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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Interview with FEMA Director Craig Fugate; Hurricane Death Toll Rises to 88; FEMA Arrives on Staten Island; Interview with Rand Paul
Aired November 1, 2012 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, wake of the storm. The death toll jumped today. New problems are becoming more fearsome, gas lines, spills, desperate people and the road to recovery has only begun.
Officials say the election should not be affected by Sandy, but there are signs that may no longer be true.
And news just in from the CIA. A new timeline of the events in Libya. What it says about the administration's response. Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening, everyone. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, the wreckage. Millions growing more desperate tonight as they struggle to cope with the loss of homes, power and family in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
The U.S. death toll has risen to 88, 44 in New York state alone and the number continues to grow as many people are still missing. I spent the day on Staten Island where more have died in New York than anywhere else.
Some of the worst devastation is here and people told us they're not getting enough help. As we visited some of the hardest hit areas with Congressman Michael Brim, searchers discovered the bodies of two young boys, ages 2 and 4, in the marsh.
They were tragically swept from their mother's arms during the storm's most violent moments. Some were hoping for a miracle. There was not one today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL GRIMM (R), NEW YORK: We've confirmed four bodies. The two children they were looking for, they found the bodies. Also in a different location, found an elderly couple.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: At least 19 people have been killed on Staten Island. What we saw there was very upsetting today and we are going to bring it to you later this hour.
But first, OUTFRONT tonight Brian Todd. Brian is in Staten Island tonight. Brian, I know that you've been there during the day, what are you seeing right now?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, we're in the new beach neighborhood of Staten Island. It's kind of on the southern and eastern side of the island, complete devastation in this neighborhood.
This road behind me is flooded. You can't see a lot of that now. The houses here, hundreds of homes on Staten Island as you saw and as we saw in this section today, hundreds of homes on Staten Island either severely damaged or completely destroyed, half of the house to my left and your right, pretty much gone.
We wanted to show you some sound that we got of two ladies who live in this area. They showed us damage in their houses. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONNA SOLLI, HOME DESTROYED BY SANDY: The water level was up to here, past my first floor. This is you know, this is old stuff coming out of the refrigerators. There's no power.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: Just a glimpse there of some of the damage here, but literally every house you go to in this neighborhood at least has a story like that, either part of the house or the entire house is swept away.
Some of these people don't have insurance. At least don't have flood insurance so they are going to be really facing some tough times in the days ahead.
You mentioned the death toll, Erin, and the two young boys that were found today. We're told now that 19 people died on Staten Island alone. Just on this one borough, just completely devastated -- Erin.
BURNETT: I know some of the complaints they had today, they're still haven't been pulled door to door searches to know if the death toll could go even higher.
We were also told today about looting, Brian, in neighborhoods like Midland Park. It was one of the places we were told about. Are the people you're with worried about looting? I mean, it just seems like their belongings are literally everywhere.
TODD: They are worried about it, Erin and I just literally seconds ago talked to a gentleman who lives down the street who says he was looted. He is a repairman. He said people came in and took some of his tools.
As you mentioned and we've seen, all of this neighborhood. there are people dragging their goods, their belongings out and putting them on their front lawns in an effort to salvage them.
If they can't salvage them, they need to get them out of their houses, but that's the problem. The houses are pretty much wide open and very, very vulnerable to looting and this gentleman who lives just about a block down told us that he's been looted.
BURNETT: All right, Brian Todd, thank you very much. Reporting from Staten Island tonight and as we said, we're going to have an in-depth report on what we saw there. It was very upsetting. That's coming up later this hour.
It will be weeks before some areas get power again. It's unknown before people in the hardest hit areas can go back into their homes.
OUTFRONT tonight, FEMA Director Craig Fugate. Sir, thank you very much for taking the time. Let me ask you what is most immediate concern right now?
It's three days after the storm and while the immediate flood waters have receded is some areas, some of the other problems are getting bigger and bigger, the gas lines, the fears of looting, the cold, the hunger.
CRAIG FUGATE, FEMA ADMINISTRATOR: Right now, people in power. As power gets turned on, it's going to help those areas that didn't have a lot of damage. But we also have people it doesn't matter if you turned power on, they've lost their homes.
That's why we've turned on a lot of the FEMA assistance to get people either in temporary shelter assistance, hotels and motels or get them rental assistance. We know they didn't have insurance.
So we're working to get more people in these areas and again, the last couple of days, we had a very slow moving storm. Things are starting to get where you can into areas and so you will continue to see more presence, more resources getting in there.
But the two priorities are the survivors of these storms and the power restoration to get power back on.
BURNETT: How long until power is back for everybody, the millions who've lost it?
FUGATE: Yes, we're going to refer back to the utilities. But I'll tell you what, the president direct us to do and started happening. We got some of the equipment today. We're moving equipment from the west coast to the east coast.
You can't drive it fast enough, so the departments are now flying utility trucks and crews to the west coast. Some of those began landing this evening. That's going to continue as we bring in more resources to support utilities.
BURNETT: When you see the pictures, I mean, we've seen this in several areas that we've been in the past few days from New Jersey through the outer boroughs of New York City.
But when you look at the devastation and homes completely gone, and what we saw today just homes ripped off their foundations. Is this what you expected or is this worse than what you expected, Director Fugate? FUGATE: No, this is why the evacuation orders were issued. With storm surge, which is what we get with these types of systems, people tend to think of this further south as what you see from hurricanes like we saw in Mississippi and other storms.
When this happens, that's the power of that water. It's not going to be like it's flooding the street. It can literally destroy homes as those waves come over to walls and start smashing everything.
BURNETT: As I mentioned on Staten Island today and there was a lot of frustration. You know, sir, people were called it the forgotten borough. I don't know. Do we have the sound bite? We do. All right, let me just play this so you could hear it, sir.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In my mother-in-law's.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are going to go to your mother-in-law's?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, so we're going to wait for FEMA.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you call? They're here on the ground today. FEMA is on the ground today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: All right, FEMA was on the ground today, sir. We saw them at the shelter, but it's three days since the storm and everyone there told us they were just getting there today. Why did it take three days?
FUGATE: Well, generally in three days, we went from a storm that was making landfall at 8:00 three nights ago, search and rescue was the first priority. Getting the assistance turned on was next and then getting the teams.
There's already assistance being made, but we haven't reached everybody. Until we do, we're not stopping. So yes, we're at day three. It's going to continue until we get to the rest of the communities and get to the people that are at these hardest hit areas.
BURNETT: I mean, I'm just asking this question. I just want to push a little bit more on it. Sir, you know, some of the areas we've been in Hoboken, they're wealthier and where we were today, it was the exact opposite of that.
They were the very people who hadn't gotten the help in time. If you're wealthy, you got more help from FEMA more quickly than the rest of the people.
FUGATE: Well, our assistance is based upon need and those that generally have more resources, insurance, are going to get the same assistance. So right now, it's registration. There's about $9 million already been approved. And to get that assistance, you would not have insurance and much financial resources, so it's getting to those people, getting them to longer term housing assistance they're going to need while we deal with the whole area of issues that we're working on.
BURNETT: So you're saying, I just want to make sure I understand. You're saying that in the wealthier areas because people have the insurance, they are more likely to see FEMA. What we saw makes sense?
FUGATE: Well, they're not going to likely get as much assistance. Because they have insurance or they don't have the financial need, they're not going to qualify for as much FEMA assistance as people that have greater needs.
So the $9 million has already approved and continues to goes up. That's going to people that don't have the insurance, don't have the resources. So it's really the people that didn't have that kind of protection that are going to get the most FEMA assistance.
BURNETT: So, in places like Staten Island where FEMA took three days to get there, what are you going to do now? I mean, they had complaints about looting. You heard our reporter, Brian Todd, saying there is looting in the neighborhoods.
We also heard in some neighborhoods, looting of stores. There was also great frustration that there haven't really been full door to door checks for bodies. I mean, is that something you're going to be doing and full on soon?
FUGATE: Well, the first search and rescue was to get to as many of the injured and trapped. Now, the search is going to go back and look for the missing and account for all of the recoveries.
And that will take time as they want to be very thorough and make sure they get those done and make sure we can identify and hopefully find that people that are missing just haven't been accounted for, but that will continue until they have accounted for all the missing.
So this is again, we're day three, search and rescue. Get to the injured and trapped and now looking for those that are still missing. Getting power and critical facilities in there and getting assistance to the survivors.
BURNETT: Let me ask you how much higher you think the death toll may go given that there haven't been full body searches in places like Staten Island, which already have the highest death toll.
FUGATE: I really can't say based upon what the teams have been working on. They're going against now, people are reporting that family members may be missing or they haven't accounted for folks. I think those are things as city Officer Emergency Management gets those numbers.
The teams are going back to look for those areas perhaps look for more people, but really trying to get to the list and says how many people are still not accounted that could have been in these areas. BURNETT: And a final question, sir. One of the fears people have and I know you've heard about this is the gas lines. We sat today at one point, a four-lane super highway. We sat for 40 minutes until we even realized the reason there was traffic was because people were trying to get around the line that was many hours long just to get gas.
And people are panicked about the gas supply. We have been told there's no problem with the supply and I want to emphasize that to viewers who maybe worried. It's partially a power issue, but people I spoke to say it's fair to ask you all about that. Why is FEMA not doing more? What more can you do to help with that problem?
FUGATE: Well, part of it was getting where you could get the fuel barges back in to some of the areas. So Coast Guard and Corps of Engineers were working for the last couple of days to get where they could get the barges back in to the facilities that could take them.
That starts getting some of the supply back in there, but it's taken time to get everything back in place that we've either damaged or was evacuated during the storm to start getting supplies flowing.
We've been starting to get emergency fuels in for the generators and for the responders, making sure that they still have fuel to go and getting those things in place as the last couple of days they were already using their reserve stocks.
BURNETT: All right, well, Director Fugate, thank you very much and good luck. We hope that you can help all the people out there who need it so much.
And still to come, three days after the storm, some New Jersey residents see what's left of their homes for the first time today.
Plus, a call for help --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bodies out of the water in homes. What the hell? Have we lost our minds?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And really, there's another storm headed towards the same area affected by Sandy, yes.
BURNETT: Our second story OUTFRONT, returning to ruins. Tonight, some residents of New Jersey's barrier islands are seeing for the first time what's left of their homes and what they'll find could be heartbreaking.
This is an aerial picture of the Jersey Shore before Hurricane Sandy, and then after the storm ravaged the beach front community. OUTFRONT tonight Michael Holmes. He is live in Toms River, New Jersey -- Michael. MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Erin, that whole area has been battered so badly. We've been out there twice in two days, spending hours out there. We've seen houses in the middle of the street. Gas lines that are just now being brought under control.
And one of the worst hit areas that we got to today, an area that's going to be familiar to many viewers and that is that whole New Jersey boardwalk area, those entertainment piers like Casino Pier. Check out the damage.
HOLMES (voice-over): Of all the damage brought by Sandy, these images are among those that stand out the most for so many Americans. Take a look at before and then the heartbreaking after.
This is the Casino Pier and Amusement Park in Seaside Heights on New Jersey's barrier islands, three quarters of a century old now in ruins.
(on camera): To television viewers who watched "The Sopranos" or perhaps MTV's "The Jersey Shore" or listen to Bruce Springsteen sing of this place, there might be a sense of familiarity about it. But for millions of Americans, generations of them, this is a deeply personal loss.
THOMAS BOYD, SEASIDE HEIGHTS POLICE CHIEF: That pier is the lifeblood of Seaside Heights. That pier was beautiful. It had great rides. Every one of you people or half you people here have been on that pier.
HOLMES (voice-over): For many, this place is summer memories, a place where their parents brought them and where they brought their own kids until now, until this. Harry smith is a councilman and business owner. His family ran the beach umbrella concession. It's gone now.
HARRY SMITH, SEASIDE HEIGHTS COUNCILMAN: This is heartbreaking. I've lived here my whole life. I'm like the fourth generation here and like I said, this whole is devastated.
HOLMES: The best known and most dramatic image perhaps, the star jet roller coaster. It sat on the pier that used to run 300 yards out to sea along with three dozen other famed rides and attractions. This, for example, was the scrambler.
Less than a mile away, Fun Town Pier, where we find business owner, Bob Stewart, standing where his office used to be.
BOB STEWART, BUSINESS OWNER: I have never seen anything like it. You know, this building where we're standing, I have pictures of it from the 1890 or something and it was the only building here. Every storm up until now, you know, it's completely gone now.
HOLMES: Bob says he's already getting calls from regular vacationers.
STEWART: They're going to miss this place. You know, they spent their summers here. Since there was this thing, you know.
HOLMES: The crushing damage down here, all too clear. The ferris wheel, incredibly upright although the pier it sat on is gone. Other rides, unrecognizable.
(on camera): The sheer force of the water clear to see from the debris, but it's pylons like this that have stood here for decades that really tell the story, snapped off and shredded.
(voice-over): The famed New Jersey boardwalk, 16 blocks of it, has either been turned into kindling or has buckled or under mined. It all needs replacing.
Places like this are more than just pylons and metal though more than just a beach. That has been a constant part of life and family history for those who come year after year.
They say it will be rebuilt, but it will never be the same. Michael Holmes, Seaside Heights on New Jersey's barrier island.
BURNETT: But not everyone is eager to rebuild. OUTFRONT tonight, Joe and Ruth Albanese. Their home was hit by Hurricane Irene last year and they rebuilt and now, their home is destroyed again. Tell me, do you think this could happen?
JOE ALBANESE, RELUCTANT TO REBUILD AFTER SANDY: Not like this. I mean, we never expected the destruction that we've seen. It's indescribable.
BURNETT: And Ruth, I know you're considering whether to come back. Why are you hesitating on rebuilding?
RUTH ALBANESE, RELUCTANT TO REBUILD AFTER SANDY: I don't know, I've just never felt such terror in my life. I'm usually a pretty strong person. I'm still shaking. I can't think straight. Just for fearful of something happening like that again.
BURNETT: And Ruth, I don't know your story -- I'm sorry to interrupt. I think we have a delay, but your story of how you survived is pretty miraculous.
RUTH ALBANESE: It is. We're lucky to be alive.
BURNETT: You were having dinner with friends and it was just happened to be that you were in the right place at the right time.
RUTH ALBANESE: I went across, I went across the street after having dinner with my friends at 7:30, walked my dog. Everything was normal. Probably an hour or later, my house was under water and it just kept pouring in, just growing worse and worse and worse. Everything changed in an hour or so.
BURNETT: Joe, what do you think about rebuilding? JOE ALBANESE: You know, I'm a Jersey boy. I've lived here all my life. I've lived in Toms River over 40 years. Our dream was always to live on the water. We had a beautiful view of right across from the ocean and if the house is structurally sound and the engineers tell us that we can rebuild, we will.
I know Ruth is a little frightened. I mean, it was pretty difficult. We almost lost our lives in that house, being trapped on the second floor and having gas lines rupturing all over, we were lucky to get out.
Someone banged on our door at 7:00 in the morning the next morning and got us out by boat. Had it not been for them, we could have perished in that house.
BURNETT: Well, thank God they did that.
JOE ALBANESE: We're very lucky and our neighbors lost a lot more, yes.
BURNETT: Well, thank you so much.
RUTH ALBANESE: We had wonderful neighbors and everybody helped us.
BURNETT: And best of luck. I know its neighbors and friends have come to the forefront in this time of duress. Thanks to both of you.
And the weather service has predicted the accurate track of Sandy. As you know, a lot of people questioned it. It was right. It's now predicting another storm with high winds and rain and snow and that storm is going to come to the same area. Chad Myers is next with that.
And later, CNN's Suzanne Kelly, the only television reporter invited to a rare CIA briefing on the Benghazi attack. She's got new information on the timeline and what the administration knew and when.
BURNETT: Our third story OUTFRONT, as the northeast struggles to recover from Sandy, a new winter storm could hit the mid-Atlantic and New England next week.
Chad Myers is at the CNN Severe Weather Center. Chad, this is pretty hard to imagine.
CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I know. Now, it's six days away. It's hard to predict a nor'easter 24 hours out, but the same computer model, the European model that predicted the hurricane and within 15 miles, five days out, is predicting this.
Let me show you how it's going to set up, warm in the west, cold in the east. That is always the set-up for the potential of a nor'easter to come over the top, develop down here in the gulf, then run up the east coast. When that happens, the east coast gets cold and then it snows. It could rain, but probably snows especially a little further to the west. Here is that model. Forward it to Monday. It rains on Tuesday in Florida.
That could affect the election a little bit, but then on Wednesday, it runs up to the east coast, now, this is not a 100-mile per hour storm, maybe 40 or 50. But look, half the houses don't have roofs in some spots so you don't need rain or wind or anything like that.
But you're going to see any way the next couple of nights, all very close to freezing at night and five million people without power, which means basically no heat. You have to be careful not to try to heat the place and make carbon monoxide with something and kill yourself anyway, dangerous, dangerous stuff.
BURNETT: That was a terrible story. Chad Myers, thank you. Next, what we saw, the desperation for some victims of superstorm Sandy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We stayed 11 hours on the roof. We kept yelling help to everyone we seen. Nobody was coming. Help us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And later, Senator Rand Paul. Does the Romney campaign have a plan to win the election if they can't win Ohio?
BURNETT: We start the second half of our show with stories we care about, where we focus on our own reporting.
And, tonight, a special Sandy edition of "Frontlines."
The crane that overturned high above Manhattan is a little closer to being tied down tonight. It was being used to construct the tallest residential building in Manhattan. It's hanging over West 57th Street, which is a major cross street in the center of the city.
Today, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that inspections of the crane are complete. The construction manager for the building tells us the Department of Buildings is reviewing the plans to secure it. The area surrounding the dangling crane is still closed.
Public transportation in New York City is starting to come back. Some subway lines, Amtrak and commuter trains are starting to run on limited schedules. It meant that thousands, though, were waiting on long lines to get to work. At least, though, there was some public transportation to help them.
The congestion we told you last night, eased a bit, thanks to a mandatory three-passenger car pool rule. So, you couldn't come into the city. That made a difference. All three major airports were open today for the first time since the storm hit at limited capacity.
Well, the military used cargo jets to fly power trucks and crews from California to try to help New York clean up Sandy. Sixty-nine vehicles from southern California were flown in from the West Coast. They also sent generators and water pumps to help with clean-ups.
The Navy has sent three ships to the region. They'll be on stand by in case the state government asks for their help.
And now, our fourth story OUTFRONT: picking up the pieces from Sandy. Staten Island is a 60 square mile portion of New York City and it suffered some of the worst devastation from the storm. Nineteen of the city's 37 confirmed storm-related deaths happened on Staten Island.
And today, I toured some of the hardest hit areas and spoke with residents just beginning to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives.
BURNETT (voice-over): This is Quincy Avenue and you still can't get close to whatever is left of house number 845. That's where Barbara Larson and her son, Christopher, now at the shelter, barely survived the storm.
BARBARA LARSON, STATEN ISLAND RESIDENT: We stayed 11 hour on on the roof. We kept yelling help to everyone we see. Nobody was coming. Nobody.
BURNETT: Their neighborhood, destroyed. The water rose feet in just minutes. They escaped with their lives, but suffered unimaginable loss.
LARSON: We were told the next day, we were looking for my sister. We were told the next day she was found dead in her apartment -- we have to get her from Brooklyn and try to bury her.
BURNETT: At the shelter, we saw about 250 people with no place to go and there are others still unaccounted for.
Congressman Michael Grimm, a Republican, represents all of Staten Island. We went with him to see some of the worst devastation.
And our trip started with heartbreaking news.
REP. MICHAEL GRIMM (R), NEW YORK: So four bodies all together.
BURNETT: Two of those belonged to 4-year-old Connor and 2-year- old Brandon Moore, separated from their mother as she tried to flee the rising water. Two innocent children gone forever.
And despite some help arriving today, Grimm is angry at what he says is a lack of support in what residents told us is an overlooked and forgotten part of the city.
(on camera): So, you think there's still people trapped?
GRIMM: Yes, unfortunately I do. I think that most likely, there's not going to be many survivors. I think we're going to have as we go door to door and knock on basements, we're going to find bodies. We're going to find -- today, they found an elderly couple. I think there's going to be more of that.
You know, the one thing I would say is that I think we should be knocking on doors now because maybe there is still someone alive.
BURNETT: But you need more help knocking on doors.
GRIMM: We absolutely need more help. I mean, that's -- I mean, this is a cry for help.
How are you?
BURNETT (voice-over): Every step Grimm took, people came asking for help. They told us they need food, shelter. So far so far, they said only neighbors have come to their aid.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where is the Red Cross?
GRIMM: They're on their way right now.
BURNETT: The Red Cross arrived today, the storm was three days ago. And with temperatures, and increasing desperation, this devastated area needs more help.
GRIMM: They're talking about, you know, just to put in perspective, a marathon, which you're going to need cops, right, to work the marathon.
We don't have cops to stop the looting going on in Midland Beach, where we are now. And getting water out of the battery tunnels, we don't have bodies out of the water in homes. What the hell? Have we all lost our minds?
I just think there's a lack of priorities and we're just not getting from city hall, what I think we should be getting. And I don't know where the disconnect is, but it's very frustrating.
BURNETT: It's not just Mayor Bloomberg he's angry with. He says the federal government hasn't done enough either.
GRIMM: We've got to get people on the ground. FEMA is just heading today. I mean, we're frustrated because they should have been here already.
BURNETT: As New York tried to show the world they could pick up by going on with the world's biggest marathon this weekend, people like Scott and Kelly will be homeless. We went to see the house they would have moved into today. The landlord said they already paid their deposit.
Outside, pieces of lives on hold. Books, computer discs, even money.
GRIMM: We need more on the ground. We need to city of New York to realize that this is our Katrina.
BURNETT: And just in: t Obama administration responded to complaints that FEMA as late on the scene and they announced tonight that the FEMA deputy administrator Rich Serino will be in Staten Island tomorrow to meet with local officials and residents.
And FEMA wants everyone who needs assistance to call. Now, we went to put these numbers up, because when there's complaints, a lot of it, because people haven't been able to communicate and they've been able to reach out. FEMA is trying to help you.
So, here's the information, 1-800-621-FEMA or go to disasterassistance.gov.
President Obama was back on the campaign trail today in Wisconsin, but still focus on storm recovery back East.
(BEGIN VIDOE CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I was out in New Jersey yesterday and saw the devastation -- and you really get a sense of, you know, how difficult this is going to be for a lot of people. But you know, we've also been inspired these past few days, because when disaster strikes, we see America at its best. All the petty differences that consume us in normal times all seem to melt away. There are no Democrats or Republicans during the storm. They are just fellow Americans.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: His response to the storm has earned him big praise from likely voters. In a new ABC News/"Washington Post" poll, 78 percent approve of how he's dealt with the hurricane. Images and headlines like this have helped, too, featuring Obama and Republican Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey on a bipartisan storm damage tour together on Wednesday.
But not everyone's a fan of the federal agencies that handle disasters like these, including Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. He's OUTFRONT tonight.
Senator, good to see you.
And I want to talk about FEMA. They were on earlier. You know, I think by all accounts, what we've heard -- I mean, some people are frustrated, but they're trying really hard to do a good job. At the beginning of the hurricane season this year, you tried to hold up a five-year extension of FEMA's national flood insurance program. It was tied to an amendment about personhood, something totally different about life beginning at conception.
Why did you do it?
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: Well, what I have always maintained on our side is that FEMA should exist on money that comes in as revenue, but not on borrowed money. So really the fight wasn't about we should borrow money for FEMA or whether it should come from existing funds. To me, it's a matter of priorities, we send billions of dollars overseas to aid other countries. I'm for keeping that money home and paying for FEMA with that money rather than borrowing money.
BURNETT: So, you don't have a problem with FEMA. I guess, what I'm saying, you know, we see these people there in such desperate straits -- a lot of them are --
PAUL: I think --
BURNETT: I think FEMA tries hard. I think they're like many government agencies. Sometimes, they're successful and sometimes, they're not. You know, I'm hoping maybe the ice they have in the warehouse that's been there since Katrina that they could never use, maybe they could use that this time around or maybe some of the housing they had in Arkansas that spent years in Arkansas and never got Katrina.
So government is inefficient at this, but I'm not saying government doesn't have a role. I personally have seen up close the Salvation Army, Red Cross and others and immediate responders, local firefighters, local policemen being much more effective. Ultimately, the federal government comes in, but really, your best chance of being saved -- your life being saved is by your local police or fire force.
BURNETT: So, you think if that was who was in charge, you'd have more temporary housing and in the right places? I mean, I know you were just with the remark you made about the temporary housing in Arkansas.
PAUL: I'm not really talking so much -- I think there are different responses. You know, there's an immediate response, and those are the first providers that are there -- the physicians, nurses, firefighters and policemen. And I think that's what happened immediately.
Later on, there is talk and really within a day or two, talk of temporary housing and things, but a lot of that is also done locally. When we had tornadoes that devastated two cities in our community here in Kentucky, the churches stepped up and fed the first responders, 2,000 responders a day were being fed by churches and the people were being put up in houses.
So I don't entirely think this is a government response. I think it's important to really laud the private folks as well as churches who step up and help us well.
BURNETT: Let me ask you a question about what happened today. There have been some surprising endorsements on both sides. But today, I think one that surprised some people, a man who's been a Democrat, a Republican and now, an independent.
I'm referring to Mayor Bloomberg, who's dealing with a storm crisis right now, came out and endorsed President Obama and he did so, he said, because of climate change. That was the main reason and here's what he said about Mitt Romney.
All right. Sorry, we don't have that. What he said, "If the 1994 or 2003 version of Mitt Romney were voting for president, I may well have voted for him."
What's your response to that? I mean, it's got to be a sort of a blow to have Mayor Bloomberg, a big businessman, run government as being a businessman to say that.
PAUL: Yes, I don't think many of us thought that nanny Bloomberg was going to be endorsing a Republican anytime soon. We can't even get a decent sized Coke to drink in New York City anymore. So, I don't think his proclivities or his sort of sense of philosophy really is Republican much at all.
BURNETT: One final question I want to squeeze this in as I told our viewers I would. Can Mitt Romney win this without winning Ohio?
PAUL: I think he's going to win Ohio and I don't know if I can tell you the absolute answer about the electoral math. I have been saying we need to be more competitive in the West Coast and New England because we're not competitive there. It makes the map much more difficult for us.
I think we're going to win Ohio, been there three times and going back on Sunday. What I sense is a lot of momentum left over from 2010.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Senator Rand Paul. It's good to see you. We appreciate your time.
Up next, out of gas. For those without power, but with generators, it looks a little bit like the 1970s.
And the ever changing timeline in the Obama administration's story of the Benghazi attacks. Tonight, the CIA weighs in.
BURNETT: Now, let's check in with Anderson Cooper with a look at what's coming up next hour on "A.C. 360".
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, Erin.
Yes, we got more on the aftermath of hurricane Sandy. Some hope to report tonight. sadly, some tragedy as well. The infant in this picture, only a fragile eight hours old, kept live by a nurse manually pumping air into the baby's lungs. We're going to speak with that NICU nurse, Margaret Condon (ph), ahead. An amazing woman. What she and the other folks at the NYU Langone Medical Center did.
Also tonight, an incredibly disturbing story emerging from Staten Island, New York. This is what the devastating New York City borough looks like from the air. It has not gotten the attention it should have in the last couple of days.
And there is a search on the ground where police found the bodies of two young brothers in a marsh. How they got there is just an unbelievably upsetting story. A mother seeking shelter, losing her children and apparently turned away by somebody who didn't want to help her. Gary Tuchman has all the details from Staten Island.
Those stories and, of course, a close-up tour of the aftermath in New York City. I went underground at the sight of the World Trade Center with Governor Cuomo. It was bad, could have been much worse. We'll show you how much water is left there.
It's all at the top of the hour, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thanks very much, Anderson. We'll see you in a few minutes.
And now, our fifth story OUTFRONT: Breaking new, new details on the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya. An intelligence official this afternoon holding a very rare briefing with reporters to defend the CIA, giving a detailed timeline of events leading up to the attack. And this afternoon, our Suzanne Kelly was the only television reporter invited to the briefing and she's OUTFRONT tonight.
So, Suzanne, what did they tell you?
SUZANNE KELLY, CNN INTELLIGENCE CORRESPONDENT: Right, Erin.
Well, a senior U.S. intelligence official who offered almost really a minute blow by blow of what happened the night of the attack, saying they felt passionately about what they said are the facts after FOX News reported last Friday that officials within the CIA's chain of command denied repeated requests from its officers on the ground to assist during the attack on the U.S. mission, and were actually ordered to stand down.
Now, that senior official said it just never happened. The official insisting that the CIA operators on the ground were in charge of what they did and when they did at that night, and that the safety of those who were repairing to respond was also an important consideration.
The officials saying there were no orders to anybody to stand down in providing support.
BURNETT: And a briefing like this, I know, is very rare. So when you think about why did that, Suzanne, I mean, is it because of the pressure they've been under? What's your understanding? KELLY: I think that's a fabulous question, Erin. The reason being, there are really two different Benghazi stories. There's the story of what actually happened that night and those people who are on the ground, under fire, who were responding, trying to make difficult decisions and then there's the political story and you know as well as I do how politicized this story has become.
How much did the administration know? When did they know it? What should they have done differently?
I think five days before an election for them to come out, for any intelligence official to come out and really feel passionately about setting the record straight tells you that they really feel like the people who are out there doing the work are really getting a disservice sort of by the back and forth of all of this.
So you look at the political and you look at the intelligence community as sort of the accounts on the ground and the tick tock and sometimes they don't always match up.
BURNETT: All right. Suzanne, thank you very much.
And Peter Brookes was a deputy secretary of state under President George W. Bush. Nick Burns, former undersecretary for political affairs on the Democratic side, and Republican.
Good to see both of you.
Let me just ask you your reaction first to this, Peter, to Suzanne's reporting what the CIA says happened. What do you say?
PETER BROOKES, FORMER DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, as a CIA alumni, I'm not surprise told at the bravery of these officers. I mean, these people have been at war for many years now and their bravery is no surprise whatsoever. I'm sure they went and did what they felt they needed to do to protect their fellow -- their colleagues as well as other Americans. I think we're deeply indebted to them.
BURNETT: Nick, Eli Lake from "The Daily Beast", I know you're familiar with his reporting. He's done some fantastic reporting.
He's saying the State Department never requested military back-up the night of the Benghazi attack. Normally that would have been the responsibility of the ambassador who of course was in the heat of the moment there. So that then would have fallen to the State Department to make that decision, and as we know, they could hear it in real- time.
Does this surprise you?
NICHOLAS BURNS, HARVARD'S KENNEDY SCHOOL OF GOVERNMENT: You know, Erin, I have to say, I served not just in Democratic administrations but in Republican administrations --
BURNETT: Yes, indeed. BURNS: -- including the administration of George W. Bush -- I really find it disturbing that people are trying to make ultimate judgments about what happened in Benghazi based on piecemeal reports. The only responsible way for us to proceed is to listen to Ambassador Pickering who has been asked by Secretary Clinton to undertake an investigation or review of what happened. He has not come out with his report yet.
And, you know, we're right before an election. This has been politicized, as your reporter said, and not by the administration. And I just think it is disturbing that somehow all these reports come out piecemeal and people try to draw a broader conclusion. We really owe it to everybody in concern to take a deliberate look at this and I actually think it's best that this come out after the election so it's not political.
BURNETT: What's your response to that? At this point, should we just wait here? Another couple of weeks. And there are going to be hearings to really find out the time line.
BROOKES: Well, I agree with Nick to a point. And he is right. We've been getting these piecemeal reports, but almost eight weeks after this tragic event, there are more questions than answers and they persist. And I think it's unfair to the American people, and it's wrong that we don't have these answers.
Why are we having this intelligence briefing by a senior unnamed intelligence official as opposed to having a time line from the government two months after this tragic event? I don't understand it. That's why I think people are very suspicious and very skeptical.
So, I agree with Nick to a certain point but I think we should have more transparency on this issue at this point.
BURNETT: Nick, what about that? I mean, why is it that it is behind closed doors and so rare, and you can't name the person. Why not just put it out there in the public realm with your name on it?
BURNS: Well, of course, I don't know anything about the briefing that took place. I just heard about it for the first time, listening to your broadcast. But I can say this, I do think the president and Secretary Clinton made the right decision here. And that is to order an independent, objective investigation and review and that's underway. And sometimes these things take time. And they don't lend themselves to people's political calendars.
I also think, the two most important issues here that are getting lost is, what can we do to upgrade embassy security? And that means that Republicans and Democrats should fully fund in the Congress and receive security. And can we go after the groups that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and his colleagues?
President Obama said he will do that and I trust President Obama is trying to do that. I think that's where we should be putting our attention, especially this week. BURNETT: Peter, a final question to you. Is it possible that we may never know why certain crucial pieces of information that were known to some people very early on were not shared with the American public? That we'll never know whether there was a concerted decision and who made it?
BROOKES: Well, that would be a shame. It would be a problem, a travesty. And I think this is why Congress really needs to dig into this. We deserve answers. Certainly the families of those who lost their lives bravely defending the American sovereignty and American interests certainly deserve those answers and I think that should be -- we should come to some sort of conclusion on that.
BURNETT: All right. Well, thanks very much to both of you. We appreciate you men being on together again.
BROOKES: Thank you.
BURNETT: And gas line have been growing all around the areas of Sandy's wrath. But there's no shortage and we're going to tell you why, next.
BURNETT: Sandy has led to even more problem for people in the broader New York metropolitan area. I wanted to show you these pictures -- power outages at hundreds of gas stations. Like this one we saw in North Bergen County. A distribution bottleneck due to flooding has led to long lines at gas stations and apparently this could go on for a week.
I just want to give you a little more of a sense here. Michael Green of AAA told OUTFRONT. We estimate that only 35 percent to 40 percent of the gas stations in New Jersey and only 30 to 35 percent of the gas stations on Long Island that we monitor are operating on a daily basis. Some of these stations may run out of gas later in the day but others will come on line as power is restored.
Now, that's what we want to emphasize -- as power is restored. That's very important because we reached out to analysts today because so many people are afraid. You wait for four or five hours like we've heard from people to get gas or you show up and the station is closed or only emergency vehicles are allowed to get gas. And you start to become panicked and afraid and people have felt that way.
But analysts say that there is no gas shortage. That's really important. Gasoline is actually very plentiful. Right now, it's just the logistics problem, getting the gas from point A to point B. And according to the people we spoke to, as the water continues to recede and power comes back online, again, that's the crucial thing. Gas is going to be readily available again. That's something that hopefully calms some people who have been afraid about that.
Thanks so much for watching.
"ANDERSON COOPER 360" starts now.