Return to Transcripts main page


Colin Powell Endorses Obama; Palin Campaigns in Colorado; President Bush Continues to Address Economic Worries

Aired October 20, 2008 - 15:00   ET


RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Coming at you right now: how Cole Puffinburger of Las Vegas was really found. And was he really abducted by a Mexican drug cartel?

Colin Powell endorses Barack Obama.

COLIN POWELL, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Senator Obama brings a fresh set of eyes, a fresh set of ideas to the table.

SANCHEZ: Will that sway independent voters? And what are Republicans saying?

GOV. SARAH PALIN (R-AK), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Now is no time to experiment with socialism.


SANCHEZ: Sarah Palin will rally her supporters in just a few minutes. And you will see it right here, live with your comments on screen as she speaks, the only newscast where tens of thousands of Americans can interact instantly. Your newscast begins right now.


SANCHEZ: Hello again, everybody. I'm Rick Sanchez here at the World Headquarters of CNN in Atlanta.

Stay in your seats, because I'm about to show you an unbelievable piece of videotape. Over the last couple of weeks, I think if you have watched this show, you have probably gotten used to seeing the tapes that we find. And in the last couple of weeks, we have showing you moments that reflect conflict and controversy between Obama and McCain, even of late some hate and some ignorance.

But what you're about to see now is very likely the antithesis of that. This is a slice of life. This is a moment when you see things suddenly turn on their head. This is a moment where you get nervous as you watch the tape, but then suddenly you start to feel good and you might even have a little smile on your face by the time it's all over.

Together now, this moment in time in this campaign. Let me tell you where it happens. It's in Woodbridge, Virginia, at an McCain event. It was shot Saturday morning. Take a look. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about the guy who...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People want to know about Islam. These people here want you to know about Islam. OK? I'm going to tell you about Islam.

The doctrine of takiya is that you deceive the infidel. Mohammed taught to deceive the infidel in order to progress Islam. I know that and you know that.


SANCHEZ: I just lost IFB. All right. We just lost the sound on that. I'm so sorry that happened, especially with that -- with that open I gave you moments ago.

Let's try and rerack this thing. I'm talking to my own crew now in the control room. We are going to try and get this thing working in just a little bit. I'm sure we will be able to see it. For some reason, we lost the audio in the middle of it. And then you're going to see it as it plays out.

In the meantime, let's bring in the guy who shot this. His name is Davin Hutchins. He works for America's News Project.

You were there with the camera when you saw the fellow with the orange shirt, right?


SANCHEZ: Are you there?

HUTCHINS: Yes, I'm here. Can you hear me?

SANCHEZ: American News Project. Is that what I said?


SANCHEZ: OK. Perfect.

Now, set the scene for us. You and I were on the phone just a moment ago as we get this thing ready to go for our viewers. And you said something about the particular venue where this was. Share that with our viewers, if you would.

HUTCHINS: Sure. Well, I believe it's the county administration building for Prince William County in Woodbridge.

And, basically, it was an McCain rally in Northern Virginia. McCain supporters are probably more moderate than other parts in Virginia or the United States. And what happened was there was some people doing what we have seen at other rallies that we have been covering, sort of trying to advance this idea of Obama as socialist or Obama as closet Muslim or whatever.

And what happened, sort of organically, is Muslim and Christian McCain supporters who are, you know, tolerant of all religions basically turned on this guy and there was an sort of altercation that happened that we captured.

SANCHEZ: What does this say about that particular area?

HUTCHINS: Well, I live in Northern Virginia. I would say that it's probably, just in those few minutes of film, show a riff that probably exists between the Republican Party, where the original McCain supporters who might be more moderate, but support a -- you know, a very capitalist system and so forth and want low taxes, and so forth, are confronting with sort of maybe the Palin supporters, which are arguing more of a religious and a -- sort of a fear...


SANCHEZ: Now, I'm just going to stop you right there, because we're watching a tape. That young lady right there, that young lady right there confronts him and says, if this is what this stands for, then I don't want to be a part of it. And then she's brought back.

I'll tell you what. I'm being told now that we have the sound, Davin.


SANCHEZ: We're ready to go. We're going to show this in its entirety. We want the folks at home to be able to see it and judge it for themselves. And then we will talk about it on the other side. All right. Here we go again.

This is Davin Hutchins' video that he is sharing with us. Let's watch it now in full.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about the guy who...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People want to know about Islam. These people here want you to know about Islam. OK? I'm going to tell you about Islam.

The doctrine of takiya is that you deceive the infidel. Mohammed taught to deceive the infidel in order to progress Islam.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's what we're doing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know that and you know that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And he just said Obama is a socialist.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Socialist with Islamic background. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you defend that claim? What makes you think...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, there's a lot of -- he was raised in a madrassa. There's a lot of background. There is a lot of stuff you can read on. But I can't do it right now, OK? I understand you're a Muslim.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I'm not Muslim.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm here as a journalist. And I'm asking you, what is the Islamic crescent supposed to represent?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want people to ask the question about, what about his connections with Islam?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you Muslim, ma'am.?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, you're combining Islam with the Soviet Union flag?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're portraying a wrong message.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Are you Muslim, ma'am? Are you Turkish?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm one of the campaign chairs. I'm Muslim. I'm chairman of the Maryland campaign. I was an elected McCain delegate.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, but he's not with the campaign. So, you don't have to worry...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not with the campaign.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm with the campaign, and we don't endorse that behavior. So...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't endorse this man's behavior?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The McCain campaign doesn't endorse your behavior, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm for McCain. You know that there are some parts...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But you're anti-Islam.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that's not what our Constitution is about. You're here being anti-Islam, but you're complaining against people in Muslim countries being against Christianity. You don't believe in the Constitution.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely. Absolutely

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, you don't. You wouldn't put that on there if you did.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can be of any religion and be for McCain.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can be any religion and be for McCain.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I ran for the United States Congress and I was endorsed by John McCain.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think it's in any way a bad thing to question Barack Obama's ties, but we need to do that in a respective manner. You're making a point about Islam, which is an excellent point with regard to extremist Islam.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you, as a McCain supporter, approve of this man's technique?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. I'm not racist.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you offended?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I'm very offended.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're all offended?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, I'm a conservative Christian.

And, still, this... (CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. So, what does your message mean?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That would be nice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What does your message mean?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, I have to tell you, I'm a little nervous about talking to the press, because I see how the press distorts things.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Shame on you guys, because we're Muslims and we're McCain voters, and you guys are taking votes away.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, can I get your name, just when we put this -- can I get your name, please?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you deliberately trying to lose us this election or is it just coincidental, or...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're leaving. We're leaving.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. So, we're right. Thank you. Can we get a round of applause here, everybody?


SANCHEZ: It's really amazing to watch. It's like a little movie. It has a beginning, it has a middle, and it has an end. And, you know, in the end, it almost appears as if the antagonist leaves with his tail between his legs.

What an amazing story, and what it says about our country and what it says about McCain supporters, proud, honest, smart Americans who really held their own here.

Davin Hutchins, I don't know. Maybe I'm kind of getting a little too philosophical about this, but as I watch it, you can't help but feel good, don't you?

HUTCHINS: Well, I don't have a value judgment whether I feel good or not. I was just there to -- actually, we were working on another story and that just kind of happened as we were walking through the parking lot.


SANCHEZ: But let me -- let me -- all right, let ask you the question this way. Had it turned out the other way, and those folks there would have embraced this guy here with his crescent and his bumper sticker that we're looking at there, that's a totally different story. Their reaction flipped this story on its head, did it not? HUTCHINS: It did. And I think there have been a lot of videos. We have done a few. And I think Al-Jazeera English did one in Ohio last week showing sort of this very heightened intolerance and sort of religious misunderstandings.

And I think what was interesting is not that we're driving the questions, but sort of organically all of these people came and said probably what has been bubbling up for the last month now, and actually making a distinction between, you know, supporting McCain on platforms and policies vs. these other things, which it looks like the McCain campaign has adopted to a certain extent itself.

SANCHEZ: Well, but, no, what this is saying is, if nothing else, at least in this video, and we don't want to take it too far beyond this video, is that one man does not for an entire campaign speak, that there may be people out there saying these things, but they don't represent the whole, right?

HUTCHINS: That could be.

SANCHEZ: Davin, thanks so much for being with us. Good stuff.

Here's what we're going to try and do. We have got someone who -- you saw him on the tape. As a matter of fact, I will tell you what. Let's take a break. When we come back, we are going to try and get some of those folks who you just saw on that videotape. We're trying to see if we can get Daniel Zubari (ph). He's the one who stood up and said, I'm with the McCain camp, and this guy doesn't represent us.

I understand we're having a problem through the McCain camp trying to get him. Let's see if during the break we can talk him into it. If he's available, we will bring him to you on the other side. Stay right where you are. If not, we will show you that clip again where he stands up and says that.

Stay with us, a whole lot going on, including Sarah Palin. She's about to hold a rally any moment. And we're going to be dipping into that live.

You're watching CNN. I'm Rick Sanchez.


SANCHEZ: All right. I'm going to tell you who we wanted to talk to after watching this video, because we really do kind of think that this is a slice of life that says so much about us and about these campaigns. The gentleman whose name is Daniel Zubari, he's the one who jumps in and says, I'm with the McCain camp, and this guy doesn't represent us.

In fact, Let's take a look at that video once again.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you Muslim, ma'am? Are you Turkish? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I'm Kurdish.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm one of the campaign chairs. I'm Muslim. I'm chairman of the Maryland campaign. I was an elected McCain delegate.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, but he's not with the campaign. So, you don't have to worry...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not with the campaign.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm with the campaign, and we don't endorse that behavior. So...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't endorse this man's behavior?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The McCain campaign doesn't endorse your behavior, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm for McCain. You know that there are some parts...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But you're anti-Islam.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that's not what our Constitution is about. You're here being anti-Islam, but you're complaining against people in Muslim countries being against Christianity.


SANCHEZ: All right, well, there you have it.

Interestingly enough, we were on the phone with Daniel Zubari. And he was, I guess, ready and willing and ready to talk to us, but it now appears that he's not going to be able to talk to us, as we understand it. He hasn't yet received permission or has not been granted permission from the McCain campaign to talk to us about this situation and this story.

Am I phrasing that right, Angie (ph)? Is there anything that I -- that's correct? OK. Want to make sure I was correct. He's not being allowed to talk to us because the McCain camp won't let him do so.

Hopefully, he will change his mind and he will be able to come on and talk to us about what I think most people would view as a heroic behavior on his part in that situation by not escalating it and in fact saying, we do not stand for that -- stop quote.

Let's talk now about socialism, because that seems to be the top issue being that is being talked about on the campaign. It's been brought up by many. As a matter of fact, it was Sarah Palin who mentioned socialism when she was referring to Barack Obama.

We have got a clip. Let's play it.


POWELL: He has met the standard of being a successful president, being an exceptional president.


SANCHEZ: Let's do this. We will save that Sarah Palin socialism sound and we're going to bring that to you in just a little bit.

What we want to do is get into the conversation about Colin Powell, who also, by the way, mentions socialism in his endorsement of Barack Obama, interestingly enough, as one of the key points or criticisms that's being brought out by the McCain camp.

Let's go to Reese Hopkins now. He's a conservative syndicated radio host who is good enough to join us.

I'm going to play his talking points.


SANCHEZ: The reasons that he says, Colin Powell, that is, the reasons he says that he's decided to support Barack Obama and not John McCain, which is obviously making a lot of news, because Colin Powell has been a very strong member of the Republican Party for quite some time now. This is Colin Powell speaking specifically about Sarah Palin and her readiness to be the next commander in chief. Here we go.


POWELL: I don't believe she's ready to be president of the United States, which is the job of the vice president.


SANCHEZ: "I don't think she's ready to be the president of the United States, which is the job of the vice president."

How do you respond to that?

HOPKINS: Well, my response would be pretty much that would be like saying that Barack Obama is also not ready to be the president of the United States.

I mean, if we were looking at Sarah Palin's track record, she's been a mayor and a governor in the great state of Alaska. She's definitely got more training in dealing with that state than Barack Obama has in dealing with Illinois. I believe that's a cop-out by Colin Powell. I think that's just an excuse. I don't think this is about anything more than Colin Powell endorsing Colin Powell. I think that there are a lot of other things that we're not addressing here with Colin Powell.

SANCHEZ: Well, let's go through these and then I will let you make that point.


SANCHEZ: By the way, you're a conservative syndicated radio host. I'm not sure if I got that out.


HOPKINS: Well, not syndicated. I'm working on it. But I'm just Reese on the radio, just Reese on the radio.

SANCHEZ: Maybe you can help you.

HOPKINS: Help me. Help me, please.

SANCHEZ: Let's go to the Bill Ayers comment.


SANCHEZ: This is Colin Powell talking about the Bill Ayers association. Here it is.


POWELL: To focus on people like Mr. Ayers, these trivial issues, for the purpose of suggesting that somehow Mr. Obama would have some kind of terrorist inclinations, I thought that was over the top.


SANCHEZ: Was it over the top?

HOPKINS: Well, it's not over the top, Colin Powell. And I speak to him personally if he's watching. What people are making an association with Bill Ayers and Barack Obama is the socialist comments that you have been hearing. William Ayers is associated with a movement that wants to destroy capitalism in this country, as Barack Obama has claimed in his spread-the-wealth-around comments to Joe the plumber.

SANCHEZ: But, you know, most people would say, in fairness, what this guy did happened when Barack Obama was 8 years old.

HOPKINS: Fine. I'm willing to accept that it happened when Barack Obama was 8 years old. But let me put it this way, if I were trying to get a federal job, if I wanted to get a federal government job, the federal government would go into my background, and if they found out that I had a relationship in 2001 or 2002 with a man who was associated with the Weather Underground, I would not be hired for that job.

SANCHEZ: So, all those other -- I guess the other question I guess I would have to ask is the one that Barack Obama brought up during the most recent debate, where he said there were four members of the Republican Party who were also in that same committee attending that same meeting with Bill Ayers, in fact, the Annenberg group was there. They're conservative.


SANCHEZ: And the publisher of "The Chicago Tribune" I believe he mentioned as well. Are all of those people guilty of the same thing?

HOPKINS: Absolutely, and they become relevant when the head of "The Chicago Tribune" and any other Republican associated with that group is running for the presidency of the United States.

SANCHEZ: I get it.

HOPKINS: But the issue still remains with Barack Obama. He can throw anybody else's name under the bus if he chooses to, but it's about this man becoming the president of the United States.

SANCHEZ: Well said.

Let's go to socialism, the next topic brought up by Colin Powell. Let's listen to him and then we will get your take on the other side.



POWELL: The message this week is, we're going to call him a socialist. Mr. Obama is now a socialist because he dares to suggest that maybe we ought to look at the tax structure that we have. Taxes are always a redistribution of money.


SANCHEZ: He was referring to the fact that Barack Obama had mentioned that it was a redistribution of money. Isn't taxing people a redistribution of money? Isn't that the way it's supposed to work?

HOPKINS: Well, if -- Barack Obama would have made a stronger claim for raising taxes in this country on the rich had he not said he was raising taxes on the rich.

You see, there's a way to redistribute wealth without telling people that you're redistributing wealth. Now, am I saying he should have been underhanded and maybe, you know, given a politician's answer to this? Yes, absolutely.

But he blatantly said that rich people in this country who make over $250,000 should spread the wealth around, that 38 percent of our -- excuse me, 40 percent of the population that don't make as much money as those people who make over $250,000, that they should start earning off of what rich people make. They should start reaping the benefits off of someone else's hard work. And that's socialism. That's simply socialism.

SANCHEZ: Reese on the radio, it's kind of got a ring to it, you know?

HOPKINS: I like it.

SANCHEZ: I appreciate it. Thanks so much for taking time to talk to us.

HOPKINS: My pleasure.

SANCHEZ: Interestingly enough, we have that piece of sound that I was going to share with you moments ago, speaking of socialism. This is Sarah Palin on the campaign trail. Here it is.


PALIN: Barack Obama calls it spreading the wealth. Joe Biden calls higher taxes patriotic.


PALIN: Joe the plumber said it sounded to him like socialism.


PALIN: And now is not the time to experiment with that.


SNOW: All right. We are going to stay on that topic. As a matter of fact, two other stories that we're going to bring you in just a little bit, that story about Cole from Las Vegas. He disappeared Friday. He was a big part of our newscast then. It's going to be a big part of it today, because he has been found. But there are plenty of questions about his grandfather and his involvement. The grandfather, by the way, is under arrest.

And the question is, was he really abducted by members of a Mexican drug cartel? We're trying to nail that down for you.

In the meantime, let's go show those live pictures now, if we can. Let's see those if we can out there, Dan. This is Hank Williams, right? That's Hank Williams Jr. He's going to be introducing Sarah Palin. And we are going to be taking it live.

Stay with us. We're going to have a break. We will have that when we come back.


SANCHEZ: All right. We got a lot to get to. Welcome back. I'm Rick Sanchez here in the world headquarters at CNN. We have got our board set up, so we can share with you. Boy, there is a lot of reaction on what people have been seeing just moments ago. We also got some polls that I'm going to be sharing with you in just a little bit.

Let's do the Twitter board. Let's go ahead. Robert, go to the Twitter board. This came in just moments ago.

Daniel Evans says: "Great video. It is inspiring to see hate defeated. I still can't repudiate McCain camp from rhetoric that inspired this hate."

Let's go to Gigamike. He says: Great piece on that McCain rally. Surprised the McCain camp won't let him speak. Can't figure out the angle on that."

Let's go to another one. "Thanks for showing that video. It's nice to know there's some tolerance in the McCain camp."

Lucy (ph) Ferris says: "This is the same as what we saw and talked about on Friday. America's culture of hate needs to stop."

But there were people stopping it, Lucy.

Anyway, SMH says: "Good to see McCain's messages getting out to his followers. Got to keep this election about issues."

Agreed. And then that's one of the other ones that we had covered this weekend.

All right, let's turn around, if you can. Try MySpace, Robert. See if you can do a little flip with yourself there. All right, no, Facebook is what we got coming in.

All right. "Hello, Rick. I just watched that video of those people standing up to that guy that was degrading Islam in a shameful way. I want to say thanks to those people that stood up, not only for religion, but against hate of any kind. I just wish that people would try to get to know Islam before they speak those ridiculous claims."

Let's leave it at the, because we have got to move on. I understand that Sarah Palin is going to be speaking in just a moment. We want to be able to hear her, a lot of questions as to whether or not she's going to be making mention of the socialism criticism that came out today.

Let's go ahead and dip into this. We will take it live. We will be back in a few minutes to break this down for you. Here's Sarah Palin.



PALIN: Are you ready to make John McCain the next president of the United States of America? (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN: Are you ready to send us to Washington, D.C., to shake things up?


PALIN: Thank you.

Well, Colorado, I know each one of you is here today because you realize how high these stakes are in this election. This is so important. This is all about America's future.

Our country is facing tough times, and now more than ever we need someone tough in the White House ready to lead on day one. We need someone with experience and courage and good judgment and truthfulness.


PALIN: We need someone with a bold and free and fair plan of action (AUDIO GAP) our country in a new direction, to get the economic back on track. We need John McCain.


PALIN: And let's talk about experience for a minute here.

SANCHEZ: Having a problem. I was just told that some of the video of that Palin rally is locking up, which is usually something that happens when the video is coming down through satellites. It's a technical issue. We will try and get back to that in just a little bit.

In the meantime, I have got some polls that I want to share with you. This is the latest CNN/Opinion Research national poll. This is not the poll of polls. This is the national poll that we're going to show you. This is where it stands right now. You see there's some tightening there. It was bigger last night.

It's now Obama at 51 percent and McCain at 46 percent. Now let's go to the CNN poll of polls. The poll of polls is a little different. It's where essentially we take and combine all the major polls and put them together and give you one average number. That average right now is Obama at 50 percent, McCain at 44 percent, and unsure at 6 percent. That's shown a little bit of tightening as well, by the way.

All right, let's dip back in and see how we're doing with -- oh, I'm still -- all right. Let's do this. Apparently, we're going to have to take a break here. Apparently, that video is freezing up. And we're not able to show it to you. It's a very technical explanation that would take too long for me to get into.

When we come back, I guarantee we will have that cleared.

The other story we're following today, the story of little Cole from Las Vegas. What did his grandfather have to do with his abduction, and was it really the result of a Mexican drug cartel? We will have that when we come back.

Stay with us.


SANCHEZ: We were among the first to share with you what's going on with the exuberance around the country with early voting. As we had told you, 31 states this year are going to have early voting and the results from most of the election officials in those states is that the number of people going to early voting so far this year has tripled in comparison to what it was in years past.

This is what we have been seeing, lines around the blocks. We've been seeing some aerials of Tennessee in particular that actually showed the helicopter following the lines. People waiting for hours in some cases just to be able to place their votes. Many of them saying that the reason they're doing so is because they are extremely sure that by doing this, they are guaranteeing themselves a fair and correct vote.

They think that if they wait until the end, there's too much of a possibility that the lines will be too long then or they won't be able to get in and vote. Let me give you the numbers now. Five new states are added to the 17 we told you about last week. This particular picture now is coming in from Orlando where some of the early voting is now coming in.

The five new states as of today that are going to start early voting are Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Colorado, North Dakota and Texas. Five new states where early voting has begun. We told you we'd be dipping into the Sarah Palin campaign rally. Here it is again.

Let's see if this time the video and the satellites hold.


PALIN: ... Yes! You know, we've really got to hand it to Joe the Plumber there in Toledo, Ohio. What he was able to accomplish is something the rest of us have not been able to accomplish. He got our opponent to finally state plainly his intentions of what he's going to do with tax increases.

So if you ask me, that makes Joe the winner of last week's presidential debate. As a result of that conversation that he had with Joe, Senator Obama says that he wants to spread the wealth.

I don't know. Maybe it makes more sense for security to keep her in here so she can learn a little bit from all of you.


So Barack Obama explained to Joe that he wants to spread the wealth. What that means is government taking more of your money and doling it out however a politician would see fit.

So Obama calls it spreading the wealth. Joe Biden calls it patriotic. But Joe the Plumber said it sounded to him like socialism.


Now is not the time to experiment with socialism.

See, our opponent's plan to redistribute wealth will ultimately punish hard work. And it discourages productivity. And it will stifle the entrepreneurial spirit that has made this country unique and the greatest country on earth.


Our opponent's plan is just more big government and John and I think that that is the problem. That's not the solution. Bigger government? No. Instead of taking your hard-earned money and spreading your wealth, we want to spread opportunity so people like you and Joe the Plumber can create new wealth.


SANCHEZ: All right. There you go from Sarah Palin. We'll have to get out of Sarah Palin because we're going from one Republican hopeful to one Republican in the White house. We've just receive this videotape released moments ago by the White House of the president speaking about the nation's economy. Let's take that now.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am honored to be with you all. Thank you very much for hosting this meeting here and the good folks from Alexandria and Pineville, Louisiana. I have come to talk about the economic situation in the country.

A lot of people down here and in other parts of the country are wondering why a free-market-oriented president made the decisions to -- necessary to get the government to buy stocks in banks, for example. Why would you do that?

The answer is because I was deeply concerned about a financial crisis becoming so profound and so acute that it hurt the people and small business owners here in Alexandria and Pineville. That's why.

If I felt that the crisis could be contained in Wall Street, then I'd have taken a different course of action. But the crisis that is gripping this country and still has a grip on this country affects the people around this table. And that's why I made the decision I made.

Part of that decision is to make sure that people end up with hard-working taxpayers' money don't enrich themselves as a result of that kind of money. I was talking to Rodney Alexander, a fine congressman from this part of the world. He said one thing people want to make sure of, Mr. President, is that when you invest that they're not able to take that government investment and use it to, you know, to their own advantage personally. In other words, a golden parachute or something like that.

Secondly, I believe -- and I can say this with confidence to the people out here. That I think that we're going to be able to get most of your money back. And the reason I say that is because the government is really making investments and obviously making investments in the -- in a difficult period for our economy.

And we're big enough and patient enough to be able to hold these investments. Plus, the investments are structured to encourage, for example, big banks when they get back on their feet and get doing better to buy back the shares or get somebody else to buy back the shares.

One of the things that I have heard around the table, and I'm not surprised, is that, you know, the regional banks and the community banks, which provide such an important part of, you know, many communities. They're such an important part of many communities and provide such stability for the country's financial system.

They're worried about being labeled, you know, with the same brush as some of the banks that have had economic difficulties. I think people in Alexandria need to know that community banks are strong. And they've got good capital ratios and they're healthy. And that's good.

That's going to be very important for the small business sector. I am deeply concerned about the small business sector. Seventy percent of new jobs in America are created by small business owners, and we've got small business owners with us today. And one of the problems facing small business owners is that they're very worried that their non-interest bearing accounts in banks were not insured. And so the FDIC took action to -- to insure those accounts so that small business owners can be comfortable that their money they've got in place for inventories are in good shape.

And then the question I've asked here is, you know, what are the attitudes like? And I have heard that people's attitudes are beginning to change from a period of, you know, intense concerns and I would call it near panic to being more relaxed and beginning to -- beginning to see the effects of the changes and the liquidity that -- that are being pumped into the system. We've got a long way to go. As I said Friday, this thaw took a while to thaw. It's going to take a while to unthaw.

But the attitude here is a little different than it might have been a week ago. And so I want to thank you all very much for giving me a chance to come and visit with you. I'm very fond of this part of the country. It's -- it's not that far away from my home state. And so I appreciate your time. Appreciate the good folks in this part of the world. I do want to say thanks to all of those who have said prayers for Laura and I during the presidency. It means an awful lot. Thank you all.


SANCHEZ: There's the president speaking to the Chamber, trying to calm the fears of investors and many Americans who are looking around at the economic situation of our nation and wondering if things are still in hand.

By the way, one of the big questions with all of this is whether or not the United States is, in fact, in a recession. Many members of the administration have been hesitant to want to use that word. But at least in part yesterday a member of the president's board, a member of his administration, did use the word.

I'm going to quote him here. He's one of the president's top economic advisers, by the way. He said that, "parts of the country are in a recession." "Parts of the country are in a recession. And that it could be a few months before we see the rescue plan make any significant impact."

That's Ed Lazear who made that comment. He's chairman of the Council on Economic Advisers talking to CNN yesterday on "LATE EDITION."

Let's check on the big board no now. It is 304 at this point, 303. But obviously a good sign compared to the things we've been seeing in the last couple of weeks. And when we come back, we're going to be talking about the effect of Hillary Clinton. In fact, we have video of her which is curious enough.

She was in Florida today campaigning for Senator Barack Obama when suddenly she decided she'd put a book over her head. There she is with rail Martinez to her right. We'll continue with the story and tell you why the book and what she said in Florida on Barack Obama's behalf when we come back.


SANCHEZ: And we welcome you back. A lot of messages - as a matter of fact, take a look. Robert, shoot this one if you possibly can. As we shift our focus into a segment which has to do more with the Democrats. This is from lou21. I have a great new name for your show. "Rick's Republican rant."

With that said, let's bring in a Democrat. Everybody has an opinion. Doug Hattaway -- Doug, good to see you again.


SANCHEZ: As you remember from seeing Mr. Hattaway on our air before. He is a former Clinton campaign adviser. Who was watching today as Hillary Clinton started to get rained on in south Florida. You probably are tired of being asked this question, as you look at the video once again. Has she fully embraced Barack Obama's campaign?

HATTAWAY: Absolutely. Hillary believes in her heart that Barack Obama needs to be the next president of the United States. She has worked too hard on issues like health care to see the Republicans take it over again and have four more years of disastrous Republican policies and taking this country in the wrong direction. And I'd also point out she's worked her heart out for this ticket. She has done more than any other runner-up I can think of to get the Obama/Biden ticket in the White House. She's criss-crossed this country. She's talked specifically to her voters, the 18 million people that voted for her in the primary. If she delivers a number of them -- and in states like Florida where they are today, Ohio, these are a couple of states that if we can get enough voters to come home to the Democratic ticket, it's hard to see how John McCain can win. Hillary is a big asset to them.

SANCHEZ: Not just John McCain. Roger or Dan, put that video back up there again. When you look at that video with Hillary Clinton, the guy on the right who brought her the book, that's Raul Martinez. He's running against Diaz-Balart the guy on the left who brings her the umbrella is Joe Garcia is running against the other Diaz-Balart.

The Diaz-Balart brothers are Republican stalwarts in South Florida. Are we looking at a possibility with Hillary, but with Barack Obama's coattails, these kinds of guys as winning as Democrats among Cubans?

HATTAWAY: I think so. It's a really amazing cycle. We could even see Democrats winning in that part of Florida. I've done a lot of work down there. I do think that some of the movement in the polls to Senator Obama over the past few weeks has been a Hillary voter effect. A lot of -- particularly women who voted for her and others are deciding like General Colin Powell just did that they do not want to see John McCain implement the same old Republican policies.

SANCHEZ: So you're saying it's taken them a while to get there, but they're finally getting there? And you're on the record here on CNN saying it's happening right now?

HATTAWAY: I think so. I think people are taking -- have been taking a look at -- and that's the definition of an undecided voter at this stage of the game, whether they're a Democrat or an independent or even a Republican. And I think, as General Powell said better than anybody, Barack Obama has passed the final exam and people are seeing he is right on the issues, has the right solutions and has the leadership characteristics and the judgment and John McCain does not.

SANCHEZ: We'll just have to see. Doug Hattaway, always a pleasure talking to you, thanks so much.

And Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama together tonight side by side on the campaign trail. My thanks to you once again.

When we come back, the story of a little boy in a desperate situation that we told you about Friday. He's abducted and police say it most likely was a result of a Mexican drug cartel. Was that the case? And what did his grandfather have to do with it? That story when we come back.



CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These days Tom Sheehan has a view of the Connecticut shore from his garden.

Tom retired two years ago, earlier than he'd planned due to cutbacks after 9/11.



ROMANS: His wife sandy works fulltime.

T. SHEEHAN: It's a tremendous amount of guilt. An uncomfortable feeling when your wife goes to work and you're staying home.

S. SHEEHAN: There's a financial change. You know, we had to make adjustments for what our original long-term goals were.

ROMANS: "Money Magazine's" Janice Revel says their experience isn't uncommon.

JANICE REVEL, "MONEY MAGAZINE": The harsh reality is 40 percent of the time people are forced to retire long before they wanted to.

ROMANS: Tom and Sandy made it work by downsizing and sold their house upstate, knocked down their beach cottage and built a year-round home in its place.

REVEL: One of the things that Tom and Sandy I think did really well was they didn't just move to a brand-new town they knew nothing about. I mean this is a place they spent summers in for decades.

ROMANS: When Sandy retires they'll start a new life in familiar place.

S. SHEEHAN: The kids pretty much grew up being here.

T. SHEEHAN: The grandchildren.

ROMANS: Christine Romans, CNN, New York.


SANCHEZ: Welcome back. I'm Rick Sanchez.

The story that we've been following out of Las Vegas as have so many other people, the story of little Cole Puffinburger. He was taken allegedly at the time many thought by a drug cartel, a Mexican drug cartel. He has been found wandering around by a bus driver. He has been in police custody as have two other men who possibly could be associated with the abduction. There is a suspect named Jesus Gastelum who police have arrested in connection with his abduction and disappearance.

Also Cole's grandfather, his name is Clemens F. Tinnemeyer. There he is. He was arrested in riverside, California, late Friday after the six-year-old boy had been missing for more than a couple of days.

Police still say he had a methamphetamine habit and as a result of that habit, that he owed thousands upon thousands of dollars to the drug cartel in Medellin - or pardon me, in Mexico. That's where the story stands. Obviously, there's a lot of questions. We're expecting a new conference from police officials in Las Vegas. That's going to be happening sometime tonight around 4:30.

You'll probably be able to see parts of that here on CNN. Let's bring in our own expert if we can to get more information on the story. His name is Ron Shindel. He is a retired New York Police Department official. Investigator I believe, is that right, Mr. Shindel?

DEP. INSPECTOR RICK SHINDEL, NYPD, (RET): Deputy inspector, Rick.

SANCHEZ: Deputy inspector. What do you expect the police will be saying tonight at 4:30, given what you know about this case? Where could it go next?

SHINDEL: Well the only thing I know from the case is what most of us know here and that's from the media. And I think the police are going to come out with very concrete details and bring us up to speed on what they know now and what they can predict for how this case is going to go from this point on.

SANCHEZ: Why is the grandfather under arrest if all he will did was owe money to the drug cartel?

SHINDEL: Well, I think we're going to learn that at 4:30. I think we're going to learn that possibly the grandfather was involved in a lot more than we first assumed.

SANCHEZ: Do you think, I mean this drug cartel story made a lot of us ask this question this morning, if a little boy like that is taken by a drug cartel, wouldn't you think they'd be real good at making sure that nobody finds him or them?

Are you starting to have as some people have doubts about whether it really was a drug cartel that was involved in this?

SHINDEL: Rick, kidnapping worldwide, not in the United States but worldwide is a totally different crime than we have in the United States in that there -- kidnapping has doubled in the past six years. Almost an estimated, and I say estimated because some kidnappings go unreported, but we've had 25,000 kidnappings worldwide in 2006 alone.

Of those, they've brought back 91 percent of the kidnapped victims. Of all of those people who were kidnapped, 67 percent were brought back with ransom. So in the United States we don't see the same level of kidnapping but worldwide we see it as a business enterprise, a crime of opportunity that they take, especially the cartels. SANCHEZ: I guess what I'm trying to figure out, is it curious after being abducted supposedly or allegedly or possibly by a drug cartel that, this little boy would be found by a bus driver roaming the streets by himself? I know that explanation could change tonight at 4:30 during the news brief by police but right now that's what we have. That seems curious, doesn't it?

SHINDEL: It's curious. But I think what happened here is they took a victim, they were looking to use some leverage on the grandfather possibly. And then they realize that had by taking this victim, a six-year-old boy, that the authorities, the law enforcement authorities as well as government authorities were going to come down. They didn't realize how hard and how bad for publicity this was.

I mean, the cartels are in an illegal business. But it's still a business and they want to run their business and I don't think they had any idea of the amount of pressure that was going to be put on them by taking this six year old boy.

SANCHEZ: Interesting take. It's almost like when there's too much heat you get out of the fire and run. Thanks so much, inspector, for taking time to talk to us. we appreciate it.

SHINDEL: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: Wolf Blitzer is standing by now to bring us up to date on what's coming up in "THE SITUATION ROOM."

Wolf, what you got?

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks very much, Rick.

Two weeks from tomorrow, Election Day and the candidates are using every moment to spread their message in the battleground states. We're sanding by to hear from Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John McCain all live. Even Bill Clinton is holding a rally today in Nevada. CNN's best political team is spread out as well.

We have live reports from the battleground states. What's at stake? How far do the candidates have to go and what do the people who live there really think of this historic election. Getting more exciting, we're covering every angle for viewers.

Plus, some say endorsements don't really matter but this one has some Republicans steamed. What's the impact when Colin Powell backs Barack Obama and what John McCain says about it all. All that, Rick, and a lot more coming up in "THE SITUATION ROOM."

SANCHEZ: Thanks so much, Wolf. We'll look forward to it.

By the way, when we come back, take a look at the market if we can. We're going to key in on that. Things are up on this day, 374 and heading to the 400 mark. See if it gets there. Stay with us. We may know in the next couple of minutes. The market closes in four. I'm Rick Sanchez. We'll be right back.


SANCHEZ: Did the market get to 400 during that commercial break? Susan standing by with the drum roll, please?

SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it did. Coming off the Dow's best week in five years and adding to it. A nice way to start the trading week.

See you tomorrow, Rick.

SANCHEZ: Lookie there, 405.

Wolf Blitzer standing by with THE SITUATION ROOM -- Wolf.