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August 3rd, 2010
09:00 AM ET

Letter to the President #561: 'So precisely how much damage did the oil do?'

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Reporter's Note: President Obama’s team in the Gulf seems guardedly optimistic that the worst has passed in the big oil spill. I am the same, even as I spill my thoughts out in my daily letter to the White House.

Dear Mr. President,

Well, I am down in my beloved New Orleans again as I write this. When I landed it was around 97 degrees with a heat index around 110. To paraphrase an old joke: I saw the a cop chasing a guy who robbed a liquor store and they were both walking. Anyway, there is nothing like home! It’s kind of funny, sometimes I go for years without being sent down here, and then times like this come along where I am going back and forth every few weeks like a FedEx delivery plane. Even my old friends are tired of me calling. “Well, Tom, it’s good to see you…but it’s just not that special anymore.”

I’m here to keep an eye on the big “static kill” operation out on the oil well. If it works I hope they bring it to DC. We have some “static” there that certainly ought to be done it. Ha! All kidding aside I will be so pleased if we can finally put this leaky pipe to rest and send the plumbers home.

That said, I was astonished today to learn the latest estimates of how much oil was spilled: 4.9 million barrels. I’m no scientist, but that seems like a lot. I mean, if I had that much, wouldn’t I be sort of rich? (I just did the math…and yes, I would. Current futures trading is around $80 a barrel…so multiply times 4.9, carry the one, round off the little bits, and Bob’s your uncle, I’m worth $392,000,000! But who is counting?)

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August 3rd, 2010
08:00 AM ET

Flood relief teams struggle to reach remote areas of Pakistan

CNN

As rain continued pelting parts of Pakistan Tuesday, officials said relief efforts in remote areas devastated by flooding remained a significant challenge.

The flooding - caused by torrential monsoon rains - may have killed as many as 1,500 people, a government official told reporters. As floodwaters recede, the count may surge higher.

A Pakistani Red Crescent official told CNN that nearly 2.5 million have been affected by the floods.

But with floodwaters washing out roads, highways and bridges, many of them have remained out of help's reach.

"This is the key issue for the next day, to find [a] solution to access the population in remote valleys," Jean-Marc Favre of the International Committee for the Red Cross told CNN Tuesday.

Displaced people - including thousands of Afghan refugees - were crammed into public buildings and schools, officials said.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Pakistan
August 3rd, 2010
07:30 AM ET

Democrats, GOP both see glass half-full for midterms

House Minority Leader John Boehner and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have high expectations for their parties.

House Minority Leader John Boehner and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have high expectations for their parties.

CNN

Republicans are predicting big wins in the November midterms. Across the aisle, Democrats are saying the same thing about their chances at the polls. But both can't be right.

Republicans speculate that they will take back the House - and possibly the Senate - as voters express their frustration at where Democrats and President Obama are taking the country.

"I think it's pretty clear that the American people are tired of the job-killing agenda in Washington, D.C. They want the spending spree to stop," House Minority Leader John Boehner said on "Fox News Sunday."

"I think we're having a good year, but we've got a lot of work to do before the Election Day on November 2," he said.

Boehner advised Republicans heading home for the August recess to "talk about the better solutions that Republicans have been offering over the last 18 months."

His counterpart in the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, encouraged her members to do the opposite.

"We've been legislating for the past 18 months. The other side has been in campaign mode for 18 months, saying no, stopping job creation and the rest. But our members are the best salespersons for their own districts. They've been elected there. They know their constituents," she said on ABC's "This Week."

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Raw Politics
August 3rd, 2010
07:00 AM ET
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