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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
Power Returning to Manhattan; Military Delivering Fuel; Battle for Ohio; Interview with Rudy Giuliani
Aired November 2, 2012 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, HOST: Good evening.
Breaking news tonight in New York, where after days without power from hurricane Sandy, the lights are beginning to slowly go back on in Lower Manhattan and beyond. It is slow, but it is happening.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg says most of the power in Manhattan should return by midnight tonight, although some people will be left without it for another week.
Sandy is gone, but misery continues as so many devastated. Today, the death toll climbed to 97 people. Staten Island neighborhoods swept away.
Today, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano toured the area, vowing to do everything she could to help.
Plus tonight, after insisting this Sunday's New York City marathon would go on, Mayor Bloomberg has now canceled the race. Many were outraged the city would take valuable efforts away from the Sandy recovery efforts for the marathon. Tonight, city hall and race officials have called it off.
Meanwhile, look at this -- cars lined up for miles to get gas. Drivers in some cases are waiting 20 hours as the supply dwindles, fighting with each other. There's one report that a guy pulled a gun at one gas station.
And tonight, the military is delivering fuel to the disaster zone, sending 24 million gallons of extra gas, a welcome sign.
The Obama administration is hiring trucks to bring the gas to staging areas. All this is unfolding just four days before the general election.
President Obama and Governor Romney fighting it out for every last vote, especially in the key state of Ohio. And today, the latest CNN poll shows Obama with a very slight edge there, but there's everything to play for.
Today, the last jobs report before Election Day was released. Unemployment ticking up to 7.9 percent, but at the same time, 171,000 jobs were created.
No surprise, both candidates reacted differently to the news.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today, our businesses have created nearly 5.5 million new jobs. This morning we learned that companies hired more workers in October than at any time in the last eight months.
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: He said he was going to lower the unemployment rate down to 5.2 percent right now. Today, we learned that it's actually 7.9 percent and that's 9 million jobs short of what he promised. Unemployment is higher today than when Barack Obama took office.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MORGAN: Mitt Romney earlier today.
You're looking at live pictures now from Westchester in Ohio, where Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York, has given a blistering speech attacking Barack Obama. In a few minutes, he will be on this show live and exclusive to tell me why he feels so strongly why the president should leave the office.
Let's start with these long lines for gas. Susan Candiotti is at one gas station in New Jersey.
Susan, I have been following your travails for most of the day. You have been joining endless lines for gas in your car, most of the time coming up against a blank.
Where are you now? And how does it all end?
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it all ended with us not getting any gas. It looks like a ghost town here. You can see they were open for a good nine hours. They had the supply but those lines just sucked it all up. Too many customers and eventually they had to shut down tonight.
So a lot of people were turned back and yes, Piers, we went to two different places, spent the whole afternoon in two different lines, and came up dry. That's happening to a lot of people. Some are luckier than others.
But I got to tell you, it's been very impressive at least here in parts of New Jersey where I was, to see how many people were helping each other, sometimes pushing cars to get to the fuel pump, and other people being as calm as they possibly could and saying, "Look, we know that it's a bad situation, we know that they're trying to do the best they can, and we just have to go with the flow here and come back and try again tomorrow."
But a lot of people were hitting up 15, 16, 20 stations and still not finding anything.
MORGAN: Nate Silver, "The New York Times" pollster of pollsters, tweeted just now that his cab driver just told him he waited 20 hours for gas, which is a familiar kind of story I think for a lot of cab drivers now.
What is the real problem? Lots of misconceptions I think that there is a lack of gas, but actually, that's not the real problem, isn't it? It's more to do with no power means they can't pump the gas.
CANDIOTTI: You're right. It's all those things rolled up into one. You've got a lot of different things at play here. First of all, some gas stations actually have the gas in their tanks below ground and would love to pump it but as you said, they don't have the power to do it. Other places can't get it in fast enough, even though the fuel supplies are starting to flow more rapidly, because it's taking so long to fill up the tanks. They only have so many terminals to get it.
And that's why there is more hope tonight that with this announcement that Obama, President Obama has asked the Defense Department to free up some extra fuel, you mentioned it already, upwards of 24 million gallons to get more of it out here and transported more easily so that it can get out faster to the gas stations that do have power.
MORGAN: Yes. It's a hell of a struggle. Susan, thank you very much indeed.
Joining me now from Columbus, Ohio, is General Wesley Clark, an Obama supporter, former NATO supreme allied commander.
General, welcome back.
GEN. WESLEY CLARK, FORMER NATO SUPRMEEBAMA SUPPORTER: Thank you, Piers.
MORGAN: All the action now is heading to Ohio. Almost everyone who is anyone is down there, including your good self. The polls are very, very tight, showing very marginal lead for the president in most of the ones I've seen but with the margin of difference, you could almost say it's a tie.
How are you seeing it down there on the ground?
CLARK: Well, there's a lot of emotion, there's just thousands of volunteers out here. There's a ground game. We feel very good about the ground game, by the way. Our volunteers are charged up. We've been working this for three and a half years.
We knew it would come down to this. We were prepared for it. And we've fought to keep the polls open and make the ground game possible.
MORGAN: I read yesterday, I think again it was Nate Silver who said that if Romney was to lose Ohio, he would have just a 3 percent chance of winning the election. Conversely, if Barack Obama lost Ohio, he would only have an 8 percent chance of victory. That shows you just how incredibly important Ohio may turn out to be.
CLARK: Well, it's an important -- it's critical. It's a very diverse state. But you know, Barack Obama's very firm stand in saving the American automobile industry has paid important dividends in Ohio.
This morning I was in Youngstown. In Youngstown, we produced the Chevy Cruze. That's a G.M. product that is the direct result of the president's intervention to bail out the automobile industry.
MORGAN: And as a former commander yourself, how do you think the president's done this week in terms of his role as commander-in-chief in what was really a national crisis?
CLARK: I think he's done extremely well in terms of his sympathy and empathy for the groups, his visit. I think he was smart not to go into New York City, where it's too congested, too many problems. I think he's also done well in terms of showing the power of the office by just the latest move of having the military assist in deliveries of fuel.
But I think it also shows up the hollowness of Governor Romney, his flip-flopping. For example, on the issue of FEMA, he was suggesting months ago that maybe you don't need a Federal Emergency Management Agency, maybe you can just let each state fend for itself.
Now, imagine where we would be if someone had actually taken that advice and killed FEMA. You'd have New York, New Jersey, each fighting with each other for scarce resources, for fuel, for power, for electric line repair, competing against each other to bring in assistance from other states instead of having someone to coordinate it and push it.
MORGAN: We obviously saw the extraordinary scenes this week in many ways of Governor Christie in New Jersey, sort of metaphorically putting his arm around the president, telling him what a great president he was. Last thing you would have expected say two weeks ago.
What did you make of that?
CLARK: I thought it was a fair appraisal. Look, Governor Christie has got and New Jersey has a real problem. Jersey Shore devastated, plus, all the electric outages and problems throughout a large part of the state. Of course, Governor Christie needs help.
And this is what happens when governors need help, they come to Washington. And Americans expect Washington to help.
There is a role for the commander-in-chief, for the president of the United States, when disaster strikes at home. And that's what Americans expect of their leader.
MORGAN: Were you pleased that the marathon was canceled?
CLARK: Yes. I think it was a smart move. I do. It's been -- New Yorkers have been really terrific about this. You know, people downtown in Manhattan have been four days without light or power. The streets are dark.
It's like Sarajevo during the siege in the Balkans and the thought of more people coming in on top of the people that are already there and the people in and out of hotels, trying to find places to get showers and restaurants closed, and basically all of Manhattan's population was jammed north of 40th Street. So it only makes sense given the uncertainties of this and the pressure on services in Manhattan and the discomfiture of people there don't do the marathon.
MORGAN: General Wesley Clark, thank you very much indeed.
CLARK: Thank you.
MORGAN: Coming up, Rudy Giuliani joining me from Ohio. What happens when you cancel the marathon?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI (R), FORMER NYC MAYOR: I believe some Americans who might not have asked to have died may have died because we had incompetence in the White House.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Very strong words tonight from -- about the Benghazi attack from Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor. He joins me now live from the Romney rally in Ohio.
GIULIANI: How are you, Piers? Nice to talk to you.
MORGAN: You sounded pretty fired up tonight, giving four barrels to the president. When you said that some American lives may have been lost because of incompetence, do you lay the blame squarely at the president's door?
GIULIANI: Last time I checked, Piers, he's the commander-in- chief. I can't imagine a John McCain not sending the American military in at the earliest possible moment and not worrying about what Libya or Libyans might have thought.
It was clear for months that Libya was incapable of protecting our diplomats. The British pulled out. The Red Cross pulled out. Our diplomats were begging for more security and that consulate had been attacked twice, once with a hole 12 feet wide.
What else did the president of the United States need? Did somebody have to bang him on the head? What did he need to go in there and make sure that our people were properly protected?
This is what happens when you elect someone president of the United States who isn't ready to lead, who wants the lead by following. MORGAN: Do you believe, as some Republicans do, that the White House or certainly people close to the White House were aware of what was happening on that fateful night and decided not to do anything?
GIULIANI: They either were aware of it and decided not to do anything or they were asleep at the switch. Either one leads to incompetence. It didn't have to happen. It's a tragedy that could have been avoided with proper leadership which is now lacking in the White House. And Mitt Romney would bring the kind of leadership I believe that would stay on top of something like this.
MORGAN: Let's turn if we may, Mr. Mayor, to the situation in New York. Obviously we'll come to the storm in a moment. Right off the top, your view really of what's happened with the New York marathon, you I think were in agreement with the mayor as indeed I was for quite awhile that it should go ahead, that it would be a morale boosting exercise, it would rally perhaps New Yorkers a way that many events after 9/11 did.
MORGAN: I came round before the decision today to thinking actually, I don't think it's a good idea and I did that because I saw what happened in Staten Island and the fury and the reaction and I changed my opinion.
Did you change your opinion when you saw that overnight and this morning, or were you still of the view, you know what, we should get on with it?
GIULIANI: Well, I was in Staten Island this morning, actually. I started the day in Staten Island, because people there feel very abandoned, they feel very alone and we were using the Siller Foundation to try to raise money to try to help people, so it will directly go to people in Staten Island, Breezy Point, and the Rockaways.
I believe, you know, you could have gone either way on what the mayor decided. I don't think this is the time to be criticizing him. I think his instinct was the right instinct. Try to get things going, try to get people to lift their eyes up. Apparently, people are still suffering so much that maybe it would have been impossible to do.
I think it was a close call. You could have gone either way. I support the mayor in making those decisions.
This is not a time to be criticizing Mayor Bloomberg, Governor Cuomo, Governor Christie. They're doing the very best that they can. I think they're doing a pretty darned good job.
MORGAN: The president himself has been getting a lot of praise, not least from governor Christie, which surprised people, the sheer level of the praise that he gave him for doing a very, very good job of leadership through this crisis.
Do you go along with that? Do you think the president has been an outstanding leader?
GIULIANI: I don't know what the heck he was doing in Nevada while people were still being discovered dead in New York. I mean, if I were the president of the United States, I sure wouldn't be flitting around the Midwest and the West and my job would be making sure this thing was followed through to the very end.
Maybe the first couple of days, he was keeping his eye on the ball but we got gas lines now that are a mile long. We got bodies still being discovered and we got a president who is playing, you know, campaigner-in-chief. This has been the story of Barack Obama from the very beginning.
MORGAN: You think he's deserted really the area that's needed his attention?
GIULIANI: Don't you think he has? What the heck is he doing, flying all over the country and not keeping his attention on what's going on there, making sure people don't have to wait until November 11th or November 12th for the power to go back on?
I sure as heck wouldn't have done that when I was mayor.
MORGAN: Right, but --
GIULIANI: I would have been all over them going crazy, let's do it a little faster, let's get more relief there, let's work on this, let's keep complete concentration on this. I understand he's still running for re-election but his first responsibility is as commander- in-chief and I think he's taken his eye off the ball at least for the last couple days. Maybe the first couple days, he kept concentration on it.
But I feel pretty darned offended seeing my president floating around campaigning while people are suffering the way people in New York, New Jersey and elsewhere are suffering.
MORGAN: It's a heavy charge to level at him, Rudy. Wouldn't people just say straight away well, if Mitt Romney is campaigning over the last 48 hours, then surely the president who only has four days left until the general election, has to campaign, too, doesn't he?
GIULIANI: Well, sure he can but he could divide his time, couldn't he? I don't see how he's spending any time focused on this.
Mitt Romney has no responsibilities here. He's the challenger. He actually cut off his campaigning.
At every one of these rallies, he asks for contributions. Nobody can substitute for the president of the United States. Nobody.
He's the commander-in-chief. It's his responsibility. What we have here is a commander in chief who is constantly putting the responsibility elsewhere. The economy, it's George Bush's fault. Benghazi, Hillary Clinton's fault.
Well, you know, the buck stops with the president of the United States.
MORGAN: Rudy --
GIULIANI: He asked for the job. It's his responsibility to stay on top of it and he right now is not staying on top of this recovery.
MORGAN: Rupert Murdoch has tweeted tonight that he thinks that Governor Christie should now publicly declare very loudly and clearly, re-declare his support for Mitt Romney given all the praise he's lavished on the president. And if he doesn't, then he would bear the blame, according to Mr. Murdoch, for the next four years in Barack Obama gets in.
What do you make of that?
GIULIANI: Oh, I don't go that far at all. I think at the point at which Chris Christie was saying that it was all quite legitimate. I think President Obama at the beginning of this did keep his concentration on this and I think he was entitled to what Chris Christie said about him.
What I'm saying is in the last couple of days, he has been 100 percent devoted to running for office. He has taken his eye off the ball and in some parts of New York, some parts of New Jersey, things are getting worse. They're not getting better.
The president's got to keep part of his concentration on this. And he hasn't been doing that. There is no substitute for the president not concentrating on.
MORGAN: Should he now come to New York, the president?
GIULIANI: President hasn't been to New York. President hasn't been to Breezy Point. President hasn't been to Staten Island. People in Staten Island feel abandoned. He hasn't been there.
MORGAN: Yes. I mean, he's obviously been to new jersey with the governor. Do you think he should now come directly to --
GIULIANI: Well, he has been to New Jersey, but he hasn't been to Staten Island. He hasn't been to Breezy Point, hasn't been to Rockaway.
These people lost 80 homes, they lost lives and we're still finding bodies there. I think the president has to devote some of his time to concentrating on that. I'm not saying he should completely end his campaigning. At least maybe he could divide his time in half.
I also think the president is evading answering questions about Benghazi. It's a tragedy that we may go into this election and we don't know the answer -- did President Obama know about the prior attacks on that consulate? Did he know about the attack in June, when there was a hole drilled through the wall that was 12 feet wide?
If that didn't wake him up to the fact that we needed more security in Benghazi, then there's something seriously wrong. But this man has now evaded for six weeks answering that simple question. I don't know how you people in the press let him get away with it.
MORGAN: Final question for you, Rudy. You're in Ohio. Many people think it's the absolutely crucial state that both sides have to win. Can Mitt Romney become president realistically if he doesn't win Ohio?
GIULIANI: Either one can win without Ohio. Simple fact is probably the man who wins is going to win Ohio. Is it theoretically possible for either one of them to win without Ohio? Yes. We can go through scenarios with Wisconsin and Colorado, Pennsylvania flipping the other way. But believe me, this rally was in Ohio for a very, very special reason and I think President Obama was here either yesterday or today. This is a crucial state.
MORGAN: Rudy --
GIULIANI: Whoever wins Ohio wins the White House.
MORGAN: While you've been talking, General Wesley Clark who was on just before you has been listening and actually wants to come back at you. So I'm going to let him have his say now.
CLARK: Thanks, Piers.
I did want to come back, because I think the politicization of what's happened in Benghazi deserves an answer. First of all, as the mayor well knows, after 9/11, Democrats did not politicize this tragedy. Not the first day, the first hour, not the first week, not the first month.
But with respect to Benghazi, I think we're all going to have to wait until the full investigation's done and the information comes out. There has been a lot of fragmentary reporting.
Now, I just want to say from my own experience inside the national security system, when I read the fragmentary reporting I get an entirely different picture than what Mayor Giuliani's portrayed here. What I get is a very responsive chain of command that deployed military assets from Europe down to Sicily, they were ready to go. They deployed a drone overhead, diverted it from another location. They had all kinds of backup plans.
The truth was the assault on the annex itself was over before anybody could have responded with anything other than maybe a ballistic missile, and the people were then evacuated to another annex where the battle was also over until four mortar rounds landed and killed our two people on the roof.
MORGAN: OK. Let me --
CLARK: Now -- (CROSSTALK)
CLARK: None of that -- let me say, none of that, general, answers the question did the president of the United States know about the two prior attacks on that consulate, one that drilled a hole in the wall of 12 feet wide. And if he didn't know about it, why didn't he know about it and if e did know about it, why wasn't our ambassador given more security?
The president was trying to paint a picture in Libya of success. We weren't having success in Libya and he fell asleep at the switch -- for months, not just that day, but for months before there were warnings. The British pulled out. The Red Cross pulled out. There were numerous attacks and the president of the United States didn't increase security. There were even some reports that he reduced security.
And the president hasn't answered that question. It's intolerable that we will have this election and the president will get away with not answering did he know about the prior attacks. Thank you very much.
CLARK: I don't think it is intolerable. I think it's essential that we do the investigation. There are classified assets in play, that position was in place for classified reasons that don't need to be discussed right here.
MORGAN: Well, General --
CLARK: Just the edge of it has come out right now on television and in "The Wall Street Journal" today, you've just seen the edge of it. The real purpose of that, by the way, that's not where the ambassador lived, that was an annex that was designed to be there to serve a specific classified purpose to help us work against al Qaeda in the region.
MORGAN: General, we'll have to leave it there. The mayor has left the building, as they say. So we are going to leave it there. But thank you very much for coming back on and that was a lively exchange. Thank you.
CLARK: Thanks, Piers.
MORGAN: We'll be back after this short break, with a panel to discuss the axing of the marathon here. A big talking (INAUDIBLE) in New York.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARY WITTENBERG, PRESIDENT AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFCIER OF NEW YORK ROAD RUNNERS (NYRR): It's with incredibly heavy hearts today, tonight, that we share that the best way to help New York City at this time is to say that we will not be conducting the 2012 ING New York City Marathon. (END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: It's official. Sunday's New York City Marathon is off, canceled in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. I have two of the runners with me who would have run, plus Michael Wolff, who almost certainly wouldn't have run. All have very strong opinions about this.
Let's start with Michael Weissman. He is a marathon veteran, but his house was wiped out by Sandy. Michael, welcome to you. Obviously you're looking forward to the race. You've run it four times before. But there was your wife and two children and your house on Manhattan Beach, Long Island, which was completely destroyed by Sandy.
The moment that happened on Monday night, did you think and assume that the race would get canceled?
MICHAEL WEISSMAN, LOST HOUSE TO HURRICANE SANDY: I had to assume. First of all, I no longer have running shoes or running clothes to use. But the amount of devastation, as we were standing there on our front porch, which is about 10, 15 feet higher than the ground floor, and watching the water overlap our cars, transformers blowing, and you're seeing people fleeing from porch to porch trying to help each other out, you're saying there's no way that this marathon will occur because we can't recover from this that fast.
MORGAN: When you heard that it was going ahead, what did you feel?
WEISSMAN: I was actually a little bit shocked. I was angry, I wondered whether any of the people making the decision had actually been to these areas which were affected. My neighborhood was destroyed, but so was Breezy Point, devastated. Staten Island was destroyed, as many other neighborhoods, Seagate. , And you look at this devastation, you see what you're going through the next day and you are hearing the marathon is going to go on, and you are wondering how are volunteers going to be there handing out water and Gatorade when my neighbor doesn't have anything to drink and I'm handing them bottles of water.
MORGAN: I'll be honest, I changed my mind. When I first heard about it, I thought, you know what, you should go ahead with this. The show goes on, especially as it's a huge charity fund-raising event. I thought it would be good for New York to end this terrible week.
But I changed my mind this morning after the Staten Island reports and the Breezy Point, all that. Let me come to you, Maria. You're from Paraguay. You flew in especially for this race. You feel it should have gone ahead. Why?
MARIA GILL, TRAVELED FROM PARAGUAY FOR NYC MARATHON: Well, I think it's probably the right decision, but it seems to be the wrong timing. We were waiting for the organizers to say if it was going to go on or not. And when we received the go ahead on Wednesday, we took the flight to come here, as probably thousands of people from abroad. So it's probably the wrong timing to cancel it. MORGAN: They should have done it immediately, you mean.
GILL: Of course.
MORGAN: And the nobody would have flown in.
GILL: Exactly. Actually, everyone was -- I think everyone when we knew that Sandy was going to come and hit New York, probably everyone knew that it was a possibility that the marathon would be canceled. So it seems a little bit out of timing to cancel it at this point.
MORGAN: Michael, what do you think?
MICHAEL WOLFF, "VANITY FAIR" CONTRIBUTOR: I have no horse in this race. No pun intended. I have no even position at this table with people who would have been in -- participated in the race except that I am a New Yorker. And I look at this in an old-fashioned sense, that there is a greater civic purpose.
This is an event. It's an important event. And you rise to the occasion. You don't say oh, we have a problem, let's not do it, let's cancel, let's quit.
MORGAN: But let me take you up on this. How can you start a marathon in Staten Island with huge generators to power the start, to all the people that would be there -- there was a generator for the media, for example, right where so many people, New Yorkers, fellow New Yorkers, are suffering so badly? That's what really jarred me.
WOLFF: Let's look at this. I mean, there's a host of practicalities. And I would assume -- and that goes to the point about timing -- that the city, the organizers, the mayor, looked at this and said hey, we can deal with this, we can approach it, we can rise to the occasion. It will be different. It will be -- we'll patch it together, which is a great way of looking at something.
But suddenly it turned. So they thought they could do it. They knew they could do it. And then it turned. And it turned because -- let me say just I think an air of defeat or an air of something else, this assumption that every time that all civic projects are suspect.
MORGAN: I don't think it was that. You and I are pretty active on Twitter. I think social media played a huge role in this, because I saw the tide turn in public opinion from New Yorkers on Twitter yesterday. I saw it after the Staten Island news reports.
WOLFF: I absolutely agree.
MORGAN: People were saying, you know something, these people, they're still pulling out their dead. How can you -- it's a fact that symbolically you would be starting this great happy event right where people are possibly still lying in basements drowned from this hurricane.
WOLFF: Would Churchill have canceled the marathon? MORGAN: I think if the people of London, if we had had one of these --
WOLFF: That's actually very important, the people of London. Many people at many times during many disasters have come together and said, let's do something, something more, something higher, something symbolic. Instead, at this point in time, it was let's not -- this is suspect. They're doing something dirty.
The marathon is -- it reflects badly on us. And I think it's just an interesting moment in time.
MORGAN: The death toll is now 106, I've just been told, many of which were in Staten Island. I think it's simply a case of it just jarred too much, that people were just, you know what, there are too many people found dead there.
WOLFF: I didn't have to jar. People could have said this is shoulder to the wheel. We are going to overcome this. We are going to do something larger. We are going to get on with it.
MORGAN: Let's take a break. Thank you both for coming in. I'm sorry you won't be running. And it's an interesting debate. I have gone both ways on it. So I totally get the dilemma the mayor was in. I happen to think he came down the right way, which is on the grounds of humanity for people who are suffering.
WOLFF: If the show doesn't go on, there can't be a happy ending.
MORGAN: I disagree.
Let's move on. Michael, stick around. We're going to talk politics a bit later on and the White House race, which is obviously just four days away.
But next, the suffering on Staten Island. We've just discussed the growing rage over the slow response. I'm live with the congressman who represents the Borough, coming up.
MORGAN: Desperation is growing in Staten Island. The devastation is hard to imagine. And tonight, people there are really struggling, coping with this catastrophe as best they can, and finding help coming very slowly indeed. Congressman Michael Grimm represents many in the borough. And he joins me now.
Congressman, thank you for joining me.
REP. MICHAEL GRIMM (D), NEW YORK: Yes, thank you for having me.
MORGAN: It seems that finally, the attention is centered now on Staten Island, where it should have been, many would argue there, three, four days ago. Why has it been so belated, the help that you so desperately need? GRIMM: You know, I don't know exactly. But let's take the Red Cross for an example. They were called three days ago. And they started to drive -- they have very big trucks that they bring up that are packed with gear. And they did drive from down south. It took them three days to drive through the night. They drove straight through.
But it takes two, three days for them to get those trucks here. That's one example. Right now at this point, we're not worried about why they didn't get here. We're just glad they're here. And we're helping them to coordinate, so that they can be as effective as possible immediately and get these people that are suffering all the things that they need.
MORGAN: Did you expect the Red Cross to do more? Many people up there have been angry about the Red Cross taking so long. You don't appear to share that anger.
GRIMM: No, there's no question that there was certainly disappointment. We didn't feel we had the resources that we needed as quickly as we needed. But like I said, they are here now. They are on the ground. FEMA is on the ground. Red Cross is on the ground. Salvation Army is here.
Now even Secretary Napolitano, homeland security, was here today. And that was a big boost because she was able to come in, hold a meeting with all of us and coordinate some things between the agencies, to make sure that Staten Island is not going to be forgotten now.
And I got to tell you, I feel a lot better tonight than I did yesterday. And I actually see it. I see FEMA going door to door. I see people now getting some of the relief. Don't get me wrong, we still have a lot to do. My office is working 24/7 around the clock. There's a lot to be done. But it has now started officially. And things are being coordinated for the first time.
So I'm very grateful. And the outpouring -- I got to tell you this, neighbors and people around the country sending their thoughts, their prayers and sending clothes and supplies. That -- the people have been tremendous. The citizens have really stepped up.
MORGAN: What is your reaction to Mayor Bloomberg canceling the marathon?
GRIMM: Well, I think that the mayor did the right thing. I absolutely believe that he showed tremendous leadership in recognizing that it was wrong to allow that marathon to go forward while so many people are suffering and while we need so many resources, like generators and a police presence.
So I think he absolutely did the right thing. I know it was hard for him to do because now he's got it from both sides. Those here that are hurt so badly by this devastation were upset that he allowed it to go on. And now the runners that are coming in from all over the country are upset that it's canceled. So he really showed a lot of leadership to be in such a tight spot. And I appreciate it. I know that we here on Staten Island appreciate it.
MORGAN: Congressman, best of luck with the continued rescue and I guess revival mission you have there, trying to get things back to some kind of normality. We wish you all the very best with it.
GRIMM: Thank you very much. Appreciate it.
MORGAN: On the phone now, the president of the American Red Cross, Gail McGovern. Thank you very much for joining me.
GAIL MCGOVERN, RED CROSS PRESIDENT: Thank you for having me on, Piers.
MORGAN: There have been criticisms that the Red Cross was a bit slow off the mark with Staten Island. Do you accept that criticism? And what reassurance can you give the people there now that they're getting your full attention?
MCGOVERN: Well, first, let me say that my heart goes out to the people on Staten Island and the people up and down the Eastern Seaboard. This has been a devastating, devastating disaster. We have about 14,000 people in shelters. We're serving 250,000 meals already. And it's a massive operation.
And I completely understand why the people in Staten Island are frustrated. We're frustrated, too. We had sent out emergency response vehicles before this cry for help came. But I completely understand why folks are frustrated. And we were able to break through yesterday. The roads are snarled. There are fuel issues. We're sending volunteers from all over the country, almost all 50 states.
We've got two-thirds of our emergency response vehicles going from the west coast all the way across the country to the Eastern Seaboard. And it took awhile for us to break through and get there.
And I'm just grateful that my teams made it. They are handing out meals. They're driving up and down the streets alerting people that we're here. And I spent the day in Staten Island with the borough president. And I completely understand his frustration.
MORGAN: If people are watching and wish to contribute to the Red Cross for this, what's the best way of doing that?
MCGOVERN: They can visit our website, RedCross.org, or they can call 1-800-RED-CROSS. And as always, the American public has just been so generous and we are grateful for every single donation.
MORGAN: Well, you guys do a terrific job. I'm a huge admirer of the Red Cross. I can only imagine it's been utter chaos all over the area for the last four days. So please continue to do the excellent work that you do. I'm just very glad, like you are, that the Staten Island people are getting the help they obviously so urgently need. Thank you very much.
Coming next, my political all-stars take on the election and the crucial fight for Ohio.
MORGAN: A year of campaigning now down to just four crucial days. Battleground America tonight, Cheri Jacobus is a Republican strategist. Jamal Simmons a Democrat strategist. And back as promised, "Vanity Fair" contributing editor Michael Wolff. Welcome to you all.
Let me start with you, Cheri Jacobus. Big words tonight from Rudy Giuliani, very angry about the situation with Benghazi, also very critical, surprisingly critical of the president, saying he has basically disappeared for the last two days when he should have been staying on the east coast and New York, and masterminding a better recovery.
What did you make of that?
CHERI JACOBUS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Certainly Rudy Giuliani is a guy to be able to talk about this honestly. When you look at what he did after 9/11, he was tremendous. The bar is set pretty high with him.
The president went in, had great photo-ops. He didn't mess up then. So he gets a lot of credit for being presidential for not messing it up. But blowing out of town and then we see what the devastation is, it doesn't look good for the president. He probably should be spending a little more time. And I think for Rudy Giuliani to say that is pretty significant. So it might be good advice for the president.
MORGAN: To be fair to the president, Mayor Bloomberg did make it clear he didn't want him to come to New York. That was in the early stages. Let me ask you, Jamal Simmons, would it have been prudent for the president to have said, you know what, I have to come. I have to come to Staten Island, as I did in New Jersey. I've got to stand right there with the people suffering?
JAMAL SIMMONS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: No. And I think what Rudy Giuliani did was despicable. In fact, can you believe this guy attacked Barack Obama for campaigning from a campaign rally. He's at a campaign rally while he's attacking him.
I think that what he did was just the height of being despicable. The president was there the first few days. He went out to New Jersey with the governor. The mayor said he didn't have the resources and thought it would straining the resources to have the president come to New York. So he didn't go to New York.
I think he did his job. And as everyone knows, when you are president of the United States, the presidency moves with the president. He can sit on the airplane, he can sit in his car, he can walk off an event stage and do whatever he needs to do to take care of whatever he needs to take care of.
And in fact, Janet Napolitano, the homeland security director, was actually in Staten Island today. So they are doing their job in this government. And Rudy was really so far out of line.
MORGAN: Michael Wolff, who is going to win this election?
WOLFF: Barack Obama. And he's going to win it because of the last several days. Let's put aside what's right or what's wrong or who is going to solve the problem of getting my power back, but he -- this was a remarkable moment in -- for -- in this campaign for Barack Obama to go to New Jersey and to just suck Christie's support. You could see it leave Christie's body.
MORGAN: Were you surprised by the sheer scale of the enthusiasm that Christie showed?
WOLFF: Totally. I think it was a -- it was two guys playing a very astute political game. And they both played it brilliantly and effectively. And I think -- I think Barack Obama did the deal.
MORGAN: You have written a biography of Rupert Murdoch, an authorized biography, although he didn't really like it very much. When you saw his Tweet tonight about Chris Christie, basically a bit of a warning, saying you better put up now for Mitt Romney in the next few days, or if he loses, you will be the guy that gets the blame. If you're Rupert Murdoch, the owner of all these papers and television stations and so on, pretty ominous warning for Chris Christie.
WOLFF: Except I know how dyspeptic Rupert has been for quite some time about Mitt Romney. So I think Rupert is positioning himself too. Rupert knows that Mitt Romney is going to lose. Governor Christie knows that Mitt Romney is going to lose. And they are all positioning themselves.
JACOBUS: I'm sorry.
WOLFF: The governor for four years from now. And Rupert Murdoch --
MORGAN: OK, Cheri, I can see you champing at the bit.
JACOBUS: I think it's a bridge too far. This race is tied. We all know it's tied. And the polls all over the place, but they kind of keep coming back to the same place.
WOLFF: -- going to break the tie.
JACOBUS: To say with such certainty that these last few days -- a president went to a crisis, displayed -- did his photo op, did what he had to do. He didn't mess up. But I think you are giving him a lot of credit. In situation like these, it usually goes to the governor.
WOLFF: -- experts here. Rupert Murdoch always knows what's going to happen. And I suspect Governor Christie knows pretty well what's going to happen.
JACOBUS: I don't understand why you are saying that. You don't know that.
WOLFF: I don't -- I know these two men. Read the tea leaves here.
JACOBUS: Sir, I'm sorry, but I'm reading the polls. It's a dead tie. I'm looking at the battleground states. I do politics. I don't read tea leaves. I read politics.
MORGAN: Nate Silver has it -- Romney has about a 30 percent chance of winning. And Barack Obama has a 70 percent chance of winning. So that's the way Nate Silver is calling the poll of all the polls. Let me bring you back, Jamal.
SIMMONS: Piers -- yeah, Piers, either way here, let's just talk about the politics of this. Obviously this was a tragedy. The governor was doing his job as governor. But at the same time, there is nothing about a Mitt Romney presidency that really helps Chris Christie. He's in a very Democratic leaning state in New Jersey. You know, having -- running and being friends with the current Democratic president is helpful for him when he's running for re-election next year in 2013. And if he wants to run for president in 2016, he can't do that if Mitt Romney is president.
MORGAN: You all could -- you could all be very, very --
JACOBUS: -- that in fact, he didn't need the praise.
MORGAN: I think you could all just be -- you could all just be too cynical. It may just be that Chris Christie, who I know well and admire very much, he genuinely feels very moved by the way the president has helped him in his state. And that may be taken for what it is. And it's good to see in Washington --
MORGAN: OK, got to leave it there.
SIMMONS: You're very fortunate when your genuine feelings coincide with your political needs.
MORGAN: OK, got to leave it. Jamal, Cheri and Michael, thank you all very much indeed. And we'll be right back.
MORGAN: That's all for us tonight. This Sunday, I'll be here live at 9:00 p.m. Eastern with a special "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT," Battleground America. The final two days before the election. That's it. Anderson Cooper starts now.