Full transcript of the exchange, between Cafferty in Manhattan and Blitzer in Washington, DC, follows.
Setting up his 5pm EDT hour “question” for his “Cafferty File” segment, Cafferty opined about the condition of New Orleans: “They've been living on borrowed time. You have to wonder, watching these pictures, and listening to these accounts, if we'll ever see the city of New Orleans as we all remember the Big Easy. Where's President Bush? Is he still on vacation?”
Blitzer: “He's cut short his vacation. He's coming back to Washington tomorrow.”
Cafferty: “Well, that would be a good idea. He was out in San Diego, I think, at a Naval air station giving a speech on Japan and the war in Iraq today. Based on his approval rating in the latest polls, my guess is getting back to work might not be a terrible idea. That's not the question of this hour, however.”
Cafferty proceeded to set up and announce his hourly question: “Before Hurricane Katrina made landfall, the mayor of New Orleans ordered a mandatory evacuation of the city, told 1.3 million people to get out of town. But a lot of people either ignored the order or were unable to evacuate. And now a lot of them are trapped in their flooded homes or worst. The fear is a lot of them are dead. The thousands who wound up spending the night in the Superdome had an uncomfortable stay. They lost the air conditioning. They lost part of the roof. But they're alive today. The question is this: When the government orders mandatory evacuations, what should be done about people who either can't or won't leave? Caffertyfile@cnn.com. We'll read some of your letters in a half-hour or so.”
(Note: Due to an aggravating snafu, the MRC's DVR system missed this portion of today's The Situation Room and so the above transcript is from what CNN.com posted and I was unable to check it against the video of what aired, but it seems to match what I heard live while watching.)