulled out by their parents in just the last month. And that compares to only seven students who left the same school during the same period a year ago.
The superintendent there says -- quote -- "They're leaving to another state, where they feel more welcome."
Well, that was pretty much the point of the Arizona law, now, wasn't it? The new law requires police to ask for immigration papers if someone is stopped for another crime, you know, just like cops ask for your driver's license when you're stopped for a traffic violation.
Businesses that serve primarily Latino areas say things are a lot slower. The head of a chamber of commerce for Hispanic business owners says it's because illegal immigrants are holding on to their cash as they get ready to leave the state. Other small business owners say they will have to move elsewhere because business is completely dead.
Governor Jan Brewer's office says it's hard to know exactly how many people are leaving because of this law, but she says, "If that means that fewer people are breaking the law, that is absolutely an accomplishment" -- unquote.
In 2007, when Arizona passed another law that imposed tougher penalties on businesses that hired illegals, about 100,000 of them left the state.
So, here's the question: What's the message if Arizona's new immigration law is causing illegal immigrants to leave that state?
Go to CNN.com/caffertyfile. Post a comment on my blog -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Jack, thank you.
As Congress holds hearing after hearing on the oil disaster, Gulf Coast officials are coming up to Capitol Hill to testify and to demand more help. Listen to the president of Louisiana's Plaquemines Parish, Billy Nungesser.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILLY NUNGESSER, PRESIDENT, PLAQUEMINES PARISH, LOUISIANA: When I throw a BP official out of my office, he comes back the next day and approves something. I have spent more time fighting the officials of BP and the Coast Guard than fighting the oil.
SEN. JOHN ENSIGN (R), NEVADA: Maybe when you have trouble getting something approved, we should just put some BP executives in the oil until they approve it?
NUNGESSER: I made that recommendation to Hayward. I told him when he said there was no large sections of oil under the water, Jacques Cousteau's son went for an hour-and-a-half and couldn't find the end of a large section offshore.
I suggested we take him over there and throw him overboard and see if there's black stuff dripping off of him. (END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Our congressional correspondent, Dana Bash, caught up with Billy Nungesser.
Dana, he never holds back. The man is full of passion. He is obviously very angry.
DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Very angry, very frustrated.
He and other officials from Louisiana came here to Congress, Wolf, to plead with lawmakers to help fix what they say is still a major breakdown in the command-and-control structure down there by the Gulf. And he came out of that hearing, and he told me that he doesn't have a clue whose in charge, and it's making a dire situation even worse.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: You said in your testimony that someone has to be in charge who has the guts and the will to make things happen. Isn't that what Thad Allen's job is?
NUNGESSER: It's not happening. You saw the governor out there with the National Guard, with the suction equipment that we put on a barge. We have been asking for three weeks. That hasn't gotten approved.
BASH: You famously now initially called for Thad Allen to resign, and then later you said, well, he's doing a better job. So, have you changed your mind again?
NUNGESSER: Well, it got better since the berms got approved. But since then, we have had nothing approved. We have no suction equipment.
There's 100 skimmers in a warehouse. And Barataria Bay is covered with oil. Pelicans are dying every day. Where's the local decision- making? The fact that I got to beg for four vacuum equipment to get the -- get the goop out of the marsh by the pelicans so they don't dive in it every day is criminal.
They should be knocking me down to get out everything they can out there to clean it up. It's crazy. We're having to write purchase orders and turn them in. And they have got to go through the chain of command.
BASH: But the red tape is still...
NUNGESSER: Still there.
BASH: ... there, still thick?
NUNGESSER: Still there.
BASH: And when you talk to Thad Allen about this and you talk to whomever you could, maybe the president of the United States, what does he say?
NUNGESSER: We did. It changed. We got the berms approved, but now...
BASH: So, you're saying the only way you can get things done is when you go straight to the president?
NUNGESSER: It seems that's the way it's happened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: Now, the point that Nungesser was making there is that, when they do have a chance to get to the president, he makes things happen, as you heard.
But it's not obviously realistic for them to go to the president on an hourly basis as they need to get things done, so he and other people are saying that they need the president to appoint somebody on a local level with authority who can make decisions and understands the severity of the situation and the urgency of the situation.
And, Wolf, I talked to other local Louisiana officials who were also at that hearing, including the mayor of Grand Isle, Louisiana. He said he agreed. He said the command-and-control situation is absolutely awful. And he actually was heading with others to the White House to make that case personally in a private meeting with President Obama today -- Wolf.
BLITZER: I think it's fair to say a lot of folks are grateful to Billy Nungesser for what he's been saying and doing.
Dana, thanks very much.
A CNN exclusive: Our own John Roberts goes on board the rig trying to kill the leaking well in the Gulf. This is a report you won't see anywhere else.
And an environmental scare from an oil spill more than 40 years ago, it's offering lessons for the disaster in the Gulf.
BLITZER: Just a quick correction.
Earlier this hour, we misidentified the wife of one of the men who died in the rig explosion. Courtney Kemp's husband, Roy, was killed. She met with President Obama today over at the White House, along with nine other people who lost loved ones. We apologize for that error. We're hoping to speak with the widow of one of those men killed later this hour.
We're going to take you where you haven't been before, out to a drill rig in the Gulf. John Roberts has a CNN exclusive. And we will take you to the fragile wetlands in Massachusetts, where oil remains -- get this -- four decades -- four decades -- after a spill.
Plus, his state is hard-hit, but Louisiana's Bobby Jindal speaking out against the president's moratorium on some offshore drilling.
COOPER: Now for something you have not seen before: an exclusive look at what's happening on the rig -- on the rig out there in the Gulf where experts are working urgently to cut off the flow of oil.
CNN's John Roberts takes us there -- John.
JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf, so much of what we have seen of this story so far has dealt with what's going on with the marshes, the beaches, with tourism, with fishing.
But we had a rare opportunity to see this story from the other side, exclusive access to one of those rigs that's drilling a relief well to try to kill this out in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico, taken out there by the man who has quickly become the face of the corporate side of this story, Doug Suttles, the COO of BP.
DOUG SUTTLES, COO, GLOBAL EXPLORATION, BP: Yes, that's the drill ship Enterprise, so that's the vessel that is right over the top of the well, and that's the vessel that is taking that production from the cap assembly up to the surface. And what you can see, that flare is the gas that's with the oil that's being burned off.
ROBERTS (voice-over): He has flown over the scene many times, but for BP chief operating officer Doug Suttles, this was his first opportunity to actually touch down on the rigs attempting to kill his runaway well.
SUTTLES: You're actually looking at something that's never been done before. In fact, we would have never even thought about having this big equipment this close together working like this.
ROBERTS: We land on the Development Driller III, the DD3, a brand-new rig sinking the first kill well deep beneath the ocean floor.
Immediately, we see a stark reminder of how we got to this point.
(on camera): As you arrive on the development driller 3, you arrive with this safety sign, "Days without lost time injury, days without major events," and you see 52, 52 days since the Deepwater Horizon exploded and sank.
(voice-over): But we also get our very first shipboard look at the first piece of good news since the disaster unfolded.
SUTTLES: First of all, you can see down in the water. I can tell you, in the days after it started, this would have been brown oil. So even though it's horrible to look at, it looks a lot better than what it looked like the first few days.
Part of it is what's happening right there. That's sitting right on top of the well. Yesterday, we got 15,000 barrels of oil up through there. If that hadn't been there, it would have been oil in the sea.
ROBERTS: It's clear that the catastrophe aboard the Deepwater Horizon has had a profound effect on this drilling crew. Brian West shows me one of his remarkable ROVs that serve as the technician's hands and eyes in the crushing depths of the ocean.
(on camera): What can be put on the arms?
BRIAN WEST, TECHNICIAN: Anything you can think of. We put shears, cutters, grinders.
(voice-over): But look on the side of the rig, there it is again, "Horizon 11."
WEST: The industry is changes because of this event.
ROBERTS (on camera): How do you think it's going to change the industry?
WEST: There are going to be a lot of safety changes, I'm sure, a lot of procedural changes. Everybody is going to be looking at drilling these wells and doing these operations totally different.
ROBERTS (voice-over): One difference, there is now an ROV in the water 24/7 keeping careful watch over the blowout preventer. James Lusk is the ROV's pilot. He takes his professional assignment personally.
JAMES LUSK, ROV PILOT: We all live by the coast, this area, hopefully to stop it, sir.
(on camera): For all the containment domes, the siphon pipe, the top kill operation, the top cap, what you see behind me on the Discover Enterprise is probably as good as it's going to get until the month of August, because the last, best chance to kill that well, to stop the oil from coming up from the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, rests here with the 189 people on board the DD3. And to a person, they say, they are committed to make sure a job gets done.
(voice-over): In the driller's shaft where cameras have not been allowed until now, a highly skilled crew guides a drill down 13,000 feet. They have 5,000 left to go. Their target -- a hole smaller than a dinner plate. A seemingly impossible shot, yet toolpusher Ted Stukenborg says it's a point of pride to hit it on the first try.
TED STUKENBORG, TOOLPUSHER: It weighs on my mind. I know it weighs on a lot of people's mind that this is something we have got to do right, got to do it -- got to do it safe and we got to do it the first time. ROBERTS: The work, long hours in the searing heat for the most part has been pretty thankless. Few people are saying anything good about the oil industry at the moment. But they press on in extreme conditions to extreme depths.
STUKENBORG: I think a lot of people don't understand. They don't know. And if they -- if they understood, if they knew, they probably wouldn't be as hard on us, I think.
ROBERTS: Ted, we look forward to the day when you tell us that the well is dead.
STUKENBORG: Me too.
ROBERTS (on camera): Wolf, it's very easy to demonize just about anything and everything that has to do with the oil industry right now, and while it would not be my place to weigh in on the debate over offshore drilling, I can tell you, from being out on that rig, that I saw a group of dedicated and professional individuals who are doing everything they can to try to fix this problem and stop that oil from leaking up from the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico -- Wolf.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: All right, John, thank you -- John Roberts on the scene for us today.
Four decades ago, there was an oil spill in the wetlands off the Massachusetts coast. The total amount was a drop in the bucket compared to the gusher in the Gulf of Mexico. But some of that spilled oil remains, offering lessons for today's disaster.
Mary Snow got a firsthand look.
Mary, what did you see?
MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Wolf, it's really hard to believe that there's still damage from an oil spill that happened in 1969. But scientists are still examining it, and they say it provides a case study for what's happening today in the Gulf.
SNOW (voice-over): The Wild Harbor marsh in Falmouth, Massachusetts, may look like any other, but it's still scarred from an oil spill more than four decades ago. A team from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute took us there to show us evidence that remains. In 1969, a rammed the ground, spilling 190,000 gallons, approximately 4,500 barrels of diesel oil.
JOHN STEGEMAN, WOODS HOLE OCEANOGRAPHIC INSTITUTION: There still is oil beneath the grass in the peat sediments of the marsh.
SNOW (on camera): Forty years later?
STEGEMAN: Forty years later. SNOW (voice-over): Just about eight inches below the surface, a researcher shows us traces of oil. Scientists call this site a natural laboratory. Besides finding oil, they've seen lasting impacts on wildlife including these fiddler crabs.
CHRIS REDDY, WOODS HOLE OCEANOGRAPHIC INSTITUTION: In this small region, they don't move as fast. They almost act like they're drunk. And they can't burrow down through the -- through the peat or the mud that's n the salt marsh to avoid predators because they sense the oil that's about a couple inches below the surface.
SNOW: Marine chemist Chris Reddy was born a month after that 1969 spill, but is now an expert on it, testifying today on Capitol Hill.
REDDY: I study oil spills. I'm particularly interested in how nature responds to these uninvited guests.
SNOW: One lesson learned from the '69 spill, how sensitive salt marshes are. Now, a major area of concern in the Gulf.
REDDY: The areas around salt marshes are not like a flat like your front lawn, but more like an English muffin, and so that's what happened. They got in there and it starts to percolate in there, and it's hard to get out.
SNOW: Reddy thinks the oil in Louisiana may settle differently. He's analyzing these samples he took in late May from a Louisiana marsh, 50 miles west of the spill.
REDDY: What the oil looked like when it came out is much different than what it is right here.
SNOW: He's reluctant to make any predictions about long-term environmental effects, explaining all spills are different. But one thing learned from 1969, those who thought the effects would be short lasting were wrong. So, what does that mean for marshes in the Gulf?
STEGEMAN: Those marshes will have oil for decades. They may -- they will recover by appearance, but in the sediments, there will be oil for a long time. I think we can safely say that.
SNOW: With that sobering outlook, scientists at Woods Hole also say their research will help damage assessment teams evaluate how to restore and rehabilitate marsh areas that have been hit by the oil -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Mary Snow with that disturbing story for us -- thank you.
An oil disaster town hall meeting with the Louisiana governor, Bobby Jindal. Our own John King was there.
And she lost her husband in the rig explosion. Today, she met with President Obama at the White House.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: We're just getting in a letter from Admiral Thad Allen to the chairman of the board of BP International in London, Carl-Henric Swanberg. And in this letter, Thad Allen says he would like the chairman, Swanberg, and other top officials from BP, to come to Washington next week.
Among other things he says this, "I request that you and any appropriate officials from BP meet with senior administration officials on Wednesday, June 16th, 2010, to discuss these timely issues. President Obama will participate in a portion of this meeting."
They are being summoned to the White House, to Washington, for a meeting. President Obama, as you know, has yet met with BP officials. He will be meeting with these officials next week.
Tony Hayward is not directly mentioned, but we assume that Swanberg will tell Tony Hayward and other top officials from BP to be there for this meeting. We're watching the story for you.
His state is slammed by the spill, but the Louisiana governor, Bobby Jindal, is arguing against President Obama's moratorium on certain offshore drilling.
Let's go to CNN's John King. He had a chance to catch up with the governor today.
Tell our viewers what happened, John.
JOHN KING, HOST, "JOHN KING, USA": Wolf, the governor was white hot today and he came right here, we're in Port Fourchon.
Look around behind me. All the ships -- they serve as the deep-water rigs out there, 10, 20, sometimes 50 miles out. Hundreds of workers work on these docks. Thousands of workers in these towns supply the rigs. They feed the workers. They put them up in temporary housing.
The governor surrounded himself with local officials to say that the president essentially was having an economic catastrophe on top of an environmental catastrophe by putting this six months moratorium on the deep-water offshore drilling. He had a fiery statement on the news media here, in the presence of a couple hundred oil workers, and then I had an interview with him afterwards where his message simply was, he said the president of the United States, when it comes to the oil industry and the economic impact here doesn't get it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. BOBBY JINDAL (R), LOUISIANA: Look, they understand the need for a pause. They understand if MMS wasn't doing their jobs to reorganize, to fix MMS. But our bottom-line message is: the fact that the federal government isn't doing their job shouldn't cause thousands of Louisianans our jobs. So, there is a lot of frustration that folks up in D.C. may not understand the way the industry works. They may not understand that thousands of innocent victims are being hurt by this moratorium.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: And, Wolf, as hot as the governor was, you remember the local parish president here, she was on your program just last week, Charlotte Robinson (ph), I talked to her after. She was in the image with the president out on the beach in Grand Isle, I talked to her after. She said she felt used by the president. She said she has repeated appealed to him for help, lifting the moratorium. She says Louisiana in her view because of the poster child for the president as he now pushes for cleaner, alternative energy. She was as hot as the governor -- Wolf.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHARLOTTE RANDOLPH, PRES., LAFOURCHE CO., LOUISIANA: Mr. President, you were looking for someone's butt to kick, you're kicking ours.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Yes, I know, John, you're going to have a lot more of this interview, a lot more with Bobby Jindal, coming up at the top of the hour, "JOHN KING, USA," in a few moments. Less than 20 minutes from now.
President Obama met with family members of those who died aboard the Deepwater Horizon. Up next, you're going to hear about the meeting.
BLITZER: Over at the White House today, President Obama met with families of the 11 workers killed in that rig explosion that marked the beginning of this Gulf oil disaster. Two of those people are here in THE SITUATION ROOM right now: Courtney Kemp and Shelley Anderson.
Ladies, first of all, my deepest, deepest condolences to both of you. I know you've lost loved ones, and nothing is going to be able to happen that would bring them back.
How did the meeting with the president go?
SHELLY ANDERSON, HUSBAND KILLED IN OIL RIG DISASTER: I think today that it went well. He was very personable to each and every one of us, and he made a point to come to each and every one of us in that room and speak to all of pulse.
BLITZER: And, Courtney, what did you think?
COURTNEY KEMP, HUSBAND KILLED IN OIL RIG DISASTER: The president was very receptive to everything we had to say. He gave us time individually to express concerns to him that we had.
BLITZER: Shelley, what was the message that you brought to the president? ANDERSON: I told him that I did not want him to stop the drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, that not only does my family depend on it, but so many other people that got off the rig and the people that are out there drilling the relief wells now depend on this industry and we did not want to it close down.
BLITZER: Even the deep-water drilling?
ANDERSON: Even the deep-water drilling.
BLITZER: Do you believe that it's safe?
ANDERSON: I think that they should make it safe.
BLITZER: But is it safe right now? What do you think?
ANDERSON: That's questionable.
BLITZER: Because what he's saying is, let's make sure it's safe. Once we are sure it's safe, then we can resume the drilling, and a lot of folks are saying, you know, better to be safe than sorry.
KEMP: That's right.
BLITZER: Is that -- is that your feeling?
KEMP: Well, safety should always be the main priority, because no family should have to go through what we've gone through. And it is so devastating and no amount of money and nothing that anyone can do will ever bring -- bring our husbands back, and that is so important that no other family go through this.
BLITZER: How has BP, Courtney, dealt with you? Have you been satisfied in the way they're treating you and dealing with your family?
KEMP: Absolutely not. BP sent two representatives to my husband's memorial. They both extended their hand, told me who they were. One asked if he could hug me, and they sent two plants to his memorial. That is the only contact that I've had with BP.
BLITZER: What about you, Shelley?
ANDERSON: Just about the same. They both -- there were several representatives that signed a book at the memorial. They shook our hands, and they sent beautiful plants.
BLITZER: That's it?
ANDERSON: That's it.
BLITZER: But financial reparations, are they taking care of you financially? Are they taking care of your families?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
BLITZER: Have they made promises that they will take care of you?
BLITZER: That's pretty shocking, isn't it? How long did your husband work for them?
KEMP: Four and a half years.
BLITZER: And your husband?
ANDERSON: Almost 15.
BLITZER: Can you walk us through -- and I know this is painful. If it's too painful for you, Courtney, you don't have to do it. When you got the word, what were you hearing? Was there any indication from your husband earlier that he was concerned about the safety of this rig?
KEMP: Yes. My husband had indicated to me before that there were many problems. They were receiving many kicks. They had lost control of the well. They had lost millions of dollars of -- on tools and everything when they did lose the well, and it was devastating to hear the news. I received a phone call at 4:30 on April 21st, and told me that there was an emergency evacuation to the Deepwater Horizon and the Coast Guard was on the scene. There was no word concerning my husband.
BLITZER: Did you have any indications, Shelley, that there were any problems out there?
ANDERSON: Jason had expressed some concerns, and he was very -- there was a sense of urgency with him on his last trip home. He just wanted to take care a lot of business, going to as far as writing his own will and taking care of things around the house and making sure that I would be OK. There was a sense of urgency with that.
Whenever I would talk to him the last couple of hitches on the rig, he always said that there was just a whole bunch of stuff going on and the walls were too thin and he couldn't talk right now, he'd tell about it when he got home.
BLITZER: Tell us something about Jason.
ANDERSON: Jason was the most amazing man. I'm sorry that you never got to meet him. He's a friend to everybody. He's a wonderful father. He's the perfect husband. He was the best at his job.
BLITZER: And tell us something about your husband. KEMP: My husband, first and foremost, was a Christian. He loved the Lord with all of his heart. He was a wonderful father and husband and an avid outdoorsman. He loved hunting and fishing, and really, really enjoyed his job and was just being promoted to assistant driller and was very proud of that.
BLITZER: I wished I would have known both of these gentlemen. It would have been nice. And I know it's been a painful, painful experience. I think I speak not only for all of us at CNN, but for all of us watching here in the United States and around the world. Our deepest, deepest condolences.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you very much.
BLITZER: Good luck to both of you. Good luck to all the family members.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
BLITZER: Thanks for coming over.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
BLITZER: We'll have much more from the loved ones later tonight on "A.C. 360." Stand by later tonight for that.
Jack Cafferty is coming up next with your e-mail.
BLITZER: Let's get right back to Jack for "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.
JACK CAFFERTY, THE CAFFERTY FILE: This hour, Wolf: What's the message if Arizona's new immigration law is already causing illegal immigrants to leave the state and it doesn't even go into effect for another seven weeks?
Andrew in Arizona, "I'm a business owner in Phoenix; I can tell you firsthand Mexicans are leaving the state by the thousands. My business is passport photos and business is up about 300 percent from this time last year.
I talked to these people. They are going to other states in the United States. A few are going back to Mexico. Most of the people that are moving have children. They are afraid that they could be separated.
I personally am heartbroken by this exodus. The bill is racist and it will hurt Arizona's economy more than it will help. It already has."
Thomas in Arizona, "As a resident of Sedona, I hope this law will stop the illegal aliens from stealing our jobs, our schools, our identities and our property. Let them take their guns and drug deals back to their own countries." Kevin in Dallas question writes, "It sends the message that they found a way to skin a cat. But as you know there is more than one way to skin a cat. We should keep searching for a more ethical means to an end. But Arizona had to do something to buy themselves some time, something like 6 percent to 7 percent of all the people in the state are illegal immigrants."
Rick in Detroit, "The illegals probably can't find a job. A lot of legal residents of Michigan are leaving this state for the same reason."
Hafeez in New York write, "The message is: Americans, prepare to get up off your lazy butts and start working at the gas stations, pumping gas in 20 below zero water, working in the car washes outside in frigid weather, food delivery seven days a week with minimum wages, no health insurance and forget about the holidays. Boy, this is going to be fun."
Carl writes, "Jan Brewer, the governor of Arizona, should run for president. Then I feel like tough things would get done and the great sheriff, Joe Arpaio, could be the vice president. What a team they could make, the A-Team."
And Lenny in Illinois writes, "The message is that if you intend to enforce the law, the law will actually work -- what a concept."
If you want to read more on this, go to my blog, CNN.com/CaffertyFile.
Wolf, I'll see you tomorrow.
BLITZER: We always do, Jack. Thanks very much. We'll see you back here tomorrow.
We'll have much more of John King's one-on-one interview with Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal on "JOHN KING, USA." That starts right at the top of the hour.
Plus, hot mic messes. CNN's Jeanne Moos getting ready to take a most unusual look.
BLITZER: All right. We have said it many, many times before, but we are going to say it again: be very careful what you say when you are in front of a microphone.
CNN's Jeanne Moos takes a most unusual look.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A stifled yawn, a makeup touchup, the usual small talk.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Blah, blah, blah.
MOOS: Waiting for the real talk to begin, a TV interview. When Republican Senate candidate Carly Fiorina mentioned her opponent, that's when things got hairy.
CARLY FIORINA (R), CALIFORNIA SENATE CANDIDATE: Lauda (ph) saw Barbara Boxer briefly on television this morning and said what everyone says -- God, what is that hair? So yesterday.
MOOS: So busted. Carly's comment was played and replayed.
FIORINA: God, what is that hair?
JOY BEHAR, "THE VIEW": What is that dress?
MOOS (on camera): Barbara Boxer's hair may be --
FIORINA: So yesterday.
MOOS (voice-over): But later the same day, Carly Fiorina was having to explain her comments to Greta van Susteren.
FIORINA: I was quoting a friend of mine. My goodness, my hair has been talked about by a million people. You know, it sort of goes with the territory.
MOOS: She lost --
FIORINA: What's with the hair?
MOOS: Then re-grew her hair --
FIORINA: And see how long my hair is?
MOOS: -- after a successful fight against breast cancer.
Now, Fiorina joins the cast of characters caught on camera, waiting to go on, caught dancing.
Caught eating pastry, caught debating which way to wear the trench coat collar.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: See if you put it down.
MOOS: Even Richard Nixon had his small talk captured moments before his resignation speech.
RICHARD NIXON, FMR. U.S. PRESIDENT: Call Secret Service, any Secret Service in the room?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This way.
NIXON: Out. I'm just kidding you.
MOOS (on camera): And who could forget John Edwards who got caught primping before an interview, something we all do.
(voice-over): Someone put it to music.
(MUSIC) MOOS: Look out, Carly.
MOOS (on camera): We are just joshing you, Carly, we are petty all the time, before and after the camera turns on. People heard what we say --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In the commercials.
UNIDENTIFEID FEMALE: Just do a commercial.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We'd be fired.
MOOS (voice-over): It's like seeing public figures without their game face.
HARRY SHEARER, COMEDIAN/ACTOR: In those moments before they put their TV personality on.
MOOS: And sometimes, the TV personality disappears during the interview --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God.
MOOS: Like when Salma Hayek and her co-stars freaked out.
MOOS: At the sight of a snake during an interview with "Extra."
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Somebody do something.
MOOS: Yes, do something. Stop rolling tape.
MOOS: Jeanne Moos --
FIORINA: So yesterday.
MOOS: -- CNN --
MOOS: -- New York.
BLITZER: Be very careful. These microphones, they hear everything.
Remember, you can always follow what's going on behind the scenes here THE SITUATION ROOM. I'm on Twitter. You can get my tweets at Twitter.com/WolfBlitzerCNN. WolfBlitzerCNN, all one word.
That's all the time we have today. Thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.
"JOHN KING, USA" live from the Gulf Coast starts right now.