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CNN "State of the Union with Candy Crowley" - Transcript: Colorado Flooding


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Colorado governor, John Hickenlooper, joins me now from Denver. Governor, where is the danger now? What worries you the most?

HICKENLOOPER: Well, obviously, if they get four inches back in Boulder County, the ground is already saturated. So, that's going to just really magnify the problems we've had so far. We're still trying to evacuate people. We moved almost 2,000 people out of Boulder and Larimer counties out of their -- I mean, many cases up these little valleys.

The road is intermittently completely washed away, right? No road, all river now. And so, the challenge is how do we get those people that have been marooned and stranded for -- a lot of these people lost their telephone, their power Wednesday night. And today, if the weather forecast holds, we probably won't be able to fly very far with the Blackhawks.

CROWLEY: So, your account of those who are unaccounted for at this point, stranded and in need of rescue is how many?

HICKENLOOPER: Well, there are 500 who are actually missing and unaccounted for. A lot of those, since they don't have cell phones and a lot of them come back into, you know, already gotten out or staying with friends, we just don't know about it. But we're still bracing. I mean, there are many, many homes that have been destroyed.

A number have been collapsed, and we haven't been in them yet. So, we're still dealing with that. How do we save lives first?

CROWLEY: It's still a rescue thing, not even looking at the damage. Have you gotten everything you need from the federal government at this point?

HICKENLOOPER: Yes. President Obama declared a major disaster last night. They have been incredibly responsive. FEMA has been terrific. We got a joint -- still have a joint command with the army down in El Paso County. Our National Guard has been spectacular. We were flying yesterday with them and watching them in action.

The first responders, you know, Sheriff Pelley (ph) is the individual in Boulder County who's done a remarkable job. Pretty much everyone stood up, but, I mean, this is a heck of a storm, right? You look at the -- if this had been snow, we would have, you know, close to 15 feet of snow if it would have been a cold day. It's a lot of precipitation.

CROWLEY: It is that. Let me turn your attention to another thing that happened on the political front from Colorado. Lots of national implications being taken from the fact that two Democrats, the head of the state Senate as well as another Democratic state senator were recalled over their support for further gun control regulation in Colorado. What are we to make of that on the national scale?

HICKENLOOPER: Oh, you know, I mean, definitely was what we called a line item recall. But it was in two districts, and these are very specific districts. I'm not sure it has a national message or even a statewide message. You know, certainly, in El Paso County, where Senate president, John Morse, was very close was a few hundred votes. So, I think the parts and sides are still very entrenched.

CROWLEY: One of the things that one of your predecessors said, Governor Bill Ritter, who's also a Democrat, said that he thought that the recall showed that there is unease with the broader Democratic social agenda. He meant the Bush for gay marriage as well as gun rights. Do you not buy into that?

HICKENLOOPER: No. I saw most of the campaign literature in both of those recall campaigns. To the vast majority, it was very specific about universal background checks, high capacity magazines. That seemed to be what people were really trying to turn out the vote on to recall the two individuals. So, I mean, that's certainly possible. But I haven't felt that.

CROWLEY: Mayor Bloomberg, of course, heads up a mayor's group that is pushing for more gun control. He sunk a lot of money into trying to save these two Democratic state senators. Was it helpful?

HICKENLOOPER: Well, you know, it's funny. Colorado, like a lot of western states, we love to, you know -- we're very self- determinant, right? We like to solve our own problems with our own people. If you look at the website for the flood, right, and yet most of contributions come in from Colorado. Coloradans are like that.

So, there is a certain resentment when any outside money whether it's from Bloomberg or from National Rifle Association. But outside money coming in is generally not welcomed from, you know, the middle of the road voters who help decide these things.

CROWLEY: Governor Hickenlooper, thank you so much for taking sometime today. We hope to talk to you later in the day and get an update. Good luck to you and all our thoughts, of course, with the residents of Colorado. Thank you.

HICKENLOOPER: You bet. Thanks, Candy.


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