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Petraeus Opens Up About Scandal; Congressman Calls Obama A Liar; Closed-Door Hearing On Benghazi; Utilities Sued Over Sandy Outages; Utilities Sued Over Sandy Outages; Israeli-Gaza Attacks Intensify; BP To Pay For Gulf Spill; Romney Comment on Election Draws GOP Backlash; Obama Tours Superstorm Sandy Damage; Powerful People Behaving Badly
Aired November 15, 2012 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Today, record day -- Guinness Book of World Records, that is. With it, comes an array of weird stuff, I mean, this is the kind of thing that everybody thinks they want to break a record here so a lot of people are trying. In London, 28 women cramming into a Mini Cooper. The most people ever to squeeze into the tiny little car. Also, in the U.K., a man's going to attempt to lift more than 51 pounds with his eye socket, that's a little strange. In Italy, volunteers constructing the world's largest coin.
I'm Suzanne Malveaux. Happening this hour, intelligence officials are briefing members of Congress on the terrorist attack at a U.S. consulate in Benghazi. Republican Senator John McCain, he calls the administration's handling of the event a cover up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: This president and this administration has either been guilty of colossal incompetence or engaged in a cover up, neither of which are acceptable to the American people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: So, why does he say this before the hearings? Well, we actually want to talk about the president also touring the hard-hit areas of Superstorm Sandy this hour. He is expected to speak as soon as 1:30 p.m. Eastern. We're going to bring that to you live when it happens.
Also, we're going to start this hour with the scandal that's swirling around the former CIA director, David Petraeus.
For the first time, former CIA director David Petraeus, he is now opening up to the media about the sex scandal that has ended his military career. Speaking in detail to our sister network, HLN's Kyra Phillips. Kyra has known Petraeus for years, interviewing for many stories on the troops, including a 30-minute live interview on the anniversary of the Iraq War. She's had several occasions and conversations to talk with him since this scandal broke. Kyra says Petraeus called the affair a big mistake, says he had not spoken to Broadwell in months. Earlier today, Kyra told HLN's Robin Meade that Petraeus stressed he wants to make things right with his wife. (BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
KYRA PHILLIPS, HLN NEWS ANCHOR: In our first conversation, he had told me he had engaged in something dishonorable, and he sought to do the honorable thing in response, and that was to come forward. He was very clear that he screwed up terribly, that it was all his fault and even that it -- that he felt fortunate to have a wife who is far better than he deserves. Obviously, he is taking it really hard. He knows he made a big mistake and he does want to move forward making things work with his family. He doesn't want to throw 37 years out the window with his wife. He has said this has nothing to do with Benghazi and he wants to testify. He will testify. He has maintained to me all along that this was a personal failing, Robin, which, as I have said, to me was quite stunning and to many other people. He is not the type of person that I have ever known to fail at anything, knowing him as long as I have over the years. And so, he has made it very clear that this was about an extramarital affair and not over classified information or Benghazi.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: Petraeus is scheduled to testify about the Benghazi attack before the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. That's happening tomorrow. Secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, she is going to testify before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. That is going to happen next month.
Political rhetoric is reaching a boiling point as you can imagine over the deadly attack on the U.S. Mission in Benghazi, Libya. Republicans, they stepped up their criticism of the Obama administration after the president's strong defense yesterday of U.N. ambassador Suzanne Rice. Rice initially said the attack resulted from protests over an anti-Islamic video. But while some Democrats defended Rice today, one Republican Congressman called the president a liar.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. DANA ROHRABACHER (R), CALIFORNIA: What is clear is that this administration, including the president himself, has intentionally misinformed, read that, lied to the American people in the aftermath of this tragedy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. C.A. RUPPERSBERGER (D), MARYLAND: The information that Rice received, she received from the administration, and that information is what she knew at that time. Whether or not she knew other information and whether or not she told the truth, that is not an issue here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP) REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: The fact is, without getting into all the details, documents received so that within 24 hours of the attack, people in the intelligence community believe that this was a terrorist attack, that it was a planned attack. And so, when they knew that the day after, which would have been September 12th, why on September 14th was General Petraeus saying it was not a terrorist attack? Why did Susan Rice carry that out? She said the same thing on September 16th. And the president can't have it both ways.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: Well, the bitter back and forth continues. The House Intelligence Committee is holding a closed door hearing on the attack that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.
For more on the fallout from the Libya attack, I want to bring in Dana Bash. And, Dana, you have been watching, staking out the Intelligence Committee hearing. There is reports, I guess, that there might be a videotape or something. Do we know that this -- that there is a tape, surveillance tape, that exists of the attack? Do we know that?
DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this comes from our National Security Correspondent Suzanne Kelly who is reporting, yes, that what is actually going on behind those closed doors, and I should tell you, it's been going on, this briefing, for more than two hours at this point. But that intelligence officials brought with them closed-circuit video which -- from the compound that was recovered from the compound that, of course, was attacked in Benghazi, and they're playing it for these lawmakers.
And the point, according to Suzanne's sources, is to show them that it wasn't entirely clear whether this was planned or whether this was spontaneous because there were people milling about there. So, we're going to try to see if we can get more information about what exactly this video was, you know, -- it's -- as you know, it's kind of dicey trying to get information because these are highly classified briefings, particularly when it comes to --
BASH: -- this particular video. So, that's going on. And, really, just more broadly, this is the first time that the Intelligence Committee, the House now and the Senate will be briefed this afternoon, is getting a full account from the perspective of intelligence folks of what they knew and when they knew it.
MALVEAUX: And what is the best way that they think they can get this information? Some, I understand, are calling for Watergate-style committee to actually investigate this attack.
BASH: That's right. That is definitely something that John McCain, and Lindsey Graham and Kelly Ayotte, those are the three senators who had a press conference yesterday, which turned incredibly tense, that they announced that they want -- that they wanted to have. The problem is that they don't have a lot of support for that. Not only not from Democrats but actually from some of the fellow Republicans. Listen to what House speaker John Boehner said about that, throwing cold water on it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: At this point, I think that the standing committees of the House, whether they be the Oversight Committee or the Intelligence Committee, are working diligently on these issues and, at this point, I think that's appropriate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: Now, what John McCain and his colleagues are arguing is that there's too much stove piping going on. There are too many committees, and actually today is a good example. There are hearings going on all over Capitol Hill and then probably will continue to be. They think that it all should be streamlined into one committee. But, Suzanne, using the term Watergate, using the term cover up, saying, what did he know? When did he know it? Talking about the president, not exactly a way to get bipartisan support for something that, you know, Democrats clearly don't want. It has absolutely been, you mentioned at the beginning, very, very tense, particularly between these two old rivals, John McCain and President Obama.
MALVEAUX: Yes, not the way to get the bipartisanship going. OK, Dana. Thank you, appreciate it.
Here is what we're working on for this hour.
Sandy victims still now left in the dark.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE.)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why did they forget us? Why are we not part of the community that's getting the lights and we're still here and we're freezing now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: How they're still paying for electricity they aren't even receiving. And Mitt Romney says President Obama won because he promised gifts to key groups. But the Republican Party isn't standing by Romney's remarks. CNN NEWSROOM and it's all happening right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're right. What do we want? We want power. When do we want it? We want it now. What do we want?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When do we want it?
CROWD: Now! UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do we want?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: You see in the protest, heard the anger from people left without electricity by Superstorm Sandy. Two and a half weeks after the storm hit, about 4,400 people still without power. It's a far cry from the 7.9 million at the height of the storm, but now you got some people who lost electricity, they are now suing the utility companies. Joining us to talk about the lawsuits, CNN Legal Contributor Paul Cowan. Good to see you, Paul.
PAUL COWAN, CNN LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: Nice being with you, Suzanne, in person, finally, yes.
MALVEAUX: We are talking about these three companies that are facing legal action. You've got Long Island Power Authority, Jersey Central Power and Light, and Cable Vision being sued by people who lost Internet and phone service. Is this unusual? I mean, do -- should they be held accountable?
COWAN: Well, --
MALVEAUX: I mean, do they got a case on their hands?
COWAN: -- it's not unusual. Lawyers flock to these class action lawsuits, because they'll put together literally millions of potential plaintiffs, so you can imagine what the fees for the lawyers will be. They get a portion of the total recovered. So, they are very, very common in disaster situations. We saw a lot of them filed during the Katrina case but a hard, hard case to win, because the utility companies are going to come in and say, this -- we couldn't anticipate a storm of this magnitude, it's an act of God, we set up and we were properly ready for an ordinary storm but not something like this, a hundred-year storm.
MALVEAUX: So, when you look at the cases dealing with Katrina and you see this case now, do you think they maybe have got a pretty strong case, that they were not responsible, that they're not ultimately going to lose this?
COWAN: Well, I think the utilities can put a strong defense on the board. The defense being, we didn't anticipate a storm of this magnitude hitting the east coast of the United States. With that being said, a lot of money was recovered in the Katrina litigation, millions and millions of dollars were recovered in many, many suits against utilities, marinas, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, huge numbers of class actions filed during the course of that litigation. BP, of course, just --
MALVEAUX: Right, absolutely, (INAUDIBLE.)
COWAN: -- settled today in a criminal case. So, I wouldn't say that, you know, the Long Island people and the New Jersey people are going to lose, but they've got to prove that this was gross negligence, that they should have anticipated a storm of this magnitude and weren't properly prepared.
MALVEAUX: And, also, breach of contract, you mentioned as well. How would they do that?
COWAN: Well, whenever you sign up with a utility company, it's a contract. They are contracting to give you power, and you are contracting to pay them. So, they're going to come in and say, you know, that the power companies breached the contract. I'm thinking about it myself. You know, my law firm was closed down for almost two weeks as a result of power loss in Lower Manhattan.
MALVEAUX: You're thinking of suing?
COWAN: Well, I don't know. You know? I'll have to (INAUDIBLE) --
MALVEAUX: Come on, Paul, really?
COWAN: I'm going to watch these class action --
MALVEAUX: From a lawyer?
COWAN: Well, no, lawyers don't usually sue on their own behalf. We just do it for other people. But I'm watching it because, frankly, if there is a recovery, there are a lot of businesses, including law firms, that were hurt by the storm.
MALVEAUX: We saw the head of the Long Island -- the power folks that they resigned, at least the very head there. Is that good enough if you say -- you know, if the company says, look, we're getting rid of all the people who kind of failed you or do they still have a claim? You said a monetary claim.
COWAN: Well, we got to see how the sausage was made here. And by that I mean, they have to have a contingency plan for this kind of a storm. Who -- what was the backup? How many people were lined up to come in from other states to assist on Long Island and New Jersey? And if that backup plan was reasonable, they'll win the case. But, on the other hand, if they were doing this on the cheap and they were trying to pocket their profits and not prepare for worst case scenarios, the worst case scenario they're going to be seeing is a recovery in this class action case. because there are going to be millions of potential plaintiffs.
MALVEAUX: And it's best to join in a class action lawsuit, because you get more benefits?
COWAN: Well, you do, and the real reason for consumers is, if you only have a small claim -- I mean let's say you lost what was in your refrigerator, maybe it's worth $150, $200, no lawyer is going to take that case. But if there are a million refrigerators worth $150 combined, then it becomes a huge lawsuit.
MALVEAUX: Right. Right. COWAN: And that's the only way that you can get lawyers to take these cases. And they flock in. They -- these lawyers, these class action lawyers, they're the ones who fly their own private jets because the recoveries are so big in these cases.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a real money-making part of the whole profession.
MALVEAUX: You let me know if you end up in one of those class action lawsuit.
COWAN: I will. I will. But I don't, you know, I probably will not because I want to be able to comment on them here at CNN, OK?
MALVEAUX: All right. Appreciate that. Nice to see you, Paul, as always.
Violence along the Israeli-Gaza border now intensifying. Are they headed toward another all-out war?
MALVEAUX: Fears of an all-out war between Israelis and the Palestinians is growing today. Hundreds of missiles are being launched back and forth between the two sides right now. The tipping point came yesterday when an Israeli rocket obliterated a car carrying a leader of Hamas's military in Gaza City. Ahmed al-Jabari. Well, the Israeli government spokesman says that al-Jabari was killed because he heads a terror military machine. Sara Sidner, she's joining us live from Gaza City.
And, first of all, you -- it sounds like these air strikes are not going to end soon. What is going on, on the ground where you are, first of all, and how worried are people that this is going to escalate into a full-out war?
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Suzanne, I'll answer your first question first. Basically what we've been hearing since we've been here this morning and into the night are constant air strikes. They have come every few hours. We hear them. They are very, very loud. You know that they are air strikes because you can first hear the airplane. Then you hear this sort of rumbling boom. And then you can see the black smoke, plumes of smoke, coming up from different parts of the city. We know there have been several today because we've seen different parts of the city, these huge plumes of black smoke and the sound that comes from the air strikes.
We have also seen rockets from different parts of the city going towards Israel from Gaza. Now we know so far that there have been more than 110 air strikes since the head of Hamas's military wing was assassinated in his car by Israel. Israel saying they were targeting him, calling him a number one terrorist, according to the military spokesperson. But people here who backed Hamas revered him. He was also a founder of Hamas. And he also was the commander of the military as well.
What we also know is that there have been at least 196 rockets that have rained down on Israel. Many of those caught by the iron dome defense system, knocked out into the sky, but still a very scary situation.
And we know that there are deaths on both sides of the border. Fifteen people now confirmed dead here in Gaza. Three people killed in Israel. We know a rocket hit an apartment complex this morning when we were on that side of the border, very close to the area, killing people inside that apartment. One person also was hurt there.
So the situation not getting better. It is not as bad, though, according to residents here, as it was last night. They're not seeing the barrage of air strikes the same as they did yesterday. But still, the situation has not really calmed down much.
MALVEAUX: (INAUDIBLE) from Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak saying that forces are trying to target precisely so there are few civilian causalities as possible. Here's how he explained it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EHUD BARAK, ISRAELI DEFENSE MINISTER (voice-over): And we are now working (INAUDIBLE) to bring to this story (ph) the launching capability (INAUDIBLE) but to the extent we can. And we are doing it in an extremely surgical manner because we are certain then to limit the damage.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: All right. So, so far Hamas reports 13 dead, including nine Hamas militants, but also two children and a pregnant woman. So how is that working on the ground? How do you assess that?
SIDNER: Well, you know, the air strikes, they are trying to be very targeted. They are looking for places, for example, buildings that might be filled with explosives or ammunition or guns. But they are also taking part in -- taking the air strikes on a place that is highly, highly populated, densely populated. We understand now from health official that 120 people have been injured. So we're talking now 15 dead, 120 people injured, 20 of those women, 21 of those children. So there is the difficulty of this being a very densely populated place. And if you're going to perform an air strike somewhere, you never know just how many people might be in, for example, the buildings that you're hitting.
MALVEAUX: Right. All right. All right, Sara Sidner, thank you very much. Excellent reporting, as always.
BP agrees now to plead guilty to a dozen felony charges connected to the 2010 Gulf oil spill. The company is going to pay the biggest criminal fine in U.S. history.
MALVEAUX: MALVEAUX: Oil giant BP announced today it's going to pay a record fine of $4.5 billion for its role in the 2010 oil spill off the Gulf of Mexico. An explosion on BP's Deepwater Horizon oil rig killed 11 workers and sent millions of barrels of oil gushing into the water. The fine settles all federal criminal charges and SEC claims. BP also agreed to plead guilty to 11 felony counts under the proposed settlement. Ed Lavandera, he is live in St. Petersburg, Florida, for us.
Ed, is this the end for BP here in this massive oil spill, or is there more to this?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, there will be much more, believe it or not. Despite this massive settlement that was announced today, BP still faces many more liabilities that it must deal with. But the company is saying that this helps kind of smooth out the road and it will allow them to deal with the remaining of the claims that are still out there and the legal issues that they have to battle. And that includes violations of the Clean Water Act. And you remember that -- remember the squabble back during this oil spill over just exactly how much of this oil was spilling into the Gulf of Mexico. And that's what that will -- boils down to it. They will be fined by that, so they still face those fines as well.
MALVEAUX: Hour would this actually be paid out? Do we know yet?
LAVANDERA: Well, the breakdown, as you mentioned, the overall number is $4.5 billion. And when you break that down, that includes a $1.256 billion criminal fine. That is the most ever handed out in U.S. history. There's also almost $2.4 billion that will be given to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, as well as $350 million to the National Academy of Sciences, and a $525 million settlement to -- for the Securities and Exchange Commission claims as well. So that's the breakdown of how all that goes. So $4.5 billion total.
MALVEAUX: Is this considered a win all around or a big loss for BP? Is this a big, you know, a big win for those who suffered?
LAVANDERA: Well, the way the company's kind of spinning it today, that, you know, that they say that they will not make any resolutions to these claims unless they find it to be, in their words, quote, "reasonable." So that's the way they have been saying that for several years. And that's what they say when they're talking about the claims that are still out there, that they're happy to sit down and negotiate with anyone as long as it is a, quote, "reasonable" settlement.
So -- but there's still many lawsuits that are still spending. The fines from the federal government from the Clean Water Act violation that still must be sifted through as well. But they feel that this kind of clears the board and allows them to proceed with all of that much more -- on a level playing field, to describe what I've been told by company officials today. So clearly they're happy with this. We are expecting to hear much more from the Justice Department, which is scheduling a press conference in New Orleans later today.
LAVANDERA: So we'll probably get a better indication of what all this entails here when we hear from them.
MALVEAUX: All right, thank you, Ed, appreciate it.
So, if you can believe this, the election was just about a week ago. A little more than a week ago. Mitt Romney now saying that President Obama won because he promised gifts to key groups.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (voice-over): What the president's campaign did was focus on certain members of his base coalition, give them extraordinary financial gifts from the government, and then work very aggressively to turn them out to vote.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: Controversy and the fallout from the presidential election.
MALVEAUX: Mitt Romney's latest explanation about why he lost the presidential election has set off a backlash from some of his fellow Republicans. In a conference call with top campaign donors, Romney said that President Obama won by offering policies and "gifts" to African-Americans, Hispanics, college-age women and other young voters.
Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY, (R), FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR & FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What the president's campaign did was focus on certain members of his base coalition, give them extraordinary financial gifts from the government, and then work very aggressively to turn them out to vote.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: Some Republicans were quick to distance themselves and the party from Romney's comments.
Here's what Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOBBY JINDAL, (R), GOVERNOR OF LOUISIANA: I absolutely reject that notion, that description. I think that's absolutely wrong. That is not -- I don't think that that represents where we are as a party and where we're going as a party. And I think that has to be one of the most fundamental take-aways from this election.
(END VIDEO CLIP) MALVEAUX: Even some other Republicans, even more fired up, including our CNN contributor and Republican strategist, Ana Navarro.
You have been slamming Romney on Twitter. You tweeted this. You said "Romney, take responsibility for being a flawed candidate with delusional campaign with no vision. Hispanics don't want gifts. We want opportunity." Were you surprised at Romney's comments?
ANA NAVARRO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST & CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I just couldn't believe it. You know, I thought we had heard the last chapter of things Romney says that he shouldn't say, and then he strikes again even after the election. This is just not constructive. I completely agree with Governor Jindal. I don't think it represents the Republican party, and I think it's a man who lost an election and is trying to find an excuse of why he lost it, and it's not looking in the mirror and figuring out that maybe he had flaws as a candidate that maybe he didn't run as good a campaign as President Obama did, but, you know, it is very dismissive, and condescending of entire blocks of people in this country, Latinos, African-Americans, young people. I mean, it's just offensive.
MALVEAUX: There's some people who stay, you know, maybe the problem was the tone here, but that fundamentally the message was accurate.
I want to you hear what columnist Will Cain said earlier on CNN.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILL CAIN, COLUMNIST, THEBLAZE.COM & CNN CONTRIBUTOR: With regards to young people, for instance, the forgiveness of college loan interest was a big gift. Free contraceptives were a very big thing with young college age women, and Obama-care made a big difference for them because, you know, anybody now 26 of age or younger is going to be part of their parent's plan.
Now, listen, we had historic turnout, for example, among young people. Are you going to tell me that President Obama's policies, many of them more crafted appeal to certain demographic groups?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: So Ana, you know, is it parsing words here to call it a gift, or is Will making a valid point here that these were policy initiative that would be put in place, and some have already been put in place, that rewarded certain groups?
NAVARRO: Suzanne, sometimes the politically correct thing to do is also the politically smart thing to do. Sometimes the morally correct thing to do is also the politically smart thing to do. If we look at the Dream Act initiative, for example, that Mitt Romney called an amnesty. It's not an amnesty. And when he was on the campaign trail, he referred to these children as kids who have been brought here at no fault of their own. Well, if they have no fault in it, then they are not guilty, and they're not about to be given an amnesty. They're given a chance. They're getting an opportunity to study and pursue an education. You know, let's remember that just a few years ago President George W. Bush won 44 percent of the Hispanic vote. It's not because he was giving gifts to the Hispanics. It's because we knew he liked us. It's because we knew he understood us. It's because we move that he believed that we were an integral part of the fabric of this society.
MALVEAUX: Let me just read one more tweet here and get you to respond. You say you're "Livid that Romney is saying Obama won by offering gifts. Look in the mirror, Mitt." How does he make up for this, or the Republican Party for that matter? You're still a loyal Republican. What do they need to do to kind of get on the right side of the issue, according to you?
NAVARRO: Mitt Romney doesn't speak for me. Mitt Romney is yesterday's news. He is no longer the candidate. He is no longer the nominee. I think somebody like Bobby Jindal is more representative of the Republican Party. He is a sitting governor. He is the head of the Republican Governor's Association.
I think you're going to hear more voices on this like Jeb Bush, like a Marco Rubio, like Lindsey Graham, like John McCain, people who are going to have a much more vocal and big role in the Republican party, and are going to be part of this new conversation.
You know, Mitt Romney, I think he was just trying to make an excuse to his donors who have given him a lot of money on why he had lost, and it's easier to make an excuse and blame it on somebody else than to blame it on your own shortcomings.
MALVEAUX: All right. We're going to have to leave it there.
Ana, we'll see how the party brings itself together and attracts, you know, Latinos and brings you back. You're still in the fold there, but clearly very upset with Mitt Romney's take on all of this.
Thank you, Ana. Good to see you, always.
NAVARRO: Thank you.
MALVEAUX: There are still parts of Staten Island still in the dark after being hit hard by Superstorm Sandy. That happened more than two weeks ago. The president is there this hour. We could hear from him any minute now, and actually see some video from that area touring that area. We'll bring it to you live as soon as it comes in.
MALVEAUX: President Obama is in New York right now getting an up close look at the damage from Hurricane Sandy. He is currently speaking with storm victims. We expect to hear from him shortly. As soon as he does, we'll bring it to you live.
The White House says the president plans to meet with local officials, first responders, and, of course, the families who are struggling to put their lives back together.
Our Victor Blackwell has been talking to some of those folks on Staten Island.
Victor, what is their reaction to the president visiting now? Are they impressed? Do they care? Are they emotional?
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When we speak with people about the president's visit, the first thing we hear is, we're happy the president is coming. The second thing is, if the president comes, we need him to promise more support. Other people say, when he comes this time, I want abled bodies and machines and equipment. They want support like they're seeing here at the Salvation Army.
This is the corner of Midland and Vaden (ph). Midland Avenue is the main drag here in this portion of Staten Island. They tell us they've supported 5,000 people here at this location alone, and there are other location that is hand out food and water and baby supplies and cleaning supplies.
You know, the president will be speaking on Cedar Grove Avenue in the New Door (ph) area of Staten Island. He will be speaking in front of a store owned by a man named Dominic Traina. He has lived there since 1959.
I spoke with him yesterday, and he told me his reaction, when he saw his childhood home, the home he raised his children in and that store, demolished. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: When you came back and saw this, what did you feel? What did you think?
DOMINIC TRAINA, STATE ISLAND RESIDENT: I cried. I don't know what I thought. I'm still in shock. You know, right now we're living in the basement. We have nothing. We have nothing.
BLACKWELL: How do you start over?
TRAINA: At 66 years old, I don't know. I really don't. We're just going to stick together with the kids and try and make the best of it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Mr. Traina hopes to speak with the president today, and he is going to ask him to support his neighbors, or at least the people who used to be his neighbors. I asked him if he wants to stay in that neighborhood. He said no. He wants to move to a place that's a little quieter because, after 53 years in this community, this is just too much -- Suzanne?
MALVEAUX: Wow. That is such a tough story.
Victor, we're seeing pictures on the other side here of a group of reporters and people who have gathered, who are obviously been covering the president's visit of Staten Island there. Do you have a sense, from talking with that gentleman, that he wanted to se the president earlier? We know that Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, don't come. The president wanted to come right after the storm. He said listen, we have too much clean-up here, it would be a distraction, come at later date. And the president went to New Jersey instead. Is there anything that you think that gentleman wanted to hear or see from the president now?
BLACKWELL: From what I hear from Mr. Traina and other people, this is a better time to come. All of what they want to hear from the president is about support and how the president will support this community moving ahead to six months and a year and 18 months into the recovery. They didn't want just some hugs and some kind words. They wanted a promise of support and the equipment needed to bring this community back. I believe, as I've learned from the people here, this is the time to come and to come with a promise that they will continue to support the Staten Island and all of New York and New Jersey affected by Superstorm Sandy.
MALVEAUX: Yes. Victor, we know that the president, he is with the Mayor Bloomberg. He is also with the Governor Cuomo, as well as the secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano. What do you think of the folks still suffering in the neighborhood, what do they need the most, like, right now?
BLACKWELL: I spoke with a man named Mike Hoffman. He is a volunteering, sending out people to gut those homes. I said, if you could tell the president when you come down pack al of this on Air Force One, give me the list. He said we need power tools, we need abled bodies, we need equipment, we need money, we need food and water, baby supplies. All the things that you need to rebuild a life and rebuild a home and a business because many of the people here have lived here for decades and they have nothing now. He said, imagine waking up and your home that you built and your family and everything that you had for the last 25 years is gone. Start over.
MALVEAUX: Well, Victor, we are going to take the president live as soon as he steps up to the microphone and has something to say to the community that you have been speaking with.
So, Victor, we really appreciate it.
As we mentioned, the president is in New York right now getting a close-up look -- you can see the live pictures there -- trying to assess some of the damage from Hurricane Sandy. He will go ahead and speak to that group that we're watching, keeping an eye on there. New York City, 43 people perished from that superstorm from that hurricane. 23 of them in Staten Island -- on Staten Island. He is in that community, talking to the people there. And obviously, as soon as he starts, we're going to take that live.
A scandal surrounding a former CIA director just the latest public embarrassment. This is from many people who failed before, President Bill Clinton to former New York Congressman Anthony Wiener. Affairs nothing new really. We'll take a look at powerful people behaving badly.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) MALVEAUX: We're waiting for President Obama. He is in New York right now getting a close-up look at the damage from Hurricane Sandy. He is in Staten Island. He will be addressing the photographers, reporters there right outside that facility. As soon as he goes up to the podium, we'll bring that to you live.
Petraeus might be the most recent example of a powerful person having an extramarital affair. Not the first. More than 200 years ago, founding father, Hamilton, admitted to cheating. In recent years, President Kennedy's affairs, Lyndon B. Johnson allegedly had a buzzer that sounded when his wife was on the way. What makes powerful people do it?
Clinical psychologist, Jeff Gardere, joining us.
Good to see you, as always.
JEFF GARDERE, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST & CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Always great to see you, Suzanne.
MALVEAUX: When you look at the example of Petraeus -- whether the affair, the e-mails, but specifically Petraeus, a powerful person. But you look at the two women involved, as well. They're married, they have kids. They have jobs. They're powerful in their own right and not like young interns or victims here. Why this whole group, this whole culture? How do you explain their behavior?
GARDERE: Part of what's going on and the moral of the story, let's not just focus on men who are powerful are cheating. Women who are powerful also cheat. Two wrongs don't make a right. But women get more power, and they're starting to do what men have done. In other words, they cheat because they can. They have charisma. They're type "A" personalities and risk takers and a lot of those things start to bleed out, if you will, to their other activities, including infidelities. Yes, these are people who are married. Yes, they should know better. But I think these are people who set their own rules and they've been successful because of it. People admire the fact that they're able to go out and grab life by the throat. And, therefore, they feel that they can do this and they don't have to answer to anyone. And I think that's why they're also so very sloppy about it. Because, truth be told, there have been presidents, as you have said, who have been -- used stealth to have extramarital affairs and not found out until much later on or until after their passing.
MALVEAUX: For them, they don't believe the rules apply necessarily. Does it make sense for that group of people, right, to be married in the first place? Should they say, we don't be the married people and leave the monogamy to this set of people in the society? Do you have an expectation that everybody living by the same model?
GARDERE: Well, I think people should live to a certain standard, and fidelity is not dead. I think people should try to aspire to that. A lot of power couples are what we call acrobat couples, not the way they have sex, but acrobat to balance their careers, balance their children, and be able to still take vacations together, do all of those things. But what happens is they become so powerful, such type "A"s, they get the incredible jobs and hold on to them, that they live apart. For some couples, that may really work. For some, it does not work at all and you have a powerful person, on the one hand, and their partner's at home who may not have that same excitement or power, and people tend to attract other people just like them. And therefore, they form this club where they feel they can have the extracurricular activities.
MALVEAUX: Who are the silent partners who stay at home? Are they enabling the behavior? Do they realize that it's going on?
GARDERE: What a great question. I really do believe, in this case, we have at least one wife and two husbands who have been cheated on in this whole affair going on, this whole sordid mess and I think and it's not that I think I will tell you -- Holly Petraeus may have been surprised by this but somewhere in the back of her mind I can tell you she probably suspected something was going on with her husband, who was always away, who's always fit, who's a type "a" personality. The two physician husbands part of this whole scenario, powerful in their own rights, very educated, high ACS. But they probably may have suspected, subconsciously, why is it I never see my wife? Why do I only see her -- so we know that distance can help couples but too much distance can also hurt them, too, especially when there's time passing.
MALVEAUX: I wish we had more time.
GARDERE: So do I.
MALVEAUX: We could talk about this all day.
GARDERE: Absolutely. Thank you.
MALVEAUX: Thank you, Jeff. We'll talk about it again.
MALVEAUX: In less than 50 days, tax cuts set to expire. Warren Buffett doesn't seem to be concerned. Why he says let the fiscal cliff be a fiscal hike. Go off the edge.
NALANI NARDTARNI (ph), FOREST ECOLOGIST, SCIENCE EDUCATOR: We are in the rainforest, part of the Olympic National Park. On the west side of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington sit and this is considered like the best example of temperate rainforest.
UNIDENTIFIED CNN CORRESPONDENT: And this is your laboratory.
NARDTARNI (ph): Yes. You could consider this my lab. This is where I carry out my research, my field research. It's where I come to ask questions of the forest.
My name is Nalani Nardtarni (ph), and I'm a forest ecologist, science educator, a mother and a nature evangelist.
I have felt this increasing sense of urgency to understand what's up here and document what's up here because we're losing it.
I feel like I just can't stop. I can't stop. And I have to work harder to make a new program, to reach a new audience.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Dr. Sanjay Gupta. This Sunday on "The Next List," "Queen of the Treetops," Nalani Nardtarni (ph).