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THE SITUATION ROOM

Desperation in Haiti; Looting in Haiti; Haiti's Littlest Victims; Dr. Gupta Performs Surgery in Haiti

Aired January 18, 2010 - 19:00   ET

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


BLITZER: All right. Thank you.

And this hour, some of the most disturbing pictures out of Haiti today. A warning, we're about to show you some very graphic pictures that are difficult to watch. We saw several hundred looters break into a supply store in downtown Port-au-Prince. Some were armed men who stole candles to sell on the street.

But at one point it turned bloody, very bloody. Some looters threw concrete blocks and rocks down at the crowd, hitting a boy of about 12 or 13 years old on the head. CNN's Anderson Cooper was right there in the middle of it. He dragged that boy away from the crowd, probably saving his life, before CNN could arrange for medical care though the boy was led away by others.

We don't know what happened to him after that. Wow, Anderson Cooper saving that boy's life. Karl Penhaul was right in the middle of things there as well. Tell our viewers, Karl, what you saw.

KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There were a number of those scenes going on there, because as some looters tried to make their way off with boxes (INAUDIBLE) candles, in some instances soup cubes and even drink. And fights would break out between the people in the crowd. They were all fighting for the scraps. But I must say it could have been a lot worse.

Why is that? Because in the crowd, you could detect quite clearly the presence of what were apparently gang members. A lot of those were armed with sticks, with clubs, and even with iron bars. And in some instances they were throwing up human cordons at the entrances of these warehouses. When some of those boxes landed from the top stories of those damaged warehouses into the crowd, gang members were also on hand to collect the kind of attacks, to collect some money from those people who were looting.

It was almost like they were charging them for permission to loot, so certainly kind of a complex system there. It did look from the outside violent, but I believe could have been much more violent. Then as well, there was a handful of Haitian police, when I say a handful, I'm talking three or four, and on a couple of occasions they did fire warning shots into the air. But again appears to be prepared to do little else to stop the looting.

Now while the crowds did disperse momentarily, they gathered once again. There's a lot of desperation out here on the streets. There's hungry people, but as one also explained to me, these people need to get their hands on something, even if it's something like candles, so they can sell it, and then generate some cash income so they can buy some of the other food that is available on the streets of the capital, Wolf.

BLITZER: Have you seen evidence -- I know you see Haitian police there, what's left of the Haitian police force, but have you seen driving around Port-au-Prince U.S. military personnel, either members of the 82nd Airborne or Marines or others who are actually patrolling the streets?

PENHAUL: I have seen the presence of members of the 82nd Airborne guarding the entranceways to some of the airport facilities, particularly some of the airport facilities where a lot of this aid is being brought into. I haven't seen their presence on patrols around the street, although, of course, there is a very heavy permanent presence of the U.N. stabilization force, the peacekeepers.

We rode around the other day with Argentinean peacekeepers. They have French made armored personnel carriers, which are very heavily armored with heavy machine guns. They themselves are carrying assault rifles and wearing flack jackets. Their role largely is to protect U.N. convoys, particularly those ones who are heading out on food distribution.

The Marines, we understand, may be heading ashore as early as tomorrow in the city of Leonean (ph). That's a place that I went to yesterday, where there's a lot of need every bit as badly damaged as Port-au-Prince. And there hasn't been much international presence there so far. So the Marines I understand will be heading ashore there as early as tomorrow to see what they can do, Wolf.

BLITZER: And are you still seeing lots of bodies as you drive around the city, bodies that have not yet been picked up for burial?

PENHAUL: The bodies that were on the sides of streets, certainly in the capital, seem to have been gathered up. Now, of course, there's no orderly method, either, of counting them or burying them. Some of these bodies have been picked up and dumped in common graves, as we know, in the case where friends and family collect these bodies from the side of the road then they may bury them in any patch of waste ground they can find. But there is still a lot of bodies under the rubble.

It's very clear when you go past some of these buildings, by now the stench of death is very clear and you can tell that. And even today (INAUDIBLE) looting, one city block away from there, I saw at least three corpses which were very badly decomposed in the rubble there. And yesterday when we headed out in the provinces, there you do still see some bodies lying on the side of the road. In one case, I saw what I believe was an entire family of five or six people dumped on the side of the road. And there was a dog there gnawing away at the foot of one of the unburied -- Wolf.

BLITZER: What a story. All right Karl, stand by. We're going to be getting back to you. Right now we're joined on the phone by the former Senate majority leader, Bill Frist. He's a physician. He's on the scene in Haiti right now. Senator Frist, I know you're a heart surgeon. You've done heart and lung transplants. Tell our viewers where you are right now, and what you're doing.

BILL FRIST (R), FORMER SENATE MAJORITY LEADER (via phone): Wolf, I brought a surgical team with Samaritan's Purse, which is a faith- based international relief organization that's been on the ground here for about 30 years. I brought a surgical team in, left yesterday and arrived this morning. And we're about 20 miles north of Port-au- Prince at a hospital called Baptist Haiti (INAUDIBLE).

And we've seen today probably about 200 patients. And I heard the (INAUDIBLE) the tragedy that's going on, and it is truly tragic. But what I've seen all day is really the best of humanity, people coming together, volunteers coming from the United States around the world, working hand in hand with other people, at a very busy hospital, a crowded hospital, working way over capacity.

All sorts of injuries -- most of the injuries we're seeing are crush injuries, fractures, (INAUDIBLE) fractures, bones that do come through the skin, a lot of infections. The sort of things you see six days afterwards, but I'll tell you if there's one message I want to send back to the American people, the (INAUDIBLE) government, the nonprofit sector, the faith-based organizations are really pulling together and I say this having been in an operating room all day.

BLITZER: Do you have the equipment that you need, the medical supplies, the medicine, the...

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: ... medical personnel you need to perform these operations?

FRIST: Wolf, most of the operations are orthopedic operations, very straightforward procedures. But it's a good question, but I have tonight -- there are five hospitals here in the area around Port-au- Prince, I'm visiting the third one tonight doing site visits and I can tell you right now in the hospital called Double Harvest and there's a full surgical team here, actually a team from America (INAUDIBLE) fully staffed.

Over at King's Hospital, I got off the plane, they were in desperate need of manpower, when I got there about oh an hour ago, also fully staffed. And our hospital is way understaffed, but we have another surgical team coming in on Wednesday from the United States. So everybody is operating way above capacity. There's no infrastructure here.

And you have to bring in your own clean water, but people are getting by. And people are pulling together. One of the neat things that groups like Samaritan's Purse do, literally, they develop the whole infrastructure. So the first thing they did was to send in a water filtration system that can produce 10,000 gallons of water a day for the hospital and the community. So it takes a lot of creativity. But, you know, you see patients are getting treated and I've got a lot of hope for what's going on, against big odds, as everybody knows.

BLITZER: Yes, how long are you going to stay, Senator?

FRIST: I don't know. I got a one-way ticket. I came in -- we flew in -- left last night, got in here this morning. And I think most people, if you talk to the doctors and the surgeons and the nurses, I'll say, the nurses are leading the way in our triage efforts, there's a lot of chaos. When we walked in the hospital there was more than 200 patients milling about, bones protruding, sick, wailing.

By the end of the day with the nurses, and setting up systems where you send the sick to one area, sent the ones to surgery who need surgery, treat the medical patients with medicines, they got it in order. And so I say all that to say that every day is getting a little bit better now. And I think here in a few days, most of the patients will have been taken care of. So I'm not sure. It depends on when the need disappears, and then I'll come back.

BLITZER: All right, Dr. Frist -- Senator Bill Frist, he's is in Haiti on the ground. Thanks for what you're doing and thank all of your colleagues as well. I know you're saving lives right now.

We're going to take a quick break, continue the breaking news coverage out of Haiti. We're going to an orphanage where there are a lot of little kids who need help and need it right now.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: As you've been hearing from our correspondents in Haiti, thousands of children in Haitian orphanages have been left in miserable conditions with little food and water. We spoke last week with Mark Stuart of the Hands and Feet Project. We're going back to check with him right now about what it's like. He's joining us via Skype. Mark, you're in Jacmel (ph) outside of Port-au-Prince, is that right?

MARK STUART, HANDS AND FEET PROJECT (via Skype): Yes. We're in Jacmel, just about 30 miles south of Port-au-Prince.

BLITZER: When we spoke last week, you said there were limited supplies. How are you doing with the supplies for the kids at your orphanage?

STUART: Well, I've got good news for you, Wolf. We were able to put the word out and we had a lot of airplanes come in today and mostly twin-engine airplanes. And believe it or not, a lot of private pilots from Texas, California, big Barbara's (ph) going to bail on me here, but we were able to get some supplies in, especially medicine for the local hospital.

It's looking good. We've got a lot of positive stuff happening today. And we've had a U.S. military drop off a lot of food from the World Food Program, so we're very excited about that. And we're really looking up around here. And we've worked really hard today. Us, our mission, our orphanage and another orphanage, kind of organized all (INAUDIBLE). I guess cowboy pilots come in and bring in all the supplies. And it's good to come home. I'm sitting here on the porch here tonight with (INAUDIBLE) his name in Creole means "thank God" and with Barbara (ph). Say hi, guys.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Hi, guys.

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: Adorable kids. How many orphans are at your orphanage, Mark?

STUART: We have 44 children here at our children's village. We don't even like to use the word orphan, because we feel like they're part of our family, but there's 44 children here, Wolf, and they're each different and each beautiful and they're doing really well.

BLITZER: Are these kids, kids that are going to be adopted or in the process of being adopted by folks in the United States?

STUART: You have to be (INAUDIBLE) here in Haiti (INAUDIBLE) adoptable orphanage. My wife and I are trying to adopt a couple of the children here. (INAUDIBLE) and these two are just happy to be here and basically (INAUDIBLE) people, you probably can't see them, but there's 44 brothers and sisters here and they have a ball every night. I can't explain to you how incredibly different it is inside these walls, and how it is outside the walls and how good it is just to be back here with these guys. It brings a lot of hope to us.

BLITZER: Because every time we show pictures of these young kids to our viewers, I'm flooded with e-mail, on Twitter, elsewhere, that so many people just want to adopt them. Is that something that's realistic?

STUART: Yes, they're adoptable. And if you came here to The Hands and Feet Project, it's hard to leave. You want to -- you want to just take them home with you and love on them for a long time, especially in lieu of what happened. You just want to just give them a good house and a good home and that's what wee feel like we've done here. My mom and dad are here and they're really the directors here on site and they've taken care of them.

So we just, you know try to raise support for them back home. And obviously I was visiting when the earthquake happened, Wolf, but I just you know stuck around. Actually, I was abandoned -- no, not abandoned, but just kind of stuck here for a few days. But I'm happy just to stay around and help and try to get things done.

We do have a couple of doctors with us tonight, some anesthesiologists and -- what's his name? Do you remember his name (INAUDIBLE)?

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Dr. Kikari (ph). STUART: Dr. Kikari (ph). They're heading to Port-au-Prince tomorrow. They're staying with us tonight, wanted to introduce their team. He was watching CNN, I think it was CNN, and he saw a young girl getting her leg cut off -- or it was a boy...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Boy.

STUART: A boy getting a leg cut off and he didn't have any anesthesia and him and his team came all the way from Houston or Dallas...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dallas, Texas.

STUART: Dallas, Texas, so this is Dr. Kikari (ph). We just want to say thanks to his team for being here in Port-au-Prince as well or heading to Port-au-Prince tomorrow on...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) helicopter.

BLITZER: Well thank him for all of us. Thank all your doctors, all your friends. You're doing important work. And we'll check back with you over the next few days, Mark, and see how you're doing, if that's OK.

STUART: Perfect, Wolf. Thanks for doing what you guys are doing, too, and we look forward to talking to you again. Bye-bye now.

BLITZER: We'll be speaking again. Thank you very much and give those kids, as you are, a big hug and a kiss from all of us. Adorable kids in Jacmel, that's outside of Port-au-Prince.

In Haiti one famous musician saw what's happening up close. The situation would affect anyone seeing it. Wyclef Jean has described the experience with chilling words.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WYCLEF JEAN, MUSICIAN/PHILANTHROPIST: Cue cards can't explain what I've seen in three days. I basically went to Haiti with my wife, Claudette (ph), my cousin, Jerry Wonder (ph). Jerry had a flip phone camera, so tell Anderson Cooper that he's got some real competition. We went inside of the belly of the beast. I'm not the one that was reporting the news.

I'm the one that was carrying the dead bodies on the street. I'm the one that carried the little girls to the morgue. And then they said the morgue don't have room in here, so we carried bodies to the cemetery. From the cemetery, now, they're fighting over the holes, which bodies are going to go in what hole. My three days in Haiti, for me personally, there's no words to explain it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Getting emotional. Wyclef also addressed a bit of a scandal involving his charity. It's called Yele Haiti. Recently it was alleged he misappropriated funds from the charity for personal benefit. Today he flat out denied the allegation and said the charity's books are open. Experts and nonprofits say they can't find any serious wrongdoing, except for a lapse in discipline in filing his taxes.

Going to check in with Soledad O'Brien now and Sanjay Gupta -- they're doing important work for all of us in Haiti today. Stand by.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: We're going to check in with Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Soledad O'Brien in just a few moments. But Betty Nguyen is monitoring some of the other top stories in THE SITUATION ROOM right now. Betty what's going on?

BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi there Wolf. Well the president's annual State of the Union address will be next Wednesday, January 27th, at 9:00 p.m. Eastern, senior administration officials confirmed the date just a short time ago saying it was decided today. The White House says President Obama's speech to a joint session of Congress will be broadcast live on national television, and streamed on the White House Web site.

The Turkish man who shot Pope John Paul II almost 30 years ago is out of prison. In a statement issued on his release he called himself a messenger of God and predicted the world would end this century. The Pope forgave Mehmet Ali Agca two years after the attack. His motive -- his motive well that's never been clear, as he's often changed his story. He shot the Pope as he rode through St. Peter's Square in an open car. Turkish authorities plan to monitor him because of concerns about his mental health.

While driven from a Pakistani courthouse today five Americans arrested on suspicion of terrorism, claimed that they had been tortured. They had just made the same claims before a special anti- terror court. Pakistani authorities denied the five Muslim men had been mistreated. They've been in custody since December.

And some journalists in China say their Google e-mail was hacked. One of the accounts belong to a reporter from The Associated Press, the claims follow similar attacks against Gmail accounts of human rights activists. Those attacks prompted Google to consider pulling out of China -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Betty, thanks very much. Sanjay Gupta, our chief medical correspondent, is also a neurosurgeon. He was called into action today, performing surgery on a young girl aboard the U.S. aircraft carrier the "Carl Vinson". We'll check in with Sanjay after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Just outside Port-au-Prince, missionaries were playing with children at the Christian Service International Ministries Hope Orphanage. One of them, Rick Hirsh, was rolling video when the building began to shake.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(SOUNDS)

(SHOUTING)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Outside! Go, go, go, go!

(SHOUTING)

(SOUNDS)

(SHOUTING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Hirsh is now back in the United States. He tells us that none of the children we saw in that video was hurt. He says relief donations are being accepted through the Christian Service International Ministries.

We want to bring you our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Sanjay spoke to the former president, Bill Clinton today. He was on the ground in Haiti. We'll get to that shortly. But first, let's hear about the surgery performed earlier in this day aboard the U.S. aircraft carrier the "Carl Vinson".

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SR. MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Aboard the carrier they had a specific patient who required a neurosurgical procedure and you know, they looked throughout the military trying to find a neurosurgeon who could perform this operation and they couldn't. They had been watching our coverage, Wolf, and realized that I was in the country, and got a hold of our rural headquarters desk and somehow eventually got us all together.

And I went to the airport here in Port-au-Prince, and the carrier flew out a helicopter for me. And I boarded that helicopter, went to the carrier ship and performed this operation. It was a 12-year-old girl who had a piece of shrapnel that had gone through her skull and into her brain. And she did need emergency surgery. And I'm gratified (INAUDIBLE) that she's doing very well. Her name's Kimberly, just a delightful 12-year-old girl. And after the operation was performed, I flew back.

BLITZER: I assume there's a huge shortage of neurosurgeons in Haiti right now.

GUPTA: Yes. You know, it was interesting, I had been trying to figure out just are there really any neurosurgical capabilities in Haiti at all. And you know we can't really find any. The "USS Comfort" is going to be coming into this area within about 40 hours, I'm hearing. And so they're basically trying to make sure the neurosurgical capability is on that -- on that carrier as well.

BLITZER: Thank God you were there and thank God -- we hope you saved the life of this little girl. You also as a journalist had a chance to speak to former President Bill Clinton. I'm going to play a little clip, little excerpt of that interview. Listen to this, Sanjay.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GUPTA: Do you have any idea -- have you been told how many people have died?

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have. But I'm like you, I've been told so many different numbers, I'm not sure anybody knows.

GUPTA: Do you think the aid is coming in fast enough?

B. CLINTON: I think the aid is coming in as fast as we can get it in by air and a little bit by sea now. The real -- as you know, the real bottleneck is the distribution system here. And that I think is inevitable, given the level of destruction of the government ministries, and the buildings, and all the things that you know you've seen here, but I think the agreement that has been reached between the U.N. forces, MUNISTA (ph), and the military and the work, the agreement that Hillary signed with President Preval and just the pure, you know getting the hang of it.

I think this system is going to go way up. This earthquake was an equal opportunity destroyer. We've been here long enough, you look at the neighborhoods, you know some of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the country were totally wiped out. And that, as tragic as it is, it means we have a chance to rebuild the country together and pull people together in a way they never have been.

GUPTA: Could Haiti be better than it was before the earthquake as a result of that?

B. CLINTON: It's difficult to say that right now, for the ones whose loved ones who have been killed, but a nation as a whole, they can be built stronger, more just society, a society that has a health care, a society that has more clean energy, and many, many more jobs. A society that ends deforestation. We can do all that now. And I'm going to try.

BLITZER: It sounds from what he's saying to you, Sanjay, is the stuff is arriving, the supplies are coming into the airport and elsewhere. But the distribution is very difficult, getting it out to those who need it most. Is that the biggest problem now?

GUPTA: There's no question about it. A lot more supplies coming into the airport, but figuring out what supplies should go where, and simply getting it from point "a" to point "b" is challenging. As you compare this to a tsunami, for example, other natural disasters, you know, what some of these other natural disasters, you had a lot of people who died initially. But then after that, people pretty much, you know, they need to get food and water and basic supplies. Here you have a huge number of people who obviously died, but you also have a large number of people who are injured, severely injured, but could be saved. And that's the real difference. You have what are called preventable deaths occurring. These deaths don't have to occur. They can be prevented by offering up some of these supplies at the right time in the right areas. And they're still not getting there. We're not talking about even dramatic interventions, we're talking about antibiotics sometimes, we're talking about simple things that could dramatically extend life, Wolf. And it's not happening enough.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: Sanjay doing really, really important work.

And you know what, I know you want to get involved and help out as well. And this is what you can do. Right at the top of the hour, Larry King is hosting a two-hour special "LARRY KING LIVE," Haiti, how you can help. He's invited celebrities from around the world to join in. They're going to be raising money for UNICEF, for the American Red Cross. You're going to want to see this. At the top of the hour, for two hours, an important program. If you want to help these people in Haiti, watch this show. We'll continue our breaking news coverage right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: We're going back to Port-au-Prince in Haiti shortly. Soledad O'Brien has a full report on adoptions. What is happening right now? Lots of orphans, tens of thousands of them, in Haiti right now, many of them are struggling.

But there's another important story we're following, a huge political story with implications for the entire nation. It's playing out in Massachusetts right now. Democrats may be on the verge of losing the sufficient Senate seat long held by the late Senator Ted Kennedy. If they do, they'd also lose their 60th seat filibuster- proof super majority in the Senate, an advantage they were counting on to pass health care reform.

On the eve of the special election, a new poll shows Republican Scott Brown now seven points ahead of Democrat Martha Coakley. Brown took aim at Coakley today when the two of them appeared at an MLK Day breakfast.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARTHA COAKLEY (D), MASS. SENATE CANDIDATE: I'm running for the United States Senate, because Dr. King's work is unfinished. His dream is unrealized. And we know that. But that work continues. And I ask for your vote tomorrow, on Tuesday the 19th. I would be honored to go to Washington, and to work for you and with you, because we all know that as we remember that dream, we need to make sure that we act on it, and that everybody who wants to can follow his own dream in this state and in this country.

SCOTT BROWN (R), MASS. SENATE CANDIDATE: I certainly didn't realize this was a rally for Martha. I thought it was inappropriate that she started, you know, asking for people's votes when we were trying to remember Martin Luther King Jr.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Bringing in our national political correspondent Jessica Yellin. She's on the ground for us in Boston right now.

The president was out there trying to get some enthusiasm among Democrats. That's been a huge problem so far, hasn't it?

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Huge problem, Wolf, because the Democratic candidate here has not caught on among Democratic voters and she's doing worse among undecideds in this state who will likely decide the election.

You know Wolf, often times political reporters are accused of exaggerating the circumstances, being overly dramatic. This is one instance in which we can truly say that a loss for the Democrats would be cataclysmic for the party. And here's why. Not only would it symbolically be devastating, because Ted Kennedy's seat, the liberal lion, would be changing hands to the Republican Party. But as you point out, it would throw health care reform into such uncertainty, some people in Washington believe it would be on life support, and potentially not passed. That would mean the president's last year of working toward health care reform would seem to come for naught on that front. No doubt Democrats would take some serious hits for that on the campaign trail.

I spoke to some voters here in Massachusetts about how important health care is as they're deciding their vote. First you're going to hear from a small businessman, a guy who's been a life-long Democrat but isn't sure who he's going to vote for and one of the reasons is because he feels like they're fed up. They don't need health care reform in this state because they already passed their own. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PETER RINNING, MASSACHUSETTS VOTER: We've already been through it once. You know, the state of Massachusetts already passed the health care law, so that people do have health care in this state. And now we have to go through it again. And so, you know, having Martha Coakley or Scott Brown, you know, could be a vote for or against national. You might be voting for him just to shoot it down.

YELLIN: Right.

RINNING: Because we've already gone through it. We've already done it. We have it. And now we have to start from scratch all over again? That's a little ridiculous.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

YELLIN: And Wolf, now, the next woman you're going to hear from is a Democrat who supports health care reform, but she's still holding her nose voting for Martha Coakley because she just doesn't like the candidate. Here she is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FABIENNE MILHOMME, MASSACHUSETTS VOTER: That's more why I'm leaning toward Martha Coakley. I feel like with Scott Brown, there are certain things that won't get done that we need to get done.

YELLIN: Like health care?

MILHOMME: Like health care. And, you know, like reform and all that. Maybe she'll be able to make those changes that need to be made.

YELLIN: But you don't like her as much as --

MILHOMME: Yeah. Exactly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

YELLIN: So Wolf, as you can see, the Democrats in the state are suffering from a combination of local problems, a troubled campaign, a candidate that hasn't caught fire and national concerns. A lot of voters here are dissatisfied with the state of the nation. And even the Obama agenda at this point. Wolf?

BLITZER: All right. Thanks very much.

The polls close tomorrow night, Tuesday night at 8:00 p.m. eastern. We'll have extensive coverage tomorrow night on this important race.

Let's bring in our senior political analyst Gloria Borger right now.

If she loses, Martha Coakley, is this a referendum on President Obama?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: The White House will, of course, say it's not. But when you look at the issues Jessica was just talking about, look at the issue of health care reform, which is the number one issue on the president's agenda, unemployment still remains, people feel like Wall Street has been bailed out. But they haven't been bailed out. So all of this taken together shows you that those independent voters in the state of Massachusetts, and about 20 percent of Democratic voters, according to some polls, are saying, you know what, we don't like the way things are going in Washington and this is referendum, anti-incumbent referendum, essentially, if she does lose.

BLITZER: If the Democrats can't hold on to Teddy Kennedy's seat in Massachusetts, it says something about what's happened a year after President Obama took office.

BORGER: I think folks are kind of stunned by this, particularly in this state. But if you look at the voters in this state, more than half are self-identified as independent voters. 37 percent say they're Democrats. But only 11 percent, Wolf, say that they are Republicans. So what has happened here, you see a disaffected voter saying essentially, we're not going to rubber stamp Washington. And I think it's heartbreaking for lots of Democrats to see a seat that Ted Kennedy held for 46 years, perhaps go to a Republican. Ironically, they put in a Democratic senator, because they wanted to get health care passed first, and now health care is still waiting out there, waiting for that 60th vote.

BLITZER: We'll see what happens tomorrow in Massachusetts. We'll be watching very closely.

BORGER: And the white house will be watching, because as Jessica said, it's impossible to overstate this, health care reform does hang in the balance.

BLITZER: A lot of officials at the white house already think she's going to lose.

Soledad O'Brien has a report on what's going on with orphans in Haiti right now. Information you need to know. Remember, "LARRY KING LIVE," a special coming up at the top of the hour, a two-hour special on how you can help. He's got a lot of celebrities helping him raise money. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: In Haiti, U.S. medical evacuation, or medevac missions are swooping into Port-au-Prince, are saving lives right now. Brian Todd was on one of those missions.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the Vincent is now launching several dozen flights a day from this deck and they're not just ferrying supplies. Medivac missions are a crucial component to this operation. And we went with one helicopter crew to get an inside look. At first light, we're off the deck, speeding toward Port-au- Prince with a crew of what's normally a submarine tracking and sea rescue chopper. But there are no normal missions in Haiti right now. Not long after we touched down, the order comes. Tell us what you're doing here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got an urgent medivac from the embassy, we're not sure of the injuries or the casualties. We don't know where to take them now. We're waiting for the medivac come in.

TODD: Then a pickup emerges from near the U.S. embassy compound, an elderly woman is rushed to the helicopter on a stretcher. Right behind her, another woman's ambulatory but has a badly inured left arm. Lifting off, the flight doctor takes vital signs. These women are out of danger for now, but have to be treated somewhere nearby. They're in luck. They're taking the victims right off the helicopter and over here to this small medical station right on the tarmac here at Port-au-Prince airport. Some of the victims in here have very some severe trauma. The doctors say they can treat most of it and they're not overwhelmed yet.

Inside, you see how that can change very quickly. Doctors and nurses have to move fast to treat and stabilize. Pierre was buried in rubble for at least three days. He's in much better shape than he looks.

The doctor says he's going to walk out of here and he's going to be fine. They feel like he really escaped something here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He says god has protected me and he said I haven't died yet; I'm still living, so all is going to be well.

TODD: A woman a few feet away isn't as fortunate. The lead doctor here says it took 20 hours to dig her out of rubble and that four different hospitals couldn't accept her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, she had a significant crush injury of her left lower leg and it was a dead leg. And, you know, medically if you leave a dead leg on, it's going to kill her eventually. So we had to amputate it.

TODD: A short time later, we went back to check on some of those patients. That woman was just waking up and didn't know where she was there. The doctors were just breaking the news to her that she had lost her leg.

Brian Todd, CNN, aboard the USS Vincent off the coast of Haiti.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: We're about 12 or 13 minutes away from the top of the hour. Larry King has a special "LARRY KING LIVE." He's joining us now with a little preview.

Larry, hopefully you and your celebrity friends, you're going to raise a lot of money in the next two hours.

LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: We are sure going to try, Wolf. We've got a lot of great people here. We've got twitter desks. We've got phone desks. We've got celebrities manning the phones. You'll be seeing people very familiar to you. Mick Jagger's going to be with you us, Colin Powell, Kobe Bryant, and a whole bunch of others to help raise money for the beleaguered people of Haiti. We all know what this tragedy is, and we think for the next couple of hours, hopefully, Wolf, we can help in some measure through UNICEF and the American Red Cross to help these people in Haiti as we said. So that's two hours coming up at the top of the hour. "LARRY KING LIVE" special. Wolf, I know you'll be watching. I hope all your viewers will, too. You're helping the most worthiest of causes.

BLITZER: I don't want them only to just watch. As much as them to watch, I want them to give some money. Because these two groups, UNICEF and the American Red Cross are about as important as any that can save lives right now. Have you seen the pictures of those little kids who are struggling just to live in Haiti right now, Larry?

KING: Remember John F. Kennedy, Wolf, said, life isn't fair. Well, it sure isn't fair to Haiti. And if we can somehow relieve some of that burden, you'll sleep well tonight.

BLITZER: Yeah. I think those who give money will. Even if it's a little bit, they have to make some contribution. And Larry's going to help them, show them how to do it. Larry, we'll see you in a few minutes. KING: Thanks, Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. Soledad O'Brien is in Haiti right now. She's with some of those little kids, those orphans. She has a compelling report to share with all of us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Our special correspondent Soledad O'Brien has been touring orphanages in Haiti getting a firsthand look at children and babies in desperate, desperate need. I spoke with her just a little while ago and asked her to describe what she's seeing.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: It's absolutely terrible. What you see are literally hundreds of children. One of the orphanages we went to had 200 babies and serious problems because they're lacking all the basic supplies, any kind of medical supplies. Sometimes they give the babies formula and when they run out of formula they give them milk. That causes diarrhea. Diarrhea then means these babies get dehydrated. We saw a little girl 14 months old but absolutely tiny, couldn't of weighed 15 pounds, and she was so severely dehydrated that her skin was almost like paper. They were trying and trying and trying to see if they could get an I.V. into her because of course you couldn't really find her veins. We were pinning her down, you know sort of what I've done with my own kids at a doctor's office but in this case we were told that there was only a couple of hours before this child would not make it if she didn't get the I.V. It was very, very scary.

When you see the orphanage there has 200 children. Another one we went to has 133 children. They want two things, supplies which for the most part are being driven in occasionally by catholic groups that they have a chance to find the particular orphanage. They also were trying to get evacuations. Many of these kids have connections or American parents in the process of some kind of adoption process, and they'd like to evacuate the kids, get them out because many won't survive this. They'll survive the earthquake but they will not survive the lack of supplies. Wolf?

BLITZER: What's the main problem why your vantage point, Soledad, getting these supplies to these orphans?

O'BRIEN: First of all, there's no real infrastructure to set it up. What you have what we saw today at one of the orphanages a woman put out an e-mail request, a friend of a friend said I'm in Haiti doing some other work. He went to the Dominican Republic, filled up his car and brought back supplies and has been able it to extend the orphanage's ability to stay open basically for two more days. All of that buys two more days for 133 children. That's not organized infrastructure. That's a band-aid consistently placed on children who are very, very vulnerable.

Also some of these orphanages have had robbers. The guy who runs the orphanage we went to today, he said people come across our walls with guns and say, give us your supplies. They think we're getting things. We have nothing. We have absolutely nothing, but twice they've been robbed but there was nothing to take. So they're also worried about their security. They're running out of diesel fuel. They can't run the lights. Without the lights they're more afraid of the robbers. It's a vicious cycle. If they can't get formula then the kids get sicker, and there's really no infrastructure in place yet that's making it an organized fashion that these young children are getting the supplies they need.

BLITZER: Does it look like it's getting at all better? I speak to you as a reporter and a journalist, Soledad, but you're a mom with four kids yourself. Does it look like it's getting better?

O'BRIEN: It's terrible. There was a little boy at one of the orphanages today, he was 10 years old and he spoke English perfectly. He said to me will you read my bible to me. I opened up the page and it said my god, my god why have you forsaken me and I just lost it. It felt just like that. Who is helping these children? I don't know that it's getting better. I really don't.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: Soledad O'Brien watching this part of the story for you, an emotional, heart-wrenching part of the story.

We're only five minutes away from Larry King's special two-hour telethon to help the people of Haiti. We'll continue our coverage after this. We have new video of a rescue that has just occurred.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: We're going to go right to CNN's Chris Lawrence. He's in Port-au-prince. He's got new information.

New video of a dramatic rescue. What happened?

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, we were just driving down the street, we were coming back from covering one story, and all of the sudden a paramedic just runs out in front of the truck. He's like stop, stop and he says he has a girl who needs to be transported to the hospital. They don't have a spare truck because they're still searching for more victims. They pulled this had college student out of the rubble after six days. She had had no food, no water, and basically the paramedic was like we need to use your truck. So he took the stretcher, he loaded her into the back of our truck, and basically our driver became an ambulance driver. Her sister and brother climbed in the back.

We watched the whole way as he's just flying through the streets balancing getting her there quickly with not rocking. We're in a flatbed truck. It's not designed to transport, you know, very ill patients. So we're watching the paramedics got the IV bag and he's checking her pulse the whole time stroking her face. Her sister is worried sick. It turns out she was buried at her college when the earthquake hit. She told us later she could smell the dead people around here. She said she was conscious, and she said I'm Catholic, I prayed every day. I never, ever gave up hope. I thought I would be rescued, and it was a phenomenal story. As we drove her to the hospital and they unloaded her, the doctors said they could not believe this girl survived for so long with no food and no water.

BLITZER: This is so inspiring, Chris. You've been seeing it, our colleagues have been seeing it now for several days, similar stories.

LAWRENCE: Yeah. It's amazing. I just couldn't believe she was talking to us. I mean, she had cuts everywhere. She could not move her legs were so weak because she said she was pressed up, Wolf, in the same position. She could jiggle a little bit, but she pretty much could not move for six straight days, and they said her legs were folded back on her, which was extremely painful. She's okay. She's going to live.

BLITZER: Chris, thank you very much, and thanks to all of our colleagues as well.

Remember, we'll be back here in THE SITUATION ROOM tomorrow. Our new start time is 5:00 p.m. eastern.

Coming up right now, a very special LARRY KING LIVE.