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Chicago Child Still Missing; Battleground States; Overseas Votes; Retooling Your Image; Candidate Talking Points; Fact Checking Candidates; Unemployment Blues

Aired October 26, 2008 - 09:00   ET


BETTY NGUYEN, CNN NEWS ANCHOR: Missing three days after the murders of her mother and brother, the nephew of singer/actress Jennifer Hudson is still nowhere to be found.
TJ HOLMES, CNN NEWS ANCHOR: So another week, thousands of more layoffs. A lot of people worried about their jobs. Advice on how to reinvent yourself and profiting in these tough economic times. You want to stick around for that, a lot of talk about how to make yourself invaluable.

NGUYEN: Love the idea. Right?

HOLMES: Idea there.

NGUYEN: I think we would all use a little advice on that.

HOLMES: So, good morning to you all. I am the reinvented T.J. Holmes, this morning.

NGUYEN: Well, good morning everybody, I'm still the same old Betty Nguyen. But, thanks for joining us and let's get to the story we have been talking about all morning long. A mom's desperate for her son to come home and safely. Chicago police say they are still looking for the 7-year-old nephew of singer Jennifer Hudson. Hudson's mother, seen here in the picture and her mother and brother were shot and killed Friday.

HOLMES: Well, now take a look at this little boy, 7-year-old -- Police say he may have seen the whole thing happen. Police think Julian King was abducted after the killings. Our Susan Roesgen has the details of this disturbing story.


JULIA HUDSON, MISSING CHILD'S MOTHER: All I ask, I don't care who you are, just let the baby go. Please.

SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Julia Hudson is not used to being in front of the camera. That's her sister's role. Jennifer Hudson, Oscar winning actress and singer, raced home to Chicago Friday night. Detectives were at her family home. The bodies of her mother and brother found shot to death inside.

HUDSON: She was screaming and she flew in. She flew in right away. And we've been together ever since. ROESGEN: This is the man police are questioning. Identified by family members as William Balfour, Julia Hudson's estranged husband. He is a convicted felon on parole for attempted murder and carjacking, but the police will not call him a suspect in this case, only a person of interest. And this is the missing 7-year-old, Julian. He may have witnessed the murders and no one knows where he is.

(on camera): Has the person of interest been able to tell you where the child might be?

JODY WEISS, CHICAGO POLICE: I can't comment on that. That's part of our investigation.

HUDSON: I know he as out there. He is out there. Just let him go. Put him on the side of the street. Just let him go. He will sit there, somebody will see him. Just don't -- I think he'll just sit there, he'll probably cry until somebody comes along.

ROESGEN: Family, friends and fans left a makeshift memorial at the Hudson home. Jennifer Hudson had remained very close to her family, here in Chicago, where the now famous dream girl never dreamed of a tragedy like this.

Susan Roesgen, CNN, Chicago.


NGUYEN: We do have another just terrible loss to tell you about this morning. Take a look, this young anchorwoman has died. Anne Pressly had been hospitalized since Monday when she was found badly beaten inside her home. Police say she was attacked during a random burglary. Pressly was the morning anchor for our affiliate, KATV in Little Rock, Arkansas. Her parents released a statement saying they are relying on their faith to get them through this loss. Their daughter was only 26 years old.

And the community in -- grieving in Huntsville, Tennessee, this morning. Four high school cheerleaders died in a fiery crash on their way back from a football game. It happened on a rural road Friday night. Police say their SUV hydroplaned and slammed into a car. One person in that car was also killed. Investigators say fog and slick roads may have contributed to that accident.

HOLMES: We will turn to the campaign trail now and Election Day just nine days away. We are telling you what the presidential candidates want to do about the big issues out there -- the problems, the plans, education to healthcare, and national security. Today is day two of our 10 days to countdown and 10 issues to count studded countdown to Election Day.

Our issue today, of course, taxes. Here's where the candidates are focusing their attention, today. John McCain in Iowa and Ohio, Barack Obama out in Colorado. McCain's running mate, Sarah Palin, she's in Florida and North Carolina. Democrat, Joe Biden, does not have any public events scheduled for today. Now, as you can tell from the map, both (INAUDIBLE) attempting to shore up support in those critical battleground states right about now.

NGUYEN: And one of those battleground states is Ohio. Our latest poll of polls has Obama ahead by a few points, there. CNN's deputy political editor, Paul Steinhauser is in Lima.

Paul, this is the last lap now, just nine days to go. What's the message from the candidates?

PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN DEPUTY POLITICAL EDITOR: Yeah, well let's start with John McCain because as T.J. just mentioned, he's coming here later today. And for John McCain, one of the closing arguments is taxes that Barack Obama is going to raise your taxes. And look where John McCain is going, he's going to states like here in Ohio, Iowa, over the weekend, he was also in Colorado and New Mexico. These are all states George Bush won four years ago. So, he's playing defense and behind in the polls in these states. Another message from John McCain, one of his big closing arguments is watch out, Democrats can control everything, Congress and the White House. Take a listen.


JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The answer to a slowing economy is not higher taxes. That's exactly what's going to happen when the Democrats have total control of Washington. We can't let that happen.


MCCAIN: Are you ready for Obama, Pelosi and Reid? No, I don't think so. We've already seen a preview of their plans. It is pretty simple and pretty familiar.


STEINHAUSER: So, what Barack Obama? He is out West as well this weekend. He's campaigning those states like Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico. All states that went for Bush. These are states that he wants to turn from red to blue and he may able to do that. He's up in the polls there, right now. It's still close, though. Barack Obama's closing theme, one, major one, is that watch out, another eight years of George Bush under John McCain. He is acquainting Bush and McCain, Bush and McCain over and over. Take a listen to Barack Obama.


BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: John McCain attacking George Bush for his out of hand economic policies is like Dick Cheney attacking George Bush for his going with the foreign policy. It's like Robin getting mad at Batman. John McCain hasn't been a maverick; he's been a sidekick when it comes to George Bush's economic policies.



STEINHAUSER: Well, that's it, Betty, some of their closing arguments. You're going to see both the candidates, Obama and McCain right here in Ohio, and also next door in Pennsylvania. Nine days ago, lot of time left to campaign -- Betty.

NGUYEN: Yeah. I wonder if we will see any of this, though. We are hearing a lot about the tensions between the McCain staff and the -- Governor Palin's staff, maybe that's she's possibly even going rogue on them. What's going on?

STEINHAUSER: Yeah, some good reporting by our Dana Bash, our John King, our Pete Hamby, also the "Politico" has been reporting similar stuff. And what they are saying is that McCain aides, some top McCain staffers, are call -- telling CNN that she's going rogue, that's doing her own thing, that she's really looking out for herself. One source even telling CNN that she's acting like a diva.

Now, on the other side, some people close to Palin are quietly telling CNN that she is a little upset with the McCain side and she thinks the McCain aides, top McCain staffers, are really mismanaging things. So, we are hearing a lot of sniping between the two camps. And this is nothing new, though. We saw tonight 2004 with John Edwards and John Kerry, there was a lot of back and forth between the two. We will have to see how this plays out -- Betty.

NGUYEN: Yeah, for it to come out, what, nine days before the election, I mean, that's pretty close to the wire.

STEINHAUSER: Yeah, pretty close to the wire. Again, we have seen stuff like this before. This is interesting and things, of course, aren't going that well right now, I guess you could say, for McCain and Palin because they are behind, but they're not behind by that much that they can't close the gap.

NGUYEN: All right. Paul Steinhauser, always enjoy talking with you. We'll be doing a lot more of that throughout the next week or so. Thanks so much, do appreciate it. You know, you can join the best political team on television today for BALLOT BOWL, that starts at 4:00 Eastern.

HOLMES: Well, several states are allowing early voting. And if the early voting lines are any indication of how things will go on November 4 -- woo! Look out. You are going to be in line a while on Election Day. Take a listen to what some of what these early voters are saying.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This election seems to be probably one of the most important ones that I have been part of ever since I think I started voting. That's why it was well worth the time and, I think about 45 minutes is not a long time to wait for something of this magnitude.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, you talk about America, but as an American citizen, I think it is everybody's right and they should exercise that right.

(END VIDEO CLIP) HOLMES: Those people voting in Wisconsin. Election officials there report a heavy turnout and expect 15 percent of all votes will come via absentee or early ballots.

Well, you know, it's not easy working in a polling place these days. This is in Jacksonville, Florida. You know how tough it is the there? Police arrest ad woman for clocking one of the county election supervisors. Police say the woman was verbally harassing some of the other voters there when the supervisor tried to calm her down, that did not work. She responded with fists of furry. Police say she started hitting them and then fled the scene, but they caught her a little while later. Again, it's going to be tough in the polling places. And we've seen all kinds of...

NGUYEN: Tensions are high, aren't they?

HOLMES: All kinds of problems and voting irregularities and that's pretty regular, out there.

NGUYEN: I would say so, let's keep it that way.

HOLMES: Well, a lot of Americans, well, voting overseas.

NGUYEN: Look at the voting challenges and the programs that can actually help.


HOLMES: Well, some Americans, many Americans, are energized about this election. That does not matter they are voting in Ohio, voting in California, voting in Florida or voting in Europe. As CNN's Zain Verjee reports people are energized about sending in their ballots and they're sending them in from all over the world.


ZAIN VERJEE, CNN STATE DEPT. CORRESPONDENT: Yes, exactly, Tony. Their votes can be really crucial, even if you don't see them actually vote. We asked the State Department what exactly it was doing to help Americans living overseas to cast their ballots. And this is what they told us. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

VERJEE (voice-over): A get-out-the-vote party at the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In London, the embassy there is telling Americans wherever they are to step up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Here to finalize your absentee ballot.

JANICE JACOBS, ASSIST SECRETARY OF STATE: Our main role is to really help Americans exercise their right to vote and just to get information out to them about how to do that.

VERJEE: Explaining paperwork and deadlines, even sending absentee ballots to the state where voters or their parents last lived.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But, we really encourage you to send it in as soon as possible.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Well, that sounds like I'll probably make my mind up today.

VERJEE: For many, the process can be overwhelming.

HAROLD SCHEPIEN, AMERICAN IN LONDON: So it was a little bit confusing actually.

VERJEE (on camera): So was it helpful to come here today?

SCHEPIEN: Oh, yes, very helpful to come in.

VERJEE (voice over): Federal Express has a special deal new this year -- discounts, and in some cases, free delivery of U.S. ballots from 89 countries. Absentee votes can make a difference. They were part of the bitter ballot count in 2000.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: ...and a presidential election too close to call.

VERJEE: Counting of those ballots varies state by state. In some, absentee ballots can arrive after Election Day. Some states only count them a couple of weeks later. Republicans use this Web site to hunt for votes. Democrats are online, too, with celebrities making the pitch to boost turnout.

GWYNETH PALTROW, ACTRESS: I'll be voting from London, but you can vote from anywhere.

VERJEE: The Pentagon and the State Department help get ballots to 1.4 million military members and their families, 100,000 U.S. government employees overseas, and maybe as many as six million potential American voters living outside the U.S.

VERJEE: The State Department says there are more people motivated to vote overseas than ever before. In Buenos Aires, for example, 800 people just came in to mail their absentee ballots.

Zain Verjee, CNN, Washington.


NGUYEN: Well, let's get the latest on this cold weather. I mean, it's not winter yet, but in some parts, Reynolds, it feels like it.

REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yeah, exactly. I mean, tell people in Fargo, this morning that it's not winter, yet, and I think they'd beg to differ.


NGUYEN: Wait, hold up, hold up. That's the high? In the 50s?

WOLF: Yeah, tomorrow.

NGUYEN: Goodness. We are definitely into fall and headed to winter.

WOLF: You know, those jackets, you know those like heavier coats?

NGUYEN: Yeah, I brought one today.

WOLF: Basically what they're for.


WOLF: Just sharing that with you.

NGUYEN: Thank you, Reynolds.

HOLMES: Thanks.

NGUYEN: Hey, take a look at this. They won't be wearing jackets here, because they are off to the races. This is video coming in from Washington, D.C., this morning. Marine Corps marathon is under way, some 30,000 runners kicking it into high gear. It starts in Arlington, Virginia and runs past monuments and finishes at Marine Corps War Memorial. It's nicknamed "The People's Marathon" because the largest marathon in the world, mind you, that does not offer prize money, it's all about bragging rights. So, we'll see who wins today.

In the meantime, standing out in the arts community, it's tough, but I recently met a sculptor who is overcoming adversity and making it to the top.


NGUYEN (voice over): (AUDIO GAP) isn't what you'd expect an artist to be.

MICHAEL KALISH, SCULPTOR: A, I'm color blind, and B, you know, I dropped out of art school.

NGUYEN: Kalish grew up playing baseball, but an injury in college ended his major league aspirations, so he turned to his secret passion -- art. Kalish traveled across the country and collected license plates.

KALISH: I'm a big Americana guy. And I love going cross-country, I love found objects, I love taking something out of context and putting it into another form.

NGUYEN: He started sculpting using nothing but cut, bent and twisted license plates. Kalish used his unorthodox style to break into the art world.

KALISH: I was marching in the galleries. One gallery was like: you can't walk in the Gallery to the Art. What's that, though? That's pretty cool. All these little flowers and pieces are cut from tailgates, they're not touched or painted.

NGUYEN: And ironically, his art also brought him back to baseball. He decorated a wall at Turner Field, which is home to the Atlanta Braves. KALISH: I remember doing the installation on the wall and it's behind first base, like on the mezzanine level and the guys were like playing baseball, right there. It was really surreal. It was like I was really stuck between the two worlds.

NGUYEN: Now Kalish's designs hang in the homes of some of the biggest celebrities and they can be found in galleries across the U.S. and Europe.


NGUYEN: That is really cool stuff. If fact, you've met the guy.

HOLMES: Met him. And I did a pan well him, panel discussion. The thing that stood out, his hands were bandaged from doing all the sculpting.

NGUYEN: Oh yes, cutting through those license plates.

HOLMES: He was just a mess. I think at the time he was telling me he almost tore off his finger -- you know, one of his fingernails. He was a mess.

NGUYEN: Hey, the price you pay for art.

HOLMES: Yes, but it's good stuff. Really good stuff he puts together. Good guy. But, he has a job right now. A lot of you out there have jobs, some of you have jobs, but either way, you still need to listen up to what we are -- our next guest is going to say.

NGUYEN: I am taking notes, no doubt. This is good information. A career coach will tell us how you can actually reinvent yourself in these challenging times.


HOLMES: Yeah, issue No. 1. Usually when we start with that graphic, you know some bad news is coming. But this story will actually make you feel pretty good. It starts at a foreclosure auction, OK, I know that doesn't good, yet, but stay with me, here. This happened in Dallas. Two women actually met there. One's name was Marilyn Mock (ph), she was there to get in on an investment, you know? But, Tracy was there to say good-bye to her foreclosed home. Well, Mock saw Tracy crying, she wondered why. Then she made an offer.


TRACY: She said she was doing it for me and then she handed it to me.

MARILYN MOCK, INVESTOR: That way they can -- she can move right back into it and wherever Pottsboro is, I have on to look it up on the map. People need to help each other and that's all there is to it.


HOLMES: ...this story. But if you can tell there what happened, Mock bought the home. She bid on it, a home that in the listing that you just saw there, that book, didn't have a picture of the house in there, so she was going on blind faith that the woman told her the house was worth it, she wanted to help her out, so she's taking that risk and she said it's certainly worth the risk giving Tracy a second chance -- Betty.

NGUYEN: I love that story. It is so wonderful to see, especially in the difficult financial times. And speaking of those, thousands of people have been handed pink slips this month. The rest of us worry it will be next. So, do you want some advice? I bet do you. We all do. In fact, lifestyle strategist and author, Melissa Johnson, brings that and so much more to us this morning. Her book is titled with the "Brand Me: Make Your Mark, Turn Passion into Profit."

And in fact, Melissa, that is what you have done. You left something stable and said I will follow my passion and this is advice for people out there listening thinking, you know what, let me just go ahead and read it myself. What did you do?

MELISSA JOHNSON, LIFESTYLE COACH: Absolutely. I left a corporate position. I'm a classically trained marketer, by trade, and really felt saw the power of branding. Corporations do it all the time. And I said, you know what, there is never be a greater enterprise you can work for than CEO of "brand me."

NGUYEN: So, how do you reinvent yourself? It's so hard, because when you start out on a job and you kind of get set in your ways and that's what you are doing well at, your getting paid well, but then maybe it's not your passion, how do you branch off from what you're doing and make your passion your full-time job?

JOHNSON: Yes. A transition, but I think what's most important is people first understand passion is a driver profit. Once you're able to identify what I love then it's easier to find out who out there has a problem I can solve. And I mean, if you look at the economy, the situation that we are in today, many people are struggling and have problems. If you can find a way to make your passion solve someone else's problems you will unlock your product...

NGUYEN: All right, here's the problem, people need a job, so let's go through some steps what they can do to really reinvent themselves. Step No. 1, remember your value. What does that mean?

JOHNSON: Yes. Value is the core to building a brand. Some companies say that 75 percent of the market values is based on their brand equity. That is what you bring to the table. So, even though you may have lost the job, you're trying to cling to what you had, don't forget that you still have value. So, remember your strength and your core. That's what's going to keep you ahead and above over the competition.

NGUYEN: All right, step No. 2, reposition your difference. That means take what you do that's different and make that something that really causes to you standout.

JOHNSON: Absolutely, brands are all about difference. CNN is different than ESPN. I mean, it's about how do you position your strength. In the book, "Brand Me," I talk about your DNA, it stands for your Distinct and Notable Attributes, those are the strengths that you have, the gifts, the skills that kind of help patent your particular brand and being able to sell those is really what's going to help set you apart.

NGUYEN: Give me an example of how you do that, though.

JOHNSON: One of the things that's important as you are going out networking and talking to people, really being able to have what I call a tight and skinny 30-second pitch. Being able to say this is who I am, this is what I do, and this is my unique value. That's a very important part. What do I do differently? How can I bring value to your situation? If you're able to tap into that, they you are really able to position yourself.

NGUYEN: In this market, you really need to set yourself apart and sell it. And in fact, that sometimes that means you have to reintroduce yourself.

JOHNSON: Yes. Reintroducing yourself is interesting because at the end of the day we live in a 24/7 network society. So, how do you dough about introducing yourself to your friends, family, strangers and helping them know look, this is what I have to offer and how can you help me?

NGUYEN: OK, so how do you do that?

JOHNSON: I had a friend call me, actually, a couple days ago and she said, you know what, my husband is looking for someone to support our firm. And she -- I had known her for several years, but once she reintroduced herself and told me specifically what the need was, I was like, oh, I know someone who might be able to help you. So again, it was an obvious connection through a familiar contact.

NGUYEN: And one of your others, No. 4 on the list, is redefine entrepreneurship.

JOHNSON: Absolutely, my dad once told me when life gives you lemons don't just make lemonades, open a lemonade stand.

NGUYEN: Yeah, go big.

JOHNSON: Go big. And now is the time to do it. I mean, no matter what the situation, you can create and start your own business. Let me give you another...

NGUYEN: That's scary, though. But people, they don't even have a job and now you are thinking about starting your own business. But, I guess sometimes -- especially when you talk to people very successful, they say you got to take a risk.

JOHNSON: Well, it can be a small risks. Let's look at this example, I have a friend of mine who is a school teacher, right? And she's got two jobs and she's like, how do I make ends meet? One of the things that I told her to do is look, you make pies and you love making pies. It's the holiday season, why don't you get out there and start selling Angie's Fresh Baked Pies. You know, it's a great way to make money on the side, and doing what you love. And, again, making profit at the same time.

NGUYEN: And building on that and eventually that will become your full-time job. All right, Melissa Johnson, thanks for your time today and those tips, they're great one this morning, especially for people who are looking at their future and wondering what to do in the financial crisis. Thank you.

JOHNSON: Thank you.


HOLMES: So, did I hear this right, Betty, the key, I need to go home and start baking? Is that right?

NGUYEN: Well, you do make a pretty good pie.


NGUYEN: Sweet potato pie, a lemon pie, I can name all of them. You know, that may be your new calling. Although, don't quit your day job.

HOLMES: I'll get to baking later, but we're going to get back to the election, right now. We're nine days out. What will it take for the candidates to cross that finish line? Well, we got reps from both parties, there, joining us to help us through it. Stay right here.


NGUYEN: A mother just desperate for her son to come home safely. Chicago police say they are still looking for the 7-year-old nephew of singer Jennifer Hudson. Hudson's mother and brother were shot and killed on Friday.

HOLMES: Yeah and would you believe a little boy may be the key to some of this. He may have seen the whole thing, police say. They think Julian King was abducted after the killings. Aaron Baskerville of our affiliate, CLTV, with the latest on this story.


AARON BASKERVILLE, CLTV REPORTER: The stepfather of missing 7-year- old Julian King in the estranged husband of Julia Hudson, Jennifer's sister, remains in police custody at this hour. Meanwhile, an entire neighborhood continues to hope for any sign of that little boy.

(voice over): Family, friends and even strangers continue to pray for the safe return of 7-year-old Julian King, the nephew of academy award-winning actress, Jennifer Hudson. The little boy who answers to "Dr. King" or "Juice Box" has been missing now for two days.

JULIA HUDSON, MOTHER OF MISSING CHILD: (INAUDIBLE) my child. I just want to say, all I ask is please let my baby go.

BASKERVILLE: On Saturday neighbors left stuffed animals and crosses in front of Hudson's family home on South Yale Avenue in Englewood. The neighborhood is still in disbelief after the double fatal shootings of 57-year-old Darnell Donerson and 29-year-old Jason Hudson, the mother and brother of Chicago native, Jennifer Hudson. For now 27-year-old William Balfour remains in police custody. He's the estranged husband of Hudson's sister and the step father of Julian King.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If she don't quit playing with him, he had kidnapped the little boy, you know what I'm saying? That's what he told her, because he drives the school buses. You know, he came up to her school bus one day, out here, you know, told him if you keep playing with me, I'm going to kidnap your son, you know. And I actually I think he did.

BASKERVILLE: Balfour has not been charged with any crime. But, police are apparently trying to use his cell phone records to locate his whereabouts on Friday. The FBI has been called in to help.

On the south side, Aaron Baskerville, CLTV News.


NGUYEN: Here's what we have you, 10 issues in 10 days. We are counting down to Election Day, breaking down the issues that you care about most and telling you what the presidential candidates want to do about them -- the problem, the plans from education to healthcare and homeland security. We are on day two and the issue is taxes, in fact, we are going to have much more on differences in the two candidates' tax plans in 10 minutes with CNN's Josh Levs.

In the meantime, let's check the CNN poll of polls for Ohio, it's showing Obama the choice with 49 percent of likely voters, McCain with 44 percent and seven percent still unsure. Here's what our CNN national poll of polls is showing, Obama, 51 percent, McCain, 42 percent, unsure, seven percent.

HOLMES: All right, let's talk about some of these polls. Let's bring in the senior adviser for the Democratic National Committee, Brad Woodhouse. He joins us now from Washington to continue a conversation we started last week.

Sir, good to have you back here with us. We see the polls, some of them shifting ever so slightly. What polls do you believe?

BRAD WOODHOUSE, SR DNC ADVISOR: Well, you know, look, T.J., we don't really pay attention to the national polls so much as we really look at the tenor of the race. And I think one thing that's interesting in this race is how Senator Obama has so many states that he can campaign in, in the coming week. He has so many, past the 270 electoral votes and Senator McCain's map on the other hand is shrinking.

HOLMES: And we did see that, even one of our -- Paul Steinhauser pointed out to us that all of the places that the candidates are in the next several days are all states that George Bush won last time around, so that's certainly telling.

Let me ask you, though, something out there, just under the surface, but still out there -- the Bradley effect. Is there any real talk among Democrats, specifically in the Obama campaign about this effect that people will tell pollsters one thing, but then get in the booth when it comes to a black candidate and then do something else and not vote for that candidate?

WOODHOUSE: Sure, and there is no discussion in our campaign about that. I mean, we didn't see that in any evidence of that in the primary, certainly Senator Obama ran in some red states, some rural states and in the primary, there were very few cases where he underperformed the preelection polling. I've actually heard some pollsters suggest that there may be a reverse Bradley effect. There may be some people who don't want to admit to pollsters that they're going to vote for Senator Obama, but then go into the polls and do it anyway.

HOLMES: Yeah, we've heard that as well. Tell me another line of attack, now, that McCain used and some think it is a legitimate one, is to say hey, Barack Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Democrats will be in charge of these two branches of government, Democrats will be in control of the House, the Senate, the White House and also there could be a 60 vote majority, filibuster proof in the Senate. Do you really want one party in control like that and to be able to push through any agenda they have? Now, you tell me an argument against that, if you will. Why do you think it's a good idea to have one party in control in that way?

WOODHOUSE: Well, certainly the Republicans will have their say and we are not -- obviously not -- I don't want to get I ahead of ourselves, we still have a an election that has to come, but you know, we tried one philosophy -- the Republicans had -- were in charge six of the last eight years, we tried their philosophy of trickle-down economics, of taking care of corporate America, not really looking after the middleclass. So, you know what, it may be time to have one party that can -- the other party that can push its philosophy and we can try some different things in the economy.

But look, the Senate is an interesting animal. The Republicans -- it's most powerful body for the minority party of any legislative body in the country, certainly they'll have their say, but mostly I think Americans, T.J., see Senator Obama as someone who is practical, who is pragmatic and who is going to lead a moderate agenda for the country.

HOLMES: All right. Well, again, senior adviser of the Democratic National Committee, Mr. Brad Woodhouse. Mr. Brad Woodhouse, sir, we appreciate your being back, we knew we would see you again and might see you again before the election day, but thank you for being with us.

WOODHOUSE: Thank you, T.J.

HOLMES: Meanwhile, on the other side, Danny Diaz with the Republicans. He's been hanging tight for us. He's been listening to what Mr. Woodhouse had to say. Right after this break, we're going to talk to him about what McCain has to do in these closing days. Stay right here.


HOLMES: We heard from the Democratic side before the break. Time to check in from the Republican National Committee. Mr. Danny Diaz. Good to have you with us again this week. We were talking last weekend about the whole Colin Powell endorse many. That's news that just happened. Good to have you back. Last week, actually, I was too hard on you last week because it seemed like all gloom and doom. It seems like all gloom and doom. So I will let you at the beginning here, you tell me what the upside right now -- I guess, what's the thing now that you are seeing in your polls? How the campaign is going and that gives you, I mean, hope despite the polls in what we are seeing that John McCain still has good chance to pull this off.

DANNY DIAZ, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Well, this campaign in the RNC has $84 million in the bank on spend over the course of the last days of this campaign. We are making well over half a million contacts every day. We have 1 million voters, over 1 million volunteers on the ground that are assisting in this. What we have seen is the issue matrix begin to merge and move in our favor, when we are talking about taxes and Barack Obama's plan to redistribute the wealth, that's making a lot of people nervous.

And when we are talking about the fact Joe Biden believes Barack Obama is not ready and he's going to, "generate a national security crisis," people are beginning to look at the experience gap. The stature gap and they are beginning to realize what we have been seeing all along, one date that's qualified to lead and one that's not.

HOLMES: You know, you said you've been saying that all along. Certainly "Joe the plumber" came along and helped, I guess, illustrate that case. But, is there enough time now -- I know you say up found that thing that's resonating but there is enough time for it to resonate over the next nine days?

DIAZ: Yeah. Inside the beltway, certainly there is a lot of discussion that has been had. But, outside of the beltway, Columbus, Ohio, Albuquerque, and in New Mexico, and in Tampa, Florida, you know, voters are still considering who they're going to support.

You know, you have been showing in your polls, I mean, eight, nine percent undecided. I mean, it's probably even larger than that. And the reality is this, that's enough to swing this race in spite of a challenging atmosphere and everything else, John McCain is upper in the margin in Ohio, upper in the margin in Florida, Barack Obama's own polls show John McCain down two points in Pennsylvania. What I'm telling you is this, there's a level of confidence in our targeting and our technology and our get-out-the vote effort, the polls are closing, folks are focusing on the key issues that work to our favor.

HOLMES: And did I hear you say Barack Obama's own polling? You all are -- how did you get your hands on that?

DIAZ: There was a news report about it. We were very happy the see it. HOLMES: All right. Well, one of those things, challenges, spoke of, and that the campaign has been seeing, now something else, I guess, a challenge. But, some reporting and our reporters getting from sources is that Sarah Palin, the word rogue being used. That she has kind of gone off the beaten path and kind of doing her own thing and there is some in-fighting, if you will, between maybe not directly between the two candidates, but still between the two camp, if you will. What can you tell us about that? Do you see that happening? Is it being addressed?

DIAZ: This is nothing but crowd noise, really, at the end of the day. I mean, you have people outside the campaign that are willing to go on record to give these background plugs. I mean, this is good for the thumb suckers in town. This means nothing to the people that care about the important issues.

Barack Obama will redistribute the wealth. He's going to spread it around. What does that mean? Watch out for your pocketbook. Joe Biden believes that Barack Obama's candidacy is going to generate a national security issue. What does that mean? There's one candidate that's prepared that will not generate that issue. There's one candidate that will not redistribute the wealth and will ensure that people keep more of their hard-earned dollars. People are focusing on that, that's going to make the difference.

HOLMES: Danny, let me get you out of here on this last thing, quickly if I can, the No. 1 newspaper in Alaska now come out and endorsed Barack Obama, had favorable things say about Sarah Palin, but then end with saying despite her gifts, few that worked with her closely think she is truly ready to assume command of the most important and powerful nation on earth. What are your thoughts on her paper and her state of saying yes, she's got great talents, but she's not ready?

DIAZ: Alaska, John McCain's going to carry Alaska. You know, what I focus on? I focus on "Cincinnati Inquirer," the "Columbus Dispatch," they've endorsed John McCain. Key state Ohio, we're going to carry it, 207 electoral votes next Tuesday.

HOLMES: Danny Diaz, sir, good to have you back. I'll ask my sister, when I get done here, how I did with you this month morning.

DIAZ: You did a great job.

HOLMES: But all right, Danny Diaz, good to see you again this morning. Well, I hope we'll see you again. I know you're going to be a busy man over the next nine days. You have a good one.

DIAZ: Definitely.

NGUYEN: I think you did you pretty good, T.J. And we just heard Danny talk about spread the wealth, saying Obama's going to be using your money and spreading it around. So, let's get to the bottom of this. You heard a lot about claims when it comes to taxes (AUDIO GAP) you more money, but there are some important disclaimers, as well. So, truth from fiction. Josh Levs joins us with a look at the realities of these promises. So, what are they, josh?

JOSH LEVS, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, you know, pretty much what I want to show is caveats because we hear these general promises from both sides and they are honestly helpful to understanding in general the plans that the candidates put forward. But, I want to show you something, here. The best analysis of the tax plans on both sides comes from the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.

Let's zoom in and I'm going to go over to it, here. Ignore the numbers. I just want you to see what it says at the top. They look at tax proposals as described by campaign staff and they study what it might do to your tax bill. Then look at this, tax proposals as described in some speeches. And what they get are different numbers. What's that say?

When the campaign officials are asked for specifics, the information they give is not the same thing as what candidates are suggesting on the stump. And this senator tells me the numbers are a lot more similar for Obama than they are for McCain. So, that's one reason we have to keep all the promises in our minds with grain of salt.

Also, I pulled out a quote here, from their analysis. Take a look at the graphic, I want you to see this. "One challenge facing anyone who wants to estimate the effects of candidates' tax plans is that no one -- not even inside the campaigns -- knows exactly what the proposals are."

So Betty, what we really have had is a more general estimate with some assumptions made along the way to fill in some holes.

NGUYEN: So, you know, a lot of focus on this election is the middleclass, so what do we know about these tax plans and how they're going to affect the middleclass tax payers?

LEVS: Right, yeah, I mean that's, you know, one of the biggest things we've heard a lot about lately, how the middleclass will be affected. There's a good summary also from the Tax Policy Center. Let's go to this.

They say, "Obama would give larger tax cuts to low and moderate income households and pay some of the costs by raising taxes on high income taxpayers. In contrast to McCain would cut taxes across the board and give biggest cuts to the highest income households."

Now, if you want some specific, let's bang through a couple, here. This is what the Tax Policy Center says about Obama, under his administration. If his plans were to actually happening as he lays them out, "By 2012, middle-income tax payers would see after tax income rise about five percent, or nearly $2,200 annually." So, that's a guess about how much you would save.

McCain they say, "would lift after-tax incomes an average of about three percent, about $1,400 annually" again for middle-income taxpayers by 2012 percent. So, that's what their estimates are based on all these promises.

You can get a lot more details, right here, We have a whole page on it at the Election Center all about taxes, the ultra specifics, anything you want.

NGUYEN: All right, love it. All right, thank you, Josh. We appreciate it.

HOLMES: Well we know the economy's sunk, people are hurting and hurting bad out there.

NGUYEN: Absolutely. And we are telling you their stories right here on CNN SUNDAY MORNING.


HOLMES: All right. A lot of people worried about their jobs these days. We keeps seeing those reports about how unemployment is possibly going to get worse.

NGUYEN: Right, and you know, it's one thing to hear about it, but it's another reality when you are actually live it and our Kara Finnstrom has the story of one woman who's dealing with it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You going to try to other (INAUDIBLE)?


KARA FINNSTROM, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Carol Robbins never imagined she'd be laid off, looking for work at age 56. Robbins had done data entry for the same company for 10 years. Three months ago, she got a pink slip.

ROBBINS: You feel worthless, you know. I mean, I don't want to just be part of the system that just takes, takes, takes. I mean, I want to work.

FINNSTROM: Robbins found jobs were scarce. And the unemployed ranks surging.

(on camera): The number of people filing for unemployment across the country has shot up 44 percent since last year. Economists don't expect those jobs to come back as quickly as they went away.

ESMAEL ADIBI, ECONOMIST: Even if the economy starts recovering, as we anticipate sometime in the middle of next year, it takes a long time for unemployment to start declining.

FINNSTROM (voice over): Some of the hardest hit areas, banks and finance. With analysts predicting Wall Street layoffs could surpass 200,000 this year. Home construction and seasonal retail, economists say the bump in hiring that occurs for the holidays, simply is not. Unemployment centers are seeing many people losing more than jobs.

CRYSTAL PRENDIZ, EMPLOYMENT DEVELOPMENT DEPT: In some cases, they are not just looking for work, they are looking for a place to live and supportive services for their families, they need, child care assistance.

FINNSTROM: Robbins not only lost her job and health insurance, her car broke down and her landlord kicked her out. Robbins said a neighbor took her in, just may have saved her life.

ALBA GOMEZ, NEIGHBOR: For her it's so terrible. She don't have car, she don't have family.

ROBBINS: If my neighbor hadn't come forward, I definitely would have been in a homeless shelter. That was like my last option, but it was one I was looking into because I was running out of things to -- places to go or people to ask for help.

FINNSTROM: Now, she's using the bus to job search and getting help updating her resume and appearance. But she says reinventing herself and venturing into a young competitive workforce is frightening.

ROBBINS: Even fast food places aren't hiring. You know? And I would go to McDonalds and someplace and flip burgers for a living.

FINNSTROM: In Los Angeles, Kara Finnstrom for CNN.


NGUYEN: Now, it's time to check in with Howard Kurtz in Washington to see what is ahead on CNN's RELIABLE SOURCES.

Hello Howard.


Coming up, Sarah Palin complains about unfair media treatment as they press pounces on the hockey mom's $150,000 wardrobe. But are journalists ignoring -- all but ignoring many of Joe Biden's gaffes? What should reporters do when candidates starts throwing around accusations of anti-Americanism?

The World Series, a snooze. Sports writers try their best to pump it up.

That plus Bill O'Reilly taking a swipe at me. I've got something to say about that. It's all ahead on RELIABLE SOURCES.

NGUYEN: We're going to see a little tit-for-tat on your show today? Getting a little spicy? Thank you, looking forward to that. See how Howard takes command. It's going to be good. You know, there's always something going on in New Orleans, though.

HOLMES: And something going on this weekend, it's called a Voodoo festival. What do you do at a Voodoo festival?



NGUYEN: Love it. WOLF: We do that for you. We take those special pictures and bring them just to you.

NGUYEN: Well, because you have done that for us, we want you to stick around because we have a little something for you.

WOLF: I know you do.

NGUYEN: Take a look.


That's your kind of rock and roll, isn't it Reynolds?

WOLF: Absolutely.

NGUYEN: This is the Voodoo Music Experience, in fact, in New Orleans.

HOLMES: Yeah, voodoo. It's a music event, so you're supposed to worship the music. Why they call it "voodoo" we're not sure why.

NGUYEN: We didn't really know how to do it appropriately, so we thought we would participate in our own way. Too bad we can't enjoy the food and the fun out there, but here, we've created our own voodoo fest with these voodoo dolls.

WOLF: Nice. Very nice.

NGUYEN: Do you see the pictures on them?

WOLF: I do see the pictures.

NGUYEN: We haven't done anything bad with them. Right now we're sending good thoughts.

HOLMES: We got these from your wife, actually.

WOLF: Nice. Very nice. They look like they have been used quite a bit.

Oh, my elbow's hurting.

NGUYEN: Oh, there are pins in this.

WOLF: Did you put a pin in there?

NGUYEN: This one has a pin, look.

WOLF: Where are you going to put that one?

NGUYEN: I won't. I can't do that. I was pulling the pins out.

WOLF: Oh, I feel so much better.

HOLMES: That one, I believe, came with instructions. We don't have time to read them, but they come with instructions, actually. NGUYEN: But you have to buy the pins on this one. We only have a limited budget.

WOLF: Pins sold separately.

HOLMES: We will wrap it off with that. We're going to hand it off to Howie in a second, but we got some headlines, here, "Now in the News" to bring to you.

We will start with a story we've been following this weekend, this one out of Chicago. And that young man of concern, right now. This is the nephew of Jennifer Hudson. She's pleading for the return of her 7-year-old nephew, as you saw there. Searchers have been looking for Julian King since Friday after his grandmother and uncle were shot to death.

Also, out of Arkansas, a local news anchorwoman who was found badly beaten in her home on Monday, she has now died. Police say 26-year- old Anne Pressley had been attacked during a random burglary. We'll have more top stories in 30 minutes. But now it's time for us to hand it off to Howard Kurtz and RELIABLE SOURCES.