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Gulf Expectations & Frustration; Illegal Immigrants' Kids Targeted; Missed Reactions on President Obama's Gulf Visit; California Earthquake; Cost of Gulf Catastrophe; The Help Desk; Blown Away at the World Cup
Aired June 15, 2010 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Hello again, everyone. I'm Tony Harris.
We are following the Gulf oil disaster on several fronts.
On day 57 of this catastrophe, oil industry executives facing tough questions on Capitol Hill. Lawmakers are looking for answers about safety and about plans for responding to a massive oil spill. And we are hearing from Gulf Coast residents about their frustrations with the government's response.
And President Obama addresses the nation tonight about the oil disaster. In the speech he gave in Pensacola, Florida, just moments ago, the president tried to reassure Gulf residents his administration is with them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes, this is an unprecedented environmental disaster. It's the worst in our nation's history. But we're going to continue to meet it with an unprecedented federal response and recovery effort, the largest in our nation's history. This is an assault on our shores, and we're going to fight back with everything that we've got.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS: The president is wrapping up his fourth visit to the Gulf Coast, and preparing for his first Oval Office address. Many Gulf Coast residents will be listening closely to what the president says about the oil disaster tonight.
We heard from some of them about what they expect him to do and what they think of his latest visit to the region.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAM CAMARIOTES, RUNS SEAFOOD RESTAURANT: As long as he can stop the oil and help some people around here, they're glad he's coming. If he can't do that, they don't care if he comes or not.
DEAN BLANCHARD, SHRIMPING BUSINESS OWNER: Well, he said he's going to kick some butt. Well, we've got a bunch of pair of boots we're not using over here right now. We would like to donate it for him to use, because it's time he starts kicking butt. You know, it's time for him to start doing what he says he's going to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS: So, Gulf Coast residents want action and answers from President Obama.
Senior White House Correspondent Ed Henry has more on their expectations and frustrations. He joins us live from Pensacola.
But, Ed, before we talk about those frustrations and anticipation of tonight's address, what of the president's speech just moments ago?
ED HENRY, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think, clearly, he was at least giving the American people a taste of what he's going to do tonight. He's not going to get into the weeds here in front of a military crowd and go into great detail about BP and responsibility. He's not going to go into great detail about exactly what kind of resources will be laid out.
But the broad brush we just saw is very clearly, when you talk to the president's senior advisers, what we're going to hear tonight. That, basically, we're going to spare no resource, we're going to get this done. And the Gulf is going to come back stronger than ever before.
But I can tell you, having spent -- this is now my third trip here to this region, but all day yesterday along Pensacola Beach, the people I talked to are frustrated, not just at BP, but the federal government, as well.
HENRY: Take me to your sand sister (ph).
HENRY (voice-over): Take a tour with Buck Lee, who runs Pensacola Beach, and you'll see a picture-perfect summer scene. But Lee knows big gobs of oil are likely to wash up here soon, and he's furious that a month ago, he requested four tractors from the federal government to help sift the sand. And only one finally arrived Monday afternoon, just hours before President Obama came to town.
WILLIAM "BUCK" LEE, EXEC. DIRECTOR, SANTA ROSA ISLAND AUTHORITY: Just sitting over there. So finally, the word got through. We raised enough heck that they said, OK, if it will shut you up, we'll get these things for you.
HENRY: Locals are so desperate they're demanding that FEMA, which was once reviled, get more involved so that equipment can arrive quicker. And they're demanding more accountability for BP.
LEE: It's a disaster. OK? And so we need to have BP set up some kind of funding, whether it's $5 billion or $10 billion a year, that everybody, whether you're a government that needs equipment, or you're a business person suffering, that can go to this account and present their legitimate claims and get their money back.
HENRY: White House advisers say such a fund will be announced by the president Tuesday night, but that may not be enough for some here on the beach.
(on camera): You voted for President Obama. What's your trust level on him right now?
BRUCE PARRIS, GENERAL MANAGER, THE DOCK RESTAURANT: Well, you know, I'm starting to think I wish I voted for Hillary. I think she may have more nerve. Might have not put up with this for as long.
HENRY (voice-over): Bruce Parris says business is down 40 percent at his restaurant from last year, and he's worried it will only get worse when the oil arrives.
PARRIS: We pretty much know it's going to be here. It's inevitable.
HENRY: Now, on Pensacola Beach, where the president visited just the last hour or two, oil has not washed up on the shore yet, but yesterday, when I was there, a woman who lives just a mile away from the beach showed up with a bucket full of oil and grass that had washed up on basically her back yard. So, experts and locals clearly think that it's coming very soon, and that's why they're trying to put some pressure on the federal government.
I can tell you, the White House keeps trying to say to us privately, they've gotten that message, and that's why, in part, they want to turn the heat on BP, keep them accountable. And, in fact, after tonight's speech, tomorrow, the president is going to be meeting face to face for the first time ever with some of these BP officials to try to just do that -- Tony.
HARRIS: Yes. Yes, can't wait for that.
All right. Our Senior White House Correspondent Ed Henry in Pensacola with the president.
Ed, appreciate it. Thank you.
HENRY: Thank you.
HARRIS: And, of course, CNN will have complete coverage of the president's speech tonight at 8:00 Eastern. We have correspondents and analysts on hand for our coverage, again, starting at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
After you've heard what the president has to say, if you would, drop us a line or give us a call and tell us what you think. Log on to CNN.com/Tony -- that's my blog page -- or you can give me a call at 1-877-742-5760.
Man, a pretty big scare on Capitol Hill just a short time ago. General David Petraeus, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, keeled over -- I think that's a fair description here -- during testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
The general was immediately escorted from the congressional hearing room. Within minutes, he returned to applause, but the hearing was called off until tomorrow. As Petraeus left the Capitol, he blamed the incident on dehydration.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. General, can you tell us what happened, please?
GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS, COMMANDER, U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND: I just got a little lightheaded, got dehydrated. That's all.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't have the flu or something, do you?
PETRAEUS: I don't think so.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're all right now? Thank you, sir.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS: Petraeus says he didn't eat breakfast this morning, and that may have contributed to his condition.
Another controversial immigration law being pushed in Arizona. This one would deny citizenship for certain people born in the United States.
First, though, our "Random Moment" in 90 seconds.
HARRIS: Oh, I love, love, love this. He who fights and runs away lives to fight another day. Good music. Words to live by for a bull fighter in Mexico making a "Random Moment of the Day."
Have a listen.
See you! Got to go.
It is a rare sight indeed in the machismo world of bullfighting. The bull charged and the matador took off in the other direction.
Oh, let's see it again. Across the ring, head first over the wall, and see you! Wouldn't want to be you.
Now, here's the thing. That does not play in Mexico. The terrified matador was actually arrested and fined. He has since retired.
His exit entering our "Random Moment" files.
See you! (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
HARRIS: OK. Welcome back, everyone, to the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Tony Harris. Ines Ferre joining me in just a moment here.
Another proposed illegal immigration law in Arizona. This one would deny -- listen to this -- citizenship to kids born in this country if their parents came here illegally.
Ines Ferre has been all over this story for us.
All right. Talk us through it.
INES FERRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: All right. So, under the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, if you are born in the United States and you are -- then you are a citizen of this country. But, now, this next lawmaker says that the intent of the amendment was not to give citizenship to children of illegal immigrants.
Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KAVANAGH (R), ARIZONA STATE HOUSE: The idea of citizenship by birth is only to those who are the parents -- the children of U.S. citizens, sole allegiance to the U.S., not legal tourists or illegal aliens. We're the only country the in the world -- only a few countries in the world give citizenship to people who are tourists or illegal residents. It's absurd.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FERRE: Now, this proposal comes on the heels of Arizona's new illegal immigration law, SB 1070, that was recently passed and that created protests in Arizona and other states. Now, critics are saying that this new proposal would not only be unconstitutional, they say it wouldn't do anything to help solve the problem of illegal immigration in this country.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KRYSTEN SINEMA (D), ARIZONA STATE HOUSE: Unlike SB 1070, it's clear that this bill runs immediately afoul of our U.S. Constitution. And while I understand that folks in Arizona and across the country support SB 1070, they do so because we have seen no action from the federal government.
Unfortunately, this so-called "anchor baby bill" does nothing to solve the real problems we're facing in Arizona. And that's a true fact, that we're facing issues of crime and violence in our border and in our neighborhoods.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FERRE: And Republican lawmakers in Arizona expect to introduce this bill in the fall, Tony. And I've spoken to several constitutional lawyers that say that this would definitely be challenged, because they say that it would be challenged under Constitution grounds, and, also, they expect this to go all the way up to the Supreme Court if it does become law.
HARRIS: OK. Will you follow it for us?
FERRE: Yes, definitely.
HARRIS: And let us know how this progresses.
All right. Ines Ferre for us.
You're back with trending top stories from the Web and beyond.
FERRE: That's right.
HARRIS: Thanks, Ines.
More than 20 earthquakes shaking things up a bit in southern California. It was the eighth inning of last night's San Diego Padres game when, look at this, the foul poles began to sway.
Many of the fans knew right what was going on here, and they didn't leave. They started cheering. That's what they did.
The umpires called time out for a few minutes to make sure everything was all right. The largest of the quakes, a 5.7. All were centered near the U.S./Mexican border.
And still to come, an American in custody in Pakistan. He says he was on a mission to hunt down Osama bin Laden.
We're updating your top stories just ahead.
HARRIS: Conditions were perfect for this to be the best shrimping season for a long time, but then the oil disaster struck the Gulf of Mexico. Now, while some shrimpers there approve of the president's fourth visit, Pentagon Correspondent Chris Lawrence tells us some are grumbling, too.
CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: You're looking at what's left of Dean Blanchard's shrimping business. Boats are docked, no big catch coming in. After 28 years, the guy's just about ready to give up. So, yes, President Obama's visit matters.
Are you excited to see him back here for a fourth time?
DEAN BLANCHARD, OWNS STRUGGLING SHRIMPING BUSINESS: That's the little bit of hope I got left that really in his heart he wants to do the right thing. That's about the only thing that's keeping me sane right now.
LAWRENCE: And the thing is, the worst the winter, the better the crop of shrimp that comes after it. And after the record-breaking winter they had down here, this could have been the best in years.
BLANCHARD: Well, I was licking my chops. But I should be making $100,000 a day, instead I'm losing $5, so you figure it out.
Everything was perfect, and here comes BP.
LAWRENCE: But you see the other name on these signs next to BP? That says Obama. And we spoke to some oil workers who say their lives and livelihoods amount to more than just what they see as a photo-op.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe politically, you know, he did -- makes him look good or something. But, I mean, this is our way of living, you know? And him coming down here don't help our way of living, you know? So --
LAWRENCE: Well, he says he's coming down here to try to save your way of living.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's coming help clean up the boom -- the oil? I mean that's about all -- that's about all he could do.
LAWRENCE: Now, even Dean Blanchard says he's going to watch the president's address tonight, but what really matters to him is the follow-through, three months, six months, a year from now. In other words, is the president going to walk the walk?
BLANCHARD: Well, he said he's going to kick some butt, but we've got a bunch of pair of boots we're not using over here right now. We'd like to donate it for him to use them, because it's time he starts kicking butt, you know? It's time for him to start doing what he says he's going to do.
LAWRENCE: Some of the folks on Grand Isle told us they really want to hear the president get tough tonight, not only on BP, but the entire oil industry. Others say if he continues to trash them and restrict their ability to drill, they're liable to just pack up and leave and take all those oil jobs with them.
Chris Lawrence, CNN, New Orleans.
HARRIS: Got to tell you, about three-fourths of Oklahoma still under a state of emergency today. Torrential rains dumped as much as 10 inches of rain in a matter of hours. You saw it right here yesterday. Right? One rescue after another where people were trapped by the rising waters, more than 60 in all. One involved a 17-year-old young woman caught the in the current while walking to work.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAQUEL DAWSON, RESCUED FROM FLOODS: The current just got stronger and the water got deeper. And then I ended up having to go from, like, tree to tree, trying to get to the road. I started, like, shaking really bad while I was swimming, and I thought I was going to pass out. And I thought I was going to die.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS: Boy, she says she is a bit bruised, but otherwise OK.
But what about Oklahoma City? Its mayor, Mick Cornett, is on the phone with us.
Mr. Mayor, it's good to talk to you.
If you would, give us an update of the conditions on the ground right now.
MAYOR MICK CORNETT, OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA (via telephone): Well, the sun is shining, and you would not know that yesterday's calamity had ever occurred. We're a city of 620 square miles. One of them was significantly affected.
We received over seven inches of rain throughout the city, and that one area that you were referring to there received over 10 inches. And it's in an area that's in a 500-year floodplain. And we just couldn't handle it. We're typically a city that just does not have very many flooding issues at all, but, boy, we couldn't handle yesterday's at all.
HARRIS: Mr. Mayor, what was the worst of it yesterday? We were watching pictures from -- I guess it was Hefner and Sooner. And then we saw -- there were some concerns about Ski Island. But for you, and your people, and your emergency first responders, what was the worst of it?
CORNETT: Well, those two neighborhoods that you mentioned, yes. There was a couple of creeks that overflowed very, very quickly and took people by surprise.
And frankly, we just were completely unaware that something like that could happen. But I guess when you're talking about a flooding issue that's only supposed to occur once every 500 years, it's difficult to know just how prepared you are.
Fortunately, you know, we have the equipment and the training and the people to be able to handle it, and we were using a lot of those resources yesterday. But, I mean, you look at these pictures here, it's amazing, because, today, all of this water has receded.
Were you able to hustle up some shelters to get them open for folks who potentially might be in need of an evacuation?
CORNETT: My understanding is there are about 50 or 70 houses that were significantly damaged, and I'm assuming most of those people are not back in their houses today, even though the water may have receded. So, we are working with the Red Cross on those areas.
Any lessons here for a fellow mayors' meeting at the U.S. Conference of Mayors there yesterday?
CORNETT: Yes. Fund your public safety, because you never know when you're going to use all this really obscure equipment. We needed it yesterday, and we're grateful we had it.
HARRIS: Mr. Mayor, we appreciate your time. Thank you so much.
CORNETT: You bet. Thanks.
HARRIS: While President Obama tries to hammer out a framework for BP to pay its claims and the cost of the oil mess, BP is in a free-fall. Stocks and contracts going downhill fast.
We're back in a moment. You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.
HARRIS: So, want to get you to the best financial Web site on the Web. Of course, it's ours. What would I be promoting other than our own Web site?
CNNMoney.com is the place to go for the latest financial news and information. Our Money team doing a terrific job here.
I saw this. This caught my eye, "Making Money off the Spill." Our partners here at "Fortune" magazine. You can check that out.
Let's see here. Let's get to the Big Board.
We're about -- let's see here -- just about three hours into the trading day. It's a good day so far.
The Dow is up, triple-digit gains here of 122 points. The Nasdaq, at last check, is up 39. So, a good day all around.
We'll get to Christine Romans here in a second.
While President Obama tries to hammer out a framework for BP to pay its claims and the cost of the cleanup, the company's stock is actually in free-fall.
Let's get to Christine Romans in New York.
Christine, I heard something the other day that said that BP had lost about half of its market capitalization.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
HARRIS: So, maybe you can explain what that term is. All I can tell you is, if you're losing half of anything, it's not a good number.
ROMANS: No, it's not.
OK. Half of it is market capitalization. That's about $90 billion.
ROMANS: How do you even qualify that, Tony? Ninety billion dollars, by my count, is the combined size of the economies of Kenya, Uruguay and Costa Rica.
ROMANS: That's what it's lost. Maybe twice the size of Bulgaria's economy -- gone. That's what has happened to this stock and the value of this company since the spill began and since the political pressure has mounted. The stock pretty stable today, actually, but trading right around the $30 mark. Just a little bit ahead of the $30 mark. As the president tries to hammer out, you know, a framework for how BP is going to pay for the claims and pay for the cost of this mess. They've already paid $1.6 billion, you know, to fix the well, try to fix the well, to give direct payments to states. States say we're going to need more than that, thank you. We just don't know how much it's going to cost in the end.
That's why Fitch, the credit rating agency today, Tony, downgraded the debt of this company again for a second time to just the final grade above junk status, simply because it says there are so many uncertainties for this company. The big questions here right now is, how far will the U.S. go to punish this company? What is the future of its contracts with the government, with its leases in the Gulf of Mexico, with the future of offshore drilling, which is something that's important for this company?
Can BP pay? Well, many analysts, Tony, they say, well, yes, it can pay. It's a cash machine. It is literally a cash machine. All of these oil companies are. You know, it has $7 billion in the bank at the end of the first quarter. It was making $66 million a day in the first quarter. But lawmakers want BP to put $20 billion aside in an escrow account and that's what's got - you know, that's what feeds into all of this uncertainty about the financial flexibility of this company.
Its cash flow is immense. We've said it repeatedly. But so is the pressure from Washington and so is the uncertainty about the final costs. We don't even know years down the road what the potential litigation could be. So that's why you've got a stock like this cut in half.
But isn't that interesting to think of it in that way in terms of the economies of countries that you're familiar with?
HARRIS: Yes, it is.
ROMANS: That that's how much this company has lost in value?
HARRIS: Yes. But you know what's interesting about that, Christine?
ROMANS: It just shows you how big and powerful it is.
HARRIS: Oh, huge. But here's -- let me ask you this. You mentioned a moment ago about punishing. To what lengths will the U.S. government go in terms of punishing BP? You know, you study -- if you listen closely, you're starting to hear people, particularly from overseas, suggesting that, you know, that the president has been too harsh on BP.
HARRIS: In his rhetoric. So you wonder if that is playing a role at all in how the message against BP is being disseminated and being parsed by this administration and others.
ROMANS: And here's another point, Tony. In the parallel between the banks I find very interesting. Two different situations all together.
ROMANS: But too big powerful areas that both have hurt America, right?
ROMANS: The president angry about it. The president holding people accountable. But at the same time, you need BP to be a profitable company so that it can pay back for the mess that it got the country into in the first place.
HARRIS: Yes. Yes.
ROMANS: Kind of like the banks at the same time. Which puts the president politically in a tricky position, don't you think? Because he can't destroy this company, because he needs it to fix this mess. But at the same time, the public and many of the polls say he's got to be firm and maybe some say he hasn't even been hard enough on the company.
HARRIS: That's what the resent polling suggest, yes. It is quite a position to be in.
Christine, good to see you, as always. Good to talk to you. Thanks.
ROMANS: Yes, bye-bye. HARRIS: And the president, as you know, is speaking tonight from the Oval Office. And CNN will have complete coverage of the president's speech. It's set to begin at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time. It will begin on time. You can rest assured of that.
After you've heard from the president and what he has to say, if you would, drop us a line or give us a call and tell us what you think. Just log on to cnn.com/tony. That's my blog page. And you can drop us a comment there or you can give me a call. Here's the number, 1-877-742-5760. We're back in a moment.
HARRIS: So I made my way over here to the severe weather center and we're going to visit with Bonnie Schneider because, Bonnie, we're still getting some aftershocks from the quake yesterday. We're going to show you some video in just a moment of the San Diego Padres game where you can actually see the foul poles moving a bit.
BONNIE SCHNEIDER, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Oh, right.
HARRIS: But we've got a new aftershock.
SCHNEIDER: Right. And when you're looking at this map, this is Google Earth, Tony, and the earthquakes that have occurred in the past week are highlighted in yellow, in the past day in orange. And notice the red dots here. That's in the past hour.
SCHNEIDER: We've had numerous quakes. And the most recent one that we're reporting is 3.1. now that one is in southern California. It's about -- looking from Palm Springs, where most people know, 30 miles to the south of Palm Springs. So it's well into the mountain areas. Not as populated as an area -
SCHNEIDER: Generally speaking, a 3.1 is not extremely strong, but it can cause some shaking, and that's what we saw a little bit earlier with the original quake early on in (INAUDIBLE).
HARRIS: And we might not even be mentioning that 3.1 if not for the earlier quake yesterday that was a little stronger than that.
SCHNEIDER: That's right. If we kind of zoom out on Google Earth, we can see that this is a very seismically active area, particularly here in southern California.
SCHNEIDER: Now earlier in Easter we had a big quake right along the Mexican border. It's very common to have quakes. And you can see just in the past week how seismically active this region has been.
HARRIS: Yes. I think we've got some video. Roger, roll that from yesterday, last night's game, the San Diego Padres, the Toronto Blue Jays playing in San Diego. And, yes, let me see it as well here. You can take a look at the foul pole there starting to shake just a bit.
SCHNEIDER: Oh, yes.
HARRIS: The umpires stopped the game just to make sure everything was OK. And our understanding is, is the people in the stands knew exactly what was going on, Bonnie. And instead of - I guess they're just used to this. They didn't panic at all. In many cases, they started to cheer.
SCHNEIDER: Cheer, really (ph)?
HARRIS: And they were cheering, yes, and they didn't leave the ballpark. And I guess after a couple of minutes, the gamed resumed and, let's see, Toronto at the point of the quake was beating San Diego six and three.
SCHNEIDER: Oh, maybe that's why they were cheering.
HARRIS: (INAUDIBLE) the Padres a break so they could regroup, I suppose.
All right, so there you have it. So we've got a new aftershock.
SCHNEIDER: So (INAUDIBLE). And it looks like mild shaking at this point.
SCHNEIDER: But, you know, we tend to see a lot of aftershocks certainly within 24 hours of the initial quake, so we're likely to see more. And we'll keep you up to date, Tony, on that.
HARRIS: OK. All right, let's do that. Bonnie, appreciate it.
HARRIS: We're back in a moment. You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.
HARRIS: All right. Let's see here. President Obama wraps up his fourth visit to the Gulf Coast on day 57 of the oil disaster, and BP has turned to actor Kevin Costner to help in cleaning up all the oil. It has ordered 32 machines designed by Costner, which he says can separate oil from water and recycle the crude at the same time.
Checking other top stories for you. A tense calm in the central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan. At least 170 people are reported killed in the worst ethnic fighting there in decades. More than 100,000 people have fled to neighboring Uzbekistan. A Red Cross official describes the situation as a humanitarian catastrophe.
And a warning to recent patients at Palomar Hospital in San Diego. They may be at risk of infection from some of the items used during colonoscopies and similar procedures. A hospital spokesperson says no one's actually contracted an infection.
Ali Velshi is on the CNN Express all this week, riding along the Gulf Coast. He is going over the heads of the politician, the pundits, the oil execs -- love it -- talking directly to people on the ground most affected by the oil disaster. And this morning he is in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. Let's call that this afternoon.
Ali, what are you hearing as you talk to those most impacted in -- by this mess in the Gulf?
ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, listen, when you talked about -- talk about people most impacted, you're talking about oil workers, you're talking about fishermen, shrimpers, oystermen, crabbers.
VELSHI: And if you talk to those people, there is just remarkable uncertainty with them as to what's going to go on. In fact, in the case of Bayou La Batre, I was there last night in Alabama, there were people there who actually were doing better as contractors to BP cleaning up this mess than they were doing because they had had their shrimping and their oystering destroyed after Hurricane Katrina in that particular area. But they're not sure what happens after the clean-up ends.
And I'm in towns like this, in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, not as dependent on sort of the basic fishing and things like that. This is more of a tourist town. It's more of a bedroom community to New Orleans. It's about as far east as people live who still work in New Orleans. It's a more affluent community. And they're just entirely uncertain.
I just had a conversation with a local real estate agent here who said people have stopped buying because they don't really know what this means. The oil comes on here. They don't know what this means to the economy when dozens or hundreds of fishermen can't fish, their oil workers are not working, what does that do, how does that trickle down.
And those are the conversations I'm having with people as we travel around on the CNN Express saying, how do you think this is going to affect your economy after five years of struggling to get this economy back after the damage that was done by Hurricane Katrina, Tony.
HARRIS: So, Ali, if we go back to last night and your visit with the folks there last night, I'm wondering, how concerned are the people you talked to last night who were - who have stopped fishing, how concerned are they about their health as they join the clean-up team hired by BP to clean up this mess?
VELSHI: Yes, look, they were, generally speaking, the people I spoke to were complimentary of BP and the administration. But I think that's borne of two things. Some of them definitely fearful to talk to us on camera, because they were contractors to BP. And as much as BP has not -- has said over and over again they're not preventing people from talking, these guys want to be on contract every week, so they didn't want to talk to us.
The other one is that they're very hopeful. Remember, Tony, these are people who have been largely out of work for a few years. They were hoping this was going to be the turn-around for them. And then all of a sudden this happens. Between the dispersant and the oil, they don't know whether they'll go back to shrimping or oystering next year or in five years or in 10 years or whether they, after many, many decades and generations in this region, may have to go somewhere else.
VELSHI: So there was -- there was a fear, a resignation, and, in some faces, a desperation to say, when does this end and what does the future look like?
HARRIS: Ali, can't wait for your show at the top of the hour. We will be there, buddy.
HARRIS: All right. We'll see you then.
VELSHI: Thanks, Tony.
HARRIS: We are focusing today on real people trying to help in this Gulf Coast crisis. The Tampa Bay Brewing Company is serving up beers for the cause. The company donating $2 to the Florida Aquarium for each pint of draft purchased by a customer. The money will help experts at the aquarium care for marine life affected by the oil.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID DOBLE, BREWERY OWNER: This is my home, just like everyone else here. I just want to see it, you know, remain the same so my kids can actually see what I've seen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS: And turning now to your money. Cnnmoney.com's Poppy Harlow is at "The Help Desk" with answers to your mortgage and credit questions.
POPPY HARLOW, CNNMONEY.COM: Time now for "The Help Desk," where we get answers to your financial questions. Joining me to do that, Donna Rosato, a senior writer with "Money," Rod Kurtz, executive editor of AOL Small Business.
Thanks for being here, guys. Appreciate it.
ROD KURTZ, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, AOL SMALL BUSINESS: Good to see you.
DONNA ROSATO, SENIOR WRITER, "MONEY": Great to be here.
HARLOW: Good to see you. First question for you, Rod, comes from Herb. Herb wrote in, "I'm 69 and have a $50,000 mortgage. I pay $380 in interest and a $76 principle per month. I have money in my retirement fund that I can pay this loan off and still have enough left over to live on for 20 years or more."
What do you recommend he does? He's got a pretty good situation.
KURTZ: Well, we wish him 20 years - we wish him 20 years, if not longer. I think it's an interesting question. And I did some digging on this. And there's really no clear consensus on this.
I think, at the end of the day, he may be better off just writing the check. It sounds like he's in a pretty secure financial position. So if he has the money to do it, sometimes for retirees, it's just good to have peace of mind and not have to worry about this.
The one thing he mentioned that might be problematic is this retirement fund. And I don't know what kind it is. The last thing you want to do is take some kind of penalty, especially if you have the money to keep paying the mortgage and live comfortably. So that's the only cautionary thing here. But, again, if you can pay off a mortgage, often it's a pretty good move.
HARLOW: That's a good point.
All right, our next question comes from David. David wrote in, "I lost my house to foreclosure just over four years ago. How long do I need to wait before the foreclosure is off my credit report?"
What do you think, Donna?
ROSATO: Well, unfortunately, a foreclosure, like any delinquent account, is going to be on your credit report for seven years. So he's got a couple more years before it falls off. But if you're thinking about applying for some new credit or a mortgage, it's not the worst thing in the world. The good news is that the longer -- in the past, something -- a negative event has been on your credit report, the less effect it has on your credit score. So if he's thinking about getting a mortgage or another loan within, like, three years, you can usually qualify for a decent rate on a loan. And if he -- only, though, if he's been up to date on his other credit payments and he hasn't been delinquent on other accounts. So seven years is the max, but there's a lot you can do in the meantime to kind of boost your score in the meantime.
HARLOW: Good advice. Good advice. He's got to wait it out a little bit, but he can help himself right now.
HARLOW: Donna, Rod, thanks, guys. Appreciate it.
All right, "The Help Desk" is all about getting you answers. Send us an e-mail to CNN Help Desk at cnn.com or log on to cnn.com/helpdesk to see more of our financial solutions. You can also, of course, pick up the latest issue of "Money" magazine. It is on newsstands now.
HARRIS: Poppy, appreciate it. Thank you.
If you haven't heard them yet -- now you have. That sound is one of the biggest stories at the World Cup. And it is one of our trending stories. Ines Ferre after the break.
HARRIS: So is that the crowd noise, or is it my new app?
INES FERRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think it's your new app.
HARRIS: Because you downloaded it onto my iPhone. Ines Ferre is back with "What's Hot" and it's this noise, right, it's what's trending.
FERRE: Yes, it's what's trending. This whole thing has gone viral, these horns, right?
HARRIS: Yes. Yes.
FERRE: So now there's a new app that you've got on your phone.
HARRIS: There it is.
FERRE: There's actually about 10 of them that you can download on your phone and you either press it or you can shake it or even blow on it and it will - it will go.
FERRE: And you actually also have programs, Tony, now, where you can filter out the noise if you're watching the game.
HARRIS: Well, what are they called?
FERRE: Voovoozella. Voovoo - let - hold on a second.
HARRIS: I knew I'd get you. I knew I'd get you.
FERRE: I know. No, I just had it on here.
HARRIS: Yes, you did. Yes, you did.
FERRE: Yes. And it's -
HARRIS: What is that? What is that?
FERRE: The vuvuzela or vuvuzelas.
FERRE: Some people say the vuvuzelas.
HARRIS: All right. FERRE: Anyway, then you've got - you've got this next story that is trending, which is the E3 conference that's going on right now.
HARRIS: Yes, what is this? OK.
FERRE: It's in L.A. And they've got some awesome games. Actually, some awesome games for the - xBox -
FERRE: Where you can dance -- you're dancing and these moves are being --
HARRIS: Do we have the video? Can we see it?
FERRE: Yes, we've got the video. And you can dance and at the same time you're going to be seeing it in this -- on the screen as you're dancing. Anyhow, so if you don't --
HARRIS: Oh, here it is. Here it is. Oh, nice.
FERRE: Yes. That's very cool. And they also have a Michael Jackson version of this game, as well. So you can be --
HARRIS: That's (INAUDIBLE) Deox (ph) from back in the day. All right.
FERRE: And next trending online, free wi-fi at Starbucks.
HARRIS: Well, good, it's about time. I pay enough for my latte. Actually get some free wi-fi. All right.
FERRE: Yes. They're competing with McDonald's, because they're offering free wi-fi in a lot of their places. So now Starbucks is saying, hey, we'll get on the bandwagon, too.
HARRIS: Yes, so there it is, starting - coming July 1st. Beautiful.
All right, so you're online. We are, too.
Ines Ferre, thank you.
Oh, one more time with the -- there you go.
Still to come in the NEWSROOM, you were sounding off on the oil spill and the president's response to it. We've got a bit of what you're saying to us. That's next in the CNN NEWSROOM.
HARRIS: You know, saving the Gulf is now at the top of the president's to do list. And for some of you, apparently it's about time. Here's Jack Cafferty reading your e-mails from last night's "Cafferty File."
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JACK CAFFERTY, CNN: Reamo in Texas writes, "the reality of it all is that he's blown it. He had the chance and the responsibility to act 45 days earlier, and he didn't. This is his defining style and these are his results."
A. in Baltimore writes, "I'm not sure there's anything he can say tomorrow that's going to make anybody feel any better. Obviously the technology required to fix this issue needs to be greater than the one that created it, and sadly it doesn't exist at present. Why no one's being tasked to create it, I'll never know. This is a country that sent men to the moon."
Jeffrey in Massachusetts writes, "just the facts. I think he's been telling the truth, but the unvarnished truth is that BP wasn't prepared for this and didn't take steps to prevent it. The government doesn't have all the answers. People who have been asking for small government need to consider what they wish for."
Steven writes, "President Obama should explain to us again how it is that he would meet with no precondition with Ahmadinejad and then explain why it took nearly two months and only after incredulity on the part of the citizenry to meet with someone a top the ladder at BP."
Jonsie writes, "it's a little late for talk. 56 days?"
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HARRIS: Fifty-six days. Of course, CNN will have complete coverage of the president's speech tonight. That's at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time. And the best political team on television will be leading our coverage. After you've heard what the president has to say, drop us a line or give us a call and tell us what you think. You can log on to my blog page. Here is the address, cnn.com/tony. Or you can give me a call, and here's the phone number, 1-877-724-5760.
It is go time. CNN NEWSROOM continues right now with Ali Velshi -- Ali.
ALI VELSHI, CNN ANCHOR: Tony, making me hot just looking at you in a three-piece suit. It is boiling down here in the Gulf Coast.