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Price Under Fire; Essentials Scarce in Puerto Rico; This is Life Explores Intimacy Issues. Aired 8:30-9:00a ET

Aired September 29, 2017 - 08:30   ET


[08:30:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: It doesn't mean that they're not asking for more.

Axe, let me ask you about a different topic.

Tom Price, what's your analysis on what the Health and Human Services secretary did that was wrong, his reaction to it by saying he'll pay for a little bit, and what his ultimate fate is going to be?


CUOMO: Right.

AXELROD: I mean he was flying around at taxpayers' expense. And he, you know, his response is too little and it's probably too late. And I find it particularly egregious when it comes at a time when he's been fighting so hard to cut health care for people, when he's not discharging funds to -- for Affordable Care Act enrollment.

You know, I mean, it is wrong in a million different ways. And I must say, Chris, if this had happened in another administration, the Congress would be even more vigorous and the president would be sending this guy on his way. We'll see what happens.

But this is -- it's an extraordinary story. I mean the scope of this -- of this -- I mean lifestyles of the rich and famous flying that he's doing at a time when the administration is talking about austerity and cutting waste and is waging war on the Affordable Care Act by withholding money. Just -- just a terrible story for him and the administration.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: And the hypocrisy of it, of course, adds another nice layer.

Maggie, why is the president so upset about this one?

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Because this one is something that is very easy for everybody to understand. This just cuts through very clearly. And to be clear, initially, earlier this week, when I spoke to administration officials and asked very plainly, will Price survive, they said, yes, actually, he's weathering this, he's going to come out damaged, but he was already damaged. The president has never really liked him. He was, you know, sort of absent during the health care debate very early on back in the spring.

Then there was this story about -- in Politico about him, you know, going to go see his son with one of these planes, doing all sorts of personal work. That really did begin to impact the president. The president can see us playing these headlines and he realizes it is impacting negatively on him, that he is very, very finally attuned to public perception. And this is just something every voter can understand.

What I still marvel at, though, again, even as the president understands this, number one, my understanding is Price was not told to pay back this money. Number two, he did it in a way that is going to keep this going. He's paying for his seat, which is going to then raise questions about, what are the other -- how are the other seats being paid for? The cost --

CAMEROTA: He took the whole plane.

HABERMAN: Right. Right.

CAMEROTA: He's just going to pay for his seat.

HABERMAN: And -- right, and it was -- and it was done for him. Does this now raise a litmus test for other cabinet secretaries? But this administration has also never failed, when the opportunity comes to just rip the band aid off quickly of a bad news story, they never fail to leave it on and rip it off really, really slowly. And that's what's happening right now.

It is hard to see Price surviving. He could. Certainly Jeff Sessions is still in his job. It's a little bit of a different scenario. But it -- the president is very, very irritated by this. I can't see this lasting a long time. They don't have a ton of candidates who want that job, which might actually save Price for a bit. But this is just dragging on in a drip, drip way that's not helpful to them at all.

CUOMO: It can't be easy to get people to take jobs when you get jettisoned from the place so fast and this idea of loyalty is fading fast.

HABERMAN: Right. Right. Right. Or I think it's not even so much that you get jettisoned so fast, but you get sort of tormented, and then jettisoned. Or you get publically humiliated. Or you see your own brand take some serious nicks. I think that's what's going on.

CAMEROTA: Maggie, David, thank you very much.

AXELROD: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: So we should note that tomorrow be sure to watch a special "Axe Files." David Axelrod is going to speak with James Baker. That's tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. Eastern on CNN.

CUOMO: That's a good one.

All right, so in Puerto Rico, the need is great on every level, food, medicine, gas, water, cash. The banks aren't open. No power for credit card machines. You need cash. We're going to go live on the ground for a closer look at what it is like to survive there, next.


[08:37:56] CUOMO: We have a clash of the realities going on in Puerto Rico. We have the truth of what's happening on the ground and the perception of what people in power want to be seen as success. So we're seeing the president and members of his administration saying this is a good news story, defending efforts in Puerto Rico, saying we're getting it done. We're doing great.

But on the ground, the need is what is great. Take a look for yourself. You've got the destroyed homes. They can't begin repairs. Why? They don't have materials. They don't have a way to get the materials. They don't even have a way to pay for it right now. There are no credit card machines working. Who keeps that kind of cash on hand anymore? What labor is even available? So many of them either can't get to the island or have their own catastrophes to deal with.

How do you have the essentials, gas, water, food? Hours and hours -- literally your day can be spent splitting up the family, you go wait in line for gas for 12 hours, I'll go to the super market for ten hours, somebody else is going to go find water for 10 hours. That's literally life on the ground when you get outside the major city.

CNN's Bill Weir has been there watching this reality, reporting it to us. David Halstead, the former director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, has seen what it takes in bad situations. He understands what's happening in Puerto Rico and what needs to still happen. We have them both.

So, Bill, what we're painting as a portrait, has it changed?

BILL WEIR, CNN ANCHOR: Well, I'll tell you, just as we were coming on, you can start to hear the sweet sound of chainsaws, a sound of recovery now eight -- eight days after the storm. But these are local volunteers who are finally cleaning up this street here in San Juan. That's just the first little, tiny step in the right direction. But it is so desperate everywhere else.

Just for perspective, we covered the Haiti quake in 2010. At the height there, there were 22,000 troops on that island, neighboring island. Right now, what is it, a quarter of that here? So the most progress is being done by the (INAUDIBLE), the locals here, taking things into their own hands.

Let me take you through our journey a little bit. You remember we went to Augua Guanas (ph) where we met Diana (ph) trying to keep that last vile of insulin for her Vietnam veteran husband Miguel. After our report, we did get word that somebody from the VA was able to get them medicine. We're trying to confirm that, but that would be great news if we heard it.

[08:40:15] Up in Utuado (ph), where people are drinking for that stream and where Lydia (ph) is rationing crackers for her grandkids. No word yet on relief supplies there.

In Vieques (ph), that decimated island off the coast of the main island of Puerto Rico, they did get 2,000 pounds of relief supplies yesterday for 10,000 people. They got a little diesel. No word if it's helping getting their water plant generator back up there. So things are really desperate out there. Society may collapse if they don't get massive help from the Navy.

Yesterday, though, again, a sign of hope coming from the private sector. Famous chief Jose Andres (ph) cooking meals in the Santersa (ph) neighborhood, the Bario (ph) here in San Juan, distributing them to cops and doctors and just hungry folks.

And to watch him move with just incredible efficiency is such a steep contrast of those who are tied up in red tape when you see those containers, when you see somebody waiting for authorization so a guardsman can start carrying a gun. It's maddening. It's maddening. So we'll see what happens today.

CUOMO: Dave, we keep hearing about logistics. A lot of stuff got to the island but isn't getting penetration into the areas where it's needed. how much of the logistical nightmare should have been foreseen and how do you deal with it going forward?

DAVID HALSTEAD, FORMER DIRECTOR, FLORIDA DIVISION OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT: Well, quite frankly, Chris, it should have all been foreseen. I give everybody an "A" for effort to getting the material to the docks. But then, what's the coordination between the Puerto Rican government and their drivers? What's the coordination of getting word to the drivers that they were needed and where to report? If that's not being handled, then it's time for the military and/or the private sector to come in.

Listen, if we're bringing planes in, let's start bringing in truck drivers. Let's get this stuff delivered. Let's get it out into the neighborhoods where it's necessary, where it's needed. Then, once there, how are we going to distribute all of that? Again, is the military going to hand it out? Are there going to be volunteers? Again, we don't want to cause civil unrest because a truck pulls into a neighborhood and they haven't seen food and water in nine days.

So, all of this has to be coordinated. From what I've seen so far, it hasn't been between the Puerto Rican government, FEMA, or the military. Someone has to step in and bring those three together and say, here's how we're going to proceed forward. Let's get it done.

CUOMO: And we are seeing on the part of the federal government a move to make this a more military-run operation. So we hope it yields a faster result. We'll stay on it, Dave.

Thank you, Bill. Thank you for what you've been doing all week.


CAMEROTA: OK, Chris, another story. There's been another rock slide at Yosmite after a climber was killed on Wednesday. All that is next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:46:46] CUOMO: We're following the crisis in Puerto Rico. But here's a quick look at some other top stories. Congressman Steve Scalise met with bipartisan applause when he returned to Capitol Hill Thursday. He said he is a living example that, quote, miracles really do happen. We all remember what happened to Scalise. He was shot in June at that congressional baseball team practice.

CAMEROTA: He's looking good there.

At Yosmite National Park, a second rock fall in as many days on the famed El Capitan. It injured one person. The latest slide larger than the one the day before. That one killed a British man and seriously injured his wife.

CUOMO: The Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears stood together, locked arms, in what was called a moment of unity before last night's game at Lambeau Field. The New Orleans Saint say they're going to collectively kneel before the national anthem at their game Sunday in London.

Meantime, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, he says he wants all players to stand during the anthem when their season begins next month.

CAMEROTA: OK. So during the coverage of the recent storms, we have been able to tell you many inspiring stories about people pitching in to help each other. Well this week's CNN Hero found a unique way to do that. Stan Hays is a champion pit master and for the last six years he and his barbecue buddies have responded to disasters the best way they know how.


STAN HAYS, CNN HERO: After a disaster, there's two basic needs that a person has. The first one's shelter and the other one is nourishment. And so barbecue, besides being a nourishing meal, is comfort food. Being able to give somebody a hot barbeque meal in one of their worst times, we not only are giving something nutritious, but we are giving them maybe a little bit of normalcy for just a short period of time.


CUOMO: Sometimes a little bit goes a long way. Stan and his team responded to Harvey and Irma and they're soon hoping to send meals to Puerto Rico. To see Operation Barbecue Relief in action, go to

CAMEROTA: OK, "This is Life with Lisa Ling" will return. And it returns with an intimate look at how couples who have lost their spark are going to get their groove back. Lisa Ling joins us.

The promos are very provocative, Lisa. We'll talk about it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [08:52:35] CAMEROTA: It's a very personal problem that many couples face, how to get the passion back if the fire has faded. This Sunday, CNN's "This is Life with Lisa Ling" returns and the premier episode focuses on couples who need help with sex. Take a look.


LISA LING, CNN HOST, "THIS IS LIFE WITH LISA LING": Rickie (ph) and Jennifer (ph) have a great marriage. They love their child and they're still in love with each other. There's just one thing. Like an estimated 15 to 20 percent of all married couples, the fire has gone out.

JENNIFER: Every three months or so I just have like this freak-out of like can we talk about this? Can we deal with this? All the love is there except for below the waist.


CAMEROTA: Joining us now, Lisa Ling.

You are going there this season.

LING: We do. I mean the whole season is obviously not about sex, but our first episode is about sexual healing. And we follow two women with very different approaches. One is a contra (ph) expert and another is what's called a surrogate partner. And so she has a therapeutic practice where --

CUOMO: Wait, tell me about it. So this surrogate partner, how does that work?


LING: Well, while she will become physical with her clients.

CAMEROTA: Become sexual with her clients?

LING: And you could say that, yes. And she deals with people who have experienced severe sexual trauma. One of the -- one of the young men that we followed has pretty serious cerebral palsy. So he -- his body was quite deformed. And one of the things that she would do with him is they would stand in front of a mirror completely nude and they would talk about the things they like and dislike about their own bodies. And it was a really moving thing to watch. I mean to watch this kid remover all of his clothes. I made me feel so uncomfortable initially. But then what they essentially did was normalize the conversation.

And I think in our culture, you know, we have no problem promoting and publicizing sex, but it's so hard for us to talk about it substantively or have a normalized conversation about it, even though it's the most natural thing.

And these experts will say -- and I think it was a really profound thing that I've been thinking about a lot, if you have any blockage to your sexual energy or any deficiencies in your sex life, you're not intimate with your partner, you may have had sexual abuse or you have body images issues, which I think applies to most of us, it affects every aspect of your life. So this is actually a much bigger topic than you might think. It's not -- it's not -- it's not a simple black and white issue.

[08:55:01] CAMEROTA: I can't wait to see it. It looks really provocative and powerful.

LING: It's really good and powerful. And it's really relatable to everyone, I think.

CAMEROTA: Yes, and you just don't see it that often on TV.

LING: Yes.

CUOMO: All right, that is just one topic, as Lisa said, of what is going to be the new season of "This is Life." It premieres Sunday, 10:00 p.m. on CNN.

And right before that, be sure to check out the new season of "Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown" Sunday night at 9:00 on CNN.

Don't miss both premiere episodes.

CAMEROTA: CNN "NEWSROOM" with Poppy Harlow and John Berman picks up after this very quick break. Have a great weekend.


POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: All right, good morning, everyone. I'm Poppy Harlow.


[09:00:01] This is not a good news story. This is a people are dying story. That from the mayor of San Juan in Puerto Rico just moments ago, directly contradicting the Trump administration, showing the chasm between what is being said and what is being