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Advisers Say Palin is Going Off Script; Race to the Finish; Man Behind Obama Rumor Changes Story

Aired October 27, 2008 - 08:00   ET


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: One minute after the hour. And here are this morning's top stories for you with just eight days to go now until the election. And John McCain down in the polls and appears that there is some finger-pointing going on inside John McCain's campaign. An adviser to Senator McCain says Sarah Palin is quote "going rogue and also takes advice from no one." People close to Governor Palin are telling CNN she has been ill-served by McCain aides and is simply trying to bust free.
Right now, investors are pulling their money out of the world's financial markets and they're doing it quickly. In Asia, Hong Kong starts the week down almost 13 percent. Japan's Nikkei down more than 6 percent. And in Europe, most of the market in strong negative territory. And problems at early voting polls in several states to tell you about.

Election officials are reporting long lines and waits after record turnouts and computer glitches in both West Virginia and Georgia. Remember, if you encounter a problem, we'd like to know about it. Call CNN's voter hotline free at 877-GOCNN-08.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: Well, it is the final full week of campaigning for the presidential candidates. Just eight days now until the election. And the latest CNN Poll of Polls shows Barack Obama leading John McCain by eight points, 51 percent to 43 percent. Six percent still undecided.

And the candidates are directing their closing arguments to voters in key battleground states traditionally Republican strongholds like Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Indiana, Missouri and Ohio that appear to favor Obama. Meantime, the campaigns are not letting up on each other.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I can take nine more days of John McCain's attacks, but the American people can't take four more years of the same failed policies, the same failed politics, we're not going to let George Bush pass the torch to John McCain, and that's why I'm running for president of the United States and that's why you're here today.

GOV. SARAH PALIN (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You get the feeling that the Obama campaign just thinks that this election process is merely a formality. But they've overlooked the minor detail here of the confidence and the trust that they must earn before you would vote for them.

And I know that by judging from the media coverage in all this, it seems that the coronation has already been set. But as for me and as for John McCain, we don't take any vote for granted. We're not assuming that we have your vote, we're respectfully asking for it, North Carolina.


CHETRY: Well, John McCain has his work cut out for him in this final week. CNN's Ed Henry is covering the McCain campaign in battleground Ohio and is live in Dayton for us today.

ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, Kiran. You know, John McCain vowed here in Ohio yesterday that he's going to come back in these final days. But that task could be made more difficult by the fact that there's suddenly dissension within the McCain camp.


HENRY (voice-over): No republican has ever won the White House without carrying Ohio. So, John McCain, trailing in the Buckeye State, kicked off the final full week of the campaign right here.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't intend to take that risk. We will win Ohio.

HENRY: No surprise, Barack Obama is coming here Monday as well. There are a shrinking number of battlegrounds both men will hit in the final days.

McCain is heading to Pennsylvania tonight, desperate to win a large Democratic state to offset Obama's expected gains in traditionally Republican states like Virginia. Another must-win for McCain, Florida, with its mother lode of 27 electoral votes. Cindy McCain knocked on doors Sunday in West Palm Beach with Rudy Giuliani before joining her husband in Ohio for the final push, which is focused on charges that taxes will go up if Obama and congressional Democrats get full control of the government.

MCCAIN: We can't let that happen, my friends. We've already seen a preview of their plans. It's pretty simple and unfortunately pretty familiar. Tax and spend.

HENRY: But now McCain has to deal with a new distraction, sniping in his own campaign over running mate Sarah Palin. Several McCain advisers tell CNN they're annoyed by what one aide called Palin going rogue, acting like a diva and going off message.

GOV. SARAH PALIN (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Make sure that Michigan knows it. We haven't given up there.

HENRY: One example, her decision to tell reporters he disagreed with the campaign's move to pull out of Michigan. A Palin associate fired back she's merely trying to bust free from a botched roll out by McCain advisers. Tensions stoked partly by the handling of the controversy over her wardrobe.


HENRY: Now, some McCain advisors speculate that Palin has done this on purpose to kind of look out for her own interests in case McCain losses. The idea would be that she could set herself up as a party leader in 2009 and beyond. But a Palin spokeswoman insists she's only focus on helping the Republican ticket win next week, Kiran.

CHETRY: Ed Henry for us in Dayton. Thanks.

ROBERTS: The largest newspaper in Sarah Palin's home state of Alaska is endorsing Barack Obama. "The Anchorage Daily News" says Palin has shown why she is a successful governor, but despite her passion and her work ethics, she is not ready to be president.

The paper said Obama, quote, "Brings far more promise to the office. In a time of grave economic crisis, he displays thoughtful analysis, enlists wise counsel and operates with a cool, steady hand."

Meantime, Obama is getting ready to deliver what his campaign is calling his closing argument remarks at a rally today in Canton, Ohio. CNN's Suzanne Malveaux is there.

This is a county, Suzanne, that John Kerry carried by a couple of points over President Bush in 2004. I'm sure that Barack Obama would at least like to get that, if not more.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. I mean, he is trying to capture Ohio. And as you know, John, no Republican has gotten the White House without getting Ohio. So, he seriously wants to make sure that John McCain does not actually get this state. The one thing that he is doing is he's going to be making his closing argument. You remember what he said, 18 months ago, yes, we can. It's a variation of that. Simply saying that voters in one week, you can, and then fill in the blank, whether or not, it is bringing change to Washington and providing jobs. He talks about it promoting his campaign as being a part of a common purpose, even a higher purpose.


MALVEAUX (voice-over): Sprinting to the finish, Barack Obama in Ohio Monday, a state that is a must-win. Over the weekend, Obama was out west hitting three states that went for George Bush in 2004.

OBAMA: I want to help responsible homeowners refinance their mortgages on affordable terms.

MALVEAUX: Nevada, which has the nation's highest foreclosure rate.

OBAMA: Five times the national average. And we're going to put in place a three-month moratorium, give folks the breathing room they need to get back on their feet and work things out with their bank. MALVEAUX: New Mexico, where Obama leads in the polls.

OBAMA: What we need right now is a real debate about how to fix our economy and help middle class families.

MALVEAUX: And Colorado, where supporters broke attendance records at a Denver rally showing up more than 100,000 strong.

OBAMA: How many people have early voted? That's what I'm talking about. That's what I'm talking about. No point waiting in lines if you don't have to. You know who you're going to vote for.

MALVEAUX: For the end game, it's all about getting out the vote. Here in Colorado, early voting means they're already going to the polls. The campaign is also spending record amounts of money in the final days, unveiling new TV ads targeting John McCain's economic plan.

OBAMA: Will our country be better off four years from now?

MALVEAUX: On the stump, the same message but a new line, ridiculing McCain from distancing himself from George Bush.

OBAMA: John McCain attacking George Bush for his out of hand economic policies is like Dick Cheney attacking George Bush for his go it alone foreign policy. It's like Robin getting mad at Batman.


MALVEAUX: John, you're still going to hear some of those lines. He is going to go after John McCain, but also, at the same time, he's going to be calling for unity in his speech today. He's going to say it's not about bigger government or smaller government, but better government. These are the kinds of messages, this vision that he has for the country that resonated with so many people when he first started getting attention about 18 months ago.


ROBERTS: Getting down to the short strokes here and every moment counts. Suzanne Malveaux for us this morning in Canton, Ohio. Suzanne, thanks for that. They are the states that could decide who moves into the White House. And CNN is in each and everyone. Our reporters covering the battleground states, coast to coast, to help you decide. Of course, the big payoff happens in eight days, watch history unfold with the Best Political Team on Television, November 4th, election night in America, right here on CNN.

The man who fuelled the rumor that Barack Obama was a Muslim, now changing his story and talking to CNN. Hear why he says he got it so wrong.

CHETRY: Well, eight days until the election and Democrats are looking to pick up several new congressional seats, but history shows that might not be the liberal landslide some senators are predicting. It's 10 minutes after the hour. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: 12 minutes after the hour. This just in to CNN. News on the bailout. Christine Romans tracking the story. What are we learning this morning?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're learning from the AP that the Treasury Department is announcing this morning that a $125 billion dollars of American taxpayer money will go towards stock purchases of banks some time this week. This is the first big chunk of that bailout. That $700 billion that was approved, maybe about a month ago now. 125 billion of that in stock purchases will occur later this week after some bank deals are signed.

So, we're starting to see movement in this bailout, movement toward what has become a comprehensive plan to try to sure up the financial system. Also today, we know that the fed is going to begin something called its commercial paper facility. What that means is the fed is going to become essentially a direct lender to American businesses. Meaning that they are going to take some of that commercial paper, those short-term loans, that they are going to back those loan, and so that's meant to help free up this credit problem because that had become a problem, too.

So, you're starting to see the pieces of this thing start to come into place. And that's been one of the criticisms of the past few weeks. You know, why isn't it happening? Why isn't it working? Why aren't they doing it yet? Well, it's very big and some of the goals have changed a little bit from the beginning when we are focused solely on buying the toxic assets off the banks of the books, then we switch toward focusing on a recapitalization of the banks. Then there were some other measures like the commercial paper measure of the fed. Now we're starting to see those things actually get put into place.

ROBERTS: They still haven't given up on this idea though of buying these toxic assets.

ROMANS: No, you're absolutely right. That's still part --

ROBERTS: Some of the economists say wrong idea.

ROMANS: That is still part of the Treasury's plan. Where it is in the top five things to do right now to fix this crisis? I think it keeps slipping down that list but it is still on there.

ROBERTS: Christine, thanks so much.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

CHETRY: Well, it's not just the big bailouts for banks. One woman's home saved from foreclosure, but this was by an anonymous Good Samaritan. Now, they're friends. We're going to talk with both of them, live. It's 14 minutes after the hour.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CHETRY: Good morning, St. Louis, Missouri or Missoura, however you want to say it, KMOV. That's the station giving us that beautiful shot this morning where it's cloudy and 42 degrees, warming up about 6 degrees for a high of 48, sunny a little bit later.

Our Rob Marciano is tracking all the weather for us this morning. How about that? I know this is on your treadmill mix on the iPod. I'm sure.


CHETRY: Surreal seeing that snow falling over your right shoulder there, even though it's only a digital image.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, it's just real cartoon. Don't be scared. That's going to be fine.

CHETRY: It's that time of year. All right, Rob. Thanks.

MARCIANO: You bet.

CHETRY: 17 minutes after the hour.

ROBERTS: Changing his story.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was that just a smear.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely not.


ROBERTS: Confronting the man believe to be behind the rumor that Barack Obama was born a Muslim.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How could you get it so wrong four years ago?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because Barack Obama lied to me.


ROBERTS: You're watching the "Most News in the Morning."


ROBERTS: 20 minutes after the hour. Welcome back to the "Most Politics in the Morning." And the man widely credited with starting the cyber rumor that Barack Obama was a Muslim is now changing his story. CNN's Jim Acosta is here now.

You actually talked to this fellow?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN GENERAL ASSIGNMENT CORRESPONDENT: We did, John. And Andy Martin himself takes credit for making that first claim that Barack Obama was once a Muslim. But now, Martin says his original claims about Barack Obama's background are no longer true.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have an information network that won't quit.

ACOSTA (voice-over): The man widely believed to be behind the claim that Barack Obama was born a Muslim doesn't believe it himself anymore. Internet blogger Andy Martin says he came to that conclusion on a recent trip to Honolulu where he crisscrossed Obama's hometown to investigate the Democratic nominee's background.

ANDY MARTIN, INTERNET BLOGGER: His father was Frank Marshall Davis.

ACOSTA: Without offering any proof, Martin says unnamed sources tell him Obama's real father is civil rights figure Frank Marshall Davis, not Barack Obama Senior.

(on camera): Doesn't this new discovery, as you're calling it, refute to a certain extent...

MARTIN: Absolutely.

ACOSTA: ...what you originally claimed...

MARTIN: Absolutely.

ACOSTA: ...about Barack Obama?

MARTIN: It certainly does. I mean, I'm an honest writer and an honest researcher, and I have had to say he wasn't born a Muslim anymore because I don't believe that Barack Obama Senior is his father.

ACOSTA (voice-over): Senator Obama is a Christian. But the false rumor that he's a Muslim has gone viral on the Web and even made its way into a question at a John McCain town hall meeting.



ACOSTA (on camera): Do you feel that you owe Barack Obama an apology?

MARTIN: No, because he hasn't told the truth to the American people.

ACOSTA (voice-over): Martin has challenged the validity of Obama's birth certificate but here it is posted on the University of Pennsylvania's widely respected web site

MARTIN: They're being spoon-fed by the Obama campaign. ACOSTA: Since he started making claims about Obama four years ago, Martin's own background has been scrutinized. He's run for political office including the presidency roughly a dozen times.

MARTIN: I'm known as a person who strives for the truth.

ACOSTA (on camera): But if you're striving for the truth, how could you get it so wrong four years ago?

MARTIN: Because Barack Obama lied to me.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: The Internet is a force for enormous good but it is also a weapon that can be used to slam people.

ACOSTA (voice-over): CNN political contributor David Gergen fears the Muslim rumor could follow Obama into the White House if he wins.

GERGEN: If he makes a mistake or something goes wrong, then it's going to burst up to the surface and be part of, you know, a more boiling cauldron.

ACOSTA (on camera): Was that just a smear?

MARTIN: Absolutely not. I've gotten a lot of flak for this latest story simply because people want to believe he's a Muslim.


ACOSTA: Martin has filed a lawsuit in court in Hawaii to get his hands on Obama's certificate. He says he has a hearing set for November 7th, three days after the election -- John.

ROBERTS: And this idea that Frank Marshall Davis is his father, I mean, where did they get that from? I mean, why not just say that he's the offspring of the governor of tattooing, for Pete's sake.

ACOSTA: Absolutely. And we talked to him for roughly an hour and he offered us no proof whatsoever. We gave him numerous chances to give us names, dates, recordings, documents. He had no information whatsoever. And what it boiled down to at the end of the interview, we got him to confess on tape that these are his "informed opinions." So, it is his informed opinions that started this rumor four years ago.

ROBERTS: So, what's informing his opinions?

ACOSTA: Basically, he says, information that he has found online, information that he says he's gotten from Barack Obama's own biography. But if you go back and check some of this information, it doesn't square with what he is saying. And so, they are, as he says, informed opinions.

ROBERTS: Interesting piece there, Jim.

ACOSTA: Thank you.

ROBERTS: Thanks for that.

ACOSTA: You bet.

ROBERTS: Appreciate it. 23-1/2 minutes -- it's almost 24 minutes now after the hour.

CHETRY: An act of kindness.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I said, is it worth it? And she said, yes.


CHETRY: Meet the woman who bought a foreclosed house, site unseen, to keep a stranger from losing her home.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She doesn't know how blessed she has made my life. Nobody has ever done anything like that for me before.


CHETRY: We're talking to both women live. You're watching the "Most News in the Morning."


ROBERTS: 26 minutes after the hour. Welcome back to the "Most Politics in the Morning." Eight days now until the election and Senators Barack Obama and John McCain both hitting the battleground states of Ohio and Pennsylvania today. Joining me now from Los Angeles to talk more about all of this is conservative radio talk show host Michael Reagan, also host of the "MICHAEL REGAN SHOW." And from Chicago, CNN political analyst Roland Martin, host of the "ROLAND MARTIN SHOW." He says he's going to support Barack Obama this year.

Michael, why don't we start with you? This division that we heard about between the McCain camp and the Palin camp over the weekend. A McCain aide told CNN about Governor Palin, quote, "She is a diva. She takes no advice from anyone. She's playing for her own future and sees herself as the next leader of the party." What are you thinking about all of this?

MICHAEL REAGAN, CONSERVATIVE RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: You know, it sounds like people are trying to find a way we're losing, so let's blame the woman in the operation. I mean, really, Sarah Palin is probably the best thing that's happened to John McCain.

But this happens in campaigns. It happened in my father's campaign. And I'm sure if you look at the Obama campaign, they're not really happy with Joe Biden and things he's been saying either, and I'm sure there's divisiveness in that campaign. There always is because when you're in this kind of a campaign, going to the end stretch, I mean, you're trying to get everything right and when things start going wrong, I'm telling you, you start looking and pointing fingers at everybody.

ROBERTS: Oh, yes. Everybody's trying to get off the boat. But Roland, what about the point that Michael just made regarding Senator Biden. I mean, when he said that Senator Obama would be tested by a crisis in the first six months of his administration, what do you think people there in Chicago and the Obama campaign said?

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: They said, OK, Joe, please, be quiet for a second. Look, trust me, you don't have the same dissension in the Obama campaign that you see in the McCain campaign. I mean, I'm waiting for somebody to eat somebody's firstborn. I mean, they are going at it. And what's amazing is, you have the story in "," then McCain people, they fired back on

And not only that, they named names by calling out Nicolle Wallace and Steve Schmidt. So, it's very clear you have some problems and some tension going on there. And look, you can also cannot step back from reality as Sarah Palin has indeed caused problems because she has not helped John McCain in these very sparse interviews she's given.

ROBERTS: Hey, Michael, what about the column that David Frum wrote in a "Washington Post" over the weekend. David Frum, of course, former speechwriter for George Bush, said, quote, "McCain's awful campaign is having awful consequences down the ballot. I spoke a little while ago to a senior Republican House member. 'There is not a safe Republican seat in the country,' he warned. I don't mean we're going to lose all of them. But we could lose any of them."

David Frum suggesting that, even though you might not believe it, you say OK, the White House is gone, let's try to protect Congress here. Take all the money possible, put it into those Senate races, try to protect as much as you can and stop the Democrats from getting a filibuster proof majority there.

REAGAN: Well, the reality is, this isn't really John McCain's problem. This really started with George Bush, the first six years of his administration. We forgot to veto any of the spending bills coming out of Washington. And therefore gave that spending issue to the Democrats and to Barack Obama for this election.

So, don't blame it on John McCain. Blame it on the Bush administration and the fact that the Republicans have not been able to sell the fact that the Democrats have been charged for two years and all they've done is hold hearings to try and impeach the president of the United States instead of doing anything they could do to help fix the economy.

ROBERTS: This idea, Roland, that...

(CROSSTALK) MARTIN: First of all, John -- that's slightly incorrect. First of all, John McCain has to take all or some of this because first of all, he's had a lackluster voter registration effort, a get-out-to- vote effort. Not only that. Sure, Sarah Palin, she excited elements of the conservative base but the problem is she has not attracted women and moderates. And so John McCain also has run a campaign, gone from experience to change to country first, now, I think it's whatever the heck sticks on the wall, we'll go with that one this week. And so I understand George W. Bush is very unpopular, but McCain has run a horrible campaign. That has not helped his own party.

ROBERTS: Certainly, we're going to hear -

REAGAN: Listen, I'll agree with Roland on that. One of the things McCain has had he has been running against George Bush. He only started about two weeks ago to run against Barack Obama. If he had been running against Barack Obama from the beginning he might be in better shape today.

MARTIN: He was running with George Bush, not against him.

ROBERTS: Well, certainly -

Nobody is running with George Bush. Have you seen him?

ROBERTS: Certainly over the next eight days, guys, we're going to hear a lot about this idea that the concentration of power and how the McCain campaign will see that it's a bad thing --

MARTIN: Hey, John. You forgot that the republicans had concentration of power for the first six years of the Bush administration.

ROBERTS: All right.

If you didn't like the republicans, you will hate the democrats when they're in power.

ROBERTS: Guys, we have to run. We got to run. But it's great to talk to you. Michael Reagan, Roland Martin. Good to see you.

REAGAN: Thanks, John.

MARTIN: Thank you.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN, ANCHOR: 31 minutes after the hour. A look at the top stories. Governor Sarah Palin said she dumped the pricey designer wardrobe paid for by the republican party. Yesterday, in Florida, Palin was introduced by "View" co-host, Elizabeth Hasselbeck who slammed the coverage of Palin's wardrobe as a sexist diversion.


ELIZABETH HASSELBECK, CO-HOST "THE VIEW": Instead of the issues, "they" are focused, fixated on her wardrobe.


HASSELBECK: Now, with everything going on in the world, it seems a bit odd. But let me tell you, this is deliberately sexist.


CHETRY: Senator John McCain kicking off day two of his tour through Ohio. He'll hold an economic meeting this morning in Cleveland and then he heads to the battleground state of Pennsylvania. Barack Obama will also be campaigning in those two states as well.

And the Obama campaign calling a recent interview between Joe Biden and a Miami anchor woman "unprofessional." During the exchange, Biden was asked to explain how Obama's economic plan differs from the socialist doctrine of Karl Marx.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: you might recognize this famous quote from each according to his abilities to each according to his needs. That's from Karl Marx. How is Senator Obama not being a Marxist if he intends to spread the wealth around?

SEN. JOE BIDEN (D), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Are you joking? Is this a joke?


BIDEN: Or is that a real question?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's a question.

BIDEN: He is not spreading the wealth around. He's talking about giving the middle class an opportunity to get back the tax breaks they used to have. What has happened, just this year, people making $1.4 million average, the top one percent, good, decent American people will get a new $87 billion -


CHETRY: Well, after the interview, the campaign pulled the plug on that station's interview with Senator Joe Biden's wife, Jill.

Eight days now until the election, there are a slew of congressional seats that could tilt the democratic side but will it be the major shift that some are predicting. CNN 's Frank Sesno is here with us now with a look beyond the numbers. Hi, Frank.

FRANK SESNO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Kiran. Will it be divided government as we've had for the last several years or could this be a party power sweep? And that's what lot of people are wondering about. If the democrats sweep, then the question what will they do? Will they pursue a traditional liberal agenda or will they learn the lessons of history?


SESNO (voice-over): Liberal landslides have happened before. In 1932 in the shadow of the depression when FDR and new deal democrats swept to power and created government programs like social security, unemployment insurance, the FDIC, Fannie Mae. It happened again after Lyndon Johnson and a congressional liberals won in '64, the great society poured federal dollars into new programs, Medicare, urban renewal, welfare, education, but experience suggests a liberal landslide is about more than numbers, just ask Jimmy Carter.

STEPHEN HESS, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: In 1977 democratic president comes in with overwhelming democratic majorities both houses. 61 democratic senators. 292 democratic House members and within one month, they were shouting at each other.

SESNO: What about 2008? Certainly democrats would return to legislation they push and republicans have stopped. Health care, more coverage for kids leading to universal coverage. Taxes, increase them for the wealthy and big corporations. They could also face more regulation, especially oil and pharmaceuticals.

Unions, the employee free choice act is a liberal favorite. It would end secret ballots to unionize, business warns of strong arm tactics that would all but impose unions. Embryonic stem cell research. More federal funding for that the list goes on. But in a lot of districts where republicans could lose the impact of the newcomers isn't clear.

HESS: Those new democrats are not going to be bug-eyed democrats, wild eyed leftist, they're going to be democrats who have to run again for a seat that let's say has been electing historically a republican. So that is a moderating force.

SESNO: Shifting tectonic plates.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The motion is adopted.

SESNO: Maybe.


SESNO: Kiran, maybe. It was a year ago that Chuck Schumer, the liberal democrat senator from New York and head of the Senate congressional committee said that a landslide or an election along these lines would change the tectonic plates of politics. I think that's true. I think that if we see this kind of change, we will see a very dramatic shift in the way Washington does business, whether it goes left wing liberal or certainly socialist as some suggest is highly, highly questionable however. They're going to be a lot of moderating forces from the economic crisis we've got to those political trends that Stephen Hess was talking about.

CHETRY: Yes. And I'm also wondering how effective this strategy eight days out will be by the GOP and especially in some of these tight races in the Senate and in Congress to say vote for this candidate's so this hypothetical doesn't happen.

SESNO: Well, you know, that's really the question in many ways. It's really fascinating because it just maybe that this is what the country wants. That the country actually wants is going to vote this in because they want such sweeping change. In times of crisis, people actually turn to government to do certain things. Spread the wealth may not seem like a bad idea if you're about to lose your job. So, who knows.

CHETRY: All right. We'll have to see for sure. Eight days until we know for sure. Frank Sesno, great to talk to you. Thanks.

SESNO: Thanks, Kiran.

ROBERTS: Well, we have a positive story in the home foreclosure crisis to tell you about. A woman buys a house at auction and lets the current owner keep living there. We'll talk to this good Samaritan and ask why she did it. 37 minutes after the hour.


CHETRY: Welcome back to the most news in the morning. You know we hear a lot of bad news, especially in these tough economic times. But right now, we have a story for you that will make you believe in the kindness of others. A Texas woman who lost her home to foreclosure is getting another chance. Thanks to a complete stranger. Marilyn Mack was at a foreclosure auction with her son. She was there to give him advice on a home that he was going to purchase and instead, she ended up buying the home of a total stranger that she met only minutes before. And that homeowner is Tracy Orr. She joins us from her home in Pottsboro, Texas.

Marilyn Mock is in Rockaway, Texas, about three hours away from each other. Well, good morning to both of you. Thanks for being with us.


MARILYN MOCK: Good morning.

CHETRY: So Tracy, let me get your story first. What happened that it ended up that your home was on the auction block?

ORR: I got behind, like a lot of people have and I just couldn't pull out. And the next thing I know, I'm having to move out of my home.

CHETRY: And why did you go to the auction where your house was to be sold. Because clearly, that was very emotional thing for you, to have to watch?

ORR: I had a personal investor friend, I thought was going to go with me and he ended up baling out on me at the last minute and so - I just -- we already had plans to go. So I just went, I guess just to get some closure or see what was going to happen with my home. CHETRY: And Marilyn, you ended up sitting next to Tracy at the auction. Again, you had gone there to help your son. He was thinking about purchasing a home or at least going there to purchase one. When did you decide that you were going to bid on Tracy's home?

MOCK: I had only sat on - I had been sitting on the floor for maybe 30 seconds and then it came up for bid, she had just got done telling me that she showed me - she pointed at the picture - there was no picture actually, but she pointed at it, and said that was her home and then it came up for bid and then I just decided to get up and bid on it.

CHETRY: And so how did it happen from there? You got the winning bid and what's going to happen now? Tracy is going to continue to live there?

MOCK: A-ha. As soon as closing is, she's going to move right back into it. Then we'll get together at some point and figure everything out from there and guess we'll be friends from here on out.

CHETRY: And I see, Tracy, you're tearing up just listening to Marilyn talk about it again. What was it like for you to realize - I mean you had gone there basically, with all planning to have to say good-bye to your house and it ends up you can still live there. What was that like?

ORR: I'm still in shock. It seems like a dream and I'm going to wake up in the next couple of days and it's just - I don't know, I'm still in shock.

CHETRY: You know, Marilyn, what a wonderful thing for you to do. You had talked with our producers about the fact that your family said you always do this. You know, you're too nice. What motivates you to help out other people expecting nothing in return? Marilyn.

Oh, I think we lost Marilyn. Tracy, you know, what is your relationship going to be like with Marilyn, moving forward?

ORR: I hope we can become really good friends. I mean she sounds like a really awesome person.

MOCK: I can hear you.

CHETRY: Yes. She can hear me now. Marilyn, I was asking you before your family said to you, you know, you always do this, you're too nice. What motivates you to help people the way you have done for Tracy?

MOCK: just because people need help and I'm hoping some day, if I need help, somebody will be there for me.

CHETRY: Well, certainly, just judging from the way that Tracy said she hopes you guys can talk and stay in touch and become friends, I think you got a life long friend for sure. Well, congratulations to both of you. And Tracy, good luck with everything and Marilyn, thanks so much. MOCK: Thank you.

ORR: Thank you, Marilyn. God bless you.

MOCK: Good-bye, Tracy. Talk to you later.

ORR: Bye-bye. OK.

MOCK: Bye.

CHETRY: Wonderful story, to say that the two of them are going to keep in touch. The sale by the way of Tracy's house is not yet complete. Fannie Mae and the banks and the contract still need to be approved but the intent is definitely there. John.

ROBERTS: It's so nice to have an uplifting story with so many people losing their homes.

This morning, charges that thousands of people have been illegally removed from voter rolls in a critical battleground state and now a federal judge is being asked to step in. We're going to have that story for you. 44 minutes now after the hour.


ROBERTS: With just eight days until the election, there is growing concern this morning that tens of thousands of voters in the crucial state of Colorado may not be able to cast a ballot. CNN's Dan Simon is live in Denver for us this morning. Dan, what's this all about?

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, the last thing anyone wants is a bunch of unhappy people showing up to the polls and finding out that they're not actually registered. Now, this lawsuit alleges that that's a real possibility.


SIMON (voice-over): Colorado election workers are busy processing a record amount of mail-in ballots. But there's a concern that thousands of state voters won't get a chance to cast their vote in the election.

JENNY FLANAGAN, COLORADO COMMON CAUSE: We have heard that voters think they're registered and find that they're not on the list.

SIMON: Jenny Flanagan is the executive director of Colorado Common Cause, a non-partisan government watchdog group, a plaintiff in a lawsuit alleging as many as 30,000 Colorado voters have been illegally purge from registration rolls.

FLANAGAN: When in doubt, when we're this close to an election, we got to air on the side of inclusiveness and give the voter an opportunity to participate.

SIMON: The suit targets Colorado's republican Secretary of State Mike Coffman. It says he eliminated voters for several reasons not allowed under federal law, among them, they had undeliverable mail within 20 days of registering. Coffman is also a candidate for Congress. And those who brought the suit say that's a problem.

PENDA HAIR, ADVANCEMENT PROJECT: Having a partisan both run the election, it's like being the umpire and playing the game at the same time. It should not happen.

SIMON: Coffman's office denies any wrongdoing and says he believes Colorado has fully complied with all applicable voter registration laws and voter cancellation procedures. He has also said recently the number of voters removed is 14,000, less than half of what is alleged. He says the majority had either moved out of the county or state or were listed as duplicates.

The stakes, of course, are high. Colorado's battleground status has brought added scrutiny to its election procedures.


SIMON: So, clearly, a difference of opinion here. A judge could hear the case as early today. Obviously, not a lot of time to fix anything that might not need fixing. John.

ROBERTS: Right. And such a critical battleground state during this election. Dan Simon for us this morning from the Mile High City. Dan, thanks so much for that. And if you're having trouble at the polls, by the way, call the CNN hotline. We're tracking the problems now and we'll be tracking them on election day. We want to make sure that we get all the information we can. Just call toll free 1-877- gocnn-08. That's 1-877-462-6608.

Well new developments in the search for the nephew of actress Jennifer Hudson and plus what the Oscar winner is doing to track down her family's killer. We'll have that for you.


CHETRY: The FBI joining the search for actress Jennifer Hudson's nephew this morning. Seven-year-old Julian King has been missing since Friday. The day that Hudson's mother and brother were found shot to death in their home on Chicago's south side. Here's CNN's Susan Roesgen with the latest on this investigation.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You will start here.

SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: After a weekend with no new leads, Chicago police are going door-to-door, handing out flyers, trying to find Jennifer Hudson's nephew, seven-year-old Julian. The star herself is now offering a $100,000 reward for information that leads to his return. On Friday, a relative found the bodies of Hudson's mother and brother shot to death in the family's home. Neighbors said they heard gun fire in the morning but in a part of town, where shootings are not out of the ordinary, the bodies were not discovered until several hours later and by then the boy was gone.

JULIA HUDSON, JENNIFER HUDSON'S SISTER: All I ask, I don't care who you are, just let my baby go, please.

ROESGEN: This is the man police are calling a person of interest, identified by family members as William Balfour, the missing boy's stepfather. He's been in custody since Friday night but police don't have the evidence to charge him. So they're keeping him locked up on a parole violation.

Has the person of interest been able to tell you anything about where the child might be?

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

JULIA HUDSON: I know he's out there. Just let him go. Put him on the side of the street, let him go, he'll sit there. Somebody will see him. I think he'll sit there and he'll probably cry until somebody comes along.

ROESGEN: Julia Hudson is begging whoever took her son to let him go, while her sister, Jennifer, is using her stardom to plead for the boy's return on her myspace page and in front of Hudson's Chicago family home, mourners have left wooden crosses, flowers and teddy bears. Susan Roesgen, CNN, Chicago.


CHETRY: Well, once again, here's Julian King's picture. An Amber alert is still in effect for Julian. He is seven years old. He is four feet 11, 130 lbs. Police are also searching for a white Chevy suburban with the Illinois license place X584859. If you know anything, you are urged to call police.

It's 54 minutes after the hour.


CHETRY: Welcome back to the most news in the morning. This is a nice parting shot. A great picture for you. It's the new Joe the plumber, a Chihuahua named Rico, dressed as a plumber, complete with a plumber's crack, all you plumbers out there, I'm sorry, I didn't say that. My pants do that sometimes, too, and I'm not a plumber. Well for a dog costume contest that's here in New York City, Rico and his owner, they don't seem to be fans of the plumber who got so much attention at the last presidential debate. Rico's truck advertises him as unlicensed, cheap and available for bar mitzvahs.

ROBERTS: Your pants really do that sometimes?

CHETRY: Sometimes and you just got pull them back up and move on.

ROBERTS: Good to know. ROBERTS: "Saturday Night Live" continues to take full advantage of the huge interest in the presidential race. Our Alina Cho spent some time with the cast. She has become our resident "SNL" expert. And she's here now with another edition of "SNL" politics. Good morning.

CHO: As I have been saying, one of the better assignment. How do you follow that Joe the plumber dog? Good morning. Good morning everybody. You know, by now -


You know by now, "SNL" has parodied everyone from Barack Obama to John McCain to Joe Biden, everyone except for Michelle Obama. Well that all changed on Saturday night. A familiar face was back to play the wife of the democratic candidate.



CHO (voice-over): Former "SNL" Maya Rudolph is back.


AS BARACK OBAMA: With the Barack Obama half hour. It's time to have some fun.

CHO: The fake Obamas and the real ones are leading in the polls.

AS MICHELLE OBAMA: Now, it's solid, solid as Barack. That's what this lead is.

CHO: The whole democratic gang is here.

AS NANCY PELOSI: Our house is a very very fine house.

CHO: Obama shadowed Bill Clinton.

AS BILL CLINTON: Don't you forget about me. Don't, don't, don't.

CHO: Let's not forget Joe Biden.

AS JOE Biden: And remember this, if Barack Obama is elected, we will have a crisis! Live from New York, it's Saturday Night!

CHO: "SNL's" ratings are through the roof.

AMY POEHLER, SNL, ACTOR: All the mavericks in the house, put your hands up.

SETH MYERS, SNL HEAD WRITER: She dressed up like Tina for Halloween, I heard, which I think she's still doing.

CHO: Will Ferrell reprised his role as George W. Bush. WILL FERRELL AS GEORGE W. BUSH: When you're in the voting booth, before you vote check this face.

CHO: And "SNL" once again, spoofed CNN.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's get right to the mega map.

CHO: This time, John King's "magic wall."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at Michigan, I can make it bounce.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I can make Michigan bounce, too, I mean, we all know that if necessary.

CHO: Everyone's watching. The stakes in this election, and at "SNL" couldn't be higher.

DARRELL HAMMOND, SNL CAST MEMBER: I'm not joking tonight. I'm not going to joke.

MYERS: I will not trip on that word.

HAMMOND: I am not going to trip on that word. The cost is just too high.

RUDOLPH AS MICHELLE OBAMA: Solid, yes, it is, solid as a rock, that's what this show is. That's what we are -


CHO: Those writers are brilliant at "SNL." You know Fred Armisen who plays Barack Obama was also the guy doing the magic wall last week. They like to call it the "mega map" at "SNL." He says it wasn't easy learning that wall, John knows that. But now that he has that done and Barack Obama done, guys, he says that someday he hopes to play our very Fareed Zakaria. And he might have been joking but you can somewhat see the resemblance there, right? A little bit.

ROBERTS: Hey, a little bit of make-up does wonders.

CHO: I think it's the highest form of flattery to be parodied on "SNL." So we have to wait and see. Keep watching there, they are live again on Saturday and they've got and election special on the day before the elections as well.

ROBERTS: We expect some in depth reporting on all of it.

CHO: Oh, don't worry I'll be watching every minute of it.

ROBERTS: Alina. Thanks so much.

CHO: You bet.

ROBERTS: And thanks so much for joining us on this AMERICAN MORNING. I'll see you back again here bright and early tomorrow morning. CHETRY: Sure will. Right now, here's "CNN NEWSROOM" with Heidi Collins.