tv The Situation Room CNN November 1, 2012 4:00pm-7:00pm EDT
this city, for the relief effort and at the same time really show the world the spirit of this city? we often talk about the marathon as the triumph of the human spirit. i think this shares the triumph of new york city. >> 47,000 runners this marathon attracts. on that, thanks for being with me. i'm brooke baldwin. now to wolf blitzer. wolf. brooke, thanks very much. happening now, in the wake of hurricane sandy, shock is turning to fury and anger. searchers on new york city's staten island are still finding bodies. desperate survivors say help isn't getting through. things are getting more dire apparently by the hour. three days after the storm hit, millions of new yorkers still have no power, no food. and they face huge lines trying to get anywhere. and with just five days until the presidential election, we're releasing a new poll from colorado. a must-win state for both candidates. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room."
while much of the country, even the presidential race is returning to normal today, we're hearing and seeing misery and growing desperation for millions of people in the northeastern united states. here is the big picture as it stands right now. hurricane sandy's blame for at least 88 deaths in the united states and two in canada raising the storm's overall death toll to 157. a little under 5 million power customers across the eastern united states awoke to no electricity again. that's down to the nearly 8 million when the storm hit on monday though. some 36,000 people now are signed up for government help from fema, the federal emergency management agency. the homeland security secretary,
janet napolitano, who's in new york city, says that's only just the beginning. but many residents of staten island which was inundated by the storm's tidal surge, say they're getting virtually no help yet. and their desperation is now turning to anger. cnn's brian todd is on the island. he's joining us live. brian, tell us what's going on. >> reporter: wolf, we're in the new dorf beach section cedar grove avenue. this place is still flooded out even after the waters receded. people just barely able to kind of wade through the water, try to get to homes and assess damage. you've got a church that's flooded out here to your left, my right. and our photo journalist can pan back over this way down marine way. look down here with just the debris and people trying to gather things and bring things out and clear their homes of all the wreckage. what we know now, wolf, is that the bodies of two young boys who
were washed away from their mother during the storm have been found. they were found in a marsh not too far away from here. now, that brings the death toll we think to a little bit more than the dozen people that we knew of before. exact numbers i don't have. but it's more than a dozen now just on staten island were killed by this. hundreds of homes have been damaged or completely destroyed. now we're going to show you some scenes from the devastation and some sound from people who are just shattered by this whole thing. >> came up into the gate with the water. knocked things down. they're surviving. >> the water level was up to here. touched my first floor. this was, you know, and this is old stuff coming out of the refrigera
refrigerator. there's no power. >> reporter: do you think you can rebuild? >> not without any funds. no. without funds, i'll probably have to walk away from my home. i'll probably have to walk away from my home. >> reporter: this is cedar grove avenue on staten island. completely devastated. look at this house here. just collapsed. roof completely broke down. remnants of a stairwell there that may have gone to an attic. that looks like an attic that you're seeing just slanting down over here. the rest of it is leveled. remnants over here. this is kind of the scene rep t repeated throughout staten island. people kind of bringing whatever items they can salvage and just string them all over their front lawns just to see if they can just leave them in tact for someone to come and pick them up. the owner told us we could come in and take a look at the damage in his house. you can kind of get an idea of
what the storm surge did when it came through here. the shoreline is that way. the owner says the surge came through here. this is his living room, what's left of it. came right through here. look at all the debris. look at everything that was destr destroyed. this is the living room area. that whole section looks like a kitchen looks like it was washed out there. debris all over the place. this is a sofa he says almost got tossed out the window. a lot of debris just came rushing through the house and right out the window. just trying to get as much stuff out of the house as possible. the homeowner's right over here. she says she doesn't think she can salvage any of this stuff. again, a scene repeated throughout staten island. she says this is her 8-year-old son. they were in here and they road out the storm together. she says this is the first time he's been out of the house since the storm hit. he's just been so terrified. >> we just got out in time. we got to move our cars.
we have nothing. i don't know how you bounce back from something like this. >> reporter: now, just to give you an indication of the force of the storm and what it did to this neighborhood. you see this big red container behind me, looks like a truck container, that hit that house and damaged part of it. this is where it came from. the owner of the house told me it came from around the area of that green fence right there. that big container knocked from that fence across that church parking lot over here to the house damaging the house. another big red container he said knocked into the house and kept going down the street. that was the force of this storm. another big problem in this neighborhood and throughout staten island apparently is that the calvary until today really didn't come. residents of this neighborhood and the borough president, they were very angry. they told us that until today no relief agencies had shown up. no federal or state government agencies, relief agencies, had been on the ground here. now, we have been told in the last couple of hours that fema has now been on the ground here
and that the red cross has shown up. they're apparently at a school not far from here, wolf. >> do they have an explanation, brian, what's taking so long? staten island is obviously a major borough in new york city. what's the problem? why isn't the help on the way? >> reporter: well, you know, we haven't gotten an official explanation from some of those agencies yet. but what i can tell you is that the transportation issue around here is pretty drastic. i mean, the roads are snarled. there are roads that are blocked by police blockades. roads blocked by downed trees. huge lines for gas on staten island as there are all over the new york/new jersey area. that could be one key reason why some of these agencies haven't gotten on the ground here. and some of the awareness what happened here on staten island didn't start to come out until today. >> well, it's been coming out. we had some of it yesterday. obviously the extent was unclear. but it's clearly a disaster by anyone's definition. brian, thanks very much. let's get some more on what's
going on on staten island. joining us on the phone is a long-time staten island resident, michelle mccombs. she and her family got out of the house just before the flood waters inundated everything. michelle, tell us what happened to your house and to your community. >> well, my house, everything was fine on monday, wolf. we were calm. and then my son looked out the window and he said, mom, dad, do you see all this water? my 11-year-old. and we walked and i looked out the door, and wolf, it was like i was at the beach. the water was coming down like a tidal wave. i could not believe it and my husband was like, oh, my god, we have to get out. we have three dogs. we all grabbed a dog. my son left in his pajamas. we got to our car just down in our driveway. the water was up to the tires. so we ran to a neighbor and then we went to my mother's who had power. and we came back the next morning and my whole basement,
the water went up to the ceiling. my refrigerator was floating. how a refrigerator floats is beyond me. but coming back the devastation in my neighborhood was unbelievable. there were people's furnaces on other people's lawns. we saw ice chest from like stores that they keep ice on people's lawns. trees down out with power. just total, total devastation. never in my life. i live a mile from the beach. how did that water get to my house? to me i think it was a tsunami. >> can your house, michelle, be salvaged now? what do you need to be able to move back in there? >> well, we are definitely not ready to move in. it was sewer water and salt water. destroyed all our electrical. we have to have all that redone. my house has no power. if we were got power back we
can't even turn it on because it's contaminated. we right now have some missionaries from my church are here, i have about 40 people helping us just clear out stuff. my son slept down there, that was his room. he lost everything. i just found his baby book. and i started crying. but we lost everything, wolf. they're helping us take down the dry wall, all the insulation because it's all contaminated. we had a coy pond in my backyard. all the fish are dead. i have a four-foot aboveground pool, the water went up to 3 1/2 feet we have the water line on the pool. >> has anybody from fema or any of the authorities been around there? national guard? >> no national guard. we are above the boulevard. below the boulevard, wolf, people have lost their homes. there is nothing left. they have found bodies.
so i know the devastation there is a lot worse. we're lucky we got out alive. my car -- we couldn't get my second car out. that's totally gone. you could look in and you could see water in the cup holders. we got in touch with fema. the guy was going to come last night. he could not get onto staten island. traffic is horrific. besides the downed lights, we have trees everywhere and floods. fema's supposed to come tomorrow. we called all the insurance people. as much we could do on our end. >> our reporter brian todd does tell us that the american red cross is on the scene. have you seen them? >> no. i have not seen the red cross. but like i said, i'm not in -- we got flooded out, but there are people that have lost their homes. and there's nothing left. >> there are people who have lost their lives including two boys whose bodies were found
today. >> exactly. exactly. >> you're familiar with not only the devastation but the death especially on staten island. >> exactly. >> were you at all prepared for what happened there? >> not at all, wolf. >> did you get an indication this was about to -- >> not at all. we are not even in an evacuation zone. we are zone b. and we were not told of anything. in fact, it was so calm, wolf. i said to my husband, i think i'm going to go to bed. it was so calm. just a little wind. all of a sudden it's my 11-year-old didn't look out the window, we would not have known until the water started to come up. but he said mommy look at the water. >> your congressman michael grim has described staten island right now in his words as a minikatri minikatrina. is that your sense as well? >> katrina? yes. i know how those people in katrina feel. i really do. my heart went out to them. but until you go through something like this, you cannot
understand the magnitude of this. my friends have come to help me. they said, michelle, we looked at your yard because we have all the stuff in the yard. they said, michelle, if we didn't see this with our own eyes, we would never believe it. >> and it's hard to know when power will be restored. mayor bloomberg said the ferry service will resume in the next day or so. he says full service by saturday, the ferry from staten island over to manhattan, new york. but who knows what's going to happen. >> i don't know. >> our heart goes out to you and your family. >> thank you so much. i'm a big fan of yours, wolf. it's a pleasure to speak with you. you know, i have to put it in perspective. we have our lives and i have my children. and, you know, it's just stuff like my kids say. but when i find my son's baby book, it rips at your heart strings. but i'm grateful that we're here. >> yeah. and i like your attitude. you got to take a look at the positive side even though you've lost a lot of physical possessions, you have your family, you have your health. >> that's right. >> you and everyone else, you
will come back out of this misery. >> we will, wolf. i'm a breast cancer survivor two years. and i know god will help me and help us get through this. god bless you and all the people that are suffering right now. my heart and prayers go to everyone. >> michelle, thank you. michelle mccomb, a resident on staten island. while the situation's desperate on staten island, life remains incredibly difficult for millions in other parts of new jersey, other parts of new york, other parts of connecticut. we have the very latest on efforts to reconnect the power get the subways running again. the devastation though continues. ♪... ♪...
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it's still in the dark. while the lights shine brightly atop the empire state building and other skyscrapers of midtown. we have an update with what's going on. deborah feyerick is live. deb, what are you seeing? >> reporter: wolf, it's so remarkable. yesterday when we were coming in from breezy point queens, we saw exactly that same image of where all of wall street, manhattan, plunged into complete darkness. it was so eerie. we've been talking to a number of people today. and what they're telling us is what people are experiencing in all of the hardest hit areas specifically supplies. people are running out of food. they've already had to throw ut everything they had in their refrigerator, the meats, milk, cheeses, obviously the ice creams, things that began to spoil. we were at a grocery store today. they have lost millions of dollars in food they tell us because they had to get rid of all of their meats, also their milks.
the stores in that particular area were empty, they were hosing everything down and cleaning it just to make sure that when they do get power that they're going to be able to freeze all the products they have. take a listen to these folks. explain to me. we see a lot of empty shelves here. how much did you lose? >> we lost -- well, company wide we've lost millions already. not just this store. a few stores have been affected by the aftermath of hurricane sandy. >> reporter: did you expect it to hit so hard? i mean, how much food did you have when that hurricane came? >> oh, we have thousands as far as food in between dairy and meat department, a lot of money thrown away. a lot of money. >> reporter: and you know, wolf, we asked him about how many
pounds, how many pounds do they estimate they threw away, they say between 15,000 and 20,000 pounds of food. simply spoiled. it rotted. we were talking to people who had restaurants. they had actually organized to have a garbage company come and pick up the food. and you could just smell the sort of putrid rotting smell of all that food that's had to be thrown away. now, the government has set up certain centers where they are handing out food, but folks we spoke to they simply can't get to those particular locations. their hallways are plunged into darkness. they're having to walk up 15, 16, 17 stories high whenever they leave their apartment. so some people are just hunkering down for the duration or making sure they sort of time their trips in and out. here at the brooklyn bridge you see these folks walking across the bridge. look, the one good thing about manhattan is that a lot of people are used to public transportation. they're used to walking. don't have a lot of cars per se. so they are able to do different forms of transportation. but in those other areas, wolf,
where they can't get gas for their cars, where their power hasn't been restored, with the temperature falling, it's going to be a significant problem with folks trying to figure out how they're going to keep warm, where they're going to go. wolf. >> significant problem is an understatement. and a lot of that sort of calm reaction is now turning to frustration, even anger and outrage over the amount of time it's taken to get things off the ground a little bit. thanks very much for that, deb. we're awaiting new reports from our crews live along the new jersey coast. we're just getting in also the results of a new cnn poll and one of the all-important swing states, colorado. lots of news happening today right here in "the situation room." smart comes with 8 airbags, a crash management system and the world's only tridion safety cell which can withstand over three and a half tons. small in size. big on safety.
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in the critically important swing state of colorado. look at this, it shows a very tight race. president obama at 50%, mitt romney at 48%. that effectively is a dead heat given the poll's 3.5-point sampling error. cnn's national correspondent john king is in denver for us right now. john, you're taking a closer look at this poll. what else are you finding? >> reporter: wolf, because of that dead heat you can feel the intensity as both campaigns try to gin upturnout including in the early voting period which ends tomorrow here in colorado. both candidates doing well where they need to, you might say a slight edge for the president. i'll show you what i mean. in denver and bolder, the two biggest urban areas in the state of colorado, more democratic voters. 63% for the president, 34% for governor romney in the urban areas of denver and bolder. that's what the president needs to keep for turnout on election
day. suburbs a smaller but significant advantage for the president in the denver suburbs. 53% to 45% for governor romney. if you look at the more rural, conservative, the rest of colorado, that's why governor romney's in this race. he's getting 55% of the vote to 43% for the president in the rest of the state. as you know the state well, wolf, the president is here today. governor romney is due back on saturday. the president we're told is likely to come back at least one more time. paul ryan is here today. that says it all. both campaigns know that this is a very competitive state to the end. the suburbs are the key areas. make this point before i throw it back to you, 1.3 million people have already voted in the state of colorado. i talked to is the secretary of state today, he says that's probably about half of the electorate and says you can still vote until tomorrow. more than 50% of the votes will be cast before election day and they're already starting to count them. we were watching that process in downtown denver. >> are we getting any indication on how the independent voters are moving right now?
>> reporter: it's a critical question because this state is roughly evenly divided between democrats, republicans, independents or unaffiliated voters. if you look at our poll, our poll shows a dead heat. and 49% of the independents go for president obama and joe biden, 47% go for governor romney and paul ryan. moderate voters who tend to live in the suburbs, many of them independents, 60% for the president to 38% for governor romney. if you're looking at this poll and thinking what is governor romney need to improve on in the final days? he probably needs to boost his numbers with independents if he wants to get over the top. i can tell you in talking and e-mailing with both campaigns today, wolf, they agree with our numbers. they would have it more of an exact tie as oppose today a statistical tie. that's why the candidates are back here so often. they view colorado as a dead heat and both need the nine electoral votes here. if you look at the path to 270, colorado would help both candidates greatly get to the finish line. >> as close as it appears to be, could be a long night counting the votes in colorado.
john, thanks very much. a number of other swing state polls from other news organizations also show a very, very tight race. our chief political analyst gloria borger taking a look at some of these other numbers. colorado obviously important. florida, virginia, certainly ohio. but look at these numbers. this is from the new nbc "the wall street journal" poll in iowa obama 50%, romney 44%. much closer in new hampshire. obama 49%, romney 47% within the sampling error. wisconsin similarly 49%, 46%. these states are pretty important as well. >> every state. all of these battleground states are very important. there are different permutations to get to the all important 270. you look at a tiny state like new hampshire which is so close, four electoral votes, wolf, but it's the last place mitt romney is going to visit before he goes home to boston to vote. the president's going to be there. this could be the difference in the electoral college.
if you look at iowa and wisconsin, two other numbers you just threw out there. iowa and wisconsin very important part of the president's firewall in the midwest. for example, should he lose florida, iowa and wisconsin very important. same thing with ohio. both of them -- both those states important to both of these candidates. and of course wisconsin -- in wisconsin that may be one of the reasons paul ryan was chosen because the romney campaign knows how important that state could be to them as insurance, if you will, that they could get to 270. >> the president went there earlier today. >> exactly. >> a significant where they are underscores all important -- you're looking at all of these ads they're doing all the speeches, the rallies, the messages, they're putting out final arguments as they say. is there any one thing that you think could tip the balance? >> of course. turnout, voter enthusiasm, intensity. that's what all of these rallies
are about. the president and mitt romney go to these rallies, try and get voters to the polls to vote early to give them a sense of momentum that they're winning in their state. that if they go to the polls and vote, they're going to be able to win. that's why early voting as john was talking about in the state of colorado is so important. because what these campaigns want to do now, wolf, is bank as many votes as they can that they can depend on before you get to election day. so when you see the amount of people voting in colorado, when you see the amount of early voting going on in florida, you understand how important organization is to getting the turnout that you need. >> we did our poll of polls, our cnn average of likely voters, their choice for president. this is nationally likely voters. obama 48%, romney 47%. that's very, very close. and there's some intriguing possibilities if you study that number. >> i know. if you talk to democrats,
they'll say this is the tipping point for the president. if you talk to some republicans, i was talking to a republican strategist today who made the case that perhaps -- and i don't want to scare anyone about this, we've been through this before, that romney could win in the popular vote and lose in the electoral college. in which case president obama would be re-elected. that's also a clear possibility. there's also a possibility that in all these tight races that we have seen in these battleground states that they could all tip in one direction -- in either direction, either candidate. and that this election might not be close at all in the end in the electoral college because of the battleground states. so we don't know. but there are a lot of different permutations out there about how this could go election night. >> we'll find out in five days. >> we will. >> gloria, thank you. let's get back to the aftermath of sandy.
new jersey governor chris christie is speaking now. let's listen in. >> i, yesterday, spoke to 12 of my governor colleagues around the country, republicans and democrats, all of them agreed to send workers to new jersey to restore power. the president gave me his word yesterday that it was going to take them too long to drive here that he would send c-130 transport planes to load their equipment and themselves and fly them to new jersey. we've met with fema this afternoon with all the utility company executives and i told them that they weren't leaving the building until they gave fema the list of personnel they would need in order to get power restored much more quickly than what they've announced publicly so far. and as i left here -- i left trenton to come here, i can tell you that i was told by my staff that those meetings as to jcpl and back to trenton the psge
meeting will be successful and completed and those resources already headed to new jersey. bob mcdonald is sending 1,500 workers from virginia. john kasich is sending 1,500, even though they have challenges in ohio, governor kasich ordered the sending of 700 people on their way to new jersey now. governor from maine sending people down. governor patrick from massachusetts sending people from massachusetts even though they're still dealing with some problems. he said, chris, i saw what happened to your state. your problems are bigger than mine. i'm sending my guys down there. so we've had cooperation. you're going to see the results of that because the power will be restored much more quickly than it would have been otherwise because of these new people. i also direct the new jersey natural gas today to have the natural gas system turned off from mantoloking to beach park immediately. there were frequent fires burning in that fire especially in mantoloking. it's simply too dangerous a situation. and we needed to create a safe
environment on the barriers as possible. and this will help ensure fires are not created that do not run without our ability to put them out. we had too much destruction of property there. and it was going to be too dangerous to get electrical workers on to the island as long as we still have gas running in a system that's obviously become extraordinarily unstable. you saw -- if you've seen any of the film from that stretch between bay head and island beach state park, there are literally homes in the middle of route 35 knocked off of their foundations. and gas fires burning throughout that area of the jersey shore. certainly the most devastated part of the jersey shore from bay head to seaside heights. and so we ordered the closing. that's going to mean new jersey natural gas is going to have to rebuild the entire system from mantoloking to seaside heights. but i could not take the risk to life and to further property just to save some money for new
jersey natural gas. so we ordered it closed. it is closed immediately as of now. and they'll work with fema to begin to process of rebuilding that system. people are coming home need to be very careful since the natural gas will be emitted into the air. so you'll smell that methane smell from natural gas. there's nothing dangerous about it, but we have to get all the gas out of the system. once it's closed down, that will be pumped out of the system as well. people who live in that area will detect the smell of that methane smell. it's not environmentally dangerous. we've worked with the d.e.p. and b.p.u. to ensure that and it will clean out that system so we can have people come there safely and begin to restore power on the barrier islands. a few updates on our progress specifically a.c.e. is expected to have all power back up on the mainland, you know, by tomorrow night. and all power back up on the barrier island parts that they
cover by saturday night. so atlantic city electric folks have begun to send their linemen to central and northern new jersey because there's very little work left to be done in that area. we'll have, as i said, a number of people coming from all across the country. we'll continue to update you as they arrive in new jersey. and you're going to see trucks from, you know, states as far away as alabama and mississippi in new jersey over the course of the next couple days. governor bryant from mississippi and governor bentley from alabama also sent people up here. the second thing we have to do is get people to traverse on the roads again. we're seeing some traffic come back. we're working to clear the roads as quickly as possible. commissioner simpson deployed all his assets, over 800 employees at d.o.t. have been working around the clock, literally without sleep for the last three days to try to clear our roads. monday night 463 state roads were blocked or closed
completely. as of now we have that down to 20 state roads. so they've done an extraordinary job. all the downed trees have been removed from the roadways of state roads with the exception of the ones that involve downed power lines. we don't let the d.o.t. guys touch those. not safe for them to do it. but utility companies have to come in and do it. now i've instructed d.o.t. to talk to the county oems to deploy d.o.t. resources to help the counties with any county roads they have yet been able to clear. massive work unfortunately in the coastal area including large sections of route 35 is ongoing and will probably take days if not weeks to complete. >> all right. the governor of new jersey chris christie updating us on what's going on in his state. obviously he's working very hard trying to organize what's going on. what's impressive all these other governors sending equipment, sending personnel to help in this cleanup with the disaster in new jersey and new york and elsewhere. we're going to continue to
monitor what governor christie is saying. also, a couple weeks ago people would have headed to the seaside heights area in new jersey to play some games, ride the rides. but right now many of those attractions, they are in the atlantic ocean. coming up next, we're going to get a firsthand close-up look at this extensive damage. if we want to improve our schools... ... what should we invest in? maybe new buildings? what about updated equipment? they can help, but recent research shows... ... nothing transforms schools like investing in advanced teacher education. let's build a strong foundation. let's invest in our teachers so they can inspire our students. let's solve this.
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new jersey, a town that relies on beach tourism. today we're getting a look from space that really shows the scope of the damage. this goi image shows what it used to be and the pier highlighted here is the popular casino pier as it was two years ago. but look at it now. look at this. the end of it is completely gone. the rides are now in the ocean. cnn's michael holmes is joining us now by nearby toms river. you saw the destruction firsthand, michael. describe it to our viewers. >> reporter: it's catastrophic, wolf. yeah, we went to casino pier, we also went to the nearby fun town pier. and, yeah, casino pier is 300 meters out into the atlantic. and now it is just gone. the roller coaster, the slide jet roller coaster familiar to so many people, the pier disappeared from under it and it fell into the atlantic where it sits remarkably in tact given what it's gone through. extraordinary scenes. and for americans who aren't
familiar with it, of course this is a touchstone place. this is a place that is summer for so many americans who have gone there because their parents went through who now take their children there and now it's all gone. anyone who's watched "sopranos" or "jersey shore" or bruce springsteen song, they've heard about the jersey boardwalks, 16 blocks of them, are either splintered or they've been undermined or buckled and they will all have to be replaced. 16 blocks worth of that famed boardwalk. the roller coaster was gone. there were 38 other rides and attractions on that pier. over at the funtown pier we spoke to a businessman as he stood on the stand under where his business used to operate. that whole section of pier gone. it's an extraordinary and heartbreaking sight in many ways, wolf. goodness knows how many tens of millions of dollars or more it would take to repair. >> and they're going to have to
start at some point. we hope they get the job done. michael, thanks very much. michael holmes on the scene for us. there's much more ahead on the storm recovery. both presidential candidates also are out of the campaign trail today full time. they have new closing arguments. . 100% new. 100% mmm... wow, that is mmm... it's so mmm you might not believe it's a hundred calories. new yoplait greek 100. it is so good. new yoplait greek 100. let's say you want to get ahead how do you get from here... to here? at university of phoenix we're moving career planning forward so you
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after spending most of the last three days monitoring the response to sandy, president obama returned full time to the campaign trail today. and he picked up an important endorsement from new york city mayor michael bloomberg. jessica yellin is traveling with the president and joining us live from las vegas. how does it feel for the president to be back out on the
campaign trail, jessica? >> reporter: hi, wolf. the president has adopted a new tone after the superstorm sandy out on the campaign trail. he is talking about civility and bipartisanship, how democrats and republicans come together in the wake of a storm, that politicians in particular both parties work together, a veiled reference to no doubt his work with governor chris christie in these past few days. and gone is his attack line on governor romney, that tag line romnesia we heard for so long. no mention of it in his first stop in wisconsin today. instead this was the sole way he made a sharp dig at governor romney earlier today, wolf, take a listen. >> in the closing weeks of this campaign governor romney has been using all his talents as a salesman to dress up these very same policies that failed our country so badly. the very same policies we've been cleaning up after for the past four years.
and he is offering them up as change. >> reporter: wolf, the rest of his remarks are mostly focused on the contrast message, his vision for the economy versus governor romney's. and he really closed by emphasizing what he called cynicism. the cynicism in his view of governor romney's policies he said that governor romney is making a bet that americans will try to vote for a cynical view that americans want to go back to what didn't work in the past because they're just so sick of the squabbling. that's also the title of a new ad that the obama campaign is releasing today, wolf. >> all right. we'll stay in close touch, jessica yellin out on the campaign trail covering the president in these final five days. governor romney's also back in full campaign mode. he's not pulling any punches. his new line of attack, jim acosta will have that next. dad vo: ok, time for bed, kiddo.
mitt romney is himself back in full campaign mode today in virginia. here's cnn's national political correspondent jim acosta. >> reporter: wolf, the truce is over. after dialing back his criticism of president obama in the immediate aftermath of superstorm sandy, mitt romney has shifted back into campaign mode. and the gop candidate has unleashed some new eye opening lines of attack. mitt romney turned battleground virginia into a battlefield ending a two-daybreak from the campaign's fireworks with some new verbal cannon shots aimed at winning the last five days of the race. >> i know that the obama folks are chanting four more years,
four more years. but our chant is this. five more days. five more days is our chant. >> reporter: romney then mocked president obama for saying he may create a new secretary of business in his second term to consolidate the number of federal agencies offering loans and support to american companies. >> barack obama says he may -- >> reporter: in a new ad and on the stump romney said the proposal equals more government. >> we don't need the secretary of business to understand business. we need a president who understands business, and i do. >> reporter: romney will carry that message on a final swing state sprint to the finish that moves next to wisconsin and ohio before hitting four more battlegrounds, new hampshire, iowa, colorado and nevada, all on saturday. [ speaking in a foreign language ] >> reporter: in florida the romney campaign quietly launched a new spanish language tv ad that links president obama to venezuela leader hugo chavez and
castro. the ad appeared to be aimed at driving pro-romney cuban supporters who largely support the president. in ohio romney is still running ads accusing the president of sending jobs of bailed out car companies gm and chrysler to foreign. nowhere in the ads does it mention romney opposed the auto bailout. gm officials blasted the spot to a detroit newspaper saying no amount of campaign politics at its cynical worst will diminish our record of creating jobs in the u.s. and repate rating properties back to this country. polls receiving high marks for his handling of superstorm sandy, it's unclear how much the race has changed. hoping to recapture the momentum he had before the storm, romney recycled a line of attack he used presandy. >> he's been out talking about how he's going to save big bird
and then playing silly word games with my last name, or first. and then attacking me day in and day out. >> reporter: the storm also interrupted romney's closing argument which he was supposed to start delivering last monday. instead, he has five days left to make his case against a president who has emerged from sandy perhaps now tougher to beat. wolf. >> jim acosta on the campaign trail with mitt romney. devastated barely begins to describe what happened to staten island, new york, in the wake of superstorm sandy. in just a few minutes we'll go there live as residents who lost everything try to figure out where they will go. [ female announcer ] born from the naturally sweet monk fruit,
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you're in "the situation room." happening now, getting the water out of a hard-hit town on the new jersey shore. it's just a first step in what will be a massive, massive battle to recover. we're taking you behind the scenes this hour. we'll also show you the extraordinary lines at gas stations, some stretching for miles as police step in to settle disputes. it's getting ugly out there. and as the death toll climbs, we'll hear from people who will tell us about the loved ones they've lost in this ongoing catastrophe. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." the northeast is struggling desperately right now to recover from superstorm sandy. many people are still trapped by
flood waters or huddled in shelters. the death toll continues to rise. the storm has claimed at least 88 lives in the united states. 157 overall. we'll bring you some of the victims' stories including the latest heartbreaking confirmed deaths, two boys ripped from their mother's arms by flood waters. the full scope of the damage is still almost beyond comprehension. and at this point close to 5 million customers are still without power. some of the towns along new jersey's battered barrier islands may never be the same. homes, businesses, boardwalks, they are damaged or destroyed, vanished in many cases. but in a hard-hit town of belmar, here's cnn's jim clancy. >> reporter: wolf, like so many of new jersey's tine any coastal communities, the city of belmar
was hard hit as you can see by hurricane sandy. but it is trying to rebuild. perhaps it's most prominent feature was always a boardwalk that ran along there. it was completely removed by the forces of sandy that took away all of the sand and ripped the boardwalk up. you can see now what's left of it is being cleared away as they try to rebuild. and rebuild is exactly what they have in mind today. we talked a little bit earlier with mayor matt dougherty, and this is what he had to say about the determination to get the job done. >> we want to be very aggressive in this cleanup operation after hurricane sandy. we have numerous pumps going at the same time, getting the water out of our community and back up to the atlantic. president obama and governor chris christie have been outstanding in their statements and even governor christie coming here to meet with me saying just get it done, do what you need to do to get it cleaned up. >> reporter: case and point,
some of the pumps operating down here to drain out the city, it's literally a bowl. the sea water got in, it has no way of getting out. they're going to have to pump it out. so they're doing just that bringing in big pumps. the ones that were used after hurricane katrina to suck out some 700,000 gallons every hour. up to 2 million gallons an hour in the case of some of the larger pumps that are expected to come in a little bit later today. wolf, back to you. >> all right. jim, thank you. jim clancy on the scene for us. the new york city borough of staten island was devastated by this superstorm. the death toll there has continued to climb. and residents are getting desperate. they're saying they need a lot more help. brian todd is on the scene for us there. he's been getting a firsthand look joining us live from staten island. brian, what's going on as far as you can tell? >> reporter: wolf, devastation here. and they have not gotten much help yet. i'm going to show you a scene down cedar grove avenue here. check out this flooding behind me. people just barely able to get
to their homes and kind of assess damage and clear out wreckage. i can see some people on their front stoop over there tossing some stuff out. some vehicles trying to move through several feet of water here. you've got a flooded out church over to my right, to your left here, and just incredible scenes like this all over this neighborhood. this is the new dorf beach neighborhood of staten island, new york. right now what we're getting word of is the bodies of two young boys swept away from their mother during the storm, they were missing for a couple of days, unfortunately their bodies were discovered not too far in a marsh from here. the death toll here is well over a dozen people. exact numbers i don't have right now. well over a dozen people just in staten island. hundreds of homes damaged or destroyed just a short time ago. i talked to a resident who lives just a few feet away from here. he took me around his yard. >> when the storm surge started to occur, some of the water coming up carried these
containers across the street in the church parking lot. >> reporter: they were all the way over there by the green fenc fences? >> yeah. one came into my neighbor's yard and knocked down his terrace. another one came through my front fence, bounced off a couple trees and hit my wall and my house. >> reporter: can you show us some of the damage here? >> sure. damage on the house? >> reporter: yes, please. >> one wall is completely gone. the other one's just barely standing up. just the center beam is holding up the second floor of the house right now. >> reporter: were you in here when it happened? >> no. i had left just before the surge started. i got my things and go. >> reporter: can you recover anything in this house? >> not really. there's not really anything -- the furniture's all water logged. everything else is damaged. between the water damage and the things that are gone, everything's -- >> reporter: and he says he's
got flood insurance, he's got homeowners's insurance. he's waiting to hear how much of his damage is going to be covered by that. but another homeowner here told me she didn't have flood insurance. she tried to get it a couple years ago and she could not, wolf. just scenes of devastation and people trying to pick up to get whatever financial help they can after this. >> are you getting, brian, any answers from officials over there on staten island where you are? why it's taking so long to get help to the people on staten island? >> reporter: well, you know, you're getting some confusing information. we spoke to the borough president today. he was complaining that relief agencies had not been here for close to three days or at least two minimum. we are now told that the red cross has a presence here, that a state relief agency has come here and that fema is on the ground here. but the borough president was complaining about that in an interview with me earlier today. take a listen.
what is the most drastic situation here right now? >> the most drastic situation here are people that have no place when they leave the shelter to go to. and they have nobody to speak to to find out how they can be helped. where they can be sheltered for the next two or three weeks if they don't have homes to go to, how do they get their food, kids to school -- >> reporter: relief agencies have not been here yet? >> no. not to my knowledge. >> reporter: we just got word that some red cross trucks are coming. is it enough? >> yeah. why should i have to be hollering for three days for the red cross trucks? it should be there the day after the disaster. it should be there while the disaster is going on. >> reporter: what happened to the families in the hardest hit areas? how did they get hit by this? >> we're fortunate a lot of those families have friends. those families have friends. they're coping with that. plus the fact there's no
electricity. we were blockade, we were out of contact for three solid days. you couldn't get a car or truck across. we got no gas. we got no food. >> reporter: and just to clarify now. we are told some city relief agencies, state agencies, fema and the red cross do have a presence on staten island. but it was apparently a tough time coming. and not to place too much blame on them, the travel situation around staten island right now is very, very difficult, wolf. roads are cut off. roads are flooded out. some roads are blocked. some are impassable. there is traffic snarl all over staten island just because people are out either trying to get out, come back in and assess damage, there are huge lines for gas. so the travel situation around staten island is very, very difficult. that could be a key reason why some of the relief agencies haven't gotten here. and we just do have an updated word, 19 total dead on staten
island, wolf. >> the president, brian, is now speaking about the aftermath of sandy. he's in las vegas. >> -- we will not forget them. we are going to make sure they get everything they need. we're going to cut through the red tape and the bureaucracy. we've got military transport getting equipment in to get the power back on. we've got food and water and medical supplies that we're shipping in. and we're not going to stop. because what we understand is is that this could happen to any of us. >> that and that's why even in the midst of tragedy the situation on the east coast has also inspired because it reminds us that when disaster strikes, we see america at its best. all the petty differences that consume us in normal times somehow melt away.
there are no democrats or republicans during a storm, just fellow americans. leaders of different parties working to fix what's broken. neighbors helping neighbors cope with tragedy. communities rallying to rebuild. a spirit that says in the end we're all in this together, that we rise or fall as one nation. that's what we have seen on display over these last few days. that is the spirit that we need going forward. that spirit has guided this country along its improbable journey for more than two centuries. it's carried us through the trials and tribulations of the last four years. in 2008 we were in the middle of two wars and the worst economic crisis since the great depression. today, our businesses have created over five million new
jobs, the american auto industry is back on top, american manufacturing is growing faster than any time in the last 15 years, we're less dependent on foreign oil than any time in the last 20 years, home values are on the rise thanks to the service and sacrifice of our brave men and women in uniform, the war in iraq is over. the war in afghanistan is coming to an end. al qaeda has been decimated. osama bin laden is dead. so we've made real progress these past four years. but, nevada, we know our work's not yet done. >> the president making his transition from speaking about the aftermath of superstorm sandy. he's now in his stump speech. he's making the case for his re-election.
and pretty soon you'll be hearing some of the words that he has for mitt romney himself. we'll continue to monitor this speech in las vegas. candy crowley is standing by. we're going to be speaking with her about a major endorsement that the president received today. also a lot more coming up on the devastation from sandy. we'll go back to staten island. we'll be in new jersey, out on long island. lots happening today. the anger is developing because help is not getting there fast enough. dad vo: ok, time for bed, kiddo. lights out. ♪ (sirens)
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campaign. it's interesting where he's campaigning. this clearly is a road map to where they think the battle is. same with mitt romney. we saw him kind of tone down the rhetoric. he canceled some events. but now they're back at it. now, i think you're always going to hear the caveated speech which begins with, you know, our fellow americans are suffering, we're doing everything we can but they've incorporated that into what is essentially their closing arguments. >> he did get an endorsement from michael bloomberg. he wrote "if the 1994 or 2003 version of mitt romney were running for president, i may well have voted for him because like so many other independents i have found the past four years to be in a word disappointed." he did praise the president for his position on climate, on global warming and all of that. but he says he doesn't like the flip-flopping that mitt romney has. he liked the positions of years ago, not necessarily now. >> exactly.
but it also -- we are talking about the mayor of new york, he is independent. he's pro-same sex marriage, he's pro-choice on the abortion issue. he is pro-gun control. pro-not having big drinks. this sounds like a man who is more on the democratic corner than the republican corner. i don't think this is a huge surprise given the things that the mayor espouses he is four and i want a man who will support a woman's right to choose, i want a man who is on the right side of history when it comes to same sex marriage. all these things with which he agrees with president obama. so i think on that score this is not a huge surprise. >> yeah. i wasn't hugely surprised. a little surprised because he gave that interview to the atlantic magazine only a few weeks ago in which he said about obama's foreign policy. he said there's no obama doctrine that i know of. i don't know that anybody has
enunciated a world view the way that henriy kissen jer did in hs day or even james baker. there's no great love there for the president of the united states. but clearly he has endorsed him. >> yes. and also he focused on climate change which i thought was interesting. >> right. >> it comes after this huge storm and there's a big fight going on right now. and the scientists are out there saying, listen, this is climate change these sort of huge storms we haven't seen the likes of before. this is the result of climate change. and this is clearly a major who believes that his city was hard hit as a result of climate change. and so, you know, again not surprising the timing is sort of interesting to me. but it does fit in with what's been going on in new york and that he spent so much time talking about climate change. and that was what he was actually criticizing mitt romney for was romney's -- what he sees as romney's flip-flop on things
like coarbon emissions. >> obviously critically important issue for him. candy, thanks very much. hundreds of storm victims from new jersey's devastated coast are waiting in line for a first look at what if anything is left of their homes. up next, we are there for the emotional return. stay with us. you're in "the situation room." i don't think we have to teach innovation. i just think you have to coax people out of their fear of trying to innovate. everybody has a creative abilities. but people just don't express them. i mean, i see people come in here that are afraid to try anything. you give them some classes and some encouragement and they are success with their products and you see them just change, you see them light up. you see them, oh, i really can do this. it's stunning. they're stunned.
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hundreds of storm victims are getting a first look right now at what if anything is left of their homes near new jersey's devastated barrier island. they waited in line to be allowed back. and mike galanos from our sister network hln was there for the emotional -- very emotional return. mike, you've spent the day with these storm victims. tell us about that experience. >> you know, when we drove up, wolf, the line was forming. and by the time it wrapped up, it was 200 to 300 people lined
up. people were sharing coffee and stories. one woman whose house was not damaged at all, she set up a stand with donuts and hot chocolate trying to make the best of this. it was really a people coming together, wolf. but when it was time to go in, authorities let them in, then it was each family, each person, left alone with what they were about to see. we had a chance to go in with christina and b.j., a mother and a son. i stood with the mom, christina, right before they went in the house, they let us go in with them. they looked at me and let out this deep breath and she said, mike, i don't know if i want to go in. we had to push them in. wolf, we're talking water four and a half feet high in the house. you could see the water line with the debris and the water basically must have went in the house, shuffled furniture, knocked over a refrigerator and just left this family's home and life in a shambles. i talked to christina, she tried to keep a strong veneer up, but at one point emotions just got the best of her. let's watch.
>> i cried last night. i cried myself, you know, to sleep. because i knew. i knew it was going to look like this. then i knew that the water was four or five feet high. i mean, i know my house. what's in my house. and i was here for the storm in '91. so i saw the damage that that did and that was only two and a half feet. so when i knew that it was four to five feet, i knew. i knew i would have nothing. but i have -- i'm a single mom. his dad is nonexistent. so he's all i have. so that's i guess where my strength comes from. i have to be strong for him. you know, what are you going to do? this is his first time experiencing anything like this. mine too.
>> reporter: hard to listen to that again, wolf, as we ended up, myself, tony, our camera man, we helped them lift that refrigerator up. let me leave you with this -- this woman, you saw the tears. she was quick to laugh and smile. there was one little philadelphia eagles gadget they had in the house and it just wouldn't stop running. it wouldn't shut up, basically. and that was getting to her. and then she finally grabbed it and goes you guys are never going to win a super bowl anyway. and we all laughed. so in the midst of those tears she still had a moment where she could smile and make every one of us laugh. >> the emotion we're hearing from all of these victims, their stories, it is so, so moving. in the end though they do have their family. they have their health. mike, how are they coping though losing all of their possessions, basically their photos, their history, all of that stuff in those homes that have been destroyed? >> reporter: wolf, you just nailed it with the photos. that was one of the first things as we walk sboed into that hous
that's what b.j. and christina were saying to each other. do you have any spoof those thi really important to them. there were only three photos left of b.j. one of those refrigerator magnet as a baby, maybe 8-year-old or 10-year-old, that was it and those were the wounds that really run deep, wolf. >> yeah. sad, sad story no matter how you slice it, obviously. mike galanos on the scene for us. thanks for that report. very moving stuff. a cnn ireporter who survived a tsunami says the devastation on staten island bears eerie similarities. that's next. maybe your bank account is taking too much time and maybe it's costing too much money. introducing bluebird by american express and walmart. your alternative to checking and debit. it's loaded with features, not fees. because we think your money should stay where it belongs.
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there are some eerie similarities. he's joining us on the phone right now. you sent us some amazing pictures. walk us through what you saw and what you felt. >> hi, wolf. it was very sad. heartbreaking to see what happened there at staten island because so many houses was washed away. and so many cars. thousands of cars piled up. it was -- it's very hard to see. and hope -- to think that so many people might have been trapped in the houses because nobody expected the tsunami -- the high tide to go that inland. i don't know if you can show this on tv like if you saw highland boulevard is about half a mile from south beach. and nobody expected the water to go that far.
so people in that area didn't even leave. and i had a friend who woke up when the water came running into their house. and that is probably why so many people died in that area because nobody expected the water to go that far. and i have to agree with the borough president because i went the day after the hurricane, i went there yesterday. i didn't see any government agency. i saw nypd, but i didn't see anyone else. it was very sad. i have no words to explain. it's very sad the damage that it caused. the biggest reason why i wanted to show this on cnn was because of the tsunami in sri lanka, dr. san ja gupta was the first one to show it to the world and bring us aid. i thought that way we can get staten island on the news and get some aid to staten island
who needs it. >> there were some eerie similarities you say between what you experienced on staten island as a result of sandy and what you experienced from the tsunami in sri lanka. give us some comparison. >> comparisonwise the magnitude of the tsunami i have to say is much bigger because what i see in staten island -- the damage is within let's say 10 to 15 miles apart. but in sri lanka the damage was 200 to 300 miles and the death toll was about 30,000. the houses were completely washed away. and what i think what saved more lives was the technological advancements. you know, you have your smartphone on you and they tell you every second what's going to happen, please evacuate. but in those countries, people are still starting to use technology like smartphones. and we don't have the tsunami
warning systems. that's why we lost so many lives. and technology saved us. but on the contrary, we have such big -- such good technology in new york city, but they took so long to respond. if i'm right, today's the day all the government agencies, red cross, fema is getting there. it's been three days. so i don't know why it took so long. >> well, let's hope they get the job done. thanks for sharing your pictures, your video, your own personal experience. and it's good to keep it in perspective, the tsunami in sri lanka and what's happened on staten island over the past few days. i know you're a student at columbia university. good luck with your education. >> thank you very much. sandy is barely history. but now there are signs another major northeast storm could also be on the way. chad myers is standing by. he's tracking the latest forecast.
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all right. our sister publication "time" magazine is revealing chilling new images captured in the moments both before and during sandy's brutal assault on the east coast. it's all part of a special new issue. this is the cover for readers in the northeast entitled "lessons from the storm." the managing editor of "time" magazine, rick stengel, is joining us to talk about these photos. rick, thanks very much. let's start with these images. i want to show it to our viewers. it's an image very similar to the cover. it's a man standing in the surf near coney island in new york, in brooklyn. why did you choose this photo?
>> that's a very, very striking image, wolf. it shows the beginning of the power of the storm before it became devastating. and it also shows the fact that individuals were risking their lives in a full hardy way, i would say, at the early point of the storm before people realized its full deadly power. >> yeah. people don't really appreciate what's in store for them. all right. we have another picture. i'll put it up right now. this is an area that was devastated called breezy point in queens in new york city. over 100 homes were destroyed by fire. this woman's face really tells the whole story. talk a little bit about this photo. >> yes. that's by a photographer benjamin low wi. and all of these pictures were posted on our feed on instagram. again, it shows a woman who is devastated by the loss of her home. as you know, many of these homes were in fact homes of first responders, firemen and policemen. and the fire was exacerbated by
the storm. >> there are two pictures you posted also from connecticut. we spent a lot of time talking about new jersey and new york. but connecticut was also hard-hit. this man in wilton, connecticut, sitting in his destroyed barn. and the storm surge heading right toward a house in milford, connecticut. talk a little about both of these pictures. >> these are by a photographer named steven wilkes. ground zero for the storm was the new jersey shore, but it ravaged obviously parts of the new york shore and connecticut as well. that picture that you see now i think is one of those pictures that shows that strange eerie confluence between something manmade and something natural coming up against each other, which was actually the theme of the whole storm. >> yeah. it's really amazing. the powerful storm, the powerful surge that's just coming in there. the cover story also deals with the whole issue of climate change.
explain what's going on here from your perspective. >> wolf, the storm was tragic. it had tragic consequences. obviously it's affected hundreds of thousands if not millions of people. but the story differentiates between what was due to mother nature and problems that are manmade. and brian walsh who wrote the story talks about a number of them. the fact that over the last 15 or 20 years we have built up the coastlines in a way that is probably irresponsible given the fact that the second point that due to climate change the oceans have risen, the air temperature is warmer, all of which makes storms like this more likely. andrew cuomo said quite eloquently yesterday, what we've seen in the last few years is once a hundred year events are occurring every few years. our point is we have to change the way we live to accommodate these new events. we can't build in the same
places we have always built. what we've seen in new york as you see 50-year or 100-year-old transportation infrastructure which is still not back up. we have our electric grid, which is, again, also in the last century. so there are so many parts of america where our infrastructure is way, way behind the times. >> the article "lessons from the storm." it's the cover for "time" magazine readers in the northeast. you have separate covers for people elsewhere in the country on the upcoming election. rick stengel joining us as he does every week. thanks very much. >> thank you, wolf. long lines for gasoline, some desperate people are waiting for hours. we're on the scene of this organized chaos. i'm a conservative investor.
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take a look at this extraordinary time lapse video showing the superstorm sandy as it slammed into new york city. look at this. you're going to see the sky grow dark, the lights go on over the city, the lights go out over lower manhattan which is still even as we speak right now suffering from widespread power failure. look at the difference between lower manhattan and midtown and the rest of manhattan. wow. people are lining up for miles and waiting for hours for very scarce supplies of gasoline. and it's happening in many places devastated by sandy. our national correspondent susan candiotti got a firsthand look. >> reporter: how long did it take you to get to the front of the line to fill up? >> i've been here since 10:30 this morning. >> reporter: 10:30 this morning and it's --
>> four hours. >> reporter: this is for your car or what? >> this is for my car. >> reporter: you decided to bring your grocery cart. >> right. >> reporter: and a bag. >> right. >> reporter: and you put the gas can inside the bag. i can guess why, but tell me why? >> i figure it might be too heavy to carry and it's become a hot commodity, didn't want to risk it. >> reporter: all the other customers came by car. let's see how long some of them have been waiting to get to this point. hi, i'm with cnn. how long to get to the front of the line? >> three hours. a lot of patience and a lot of sanity. >> reporter: this is where the line starts. i've got to see it for myself. how long does it go? at this point it's 14 blocks at least. the gas station is way down in that direction. and all you see behind me taillight, taillight, taillight as people wait and wait and wait to see if there is gas at the end of the line. what do you do for a living? >> i work for "new york times." >> reporter: so delivering newspapers. so you've been waiting in line for how long? and how long do you think it will take? >> i would wait in line forever
to get to my job so i can get the newspaper out tomorrow. >> reporter: now it's 15 blocks, 16 blocks, 17 blocks. there appears to be no end in sight. those cars are going at least a mile back. what do you make of the whole thing? >> well, what are we going to do about it? we can't do nothing about it. >> that report from susan candiotti. that gas station ran out of gas at that gas station. but we're told susan tells us they're getting more apparently right now. let's hope for the best. with millions of people suffering in the wake of sandy, there are some ominous signs that could signal much more misery ahead, if you can believe it. let's bring in our severe weather expert, chad myers, our meteorologist. chad, another storm what's going on here? may be in the works? it certainly could be. still six days out. that's way too far to make any accurate predictions. but let me show you what's setting up and where the potential is going to be for the next few days. we have cold air in the east because the jet stream has turned to the south here. that allows all of the cold air to come down from canada and
from up north. that allows very warm air back out here. now, what happens if this setup continues like we expect it to if a low pressure comes over the top of this ridge, it can come down here and end up as a nor'easter. that's how they work in the middle of winter. this time of year don't usually make a lot of snow because the air isn't that cold. but we saw what already happened in west virginia where there was 36 to 40 inches of snow in some spots. here's how it looks. we've shown you the models about the hurricane. this is not a hurricane, but the models still work. we go to monday where it's raining, tuesday raining in florida for the election. and then finally on wednesday maybe making some landfall something, not a hurricane, but a wind event, maybe a rain event for the northeast. they don't need anything else here. houses are torn up. most of them are open at some point in time. either roof's gone or sides gone or windows or doors gone. anything like this would certainly be an unwelcomed visitor.
we already know this is going to happen. temperatures are going to be in the 30s in the overnight hours. and that's cold for a house that doesn't have power. if you have gas, nat gas, that's great. but if you don't have power, that's great. the furnace won't and you won't have heat. what are people going to do? they're going to try to stay warm somehow. we lose people with carbon monoxide poisoning when we take the furnace or let's say a range and you open the oven and you try to warm the house. carbon monoxide is entering the house, you have to be careful. you cannot use your gas stove to heat the house. you have to find something else or find some place warm or use the hot water heater. the hot water in the hot water heater will warm up your hands and fill up a ziploc bag. that is vented. if you have a gas pilot water heater, it will heat the gas and carbon monoxide will go up the chimney. very dangerous.
>> i want you to watch this tape. this is new jersey governor chris christie touring and comforting residents. let's watch it. >> thank you so much for coming. >> we're here for you. >> thank you. >> i told them yesterday that, you know, there is no, there are no medals given out. you did the right thing. we have people alive and now it's about the next stage. that's what we have to do next. all my guys are tired. time to get to work. so, if i can do it, they can do it. >> new jersey governor chris christie talking to residents
there 24 hours after he spent the day with the president yesterday in new jersey. heartbreaking stories of lives lost in sandy's wake. up next, we're putting names and faces with the dozens of people here in the united states who were killed in this storm. [ male announcer ] from our nation's networks... ♪ ...to our city streets... ♪ ...to skies around the world... ♪ ...northrop grumman's security solutions are invisibly at work, protecting people's lives... [ soldier ] move out! [ male announcer ] ...without their even knowing it. that's the value of performance. northrop grumman. prand you're seeing that rightno quit in amnow.a...e. over five million new jobs. exports up forty one percent. home values... rising. our auto industry... back. and our heroes are coming home. we're not there yet, but we've made real progress and the...
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a little less imperfect. call... and lock in your rate for 12 months. liberty mutual insurance. responsibility. what's your policy? let's look at some of the powerful photos come in from the east coast. a gas station, look at this gas station attendant sits in front of a pump as he fills can after can with gasoline. in brooklyn, new york, thousands of people stand in line for buss into manhattan. many commuter rails are still out of service from this superstorm, sandy. in hoboken, new jersey, duracell employees hand out baltries to
residents and let those without power use charging stations. in jersey city, a man holds after her mom's power stopped running while waiting in line for gasoline. we have been hearing endless stories of destruction in the days since sandy struck but now only now are we putting names and faces with those who lost their lives in this storm and the heartwrenching stories that go with them. lisa sylvester joins us. >> 88 dead from sandy. but behind each one of those numbers is someone's story. someone who lost their life that day and they ranged in ages from 2 years old to 90 years old. matthew's pastor says the 8-year-old was going as ironman for halloween. but matthew never got that chance. he died monday outside his home. matthew ran out to check on calves the fanlally was raising on their farm when a tree limb
fell on him. the family's pastor. >> it wasn't even raining and he had just run out and i saw the tree, it was only the part of the tree that fell was maybe eight inches in diameter. >> reporter: matthew wrote this note two weeks ago to pastor bob. thank you for being a pastor. you are very nice to me and ryan. then matthew asked if the pastor's son, ryan, could come over to play. the two were good buddies. how did your son take the news because you had to tell him, right? >> yeah. i was on the phone and my wife almost fell. she told him and later that night as i tucked ryan in bed, he asked me, did matthew, is matthew in heaven. >> reporter: superstorm sandy, the water has receded, but she left behind a trail of broken hearts. in pennsylvania, north carolina,
virginia, new jersey, new york, maryland, west virginia and connecticut. lauren abraham, 24 years old a makeup artist. she died after stepping on a live electrical wire in queens, new york. jesse and jacob were killed in brooklyn while walking their dog. they were hit by a falling tree. a large tree also fell on richard and elizabeth's pickup truck but their children, 11 and 14, also in the truck, survived. bill jr., 61 years old, a long-time princeton, new jersey, resident a tree fell on the house. he went to assess the damage and that's when another tree fell on top of him. >> he was a guy who always put the other fellow first. is was always, what can i do for you? not how can you help me? >> reporter: the storm didn't discriminate. easton, connecticut, firefighter died in the line of duty while trying to remove a tree blocking a roadway. he leaves behind a wife of 21
years and two children. >> we're a small fire department and brotherhood and work so closely and he was, you know, one of our closest friends and all are just incredibly saddened by the loss of russ. >> reporter: among the worst hit areas was staten island, new york. at least 19 people killed there, including the heartbreaking story of a 2-year-old and 4-year-old, both boys, ripped from their mother's arm after their suv became trapped in flood waters. and that is just the small sampling of the stories. there is a memorial fund that has been set up for 8-year-old matthew stall for burial expenses. care of the community of montrose, pennsylvania. for more ways to help, our viewers can visit cnn.comimpactyourworld. >> i hope they do, lisa, thank you. frustration turning to anger on staten island. storm victims there say they're
having to fend for themselves amid unbelievable destruction. also, almost 5 million people in the disaster zone are still without power. temperatures are about to plunge. and the presidential campaign resumes with the candidates back on the campaign trail and back on the attack just five days before the election. i'm wolf blitzer, you're in "the situation room." grim new numbers in the wake of superstorm sandy. the death toll has now risen to 157. that includes 88 people in the united states, 67 in the caribbean and 2 in canada. those numbers could continue to climb as recovery efforts continue. half of the u.s. deaths were in
new york state, at least half of them on staten island where multiple neighborhoods have been laid to waste. people who live there are desperate right now for help. they still have no power, no water and no where to go and help from the outside has just started to arrive three days after the storm. cnn's brian todd is on the scene for us. you're talking to residents. what are they telling you? >> wolf, this is a beach off staten island and the residents telling us they are in shock picking up off the floor and picking up the pieces of their lives and their homes that have been damaged here. hundreds of homes in staten island and many of them in this neighborhood have either been damaged or commroetly destroyed. people here are just devastated. this is a look down cedar grove avenue. you can see some cars down there. this is basically flood water and people are trying to wade through there to get to their homes to assess damage. a flooded out church to my right and if you come over here, the damage in this yard over here. that container back there looked
like, you know, some kind of a container truck, some kind of moving container. that was over in that church parking lot. that hit this house and another container of this same size hit this house and went down the street. that tells you the force of the storm. right now the two young boys that have been missing since the storm hit, the bodies have been found. they are deceased. they were found not too far away from here in a marsh. the death toll now on staten island alone is 19. those numbers could, of course, change. the news of thez two young boys, of course, devastating, again, to this community. i'll show you some scenes from the community now as we walk around here a short time ago and some of the words of the people who were just shattered by this whole thing. >> came up into the gate with the water. came out and knocked things down. they're surviving. the water level was up to here.
this is where the water level, so, it touched my first floor. but this is, you know, this is old stuff coming out of the refrigerator. there's no power. >> do you think you can rebuild? >> not without any funds, no. without funds, i probably have to walk away from my home. i'll probably have to walk away from my home. >> this is cedar grove avenue on staten island completely devastated. look at this house here. just collapsed. roof, completely broke down. just remnants of a stairwell there that may have gone to an attic, that looks like an attic that you're seeing slanting down over here. the rest of it is leveled. remnants over here. this is kind of a scene repeated throughout staten island. people bringing whatever items
they can salvage and just, just strewing them all over their front lawns just to see if they can just leave them in tact for someone to come and pick them up. the owner told us we could come in and take a look at the damage in his house and you can kind of get an idea what the storm surge did when it came through here. the shoreline is that way, the owner says the surge came through here. this is his living room, what's left of it. came right through here. look at all the debris and look at everything that was destroyed. this is the living room area. that whole section looks like a kitchen, looks like it was washed out there. debris all over the place. this is a sofa. he says almost got tossed out the window and the owner told us a lot of the debris came rushing through the house and out the window here. at this point, trying to get as much stuff out of the house as possible. the homeowner right over here. she says she doesn't think she can salvage any of this stuff. again, a scene repeated
throughout staten island. she says this was her 8-year-old son. they were here and road out the storm together. the first time he has been out of the house since the storm hit. he has been so terrified. >> we got to move our cars, we lost three cars. we have nothing. i don't know how you bounce back from something like this. >> and one prominent complaint in this neighborhood and else where on staten island from the borough president and from residents here that the they were late getting here. the borough president saying some private agencies, well-known private relief agencies and relief agencies just didn't get here for the first couple of days after the storm. we are told now that the fema has a presence here and the red cross has a presence here and state agencies are alwaso on th ground. but it complaint from this neighborhood and the borough president that they didn't get here until just a few hours ago. >> did they offer an explanation
on why it has taken three days to get there? >> we have not been able to get a real formal explanation. part of the reason for that is because communication where we are, it's pretty much called out. you can't call out very well. we can't get a hold of some officials who might be able to give us an answer to that. traveling around and getting to this rural part of the island, at least the part cut off by the storm, very, very difficult. so, that could be a key reason why those relief agencies were not able to make it here. maybe as fast as they wanted to. you know, you don't want to start to throw around a lot of criticism when you don't know the logistics on the ground. i can tell you traveling around on staten island today, exceedingly difficult. >> todd on staten island for us, thank you. pictures of the dire situation in hoboken, new jersey, just across the new jersey river from manhattan. sandy sent river water pouring into the city of 50,000 people. national guard troops called in
to help trapped residents to dry ground. hoboken is without power and it could be more than a week before the lights are back on in hoboken. even people who didn't lose anything on this storm are having a tough time right now. kate bolduan picking up the story. >> it will continue to be for days and weeks ahead. but as wolf said, something as simple as filling up a car involves waiting in long, meandering lines miles long, hours long for some. reuters reports at least half the gas stations in new york city and neighboring new jersey are closed because they're simply out of gas or don't have power themselves. almost 5 million homes and businesses still have no electricity. con edison says power to midtown manhattan should be restored by saturday, with a vast majority of customers back online by november 11. that's ten days away. cnn's deborah feyerick is
working that part of the story for us this evening. deborah, that is not something that any resident without power wants to hear right now. what is the latest? >> no, absolutely not. in all the hard-hit areas, this is the time of night that everybody begins to dread. the temperatures are dropping. that means it's simply getting colder and the natural light that they're able to use to kind of get around and navigate, well, that's disappearing. so, those who are in their apartments who are effectively sort of stuck there because they can't go anywhere or they don't have anywhere else to go, right now they're hunkering down for the evening. here's what we found. in a scene that repeated itself in the hardest hit areas. grocery stores like western beef in lower manhattan had to throw out massive quantities of spoiling food. >> you have beef and pork. >> everything had to be thrown away. >> all the chickpen. you don't want to take a chance. >> they say they had to throw out upwards of 20,000 pounds of
milk, meat, fish and other perishables like ice cream. we see a lot of empty shelves here. >> company wise we blow millions by far already. not just this store, but a few stores affected by the aftermath of hurricane sandy. >> reporter: some restaurants had to call in private garbage truckers to get rid of hundreds of thousands of dollars of food which spoiled because of the power outages. >> this is one of the many buildings in lower manhattan that has been in complete darkness since the hurricane hit. we'll show you. again, this is an apartment building. >> reporter: we meet anita vazqu vazqu vazquez. how is it walking up and down the three or four floors? >> not easy. >> reporter: do you have enough food? >> the food went bad and we threw it out yesterday. >> reporter: she invites us to take a look. >> we put the light on the floor and we leave them on until 12:00 so we don't have to fall and see if everybody is okay. >> reporter: you have no
electricity here in your refrigerator. let's see, what do you have in there? >> we threw some of the food away yesterday. >> reporter: okay. >> we have a few grapes and we threw everything out. the fridge was smelling already. >> yeah, you can smell it a little bit. everything began to spoil. >> and then here so far they said if you don't open your freezer for 72 hours, everything will last. so, it's bad because we have to cook everything we can. >> so, you're trying to get rid of it. so, you still have a little bit of meat. when are you going to start cooking this meat? >> tonight. we threw some of it that was smelling. it's still cold, but you can see you can smell. >> you can definitely smell it. and, so, kate, you know what we found, this is a scene that is repeating itself in millions of homes that have been hit so hard. they're eating what they can. this particular family, the vazquezes, they're eating peanut butter sandwiches, crackers they've got. they used, they took some of
the, they were able to buy some milk and they actually put it on the windowsill in order to keep it cold. again, through a blessing and a curse, they're keeping it cold because the temperatures outside are getting colder but they have to wear more clothing inside and without power, there's just so little they can do. so, they're sort of huddling together to keep warm, do what they can. not just manhattan, not just lower manhattan, but all the hard-hit areas in the rock aways, coney island, staten island and wherever people lost power, they are doing the best they can. but there is a fear. there is a fear that they're simply not going to have enough food or run out of food. so, as britain saian said, they them to come. >> deborah feyerick, thanks so much. parts of the jersey shore destroyed by flood water, we're going there live, that's coming up next. sleek new styling... sophisticated dual cockpit design,
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we've seen the damage in new york and now we're going to the jersey shore where there's mile after mile of devastation. >> many of the boardwalks and piers where families were enjoying their summer just weeks ago have been laid to absolute waste. michael holmes is there tonight. what are you seeing tonight? >> yesterday, of course, we got to see the damage done to the houses along there from all the way up to normandy and entire houses picked up and dumped in the middle of the street in some cases. well, today, we went to see some of that iconic new jersey boardwalk and the amusement parks that are so well known to americans particularly in the northeast at casino pier, in particular. and the devastation there was something to behold. i've never seen so much wood piled up along the shoreline there. that 300 meters worth of the pier that was sticking out in the atlantic ocean. most of it gone. the roller coaster there, dumped
into the sea as the pier fell and bizarrely sitting almost in tact in the ocean. three dozen other rides and attractions were all gone and a little bit further up is a fun town pier less than a mile further north and extraordinary to see the damage done there, as well. the front of this iconic structure just gone. knocked into the ocean. rides twisted and another bizarre sight, a ferris wheel that was sitting there. still sitting upright quite bizarrely. for how long, we don't know. for those that don't know, this is sort of a destination for millions of americans, for generations going there and visiting. if you've ever seen the sopranos or the "jersey shore" or listen to the springsteen song. 16 blocks of that boardwalk splintered and all of it likely to be replaced.
you can't imagine the cost. >> when you see that roller coaster and ferris wheel, it looks like scraps. it is really startling. obviously, just a tourist attraction, but it really hits home. michael holmes in new jersey for us, thanks so much. thanks so much, michael. still ahead, the storm put the presidential campaign largely on hold. now the candidates are back in a final grueling sprint to election day with five days to go. we're on the campaign trail with them, next. announcer ] citi turns 200 this year. in that time there've been some good days. and some difficult ones. but, through it all, we've persevered, supporting some of the biggest ideas in modern history. so why should our anniversary matter to you? because for 200 years, we've been helping ideas move from ambition to achievement. and the next great idea could be yours. ♪
we're now just five days from the presidential election and after being muted by the superstorm disaster, the campaign is now back in full swing. president obama is hitting wisconsin, nevada and colorado just today cnn's chief white house correspondent jessica yellin is in las vegas for us. jessica, it didn't take them very long to get back on message. but no surprise, it is five days out. >> no, he is right back on message, kate. with a new closing message, the president back on the trail and wearing his leadership credentials on his sleeve, literally. on his first stop of the day in wisconsin, he bounded off the plane wearing a bomber jacket. blazoned with the words, commander in chief, in case you didn't get it. today he woke up to good news in the morning with two big endorsements from the magazine "the economist" and new york mayor michael bloomberg. bloomberg told him it would be best if he did not visit storm damage in that city yesterday
but today threw his support behind the president both for his positions on climate change and gay marriage, among other issues. so, it looks like he's got increasing support today. and, kate, here in vegas, the president began with a new closing message. gone were those words of attacking governor romney for so-called romnesia. instead, he's hitting his opponent with this line. >> he's saying he's the candidate of change. now, let me tell you, nevada, we know what change looks like. and what the governor's offering sure ain't change. giving more power back to the biggest banks isn't change.
blue state, typically is. but with paul ryan on the ticket, it's leaning, it's more in play. president will visit it twice, again, before election day. kate? >> many more battleground states to hit in the final days of the election. jessica yellin, thank you so much. mitt romney is also on a final sprint through the swing states, but minus the positive tone, he was trying to strike in
sandy's immediate aftermath. jim acosta is on the road with the romney campaign. >> reporter: wolf, following the romney campaign bus across the state of virginia, we can report the truce is over dialing back the criticism of the president in the aftermath of superstorm sandy and the gop nominee is back on offense. mitt romney turned battleground virginia into a battlefield. ending a two-day break from the campaign's fireworks with some new verbal canon shots aimed at winning the last five days of the race. >> the obama folks chanting four more years, four more years. our chant is this, five more days. >> reporter: romney then mocked president obama saying he may create a new secretary of business in his second term to consolidate the number of federal agencies offering loans and support to american companies. >> barack obama may appoint a secretary of business. >> reporter: in a new ad and on the stump, romney said the proposal equals more government. >> we don't need a secretary of business to understand business. we need a president who understands business and i do. >> reporter: romney will carry that message on a final swing state sprint to the finish. that moves next to wisconsin and ohio, before hitting four more battlegrounds, new hampshire, iowa and colorado all on saturday. in florida, the romney campaign quietly launched a new spanish-language that links to hugo chavez and the daughter of raul castro. and appear to be aimed at voters to offset other latinos who amreivg ghar f nt tlk aouhoe'going gamethstanth expand the battleground map and aides to the gop nominee say he will stop in pennsylvania on sunday. democratic officials are calling that an act of desperation but a romney campaign official says it's the obama campaign that is
"freaking out." wolf? >> thanks very much, jim acosta reporting to us from the bus on the campaign trail. residents on staten island have heart wrenching story about the unbelievable. >> i live a mile from the beach, how did that water get to my house? to me, i think it was a tsunami. everyone in the nicu, all the nurses wanted to watch him when he was there 118 days. everything that you thought was important to you changes in light of having a child that needs you every moment.
and the candidate's speech is in pieces all over the district. the writer's desktop and the coordinator's phone are working on a joke with local color. the secure cloud just received a revised intro from the strategist's tablet. and while i make my way into the venue, the candidate will be rehearsing off of his phone. [ candidate ] and thanks to every young face i see out there. [ woman ] his phone is one of his biggest supporters. [ female announcer ] with cisco at the center... working together has never worked so well.
here on the east coast you could see sandy's impact on the evening commute. >> still in a transportation emergency with limited public transit meaning long lines and gridlock. for the people who tried to drive in, many spent hours in line for gas. some stations are without power, causing panic among people trying to keep generators going and top off their gas tanks. each day, we get a new look at how severe the damage is from this storm. check this out. this house in new jersey is now
its own island with neighboring homes simply washed away. >> awful, indeed. michelle is among the staten island residents who lost everything. she talked to us earlier, she described how the water swallowed up her home and a full mile from the beach. >> everything was fine on monday, wolf. we were calm and then my son looked out the window and said, mom, dad, do you see all this water? my 1 1-year-old. i looked and we looked out the door and, wolf, it was like i was at the beach. the water was coming down like a tidal wave. i could not believe it. and my husband, like, oh, my god, we have to get out. we have three dogs. we all grabbed a dog. my son left in his pajamas and we got to our car, which is just down in our driveway. the water was up to the tires. so, we ran to a neighbor and then we went to my mother's who had power and we came back the next morning and my hall
basement, the water went up to the ceiling. my refrigerator was floating. how a refrigerator floats is beyond me. but coming back, the devastation in my neighborhood was unbelievable. there were people's furnaces on other people's lawns. we saw ice chest from like stores that they keep ice on people's lawns. trees down. out let power. just total devastation. never in my life. i live a mile from the beach. how did that water get to my house? to me, i think it was a tsunami. >> can your house, michelle, be salvaged now? what do you need to be able to move back in there? >> well, we're definitely not ready to move in. it was full of water and it was the ocean water, salt water. so, salt water has destroyed all our electrical. we have to have all that redone. my house has no power. we can't even turn the power, if we got power back, we can't even
turn it on because it's contaminated. we, right now, have some missionaries from my church are here. i have about 40 people helping us just clear out stuff. my son slept down there, that was his room. he lost everything. i just found his baby book and i started hysterical crying. but we lost everything, wolf. and, they're helping us take down the dry wall, you know, all the insulation because it's all contaminated. we had a pond in my backyard, all the fish are dead. it went up to have a four-foot above ground pool and the water went up to 3 1/2 feet. we have the water lines on the pool. >> has anybody from fema or any of the authorities been around there? national guard? >> no national guard. we are above the boulevard. below the boulevard, wolf, people have lost their home. there is nothing left. they have found bodies down the
block. so, i know the devastation there is a lot worse. we're lucky we got out alive. my car, we couldn't get my second car out. that's totally gone. you could look in and see water in the cup holders. we got in touch with fema, the guy was going to come last night. he could not get on to staten island. traffic is horrific. besides the downed lights, we have trees everywhere and floods. fema is supposed to come tomorrow. we called all the insurance people, you know, as much as we can do on our end. >> our reporter brian todd tell us that the american red cross is on the scene. have you seen them on staten island? >> no, i have not seen the red cross. but, like i said, i'm not in, we got flooded out, but there are people who have lost their homes and there's nothing left. >> there are people who have lost, there are people who lost their lives, including two boys
whose bodies were found today. >> exactly. exactly. >> you're familiar with what, not only the devastation, but the death, especially on staten island. were you at all prepared for what happened there? did anyone give you an indication this was about to unfold? >> not a all, wolf. not at all. we are not even in an evacuation zone. we are zone "b" and we were not told of anything. in fact, it was so calm, wolf. i said to my husband, i think i'm going to go to bed. it was so calm, just a little wind. all of a sudden my 11-year-old didn't look out the window, we would not have known until the water started to come up. he said, mommy, look at the water. >> your congressman michael grim has described staten island right now as a mini katrina. is that your sense, as well? >> katrina, yes. >> a mini katrina. >> yes, i know how those people in katrina feel. i really do. my heart went out to them. but until you go through
something like this, you cannot understand the magnitude of this. my friends have come to help me. they said, michelle, we looked at your yard, because we have all the stuff in the yard. they said, michelle, if we didn't see this with our own eyes, we would never believe it. >> hard to know when power will be restored to mayor bloomberg said the ferry service will resume in the next day or so. he said full service by saturday. the ferry by staten island over to manhattan and new york. but, who knows what is going to happen. our heart goes out to you, michelle, and your family. >> thank you so much. i'm a big fan of yours, wolf. it's a pleasure to speak with you, i have to put it into perspective. we have our lives and our children and it's just stuff like my kids say. when i found my son's baby book, it rips at our heart strings. i'm grateful we're here. >> i like your attitude. you have to take a look at the positive side, even though you lost a lot of physical possessions. you have your family and your
health. you will come back out of this misery. >> we will, wolf. i am a breast cancer survivor two years, wolf. i know god will help me and get through this. god bless you and all the people suffering right now. >> michelle mccomb a resident on staten island. really powerful story. >> remarkable lady. even when the power comes back, they have so much work to do in places in staten island and everywhere. such a heartbreaking story. she's pretty impressive, though. many questions still. should new york city have been better prepared for sandy. ? we will talk about the disaster plus the superstorm politics now in play with governor george pataki, next. a crash management system and the world's only tridion safety cell which can withstand over three and a half tons. small in size. big on safety.
saw new york through the unparallel disaster of 9/11. >> the city and state struggle through this superstorm disaster. >> former governor of new york george pataki joining us from new york. governor, thanks very much for coming and let's talk a little bit about what's going on in your state right now, specifically new york city. should the city, based on everything you know right now and it's still relatively early, should the city have been better prepared for this storm? >> you know, i think, wolf, it's too soon to say that at this point. the people had adequate warning that there was going to be a major storm. there were evacuation orders in place. but i don't think anyone was prepared for the magnitude of the storm surge. the flood you just heard about from mrs. mccomb on staten island. the people were notified and, obviously, you have to deal with the public safety issues now and trying to get the power back on and trying to get the transit system running and then after
that, after the dust has settled, so to speak. you can look back and say, what do we have to do better the next time? you always learn you always try to do better, but i think at this poin, let's focus on the recovery. >> when you were governor, did you ever think the subways would be flooded like this? that the lights over lower manhattan would simply switch off for days? >> well, obviously, we had durable storms and we had the power blackout across the east coast and, of course, we had september 11th. so, certainly, you could anticipate the loss of power. and one of the things that is troubling to me is that it is taking quite some time to come back. i understand it is extraordinary times and i understand that sea walter does a lot more damage than rain water and it's understandable that it's taking this time, but, hopefully, the city will come back quickly and stronger. i just want to say one thing about your clip there with mrs. mccomb. that was truly heartbreaking, but also inspiring. i think it really struck the two
feelings that we have here today. there's a sorrow in the sense of loss for people who have lost everything and for those who have lost their lives, but you saw it in mrs. mccomb the resiliency that i'm okay and others have it worst off and we'll get through that. it's an important lesson here. it's not government. she mentioned how 30 volunteers from her church were helping out. as we go forward here, let's look out for each other. it doesn't just have to be the government, if you can help the neighbor, that's how we've gotten through these in the past and that's how we'll come through this better than ever. >> our reporter on the ground in staten island saying that people in staten island feel they they have been abandoned and they haven't seen the cavalry come in and help them. do you think the response has been uneven compared to staten island and the other boroughs? >> i can't say that. i know there is tremendous
devastation in staten island and queens and breezy point, of course, where over 100 homes were lost completely and it's very difficult because you want the to respond to everywhere as quickly as possible, but the resources are limited. so, i can understand people's frustration. it is thursday. that frustration will grow, which is why it's important that we focus on getting lives back to normal or at much to normal as possible as quickly as possible. >> we really appreciate your perspeckive, governor pataki, thank you for joining us. >> thank you, wolf. also other news we're following, including new poll numbers from the battleground states, including colorado. we'll take a closer look at what it could mean for the race for the white house. and cheerleading, and baseball. those years were crazy. so, as we go into this next phase, you know, a big part of it for us is that there isn't anything on the schedule.
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new numbers coming in from the critical battleground state of colorado. our latest orc poll is revealing a very tight race with president obama at 50% and mitt romney at 48% of supporters of voters. john king is in denver taking a closer look at the polls and the race in that battleground state. john, what are you finding? >> kate, you're finding a lot of energy and excitement here. intensity on both sides. if you look deep into our polls, you see why turn out and get out the vote is so critical over these next five days, including the last several hours of early voting that ends here tomorrow. in denver and boulder, the most urban areas of the state, the president has a 30-point lead. the president has to get high turnout in denver and in boulder. then, if you look into the denver suburbs which are
critical in close statewide election. the president has an edge there, governor romney, who is going to be here over the weekend probably needs to cut into that a bit to win on election day, but that is very competitive. if you look at the rest of colorado, it's more rural, it's more conservative. governor romney racking up a big lead there. 55% to 43%. he needs to get turn out in the small towns to offset the president's advantage in the bigger urban areas. as you mentioned, a statistical tie heading into final day here. only nine electoral votes, but when you look at the different scenarios, colorado could be critical for both campaigns. >> how critical is the role of independent voters in colorado? we know they're important pretty much in every state, john. >> there's about parity here. it's about a third democratic, about a third republican and about a third independent. the campaigns are running even among independent voters right now and that's also a huge factor and a huge wildcard in the early voting. about 1.3 million votes have
already been cast in colorado. i talked to the secretary of state today. he said that's probably half the presidential electorate has cast their ballot. now, republicans have a 36,000 ballot advantage in terms of republicans who requested and then returned early ballots and 342,000 unaffiliated. independent voters not affiliated with either party, kate. they already voted here in the state of colorado and you and wolf have covered a lot of elections. this is my seventh presidential election and you think you've seen it all. here in colorado today i saw two firsts. number one, drive-through voting. you don't have to get out of your car. if you requested an absentee ballot you can drive up to the denver election headquarters and hand your ballot to an official who takes it and puts it in a sealed ballot box. we also went in and watched them count some of these and on a sample ballot, you can vote for president obama and governor romney and if you want, you can vote for roseanne barr. >> there you go, that's america for you. john king in denver for us. thanks so much, john.
all right, new information just coming into "the situation room" about the terrorist attack on the terrorist attack in benghazi, libya. the september 11 terrorist atta on the u.s. consulate in benghazi, libya. the attack killed four u.s. citizens. suzanne kelly has just returned from a high level briefing on this. what did you find out? >> for the the senior u.s. intelligence official who offered almost a minute by minute blow on what happened that night said they felt passionately about setting the record straight after fox news reported last friday that officials within the cia chain of command denied repeated requests from its officers on the ground to assist in the attack and were r ordered to stand down. a senior official says there were no orders to anybody to stand down in providing support, the official insisting that the cia operators on the ground were
in charge of what they did and that it was a very important consideration. >> what are you learning about how long it took the cia officer to actually respond to what was going on? >> we know a lot more know than we knew in the weeks after. there was a roughly 25-minute gap between the initial call for help from the consulate, the time that came into the officers at a nearby annex, the time the officers were in the car on the way to assist. we're told during the time they were getting their weapons loaded while others were on the foeb trying to get so-called friendlier militias to come in and assist them. >> also that officers on the ground were asking for military back-up, but the chain of demand denied those requests. >> i can't use the actual word they told me, but the official offered a very passionate statement, that it was simply not true. the military did provide
assistance, ar cord cord thg this source, that the help was much appreciated and provided drone surveillance, tactical support and medevac. >> so, this was all coming out now there's a lot of political ramification. the official did not want to speak on the record? >> that's right. it's political. we're now five days before the presidential election and this issue of what happened that night in benghazi and how the u.s. responded, what intelligence knew, when they know it has become so sensitive that there's a struggle of people who want to set the record straight for those who made this decision, the people who died that night and they're struggling to find ways to do that without making it more political. >> we'll continue to follow the story. an amazing story. >> still unfolding, absolutely. back to sandy now. some good news for storm victims in new jersey worried about being able to vote on election
day. governor chris christie and his lieutenant governor addressed those concerns today and suggested things are looking up. >> they had put out restoration time periods of eight to ten days before the new personnel. so i would suspect it's going to be significantly less than that. >> if you don't have power, the clerks are going to report to me tomorrow by noon that they don't have power. the back-up plan is pretty simple. all the assets that the president of the united states delivered to the governor yesterday, including department of defense trucks, will be used to create polling places. now, there's no reason not to vote. not to vote today. and there's certainly no reason not to vote on tuesday five days from today. >> in the face of all of this devastation, there are many ways you can help. go to cnn.com/impact. there, you'll find the eight specific things you can do to have exactly that. an impact. we'll be right back. er ] a clasc meatloaf recipe from stouffer's
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are you one of them? drink dream water, the natural, fast acting sleep aid that helps you wake refreshed. visit drinkdreamwater.com. her meltdown melted the hearts of even the toughest political junkies. a little girl who had too much of this long election campaign. jeanne moos brings us a little closer. >> are you suffering from election burnout? >> i'm barack obama and i approve -- >> i'm mitt romney. >> let me respond. >> has it left you feeling as cranky as a 4-year-old? >> i'm tired. i'm tired. of barack obama and mitt romney. >> that's why you're crying? oh, it will be over soon, abbi. >> abigail evans hit a nerve.
i feel you. she and her mom were pulling into the grocery store parking lot when listening to npr when abbey started to cry. >> oh, my god -- >> and so, her mom hit record. >> little kids say what everybody wants to say. actually being able to cry about it. >> or as "time" put it, we are all abigail evans. so maybe we couldn't all reel off the planet the way this colorado kid can. >> we're going in -- >> she wants to be an astronaut. since the radio is tuned to npr when abbi had her meltdown, they apologized. dear little girl, sorry we made you cry. but she seems to be a fan. this family doesn't even have a tv, so abbi hasn't suggested --
>> when a president doesn't tell the truth to all those campaign commercials. >> just think what mitt romney might do as president. other girls have gone viral for justin bieber. crying after the vikings lost to the packers. >> the packers won. >> the packers won? >> she gave the president a new name. >> i'm tired of bronc obama. >> inspired a t-shirt, so a tip of the hat to abigail evans. and please, no recaps. >> the election will be over soon, okay? >> jeanne moos, cnn, new york. >> there are a lot of people feeling the same way. >> represents a lot of the folks out there. five days to go. >> they want it over. not wolf blitzer. he