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CNN NEWSROOM

Race and the Presidential Election

Aired October 9, 2008 - 15:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Coming at you now: This sheriff explains, unapologetically, why he did this:

MIKE SCOTT, LEE COUNTY, FLORIDA, SHERIFF: Hussein.

SANCHEZ: Why? Quote: "Because he wanted to." Now he is being investigated.

Race in politics. Even with the economy tanking, Republicans in charge and a consensus debate victory, can Senator Obama really win?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think it is too early to declare a victory, Anderson, because Barack Obama is black, because Barack Obama is black.

SANCHEZ: A Reagan adviser, one of America's brightest political minds, talking about this attitude.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And she flat-out said to me, "I can't vote for that black boy."

SANCHEZ: It is flat-out racism or just being uncomfortable with the unfamiliar, something subtle, something we don't want to talk about? We will talk about it, this hour, your voice, your comments, a national discussion, including this:

(on camera): Do you think John McCain is better prepared to lead our country than Barack Obama?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know he is better prepared to lead.

SANCHEZ: Three men not voting for Obama.

What you have to say about this on Twitter, Facebook, and more. Like nowhere else, your newscast starts now.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SANCHEZ: Hello again, everybody.

Speaking of Twitter and MySpace and Facebook, a conversation that began today after this sheriff in Florida made this comment that has set off a fury. I have been receiving tons of responses from all of you. But then the sheriff came out and explained or tried to explain what he did. He is completely unapologetic about this. And, then, even more responses from you have been coming in. This is a big discussion that we are going to have about this.

Before we do anything else, though, again, here is what the sheriff originally said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCOTT: On November 4, let's leave Barack Hussein Obama wondering what happened.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: Emphasis on Hussein, emphasis on the salute.

This is now what the sheriff has been saying today. When asked why he would say this, why he used Barack Obama's middle name, he says, "Despite varying inferences, interpretations, opinions and extrapolations, the answer is because I wanted to, much like I wanted to voice my support for the Barron Collier marching band."

There is another question here, and that is about the (INAUDIBLE) And the question comes as to whether or not a government resource or a man who works as a part of a government resource should be using any kind of political activity or should be involved in a political activity. That is why he is being investigated, because he is after all a public official.

Now let's put up his response to that. On the question of whether he should do this as a elected official or a public official, "I have not heard similar concern over the many other elected officials that day and everyday engaging in the same activities across our state and our country."

Then, there is another question, a question as to whether or not he should have done this after all. He was wearing a uniform at the time that he was doing it, as a law enforcement official, even though he was elected. Here is his answer on that.

He says, what about the fact that he was wearing the uniform? He goes on to say: "My practice has been to wear the uniform at all times. And as is undisputed, I am on duty 24/7, 365."

Like I said, lots of responses on this. I am going to share some of those with you now, because we know there's just so many of you at home that want to get in on this discussion. Here is one that is somewhat representative of the folks who have been discussing this and disagreeing with what the sheriff has to say.

Let's go over to our Twitter board, if we possibly can. This is what John Santangelo wrote. You got it, Johnny B. Goode? "What would that cop do if a house was robbed and it had an Obama sign in the lawn or if a car got pulled over with an Obama bumper sticker?"

All right, that's part of the questions. There's many more. We are going to get through many of them. Mike Brooks, our security analyst and law enforcement analyst, who has been in that position, he's going to join us in just a little bit. He says that the sheriff might be very well within his right to say and do exactly what he did.

I know, for many of you, it is a disagreement. For many of you, it is not. We have been receiving e-mails from both sides.

But here is another question that we're going to be doing throughout the show, because we think, thematically speaking, it is what many people have been talking about. Can Barack Obama win this election, given the environment that we have been talking about in the last couple of days and certainly within the last week?

Listen here to the words of David Gergen on this network two nights ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GERGEN: I think it's too early to declare victory Anderson, because Barack Obama is black. And I think, until we play out the issue of race in this country, I don't think we'll know and maybe last -- late in the campaign.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: You think that, despite the lead in the polls, people might change their minds once they're actually in the voting booth?

GERGEN: I'm not sure the polls are totally believable, I think there's -- there may be built-in -- there is this study now that's come out of Stanford University and Associated Press, along with Yahoo!, saying that his blackness may cost him as much as six points.

And I think he's in a commanding position coming out of this second debate. Having won two, having done as well as he has, I think he's established in the public mind now that he is certainly as qualified to be president as John McCain.

And that's a -- and he's come a long way in that sense. He's much more sure-footed. He's very presidential tonight. But we don't know about the race factor in America now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: His blackness.

Here is the bold question that we are going to be tackling during this hour. Is it really a question of some people just being racist, or is it people who are simply, well, uncomfortable with something that is unfamiliar to them and it may just take a while for them to get there?

Here is an interesting way of looking at this. I want you to look at this report. It's by Carol Costello. She goes out with people who are supporters of Barack Obama trying to do some door-to- door knocking and campaigning for him. This is what they found out on one given day.

Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It remains an ugly truth, race still matters. The question is, how much. Barack Obama leads in the latest national polls yet his foot soldiers on the ground still worry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When he finally got to where she lowered her voice it's because he's black.

COSTELLO: In a small town in Pennsylvania, Jim English with the United Steelworkers Union is sending out teams of union workers like Andy, Laura and Doug to knock on doors. Their job is to make sure their fellow steelworkers vote Obama.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm just worried about foreign policy with Obama.

COSTELLO: That's an argument they feel they can win. But sometime it's more complicated.

DOUGLAS WARD, UNION MEMBER: One lady I went to told me, the reason why she had the issue was because how she was raised. She said her father is still alive and is 85 and he couldn't see herself voting for a black man.

COSTELLO: So they had to convince some of their union brethren, the race isn't about race.

ANDY ZANAGLIO, UNION MEMBER: And she flat out said to me I can't vote for that black boy.

WARD: They talked about him being a Muslim. He said countless time that he's a Christian.

COSTELLO: Obama is and always has been a Christian. The union feels the Muslim tag is really code for he's black.

JIM ENGLISH, SECRETARY TREASURER, UNION STEELWORKERS UNION: What they are saying really is probably a cover for being uncomfortable with him because of his race.

COSTELLO: In other words, he says sadly in some circles it's socially acceptable to call Obama Muslim rather than something else. And it's not just here in Pennsylvania. Subtle references on the campaign trail to Obama's middle name just reinforced those Muslim belief.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On November 4th let's leave Barack Hussein Obama wondering what happened.

COSTELLO: And just last week in Ohio.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was the Muslim but he won't say it. COSTELLO: Andy, Doug and Laura are used to that by now. Andy says about a quarter of the people he talks to raise the race issue. But he has a ready response.

ZANAGLIO: What I do when they bring that up I just say look you know we got to get pass that. We live in America, we're the best nation on earth. We got to get to the real issues of what's going on in this campaign.

COSTELLO: Carol Costello, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SANCHEZ: I want to bring your attention now to something that is going on that is a bit of a milestone, but, unfortunately, a milestone going in the other direction.

Let's go now to the latest on the Dow. It is only down 253, which compared to what we have seen in the last couple of weeks is not that bad. However, moments ago, it went under 9000.

Ali Velshi is joining us now to talk about the significance of this -- Ali.

ALI VELSHI, CNN SENIOR BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: You have been in the business too long, Rick, when it is only down 250 points, because you have been in front of this when you have seen these late afternoon drops. We have been seeing this very, very commonly. This would be the seventh day in a row now.

It is just around 9000 right now. Last time the Dow was below 9000 was in 2003. And that is fairly significant. It was one year ago today that the Dow hit the highest point it was ever at, above 14000. So, we have lost about 35 percent. And if you are looking at your 401(k), a broad swathe of stocks like the S&P 500 would have lost about 35 percent.

One thing to look at there, not the part that is highlighted on the screen, but, right next to it, the volume, because of the holiday today, volume is lighter than it typically is, which is why when you see a sell-off on a day with light volume, you are concerned less than you are otherwise.

The other thing to think about is that there are a lot of experts who say that this market bottoms out somewhere between maybe 8000 and 8500 on this, on the Dow. There are other numbers for other markets. And there are a lot of people who would like to see that. They would like to see the bottom hit, so that we can start getting in and investing in companies thinking that there are deals.

So, when you are looking at this, if you are down 35 percent in the last year, the bottom line is, I have been maintaining I think it is a little late to get out at this point. There are people waiting on the sidelines with money who are prepared to go in when this market hits the bottom. We may just be accelerating getting to the bottom. That may not be an entirely bad thing -- Rick. SANCHEZ: All right, Ali Velshi following this for us, the undoing of a milestone, as we called it just a moment ago.

When we come back: Have you heard of the Bradley effect? Might Barack Obama lose this election because specifically of the Bradley effect?

Michelle Obama is asked about this. We talk to a man who has written extensively about the Bradley effect. He should know. He is in California, where it happened.

And then three very proud black men talk to us about Barack Obama, a candidate they say they will not vote for.

Huh? We will be back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: All right.

Let's do some of your comments now. Let's go first from MySpace and then to my Twitter board.

Johnny B. Goode, let's try it with the MySpace first.

"Sadly, I have heard comments like this as well. Of course race is playing a role. Is that a surprise to anyone?" She comments on the conversation we were having during the last segment of news.

Now, let's turn it around and go over to our Twitter block, if we can. And there on the Twitter board, you see this.

Momma writes to us: "Finally, someone is talking about all of this. I live in Florida. And the McCain/Palin rallies are racially incitive."

That is her opinion about this. We have received many more, by the way.

I want to let you listen to something now. This is from "LARRY KING LIVE" last night. This is Michelle Obama. And she is asked by Larry about the very same topic that we are talking about right now. It is that Bradley effect that I told you about just moments ago, where a black candidate can be way up and still lose for some reason.

Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: Do you fear that here? An anti-black vote?

MICHELLE OBAMA, WIFE OF SENATOR BARACK OBAMA: People talk about it all the time. But, it's theoretical in the case of this election. Because --

KING: But you have a past case to look at.

M. OBAMA: But also, look where are, Larry. Barack Obama is the Democratic nominee. If there was going to be a Bradley effect, or it was going to be in play, Barack wouldn't be the nominee.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: So, what is the Bradley effect? Back in 1982, Tom Bradley was the mayor of Los Angeles running to be the governor of the state of California. He was up by 15 points with only three days to go in the election. Most people thought he was a shoo-in. Instead, he lost by 52,000 votes.

Many have written about it. Among those who have written about it is somebody who is joining us now by phone from California. He is a professor at University of Berkeley, Charles Henry.

Professor Henry, thanks so much for being with us, sir.

CHARLES HENRY, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY: It's good to be with you.

SANCHEZ: Do you believe that the Bradley effect will come into play in this case?

HENRY: Well, You know, the Bradley effect has to do with polling and the error, the margin of error in polling. And, certainly, we saw, during the primary cases in New Hampshire -- and there's actually one study that said that polling either underpredicted Obama or Clinton in 18 of the primary races.

So, I...

SANCHEZ: When you say polling, are you talking about people being afraid to tell a pollster the truth about something that is too sensitive to them? Is that what you're saying?

HENRY: Yes.

Essentially, that is what we have found in terms of racial polling. Most polling is accurate within the margin of error. And exit polls in particular tend to be accurate because it occurs after the election.

But in the cases in which people cite about the Bradley effect, starting with Bradley, even the exit polling was inaccurate. People, even after they voted, were not willing to tell a pollster, a significant number of people, how they had actually voted.

SANCHEZ: You mean to say that white voters will tell a pollster, I will vote for that person, but then, when they actually get in there and got to pull the lever, they will be affected by something like the color of his skin?

HENRY: Well, not only that, but even after they have pulled the lever. In the case of Bradley, we had a difference between the national networks and their local stations after the election. The national networks were saying it looks like Deukmejian is winning. The local networks, same broadcast channel, were saying that we think that Bradley is winning.

And the difference was, the national networks actually had people in key precincts counting the ballots, and the local affiliates were actually dependent on exit polling. And the exit polls were essentially not telling the truth.

SANCHEZ: But what is important here is what you are saying is, before -- and we are coming down to the end of this -- you are saying this is somewhat of a natural phenomenon, more social psychology than anything driven by any one campaign, correct?

HENRY: Well, no, it can be cued by implicit appeals to race.

And this is the -- you know, the other term that is thrown around, the race card. And, since 1964, the norm has been racial equality, so you can't campaign explicitly on the basis of white supremacy, for example, as we did in fact have politicians doing throughout the '50s in the Dixiecrat Party and all of that.

But we also have racially polarized parties, so that we see this race being played either in terms of wedge issues or sort of character assassination.

SANCHEZ: I get that. And that is something that we're going to be continuing to follow up on as we continue this discussion.

But you have put this in perspective for us very well. Thank you so much, professor Charles Henry from Berkeley.

Is it something that is actually in some ways incited? We are going to talk to somebody when we come back who says, no. He is a Southern Democrat. You have seen him on television. As a matter of fact, he was an actor in "The Dukes of Hazzard." And he says people will surprise us this November, and vote in a way that many won't expect. And the reason has nothing to do with blackness or whiteness. He says the reason people will do that in this election has to do with the color green.

We will explain that to you, as well as sharing with you what they talked about today on "The View." Again?

We will be back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: We continue this discussion, which has got a whole lot of people all fired up. Obviously, we have been getting a lot of responses, thousands, as a matter of fact, on this very subject. And some people are upset and they think that, as a nation, maybe we need to get to the next level. Other say, we are already there. Just look around. Here is this one.

This comes from Ezbebe. And let's go ahead and go our Twitter board: "Racism is rampant in this country, pitting brother against brother. It has to stop. Logic must take over. Time for a change."

That is the comment that is coming in there, but there is something else that we want to share with you. There is someone whose name is Cooter. And when your name is Cooter, you know something about Southern voters. And he is going to tell you that what David Gergen said is wrong. Here is how he expresses it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BEN JONES, FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: Yes, there is a change going on in this country. It is the economy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: There you go.

As a matter of fact, what is interesting about him, he has also been an actor and he's going to be joining us in just a little bit -- that on the other side, a different take. We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: And we welcome you back. I'm Rick Sanchez.

Want to introduce you to something now. It's a big part of this conversation that we are having now, which many say actually started in Pennsylvania. It was the race that didn't involve John McCain. It was between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in the primaries at the time. And one lone voice stood up at an AFL-CIO meeting and said something that at the time may have been very controversial.

But watch the reaction that he got. This is back in July. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICHARD TRUMKA, SECRETARY TREASURER, AFL-CIO: There's not a single good reason for any worker, especially any union member, to vote against Barack Obama.

And there's only one really, really bad reason to vote against Barack Obama. And that's because he is not white. And I want to talk about that issue, because I saw it myself in Pennsylvania in the primary. I went back to my hometown.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: Isn't that something? You almost get kind of chills when you watch that. I mean, not planned, he made the comment, and a couple of guys stood up and started applauding, and then a couple more, and then a couple more, before the entire auditorium was standing up and applauding. Interesting.

Let's bring somebody in now. His name is Ben "Cooter" Jones. And with a name like that, he knows a thing or two about Southern voters. And he is here to tell you right now that Southern voters are not getting a fair shake in all of this.

He thinks, as a matter of fact, that the Bradley effect won't come into play in November.

Joining us now is Ben "Cooter" Jones. He is joining us by phone.

Amplify that thought, if you would, former Congressman Jones and former actor from "Dukes of Hazzard."

JONES: I sure will, Rick.

The Bradley effect took place. That was in California. You know, down South, people will pretty much will tell you what they think. If they say they are going to vote for Barack Obama, they are going to vote for Barack Obama.

Dr. King, who was a Southerner, you know, he said -- and, as we all know, racial prejudice is everywhere, and people will hear my accent and assume something about me. But Dr. King said that, you know, in the South, people don't like -- the white people don't like our race, but they like us individually. In the North, it is the reverse. They like the race, but they don't like you individually.

And I think there was something to that. We have a history in the South of brotherhood and fellowship. And even though that history is somewhat, you know, wrong, wrong-headed, and it involved white supremacy and all of that, the races here have shared a culture for hundreds of years. And in the last 40 years, since the civil rights movement, we have come together.

(CROSSTALK)

SANCHEZ: Let me ask you -- let me ask you...

JONES: Southerners are generally conservative. So, that is why they tend to vote Republican.

But I would say to you, Rick, there is less racism here than there are in most places in the United States.

SANCHEZ: Let me ask you this question, because I was having this conversation with our staff today, as well as with the 23,000 people who Twitter with me and the 1,500 or 4,000 or so on MySpace and Facebook. And this got to be a real heated...

JONES: You're just a popular guy, Rick.

SANCHEZ: Well, I don't know. I think it is a popular idea. But is it possible -- stay with me here -- that it has less to do with race and more to do with people just being a little uncomfortable with what is familiar. After all, listen to Michelle Obama's own words.

"When I met the man," she says, "I thought he was kind of weird. And what kind of name is Barack Obama?"

There was a certain hesitation in her at the time. Are we confusing the two things?

(CROSSTALK)

JONES: No, no, we are not. We are getting used to Barack Obama, the guy. America has become very familiar with him.

And I remember him speaking at that convention a few years ago. And I said, where did this guy come from, Venus? I mean, what? But he is a remarkable man and he is a brilliant guy.

(CROSSTALK)

SANCHEZ: But what about people who are unfamiliar with him? What about the guy who listens to Rush Limbaugh and watches FOX News all day?

JONES: Well, they are not going to vote for Barack Obama anyway. They are right-wing people. They're extremely conservative, and they are not going to support Barack Obama anyway. That crowd, that is the choir there. That is the one that Sarah Palin and them are preaching to today.

I just heard John McCain talking about blaming the entire planetary monetary meltdown and all of the economic problems on Barney Frank. Now, that's -- I mean, that is just silly. And Sarah Palin running around trying to fire people up on these visceral issues, that dog don't hunt. Nobody cares.

(CROSSTALK)

JONES: This is about the economy. This is about jobs.

And if your car is in the ditch, Rick, and the guy that pulls up next to you looks funny, but he is willing to get you out of the ditch, you wouldn't care if he was black and green and white and had polka dots and candy-colored stripes.

SANCHEZ: That may...

JONES: He is the guy who is going to get you out of the ditch.

SANCHEZ: That...

JONES: Barack Obama is talking sense. And what is happening in the South -- and you can see it right in these polls -- is there is a shift, as people become more familiar with him and as this economy gets worse.

We're -- Barack Obama is going to win Virginia. In part, what he has done is respected the South, unlike past Democratic candidates, who didn't even care or didn't even try to compete...

SANCHEZ: Let's...

JONES: ...Barack Obama respects the South.

SANCHEZ: Let's leave it at that before we get into past Democratic candidates.

(LAUGHTER)

SANCHEZ: But you've been extremely interesting in the way you've made your points. And the one about the ditch, I think that might -- I think that might make sense or resonate with some folks who are watching us now.

Ben "Cooter" Jones, thanks for being with us, sir. We appreciate it.

JONES: Thank you for having me, Rick.

SANCHEZ: All right. One thing we do want to check now is the Dow Jones, as we every day.

Let's go to Susan Lisovicz.

We understand that it's not necessarily good news, once again. Gee, what a surprise.

SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No. No. You know, we thought it was going to be a quiet day, but that would be so unlikely in these extraordinary times, Rick.

The Dow Industrials, you know, just three days after closing below 10000 is now below 9000. What seems to be like a garden variety kind of sell-off has accelerated in the final hour of trading. And it's the seventh sell-off in seven sessions.

You know, interestingly enough, on October 9th a year ago, the Dow Industrials hit their all time high, Rick -- 14164. That was the closing value of the Dow Jones Industrials. And look at where we are one year later, Rick.

SANCHEZ: I guess all we can do is look and hope for the best. But there is no magic solution. So we'll keep going back to you and you can let us know what -- what it's doing.

LISOVICZ: Bull markets are historically much longer than bear markets. They're just much more painful, as short as they can be.

SANCHEZ: And we are definitely amongst the what right now?

LISOVICZ: The bears. SANCHEZ: The bears.

LISOVICZ: Yes.

SANCHEZ: Very bear, in fact. Almost naked, I guess we could say.

Susan Lisovicz, thanks so much for that.

When we come back, by the way -- I want you to listen to this again, because its is a part of a very important part of this conversation that we've been having. Take a listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCOTT: On November 4th, let's leave Barack Hussein Obama wondering what happened.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: It's the salute. It's the emphasis on Hussein. It's the uniform that he was wearing at the time. All of this comes together to form not only a controversy, but a federal investigation that is now going on. There are some amongst you who say what he did was wrong. Others say he didn't do anything wrong -- that is Barack Obama's middle name, after all.

And then there's Mike Brooks, who joins us in just a little bit to say I'm not sure the sheriff did anything wrong.

Stay with us. Your comments and Mike, when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: And we welcome you back.

We want to get some of your comments on board here, as we get this conversation started.

You know, let's not do that. Let's go ahead -- let's go ahead, because I don't want to run out of time.

I want to get right to Mike Brooks. And there's another part of this story that I want to introduce, and that's the legal aspect of the story.

The sheriff's words have caused not only a controversy and a commentary that's going all over the country, this sheriff's words have also caused an investigation. And there he is, complete with the comment, the uniform, and at the end, here comes the salute. Bang, there you have it.

All right. Now, Lee County Sheriff's Office receives more than $1 million in federal grant money. But if Sheriff Scott is found in violation of the Hatch Act, the Feds can actually pull not just the funding for all of Lee County, but also his salary.

All right. Come on back to me, if you would, Roger. Let's bring in Mike Brooks into this.

Mike Brooks, as you know, has worn the uniform for many years -- Mike, I understand -- are you with us, Mike?

MIKE BROOKS, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST, FORMER D.C. POLICE DETECTIVE: I'm here, Rick.

SANCHEZ: I understand that you're saying this guy is within his -- this sheriff, Sheriff Scott, was within his rights to say and do what he did?

BROOKS: Well, if you look at Sheriff Mike Scott, he is an elected official. So basically, he's a politician. And a lot of sheriffs, when they run, they run as a Republican, they run as a Democrat, they run as an Independent, you know, they run as a Libertarian. So he's basically a politician.

It's not -- it doesn't give me a whole lot of heartburn, Rick, that, you know, he was talking out of this and, you know, out there at this particular rally, because, look, if you also look, the largest law enforcement organization in the country, the Fraternal Order of Police -- and in full disclosure, I'm a member of the FOP and have been for a number of years -- they are backing the McCain-Palin campaign.

Now, if you look at other public service, the largest firefighters union, the International Association of Firefighters, which is also AFL-CIO, they are backing Obama-Biden.

So, you know...

SANCHEZ: But let me -- let me let you hear something. This is John Santangelo (ph). He's one of the guys I've been having a discussion with all throughout the day...

BROOKS: Sure. Yes.

SANCHEZ: He and about another thousand people, who have really been keyed into this conversation.

BROOKS: (INAUDIBLE).

SANCHEZ: And here's what he has. Go ahead, Johnny B. Goode (ph). Put this Twitter board up so we can read it: "What would that cop do if a house was robbed and it had an Obama sign in the yard or if a car got pulled over with an Obama bumper sticker?"

Now, remember, this is the guy who's already come out and said Hussein about Barack Obama. And many people tend to think that he did that in a rather inciteful way.

BROOKS: Right...

SANCHEZ: He wouldn't have used it if Obama's middle name was John, in other words.

BROOKS: Right. Well, you know, I was listening to that, too, Rick. You know, I -- of course, everybody is going to jump all over it because they say he's talking about Hussein and he's saying that refers to him as a Muslim. But if we go back to Clinton, we always heard, what -- William Jefferson Clinton.

I mean, you know, I -- but to talk about whether or not if there was an Obama sign in someone's front yard or a bumper sticker, no. You know, they are professionals. It doesn't matter -- his -- he's not going to be pulling over any cars to begin with, I can tell you. He's the sheriff.

Now, his employees, who are not allowed to engage in this kind of thing because they are not politicians. He is.

The bottom line is, yes, he's a lawman, but first he's a politician.

SANCHEZ: Well, I'll tell you, many other folks that have been Twittering with us agree with you and disagree with you. Those who disagree, disagree vehemently. This has been a real fury.

BROOKS: I'm sure.

SANCHEZ: I mean look at Lee here. He wrote us just a little while ago. And he says, in response to what the sheriff said today: "I wonder if he only arrests people that he wants to, as well?"

That's, of course, in response to what the sheriff said -- he said what he said because he wanted to.

BROOKS: You know, let me just say...

SANCHEZ: Hey, Mike Brooks, thank...

BROOKS: Let me just say, if anyone who is -- who thinks that they are the subject of harassment by police, that they should notify -- no matter where you are in the country, notify the police official, have them come to your house, make a complaint and it will be investigated impartially. I can guarantee you that.

SANCHEZ: Mike Brooks. We thank you, sir, for, as usual, being with us. Always a pleasure.

Mike Brooks, our law enforcement analyst.

All right, there's something we're going to be showing you in just a little bit. I had a conversation with three strong-minded men who have a very contrarian opinion about Barack Obama.

Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL MCNEELY, REPUBLICAN VOTER: We're proud of Barack Obama. And we get...

SANCHEZ: But you would say to those children, don't vote for him?

MCNEELY: Yes, I would.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: That's a contrarian response.

The Dow today is a bit of a contrarian response, as well, if you know what I mean -- heading south.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: I told you since the beginning of the newscast this is going to be a conversation that was going to have a lot of people saying a lot of different things and getting somewhat heated up about this.

Let's go to Facebook, if we can, Johnny B. Goode. And you see James Gettings, who wrote to us. And he says, from Chattanooga: "As Americans, we're supposed to set the bar. I'm embarrassed that we're having this discussion while there are women in the Middle East who have gotten further in politics than any woman or minority here."

Interesting perspective.

Now let's go to Wayne Phillips, who also just wrote to us a while ago. He says: "Everyone replying to this issue, do not fall for it. This is a blatant attempt to change the subject and to force a much closer race."

Interesting perspective from both of them.

Here's another interesting perspective I want to share with you now. I talked a little while ago about what is a contrarian viewpoint -- and this one certainly is. This is my LOF-TV, as we call it, where I go around talking to different people in the League of First Time Voters.

What are people really saying and thinking about as we approach this historic election?

Here are three men who tell me they are not going to vote for the person most people think that they would normally vote for.

Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RUFUS MONTGOMERY, REPUBLICAN VOTER: You want to take a look at race and set it aside and stick to who's best prepared to lead. So...

SANCHEZ: You think John McCain is better prepared to lead our country than Barack Obama?

MONTGOMERY: I know he's better prepared to lead.

SANCHEZ: Isn't there -- isn't there any source of pride within you that says, I may be against this guy, I may like the other guy, but he makes me proud?

No?

MCNEELY: Oh, absolutely. We can -- we're proud of Barack Obama. There are millions of children that look at him as a black man and say wow, I can become a nominee to a major party. There's the potential to be president of the United States.

Yes, we celebrate that. But see, where we get...

SANCHEZ: But you would say to those children, don't vote for him?

MCNEELY: Yes, I would, based on principle. Absolutely. Principles matter -- lower taxes, strong national defense, traditional marriage, free market solutions, those types of things. That's what we believe in the Republican Party.

SANCHEZ: Austin, you agree?

AUSTIN KING, REPUBLICAN VOTER: I agree very much so. We're very proud of Barack, even though he's done a lot of good and everything. But you still have to look at it from a principled aspect. You want to vote for the best candidate. McCain is proven. He's been in leadership positions before.

I feel that Barack is a good candidate, but I feel at times he -- he talks a lot and he feels -- I don't feel he can get everything that he talks necessarily done. I feel that he's just -- he's just like a motivational speaker is at some times.

But I really think that being a Republican is the way to go.

SANCHEZ: Is there anything that you guys feel, at times, from your friends or your family, that make you feel pressure, almost like -- and I hate to use the word -- but you know it's been used before, so I'll give it to you -- a sellout to your own race?

MONTGOMERY: Hey, it comes up. We're a very conservative family. But when it comes to the issues, I start with questions that tend to bring silence, like if Democrats are for the poor, why are people still poor? And you can hear the silence in the room. Who will best serve as leader of this country? Do you want a steady hand in times of crisis and need or do you want to go with the unknown? With McCain, you may disagree with him, but you know where he stands. I'm not so sure you have that from the other side.

KING: There's going to be a lot of bashing that comes with it. But you have to -- you have to take it and you have to know where you stand. It doesn't really hurt. It just -- I mean I wish they got to this -- got to feel me and get my own opinion on politics. Just because Obama is -- and I have a lot of people, just because he's black, they're voting for him. I feel like that's not -- that's not right.

MCNEELY: My friends and family and I, we've have had debates. We've had conversations. But there's never been any disrespect. And I've found, in my experience with family, friends, co-workers, I've found that most people that I run into that are black, they are conservative. But for whatever reason...

SANCHEZ: They just don't know it?

MCNEELY: They just don't know it yet.

(LAUGHTER)

MCNEELY: And it just doesn't translate to a Republican vote, but we're going to work on that.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SANCHEZ: All right. We're going to be staying on top of the politics and we're also going to be staying on top of the market. It is taking a serious dive once again. Show the number, if you would.

Where is it -- 553.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: The Dow is taking a serious nose-dive. Yes, let's go ahead and highlight that. That's where it stands right now. It's down 643. And it has seen -- we have seen, I should say, no signs of it letting up, going in a southerly direction.

Obviously, we're going to stay on top of it. What have we got left here?

Thirteen minutes or so before the market closes. And, obviously, we're going to keep it at the bottom of the screen for you while we continue this newscast. All we can do is watch it at this point and hope that the government comes up with some policies to kind of change the difficult times that we might be going through.

Let's go to Drew Griffin now.

Drew Griffin, our investigative reporter, has been working on something that's extremely important to many Americans. And that is the possibility that there might be some -- well, some irregularities when it comes to voting in the next 30 days -- Drew, what did you find out?

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS UNIT: Rick they're calling it serious, serious voter registration fraud. That is from the bipartisan election board workers in Lake County, Indiana. Now, this is a heavily Democratic County -- Gary, Indiana, shuttered steel mills. It has a heavy minority population in its northern end. And that's where ACORN, the community organization group, went in there with the intent of registering 45,000 brand new voters.

Well, in the last few days, as the deadline to register voters ended, ACORN came in with 5,000 of those voter applications and presented them to the Lake County Elections Office.

But there was a surprise. Once the workers began starting to go through these 5,000 to look at the Social Security numbers, to verify signatures, addresses and calling back, they actually found one after another was fraudulent.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GRIFFIN: A lot of them?

RUTHANN HOAGLAND (R), LAKE COUNTY ELECTIONS BOARD: Fifty percent. We had close to 5,000 total from ACORN. And so far, we have identified about 2,100.

GRIFFIN: So roughly half of them...

HOAGLAND: Roughly half.

GRIFFIN: ...are bad?

HOAGLAND: Correct.

GRIFFIN: Registered to a dead person, registered as a person who lives at a fast food shop...

HOAGLAND: Yes, yes.

GRIFFIN: Or just all of them, amazingly, in the same hand?

HOAGLAND: Yes. Yes. All the signatures look exactly the same. Everything on the cards filled out looks just the same.

GRIFFIN: Ruthann, fraud?

HOAGLAND: We have no idea what the motive behind it is. It's just overwhelming to us.

GRIFFIN: Here's another ACORN filled out registration form. It's for Jimmy Johns (ph), 10839 Broadway in Crown Point. Jimmy Johns. We decided to track him down. Here he is.

Is there anybody here that's actually named Jimmy Johns? Nobody registered to vote here named Jimmy Johns?

SALLY LASOTA (D), LAKE COUNTY ELECTION BOARD: Both sides, Democrats and Republicans. For us, it's unfortunate. ACORN, with its intent, perhaps, was good to begin with, but unfortunately went awry somewhere. And these people, we don't know if truly they are registered or actually people who want to vote. They're mixed in with those, as you see, the dead they're trying to resurrect for elections. And that's sad. It really is.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GRIFFIN: Rick, they took those first 2,100, they went through and they found them all to be faulty. They took the whole batch, 5,000, set them aside. They're going to deal with them later, after they try to register the real people who registered to vote there in Lake County and want to vote in this election.

But they're really fearful they're not catching it all and this could lead to voter registration fraud -- could lead to actual voter fraud on election day.

SANCHEZ: This organization, ACORN, what are they saying? Have you had a chance to talk to them?

GRIFFIN: Yes. We've gotten bounced around quite a bit, but actually, Rick, just about 15 minutes ago, I did an interview with their attorney. The attorney is in Boston. They have registered some 1.3 million voters across the nation.

They're actually firing back at this, saying that these people in Lake County, election board women, are actually attacking ACORN and trying to suppress poor people from voting. Here's what Brian Mellor had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRIAN MELLOR, ACORN SENIOR COUNSELOR, PROJECT VOTE: We believe their purpose is to attack ACORN and suppress votes. We think that by attacking ACORN, that they are going to discourage people who may have registered with ACORN from voting. We think that this is an attack on ACORN because they want to suppress votes. They want to discourage us from doing the work that they should be doing. The state should be doing this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRIFFIN: No real explanation from Brian Mellor on how 2,100 applications -- fraudulent applications -- were turned in in the first place -- Rick.

SANCHEZ: All right. Drew Griffin, thanks for watching that for us.

As a matter of fact, we're going to make it an effort between now and election day to look for stories like those and follow up on them with some of our fine correspondents, like our investigative reporter, Drew Griffin.

Let's do this now. Let's go back to the market. Take that full, if you would, Rog (ph). This is not the kind of number that we wanted to see on a day like this. There's the big board. Let's zero in on that 614.

Doesn't this feel like -- have you ever been in a car -- those of you listening to this newscast at home -- have you ever gotten in your car in the morning and you try and turn it over and the engine won't start and you get that hmmm, hmmm, hmmm, hmmm, hmmm, but it just doesn't crank up?

It's almost like we've -- or at least the government has told us that they're trying to do all these things to try -- to crank it up, but it doesn't want to get going -- Susan Lisovicz, is that a good analogy?

LISOVICZ: Well, I would say you're in a car, you're on the top of a big hill and you've lost your brakes. That's what I would say happened in the last -- in the last hour, Rick. And what traders are telling me is that when the Dow went below 9,000 and the S&P 500, which is actually even more important, because so many of our 401(k) plans are tied to S&P -- what the S&P does, it went below a certain level. All these automatic sell programs kicked in and the selling has just accelerated.

Now, I know this is going to sound contrarian, but there's a lot of people on Wall Street that have been hoping for a ferocious sell- off -- I mean a really huge bloodbath, because they want to purge the system to a point where you can get to a level where the market can start to build again. And, frankly, a lot of people have been disappointed when it looked like we were going to have these earlier in the week and then the market rolled over a little bit. It looked like a little buying came in.

There's been a lot of frustration that given all of the shock treatment that the government is throwing at the credit market, that -- including the fact that they know -- you know, Paulson -- Secretary Paulson was saying yesterday, look, it's going to take time, banks are going to fail, it's going to take time, but this will work eventually -- that the market continues to sell off.

This, you know, Ali has been talking about capitulation.

I'm not sure it's the capitulation here. One of the reasons why, we just don't have the volume. It's Yom Kippur. There are a lot of participants who just simply are not here today.

SANCHEZ: I heard a trader yesterday being interviewed on NPR on my way home. And they asked him what were the most popular positions being taken today in that very building where you are, Susan. And that trader said two positions -- cash and fetal. So I guess that kind of sums up the situation there as far as many people...

LISOVICZ: Or sell. Or sell.

SANCHEZ: Yes. Or sell.

Hey, you know what I want to do, because it's not just the United States, it's the rest of the country that's being affected by this. I want to bring in Glenda Umana from CNN Espanol to give us a sense of whether this is spreading around the globe. We've heard Asia. We've heard in Europe that they're trying to come up with rescue packages, as well.

What's the effect in Latin America, just across the border?

GLENDA UMANA, CNN EN ESPANOL: Oh, certainly there is -- there has been a big effect. The governments of the different countries -- Peru, Chile, Argentina, Mexico -- all of them have been having meetings to take measures. Let me tell you the latest numbers. All of them are closing down, falling -- Mexico, 0.6 percent; Brazil, 3.14; Argentina, 2.84; Peru, for example, 8.43 percent down -- Rick.

SANCHEZ: Wow! One other thing I'm curious about -- the NASDAQ. We always talk about the big board. And Susan Lisovicz does such a good job of following that and keeping us abreast of what's going on there. But then there's also the small caps, right, the NASDAQ. Is it getting hammered, as well? Poppy Harlow, let's bring you into this.

POPPY HARLOW, ANCHOR, CNNMONEY.COM: Yes, Rick, this is getting hammered, down 4.7 percent on the Nasdaq right now. It's the worst hit index all year. You have small caps, like you said. And you have a lot of big technology stocks like Microsoft, Oracle, Cisco, Apple, Google. Those names have been hammered all year. And when we look at the last low for the Nasdaq, that is when the tech bubble burst. We were at 1114. Right now, we are at 1657. We're not that far away from that.

Now, it's a scary thought, when the tech bubble burst, the Nasdaq fell 40 percent. Right now it's down about 35 percent. That's what's going on here, a lot of overselling, people are saying, and really turning incredibly negative just in the last half an hour, just like you saw with the Dow -- Rick.

SANCHEZ: You know, while we were listening to Susan talk about this -- and what Susan seems to be saying is people are kind of looking forward to the bottom, because once you get to the bottom, you might possibly get the bounce.

HARLOW: But here's the problem -- no one can call a bottom.

SANCHEZ: Yes.

HARLOW: I heard traders tell me on Monday when we fell below 10000 that was a bottom. Then I heard a trader say yesterday 8500 is the bottom. And when you can't call the bottom, you have no confidence whatsoever and people sell-off vigorously.

SANCHEZ: Susan, is there any sign -- are there any indicators that might give us a clue as to when we might hit bottom on this thing?

LISOVICZ: Well, I mean, people who study these numbers all time say that between the volatility, which has been extreme, to say the least, the price declines -- there's something called a price to equity -- P/E ratios. It just means simply in these -- in this kind of selling that stocks are cheap historically.

And then the type of selling -- the point losses that we've been seeing -- that we could be near a bottom. The director of information at Standard & Poor's this week put out a few notes saying something to that effect. In fact, on this very day in 2002, it was the end of the last bear market. And during that time -- I have to look here quickly -- we saw, there was about 50 percent of the value of the S&P 500 was lost during that previous bear market.

And what he says is while that is -- that was more than where the S&P is down now, that the average in bear markets has been such that he could -- he says we're close to it. And a lot of the folks are saying we're close to it. Nobody can call the exact day. It's just that a lot of people think it's going to be soon.

SANCHEZ: Yes.

When was the last time -- I'm looking at not the top number -- and, by the way, the top number looks a little better now, thank goodness. We were in the -- well into the 600s a little while ago and now we're in the top -- low 500s. But the number under that, those of you at home, look at that other number, the 8751.

Does anybody know, Susan or Poppy, when was the last time we were around 87 in this country?

That's four or five years ago at least?

HARLOW: Yes. I think that the last time that were that low -- Susan, correct me if I'm wrong -- but I know here for the NASDAQ, we haven't been this low in a few years. In terms of the Dow, I don't know that we've been that low...

LISOVICZ: Five years.

HARLOW: Five years, right?

LISOVICZ: Five years, 2003.

SANCHEZ: 2003?

LISOVICZ: 2003. Yes.

SANCHEZ: So that's something, to look at the thing go that far the other way over a period of five years.

Is that something that happens in the market?

I mean, historically, these things happen, you get lows and highs?

HARLOW: Yes.

LISOVICZ: Well, yes. That's -- that is the beauty of the stock market, is that...

SANCHEZ: This deep, though? This deep a low? I mean this deep a valley, should I say?

HARLOW: We do sometimes. But what we want to remind people here, Rick, as they're watching this or watching their 401(k)s or watching everything, you don't want to sell on these lows. Hang with it.

SANCHEZ: All right.

Susan Lisovicz.

LISOVICZ: And the bull market lasts a lot longer than bear markets.

HARLOW: Yes.

LISOVICZ: They are painful, but they are much shorter historically.

SANCHEZ: A bull market lasts longer than a bear market. All right.

From you, Susan Lisovicz, Poppy Harlow, Glenda, thanks so much, all of you.

John Roberts is following things for us now in New York with "THE SITUATION ROOM" -- John, over to you.

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Not a pretty scene.

Thanks very much, Rick.

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