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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
BP Close to Solution For Oil Leak?; NAACP Targets Tea Party
Aired July 14, 2010 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news tonight: a high- pressure, high-stakes underwater operation that could -- could change everything for people here in the Gulf. We're talking about the work going on right now right there on your screen, engineers preparing to shut the valves on that new cap on top of BP's leaking well -- in so many words, testing the plumbing in the cap and, crucially, in the thousands of feet of pipe below ground, the well casing.
If it holds, they will shut down the well. If it leaks, they will send oil to ships on the surface. But, if it -- if it doesn't work, there could be an underwater volcano of oil, with almost no way of stopping it. Everyone wants this operation to work.
But yet again, I'm sorry to report that BP isn't being as open and transparent as they promised to be. And, tonight, as always, we're "Keeping Them Honest."
Yesterday afternoon, around 4:30 p.m., the government ordered a 24-hour delay in this operation. BP didn't put out a statement about the delay until just before 10:00 p.m. The most crucial do-or-die moment so far, and radio silence from BP. It hasn't been the first time.
And, look, maybe it's a minor point, but it's happened before at critical moments. When BP decided to end an earlier attempt to stop the leak -- Remember the so-called top kill? -- 16 hours went by before BP told the public. Even Thad Allen was unaware of it for more than about 12 hours.
And when it comes to vital information about whether the well can take the pressure tonight, according to some members of Congress, BP still is not coming clean.
This is a letter to BP from Massachusetts congressman Ed Markey. In it, he asks for just that information. Can the drill casing take it? Are there cracks on the seafloor? He sent the letter June 23. He's heard nothing since from BP about these issues.
And these are critical issues happening tonight.
When asked about announcing last night's delay, CEO Doug Suttles said it was simply a matter of sending the information down through the organization and promised to do better next time. Fine. Everyone makes mistakes.
But BP keeps promising more transparency and then not living up to it. For months, we have suggested on this program that BP narrate in real time what is happening on the video that you're seeing during major operations. There's no reason we or you should have to wait 16 hours or even six hours for information to trickle out.
When a space shuttle launches, a guy with the microphone explain what is going on in real time. Why can't someone do that on nights like tonight, when the future of the Gulf is hanging in the balance?
Two weeks ago, it sounded like BP had heard our calls. Listen to what managing director Bob Dudley said two weeks ago on YouTube.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT DUDLEY, PRESIDENT AND CEO, BP GULF COAST RESTORATION ORGANIZATION: We have had a camera there looking at the oil spill that's coming out of the well from the very beginning. They're done with -- there's about 14 robots down there.
And, sometimes, they move off and other ones are in place. There's maintenance the needs to be done. And we have had well operations where I'm sure some very strange things are happening on the screen, and people can't follow it.
And we talked about that. So, in the coming weeks, as we do additional things around that wellhead and change the flow, we are going to try to put in there sort of a bubbled caption of what people are seeing, how they see it. We're -- we're even talking about one of our engineers maybe having a verbal way of sort of saying, here's what's happening now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, that's exactly what we have been calling for, for two months. That was two weeks ago. Sounds like a great idea, but it still hasn't happened. What are they waiting for? Why do they treat the American public like a nuisance?
We all deserve to see what going on and to know exactly what we're seeing, to know what is happening. We're going to talk to James Carville and Billy Nungesser in a moment.
But, first, trying to help us understand what's happening tonight, since BP isn't doing it in real time, Chad Myers joins us now.
Chad, what do we know about what's going on right now?
CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: We know that this -- the oil that you see coming out of that picture right now is not coming out of the top of the new cap. That oil that is coming out there is coming out from a different valve, a different hole in the top of the cap.
It's still the cap, but they have now shut off with a valve the main flow. Now, that may seem irrelevant, but it's not irrelevant, because now, with this new plume of oil, which looks like smoke, you can now turn the valves slowly enough to bring up the pressure to the blowout preventer, which is below it, and also, of course, that stack that goes all the way down in the drill hole that goes all the way down to the bottom of the ocean, and then another 12,000 to 14,000 feet below that.
As they bring up the pressure, if the pressure stays high, Anderson, that means there's no blowout anyplace else, there's no rupture anyplace else. If, all of a sudden, at 4,000 or 5,000 PSI, the pressure numbers start to go down, that's bad. Something is broken somewhere.
COOPER: PSI is pounds per square inch?
MYERS: Pounds per square inch.
When that little gauge -- when that gauge begins to go up, they want it to stay up. They want it to stay at 5,000, 6,000, 7,000, 8,000. As they continue to turn these valves closed, closed, closed, the pressure will go up, up, up.
If that gauge goes from 7,000 to 3,000, something broke somewhere. And that's when they say, this is over, hook the hoses back up. We're going to suck all this oil back out. Something is broken.
Don't want that, obviously. They want it to get to a point, 7,000, 8,000 PSI, pounds per square inch, pressure that you and I couldn't even imagine our ourselves -- it would kill you -- and that would eventually keep -- if it would stay there long enough, then we would know that everything is good.
All of the integral parts of the blowout preventer, of the casing, the well that goes all the way down to the bottom, they're all good, the integrity is perfect. And that's what we need to see to know that this is going to happen.
Let me get to an animation on my graphic, because it's a three- dimensional animation, and it's amazing. The old smoke, the old oil that was going up now, still going up, it has stopped. This cap that was on top of the blowout preventer for so many weeks is gone. It wasn't working all that well anyway. Oil was still going around.
This top of the blowout preventer, right up here, they cut it off. Remember, it wasn't even very straight. It was -- kind of been cut off because the ROVs were there. They cut it off and it didn't work very well.
Well, now it's gone and they brought a brand-new top to this blowout preventer that is a good seal. A good seal on the blowout preventer, a good seal to this new cap where the valves are, now, that -- that oil is still coming out here, but it's not coming out of the very top, where it was coming out for so very long.
As they close these valves, they're closing the valves here, there will be no more oil coming out, no more oil going to the ships. The Q4000, the Helix Producer, done. They're not working anymore. They're not pumping any more oil out of here. That has stopped to try to get the pressures up.
And, as the pressure comes up, we will know that, if this thing maintains its integrity, all this oil will stay in the well -- 8,000 feet down, 10,000 feet down, 12,000 feet down, that bore pipe that gets skinnier and skinnier, smaller and smaller, more fragile as it goes down. If that holds together, this well is capped.
COOPER: Do we know a timeline on -- on when we will know what we know? I mean, at what point do -- I have heard 48 hours. I have heard less. What do you know?
MYERS: They will, every six hours, begin to close a new valve, therefore bringing up the pressure inside.
If you have all the holes open, like a perforated pipe, OK, if there's just a bunch of holes in it., there's no pressure inside, really. They're going to start to plug every hole. There are, we believe, five to six holes, valves, that they have to slowly screw down to close out.
As they close the valves, the pressure goes up. But they're only going to do this in six-hour intervals. They will close a valve and wait, close another, and wait, close a third, and wait.
MYERS: Finally, they get to the top. It's called the choke. And the choke on the top of the new cap will be the last thing they close. If they get to it -- let's hope they do -- pressures will be way up by then -- when they close the top choke, that will be the final one that will keep this completely closed.
MYERS: There will be no more oil coming out of this well. That will take 48 hours...
COOPER: Chad Myers.
I appreciate the explanation, Chad. I think I actually understand it.
COOPER: We're going to follow any breaking developments throughout this hour.
Joining me now, the president of Plaquemines Parish, Billy Nungesser, Democratic strategist and New Orleans resident James Carville.
I mean, I don't want to keep pointing out on BP, but this is just a prime example of, it would be so easy for them to get the entire world on their side if they simply had a guy narrating what was going on now, because it's an incredible technological feat they're trying to do.
JAMES CARVILLE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right.
COOPER: People would join them and be rooting for them, as opposed to viewing them as, why are they not saying anything?
CARVILLE: I completely agree. But the other thing is, why doesn't the United States government make them?
I mean, you know, they are sitting there with potential criminal charges. God knows what their civil fines are or anything else. And why are we fooling with these people? We have been invaded by them.
If they were, like, prisoners of war or something -- simple. Turn the information over. Do this. You have come and polluted -- you've invaded the whole Southern United States, the whole -- you know, you have polluted the entire northern Gulf of Mexico. Get with the program.
I don't understand why -- what's delay here, junior? Get moving. Get moving.
COOPER: How are things moving out there?
BILLY NUNGESSER, PRESIDENT, PLAQUEMINES PARISH, LOUISIANA: Well, I will tell you, since James Lee Witt has come aboard...
COOPER: James Lee Witt, who was head of FEMA under former President Clinton.
COOPER: Met with him over a week ago. And we have seen a lot of things happen.
The quarters barges are out there. There's more sense of urgency, something we talked about for a long time. We have developed a new skimmer that can be used. A local company (INAUDIBLE) company built this thing.
We have tested it. It floats next to the fishing vessels. So, now the -- the vessels of opportunity, which today they just put a new program they will announce tomorrow to rotate all the fishing vessels...
COOPER: Wait. So, this is good news for those who have been sitting around waiting...
COOPER: ... who took those training classes. A lot of fishermen took training classes for -- to be part of this vessels of opportunity...
NUNGESSER: The commercial fishermen will be rotated out so they all go to work.
And we have been working all week them on it. And, today, a plan was accepted that will rotate them out. We hope to add these new skimmers to the fleet. They can go out. They have the passion to pick up the oil and they have the passion to get the job done. And some of these crews that hadn't been doing such a good job can go back home to their families.
So, we're really excited with the progress we have made. We're not there yet, but we see a lot of progress.
COOPER: The other concern about tonight, of course, is that they have -- they have stopped drilling the relief wells while this operation is going on. And, obviously, those relief wells are the ultimate hope for finally sealing this thing.
CARVILLE: And I'm sure there's a technological reason that they stopped to get this thing, and see it working, they will continue.
It looks like this thing is, if it's not over now, I mean, if this is the beginning of the end, or what Churchill had said about (INAUDIBLE) but the thing that people are scared of down here and everybody is saying is, you know, when they cap this well, please don't think this thing is over. This is the real, real fear that we have.
CARVILLE: And I think, Billy, your people have that same fear.
NUNGESSER: Oh, absolutely.
You know, today, the berms, well, maybe we don't need to finish them. You know, we're fighting this oil every day in the marshes. The only way we're going to control our way of life and get our way of life back is if we have those berms out there, we have barges in the pass, and we can keep that oil at bay.
I flew out to the well site. There was oil for a mile -- for an hour, oil all the way out there, and the oil below the surface.
COOPER: So, even if this thing shuts off right now, there's still 80-plus days of oil still to come.
NUNGESSER: I think there's a couple years. It's not going to, all of a sudden, say, OK, let's go ashore and get this thing over with.
We have seen it drift north and south, east and west. It could be out there for years.
COOPER: We have got to take a quick break.
I want to talk to you more about this berm project, because now there's a number of scientists saying, look, this thing isn't working. There are some photos out on the Web that we're going to show people. We will talk about that when we come back. Are the berms washing away, as some folks are saying? Are they still a good idea? A lot of people are divided on it. We will -- we will talk about that.
Let us know what you think. The live chat is under way right now at AC360.com.
Also, later tonight, "Raw Politics": the NAACP alleging racism among some in the Tea Party movement. We will ask a Tea Party organizer how he answers those charges. And we will hear as well from our Roland Martin -- and more from Haiti later on tonight as well.
COOPER: You're looking there at underwater operations now underway on BP's leaking well.
Our breaking news, engineers tonight are preparing to carefully close the valves inside the cap stack they attached on Monday. They're watching the pressure gauge, hoping that it holds.
We're back with James Carville, Billy Nungesser, talking now about a way of stopping the oil from getting into sensitive waters and marshes.
Those berms we have been showing you, a lot of marine experts now, some of them saying , it's a waste of time. Others say they're simply common sense. State and local officials wanted to build them. The federal government initially disagreed, but finally let construction begin on a certain number of them.
Now, take a look at some images taken June 25, a berm protecting the Chandeleur Islands. Eleven days later, here's what it looked like, heavy seas washing some of it away. Oceanographers say they aren't surprised.
Louisiana Governor Jindal, who is taking a helicopter tour of the berms tomorrow, says they are working.
Billy Nungesser has been a strong supporter of these.
You know, these pictures now seem to show a lot of the berms kind of just washed away.
NUNGESSER: Well, that was built to pump in the middle of. It washed the front wall away.
When these berms are finished, six feet, with the right slope, they will withstand a storm of that caliber. And, you know, they're there to stop the oil. We plan on armoring them and so they don't wash away and we can get some growth out there.
But we were hit as we were building that berm by a storm, had to remove the dredge, bring it back behind the island. So, it's not a fair judgment. You know, it's just like they're looking for us to slip up. They also permitted...
COOPER: Well, criticism -- one of the criticisms is that, you know, politicians want to be seen as doing something, and so you and the governor are pushing a project which, you know, BP is going to pay for, but, long-term, won't really have...
NUNGESSER: Well, first off, this thing is -- we have been planning this for three-and-a-half years. It's part of our coastal plan.
We trimmed it back from a large island, which would take several years to permit. But we made it, modified it to something we thought that would give us a fighting chance against the oil. A medium-sized storm -- would break down storm surge, keep the oil from getting in the marsh.
You know, our coastal plan calls -- calls for a lot larger island out there with a lot of growth. It's part of our plan. We have got Dr. Suhayda, a well-known scientist from LSU, has been working on this for three-and-a-half years.
This is not something we drew up on a napkin and threw it out there. We have been working on this for a long time. And these critics offer no solution, no way of stopping the oil, but they just keep throwing rocks at the plan. And that's unfair.
COOPER: Some of them are saying that it may actually do more damage to the marshes, and it's better to have some marsh left than have some -- you know, it's better to have some marsh left than marsh with...
NUNGESSER: The islands that it protects right behind it, if we have a major storm or a minor storm, they will be gone.
The people -- I have been out there every year for the last 10 years. Every year, we lose islands, and these -- these pelicans move further inland. That's why they're in the Barataria Bay.
COOPER: Well, I have seen those -- those satellite images of the Chandeleur Islands. They have basically been just disappearing over the last 10 years.
NUNGESSER: All we're putting back is what was there. So, what harm is that?
You know, that's why we can't do coastal restoration. It takes 40 years to get a project because of all the naysayers. When we're Baton Rouge having the Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo because they won't let us build anything back, that's a problem. And that's where we're headed if we let these people run the show. COOPER: We're going to have -- I know the governor is going out there tomorrow. We are going to send a crew out there. We will take a look. We will talk more about this tomorrow night.
COOPER: James, what do you make of -- I mean, what else do you want people to know about what's going on right now? I mean, there's this now kind of new moratorium that's going to be in place. Obviously, that's a huge concern.
COOPER: But now it sounds like folk on the presidential commission, the leaders of it, may be kind of backtracking, saying it may not take six months.
Look, people here have been so let down. The levees, the federal government let us down. The MMS colossally let everybody down. It was supposed to protect us. Now the government comes in, after they let us down with MMS, failed to regulate these clowns. Then they come in and say just blanket stop everything out there.
And they're killing the economy here. And the people -- Mr. Riley is a distinguished man. Senator Graham is one of the finest people I know. And people are coming in and testifying and they're going, oh, my God, look at what's happening here.
And the people at the Interior Department that issue these things don't have the foggiest idea about life here. They don't have the foggiest idea about what's going on.
And thank God that commission came down here and held a hearing and listened to people and did this. And they got -- and they have got to do something about this, because the federal government is about to kill us. It's just about to kill us with their levees and with their regulatory...
COOPER: But, look, they -- but they will say, look, we have had this huge disaster here.
COOPER: Isn't it understandable, natural, that we would want to review all safety procedures, review this? And if it takes six months, it takes...
CARVILLE: It doesn't take that long. Put -- they can put a regulator on the rig that has authority. There's 1,000 things you can do. They could drill and not penetrate... (CROSSTALK)
COOPER: There's -- there's only 33 rig they're talking about here.
NUNGESSER: We presented a 66-man plan, 33 on. They stay out there 24/7 for seven days.
NUNGESSER: They come in, 33 go out. And they will swear they will pull it off.
I talked to the environmental groups. They like the idea, because they're watching to make sure they're not polluting the waters.
CARVILLE: People have said, let them drill and just don't penetrate the reservoir until you know.
CARVILLE: I mean, as we know from these relief wells, it takes a while to get -- to get through this. But they got to do something. They're killing people down here.
NUNGESSER: The rigs that leave aren't coming back. They get under contract in Brazil or Africa, they're staying over there. We lose that ability, that oil for this country. And those jobs will be gone forever.
COOPER: We're going to have a lot more on this tomorrow.
Billy Nungesser, appreciate it, as always.
James Carville, as well, thanks.
A quick program note for tomorrow: a 360 exclusive. For the first time, you're going to hear from three first-responders. These guys were fisherman out on a fishing trip. They were one of the first boats to get to the Deepwater Horizon after it blew, actually, the second boat there. The other boat was already in the area.
On the day of the explosion, three longtime fishing buddies were in their boat when they heard the mayday call. They described that moment to me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: You heard a mayday call? (CROSSTALK)
BRADLEY SHIVERS, FISHERMAN: Oh, yes, sir.
SHIVERS: We were starting to hear the mayday calls from the Deepwater Horizon.
MARK MEAD, FISHERMAN: It went from the fireball -- and it seemed like forever, but it was seconds -- fireball, mayday. They -- the sound...
SCOTT RUSSELL, FISHERMAN: A sonic boom. I mean, when it boomed, it was a sonic boom.
MEAD: It hit your chest.
RUSSELL: Yes. It was not like -- it's very hard to explain. It was almost like a...
MEAD: It was muffled, but you could feel it.
RUSSELL: It was like a plane flying real low really fast. I mean, It shook the boat. I mean, we knew it was bad. You know, so...
COOPER: What did the mayday call say? What did it say?
SHIVERS: It said -- we heard -- we heard, this is Deepwater Horizon, Deepwater Horizon, mayday, mayday. We're abandoning rig. We're abandoning rig.
COOPER: When you heard they were abandoning the rig, what did you think?
SHIVERS: Oh, my God.
RUSSELL: Get there and go help. I mean, go.
RUSSELL: I mean, that's what I thought.
SHIVERS: We started driving that way in the boat. I started -- I started going.
And like Mark was saying, at that point, they started securing everything in the boat, getting the life jackets out, that, and, you know, I was like hey, guys, you know, we have got to go do this. And they were like, absolutely. You know, we have to go see what's -- what's going on here and go lend a hand to do whatever we can -- whatever we can at that point. And it's 18 miles away. You're 10:30 at -- 10:00 at night. It's pitch-black dark.
COOPER: So, you guys go full-bore toward it. What do you -- what do you see when you get there?
RUSSELL: Fire. I mean, it's the biggest -- I mean, just my perspective of it, coming up on it, you know, I remember Bradley is driving. I was over there trying to help him a little bit with a radio. I was -- you know, he was up on the bow, whatever. We were all doing different things.
But, I mean, the rig has exploded. I mean, it's like an inferno.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, what they saw and did when they arrived at the doomed rig they say it has changed them forever. We will bring you the interview tomorrow on 360.
More from here, more on our breaking news shortly.
Later: the dogs and cats who are caught in the middle of this disaster. You might have not have heard about this, families who can no longer afford to keep their own dogs and cats and where they are now and how you can help.
Next, though, some rough stuff: accusations the Tea Party tolerates racism. Here, Sarah Palin is answering that charge. We're also joined by a Tea Party organizer Mark Williams and CNN's Roland Martin.
COOPER: In "Raw Politics" tonight: the NAACP accusing Tea Party activists in some cases of being too tolerant of racist views.
In a resolution passed by the organization, the NAACP says it takes issue with -- quote -- "the Tea Party's continued tolerance for bigotry and bigoted statements."
In response, Sarah Palin defended Tea Party followers, calling the charges false and appalling. And, in a statement, Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele said accusations that the Tea Party movement is racist are -- quote -- "not only destructive. They are not true."
It is certainly a heated battle that's not going away. Take a look at a billboard. It was reportedly paid for by the North Iowa Tea Party. And, as you will -- you can see, it shows President Obama being compared to Hitler and Lenin. The poster went up last week.
Today, we learned it was covered over. The NAACP isn't backing away from blasting Tea Party members as being tolerant of racist views, an explosive topic -- topic that my next two guests, I'm sure, will have plenty to say about.
Joining me now are CNN political analyst Roland Martin, and Mark Williams, organizer of the Tea Party Express.
Both of you, thanks for being with us.
MARK WILLIAMS, ORGANIZER, TEA PARTY EXPRESS: Glad to be here.
COOPER: Mark, this isn't the first time we have talked about this -- this issue. I want to play you what you said on this program last year. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: I'm supposed -- I'm supposed to find one guy in a crowd of 10,000 and say, hey, take that sign down?
ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I'll tell you what, Mark.
WILLIAMS: What does that make me? That makes me no better than the -- than the onerous, odiferous philosophies we're trying to fight.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That was -- that was last year, basically saying -- you know, when Roland said, well, you know, people hold these signs, you should condemn them, you essentially said, you know, it's -- it -- it would make you as bad as the people they are protesting against.
Do you stand by that? And what do you think of what the NAACP is saying?
WILLIAMS: Well, obviously, the NAACP, Ben Jealous, is doing whatever he can to make that organization again relevant, a century- old organization. And he thought that jumping on the Tea Party bandwagon would help out.
No, the -- the racists who are invited by the mainstream media to our events, just like all the other fringe groups who show up to -- see, the reason why they show up is real simple. The camera, the unblinking eye, we attract a lot of them. We're like a ball game.
We have got people who believe in UFOs. We have got people who believe 9/11 was a conspiracy. They all show up to try to get on TV. But when the racists show up, they find out quickly that they're in the middle of a group of people agitating for civil rights and for adherence to the United States Constitution and its promise of equality for all. They leave.
Now, the NAACP, unfortunately, could be doing -- rather than fanning this kind of fear-mongering, could be doing so much good. There are so many problems.
MARTIN: Well, actually, they are.
WILLIAMS: Well, no, they could be in the communities doing something about drugs, about crime...
MARTIN: They are.
WILLIAMS: ... about -- about the breakup of black families...
MARTIN: They are.
WILLIAMS: ... about the lack of jobs, about government programs that destroy initiative.
MARTIN: They are.
WILLIAMS: No, they're not.
MARTIN: Yes, they are.
WILLIAMS: They're trying to raise money by race-baiting and fear-mongering.
MARTIN: OK, Anderson, here's the deal.
COOPER: Roland, I want you to be able to respond. But -- Roland, I want you to be able to respond, but also, I mean, this charge is an insidious charge, because it's the kind of thing, even if you argue against it, that you're not a racist, you end up looking bad.
I mean, it's the easiest thing to label somebody a racist in this country.
WILLIAMS: Well, yes.
And the Iowa group, the billboard you mentioned, they pulled that down and they apologized for it. And what they realized was that their political statement about Obama's and the Obama administration's Marxist policy was being used against them and -- and detracting from the actual debate...
COOPER: Sorry. I...
WILLIAMS: ... which is where this country is going, and it's going down the wrong road.
MARTIN: Anderson, earlier...
COOPER: OK. I'm sorry. I meant to ask the question to Roland.
Roland, go ahead. MARTIN: Anderson, earlier, I debated a Tea Party member from Memphis on Rick Sanchez's show, and he did exactly what needs to be done.
And that is to say that, when people who bring these racist signs, when they hurl these epithets, we tell them, we do not want you here. He even said that he has told people: You need to get away. This is not what we're about.
You asked Mark the question, do you stand by your earlier comments? He wouldn't answer that question.
WILLIAMS: The answer is yes.
MARTIN: No, no, Mark. Well, I'm -- and I'm glad you matured from your earlier comment.
The problem that we face here is that it speaks to, what the NAACP said, is to rid the race -- rid these racial extremists from your group and calling on Tea Party leaders -- Tea Party leaders to do so.
WILLIAMS: There's no group, Roland.
MARTIN: That's what -- they have always fought racism. That's what they're doing.
WILLIAMS: It's not a group.
MARTIN: And I think it is -- it is right. It is fair.
And, look, I made a point, Anderson. I don't have a problem with the Tea Party. If you believe in fighting for the Constitution, go right ahead. But, when you basically provide comfort for these kind of people, that's when it's wrong.
WILLIAMS: I'll tell you what, Roland, we're embarking this fall on another four-week Tea Party Express tour across the country, probably 70 cities. I invite you to come with us, travel the entire trip so that you will know what you're talking about. Will you do that? Will you come with me?
MARTIN: First of all, Mark -- Mark, I know what I'm talking about.
WILLIAMS: Will you come with me on the Tea Party Express and actually go to Tea Parties?
MARTIN: And Mark -- and Mark, here's what I'll say this here. If there are individuals who have racist signs and who are shouting racist stuff, I would hope you, as a leader, whether self-proclaimed, appointed or anointed, would stand there and say, "We do not tolerate this. We condemn it. Get out of here. That's not what we're about." And that's all the NAACP is calling on you and others to do.
WILLIAMS: Every organized Tea Party group, no matter how small in this country, has done that, Roland.
MARTIN: I don't see how you would oppose that.
WILLIAMS: It's on (ph) the Tea Party Express. Everybody has done that.
MARTIN: I don't care how -- if you've done it, why be upset that the NAACP is calling for you to continue to do it?
WILLIAMS: Because Ben Jealous is trying to -- trying to rescue himself. When he was elected, when he was announced, there was not an applause. Nobody reacted in the room. He's trying to breathe life into a century-old organization.
COOPER: OK. Hey, Martin...
WILLIAMS: And I guarantee you that W.E. [SIC] Dubois, when he sat down in 1905 to come up with this idea, wasn't thinking that 100 years later, there'd be race baiting to fundraise and protect some guy's position.
MARTIN: OK, Mark, Mark, I just want to help you. First of all, I actually covered his vote, and some folks did applaud. I covered it; you didn't, so that's factually incorrect.
The other deal is this here. They had been on the frontlines. You sat here and said what they should be doing.
I'll challenge you this: you mention that you guys are about civil rights. If that is the case, I want to see Mark Williams and the Tea Party sit with the NAACP and the National Urban League and say, "Where are the issues we find common ground on civil rights?" If that's a part of your agenda, then I want to see the paperwork that shows that you're fighting for civil rights. Sit down with them, Mark.
WILLIAMS: All right. If Mr. Jealous would like, we'll bring him along on our next Tea Party Express at our expense.
MARTIN: And Marc Morial. Bring in the civil rights leaders.
WILLIAMS: And he can listen to our groups, and he can go to the -- and you, while you're at it, why don't you come along so that you know what you're talking about? Have you ever been to a Tea Party, Roland?
MARTIN: Mark, first of all...
COOPER: Looks like...
MARTIN: Now wait a minute. First of all, I've covered events, Mark, in Illinois and Texas. I have.
WILLIAMS: As a participant?
MARTIN: No. No, I don't participate.
COOPER: Looks like we have...
WILLIAMS: You're on the edges, the fringes, looking for a guy with a sign.
MARTIN: No, I don't participate -- I don't participate in rallies.
COOPER: All right, guys. We've got two invitations here on the table. I'll let you sort it out. We're out of time. I appreciate both your perspectives, Mark and Roland. Thanks very much, appreciate it.
WILLIAMS: Thanks, Anderson. (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
COOPER: We will continue.
We're going to follow -- yes, exactly. We're going to follow several important stories right now. Joe Johns joins us with a "360 Bulletin" -- Joe.
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Anderson.
A bloody 48 hours in Afghanistan, with eight American and four British troops killed. And terrorist bombings took the lives of 11 civilians.
Former vice president, Dick Cheney, is recovering at a hospital in Virginia from heart surgery. In a statement released today, Cheney said he's doing well after a small pump was implanted in his heart last week to help it function better. He's survived five heart attacks since 1978, the most recent in February.
A divided FDA advisory committee voted today to keep the controversial diabetes drug Avandia on the market, with stricter warnings and restrictions on its use. But 12 members voted to remove it from the market, while three voted for no changes at all.
Research suggests the drug increases the risk of heart attacks. Its fate will be decided by FDA officials.
And they're engaged again. Bristol Palin and the father of her child, Levi Johnston, have reunited. The announcement came in "Us Weekly," which shot this video. There's a lukewarm reaction from the Palin family. It was -- it released a statement saying, in part, quote, "We pray that, as a couple, Bristol and Levi's relationship matures into one that will allow Tripp to grow up graced with loving parents in his life." Thus ends perhaps the never-ending saga -- Anderson.
COOPER: Yes, I don't believe, frankly, that they didn't know in advance that this was happening, that they just went to "Us Weekly" and did this story without the Palin family knowing. I find that impossible to believe.
COOPER: I have no evidence of it. I just find it hard to believe.
JOHNS: Cover story in more ways than one.
COOPER: Joe, still ahead, vital equipment, life-saving supplies piling up at Haiti's ports, stuck in warehouses, waiting to clear customs. In a country with so many urgent needs, what could possibly be the hold-up? Is it right for a NGO, a charity, to be charged taxes or storage fees on emergency supplies? We're going to track down Haiti's director of customs for answers.
Plus, the Gulf oil spill claims more victims. Beloved pets now homeless. Dogs and cats. Their out-of-work owners simply cannot afford to keep them any longer. Shelters are seeing a surge of these animals. What's going to happen to them? We'll show you, ahead.
COOPER: Last two nights we've been telling you about the customs problems NGOs, charities are facing in Haiti's ports six months after the quake. Some NGOs are telling us that emergency equipment and building supplies for Haitian people are arriving in Haiti but then get stuck in limbo waiting to clear customs.
Not only is the aid not reaching those who desperately need it in a quick matter, but NGOs says they're also being charged sometimes thousands of dollars in storage fees or taxes.
Today, Gary Tuchman tracked down Haiti's director of customs, asked him about the delays. Here's Gary's report.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the main harbor in Port-au-Prince, where vital, life-saving supplies are shipped in from all over the world. But there is something very troubling happening here.
Many international relief agencies say cargo is purposely stopped and delayed here, and there are whispers about possible motives. But Haiti's director of customs, Jean-Jacques Valentin, has an explanation for when that happens. Cargo is sometimes blocked and held, he says, because charities don't always do proper paperwork.
JEAN-JACQUES VALENTIN, DIRECTOR OF CUSTOMS, HAITI (through translator): People need to have a minimum respect for the rules. The buildings may have collapsed, but the law is still there.
TUCHMAN (on camera): For those of us who have been on the ground for many weeks since this earthquake and seen the devastation firsthand, it's incredible to be in this parking lot of customs and see earth-moving equipment just sitting here for weeks.
Over here, two trucks, tanker trucks for the Red Cross/Red Crescent to be used for sanitation. This huge piece of equipment over here, to build new roads. And right around the corner from these tanker trucks, an ambulance that has just been sitting here in this parking lot for a few weeks.
Now, even if this is just a paperwork issue, one would think there could be more flexibility, considering the scope of the humanitarian crisis in this country.
(voice-over) One relief organization, Doctors Without Borders, tells us 20 of its vehicles were locked up here at customs for three months before being released.
(on camera) Doctors Without Borders says their paperwork was fine. But even if it wasn't, get the cars to them. They're trying to help your people.
VALENTIN (through translator): Doctors Without Borders know what they need to do. They're an organization of high esteem. Why would we want to block them? If we wanted to block aid, there wouldn't be so much aid that came through since the earthquake.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Many charity groups are afraid to speak out publicly, worried they'll get the government angry, fearing if they speak up, it will make it even harder to get their humanitarian supplies.
Ed Joseph is a representative for relief organizations here in Haiti, and he says many of the groups have waited weeks for...
ED JOSEPH, INTERACTION: Vehicles that are blocked. There are medical supplies. There's other humanitarian material: hutches, for example, mattresses and bedding.
TUCHMAN (on camera): Doctors Without Borders says it spent $126,000 on rental cars, because the organization couldn't get its cars out of customs.
JOSEPH: You have for yourself an example from a highly reputable NGO with -- that does excellent work around the world. And I'm sure that they are not at all alone.
TUCHMAN: To some fair-minded people, it could sound like maybe the Haitian government wants to make some extra money by holding this stuff and by forcing these NGOs to rent equipment from local dealers here in Haiti. Can you understand how people can think that?
VALENTIN (through translator): I'm not even going to respond to those charges. They don't make any sense. The government does not own rental shops.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): The customs director also says he doesn't make the laws; he enforces them. And when I tell him many of the charities, the so-called NGOs, don't want us to use their names, he's not impressed.
VALENTIN (through translator): If the NGOs don't want their names used, they've got something to hide. We're not blocking anything. They're blocking themselves.
TUCHMAN: And the director stresses Haiti has to look out for illegal businesses posing as charities.
VALENTIN (through translator): You can't just arrive with a container and be waved through. Imagine if we just said, "Go through with your drugs and your arms."
TUCHMAN: A good point, but hard to square that with earth movers, ambulances, and humanitarian aid that's been here for weeks.
Before we leave the port, a Red Cross/Red Crescent worker arrived and told us he was hopeful they might soon be allowed to take their vehicles out of here. When he tried to start the vehicle, the battery was dead. It has been there for three weeks.
TUCHMAN: Now, over the last two days, we've gotten information from nine charitable organizations, all very upset. Today, about two hours ago, we got a very interesting e-mail. It was after we did the interview with the customs director, and the e-mail came from the communications director of one of the relief organizations, who told us, "Now everything is fine; everything is good."
Now, if you take that at face value, you may be the kind of person who wants to buy oceanfront property in Kansas City. I will tell you it's most likely evidence of what we're saying in the story, that people, particularly charitable organizations that do business here in Haiti, don't want to anger the government of Haiti, because they think it can affect their business for the future.
Anderson, one more point I want to make to you: the director does tell us that he's happy to have all the NGOs come into his office, and they can sit there, and they can discuss this. And then he can make the system better. So we told the NGOs that, so we won't be surprised if that, indeed, does happen very soon -- Anderson.
COOPER: Well, I mean, the idea that the Red Cross has a vehicle or two vehicles sitting there for three weeks because of some paperwork issue is mind-boggling and infuriating and, frankly, ridiculous.
I mean, the government of Haiti knows the work that the Red Cross and Red Crescent Society do. They know the work that Doctors Without Borders do. They are saving lives every single day, helping people. The idea that the government would try to -- I mean, you asked the key questions of that customs director, saying, "Look, it looks as if, in the best-case scenario, the government is trying to rake in some money." This is one of the few places they can actually get their hands on some money. And that is clearly what is happening here. I talked to former President Clinton about it. He says that's what's happening, that he's trying to get the government to change their policy. Let's see if there's any movement in the next couple of days.
But I mean, there's no reason major aid organizations should have equipment sitting for weeks and be charged storage fees and a 20 percent tax. We were hit up for $1,000. We brought in $5,000 worth of aid for a relief organization, a registered relief organization.
TUCHMAN: Well, Anderson -- Anderson, if I can say one thing.
COOPER: Anyway, we'll continue to follow this because it's infuriating. Go ahead. Yes.
TUCHMAN: Anderson, that's exactly the point, exactly the point. It's a very important point to make. Even if there is a paperwork issue, people here desperately need the help. I mean, there's huge fights going on behind us right now. People are frustrated; people are angry. They have no resources. They have no food. They have no water. They need the help, so let the ambulances out. It's clearly not illegal cargo.
The country needs these ambulances. They need the food.
TUCHMAN: They need -- I mean, today, poultry came in. And the poultry may sit there for a while and get spoiled. So you're absolutely right about this.
COOPER: All right. Another angle to the aid story next. Gary, appreciate the "Keeping Them Honest" report.
Later, also the victims of the oil spill in the Gulf you have not heard about. Family pets given up because their owners here can no longer afford to care for them. We're going to tell you where they are now and how you can help, coming up.
COOPER: More now on Haiti and a story I told you about last night.
Kids who lived through the disaster but six months later, some are facing a humanitarian -- a lot of humanitarian nightmares. They're in desperate need of food, water and medicine. Relief supplies are in Haiti, but because of many reasons, they're sometimes not getting to the people. One organization doesn't know the needs of another organization.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta has more details on a story he first reported last night.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is so striking in orphanages: smiles amid squalor. Three hundred and fifty thousand orphans in Haiti, best guess. And many, like this little guy, don't even have a name.
(on camera) Don't know how old he is. He's an orphan in this orphanage, among lots of other children, 40 to 50 at any given time. That's how many kids are taken care of.
Let me show you something else, as well. Take a look at this particular building. You just look at the floor over here. That's where they sleep. There are no bedrooms. Find a place and sleep for the night.
(voice-over) This is the kitchen for all those children. This pot of beans is their food for the entire day. Simply not enough.
(on camera) You take a look. They have to obviously have food, and they have to store it in some way. This is the store room. Used to be completely filled with food. This is all they have left.
(voice-over) I decided to call a contact of mine.
ERIC KLEIN, FOUNDER, CAN-DO.ORG (VIA PHONE): Hello.
GUPTA (on camera): Hey, Eric, it's Sanjay.
KLEIN: Hey, Sanjay, how are you?
GUPTA: I'm doing fine. I'm actually on speaker phone with you, and our film crew is filming. We've just come outside this -- this orphanage, and it's one of these crazy situations that you and I have been talking about. They have about 50 kids here, literally from a couple of months old to 18, and they have three stacks of tomato soup, a handful of beans and a little bit of rice. That's all they have, really, to feed these children for, you know, the foreseeable future. And I just thought I'd give you a call and see if you might be able to help out.
KLEIN: Well, yes, absolutely. Let me make a couple calls. I'll organize a truck. I'll make a couple calls right now, and I'll get back to you. Give me about 20 minutes.
(on camera) We're outside of the gate with the truck.
GUPTA (voice-over): We got the call. Eric with Can-Do.org found a warehouse full of supplies willing to stock the truck.
According to a group that monitors relief response on the ground, right now there are at least 50 warehouses, football field in size, full of supplies just sitting there. Much of it has sat untouched since right after the earthquake in January, just never distributed.
(on camera) Take a look at this. You've got 50 starving kids in an orphanage. We drove three miles down the street. At the orphanage they've literally had a half a bucket of beans. Half a bucket of beans, and that was going to feed 50 kids for an entire day. All of this is beans over here.
(voice-over) Communication is also a huge challenge here. We're in a warehouse operated by a relief organization called Food for the Poor. They're distributing food and vital supplies here every day, they say as much as $120 million worth since the quake. And though they provided the orphanage food in the past, they did not know how desperate the orphans are today. So once Eric called, they were ready to help.
(on camera) Going to have some happy kids.
KLEIN: Hey, how are you?
GUPTA: So that was not that far away at all.
KLEIN: No, not at all.
KLEIN: Which is mind boggling how close this stuff is.
GUPTA: You can hear the kids, literally -- there is just joyous laughter inside there. I think they know what's coming.
KLEIN: They know what's coming. Yes, they do.
GUPTA (voice-over): it is true that organizations, like World Vision, Save the Children, UNICEF, have been helping orphanages here in Haiti long before the earthquake. But I can tell you there are hospitals, camps and orphanages that fall through the cracks sometimes. At least on this day, one of those cracks gets to be filled in.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
COOPER: We'll have more from Haiti throughout the week.
And next on 360 pets abandoned because of the spill. Cats and dogs brought to shelters by owners who can no longer afford to take care of them. The numbers are staggering. Details ahead.
COOPER: Well, this is Finnegan. He's one of the -- one dog who's been homeless since the spill. Thousands of people are out of work all across the Gulf, struggling to make ends meet. For some families, the financial burden has meant giving away their pets. Shelters have reported a sharp increase in the number of animals relinquished by their owners since the catastrophe.
Randi Kaye reports. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This 9-month-old sheepdog mix has never seen a drop of oil, never even come close. Yet she's homeless because of the spill. Sheba is one of hundreds of dogs and cats now living in Louisiana animal shelters. Their owners, mainly fishermen and others in the industry, are out of work and can no longer afford to care for them. They have a choice: food on the table or the family pet.
ANA ZORRILLA, LOUISIANA SPCA: Not only is this a coastal disaster, you know, it is an animal disaster on so many levels.
KAYE: Ana Zorrilla is with the Louisiana SPCA.
(on camera) I think when people think of animals being affected by the oil spill, they think of the oiled birds and the oiled turtles. They don't think of the family pet.
ZORRILLA: Exactly. I think these are the unseen victims right now in this disaster.
KAYE (voice-over): Unseen no longer. Their faces irresistible, their eyes pleading, their soft whimpers heartbreaking. And they just keep coming. So many dogs and cats, shelters are turning to foster homes to house them.
(on camera) Hi.
(voice-over) Anna says the SPCA is even sending some pets to shelters in other states. There just aren't enough cages in Louisiana.
(on camera) In June of last year at one shelter in St. Bernard Parish, 17 dogs were turned in by their owners. This past June, after the spill at that very same shelter, 127 dogs were turned in by their owners. That's 110 more dogs this year than last year. And the SPCA says it is definitely a result of the spill.
If you look at this dog right here, this is Champ. Take a look at his paperwork. It says he was surrendered, "owner incapable of caring for."
(voice-over) Same story for this little pup. Her name is Panda. She's a terrier mix and just about 2 months old. She was turned in after the spill.
(on camera) You just want a hug. That's all you want, a much- needed hug.
(voice-over) Because pets can help reduce stress, Ana says giving them up now makes it harder for families already struggling.
(on camera) How tough do you think a decision is for a family, to have to give up a pet when they're facing, really, the end of their livelihood in many cases? ZORRILLA: I think it's one more blow on top of everything else. I mean, imagine having to make that decision of letting a family member go because you can no longer afford to keep them. It isn't that you don't love them. It isn't that you don't want them. You just don't have the financial resources, you know, to keep them.
KAYE (voice-over): The SPCA just launched a program this week to help owners hold onto their pets. Using donations, it's providing pet food and neutering to anyone from the fishing industry.
But the SPCA doesn't have enough money to help every pet owner. Ana says BP should pay.
ZORRILLA: What I would love to see is that BP provides some kind of support, whether it's, you know, helping fund dog food, cat food, veterinary care, whatever's needed so that these three little dogs and cats don't go to shelters.
KAYE: Too many who do end up here may never get a second chance. This is not one of those no-kill shelters. If these pets don't find a family within the next two or three weeks, they'll be euthanized, killed, even though oil never touched them.
COOPER: And Randi Kaye joins us now with Finnegan. Finnegan was actually found wandering -- found wandering the streets.
COOPER: And is open for adoption.
KAYE: Yes. He is -- he's about 12 weeks old. He's a Lab mix. They think he might get to maybe about 40 pounds. He's a little -- a little feisty, as you saw.
COOPER: So cute. He's so great. He's got a great little puppy smell, too.
KAYE: And he came in with just, you know, a few problems, a little baggage, but he's in great shape and ready to go, just like so many of the pets there. As I said, they only keep them for about two or three weeks, because they're so crowded. So if they don't find a home, it could be the end for them.
COOPER: Yes. It's really such a -- it's a by-product that I hadn't even realized until recently is happening. Because obviously, families aren't able to care for them.
KAYE: Right. And families who come in, I asked them, "What do they say?" They say a lot of them don't even say it's because of the spill, because they're embarrassed. They're so sad they can't even accept it.
COOPER: All right. So where can people go to if they're interested in... KAYE: They can go to the Website for the Louisiana SPCA. It's L-A hyphen S-P-C-A dog org. And on there, you can find out all about adopting the pets.
COOPER: OK. Randi, thanks very much. Appreciate it.
Finnegan, thank you.
We're going to have more from the Gulf at the top of the hour. Be right back.