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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
Anger in Staten Island; Tragedy of Two Brothers; Interview With Newark Mayor Cory Booker; Why the Long Gas Lines?; Presidential Race to the Finish; Where's the Power?
Aired November 1, 2012 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, HOST: Good evening. Breaking news. Looking live at Staten Island in New York, still under water three days after Sandy's fury. And this is the next problem across the storm zone, long lines for gas like those in Rahway, New Jersey, drivers and home owners looking to power generators. Tonight, a lot of people are getting angry, very, very angry -- 88 deaths, at least 37 in New York City.
And how many people still in the dark? Why is it taking so long to fix this? I'll put these questions to one of the top people at Con Edison.
(INAUDIBLE) Staten Island -- that's the hardest hit part of the city -- residents are pleading for help after a storm that tossed boats around like toys. I'll talk to some of them in just a moment.
Meanwhile, warn another huge storm could hit next week. I'll ask Chad Myers about that. Plus the issue that's rising to the top of the agenda in the wake of the superstorm, climate change. And with just five days to go until election day, that bipartisan tone we were hearing yesterday? Well, listen to what Mitt Romney said in Virginia Beach a little earlier.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R-MA), FMR. GOV., PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Would you want four more years where 23 million people (INAUDIBLE)
I think it'd be helpful to have a president who actually understands job creation!
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Latest CNN ORC poll has President Obama with a razor-thin 2-point lead over Mitt Romney, well within the poll's margin of error. The president will take the stage any moment now in Denver. We'll keep an eye on that for you.
But we'll begin in one of the hardest hit areas from Hurricane Sandy, Staten Island, where the death toll continues to rise. With me now is Nicole Malliotakis, an assemblywoman whose district covers part of Staten Island. Also with me, another resident of Staten Island, Anthony Heyne (ph), who rescued his brother from the storm. Welcome to you both.
NICOLE MALLIOTAKIS, NEW YORK ASSEMBLYWOMAN: Thank you very much.
MORGAN: Let me start with you, if I may, Assemblywoman Malliotakis. This is what the Staten Island borough president James Molinaro (ph) said earlier about the Red Cross's response. He said it was an absolute disgrace. He urged people to cease giving them contributions because he was so infuriated and outraged by the lack of help that you've been receiving.
Do you endorse what he said?
MALLIOTAKIS: Well, I think it was a sentiment of frustration this morning because we hadn't had -- seen a real response here in Staten Island, but you know, we had our senators out here today, and I can say that the Red Cross is on the grounds right now. We have them at certain locations around Staten Island, giving food, giving water. And also, our community has been out there collecting donated goods and distributing them out in the streets, along the blocks that have certainly been devastated by the storm.
MORGAN: We understand the head of Homeland Security's going there tomorrow, along, I believe, with the head of FEMA, some are saying a little bit too late for all this, that there's been three days of virtual inactivity there from emergency services. And the reason it's so significant is that Staten Island, although relatively small compared to some of the other areas that are affected, has suffered nearly half of the human death toll -- 19 people have died there out of a total of 44 for the whole of New York.
Again, let me put this to you, Assemblywoman Malliotakis. Why do you think people haven't been bothering with Staten Island? It seems it's been one of the most ignored places, and yet the most badly affected.
MALLIOTAKIS: I've got to tell you, you know, the lack of communication has been terrible. Our cell phones aren't working. We're having a hard time communicating across this borough to city officials.
And I don't think that the mayor or our, you know, other officials knew the devastation that was here until they came here today and actually saw the damage.
It is completely devastating. We have people here without food, water, clothes. I spent a day going up and down the streets in the Newdorf (ph) Beach section of my district, talking to the residents, and they are just up in arms and completely devastated. This has been -- I mean, the impact of the storm, I can't even describe it. We've never faced anything like this before.
MORGAN: How do people feel there about the fact that the New York marathon is going to go ahead on Sunday, starting in Staten Island, and will have to presumably be staffed by a lot of police and so on? Do people there feel comfortable that this is going ahead? MALLIOTAKIS: Absolutely not. I mean, myself, my colleagues, the residents here, we think it's an absolute disgrace. It is an insult to the people of this borough who are suffering such a tragedy. To want to do the marathon is beyond -- I can't even understand why they want to do this.
And not only that, but to take away even one policeman from our borough, this disaster here, to put it to supervise a marathon I think is just -- is the wrong move. I mean, we can't -- we can't afford to give up any resources right now. And we are still, you know, helping people that need to be saved from their homes, that need to help evacuate -- be evacuated.
We have looters in the community. We need cops to be patrolling our streets. We have no street lights around here. We need people to help guide traffic. To take resources for a marathon is just -- it's unbelievable. I don't even -- I don't even know where to begin with that.
MORGAN: Let me turn to you, Anthony Heyne. You're a Staten Island resident. You're in your mid-30s. You rescued your brother from his truck during the storm, had to crawl out of the window literally to survive. First of all, how is he doing?
ANTHONY HEYNE, RESCUED BROTHER IN THE STORM: He's doing good. He's been out here every day helping us, trying to get everything helped (ph) out. He lived in this neighborhood for years, so he's trying to do everything he can to help us, as well as do his job as he's doing.
MORGAN: This isn't the first time that you've suffered a great hardship in the city. Your aunt, I believe, died on 9/11. Compared to the events and the aftermath of 9/11, how do you view what is happening in Staten Island?
HEYNE: Right now, we all need help. Like, we need as much help as we can down here. It's not right. Like, everybody is down here, we're all helping each other, but we need more people to come down here and help. We need supplies. We need as much as we can.
MORGAN: Well, it does sound like there's a critical emergency there that needs critical attention. And I'm glad you've both come on the show tonight. I appreciate you sparing the time. I wish you all the very best with the rescue operation, and hopefully, you will now get the help that you clearly desperately need. Thank you both very much.
MALLIOTAKIS: Thank you very much. Thank you for the NYPD, FDNY and our first responders.
MORGAN: Yes, I would certainly go along with that.
One of the most shocking and heartbreaking developments out of Staten Island is the deaths of two young brothers who were with their mother when the hurricane winds blew their car into a ditch. She got out with her two children and then clung to a tree for hours. Finally, she went to a nearby house, and the man at the door refused to let them in. She then went to the back porch and threw a flower pot at the window, but they never got in and the waters kept on rising. She survived, but her children tragically did not.
Today, CNN's Gary Tuchman confronted one of the men, who some say wouldn't help them.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Police say that Glenda came with her two sons, knocked on your door...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, sir.
TUCHMAN: ... begged to go in during the hurricane.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, sir. Absolutely not.
TUCHMAN: So you did not see a woman with two children?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, absolutely not.
TUCHMAN: So what she told the police is not accurate.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely -- I never saw anybody. I only saw the man.
TUCHMAN: So you said you saw a man come to your door.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. He didn't come to the door. There's stairs in the back of the house, and he was standing -- he must have been standing at the bottom of the stairs.
TUCHMAN: And what did he do?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He took a concrete flower pot. I can show you. There's one in the back yard. (INAUDIBLE) there were two of them. He threw one of them though the door.
TUCHMAN: OK, what they're saying is that she -- after you didn't let her in, that she tried to break the window and get in. So it's possible you're mistaken.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. Because I -- I had to stay there all night. I sat all night with my back against the door in the kitchen.
TUCHMAN: Well, let me ask you, the man -- if a man threw a flower pot, did you let the man in your house?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He didn't ask to come in. He asked me to come out and help him.
TUCHMAN: So did you help him?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I couldn't -- what could I do to help him?
TUCHMAN: All right, so...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm wearing the same clothes. I had these shorts on. This is my brother's jacket. I had a pair of shorts on with flip-flops. And I was going to come out...
TUCHMAN: But what it comes down to is you're saying you did not see a woman and two children.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, sir.
TUCHMAN: You saw a man.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A man, yes.
TUCHMAN: Well, you must feel terrible for this woman and her two children, right?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I -- did the find the children? I don't even know.
TUCHMAN: Yes, they found them. They found them dead today.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of course, it's a tragedy. Of course. Absolutely. It's unfortunate. She shouldn't have been out, though. You know, it's one of those things. She shouldn't have been on the road.
MORGAN: Extraordinary interview with Gary Tuchman, who joins me now live. Gary, the two children were Brandon Moore (ph) and 4-year- old Colin (ph). Brandon was 2 years old. An absolutely desperate story, one of the saddest of so many sad stories here. And that interview really was quite extraordinary with that man.
Did you believe him, I suppose, is the obvious question?
TUCHMAN: Well, I think it's really important, Piers, is whether I believed him or not, he did acknowledge that there was a man who came by, and the man threw something at his back door and he wasn't willing to help the man. So he does acknowledge not trying to help somebody. He says it wasn't a woman with her two children. He says there was a man.
So is he covering up the story or is he telling the truth? Either way, we know he didn't help somebody.
MORGAN: Yes, I mean, I suppose all you could say in his possible defense is in the chaos of what was going on, clearly very frightening. I guess if he thought it was a man who was throwing things at his house, maybe in the confusion, the fog of what was happening, he may not have realized. But certainly, the way that you conducted the interview with him, it seemed like to me he may have been hiding something.
What is the reaction of the community there to what's happened there?
TUCHMAN: Well, our initial reaction was from the police who were on the scene. The New York City police usually don't do on-camera interviews. But they told us off-camera after they found the bodies of the two children, that it was very upsetting, very emotional. And one of the officers told me, I want this guy to be charged with a crime who wouldn't let this woman and her two children inside the house.
Now, it made us wonder, could you be charged with such a crime? And what we found out from legal experts (INAUDIBLE) here in New York state and it appears most other states, it's not a crime not to help. It's an ethical problem. It's a moral problem if that, indeed, happened. But apparently, you can't be charged criminally for such action.
MORGAN: Well, if it certainly is what happened and he did reject that lady and she went on to lose her two children, it's a crime against humanity, never mind anything else. But Gary, for now, thank you very much indeed.
And now I want to turn to New Jersey, which also took a direct hit from Sandy, entire communities virtually wiped out. Newark mayor Cory Booker's been on my show every night live. He joins me again live tonight by Skype with the very latest from there.
Mr. Mayor, welcome back.
CORY BOOKER (D), NEWARK, NJ, MAYOR: Thank you, Piers. I appreciate the attention to...
MORGAN: I was reading your Twitter earlier. You're actually inviting individual citizens in your area to come to your home and use your power facilities to charge up whatever they need, which is an extraordinary act by you, but indicative, too, that so many people are clearly absolutely desperate now for power. And as these days go on, the emergency of that need accelerates all the time.
BOOKER: Yes. As days go on, the endurance, the ability to withstand the lack of power, lack of food, warm clothing, showers -- all this becomes more and more difficult to bear. And look, there's a lot of people in Newark right now showing extraordinary acts of kindness, compassion, proactive service to their neighbors.
And you know, my house borders a street that, Homestead (ph), that does not have power, and those neighbors are always good to me, looking after me because I'm so often not home, it's the least I can is open my home to them.
But frankly, all over the city today, I'm just seeing extraordinary acts of kindness and goodness from people, one to another. It really is buoying my spirit. I'm trying my best to live up to the standards that are being set in my city right now.
MORGAN: Well, you're doing a terrific job. And I think the feeling we're getting just generally from people who've lost the power is that their patience is beginning to run very thin -- a lot of anger now, a lot of people feeling that they should be back in power now.
Let me ask you this. I guess it's the right time to ask this now. Do you think that people were prepared enough, the power companies in particular? And are you satisfied they're doing all they can to get people back to full power?
BOOKER: You know, I'm going to spend time in the postmortem looking at pre-storm preparedness. I'm working now here with an embed of PSE&G here in my command center, and I'll tell you, they've been taking a lot of abuse.
But the reality is, this is the most I've seen PSE&G in terms of their fanning out all over our city. My citizens are frustrated. There's a lot of anger out there. Half my city is still without power. But the work they're doing out there in partnership with my tree cutting people, neighborhood services, police and others is pretty extraordinary.
And I'll give you one example. We had to rescue on the night of the storm -- we actually had to go out and rescue PSE&G employees from a switching station and pull them out. When they came back, what they dealt with was a complete disaster that fed two major sections of my city in the north and the east. And so that's what they were left to deal with.
They've got over 100 electricians in this one small space, working around the clock to repair it. So I don't want to beat up on them right now. The reality is, they're -- I know these are individual workers who show up every day, and frankly, many of them working without sleep. They're pouring their heart and soul into it. Everybody is.
So right now, I think what we really need is less sort of quarterbacking on what could have happened in the past and more pulling together to deal with the immediacy and the urgency of the problem right now. We can all beat up on each other later on. I'm sure I could have done things probably better. I could have, my command staff, I'm sure there's things we'll learn that we could improve in the future.
But right now, I've got over 100,000 people without power with have urgent needs, who need food, who need medicine, who need a lot of the basics. And all we're doing right now is trying to get the power restored as quickly as possible, and in the meantime, service those individuals by doing diaper runs and more.
MORGAN: Cory Booker, as always, thank you for joining me tonight. We really appreciate it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, Piers, we really appreciate the coverage you're giving to this -- to this crisis.
MORGAN: Least we can do. (INAUDIBLE) Thank you very much.
The storm is having a ripple effect. We're seeing huge gas lines now, and there are fears that prices could go sky-high. Ali Velshi is live in Toledo, Ohio.
Ali, you seem to be everywhere this week. You're right where the action is in terms of this gas crisis. There was a suspicion that it was to do with their lack of supply, but I believe that is not the case.
ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: No, there's enough gas in the Northeast. Now, there are some refineries that are down, and if they don't come up soon enough -- they escaped most damage. If they don't come up soon enough, we'll actually have a gasoline problem. But a big refinery that was out of power is planned to come back on line. Tomorrow a pipeline is coming back on line. So there's no gasoline problem.
The problem is, you can't fill tankers without power. It takes power to put gas into a car. It takes power to put gas into a tanker. The tankers are running into traffic problems and problems with downed trees and power lines, can't get to some of the gas stations. And even if they can, most gas stations don't have electricity. They don't have back-up generators.
So about 70, 75 percent of the gas stations in New Jersey don't have power. Long island, it's about 60 to 65 percent. Bottom line is, there is -- it's all got to do with the electricity problem. Once the electricity is back on line, they can pump those tankers. The tankers can get to those gas stations, get gas in there.
But this is really affecting people who need that gasoline and diesel to power not only their cars but their generators to keep them warm, Piers.
MORGAN: Yes, well, there's certainly a massive problem here in New York, and I've seen it myself -- own eyes out there, huge lines at the gas, and taxis beginning to stop working because they're running out of gas. I've got one of the spokespeople from Con Ed coming on a bit later, and I'll be talking to them about when we can expect power back up.
For now, Ali, thank you very much.
MORGAN: Will Sandy change everything on election day? Former governor Jennifer Granholm goes toe to toe on that with Republican strategist Kellyanne Conway. I'll have a lot more on Hurricane Sandy and the aftermath, too.
MORGAN: A day after touring the devastation with Governor Christie, President Obama was back campaigning, he and Governor Romney trading jabs. With just five days to go before the election, how will the storm impact the race?
Here to debate that, Jennifer Granholm, former governor of Michigan and the host of Current TV's "Warm Room" and Republican strategist Kellyanne Conway. Welcome to you both.
JENNIFER GRANHOLM (D), FMR. MICHIGAN GOVERNOR, CURRENT TV HOST: Thank you.
MORGAN: Let me start with you if I may, Kellyanne. Mitt Romney a week ago was considered to have lots of momentum and was heading possibly to victory on Tuesday. Whichever way you look at this, this hasn't been a good few days for him politically. Clearly, the most important thing is the safety of the people involved...
MORGAN: ... and we accept all that. But politically, his momentum has stalled. And this has been good for the president. He's been out there being a president.
CONWAY: It could be. But I'm with Mayor Booker and Governor Christie on this one, Piers, who I both think are doing great jobs, as is the president and others involved, which is, it's so difficult to even talk about politics at a time like this, but you do have Tuesday coming up. You have early voting going on right now in the States.
CONWAY: And so the events you see in front of them, I think can go either way. People will either disassociate the current events from how they feel about the last four years and really judge the president on his entire record, or they will do what voters sometimes do in times of uncertainty.
They say, There's uncertainty all around me -- the stock market, the hurricanes, terrorism. I don't want to invite more uncertainty. Why throw the captain off the ship now, when there's so much uncertainty, so many things I can't control? Let me hang onto the one thing that's there.
So that could benefit him. I notice they're both going to campaign in earnest this weekend. Governor Romney's added Pennsylvania to his schedule...
MORGAN: It is going to be a big weekend...
CONWAY: It is.
MORGAN: ... massive jobs report tomorrow, Jennifer Granholm. I mean, this is the last one before the election. If this is good news for Obama in any way, he would then be riding already on the back of some momentum, I think, from his very presidential performance this week. If it's bad news, conversely, it could throw the debate right back to jobs and the economy, which is Mitt Romney's strong point in this election as it runs to its conclusion.
GRANHOLM: Well, it doesn't seem that the news is going to be all that bad, even if it is bad, because the AEP numbers indicated that there were more -- there was more hiring. Obviously, the trajectory has been good, both on the political side with the polls, as well as on the economy. You have the stock market rebounding. You've got manufacturing now at a 15-year high. The numbers out of the manufacturing sector very good, so much of that attributable to the saving of the auto industry.
So I think the momentum clearly is on the president's side. And I think a lot of the early voting numbers that we are seeing, where the president has a huge advantage in many of these swing states, if not all of them, attributable again to his ground game -- I think that the numbers are getting to be baked in a bit.
MORGAN: Well, they are. I mean, the one that stood out to me today was "The Washington Post"/ABC poll, I think it was, 48.56 percent Obama, 48.49 Romney.
MORGAN: I mean, literally negligible. It is on a knife edge, I think. And even in the swing states it's all pretty too close to call.
GRANHOLM: Well, it's -- I don't know if it's -- I mean, I don't think that's true. I think it's true it's on a knife edge on the national polls, but the national polls are just not as relevant as the swing state polls. And in the swing states, you are seeing increases, incremental increases every day in favor of the president.
So I think, you know, honestly, I think it's going to be a good day on Tuesday for the president and therefore for the country.
MORGAN: How damaging, Kellyanne, was Mayor Bloomberg's endorsement of President Obama? He's been holding off endorsing anybody. He's well known to have been an independent before. But he came out very strong. Two things. He said, President Obama says the right things, he believes, about climate change and Mitt Romney doesn't. But he also attacked Mitt Romney for where I think his real vulnerability is, the endless flip-flopping on issues from guns to abortion.
What do you say to that? It's not a good thing that he endorses -- a former Republican mayor, somebody very, very influential, endorses a Democratic president.
CONWAY: Well, Mayor Bloomberg's doing a nice job with the storm, but he's been a Republican and Democrat and an independent. So I guess he has the luxury of endorsing anyone.
I actually thought it was a very unnecessary endorsement today, when half of his city's under water and the other half is in the dark. Maybe he should be tending to that.
And I don't say that because he endorsed President Obama. It was an odd endorsement, Piers, because if you read it, he has an entire paragraph in there taking Obama on for all of his failures. He said, You haven't done anything for deficit reduction, for balancing the budget, for job creation. Those are the issues that most voters say are determining their choice in this election. And then, of course, he said it was about climate change and global warming, but he didn't really -- at the end, he had the usual litany of marriage and abortion also. It was pretty much all over the map, and I just thought it was an ill-timed, unnecessary endorsement when his city is suffering.
MORGAN: Well, I don't think you can blame -- it's five days to a general election. He's allowed to endorse somebody.
CONWAY: So now he's going to swing New York to -- all the way to Obama.
MORGAN: I think he made what he felt was a very pertinent point, which is that, actually, Hurricane Sandy, the greatest storm New York's ever seen in his lifetime...
MORGAN: ... may well be linked to global warming, and it depends whether you believe the science or not.
Jennifer Granholm, last word to you.
GRANHOLM: Oh, absolutely. That's it. I mean, it was a tipping point moment for him. And what he is saying is that this storm should be a wake-up call across the nation, and the person who will have a clean energy plan to be able to mitigate some of the damages of us closing our eyes to climate change over the past decades is Barack Obama. Mitt Romney has completely denied it.
So I think it's a moment. I mean, the president gets his endorsement. He has Colin Powell's ad, who, of course, is a Republican running in these states from a persuasion point of view. Then you have Chris Christie standing next to him. For all of those who are independent or moderate Republicans, certainly, they're going to take a second look at the president.
CONWAY: Well, we'll see what kind of margins President Obama gets among Republicans. But Governor, he still is way behind...
MORGAN: I've got to...
CONWAY: ... in these swing states...
MORGAN: I've got to leave it, ladies.
CONWAY: ... from what he got in 2008.
MORGAN: The good news is we will find out in less than five days. So it's going to be a fascinating last few days, that's for sure. Thank you both very much for now. Next, growing anger over the massive blackouts. When will the lights go back on? I'll get some answers from the Con Ed spokesman back after this break.
MORGAN: The massive blackout continues for millions tonight, among them many New Yorkers. On the phone with me now is Michael Clendenin. He's the spokesman for Con Edison. Welcome, Mr. Clendenin.
MICHAEL CLENDENIN, CON EDISON (via telephone): Hi. Thank you very much. Good evening. How are you tonight?
MORGAN: I've got half my staff, never mind anybody else in New York, all homeless, wondering when the hell they're getting their power back. What do you say to people who are now heading towards day four with no power and not able to be in their homes or to use water or anything?
CLENDENIN: Yes, no, it's an extraordinary ordeal that everyone is going through, and we're working very hard to get the power back on as quick as we can. For those in Manhattan that -- about south of 39th Street, we should have everybody back by Saturday.
Extensive damage due to the flooding from the storm that surged up over our protections to a substation on the East Side. For everybody else, it's going to be really tough. We're going to have to probably go through the end of next week to the weekend. We've got -- you know, we started with about 900,000 customer outages. That represents many, many more people obviously. This is metered customer accounts.
The scope of this storm is so enormous, I'm thinking about it this way. It was really like the equivalent of having four hurricanes at once.
MORGAN: Right. Let me jump in, if I may.
MORGAN: Everyone knew this was coming. I'm going to interview somebody in a moment who is a mother of a young baby who was taken out into the hurricane from one of the hospitals that ran out of power, because their generators failed. I've heard the same thing from the hospital administrators. Well, it was so unexpected, unprecedented.
It wasn't unexpected. For a week, everyone was being told this is going to be the big one. This could be the worst storm that ever hit New York. And I suppose the frustration that people feel in New York -- and it's mounting anger. I have to say, from the ones that I know, who are personally suffering, is why, given there was a week to plan for the worst ever storm, are people now facing, as you've just said to me, nearly two weeks without power. It just seems ridiculous.
CLENDENIN: Well, it may sound ridiculous. But the fact is, we knew about the storm, too. And everyone was prepared. But there's nothing much you can do once it comes ashore. And you've got -- we serve nine million people here in New York City, a lot by overhead power lines that are -- all those trees are going to get blow into the power lines. The power is going to go out.
You have the raging floodwaters which came in two feet higher than any forecasters predicted, that came over the walls. We built protections for the substations a foot and a half higher than the most historic storm surge ever to hit New York, and it still couldn't handle it.
I mean, this was just off the charts. And unfortunately we are where we are and we're just like all the other utilities up and down the east coast right now, trying to recover, trying to get everybody back as quick as we can.
MORGAN: I appreciate you coming on the show. Thank you. And I hope that you can get everybody back in Manhattan by the end of the week. As you say the wider area may be another week. Can you give a guarantee that everybody will be back on a week by Saturday, for instance?
CLENDENIN: Well, we're saying that we're going to get almost everybody, virtually everyone back by next weekend. And then there will still be more to go after that. Unfortunately, with storms like this, with -- you're talking about trees going into power lines, coming down. And they -- you know, what we do is we concentrate on restoring the people where we can get the most people back the quickest.
In other words, hooking back the lines that can get 1,000 or 2,000 or 3,000 people back at once, and then work our way down to those that would restore a couple of hundred people.
MORGAN: I appreciate that. It's obviously a monumental task. And I know that the people that you have working out there are doing so in very difficult conditions. I appreciate you coming on and at least giving us some kind of deadline that people can perhaps work towards. So thank you.
Joining me now is Jo-An Tremblay Shepherd. In the middle of this historic superstorm on Monday night, at the very height of its power, she watched as her baby was born prematurely, was carried down nine flights out of NYU Medical Center, part of a massive evacuation after Sandy knocked out electricity.
JO-AN TREMBLAY-SHEPHERD, MOTHER OF BABY EVACUATED FROM NYU MEDICAL CENTER: Thank you.
MORGAN: This is every mother's nightmare, isn't it? Your little boy was born at the end of August prematurely and had been kept in the hospital. You were obviously seeing him regularly. You went that night. What happened?
TREMBLAY-SHEPHERD: Well, shortly after 7:30 or 8:00, the power went out. So the entire floor of the NICU on the ninth floor of NYU hospital just went pitch black. I was walking towards the pod where my son was at. And I just went straight to his bed. And one of the nurses just instructed me to grab my son and make sure that he was breathing.
TREMBLAY-SHEPHERD: Yes, quite. Thankfully, the blackout happened when the nurses were changing shifts. So we got really lucky and had more than a shift's worth of nurses present. I mean, clearly some had gone home earlier.
MORGAN: You stayed there, I believe, until about 3:00 a.m. and then in rushed firemen and other emergency services saying, grab your baby and get out now?
TREMBLAY-SHEPHERD: We need to go now, yeah.
MORGAN: What were you thinking? There was a hurricane raging outside?
TREMBLAY-SHEPHERD: Yeah. Up until that point, I was questioning as to whether we really needed to go out at the height of the storm or what I thought was the height of the storm at the time. And it was -- you know, it came to light shortly after that that there may or may not have been an incident on the sixth floor of NYU involving a fire that caused the fire department and the police department to basically evacuate us at a moment's notice.
MORGAN: You were carried down nine floors?
TREMBLAY-SHEPHERD: Yes. Jackson was. I wasn't. I actually was carrying his bag that his nurse, who was ironically called Sandy, had packed.
MORGAN: Is that right?
MORGAN: I mean, the nurses, I've got to say, have been doing an extraordinarily job down there, and at Bellevue as well.
TREMBLAY-SHEPHERD: Yeah, absolutely. The NYU NICU nurses and doctors, my heart goes out to them. They really stepped up to the plate. And --
MORGAN: But it was scary because you were taken to the wrong hospital first, right?
TREMBLAY-SHEPHERD: Yeah. I mean, when things happen like this, it's just tough to get all of the facts right. And we were put in an ambulance after we were escorted from the lobby and taken to the wrong hospital and the wrong children's hospital. It was an easy mistake to make. But at that time, I was just so exhausted. I just wanted my baby to be placed on a monitor so I could see if he was fine.
MORGAN: And he is fine?
TREMBLAY-SHEPHERD: He is fine, yes.
MORGAN: And you have got a lot to be grateful to, I'm sure, to the staff that helped at both hospitals. However, I for the last two nights have been remonstrating with hospital administrators over the fact that their generators failed at NYU and at Bellevue. As one of the victims of this failure and somebody -- your son could have been in big trouble moving out into a hurricane at 3:00 a.m. What do you feel about the fact that these back-up generators failed?
TREMBLAY-SHEPHERD: I'm quite upset, actually. At the end of the day, we're in the care of the hospital administration to make decisions that won't put their staff and their patients in harm's way. And I don't feel that that was done to the extent that it should have been. I'm sure that a lot of things have happened with this experience, you know. Maybe next time they will plan in consequence and have a contingency plan. But it was really clear that that was not the case on Monday.
MORGAN: Very scary experience for you. Jackson is well. He's two months old. I wish you all the very best.
TREMBLAY-SHEPHERD: Thank you.
MORGAN: Thank you very much for coming in and telling me your extraordinary story. I can't imagine anything worse as a parent than what you went through that night. But I'm glad it all turned out well for you.
TREMBLAY-SHEPHERD: Thank you, Piers.
MORGAN: Coming next, Chad Myers talks to me about a major new storm that could wreak havoc on the east coast next week.
MORGAN: With the east coast still reeling from Hurricane Sandy, there are now reports of another major storm for election week heading for the east coast. Let's bring in CNN meteorologist Chad Myers. Chad, welcome back.
CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Thank you, Wolf.
Am I growing a beard? We'll move on from that. Let's move on to the storm.
MORGAN: I'll try and recover.
MYERS: I had so little time and I just wasted 15 seconds. We've got a big ridge in the west and a big trough in the east. And that allows it to be cold. That cold air -- you can go outside right now in your studio, you'll feel the cold air. It's there. When low pressure system comes over the ridge and through the trough, they can turn into nor'easters and the forecast for the same computer -- from the same computer that came with the hurricane model is now taking a storm up the east coast and it's taking it all the way into New York City.
Now, this is not a hurricane. This is a nor'easter. It could even be wrong. We can't get nor'easters right 24 hours in advance. This is six days away. It could be out to see and it could be inland. But it's a possibility and it's a potential for winds of 40 and rain and more cold weather that people certainly -- they just don't need, Piers.
MORGAN: It's the last thing anybody needs. And let's hope and pray that it manages to divert. Chad, thanks for now. I called you Chad. You looked like Rob Marciano for a moment. But we'll move on.
Superstorms like Sandy are called once in a lifetime events. But they seem to be striking every few years now. New York Mayor Bloomberg and many others say it's caused by global warming. Bloomberg endorsed President Obama today because of it. Do we really know what's behind climate change?
Pat Michaels is director of a center that studies science at the Cato Institute. I'm also joined here by Nick Kristof of the 'New York Times."
Let's start with you, if I may, Patrick Michaels. You are skeptical that any of this that we've seen from Hurricane Sandy and the other big weather interventions over the last year is much to do with climate change. Why?
PATRICK MICHAELS, CATO INSTITUTE: Well, first of all, you know, the planet is warmer than it was and people have something to do with it. And the ocean is warmer than it was 40 years ago. You would think, everything else being equal, that that would result in an increase in either hurricane frequency or power. And that's one thing we can look at to see if it's happening.
Now, I have an illustration that I gave over there that shows something called the accumulated cyclone energy beginning in 1972. That's when satellites began to go up, so we can sense all of the satellites -- or we can sense all the hurricanes.
And it shows no change between 1972 and now. In fact, if you look at the data, the recent years are at or near the lowest value for hurricane energy in the entire record.
MORGAN: But the problem you have, though, is you have people watching this saying, that's all very well, but we've just been hit by the biggest storm that anybody can remember. Also, Mayor Bloomberg suggested that in all of his life time, he'd never known a year for such extremity of weather. That's certainly my impression. I've been out in America for the last six, seven years. I've never known a year quite like this.
Also, the statistics are pretty bleak. I mean, of the 10 warmest summers on record for the United States, seven have occurred since the year 2000.
Nick Kristof, let me bring you in here. You are a firm believer in climate change being responsible for this?
NICK KRISTOF, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": That's right. And let me just push back a little bit. I think one things we in the media do wrong is that we cover this as a controversy. And we bring one person on this side and one person on that side. And with the greatest respect, I mean, Pat Michaels is a great outlier.
Since 1992, he has been on the fringe of this view, not publishing in scientific journals so much as being trotted out for TV things like this. I think it does a disservice to viewers to present this as a legitimate controversy about climate change.
There certainly are real genuine disagreements. But climate change itself I think is something that is pretty much settled wisdom at this point.
MORGAN: There's a quote from a piece that you wrote I think today. And it came from James Hansen, a NASA climate scientist. He wrote this in the "Washington Post." He said the extreme hot weather of the recent past, there is virtually no explanation other than climate change.
KRISTOF: Yeah. And we have better data on temperatures. Aside from that, of course we had the drought this summer, which is the worst in 50 years. It's impossible to say that any one event, this hurricane or that drought, was caused by climate change. But certainly the models and practicality do seem to be aligned in suggesting that we're getting more of these extreme events of one kind or another.
MORGAN: Patrick Michaels, the scientists are cueing up to say that you're talking baloney, that of course it's climate change.
MORGAN: Also, here's what is worrying to people that do believe in it, is that in Nick's article, the number of articles about climate change fell from 41 percent from 2009 to 2011. There is a sort of conspiracy of silence about this, even when all of the science points to it being demonstrably true.
MICHAELS: I have to correct Nick. I'm sorry, Piers. I have published several papers on hurricanes and climate change. I'm looking at one from a few years ago, "Sea Surface Temperatures and Tropical Cyclones in the Atlantic Basin." And in that, we estimated that we would see an eight percent increase in the number of severe tropical cyclones by the time we got to the end of the century.
I don't know where he got that. And the other thing is, we have to be fact-based. This accumulated cyclone energy index of Ryan Malay (ph) from Weather Bell Analytics -- he's a PHD out of Florida State, which is probably the best tropical meteorology school in the world. It's the number. It shows the power of hurricanes. And it just doesn't show a change since we started looking at it in 1972. I can't change that. I have nothing to do with that.
MORGAN: On that one point, what do you say?
KRISTOF: That we have a very limited data series on hurricanes. So --
MICHAELS: Every one since 1972.
KRISTOF: Which is a very modest period, as you know. We have much better data, much longer series on temperature and on sea rise. And certainly there is an agreement, International Panel on Climate Change, for example -- they have a low -- pretty low common denominator for what they can agree to. One of the things they agree to is that we should expect more intense hurricanes, albeit not necessarily greater frequency.
MORGAN: One moment, if you don't mind, Mr. Michaels. You're out of power at the moment, Nick? Is that right?
KRISTOF: I am. I was watching the Con-Ed's spokesman?
MORGAN: Were you satisfied with his explanation?
KRISTOF: As consumer, I want that power back immediately.
MORGAN: People are getting angry. You're being stoical about it. A lot of people in New York that I know are getting very angry. New Yorkers aren't the most patient people. I have to say, if this had happened in Britain, I think it would have been a few weeks before anything would be back on. So New Yorkers are impatient but do you think they are right to be angry now?
KRISTOF: I think that Con-Ed for right now is -- I think they are scrambling. But I do think that we have to do a much better job in adapting to what I think is going to be a new normal, whether that's in agriculture, whether that's in where we put houses along coastal areas, and in building more resilient systems. Our electrical grid is way behind the times. And so I think that it's in it that planning sector that we really can fault Con-Ed and kind of everybody else.
MORGAN: I totally agree. Nick Kristof and Patrick Michaels, for now, thank you both very much, indeed. The president is speaking in Denver right now. Battleground America is coming next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thanks to the service and sacrifice of our brave --
(END VIDEO CLIP) MORGAN: Battleground America tonight; "The New York Times" op-ed columnist Charles Blow and CNN contributor and Times columnist Ross Douthat. Welcome back to you both.
I suppose after all we've heard tonight, the obvious question is has Hurricane Sandy had a big affect, do you think, on the way the election result will go on Tuesday? Charles, we'll start with you?
CHARLES BLOW, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": I don't think so. But I think you can game it out a number of different ways. I went back and looked at the counties where the storm had the biggest effect and how those particular counties voted in 2008. And it's a real mixed bag.
So a lot of the coastal counties, particularly in New Jersey, were red counties. They went for McCain. Some of them where they were closer to big cities were Obama counties. But you also have to look at it and say, well, big cities are more able to adjust for these sorts of things. Kind of vacation communities, those sorts of community may not be able to adjust as quickly. So you may be disenfranchising or pushing people out of the voting process who are more likely to be Republican.
Also, you have to look at age differences of people who might have been affected. So if you are a younger voter, maybe you are more able to get over all the hurdles that -- to get to a new place. If you are an older voter, who tend to be more Republican, you may not be able to do that, go three polling stations over from where you have always voted your entire life to cast that ballot.
I think we have to look at it in that regard. I live in New York City. We -- my -- the evacuation center is on my block. That's also the polling place. You now have all these people in a polling place that will be there on Tuesday.
MORGAN: I have already heard in New Jersey, a lot of the polling booths, people simply can't get to. It is going to be a very interesting week logistically. Never mind anything else.
Ross, let me come to you. I think whichever way you look at this, it's not been a helpful thing for Mitt Romney. Obviously, he has to divorce the politics from the more important story of the hurricane. But he had all this momentum. It was all building. You would have to say that he was looking like he may be favored before this happened.
Now you have to say that Obama has had the -- A, he's had the benefit of all the air time you get because you're the president. He's being very presidential. He's been a good leader. He's done all the right things. That has to help with his overall image right now of the man in charge, the commander in chief.
ROSS DOUTHAT, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Well, I think that is certainly what you will hear from the Romney campaign if they ultimately lose. I think you will hear a lot of people on team Romney say, yes, we had the momentum, and then the storm came along. It was a freak thing. It cost us a week of air time, so on. I'm a little skeptical though. I think if you look back a week ago, the race had pretty much stabilized with a tie or a narrow Romney lead in the national polls and this sort of steady, persistence lag for Romney in the state polls. And if you look at the tracking polls this week, maybe there has been a tiny bit of movement toward the president, but maybe it's just statistical noise.
My instinct is that ultimately where the race was a week ago is probably where it was going to end up. And as big a story as the hurricane has been, it isn't a story that tells us something new about one of the candidates in the way that say George W. Bush's famous DUI story came out just before the 2000 race did.
So again, I bet if Romney loses, you will hear a lot of Romney people blaming the storm. But I tend to think that where we were before it hit is where we're going to end up.
MORGAN: Yes, you may be right. I have to leave with this hilarious Tweet. There's always got to be room for a bit of levity here. Ricky Gervais has arrived in New York and he's just Tweeted, "just arrived back at my New York home. Still the greatest city in the world. F you, Sandy." Which I think is a splendid way to round off some pretty miserable four days for New Yorkers.
Welcome back, Ricky. And you have given everyone at home a bit of a smile. I think you both gentlemen. We'll be back after the break.
MORGAN: That's all for us tonight. I'll see you tomorrow with the latest on Sandy's aftermath and the race for the White House. Our thoughts and prayers for everybody out there who is suffering tonight.
"AC 360" starts now.