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Debates Are Over: Who Came Out on Top?; How Will Wall Street React Today?

Aired October 16, 2008 - 09:00   ET


HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Beyond debate. The face-to-face match-ups are over. Now look for more long-distance attacks in the home stretch.
Did either candidate get a push after last night's debate?

And which way on Wall Street? The Dow's 700-point dive may be followed by a bounce back. Our focus on your Monday -- money, I should say.

It's Thursday, in fact, October 16th. I'm Heidi Collins. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: One of the things that, I think, we have to recognize is pursuing the same kinds of policies that we pursued over the last eight years is not going to bring down the deficit and, frankly, Senator McCain voted for four out of five of President Bush's budgets.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Senator Obama, I am not President Bush. If you wanted to run against President Bush, you should have run four years ago. I am going to give a new direction to this economy in this country.


COLLINS: A feisty face-off that saw both candidates staying on message and leveling charges. Senator John McCain was on the attack from the word go. Senator Barack Obama holding his ground and firing back.

Take a look inside at the CNN/Opinion Research Poll taken right after the debate. 58 percent of those who watched it think Senator Obama won, 31 percent think Senator John McCain performed better.

Lots of talk. A lot of ground covered from the economy to negative campaigning. And there are 19 more days to go in the presidential race.

CNN's Candy Crowley in New York for us this morning to talk a little bit more about this.

We'd love some debate perspective. I mean I think a lot of people agree, don't you, that this was the best debate so far. CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It really was. First of all, because there was an exchange between the two of them. Second of all, because it was pretty stark in terms of here's your choice.

You know, Heidi, I've worked so many campaigns where you talk to people in the crowd and they go, you know what, I don't see much difference between these two guys. And basically, John McCain and Barack Obama couldn't be more different in either personality or in substance.

And I think that came through very clearly last night. What the choice was for those undecided voters and the soft voters as they call them as they watched this debate. I think the questions were good because it evoked somewhat different answers and got them out of their lanes, off their talking points.

So, absolutely, it was an issue, say, it was the feistiest and perhaps that's not all that surprising given that it is the last one. And certainly for John McCain, the last one when he had such a big audience to talk to, to try to kind of move the momentum game and switch it to him rather than Barack Obama.

COLLINS: So 2 1/2 weeks to go, 19 days as we can see on our countdown clock, our calendar, the bottom of the screen there. A lot can still happen. What does each candidate need to be focusing on now?

CROWLEY: Well, I think a couple of things. Barack Obama needs to be steady as she goes. But he has to be really careful not to look overconfident. That can come across really badly. So while he leads in the polls, I expect if the pass is prologue, and it hasn't always been in this election, but if it works out that way you will see some tightening in the polls.

And if people begin to think, well, it's done. Maybe they wake up on Election Day and go, I don't really need to go because it's all over. The flip side of that, of course, is for John McCain because there are people who say they are still undecided. And he needs to make sure the people don't think it's over, that he's lost, because they begin to tune out.

And he really needs those people, again, the soft voters, the undecided voters, to pay attention to him and give him a second look.

COLLINS: All right. CNN's Candy Crowley, as always, appreciate your perspective. As we said, 19 more days to go.


COLLINS: In fact, one week ago now he was just an average Joe. An ordinary plumber in northwestern Ohio. You know his face now, don't you? Joe Wurzelbacher ran into Barack Obama. And now he's come to symbolize the every man, at least for the candidates.

They brought up his name more than 10 times last night. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCCAIN: Fifty percent of small business income tax is -- taxes are paid by small businesses. That's 16 million jobs in America. And what you want to do to Joe the Plumber and millions more like him is have their taxes increased and not be able to realize the American dream.

OBAMA: The conversation I had with Joe the Plumber, what I essentially said to him was, five years ago, when you weren't in a position to buy your business, you needed a tax cut then. And what I want to do is to make sure that the plumber, the nurse, the firefighter, the teacher, the young entrepreneur who doesn't yet have money, I want to give them a tax break now.


COLLINS: Joe the Plumber said he was pretty surprised to hear his name mentioned in the debate but happy it helped the candidates get their points across.

Also sharing their thoughts, CNN iReporters. We're going to be showing you some of those. It's not too late to contribute, by the way. Just go to and send us your take on the final debate.

More market volatility. Is this Groundhog Day? Japan's stock market dropping a breathtaking 11 percent. It's the Nikkei's biggest one-day drop since the stock market crash of October 1987.

Well, so what you say? Well, Japan's prime minister blames the U.S. bailout plan saying it's not enough. U.S. investors showing their stress yesterday with another big sell-off. The Dow lost 733 points. That's 8 percent of its value.

So what's going to happen with your money today? We, of course, will go live to Wall Street for the opening bell. That will happen about 25 minutes from now.

What now? Seems to be the question every day. And we wonder, does it change every day, too? Want to take a look at the big picture now with CNN's Christine Romans in New York.

First off, Christine, some news just in about Social Security benefits. Tell us why this is important.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is important because 55 million people who get a Social Security check every month will see that Social Security check go up next year by 5.8 percent. This is the annual cost of living adjustment.

And the Social Security administration says that that benefit, which is the largest, by the way, since 1982, will put about $63 on average into the pockets of seniors that they didn't already have. So a $63 on average increase for seniors. Now keep in mind a lot of that money might already be accounted for. Higher gas prices, higher costs for medicine, higher costs for food, higher costs to heat your home. The same time home prices are falling.

So it comes at a really important time for a lot of seniors who've been watching what's happening in the economy. It will be 5.8 percent increase in their checks. That's 55 million Americans will see higher Social Security benefits next year -- Heidi.

COLLINS: OK. Well, now, dare I bring up the other news of yesterday because, you know, we try to look at one day moving into the next day and try to sort of think about what's going to happen today. Down 733 points again.

ROMANS: You know it's been an incredibly complicated week. And we knew coming in that it was going to be a complicated week. And it's been -- you know, it's been proven completely true.

Almost all of those big, huge earlier gains from earlier in the week gone yesterday as the markets tried to just get a sense of how deep and how long a recession or economic weakness will be in this country.

And all around the world, they're trying to figure out, you know, once we even get the credit crisis behind us, how much economic damage has been done. So big losses, again, overnight. Futures are pointed higher right now.

COLLINS: Yes. That's why I'm confused.


COLLINS: But I've been confused a long time.

ROMANS: I know. You know people in the market -- listen, Heidi, people who have been in the markets for years for their entire career, say that they've never seen volatility like this. They've never seen this lack of trust and this lack of confidence.

And keep in mind, money can't buy you confidence. You know the government is doing everything it can. Governments around the world doing everything they can and adjusting their plan on the fly but there still is a lack of confidence overall in the market.

And once you get beyond the lack of confidence then there's this worry that there will be something painful for the economy and that means for you and me over the next coming months.

So they're trying to get a sense of how deep and how long that will be and that's why the markets are unsettled.

COLLINS: Yes. Yes. We're all unsettled.

ROMANS: Aren't we? I know.

COLLINS: All right, Christine, we'll check in a little bit later on.


COLLINS: Thank you.

Hurricane Omar now a Category 3 storm and picking up speed in the Caribbean. Forecasters are urging people in the Virgin and northern Leeward Islands to rush to, quote, "protect life and property."

One of our iReporters captured the storm as it churned off the island of Bonaire, in the Netherlands, Antilles. Another iReporter sent us these photos as the storm past Venezuela.

Omar formed Tuesday in the eastern Caribbean. It is the 15th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season which ends November 30th.

Of course, watching that for us today, Reynolds Wolf is standing by because a lot of people see those pictures and they go, holy cow. Is it headed towards me?

REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: I know. It's a freaky thing to see. Those pictures quite compelling, to say the least.

You know, Heidi, with all the bad news we've had about the economy, we're due for some good news. You want some good news?

COLLINS: Yes, please.

WOLF: Good news is that Omar is going to be moving away from land and at this time poses no threat to the United States. So that's the good news. Bad news, this storm is still a powerhouse.


WOLF: And of course, the very latest information on these fires and of course, the hurricanes. You'll want to stay here for CNN.

Let's send it right back to you.

COLLINS: All right, perfect. Thank you, Reynolds.

WOLF: OK. Talk to you soon.

COLLINS: Federal investigators at the scene today of a deadly medical helicopter crash in Aurora, Illinois. Four people, including a 13-month-old girl were killed. The helicopter was headed for Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago when it went down shortly before midnight.

The fire officials say the helicopter may have hit a radio tower wire before it crashed.

It is at least the ninth in a series of fatal medical helicopter crashes in the U.S. in the past 12 months. And last month the National Transportation Safety Board actually called for a public hearing to look into the recent increase in medical evacuation crashes.

So who scored points with the public last night? Instant poll numbers on the presidential debate.


GERALD DIMMIT, CNN IREPORTER: I know Senator McCain, he was ready. He waited for the perfect opportunity. This was the winning line -- if you wanted to run against George Bush, you should have run four years ago.




JASON DINANT, CNN IREPORTER: Unfortunately now we have Joe with the plumber. If I hear one more time the word or the phrase Joe the Plumber, I'm not going to vote for either one of them and I'm going to write Joe the Plumber in on my ballot as a write-in vote.


COLLINS: That take on the debate by iReporter Jason Dinant in Las Vegas.

Last night's showdown was third and last one for the presidential candidates. So who did a better job staying on message?

CNN political editor Mark Preston live at the debate site at Hofstra University, of course, in New York.

So Mark, I'm not going to ask you about Joe the Plumber, I promise. But what do debate watchers think about the candidates' performance last night? I know you've some polls.

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: Sure, Heidi. Let's just take a quick look at three different numbers.

This was a poll done of debate watchers immediately following the debate and some really interesting numbers that have come out. Who did the best job during the debate? Debate watchers thought Barack Obama did by a wide margin, Heidi -- 58 percent to John McCain's 31 percent.

We're talking a lot about issue #1, the economy. When asked who would better handle the economy, Heidi, 59 percent said Barack Obama. Only 35 percent said John McCain.

John McCain did win in one category, though. It's a category you do not want to win in. Who spent more time attacking his opponent? 80 percent of our debate watchers said John McCain did. Only 7 percent said Barack Obama.

COLLINS: It's interesting, too, because I was watching all of the analysis on all of the channels. Quite a lot of flicking with that remote last night afterwards. And it seemed like there was quite a bit of consensus that Senator John McCain came out of the gate strong, really strong, and then didn't close the deal.

PRESTON: Yes, you know, and I think that's right, Heidi. He really did. This was arguably his best debate in the three debates these two have had, these head-to-head match-ups. He did very good in the first 30 minutes.

However, when the debate started turning to topics like Willie Ayers or when John McCain asked for Barack Obama to repudiate the remarks of John Lewis, you know, it seemed to go a little bit negative. And that's when the negativity really came to the forefront. And that's what, I think, turned people off and that's what we saw in our polling last night.

He still has 19 days left, Heidi. No question about that. It's still plausible for this White House race to turn around. But John McCain has work to do.

COLLINS: As you said, during the break, they have left John McCain, quote, "for dead," before. There wasn't a lot of money that they had at the campaign and now we are here. I mean, he's definitely survived and what is going to happen in these next 19 days will certainly be interesting, still.

PRESTON: Yes, no question -- no question about that. Look, in summer 2007, Heidi, we thought his campaign was over. It had totally imploded. He did come back. He won the Republican nomination.

And as you and I have spoken about John McCain likes to be the maverick, he likes to be the underdog. He probably likes the position he's in, although I bet he wished he was in first place right now.

COLLINS: Well, certainly, no doubt about it.

So before we let you go, tell me quickly what each candidate is going to focus on with such a short amount of time left in this campaign.

PRESTON: Well, I'll tell you what. You know, $64,000 question. What will they do? Where will they be? But I'll tell you they're going to be in the battleground states. We know that John McCain is in Pennsylvania today. Barack is in New Hampshire. They've got to talk about the economy. That's issue #1. It's on everyone's mind.

COLLINS: No question about that. Even ours, right?

Mark Preston, sure do appreciate it. Thank you.

Well, everyone saw the debate last night a little bit differently, of course, including the best political team on television. It was the candidate's final chance to reach such a big audience all at one time highlighting their own ideas and taking shots at the other guy.

Here's how some of our analysts saw it.


WILLIAM BENNETT, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Here's what I saw John McCain. He was aggressive and he was strong. He was on offense. I thought Obama was flat, professorial, didn't rise to the occasion. I know people might say rise to debate, but occasionally you have to show, you know, a little reaction.

McCain was just hammering him and I think he scored a lot of points. Most interesting thing to me about it, thematically, was you saw a real contrast between a conservative and a liberal.

PAUL BEGALA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: The first 30 minutes, McCain won. This is his best performance. But as it dragged on -- dragged on -- as it went on, I think Obama did get his feet under him much better and the reaction shots were killing McCain.

ALEX CASTELLANOS, GOP MEDIA CONSULTANT: Senator McCain was on offense on the economy. He was scoring points and had Barack Obama on defense on the economy. Big spending in Washington. Taxes. Joe the Plumber.

You know, I thought David Axelrod is pulling his hair out tonight. I thought his candidate had his worst debate, his flattest debate, professorial, I think, as Bill Bennett said. McCain was, I thought, aggressive and eloquent.


COLLINS: Once again, some of our analysts from last night's debate.

Well, one resident says he's registered for the November election 73 times. Voting concerns in the battleground state.


COLLINS: With the debates over, the presidential hopefuls and their running mates are off and running. Senator Obama heads to New Hampshire. Senator McCain to Pennsylvania. Both plan to attend the Alfred E. Smith dinner in New York tonight.

Senator Joe Biden taking the Democrats' message to television as a guest of Jay Leno and Ellen DeGeneres, while Governor Sarah Palin moves from Maine to North Carolina.

That's where everybody is today.

Well, Ohio bracing for a record turnout of voters. It's also bracing, though, for potential problems on Election Day.

CNN's Mary Snow with the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Exactly what kind of problem to expect with newly registered voters in Ohio depends on who you talk to.

Democrats are concerned about voter suppression. Republicans fear voter fraud and cite instances such as the Cleveland man who said he registered to vote 73 times.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They just needed a signature and they told me I wasn't going to get in trouble.

SNOW: The case is now being investigated. Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, a Democrat, says while counties need to investigate fraud, registration fraud turning into voter fraud is rare.

JENNIFER BRUNNER (D), OHIO SECRETARY OF STATE: Between 2002 and the end of 2005, there were only four reported cases of illegal voting which sometimes people refer to as voter fraud.

SNOW: Brunner became the target of Republican-led legal battle. It resulted with the Federal Appeals Court ordering she must provide Ohio's 88 counties with a list of newly registered voters whose information doesn't match their driver's license or Social Security records.

Brunner had argued checks are already in place. There wasn't enough time to add a new system and she feels voters will be penalized.

Some election law experts agree.

PROF. DANIEL TOKAJI, OSU ELECTION LAW EXPERT: It could result in a lot of eligible voters being challenged at the polling place and possibly disqualified, even though they are really eligible to vote.

SNOW: For example, a change in marital status or slightly incorrect address such as street instead of avenue could place you on the mismatch list.

Republican Ken Blackwell says providing those lists are necessary.

KEN BLACKWELL (R), FORMER OHIO SECRETARY OF STATE: What we don't want is a situation where there is a close election and there is a lot of doubt about the integrity of the system.

SNOW: And Blackwell should know. In 2004 he was then the Ohio secretary of state when lines at the polls lasted for hours and provisional ballots remained to be counted after Election Day.

Some say there's another problem.

TOKAJI: This is an intrinsic problem when you have partisan election -- elected officials controlling the administration of elections as most states, including Ohio, do. SNOW (on camera): Ohio secretary of state has a deadline of Friday to provide a list of new voters whose information does not match state records. She says that preliminary review shows at least 200,000 names are on that list.

The secretary of state says she's going to urge counties not to force people to have to use provisional ballots.

Mary Snow, CNN, Cincinnati.


COLLINS: It was a scary 700-plus-point drop on the Dow yesterday. Will investors start the day with more confidence today? We shall see in just a couple of minutes.


COLLINS: Stock markets around the world are selling off yet again. Overseas investors took their cue from the U.S. where we saw the Dow tumble more than 700 points yesterday.

So what are the chances we'll see a bounce back today? Let's check in with Susan Lisovicz at the New York Stock Exchange.

Hi there, Susan. Seems like over these past few days we've had a really big down day and then a really big gain the next day, sort of.

SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, let's hope for a really big...


LISOVICZ: ... gain today. It looks like we're going to have a bounce and that's a good thing, Heidi, because yesterday's 733-point loss, the second biggest drop on record for the Dow and the biggest percentage loss for the Dow and the broader S&P 500 since October of '87.

I don't think I need to explain what happened in October of '87.

Between Tuesday and Wednesday, we basically saw Monday's historic rally wiped out. We are expecting to see a bounce at the open thanks in part to a report an hour ago showing inflation is contained. The government says prices at the consumer level were flat last week. Retreating costs for gas, clothes and cars offset rising food and medical care prices.

A second report show shows new jobless claims feel more than expected last week, but at a level that economists associate with recession. We'll watch the financial shares again today.

Merrill Lynch reporting its fifth straight quarterly loss as well as Citigroup extending its losing streak. Losses there.

We're watching airlines, Continental Airlines reporting a quarterly loss because of high fuel costs and weather disruptions, and Southwest Airlines says it posted its first loss in 17 years after writing down the value of its fuel hedging transactions. Southwest had been the envy of the industry for its ability to ride out the meteoric rise in crude prices. But guess what, crude has come down astonishingly since July. Now trading under $74 a barrel. Remember --


LISOVICZ: Heidi, in July, it was 100 -- it approached $148 a barrel. And that is because of the concerns about the U.S. economy and the global economy going into a recession. And we are seeing a bounce. A slight bounce in the first minute of trading, Heidi. This is hardly a big statement from the bulls. But we are seeing the Dow post some very modest gains.


LISOVICZ: Ten-point gain.

COLLINS: All right. There we have it, about 14 now.

All right, Susan, of course, we're going to be watching that. We can watch for what we call the gizmo down at the right-hand corner of your screen. Susan Lisovicz, thank you.

LISOVICZ: You're welcome.

COLLINS: Wall Street tanks and a new wave of fear ripples around the world. Here we go again. This morning, international stock markets are in the red. And some are reeling from staggering overnight losses. CNN's Charles Hodson is in London for us this morning with the very latest.

Good morning to you there, Charles.

CHARLES HODSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. Good afternoon, actually, in London. Well, I think of the reaction that started with Wall Street moved quickly to the far east as soon as those markets opened. We saw some heavy falls. Really a remarkably big fall on the Nikkei. That was off by 11.4 percent.

You may remember, it went up by 14 percent in one of the recent sessions. Now it's off by 11 percent. It's all about recession. That is the fear. There is the perception now that all of those government bailout plans for the banking sector provides some kind of shock absorbers, but we're still in for a very, very rough ride. So again, we have the Hang Seng off by 4.8 percent. Last time I looked, the FT here in London, that was off by 2.5 percent. The Dax off by 1.6 percent.

There is one slight difference here. One small ray of sunshine, if you like.

COLLINS: Yes, we'll take it. HODSON: And that is the Swiss market. That's being quite buoyant as a result of a rescue package. $5.5 billion for UBS. And also $9 billion privately raised for credit Suisse. So there we're seeing just a slight bounce on the Swiss market, but basically, a very black picture out here, Heidi.

COLLINS: All right. We'll keep our eye on that as well. Certainly appreciate it. Charles Hodson in London this morning.

And this morning on Capitol Hill, a closer look at the nation's credit crisis. It's at the center of our economic troubles of course and a record number of Americans are losing their homes. What happened and who is to blame? The Senate Banking Committee is taking a look next hour.

They sat side by side butting heads especially over the economy, trading some jabs, too. Now that the dust has settled, CNN's Ed Henry looks at who scored the points.


ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Finally in the third debate the gloves came off.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You launched your political campaign in Mr. Ayers' living room.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That's absolutely not true.

HENRY: From the start, McCain was crisper and stayed on offense, pouncing when moderator Bob Schieffer brought up Obama's ties to former 1960s radical William Ayers.

MCCAIN: Senator Clinton said in her debates with you, we need to know the full extent of that relationship.

HENRY: Eager to avoid a gaffe that might knock him out of front- runner status, Obama was flatter than before but he held his own by calmly pushing back.

OBAMA: Mr. Ayers is not involved in my campaign. He has never been involved in this campaign. And he will not advise me in the White House.

HENRY: On a day the Dow lost another 733 points, McCain had his best performance yet on the economy, repeatedly citing Joe the Plumber.

OBAMA: Nobody likes high taxes.


HENRY: An Ohio man who recently pressed Obama about whether his tax plan would hurt small businesses.

MCCAIN: Senator Obama wants government to do the job. I want, Joe, you do the job. I want to leave money in your pocket.

HENRY: An attack Obama sidestepped with a joke.

OBAMA: I'm happy to talk to you, Joe, too, if you're out there.

HENRY: Some undecided voters in Joe's home state told CNN McCain repeated the story too many times, and he continued to struggle with the shadow of President Bush.

MCCAIN: Senator Obama, I am not President Bush. If you want to run against President Bush, you should have run four years ago. I'm going to give a new direction to this economy.

HENRY: A softball for Obama to drive home his underlying point about change.

OBAMA: Now you've shown independence -- commendable independence, on some key issues like torture. But when it comes to economic policies, essentially what you are proposing is eight more years of the same thing.

HENRY (on camera): The bottom line is that McCain step up his gain, but without a major miscue from Obama, the Democrat remains in the driver seat with just 19 days to go. Ed Henry, CNN, Hempstead, New York.


COLLINS: We wanted to give you another quick look at one of our post debate polls. This one looked at how independent voters saw the debate. 57 percent thought Barack Obama did the best job. 31 percent preferred John McCain. Of course, we're going to have more of these new numbers for you coming up next hour.

John McCain and Barack Obama head-to-head for the third and final time before the November 4th U.S. presidential elections. So, how did it play outside the United States? We have reaction from China, Nigeria and Beirut, Lebanon. Let's go first to Beijing.


EMILY CHANG, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): I'm Emily Chang on one of Beijing's busiest shopping streets where Chinese shoppers are definitely watching their spending.

They are well aware the world is in the midst of a financial crisis. Many of them blame the United States and say the next U.S. president needs to do something to stabilize the global economy. Some of them like John McCain. They think he's experienced and he has the wisdom to lead the way forward. And that he'll be softer on trade with China. Others want a fresh perspective. If the Bush administration got us into this mess, they think Barack Obama can get us out of it because they think he's different and he means change.

CHRISTIAN PUREFOY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Hi, I'm Christian Purefoy in Lagos, Nigeria. Well, most people here haven't seen the presidential debates and your average Nigerian hasn't yet been affected by the global economic crisis. However, this is the most populous black nation in the world. There's an estimated 150 million people here in Nigeria. And that they've been following the U.S. presidential race as avidly as the rest of the world. And everyone here is throwing their support behind the one man they think can help the world's problems, Obama.

ANTHONY MILLS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): I'm Anthony Mills in Beirut, where some people fear that if Barack Obama is elected president, he may make good on a pledge to engage Syria and Iran, thereby reversing political gains made when the current U.S. administration helped force Syria end an almost 30-year military occupation of Lebanon. They believe that John McCain, if elected president, would be more likely to safeguard Lebanon's independence.

On the other hand, you have those Lebanese who regard as biased in favor of Israel United States approach to the Middle East in general. They welcome the approach of Barack Obama and his pledge to engage Syria and Iran and their fear is that John McCain would fuel the fires of further confrontation.


COLLINS: We've been showing you some of our post debate iReports throughout the show. It's not too late by the way for you to contribute. Just go to and send us your take on the final debate. We'll keep watching from more of your opinions.

We did hear from the candidates last night, of course. Now our "Truth Squad" is taking names and checking facts.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm still at a tie. And as far as I'm concerned, I'm going to not be able to early vote and I'm going to have to wait until November and wait for that last shoe to drop.




DAVID KRONMILLER, IREPORTER: I thought Obama won the debate. If anything, for demeanor, let alone the specifics. He went to great detail on his economic policies, on his health care plan. His answers have been really great lately about that. And really on every front he was very detailed, often putting it in context, the larger context, meaning the future. What's going to happen to not just us next month or next year but to our children, you know. And all I ever hear from McCain is short-term solutions.


COLLINS: The final debate now on the record books. The candidates face-to-face for the last time before the election. Each man with plenty to say about his opponent. We put some of their comments under the "Truth Squad" microscope. Our Josh Levs has that in his back pocket and is here now to tell us what is true and what is false.

Hey, there, Josh.

JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I do use that microscope a lot these days. Hey, there, Heidi. We've got a lot to piece through today.


LEVS: So, we're going to be doing bunch of this today. We're starting off with a couple here. Let's actually go straight to this.


OBAMA: And 100 percent, John, of your ads -- 100 percent of them have been negative.

MCCAIN: That's not true.

OBAMA: It absolutely is true.


LEVS: Is it? Absolutely true? Well, actually, "Truth Squad" did this topic on Sunday when Joe Biden said this.


SEN. JOE BIDEN (D), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Recent analysis showed that 100 percent of the advertisements that the McCain campaign is now running, 100 percent are advertisements attacking -- attacking Barack Obama.


LEVS: You can see our ruling on that one there was false. Now, here's why. The Obama campaign told me they're referring to this study from the University of Wisconsin. Let's zoom in on the board here. You can see what it says is that McCain's ads nearly 100 percent negative and that is across one week-long period. It's not the whole campaign as Obama suggested last night.

And also, Heidi, there's another important point. Look at this here from I want to show you this headline. This is from this past weekend. Both campaigns spending about the same on negative ads. Now here's why. Obama has been spending a lot more on overall ads, positive and negative. So dot-com look at as across a week and they found the two candidates were spending about the same actual amount of money on negative ads, Heidi.

COLLINS: Meanwhile, though, McCain sort of did slip up when he was talking to Obama about Supreme Court justices. Tell us what happened here.

LEVS: Yes, that's right. (INAUDIBLE) false, too. Let's take a look at what he said.


MCCAIN: Senator Obama voted against Justice Breyer and Justice Roberts on the grounds that they didn't meet his ideological standards.


LEVS: All right. Now, Obama did indeed vote against Justice Roberts but Justice Breyer was confirmed in 1994, that was a full decade before Obama even entered the Senate. McCains campaign now says what he actually meant to say was Justice Samuel Alito. And that's why there the "Truth Squad" gave him that false.

Now, for some context, though, I also want to tell you. No, I can't tell you actually whether a decision is ideological. But I can tell you what Obama said about his decisions. On Alito, he said, quote, "I've seen extraordinarily consistent support for the powerful against the powerless, for the employer against the employee, for the president against the Congress and the judiciary and for an overreaching federal government against individual rights and liberties."

Now here's what he said on Roberts. He said, "Roberts seemed to side with those who are dismissive of efforts to eradicate the remnants of racial discrimination in our political process and seemed dismissive of the concerns that it's harder making it in this world and this economy when you are a woman rather than a man."

And Heidi, you know, we're going to keep doing this throughout the day. And you can see a lot more "Truth Squad." You should go to Click the fact check button. It's getting incredible traffic and millions of hits. We love that. And like I said, we've got a lot to break down from last night.

COLLINS: Very good. All right, Josh. Sure do appreciate that.

Also, once again we want to give you a look down at the bottom right-hand side of your screen there, to the positive now. Dow Jones Industrial Averages up about 65 points or so.

Dancing with the political stars. A look at the latest high-tech hijinx on the Web.


COLLINS: Well, while we were in that very quick commercial break, last time we checked, Dow Jones Industrial Averages were up about 65 points. Now they're up 135 points. So, again, another day where it looks to be sort of all over the map. We'll be watching them for you throughout the entire show here. Federal investigators at the scene today of a deadly medical helicopter crash in Aurora, Illinois. Four people, including a 13- month-old girl were killed. The chopper was en route to a children's hospital in Chicago when it went down just before midnight last night. Marcella Raymond of affiliate WGN is joining us now live from Aurora.

Tell us what we know at this point. I know that they are trying to figure out how this could have happened.


And still preliminary reports right now. But National Transportation Safety Board officials were out here earlier. They have left the scene and they're telling us that they think that this helicopter clipped a wire from the radio tower. One witness to the crash from the radio station that owned and operates that tower says that the chopper was flying a bit low when it clipped the wire and then basically just fell out of the sky about 100 yards from there.

It's a 750-foot tower but it's got 15 extra feet of an antenna on top of it which makes it a bit higher than most antennas, most towers. So, we're not sure if that was a problem or not. But there are steel wires and cables that come from the tower and they're attached to the ground. You've seen them. You've seen them everywhere. And they are like steel cables that basically keep the tower vertical.

So what we're hearing is that one of them may have loosened a bit. Not really hanging but just kind of loosened and maybe that's what happened with the chopper. Just kind of hitting it and then spinning out of control, hitting the tower and then crashing in a corn field just across the street from that.

There were no emergency calls from the pilot prior to the crash, nothing mechanical that anybody was told that was going on. No maydays or anything like that. So they're not really exactly sure if there was anything else going on prior to the crash or, you know, really what exactly happened. No one on the ground was hurt, though, which is the only good news. But four people on board, including that 13-month-old that was being transported for epileptic seizure from Sandwich, Illinois, to Chicago. And then there was a pilot, nurse and a paramedic on board as well, Heidi.

COLLINS: That's just an awful, awful story.

All right, Marcella Raymond from WGN, thank you.

The Illinois crash is at least the ninth deadly crash involving medical helicopters in the last year. Last month the National Transportation Safety Board called for a public hearing into the accidents. An estimated 750 medical helicopters are operating in the United States, that's twice the number flying just ten years ago.

Former First Lady Nancy Reagan waking up in a California hospital this morning, but she should be going home soon. That's according to doctors who say she will not need surgery for a fractured pelvis. The 87-year-old widow of President Reagan suffered the injury in a fall last week. She did not get checked out until Monday when the pain became intolerable.

All systems go for Vice President Dick Cheney after his own health scare. He was treated for an irregular heartbeat. It's a second time in the past year he's had that problem. A quick electric shock put his rhythm back on track. Cheney spokeswoman says everything went smoothly and the VP is expected to resume his normal schedule.

Breast cancer, no longer seen as an illness just for older women. But when is the best time to start having exams? CNN's Judy Fortin takes a look.


JUDY FORTIN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tracy Schwartz has an appointment for a mammogram. At age 35 she's been getting breast screenings since her early 30s. Her reasons are personal.

TRACY SCHWARTZ, PATIENT: My mom died of breast cancer when she was 48.

FORTIN: Tracy knows family history is important. If your mother, grandmother, sister, even an aunt had breast cancer, doctors say you're at higher risk. So in their 30s, women should start looking into their family background.

DR. REBECCA ZUURBIER, BREAST IMAGING, SIBLEY MEMORIAL HOSPITAL: We don't want to go overboard, but we do want to be very attentive to the people with a strong family history of breast cancer.

FORTIN: And age doesn't matter. With young entertainers like Christina Applegate, Kylie Minogue and Sheryl Crow being diagnosed for breast cancer, women are now realizing the illness is not just for the older generation, many with breast cancer in their families are getting mammograms early and catching breast cancer before it spreads.

ZUURBIER: It's generally accepted that you start screening that person ten years before the age at which the first-degree relative got their breast cancer.

FORTIN: Today, there are plenty of ways to monitor for breast cancer --digital mammography, ultrasounds, even MRIs make it easier for doctors to find abnormalities in the breast tissue that could eventually lead to breast cancer. Woman should ask their doctor what's best for them.

ZUURBIER: With breast cancer screening, it's important to know that one size doesn't fit all anymore.

FORTIN: If relatives have had breast cancer, genetic testing could help better understand your odds of developing breast cancer. The tests determine whether your DNA contains a genetic change or mutation in the BRCA one or BRCA two gene. But doctors note only five to 10 percent of breast cancers are caused by such a genetic change. Doctors recommend genetic counseling. ZUURBIER: Genetic counselor doesn't just go and test you for a breast cancer gene. They look at whether you're appropriate to be tested. And we try and tail out screening to the individual based on their risk factors.

FORTIN: In their 40s and 50s, women no matter what their family history need to start getting yearly mammograms. Although mammograms don't prevent breast cancer, statistics have shown they can lower the risk of dying from breast cancer by 35 percent in women over the age of 50. Other research suggests for women between 40 and 50, they may lower the risk of dying from breast cancer by 25 percent to 35 percent. Although most breast cancer cases are diagnosed in women in their 50s or older, the aggressiveness of the disease is not as severe so early detection is key. Judy Fortin, CNN, Atlanta.


COLLINS: Debate points. Which candidates scored? Highlights and analysis from two of our regulars -- one Republican, one Democrat.


KELIX VAN HALEN, IREPORTER: I think I want a president that's actually going to be calm and cool and collected and be able to use his thought process to handle the situation and address it very well. The less emotion the better versus someone who let's their anger and emotion take over. I thought John McCain just use a little bit -- let his emotions step up. He showed them a little bit. And I think those kind of things, you know, for an independent voter like myself, make me look at things a little differently.



COLLINS: It's not where the candidates stand, but how they move. Our Jeanne Moos looks at a couple of silly sidelights from the campaign.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You can watch the real thing...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Live from Hollywood --

MOOS: Or you can watch dancing with the political stars on the Web.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The maverick who is a maniac on the dance floor, John McCain.

MOOS: Or you can interact with Palin as president. There she is in the oval office, click around looking for things.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Darn you, Katie Couric. MOOS: Like Katie Couric getting water boarded or the Dow going down, and teen pregnancies going up. Science in a waste basket and a dinosaur strolling past the oval office. From Palintology to dancing Obama

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And who's heavy on rhetoric but light on his feet.

MOOS: You're looking at the latest in political entertainment.

(on camera): This seems to me as if it's sort of high-tech, low- brow.


MOOS (voice-over): David Morgasen directed "Dancing With the Political Stars.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) and awe of George W. Bush.

MOOS: Yes, it required directing and actors.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wait till you see what he does to the samba.

MOOS (on camera): You had some guy flailing around and they put George Bush's head on it.

MORGASEN: Exactly. That's a very talented dancer we had. And he was dancing around goofily.

MOOS: The high tech part involves the heads.

MORGASEN: That was done in Moscow.

MOOS: The heads were attached in Moscow.

(voice-over): A media company based in Russia is showcasing the technology at its Web site, Contrast that with Palin as president, it took five days for Sean Ohlenkamp, an ad agency art director to build the Web site with two friends.

VOICE OF SEAN OHLENKAMP, CO-CREATOR, PALINASPRESIDENT.COM: We started out with a lot of really big gags. And now we're really getting into the little intricate things that people will really have to search for.

MOOS: Like notching the number of Sarah Palin's wolf kills on the oval office desk. Sean is trying to add new gags every day.

OHLENKAMP: We threw in the bridge to nowhere.

MOOS: A favorite seems to be, sorry, shooting Bambi. It takes two to tango with this interactive stuff. Did we say tango? It's Al Gore.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With moves so hot they can melt the polar ice caps.

MOOS: Among the dance contestants, it seemed John McCain's head was the worst fit.

OHLENKAMP: The guy playing McCain who is McCain's body was probably like 21 years old.

MOOS: And if you're playing Palin as president, stay away from the red phone.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York