tv Starting Point CNN August 30, 2012 4:00am-6:00am PDT
about plaquemines parish that borders on st. bernard where i am standing and that's the developing story we're following and going to get to another big story coming to us out of tampa, florida. tonight is the main event at the republican national convention which is where fmer governor mitt romney is going to be accepting the republican presidential nomination. late last night mr. romney's running mate delivered a warning as he addressed the delegates in tampa. listen. >> ladies and gentlemen, these past four years we have suffered no shortage of words in the white house. what is missing is leadership in the white house. >> that as the rain starts pouring in here where we are, where we begin this morning which is in tampa, florida, and john berman is there for us. hey, john, good morning. >> good morning, soledad. tonight is the night for mitt romney, the one he has been waiting for for years. he will give the biggest speech of his political career
accepting his party's nomination and making the case for a romney presidency. the talk this morning, though, is focused on romney's running mate paul ryan who really fired up the convention crowd with a wide ranging attack on president obama's record and really his entire philosophy. i am joined by white house correspondent brianna kiehlar to walk us through this address. >> he hit him on the economy and it was the house budget chairman doing so and theomney campaign thinks he is a good messenger for this. in this election that is shaping up to be a referendum on president obama's economic policies, this is where paul ryan went. he said we have had four years of a runaround and now it is time for a turn around in mitt romney. here is part of what he said. >> it all started off with stirring speeches, greek columns, the thrill of something new. now all that's left is a presidency adrift, surviving on slogan that is already seem
tired, grasping at a moment that has already passed, like a ship trying to sail on yesterday's wind. >> the obama campaign has come out saying that basically what paul ryan said was a pack of lies and certainly fact checking on some things that are fair and we should mention there is a new web ad out today from the obama campaign and, john, it is really sort of the primary coming back to haunt mitt romney. they use words from him where he said severely conservative and from eric fehrnstrom, the etch-a-sketch moment and rick santorum talking about romney's business experience and a lot of attacks on bain capital, so certainly words that are coming back to live another day and probably words that mitt romney would not want to be hearing. >> certainly did not expect the obama campaign to remain quiet during the convention. the other person that really lit up the crowd was the former secretary of state condoleezza rice that gave a speech that seemed to inspire the delegates.
>> if paul ryan's goal was to bring up questions about the president's economic policies condoleezza rice's goal was to bring up questions about president obama's foreign policy experience and she basically said that he has decided to be a friend rather than a force. here is part of what she said. >> it is one of two things will happen if we don't lead. either no one will lead and there will be chaos or someone will fill the vacuum who does not share our values, so my fellow americans, we do not have a choice. we cannot be reluctant to lead and you cannot lead from behind. >> and you were in the room listening to this, the reception. i mean, the crowd really got excited, especially at that moment. >> for a woman who says she is not going to run for office it left a lotf people wondering if it one day was a possibility. a lot of speculation about someone else for the future, the former florida governor jeb bush, a very popular figure in
the republican party. in 15 minutes i will speak to the former governor, also a surrogate for mitt romney and for now let's go back to soledad in new orleans. >> thank you very much. in new orleans and outside of new orleans like where we are in st. bernard parish and right over that wall plaquemines parish, lots of flooding. that flooding is the big story here. the storm is still plotting its way across the state and inundating the state with lots of rain. want to get right to rob at the port of new orleans. we have seen bands of rain come in and drench us and it stops again. that's an improvement from yesterday. >> yeah. you know, i tell you what, the arms of isaac are going to continue, the fingers of this storm are going to continue and moisture for the gulf of mexico and we're going to see sporadic squall lines that will at time just dump tremendous amounts of water not only on new orleans but across the mississippi gulf coast and central louisiana, so that will be an on going threat.
live from the shores of lake pun paun pontchartrain. you see the pipes to the left that have the ability to pump 8,000 gallons of water per second. a couple are working at full power now. at the height of the storm all of these were working and working very well. the problem here on lake pontchartrain is that the storm surge from this inundated areas to our west and in la plosh we drove up and tried to get in because we heard it was flooded and unable to do so. this video is showing you just how much water they got and 18 wheeler tractor trailers almost completely submerged and then reports of the rescue effort and dra makts stuff coming out of that town and coast guard video showing their rescue efforts and managed to pluck off the roof of their home a family, a husband and wife and two dogs and they were able to signal the chopper using flashlights, and then
brought back to the base in belle chasse and this is what that family had to say about their experience. >> i think he had a harder time because he had the bigger dog. >> appreciation for what these guys do, i can tell you that. >> yes. >> they are god. >> top notch. >> god in a helicopter. >> just one of at least 200 rescues happening in that town alone and now this morning as our winds have turned from the south, on the other side of the lake similar flooding happening at the moment. flash flood warning out for the city of slidell. this storm not over by any stretch, and this lake right here just north of new orleans is one of the problems. soledad, back up to you. >> lots of areas very hard hit. rob marciano watching all of that. you heard slidell and belle chasse and plaquemines parish
also one of the hardest hit, at least four levees over topped and that created major, major flooding, forcing people who did not heed the mandatory evacuation order up to their roofs and some cases out of their windows and 100 had to be rescued from here yesterday. we spoke with parish president billy as it was happening and he joins us by phone. thank you for your time. appreciate it. first update me on the number of people who you believe you still need to pull out of homes behind me. i am at the flood wall in st. bernard parish between the parish and your parish. >> last night we believed they got everyone out but we at first like this morning the sheriff's office and and the national guard will looking going house to house to make sure they got everyone. we also are going to start an effort this morning on west bank. late yesterday i tried to get up highway 23 and the water was
rushing up high over 23 so fast that a herd of cattle and deer were running to get out of the flood waters and it is ironic, for katrina i was a private citizen, rode out the storm, and i rescued a family, brought them to my house, and as i attempted to get down river i got a call that the water came over the jefferson lake canal so fast that family had to flee on foot and eventually be rescue reasonable doubt and that family is living at my home again, the same family that i rescued got driven from their home on the west bank and my house is raised above the mississippi river levee, so it didn't flood. they had to be taken by boat to my house again and they're hunkering down there now. >> let's talk about plans. we have heard that they're going to try to breech the levees i think on the west bank and try to get that water now stuck in the parish and out into the
mississippi. is that right? when would that happen? >> actually going to breach the back levees as this wind dies down this morning. we're going down at first light by air boat on the west bank and as the wind dies down and the levees become visible through the water, we're going to strategically cut those levees and break those levees so the water can move out quickly. we're going to do that on the east and west bank and we have to wait for the wind to die down so it quits pushing the water in and the water that's over the levees can actually flow out and actually see the levees. there is no levees visible. this water came up so quick and so high and it just continued late last night coming up highway 23. the phillips 66 refinery built levees around their facility and seemed beholden and that water did come up around that refinery and the levees keeping that
refinery from flooding at this time. >> this wind is picking up, so hopefully it will die down as rob marciano is saying. billy nun gasser, thank you for joining us this morning. >> good morning. thanks, soledad. the national average for a gallon of regular gas $3.83, up 2 cents in the past 24 hours. midwest and southern states are the biggest increases because most of their gas comes from the gulf where the output is cut because of isaac. gas prices are expected to ease early next week as the refineries and pipelines in the gulf come back online. a florida appeals gort granted zimmerman's request. they asked for the judge to be removed because of disparaging comments and they say his right to a fair trial was at risk and
the appeals court agreed. george zimmerman is facing second degree murder charges for the fatal shooting trayvon martin back in february. university officials confirmed penn state's football team will have to return all trophies between 1998 and 2011 including several bowl game victories, part of the ncaa sanctions handed down for the school's role rather in the jerry sandusky child sexual abuse scandal. ahead on starting point romney, ryan, and the republican's chances next fall. former florida governor jeb bush talking about what we can expect tonight and we continue our live coverage of tropical storm now, tropical storm isaac live from st. bernard parish. soledad is there. the latest on rescue efforts. you're watching "starting point." [ female announcer ] the coffee house.
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welcome back, everybody. you're watching a special addition of "starting point" coming to you live from st. bernard parish in louisiana, hundreds of rescues under way ever since isaac blew through as a hurricane yesterday. many people left stranded in st. john parish after it went over the bank of lake pontchartrain and over topped a levee and flooded plaque minds parish and we're being told four leveeses were over topped forcing those that did not heed the ordinary to leave their homes. some cases this had to be rescued off the roof top or out of a window because the water came up so high in their homes and some of those rescues carried out by big hearted neighbors and the national guard here as well and the folk from the fish and wildlife as well here, and as we're sitting here in st. bernard parish many of the folks in st. bernard parish
were efforting the rescues in plaquemines parish right behind this flood wall. you see where it says 20 feet, that's a 20-foot flood wall. on the other side literally is 15 feet of water, if you were to open up that gate we would be utterly flooded. it is the flood wall that has been able to keep most st. bernard parish, at least this part not flooded and completely dry and on the other side, though, our neighborhoods, our homes, developments, and what happened there, 15 to 20 feet of water rushed in, actually submerge the those developments and those are the folks that had to be plucked from their homes and brought around this flood wall into st. bernard parish, the folks in st. bernard parish felt fortunate to be able to rescue people because, of course, it was the folks in st. bernard parish who were in part being rescued seven years ago in hurricane katrina. lieutenant colonel mike
kazmierzak joins me. i understand from the plaquemines parish president they don't think there are more people that need to be rescued here. what about in other parishs where they have had similar problems in terms of massive flooding? >> the head of operations are going on all over the southeastern part of the state and just last night we finished up -- we didn't finish up, but we evacuated probably more than 150 residents, people in need from plaquemines but the big thing is in st. john's we said high water vehicles, troops, security folks, down to st. john's parish yesterday in and through the night conducting evacuations all through the night. still on going. we have evacuated more than 3,000 residents in cooperation with the local authorities. >> wow. 3,000 people pulled out of st. john parish.
let me ask you a question about what the plan is now because obviously where do you take them once you're able to pull them out, especially in the large numbers? where are they going? >> going to shelters throughout the state that have been predesignated in coordination between the parish and the state authorities. they're getting out of harm's way. >> so obviously wind is a big problem today. it is much better than it was certainly yesterday. we have these bands of rain that keep coming in and dumping tons of water us on us. do you have to wait until it is clear? is wind going to be a problem and weather going to be a problem for you? >> well, the weather obviously plays a role in this, but that's what we do. the guards out front are working with our local officials and whether the weather is bad or not. like i say, we have been working all through the night and will continue working today and hopefully the winds that calm down and we'll be able to get aircraft up in the air and to
assist in those efforts. >> we certainly hope so. pointing out that st. john parish a focus of massive rescue efforts. thanks for talking with us. thank you for being with us. have to take a short break. still ahead we'll talk about politics, ron paul, the republicans chances next fall and former florida governor jeb bush will talk about what we can expect tonight and we continue our special live coverage of tropical storm isaac, now downgraded to a tropical storm. we'll continue to come to you live from st. bernard parish just outside of new orleans. you're watching "starting point." back right after this. [ male announcer ] citi turns 200 this year. in that time there've been some good days. and some difficult ones.
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welcome back to "starting point," everyone. we're live from the cnn grill here in tampa, the site of the republican national convention, and tonight is finally mitt romney's moment here. he will take the stage and accept the nomination for president. first, this morning all the talk is about his running mate, paul ryan, and his rousing speech last night. >> without a change in leadership why would the next four years be any different from the last four years? as we say mitt romney will speak tonight and al speaking tonight is the former governor of the state we're in right now, jeb bush. he joins us live from the tampa bay foreign venue, the floor of the convention where he will be speaking tonight and let me ask, give me a review of paul ryan's speech last night. >> i thought it was fantastic. the traditional role of the vice
president is to layout the reasons why the incumbent is not sderveing of rooekz, and i thought he did it and did it well and let people know what's in his heart and where he comes from. i thought it was a pretty compelling speech. >> he did talk about the president and what you call divisions quite well and there are people wonder field goal they were completely truthful. he talked about president obama's 2008 trip to a gm plant in janesville, wisconsin. i want to listen to what paul ryan said. >> right there at that plant candidate obama said i believe that if our government is there to support you, this plant will be here for another 100 years. that's what he said in 2008. well, as it turned out, that plant didn't last another year. it is locked up and empty to this day. >> now, the does i guess to
close the plant came in june 2008 when george w. bush, your brother was in office. was mr. ryan being misleading last night? >> not at all. those are the words that barack obama used. it was a campaign promise and yet another campaign promise unfulfilled. >> i know you talk about the budget and the debt and deficit quite a bit and congressman ryan did last night, too, and he criticized the president for not doing enough to cut spending. he also criticized the president for not acting on the simpson-bowles commission. listen to what he said on that. >> he created a new bipartisan debt commission. they came back with an urgent report. he thanked them, sent them on their way and did exactly nothing. >> if the president did nothing, didn't paul ryan do less than nothing or more than nothing? he actually voted against the simpson-bowles commission. >> he voted against it because
he did not have any aspect of it that included entitlement reform which is the most pressing budget issue that our country faces, and the ryan budget does deal with that over the long haul, and so to suggest that paul ryan is not completely truthful when he is the only guy in washington, d.c. that's actually put out a comprehensive plan with a budget attached to it i think is wrong. >> i want to talk about an issue i know is close to your heart, outreach to minorities, specifically on the issue of immigration. the republican platform has language that is calls for any form of amnesty and calls for end to deportation and funding for sanctuary cities. do you think the language and tone of this platform is the right message right now from your party? >> i think the tone couldn't be better and i think i am more interested in what president to be mitt romney's views on this are and i am comfortable with those views. i think he will be a president that will try to solve our immigration problem by securing the border, but then turning this conversation into how can
we create sustained economic growth by using a catalytic converter for growth in the pursuit of dreams and that's an immigration policy that allows people to come in legally and be able to add value and vitality to our country. president obama has had four years, two of which he had democratic control of congress where he promised he was going to have comprehensive immigration reform. he hasn't even submitted it to congress. >> i would be remiss if i didn't mention the daily show calling the coverage from tampa florida the republican national convention, the road to jeb bush, 2013. >> i am always honored when jon stewart using me as a prop. >> governor jeb bush, thank you for joining us from the floor. good luck on your speech and hopefully we'll see you soon. >> thanks a lot. >> back to you, soledad, in new orleans. >> we're going to continue to follow the track of isaac as it
is now a tropical storm dumping inches of rain water. 're also going to talk to one of the heroes of this storm, a man who went out in the midst of the storm to rescue his neighbors and a big night at the rnc, vice presidential nominee paul ryan rallies the republican faithful. we'll talk to peter cain of new york and what you can expect from mitt romney's speech tonight. you're watching a special edition of "starting point." stay with us. (train horn) vo: wherever our trains go, the economy comes to life. norfolk southern. one line, infinite possibilities. ari'm fine.y, babe?
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welcome back, everybody. you're watching "starting point" special edition as we continue to cover what is tropical storm isaac. in a few moments we'll talk to jesse shafer, hailed as a hero of isaac, part of the cajun navy going out in the middle of the storm to try to rescue his neighbors. also ahead this morning, new york congressman peter king will weigh in on paul ryan's speech last night.
in that speech he bashed president obama, made factual errors or exaggerations as well, and he will look forward to mitt romney's speech. that's all ahead. that is our "starting point." let's get right to john berman covering that ng ahe will for us. >> good morning, soledad. as you said paul ryan was on stage last night and blasted the president on several issues, the economy, health care, his overall leadership and by in large he left tough talk on foreign policy to more seasoned hands like senator john mccain and former secretary of state condoleezza rice. i have a seasoned foreign policy on hand this morning, peter gainey, the chief of the house homeland security agency. talk about paul ryan. you were on the sfloor. the delegation seemed to love the speech. >> paul ryan is a great guy, so i am biassed on this but many people in new york have never seen paul ryan before. i have been telling him all week he will resonate and we have a number of competitive congressional races in suburban
areas and i am confident paul will appeal to them. the average husband and wife, mother and father, grandparents, watching paul ryan, and i think they will be very moved. >> i think we anticipated bias already so you don't have to apologize for that. paul ryan did talk some about foreign policy and i want to listen to what he said. let's listen. >> in our dealings with other nations, romney-ryan mr. speak with clarity. they know know that the american president is on their side. >> you have a congressman with little foreign policy experience. as a ticket there isn't a lot of experience there. how and why would they be ready for president obama. >> i would say the commitment and i worked with paul and i know he has excessive knowledge of foreign policy issues and what he said last night i think has to be really the message
from the republican party that president obama has been inconsistent on foreign policy and what he let happened in iran is inexcusable and all of this i would say what ryan and rick santorumly have to do a-- romne there won't be apology tour for mitt romney. >> the american people don't seem to agree at lisa correspondeding to our most recent cnn poll and who is better able to handle foreign policy. president obama enjoys 55 to 40% lead now. if you're right, why are the american people wrong? >> the issue hasn't been defined. the main issue is the economy. when people look at foreign policy this he see osama bin laden. >> and i think americans approved pulling the troops out of iraq. >> that was begun by president bush. when you start with condy rice and john mccain and once you get behind the big victories and they were big, no doubting it,
seei what he has done as far as israel, iran, the british, the inconsistent policies, as far as really not working closely with our allies, we'll see the policy is not as good as people think it is right now. >> senator mccain spoke about an aissue close to your heart and i want to listen to what he said. >> we can't afford to have the security of our nation -- we can't afford to have the security of our nation and those who bravely defend it in danger because their government leaks secrets of their heroic operations to the media. >> as i said, you accused the white house of leaks as well. do you have any hard evidence? >> first of all, just the white house's own statements. the stories are in the "new york times" that talk about the cyber attacks on iran and came from people in the national security council meetings. that's the white house. so are meeting in the oval office. that's the white house. these are the people closest to the president. right after the killing of osama
bin laden, the details given out as far as the routes the helicopters took, how many people on the mission, all that should have ever been said is last night the united states military killed osama bin laden. that's all that should have been said. >> this white house has had more prosecutions for leaks than any other, a record number, six for mr. obama's first term compared to three for the entire eight years under george w. bush. >> prosecution can talk about that, middle level people not administration spokes men and people in the administration. we're talking about people in the national security council, a small circle of advisers, a policy in yemen where we penetrate the highest levels of al qaeda. nobody in congress knew about it, the small circle in the cia, the white house, entire thing leaked. >> i know you hate talking to the media. nice to have you in here. >> i like talking to you. >> thank you very much. i want to go back to the today's headlines. christine romans is in new york. >> tropical storm isaac a big threat this morning. nearly a million customers
without power in four states and the national weather service in new orleans has issued a flash flood emergency for slidell, louisiana. that's until 9 a.m. local time. the storm still a huge rain maker and isaac is on the move. let's bring in meteorologist karen mcginnis in the cnn headquarters. >> want to show you this google earth. here is new orleans. here is slidell. looks like one of the byous has back filled tlx. there is a report from the fire department that about 80% of the businesses in downtown slidell are reporting some flooding. they're saying that this will continue as the bands of rainfall move on shore. let's show you that radar imagery. right now we're picking up plenty of moisture from the gulf of mexico. these bands are tending to move a little further towards the
east but nonetheless slidell located just about in this vicinity. as i mentioned, it is just to the north, slightly northeast of new orleans which continues to see its fair share of rainfall. as i mentioned, these bands can't produce heavy rain. here is slidell now. looks like there is a watch out and flooding potential is great across this region. it doesn't look like the lefys have been breached but the flood waters are going around it, even around the railroad tracks and that's why slidell is in danger right now. they say they are continuing evacuations across the region, and it looks like slidell you could see another band move through perhaps within the next ten to 15 minutes that could produce pretty significant rainfall rates. we continue to monitor the situation around slidell and we'll keep you updated on that. >> thank you, karen. all of that rain will move inland in the drought stricken areas of the midwest need water
desperately. the downpours will not necessarily help. some moisture ahead of the planting of winter wheat could be birnl and the huge rainfalls expected could knock down corn, soybean and rice crops already week from the worst drought in 50 years. crop diseases thrive in wet field conditions. the west nile virus is responsible for 66 deaths across the u.s. this year. the cdc says almost 1600 cases have been reported so far and that is the highest number of west nile cases through the last week of august since the virus was first detected in the u.s. some 13 years ago. president obama's online campaign is in full swing. the president took to the social media website read it yesterday. he spent about 30 minutes on the site taking questions about afghanistan and the corrupting influence of money on politics. to soledad for the big story right down there in st. bernard parish. good morning.
>> we continue to monitor what's happening here as this thing is now a tropical storm and as we have been hearing, of course, from our meteorologists, obviously the weather bands are coming in and every so often we get drenched. i want to talk about the dramatic rescues that happened in plaquemines parish as the flood waters moved in. the parish is literally behind me behind this wall and it wasn't just the national guard or the fish and wildlife that came. it wasn't just the various police departments and fire departments that came. it was also neighbors able to grab their boats and do what they could to help other neighbors. they're being hailed and being called the cajun navy. jesse shafer junior and his dad are two members of the cajun navy and joins me by phone. can you hear me? >> yes, i can. good morning. >> congratulations to you. you are being credited with saving so many people's lives. give me a sense of how you knew that there was going to be a big problem with the water and you were able to get your boat right in it right where i am i think if i am not mistaken and put it right in the water and go in and
rescue your neighbors? >> about 4:00 this morning, last night, whenever it was, the surge had risen from normal tide to the road within an hour and we knew there was going to be a problem. it continued to rise out morning and we had to head out there and start saving people. we knew there was people in the park and the subdivision a. >> so the park is literally right behind me. you knew people were there. you went in and navigated the streets that i know you know well with your boat. who were the first you saw and how were you able to rescue them? >> it was dark so we had to go in with light and they had people on the roofs, and i live in that subdivision, so i knew about who was in there, i would get phone calls and messages on
facebook. just exactly how you would be in there. >> messages on facebook led to you various people you knew were missing because obviously i was trying to ig if out how you could track down in such dark circumstances and inclement weather. tell me about the people you pulled out. >> in that subdivision alone we pulled out one couple with a cat, one couple with a six month old baby. we had to bust through an attic and ventilation system to get a 70-year-old man with four dogs, and another individual and we had to rescue two pumping station operators back in the back. we pulled out about 15 in that area. >> wow. very impressive. jesse, i know you're about 25 years old, you and your dad doing that, so we really say thank you and congratulations for being such an incredible
hero at a time when it was certainly needed. jesse shafer joining us. congrats to your dad as well. we're going to take a short break. when we come back we'll continue to update you on what's happening here in the wake of hurricane isaac which is now a tropical storm. we're monitoring severe flooding in the area. you heard about the warnings in slidell and massive rescue efforts going on in st. john's parish and plaquemines parish badly hit and we're continuing to watch all the top stories. the other story is the rnc, the republican national convention under way and we'll hear from the presidential hopeful, hoping to be named nominee today officially, that would be mitt romney. going to hear his speech tonight. we have a preview of that straight ahead. one is for a clean, wedomestic energy future
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live at the republican national convention. tonight mitt romney will accept his party's nomination for president. last night it was his running mate, paul ryan, who really made his debut on the national stage. he is now officially the gop nominee for vice president. gave a big speech but a lot of people are talking about a different speech, one that came before from condoleezza rice. listen in. >> when the world looking at us today, they see an american government that cannot live within its means. they see an american government that continues to borrow money, that will mortgage the future of generations to come. the world knows that when a nation loses control of its financing, it eventually loses control of its destiny. >> with me now is representative marsha blackburn, a republican congresswoman from tennessee and co-chair of the republican platform committee. when the former secretary of state started speaking during the convention last night seemed
to me that someone flipped a switch and light came over that hall. >> absolutely it did. she energized that hall. it was a remarkable speech. i think she laid out what -- how our domestic problems affect us and on the global stage, and she did that very well, but didn't you love how she brought it back to a personal story at the end? >> an amazing personal story and growing up in alabama ultimately and going from foggy bottom. my colleague wolf blitzer commented during the coverage, he said isn't it interesting the biggest and best and most well received speeches in the convention so far seem to be from women? >> indeed they are. i think there is a reason for that. there are so many accomplished, qualified women in the republican party. if you want to say why don't all of these women come to the forefront as regularly as they should, i think that our republican leadership needs to allow women to step forward and
kind of open that pathway a little bit more. >> susanna martinez gave a heck of a speech. condoleezza rice, possible presidential candidate one day? >> i would love to see that. she is a good friend and so accomplished and so qualified and would be an excellent leader. >> how good does mitt romney have to be tonight? >> he is going to hit a home run. >> if he doesn't? >> he is going to hit a home run. it will be a great speech. >> that's your story and you're sticking to it. thank you very much for joining us. soledad, back to you in new orleans. >> all right, john. we continue to have these bands of rain and wind blow through. seems that every time you come back to me another rain storm picks up a little bit. we'll continue to follow what's happening in the aftermath and the affects of what is now tropical storm isaac. flooding is the big problem in
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isaac is now a tropical storm, but those bands of weather keep rolling through. obviously, flooding is a big problem. let's go right to dave mattingly in gulfport, mississippi, for us this morning where i have to imagine, david, the effects are very similar as the storm moves through. >> that's right. in fact, when i was talking to you this time yesterday, it looked and felt exactly like this. look, we just got pounding rain right now. tropical storm force winds.
this storm not done by a long shot with the mississippi gulf coast. here in gulfport, we've had 9 3/4 inches of rain so far, 3 1/2 inches more than we've seen in new orleans. and that number is obviously going to be going up by the hour here as this rain continues to fall, causing problems all across the gulf. what we have seen here in mississippi, the biggest problems with flooding we've seen, have been in bay st. louis. that community was hit very hard by hurricane katrina. the flooding they saw this time, you know, they expected to see flooding there. but because the storm just stalled and parked here and kept dumping rain, they got a lot more flooding than they were prepared for. so a lot of high water there that they are dealing with. over in biloxi, on the other side of us, they had a lot of street flooding. this is why state officials closed the casinos there before this storm came in, because for a while their streets in some places were almost impassable
with the high water there. in waveland, mississippi, we heard about this from the governor of mississippi, he was telling us about how there were a number of people who had to be rescued, got caught by surprise when those floodwaters came up suddenly. they had to be brought out by boat. but here in gulfport, you see what the story is. just continued rain, wave after wave after wave. and we've also had reports of tornadoes in the area. one small tornado confirmed touched down, damaging one house here. and the conditions still exist for those tornadoes to occur. we're not out of the woods here yet. the totals of rainfall keep going up. and as long as we're having rain, there is not going to be any relief, soledad, for all of the people who are dealing with the floodwaters right now. >> all right. david mattingly for us updating us on what's happening in gulfport and around gulfport, mississippi. appreciate it. a lot more to come this
morning. we'll continue to update you on what's happening at the rnc today as we are expecting to hear from governor mitt romney as he officially accepts his party's nomination. we have a senior adviser to mitt romney. we'll be chatting with him straight ahead. touches your lips. the delightful discovery, the mid-sweetening realization that you have the house all to yourself. well, almost. the sweet reward, making a delicious choice that's also a smart choice. splenda no-calorie sweetener. with the original sugar-like taste you love and trust. splenda makes the moment yours. ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] you've been years in the making. and there are many years ahead.
hi, everybody. welcome. you're watching a special edition of "starting point" coming to you this morning from st. bernard parish, where the rain is once again coming down in sheets and there's high wind. we are covering tropical storm isaac. it's still a tropical storm, but still making quite a mess here. neighborhoods still at risk after the water has overtopped four levees. it has flooded homes and entire neighborhoods, in fact. we'll continue to watch this story obviously and cover all of the flooding that has happened
in this area. the other big story from tampa, florida. tonight the main event at the republican national convention, mitt romney will be officially accepting his party's nomination for president. last night, his running mate delivered a warning pretty much. he was addressing the delegates in tampa. >> ladies and gentlemen, these past four years we have suffered no shortage of words in the white house. what is missing is leadership in the white house. >> our "starting point" this morning is the republican national convention. let's get to john berman in tampa. >> good morning, soledad. mitt romney is really set to take the giant step forward tonight on the road to the white house tonight, accepting his party's nomination officially as the republican nomination live in tampa. last night was paul ryan's night. he took direct aim at president obama and made the case for the gop ticket. the other big speech of the
night came from former secretary of state condoleezza rice. she really lit up the crowd last night. cnn white house correspondent brianna keilar is here with me to sum up what happened. >> that's right. and also, you know, a lot of this had to do with the economy, the comments from paul ryan. he is the house budget chairman after all. and certainly the campaign feels he is a good messenger to talk about that. let's talk about faith. that did come up. we heard from mike huckabee talking about how he is an evangelical, and yet the differences between he and governor romney are not very far apart. and we also heard paul ryan is a catholic, talking about this. here's what he said. >> mitt and i also go to different churches, but at any church, the best kind of preaching is done by example. and i've been watching that example. [ applause ] >> the man who will accept your nomination tomorrow is prayerful and faithful and honorable.
>> he said basically they may not have the same religion, but they have the same values. and we're expecting that governor romney will touch on this topic tonight. his aides say this is not a faith speech, but certainly it's an important part of his life, and this is something that he will discuss as well. >> what are the other topics for paul ryan last night? it seemed to be the very aura of president obama. >> that's right. sort of this iconic aura i guess you can say we saw in 2008, and especially what this meant to young voters. basically he said that president obama has let down this very key constituency. here's what he said. >> college graduates should not have to live out their 20s in their childhood bedrooms staring up at fading obama posters and wondering when they can move out and get going with life. [ applause ] >> so he was talking about empty
promises, really trying to chip away at some of the support of this key constituency that president obama himself has been courting just this week. >> we are joined now by a longtime romney adviser, eric fehrnstrom. thank you for joining us right now. i think it's safe to say you were happy with paul ryan last night? >> well, we thought he gave a great speech. he had a high hurdle because there were terrific speeches earlier from governor suzanna martinez from new mexico, talking about her challenges and the fact that she like a lot of republican governors balanced her budget without raising taxes. and condi rice, who understands that a strong america in the world starts with a strong economy at home. but paul ryan, this was a big moment for him, and he delivered. >> you think he delivered. you said he gave a great speech. the question is, did he give a factual speech. one thing he discussed was that gm plant in janesville, wisconsin, one that ultimately did close down. president obama visited in 2008. i want to listen to what paul ryan said last night. >> right there at that plant, candidate obama said, i believe that if our government is there
to support you, this plant will be here for another 100 years. that's what he said in 2008. well, as it turned out, that plant didn't last another year. it is locked up and empty to this day. >> you know, eric, that the decision to close that plant was made in june of 2008, when president bush was in office. what paul ryan said there was clearly misleading. >> well, no. he didn't talk about obama closing the plant. he said that candidate obama went there in 2008, and what he said was with government assistance, we can keep this plant open for another 100 years. here we are four years into his administration. that plant is still closed. i think it's a symbol of a recovery that hasn't materialized for the people of janesville, wisconsin, just as it hasn't materialized for americans everywhere. >> he left the impression that president obama shut that plant down. >> i encourage people to go back and look at what candidate obama said in 2008. what he said was with his
recovery program, with government assistance, we can keep that plant open for 100 years. four years later, it's still shuttered. i think it's a symbol of a broken economy under this president. >> there were some other examples last night where paul ryan seemed to take some liberty with the facts or at least the history of it. let's listen to what he said about the simpson-bowles commission to reduce the debt. >> he created a new bipartisan debt commission. they came back with an urgent report. he thanked them. sent them on their way. and then did exactly nothing. >> he's criticizing president obama for doing nothing on simpson-bowles. paul ryan voted against simpson-bowles. did he do less than nothing? >> and then paul ryan brought forth his own deficit reduction plan. that's not something this president did. instead, he kicked the can down the road. this is why so many people have lost faith in this president. >> but he stood in the way of the simpson-bowles debt commission, and then criticized
the president for not taking action on it. >> there can be disagreements on how to put the budget on a fiscal balance. but the important thing is, what is your plan? and paul ryan had a plan. he brought it forward. there's an obligation on the part of people in congress if they reject simpson bowls to talk about what they will put in its place. paul ryan did that. what this president did was what so many people before him have done, which is to form a commission, and when the commission comes forward with a report they don't take action on the report. they put it on a shelf. >> but paul ryan voted against it. >> and he put forward his own deficit reduction plan. it's not as if he did not address the deficit situation. this president promised he would cut the deficit in half. instead, he has given us a trail of trillion dollar deficit. >> he would say he hasn't gotten any cooperation from the republicans and the taxes on the top 1%. >> he has an obligation to sit
down with the leaders of congress, members of the opposition, try to find common ground. he hasn't done that. >> eric, this is the first time you've been on "starting point" since march, when you said something that got a lot of attention. let's just take a quick listen. >> well, i think he hit a reset button for the fall campaign. everything changes. it's almost like an etch a sketch. you can kind of shake it up and we start all over again. >> i don't need to tell you that became a thing for a little while in this campaign. everyone was talking about it. people called it a gaffe and what not. but i also want to play some sound for from what some republicans are saying about this convention right now. >> i think thursday, he'll have a chance to what i call reintroduce himself to the american people. >> to be able to reintroduce governor romney to the american people. >> governor romney has a chance at this convention and going forward to reconnect with people. >> reintroduce, reconnect.
is it really that different than etch a sketch? >> the point i was making back then is that the campaign in the general election would be different than the primary campaign in this sense. in the primary campaign, we had eight opponents. we were talking about the legislative record of some of those opponents like newt gingrich and rick santorum. today, we're in a different situation. it's a one-on-one contest with president obama. and i think what we're looking forward is the opportunity to debate the president in october three times. and i think what people will see in that setting is a person in mitt romney who is extraordinarily qualified to lead at a time of crisis in this country. he has a plan to put america back to work. and we can compare that to the failures of the obama administration over the last four years in creating jobs and getting this economy going. >> tonight is the big speech. just a short while ago you told me he is a little hoarse. >> yeah. he is hoarse. he's been traveling around the country and campaigning. he gave a speech yesterday in indianapolis. but i think what we're going to
see tonight -- >> what's the one thing that will surprise us the most? >> i think you'll see a person who is extraordinarily qualified, capable to lead. he has acquired a set of skills over a long career in the private sector, leading the olympic games, a governor of a state. it's those qualities that will lead him to be able to confront the leading issue was our time. >> he also listens to elevator music, according to paul ryan. >> i think that was a charming moment from last night. we are looking forward to both of them being out there and campaigning. >> eric, thank you for coming back to "starting point." come back very soon. >> i appreciate. >> i should say we're going to have stephanie cutter in a little while. we have plenty of questions for her too. believe you me. but now back to christine romans for the rest of today's stories. tropical storm isaac moving across louisiana this morning. a flash flood emergency is issued for slidell, louisiana.
that will last until 9:00 a.m. local time. evacuations are currently underway. and nearly 1 million customers are without power now in four states. isaac is still a major threat this morning. let's bring in meteorologist karen mcginnis. >> good morning. we keep shifting our focus back and forth where the emergencies are taking place. and right now it is slidell. what we are looking at in the vicinity of new orleans is some of the training effect tapping that moisture from the gulf of mexico -- we are just receiving word right now as i speak that there is a tornado on the ground as we speak in pascagoula, mississippi. there is a watch, i tornado watch, in effect for portions of louisiana, mississippi, and alabama. but a tornado on the ground. and we're going to give you some of that updated information as we receive it. but here is the latest regarding tropical storm isaac.
it is moving a little faster now. that's good news. but that rain shield is primarily on that eastern quadrant of tropical storm isaac. but for new orleans, the rain is tapering off. you'll see longer gaps between those bands of moisture. but these bands of moisture are the same ones that have some of those embedded cells in them that have produced the tornadoes that have been reported this morning in mississippi. we had reports of damage coming out of some portions of mississippi. and right now, just a few minutes ago, we just received word out of pascagoula there was a tornado reported on the ground. some of the wind gusts reported, associated with tropical storm isaac, now new orleans. winds have been gusting in the past hour up to 40 miles an hour. slidell. the flooding emergency. the old town area. it looks like the levees have not been breached. it's just that the bayous have overfilled and backfilled some
of those back areas around the bayou. they say that they are on the alert. christine, about 80% of the old town area is reporting some type of flooding. we'll keep you updated on both fronts now. >> so tornadic activity and flooding showing, karen, this is still a very serious situation there from tropical storm isaac. thanks. >> absolutely. and the new national average now for a gallon of regular gasoline is up two cents over the past 24 hours. $3.83 a gallon. midwest and southern states saw the biggest increases because most of their gas comes from the gulf where output was cut because of isaac. gas prices, though, are expected to come down early next week as refineries and pipelines in the gulf go back online. a florida appeals court has granted george zimmerman's request for a new judge in his murder trial. zimmerman's attorneys asked that judge kenneth lester be removed because of disparages comments he made about their client in a
july bail order. george zimmerman is now facing second degree murder charges for the fatal shooting of trayvon martin back in february. those are the other stories making news. back to soledad now in st. bernard parish. christine, thank you very much. we are continuing to cover what is now tropical storm isaac. and the rain picks up and then seems to dissipate and then picks up again. the winds not as bad as yesterday, but it's really strong. it looks like they are going to start putting some boats back into the water behind this wall behind me to do a run through the neighborhoods in plaquemines parish which is right behind that wall. i'm coming to you from st. bernard parish. rob is in the sport of new orleans. obviously, the big story today is flooding. and the rain coming down in sheets is certainly not going to help there. >> no. but the fact that it's sporadic has eased some of the pressures on these pumps. we were here before the storm
started. the water you see behind me was not there. it was much lower, and there was dry land you could actually stand on. but take a look at this pumping station. the pipes on either side of me, some of them are not working right now. but during the height of the storm, all of these were pumping. and any one of them can pump at 8,000 gallons a second. these gates were dropped right before the storm hit. each of the 11 floodgates weighs 20 tons. and that is keeping the surge fr lake pontchartrain out of the city. they don't have these all around the lake. in areas to our west and north, and specifically laplace, they have a dramatic flooding situation happening. we went up there yesterday. looked at some pictures from the exits there. unable to get there from this direction. you have to go over to baton rouge and side streets to get there. hundreds of rescues happening. some video from the coast guard. they were brought in last night to pluck some people off
rooftops. a couple and their dog were rescued by the coast guard. dramatic video there. this is what they had to say about their experience. >> i think he had a harder time because he had the bigger dog, which i'm sure she -- >> it gives you more of an appreciation for what these guys do. i can tell you that. >> yes, yes. >> they are god in a helicopter. >> topnotch. >> reporter: a multiagency effort underway there in laplace. and the flooding that came from this lake, kind of a storm surge, on the backside, that's the worst that the sheriff says he's ever seen, including katrina and gustav. the last time it flooded from gustav that water didn't drain for over a week. so it's a serious situation on that part of the lake. on the north side, a milder storm surge with the south winds. so everybody getting it from all angles, including new orleans. and of course down where you are in plaquemines parish. >> we are certainly feeling it.
i want to show folks a shot of members of the national guard. i believe that's louisiana national guard. if you head behind this wall, that is heading right into plaquemines parish. where they are going right now, there is about 15 feet of water still standing there. it's been blocked by this wall behind me. they are just now as the sun has come up and the weather as rob said is not great but certainly is an improvement over yesterday will put their boats in the water, do a run-through and make sure there are no people left in the subdivisions that are now submerged in plaquemines parish. we talked to the president of the parish earlier, and he said he believes there are no more people that need to be rescued but they'll run through again and make sure. still ahead this morning, and obviously we will keep following tropical storm isaac as it makes its way through, but our other top story this morning is the republican national convention. former governor mitt romney will be taking his big speech tonight. we'll preview that ahead and much more. stay with us. everyone has goals.
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welcome back to "starting point," everyone. tonight, mitt romney will give the biggest speech of his political career, one he has been waiting for for years. he will accept his party's nomination for the presidency of the united states. then he'll try to convince voters to choose him in november. last night, it was his running mate's opportunity. congressman paul ryan gave a rousing speech really, and it got better as it went along. he ended with a standing ovation there. some people were saying, though, it wasn't even the best speech of the night, that condoleezza rice stole the show. i want to bring in right now our friends here at "starting point," will cain and cnn contributor and columnist for theblaze.com. also roland martin, cnn contributor and host of "washington watch with roland
martin." one of the things we've been talking about and a lot of people are talking about are some factually challenged statements paul ryan may have made. >> how much time have we got? >> one was that he said that president obama went to a gm plant in janesville and essentially said that this plan can stay open. paul ryan said that the president was involved or implied the president was involved with shutting it down. there's some controversy down. will cain, tell me why it's not wrong. >> that word or this word "lie" has been forwarded several times this morning, john. you used the term factually challenged. but it wasn't factually inaccurate what paul ryan said. he said that president obama showed up at that plant and said that i believe that the government is here to help you. this plant will be here for 100 years. that happened. he didn't say that president obama shut down the plant. the point was should the government be there to support industries when they fail. should it pick winners and losers and can it succeed when it does. this is an example where it did
not work. >> two words, "ply" and "infer." infer means i heard something and i'm inferring what you said. no, he implied it. will can dance around it. i'm not going to say, well, because, right, he was on the edge of truth. and so he clearly implied it. he wanted to leave the impression with the public that it was president obama who was a part of shutting this plant down when he wasn't even in office. now, i don't understand why it's not hard to be clear, to have some level of clarity, will. >> is it possible that what he said was true, but -- >> it's called dancing on the edge of truth. and so -- >> you're the one dealing with implications. you're not dealing with the actual statement that was said. >> will, he was very clear in what he was trying to imply. and that is he was trying to link the plant closing with president obama. you know it. and i know it. >> you know, there was this implication game also with the bowles-simpson commission. i just talked to a key adviser. and paul ryan criticized
president obama for not acting on bowles-simpson, when paul ryan voted against it. >> but you have to look at it in two ways. they had different roles. president obama is the one that empanelled that blue ribbon commission. paul ryan sat on it. that doesn't mean he can't condemn president obama or criticize him for not supporting the exact panel that he put together. that's one criticism. second, paul ryan, yes, did vote against bowles-simpson. but then he came out with his own plan to reduce the debt and deficit. >> i volted for it, i later voted against it, senator john kerry. he was blasted for that. you clearly said it. and keep in mind, many republicans called for that type of commission before ran from it after it was already put in place. democrats and republicans say oh, great idea, but we really don't want to implement what they are talking about. >> sadly, we have to end this without any resolution, gentlemen. i'm sure we'll take it up again soon. >> really? >> just put will cain dancing on the edge of truth. soledad, while they are fighting, back to you in new
orleans. >> oh, yes. a storm at the cnn grill. a storm where i am as well. it just doesn't end. still ahead this morning on "starting point," we'll continue our coverage both from the rnc and also of what is now tropical storm isaac. as we are feeling the aftereffects as rain and wind comes in. we'll update out what's happening not only in the state of louisiana but in miss mississippi as well. are the ones we used to build usaa bank. with our award winning apps that allow you to transfer funds, pay bills or manage your finances anywhere, anytime. so that wherever your duty takes you, usaa bank goes with you. visit us online to learn what makes our bank so different.
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hurricane isaac, which is now downgraded to a tropical storm. the island is still covered by several feet of water. edlavendera went in and stuck it out through the storm. how is it looking now? >> well, we have finay seen the rain stop. it was gusting pretty strong time-to-time, but it is quite a dramatic difference from what we experienced here almost 24 hours ago. more than 24 hours ago. probably got up to -- we saw the conditions here on the island, which was engulfed. what we are dealing with here is a lot of water. but as long as the wind keeps pushing as strong as it is right now, and these aren't tropical storm winds by any means, but it is definitely pushing that water
and it's definitely slowing down the process of letting this water recede back into the gulf of mexico. so we are still dealing with that. now that the sun has come up, we're going to probably start to be able to get you some pictures of just how high the water is here in places. four or five feet in some areas. basically from the gulf of mexico all the way to the bay side we saw a great deal of water, soledad. >> ed, thank you. and as we have been sitting, and certainly as the homeowners have been doing more, standing in all of this water, all of our gear gets inundated and some of the audio problems is because of that. as we continue here on "starting point," we'll continue to update you on the various areas and what they are doing as the story really is the flooding in the wake of hurricane isaac. we'll take you -- we'll talk to a family that really feels very lucky to be alive. they were plucked out of the
waters here after they ran up to their attic in plaquemines parish. their 8-year-old daughter was rescued and was with them. they caught her rescue on tape. we'll share that with you straight ahead. also, last night's speech by vice presidential nominee paul ryan. you heard republicans this morning say it was terrific. well, what did the obama camp think? we'll check in with stephanie cutter this morning. she is a deputy campaign manager for president obama. she'll be joining us straight ahead. we're back in a minute after this short break. [ male announcer ] citi turns 200 this year. in that time there've been some good days.
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camp think about vice presidential nominee paul ryan's speech? where he bashed president obama? stephanie cutter, who is a deputy campaign manager for the obama campaign, will join us live straight ahead. first, though, an update on some of the top stories making news. christine romans has that for us. good morning. tropical storm isaac moving across louisiana this morning and spawning serious tornado threats with reports of one on the ground. a flash flood emergency has been issued for slidell, louisiana, until 9:00 a.m. local time. evacuations are currently underway. let's bring in karen ma beginis in the cnn hurricane center for the very latest. >> we are attacking this system on several fronts. we've got the long-term issue of th flooding in the basin or the bowl that is known as new orleans in southeastern louisiana. but now we're watching several other immediate things that are going on. one out of slidell. and then the latest one that i told you about just about 20 minutes ago of a tornado that was on the ground in pascagoula.
pascagoula is right down here. it's essentially between biloxi and dolphin island, right along the coast. now that has moved off toward the north. and by the way, there was a report of a tornado on the ground on market boulevard, pascagoula. it may still be on the ground, but that shift is more towards the north now. let's look at what's happening in slidell. and the rainfall there has been quite heavy as well as these bands of precipitation move through, dropping heavy amounts of rainfall in a very short period of time. i'm going to give you a perspective on google earth. slidell is right across the river, right across lake pontchartrain. slidell is a low-lying area, as you'd expect, but they have seen a tremendous amount of rainfall. and the old region, old town, they have seen two to three feet of water there. the pumping station there cannot keep up. >> all of that water will move
inland. of course, the drought stricken areas need the water desperately, but the downpours from isaac won't necessarily help. some moisture ahead of the winter planting of wheat could be helpful, but the rainfall expected could knock down crops already weak from the worst drought in 50 years. plus, crop diseases thrive in very dry or very wet field conditions. the west nile virus is now responsible for 66 deaths across the u.s. this year. the cdc says almost 1,600 cases have been reported so far. that's the highest number of cases through the last week of august since the mosquito-borne virus was first detected in the u.s. some 13 years ago. a 100-year-old man is offering his apologies this morning after his car jumped the curb near a los angeles elementary school sending nine kids and two adults to the hospital. none of the injuries were life threatening. it was mostly bumps and bruises, but terrifying. the man's daughter says preston
carter, who turns 101 next month, won't be driving anymore. president obama is already big on facebook and twitter. now he is giving reddit a try. he spent about 30 minutes on the social media site yesterday, answering 10 questions submitted by reddit users. of course, some folks needed to be convinced that it was really the president. his identity was confirmed by a moderator with the handle drunkeneconomist, and then more formally by the president's official twitter account. soledad? >> yeah. they just did not believe drunkeneconomist. christine, thank you. a storm surges and storms are still threatening plaquemines parish where the levees have overtopped. some of the waters are up to 14 feet. one family ran up to their attic. they were ultimately rescued by a neighbor. video was taken as the
8-year-old daughter was lifted to safety. you can take a look at it. >> he is joining us this morning. nice to talk to you. you must have been absolutely terrified to be handing off your 8-year-old daughter in a rescue operation in bad weather and terrifying conditions. how did it feel? and how are you doing today? >> honestly, i wasn't too terrified just because these are people that i trust with my daughter's life frequently. they are good friends of mine. so i wasn't as terrified as people think. but everyone is just fine. >> tell me a little bit about what happened. i'm sorry. go ahead. finish your thought. >> everyone is doing fine right now. my wife and daughter are still asleep. but we are doing really good right now. >> i'm so glad to hear that. so tell me how you knew there
was a problem. when were you aware that in fact the levees had been overtopped and water was rushing into your home? >> well, we got the phone call i want to say around 2:00 in the morning. we got the phone call that the levee broke. and when that happened, we were just prepared. and next thing you know, we started seeing water coming in the house. as soon as i started seeing the water, i had my wife wake up our daughter and take her up to the attic. my wife followed her. i moved all my water and food and blankets and pillows up to the attic. got the dog and cats up there. and then we just went up to the attic and waited. my neighbor called me a little bit later, asked if we were ok. we said we were ok. and he just said hang tight. we'll be there in the morning with a chain saw and a boat to get you out. so that's kind of what we did. >> gosh, you make it sound like it was so calm and circumstances that i think the rest of us would be absolutely freaking out in. i think a lot of people would say, why did you stay? is it because it was a category
1 hurricane and you thought that would be something that wouldn't cause a lot of damage? >> that is part of it. the other part of it was during katrina, the house that i'm in didn't take in any water. it's a little higher than all the other houses. in fact, a lot of my friends and neighbors put a lot of their tractors and farm equipment and four wheelers around my house knowing that it was higher ground. so we really weren't expected to take that much water. so it did shock us all. >> all right. an amazing story there. we're having some technical difficulties from louisiana. but an amazing story there. he and his daughter rescued yesterday. ahead on "starting point," as we continue our coverage of tropical storm isaac live from louisiana, several areas along the coast dealing now with major flooding this morning. and now we're getting new tornado warnings. we'll take you live to gulfport, mississippi, next for the very
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welcome back to "starting point." i am john berman live at the cnn grill in tampa, the site of the republican national convention, where tonight it is mitt romney's big night. he will accept the party's nomination for president here. but this morning we're talking about his running mate, paul ryan, who gave a very big, very well received speech last night, that cut into the president, his policies, and the very aura that surrounds him. there was another big speech last night too from condoleezza rice. i want to bring in right now a panel of all-star individuals, fine people all of them. will cain, cnn contributor and columnist for theblaze.com. brianna keilar. and roland martin, a cnn contributor and also the radio host. how are you, guys? >> all good. >> name one thing mitt romney needs to do tonight, roland. >> show a pulse. no, i mean, he needs to show more than just i am a policy wonk, that i get you. i represent you, i speak for you, no matter who you are if i'm in the oval office.
if he can reach a little bit of ann romney's speech, he can do that. >> will, you may agree with that. >> no, i'll be contrarian. >> well, that's a shocker. >> what he needs to do is project competency, and that's ok if that comes off as sober. we keep setting a bar for mitt romney asking him to be someone he's not. he doesn't need to go out and be a rock star. you put chris christie on the stage to do things like that. be yourself. maybe this is a time for competency and sober solutions. >> let me ask you in a different way. what's the one thing from mitt romney that the white house is most frightened to see perhaps? >> i think it's the economic message certainly. i think that that they feel pretty safe when it comes to things likability. and you said a pulse. but i think they feel they are pretty safe that they have the candidate that voters connect to, and polls show that. but obviously it's the economic message. and that's probably what they're going to hit back hardest on as we saw with paul ryan. >> we've been talking all morning about paul ryan's
speech, which did fire up the crowd last night. there were some instances where people have taken issue with some of the facts in his speech. one of them on the si simpson-bowles debt commission, where paul ryan criticized the president for not acting on it, even though paul ryan himself voted against the findings in that debt commission. i did ask senior romney adviser eric fehrnstrom about this issue a few moments ago. paul ryan voted against simpson-bowles. did he do less than nothing? >> and then paul ryan brought forward his own deficit reduction plan. that's not something that this president did. instead, he kicked the can down the road. and this is why so many people have lost faith in this president. >> but he stood in the way. he stood in the way of the simpson-bowles debt commission and criticized the president for not taking action on it. >> there can be disagreements on how to reduce the deficit and reach fiscal balance. the important thing is, what is your plan? and paul ryan had a plan. >> roland, you do not seem impressed with eric fehrnstrom's argument there.
>> no, i'm not. that's the mr. etch a sketch guy. but the bottom line is, you can dance around it, but it's a thing called facts. and so i know his job is to spin. and the bottom line is, you can't say one thing and do another. we just talked to congressman chris van hollen. and he said, look, you criticize the president for something you voted against. seriously, stop. >> but paul ryan has made proposals to cut the deficit. >> right. and according to congressman van hollen, mr. erskine -- >> erskine boles. >> that guy, he said that the president's budget is much closer to what they did than what the ryan budget is. that's the guy who was half of the commission. >> guys, you want a piece of the action? >> i was going to say it's kind of splitting hairs. i don't think i'm going out on a limb here. >> don't bring up hair with will. >> it's very nice. but i don't think -- i continuing is splitting hairs a little bit to say that sort of argument, that it's ok to disagree with it but the
president didn't act on his own. it is just a little hair splitty, if you will. >> look, i'm not going to do spin, as roland said. i wasn't happy when paul ryan voted against simpson-bowles. i wish he would have voted for it. however, i think his criticism -- we continue to search for hypocrisy. being on the commission and voting against it is different than being the president that empanels the commission and not supporting it. i think there's room for criticism there. >> halftime report. we are more than halfway through the convention but still some time to go. i want your all-star right now, your convention all-star. who's had the best moment? >> i think chris christie. but i kind of came in expecting that. he fulfilled my expectation. but the one surprise, i thought suzanna martinez last night was really good. everyone at this convention -- barack obama in 2008 stole the show. i'm not saying she stole the show, but she was really good. >> condoleezza rice. i think it's easy to poke holes
in the president on the economy, but not so much on foreign policy. but she did a good job. >> gop house band. >> g.e. smith formerly of the "saturday night live" band. >> they needed more soul on "my girl" but at least they were able to get through motown. >> roland martin on the record supporting the republican band. >> i think we can all support that. ahead on "starting point," tropical storm isaac continues. mississippi is not yet in the clear right now. there is some major flooding and strong winds. and now get this. tornado warnings. we'll take you live to gulfport, mississippi, next. you're watching "starting point." (train horn) vo: wherever our trains go,
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welcome back to "starting point." we're getting word this morning, one person, one person has died in connection with tropical storm isaac. the national weather service says it happened in picayune, mississippi, after a tree fell on top of a car. and now tornado warning is in effect for jackson county after a tornado touched ground in pascagoula, mississippi. what's the latest, david? >> reporter: well, christine, those updates you just gave just show how much trouble and how much pain can still be associated with this storm. it can hurt you in so many different ways. we've seen continued flooding all across the mississippi gulf coast. but just take a look at what was happening here just a little over an hour ago. just absolute torrential rain. i mean, this could have been identical to what we were showing you yesterday morning at this time. but we're still getting a lot of
rain. and the storms that we've been seeing are just coming in, continuing to come in, in waves. we've seen tornadoes touching down. one on the ground just a short time ago to the east of us. earlier here in gulfport, there was one yesterday touching down, damaging a home here. flooding of course forcing so many people out of their homes because the storms stayed in one place for so long, the floodwaters came up much higher than anyone had anticipated. but there are this morning some small signs of improvement. the winds have died down a little bit, even though they are still strong enough to be considered tropical storm winds. but behind me, you might notice that the waves behind me have actually retreated. the storm surge from the storm is actually moving back this morning. signs also -- the curfew has been lifted across the mississippi gulf coast.
soon people will be able to get back on the roads, back to their homes, and actually be able to start doing some assessment and getting taken care of some of the damage that has happene from this long, long storm. >> david mattingly in gulfport. and as people start to assess the damage, be very careful. you can see from the wind and from the waves behind him that this is still a dangerous situation. thanks, david. we'll be right back.
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for jackson county until the top of the hour, after a tornado touched down there. that was pascagoula, mississippi. the national weather service in new orleans issuing some flash flood emergency warnings for slidell, louisiana, until 9:00 a.m. local time. evacuations continue underway in interstate 55 now closed in both directions. i-10 in laplace to the highway 51 and business exit in pascagoula. and nearly 1 million customers we're told are without power in four states. so a lot is going on here. and as i said, the rain coming in is going to make it a little tougher for the folks going back into the water for rescues. i want to show you now that the light has come up, i won't say the sun is up but the light, you can see that the water has receded where the flooding happened. but you can see the tops of the homes now. so they are still dealing with lots and lots of water