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RICK'S LIST

Sarah Palin For President?; Protests in Bay Area; Reporting From Underwater in the Gulf of Mexico

Aired July 9, 2010 - 15:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Here is what is making your LIST today.

The divide between the rich and the rest of us in the United States triples. And guess who's defaulting on mortgages? You have got to hear this.

A police officer convicted, and angry San Francisco-Bay area residents take to the streets, but why?

SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: Women are standing up and speaking out.

SANCHEZ: Have you seen the newest Sarah Palin video? Substance? No. But impactful? Absolutely. What do you say? Tweet me.

Watch the reaction of everyone around as a fan falls out of the bleachers. How did it happen? Wait until you hear his story.

The lists you need to know about. Who's today's most intriguing? Who's landed on the list you don't want to be on? Who's making news on Twitter? It's why I keep a list.

Pioneering tomorrow's cutting-edge news right now.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SANCHEZ: See that little screen right over here that we're going to be following for you, that one that I'm looking at right now? That is in fact where we're -- and you have got to give us credit for trying on this. Look, there's no guarantee that we're going to be able to show you anything that's going to look much different from what we have told you before.

But we're trying to do is actually capture, since this has been a big part of this conversation, what it's really like underwater, not on the surface, but underwater, 30, 40, 50 feet down, where you can actually start to see what happens when the oil itself mixes with the saltwater, mixes with these dissolvents that they have been using and what is the effect on the sea life down there?

We have been looking at this shark swimming around one of our correspondents and one of our experts and the divers that are down there with them. We're going to monitor this.

And here's going to be the I guess what you would call the money shot for us. In about 25 minutes, we should be able to get a shot of our correspondent actually being able to communicate with us and file a report from underwater.

We think that's significant. Hopefully, it will give us a little better understanding of what's happening in the Gulf of Mexico. As soon as we're able to do that, we will.

But, first, there's a story that I want to share with you which I think is imperative for all of us as Americans to understand. Let me take you through this as best I can. I want to begin this newscast with a notion that's going to really be turned on its ear or turn on its ear much of what you and I hear about the poor, about the wealthy, about the economy, about the United States of America.

If you listen to these guys on talk radio, some of whom make hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions of dollars, generally defending the money guys, defending the super rich night in and night out -- you know who I'm talking about -- you will hear this and you have heard this consistent narrative. We're being held back by high taxes in this country, high tax rates. Cut taxes on the wealthy and, zoom, there it goes. Our economy is going to be back with a vengeance. Get the government off our backs and all our problems in this country are going to be solved.

This is what you hear, right? I mean, I'm not making this up. And, by the way, the mess we're still digging out from, it's not Wall Street's fault, not a thing to do with the government turning a blind eye to the high-rolling financial shenanigans of some people on Wall Street. No, not at all.

It's the poor people's fault, who brought the rest of us to our knees, mostly, by the way -- I know you hear this -- I know you hear this -- mostly minorities, them Hispanics and them blacks who bought the homes that they couldn't afford. They defaulted on those loans. And then we all went down. By golly.

Do you think I'm kidding about this? Look, here's one of the biggest media darlings of this message.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why don't you put up a Web site to have people vote on the Internet as a referendum to see if we really want to subsidize the losers' mortgages?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: This guy's a superstar now. That's right, superstar. Losers. Remember that? If you lose your job and you end up defaulting on your mortgage, you are a loser.

That was the rant that fueled, in many ways, the Tea Party movement. Quit subsidizing the losers, America. Now, let me show you something else. I want to show you -- hey, Rob, you good there. Where's the newspaper? I want to bring you in the newspaper that I had here just a moment ago. Here it is. Here's "The New York Times." All right? What's that say? Can you see it? Biggest defaulters on mortgages are the rich.

So, who are the losers? Hispanics? Minorities? Black people who bought more home than they could really afford? Once again, let's look at this. The biggest defaulters on mortgages are the rich. More than one in seven -- here, I highlighted this so you could see and I want to share it with you. Stay with me, Robert. Stay with me.

More than one in seven homeowners with loans in excess of $1 million are seriously delinquent. OK? Now, let's look at the rest of us, people like you and me. About one in 12 mortgages below the $1 million mark is delinquent.

Who are the losers again? Who are the losers again, Mr. Santelli, or whatever your name is? OK, the article goes on to say, though it's hard to prove, the data suggests that many of the well-to- do are purposely dumping their financially draining properties. They're doing this on purpose. You know what? I don't want it. I will dump it -- just as they would any other sour investment.

Fine, but let's be clear. The rich aren't paying their mortgages, and at a higher rate than anyone else. Hold that thought for a minute, because I want to make a point about taxes now. To hear the narrative out there, you would think that we're the highest taxed nation on the planet, in the history of the planet.

You hear it every day on your way home. Just turn on your radio, folks. In fact, there's another list out there I want to show you of the top 30 industrial nations in the world.

Where do you think the United States ranks? Now, you hear every single day we're the most taxed country in the world, no question about it. And it's all these politicians and the government. And where do you think we are? Of all the developed countries in the world, where do you think we are as far as the tax rate?

Where do you think we are? Twenty-sixth -- 26th out of 30. That's according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development -- 26 out of 30. Again, here's the list. Here's my highlight marks that I have put right there. You see it.

We are right after -- here, I will tell you. Who comes before us? Switzerland, Mexico and Australia. Who comes after us? Ireland, Luxembourg, Iceland, and New Zealand.

Again, and then let's look at another number. I want to share one more with you. You ready? This is from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, based on data issued last month by the Congressional Budget Office. It shows that the income gaps between the richest 1 percent of Americans and the middle and poorest fifths of the country more than tripled over the last three decades. You see that line right there? You see that red line, compared to the yellow line?

In other words, in the last three decades, the rich have gotten three times richer, the poor three times poorer. And that's not even rich and poor, by the way. It may not be good usage of the word poor. What we're really saying is the super rich compared to the rest of us.

That's the other 99 percent of the U.S., well, pretty much flat. They keep going, and we're treading water.

By the way, to that top 1 percent goes 17 percent of the income after taxes.

I want to bring in a guest to talk about this. This is Professor Danny Boston, professor of economics at Georgia Tech University.

How are you, Professor?

PROF. DANNY BOSTON, GEORGIA TECH UNIVERSITY: I'm fine. How about you?

SANCHEZ: Good to see you.

Anything about what I just said right there surprise you?

It is surprising, actually, when you -- because it debunks the stereotype. The stereotype is that it's the subprime mortgages that are responsible for the housing crisis. And what you see is that that is a stereotype, and it's just the reverse.

SANCHEZ: Yes.

But we hear we're the most taxed country in the world. That seems to show that maybe we really aren't. We're 26th of the 30 developing nations. We hear that it was the poor people who bought too many homes that they couldn't afford. Now we have got a statistic saying, no, that's not true. In fact, it's the rich who have been the most delinquent and defaulted on their mortgages.

It's like statistic after statistic seems to -- why is it that we in America are so easily led to go against our own interests? Because -- and you know what I mean by that. Most of the people who are super rich in this country are, what, 1 percent? Then there's 99 percent of the rest of us.

And yet if you look at studies politically and sociologically, you would find at least half of that 99 percent is pulling for the rich guy and saying, oh, yes, it's not his fault, it's our fault.

Why would we do that?

BOSTON: Well, it goes back to the ideology of the country. And it's always a struggle and a tug of war between these competing ideologies. On the one hand, it's ideology that says that the markets can solve all problems.

SANCHEZ: Can they? Can they? (CROSSTALK)

BOSTON: Well, no, no. We have seen that, that we can't allow -- the Great Depression was the first graphic example of why you cannot just sit back and allow and expect the markets to solve all problems in the economy.

(CROSSTALK)

SANCHEZ: But they can solve many of them.

BOSTON: They can.

SANCHEZ: Market cans solve --

BOSTON: Absolutely.

SANCHEZ: If we leave the market alone oftentimes, it will deal with problems effectively.

BOSTON: Absolutely.

What you have to do is to understand the areas of the economy and of society that are best solved by market forces and entrepreneurship and the areas where those markets are deficient at addressing those kinds of problems.

SANCHEZ: So, what you're saying is, it's a combination of the two; we need a mixed approach?

(CROSSTALK)

BOSTON: Absolutely.

SANCHEZ: Why is that so hard to sell?

BOSTON: Well, again, it's dependent upon who you're talking to. It's not hard to sell if you are, for example, on the Democratic side that has a philosophy that markets aren't infallible.

But, on the Republican side, generally speaking, that's another philosophy. And so this kind of is rooted in really hundreds of years of philosophical outlook on how the economy operates and then that gets rolled up into political agendas.

SANCHEZ: Well, a lot of the folks who would criticize someone like you, they would criticize you, first of all, because you're a college professor, which in their mind makes you overeducated and thus stupid.

But is that something that's frustrating as well, that you know this stuff and can explain it as easily as you just did to us, but yet the people who are really leading the charge in this country are the guys on the radio, many of which don't even have a college degree?

BOSTON: Yes, you know, what's frustrating about it is that there are these competing philosophies that manifest themselves in political agendas.

But it's not a bad guy and a good guy.

SANCHEZ: No, it's not.

BOSTON: We have to understand that there's a middle ground that within which, again -- as we just mentioned, within with markets operate that can solve problems. We all believe in entrepreneurship. But there are also areas where markets don't work.

SANCHEZ: And you need the government to have some regulation and some control.

(CROSSTALK)

BOSTON: Absolutely.

SANCHEZ: My producers will talk to you, but if you can stick around and we will get you a nice soda or a cup of coffee or something, we might get you back in a little bit?

BOSTON: OK. All right.

(CROSSTALK)

SANCHEZ: Thank you, Professor. We appreciate your time.

Take a look at this. That's what happened last night around the San Francisco Bay area. Guilty is what the jury said. So, then why are people taking to the streets? They wanted the police officer to be found guilty. He was found guilty, and they're still protesting. That's a serious question, isn't it? We're going to try and answer it for you.

And then the hatred across America against illegal immigrants that you have been seeing lately, is it new? Well, today -- we have been hitting this every single day. Today, a historical approach. I'm taking you back to the late 1800s, early 1900 to show you an America that some say was not very different from today's America.

And then we're taking you underwater. That's right. We're going to let you know what's going on at the bottom of the ocean as our crew gears up to bring you a live unprecedented report from the Gulf to show you what conditions are there underwater.

We will be right back. This is your national conversation, RICK'S LIST. I'm Rick Sanchez.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: Boy, have we got a lot of tweets on that last segment we just did. Thank you.

I was talking to my executive producer. We thought that was a smart segment as well. And many of you really appreciate the fact that we had that conversation that most people dare not have on television. I want to have another one now that oftentimes people don't have.

We call this the national conversation. We rely on you to give us input. I want to take you back now to the late 1800s and the early 1900s. I want to show you now the people that we once hated. These were the Mexican illegal immigrants of their time in terms of taking real Americans' jobs, real Americans, in terms of being dirty, in terms of being criminal, in terms of being freeloaders who are destroying the -- quote -- "fabric of America."

These people, by the way, could be your great-grandparents. And while we romance today about how different our ancestors were, those were actually the things that were said about them, just like they're said about Mexican illegal immigrants today.

Columbia University history Professor Mae Ngai is joining us now. She says those romances that we create about our ancestors and how much they were welcomed and how well they were treated and how hard they worked and how they spoke perfect English only after being in the United States two days are all fabrications.

Professor, thanks for being with us.

I use your research in by book. And I was struck when I read your material by the similarity of then and now. Can you take us through this? Can you amplify on that for us?

MAE NGAI, HISTORY PROFESSOR, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: Well, immigrants come to this country the way migrants travel all over the world, mostly for economic opportunity.

And at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, there were a lot of jobs available in the United States. The economy was expanding. So, you had a period of mass industrialization that was going on. And people were needed to do all this work, to dig the subway tunnels, work in the steel factories, work in the sewing factories. These were all done by immigrants.

SANCHEZ: They did the jobs that oftentimes nobody else wanted to do. And yet in many ways, they were castigated for it as well, were they not?

NGAI: Right.

As you said, immigrants are accused then as now as being -- working for wages that are too low, for being dirty, not being hygienic, not knowing English, being too different. They had religious difference, which at that time was also cast as racial difference. They were criminals. They lived in slums. It's the whole litany. You hear it then as you hear it now.

SANCHEZ: So, these people at that time when they were called these things, were they -- did they have a way of fighting back? Did they -- how did they -- by the way, as I ask that question, I'm thinking of another. Where were these people who were talking about back then? Who were they? NGAI: Mostly from Southern Europe and Eastern Europe. They were Italians, Poles, Jews from Russia and Poland, Hungarians, Greeks, et cetera, et cetera. About 25 million people came at the end of the -- around the turn of the century.

(CROSSTALK)

SANCHEZ: Would it be safe to say that they could very well be -- of course, we can't document this exactly. But would it be safe to say that they may very well be the great-grandparents or great-great- grandparents of the people who today are carrying signs against illegal immigrants?

NGAI: Oh, absolutely, absolutely.

SANCHEZ: Now, let me ask you another question about the trends and patterns, because you hear a lot of people out there on one side of the argument saying, well, my ancestors, they came here differently. They didn't come here like the immigrants today.

Let me take you back to, let's say, 1905. That's a very good year, right between 1890 and like 1920, and not talking about the Asian issues out on the West Coast, but on the Eastern part of the United States. When these people came here back then, did they apply to come? Did they contact the U.S. Embassy? Did they fill out paperwork? Were they carefully processed before they arrived in the United States and walked in?

NGAI: Well, that's a really important question, because, in 1905, you didn't need a visa. You didn't need a green card. You didn't need anything to come, except to show that you had a little bit of money so you wouldn't become a public charge.

So, when people say, my ancestors came here legally, well, of course, they came here legally, because there were virtually no restrictions on immigration at the time. You only had to show you didn't have a disease, you wouldn't become a public charge, and then you had a good moral character, meaning you were not a prostitute or a criminal.

(CROSSTALK)

SANCHEZ: Basically, all you had to do was show up?

NGAI: Right. Of all the people who showed up at Ellis Island before World War I, fewer than 1 percent were turned away.

SANCHEZ: It's always good to kind of put these things in perspective.

Thank you, Professor, for your time and thank you for allowing me to use some of the research in my upcoming book. Appreciate it.

NGAI: Thank you, Rick.

SANCHEZ: All right. I want to bring you the very latest on the story we're following. There's our correspondent, CNN's Amber Lyon. She's getting suited up there to go on her dive underwater, where we will show you the -- well, the presumed and expected devastation that the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico will have on the Gulf itself and most importantly the sea life in the area.

This is unprecedented. We hope to show you a live report from underwater in the Gulf of Mexico, first one yet. So, stay tuned. We will have that for you.

Oh, and, by the way, yes, we're all over the LeBron James story -- reaction from all the cities affected right here on your national conversation, RICK'S LIST.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: Boy, here's a story we have been following for you now for the last week-and-a-half.

Jurors finally reached a verdict in the trial of a white transit police officer who shot an unarmed black man in the San Francisco Bay area. The verdict was guilty. Yet people still took to the streets in protest. Some even went on a rampage.

Take a look at this. This was downtown Oakland last night after the verdict was read. The protest started out peacefully, but before the night was over, a mob started smashing store windows and setting small fires. Protesters do believe former transit cop Johannes Mehserle should have been convicted of murder.

But Mehserle said it was a mistake. He said he was just reaching for his Taser, but grabbed his gun instead.

Now, CNN's Casey Wian was there when some of these melees broke out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's about 9:00 local time in Oakland, California. And police have clearly had enough. They declared an unlawful assembly and started moving people out of this area. They have arrested several protesters. Several protesters have thrown bottles, rocks, other objects at stores and at the police. Right now, the protesters are being moved out of downtown Oakland.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: All right, here's the shooting video, once again, from the subway platform. We have shown you this before. We have been covering this story for quite a while. This is where the officer says he tried to use his Taser, but pulled out the wrong weapon accidentally.

Now, critics say that's a lawyered defense, because the officer didn't mention the mix-up until after the fact. Grant's relatives, by the way, the victim's relatives, they say the verdict is a slap in the face.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WANDA JOHNSON, MOTHER OF OSCAR GRANT: My son was murdered. And the law has not held the officer accountable the way that he should have been held accountable.

CEPHUS JOHNSON, UNCLE OF OSCAR GRANT: And we as a family has been slapped in the face by this system that has denied us the right to true justice.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: Mehserle's sentencing hearing is scheduled for early next month. He faces at least two years in prison. But since a gun was used, well, it could end up being even more.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PALIN: This year will be remembered as a year when commonsense conservative women get things done for our country.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: Have you seen this new Sarah Palin video? There's nothing smart about it, and yet it may be really, really smart. We will play it for you.

Also, she used to be a waitress, and now she's enmeshed in a string of serial killings. Our most intriguing person in the news on this day, who is that?

RICK'S LIST right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: Welcome back. We do lists.

And here's one that you like. It's time for the list of the most intriguing person in the news today. This lady used to wait tables and write about minor league hockey in Canada. Well, today, she's the talk of the investigative journalism world for her reports on a string of old murders that connected to some new killings in Los Angeles.

Who are we talking about? Her name is Christine Pelisek, writer for "The L.A. Weekly." She brought the case to public attention. This is good journalism. And two days ago, police nabbed the serial killer suspect that she dubbed the Grim Sleeper.

She made readers care again about some largely forgotten victims and her work helped police make an arrest. Good for her. That is why Christine Pelisek is today the most intriguing person in the news.

The story that just keeps on giving, a developing story again -- Mel Gibson back on the LIST. Did he really punch his girlfriend while she was holding their baby, and then say she deserved it? He's now being investigated for that. And there is more. Wait until you hear what else is in the news that he has said.

Also, I have heard of drive-through liquor stores, but this driver takes it to a whole new level. Are you ready? It's Friday. Are you ready for "Fotos"?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: Before we do anything else, I want to show you what's going on in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico. Kudos to one -- remember that segment that I did that got so much play, "Daily Show" and all these other folks showed it, et cetera.

It's where I got in a car and drove it into a canal to show how to get out of a canal because a lot of folks were dying accidentally driving into canals. The guy who shot that and went underwater with me was Richie Brooks.

And Richie Brooks got some video -- look at this. Do you see that shark right there? This is video we got in about 15 or 20 minutes ago. He's underwater in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico preparing to shoot a segment that we're going to bring you in about 10 or 15 minutes with one of our correspondents.

And that's what he saw swimming around him, what looks to be a pretty large shark. I don't know what kind of shark that is. It's not a nurse shark. It has big teeth.

So when this happen, you'll see it right here, a live report from under water in the Gulf of Mexico.

In the meantime, here now, "Fotos del Dia."

We're going to begin in midtown Atlanta. This is a liquor store. There's no drive-through window, so the customer accidentally made one. Get this, the Atlanta police say this driver has smashed into the same store before. Nobody was seriously hurt. Our iReporter says she arrived on the scene while broken glass was still falling. Let's be careful out there.

You know that soccer guessing octopus in Germany -- boring. Thailand has a World Cup picking elephant. Good-bye, Mr. Octopus. We've got a big old elephant over there, a whole bunch of them in fact. They stick bananas under flags of the competing nations and then the elephants make their choice.

They've been right 100 percent of the time, they tell us. Is that like always? No scientific proof of that, by the way. But, hey, it sounds great to the tourists. Oh, and if it matters to you, the elephants picked Spain over the Netherlands. Once again, the Pachyderm here is picking Spain over the elephants.

Pilots say any landing you walk away from is a good landing, right? Look at Florida police having a word with this man, who managed to put down his single-seat experimental airplane down in Broward County yesterday.

The pilot wasn't hurt, so it was blood case this time. But he was surprising a motorist or two. Deputies say he had some sort of in-flight emergency. You might as well drive home now, buddy.

You can see owl of our "fotos." Go to my blog, CNN.com/RickSanchez.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AMBER LYON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're going to be wearing these hazmat dive suits.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: That's our correspondent who's going to be taking us under water in just a little bit. She's going to show you what it's like when you go into the deep. We've been showing pictures of what it's like down there. You saw the shark video moments ago. We are moments away from sharing this with you.

Then there's Sarah Palin. She puts out a video that is masterful. You would think Roger Ailes did this one, like "Morning in America," the one he did for Ronald Reagan. It's that good. But what does it really do for her and for the movement? Jessica Yellin is drilling down on that in just a little bit. There she is, by golly. Hi, Jessica.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: Sometimes Friday brings out the experimental nature in all of us. Today it's doing that for us here at CNN.

I think we're ready to take you underwater. Can we get at least a shot up, so we can tell them what we're talking about? There you go. Thank you.

All right, there's Philippe Cousteau on the left. On the right, is that Amber? Yes, that's Amber and Philippe getting ready to go underwater. They're going to be shooting a live segment for us from under water to be able to show us for the first time -- let's listen in.

LYON: He is our dive instructor. He's taking care of the safety measures on here. We're also joined by Scott Porter who's a marine scientist and a coral scientist.

And unfortunately this has become the reality of getting in the water here in the Gulf of Mexico. We are wearing actually instead of normal dive suits, we're wearing hazmat dry suits because there's so much oil and dispersants in the water that this has become a contaminated dive.

Normally when we're out on dives, you're wearing a regular suit and you're excited to go down and see the wildlife. And you wish it would be under better circumstances today.

PHILIPPE COUSTEAU, ENVIRONMENTALIST: Rick, how are you doing? We're here. It's super hot out, and normally you wouldn't wear a dry suit under these conditions. The last time I wore a dry suit was up in the arctic where we should be wearing this type of gear, not out here.

In the past, you come out here in just a wet suit and go swimming in the water and go snorkeling or free diving. You see fish and all sorts of wildlife.

And that's not happening now. We're about 48 miles away from Deepwater Horizon. I'd expect the oil to have been a little bit more broken up, which is what's happening, but you can't even from the surface see some cloudiness in the water. I'm very curious to get in the water and see what it's like down there.

LYON: Even like you were saying with the amount of oil out here, there's a sheen -- a really thin sheen all across the water for as far as the eye can see. And one of our captains actually took a little dawn dish detergent. You could see the oil disperse and scatter away from it.

COUSTEAU: Just like you would do in the kitchen, add a little soap to some greasy water. It just separates. That's a real concern. That's been kind of the motto, this entire oil spill. It's not just what you can see, but what you can't see that's so scary.

Even though you can't really see the sheen that well, it is there. There is dispersant. There is oil in the water. That is highly toxic to a lot of the animals down there.

LYON: And that's what so important, and that's why we're doing this dive is because we want to show you what's going on beneath the water as well as everything you've seen on TV with oil going into marshes, on beaches, also oil just out here in the ocean in big blobs.

But let's go over to Buck --

COUSTEAU: Scott had a comment about that.

LYON: Scott, you normally dive here all the time. And you're a coral scientist. You do a lot of your research out here. You told me you're scared to get in the water. You can't do your research anymore?

SCOTT PORTER, CORAL SCIENTIST: That's right. I've been diving down here 12 years studying the corals and the platforms. The last several weeks, the dispersant cloud layer is so thick that I'm scared to dive in it. The effects are supposedly bio-cumulative, and the more time you spend in the water, the more you're going to absorb into your system.

So now we've got a unique core of ecosystem that we're trying to educate people about, and now we can't get in the water and go study it. LYON: You can't even get in to see what's going on?

PORTER: Exactly. The last time I dove a couple of weeks ago, the dispersant layer was down 20, 25 feet. I was starting to see effects on the barnacles.

LYON: Why are barnacles kind of resemble what's happening in the bigger picture?

PORTER: Barnacles are a very hearty organism. They're hard to kill. And out here for the first few weeks, they were sitting in the dispersant solution layer, and really they were still living through it.

But since the last several dives we've been going on, I've seen the mortality above 75 percent. And usually you see a few dead empty barnacle shells but not most of them. And so now seeing that effect, not seeing any of the normal fish that I would see at the surface, no bait fish, the snapper aren't coming up. The only fish that I've been seeing up in that first 20, 30 feet are the sharks and the barracudas.

LYON: In addition to this, buck is joining us to help keep us safe. Thank you very, Buck, for that.

And we're going to go ahead and get in the water and hopefully go live if everything works out well. This is the first time for CNN, I know, being live out in open water.

COUSTEAU: Pretty exciting.

LYON: I wish it was under different circumstances. But at least we can let you know, Rick, what's going on underneath there. So we're going to go and finish getting suited up. And we should see you guys in just a little bit.

SANCHEZ: Fantastic reporting. Thank you so much, Amber. I appreciate you setting us up for what should be interesting. As I said when we started the 3:00 newscast, give us credit for trying. We don't know how this is going to turn out.

They're going to suit up, go under water, and try are going to try to do a live report from under the surface of the Gulf of Mexico to show us and explain to us things like viscosity and turbidity in the water and obviously take a look around.

You heard them say the big predators like sharks and barracudas are still there. But what's not there are the bait fish, the small fish. Think of it as a circle of life like the movie we watch with our kids all the time. And it really has a lot to do with the smaller fish and what they eat and then the medium fish and the larger fish.

And you need all of them along the food chain, not just one part or another. And if one part of the food chain is affected, the entire ecosystem is thrown out of whack. That's what experts have been telling us.

And we're trying to get a good reading -- folks, the fact of the matter is we don't know a lot about what's going on in the Gulf right now. We've heard stories about the dispersants being used that have an impact or would it be better to have the dispersants by themselves or leave the oil by itself, or what happens when you combine this dispersant with this oil and what effect will it have on the waters and the shores and the food chain?

A lot of this stuff is being brought up right now are scientific in nature but theoretical as well. We've got a guest coming on a little bit later in this newscast which was the first scientist, Dr. Shaw was the first scientist who went down in these waters and talked about what she was seeing.

And we've been trying to book her for a month now, but she's been in Tokyo and all over the world. And now we're able to get her. She should be coming up in about 20 minutes or half hour or so.

Philippe and amber are going to be going down any moment now. As soon as they do, we hope to get that live report in. Let's take a little break as they prepare to go underwater. This is "RICK'S LIST," you're national conversation. I Rick Sanchez and we're going to be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: We've got our underwater correspondents and our on top of the surface correspondents. Jessica Yellin is one of our above- ground correspondents. Once again, you see amber there. She's getting ready to go.

We'll keep that in the corner in the right. As I get ready to bring in Jessica Yellin, I want to show you this. This is a new video. Have you seen this spot? It's released by Sarah Palin.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARAH PALIN, (R) FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: Thank you so much. This year will be remembered as the year when common sense conservative women get things done for our country.

(APPLAUSE)

All across this country, women are standing up and speaking out for common sense solutions. These policies coming out of D.C. right now, this fundamental transformation of America, a lot of women who are concerned about their kids' futures saying we don't like this fundamental transformation and we are going to do something about it.

It seems like it is kind of a mom awakening in the last year and a half, when women are rising up and saying, no, we've had enough already, because moms kind of just know when something is wrong.

In Alaska I think of the momma grizzly bear that rise up on their hind legs when somebody is coming to attack their cubs, to do something adverse towards their cubs. You thought pit bulls were tough, you don't want to mess with the momma grizzlies.

(APPLAUSE)

That's what we are seeing with all these women who are banning together rising up, saying no, this isn't right for our kids and grandkids, and we are going to turn this thing around. We are going to get our country back on the right track, no matter what it takes.

To respect the will of the people -- look out Washington, because there's a whole stampede of pink elephants crossing the line, stampeding through November 2nd, 2010. There are a lot of women coming together.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: I know what my thoughts were when I saw this. But I'm interested in hearing yours, Jessica Yellin.

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, she's campaigning on this new message of the momma grizzly -- did you know the grizzly has been on and off the endangered species for years in the lower 48? That's all that keeps coming to my mind.

SANCHEZ: I did not know that.

YELLIN: There's an irony there.

It's an enormously effective message, Rick, because she did her best when she was a mother and a woman for other women. And then when she left that role and became, you know, left the governorship and became this pundit who's selling her book and sort of a celebrity, her popularity has declined.

So she is reclaiming that mantle of the mama bear who is standing up for all women and families. Really smart tactics.

SANCHEZ: It's not just her. The whole thing is so well put together. I mean, writing, lighting, editing. Those things that you and I, you know, when our bosses ask us to put together packages, the things we have to think about that sometimes is outside of the information.

The substantive stuff is important, but that's just as important. I mean, it looked Reagan-esque, almost like Roger Ailes is suddenly moonlighting and working for Sarah Palin. Not that that is an accusation.

YELLIN: I won't touch that.

(LAUGHTER)

Very "Morning in America," that sense that there are better days are ahead and things can be good. Everybody looks optimistic, cheery, and bright. Also I noticed in the ad, which is almost two minutes, I watched it carefully a few times, there is one African-American person in the whole ad that I could see.

SANCHEZ: I didn't catch that.

YELLIN: So it's appealing to a very specific base of voters. And, you know, it's the base that Sarah Palin would like to be her base. I don't know that this is always the group that supports her. Her support is -- has actually been much more male than female at some points.

SANCHEZ: To what end -- final question, because I know we have to get going, and we'll save the other topic for Monday -- to what end, is she running for office? A lot of people are wondering. OK, yes, it's a really cool, slick ad, but what's it for?

YELLIN: Look, she is keeping the running for office option open. None of us is convinced it will definitely happen.

But this is to raise money for the Sarah PAC, which is a fundraising tool so she can pick candidates that she supports and give them money. In the first quarter she raised $400,000. She has 20,000 donors. And the idea is to give money to different candidates like Nikki Haley in South Carolina that she supports who endorse her view of where America should be going.

SANCHEZ: It's very well done. I think we both can agree on that.

YELLIN: Yes.

SANCHEZ: Jessica, thank you.

YELLIN: Good to see you.

SANCHEZ: Appreciate it.

YELLIN: Have a good weekend.

SANCHEZ: You too. See you Monday.

All right, here is LeBron James. It didn't take them long to take down the banners. I mean, did you watch "LARRY KING" last night? If you were watching, he went to different live shots of different places. He went to a live shot of a bar in Miami and everybody of course was all excited whooping and hollering.

And then to a live shot in Cleveland, and people were ripping stuff off the walls. Anything with a LeBron number or name on it was getting ripped off the wall. They started screaming and chanting words that I can't say on TV.

But we'll take you through what's happened since this announcement was made. The reaction has been unbelievable. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) SANCHEZ: OK, both our correspondent, our photographer, crew, and Philippe Cousteau are now in the water. That's what it looks like from under water. We also have the shot of them jumping in the water a little while ago.

Let's bring you up to date with that. We were in a commercial when we did that. Show that, Roger, if you got it. Oh, I thought we had it cued up. Sorry about that.

All right, let's just stay with this then. All right, what we promised to do was let you hear them talking underwater about the conditions. Let's see if we can pick up the audio.

LYON: I'm not getting enough air. No.

SANCHEZ: She just said that she's not getting enough air, so it sounds to me like the best thing to do when you're not getting enough air is to go back up to the surface.

Oh, it looks like -- oh, I see. They're using the, what is that called? Snooka? Could somebody help me? Chad, are you there? When I went down to the Bahamas I used that technique. Instead of actually breathing from your tanks you use a --

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: It can be called a hooka rig.

SANCHEZ: Hooka. Thank you. That's it.

MYERS: I believe she is holding on to a line connected to a boat.

SANCHEZ: OK.

MYERS: And she is using her regulator and the pack is on the back.

SANCHEZ: OK. Good.

We can hear what she's saying now.

COUSTEAU: I need another three feet here.

LYON: Philippe? I'm coming.

COUSTEAU: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: Do we know which one is Philippe and which one is Amber? I think that's Philippe with the red from the knees down, right? That's amber just below him? Angie? Do you know? Chad?

MYERS: Well, I saw Philippe earlier, and his hazmat suit was all black at least from the waist up that I could see and Amber's was all red.

SANCHEZ: OK. So that's amber on the left and Philippe on the right. OK. That's amber right there. She's now going down to his level. Picture is breaking up a little bit.

MYERS: Yes.

SANCHEZ: And there it goes. Did we lose it? Nope? We lost audio but we still got part of the picture up. All right -- nope, I'm looking at it here. Can we get it back up? It's OK if it dies on TV. Who cares? Stay with it.

All right, the viewers will understand. OK, she's -- she's giving us the thumbs or the OK signal that divers give each other when they check to see if everything is OK under water. One of the first things you're taught in diver safety. And it's hard to tell exactly what they're doing.

But I mean, what we're trying to get is a sense of just how the waters are, what the viscosity level is, what it feels like in terms of chemicals in the water, whether you can feel or see the dispersant, whether you can see or feel the oil, what kind of sea life you see down there.

I mean, these are all the things you can only detect when you are actually down there. You can hear and read all the research papers that you want, but this is the way to really find out what's happening is to actually go down there.

That's why we at CNN decided to try this experiment. You know, look. We can't guarantee it's going to work but we're doing the best that we -- all right. I think we can hear them again.

LYON: Philippe?

COUSTEAU: Yes?

LYON: Can I come in?

COUSTEAU: Sure. Disconnecting Amber in three, two, one. You got a new connector.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Philippe, go ahead and reconnect.

COUSTEAU: Roger, reconnecting.

You OK, Amber?

LYON: Yes. I'm good to go. You OK?

COUSTEAU: Yes. You're just breathing very quickly.

LYON: I just don't want to sink down too far.

COUSTEAU: We won't take any more slack. Move back.

LYON: OK, cool.