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CNN BREAKING NEWS

President Bush To Respond To Black Out

Aired August 14, 2003 - 20:16   ET

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

JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf, keep up your work on the street. As we speak, we see a picture here, this from Queens, a shot across the river at New York City. As Leon Harris just noted beginning to see the lights come on.
I suspect those lights were left on when people left those buildings earlier today a little more than four hours ago now when this cascading blackout, as it is now being called, hit New York City, a half dozen other major cities in the United States, millions of Canadians affected as well.

About 13 minutes from now, President Bush who is in California is to make a statement to reporters. We understand we cannot bring that to you live but we will bring you that statement as soon as possible.

What we can bring you now live, our White House Correspondent Suzanne Malveaux who is traveling with the president on the West Coast. Suzanne, what do we know about what the president knows and what he might tell us?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, there's been some debate and discussions throughout the day just how the president is going to respond to all of this.

It has become quite clear that it rises to the level that they feel it's significant enough that the president will speak in about ten minutes or so to a small group of reporters just outside a San Diego hotel where he has been the last couple of hours before he attends his fundraiser.

What we know is that the president was having lunch here with the troops about the time that the power went out. He was notified shortly afterwards. It was determined that it wasn't the cause - rather terrorism was not the cause of those blackouts.

We understand that Chief of Staff Andy Card became the point person for the White House. He called Mayor Bloomberg to ask if there was any type of help or assistance that he wanted. Mayor Bloomberg said no. He declined and we understand the president, of course, has been updated throughout the day on the developments.

But, as you can imagine of course, a lot of discussion from the communications team, is it something that the president should go out and address the American people? Is it something that is that serious? Obviously, it is something that the administration at the White House feels that the president needs to comfort Americans and those in New York - John. KING: Suzanne Malveaux we will come back to you later in the night I am certain after we hear the president speak, Suzanne Malveaux our White House Correspondent tracking things on the West Coast with President Bush.

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