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Obama Speaks on Storm Damage; BP Settlement; Israel vs. Hamas Escalates; Violent Protests After Gas Price Hike; FDA Investigates 5- Hour Energy Drink; Astronaut Battles Parkinson's Disease; Lawmakers See Benghazi Attack Video

Aired November 15, 2012 - 14:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: I want to go to New York -- Staten Island in particular. This is where the president is touring some of the damage from Hurricane Sandy. At the microphones there, you can see the governor, Cuomo, making remarks, Mayor Bloomberg behind him. And the president over his shoulder, waiting. Let's listen in.

ANDREW CUOMO, GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK: -- tens of thousands saw their homes damaged or destroyed. Communities from Staten Island to far Rockaway to Long Beach to Lindenhurst were decimated. And 17 days ago, we felt a new vulnerability for the first time. We have much to do. There is no doubt. We must provide shelter and support in the short term. We must repair thousands of homes and small businesses. We must re-knit the fabric of tattered communities. We must rethink and redesign for the long term because extreme weather as we have learned is the new normal.

But we are New Yorkers, Mr. President. We are tough. And we are resilient. And we will overcome and we will be the better for it.

Also, Mr. President, we take comfort in knowing that we are not alone. While we may not have had heat in our homes, our hearts have been warmed by the outpouring of support, generosity and love from people all across the nation. People from across the country have joined us and donated, sent food, and we want to say a heart-felt thank you to each and every one of them.

And let me say, Mr. President, thank you to you, because you have exemplified the spirit of partnership and the spirit of community. I was personally amazed and touched by your phone calls and attention even during times that were very, very busy. You were there for us. You were there for New York. And we thank you, Mr. President. And together, Mr. President, we will not just rebuild New York, we will build back better than ever before.

Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you so much, everybody.

I'm going to be relatively brief. I came up here right after the storm. Was on the Jersey side. And I had promised to everybody that I was speaking on behalf of the country when I said, we are going to be here until the rebuilding is complete. And I meant it. So I'm going to come back today, but I'm also going to be coming back in the future to make sure that we have followed through on that commitment.

I want to thank the outstanding leadership that's been provided by state and local officials. Obviously, Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bloomberg have done an outstanding job. To borough President Molinaro, thank you so much for your leadership at a time when the folks here on this island were obviously going through extraordinarily difficult times. The people of Long Island, who are going through really tough times.

Across the board, what we've seen is cooperation and a spirit of service. And, you know, for the first responder who are here, the police officers, the firefighters, the EMS folks, the sanitation workers who sometimes don't get credit but have done heroic work, we are so grateful to you because you exemplify what America's all about.

I'm grateful to the Red Cross who's been so responsive not just here but in disasters around the country. And I want to thank all the volunteers. As we were shaking hands over there, we had folks from every part of the country. We had some Canadians who had come down to help out.

And, you know, during difficult times like this, we're reminded that we're bound together and we have to look out for each other. And a lot of the things that seem important, the petty differences melt away and we focus on what binds us together and that we, as Americans, are going to stand with each other in their hour of need.

Now, more specifically, we are now still in the process of recovery. As you can see as you travel around parts of Staten Island, as we flew over parts of other parts of the city and the region that had been impacted, there's still a lot of cleanup to do. People still need emergency help. They still need heat. They still need power. They still need food. They still need shelter. Kids are still trying to figure out where they're going to go to school. So there's a lot of short-term immediate stuff that has to be dealt with and we are going to make sure that we stay here as long as people need that immediate help. That's FEMA's primary task. And we'll be coordinating closely with state and local governments to make sure folks are getting the short-term help.

But what we've also already heard is that there's going to be some long term rebuilding that's required. You know, you look at this block and you know that this is a community that is deeply rooted. You know, most of the folks that I met here have been here 20, 30, 50 years. They don't want to see their community uprooted. But there's got to be a plan for rebuilding. And that plan's going to be to have to be coordinated they're going to need resources. So what I have committed to doing is to work with the outstanding congressional delegation led by your senators, Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, also working with Governor Christie and the Jersey delegation, to try to come up with a game plan for how we're going to be able to resource the rebuilding process. And I'm confident, as Governor Cuomo said, that we're going to be able to do it.

But it's going to require everybody focus on getting the job done. We're going to have to put some of the turf battles aside. We're going to have to make sure that everybody's focused on doing the job, as opposed to worrying about who's getting the credit or who's getting the contracts or all that stuff that sometimes goes into the rebuilding process.

On the federal level, because this is going to be such a big job, I wanted to assign one particular person who would be in charge from our perspective. Who would be our point person. Because FEMA basically runs the recovery process. It doesn't focus on the rebuilding. For that, we've got to have all government agencies involved. Janet Napolitano has done a great job with respect to DHS, but we thought it would be good to have a New Yorker who's going to be the point person. And so our outstanding HUD secretary, Shaun Donovan, who used to be the head of the New York Housing Authority, so he knows a little bit about New York and building, is going to be our point person and he's going to be working with the mayor, the governor, the borough presidents, the county officials to make sure that we come up with a strong, effective plan and then I'll be working with the members of Congress to do everything we can to get the resources need to rebuild. And I have every confidence that Shaun is going to be doing a great job and so people should feel some confidence about that.

Let me just close by saying this. I had the opportunity to give some hugs and communicate thoughts and prayers to the Moore (ph) family. They lost two young sons during the course of this tragedy. And, obviously, I expressed to them, as a father, as a parent, my heartbreak over what they went through. And they're still obviously a little shell shocked. But they came here in part because they wanted to say thank you to all the people who had been supportive of them. They, in particular, mentioned Lieutenant Kevin Gallagher (ph) of the NYPD, who, when they knew that their sons were missing, Lieutenant Gallagher made a point of staying with them and doing everything he could so that ultimately they knew what had happened with their boys and were able to recover their bodies and has been with them as a source of support ever since.

That's not in the job description of Lieutenant Gallagher. He did that because that's what so many of our first responders do. They go above and beyond the call of duty to respond to people in need. And so I want to give a shout out to Lieutenant Gallagher. But I also want to point out, the Moores, even in their grief, asked me to mention Lieutenant Gallagher. And that says something about them, as well.

And that spirit and sense of togetherness and looking out for one another, that's what's going to carry us through the tragedy. It's not going to be easy. There is still going to be, believe it or not, some complaints over the next several months. Not everybody's going to be satisfied. I have to tell you, the insurance companies and some of the other private sector folks who are involved in this, we need you to show some heart and some spirit in helping people rebuild as well.

But when I hear the story of the Moores and I hear about Lieutenant Gallagher, that's what makes me confident that we're going to be able to rebuild, all right? I'm very proud of you, New York. You guys are tough. You bounce back. Just as America always bounces back. The same is going to be true this time out, all right? Thank you very much, everybody. (END LIVE FEED)

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: All right, President Barack Obama there on Staten Island. His second visit to the region after Superstorm Sandy. Reiterating that the federal government will be there in the complete rebuilding of this region devastated by that storm there. He's with the governor of New York and also the Homeland Security Chief Janet Napolitano and Senators Chuck Schumer also there, as well as the New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

You heard the president there also talking about a poignant moment that he had with the Moore family and many people recall their two sons swept away. And he talked about what has been a very emotional visit to the Staten Island area, but also it kind of reaffirms that resolve that the federal government will be there as best it can to help in the rebuilding process.

Our Victor Blackwell is there also in Staten Island outside a recovery center.

So, Victor, give me an idea what the reception has been like for the president's second now visit, his first post re-election there to Staten Island.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think the president today said what people in this community wanted to hear. Not that he would just come today and give those hugs and some kind words, as he mentioned, but also the support they need to rebuild here on Staten Island. And he highlighted that he would come back and that the federal government would support this community in the rebuilding. But that's going to be very expensive and people here know that.

The governor, Andrew Cuomo, has asked for -- or is in the process of asking for $30 billion to rebuild the homes and rebuild the infrastructure and improve some of the things that were lacking after Superstorm Sandy. Right now the FEMA fund is only at about $12 billion. And considering the financial cliff that's coming, the fiscal cliff that's coming, the financial crisis, that's going to take some work on Capitol Hill to get $30 billion for New York, if it's approved, and then consider Maryland and New Jersey and Connecticut and on up the coast. So the people here know that it's going to take a lot of time and a lot of money.

They just hope that there is the support, not only from the president, but from places like this, like the Salvation Army here on Midland (ph) Avenue, where they've been handing out water and food and supplies for 17 days now since the storm. They tell us that they have supported 5,000 people at this location alone. And people have been coming nonstop. And again, this is 17 days after the storm. A lot of these people lost everything and they hope the president and the governor and Mayor Bloomberg and all of the delegations who showed up understand that it's going to take time and support.

Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right, Victor Blackwell, thank you so much, from Staten Island. Appreciate that.

All right, major stories unfolding right now, including the crisis developing overseas as Israel and militants in Gaza step up attacks against each other.

Plus, at any minute now U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder officially announcing a record fine against BP to settle criminal claims over the Gulf oil spill. We'll bring that to you live.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: At any moment now Attorney General Eric Holder is expected to announce that oil giant BP has agreed to a $4.5 billion fine to settle criminal charges for its involvement in the worst oil spill in history. He'll be making that announcement from that place right there on the right of your screen in New Orleans. A number of his staff members have already walked into the room.

This explosion on BP's oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, as you recall, killed 11 people in April of 2010. Millions of barrels of oil got dumped in to the Gulf of Mexico, devastating the environment there. Tourism costing many people their jobs, as well. CNN's Ed Lavandera saw the devastation firsthand when he covered the story.

And, Ed, as, of course, we wait Eric Holder's arrival, I'll let you proceed, but I may have to interrupt you as soon as he is to enter the room.

So, what kind of a reaction is there from this $4 billion planned settlement?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think a lot of people in the Gulf Coast region are trying to figure out exactly what all of this means, how this money will be parceled out. And essentially what this means for BP going forward, this is by no means the

WHITFIELD: All right. Sorry about that, Ed. You're going to have to hold that thought right there. Here is U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

(BEGIN LIVE FEED)

ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I am honored to join with Associate Attorney General Tony West, Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division of the Justice Department Lanny Brewer, Director Robert Khuzami of the Security and Exchange Commission's Division of Enforcement, John Buretta, head of the Deepwater Horizon Task Force, and many of the task forces' members in announcing really the latest step forward in our ongoing efforts to achieve justice for those whose lives and whose livelihoods were impacted by the largest environmental disaster in the history of the United States, and to hold accountable -- hold accountable those who -- for responsibility for this tragedy.

Today, in the United States district court here in the eastern district of Louisiana in New Orleans, the department filed a 14-count information charging BP with 11 counts of felony manslaughter, one count of felony obstruction of justice, and violations of the Clean Water and Migratory Bird Treaty Acts, in connection with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that began in April of 2010. BP has agreed to plead guilty to all 14 criminal charges, including responsibility for the deaths of 11 people and the events that led to an unprecedented environmental catastrophe.

The company has also agreed to pay $4 billion in fines and in penalties. This marks both the largest single criminal fine, more than $1.25 billion, and the largest total criminal resolution $4 billion in the history of the United States.

It stands as a testament to the hard work of countless investigators, attorneys, support staff members and other persons from the Deepwater Horizon Task Force and a range of federal, state and local agencies who have worked tirelessly to advance a complex and wide ranging investigation that began even before the oil well was capped. And it constitutes a major environmental -- toward achievement of fulfilling a promise that I made here in New Orleans, along with my colleagues, nearly two years ago, to engage with our partners and with our counterparts to determine the cause of the disaster, to respond to its consequences, to seek justice on behalf of the victims and to enable Gulf residents to continue to recover and to rebuild.

To this end, under the terms of the agreement that we announce today, about $2.4 billion of the criminal recovery funds will be dedicated to environmental restoration, preservation and conservation efforts throughout this region, including barrier island creation and river diversion projects right here in Louisiana. An additional $350 million will aid in the development of state of the art oil spill prevention and response technologies, education, research and training. And more than $1 billion will go to the United States Coast Guard's Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund to be available for clean-up and compensation for those affected by oil spills in the Gulf and throughout the United States.

Now, as part of its guilty plea, BP will retain a monitor for four years who will oversee safety, risk management and equipment maintenance in relation to deepwater drilling in the Gulf, as well as an independent auditor who will conduct annual reviews to ensure compliance with the terms of this agreement. The company will also hire an ethics monitor to improve its code of conduct and to foster robust cooperation with the government.

Now, there can be no question that this historic announcement represents a critical step forward and really underscores the Justice Department's determination to stand with Gulf Coast communities. In February, the same commitment led the department to reach a partial settlement totaling $90 million with Mo-x (ph) offshore related to the company's Clean Water Act liability for the Deepwater Horizon disaster. And approximately $45 million of this total will go directly again to the Gulf in the form of penalties for expedited environmental projects.

But our work is far from over. In the trips that my colleagues and that I have made to the Gulf Coast since the Deepwater Horizon spill, we have seen the damage to lives and businesses, as well as to the coastal areas and wetlands that this tragedy has inflicted. We understand the tremendous costs, both economic and environmental, that have been associated with this disaster. And we've been inspired by the resilience displayed by each and every Gulf Coast resident who has been affected.

And that's why -

(END LIVE FEED)

WHITFIELD: U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder there in New Orleans announcing the goal here to achieve justice and to, quote, "hold accountable." BP now facing 11 counts of felony manslaughter officially, obstruction of justice, among other charges. All this leading to -- this tragedy, rather, leading to the deaths of 11 people and causing what Eric Holder called an environmental catastrophe.

Our Ed Lavandera is there on the Gulf Coast. You covered this extensively when it happened in 2010. You also had a chance to hear Eric Holder there. He says, in addition to these charges, it also means that BP will continue to do business there in the Gulf, but with a monitor. Explain more on that.

LAVANDERA: Well, there were two monitors, a process monitor and an ethics monitor, that will essentially, I guess, be the eyes and ears of the federal government as BP continues to operate. They're also under a five-year probation with this settlement announcement. So as they continue to operate, which I guess and some people wondered if they might even be allowed to continue to operate here in the United States. But obviously that heavy of a fine or a penalty has not been issued. They will allowed to be continued to do business here in the United States.

But, obviously, this does not mean that this is the end of this story for BP. Just before this press conference started, Fredericka, I wanted to mention that this is by no means the end of the lawsuits and the financial fines that BP faces. There are still fines having to do with the Clean Water Act. If you remember back during the oil spill, there was a huge squabble over just how much oil and at what rate the oil was spilling into the Gulf of Mexico. And that is because the basis for the Clean Water Act fines will be based on the amount of oil that spilled in to the Gulf. And BP is saying that there is -- they are still setting aside money and expect liabilities here in the future. So they expect billions of dollars in fines for that, as well as other lawsuits and settlements that are still making their way through the court system down along the Gulf Coast. So by no means is all of this over.

You know, getting a chance to really start getting the reaction of people who have been very critical of BP over the years. Some people say this is a welcomed news, albeit it has taken too long. Other people think it's not enough. But I think here in the coming weeks, as we get a better idea of just how this money will be disbursed and how it will be used, then that will begin to answer a lot of questions that people still remain.

Remember, there is the effects of this oil spill are still felt dramatically through the Gulf Coast. I was just on a barrier island in Louisiana during Hurricane Isaac. And the day after the storm, we saw tar balls watching up. And one of the locals there called them BP balls, these tar balls that washed up after these storms brush in.

WHITFIELD: All right, Ed Lavandera, thanks so much.

And in addition to that guilty plea then, the $4 billion settlement coming from BP.

All right, developing right now, overseas, fears of war as attacks escalate between Israel and militants in Gaza. We'll take you there live, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: Rockets and shelling criss-crossing the sky and anxiety grows that the worst is yet to come in Israel and Gaza. The conflict between Hamas and Israel is moving fast and getting bloodier. Today's death toll, 18. Three Israelis killed in rocket strikes from Gaza. While an aide worker reports 15 people, Palestinians, rather, were killed by Israeli strikes. And this, many believe, was the tipping point.

An Israeli air strike yesterday ended up killing nine people, including the young child of the target. Ahmed al-Jabari. Jabari was a founder and a military leader of Hamas -- in that vehicle that you saw exploded -- the group that controls Gaza's government. Hamas, that is. Today, Palestinians carried his body through the streets on the way to his funeral. And as they mourn, Israeli forces are giving the play by play of their offensive on the Israeli defense forces website. It reports the spot under attack are Hamas missile launch sites. And Israel is not just taking out the launchers. Its teams are detonating rockets in the air. Take a look.

(VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Israel says it's responding to what's been calling the raining of bombs by Hamas on Israeli areas that border Gaza.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: No government would tolerate a situation where nearly a fifth of its people live under a constant barrage of rockets and missile fire. And Israel will not tolerate this situation. This is why my government has instructed the Israeli defense forces to conduct surgical strikes against the terrorist infrastructure in Gaza.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: CNN's Sara Sidner is live for us now in Gaza City.

So, Sara, we are hearing reports that a rocket hit Tel Aviv. Is that right?

SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, we are hearing the same thing. But that has not been confirmed. However, we did hear even a chant from a mosque saying "God is great, God is great, we have hit Tel Aviv." So far, no confirmation that it actually fell in the city. There was some talk that maybe perhaps it fell in the sea.

What we do know is that there have been more than 200 rockets that have sailed over from Gaza into Israel, killing three people. And here in Gaza, there have been a mass of air strikes. They have continued well into the night.

We have been here since early this morning and seen at least a dozen hits, plus, plus tonight, six more huge blasts. You can feel it rumbling and then you see the telltale black smoke from the buildings or whatever the target, whatever target that Israel would manage to hit.

This is all a reaction to actually something that happened last Thursday when 13-year-old boy was shot and killed. Witnesses here in Gaza say he was killed by Israeli soldiers, perhaps by stray bullets of jeep.

Israel investigating that but saying that they do not believe they were responsible, but they're still looking in to it. Then, we know that there was an anti-tank missile fired from a militant group here in Hamas in to a military jeep on the Israeli side of the border injuring four soldiers.

That popped off a back and forth between Israel and then the militant groups here including Hamas sending rockets in to Israel. As that started, as you might imagine, there's concern by civilians on both sides of the border.

On the Israeli side, people have been told to take shelter within a 40-kilometer radius. Here, there are very few people on the street. This is a densely populated place. We are seeing very few people coming out in the daytime and most of the businesses shut.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Sara Sidner, thanks so much for your reporting.

So Israel says it has targeted more than 200 terrorist sites in Gaza. The Israeli defense forces tweeted out this message saying, quote, "We recommend that no Hamas operatives whether low level or senior leaders show their faces above ground in the days ahead," end quote.

The warnings are also for civilians. Israel has air dropped leaflets warning people to stay away from Hamas operatives. Let's bring in Jim Clancy from CNN International. He has been covering the Middle East since the mid-'80s.

So Jim, let's talk about who's getting support here. Is Hamas seeing some reports of -- some sort support for their firing or is it Israel?

JIM CLANCY, CNN INTERNATIONAL: Well, Hamas is getting moral support if you will primarily from Egypt. After all, Hamas is considered to be the Muslim Brotherhood of the Palestinians and President Mohammed Morsi of Egypt has been stepping in trying to assert.

He withdrew his ambassador. Not a huge move, but trying to lend moral support. They're condemning the Israeli actions calling for calm. Now there's some talk about them canceling the Camp David accords, revisiting all of that.

Forget that. At the end of the day, as much criticism as the Egyptians get from the Americans and from the Israelis, they may end up being the ones to negotiate a broker's truce in this whole deal because they do hold sway with Hamas.

WHITFIELD: Is it clear how long this is going on? Because Israel will say --

CLANCY: Absolutely, 50 years.

WHITFIELD: Well, and a very large umbrella kind of sense. But recently, you know, we are talking about Israel saying they were bombarded in recent weeks. Hamas says they're being bombarded in recent days. Which is it?

CLANCY: It's a typical tit for tat. It has a life of its own and it could spread to a much wider region, much wider effects on the diplomatic and political events of the Middle East that after all is in a very fragile state.

You have the U.S. trying to judge its relationships with countries like Egypt, post-Arab spring. What kind of a relationship should they have? The Israelis are arguing these people can't possibly be considered your friends.

WHITFIELD: So how the region responds is going to be very important here.

CLANCY: Well, look at how Hezbollah in Lebanon, well armed, aching for a fight, constantly attacking Israel, at least verbally. They have held the fire here and remember trying to shore up Bashar Al- Assad, you know.

Iran wants to shore up Bashar Al-Assad. They have a 30-year investment in Hezbollah and the foothold in the region. If Assad goes, they lose it all.

WHITFIELD: All right, it's difficult to see the end game for usual.

CLANCY: It's going to be a very difficult one and everybody's judged on how well to manage the conflict and watch particularly Hezbollah. Do they fire something to distract away from what's going on right now in Syria? Bashar Al-Assad and the rebels in Syria finally agreed on something, to criticize Israel, to condemn Israel.

WHITFIELD: Jim Clancy, thanks so much.

CLANCY: All right.

WHITFIELD: All right, hundreds of people are taking to the streets violently protesting the high price of gas, but their demands may not stop there.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: Angered by a surge in gas prices and government corruption, demonstrators in Amman, Jordan, burn tires and battle riot police.

Police responded with teargas and water cannons, fury over gas prices now around $4.25 a gallon maybe escalating in to cries for democracy. Demonstrators did something very rare. Hurling insults at King Abdullah.

Some even burned photos of the king. Insulting the king is illegal and can result in a prison sentence. Arwa Damon joins us live from Amman, Jordan. So Arwa, is the Arab spring movement taking hold now in Jordan?

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it certainly is manifesting itself in a fairly different manner. It's important to point out that demonstrations began in Jordan back in December of 2010 and the demonstrators then calling for economic reforms for an end to corruption.

And whilst the tiny nation is not gripped by the tide of Arab spring, demonstrations have been sporadic here for the last two years, but none of them, Fredricka, have been as severe as what we have been seeing over the last few days.

And now many Jordanians are telling us think eve never been more concerned about the future of their country. As you mentioned, a rare thing to hear in Jordan, the calls for the downfall of the king.

We heard them in the past by the minority, a very small group of people calling for such an extreme measure. They remain in the minority but that voice, that call most certainly is growing louder.

The government for its part says that it had to raise this fuel and gas prices. Just to give you an idea. The cost of one canister of cooking gas went from being just over $9 to $14, but the government's saying it had to do that because of the massive budget deficit.

But people are blaming government corruption and mismanagement of funds and that's why they're so enraged. Because they believe that they're paying the price for the government's mistakes, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right, Arwa Damon, thanks so much in Amman, Jordan.

A warning for those that drink this, the 5-Hour Energy drink is possibly being linked to 13 deaths over the course of four years. Details on where the investigation stands next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: If you're drinking those 5-hour energy drinks, you should know the FDA is now investigating 13 deaths reported as adverse events after drinking the dietary supplements. It is not yet known whether the energy shots caused the deaths. The company has responded to the reports saying it's, quote, "unaware of any deaths caused by the consumption of 5-Hour Energy," end quote.

Astronaut Rich Clifford had been on two missions in to space when he was diagnosed with a degenerative brain disease. In this week's "Human Factor," CNN chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, tells us that didn't stop him from flying again.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For most of us, this view was the closest we'll ever get to outer space. But it's also the view that Astronaut Rich Clifford has had three times, when he blasted into space aboard space shuttle "Discovery" in 1992, on "Endeavour" in 1994 and "Atlantis" in 1996.

As he flew his last shuttle mission on his way to space station, Clifford was carrying a secret. He had recently been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.

RICH CLIFFORD, ASTRONAUT: I didn't really have any symptoms of it other than my right arm didn't swing naturally when I walked.

GUPTA: He just had his annual physical, been given a clean bill of health, but when he told his doctor that his arm was affecting his rocket ball game he was immediately sent to a neurologist.

CLIFFORD: He looked at me for 5 minutes and said you have Parkinson's disease.

GUPTA: His bosses at NASA asked him what he wanted to do.

CLIFFORD: I said I wanted to fly again.

GUPTA: NASA doctors eventually cleared him and nine months later, Clifford was heading back into space aboard "Atlantis." Only the shuttle commander knew.

CLIFFORD: I was certificated to fly and that was good enough for them.

GUPTA: And with that flight came once in a lifetime opportunity, six- hour spacewalk.

CLIFFORD: Definitely fantastic. Doing a spacewalk is a privilege and something every astronaut searches for.

GUPTA: For years the stiffness in his arm was the only symptom then three years ago, the trembling began followed by head bobbing. His neurologist tried to convince Clifford to go publicly with the story many times. Last year, 17 years after being diagnosed, he finally did.

CLIFFORD: I got diagnosed with Parkinson's when I was 42 years old. Got to keep focused on what it is you want to do in life and proceed down that path. Nothing should hold you back.

GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: Be sure to watch "SANJAY GUPTA MD" on Saturdays, 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time and Sunday's 7:30 a.m. Eastern Time.

All right, right now, lawmakers behind closed doors are shown video of inside the Benghazi consulate. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: U.S. lawmakers are getting an inside look at the terror attack on the U.S. Benghazi, Libya. The House and Senate intelligence committees are holding hearings that are not open to the public.

Congressional correspondent Dana Bash is staking out the Senate intelligence committee after spending the morning outside the house hearing. Dana, lawmakers are being shown video of inside the Benghazi compound. What more do we know?

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, at that point, that's about it except for the fact there are high level members of the intelligence community and the State Department behind closed doors. You can see a lot of hubbub here.

This is the Senate side. We have the acting director of the CIA, the director of national intelligence and so on and played according to our Suzanne Kelly, a closed-circuit video of the compound that was attacked in Benghazi, which intelligence officials are hoping to clear the air or clear up why they had their initial reporting that this was a spontaneous demonstration that started the attack, the deadly attack on Benghazi.

We'll wait to hear from the chairman and ranking Republican and speaking publicly in a little more than an hour.

WHITFIELD: And so, Dana, I also understand that some Republicans are asking for a special committee to further investigate, anything new on that?

BASH: Very interesting, nothing new in terms of whether that will actually happen. In fact, looks more and more like it is not going to happen because these Republicans meaning John McCain and others don't have the support of some of their high ranking Republicans like the House speaker.

Never mind the Democrats. But what CNN's Ted Barrett has learned is that John McCain in particular missed a rather important closed door briefing giving information about what happened in Benghazi and what he was doing at the time is having a press conference calling for this select committee complaining about not getting enough information.

And Ted Barrett learned he was not alone. In fact, very few Republicans, most of the Republicans on this, the Homeland Security Committee actually came. Since then, McCain's office told us that that was a scheduling error and why he didn't attend that briefing.

But also, before we got that information, Ted actually bumped in to John McCain in the hallway here and they had a very testy exchange when ted was trying to get information about why he didn't go and McCain said to him that he had no comment.

Ted said, why? I'm quoting here from Senator McCain, "I have the right as a senator to have no comment and who the hell are you to tell me I can or not."

And went on from there and told by the office it was a scheduling error and shows you how testy and intense the feelings are here on this particular issue.

WHITFIELD: Yes, testy a good word and some others including a Democrat of New York who were very critical of Lindsey Graham as well as John McCain saying that there was money that was requested way back when to intensify security at some of the installations.

And they, some Republicans were among those who denied that request and so that Republican saying that they need to be looking in the mirror as to what may have gone wrong in Benghazi.

BASH: Right. I mean, there's certainly a lot of finger pointing going on here and in some ways, look, for somebody like John McCain, for example, he has been on a rampage about this from the beginning because it is personal for him.

He was a good friend of Ambassador Chris Stevens who were killed but also a lot of I think fair to say political baggage that's left over, particularly between John McCain and the president back -- going back to 2008.

WHITFIELD: Dana Bash, thanks so much on the Hill. Appreciate it.

Controversial comments now from Mitt Romney on why he thinks he lost the election. Now other Republicans are criticizing Romney's claims.

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WHITFIELD: We are about two hours of a deadline. Hostess, maker of Twinkies threatens to close the doors for good if striking workers don't return to their jobs today. Details coming up.

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