January 19th, 2010
09:56 AM ET

Morning Buzz: Who is in charge?

Eliza Browning
AC360° Associate Producer

One week ago today, the 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck Haiti. The massive effort to distribute aid continues, even amid reports of looting and questions about who is in charge.

Frustrations have mounted as hundreds of Haitians broke into a damaged store in downtown Port-au-Prince yesterday, stripping it clean and then moving on to another store nearby.

I can’t stop thinking about one of John Steinbeck’s poignant lines – the “line between hunger and anger is a thin line.”

The Haitian police – made up of about 9,000 troops – faces a growing challenge in trying to uphold security and peace. The U.N. has 9,000 peacekeepers in Haiti and the Security Council is expected to approve a request for 3,500 additional troops today. Right now, the U.S. has 1,400 military forces in the country and that number is expected to more or less quadruple in the near future. This morning, a large number of U.S. marines arrived at the presidential palace this morning.

Meanwhile, volunteers and doctors are still awaiting permission to enter Haiti and there seems to be considerable confusion involving communication, distribution and accountability. So who is in charge? Who is making decisions about how and when people can enter the country?

A plane carrying dozens of Haitian orphans just landed in Pittsburgh from Port-au-Prince. They were in the process of adoption and will be placed with their American families. Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell is on the flight along with a crew of doctors and congressmen. So how did Rendell’s plane get into Haiti to pick up the children, but doctors and volunteers still can’t get into the country to help? We’re digging deeper tonight.

The search for survivors still continues. Rescuers have pulled more than 75 people from under the rubble. No overall death toll has been declared, but estimates range from anywhere between 100,000 to 200,000.

We’ll be live in Haiti tonight where we are reporting on lines of authority and how, exactly, the aid is getting to the people. We also talk to a family who will be united with their adopted child but this time, for the first time, at home in the United States.  Anderson is visiting a school where hundreds of children were buried and he’s filing a reporter’s notebook about covering the story over the past week.

But we’re also paying close attention to the Massachusetts Senate vote. People of Massachusetts go to the polls today for a special election to replace Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy. But there is more at stake here: this election could determine the fate of Democrats’ health care plans.

Losing the seat would strip Democrats of their 60-seat Senate majority and give Republicans enough votes to block the health care bill. No Republican has won a U.S. Senate race in Massachusetts since 1972, but pre-election polls are worrying Democrats. Yesterday, a noon poll indicated that Republican Scott Brown has a 7-point edge over Democrat Martha Coakley. We’ll have the latest on the results tonight.

The White House is preparing to ask House Democrats to approve the Senate version of the health care reform bill, in case Republicans win the Massachusetts special election. If the House approves the Senate bill, it would go directly to the President to sign.

Speaking of the President - today marks his first full-year in office. He's set to deliver his State of the Union address next week and we'll be looking back at what he's done over the past year and what we can expect in the future. AC360° Correspondent Tom Foreman has been writing a letter to President Obama EVERY day since his inauguration. Take a look at them here...

What else are you following? Let us know and see you at 10 p.m. ET.

Filed under: Eliza Browning • The Buzz
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Leslie

    Anderson, you're right to start investigating who is in charge. The governor of PA is allowed to fly his plane in and out of Haiti for his purposes but planes filled with medical teams, supplies and water aren't even allowed to land?! Sounds like preferential treatment to me and it's not fair to all other Haitians who need medical attention so badly!! We need to get our priorities straight and send doctors, medicine, food and water NOW!

    Here's hoping that you "keep them honest" and get to the bottom of this oversight. It's pure neglect and apathy at this point. Thanks.

    January 19, 2010 at 1:39 pm |
  2. Monica Lough

    Still frustrated in Ohio. Our Ohio Task force One has been loaded with supplies and ready to go for 6 days. This is one of the best search and rescue in the US. Why wont the UN let this team in? They could have saved lives. They let all the Media in the country, but not search and rescue. President Clintons plane made it in; I am sorry Task Force one would have been more beneficial than President Clinton and Chelsea. What is up with this?

    January 19, 2010 at 1:38 pm |
  3. Sterling Ashby

    Tweet I posted last night while watching your coverage:

    "Anderson Cooper, Soledad, Sanjay Gupta & the rest of the team are giving great coverage..reporting, acting, empathetic, frustrated & present"

    Keep up the great work and keep pressing for answers. I believe you are making a difference.

    January 19, 2010 at 1:33 pm |
  4. SFbrat

    I keep hearing anger in the voices of the correspondents on the ground in Haiti and I understand the frustration and anger about getting simple things like food and water and antibiotics to the injured and devastated people of Haiti. But someone at CNN needs to explain LOUDLY to their audience that the US Military cannot just go in and take over the operations. They can' t just start tearing up the Hotel Montana to find the missing girls that the father has asked the troops to find. It's politics but unfortunately our military has to be asked first by Haiti and then by the UN for any assistance that we can offer them. I'm tired of hearing comments against our military and their lack of getting things done.

    January 19, 2010 at 12:42 pm |
  5. steven sacks

    your reporters should be wearing GPS devices, and within moments of you reporting live from a hospital tent that STILL has insufficient medical supplies, exactly what the doctors need should be dropped at your location.

    January 19, 2010 at 12:24 pm |
  6. Steffen

    From the looks of things.... Sanjay Gupta!
    God...give this man strength and courage for what he has seen and has had to deal with. Sanjay you inspired me. How can the average person get to Haiti to help out?

    January 19, 2010 at 12:10 pm |
  7. Merry Reisinger

    Mr. Cooper,
    The same kind of government or authoritarian bungling happened after Katrina. I will never forget CNN's coverage of those people in New Orleans begging for water. I also remembering YOU being very vocal about the lack of expedience by those so called caring people in charge of what? I think their own egos..
    Wa-la nothing's changed. Same type of disaster, same mis-steps.
    I'm ashamed of all of those so called do gooders.

    January 19, 2010 at 11:36 am |
  8. Marianne from Beaverton OR

    Is there any way that CNN can instull somekind of large screens powered by generators in public areas so the Haitians can view the News and see the world has not forgotten them. Where public announcements can be made to the Masses. I believe they need to know that people from around the world care about them. That we want to help them now and to help them rebuild for a future.

    January 19, 2010 at 11:12 am |
  9. Susan

    Please, explain to me why the military hasn't been brought on board to coordinate & manage the disaster relief? This is the type of thing they are trained to do from boot camp on. I agree there needs to be a four star General heading this ALL up. "Bring In the Marines" & you'll see a complete difference. They make sense out of mayhem. It's what they do best. What are they wwaiting for? Maybe an Obama health care package to take care of them???????

    I might be biased as I have a daughter & a son-in-law in the Marines. This gives me an advantage as I've seen what they can do. The Marines make a difference, like Pres. Ronald Reagan said.

    Thank you for letting me vent!

    January 19, 2010 at 11:06 am |
  10. Paula Raeburn

    To Phil Martin.. Where is the Hatian government. From what I have heard the government was not very involved before the earthquake and now many are dead or taking care of their own families. To all of you who say the government is too involved in your life here in the United States, I have 3 words for you.. Move to Haiti. You want less government in your day to day lives? Move to Haiti. Tired of government making decisions you would rather make yourself? Move to Haiti. I know we here are not perfect and we saw incompetence during Katrina but we are better off than those poor souls in many countries. So if you are looking for the Haitian government it most likely no longer exists. Governments in such a poor nation are not shielded from this disaster.

    January 19, 2010 at 11:06 am |
  11. Gary Scott

    Thank you Anderson and CNN for your honesty and candor. You've re-established my faith in journalism. Your ("truth"- over- "political correctness") is something that every true American should, (and I certainly do); welcome and applaud.

    I agree Anderson; let the doctors and medicine have "priority" over the sorting-out of orphans.

    January 19, 2010 at 11:03 am |
  12. Jayne

    You inspire me. You provide, by far the best coverage of every event you choose to report on, and you have the most compassion of any reporter I have ever heard or read. I live in the Caribbean. Please keep this story alive. Haiti needs this coverage.

    January 19, 2010 at 11:00 am |
  13. LDickinson

    The dirty politics involved in the healthcare reform bill are disturbing. Why are they afraid to have an open debate like President Obama promised? Why are the American people and their voice on the issue being ignored? Why is the media not holding President Obama and his Party accountable for this kind of behavior?

    January 19, 2010 at 10:52 am |
  14. Katy

    Thank you Anderson for your outrage over the current situation in Haiti.

    Governor Rendell being allowed access into Haiti should disgust every American. The first order of business should be bringing in life saving supplies and equipment to benefit ALL Haitians. I can't help but wonder how many more orphans there are in Haiti because their parents cannot get proper medical attention? It is even more disturbing knowing that the aid is available but waiting to get clearance to use the airport. I just can't help but feel our government is placing value on what lives are worth saving and as an American but most importantly a human being, I am absolutely sick over it.

    Eventually this story will no longer be front page news. People will move on to their next cause and what becomes of the citizens of Haiti? The ones who aren't politically connected or under the care of white American women?

    Please let us know who is responsible for deciding what planes get into Haiti, so we can vote them out of office as soon as possible.

    January 19, 2010 at 10:44 am |
  15. Isabel - Brazil •

    Hello Eliza!

    Your work in Haiti is immeasurable. In times that journalism is not always seen with good eyes, you all are giving an excellent example professional.

    I read about increased risk of the population take epidemics such as measles, meningitis and other infections. This is fact?
    If these outbreaks occur, what can be done?

    I also read that several Haitians, frightened by violence and disease risk, are leaving for other cities in Haiti. This is a solution?
    The other cities have to get these people? The other cities have to absorb their needs?

    Thank you for the dedication of you!

    See you later!

    January 19, 2010 at 10:38 am |
  16. phil martin

    I have heard no mention of any involvement by the Haitian government in the earthquake relief efforts; not a mention of any official, any government quote or certainly any government news conference. Where are they? Does Port au Prince have a mayor? Does Haiti have a functioning Federal goverenment?

    January 19, 2010 at 10:35 am |
  17. vanniessa

    I appreciate the work you do. It's very inspiring.

    January 19, 2010 at 10:28 am |
  18. Grace Cantu-Griffis

    I get so angry and frustrated with the relief effort going on in Haiti. We Americans are so eager to help, when disaster strikes, but there has been alot of reporting and the action has been somewhat lacking, the reason is that there is no plan or organization, I may be wrong. But what is being reported is the wrong medical supplies are sent and the ones they have can't get them to where they are needed. As smart as we are,we still cannot get it right. something wrong with this picture. Israel has already got field hospitals set up and running correctly,they came from thousands of miles away. We are a couple hundred miles. I know about the landing strip, and only so many planes can land and takeoff. But what about the stuff that is still sitting there.Come on, get it where it is needed come hell or high water. We go through this with ever;y disaster that has happened in the past and then we pass the blame to someone else. That has got to stop.

    January 19, 2010 at 10:27 am |
  19. Tim Gibson

    The fact that no one appears to be in charge in Haiti is cause for concern on a global front. If humanitarian aide cannot reach the people of Haiti it is a clear indication of aide for future events of any kind as well as the inability of the U.N. to function in the real world and in real time.

    As to Brown in MA and the senate seat there, hold onto your saddle horns donkey jockeys, the party is over.

    As to what has Obama done, for me personally, not a thing. I am with less this past year than the year prior and yes, we all know he did not create this mess, but he has helped to feed the flame of further erosion and invasion into the private lives of each individual with little attention to equality or jobs. If spreading the wealth around means corp. interest, even at the expense of main street who played it "safe," can I pass on it and have my money back?

    January 19, 2010 at 10:27 am |
  20. Jean-François Chevrier

    Great text !

    Indeed, who is in charge ?

    A french canadian reader.

    January 19, 2010 at 10:26 am |
  21. Michelle D. Fonthill .Ont

    Good Morning Eliza and 360 team

    The devastation from this terrible earthquake are just horrific . I can't believe the lack of supplies that have still not gotten into Haiti yet and the doctors who coldn't land there to get to the injured people . It was scary watchning the looting that was going on and the anger on the streets ,Anderson was right in the middle of all this he's doing a great job covering this and i hope he's staying safe in the midst orf all the choas .

    I hope the election does not pose a threat to the healthcare bill either this must be a done deal already too many obsticles have been in the way .

    Thanks for ther buzz

    Michelle D.

    January 19, 2010 at 10:21 am |

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