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Prejudiced Presidential Politics: How Will Race Affect Your Vote?; Economy Slowly Bouncing Back; Palin Said to Have Abused Her Power; McCain Stumps in Wilmington

Aired October 13, 2008 - 14:00   ET

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


KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: With an early bounce, as the markets open, can the Bush financial team keep all its balls in the air, and boost global confidence? And where does the average investor go from here?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GERALD MCENTEE, AMERICAN FED. OF STATE CO. & MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES: I can't vote for him because he's a black man. He's not one of us. Well, sisters and brothers, when you hear that, you know what you ought to say? This is what I say. That is (EXPLETIVE)!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: In several states they hope to turn blue, Democrats fear some voters could black ball Barack Obama. We'll take a look at prejudiced presidential politics.

Hello, everyone. I'm Kyra Phillips. You're live in CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta.

And you're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Just over three weeks until the presidential election and the candidates are out in force today. John McCain rallies voters in Wilmington, North Carolina, this hour. Sarah Palin stumps in Richmond, Virginia. Barack Obama campaigning right now in Toledo, Ohio. And Joe Biden is in Manchester, New Hampshire. CNN has the best political team on television and we're following it all.

OK, issue #1 for candidates, and for the rest of us, is the economy. It's a new day on Wall Street and maybe, just maybe a new direction. U.S. Stocks are higher today after a week of crippling losses. Now we can take a look at Wall Street. Hopefully it will keep its footing. Foreign markets also surged after a weekend of unprecedented global moves to free up cash and unfreeze credit. And European nations are pledging billions of dollars to prop up their banks and the Federal Reserve is pledging unlimited amounts to other central banks.

We're just a couple of hours away from the closing bell on Wall Street. Let's go ahead and check the Big Board. Right now, Dow industrials, it looks like they are up 548 points. That's where we stand right now. But where do we go from here? Susan Lisovicz at the New York Stock Exchange.

Help!

SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN FINANCIAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, you know, Kyra, you can open your eyes and look at the Big Board again. It's not so painful.

But to put this in perspective, coming off, Kyra, the worst week ever for the Dow industrials, and Friday the most volatile day ever with a 1,000-point swing. We had glimmers of hope, hope that there would be this coordinated effort from global financial leaders, the IMF, the G-7, the G-20, President Bush, and we got that. The market was rallying back, couldn't ultimately hold it going into the weekend. But what we have, since the opening bell, is a huge rally. So after the worst week ever, if we had the closing bell right now, this would be the biggest point gain ever for the Dow industrials. That's what volatility is all about.

Historically, you've also seen these dramatic bounce-backs after traumatic events. But this would not be the biggest percentage gain. Interestingly enough, Kyra, the biggest -- the 10 biggest percentage gains for the Dow all came either after the crash, during the Depression, or right after the '87 crash, which occurred in October, I might add.

So that's what volatility is all about. One trader said to me this afternoon, it was the buying opportunity of a lifetime. Investors have confidence, at least for today, and we'll see. Maybe this week, maybe, you know, more people will be saying we might have found -- maybe found a bottom. You know, the days to come will really give us a better indication of that. This is a banking holiday, after all, but a nice way to start the trading week, Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Amen. All right. Good news. Susan, thanks.

LISOVICZ: You're welcome.

PHILLIPS: There's much more to this financial crisis than Big Boards and trading floors, obviously, you credit, your home, and your job. Special Correspondent Frank Sesno is here to put things in perspective.

Hopefully. Frank, what else should we be looking at?

FRANK SESNO, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you've got it. You've got to start with your home, your job, your savings. We should be looking at small businesses, at big businesses. Big businesses like Chrysler, which may or may not survive. Small businesses, which have been enduring this credit crunch.

And if there is a small business out there, you know what I'm talking about. You're right at the edge anyway. You need that credit to keep coming through, until you get your next invoice out, and check in. Those businesses can be on the -- on the line, of course.

And then the really big question here, which none of this volatility, these incredible swings that Susan was just talking about, really addresses. And that's the value of real estate and homes. When do existing homes start selling again? When does the price settle down? When do new homes, and the construction industry, start picking up again? We haven't got a sense of that at all.

In fact, most of the experts say we haven't hit the bottom yet. If the stock market is a roller coaster, I'd say the rest of this, if I can smash my metaphors here, is a three-dimensional roller coaster.

PHILLIPS: Yes, it could even be more than three.

SESNO: Yes.

PHILLIPS: But, obviously, this is all going to play into the debate in two days. I know that a lot of Americans are going to be sitting back hoping to hear some good news, some sort of answers, some sort of definitive direction.

SESNO: It will be very interesting, Kyra, to see how these candidates are asked, and how they answer these questions. You know, in that speech that CNN was just carrying of Barack Obama; he's trying to connect a whole bunch of different policies and proposals to these various situations. So is McCain. Letting you have access to your -- part of your 401(k), holding off on your mortgage for a while, or renegotiating your mortgage. There are some other very big questions that these presidential candidates need to be asked.

How do they imagine, that they, and this country, are going to pay for all of this? What is the impact of adding these extra trillions of dollars to our already 11-plus trillion dollar debt? How is that going to affect America's standing in the world? America's leadership in the capital markets? The value and the strength of the dollar, trade and these other policies, way down the line? We're like this close to the woods right now. That's what we're watching on the Big Board. When we step back to see the forest for the trees, we can see just how deep the forest really is.

PHILLIPS: Frank Sesno, great to see you.

SESNO: As always, thank you, Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Frank mentioned that we just listened to Barack Obama, in Toledo, just few minutes ago. Now we want to take you live to Wilmington, North Carolina, where John McCain is holding his rally. Let's listen in.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

AUDIENCE: USA! USA! USA!

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Now, my friends, three -- thank you. Three weeks from now, a little over three weeks from now -- who's counting? You will choose a new president. Choose well. There's much at stake. There is much at stake, my friends.

I'd like to give you a little straight talk here, to precede our conversation. These are hard times. Our economy is in crisis. Financial markets are collapsing. Credit is drying up. Your savings are in danger. Your retirement is at risk. Jobs are disappearing. The cost of health care, your children's college, gasoline, and groceries are rising all the time, with no end in sight, while your most important asset, your home, is losing value every day.

Americans are fighting in two wars. We face many enemies in this dangerous world. And they -- they're waiting to see if our current troubles will permanently weaken us. The next president won't have time to get used to the office. He won't have the luxury of studying up on the issues before he acts. He will have to act immediately, and to do that he will need experience, courage, judgment, and a bold plan of action to take this country in a new direction.

(APPLAUSE)

We can't spend the next four years much the way we've spent the last eight, waiting for our luck to change. The hour is late. The troubles are getting worse. Our enemies watch. We have to act immediately. We have to change direction now. We have to fight, and we will fight, my friends.

(APPLAUSE)

I've been fighting for this country since I was 17 years old. And I have the scars to prove it. I have the scars to prove it.

(APPLAUSE)

I have the scars to prove it. If I'm elected president, I will fight to take America in a new direction from my first day in office, until my last. I'm not afraid of the fight. I'm ready for it.

(APPLAUSE)

I'm not going to spend $700 billion of your money just bailing out the Wall Street bankers and brokers who got us into this mess. I'm going to make sure we take care of the people who were devastated by the excesses of Wall Street and Washington. I'm going to spend a lot of that money bringing relief to you. And I'm not going to wait 60 days to start doing it. I have -- (APPLAUSE)

I have a plan to protect the value of your home and get it rising again by buying up these bad mortgages and refinancing them. So if your neighbor defaults, he doesn't bring down the value of your house with it.

I have a plan to let retirees and people nearing retirement keep their money in their retirement accounts longer, so they can rebuild their savings. I have a plan to rebuild the retirement savings of every worker. I have a plan to hold the line on taxes and cut them to make America more competitive.

(APPLAUSE)

And create jobs at home. You know, my friends, it's a fundamental fact that raising taxes makes a bad economy much worse. Keeping taxes low creates jobs, keeps money in your hands, and strengthens our economy. The explosion of government spending over the last eight years has put us deeper in debt to foreign countries that don't have our best interests at heart. It weakened the dollar and made everything you buy more expensive.

If I'm elected president, I won't spend nearly a trillion dollars more of your money on top of the $700 billion we just gave the Treasury secretary, as Senator Obama proposes that we do, because he can't do that without raising your taxes or digging us further into debt. I'm going to make government live on a budget just like you do.

(APPLAUSE)

My friends, these call for significant action and difficult and terrible times. I'll freeze government spending on all but the most important programs --

(APPLAUSE)

-- on all but the most important programs, like defense, veteran's care, Social Security and health care, until we scrub every single government program and get rid of the ones that aren't working for the American people, and I'll veto every single pork barrel bill that comes across my desk.

You'll know their names. I will make them famous.

(APPLAUSE)

If I'm elected president, I won't fine small businesses and families with children, as Senator Obama proposes, to force them into a huge new government-run health care program. I won't (ph) keep the costs of the fine a secret until I hit you with it. I'll bring the skyrocketing costs of health care with competition and choice to lower your premiums, and make it more available to more Americans and I'll make sure that you can keep the same health plan if you change jobs, or leave a job to stay home. I will provide --

(APPLAUSE)

I will provide every single American with a $5,000 refundable tax credit to help them purchase insurance. Workers who already have care insurance from their employers will keep it and have more money to cover costs. Workers who don't have health insurance can use it to find a policy anywhere in this country to meet their basic needs. If I'm elected president, I won't raise taxes on small businesses as Senator Obama proposes --

(APPLAUSE)

-- and force them to cut jobs. I'll keep small business taxes where they are, help them keep their costs low, and let them spend their earnings to create more jobs. If I'm elected president, I won't make it harder to sell our goods overseas and kill more jobs as Senator Obama proposes. I'll open new markets to goods made in America --

(APPLAUSE)

And make sure that our trade is free and fair. I'll make sure we help workers who've lost a job that won't come back to find a new one, that won't go away. The last president, my friends, to raise taxes and restrict trade in a bad economy, as Senator Obama proposes, was a guy named Herbert Hoover. That didn't turn out too well. We went into a Great Depression. They say those who don't learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.

Well, my friends, I know my history lessons, and I sure won't make the mistakes that Senator Obama will.

(APPLAUSE)

If I'm elected president, we're going to stop sending $700 billion to countries that don't like us very much. I won't argue to delay drilling for more -- more oil and gas and building new nuclear power plants in America, as Senator Obama does.

(APPLAUSE)

We will start drilling now. We'll invest in all energy alternatives. Nuclear, wind, solar, and tide. By the way, do you know how much of the nuclear equipment and parts and for the future of our nuclear power across America is made right here in North Carolina? 100 percent of GE, my friend -- Richard Burke (ph).

My friends, but we need nuclear, wind, solar, and tide. We'll encourage the manufacturer of hybrid, flex fuel and electric automobiles. We'll invest in clean coal technology. We will lower --

(APPLAUSE)

-- we will lower the cost of energy within months, and we will create millions of new jobs in this country.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, let me give you some straight talk again, my friends. Let me give you the state of the race today. We have 22 days to go. We're 6 points down. The national media has written us off. Senator Obama is measuring the drapes, and planning with Speaker Pelosi and Senator Reid to raise taxes, increase spending to raise taxes, to increase spending and take away your right to vote by secret ballot in labor elections, and concede defeat in Iraq. You know?

But they forgot to let you decide, my friends.

(APPLAUSE)

My friends, we've got them just where we want them. What American needs in this hour is a fighter. Somebody who puts all his cards on the table --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need a hero!

MCCAIN: And trust the judgment of the American people.

(APPLAUSE)

AUDIENCE: John McCain! John McCain! John McCain! John McCain! John McCain! John McCain! John McCain! John McCain! John McCain!

MCCAIN: I come from a long line of McCains who believe that to love America is to fight for her. I have fought --

(APPLAUSE)

-- I have fought for you most of my life. There are other ways to love this country, but I've never been the kind to do it from the sidelines. I know you're worried. America is a great country. But we're at a moment of national crisis that will determine our future. Will we continue to lead the world's economies, or will we be overtaken? Will the world become safer or more dangerous? Will our military remain the strongest in the world? Will our children and grandchildren's future be brighter than ours?

My answer to you, is yes. Yes, we will lead. Yes, we will prosper. Yes, we will be faithful. Yes!

(APPLAUSE)

Yes, we will pass on to our children a stronger, better country. But we must be prepared to act swiftly, boldly, with courage, and with wisdom. I know what fear feels like. It's a thief in the night who robs your strength. I know what hopelessness feels like. It's an enemy who defeats your will. I felt those things once before. I will never let them in again. And I'm an American --

(APPLAUSE)

-- And I'm an American, and I choose to fight. Don't give up hope. Be strong. Have courage and fight.

(APPLAUSE)

Fight for a new direction for our country. Fight for what's right for America. Fight to clean up the mess of corruption, in fighting and selfishness in Washington. Fight to get our economy out of the ditch and back in the lead. Fight for the ideals and character of a free people. Fight for our children's future. Fight for justice and opportunity for all. Stand up to defend our country from its enemies. Stand up, stand up, stand up and fight.

(APPLAUSE)

America is worth fighting for. Nothing is inevitable here. We never give up. We never quit.

(APPLAUSE)

We never hide from history. We make history.

Thank you. God bless you. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

PHILLIPS: Whether it's Barack Obama in Toledo, Ohio today, or right here in Wilmington, North Carolina with John McCain, both of them rallying the troops, their various supporters, just -- gosh. Not long before we all have to go to the polls and vote for the president.

The issue of race in the battle for the White House, will Barack Obama's skin color really matter when voters mark their ballots? That's what we'll talk about next and find out how that issue is playing out in the big battleground state of Ohio.

Also, battleground states are expected to decide the race for the White House. So, how are things shaping up? We're going to get the latest poll numbers from our Bill Schneider.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: The final face-off. John McCain and Barack Obama meet Wednesday night in their third and final presidential debate. What is it looking like in the big toss-up state that we keep hearing about? Our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider, joins us now from Hempstead, New York, the scene of Wednesday night's debate.

So, Bill, let's talk about Pennsylvania, and how the race is shaping up there right now.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Looks pretty good for Obama right now in Pennsylvania. Their latest CNN Poll of Polls shows Obama with a 12-point lead. Obama averages 52 percent in the latest Pennsylvania polls. McCain, 40 percent with 8 percent undecided; at 52 percent, it means the undecided vote doesn't matter because he's got a majority of the vote. We put Pennsylvania in the likely Obama category.

PHILLIPS: All right. Let's talk Ohio. The race there, it's tight.

SCHNEIDER: It is. That's a different story. In Ohio, our latest Poll of Polls has the race very close. Obama just 2 points up, Obama averaging 48 percent; McCain, 46, with a fairly large unsure vote, again, 8 percent. They will, of course, make the difference in Ohio. So we're keeping Ohio in the toss-up category.

PHILLIPS: All right. Let's talk about the electoral map and how it's shaping up.

SCHNEIDER: The electoral map has Obama ahead, but not quite over the top at this point. Look at the map and you can see that in states that are almost certain, that are solid or likely to vote for Obama, there are a total of 264 electoral votes. It takes 270 to win. So he's very, very close to getting that 270 majority.

McCain, we have at 174 electoral votes in states where he's likely or that are solidly for John McCain. So he's 90 electoral votes behind. And there are still 100 toss-up states out there in states like Ohio -- toss-up electoral votes in states like Ohio that are too close to call.

PHILLIPS: Bill Schneider, thanks.

There's no better place to catch Wednesday night's final debate between John McCain and Barack Obama, right here on CNN. Don't miss a minute of the action. CNN, your home for politics with the best political team on television.

White voters casting their ballot for Barack Obama it is expected to happen a lot on election day, but Obama supporters are also worried about a big hurdle that he might have to face -- racism.

CNN's chief national correspondent, John King, reports from Columbus, Ohio.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're calling all of our fellow union members and retirees around the state.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sometimes they hear it on the other end of the call.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can I ask you how you're planning to vote in the upcoming presidential election?

KING: Or in rural Portsmouth, Obama supporter Jean Carlson says it may come up after church, or in conversations over lunch.

JEAN CARLSON, OBAMA SUPPORTER: I think it's an undercurrent. I think it's sad, but I think it's still an undercurrent here.

KING: An undercurrent of racism, a reluctance or refusal to support Barack Obama because of the color of his skin.

RANDY BASHEM, SCIOTO CO., OHIO DEMOCRATIC CHMN.: It's basically, comes down to that. It's something Appalachian. It's probably the hardest place in the state of Ohio, because, you know, the -- the population of the black vote here in southern Ohio is probably 2 percent.

KING: In Ohio and several other major battlegrounds, the race issue is an urgent focus as increasingly optimistic Democrats and their allies confront what many believe is the last potential barrier to victory.

MCENTEE: You know when it gets real bad. It's real bad -- and they never -- they'll never look you in the eye. Well, I -- I can't vote for him.

KING: At this labor rally in Cleveland, the union leader Gerry McEntee's frustration spill into the open.

MCENTEE: And this doesn't even come out in code. It comes out like this. I can't vote for him because he's a black man. He's not one of us. Well, sisters and brothers, when you hear that, you know what you ought to say? This is what I say. That is (EXPLETIVE DELETED) That is total, absolute (EXPLETIVE DELETED)!

KING: The AFL-CIO promises a $200 million election effort, 70 million phone calls to union households, 25 million mail pieces, many of them featuring white working class voters vouching for Obama, others rebutting rumors he won't wear a flag pin or isn't a Christian.

MCENTEE: You go and you talk to a -- a member and I talked to some. Do you support Barack Obama? You know his record. His record is good for working men and women. Jerry, I know, I like you, but he's a Muslim. Barack Obama is a Muslim.

But he's not even a Muslim. He's a Christian.

KING: Democrats across Ohio say increasingly troubling economic news is turning more and more voters against McCain and the Republicans.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a critical election. It is. It's frightening right now.

KING: But they concede much of the support for Obama is soft. It's one reason Democrats are more aggressively addressing the race issue and encouraging early voting among union members and others they worry might change their minds.

John King, CNN, Columbus, Ohio.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PHILLIPS: 2:31 Eastern time right now. Here are some of the stories that we're working on in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Twenty-two days until Election Day. Barack Obama, John McCain and their running mates are all out campaigning today. And you can bet that they'll be on a virtually nonstop run until November 4th. McCain and Obama face off in their third and final presidential debate on Wednesday.

A flare-up in north of Los Angeles. Strong Santa Ana winds are fanning a wildfire that's burned more than 3,500 acres in the Angeles National Forest. One fire official says that the flames have started to push toward the city.

And a pilot and a TV news photographer are dead after their helicopter crashed today just outside of Houston. That crew worked for CNN affiliate, KTRK. We're heading to the scene -- they were heading actually to a shooting scene when the chopper went down. No word on the cause of that crash yet.

And politically it may be the year of the woman. Still, female voters are just as split as the rest of the country. We're going to hear from some women in the key toss-up state of Ohio.

And Governor Sarah Palin says she has been cleared of any wrong doing in the firing of the Alaska public safety commissioner. So what, if any, trouble is she in for violating state ethics laws? We'll talk about it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: Well, fires at both ends of California. Up in San Francisco Bay part of the Angel Island State Park has been burning since last night. About 250 acres scorched so far. It's all brush, no buildings. And to the south, Santa Ana winds have been stirring up trouble about 20 miles from downtown Los Angeles. A wildfire has burned some 3,500 acres and forced people who live close by to pack up and leave. A second fire broke out just a short time ago in the Porter Ranch area. So far, there are no reports of any serious injuries.

And in South America, heavy rains have forced hundreds of families in northeast Colombia to leave their homes. Three people have been reported killed in that flooding, and the infrastructure in hundreds of towns and villages has taken a real beating from all of that water. It looks like another tropical storm is cranking up. Chad Myers is keeping an eye on it for us.

Hey, Chad.

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Hi, Kyra.

We had Nana, N-A-N-A, a tropical storm over the weekend. That really has fizzled out here in the Atlantic Ocean, just way too much wind out there for it to survive. But another one right here, number 15, just numbered there. It could be, as we get into N then we go to O, so that would be Omar. Then there's actually another potential storm a little farther to the west of there, over here by Nicaragua. That could be Paloma. Have to look at all these one after another. Still not too cold in October to make these especially down here in the Caribbean where the water is the warmest.

Nana looks like it's going to fizzle out -- going to be about tomorrow night -- 30-mile-per-hour storm and then done.

Farther to the west, though, the next storm, this 15 could make a real run at Puerto Rico. Not probably as a hurricane, but very close. But a rain-maker and a potential flood-maker here for Puerto Rico as it runs on up toward the north. Remember, now, the cone is still left to right from there, but not making a run at the U.S., the coastal U.S., 48 states here of the U.S., whatsoever.

Now if we move a little bit farther to the west of there, talking about this wind. Different wind, different completely. But I want you to know that this wind, Kyra, is going to pick up tonight. After sunset the winds pick up. If there is a smoke plume over your home right now, or if you look up, or you can smell smoke, you are in danger of -- tonight -- of maybe a spark flying downwind. You need to be very careful of this. Now if it is way above you, you can't really even see it or smell it, you're probably OK.

But there are many people in the L.A. basin there that could see a spark come down. It only takes one to get another fire that goes downwind a mile or another mile, or another mile, and then all of a sudden you've got a firestorm that you can't control. So this is a good night to watch out. The winds are going to be 40 to 50 miles per hour tonight.

PHILLIPS: All right, Chad, thanks.

MYERS: You bet.

PHILLIPS: Well it's the latest entry in the stuff your face sweepstakes. Pizza, pizza, and more pizza. Remember her? You would not believe how much pizza she could eat. How many slices could you eat? Well, hold the extra cheese, please.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: Wall Street is getting a bailout, but House Democrats say that average Americans should, too. They're putting together a new economic stimulus plan that could cost up to $150 billion. Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the package will somewhat resemble an earlier plan passed by the House but rejected by the Senate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), HOUSE SPEAKER: A recovery package is needed. It may have to be larger than the one we passed in the House in light of the events that had transpired since we had our legislative action on the floor. But, our recovery package will contain some of the same goals: to rebuild America, to provide relief for the middle class, to encourage consumer confidence, and to have regulatory reform by rewriting the rules for financial institutions.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: Critics say this is not the time for government to shell out another 150 billion bucks. And House Republican leader John Boehner says that the plan does nothing to stabilize the economy in the long-term.

Now we're also getting a progress report today on the U.S. government's massive bailout plan. The man in charge is big on goals but light on details. Neel Kashkari is overseeing the rescue funded by 700 billion of your taxpayer dollars. He told a banker's group today the government is trying to nail down guidelines for buying bad assets from banks and had consulted with law firms on how to take partial ownership of troubled banks.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEEL KASHKARI, ASST. TREASURY SECRETARY: Addressing this problem should enable our banks to begin lending again. Our nation has successfully worked through every economic challenge that we have faced and we are confident that this new program will help us to overcome these challenges as well.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: So who is this guy?

Neel Kashkari is just 35. And as a high schooler in Ohio, he loved heavy metal bands like AC/DC. He comes from a family of scientists. He got a masters in engineering and worked as an aerospace engineer. He then decided to change careers and go to, yes, business school. He was hired on at Goldman Sachs, later followed former CEO Henry Paulson right to the Treasury Department.

The economic headlines keep on coming. The Federal Reserve has OK'd Wells Fargo's multi-billion dollar buyout of Wachovia. But Wells Fargo's stockholders still have to OK the deal. It was valued at more than $15 billion when it was announced less than two weeks ago. It has since dropped $4 billion after Wachovia's stock plunged. Citigroup had been competing to take over part of Wachovia but scraped its efforts last week. It still plans to seek damages for breach of contract.

And some businesses are reaping benefits from the nation's financial fears thanks to customers looking for a bargain. Many big discount stores like Wal-Mart and Costco are reporting a sharp increase in sales, especially for low-priced groceries, clothes, and other necessities. Thrift stores and consignment shops also say business is booming. One new Good Will store in Chicopee, Massachusetts, had been opened for less than 24 hours Friday when customer lines reached nearly outside the doors.

Uncertain times here and overseas. We're going to look at some banking customers. Now they're putting their money -- the answer might surprise you where they're actually putting it.

So what do women want politically? There's no solid voting bloc here, a fact that emerged during Hillary Clinton's campaign and one that's become crystal clear in these weeks since Sarah Palin joined the race.

CNN's Carol Costello reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: If election 2008 has taught us anything it's that women do not speak with one voice. They have as many differing opinions as they do styles. But perhaps no two women illustrate that point better than the differing opinions Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton inspire, parodied so flawlessly by "Saturday Night Live."

TINA FEY, ACTRESS, PLAYING GOV. SARAH PALIN, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE": Hillary and I don't agree on --

AMY POEHLER, ACTRESS, PLAYING SEN. HILLARY CLINTON, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE": Anything.

COSTELLO: But in middle America, near Youngstown, Ohio, it's more than style.

TRACEY WINBUSH, OHIO VOTER: Hillary never showed her feminine side and that makes a difference. She could hang with the big boys but she couldn't go bake cookies.

COSTELLO: That's important to Palin's Ohio supporters. Her look, her family, her way of talking validates their own lives.

LISA LOTZE, OHIO VOTERS: I think for women that work very hard at being a mother and a wife and support in their community, that she has set the standard for it.

COSTELLO: Clinton supporters who come from the same Ohio roots clearly see Palin in a different light.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: We will do --

COSTELLO: They cite Clinton's edge and her intelligence as examples that women can be as smart and tough as any man, and Hillary Clinton doesn't need to soften her appeal by using her femininity.

CLINTON: -- go onto the White House.

LUCKY BECKETT, OHIO VOTER: I was very much for Hillary because I thought she was seasoned and she knew what she was doing.

COSTELLO: They see Palin as a pretender.

KATHERINE KAHN, OHIO VOTER: I don't feel she has any experience. And part of me is a bit appalled that she's being tossed up as a viable female candidate.

COSTELLO: But experience isn't what Palin supporters put first on the list. Her conservative social agenda, especially her opposition to abortion rights, is tops.

JOANNE BRAFHEN, OHIO VOTER: I think that we need people that are going to take a stand on that and try to get America on a more moral path.

COSTELLO: Ohio Clintonites obviously see abortion rights in a very different light. The only thing both Palin women and Clinton women see eye-to-eye on, is that if Palin isn't elected to the White House, we really don't know where women go from here.

WINBUSH: The right to vote suffers for the change for women, not for a woman. When is the next woman going to be -- have this opportunity? Is it going to be next year, or is it going to be 10 years?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COSTELLO: And Kyra, the only sure thing I found out from all of this is that Clinton supporters don't support Palin and Palin supporters don't support Clinton. So if John McCain was hoping to lure Clinton supporters over by putting Palin on his ticket, by and large, it did not work.

PHILLIPS: Well, what's the -- the skirt/pantsuit effect? Is there one?

COSTELLO: You know, oddly enough there is, and it sounds silly, but you know, sometimes image is important. And those who support Palin really like the fact that Sarah Palin wears skirts and disliked the fact that Hillary Clinton wears pantsuits because in their mind it shows Sarah Palin is not afraid of being both strong and feminine.

PHILLIPS: So what are you wearing?

COSTELLO: I'm wearing pants.

PHILLIPS: But you know what? I know you're strong and feminine. I've spent plenty of time with you, Carol Costello.

All right, thank you, my friend.

COSTELLO: Sure.

PHILLIPS: We have lots to talk about with Senator Hillary Clinton. Matter of fact, tomorrow she's going to join us live on CNN's "AMERICAN MORNING." Kiran Chetry and John Roberts go on the air every day at 6:00 Eastern. You want to catch that interview with Hillary Clinton tomorrow.

Vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin denying a legislative report that she abused her power as governor of Alaska. It's a complicated case that mixes family with state business, and begs a simple question: what now? CNN legal analyst, Sunny Hostin, here to cut through all the clutter. Sunny is a former federal prosecutor in Washington, now managing director of an investigative unit at a risk consulting firm.

Sunny, what were the conclusions of the investigation?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it was pretty significant. They concluded that she did abuse her power. And I know that there have been many reports saying that she was cleared of all wrong-doing, and that just really isn't the case. Certainly that isn't how I read it.

The report found -- and it was 263-pages, so certainly very thorough -- and the report found, Kyra, that she violated the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act. And I think what's important to note is that compliance with ethics really is not something that you can decide not to do. It is something that you have to do by law. And there are things that can now happen to the governor because they did find that she did not -- did not -- comply with her ethical obligation.

One, she could be censured by the legislature. She could also be censured -- or action could be taken against her by the personnel board of Alaska. And we know that that board is also investigating this matter. Also, the Senate president could also weigh in on this and possibly weigh in with disciplinary action.

And then finally, perhaps the attorney general of Alaska can get involved.

So this by no means is a clearance of any wrong-doing. And certainly I think, Kyra, we're going to see more happen to the governor as a result of this report.

PHILLIPS: Could she actually be fired, impeached?

HOSTIN: You know, of course that is always an option. I don't think that that's going to happen. And certainly I don't think that anything is going to happen by the election in this case.

But one thing I want to mention that was fascinating to me was the extent of Todd Palin's involvement in this. And I have to say the report was very, very clear that Todd Palin was extremely involved. And, interestingly enough, when Monegan, the public safety commissioner that was fired, was called into the governor's office, it was Todd Palin that met him and not -- not the governor.

And so we also know that Todd Palin called up to maybe 20, 23 times certain government officials. He was very active in this. And so I think the question now is not so much, who is Sarah Palin, but who is Todd Palin?

PHILLIPS: Well, and that's interesting if you look at it from a legal perspective because I remember when the story was first being talked about, and I remember investigating it while I was there at the very beginning. And members of the McCain campaign said, look, she didn't make any calls. She didn't have any conversations. Nothing was really brought up about Todd Palin's involvement. So it's interesting to see how this played out because -- is it as strong as, let's say she did have the -- the direct talks, is that just as strong as her husband having the direct talks because it's her husband and he was in there, in her office?

HOSTIN: Well, it's very interesting because the report found that she also had some direct talks and also made certain phone calls. But the report says that Todd Palin acted on his own, not necessarily on her behalf. But Kyra --

PHILLIPS: OK.

HOSTIN: -- we remember early on that he was saying -- claiming some sort of executive privilege. And he has sort of claimed that in a sense by saying his conversations with the governor are protected.

One thing that I have to mention, in his subpoena response, he says: "I've heard criticism that I'm too involved with my wife's administration. My wife and I are very close. We are best friends. And like most couples talk about our jobs, we talk about our jobs."

And so I have to say he makes no apologies for his involvement. And it's something that we have to look at if she is just a -- if she wins or McCain wins and she's a heartbeat away from the presidency, we may see a very, very active first husband.

PHILLIPS: Wow. Interesting. It will be interesting to follow.

Sunny Hostin, always looking for interesting things for you to talk about from a legal perspective. Here's the mail bag -- Sunny's mail bag. If you've got an idea, if you've got questions, legal questions, you want to send in an e-mail, I think we've got -- do we have -- I was told we had the graphic.

OK, we don't have it. I apologize.

Quickly, Sunny, what is your e-mail?

HOSTIN: It's sunnyslaw.com -- sunnyslaw@cnn.com.

PHILLIPS: Sunnyslaw@cnn.com. There we go.

Thanks so much, Sunny.

HOSTIN: Thanks.

PHILLIPS: Well it's a reversal in Indiana (sic), a rupee reversal in India -- sorry. People there are going old-school, or should I say old bank. But is their money any safer? We'll take you inside.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: Well on Wall Street, a stunning eight-session selloff looks like it could come to a dramatic end today. Susan Lisovicz is at the New York Stock Exchange with a look at the relief rally.

Boy, we haven't said that in a while.

LISOVICZ: And boy, what a relief it's bringing, right, Kyra, after the past few weeks?

Last week was one for the history books because of the losses. Earlier today, the Dow posted its biggest intraday point gain on record. Bulls still have a lot of ground to make up. Nearly $2.5 trillion in paper losses for the broader market that just vanished in five trading days. But today, investors are encouraged by announcements from U.S. and European officials aimed at unfreezing the frozen credit markets.

Here in the U.S., the Fed is lending an unlimited amount of dollars to three central banks overseas. Meanwhile, the British government is pumping more than $60 billion into three of its biggest banks. In about -- well I guess, actually, at the top of the hour, the heads of leading banks will meet with Treasury Secretary Paulson.

The efforts come as Morgan Stanley gets a $9 billion investment. One of Japan's biggest banks buying a 21 percent stake in the firm. News sending Morgan shares up 85 percent. And even with that boost, they're only $17 a share. They were trading at 68 within the past year.

Let's take a look real quick. The Dow right now at the close, biggest point gain ever, up 553 points or 6.5 percent. The Nasdaq is up 7 percent.

We'll see what the final witching hour brings us, Kyra.

PHILLIPS: OK. Keep our fingers crossed.

LISOVICZ: You got it.

PHILLIPS: Well after watching mega banks in the U.S. and Europe fold or teeter on the brink, customers in India are moving their money, opting for the less glitzy state banks over commercial ones. But even that involves some sacrifice.

Here's our Sara Sidner.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Situated on a cramped side street, this centuries old bank isn't exactly inviting. Inside, the paint is peeling and the floor is cracked.

AKASH CHANDRA, NEW CUSTOMER: I came here. I was shocked.

SIDNER: But while it doesn't appeal to the eye, it's winning the trust and money of more and more customers due to the global financial meltdown.

CHANDRA: I feel that this money is definitely -- I think this money is safer in the state bank.

SIDNER: Akash Chandra recently closed all his accounts at a commercial bank and put his cash here into one of India's nationalized banks. There's a sudden wave of money shifting due to fear and rumors the private banks with international ties may suddenly go under, even though the commercial banks and the government in India have tried to reassure their customers their money is safe.

(on camera): India has been criticized for having one of the most heavily regulated banking systems in the world. But now those very regulations are making customers feel safer about coming to state banks and depositing all of their money.

(voice-over): Those regulations, which some say have hurt India's growth potential, have kept the nationalized banks from taking on toxic debt that is bankrupting other banks in the West.

AVENSH GUPTA, BANK MANAGER: We are not allowed to do speculating in this bank without (INAUDIBLE) approval of our regulators (INAUDIBLE).

SIDNER (on camera): So no bad loans?

GUPTA: No bad loans. SIDNER (voice-over): Bank manager, Avensh Gupta, says these days, twice as many customers are coming in to open new accounts.

But some Indians say there is a price to pay at state banks. Sometimes a couple of hours wait just to do simple transactions.

I.S. SHAH, COMMERCIAL BANK CUSTOMER: It takes time to get the money. You have to be in the cue. Then they go and verify your signatures. Then they again ask you questions. Again verify it. It is a hassle. But they are to do their formalities, whatever they have to.

SIDNER: And so, I.S. Shah is sticking with his commercial bank.

But rumors and fear are sending a flurry of his countrymen out the door, saying for now, they'll trade convenience for peace of mind.

Sara Sidner, CNN, New Delhi.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: Well, if this guy kind of looks familiar, maybe you saw him about three months ago shoving hot dogs in his face. Yes, it's competitive eating great, Joey "Jaws" Chestnut. And the Nathan's hot dog champ has crossed over to pizza. He won it. 45 pieces in 10 minutes.

Burp.

Well, with all this talk about bear markets, here's a more friendly fella, and our favorite story of the day. Paddington the Bear turning 50. His toggle coat in tact, Wellingtons well-worn and his paws still sticky with marmalade, the lovable fictional stowaway from Peru first captivated readers in 1958. Now 81-year-old author, Michael Bond creating new stories for the refugee bear as an illegal immigrant in the post 9/11 world. He apparently faces some immigration problems in the UK. Vaughn says don't worry, though, it all ends well.

Rick Sanchez takes it from here.