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Joplin Rebuilds, Moves Forward; Operation Underway to Raise Costa Concordia; Democrat Corey Booker Starring in New Romney Ad; Mexican Candidate to Appear Topless on Billboard; Hundreds of Moms and Kids Mobilize in Washington against Toxic Chemicals
Aired May 22, 2012 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone, I'm Martin Savidge in for Kyra Phillips. It's 11:00 on the East Coast, 8:00 on West. It's great to be with you.
When you want to get something done in Washington, you can march, you can rally, or you can stroll. Right now hundreds of moms and stroller-sized kids from around the country are mobilizing on Capitol Hill against toxic chemicals in bedding, pajamas and furniture.
Many of those chemicals are billed as fire-retardants and very few are ever tested for safety. Some senators agree. There ought to be a law.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SENATOR FRANK LAUTENBERG (D), NEW JERSEY: Our current toxics law allows too many untested chemicals on the market. Why should parents who would be left to wonder if the chemicals used in their baby's bottles, pacifiers, cribs are safe? The status quo is dangerous and unacceptable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: CNN's Dana Bash joins me now with, dare I say, this rolling coverage. So what are these moms hoping to accomplish?
DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What they want is basically information, and the back story, the background, I should tell you, something that certainly I didn't realize as a new mom and many others might not is that chemicals simply are not regulated, and we don't know a lot about the chemicals that are out there, as you mentioned, in everything.
At this press conference, these lawmakers and activists made clear that there are 80,000 known chemicals, Martin. Only 200 have been tested and only 4 have been taken off the market.
So I want to actually bring in a couple of the moms who came here from far and wide around this country. First, I want to go to Katherine. Where are you from and why are you here?
KATHERINE SILBERMAN, PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND: I'm from Providence, Rhode Island, and I am here today because I myself have two small kids. I'm concerned about my children's health, but more broadly, I'm concerned about all children's health.
And we know that so many products that our kids are using every day are loaded with toxic chemicals that are dangerous for their health like. For example, this is a nursing pillow made for a tiny baby to lie on every day and we know that it's packed with flame retardants which can cause neurologic damage, can cause cancer, can cause all kinds of harm to babies and it's not necessary.
BASH: Or we think it might. The issue is, we don't really know. That's part of the problem.
And you are from Idaho. You came very far.
CHRISTINE NIENSTEDT, BOISE, IDAHO: I brought my daughter. We're from Boise, Idaho, and I just can't think of a more important reason to come to D.C. We are gravely concerned about the impact of toxic chemicals on our bodies and, candidly, I feel powerless to protect my family against it with what we know right now.
BASH: And you both are -- I don't want to say just moms, but you're not political activists.
NIENSTEDT: This is first political moment of my life ,honestly. We've never been involved like this and it feels good. It's time.
BASH: And, Martin, they are going to go to their senators' offices. They have packets of petitions like this to deliver to try to convince their senators to push forward with this legislation.
And the legislation would effectively give people information and force the chemical industry to explain what chemicals are in products that we all use every day and also try to explain whether or not they're hazardous.
SAVIDGE: And, Dana, real quick, what do you think the prospects are that they will actually change or update the law?
BASH: They don't seem very high. The good news for the people who are here is that they had two of the Democratic leaders at this press conference, and they run the place.
The bad news is there are only 18 co-sponsors and they're all Democrats. This needs to be a bipartisan issue for it to pass, especially in these highly, highly partisan times.
SAVIDGE: Absolutely, Dana. Thanks very much.
And, just to echo what she said, an advocacy groups estimates that over the past three decades the EPA has called for testing on just 200 chemicals out of some 80,000 that are in use and they've restricted only five.
In just about an hour, the Fullerton police officers charged with the beating of that young schizophrenic to death are due back in court for arraignment. Kelly Thomas was living on the streets when he approached and accosted by officers responding to a suspicious behavior call last summer.
You'll remember the whole thing was captured on video, 16 gut- wrenching minutes during which Thomas screams I'm sorry and he begs for his father to help him. He passed away five days later.
One of the cops is charged with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter. The other is charged with involuntary manslaughter and felony use of excessive force.
Oklahoma City police, they're trying to piece together the events that led to eight people being shot after an NBA playoff game late last night. One person is in critical condition.
It happened among a crowd of thousands in an area close to the arena. The Oklahoma City Thunder had just beaten the Los Angeles Lakers to close out the playoff series. Witnesses say there was a lot of pushing and shoving after some sort of altercation. Police say they've questioned several people, but no one right now is in custody.
The Dragon spacecraft is on its way. It lifted off early this morning in spectacular fashion.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three, two, one, zero.
And launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket as NASA turns the ...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: This is the milestone mission for SpaceX, the private company bidding to be NASA's partner in reaching the International Space Station. Today's launch is the testing ground for that partnership.
CNN's John Zarrella joins me now from Miami. Let's start off by asking John how is the mission progressing so far?
JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Marty, early on going really, really well. There are only four governments that have ever accomplished what they're attempting to accomplish, Russia, the United States, the European Union, and Japan, the only ones with the capability of rendezvousing and then berthing with the International Space Station and that's what SpaceX is attempting to do.
So far so good, Marty. On track to do that sometime on Friday.
SAVIDGE: When you read the reports of this launch, you hear words like this changes everything or a game-changer and explain to people why is this so important, this particular launch? What does it mean for the future of space?
ZARRELLA: Yes. It's a whole sea change in the way that NASA does business. Very early on NASA determined, you know, this is why we have the space shuttles retired now. NASA could not afford to continue firing the space shuttles up to the International Space Station as cargo carriers and astronaut carriers.
Couldn't afford to do that and at the same time build a new rocket to take astronauts on to places like an asteroid or onto Mars. A decision had to be made.
So they turn over low-earth orbit to commercial companies and we're in those first steps now. And, Charlie Bolden, the NASA administrator, this morning talked about just how significant today's events were.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHARLIE BOLDEN, NASA ADMINISTRATOR: To be quite honest, we have a significant amount of control over the Russians. They are part of the partnership, but what's really important is not control as much as it is the fact that the United States will once again be in the lead, will be providing our own vehicles to take our own astronauts and cargo to the International Space Station.
It's fine to rely on partners, but that's not where the greatest nation in the world wants to be. We want to be taking astronauts and cargo on our own vehicles. Today was a huge day in the step to getting there. So, you know, we're on the way, and people should hang with us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZARRELLA: As Administrator Bolden said right there, Marty, the Russians are the only game in town for us right now, which is hard to believe, but there's no other way to get U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station but on Russian rockets.
SAVIDGE: He said that clearly part of this mission eventually will be to transport humans. When is that going to happen?
ZARRELLA: You're looking at 2016, and the thing about it is this summer NASA will choose which company or companies will get the contracts to go ahead and start building those manned vehicles, the human-rated vehicles.
SpaceX is in the running for that, but there's no guarantee SpaceX will get it. Again, there's three, four, five companies out there all vying for that pot of dollars to do that in 2016.
SAVIDGE: And they are also going to meet up with the space station on this trip, right?
ZARRELLA: Absolutely. This is the key to this, the success of this. Rendezvous at the space station. They will do a fly around of the space station to check out all of Dragon's automated systems.
If everything checks out, then Friday in the overnight hours, astronaut Don Pettit on the International Space Station will reach out with the station's robotic arm, grab Dragon, and pull it into the station and berth it, and then they can say that it's been successful. And, in fact, they're not going empty handed. There's about 1,100 pounds of cargo on board Dragon, including everything from laptop computer to dry goods to meals for the astronauts and I was told by Elon Musk when I interviewed him they're even carrying spare underwear for the astronauts.
SAVIDGE: Good to know. Always good to know. John Zarrella, thanks very much.
SpaceX, by the way, got a 12-mission deal for NASA. That's a $1.6 billion deal. When it's configured for passengers, Dragon can carried we're told up to seven people into space right now. There are six people on board the International Space Station. The last three just arrived, as John mentioned, Thursday aboard a Russian Soyuz capsule.
SAVIDGE: Just a quick note for those of you who are heading out the door, don't leave me behind. Actually, you don't have to. You can keep watching CNN from your mobile phone or, if you're heading to work, you can also watch CNN live from your desktop. You just go to CNN.com/TV.
Multimillion dollar art state of the military hardware done in by counterfeit parts from China. That's the nightmare scenario revealed in a Senate investigation on the Pentagon's supply chain. Thousands of vital components of U.S. weapons systems originating in Chinese scrap heaps and then sold to you and me, the U.S. taxpayers, as the real deal.
CNN's Brian Todd has been on this story and he joins us now from Washington. Brian, first of all, good morning and how did this problem come to light?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the Senate armed services committee, Martin, has been investigating this for more than a year now and they've found thousands of cases of counterfeit parts being used in some very important American military equipment.
Just in digging through a fairly narrow slice of the supply chain, the committee found more than a million counterfeit parts, most of them for aircraft on the SH-60B, Navy helicopter, which hunts for enemy submarines and assists with surface warfare.
They found that a part which comprised the helicopter's night vision system contained counterfeit parts. Investigators traced that back to China.
Another aircraft, the P-8A plane, the Navy's version of the Boeing 737 that's used for anti-submarine warfare, the versions of that plane that the Navy's been testing contained a reworked part that never should have been on the plane. That part originally came from China as well. The part was used, but made to look new, according to investigators.
Senate armed services committee chairman, Carl Levin, talked about that issue when he discussed how widespread this problem is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SENATOR CARL LEVIN (D), ARMED SERVICES CHAIRMAN: We looked at just one slice of the defense industry. We found 11,000 different cases involving millions of parts. It's pervasive.
It's an open market for counterfeit parts in China at a place called Shenzhen out in the open. They wash, they take all the used computers, pull out parts. Then they wash them and then they re-stamp them, put phony numbers on them frequently and sell them right back to the defense industry here.
And it is pervasive. It's just something which must be stopped for the security and safety of our troops.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: But the U.S. economy also takes a hit on this. The semi- conductor industry association says fake parts cost American semi- conductor companies more than $7.5 billion a year in lost revenue which results in the loss of about 11,000 American jobs.
Marty, we have to note that the Pentagon did issue a statement on this saying that they're aware of this report, that they take counterfeit parts very seriously and will address this issue. This is according to a Pentagon spokeswoman, Marty.
SAVIDGE: And you point out, there's so many family members that would be worried about their loved ones serving in the military. Have there been any cases where it's been found that these phony parts have contributed to some sort of accident or disaster?
TODD: So far the information we've gotten does not indicate that. You would think that we've gone through some of the documentation, you would think if it had, it would be front and center in some of this report.
But we've not found any cases yet. We're still poring through the documents. We've not found any cases yet where it's directly caused an accident or put someone in harm's way.
I guess it's just the potential for it. When a night vision system doesn't work on a chopper, that's going to be an issue. There's a lot of potential for accidents here.
SAVIDGE: And quickly, the solution? Is there one?
TODD: Well, you know, the Senate armed services committee has actually kind of worked on that already. They have put an amendment into a defense authorization bill requiring that when a contractor finds a bad parts in a weapons system, the contractor or the parts supplier is going to pay to fix that problem.
Now, before those costs were incurred by the Department of Defense. So they're trying to get at the problem by passing this amendment requiring the manufacturer or the contractor, the supplier or the contractor to pay for the bogus parts. So maybe trying to head it off, you know, at some of the source points.
SAVIDGE: I mean, when they think of knockoffs we think of Gucci purses and Rolex watches. Far more serious. Brian Todd, thanks very much.
SAVIDGE: It's been more than a year after Japan's earthquake and tsunami. Debris from that disaster is now washing up nearly 4,000 miles away in Alaska along the beaches and islands out there and now come the concerns that are being raised over possibilities of pollution and health risks.
In terms of environmental impact, there are comparisons already being made to the "Exxon Valdez" oil spill.
Casey Wian joins us from Alaska and, Casey, what are you finding up there?
CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Martin, we're on an estuary about 20 miles outside a small fishing village. You can see on that strip of sand across the water there, that's called the black sand spit.
We went over there the other day and this is some of the debris that we found washed up onto the shore. Debris washes up on these beaches all the time, has been doing so for years.
But locals say they're seeing things they have never seen before like these big buoys that are used in oyster farming in Japan, also building insulation material. The spray-on foam that's used to insulate buildings.
And, most dangerous of all for right now in terms of the wildlife, are these Styrofoam buoys. You see how easily these pieces break off. When they break off, fish and birds eat them and then it becomes a real big problem.
We spoke with a local biologist and photographer who has been seeing, he says, a lot more birds dying in the last few months. Here is what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT JOHNSON, BIOLOGIST: Birds are going to consume it. Filter feeders fish are going to consume it. The birds mistake it for feed or food or something that they can ingest and they feel full and they don't eat and we're in a major fly-away in the spring and they run out of energy. Also makes them easier prey for raptors.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WIAN: You know, the environmental and wildlife impact is a big thing. They don't know what that's going to be because so much of this debris is still to come.
But right now they're desperately trying to get this cleaned up off the beaches. It's a big problem because this is such a remote area. The town near here is only 650 people.
We visited the island which has the most debris earlier this week and that is completely uninhabited. It's a real logistical nightmare and they're racing against the clock.
SAVIDGE: You mentioned the potential threat to wildlife. What about the impact for humans. Is that a possibility? And radiation is another fear that many people have.
WIAN: Well, they put the radiation fears to rest, at least for now. According to the people we've spoken with, the scientists who have done Geiger counter tests on this type of material, they all say that nothing has come up abnormal yet. Doesn't mean it can't happen some day, but it hasn't happened yet.
In terms of the human impact here locally, there's a very big fishing industry here. Nets could get caught up in all of this debris and that could be a problem. Also if this gets into the food chain, that is a big problem.
And 400 of the 650 residents of this town are Native Americans and many of them still exist on subsistence fishing. If that goes away or are impacted, they're going to have a real tough time in an already difficult economy, Martin.
SAVIDGE: Casey Wian up there in Alaska. Thanks very much.
According to the "Alaska Dispatch," the largest and most impressive piece of debris so far is a 150-foot abandoned fishing boat.
SAVIDGE: We've got a big driving weekend ahead of us and most of us are always looking for ways to save more and spend less, especially when it comes to filling up the car.
Alison Kosik is here with some tips on how to extend your gas mileage and spend less at the pump. Alison?
ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: So with gas prices still at high levels at this point, Americans are driving fewer miles, they're taking more trips on public transit and they're buying more fuel efficient cars.
In fact, 37 percent of drivers are saying fuel efficiency is the most important feature when they're choosing a new car. That's according to a survey released today by "Consumer Reports."
Even if you're not planning to buy a new car soon, you can take steps to reduce your fuel consumption. You can start by slowing down. Easier said than done. The Department of Energy reports that driving at speeds above 60 miles an hour tends to burn more fuel. Reduce your speed and you could get up to 23 percent better mileage.
Aggressive driving can cost you as well. Going easy on the accelerator and brakes can increase your mileage by 33 percent around highway speeds and 5 percent around towns.
"Consumer Reports" found that making multiple short trips on an engine decreased fuel economy by four miles a gallon.
SAVIDGE: I have a vehicle that says it uses premium gasoline, but when I go to the pump I'm tempted to use regular because it's cheaper. Is that a good idea?
KOSIK: Let's talk about the type of gas you put in your car. "Consumer Reports" says filling your car with premium gas will cost you more, but won't make your car run better.
Many cars that are designed to run on premium will run just fine on regular. If you thought filling up in the morning will help you get a bit more gas for your money, "Consumer Reports" says it's not going to make a big difference either.
SAVIDGE: That's good news for me.
Let's talk about Facebook. The news hasn't necessarily been that good there. Give us an update.
KOSIK: No. Actually, Facebook shares have recovered a bit for this session though they continue to fall 2.5 percent after falling 11 percent yesterday. And this, of course, follows Friday when Facebook had its public debut that pretty much fizzled after all the hype.
You remember that on Friday trading was delayed because of a glitch at the NASDAQ and, when many investors tried to sell their shares in the morning, when Facebook opened to the public. The problem is their orders didn't go through.
By the time they went through, shares for Facebook had already fallen, so investors had to sell their shares at a lower price basically taking a big hit on their investment.
What that wound up doing was undermining confidence in the stock. So by Monday people started questioning Facebook's business model and they were running for the exits selling the stock.
SAVIDGE: A lot of people wondered about that Friday release. Alison Kosik, thanks very much.
It looks like the plunge in Facebook stock hasn't really phased the overall market. U.S. stocks opened higher this morning after bouncing back yesterday from what was their worst week of the year on renewed optimism that Europe would find its way out of its debt crisis.
SAVIDGE: It was a year ago today that a massive tornado devastated Joplin, Missouri, killing more than 160 people. Thousands of homes, buildings, and lives were destroyed. But while the city reflects on the past year, the community is healing, rebuilding, and moving forward.
Jim Spellman is there.
And, Jim, let's talk, first of all, how much change has happened in the year since you were there last?
JIM SPELLMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A tremendous amount, Martin. I was standing just about right here for days on end after the tornado. Our viewers will remember this. This is St. John's Hospital. It's still standing there. It is still heavily damaged. A lot of people tell me they can't wait for this thing to come down. It's a horrible reminder every day of what went on. But there's a lot of good news.
Look at Cunningham Park here. They have done a tremendous job with this. They've put in a memorial over here to all the volunteers that came and helped in this effort. And they had put in basketball courts and a pool. They've even planted trees. And these trees are really important because one thing this tornado did was take away all the trees. That will really help the neighborhood feel more like home again for people.
Another iconic thing people remember is St. Mary's Catholic Church. The church and rectory was wiped out but the cross remained standing.
I caught up with the priest there, Father Monaghan, to hear what it was like for him to emerge from the wreckage and see the cross.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FATHER JUSTIN MONAGHAN, PASTOR, ST. MARY'S CATHOLIC CHURCH: I just looked and I thought, wow, God is really with us, and he's letting us know he's going to take care of us. It was a tremendous -- it was a real gift to see that and became a symbol all over the community, in fact, all over the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SPELLMAN: But perhaps more important than these iconic things we've all seen are places like this. This was once somebody's home. This was a block full of houses. Now it's just an empty lot. Each family here has had to make difficult decisions about staying in Joplin, where they're going to live, are they going to rebuild, can they rebuild. There's a lot of progress but no one here is kidding themselves. They know they have a lot more work to do before this community is whole again.
SAVIDGE: How is Joplin going to mark the day?
SPELLMAN: Well, they're going to have a unity walk. They're going to walk all the way through the devastated area and end up right here. This is where -- right across the street where the tornado first touched down at 5:41 p.m. At 5:41 p.m., they will have a moment of silence to mark that silence. You can see them setting up chairs and a stage. They'll have speakers here. Along the way of the walk, they're going to plant time capsules, including some from the students at Joplin High School. That school was destroyed. The kids have been going to a temporary high school in a shopping mall here. They've shown a lot of strength. They wanted to leave some of their memories behind. When they dig that up decades from now, they want to have some of their treasured items in that time capsule -- Martin?
SAVIDGE: And you sort of touched on this, but I'm wondering more, how are people mentally doing as far as the recovery?
SPELLMAN: Well, there's no doubt it's been a tough year for people here. With so much destruction and so many reminders every day when they drive through town, seeing these empty sort of treeless tableaus and the hospital and the church that were destroyed. I think they're glad to see the remembrances here and to honor all the volunteers and all the strength they've shown. They were glad to have the president come here last night and speak at the graduation of the Joplin High School class. But I think they're ready for this day to come and go so they can get back with the rebuilding because one thing it's forced them all to do is to remember that day that they'd really just as soon forget, Martin.
SAVIDGE: You mentioned the volunteers. The numbers are pretty staggering. We're talking about a town, I think, it's about 50,000, but the number of volunteers double, almost triple that.
SPELLMAN: Yes, indeed. It's really remarkable. This memorial here is to the volunteers and they've been handing out these blue wrist bands. They say "The miracle of the human spirit." And there to honor all these volunteers and everyone that came to help. Not only did they come at the time to feed and house people, they're here rebuilding homes. Habitat for Humanity is here, other groups like that. People have set up a tool library. There's even Good Samaritan groups here that are distributing cars to people who need them. Whenever a need has arisen, there's been volunteers to show up to help with them. Everybody here is so grateful. I have heard that over and over from people here.
SAVIDGE: I bet they are.
Jim Spellman, we're grateful to you. Thanks very much for the report.
And speaking of those volunteers, today's events are expected to attract more than 130,000 volunteers to Joplin to help out and continue the rebuilding of homes.
Ten months after going into hiding, Casey Anthony will be heading back to court. You may remember she was acquitted of her daughter's murder. According to the "Huffington Post" and "People" magazine, she's going to have to appear at a defamation trial. She had claimed her daughter, Caylee, was kidnapped by a babysitter, Zenaida Gonzalez, a woman she never knew. Gonzalez claims Anthony ruined her reputation so the case will go to court in January. And if you've ever wondered the worth of presidential blood, here is one answer. At least $9,910. That's the latest bid for a vial of President Ronald Reagan's blood. The online auction site says the dried blood residue is clearly visible inside the vial you see here. The auction has sparked outrage from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation, which calls the move a craven act. The British-based company says the blood was drawn from Reagan while he was recovering from an assassination attempt in 1981.
Often the most captivating news stories with the most powerful images come straight from our iReporters. We want to honor you, the viewers who have given us the awe-inspiring pictures from around the world. We need to you decide who deserves this year's Community Choice Awards. Log on to CNN/ireportawards to vote. Here are the nominees for compelling imagery.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I live in South Korea. I am taking a stand to end slavery because I think I can make a difference.
SAVIDGE: If you're leaving the house right now, just a reminder, you can continue watching CNN from your mobile phone. You can also watch CNN live from your desktop. All you got to do is just go to CNN.com/tv.
It's been more than four months since that cruise ship, the "Costa Concordia" capsized off the coast of Italy, killing at least 30 people. In a few days, a high-tech operation is going to get under way to raise the massive ship in one piece. That project will proceed despite the fact that two people are still listed as missing.
Brian Todd is back with us. He's been talking with those involved in the salvage operation. Here's what he found out.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Nearly 1,000 feet long, weighing close to 50,000 tons, every day on its side is a looming environmental disaster. Experts now say they'll salvage the wrecked "Costa Concordia" cruise ship in one piece off the coast of Italy.
One Marine expert says it's like raising a floating city. A salvage leader calls it the largest ship removal by weight in history.
RICH HABIB, PRESIDENT TITAN SALVAGE: We feel confident that we can do it, and we feel confident that, with our partners, we will do it safely and with the least disturbance to the environment and the least disturbance to the economy.
TODD: American-owned Titan Salvage, its Italian partner, and the cruise line provided journalists with footage and animation of their plan. They will attach heavy cables to poles to keep the "Concordia" from slipping hundreds of feet to great depth, then steel-plated slings to support the hull.
(on camera): Then underwater platforms, 40 x 40 meters, will be anchored to the sea bud by the hull to support the entire vessel. Then tanks filled with water, called caissons, will be affixed to side of the ship that's above water to help with leverage.
(voice-over): At that point, possibly the most crucial part of the operation. It's called parbuckling. Massive cranes fixed to the platform will pill the "Concordia" upright. The caissons will be emptied of their water, replaced by air, which will lift the ship from the sea bed. "Concordia" will be towed to a nearby port and demolished.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The stripes on the outside of the hull.
We recently skirted around Port Everglades Florida with officials from Resolve Marine Group which bid on the Concordia salvage job. Officials at Resolve say one of the options discussed, cutting the "Concordia" into pieces where it sits would have been easier but environmentally harmful. As for the personnel involved --
(on camera): How dangerous is it to dispose of a ship like this, whether you're cutting it up, floating it away?
JOSEPH FARRELL III, SALVAGE ENGINEER, RESOLVE MARINE GROUP: Anybody doing any work is going to be, you know, in a weird position, so you're going to have to have safety harnesses and training and equipment that it can deal with that kind of environment, because nothing is straight. Your bulk heads are your floor and your floor is your bulk head or wall.
TODD: Salvage and cruise line officials say this operation could take up to a year and could cost around $300 million. Joseph Farrell says cutting the vessel up to sell the metal and other parts for scrap could recoup some of the money lost. When I asked whether they will sell off parts of the "Concordia," an official at the cruise line said no decision on that has been announced.
Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
SAVIDGE: One other point about the "Concordia" accident, the ship's captain is being investigated for possible criminal charges, including allegations of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and, if you will remember, abandoning ship. He remains under house arrest.
SAVIDGE: "Fair Game" now. One comment on a Sunday talk show you have probably seen has caused a whirlwind of political talk for Newark Mayor Corey Booker. He's a darling among Democrats, so that raises the question, why is he starring in a new ad for Mitt Romney? Here's part of that ad.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COREY BOOKER, (D), MAYOR OF NEWARK: Look at the totality of Bain Capital's record. It -- they've done a lot to support businesses, to grow businesses.
AD NARRATOR: Even Obama's own supporters have had enough.
BOOKER: It's nauseating to the American public. Enough is enough.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: Booker later explained that while he said he was uncomfortable with the Obama administration's attack on Bain Capital, he agreed Romney's role with that company was fair game, and now he has some choice words for Republicans over the ad.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOOKER: Here they are plucking sound bites out of that interview to manipulate them in a cynical manner, to use them for their own purposes. And that slogan is really what had me and basically my entire staff really fit to be tied.
It hurts me. I feel personally disappointed that now I'm being used to undermine the president in this kind of cynical venial way. And I'm going to work harder. If anything, they have turned me on even to work harder the next six months from fundraising, to whatever need be, to ensure that our president gets re-elected.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: Joining me now is CNN contributor, L.Z. Granderson, and Republican analyst, Boris Epshteyn.
L.Z., let's start with you. Did Romney supporters go too far with this ad?
L.Z. GRANDERSON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Completely tone deaf here. They didn't need to do anything. The media was doing all the work for them. As soon as Corey Booker made his remarks, you know, media jump all over this, analyzing and second-guessing President Obama's strategy, all to themselves and to the voters. For Romney's campaign to get involved with this, all of a sudden now, does exactly what Corey Booker says, it reinvigorates because it was completely tone deaf and typical Romney.
SAVIDGE: Boris, is the issue overblown in this case?
BORIS EPSHTEYN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I think Corey Booker was right in what he initially said on "Meet the Press," that this issue is much more complex than what the Obama team is putting out there and that invading Bain Capital across the spectrum was absolutely wrong. And as Harold Ford Jr said, another Democrat, said private equity is good, not bad. When the economy has been struggling as bad as it has under President Obama, his message of, oh, let's look at this and say that it's awful, is absolutely incorrect. And the American people are seeing through that. That's why you're seeing Mitt Romney leading no some of the polls over Barack Obama.
SAVIDGE: One of the things I thought he was talking about were these attack ads and how the back and forth was really serving no purpose here and basically getting way from the issues.
So, L.Z. why is he being so heavily criticized and showing up in Republican ads? I mean, he had a good point.
GRANDERSON: It's an excellent point. But there is a difference between attacking Mitt Romney's record as "Fair Game" and attacking Mitt Romney's record in terms of political gain. It's "Fair Game" in the sense that if you look at his management strategy, if you look at how you created jobs and whether or not he actually was involved with that, that's all "Fair Game." If you're trying to use it for political gain, which is what mayor Booker was arguing against, not fair because it's venture capitalism. This is all part of the American economy. And to cherry-pick what's been good and bad for political gain was wrong, was tone deaf. But, again, Romney should have just sat back and allowed the media to do the work for him. Now what he's cone done is ad more power to the Democratic side and something else to push against.
SAVIDGE: Boris --
SAVIDGE: Go ahead. Yes.
EPSHTEYN: I disagree with that, L.Z. I think by driving the point home, the Romney campaign is saying, look, even staunch Democrats like Corey Booker, and Harold Ford Jr as well, are coming out against these attack ads, against the Obama campaign's effort to portray Mitt Romney has someone who's been a capitalist from a bad perspective. There's no reason for us, as Americans, as capitalists, to demonize capitalism. So to drive that point home by the Romney campaign is not a problem. What is going on with Corey Booker, he's almost ruining his own political situation. He said one some thing on "Meet the Press," completely going backwards on it and now he's reinvigorated?
GRANDERSON: He's not going backwards.
EPSHTEYN: Why wasn't he invigorated to begin with?
GRANDERSON: First, he's not going backwards. He's saying is do not cherry-pick my comments for your political gain. That's not going backwards. That's demanding that the Romney campaign be genuine in how they use his --
EPSHTEYN: But as a politician, L.Z., he should not -- but as a politician, he should know anything he says, especially on "Meet the Press," is going to be used. It was actually a full sentence. He said these attacks nauseate me. That is not cherry-picking. That's using a full sentence. What's wrong with that? The Obama campaign has done that to Mitt Romney as well.
SAVIDGE: Let me stop you right there. I want to move on to another topic.
Boris, I agree, he did open his mouth. And once you do that, you're in a lot of trouble.
Let's move on to politics in Mexico, because, from what was said to now what is being seen in Mexico, there is a candidate running for office, happens to be a woman, and she's decided to get her message out by going topless on a billboard. Clearly, she wants to draw attention to herself, but would we ever anticipate a stunt like this in America?
Go ahead, Boris.
EPSHTEYN: Hopefully not in the presidential election. It wouldn't get us anywhere.
Listen, politics are what they are. We'll see a lot of stunts from now until the general election in the U.S., but both in the Congress, the Senate, hopefully, not in the presidential, but in all the elections out there, a lot of times you'll se crazy things in the municipal elections.
SAVIDGE: L.Z. -- wait a minute. L.Z., last word. That's it. We have to wrap it. Give me one last word.
GRANDERSON: I was going to say, I've got a very short lengths that I'd like to see American Congressmen try. It's a very short list.
Let's hope it does not come to pass.
SAVIDGE: I agree with both of you. Thanks for joining us. We have to end it right there.
GRANDERSON: Thank you. SAVIDGE: Let's get a quick check of the markets. There's the big board. Up in positive territory at 57 points right now with the Dow Jones Industrials.
SAVIDGE: A milestone of historic proportions in Egypt. Tomorrow, they vote in the first-ever presidential election, the result of Arab Spring toppled Hosni Mubarak from power.
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SAVIDGE: But the noise of election fever sweeping that country isn't drowning out the concerns, fears, and outrage of many. One group in particular is skeptical about the outcome. Hala Gorani now on what Egyptian women say they really want in this election.
HALA GORANI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the ladies-only car on the Cairo Metro, there are women who are there, but there is also anger. Has life changed for women since the revolution?
23-year-old Runda (ph) says for her it's become worse.
"It was better before," she says. "Even though you suffered from oppression, now it's difficult for our parents to agree just to let us go out."
These are some of the images that have caused the most outrage. A woman dragged partially stripped and beaten by soldiers during a protest last year. The forced virginity tests on women arrested by the women.
Some have fought back, like Samirah (ph). She sued the military but lost. So is the world wrong to think the revolution has hurt the cause of women here?
Rabib el-Mahdi calls herself a feminist and a leftist. Yet as an adviser to an Islamism presidential candidate, Abdul Mona Abdulsosu (ph). In her Cairo home, she tells me the abuse of women was a problem long before the revolution.
RABIB EL-MAHDI, FEMINIST LEFTIST: The world wasn't paying attention to Egypt, and then suddenly, they discovered us. And they look at it and think that everything that they're seeing is new and is to achieve revolution. Whereas, the continuity, in terms of women suffering and their struggles to gain different rights, has been going on for decades.
GORANI: But what about the younger generation of female revolutionaries?
Sarrah Abdelrahman is an actress and video blogger, and she calls herself a revolutionary, too, in this society that is still deeply conservative. Is there hope for women in the country she says she's fighting for.
(on camera): When you're 30, 35, what will Egypt look like for women?
SARRAH ABDELRAHMAN, ACTRESS & BLOGGER: You can't just change a whole society overnight. It's the people on the street, and people do it because that's their intention. They don't mean well. They're sexually harassing women. So in order to wipe that off, it's going to take time and effort and a lot of patience.
GORANI (voice-over): Patience and lots of optimism.
In last November's parliamentary elections, only eight of over 500 representatives elected were women. And the Islamist-dominated assembly is considering legislation that will, among other things, strip women of their newly won right to file for divorce.
Back in the Cairo metro, ordinary Egyptian women say they just want security, jobs, and respect. As she reached her final stop, when asked who she would vote for in Egypt's presidential election, this woman said -- "There's no point in voting at all. I'm going to vote for God."
SAVIDGE: That's it for me. Thanks for watching.
CNN NEWSROOM continues with Ashleigh Banfield, in for Suzanne Malveaux -- Ashleigh.
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you, Martin Savidge.