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Crucial Weekend For Oil Leak; Same-Sex Marriage Unconstitutional; Extending Unemployment Benefits; LeBron James Decision; UAE Vuvuzelas Banning

Aired July 9, 2010 - 19:00   ET


JESSICA YELLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks, Wolf. I'm Jessica Yellin. John King has the night off. It is day 81 of the Gulf oil spill, and we're heading into what may be the most crucial weekend yet in the effort to stop it. Yes, we have heard that before, but take a look at this, these are live pictures from the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. You see the oil and gas spewing out. Well, over the next several days perhaps as early as tomorrow, BP plans to remove the cap that's been capturing some of that leaking oil and put a new tighter fitting cap in its place. It is actually harder than it sounds. BP's remote controlled submarines will have to make changes to the cutoff pipe before the new cap goes on.

And at the same time this weekend, BP is hooking up another ship, the helix producer to the well. So, by early next week, the helix producer along with already in place Q-4,000 which is burning off oil and gas and the new tightening cap connected to the enterprise discovery, all of that, according To Thad Allen, the government's top man on the oil leak says, BP hopes will stop all of that billowing oil we've been watching for weeks.


ADM. THAD ALLEN (RET.), NATIONAL INCIDENT COMMANDER: Our first goal would be to shut -- we don't call it cap. We'll call it shut the well in. In other words, close all the means of oil to escape.


YELLIN: Now, there is obviously a lot riding on what happens this weekend, but the ultimate solution to stopping the leaks are those backup wells that are still being drilled and one of them is getting close. CNN's David Mattingly has that part of the story from New Orleans. David, hi. Question to you is, is this going to work?

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It has to work. This is the plan that they've been planning on since this disaster happened. What they hope will be the final nail in the coffin for this leaking well. And in the last couple days, they're looking at this window of opportunity that has come up with this whether it is created a sense of optimism we have not seen for weeks here, and what they're doing with this cap is actually going to have an effect on the so-called bottom kill that they have planned once they intersect that well. Right now, they're about 200 feet away with their drilling efforts to intersect that well. Once they break into that, they're going to pump it full of mud just like they tried to do with the top kill that failed, but now with this new cap that they're putting on, the one that they hope will finally stop that big cloud of oil from coming out in the ocean, to create some extra pressure that will allow them that added boost that they need to put that mud in there and to finally fill it up with cement. So, they are looking at these steps that they're taking now to pay off when they finally intersect that well, Jessica.

YELLIN: David, do they say what happens if it fails?

MATTINGLY: If it fails, they got a couple of plans in the wings. Nothing like this has ever been tried before. They're talking about it if they are unsuccessful at capping this well with cement, then they will try to come up with a system where they're going to take that oil and move it into an empty well also on the bottom of the ocean. That's plan A. Also, there's a plan B where they could continue to pump the oil up to the surface vessels that they're doing now, the system that they're trying to perfect now at day 81 where they're putting this new cap on that will finally stop that oil possibly from leaking into the Gulf of Mexico. So, if all else fails, they'll still be able to pump that oil, they hope, to the containment vessels on the surface.

But again, everything they've been looking at, every bit of work they've been doing is back behind that relief well, and when they went to the U.S. government and said here's how we're going to kill it, the U.S. government came back to them and said, well, that's great. We want to you drill two wells so if that first well doesn't work, they got that second well ready to go. If that doesn't work, if there's some reason that they can't stop this well with cement, then they got that two other plans waiting in the wings.

YELLIN: Hate to sound negative, David, but in the past -- is there reason to believe them now because in the past, they've set expectations high and disappointed.

MATTINGLY: They have had to learn every step of the way here because so much has never been done like this. They have in the past, however, done these relief wells, and they have intersected other wells and capped them. We know that they've done that in the past. They have some confidence that that will be able to work this time. But everything that we've seen so far, all the failures, all the attempts that have not gone through, this is all signs of a situation that no one has ever encountered before. So, they are trying now with this relief well to go with something that they know and they hope will work this time.

YELLIN: And the people you're talking to there, the residents and the community, they're sounding more optimistic than usual? They're very hopeful this weekend will work?

MATTINGLY: Well, I think it's difficult to gauge the community at large. They're going to be living with this for a long time after this well is capped, and in so many ways, the damage has already been done to so many livelihoods, so many communities, and so many ways of life down here. It is going to be a long time for any sort of recovery comes with this, but they generally realize, everyone here realizes nothing is going to get better until that well is stopped.

So, of course everyone looking to see what's going to happen with that new cap. If we're somehow able to stop that flow of oil into the gulf, that will be huge but also, finally, ending this threat for good by capping that well and filling it up with cement. That's what everybody is looking for.

YELLIN: All right. David Mattingly reporting for us from the Gulf. Thank you, David. Again, we're expecting this weekend to see BP attempt this latest effort to stop the flow of oil into the Gulf. They are expecting that, sometime, by early next week, we could see that picture that we lived with for 81 days now reduced to almost nothing if all goes well.

Now, another question tonight that is urgent and on everyone's mind in this country it seems, what is that oil and what are all of those chemicals washing around in the Gulf actually doing to the seafood all of us are eating and who is making sure that it's safe to eat? Our own chief medical correspond, Dr. Sanjay Gupta is in New Orleans, and he's literally been sniffing out the answer. Hey, Sanjay, can you explain just what you've learned?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Some of the answers are quite surprising to me, Jessica. I didn't know exactly what to expect. As you know, more than a third of the Gulf is now closed to fishing. And that's being enforced pretty strictly at coast guard patrolling, not allowing fishing in many areas of the Gulf. The real question, you know, when oil is gone from particular area for more than a week, how do you know that the fish in that area are now safe? That's the question. There are actually 14 big boats that are going around the Gulf bringing in fish from these various areas, thousands of them and then testing them.

And here's what surprised me, Jessica. Part of the initial testing actually involves something that seems pretty basic. They actually have a room with ten folks in it that can't see each other, and they're actually doing all sorts of what's called sensory testing to the fish as an initial step. Actually, breathing and trying to sniff the fish in its uncooked state, sniffing the fish in its cooked state, and then tasting it as well. These are obviously highly trained specialists who do this sort of sensory testing, but they say with that sort of testing, with about 90 percent accuracy, they can tell if a fish is tainted, at least.

After that it goes on for testing chemically to find out if it's been exposed to oil specifically, but that's an important first step and it's going on right now, Jessica. Thousands of fish a day again coming in undergoing exactly that.

YELLIN: They're not using a high tech device but just their own sense of smell and taste. And we understand when John King was down there, he was also told that they don't know exactly what to test for because not all the scientists know what is in those dispersants. Do you know if that's changed? GUPTA: You know, it's interesting. We pushed hard to get the specific list of chemicals for which they're testing and that was illuminating because the chemicals for which they're testing are chemical breakdown products found in oil known as aromatic hydrocarbons. That's what's on that list. But your point is a good one specifically with regard to some of the ingredients in dispersants such as Corexit. Jessica, I asked the same question of the person who's running those laboratories and take a listen.


GUPTA: To the oxybutane, I believe. It's called one of the particularly toxic chemicals in the Corexit. There's no chemical test that's being done right now?

DR. JOHN STEIN, NOAA SEAFOOD INSPECTION PROGRAM: There's not a chemical test for that right now.


GUPTA: So, I think a better way of characterizing it, Jessica, and I think they know what the ingredients, what the chemicals are in these dispersants, but for some of them, they just don't have a good chemical test for it at least for testing in fish. They say, look, these types of chemicals, they don't bio-accumulate in fish meaning build up in concentration to the point where it can be hazardous. But again, this idea that they're not testing for everything is a real concern and something that they say they're working on trying to develop that test right now, Jessica.

YELLIN: And bottom line, Sanjay, for people who eat seafood and fish, if they're out at the restaurant and it's on the menu, is it presumably safe to eat then?

GUPTA: Right now, it is because the ban is so strong. They're simply not allowing fishing that goes on in any of those areas where the fish might come in contact with these. So, for now, it is. I think the larger question is as they start to reopen fisheries and they're doing this sort of testing more regularly, making sure that all those testing are in place and they can guarantee that safety that's obviously going to be a little bit down the line. The oil is still leaking now, but that's the process that's under way now to plan for the future.

YELLIN: All right. Great information. Thank you so much, Sanjay.

And that leaves us with a lot of questions for our next guest who is still standing by live. He's BP's man in charge of getting money to the people who are out of work because of its oil leak.


On June 7th, Darryl Willis was our "Most Important Person You Don't Know." Well, a lot more people know him now. Willis is the vice president of resources for BP America, and he's the guy overseeing the claims BP is paying up and down the Gulf Coast. He's also a Louisiana native, and he joins us now from New Orleans. Thank you for being with us, Mr. Willis. First of all --


YELLIN: Hi. Right after the spill, your chairman, Tony Hayward, apologized to the American people in an ad that's pretty well known now and didn't play so well here. Now, you have become the face of BP. How's that going for you?

WILLIS: It's been good. It's been busy. I was walking here from my hotel and people stop me every time I leave the hotel. So, I'm a pretty known face, especially around New Orleans, where I'm from. It's been going well. Happy to be a part of the response and happy to be working on behalf of the folks of the Gulf Coast.

YELLIN: This probably doesn't come as a surprise to you, but in an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, your company rated as not too popular. It showed that BP is less popular than Philip Morris and O.J. Simpson, and only slightly more popular than Yasser Arafat and Fidel Castro. Is this anger towards your company justified?

WILLIS: Jessica, we have a lot of work to do. The spill in the Gulf of Mexico is unprecedented. The response is unprecedented. I wish I could stand before you and tell you that everything has been perfect up to this point. It hasn't. When things don't go well, we're working hard to get them fixed. We have a lot of work to do in this response. And we realize that we'll be judged by the quality of the response, and we're committed to doing that.

We're committed to staying here until we get the oil cleaned up. And we're going to pay the claims that need to be paid to give people the resources they need to continue with their daily lives. We got a lot of work to do.

YELLIN: Well, the latest step in the response is unfolding this weekend. National Incident Commander Thad Allen said today that there may not be any more oil gushing into the Gulf after this weekend. That this picture, which we're showing our viewers, which has become a sobering part of everyone's lives, may dramatically change. So do you see the light at the end of the tunnel now?

WILLIS: I'm looking forward to seeing that light at the end of the tunnel. I think everyone in the Gulf Coast is ready for this to be over. We're ready to get this oil cleaned up and help the folks of the Gulf Coast across Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida get back to life as normal as quickly as we can. So, we're all ready for this to be over.

YELLIN: Will it come after this weekend? Is this going to be it?

WILLIS: I don't know. I do know that they're working very hard to get the well killed. And when it's killed, I believe they will be a big sigh of relief so that we can move on to the next phase of this cleanup.

YELLIN: OK. You are in charge of the claims process. You have personally promised that the company is going to, quote, "make this right." That you're going to reimburse all legitimate claims. But according to our reporting, you are requiring more documentation these days. You've announced that there will be no more, quote, "good faith payments" until after July. So, is this the way to make it right?

WILLIS: Well, let me tell you -- and let me say something about July. I want to be real clear that we're playing all claims in July. We're not suspending claims in July. The claims process is continuing to run in July as it has run in May and June. We're going to pay all legitimate claims. And we've been going through to great lengths to make the documentation as straightforward as possible.

For example, if a person has a tax return, we'll take that for an individual claim. If they don't have a tax return, we'll take a W-2. If they don't have a W-2, a deposit slip, a check stub, a bank statement. If they're a fisherman or a crabber or a shrimper, we'll take a trip ticket or a fish ticket, anything they can bring to us substantiate the claim because what we want to do is to get money out of this process and into the hands of the people in the Gulf Coast who need the money, who need the money to take care of their families.

We don't want anyone to miss a house payment, a boat payment, or a car payment. And we don't want any business going out of business. Easy to say that. This is a big process. Every day, there's a struggle. And every day, we're working to make it a little bit better than it was the last day.

YELLIN: And what do you say to the folks in the Gulf Coast who think all this documentation is just a way of adding red tape to slow down the payments or to avoid making them?

WILLIS: We want to pay your claims. And I will say to anyone who says that, get in the claims process, bring the documentation in as quickly as we can. We're trying to minimize it. We will continue to learn. We've learned a lot about our business claims process as we've looked at our individual claims process and what made that efficient. We'll continue to learn and look for ways to get money into the hands of the people.

This is about taking care of the folks of the Gulf Coast. This is about doing the right thing and repairing the damage that has been caused by this spill, to people's property, and to their income, and to their way of life. We're going to do everything we can to make this right.

YELLIN: And, Mr. Willis, when -- looking ahead, when does the money run out?

WILLIS: As you know, we've set up a $20 billion independent claims facility that will be run by Ken Feinberg called the Gulf Coast claims facility. That money will be in place and that's the money that will be used to draw on paying the claims. What we said is that and what the president of the United States has said is that that's not a floor, the $20 billion, nor is it a ceiling. We will pay claims until we finish paying claims.

YELLIN: All right. Darryl Willis, we thank you for being with us. WILLIS: It's great to be with you. Thank you.

YELLIN: And next, the tea party candidate who had the best chance of getting into the U.S. Senate? I'll ask him why he wants to repeal the constitutional amendment that lets you vote for U.S. senators.

Then, I go one-on-one with Peter Sagal of NPR's, "Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me." We'll review some of the week's most colorful stories. Pink elephants and an octopus that's never wrong.

And in the "Play-by-Play" tonight, President Obama says he loves Vegas but does Las Vegas love him?

Plus, Ohio congressman and former Cleveland mayor, Dennis Kucinich good-bye to Lebron James.


YELLIN: Of all of the tea party backed candidates in the country, Mike Lee may have the best chance of becoming a U.S. senator. He is the Republican nominee in Utah. And while he faces Democrat Sam Granato in November, Utah voters have not sent a Democrat to the Senate in 40 years. A little bit about Lee, he clerked for Justice Samuel Alito. His father was Ronald Reagan's solicitor general and he favors a return to the principles in vision by the Framers of the Constitution. Mike Lee joins us from Salt Lake City. Thank you for being with us.


YELLIN: It is as you know day 81 of the Gulf oil spill. Now, we know to date one of the things, Mr. Lee, that the government has done is establish a $20 billion escrow fund for people impacted by the spill. Do you think that was the right thing for President Obama to do?

LEE: Well, I think there are certainly more drastic measures he could have taken. And I think this is a measure that BP has been willing to go along with. And BP has agreed that it will continue to pay those claims as long as it needs to and that it's neither a floor nor a ceiling. So, I think it's good to have BP and the government working hand in hand on this issue.

YELLIN: Do you think the Obama administration has done enough to stop the spill?

LEE: I think it's done everything it can do. I don't agree with the six-month categorical moratorium, but that is what it is. And I hope that the events of this weekend will result in plugging the hole.

YELLIN: All right. Moving on to some of your other issues that you've talked about, you said in the campaign repeatedly that you want to restore constitutional government. Now, some of the ways that you want to do that are a little unconventional. For example, you said you'd like to repeal the 17th amendment to the constitution just as a reminder to our viewers that gives voters instead of state legislatures the power to elect U.S. senators. So, given that the tea party is all about empowering the people, why shouldn't the people elect senators?

LEE: The tea party movement is all about empowering the people in part by empowering the states. When the constitution was drafted back in 1787, it was written in such a way as to make sure that the power of the federal government was always checked by the power of the states. And anything that can restore power to the states will help protect us against the incremental encroachment of federal power. And that's something that we face. That's something that we have to face today.

We have a national debt that's approaching $14 trillion and many Americans are required to work three or four, five months out of every just to pay their federal tax bills. So, anything that we can do to restore power to the states is something that will help control the power of the federal government and thereby protect individual liberty and property interest.

YELLIN: So, you as a senator, would push to repeal the 17th amendment?

LEE: That isn't realistic. And that's never been something I would focus on. I do think the 17th amendment was a mistake. I do think that we lost something when we adopted it, but I don't think that in our lifetime, we're going to see any movement of what to do that.

YELLIN: OK. You've also across the board as we've just heard been a fierce supporter of states rights. You said everything from abortion rights to legalizing marijuana should be left to the states, but you do want a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Why does the issue of same-sex marriage merit federal intervention?

LEE: Actually, what I've said on that is I support the defense of marriage act, which was an appropriate act by Congress under the full faith and credit clause that leaves this issue squarely in the hands of the states, and should that be upheld, I wouldn't advocate on behalf of anything else at the federal level because I think this is an issue for the states.

YELLIN: All right. You predict a major shift in November thanks in part to the growing popularity of the tea party, but Republican Senator Lindsey Graham has said, quote, "the tea party is just unsustainable because they can never come up with a coherent vision for governing the country. It will die out. Who's right?

LEE: I respectfully disagree with Senator Graham on this issue. You know, the tea party movement isn't new. Remember the tea party isn't a party. It's not even a single organization. It's not even represented by a single leader. The tea party represents a political phenomenon that takes place whenever people start reading that 223- year-old governing document that established Congress and placed important limits around its power. And it's something that is deeply embedded within many Americans who are reading the constitution, many of them for the first time and realizing that Congress was never supposed to be all things to all people.

YELLIN: And if I can ask you to answer this one quickly. On military spending, two pillars of the tea party movement, Sarah Palin and Ron Paul disagreed. Ron Paul wants a drastic reduction in military spending. Sarah Palin does not. Who's right?

LEE: I don't think we ought to be reducing military spending. One of the few things the federal government was supposed to do and is supposed to do properly is provide for our national defense and so I think we certainly ought not be cutting back on military spending.

YELLIN: All right. Mr. Lee, thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate it. And we like giving people an opportunity to get to know some of the candidates around the country. Good to have you on the show.

LEE: Thank you. It's good to be here.

YELLIN: Next, I go one-on-one with Peter Sagal of NPR's, "Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me." I ask him what he thinks about Sarah Palin's call for an uprising of pink elephant.


ANNOUNCER: It's time to go "One-on-One."

YELLIN: It's time for our regular Friday talk with Peter Sagal, an expert on the absurdities (ph) of politics and the host of NPR's weekly quiz show "Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me". He's in Chicago. And Peter, welcome. I can't help but begin with Sarah Palin. Because whenever she has news, we want to cover. And Sarah Palin's action committee, it is out with its first web video. Have you seen it? It's called "Mama Grizzlies." Take a look.


SARA PALIN: FMR ALASKA GOV: Seems like it's kind of a mom awakening in the last year and a half where women are rising up and saying, "no, we've had enough already," because moms kind of just know when something is wrong.

There in Alaska I always think of mama grizzly bears that rise up on hind legs when someone is coming to attack their cubs and do something adverse towards their cubs. You thought pit bulls were tough, well, you don't want to mess with mama grizzlies.


YELLIN: The mama grizzlies.

SAGAL: The mama grizzlies, yes. I think that we have entered into an interesting era in which people can make Web videos advancing their policies without mentioning any policies. Maybe there is one, though, maybe she wants us all to behave like mama grizzlies. Maybe she's calling for a policy of America standing on national hind legs and eating salmon. I don't know. It's very strange.

What's weird about this political ad is that there seems to be nothing in it so as just Sarah Palin looking great. It's like, it's not like I'm Sarah Palin and I approve this message. It's like I am Sarah Palin and I am the message.

YELLIN: Well, that's not unique to her, is it? I mean, that's what politicians do, in general, a lot these days.

SAGAL: In general but don't politicians usually say I am for something having to do with politics?

YELLIN: And moving right along, I'd love your opinion on another candidate in an interesting race. Alvin Greene is the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate from South Carolina, as I'm sure you know. And he gave the "Guardian" newspaper an innovative idea for job creation. "He suggested that one thing we can do for jobs is to make toys of me, especially for the in an Army uniform, Air Force uniform, me in my suit...that's something that would create jobs. You see, I think out of the box like that."

He goes on to say that's not a joke. Good plan?

SAGAL: Well, it's better than anything else I've heard, I guess. It's more direct. The "Guardian" interview was kind of amazing, because the "Guardian" reporter had to track him down to his parents' house where he lives. He's unemployed. He seems to have no money or means of support and yet, as you say, he's the successful Democratic nominee to the Senate.

For us, wait don't tell me, Alvin Greene as always -- well, there's this line between funny and sad and Mr. Greene kind of straddles it. He may well be crazy. I know that's kind of insulting and he gets insulting when you suggest that. but, he is living in an era where being crazy is really is no impediment to success in national politics, so you know, good luck to him.

YELLIN: Well, neither is being a dork. So, let's move onto the Republican candidate for Michigan governor, Rick Snyder who is selling himself. You know, he's sort of lost in the pack. He's distinguishing himself in an usual way, listen.


ANNOUNCER: To get back to work, Michigan needs Rick Snyder.


One tough nerd.



ANNOUNCER: Growing up in Battle Creek, Rick Snyder started reading "Fortune" magazine when he was eight. By 23, he completed college at the University of Michigan and his MBA and law degree. Rick Snyder is a very bright entrepreneur who happens to adore Michigan.

(END VIDEO CLIP) YELLIN: I mean, I love this ad. His Twitter handle is "OneToughNerd." Do you think it's effective?

SAGAL: I know and -- well, I think it's about time, speaking as a member of the dorky American community, to have one of our own run for office proudly, openly out of the nerdy closet or should I say, mother's basement. I can just imagine the meetings they had with his political team, the hired hands and they say what are we going to do with this guy he sounds like a Poindexter and they decided to lead with their strength.

I'll see how far this goes. I mean, it's kind of -- I mean nerds, will he appear in a campaign ad wearing Spock ears, for example? Because that I think would just be pandering.

YELLIN: How about your employer, Peter? That's the next topic on our list, NPR. We also know them as National Public Radio, but now they want to go NPR.

SAGAL: I don't know what you're talking about.

YELLIN: They want to something kind of like KFC? What up with that?

SAGAL: Exactly, and we're doing it for the same reason, because just like Kentucky Fried Chicken changed to KFC to prevent you from knowing that Kentucky Fried Chicken is bad for you, we at National Public Radio have done the same thing. We want to hide our basic malicious nature, if you listen to National Public Radio, you become stuck up, nerdy, your skin will become pasty and you'll end up drinking far more expensive white wine than you really want to.

YELLIN: From now on, we'll just call you P.S. from NPR.

SAGAL: Actually, P. Diddy, thank you. It's mine now because the guy's not using it anymore.

YELLIN: P. Diddy? Oh, that's taken. You going to, P. Daddy?

SAGAL: No, didn't he...

YELLIN: No, he's just "Diddy" now, he's just "Diddy" or "Puff."

SAGAL: I'm using second-hand hip-hop handles.

YELLIN: Yeah, the two of us doing hip-hop is tragic. OK, P.S. from NPR, thank you so much for joining us.

SAGAL: This is not working, but thank you, Jessica.

YELLIN: It's a pleasure.

And still to come, a new ruling in Massachusetts could have national implications in the debate over same-sex marriage. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) YELLIN: As part of our commitment to bring you into the conversation, every Monday we ask a question and we give you all week to make your case by posting a video on our Web site, Well, this week's question was: One year from now will we still talk about the Tea Party? Here is a sampling of your answers.


EGBERTO WILLIES, KINGWOOD, TX: One year from now we will be talking about the Tea Party. I doubt their coverage will diminish given the mainstream media's infatuation with this group.

ANTHONEY GRAZIANI, TAMPA, FL: I personally think that the Tea Party is going to get kind of absorbed into the Republican Party and it'll kind of fade away, eventually.

LEAH, PARTLOW, TUPELO, MS: People are wanting to get back to, you know, just the grassroots that America was founded on, so I think we'll see them still around in a year.

DAVID LOINES, WASHINGTON, D.C.: I think with election coming up in the fall and once those are settled I think you'll see the Tea Party kind of fizzle out after that.

CARLIN ABBOTT, TOLEDO, OH: Yes, I do. I think it has a lot of political resonance in this country.

LAKESHIA MYERS, CAMP SPRINGS, MD: If you're still talking about them in one year it's because they've done an outlandish act.


YELLIN: Right, a lot of different opinions. Now, let's move on to look at some of the stories on my radar. With me tonight, Republican strategist, Rich Gaylen and Democratic pollster, Cornell Belcher.

Gentlemen, thanks for being with us.

Thanks for having us, J.

CORNELL BELCHER, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: All right, first of all, a ruling...



Where are you CNN that we can't go acronym anymore than we are?

A ruling out of Boston could have national implications in the debate over same-sex marriage. A federal judge there says the federal ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional because it interferes with the state's right to define marriage. A Justice Department spokesman says they are "revealiiewing the ruling." Where does this go -- Cornell.

BELCHER: Well, you know, this is something that President Obama has talked about and would like to see repealed; however, the Justice Department, as they should, they're probably going to, you know, fight the case. But, on a political scene, I mean, this is a tough issue to put out there. I mean, it had classically been a wedge issue. I think it's losing some of its power in a wedge issue because Americans are so anxious and so, you know, concerned about losing their jobs and their homes being foreclosed on. I don't see it having the same wedge effect that we saw it have a couple years ago but it is still a prominent issue.

RICH GAYLEN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Yeah, here's where I think it does hurt Democrats, though. It's one more thing that Democratic members of the House are going to have to go home over the long August -- very long August recess to discuss along with immigration, now gay marriage a whole bunch of things they didn't want to have to talk about in behaviorally Republican or swing districts. It just puts it on the front burner where they don't want it to be.

BELCHER: And this is a tough issue, because I've done a good deal of work around this issue and Americans are odd about this issue because they cannot reconcile the ideal they're for equal rights and fair, but at the same time this belief that majority of them have that a marriage is between a man and woman. It is not easily reconciled.

YELLIN: Well, we're going to see people have to grapple with it, coming up.

Congress has a big week ahead also Congress is going to have to hit the ground running when it turns Monday after a week long vacation and right at the top of its agenda is the Senate's unfinished business on extending unemployment benefits for about million people who are just out of work right now. The efforts to extend aid for unemployed for up to 20 weeks stalled when nearly all of the Republicans and one Democrat refused to vote for it before they broke unless the extension's $34 billion cost was funded. What do you predict happens?

BELCHER: Well, you know, this is tough because I think Republicans are playing politics with this issue in a way that's kind of dangerous, because it gets to the point where they're root for the economy and for people to be suffering, which some of the Senate Democrats would argue they are being unprecedented saying you have to pay for this in order for us to do it when we all know it's been a part of emergency spending for a while, they didn't have to pay for it. So, I think they are playing politics with this in a way that's dangerous.

YELLIN: And yet, voters are worried about the spending.

GAYLEN: Very worried about spending and very worried about the deficit and because there are now studies that indicate that people really get serious about looking for a job when they realize that their unemployment benefits are running out, they really start looking for a job, not the perfect job, but a job and extending those benefits simply stops that process.

YELLIN: This is going to be a big fight beginning of next week. OK, but we're moving to a much lighter topic, now. PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, has its sights set on an international celebrity, uh-huh, of the "Paul the Octopus." You got that video? Paul -- I love this video.

Paul lives in a German aquarium and he has developed a following because he has successfully picked World Cup winners. If two mussels are placed in two boxes containing the national flags of the countries playing against each other and whichever side Paul eats, has been the winner. So, Paul has some sort of psychic soccer power. Now, PETA wants Paul freed from captivity and for those wondering, Paul's picked Spain.

Rich, do you think Paul should he be freed?

GAYLEN: I think Paul should be freed if Spain wins, they he ought to be freed in Spanish waters and become a national hero in Spain, absolutely.

BELCHER: I all of a sudden want calamari. I don't know.


GAYLEN: That would be squid.

YELLIN: Makes you hungry.

BELCHER: Same difference.

YELLIN: I have a feeling we're all going to hear from PETA after this. All right. Stay right there.

BELCHER: I love pita bread, though. That's good.

YELLIN: Wrong PETA. Nice joke. All right, you guys stay right there, we're going to come back with you because a fatwa has been issued against one of the stars of the World Cup just days before Sunday's final. That is coming up, next.


YELLIN: If you're just joining us, here's what you need to know right now. Tomorrow BP plans to remove the cap on its leaking well and by the end of the weekend, replace it with a tighter fitting cap that includes a shutoff valve.

Republican Senator Bob Bennett of Utah tells the associated press that Republicans may lose Senate races in Nevada, Colorado and Kentucky because of what he calls "mischief by the Tea Party."

The United States and Russia completed their spy swap exchanging agents at chartered planes at an airport in Vienna, Austria.

The "Play-by-Play" is where we replay the tape and break down the actions just like on the sports shows.

Still with me, Republican strategist, Rich Gaylen and Democratic pollster, Cornell Belcher. OK, gentlemen. President Obama, he was in Nevada today to help boost Senate majority leader, Harry Reid's re-election efforts. As you know, Reid's approval ratings have been hurting and the state's unemployment rate is the highest in the nation. Now, this visit and the economy are the theme of a new Republican ad. Let's watch it.


ANNOUNCER: It took thousands of men to erect Hoover dam and build modern Nevada, but only two men to help tear down its economy: Barack Obama and Harry Reid. They've dealt bailout, handouts and takeovers giving us a $1.5 trillion budget deficit, a $13 trillion national debt, 14 percent unemployment for Nevada. When it comes to Nevada's economy, Obama and Reid are a bust.


YELLIN: OK, so the president's approval rating is below 50 percent, nationally. That was a harsh ad. Cornell, why is Reid embracing Obama so publicly?

BELCHER: Who won Nevada last time around?

YELLIN: We know who won Nevada.

BELCHER: Obama won Nevada last time around. Look, that ad is extraordinary to me, it's like doubling down on dumb. Look, to blame the president for all those things and Reid for all those things is unbelievable. You talk about, you know, that's unbelievable bad ad to me to blame them for that stuff. I am aghast at that ad.

GAYLEN: I can tell. He can't even get it out. You sound like one of those things at the -- I think that is a good ad. I think it makes the case for Nevadans, not people living in northern Virginia or in Montgomery County, Maryland.

BELCHER: Southeast D.C.

GAYLEN: Or southeast D.C., not far from (INAUDIBLE). That, this is, that, unemployment in Nevada is higher than Michigan. How can that possibly be? And Harry Reid is not just a senator, he's the majority leader and he has failed the failed the people of Nevada. I think it's a good ad.

BELCHER: But Rich, straight, here. You don't think that goes a little far? You don't think that's a bit of a stretch to believe all that bad stuff and the deficit and all that is Obama and Reid?

GAYLEN: I'm sorry. What were we talking about earlier? These are visceral reactions, these are emotional reactions. Logic and intellect have nothing to do with politics.

BELCHER: Well, he agrees it's not a logical ad.

GAYLEN: I didn't say it was logical, I said it was good.

YELLIN: And the economy is the No. 1 issue in that race. So, we'll see how it plays.

GAYLEN: Everywhere.

YELLIN: Yeah, everywhere.

Did taxes play role in LeBron James decision to sign with the Miami Heat. That's our next question up. James says that last night he wants a championship ring and money's not the issue. Listen to this.


LEBRON JAMES, MIAMI HEAT PLAYER: Well, the numbers are not finalized. I think my agent, Leon Rose, will take care of that, but all these of us are, all three are going to take less money, you know, because we wanted to all play along aside each other and we feel like we can be great together.


YELLIN: OK, but his claim his claim that it wasn't a show me the money decision does not stop conservatives from saying perhaps the fact that Florida has no state income tax has something to do with his choice. The state he left, Ohio, is a little over seven percent, that's what the tax is. Is it about taxes?

BELCHER: No. and he probably doesn't even know how much he pays in taxes, he has so much money.

YELLIN: That's nice.

BELCHER: Look, that three-headed monster that they're creating is why he went, to win a championship. Now, I felt bad for people of Cleveland today because the people of Cleveland had just a bomb dropped on them. I mean, I feel so bad for that city.

YELLIN: Well, we got one of the people of Cleveland, coming up. Before you comment, Rich, let's go to this. It may be Cleveland may be the self-proclaimed capital of polka, bowling and Nebraska -- no, Kielbasa.


I don't know what I'm thinking. I like Nebraska. I don't like kielbasa. OK, but up until last night, it was better known as the home of NBA superstar LeBron James. Guess who we found, Congressman Dennis Kucinich. He comes from there. He has seen the ups and downs of that city where he was born, he raised and now represents it. Listen.


REP DENNIS KUCINICH (D), OHIO: I think the other players are going to have a chance to show their potential. I mean, you can imagine what it's like for some of the tremendous athletes who are part of the Cleveland Cavaliers, in many ways to have to be in the shadow of one extraordinarily gifted athlete, and now they'll have a chance to come forward, and you may actually see the kind of chemistry that can produce the kind of teamwork that will be essential to win.

Now, again, those who know basketball a lot better than I do say the Cavs are going to be at a great disadvantage, but I see in Cleveland, there's always that emotional factor, it's intangible and that gives us the ability to be able to, I think, be competitive. The fans are going to be heavily figuring in on that and, I think, Cleveland, in the next season is going to surprise the NBA with its resilience.


YELLIN: So, rich, was this a gift in disguise?


GAYLEN: Yeah. A great gift. It was like giving them Nebraska. I mean, I love Dennis Kucinich, I really do. He was the mayor of Cleveland, I believe, when the river caught on fire, so he is trained to be an optimist. So, I mean, he knows something about that. But I do have to say that Dennis Kucinich talking about teamwork is really amusing.

BELCHER: You know, that is -- give him some credit. That's spin of the highest caliber, Rich, you've got to give him some credit.

GAYLEN: I said I love the guy.

YELLIN: He's looking for the silver lining.

OK, my favorite story of the day, whether Spain wins the World Cup final Sunday...

GAYLEN: Don't mispronounce this.


YELLIN: I am going to mispronounce this, if I couldn't get kielbasa. This year's soccer tournament will be remembered for you know what, those annoying horns known at vuvuzalas. Yeah, I got it right.

Mine is right here, actually, this is courtesy of Wolf Blitzer, he just got back from the World Cup, we got it on condition that we not put our lips to it. So, I'm going to hold it here, carefully, Wolf has very strict rules. Now, not everyone is pleased about the fact that the vuvuzelas out in the world. In fact, a religious edict has issued passed, issued, banning them in them in the UAE.


I hate that noise. OK. One man's forbidden fruit, though, is another man's smoothie. A viral marketing campaign featuring vuvuzelas is making a round for a line of blenders. Look at this.

GAYLEN: Sounds exactly the same.

YELLIN: Wait, wait. Listen. Do we have this?


TOM DICKSON, WILL IT BLEND?: In that the most horrible sound in the world? We're going to take care of it the Blend-Tech Total Blender way. I'm going to push the vuvuzela button.

Wow, what a relief. No more buzzing in my ears. Now I can enjoy the World Cup.



YELLIN: I would be terrified, Rich.

GAYLEN: I don't have any idea what the deal -- whoever thought of that is probably going to spend of rest of his or her life somewhere in central Africa, not in South Africa.

YELLIN: It is not my favorite noise. Thanks to both of you, gentlemen. I'm grateful for your time on a Friday night.

And if you could banish people, who would it be and where would you send them? "Pete on the "Street" is coming up with that, next.


YELLIN: Lebron James is moving from Cleveland to Miami, and the spy swap is sending people from here to Russia. If you could exile someone, who would it be? Our intrepid reporter, Pete Dominick, hit the streets of New York to find out.


PETE DOMINICK, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Where you going to send Justin Bieber?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Anywhere, as long as he's not here.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to send you away.

DOMINICK: Sir, I am so hurt.


DOMINICK: I heard you -- sending your oldest brother away?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah, I think he needs a little vacation from the life that he's been living.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh. Mayor Bloomberg.

DOMINICK: Where are you sending mayor Bloomberg?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, not to his mansion down in Bermuda, or wherever it is.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm sending my sister to Alcatraz.


DOMINICK: Sarah Palin, where are you sending her?


DOMINICK: Who's annoying you, today? You want to send him away?


DOMINICK: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're welcome.

DOMINICK: Yeah, I'm sending you guys out of here!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who's got my goat?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Always politicians.

DOMINICK: Politicians?


DOMINICK: Where are you sending them all?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are we going to go alphabetically here or...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to send away, Donald Trump, actually.


DOMINICK: Yeah, where do you want to send your mom?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'd like to send her to Iraq.

DOMINICK: Why's that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She just needs a vacation, you know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm thinking, my roommate.

DOMINICK: Where are you sending your roommate?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to send him to Afghanistan. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Barbados.

DOMINICK: Barbados?


DOMINICK: Can I come?


DOMINICK: Well, is that creepy?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. Yes, definitely creepy.


DOMINICK: Jessica Yellin, who are you banishing? I want to know.

YELLIN: I'd like to banish the creator of the vuvuzela.

DOMINICK: Really? You really hate it that much?

YELLIN: They're tres annoying, too annoying for me. And you?

DOMINICK: Wait, I want it see you blow that vuvuzela. I want you to break Wolf's rules.

YELLIN: No, no. Wolf would kill me. Not happening.

DOMINICK: I have an annoying neighbor. I can't say who, though. He might be watching.

YELLIN: OK, we'll keep your secret. Thank you, Pete.

DOMINICK: All right, buddy.

YELLIN: And that's all from us, tonight. CAMPBELL BROWN starts right now.