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A Look At Tuesday's Election; How To Get Over Getting Fired; Are We Better Off Than Four Years Ago?

Aired October 30, 2004 - 13:00   ET


ANDREA KOPPEL, CNN ANCHOR: There is much more ahead on CNN Saturday, in a few moments, IN THE MONEY. At 2:00 Eastern, more news in CNN live Saturday and then at 3:00, it's NEXT@CNN, plus continuing news updates. Thanks for watching. I'm Andrea Koppel.
Stories in the news now, Palestinian sources tell CNN the era of Yassar Arafat as Palestinian leader is over, but other officials deny that. They say his medical condition is not yet clear. Arafat is undergoing treatment at a Paris military hospital.

There's word of more U.S. military deaths in Iraq. A Marine spokesman says eight Marines were killed and nine wounded in the fighting in the al Anbar province. Meantime, there are new military assaults on Fallujah striking targets from the air and battling insurgents on the ground. Hospital sources say five Iraqis were killed.

The Iraq war and the war on terror remain front and center on the campaign trail today. President Bush told the rally in Ohio that he can lead America in a time of great consequence. Mr. Bush is dashing through four battleground states in a single day.

John Kerry for his part delivered the Democrats last radio address before the election. He's promising he'll repair mistakes made by President Bush at home and abroad. Kerry is also emphasizing domestic issues focusing on his plan to fight for the middle class.

Tens of thousands of happy Red Sox fans turned out in Boston to toast the Red Sox victory as World Series champions. A parade wound through the city streets and into the Charles River. Team members rode on so-called duck boats that can drive on land or on water. I'm Andrea Koppel in Washington. We'll have more news for you at the bottom of the hour. IN THE MONEY begins right now.

ANNOUNCER: From New York City, America's financial capital, this is IN THE MONEY.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR, IN THE MONEY: Welcome to the program. I'm Jack Cafferty. Coming up on today's edition of IN THE MONEY, the choice that can change your life as America gets ready to vote. See if you're better off after four years under the leadership of President Bush.

Also ahead, voting defensively. Learn about how to make sure your voice is heard when you go to the polls next week and of course, you are going to vote, aren't you? And how to lose your job and love it. We'll speak to an author who picked up some tips from (INAUDIBLE) people who got the boot. Joining me today, a couple IN THE MONEY veterans, Lou Dobbs correspondent Christine Romans and "Fortune" magazine editor at large Andy Serwer.

So the city of Boston, Massachusetts, could be one-third of the way to hitting the Trifecta, with the Red Sox winning the World Series. You've got the Patriots and you've got Senator Kerry. I mean they could have quite a year up there in beantown.

ANDY SERWER, "FORTUNE" MAGAZINE: I don't know whether the rest of the country can handle it, with all those Bostonians running around, we're number one. We're number one all year and if you look at Texas, Jack, I mean he, W., only has a chance to get two because of course the Astros are out and Rangers are out. So he's got to win and the Cowboys or Texas would have to win the Super Bowl. That's not going to happen.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And if we were in New Jersey it would be what the next McGreevey.

CAFFERTY: The Mets, the Devils and McGreevey.

SERWER: Now that's a little different Christine.

CAFFERTY: That's not a Trifecta. That's a nightmare.

SERWER: That's a little different.

CAFFERTY: All right. We got a lot of politics as you might imagine going through the program today and tomorrow on the eve of the big election. You can judge both of these candidates on their promises, but there's only one way you can judge past performance in the White House and that is of course the performance of President Bush. He says his policies are working.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The homeownership rate in America is at an all-time high. More minorities own a home than ever before in our nation's history. The national unemployment rate is 5.4 percent. Let me put that in perspective for you. That is lower than the average rate of the 1970's and the 1980's and the 1990's.


CAFFERTY: Now for another perspective on whether we're in fact better off now than we were 4 years ago, we're joined by Paul Krugman, who's an op/ed columnist for the "New York Times" and a pretty good one I might add and as well as a co-author of the book "Microeconomics". Mr. Krugman, welcome back to IN THE MONEY. Nice to have you with us.

PAUL KRUGMAN, "NEW YORK TIMES" COLUMNIST: Nice to be on. CAFFERTY: So why so glum? The president points out record homeownership, low interest rates, the economy is growing again. We're producing jobs. The tax cuts put more money in peoples' pockets. What's the problem?

KRUGMAN: First, net loss of jobs, payroll jobs for any president since Herbert Hoover. Duration of unemployment is close. The time it takes on average for unemployed people to find a new job close to its highest level in 20 years. Jobs have been created over the past year but only just about fast enough to keep up with population growth. This is a situation in which a lot of people are hurting. This is a much worse labor market than we had when he came into office and people feel that. The only thing he can point to is the unemployment rate which while it is lower than the average of the '90's, the average of the '90s is kind of perked up by a couple of years under his father and is well below, is well above the unemployment rate when he came in. I think it is - in a way I think he's almost making a mistake by making it seem as if things are really great because people can tell it isn't.

ROMANS: Paul, the White House keeps saying is that he inherited this really unusual kind of merger of really terrible situations, the popping of the Internet bubble and then September 11, a global slowdown and that the White House says he actually managed through that very well.

KRUGMAN: You know, you can always find an excuse. The thing to say is that each year of his presidency, the Council of Economic Advisers come out with an economic report of the president which forecast great job growth starting right now. Those reports come out each February. Each year they forecast great job growth. It hasn't materialized and then they go back and say well, that's because of all these things, but those things didn't seem to affect their own forecast when they were making them. So we're about seven million jobs short of where the 2002 economic report of the president said we were going to be. We already knew about the Internet bubble. We already knew about 9/11 then. What has changed since then to explain why we're seven million jobs short?

SERWER: Paul, there are some other feathers in the president's hat though, including household income which is up and the other thing I want to point to is, isn't it really most important about where the economy is locally in states? For instance, in Florida the economy is actually not so bad. That could help the president. Isn't that the better way to look at it?

KRUGMAN: We can all try to figure out how the politics is going to play and the truth is we don't know anything. I think obviously Ohio is very bad for Bush because it has been hit worse than the average. What is -- the point is it is not a record to be proud of. It is a record you can spin. It's not so terrible that you can't go ahead and try and find some good numbers here and there, but overall let me just put it this way. If a Democrat had this record, oh boy, the Republican chorus about the incredibly terrible performance. It's not a happy record on the economy. CAFFERTY: To what degree is it unrealistic to put the expectations from our economic welfare on the back of a single man whether it be President Bush or John Kerry or you or me or somebody else. This economy is a giant aircraft carrier that turns very slowly, mostly on the confluence of events that are strong enough to change the direction it is moving. One man can't do anything about this economy, can he?

KRUGMAN: He's had very radical changes in economic policies. And after all, he did say that these huge tax cuts which are the core of them were going to generate wonderful results. You can't push through tax cuts which are really responsible for about two thirds of the fiscal 2004 deficit, $270 billion plus. You can't push through tax cuts on that scale and sell them as these are going to create millions and millions of jobs and then when the jobs don't materialize say the president doesn't have that much control over the economy.

CAFFERTY: The economy is creating jobs now, albeit not at the rate as you suggested that anybody would like. But are you suggesting that tax cuts were not a factor in preventing this economy from slipping into a much worse recession that we might have gotten without that liquidity and the interest rate cuts of the Federal Reserve?

KRUGMAN: Wait, the interest rate cuts of the Federal Reserve, no one in his right mind would deny that that's a big thing, but that would have happened regardless of who was in the White House. The tax cuts, the comparison should -- if you ask would we be better off if nothing had happened, the answer is no. The tax cuts probably have a million more jobs than we would have if nothing had been done. We probably have a million or two million less jobs than if we had a sensible economic program, not one so dominated by supply side or whatever it is, right wing ideology.

ROMANS: I recently did a story talking to all kinds of different business owners and families around the country and basically found that you got to work a little harder to stay even. That's basically what the results of my reporting were. If that's true, if Americans aren't necessarily better off than they were four years ago, then why is John Kerry having such a hard time capitalizing it? Why is he basically deadlocked with the president?

KRUGMAN: Oh, I mean 9/11, 9/11, war. I mean - look, wartime - I wrote about this a few weeks ago. War time can cause people to rally around even the worst leader. The Falklands war caused Argentines to rally around the (INAUDIBLE) junta, which is about the worst government that's ever happened, so it's not a surprise.

SERWER: Paul, going forward and looking at what's going to happen after the election a little bit, with the country so deadlocked and with Congress probably going to be deadlocked and with some signs of the economy actually is not firing on all cylinders, I think you have to say that, even if John Kerry is elected, don't things look actually not so rosy going forward?

KRUGMAN: Oh, if it is Kerry, which I think it will be, but if it is Kerry, he's going to have a very difficult time because he's inheriting an economy that appears to be losing steam, that is still job growth in the last is short the population growth, so it's actually lagging on the thing that matters most. It'll be a big problem and it's going to be very difficult to pass any legislation.

CAFFERTY: If you were asked about creating more jobs in this economy, how would you go about doing it?

KRUGMAN: I think we need -- first of all we need some government spending. The most effective sure-fire way to put money into the economy is to actually spend it, not on wasteful stuff but we have things that we haven't done like protecting ports and chemical plants, homeland security stuff which would be good, killing two birds with one stone. The other thing is tax cuts that are directed towards people who are most likely to spend the money which means lower and middle income people. Tax cuts on dividend income. Tax cuts on capital gains, phasing out the estate tax, worsen the budget deficit without doing anything for the kind of economic problems we now have.

SERWER: Paul, with all the stuff you do, you still have some time to write a new economics college textbook. What's up with that? How do you do that?

KRUGMAN: With great difficulty. I don't have much of a life. My wife doesn't have much of a life either. It is a project launched long before all this stuff started and we're out. It is a great textbook.

CAFFERTY: If you do say so yourself.

KRUGMAN: If I do say so myself.

CAFFERTY: Look, in the interest of sucking up to you a little bit so we can get you back on IN THE MONEY, I also enjoy the pearls of wisdom you put in the op/ed pages of the "New York Times". You're one of the saner voices that I read on a regular basis. Thanks for being with us.

KRUGMAN: Well, thank you.

CAFFERTY: Paul Krugman, "Microeconomics" is the book, the "New York Times" is where he writes his think pieces.

When we come back, you only get one shot in an election where even the machines are raising suspicions. See how to make your vote count.

Also ahead, learning to love the pink slip. I'm not sure that's possible, but we got somebody who thinks it might be. Find out how some big names who got fired wound up appreciating it when they got a little farther down the road.

Halloween haunted house with a point of view. Check out the popularity of the evangelical Christian hell house. Stick around.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CAFFERTY: Forget about voter turn out. In a close race, the big factor could be voter error. Remember the butterfly ballot in Florida four years ago? Kay Maxwell is the executive director of the League of Women Voters. She's a woman dedicated to helping voters avoid confusion and cast their votes correctly. Ms. Maxwell joins us to give us an update on the curveballs that voters might expect when they go to the polls next Tuesday. Ms. Maxwell, welcome to the program.


CAFFERTY: No, I got one thing to ask you before we get into this thing about next Tuesday. What is it we have to do to get the League of Women Voters to take over the presidential debates because since you guys got out of the picture, they're awful. They're the worse thing. They're not watchable any more. They were good when you guys ran them and they're terrible now. What do we have to do to get you back in charge of this?

MAXWELL: We'll talk about that after this election. Thank you very much.

CAFFERTY: Well, it is true and I mean every word of it. Now, what should people be worried about? Why should people be worried about going to the polls? This is America. We've been running this thing for 200 some odd years. All of a sudden, we got lawyers on every street corner, all these warnings. Be careful of this. Be sure you don't do that. I mean what's this thing coming to?

MAXWELL: Well, first of all, I don't think people should be worried. I think they need to get out to the polls and have a little bit of information so that when they get there, they're going to have a good experience. And I think, we think the potential greatest issue for a lot of people especially because we have such tremendous increase in voter registration this year, is that when people get to the polls that they find there is some problem with their registration, they're not on the registration list. It is critical that they know that they're entitled to cast a provisional ballot and that's the first time that's been true across the country. So that's the first thing that people need to know.

SERWER: Kay, let me ask you a question. There are dozens and dozens - well, that may be a little strong. But there are dozens of different types of voting mechanisms: Ballots, chads, online voting, butterfly ballots, would you support a one national unified methodology at of voting?

MAXWELL: No, I don't think we're ready to go that far yet. I think we first have to wait and see how the help America vote act is implemented and how it works. We're really in the early stages of that. We haven't even gotten to the point where state wide voter registration lists are required. That doesn't happen until 2006, so I think there are some things in place. We need to see how they work, analyze them and see what else may need to be done, but I wouldn't rush to judgment at this point.

ROMANS: Can you give us some practical advice if we're headed to the polls about what we should do when we go and what areas of the country might have the trickiest kind of voting situation?

MAXWELL: Well, obviously those states that everyone expects to be close are those that everyone is going to be watching closely and that's where these provisional ballots come in again because if you have a lot of people showing up who do have registration problems, there are going to be a lot of provisional ballots that will have to be cast and then of course, those are paper ballots and those will be counted after the election and in some states, they only have two days to count those ballots. In some states they have as much as two weeks. So the issues of how they're counted, whether or not there are statewide standards across a given state, those are the kinds of issues that I think are going to be critical and will potentially be litigated after the election.

CAFFERTY: Swell. So we can look forward that. I don't mean to single out Florida but let's single out Florida, because Florida was the seat of the biggest part of this national nightmare four years ago and now we understand that potentially they still have bad dreams lurking around the corners down there for this election. What is it about Florida that seems to be problematic?

MAXWELL: Well, I think that's perhaps a little unfair, because I certainly heard election officials in a number of states say that in 2000 they might have had exactly the same kinds of problems that Florida did. They didn't. They were lucky. Everyone has worked hard I think to try and at least reduce the possibility of different kinds of issues and problems, but they are bound to occur. Human beings operate the system. Human beings are there on Election Day. Hopefully we're going to have enough poll workers in all of the polling stations. That's a concern. We want those people to be well trained. So lots of elements go into making for a good Election Day. But this year you also have early voting in Florida which is something different, something they didn't have four years ago.

SERWER: Kay, let me ask you kind of a funny question. That is, what is the League of Women Voters? Is it a nonprofit organization? Can I join? Is there a men's auxiliary?

MAXWELL: It's not even a men's auxiliary. You can join the real thing.

SERWER: I can?

MAXWELL: Yes you can. In 1974 we decided - we saw the light and decided to admit men to membership. It is a nonpartisan organization that focuses on civic engagement, civic participation. We want to see everyone in this country, not only voting, but engaged in their communities and in their states and in their country. So we want to see informed and active participation of citizens. That's the main reason that we exist. And of course at election time, we're focused on providing nonpartisan information because we never support a party or a candidate.

ROMANS: You know Kay, what I'm a little worried about is all this talk about problems, potential problems with the election. I'm worried that some people are going to be daunted, disenfranchised voters, senior citizens who are worried about getting there and not knowing what to do. You point out that 70 percent of the people who voted in 2000 are going to see the same kinds of machines. When you get to the polling place, what do you need to do to make sure that your vote's going to count?

MAXWELL: Well, a couple of things. First of all, before you go, be certain that you're going to the right precinct polling place, because in some states, if you're in the wrong place and you need a provisional ballot, you won't be given one or you will be given one but it won't count. So that's the first piece of information and if you're unclear, you can go to a Web site, my polling, put in your address and it will tell you where your polling place is and it will also tell you what kind of machine you're going to use and will explain how that machine functions.

But if you get to the polls and you still have some questions, look for instructions on the wall. If you've got a question, ask the poll workers because you, the voter, are the important person that day and you are entitled to get answers to your question. Don't be intimidated. Stay calm. Bring a book so that if you have to wait, you'll be able to do that. I think we're excited to see such a tremendous increase in registration. I think this demonstrates people have not been turned off and I think we're in fact hoping that we're going to see a turnaround in our 40-year decline in voter participation this year.

SERWER: All right, Kay Maxwell, some very useful and relevant information. She's the executive director of League of Women Voters. I may sign up Kay, if that's OK.

MAXWELL: You may indeed. Thank you.

SERWER: Coming up after the break, dream big or dream on. We'll tell you how Dreamworks performed in its debut for investors this week and later on, the great career move nobody wants to make. Find out why some celebrities wouldn't be where they are if they hadn't been fired long ago.

Plus, watching Wall Street to predict what will happen on Pennsylvania avenue. We'll see if the stock market can forecast the next president.


ROMANS: Now let's take a look at the week's top stories in our money minute. The insurance bid rigging scandal coming with a price tag. Legal experts believe Marsh & McLennan could have to shell out about $1 billion to settle several criminal and civil suits. Prosecutors say the company steered clients to certain insurance policies with costlier premiums in return for kickbacks. Marsh & McLennan CEO Jeffrey Greenberg forced out earlier this week.

High oil prices and the weak dollar encouraging many investors to sink their cash into gold. Gold prices hovering near 16-year highs at about $430 an ounce. But prices could head back down once the uncertainty about the presidential election is over. And a short prison stint won't keep Martha Stewart out of the spotlight. Martha Stewart Living says Martha will return to the company that she founded this coming spring and a new daily syndicated TV series featuring Martha is slated for next fall and that doesn't include the reality show that "Survivor" and "Apprentice" creator Mark Burnett (ph) is developing with Stewart.

SERWER: All right. Thanks to the huge success of its animated movies "Shrek" and "Shark Tale," Dreamworks SKG spun off its animation film unit this week and it had a great opening. Shares soared about 40 percent on opening day. Next week, the DVD of the summer hit "Shrek" part deux comes out and that's expected to be a big money maker for the company. But can the short-term success everyone expects for Dreamworks animation translate into long-term success for shareholders? That makes Dreamwork animation our stock of the week. And there was an interesting thing that happened this fall when that "Shark Tale" movie came out. I mean it debuted and it did well, but there was a lot hanging on that because if that was a flop, Dreamworks IPO might have tanked and of course it did well and that thing just took off.

ROMANS: Some of the analysts have been telling me that Dreamworks made its mistakes as a private company and that's probably a good thing. They sort of worked the kinks out of it and people are a little optimistic that this could be a going concern. However don't chase these big rallies on the first or second day. A lot of the professionals on the Street are looking at Google and, build a bear workshop for the under seven set and they are saying be a little careful about chasing these things because the IPO market is starting to look a little like 1999 again.

CAFFERTY: Based on the opening day activity with the IPO, Dreamworks has a market cap of about $3 billion which has made Paul Allen, who put $500 million in to get it started very happy because his shares are worth about a billion. But for the first six months of the year, Dreamworks only had revenues of about $340 million. You do the math there, it is overpriced, not as much as Google probably at this point but it is still up there.

SERWER: I think that's right and you know, they are going up against Pixar, these stand alone sort of mini movie studios. You have to really ask yourself, what kind of business model is that? And more importantly I think Jack, is this is going to get -- maybe it already is -- a very saturated market. You still have Disney trying to figure out these kiddie movies, by the well by the way. So you got three companies really charging in here.

Plus you got other studios trying to do this too and basically what is happening is that every month now one of these movies comes out. Pixar has never had a flop. I mean at some point, something's got to fall off the table here, I think.

CAFFERTY: That's like betting on the Patriots to lose, right Andy?

SERWER: At some point I think that's right. ROMANS: This is an IPO that everybody can understand. We show the pictures. We know what "Shrek" is. Everybody knows what "Shrek" is. They had the "Shrek" ears (ph) on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange for that debut.

CAFFERTY: That may improved the look of some of those guys.

ROMANS: I think you're right.

CAFFERTY: Just kidding, the ogres have come to Wall Street.

ROMANS: I won't go there.

SERWER: Don't even think about it. All right. Coming up on IN THE MONEY, when Trump got trumped, find out why the high profile billionaire couldn't have made it big without the tough times.

Plus, fear of frying. See how some evangelical Christians are using their visions of hell to win converts.

And we're talking strength. Our fun site of the week let's you put some voices where they don't belong. No. No.


ANDREA KOPPEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good afternoon. I'm Andrea Koppel in Washington.

Now in the news, after a series of overnight air strikes, U.S. forces kept up assaults on Fallujah today. The military is cracking down on strongholds used by insurgents. Two weapons caches were the targets. Meanwhile, the U.S. military says eight Marines were killed and nine others injured outside Fallujah. No other details were immediately available.

Yassar Arafat remains in a military hospital near Paris. Reports about his condition vary. Sources close to the Palestinian leadership say Arafat is not in complete control of his mental faculties. Others Palestinians deny the report saying Arafat's condition is still unclear and tests exclude for now any possibility that he has leukemia.

On the campaign trail, John Kerry and George W. Bush fill up the time left before Election Day with as much travel as they can get in. The candidates traveled through several states today, both responding to a new message from Osama bin Laden, each saying they would strengthen U.S. efforts in the war on terror. We'll have all of the day's news for you at the top of the hour. Now back to IN THE MONEY.

ROMANS: Pink slips, given the ax, getting the boot, however you want to say it, the fact remains, you got fired. But don't worry. You're in pretty good company. Michael Bloomberg, Joe Tory (ph), Robert Redford, Billie Jean King, they have all lost jobs at some point in their careers and they say they are better for it today.

In his new book, "We Got Fired and It's the Best Thing that Ever Happened to Us," Harvey Mackay tells how these men and women bounced back. He's with us now. It is cold comfort when you get a pink slip to say, you know what, this is going to make you a better person.

HARVEY MACKAY, AUTHOR, "WE GOT FIRED": Nice to be with you Christine, Jack, Andy. Thank you for having me.

ROMANS: Absolutely. So what do you do? You get fired. You got to look at the bright side right away? It is tough when you lose a job. How do you find the silver lining?

MACKAY: Well, you can't gloss over it. It's a very serious occasion. Of course, you've had an identity. You've had some security. You've been in the comfort zone. Now unexpectedly, you're out on the street. However, if you practice the right concepts, you will bounce back and land on your feet. Number one, it you're going to burn your bridges, Christine, you better be a darn good swimmer. Lou Holtz (ph) got fired, Arkansas, all of a sudden, he's going to get his job back. He's going to sue. Well, the person that fired him got him the Notre Dame job, his dream job. Number two, don't take it personally. Easy to say that but that has to be the source of your strategy.

Number three, you can't saw sawdust. In other words, get on with your life. You can't cry over spilled milk, very important. Number four, the given reason is not necessarily the real reason. If you can find out the real reason why you were fired, then you can become a success a lot faster. Jesse "The Body" Ventura, our governor from Minnesota, I'm from Minnesota and he said hey, the day that you get hired, you must be able to be prepared OK, to be fired and now here's the real key. He went on to say, Jesse, "The Body," that if you are fired, OK, you're not a failure. You're only a failure if you fail to learn from that firing.

SERWER: Harvey, before we get into number five, six and seven, let me ask you a question.

MACKAY: I'm sorry.

SERWER: That's OK. Tell us about your firings. When were you fired Harvey and what did you do and what was it like?

MACKAY: Well, in high school I was kind of cocky, probably very cocky. I wanted to start at the top and work up after I was going to get out of college. My father headed the Associated Press for 35 years, St. Paul/Minneapolis. He had some contacts. So he got me the plush summer job at the men's haberdashery selling ties and socks and underwear. I took advantage of that because he knew the owner. I asked to get off early. I asked to play in golf tournaments. I thought the people would be very, very proud to have me in the newspapers running some golf tournaments. Well, I wound up on the street. I shamed the Mackay name and I did learn from it because the next summer I worked at a competitor's place and onwards and upwards. I learned from that lesson.

CAFFERTY: Your dad probably didn't get you that job, did he?

MACKAY: No, he didn't, but I'll tell you, I can still remember to this day how unhappy he was that I took advantage of his name.

CAFFERTY: As well he should have been. How can you tell if you're going to get fired and what about the cases where the company is right?

MACKAY: Well, as far as how can you tell whether you're going to get fired. I call it the chill is on. In other words you have to have your antenna up. All of a sudden, you're not going to as many meetings as you used to go to. Your reporting relationship might be to a different person than you previously had who is not necessarily senior to the person that you were reporting to.

All of a sudden your subordinate is invited to meetings and you didn't do the inviting. All of a sudden, your job performance and review, OK, comes up a lot sooner. They're looking into your Rolodex. They're looking into your computer. All of a sudden, your office might be moved just a little bit down the row. So there's a myriad of things that you can be looking for, keeping your antenna up to see if that show is on.

If they are right, back to the second part of your question, if they happen to be right, then as Corn Ferry (ph) said, one of the finer recruiting firms in the country, they said you have to learn from that mistake that every employer wants to know especially at the executive level, CEO, president, HR, sales managers, they want to know what did you learn from that firing?

ROMANS: And Harvey, you say there are some tips, some coping mechanisms, learn from the mistake. You point that out. Look for open doors. Try to figure out why you were fired and then move on. There's that saying that the Chinese character for crisis is the same as opportunity. So you lose your job. You've got to find a way to make (INAUDIBLE) making lemonade out of lemons.

MACKAY: I like Mayor Bloomberg, I like Mayor Bloomberg's comment when he looked at me and said how bad a day can it be if you're looking at the right side of the grass? In 1981 he's fired from Solomon Brothers, says I'll get those guys. They fired the wrong guy. Goldman Sachs will hire me tomorrow morning when everybody reads it in the "New York Times." Goldman Sachs never called. I said what did you learn from it? He said I learned that people remember two things in life, who kicked you when you were down and who helped you on the way up which is very, very interesting. So Bloomberg since that firing has been helping his friends with the following advice. He calls them up immediately. I just heard about you, whatever your problem was. It can be DWI, fired, whatever. I want you to know I'm thinking about you and if I can do anything to help, let me know. I think that's an admirable trait.

ROMANS: Well, Harvey, I'm not a billionaire but I landed at CNN because of mass layoffs at my previous employer, so I guess I might be living proof of what you say although I would prefer to be a billionaire like Michael Bloomberg.

MACKAY: Thank you very much Christine. ROMANS: Thanks so much for joining us. "We Got Fired and It's the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Us." That's the name of the book, thanks.

MACKAY: (INAUDIBLE) guys, appreciate it.

ROMANS: There's a lot more to come here on IN THE MONEY up next, surreal estate, some Halloween spook houses aren't just out to scare you. They're out to change your mind. Find out how evangelical Christians are putting their spin on an old tradition.

And mouthing off. Just in time for Halloween, a Web site that can make anybody sound possessed. Stick around for our fun site of the week.


SERWER: The haunted house is a long-standing Halloween tradition designed to well, scare the hell out of little kids. But now some groups are putting a Christian spin on things. So-called hell houses have begun appearing around the country. These sites are designed to scare teens into religion as they're led past graphic scenes of abortions, gang shootings, drunken driving accidents and teenage suicides. George Ratliff directed a documentary film on one particular hell house in Cedar Hill, Texas and he joins us now with a look inside. Welcome George. I don't know whether if I'm living in the right part of the country or the wrong part of the country. I didn't know anything about these hell houses. Can you just start and give us the one-on-one on these?

GEORGE RATLIFF, DIRECTOR, HELL HOUSE: Sure, these have been around for quite a while. The first one that I know of was in 1990 with Cedar Hills, Texas (INAUDIBLE), the church that put on the documentary, that put on the show that we documented. And since then it has really spread like wildfire. There's a church in Colorado that trained at Cedar Hills that has sold 500 franchise kits for hell houses. So we know that there's at least 500 of them going on around the country.

ROMANS: And this is some form of evangelism for these churches?

RATLIFF: Yeah, it sure is. They use fear as a weapon to scare kids into Christianity and basically what happens is a group will go through the haunted house or the hell house and they'll see a scene say where a girl dies while having an abortion and demons will drag her off to hell and then the next scene, there will be a Columbine- like shooting where the kids who shoot up other kids shoot themselves and they're dragged off to hell.

ROMANS: SO it's not exactly that old song they know we are Christians by our love?

RATLIFF: That's right. That's right.

CAFFERTY: It is interesting too that we were doing a story on AMERICAN MORNING which is another show here on CNN, about the cancellation of Halloween celebrations in a lot of the nation's public schools being fueled by conservative Christian fundamentalism. I find it ironic that it's not OK for a 6-year-old to dress up as Peter Pan and go do a little trick-or-treating at school but it is OK to take teenagers and put them through the kind of place that you're describing and expose them to the kind of brutality and violence that are indicated in some of these places. How does that equation work?

RATLIFF: They really feel like they're doing the right thing. They feel like they're doing God's work. They feel like they are bringing people into heaven. They feel like they're saving souls. But you know, by doing that they're using fear and this is a -- they totally justify and rationalize the use of fear. They say that fear comes first and the love comes later. You know, there's a long history of doing this. This is very medieval. This has been around for ages. It is just kind of a new thing that's cropped up in America and now the world.

SERWER: Hey, George, let me ask you, is there a backlash amongst say more mainstream Christian groups? I mean are regular churches looking at this and saying hey, this just doesn't make any sense?

RATLIFF: Yeah. There is a backlash. They do not approve of it, a lot of churches don't. But this is the fastest growing element in Christianity and it is not just -- the church we did was Assembly of God which is a type of Pentecostal church. But there are - the Baptists are doing it. Presbyterians do it. There's hell houses cropping up in all sorts of churches. This is not out of the mainstream of America at all. It's a lot more people than you think.

ROMANS: But is it Bible belt south? Is it the northeast? Certainly, I've never heard of it here in New York.

RATLIFF: Well, there is one in New York City. They are in New Jersey. Sure, look around. Type in hell house on the Internet and you'll be surprised how many churches are putting these on.

CAFFERTY: Obviously they must be popular and kids must go to them or they wouldn't exist. What is the attraction in terms of the kids? Do they just want to find something that gets a little adrenalin rush going for whatever reason? Why would they want to go to something like this?

RATLIFF: Kids are different now.

CAFFERTY: Thank you for pointing that out. It's been a long time since I was one.

RATLIFF: If you step back and sort of look at the time we're living in right now, we're in the midst of a revival and it not just in the United States; it's worldwide. And it's not just in Christianity. There is a religious revival going on. To me it is frightening. You know, for them it is very exciting. This is an exciting time for them.

CAFFERTY: Do you know what our director just to me. He said when you were a kid Cafferty, they didn't have Halloween. (CROSSTALK) That's cruel.

RATLIFF: It's pre-middle ages Jack.

ROMANS: Yeah, they were just translating the Bible I think back then. All right. George Ratliff, thank you so much for joining us.

RATLIFF: Thank you.

ROMANS: There's more to come here on IN THE MONEY. Up next, the easy way to tell who's going to be president. Some say it's all down to just one number on Wall Street. We'll tell you about it.

And yelling at the TV just makes the neighbors think you're crazy. Pop us a line instead. The address is Before the break, here's this week's edition of "money and family".


SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Feel like you're draining your bank account every time you fill up your grocery cart? Here are some tips to get you through the checkout. Promise yourself you'll buy only items that are on your shopping list. If you see something that you want that isn't on that list, write it down and wait until your next trip to decide if you really want it.

Don't buy items that you don't use just because they're on sale. There may be a great sale on cereal but if you don't eat it, you're throwing your money away. Be on the lookout for coupons. You can find them in newspapers and store displays. Also look for stores that double or triple coupons. Using them can save you money on your total bill and shop at warehouse stores such as Costco and Sam's Club. They usually charge a membership fee, but most of them will let you walk around to check out prices and products without one.

Compare prices of items that you normally buy and if there's a significant difference, you might be better off paying the fee and saving money in the long run. I'm Susan Lisovicz for money and family.



CAFFERTY: The most important numbers to look at before Election Day may not come from the pollsters, but the traders on Wall Street. Joining us now with that and the fun site of the week is the webmaster, Allen Wastler. So what is this old saw about Wall Street and the elections?

ALLEN WASTLER, MONEY.COM: I love flipping through the "Stock Traders Almanac." Let me throw a few numbers at you, OK. If you take the date of the convention, which was the Republican convention in early (INAUDIBLE) to right up to Election Day, all right, do that and take a look at all the elections from 1900. Of the 16 times the incumbent party has won, 14 times the market advanced in that period. That's pretty good. Now, of the 10 times they lost, the market retreated seven of those times.

CAFFERTY: So what is it doing this time?

WASTLER: ... numbers. I did a little checking and we're at about 2.5 percent right now down during that period.

ROMANS: So that does not bode well for the incumbent President Bush.

WASTLER: Doesn't bode well. Now a lot of people say nah, nah, nah. You don't look at that period. You look at October, that's what you got to look at, OK and if the market advances then, good for the incumbent, declines (INAUDIBLE) incumbent. So you need 10,080. That's the magic number and we're finishing right near that right now. So now we're back to dead heat again.

CAFFERTY So the market is not unlike all the polls saying this thing is much too close to call.

WASTLER: Going back and forth and back and forth and then they say, well, you got the fundamentals here and you look at these numbers are pulling for the president. These numbers are pulling for John Kerry. I like to go to the offshore betting sites. That's where I go. I was checking around there, all for work, all for work. Now, one of my favorite ones has Bush ahead by about 51 percent, Kerry at about 48 and change. However they showed the latest contracts trading are showing Kerry coming up on that.

CAFFERTY: There's a winner take all cash pool out I think in Iowa Christine, where you're from.

ROMANS: You're right.

CAFFERTY: ... that accurately has predicted the outcome of this thing as well. The last time I looked at it was a week or so ago, Bush had a small lead.

SERWER: Yeah, but everyone knows the real thing is going to be decided by the Redskins Packer game. If the Redskins win on Sunday, that's going to be good for the incumbent.

WASTLER: I'm a big redskins fan from way back but I don't know, against the Packers. I don't know.

SERWER: Well, it will be interesting to watch. Probably a lot more people are going to be watching that game tomorrow.

WASTLER: I found this site for you, OK. I found this place, you can send an email. I know you love e-mail Jack.

CAFFERTY: I do. It's my favorite (INAUDIBLE)

WASTLER: This is one where you can go and they'll give you pictures and sound files that you can put together to send a message to your friends. We'll show you one of their standard ones. We'll show you right now. (CROSSTALK)

WASTLER: If you're tricky like me, you can upload your own. It is very easy to do, like Christine. Let's take look.

ROMANS: That's scary.

SERWER: Christine as Hannibal Lecter (ph).

ROMANS: That's creepy.

WASTLER: Jack. Yes, yes, yes. We got you, too Jack.

What's going on here? Say something.

CAFFERTY: That's (INAUDIBLE isn't it?


CAFFERTY: Excellent. That's fun. That's fun and it's not hard to do, even though technologically...

WASTLER: It's not hard to do. Basically, you load up the picture and they'll step you through it. You just aim a few things.

SERWER: I think we have to do the webmaster this week. Nobody did him.

WASTLER: I said it was simple but I don't know about you.

CAFFERTY: Thanks Allen. Coming up next on IN THE MONEY, it's time to hear from you as we read some of your emails from the past week. You can send us an e-mail right now if you're so inclined. We're Back in a flash.


CAFFERTY: Time now to read your answers to our question about whether you think this election will be decided at the polls or in the courts. Shirley in Idaho wrote this: we won't know who will be the next president on November 2nd and the courts, not the people, will decide the election. Isn't it sad that as we send our young people to establish democracy in foreign lands, our own country moves further and further away from democracy.

Yuri in New Jersey wrote: The 2000 election fiasco will look a walk in the park, compared to what we'll see on November 3rd and when it's finally over, we'll get lots of promises about election reform and nothing will be done about it in the end.

David in Slidell, Louisiana is a little more optimistic. He wrote this: The people indeed will decide this election and they will prove all the polls wrong. John Kerry will win by a landslide.

Time now for next week's e-mail question of the week which is this: Are you better off now than you were four years ago? Send your answers to You should also visit our show page at which is where you'll find the address of our fun site of the week.

Thank you for joining us for this edition of IN THE MONEY. Thanks to Lou Dobbs correspondent Christine Romans, "Fortune" magazine editor at large Andy Serwer and managing editor Allen Wastler. Join us tomorrow at 3:00 Eastern time when we'll get one last look at those pesky polls with polling guru John Zogby. That's tomorrow at 3:00 Eastern time. We hope to see you then.


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