tv The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN May 23, 2011 2:00pm-4:00pm PDT
god, something to that effect. they had been posting about hiding in the hallway and everything and then i know she text somebody that they were in their hallway. they didn't have a basement. they had their dogs there. >> zack, we'll continue to follow your story, zack tusinger. part of the recovery a day after this storm. let's go to wolf blitz ner washington. wolf? >> thanks very much. happening now, survivors pulled from the ruins of joplin, missouri, a day after a monster tornado hit the city. astounding pictures of disaster in the heartland. a major hospital takes a direct hit making it impossible to help the living and find the dead. we'll have the latest. and the toast of ireland. president obama enjoys lighter moments overseas, even as he
teams with -- he has to deal with the tornado devastation back here at home. i'm wolf blitzer and you're in "the situation room." >> it's been almost 24 hours since the people of joplin, missouri hid in their homes as the tornado tore through their city. officials say 116 people were killed and many more injured. this makes this storm tied for the second deadliest twister. the toll is expected to climb as one resident puts it. everybody's going to know people who are dead. a massive rescue operations under way that has been hampered by more bad weather. many pipes are damaged. despite the obstacles of success today, the governor says that there were seven rescues. in some cases, entire families
were pulled from the rubble alive. at least 2,000 buildings are damaged, including one of the city's two hospitals. brian todd is joining us from outside of that hospital. he's joining us live now. brian? >> reporter: wolf, as you can see, we're getting another thunderstorm. they have been rolling through here all day today. driving rain, lightning, thunder, really hampering rescue efforts. it's hard for these teams to search grid by grid like they like to do and pick out rescuers. but they have rescued seven people today. that's a positive. on the negative side, confirmed 116 people dead and more than 400 injured. we're going to trek into this building here. this is st. johns regional medical center. the whole front of the building sear off and some of the top sl damaged as well. an suv and van on top of a pickup truck here. it's a mess.
cars tossed on top of other cars are all over the place here. here's a look at the position between what gets hit and what doesn't. look at this neighborhood over here. everything is flattened. trees uproaded and everything is brick, mortar, boards, all over the place. and then you truck to the right, look at the towns over there. there was damage to the roof but otherwise did not get very much damage. right now this rain is hampering rescue efforts. >> all right, brian. thank you very much. in the meantime, a pastor who survived the tornado, he doesn't know which was worse, the wind outside or the rain. lisa sylvester has more pictures and stories. lisa? >> this is completely unbelievable. we are talking about a tornado hitting square on a city.
it was terrifying. we have dramatic pictures and sound as the tornado moved through joplin. >> oh, my gosh. there it is. there it is. >> the monster tornado whipped up winds up to 190 to 198 miles per hour. you can't see much here but listen as the tornado howls through, captured with a cell phone camera. isaac was huddled with 20 others in an industrial refrigerator. >> everybody was trying to decide what to do and all of a sudden the glass in the front of the building got sucked out.
basically the only thing left standing was the cooler that we were in. everything around it was gone. >> houses and businesses left behind like broken twigs. joplin, st. joseph. everything out of place, including this wheelchair. >> it's indescribable. i don't know what to say other than that. i've never seen anything like it. >> i'm 22 years old. i have a wife and two kids. we lost everything in the tornado. we're just trying to salvage what we can. >> the tornado cut a path four miles long and left an unbelievable trail mowing down anything in its way. but out of this, amazing stories from survivors. >> i was trapped in the bathroom because all of the dining room furniture came in. i thought it was buried.
it was a very, very long tornado. >> we've got a lot of people that have died and this city is a resilient city. it was very humbling, all through the night, nobody could sleep. but we could hear emergency vehicles driving in from areas from hundreds and thousands of miles away. it's a sad time for our city but we're thankful for the people that are coming together and helping. >> now the focus, of course, is on the search for survivors and brian just told us that the weather has been a factor there, wolf. >> a heartbreaking story. i want to go back to the governor of missouri. brian, i hope that you can explain to us what they are doing and what the latest information is. >> reporter: back here now with the governor jay nixon, first tell us, this is another driving rain storm, one of many. how is it hampering the rescue effort?
>> it's hard to get over the buildings and houses to find the people. we save seven people a day. we hope there are others down there. a couple families were in basements, heard the signals, they were saved. some of the businesses, the walls came in and they were able to find pockets. we believe there are other folks unaccounted for. we're going to go across every square foot of this with the hundreds of firefighters and first responders that are helping us lead that effort. >> is it too dangerous to go through the homes? >> we will make sure that they are safe. we have 265 guardsmen working with local troops. what we need to do is make sure the entire area and by the people know what they are doing.
there are people down here that can be saved. >> reporter: what's the thing that most worries you? >> the thing that worries us most is the weather making it difficult for us. there are people underneath these buildings and piles of rubbish that are breathing that we need to get to. >> reporter: governor, best of luck. thank you for joining us. we appreciate it. wolf, you hear the crackle of thunder. it's hampering the rescue efforts. they've warned people not to go outside. >> give our best to joplin. we'll check back with you as well. the strength of the joplin tornado is classified as a 4 on the enhanced fujita scale, meaning that winds reached almost 200 miles an hour. only about 5% of tornadoes in the united states are above a 2. last month was the worst month for tornado deaths since the radar was deployed in the early 1990s.
it saw three tornadoes reach level 5 and 12 reach level 4. let's bring in chad myers. what's going on here? all of these tornadoes that have been so devastating. >> yes, it is without a doubt extraordinary. and yesterday there was only one major tornado. we talk about it all the time there was one big tornado and it hit a city. that's always the risk. even if there's only one, sometimes the tornadoes will find the towns. i'm going to draw this out for you because it looks like a classic mesocyclone. we call it a super cell tornado. that right there is the town of joplin, missouri. right here, joplin, missouri. this is the other side. the wind going away and around at about 135 to 145 miles per
hour last night. it was truly the only one. there's a potential in western oklahoma, but tomorrow is the day, tomorrow is the day that we could have significantly more tornadoes. here's why. because there will be warm air at the surface and cold air aloft, like a hot air balloon that rises because you fill it with the gas and the hot air goes up and balloon goes up. there goes the cell. it's a towering cumulus when it begins to rain, it changes because of the rainfall. but as it spins, if it's all by itself, like that one cell was yesterday, in joplin, it can spin a tornado out the bottom. that's what we're going to watch for the risk today and for a better chance for tomorrow. the one in joplin was called an hp, where it's a high precipitation thunderstorm. what that means is that if you were standing right here trying
to look at the tornado that is right here, you would never see it because it's wrapped in rain. it's shrowded by rain. maybe that's why so many people died. otherwise you get a big tornado like that going through a big city, sometimes you just can't survive it unless you're underground. not everyone has basements there. >> that raises the question, we're told that there was 24 minutes of warning when people were alerted. guess what? a tornado is on the way. if there's another tornado heading towards a city or a town, remibld mind our viewers what they must do if they hear that a tornado is heading their way? >> if you're in an apartment building, let's start from scratch, and there are pictures that you will see and hear throughout the night, a three-story apartment building. the top floor is missing. it is gone. if you're on the top floor, you're not talking to me today. but if you know your neighbor on
the first floor, your just fine. that was a survivable place, down at the bottom of the stairwell and in your neighbors' place at the lowest level. if you're in a basement, you're probably fine. but probably 70% of the people yesterday did everything right, they were inside. but the homes literally were shifted off the foundation. there was no place left for you to be safe from joplin, missouri, downtown, right here, this red zone, the zone of destruction here, because the pictures that we see, as we look down from the helicopter shots, we can see the slab where the house was. but we can't see anyplace for anyone to be safe, because the house is completely gone. the trauma of being hit by your own house as the house was swept off its foundation or swept off the slab is what killed people yesterday. sometimes some storms are so big you just can't survive. you do what you can. you do everything. you put a bicycle helmet on, a motorcycle helmet on, football
helmet on. get under the stairwell. usually it's the strongest place it's where the biggest beam of woods are, get under a pool table or hair hockey table, grab all of the cushions off the couch and put those between you and the walls to try to stop that trauma as you get pushed around if your house gets a direct hit. that said, there was 80% of the town north of here and 20% of the town south of here that didn't get hit at all. no one bit. not one bit of damage. but if you were in the wrong place and people were in the town of joplin, you are going to either get injured or you're going to get killed. >> great advice from chad. thanks. a lot of people were involved, about 50,000 people live in joplin, missouri. about 400,000 people live within a 40-mile area around joplin. tourism is a major business, so is health care. both will be clearly devastated by this storm.
bonnie and clyde had a hideout there. many people wrongly believe that the town was named after scott joplin. a lifelong resident of joplin said that the city now feels like the twilight zone. photos of destruction, he's been taking since then. stand by. and a volcano makes a mark on president obama's trip overseas. we're taking a closer look at the highs and the lows of his journey to connect with his irish roots. well, it doesn't matter. because it's about to change. there's a cheaper, cleaner way to fuel up now. the volt plugs into any socket, and fuels up at home. sure it could use gas, but for most commutes you won't need much, if any. so from now on, fuel tube... we'll just call you...plan b.
>> announcer: this past year alone there's been a 67% spike in companies embracing the cloud-- big clouds, small ones, public, private, even hybrid. your data and apps must move easily and securely to reach many clouds, not just one. that's why the network that connects, protects, and lets your data move fearlessly through the clouds means more than ever.
a contentious issue. jack is here with the cafferty file. jack? >> president obama was in ireland today. the first leg of a six-day trip to europe. as he travels to britain, france, and poland, u.s. tensions with israel and the overall instability in the middle east will likely be a recurring theme of destruction in the coming days. the president is still trying to navigate around comments that he made in the speech last thursday
suggesting that peace talks between israel and the palestinian people should begin with the borders established before the 1967 war in which israel captured the gaza strip and parts of the west bank. palestinians claim that it's there and at the white house on friday, still came with the pre1967 borders has been a long held position but it's not stated very often. yesterday the president spoke before the apec committee. in an effort at damage control. and said they should be used as a starting point and land swaps
should be part of a plan in order to be fair to both sides. president obama has said that he's trying to jump-start in order to slow growing momentum for a declaration of a palestinian state hood at the united stations. he hopes to convince his european counterparts to vote against that idea while he's on a trip to europe. the tensions between the two long-time allies remain high and the rhetoric coming out of israel has suddenly got inquite a bit sharper. here's the question. is president obama making it worse? go to cnn.com/caffertyfile. president obama has just departed ireland where he was welcomed with open arms by thousands. some of them potentially disstabt, very, very distant relatives, i should say. ed henry is traveling with the president. >> wolf, breaking news.
the president has to leave ireland early because of some volcanic ash from ice land that he's probably sorry to be leaving here in a warm, irish embrace. >> reporter: the president did not seem to have the luck of the irish when his motorcade rolled out of dublin but it was a mere bump in the road. >> today the 44th american president comes home. he is the american dream. >> reporter: and with his irish eyes fixed with american voters back home. >> i'm happy to be in ireland. i'm happy to be with so many. >> reporter: the president
milked his roots for all they are worth. >> my name is barack obama. of the moneygall obamas and i've come home to find me an apositive tree fee that we lost along the way. >> he also could not resist the scrutiny of a presidential campaign. >> check out the place of birth. >> reporter: the president was not born in ireland but his grandfather's grandfather was in a tiny town of moneygall where thousands waited in wind and rain just to shake hands with the president and first lady. there were hugs for the president's closest relative here. 26-year-old accountant henry heely who admitted that there's not much of a similarity.
>> i've got a camera in front of my face and the president has one in his. >> reporter: there were signs for yes, we can. iconic posters from the 2008 campaign. >> you tell me when it's properly -- i don't want to mess this up. >> reporter: and you could see visions of a future campaign as the first couple knocked back some guinness. then mr. obama slapped money on the bar saying that he wants the world to know that the president pays his tab. now it's on to the uk, france, and poland for some more substantive discussions about the war in libya, mid-east peace, and the lingering global recession. wolf? >> ed henry travel swelling with the president. getting back to our top story, it was torn to pieces by the deadly toeshd. new insight into what was
happening inside the joplin, missouri hospital at the very moment that the deadly twister hit. announcer ] in 2011, at&t is at work, building up our wireless network all across america. we're adding new cell sites... increasing network capacity, and investing billions of dollars to improve your wireless network experience. from a single phone call to the most advanced data download, we're covering more people in more places than ever before in an effort to give you the best network possible. at&t. rethink possible. ♪ well, you know i love it too ♪ ♪ you love money ♪ well, you know i love it too ♪ ♪ i work so hard at my job ♪ and then i bring it home to you ♪
a monster, monster tornado and now 116 people are confirmed dead and hundreds more are injured and many of them seriously. a freelance photographer who has lived in joplin his entire life is capturing the devastation through his camera lens. eddie, first of all, tell us how you survived this tornado.
>> well, i would say mostly by luck. i seemed to have dodged the bullet twice as i was trying to make my way home to try to avoid the tornado and the hail and i would say mostly by luck. >> so walk us through what happened. how much time did you have before you -- in other words, to prepare for a tornado? we know that they started giving alerts about 24 minutes in advance. but how much time did you have? >> well, at the time that they started to give the warnings, i was on the east side and i live on the southeast side. when i first heard the sirens i started heading home and it was just the first initial blast to let people know that there was a storm coming and as i made my
way home i heard that there was tennis size hail coming our way. immediately i thought i better take refuge because the dark clouds were starting to roll in. i almost pulled into a car wash to take shelter from the hail. right then a friend of mine called and he wanted me to pick him up and take him some place safe. so i picked up my friend and as i got into my garage just in time to avoid the hail, because that's when the storm hit and it was pretty severe. we took shelter. and after the storm passed, we were heading across town to make sure that my friends were all right. and i saw the damage and the emergency vehicles and i brought my camera with me. i started walking south towards 30th. i got closer to 26th street on
south main and saw the car wash where i almost pulled in and it was just devastated. >> the pictures, i about the way, are still photographs that you took. they are really amazing, the devastating images. describe the town now. what is it like? >> well, as i was saying yesterday, as i was walking down south main street, as i got closer to 26th, the damage just became more and more severe. and after a couple of blocks, a few blocks, it was hard to discern where you were at and hard to tell what street you were on. and you would look around and all you would see is devastation and debris from all around you. and it was more like walking through the twilight zone than walking down south main street in joplin. it was almost dizzying and it was the worst devastation that i had ever seen. >> it's amazing how these split
second decisions that you make, like, for example, you were thinking of driving into that car wash, but your friend called you at the last second and you didn't. had you gone into that car wash, do you think you wouldn't have survived? is that what you're saying? >> that is probably a possibility that i would have been killed or at least injured. that area was just to the ground, pretty much. and it was just devastating. 26th and main was just flattened. you could look down 26th street and see st. johns hospital where normally you couldn't see anything. it was damaged and looking to the east you could see the horizon line and it was just flat where there used to be trees and houses. it was horrible. >> eddie, good luck to you and
to all of the folks in joplin. eddie, thank you for sharing your pictures with us as well. the governor of missouri is asking people to pray for the city of joplin as rescuers search for survivors. the death toll, as we've been reporting, is up to 116. it will likely rise a full day after the monster twister hit. they are bracing for a new line of storms. jacqui jeras is joining us from joplin. tell us what is going on. >> well, the first good news that we've heard all day, is that seven people were rescued. so the search and rescue efforts are bringing in survivors. we don't know the conditions of those people but we do know that some of them were found at various residents and some of them were found at the home depot which was destroyed as well. we have local officials, state
officials, federal officials all here working together in joplin to try to continue with the rescue efforts. but as you can probably hear the rain and see it falling behind me, this has been the biggest issue that they are dealing with today. there was two-inch hail and winds from threatening thunderstorm and now it's moving through with lightning as well. despite that, they are continuing to go through the rubble. fema says that they will be here for the long haul. >> it's really the citizens helping citizens and neighbor helping neighbor, going around and talking to a lot of the first responders, the heroic work that the firefighters, police officers, the emts and paramedics that they have done has been very impressive. they have lost their homes. but they have been out there for hours saving lives. the work that they have done is
an understatement. >> reporter: fema says that they will be working through the night because they think since they found the seven people, that there are more survivors out there. they hope that they will be able to get to those people as the rain comes down and more severe weather is in the forecast as well, wolf. in fact, a moderate risk of severe storms, including the threat of tornadoes, is in the forecast for southwestern missouri, including joplin, and the storm prediction center saying that they may have to increase that risk to what they call a high risk and we only get a handful of those each year. wolf? >> jacqui jeras on the scene there. the last thing that people need there is more bad weather. to find out how you can help those devastated by the tornadoes, go to cnn.com/impact. you'll find all of the organizations and the way that you can help those in need. that's at cnn.com/impact. stand by for more coverage of this tornado disaster.
we're getting right back to the devastation of that tornado in joplin, missouri. but, first, lisa sylvester is here monitoring the other top stories in "the situation room." what is going on? >> wolf, we have reports of fierce new clashes in the al qaeda strong hold of yemen. an apply generals of foreign ministers. the u.s. state department is closing part of the embassy there due to the fluid security situation. and just weeks after osama bin laden's death, the afghan taliban is insisting that their leader is alive and well despite claims that he may have been killed.
a spokesman for afghanistan's intelligence agency reports that omar disappeared frommen alleged hideout in pakistan but cannot confirm that he is dead. two american hikers who really in iran are awaiting trial and were able to call home. a third hiker, sarah shoud, was able to return home last year. it was the top of the royal wedding in april. princess beatrice's rose colored hat has sold online for more than, get this, $130,000. she donated it to be auctioned on ebay and the proceeds will benefit children's charities. that is quite a hat. >> you would look excellent in that.
>> i don't know. it would add three or four inches to my height, so maybe. new information on what was going on board of a plane when things went terribly wrong. ♪ what we are hearing was not just a new -- the new blackberry playbook. it runs all this at the same time. ♪ why can't every tablet do that?
thousands and on the other side, tim pawlenty. joining us now to talk about it is our national correspondent john king, chief national correspondent, anchor of john king, usa. and david gergen. let me get to this new poll. this new cnn university of new hampshire poll. gop primary voters. look at this. romney, 33%. ron paul, 9%. gingrich, 7. everybody else really down, giuliani is not running. palin, 5%. john, first to you. you're from new england. is he like a native son, mitt romney, in new hampshire right now? >> yes. i was in new hampshire on friday. i spent a lot of time talking to republicans. governor huntsman, he was up there. governor romney is by far the
overwhelming front-runner. he was governor of massachusetts, owns a summer home, a lake home in new hampshire. he has 1,000 percent name identification. he ran last time. so he is by far the front-runner. other than, that i wouldn't put too much stock in the early polling except to say that romney at this point has to win new hampshire. he's the big front-runner. he's not going to compete full time in iowa. new hampshire is the make or break state for governor romney. >> will other republicans ignore new hampshire looking at these numbs? >> no. they will try to take governor romney out. somebody will get a spring board and a bounce out of iowa. we'll see. it's early, but as of now they are not competing heavily to win. they are not going to be out there all the time. somebody gets the bounce, then john mccain had to hold new hampshire. and he did. remember, he had governor romney in the race then. this time it's governor romney's state. the former governor of utah, jon huntsman, he's interesting to
watch because he's picking up the old mccain network. governor pawlenty hoping to win iowa. but, wolf, it's so very early. david knows this, new hampshire is critical to romney. >> take a look at this. among gop primary voters, are you satisfied with the choice of candidates for the 2012 republican primary? 9% say that they are very satisfied and 42% say somewhat satisfied and 15% say that they are very dissatisfied. a lot more candidates look like they are dropping out than dropping in. >> sure do. that looks like a pretty luke warm response from republican voters. 9% being very satisfied is hardly what you call a ringing endorsement. to go back to john king's point, mitt romney has to be considered the front-runner in the entire
race because the poll numbers are mirrored by his fundraising numbers. he has the same sort of size lead over the other candidates in terms of his capacity to raise money and he's been around the track before which makes a big difference in a race like this. where i think it's too early to say, iowa and new hampshire, someone is likely to come out from iowa and new hampshire together as the anti-romney. as the leader of the alternative. if there is anybody but romney, a coalition of voters, that is who has to be on top of it. i agree with john, it's very, very early. but mitt romney has built up quietly a substantial war chest and a substantial lead. >> i would like both of you to weigh in on u.s.-israeli relations right now. the president had a chance to revise and amend his earlier statement on pre-'67 alliance. this is what he told a.p.e.c.
yesterday. >> by definition it means that the parties themselves, israelis and palestinians, will negotiate a border that is different than the one that existed on june 4th, 1967. that's what mutually agreed upon swaps means, a well-moan formula for all that has worked on this for a generation. >> there is still some mistrust in the and what the president said is well understood. he didn't say that. the israelis said that there was a basic framework. roughly 1967, both parties will make deals. the president was not that clear
and that's what prime minister netanyahu said i wish you would not say it and if you are going to say it, give the full explanation. >> the vote on the u.n. is recognizing palestine as a very independent state. they said, look, we're trying to get something started here and we're trying to be reasonable. but i have to tell you one other thing n contrast to the way that obama pushed netanyahu, president obama pushed back and netanyahu retreated. i think he helped himself by going to a.p.e.c. and saying, i'm not retreating on what i said.
>> this important note, join us monday night, june 13th, as the republican hopefuls square off only here on cnn. holding out hope, just ahead we're going back to joplin, missouri, where they are searching for lost ones building up our wireless network all across america. we're adding new cell sites... increasing network capacity, and investing billions of dollars to improve your wireless network experience. from a single phone call to the most advanced data download, we're covering more people in more places than ever before in an effort to give you the best network possible. at&t. rethink possible. pants pockets... and anyone, anywhere who would hide our precious coins. we're coming for what's ours. maybe you didn't hear. but dimes, nickels, even pennies have power now. because the volt charges for about a buck fifty a day.
jack's back be with "the cafferty file." jack? >> the question this hour is president obama making u.s. relations with israel worse? marilyn says, no he's not. president obama knows what he is doing. he is trying to get something going between israeli and the palestinian people. the fact that the israeli prime minister went ballistic shows you that he is not ready for the peace talks. he only wants things to go his way. josh in new orleans writes, i think israel has been taking advantage of america's relationship to do almost anything they want against the palestinians. president obama's calling them out on this. if anything is making the situation worse, it's a look of compromise in the peace process. it is about time someone in
you want to read more on the subject, go to my blog, cnn.com/cafferty file. >> jack, thank you. joplin tornado, we are mapping out the path of destruction and new information on the whereabouts of the pilot, yes, the pilot, when an air france jet mysteriously vanished almost two years ago. [ male announcer ] walls can talk. but it's our job to make them say something interesting. so how about this weekend we learn some new tricks of the trade... then break out our doing clothes and get rolling. let's use some paint that helps us get the job done
in record time and makes a statement when we're finished. we're lower the cost of a new favorite color. more saving. more doing. that's the power of the home depot. get five dollars off one-gallon cans of select behr, glidden, and martha stewart living paint. the chief operating officer at a national tissue bank when she decided to get her masters in healthcare administration. by choosing a university that connects working students to faculty who are also leaders in their fields...
personal pricing now on brakes. tell us what you want to pay. we do our best to make that work. deal! my money. my choice. my meineke. almost two years since t thedramatic disappearance of an air france flight over the atlantic, we now know what may have been happening on board in the moments before it went down. and joining us now from london, our own richard quest. are richard, some new details are emerging about that mysterious crash of air france flight 447. what are we learning? >> it's leak, supposedly, from the bea, which is the investigating authority, that say says the cockpit voice recorder shows the captain was not in the left hand seat or indeed in the
cockpit at the time the original incident happened. apparently according to the cockpit voice recorder, he can be heard entering the cockpit. he can be heard instructing the two pilots flying the plane how best to save the aircraft. now when asked directly, the bea say they have absolutely no comment on the report and they refuse to even entertain questions about it. excuse me. but if true, then we are starting to get what we always knew we would, wolf, which is very, very strong, good intelligence about what happens happening on the plane and ultimately the cause of the crash. >> international flights though, as you well know, better than most, usually have a large cockpit crew. there are other pilots in there. how important is it or was it that this pilot apparently was not in the cockpit as things were beginning to unfold? nch>> not important at all at o
level. it depends on the -- on the mechanisms and on the rules and regulations of the country and of the airline. any flight over seven or eight hours would have at least one extra relief pilot, a first officer. now the flight from brazil to paris is 10 or 11 hours so it had three cockpit crew. and the relief captain or the relief first officer would take the place of one and then the other, allowing them to rest during the flight. that is normal. it is entirely to be expected. because, wolf, and this is the crucial part, the crew's element of the flight is the safest. once the aircraft is at altitude, 34, 35,000 feet it is on its trajectory there very little course change, little altitude change, literally monitoring the systems
throughout the night. the pie lot, the captain being out of the left hand seat, providing he is close by, providing he can backe get back in again quickly, that would be the norm. >> we will continue to watch the investigation together with you. richard, thanks very much. to our viewers here "the situation room," happening now, a killer tornado car was a path four miles long, more than a half a mile ride, right through the heart of the city. at least 116 people are dead in joplin, missouri. hundreds more are injured. 2,000 buildings are damaged or destroyed and a high school and hospital ripped apart. we are going to show you the moments of terror as the twister struck and we will take you to the scene as the rescue teams hunt for survivors. and president obama traces family roots, makes a rousing campaign-like appearance in ireland. become home here the gop field for 2012 grows larger. breaking news, political headlines and jeanne moos all straight ahead. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room."
116 people now confirmed dead in joplin, missouri. the toll likely to rise. rescue teams today pulled some survivors from the rubble are, along with much of the town simply leveled and more bad weather bearing down. right now the search and rescue operation is a monumental task. let's go to the scene, our own brian todd is there in joplin with the very latest. brian? >> reporter: wolf, you mentioned the rising death toll, that now stands 15916. we have got a rising injury toll, more than 400. no accounting yet of the people still missing, but there are stories of survivors. you mentioned the seven survivors, they were pulled out today. it is the story of those and the other survivors that keep this beleaguered town going now. residents rattle through what was once a vibrant neighborhood. in second he is, the tornado reduced nearly a third of the city of joplin to flattened board, brick and concrete.
reverend cj campbell informs his house, huddled in a hallway with his sister as the tornado tore through. >> entire 1800-foot square house completely collapsed around us within 60 seconds. >> reporter: they made it out, but the house is a total loss. at st. john's regional medical center, the twisters a wrath was almost surreal. look at this helipad. this part is m empty, but if you just move to your left over here, you are going to see the wreckage of a helicopter that was just tossed on its side and twisted around. look at the wreckage here. the front of it is just taken off. and there's the cockpit. look at the rotors, completely gone. sergio gomez was working admissions at the hospital when the tornado hit. >> kind of an exposed part of the hospital. how did you make it out? >> honestly, i wasn't really worrying about getting out it mostly getting all the patients to a safer room. >> how do you feel about losing this car? you were very attached to it? >> i feel really bad. i worked really hard for t to be
honest it is probably my newest car that i ever, the coolest car that i ever had, too. i worked really hard for it. it is just a shame. i have liability, so there's no way of replacing it. >> reporter: gomez is also worried about -- now, an indication that the long, painful road back for this town will be physical, emotional and economically very stressful. as we mentioned, sergio gomez one of the many people worried about their economic situation as well as their physical situation, where they are going to be living, et cetera. we mentioned the death toll. just found out a few minutes ago from the governor, among the people who died, among the 116 people who died, a few from this hospital, the st. john's regional medical center, wolf. they are going to be combing through the wreckage continually tonight throughout tomorrow but as you can see behind me, this weather is really, really complicating things right now. they have had driving rain storms, thunderstorms and
lightning claps here throughout the day and the rescuers are really getting set back by that. >> i think we heard from jacqui jeras on the scene, brian, they expect bad weather, maybe worse weather tomorrow s that what you're hearing tomorrow as well? >> reporter: i am hearing it i spoke to jacqui again about it, it is bad news. i shook my head when she was telling me some of. this the last thing these people need right now. we could have more tornadoes in this area. some of them may be a little bit further away from here but, yeah that could happen in this area as well. you know, you talk about these rescuers really up against it already f that happens, you know that window for finding survivors closing and its it's closing fast. if that happens tomorrow it may shut completely. >> let's not forget, joplin is a city about 50,000 people but some 400,000 people in the area within a 40-mile radius of joplin, missouri. brian, we will check back with you. thank you. the tornado carved a four-mile-long path of destruction. at one point it may have been
three quarters of a mile wide. cnn's tom foreman is joining wuss a closer look at this monster. share with us some of these images. >> reporter: wolf, tough look at it in the air to get a sense of the size. zoom in the path, stop it, close enough. we measured in here, we got a little more than five miles overall. atlantic overall layout of joplin and look how big this swath is that was cut through it. we will zoom it all the way in now, i will take you to that hospital brian was talking about so much there because that is a good place to start, big complex here, employs about 1700 people. you saw the damage. they had more than 180 patients in the hospital at that time. come in and show details of this picture. you can see what happened there and you can also see how many people were evacuated, more than 200 there. they did not have all the workers there at that time, obviously, 1700, but still several hundred. let's move on to take a look at one of these shot we was seen on the air numerous times, well worth looking at this road. if you go driving down this
road, this is a sense of what you have been seeing all day when you see these pictures it is going down this main road, so you can see the tremendous damage to the business districts there, all of the things that people normally have to rely on for purposes of recovery from a storm like this. let's go over to the high school. this is another area we have talked about during the day, big, pristine complex, this had beautiful picture from before the storm. this is what happened to that high school. graduation had had taken place just shortly before all of this over at another location. so, they didn't have at the high school. just imagine what had happened if they had. been fortunate in that regard, obviously, all school cancel there had from here on out as a result of that we move down the way, i talk about the business climate and what people deal with. look at this home depot down here, another big complex, as you might imagine. that was completely smashed by everything that happened there. so again, one of the places that people would rely on is gone. you go up to walmart, which not far away at all, same
phenomenon. tremendous damage done to the overall facility here. some of the steel structure held up a bit but only a bit. what that does do is give some hope to those searchers that brian talked about for maybe finding people where rubble has propped against things. last place we will look at here is east middle school, another one of the schools in question that has about 300 students, if i remember right. i can't recall for sure. they had tremendous damage as well, although the the overall structure seemed to be relatively okay at that place, a lot of damage to some part, what wasn't destroyed, lots held firm. any way, wolf, you look at these pictures of of that overall path, that gives you an idea of just how much of the town has suffered and how much pressure will now be on the rest of the town to try to deal with all those people out of jobs, out of homes and looking for some kind of help in the coming days. wolf? >> tom foreman, thanks very much. a staggering toll of death and destruction and a long, hard
road to recovery for the residents of joplin, missouri. congressman billy long of missouri represents that district. he is here, at least part of that district. congressman, first of all, our deepest condolences to your constituents who lost family member he is in joplin. have you ever seen anything like this before in missouri? >> no, not for this devastation at all to this extent. the deputy director of feel mass in town today from d.c. and i asked him and he said maybe some of tuscaloosa could rival with it. other than that he hadn't seen anything like this either. just total devastation it reminds me of a movie set of a nuclear disaster. that is exactly. maybe your news crews are used to this but we sure haven't seen anything like this in missouri and i was born here. >> trust me, congressman, we are not used to it by any means. the pictures that we have been showing our viewers are heartbreaking, they are devastating. the search and rescue operations, is there still hope
survivors will be found, now 24 hours after the the destruction? >> definitely. we found seven survivors today. the first responders did. and that's the number one issue right now, get in there and find as many people as we can, we know they are still out there but as the reporter said earlier that window is closing. we had a very bad run of bad luck this morning, with more bad weather, hail, high winds. they had to hold up search and rescue for an hour or two this morning before they could get out there and start their search and rescue efforts. joplin is a very resilient town, close-knit community it will come back. when you are in a town of 50,000 people, this is going to affect everyone in the community and it is going to be a long time till they get back, but they will get back. and i can't say enough for fema and the status -- the state folks and the national level. everyone is really pitching in and putting a lot of boots on the ground here. we had 4 or 500 first responders
from about 100-mile radius this morning, first thing to get out and start a search and rescue. every once in a while, you will hear a siren and we kind of have a hopeful look in our eye when we hear that we hope they got a report of a survivor they are going after to get. >> you are standing in front of that hospital devastated, virtually destroyed, i'm sure you have been there over the years on many occasions. did the folks man arrange the patients, the doctors, the nurses, did they manage to find safety there or unfortunately, some of them die? >> i don't know. there were several death notis e hospital, i don't know who they were. there was a nurse that reported that one gentleman was pulled out the sixth story window and just -- it was kind of like the movie "twister," i guess, where the devastation is beyond description. we saw a car today wrapped around a tree and we could not tell if it was a van, a pickup, a car, completely bent around the tree. it just -- the park willing lot behind me here, i don't think you can probably see it but
there's a hell couldn't they're came off the top of the hospital -- hehospita hospital -- helicopter that came off the top of the hospital and i haven't heard yet if was an f 4 or f 5 and it was the 12th most deadly -- i mean the fourth most deadly the country has ever seen. the death toll is 116 and expect that to rise. >> told it was an f 4, a powerful, powerful tornado. folks got word that joplin had a tornado moving in that direction. did the early warning system work the way it was supposed to work? >> i think that it did and it saved a lot of lives and also being sunday afternoon saved a lot of lives. just think what if they would have been the high school full of students and middle school full of students instead of being on a sunday afternoon. but we get warnings -- we are tornado alley here, we are used
to tornadoes, but not this type. a lot of times people hear a tornado warning and won't seek shelter, unfortunately. this time though, a lot of people did seek shelter. i talked to some people in an ihop and one of the gentleman made everybody go into the kitchen. some said they didn't want to leave their food there. when they came out of the kitchen, that was all left of the building. >> is the federal government giving you what you need now, congressman or more help is on the way? tell me the response from fema and the federal government. >> the response has been outstanding. speaker boehner call me this morning and offered what ever assistance we need. leader pelosi called and said everyone was in her thoughts and prayers she offered assistance we need. i talked to deputy director of fema today, and he told me we have the state people, regional people in today. we will have the national fema people in within 24 hours.
so they are really doing the right thing, the governor declared it a disaster area early on, called in national guard that has been very beneficial to the folks here in joplin. >> finally, congressman, where were you when this tornado hit? >> we were at -- it was my daughter's 25th birthday and we were over at some friend's house. there was two or three that have birthdays at the same time and i had just arrived over there and then i started getting tweets and texts about the storm and, of course, turned on the tv. i live about 70 miles from here in springfield and this's where i was. we came over this morning, we didn't cry tricome over in the dark last night but at the crack of dawn we came up and came here in daylight and just trying to do what little we can to try to help the people here and let them know that there are people coming to their aid. >> so your town of springfield was okay? >> yes, uh-huh. we had debris in springfield from this hospital. we had x-rays end up 60, 70 miles from here in springfield. so, that tell its you the power of this storm.
>> amazing. all right. congressman, good luck to you, good luck to all the folks in joplin and surrounding areas of missouri. we will stay on top of this story. appreciate it very much. >> you bet. thank you. heartbreaking scenes of destruction. we are going to go back to joplin, missouri, where residents will tell us about the storm that leveled so much of their city. and another republican joins the field of contenders for 2012. we will tell you who's in, who's out, who's next. stand by. president obama gets a very warm embrace from the crowd in dublin as he traces his irish roots.
itchy, irritated skin... not only does cortaid 12-hour advanced cream relieve itch fast, but a clinical study shows its unique itch shield technology lasts longer than the leading cream. for 12 hour protection. for long lasting protection try cortaid. jack cafferty has the american dream on his mind. he is here with the cafferty file. jack (we have huge problems with money and debt in this country right now, huge. unemployment still high, good-paying jobs continuing to be scarce. the housing market remains terrible. home values are down on the
year, a record number of properties are in foreclosure. banks now own 872,000 homes, according to the "new york times," twice as many as in 2007 and they are in the process of foreclosing on 1 million more. scary stuff. despite all this though, most americans believe the american dream is alive and well, according to the pew economic mobility project. 68% of americans say they have achieved or will achieve the american dream. but the poll also found that less than one-third of americans think their personal finances are either excellent or good. that number has declined steadily since the beginning of the investigation and does not bode well for their kids or their kids' kids. when asked if they thought their children will have a higher standard of living than they currently enjoy, fewer than half of all americans, only 47%, said yes. just two years ago, 62% said their kid once better off than they are. and those kids probably don't know what's a in store for them
either n a separate poll of children 12 to 17 john don by junior achievement and the allstate foundation only 7% think they will be worse off than their parents a whopping 89% think they will be the same or better off. the eternal optimism of youth. here's the question. does the next generation have a shot at the american dream? go to cnn.com/caffertyfile. post a comment on my blog. >> jack, thank you. president obama getting a raucous rock star welcome in dublin today before he headed to london. ireland was the first stop on his whirlwind six-day four-nation european tour. mr. obama's great, great, great, great grandfather. got? great, great, great, great grandfather left the tiny -- left the tiny irish village for the united states back in 18 50 during the great famine. before a cheering crowd of thousands, mr. obama paid
tribute to ireland's bond with the united states. listen to this. >> hello, ireland. my name is barack obama. of the muni gal obamas. and i have come home to find the apostrophe that we lost along the way.oneygall obamas. and i have come home to find the apostrophe that we lost along the way. and america doesn't really require irish blood. so, understand that ours is a proud, enduring, centuries old relationship. we are bound by history and friendship and shared values. and that's why i've come here today, as an american president to reaffirm those bonds of
affection. earlier today, michelle and i visited moneygall where we saw my ancestral home and dropped by the local pub and we received a very warm welcome from all the people there, including my long-lost eighth cousin, henry. [ laughter ] henry now is affectionately known as henry viii and remarkable to see the small town where a young shoemaker named farmer carney, my great, great, great grand father, my grandfather's grandfather, lived his early life. and i was shown the records from the parish, recording his birth. this little country that
inspires the biggest things, your best days are still ahead. our greatest triumphs in america and ireland alike are still to come. and ireland, if anyone ever says otherwise, if anybody ever tells you that your problems are too big or your challenges are too great that we can't do something, that we shouldn't even try, think about all that we've done together. remember that whatever hardships the winter make bring, springtime's always just around the corner. and if they keep on arguing with you, just respond with a simple creed, yes we can. yes, we can. for all you contribute to the character of the united states of america and the spirit of the
world, thank you. and may god bless the eternal friendship between our two great nations. thank you very much, everybody. thank you, dublin. thank you, ireland. >> footnote, by the way, take a look at this. what happened to one of the secret service limos, nicknamed the beast. it got stuck at the top of the driveway as it was leaving the u.s. embassy in dublin. president obama, by the way you was not in the car. no one, fortunately, was hurt. a killer tornado deals a staggering blow to joplin, missouri, amid an urgent search and rescue operation under way i right now. residents tell about the incredible force of nature that flattened their homes and claim so many lives. plus, what it was like when the tornado struck. the sights and the sounds of looming destruction. ♪ [ male announcer ] in 2011, at&t is at work, building up our wireless network all across america.
we're adding new cell sites... increasing network capacity, and investing billions of dollars to improve your wireless network experience. from a single phone call to the most advanced data download, we're covering more people in more places than ever before in an effort to give you the best network possible. at&t. rethink possible. better than any other luxury brand. ♪ intellichoice proclaims that lexus has the best overall value of any brand. ♪ and j.d. power and associates ranks lexus the highest in customer satisfaction. no wonder more people have chosen lexus over any other luxury brand 11 years in a row. see your lexus dealer.
back to our top story right now the killer twister that has absolutely devastated the city of joplin, missouri, now tied for the deadliest on record. 116 people are confirmed killed by the twister that total could rise. urgent rescue efforts now under way but the search is hampered by widespread destruction. some 2,000 buildings have been damaged or destroyed. the city has been cut in half. go live to cnn's casey wian on the scene for us with the latest in joplin. case? i. >> reporter: search and rescue efforts have been hampered all day long by persistent storms
that have been moving through this area. we just had one a couple of minutes ago that was just pounding rain, huge burst of lightning and thunder. really, could you feel it in your body. we spent part of today with the search and rescue team, part of today with residents trying to dill dig through the rubble of their homes. none of them have ever seen anything like this. this will give you an idea of the devastation caused by the tornado that ripped through joplin, missouri last night. over here, you can see cars overturned. you can see debris scattered everywhere. over here, you can see a tree or part of a tree has actually gone through the rear window of this car. behind that, you can see an apartment complex, the residents say that this was actually beautiful apartment building before 6 p.m. local time last night. >> it was really just start offing with hail. i'm used to that and then it just went insane afterwards. >> the winds were so strong it made my ears pop. i mean, my ears kept popping. the force, you know, the suction of it i mean it literally lifted
up the ceiling fan t drop it had back down on us. >> reporter: people are trying to grab everything they can out of their homes. and complicating the search and rescue effort, which is still ongoing is the fact that another storm cell has just moved through here, bringing 60-mile-an-hour winds with, quarter-sized hail. here, you can see the downed power lines. over there you can see destruction as far as the eye can see. >> it's a sad event. money can replace a vehicle. it's more about the lives that are lost. >> reporter: we have moved to a new location. this is actually a home depot, almost flattened by this incredible tornado. the search and rescue teams have just arrived at this location. one of the concerns they have is a young lady here who has told us that her father and her uncle were shopping in this home depot when the tornado hit and she believes they are still in inside that rubble. >> my dad and my uncle are in there and i'm just hoping and praying to god they are okay.
>> when was the last time you heard from them >> before the tornado hit. >> reporter: 24 hours after that tornado hit, we still do not know the fate of that young woman that 17-year-old girl's father and uncle. we do know that one person was rescued alive from that collapsed home depot. we also know that three dead bodies were pulled out of that collapsed structure, we just don't know their identities at this hour, wolf. >> you have covered these kinds of stories over the the years. have you seen devastation like this? >> reporter: i haven't. actually this is my first tornado that i have covered and i have covered floods and i'm from southern california and covered a fair number of ex. and this kind of destruction is like something i've never seen. it's really unbelievable. and even the people who live here, who go through tornadoes on a regular basis say they have never experienced anything like this, wolf. >> all right, casey, thanks very
much. we will check back with you. imagine if you were one of the 20 people who huddled inside a very dark convenience store refrigerator as the tornado struck joplin. listen. you can clearly hear the terror, the screams, the prayers for survival. listen closely. >> we're good. we're good. >> oh, my god. [ screaming ] >> jesus. jesus. jesus. oh, help me, god.
>> i love you. i love everyone, man. >> we are going to be okay. >> i love you. >> jesus. jesus. jesus. heavenly father. thank you, jesus. >> fortunately, those people survived in that refrigerator inside that convenience store. to find out how you can help, help those devastated by the tornadoes in missouri, go to cnn.com/impact. there, you will find all the organization s and the ways you can help those in des vat spralt need right now. cnn.com/impact. interrupting volcano changes president obama's travel plans. he arrived in london much sooner than expected. you will find out if the fast-spreading ash plume will ground other travelers' flights over europe. is the taliban taking deadly revenge for the killing of bin laden? a key naval base in pakistan comes under attack. stay with us. you are in "the situation room." losing weight clicked for me
when i realized that weight watchers online is for guys. all the guys, they think, "do some crunches. that'll just make you thin right away." that just doesn't work. so with weight watchers online, it teaches you about doing the right things when you're eating. there's something called a digital cooler. grab some beer, maybe some chips, and you can stay on plan. i lost 57 pounds. i pick up a 55-pound weight and i cannot believe that used to be right here. [ male announcer ] hurry, join for free today. weight watchers online for men. finally, losing weight clicks.
pakistan's military takes on the taliban and the consequences deadly. lisa sylvester is monitoring that and some of the other top store phillies situation room right now what's the latest? >> hi, wolf. pakistan's interior minister says his country faces a 9/11 every single day. in what some fear could be another revenge attack for bin laden's death, the pakistani taliban attacked a naval base in car karachi, 10 killed and 15 wounded. the mothers of detained hikers promise to continue their hunger strike until the men are released. they were able to phone home briefly and their calls lasted barely five minutes but the family says their loved ones sounded "reasonably well".both men are on a hunger video i can to protest their letters being withheld. iran accuses them of being spice. the u.s. says that is meritless. ash from an erupting volcano in iceland prompted president obama's air force one to leave
ireland for london today instead of tomorrow. the spreading plume is expected to hit british airspace on tuesday. the volcanic fallout closed iceland's airspace over the weekend with igniting fears of another mass cancellation like the ones we saw last year but aviation authorities say they don't expect that to happen. the supreme court is ordering california to reduce its swelling prison population. that could send thousands of inmates to county jails. in a 5-4 ruling, the nation's highest court says having more than 150,000 people crammed into california's prisons falls belet standard of decency. the state has two years to comply. right now, prisoners are stacked three deep in six by nine-foot cells intended to hold only one person. once every eight days or so an inmate there commits suicide, wolf. >> lisa, thank you. the gop field for the white house in 2012 getting clearer today. we are learning who's in, who's
out, at least so far. find out who tops the candidate wish list in one key state for the republicans. and guess what, he is not even officially in the race yet. plus, misjudging judgment day. what that preacher who predicted the rapture is saying now. [ male announcer ] in 2011, at&t is at work, building up our wireless network all across america. we're adding new cell sites... increasing network capacity, and investing billions of dollars to improve your wireless network experience. from a single phone call to the most advanced data download, we're covering more people in more places than ever before in an effort to give you the best network possible. at&t. rethink possible. yet an instant classic." with sports car styling and power, plus the refinement and space of a luxury sedan,
the jaguar xf is a timeless blend of performance and craftsmanship. see how jaguar outperforms the competition at jaguarperforms.com or visit your local jaguar dealer. two of the most important are energy security and economic growth. north america actually has one of the largest oil reserves in the world. a large part of that is oil sands. this resource has the ability to create hundreds of thousands of jobs. at our kearl project in canada, we'll be able to produce these oil sands with the same emissions as many other oils and that's a huge breakthrough. that's good for our country's energy security and our economy.
the former minnesota governor tim paul helpty officially announced his presidential campaign today. while the gop race is starting to take shape, some republicans aren't very excited about their options, at least so far. cnn's jim acosta has been looking into that. jim? >> reporter: wolf, just because the republican field for 2012 got a little more defined in the last 48 hours doesn't mean
everything is fine in inside the gop. >> i'm tim pawlenty and i'm running for president of the united states. >> reporter: tim pawlenty chose iowa to plow into the race for 2012, not too far from the nearest cornfield, the former minnesota governor brought the crop of gop candidates closer to harvest. >> so, in my campaign, i'm going to take a different approach, i'm gonna tell you the truth and the truth is, washington, d.c.'s broken. >> reporter: another nagging truth is that some republicans don't exactly see a gop field of dreams with indiana governor mitch daniels turning down a run over the weekend, conservatives would like more options. >> frankly, we are disappointed. now, obviously, we have to start looking and i was just saying this morning, maybe it is time to start drafting paul ryan. >> reporter: as in house budget committee chairman paul ryan who said no repeat lichltd. >> i have been very clear about this i'm not running for president. >> reporter: gop voters nearly split in new hampshire, 51%
somewhat or very satisfied and a large 43% somewhat or to very dissatisfied with the slate of candidates. still, party insiders believe the field is almost set. take the names of who's in and likely in, add the next potential contenders expected to jump in or out soon and some conservative activists like what they see. >> i'll okay with this field. this isn't my first rodeo, i participated in 2007 and '8 as well. people weren't excited about that field. >> i'm very -- >> reporter: across the pond, president obama doesn't seem to be getting too excited here n ireland, he downed a pint of guinness and got a stout reception from thousands gathered in streets of dub lip. unfortunately for republicans, the president's speech was delivered at the same time as the pawlenty announcement. >> i feel even more at home after that pint that i had. >> reporter: there are other reasons why the gop field is almost set. big names like chris christie and jeb bush have again said no. there is another reason. money. the president expected to raises
close to $1 billion for his re-election bid, it is only going to get more difficult for a republican to make a late entry into the race. wolf? >> jim, thank you. there certainly would seem to be a lot of candidates for republicans to pick from. some find the choice to be, shall we say, underwomening? our chief political analyst gloria bornlger is here with more on this part of the story. i would say this and we have covered politics for some time, you never know it is still pretty early. >> you never know. there are a lot of people say they can disappointed, obviously, some of the establishment front runners like mitch daniels and haley barbour decided not to run. but you and i remember, wolf, lots of presidential campaigns we thought the field wasn't that terrific. now the one that i remember the most is back in 1992. we used to talk about how the favorites in the democratic field did not get n take a look at this. in 91992, everybody thought maro
cuomo, dick gephardt and of course, al gore, they were going to get in and beat george h. w. bush h they decided not to get n then in the fall of 1991, as the campaign heated up, you had massachusetts senator paul tsongas got in. people thought, okay, that's fine. then you had three more -- four more candidates join in, one of them, of course, was of the relatively unknown democratic governor from arkansas, bill clinton. people didn't know who he was really are. they know he had given a couple of lousy speeches. and lo and behold, in the end, it was bill clinton who started talking about the economy, making bush 41 look out of touch. next thing you know, he is president of the united states. >> at this point in 1991, george h. w. bush had much better numbers than president obama. >> i was talking to a republican today who actually worked on that camp pay he said to me, you know, i remember how cocky we were back in the 1992 campaign,
thinking there was no way the democrats were going to beat us. and look at these numbers. they had good reasons to be optimistic about their chances. in 1991, unemployment, 4.5%, presidential approval, 74%. that was after the the gulf war, of course. now, if you look, today's unemployment, 9%, presidential approval, 52%. so, obviously, if you're just a republican looking at this, you'd say, you know what this nomination is worth having if you look at the state of the economy right now. and most people in this country believe that it's headed down the wrong track. so, if unemployment remains high, whomever the republican candidate is is going to have a real shot at the presidency. >> if the white house guys get really cocky right now, they would be making huge mistakes. >> they are not, i will tell you that. >> thanks very much. gas prices have been soaring for weeks, but just in time for memorial day weekend, they are finally going down a little bit almost it last though? and what do you do when the
news just coming into the situation room right now, lisa sylvester is back, monitoring the latest development and other top stories. lisa? >> palestinian authority prime minister is in a texas hospital after suffering a heart attack. doctors say he felt chest pains yesterday while visiting austin for his son's grant situation for his son's graduation from the university of texas. they found a blocked artery which they treated and he is said to be in good condition. gas prices have dropped about nine cents in the last two weeks. aaa says gas is now about $3.48 on average, it had soared after the middle east unrest, the refinery flooding and out ans. and outdoor smoking ban signed into law by mayor michael bloomberg, no smoking is en -- smoking by the way is also
banned in new york city's times square. and the nation's streets may be just a little bit safer. preliminary figures from the fbi showed crime dropped 5.5% last year, specifically murders and rapes fell just over 4% while robberies went down 9.5%. the biggest overall drop in violent crime was in the east, but it's a little bit of a different story in the northeast which saw murders go up 8%. >> getting back to the prime minister, we wish him a speedy, recovery, he's a very good man. let's check with jack. the question this hour is does the next generation have a shot at the american dream? mike in dayton, ohio wrote, i'm sick of hearing about the next generation inheriting a deficit. my parents and grandparents survived a world war and they succeeded. if the next generation is willing to put down their smart
phones, remove their headphones they might just realize the american dream. >> as long as they understand that achieving the american dream is based on ambition, personal hard work and accountability. if you're -- the government's on gaited to provide with all your wants and needs and some rich guy should pay for them, you should reach for some other country's dream. i just graduated from law school with student loans, i cannot find a job, nor can the majority of my classmates. most of my generation is not getting married just out of school like our parents did so there is no one to split the bills with either. i fear the answer to your question is no. layne in illinois writes, you're in the news business, look around, anybody who's being totally honest these days knows
that this country is headed for third world status. future generations won't have time for dreams, it will be all they can do to put food in their stomachs and find shelter from the elements. alex in washington says, not if this generation focuses more on xbox and face book instead of applying themselves to doing well in school. and if the american dream is to work for the department of motor vehicles and sit on your backside and collect a government handout, yes the american dream is alive and well. if you want to read more on this, go to my blog, cnn.com/cafferty file. >> people responding in big numbers on this question, jack? >> yes, they are. stunned witnesses say a nuclear bomb could not have caused as much damage. one of the worst tornadoes this country has ever seen tore through joplin, missouri, but will tuesday bring even more destruction? that's coming up at the top of the hour on john king usa.
♪ [ male announcer ] with amazing innovation, driven by relentless competition, wireless puts the world at your command. ♪ >> female announcer: where everything is included, sometimes the greatest luxury of all is doing nothing at all. save up to 65%. call 1-800-sandals. check it out, if you want to follow me on twitter @wolf
blitzer cnn, you can also follow me on facebook, cnn situation room. here's a closer look at some of this hour's hot shots. in tokyo, a group of buddhist mon monks demonstrated against nuclear power plants. in paris, the tennis spectators take a break from the french open to have lunch on the grass. and young people eagerly await president obama while showing off their obama shirts. hot shots, pictures coming in from around the world. the preacher who predicted last weekend's rapture says he's stunned it didn't come to pass. but everyone wants to know, what's his message now. >> reporter: what was good news for most of us -- >> the world did not come to an end. >> the world did not end.
>> reporter: was not such good for the leader predicting judgment day, knock, knock, who's there, someone from the international business times, looking for egg on the face of harold camping. >> give me a name. no one ever uses it all. this is a big deal and i've got to think it out. >> reporter: if you think it's bad coming to work after the weekend, imagine coming back to work when you're the guy who led people into believing in the rapture. those dire blow the trumpet warnings on the family radio website vanished as if they had been raptured, replaced with something much more down to earth. a tired new yorker who spent $140,000 of his own money on an ad campaign warning of judgment day showed up in times square as the hour of doom passed. robert fitzpatrick said he didn't understand why nothing had happened. >> it looks like god is giving us a break. >> reporter: but the crowd wasn't giving him a break from
being mobbed. >> the only thing that's going to happen is that it's going to rain, that's it. >> reporter: taiwanese animate fors mocked the leader of the rapture leaders showing him high-fiving jesus, kids on youtube rapped about rapture. in response to judgment day billboards, nonbelievers raised enough money to post a counter billboard in greensboro, north carolina saying that was awkward. okay, so the rapture didn't happen. but if it had happened, it might have looked like this. a concept of all these people ascending to heaven with their clothes left behind inspired a flurry of rapture prank photos, clothing left on a motorcycle, the rapture theme was