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Federal Reserve Makes Big Loan to AIG; Coffins Unearthed by Hurricane Ike; Suicide Car Bomb Targets Police Headquarters in Islamabad; Obama in Ohio to Kick Off Americans Jobs Tour

Aired October 9, 2008 - 09:00   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: All right, good to see the both of you. Good morning, everyone.
Calmer waters, smoother sailing for world markets. This hour Wall Street takes the wheel. We'll follow their course.

And 26 days to go, candidates zero in on battleground states. And issue #1, the economy.

It's Thursday, October 9th. Heidi is off today. I'm Fredricka Whitfield, and you are in the CNN NEWSROOM.

A hint of optimism overseas. World markets stem their bleeding and curve their losses. Will Wall Street head that way today? Asian markets opened on an encouraging note but flipped back just a bit.

They're ending their trading day mixed but stable. Investors a bit more upbeat across Europe. Markets in Germany and London have been in positive territory overnight.

Meantime in Iceland, where fears of a national bankruptcy become a bit more real this morning, the government has seized control of the nation's largest bank and suspended trading on its stock markets.

And in the U.S., the Treasury Department may be considering taking ownership stakes in some banks here. That's according to the "New York Times." Supporters say it would funnel much-needed cash into the banks and could eventually give taxpayers a profit on their investment.

Well, we have a lot of ground to cover. And CNN's money team is in place to break it all down for you. Adrian Finighan is in London. In New York, CNN personal finance editor Gerri Willis.

So for many businesses, the financial crisis is hitting home at the cash register. Take a look, early reports show that retail sales were weak last month. And as you can see from this list, both high- end retailers and discount stores felt a pinch. And that raises alarm as we head into the holiday season.

But first news out this morning on what could be the Fed's next move to shore up the economy, let's check in with Gerri Willis.

All right, Gerri, let's talk about looking ahead, if we could. We're talking about retailers who are already feeling the pinch. So clearly a lot of consumers are feeling a bit weary about spending their money.

But we're a month out before that black Friday when that whole shopping season is to begin. They have to be pretty concerned.

GERRI WILLIS, CNN PERSONAL FINANCE EDITOR: Yes. Well, let's start then which the retail sales. They were down for September and down pretty impressively. JCPenney, for example, same store sales down 12.4 percent. And of course, people pay attention to this because this is a barometer of consumer sentiment and consumer confidence.

But you know what's going out there. Jobs are weak, consumer debt is high, folks just don't want to spend money. They're really tightening their purse strings out there. And we're seeing it in the retail store sales.

And of course, we'll be watching in as the holiday season starts to unfold. Will people still not spend? We're already seeing retailers start to offer sales for the holidays in September.

Let's talk about what the big news this morning, that Treasury -- Treasury may change the way it's helping out in the banking crisis, the credit crisis. Instead of going in and buying up mortgage obligations, these toxic loans that are clogging the balance sheets of banks across the country, what they may do is actually just go in and buy stakes in these banks.

Take a position. Buy a piece of the action so that these banks stabilize. This would be very big news indeed and it would be something different than what they talked about when we passed the $700 billion bill.

You should understand that Britain came in yesterday, did the same thing, spent $87 billion. They are, essentially, going to nationalize their banking industry. And I have to tell you, so far credit markets really aren't recovering.

One thing you might want to know here, Fred, interesting story. You know, we're at the beginning of October. This stock market hit its high October 9th, 2007, at 14,164. A year later, it looks like the Dow is going to open up at 9200 and change. We are down 34 percent from the high.

I know you're feeling it out there in your 401(k), you're seeing it in your retirement savings. If you don't have those, maybe you're losing your job. It's a tough, tough time for folks out there.

WHITFIELD: Yes, folks don't even want to look at those 401(k) statements anymore. Well, you know, when we talk about the banks that potentially could get this injection of cash, how is it that taxpayers might feel good about a potential return? How would that work?

WILLIS: Well, I have to tell you, Fred. You know, all we're trying to do right now is stabilize the banking system, ease credit, give banks lending, not just to us, but also to each other. They're not even doing that at this point. So the benefit really for consumers is that the -- credit situation would ease. But there is big news today, too, Fred, on the unemployment front. We have weekly jobless claims out. And the good news is they are down by 20,000. That's good news.

The trend is good, but the overall number not. 478,000 people for the week of October 4th filed first-time unemployment claims. And that is well over the level of 400,000 that's considered the benchmark. Really the normal level. You want it below that.

So still struggling here with people losing their jobs, struggling to get jobs in this economy. Really want to see that number improve before we can see the economy as a whole improve. And looks like we've got a ways to go here.

WHITFIELD: All right, Gerri Willis, thanks so much from New York.

WILLIS: My pleasure.

WHITFIELD: Appreciate it.

Let's get the latest on the overseas markets now. CNN's Adrian Finighan is in London. And so, we talked about positive territory at least for London and Germany, but what about everybody else?


Much better day here in London and on the markets. I think the sunshine has lifted the mood of the traders. Stocks here in Europe, many on the up right now but still a long way to go before making up the huge losses that we've seen over the past few weeks.

Right now financial shares are bouncing back a little from their recent lows. The FTSE in London up about 2 percent. The DAX in Germany is up about 2.2 percent. The CAC (INAUDIBLE) in Paris up 3 percent.

The euro is slightly stronger against the dollar, although I have to say that a lot of stocks are looking particularly attractive as they've fallen so far. It's not really representative of the wider economy.

Just to be technical for a minute, the overnight lending rates, the rates at which banks loan to each other, they're still high despite the cut in interest rates we had yesterday, indicating that the whole money system is still glued, confidence has not returned to the money markets.

And Gerri was talking about the man on the street. The fact that people are now really worried about the economy, the jobs, their mortgage payments, the bills they have to pay. A lot of people here in the UK and Europe now sitting up and paying attention as far as financial news is concerned.

But, not everybody is worried for the future. Listen to this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We still spend large money.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: And you're still confident about spending the money?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. It doesn't bother me. As long as (INAUDIBLE) it, it doesn't matter, does it?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's just whether or not it works (INAUDIBLE) or not, it's another thing that comes that -- when you come to it. Why, it just depresses you. So I'm quite happy spending more money.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Doesn't bother me.


FINIGHAN: Obviously a man without huge bills to pay. Wow.

WHITFIELD: Deep pockets.

FINIGHAN: That's the kind of guy that people want to see going into the stores here, Fred, and spending that cash. The stores will be welcoming him through the doors. Don't you reckon?

WHITFIELD: Yes, I think so. Folks want to hear a lot more than that. You know, meantime, let's talk about -- while he feels pretty good about his spending, pretty riveting to hear that Iceland is facing this kind of bankruptcy, the entire country, and bailing out its bank.

The government would bail out its bank but at the same time they're worried about whether there's going to be any money left.

FINIGHAN: It's an amazing story, isn't it? An entire country, although having said that there are only 300,000 people that live in Iceland. There's a city here in the UK up north called Leads. There are more people living there than living in Iceland.

A lot of people in Iceland are saying this morning how on earth did our country manage to get in such a -- such a huge hole? Although it's not just the Icelandic people that are feeling the pinch here.

Iceland banks had branches here in the UK. A lot of people have their pension funds, their savings wrapped up in Icelandic banks and now they can't get a hold of their money. They're going to face a longer and anxious wait to get a hold of it, Fred.

WHITFIELD: Wow, very nervous.

All right, Adrian Finighan, thanks so much from London. So around the world and, of course, here at home, in New York, grim signs of the time. Take a look at this. A new digit has been added to the national debt clock. Since 1989 the billboard has kept a running tab on the nation's red ink.

At the time, the national debt was $2.7 trillion. Well, today the number is, as you see it there, $10.2 trillion and counting. Next year two more digits will be added.

Pretty depressing scene there.

All right, your money, your stories. CNN viewers are sharing their own personal account of how the nation's financial crisis is hitting them. Here's one story from iReporter Peter Cabrera.


PETER CABRERA, CNN IREPORTER FROM ST. LOUIS: My parents did everything the right way. You know, they worked hard their whole lives. They saved. And now my father is -- he's retired early after working so hard his whole life and he's watching his 401(k) disappear.


WHITFIELD: Pretty depressing stuff. Well, we want to hear from you as well. Send us your thoughts. That address is

So how will Wall Street begin today? We're going to go to the New York Stock Exchange at the bottom of the hour for the opening bell. Our Susan Lisovicz will be joining us as well to give us an idea of what possibly we can expect today.

On to politics now. 26 days left to sway voters. Today the Republican presidential ticket traveled Wisconsin. Senator John McCain and Governor Sarah Palin are trying to make up ground there. The latest CNN/"TIME"/Opinion Research poll shows them trailing by 5 percentage points.

Senator Barack Obama is in the swing state of Ohio, meantime, where our polling gives him a slight edge. He'll be in Dayton shortly and we'll check in with CNN Susan Malveaux in about 10 minutes traveling with them. Vice presidential candidate Senator Joe Biden heads to Missouri.

All right, let's talk some weather right now. Weakening but still quite powerful. Hurricane Norbert is now a Category 3 storm. And Mexico's Baja, California peninsula is bracing for a direct hit.

Only two days ago Tropical Storm Marco slammed into Mexico's Gulf Coast.

Let's check in right now with Rob Marciano. And that's right, still hurricane season...


WHITFIELD: ... Atlantic and other -- and other places as well. And you've got a nasty look at Norbert there.

MARCIANO: Yes. Bad looking.


WHITFIELD: What a beautiful scene that always is, too.


WHITFIELD: All right, Rob, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

MARCIANO: You got it.

WHITFIELD: We'll check back with you.

All right, well, there is a history of cancer in his family. And he's been a smoker, so is Barack Obama fit to lead? Our Dr. Sanjay Gupta takes a look.


WHITFIELD: All right, for nearly two years now Barack Obama has been saying he is fit to be president. But how fit is the senator from Illinois?

Here now is CNN's chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta on the health of would-be commander in chief, Barack Obama, who you might remember used to be a smoker.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all with regard to the cigarettes he has admitted to falling off the wagon a few times, bumming a few cigarettes during the campaign.

You know, I tell you as a reporter this has been a very interesting story to cover. On one hand you have Senator McCain who's released 1100-plus pages of medical records. Senator Obama's doctor of 21 years released one page of medical records.

So what do we really know? And I think more importantly, what do we have the right to know? Take a look.


GUPTA (voice over): At age 47, Barack Obama is one of the youngest nominees of a major party ever.


GUPTA: His health isn't as widely discussed as his 72-year-old opponent. But Obama does have one issue that's been talked about. He was a long-time smoker.

Boston doctor, Thomas Perls has studied the effects of smoking.

DR. THOMAS PERLS, BOSTON MEDICAL CENTER: There's no doubt that smoking is an age accelerator. It enhances vascular disease, it predisposes to cancer, it predisposes to Alzheimer's disease.

GUPTA: Obama said he gave up smoking last year to run for president. He's admitted to falling off wagon a number of times.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How did you quit because I'm quitting down on...

OBAMA: Nicorette. Do you want one?


OBAMA: Here, try one out.

GUPTA: Dr. Tedd Mitchell runs the Cooper Clinic where President Bush got his physicals while governor of Texas.

DR. TEDD MITCHELL, COOPER CLINIC: While the risk does get better every single year that goes by that he's not smoked it never leaves him.

GUPTA: Experts say quitting is no magic bullet. But it does cut the risk of heart disease in half after just a year. After 10 years, your lung cancer risk is also cut in half.

Senator Obama has cancer in his family. His mother died of ovarian cancer at 52. His grandfather was 73 when he succumbed to prostate cancer. But cancer specialists say neither of those should affect Obama's risk.

Observers say we don't know everything about Obama's health because the campaign hasn't released complete medical records. But in May they did release a one-page summary of those records and this statement from his long-time doctor.

Here's what it said. "Senator Obama has been in excellent health. He has been seen regularly for medical check-ups and various minor problems such as upper respiratory infections, skin rashes and minor injuries."

The summary went on to say his cholesterol was good, blood pressure healthy.

John McCain this year gave reporters, including me, a glimpse at more than 1100 pages of medical records. A McCain spokesman tells CNN it's a, quote, "complete double standard."

The Obama campaign tells CNN no records will be made public.


GUPTA: Now we did ask two questions of the campaign, one is would there be any more records being released? And you just heard the answer, no. We also asked if the Obama campaign thought the health of Senator McCain was a legitimate issue. And there was no comment on that whatsoever. As far as the cigarettes go, Senator Obama said, look, he needed to have some slack cut to him, after all, he is running for president. Back to you.

WHITFIELD: All right. Thanks, Sanjay. Well, for more on the health of the next American president join our own Dr. Sanjay Gupta for a Special Investigations Unit look at "FIT TO LEAD," that's this Saturday and Sunday 8:00 and 11:00 p.m. Eastern.

Our inside the beltway types spout off about the financial crisis. Cabbies in the nation's capital give their spin while our Zain Verjee takes a ride.


WHITFIELD: All right. Just about eight minutes away from the opening bell on Wall Street. Our Susan Lisovicz will be joining us as well. And let's hope that perhaps markets get a little bounce maybe from the latest reports on a rather encouraging weekly jobs report. We'll be checking in with Susan. We're going to Wall Street in about eight minutes from now.

All right. Taking presidential politics to the street. Let's find out what people are really saying about the candidates and the issues. Zain Verjee has been riding with taxi drivers in Washington. And they hear everything, don't they?

ZAIN VERJEE, CNN STATE DEPARTMENT CORRESPONDENT: They do. They pick up some really interesting stuff. And you know what, Fredricka, D.C. cabbies are just really plugged into what's going down in this town.

Well, we -- rode around Washington, D.C. with some cab drivers and we found out that politics isn't the only way to settle in and strike up a conversation.


VERJEE (on camera): Taxi. Taxi.

(voice over): We jumped back into a United Nations of political pundits.

UNIDENTIFIED CAB DRIVER: And I'm from Freetown, Sierra Leone.


UNIDENTIFIED CAB DRIVER: I come from Afghanistan.


UNIDENTIFIED CAB DRIVER: I was born in Greenville, North Carolina.

VERJEE: It's a quick spin past landmarks of the financial crisis, the White House to the Federal Reserve to the U.S. Treasury. (On camera): People who worked here dreamed up the financial rescue plan. Cabbies know that this is where the power lies.

UNIDENTIFIED CAB DRIVER: We, the little guys, are the ones suffering right now.

VERJEE (on camera): What are the issues about the economy right now that really affect you and that you want the new president to deal with?

UNIDENTIFIED CAB DRIVER: Now my whole equity line has been cut off. And right now, I'm struggling to pay my mortgage. And I would like them to say more, to talk more about the mortgage crisis.

UNIDENTIFIED CAB DRIVER: I don't want to be unemployed.

VERJEE (voice over): For the cabbies, it's what they tune in, who they pick up, what they see.

UNIDENTIFIED CAB DRIVER: You see the hotel has no business, there's -- everywhere, there's no business.

VERJEE: He lost his home and his car dealership, so it's back behind the wheel.

(on camera): It's not just people taxi drivers take around town, but they move ideas, too.

UNIDENTIFIED CAB DRIVER: Health care, where a lot of people are losing their jobs, are going to be out of work. And -- I don't know. It seems to me that everything is really upside-down.

VERJEE (voice over): Also on the taxi radar, the debate.

UNIDENTIFIED CAB DRIVER: Since Governor Palin came, it's really been interesting.

UNIDENTIFIED CAB DRIVER: Answers were more precise.

VERJEE (on camera): So you're one of the political pundits of Washington, D.C.?


UNIDENTIFIED CAB DRIVER: Well, it's been going on a long time, but it's going to be exciting to see how it ends.

VERJEE: Thank you, Daisy.



UNIDENTIFIED CAB DRIVER: Thank you, now. Bye-bye.

(END VIDEOTAPE) VERJEE: And, Fredricka, one thing all the taxi drivers really agreed on was that this campaign still has many more miles in the weeks ahead. They expect a lot more twists and turns -- Fredricka?

WHITFIELD: Well, they know how to call it. All right, Zain. Thanks so much. Appreciate it.

VERJEE: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: Thanks for taking us along for the ride.

All right, worries on Wall Street. Everyone has them. Have the bears and bulls been chased away by another beast? We'll look at the fear factor.


ANNOUNCER: Live in the CNN NEWSROOM, Fredricka Whitfield.

WHITFIELD: Welcome back. Over the past week the Dow Jones Industrial Average have plunged about 1600 points. Will the slide continue today?

Susan Lisovicz is at the New York Stock Exchange with a look at what to expect. And we're just about less than two minutes away from the opening bell. And you have to wonder, maybe even hope, that maybe there will be a bounce in the market in response to, say, this "New York Times" story, talking about this possible cash injection into banks, or maybe even the weekly jobs report which is a little bit more upbeat than what we've been seeing.

SUSAN LISOVICZ CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, but not much, that's for sure on the weekly jobs...

WHITFIELD: Slightly.

LISOVICZ: ... report because the number is so high.

Fredricka, you know, there's no question that there is a trend here on Wall Street. We've had six sell-offs in the past six sessions, despite the fact that every day we are hearing -- well, you use the adjective, whether it's creative, radical, imaginative, unprecedented moves from the government.

And, yes, and you're referring to yet another one. The government perhaps stepping in on the banking system yet again. But you know it's important to know, Fred, that one year ago the Dow Industrials hit their all-time high, one year ago.


LISOVICZ: Closing at 14,164 yesterday. The Dow closing, oh, 35 percent below that. But on this anniversary we are expecting a boost. Asian markets ended mixed, Europe's main indices are showing gains there. Yes, one of the -- one of the headlines filtering through Wall Street today. The Treasury reportedly taking ownership stakes in some U.S. banks. The power it now has because of last week's landmark $700 billion rescue package.

In the meantime, the New York Federal Reserve making another big loan to AIG to the tune of nearly $40 billion. It was just last month the insurer got a separate $85 billion loan from the government. We're seeing a nice bounce at the open, Fred. And I'm looking at AIG shares, which are up 4 percent. Also let's look at IBM shares which right now are up 4 percent as well.

You know, this is the company that's standing on its own. How about that for a change? IBM reaffirming its full-year guidance, posting earnings that beat Wall Street estimate. There had been fears of the computer giant would get hit because 30 percent of its business comes from the financial services sector. But it's doing nicely. And we're seeing some buying at the open. The Dow up 98 points, or one percent. The Nasdaq is up 1.5 percent.

Two quick notes. The ban on short selling ended at midnight. So this is the first day where that ban no longer in place. There were nearly 1,000 stocks effected, Fredricka. Most of them, of course, financial stocks. Also today is Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar. And so, we're expecting volume to be much lighter as a result.

WHITFIELD: Maybe investors are thinking about that one-year ago high point, Susan. And how pretty low its prior.


LISOVICZ: How quickly things can change. It's true.

WHITFIELD: Tremendous what's happened in one year's time?

LISOVICZ: One year's time, when you think about it. I mean, $9300. I mean, we were just a couple of days ago, we went below 10,000. And yesterday, we were getting awful close to 9,000.

WHITFIELD: All right. Well, we'll be watching. We know you'll be watching and keeping us posted.

Thanks so much, Susan. Appreciate it.

LISOVICZ: See you later.

WHITFIELD: All right. We'll talk some more about business, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, all that. But there's another commodity that's now driving Wall Street. And it's the fear factor.

CNN's Brian Todd explains.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): First, the government bails out the mortgage industry. Then it decides to lend money directly to companies. Then it slashes interest rates. All moves designed to build confidence. Still, U.S. stocks tank over the past few days. European markets follow suit and financial anxiety is felt across the world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have to wonder if this is going to get better before it gets worse or if it's going to do the opposite.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People started selling. It's like a panic, and then, people just might jump on a bandwagon.

TODD: Georgetown law professor Donald Langevoort studies investor behavior. He says greed and fear are the two most prominent emotions on Wall Street, and fear is far more powerful. Langevoort says this is at least partly a fear market because of uncertainty about whether these government efforts to shore up the economy will really work.

PROF. DONALD LANGEVOORT, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: The more we come to the conclusion, if I don't get my investment decisions right, my kids don't go to college. I can't live out my retirement without being a burden on my family. Those hot button things, they can very much influence somebody to buy or sell emotionally rather than sensibly.

TODD: Experts say once fear sets in, the herd mentality takes over. Even professional investors see others fleeing the markets and simply join in. How to turn it around? From financial analyst to psychiatrist, experts say don't sell just for the sake of selling.

DR. GAIL SALTZ, PSYCHIATRIST: If you can hold on to the fact that historically we always come out of these things, we always come out. And that what you need to do is get yourself in as conservative stance as you can and then know you've done what you can do.

TODD (on camera): But that also doesn't mean do nothing. Financial analysts say you should look at your 401(k) statement, look at the investments you have in there, get advice on what's prudent to hold on to or sell. Just try to have some balance in there until the markets turn around again. Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


WHITFIELD: All right, you think it's bad here? Think about overseas. Like in Iceland, the banking crisis deepens there. Overnight, the government seized control of the nation's largest bank. Now all three of Iceland's major banks are in government hands. Also today, Iceland suspended trading on its stock exchange for two days. You may remember Iceland's prime minister has warned that the country is at risk of national bankruptcy.

All right. Well, fear knows no bounds. At least when it comes to the financial crisis that's squeezing much of the world now. Here's a sampling of some of the sentiments on the streets overseas.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's my job which is a luxury so when the companies decide to cut back, the first job to go is mine, unfortunately. So spending habits were obviously gone out of the window at the moment. I'm actually finding a way to seek more work, hopefully. But apart from that, not very good, really.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I have stopped spending money. Yes, making my own clothes, stuff like that.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Cool. That is really cool.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Well, I mean, it's not really cool if you see them, but in theory, yes, it should work really well.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Right. And so, you're actually just really watching your money?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, absolutely. Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What else have you been doing?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Making pack lunch. Yes, just trying not to spend money where it's not necessary, basically.


WHITFIELD: Right. Save every penny. The International Financial Crisis has even hit some unexpected countries. Fears of a global recession have driven down the price of oil. So many oil-rich countries are now reeling from a huge drop in their exports.

Unfinished business. Coffins unearthed by Hurricane Ike. In one Louisiana parish, 170 of them still have to be reburied. Local officials say the federal government is pulling out and they need more help to get this job done.


CHARLES HUNTER, FORENSIC INVESTIGATOR: These people deserve to be buried in the rightful places. And it's hard, especially went you have a small crew going out everyday and such a large number of caskets that are missing and things like that. You know, we're trying to do the best we can. But it gets aggravating as you expect the state and federal levels to come in and give us some assistance.


WHITFIELD: According to the local coroner, the operation apparently isn't big enough to keep federal teams on the job.

All right, let's check in again with Norbert and Rob. The team today.


WHITFIELD: All right. Well, he said he was bringing in a box of candy. He delivered death. Bomber targets police station.


WHITFIELD: Senator Obama in Ohio this morning kicking off what his campaign calls the Americans Jobs Tour. First stop, Dayton. CNN's Susan Malveaux is there and awaiting for his arrival.

Suzanne, Obama's focus this week the economy. What in the world could he possibly say to folks to really allay those fears, too?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's a difficult thing, Fredricka. Obviously, he's calling the American Jobs Tour, so what we certainly expect he's going to talk about how as president, if he was elected, that he would provide jobs for the American people. Bring back some jobs, not only for Ohio but for the country. He talks about the need for an economic stimulus package beyond the $700 billion bailout plan. He talked about holding these companies to greater accountability, greater regulation in the financial industry all together.

Those are some of the things that he's been talking about. He's also been trying to reach out to voters saying that now is not the time to panic. To be overtaken by fear that he does believe that the engines of the economy, that the process is working, but that obviously there are things that need to be fixed, but that he has faith in the system overall. Those are the kinds of things that we expect to hear throughout the campaign, especially these next four weeks, Fred.

WHITFIELD: And we know Ohio is a pivotal and very important state. Is there some other logic as to why he's spending so much time in that state right now?

MALVEAUX: Well, you know, it's interesting. No Republican has ever won the White House without winning Ohio. So, obviously, John McCain wants this prize. Obama is going to try to take it away from him. But he is ahead in the polls, Obama, in this state. It is very, very close. To be noted that we're here in Dayton, that is where John McCain announced his running mate Sarah Palin. This is a very competitive part of the state. It is southwestern Ohio. Cincinnati, Dayton, these are the places where it is vote for vote, neck for neck, that they are trying to get as much support as possible.

And one of the things that is happening here in Ohio is early registration. The state officials are saying they could see up to perhaps a third of the voters either doing absentee ballots or early voter registration and casting their ballots early, and that is very significant. So being here now is very important. They've already started to vote. They want to increase that vote. They want to get as much attention as possible. And Ohio is a place where a lot of people, Fred, are really feeling that economic crunch.

WHITFIELD: All right. Suzanne Malveaux in Dayton, Ohio, traveling with the Obama campaign there. Thanks so much.

Well, all the latest campaign news is just at your fingertips. Just go to We'll also have analysis from the Best Political Team on Television. It's all there,

All right. A suicide car bomb targets the police headquarters in Islamabad, Pakistan today. Four people were hurt. The blast crumbled the side of a three-story building believed to be the officers' living quarters. CNN Reza Sayah reports from the Pakistani capital.


REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): A box of chocolates. That's what police tell CNN a suicide car bomber used to talk his way into police headquarters here in Islamabad and target a police barrack. And that's what's left of the three-story living quarters. Three stories of it sheered off.

Indeed, investigators tell CNN that the suicide bomber came to the police headquarters and convinced security officials that he was delivering a box of sweets when he got here, shortly after 1:00 p.m. Local Time, the explosion happened. Crews here on the scene, going through the rubble. This is where the explosion took place. That huge crater that you see there is where the car bomb was. And let's show you what's left of the car itself. It is always the case. All that's left is pieces of charred debris.

Analysts say this is another indication that militants, whoever is carrying out these attacks, are hitting whenever and wherever they want. Keep in mind just ten kilometers west of this location you have senior military officials updating Pakistani lawmakers on the spiraling security situation. This explosion certainly another indication that the security situation throughout Pakistan extremely vulnerable.

Reza Sayah, CNN, Islamabad.


WHITFIELD: And now word from Jordan, or rather from Syria now this morning. Two American journalists who hadn't been heard from in more than a week are being held in Syria. Syria's foreign ministry says they have been arrested for illegally entering northern Syria with the help of a smuggler. The journalists were traveling together and disappeared while vacationing in Lebanon.

It's going to be at least another week before 17 Chinese Muslims held at Guantanamo Bay are free. A federal appeals court blocked their release into the United States, and the Bush administration can't find another country to take them except for China. But the U.S. fears the men would be tortured in their homeland.

All right, bailouts and rescue plans, hundreds of billions of dollars out of your pocket. The clock is ticking and the tab is growing.


WHITFIELD: 20 minutes in. The markets are open. And so far things are still up. The Dow up 132 points after opening about 93 points up. That was encouraging. We'll be watching the numbers throughout the day, this on -- what is a one-year anniversary of what was that record high, one year ago today. We'll see how we do the rest of the day today. All right, the nation's money crisis and Washington's historic efforts to prevent a free fall. You're on the hook for hundreds of billions of dollars and the costs seem to grow by the day.

CNN's Allan Chernoff takes a look.


ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Dow is down more than a thousand points since Congress OK'd the bailout on Friday. And the lending freeze at the core of the crisis shows few signs of thawing.

HUGH JOHNSON, CHAIRMAN, JOHNSON-ILLINGTON ADVISERS: Right now, it doesn't seem as though it's working. Right now, you know, frankly, banks are not lending, lending to each other or lending to their clients, be they small or large businesses.

CHERNOFF: Given the urgency of the administration's plea for the bailout, it may have seemed the plan's approval would have saved the day, or at least provided a shot of confidence.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Our economy is depending on decisive action from the government. The sooner we address the problem, the sooner we can get back on the path of growth and job creation.

BEN BERNANKE, FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN: This plan is an emergency plan to put out a fire, to resolve a serious crisis which has real Main Street implications.

CHERNOFF: But the Treasury Department is just starting to hire investment companies to handle mechanics of the bailout. It will be several weeks before Treasury is actually buying the risky mortgage investments that are weighing down banks. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve is trying to stimulate lending by flooding the banking system with cash. And now, in an unprecedented move, the Central Bank will also lend money directly to corporations by buying IOUs known as commercial paper that provides funds for meeting payroll and buying supplies.

(on camera): Prospects for the economy are sinking so rapidly say forecasters, that the $700 billion bailout plan is only one of the large buckets the government is using to try to keep the economy afloat. The fact is the Treasury and Federal Reserve are using as many buckets as they can to bailout the U.S.' Economy, hoping that will get bankers rolling again in the form of lending money which is essential to keeping our economic shift moving forward.

Allan Chernoff, CNN, New York.


WHITFIELD: All right. Caught in the middle of the mortgage meltdown. Renters in Illinois out on the street because their building is in foreclosure. Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart tells CNN the people are paying on time but getting kicked out anyway without any warning that the landlord is actually in trouble. Dart said it's not fair, and that he is not going to evict people in that situation. He talked to our AMERICAN MORNING last hour.


SHERIFF THOMAS J. DART, SUSPENDING FORECLOSURE EVICTIONS IN COOK COUNTY: The outrage is on my part with them. That they would so cavalierly issue documents and have me throw people out of homes who have done absolutely nothing wrong. They played by all the rules. And because of their ignorance and their lack of diligence and going out to their own property and finding out who is out there, innocent people are being set out.

I've told them, you send an agent out, you send somebody out that gives me any type of assurance that the appropriate person is in the house, I will fulfill the order. But when you're just blindly sending me out to houses where I'm coming across innocent tenant after innocent tenant, I can't keep doing this right now and have a good conscience about it.


WHITFIELD: All right. Well, this is what the Illinois Bankers Association had to say. They're accusing Dart of being a vigilante. But he says the evictions are the most gut-wrenching job these deputies are asked to do.

Penguins, aren't they cute? Always. Take a wrong turn and guess where they end up, Brazil. Will they get some help returning to a colder climate? The flight of the penguins.


WHITFIELD: All right. You get older. Your eyesight slips quite a bit. Well, that's just like it's doing right now. That's just about the way it goes. Blurry vision, glaucoma and cataracts, some of us will have to deal with those problems as we age.

Elizabeth Cohen takes a closer look in today's 30, 40, 50s report.


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For real estate broker Tom Bryan, it's all about the fine print. With BlackBerry messages, contract revisions and other paper work, his daily workload can put a real strain of his eyes. But a few years ago when Tom began to have blurry vision all the time, he knew something was wrong.

TOM BRYAN, EYE PATIENT: You know, I'd be in a restaurant and all of the sudden I couldn't read the menu. Or I would be looking at a contract and I couldn't make out some of the words.

COHEN: Tom had presbyopia. A condition many of us develop as we age. He eyes just couldn't focus as well, so he turned to glasses.

BRYAN: Essentially, it was for reading. Since I deal with computers and contracts and everything all the time, I just found I couldn't move anywhere without wearing my glasses all the time.

COHEN: In our late 30s and 40s, it becomes more difficult to read up close. Many people are forced to wear bifocals or reading glasses. Presbyopia like other focus defects becomes much less noticeable in bright sunlight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One, that's a little sharper. COHEN: People may also develop a condition known as glaucoma in their late 30s. Elevated pressure within the eye damages the optic nerve and can lead to blindness. Even people with normal blood pressure are at risk.

DR. ROY RUBINFELD, EYE SURGEON/AAO: That's one of the most important things to look for because 3 million Americans have glaucoma and half don't even know it.

COHEN: In our 40s cataracts can begin to form. That's why eye doctors say protect your eyes. Wear sunglasses to shield out ultraviolet light and eat well. Evidence shows that a diet rich in antioxidants like Vitamin E and zinc may prevent the onset of macular degeneration, a problem we begin to see in our 50s.

RUBINFELD: The retina which is in the back of the eye ages. And with age it can deteriorate. And macular degeneration is one of the most common reasons for people as they get older start to lose vision.

COHEN: As for Tom Bryan, he decided to undergo a new form of surgery known as MonoVision, where one eye is corrected for distance vision and the other eye is focused for near vision. Both eyes compensate for one another, eliminating glasses completely. But he still goes for yearly exams in order to keep his eyes as young as he feels. Elizabeth Cohen, CNN, Atlanta.


WHITFIELD: Well, you're going to enjoy this, flight of the penguins. Hundreds of them. They mysteriously washed up on Brazil's hot and sandy beaches. Well now, they're being boarded on a huge air force cargo jet where flight to more frigid waters. The International Fund for Animal Welfare assisted in the effort to save the Magellanic Penguin.

Nearly 1,000 of the flightless birds have turned up on Brazil's northeastern coast in recent months. About 20 percent died. No word on what cause the birds to go astray in the first place.

Well, what a difference a year makes. Dow positive, but still hurting on the anniversary of its all-time high. What possible government moves could keep stocks rising?

And deploying to the battlegrounds. Candidate hit key states and open fire on each other's financial plans. It is Thursday, October 9th. Heidi is off today.

I'm Fredricka Whitfield and you're in the CNN NEWSROOM.