August 26th, 2008
09:06 PM ET

Anderson's View: Watching the speeches, fearing the storm

Anderson Cooper

You know you've been up too long when you start taking hits of oxygen with your producers. It was John Roberts who got me hooked. He handed me a small steel cylinder and said "try it." Jack, my associate producer, and I passed it around and then tried to see how long we could hold our breath. The problem was we kept laughing. It's supposed to help with the altitude, though frankly I haven't had any problems with that, I'm mainly just punchy.

I've been in the CNN workstation since about 7 this morning. I'm not sure where the day has gone. It’s been kind of a blur of reporters and politicians, delegates and speeches.

I suppose it’s easy to be cynical about these conventions, the scripted speeches, the programmed party – but there is something remarkable about these gatherings, these celebrations of our process. It is hard not to get caught up in the excitement of Republicans and Democrats gathering to give voice to their longings, their hopes.

There is a storm brewing, of course, today it hit Haiti, and we are watching with concern. By some models New Orleans is in its path. It’s been almost three years to the day Katrina touched down, and the thought that the Gulf Coast could once again be battered is almost too terrible to consider. There could be political consequences if the storm hits New Orleans hard, but the personal consequences for that city, and it’s people, is foremost in our minds.

Filed under: Anderson Cooper • Raw Politics • Weather
soundoff (94 Responses)
  1. Rekha Joy A

    Dear Anderson,

    Today is the anniversary of Martin Luther KIng Jr's "I Have a Dream" speech, Aug.28th and Barack Obama is officially going to accept his nomination. What a great co-incidence. I loved Michelle Obama's speech the other day, it was candid, frank, simple and to the point and reached the heart. I thought you also thought the same about her speech.
    Mr.Blitzer should get an Olympic medallion for his marathon newscasting at the DNC. I loved your azure tie Anderson. So what's it going to be today?? Looking forward to seeing you today Anderson and also listening in on Obama's speech. Take care now.

    August 28, 2008 at 9:36 am |
  2. Lisa L

    Dear Anderson,

    I pray that New Orleans has a positive future.

    I thank you for all the stupendous reports you've done and will do.


    Lisa L
    Sydney, Australia

    August 28, 2008 at 5:45 am |
  3. jake Utah

    Good luck in LA. I know you love covering the danger spots, but be careful, my friend.

    August 28, 2008 at 2:16 am |
  4. David

    AC, just got done watching the show here in in So. Cal. Great as usual. The thought of Wolf Blitzer in a band is more than I need to know!! You have a great way of making people feel comfortable. I remember the coal mine tragedy a few years back. I remember how impressed I was with your interview of the women who thought everyone was alive and then to find out the oppossite!! OMG, that was horrible! You're compassion and professionalism was, and still is, above reproach. Our family are big fans, from me (48) to my daughters, 18, 13, 9 and 7 (yes her too!) to my son who is 16. Keep up the great work.
    David F
    San Clemente

    August 28, 2008 at 12:44 am |
  5. M

    You're not going a very good job of "keeping them honest", Anderson. There are hot spots of violence, people being arrested(some for seemingly ridiculous things), and at this very moment, police in riot gear "boxing in" a large group of protesters...and where is the media coverage of this? No where. Not on national news, not on local news, not on AM radio...its a virtual media black out. Its actually amusing how people are trying to make it seem like this thing is going off without a hitch, but its not. I'm actually really disappointed in CNN.

    Dissent is patriotic.

    Denver, Colorado

    Oh PS- you should tell your employees walking around Denver in CNN shirts not to be jerks to people on the street. We have to live here. You guys are guests. And it makes the whole network look bad.

    August 27, 2008 at 10:27 pm |
  6. Ernie

    I would rather have a level headed communicator like Barack Obama as the commander-in-chief than someone like John McCain who is considered very HOT-HEADED.
    How come you, Anderson Cooper, Wolf Blitzer or David Gherkin do not mention this to inform the people of America.

    August 27, 2008 at 9:03 pm |
  7. Jennifer - Michigan

    Hi there,
    WOW, great interview with Ray Nagin. Finally got him to talk huh? Way to go. It was fun to watch your interview, long time coming. Hopefully, the hurricane will veer off course and weaken. We'll see what happens. Good night, see you later.

    August 27, 2008 at 7:31 pm |
  8. Christina, Windber, PA

    Hey Anderson

    Wow, that's a long day. Hope you have some time to enjoy the mountains before you go on to the Minneapolis.

    The excitement there must be unbelievable. There seems to be an electricity in the air when you are in the center of a live event such as this or even a political rally.

    I'm fighting cynicism big time. I don't understand how delegates are giving their votes to Obama when Hillary Clinton won the state. I was watching the roll call and Massachusetts gave the majority of their votes to Obama. Hillary's speech was moving and reinforced my feeling that they picked the wrong candidate; at least they could have made her the vp. Some are criticising Anne Price-Mills for saying she may not vote. People don't understand that although your right to vote is important, some people feel who they are voting for is even more important. If you really believe in someone, you can't be expected to just give your vote away when you don't think that other person is right for the job. I thought Hillary's speech was great, but it was Ms Price-Mills who brought tears to my eyes. She was eloquent and expressed feelings that I share. I'm looking forward to President Clinton's speech tonight.

    By the way, how do you guys sit there so long without being stiff and sore at the end of the broadcast? They should give you more comfortable chairs!

    August 27, 2008 at 7:26 pm |
  9. pati mc., camp hill, pa

    Hi Anderson,

    Clearly in spite of your long hours on the job, it is awesome to see that you are still having fun. Come on, let's face it, when you are dog tired and you get punchy. those are some of the best times in life. With your well honed sense of humor I can just imagine. Heh heh.

    You guys are doing a wonderful job and I thank fyou for taking us along for the ride. Appreciate the behind the scenes commentary. I just have one favor....can you send some of that CNN brew? I could sure use one.

    Frankly I am waiting with baited breath to see how this all goes down. With the economy a mess and things going nuts in the workplace, I can see more clearly than ever how much we do need change in this counrty. Monday I became a victim of this mess. I found out that my offcice is closing. In a month I will be unemployed.

    All of my life I have been very serious about elections and politics; now I will be even more so. Hopng for the best!

    My thoughts and prayers are with all of you there and all of those in the path of the hurricane. Lord, I pray that it misses NOLA.

    Thanks Anderson. Keep up the good work and have some fun too! Shake a tail feather! Dance with Donna., I dare ya!

    August 27, 2008 at 7:01 pm |
  10. Francesca

    Uh, Anderson, that might not be oxygen...are you sure it's not nitrous oxide? Scoring a little something from the dentist, huh? What else is John Roberts passing around?

    Just kidding. I've been watching your coverage, you are doing a fantastic job, of course. Hillary finally rose to the occassion. If she had spoken with that kind of determination last year, I would have voted for her in the primary. It's interesting to see how the candidates have grown and progressed. What if the delegates voted her as the candidate despite her support of Obama? Will history be made?

    I'll keep watching.


    August 27, 2008 at 6:24 pm |
  11. Holly

    Hi Anderson,

    Last night, after Hillary's speech, the panel was talking about Hurricane Gustav. While I know that your main priority is to report to your direct audience (i.e., US), I was impressed with your larger world view in mentioning that Gustav, at that moment, was hitting Hispaniola and had caused deaths (at current count more than 20). Any tropical system–not just hurricanes–has the potential to cause wide-spread devastation and scores of deaths on this island, particularly in Haiti. I thank you for shining a bit of light on us!

    I also wish the best (meaning no hurricane hit!) to the people on the Gulf Coast of the US... I have extended family and good friends there (New Orleans and Mississippi) and want to see them remain safe.

    Holly Bembridge
    Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

    August 27, 2008 at 4:38 pm |
  12. Sarah, Canterbury - UK

    Sounds like inhaling from a helium balloon would be just as fun.

    Whether you are in Denver or facing Gustav, its all hot air lets hope the conference has more substance than the storm.

    August 27, 2008 at 4:23 pm |
  13. Cherisa

    Four years ago this Labor Day weekend I watched as Hurricane Frances bared down on Florida. I was with my in-laws in small town Oklahoma with spotty cell coverage and CNN was, at times, my only connection to news on my parents near Orlando, weary from Hurricane Charley a few weeks before.

    Three years ago this weekend I watched the unbelievable aftermath of Hurricane Katrina on CNN.

    I think of the families that must be dreading the upcoming holiday either for fear of the present danger or recalling the still too fresh memories of hardships past.

    I sincerely hope I am not watching a disaster unfold in the US on TV again this year. My prayers are with those who have already been affected by Gustav and others who are watching and waiting.

    August 27, 2008 at 3:51 pm |
  14. Rekha Joy A

    Dear Anderson,

    Did that cylinder have oxygen or laughing gas?? the fact that you kept laughing all the time. I think yesterday, Hillary in orange was a blast! Don't you think so?
    Yes like you, I hope Mr. Gustav(the storm) doesn't go down on New Orleans this year. I hope NOLA gets her act together this time and is well prepared ahead of time, but I hope and pray she's not touched by the storm.
    Looking forward to seeing you tonight at the other arena. While the other channels keep their podcasts busy. So which tie is it this time Anderson?

    August 27, 2008 at 3:44 pm |
  15. Marta Lynn, Indiana

    Anderson ....
    I have to say that there is nowhere else I want to get the new from on this campaign or any other issue than the best team on television ! You all are amazing. Even though, Donna won't let you be her "Boo" , I love her insight. LOL !
    Hillary said all the right things. She was great. I have been a self proclaimed Obamaniac since he gave the long ago keynote. And delegate Mills... It seems to me, at least common sense tells me if a person was truly a Hillary supporter, even though disappointed she is not the candidate, they would put their trust in her and back whomever she is backing. I would trust Barack if the situation were reversed. No, I wouldn't be happy about it, but I would do the right thing for the party and for the country. I hope Ms Mills will make the effort to know more about Barack and that regardless of whether she 'connects', I pray she does the best thing and what her beloved Hillary asked her to do.
    My prayers are with NOLA and everyonein the path of this latest storm.
    Take care and breathe deep !!!
    Marta Lynn

    August 27, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  16. Sarah, Indiana

    Hey Anderson,
    Normally I don't have anything to complain about from the "best political team on television"; but I too thought it was a little much to have to hear delegate Mills say she might not even vote. While I know I wouldn't have been happy if Barack wasn't the nominee, I would never consider not voting. No matter if you "conected" with the candidate or not. If you are a delegate for the democratic party, to me it would go without saying that you would at least vote in November. She mentioned that she couldn't "connect" with Barack. Maybe she should visit Barack's website, read what he's about, listen to him speak....maybe then she will find her connection. I truly hope she does.
    Hillary was awesome, Schweitzer was great...can't wait to hear Bill!

    Everyone in the Gulf is in my thoughts.....I just can't imagine what they must be going through at the thought of this possibly happening again. God bless NOLA!!

    Oh and Anderson....I hear Oxygen is a gateway drug....be careful!! 😉

    August 27, 2008 at 2:12 pm |
  17. Jennifer - Michigan

    Hi Anderson,
    I've been watching the convention coverage, it's interesting to watch all the excitemet and emotions. I'll be watching again tonight. I particularly liked Kennedy's speech, what a speech; you could see his passion. The oxygen thing sounds different. Pure oxygen has to be pretty good for you I'd assume. Keep our fingers crossed that the storm doesn't hit Louisiana again. Anyway, hope you have a good day, see you later.

    August 27, 2008 at 1:38 pm |
  18. Carlotta,Italy

    I was upset because I was watching the interesting debate after Hilary' speech between you and all Cnn political team, when Cnn International world news interupted it..I watched this political show so different from the boring italian politicians!! What really surprised me was one of the commercial...China....we really need american and european politicians able to fight for human rights,"planet in peril" with China, Russia...Oxygen it's a vacation in Italy or in Croatia...Good night and good luck for the next working days.

    August 27, 2008 at 1:29 pm |
  19. Linda DiBartolo

    Hi Anderson,
    I never really got into these conventions before, but this one in particular is interesting to me. When I saw people dancing, I wanted to be there. Everyone there works really hard and you need to have fun so it's easy to get punchy , I know I do.

    To be honest, day1 really didn't impress me except for Michelle O'bama's speech which was very moving. Last night was great, I really liked Brian Schweitzer's speech and especially Hillary Clinton's. I can't wait for Bill Clinton's speech, should be interesting.

    Linda D. Trenton, NJ

    August 27, 2008 at 1:16 pm |
  20. Maritza


    Nice to see you blog, hits of oxygen? huh.. that explaines some of the dingy commentary,( not you of course) , never you Anderson, Are they handing out bottles of Benadryl at the convention as well ?, I watched some parts and my ,how incredibly boring , it seems to have no direction the speeches given by various democrate guest speakers lack that fire, excitement, after seeing too many people wearing crazy hats , missing the beat to the funky music , ahhh it was all to much sillyness, but what can you expect from the democrats, Hillary built some momentum then kinda fizzled, she gave the mandatory endorsement though, mandatory.


    August 27, 2008 at 11:54 am |
  21. Gail Ellis Duncan

    Totally with you on New Orleans!!!!! I am holding my breath, pass the oxygen, and saying many prayers for all the people there and that the storm will go to the sea and be gone!

    August 27, 2008 at 11:51 am |
  22. Linda Matthews

    Hey AC, we had been talking at work last night(yes we are the NIGHT shift)about New Orleans and worried about"GUS"-I can't believe the city is still such a mess......All other poilitcal items aside(terrorism,war,foreclosures,recession,etc.) that alone should prove to AMERICANS that Bush/Cheney/Republicans don't care about the people. How can ANYONE not believe that after seeing N.O.??? I don't get it-don't get it at all....can anyone explain this to me? and make me believe it. To me to be a republican means Katrina mess can happen anywhere in this country and no one in the government will care-oops unless you live in a white community-I truly believe this...and I am a white middle class educated woman-who owns her own home and helps to support her parents.

    August 27, 2008 at 11:11 am |
  23. Anna, Hong Kong

    Hi Anderson,

    ...some believe taking oxygen is supposed to slow down the aging process... or prevent headaches...? You choose....

    Caught Hillary's charismatic speech this morning (HKT) – only the second time I've heard her speak live in front of a large audience – a great speaker! As an observer... I would think the speech she gave would have plugged some of the holes appearing in Obama's campaign....

    August 27, 2008 at 10:54 am |
  24. Gretchen


    Get some rest 🙂

    While we love seeing you here in New Orleans (visiting Frenchman St.), we certainly don't want to see you here for Gustav coverage.

    Those of us that have fought with the systems (goverment), rebuilt our lives and live in very sparsely habitated neighborhoods and still continue to wear a smile on our face REALLY appreciate the worry and concern that you have for us.

    New Orleanians are resilient people, let's just hope we don't have to be resilient once again.

    Thank you!

    Gretchen, New Orleans, LA

    August 27, 2008 at 10:53 am |
  25. Martina Ilstad Germany

    Hey Anderson,
    for me as a german this us election is not soooooo very interesting,that i watch it in midnight.i like the way of your journalist,but even for me as a german i fell that you show your own oppinion to much.its kind of sad for me.never mind.

    August 27, 2008 at 10:26 am |
  26. Vicky, Ontario, Canada

    The oxygen story is just too funny, kind of like inhaling helium?

    I was so impressed that President Carter presented a video about New Orleans the other night, reminding people of the continuing suffering and struggle there. Wished that he would also have spoken in person as well... government has failed the people there on so many levels. It's really touching and encouraging to see all the volunteers, from all over the world, who have reached out to help the people of New Orleans. It's really important that we don't forget them. I'm always anxiously watching news of hurricanes that enter the Gulf, and it's not that I wish for such storms to bring tragedy to another area, but It seems that it would be just too much for another hurricane to hit New Orleans. Was in the process of doing something for new friends in New Orleans in recognition of the third anniversary, but think I'll wait to see what happens with this storm...

    August 27, 2008 at 10:11 am |
  27. Martina Ilstad Germany

    Hey Anderson
    Wish you a verry nice day from far away in germany.i think you enjoy this
    "game"of election.But you dont forget the poeple tragedy in new orleans
    you still a wold watcher and remberer.

    August 27, 2008 at 10:08 am |
  28. steve from Canada

    Anderson.... prayers abound for the people in the path of the storm. If you dont need the oxygen Anderson, can you find John McCain and give him some please? LOL He can drill for oil all he wants... the question we all have to consider is even if they drilled for more oil, does North America have anymore refining capacity?? My understanding is that it takes 10 years to build a refinery, and to my knowledge there are no new refineries being built in North America. So how is it that "drilling" is the answer? Give him oxygen Anderson, and perhaps a copy of this post.... i would be interested to muse over his answer.

    August 27, 2008 at 9:39 am |
  29. Dee Stevens

    The altitude from the Colorado Rockies does cause a H20 breathing exercise once in awhile. The CNN slogan "The Best Political Team" all did a good job covering the DNC convention. Anderson you did a good job too. You should realize you are making history Anderson. The convention coverage next week for the RNC should be interesting.

    August 27, 2008 at 9:30 am |
  30. Michelle Fonthill Ont,Canada

    Hi Anderson
    Nice to hear from you again on the blog.Wow 2 days in a row your setting a record ! It's really exciting to see all the convention happenings and speeches Hillarys's was greeat last night al though i wish she was on the ticket instead of Biden it could have united the democratic party and really proved that instead of all this talk of unity put thier money whre thier mouth is and show it.
    Well it's day 3 and counting i hope you are not too botherd by all that noise inthe background when trying to conduct interviews it must be annoying oh well thaks for your post .

    I love your show you're the best

    Have a great day!

    August 27, 2008 at 9:18 am |
  31. Rhonda

    Anderson, you are so cool! The oxygen must have helped because you did a great job last night. Thank you for keeping an eye on Gustav. After watching your coverage of Katrina, no one wants Gustav to take a similar path. You are loved by many.

    August 27, 2008 at 8:21 am |
  32. anne,newfoundland,canada


    Great to see you back on the blog today!

    Are you sure that was not "laughing gas" in that canister,or ah...something mixed in there?

    I am enjoying all the DNC convention coverage this week.

    I hope that NOLA or the Gulf Coast is spared from the storm,that is the LAST thing they need.

    My thoughts are with all the people there in the days ahead, especially as the 3rd anniversary of Katrina is this week....
    and we should all never forget what happened there,from the natural,to the man made disasters,mismanagement by governments at every level,and, just one mistake after another.

    But,it is their spirit I admire,in the face of that tragedy.

    Anderson,I hope you get to broadcast from NOLA again soon.

    Take care of yourself.

    August 27, 2008 at 7:14 am |
  33. Dee Stevens

    After reading about your experience at the convention I guess political news is not your niche after all. Don't be cynical and appreciate the opportunity to cover the DNC and RNC conventions. Whether you realize it or not you are making history Anderson.

    August 27, 2008 at 6:39 am |
  34. srini

    Hi Anderson,

    Why Obama did not appear on screen immediately after Hillary speech to great her and her supporters after an exceptional speech?

    This is a big moment he lost to get Hillary and her supporters.

    Is Obama really wanted to reach Hillary supporters?

    August 27, 2008 at 6:34 am |
  35. Ellie B

    Hi Anderson,
    Mm Punchy i watch the show from London so as you can imagine because of the time difference i need more than oxygen.
    Anyway i find the DNC very interesting,im a big Donna B fan.

    August 27, 2008 at 6:28 am |
  36. Annie Kate

    Um...my first comment got posted but now its gone. That's puzzling.

    I hope the storm doesn't go to New Orleans. Katrina was enough. If it does though I hope its weak and not much storm surge and the levees hold.

    Hillary Clinton's speech was amazing tonight. I have never seen her speak so well and so passionately. Michelle Obama seemed to like it too from her smiles. I hope this means that peace is made between the Clintons and the Obama supporters.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    August 27, 2008 at 3:53 am |
  37. lpfoong, Malaysia

    That's so funny. You got high on oxygen.
    But what a thought. If higher oxygen intake=laughter=happiness...
    you may have just reveal one of the secrets of life?
    My friends and I were discussing about this not long ago about the apparent benefits of oxygen 'hits'.
    What does 'punchy' means? Friendly, harmless punches?
    As for the presidential race...the whole world is waiting with great interest. Who will be the next President of the United States of America?
    Thanks for the lightening things up, occasionally.

    August 27, 2008 at 3:52 am |
  38. Ilhana, Bosnia

    Awww Anderson, good to hear from you! Watching the convention madness sure is fun from across the pond (albeit very late in the evening). I hope the storm avoids the land.

    All the best to you!

    August 27, 2008 at 1:59 am |
  39. Troy Dallas TX

    Hey Anderson

    I have a question. I have been watching the late replay of your show.

    Can you explain to me what the pundits mean when they say about Hillary, "She is a democrat with a capital “D”?"
    I also heard someone refer to someone else as a democrat with a small “d”.

    What does that mean?

    Thanks and I love your show!

    Troy from Dallas, TX

    August 27, 2008 at 1:53 am |
  40. deborah, OH

    I thought your 'getting high thing' was the gas in the dentist's office. lol.
    Anyhow, be careful, because you are doing a great job!
    Hopefully, NOLA & her already devastated people will be spared.
    You have seemed a little more something this evening.....lol.
    Take care & keep up the good work-keep them honest–can you do that in this case??!!

    August 27, 2008 at 1:03 am |
  41. J. M. Gavin

    1) Good job!
    2) After Hillary's speech at the convention tonight, I was very interested in hearing commentary from "the best political team yadda yadda" ... but the blaring noise (crowd and music) in the background made it nearly impossible to follow what the CNN commentators were saying. I know you want the exciting flavor and atmosphere of the convention to shine through, but viewers like me watch CNN instead of C-SPAN to hear your commentary. Please get your producers to work on a solution to reduce the background noise or pull y'all out of the mayhem so we can listen to what you have to say. Otherwise, I might as well go back to boring-but audible-C-SPAN.


    August 27, 2008 at 12:23 am |
  42. J Lloyd-Moore

    Hi Anderson,
    Run the tape on Hilary Rosen's comments about Senator Clinton's speech. Did she really mean to say that Senator Clinton's speech was encouraging people to vote for John Mccain? Or was that a Freudian slip?

    August 27, 2008 at 12:19 am |
  43. DeAnna, Chattanooga, TN

    Hi Anderson...Seems like we're constantly trying find a balance between keeping up with our political rituals, like conventions and scripted speeches, and managing real life, which by the way, doesn't stop for any of it. Watching a storm head for the Gulf and holding my breath for the people in it's path is a crazy reminder of just how deeply those silly political rituals can touch our lives. The outcome of this election will effect our country's ability to respond to a natural disaster in the future. I don't live on the coast, but if I did, I think I'd feel better about the hurricane season if I knew it would wait for January! Assuming that is, that Obama would be there to help me through it!

    Go to bed! LOL!


    August 27, 2008 at 12:18 am |
  44. Mary Anne, Tucson

    I knew I would vote for Barack Obama the day after he opened his campaign. I thought Hillary did as well as could be expected tonight, but it went on and on and on. With regard to those Hillary supporters who still say that they will vote for McCain before they vote for Barack; that's what this country is all about. We are free to make our own choices. But we also have to live with the ramifications of those choices. If Barack looses this election, those Hillary people turned McCain people have to look at themselves and admit that they played a big role in that.

    August 27, 2008 at 12:16 am |
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