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CNN NEWSROOM

Will Obama Reach Across the Aisle?; President Bush on Transition; Smart Money Moves

Aired November 6, 2008 - 11:00   ET

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


TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. I'm Tony Harris.
And you are in the CNN NEWSROOM.

He won the election. Now he must govern. And to do that he needs a White House team.

President-Elect Barack Obama is getting ready to fill key posts. The man he'll replace on January 20th sitting down with his cabinet this morning. We expect to hear from President Bush live in just a few minutes.

And we're on the lookout for any possible announcements from team Obama. Barack Obama may name his White House chief of staff as early as today. It is widely reported Illinois Congressman Rahm Emanuel is that choice.

Emanuel worked as a top adviser for President Clinton. He was elected to Congress in 2002. Emanuel quickly rose to a top spot in the Democratic leadership. He and the president-elect are said to be close, close friends.

Potential negatives? Emanuel has ties to Wall Street. His style described as aggressive, even ruthless, take no prisoners.

Other tidbits here, Emanuel trained as a ballet dancer. Did you know that? His brother Ari is a Hollywood agent.

Clinton White House veteran Paul Begala says Rahm Emanuel is the right man for the job. Begala now serves as a CNN political contributor. He spoke with our Anderson Cooper.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Rahm has experience in the White House. He spent more time in the White House than President-Elect Obama has. That matters a lot. It's a special place with its own rhythms.

He has obviously spent time on the Hill, and at the highest levels there as well, the number four Democrat in the Congress. He also spent some time on Wall Street.

He made a small fortune in a couple years as an investment banker, which is not bad. But maybe most importantly, he's got the relationship.

He has known Barack and Michelle Obama for a number of years. I remember him telling me about this kid, this skinny kid, I don't know, maybe 10 years ago when we were working in the White House. He said he's going to be the future of the Democratic Party.

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "AC 360": But, I mean, he's probably the ultimate Washington insider. I mean, I don't really know him personally at all. I've talked to him a few times. But the critics will say, well, look, if Obama is talking about change, why is he having a Washington insider?

BEGALA: Well, first off, change requires actually moving Washington, getting things done. And Rahm is very much rooted in Chicago. I mean, he is Chicago through and through. So I don't worry about that.

I mean, the tone of the administration will be set by the president. And I think what Rahm would convey, should he be the choice, is effectiveness, strength, toughness, clarity. I mean, I just think it would be a terrific choice.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARRIS: Well, Barack Obama promised the reach across the aisle. Other names floating around for top posts are Republicans. Take a look here.

Retiring Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel, a Vietnam War vet often mentioned for a cabinet post. Ditto for Indiana Senator Dick Lugar. Lugar is one of Capitol Hill's top foreign policy experts. Obama may also keep Defense Secretary Robert Gates as a member of his national security team.

Voters holding President-Elect Barack Obama's feet to the fire right from the very start. We get a taste of it from CNN iReporter Jeremiah Long of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, spelling out his demands.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JERMIAH LONG, IREPORTER: Now, you have a lot of hard work in front of you. And I know you're going to be very busy. But you need to listen to our demands.

One, you need to prove that you can really make change happen in America.

Two, don't give up on your campaign promises. The Internet is going to be watching, and we all are going to keep track very closely of what you're doing.

Number three, don't forget how you got here. We are your boss.

Number four, don't forget the lessons of Roosevelt. It's time to bring back the fireside chats and stay in touch with us. Everyone blogs. So can you. Number five, lastly, of course, keep the country and yourself safe, but don't back down from conflict. And we will support you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARRIS: Wow, OK.

Bloggers won't be the only ones holding Obama's feet to the fire. The Republicans are going to have their own agenda for the new president. But will Obama reach across the aisle like he says he will? Will Republicans reach back?

CNN contributor and Republican strategist Bay Buchanan joins me.

Bay, good to see you.

BAY BUCHANAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Thank you.

HARRIS: The election is behind us. We can talk about the future and moving forward and getting some things done. You know, I wanted to have you on to ask some pretty straightforward questions.

BUCHANAN: Sure.

HARRIS: How will we -- "we," big "we" -- make this work? I'm talking Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Libertarians. Republicans, do Republicans want to work with a President-Elect Obama?

BUCHANAN: Well, it all depends on which direction the country -- Obama wants to take the country. If he is really going to govern from the center and recognizes that the nation is center to right, then we're going to work with him, just as we worked with Bill Clinton to get welfare reform.

But when Bill Clinton wanted to nationalize health care, we fought him tooth and nail. And we won because the American people were on our side at the time. So that's what I think is going to be the formula for the next couple of years.

HARRIS: Hey, Bay, you mentioned center right. You still believe the country is center right?

I'm looking at Indiana, I'm looking at how close things were in Missouri, I'm looking at Virginia. Do you still believe it's center right? Couldn't it just be center, whatever that is, just center?

BUCHANAN: Oh, no. Keep looking carefully there.

HARRIS: OK.

BUCHANAN: There's no question that this vote was absolutely against Republicans and George Bush, a repudiation of the direction we took the nation. Ninety percent of the country think we're on the wrong direction. So that's Republicans...

HARRIS: So did you take it too far right? BUCHANAN: No, we didn't. We did not govern using the principles of the party. We abandoned those principles.

Now, let's look at what Obama ran on. One of the key issues was tax cuts. Those two words are basically a conservative message and always have been. And he grabbed them, and I don't believe his tax policy is something I would support, but he sold it as if it were.

No question this country is center right. And we'll be with him as long as he stays moving the country in the direction we believe is in our best interest.

HARRIS: OK. Well, Bay, what signal could President-Elect Obama send right now in this transition period that would tell you that he wants to work sincerely to unify the country?

BUCHANAN: Well, the first thing is, he made a big mistake. Rahm Emanuel...

HARRIS: Oh, I knew you were going to go there. I knew that was going to happen. All right. Tell me why that was a bad move.

BUCHANAN: This guy makes Newt Gingrich look like the Dalai Lama, for heaven's sake. He is a mean-spirited partisan.

Now, he is smart. Don't get me wrong. And he's also very pragmatic.

And that pragmatic aspect of him may tell me that he is going to try to keep Obama down closer to the center, whereas the net roots, as you just heard, in the media are going to try to pull him over to the right, along with a lot of the liberals in Congress -- over to the left. But I think Rahm Emanuel is smart enough.

HARRIS: OK. Yes.

BUCHANAN: I mean, he's the one that -- I think he's smart enough to know that. But he best not be the one you send up to the Hill to say, oh, let's all work together, because they're going to reject him outright.

HARRIS: But I also hear that he has friends on the other side of the aisle. So doesn't that speak to at least his ability to reach out and work with Republicans?

BUCHANAN: We know his agenda. And it's very clear. And so -- but, you know, I'll tell you what he does know.

The reason that the Democrats have been so successful and Congress have taken Republican seats in Republican areas is because he's put people up to run against our guys who are pro-life, who are pro-gun, who are strong against illegal immigration. These are conservative issues. So he has those blue dogs over there that owe their -- you know, who won their seats sitting over there in Congress.

He knows where they need to be able to stay and where they need to be able to vote. So that could be good news for Republicans, for an agenda that we'd like to see, and indeed for America.

HARRIS: All right. Let me bring in another Republican strategist.

Leslie Sanchez is with us.

And Leslie, good to see you.

LESLIE SANCHEZ, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Good morning.

HARRIS: In what way -- we're talking about Barack Obama sending signals to Republicans that he really wants to work with the other side of the aisle. In what way do you believe Republicans should reach back to President-Elect Obama?

SANCHEZ: I think in the way you saw the election results on Tuesday night. I think that's probably the most important part.

Look, I think the Republican Party needs to look more internal than external. We have a lot of hard work ahead.

If you look at the fact we basically demolished all the hard work we did with Hispanics under George Bush and Ronald Reagan and we're back to starting point with that, we lost all the hard work we did with bringing women to the Republican side, especially Independent swing voters. I think we have to be responsible in the sense of pulling this obviously to the center. But here's a lot of areas...

HARRIS: Leslie, let me have you hold that thought for just a moment, and let's split the screen here, because I know we're expecting President Bush any moment. And I want everyone to see in real time sort of the countdown meeting with his executive staff at the Rose Garden.

And Leslie, if you would, pick up on your thoughts.

SANCHEZ: No, I'm saying there's a lot of areas that Republicans can work with these Democrats. I think Bay was right. I mean, there's a different Democrat coalition.

You a lot of conservative Democrats now, and they're going to have trouble kind of bringing them in line, as opposed to pulling to the left. We can talk about the war, the war on terror. There's issues on immigration. There's issues on how to keep this economy moving and strong. There's a lot of fundamentally conservative areas -- and tax cuts and responsible government -- that I think we have a great opportunity to succeed in.

BUCHANAN: And Tony...

HARRIS: Go ahead, Bay.

BUCHANAN: We need to define -- redefine ourselves. Right now Republicans are known as bad. That's about it. You know, people have rejected us. And how you redefine yourselves, part of that, a major part, is our battles, the ones we choose in Congress. So if Obama proposes something that's way too far to the left for us, that's when we step in and define him and us.

HARRIS: Got you. Well, let's move to one of those issues that might end up being a bit of a battleground. Let's talk about a second stimulus package.

Is that something that Republicans -- we're talking about the Republican leadership, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner -- is that something where -- an issue where those leaders would go to a President-Elect Obama and say, you know, this is an area we can work together to get something done for the American people?

I'm just asking. What do you think, Bay?

BUCHANAN: It depends on how it's defined. Is it a tax cut for middle America? Is that what we're talking about? Because Republicans will absolutely support that knowing that that would help the economy. But if it's a giveaway, if it's really a welfare program, no, we should absolutely oppose it.

SANCHEZ: She's exactly right, Tony. Voters don't want to see adding a lot of frivolous spending. I think everybody's tightening their budgets, they expect the government to be responsible with our tax dollars to the same extent, and not just loading this thing up. It's responsible government. I think that's what we fundamentally all have to come back to.

HARRIS: Got you. OK. Thank you both so much. I appreciate your time.

BUCHANAN: You're welcome, Tony.

HARRIS: It's good to talk to you.

BUCHANAN: Always good to be with you.

HARRIS: And we are just -- as you can see, just moments away. President Bush met with his cabinet just last hour and is just moments away, we understand, from making his way to the south lawn now to speak to members of his executive staff.

This is a wonderful moment that we're seeing here. The president to talk about the transfer of power, making the transfer of power as smooth as possible for the incoming president, President-Elect Barack Obama.

And this is a scene here that is the envy of many other areas around the world here. How is it that we can fight as bitterly as we do through a long campaign season, 20 months, 21 months, when you think about the Democrats, and now come to this day when we have a president-elect, and to watch this scene where the president moves his team in the direction to support the president-elect?

Let's listen now to President Bush and the first lady, Laura Bush, at his side.

(APPLAUSE)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Thank you all for coming.

Mr. Vice President and Lynne, thank you for being here with us.

Laura and I welcome you to the south lawn, better known as Barney's playground.

(LAUGHTER)

I want to thank members of my cabinet who have joined us. We have just finished a cabinet meeting, and it gave me a chance to tell them how much I appreciate the good work they're doing during this critical time for our nation.

I also appreciate the men and women who make up the executive office of the president for joining us today.

(APPLAUSE)

Some of you have been at the White House for just a few months. Others arrived the same day that we did nearly eight years ago. You're the ones who can tell that my hair has gotten a little grayer.

Others are career employees who have been here for 30 or 40, sometimes 50 years. I can tell that your hair has gotten grayer.

(LAUGHTER)

People on this lawn representative diverse backgrounds, talents and experiences, yet we all share a steadfast devotion to the United States. We believe that service to our fellow citizens is a noble calling and the privilege of a lifetime.

This is an exciting time for our country. Earlier this week, more than 120 million people voted for a new president and Congress, one of the largest turnouts in the history of the country.

No matter how we cast our ballots, this election gives us all reason to be proud of our democracy and our country. And I hope you will join Laura and me in congratulating President-Elect Obama and wishing him the very best for his family and our country.

(APPLAUSE)

Just before our inauguration in 2001, Laura and I went back to Midland, Texas. She was born there, and I was raised there.

I said that Laura and I would never quite settle in Washington. I told them while the honor is great, the work is temporary. This is true for many of us here today.

This peaceful transfer of power is one of the hallmarks of a true democracy, and ensuring that this transition is as smooth as possible is a priority for the rest of my presidency.

We face economic challenges that will not pause to let a new president settle in. This will also be America's first wartime presidential transition in four decades. We're in a struggle against violent extremists determined to attack us, and they would like nothing more than to exploit this period of change to harm the American people. So for the next 75 days all of us must ensure that the next president and his team can hit the ground running.

For more than a year now, departments and agencies throughout the federal government have been preparing for a smooth transition. We provided intelligence briefings to the president-elect, and the Department of Justice has approved security clearances for members of his transition team.

In the coming weeks we will ask administration officials to brief the Obama team on ongoing policy issues ranging from the financial markets to the war in Iraq. I look forward to discussing those issues with the president-elect early next week.

Offices in the White House are hard at work preparing extensive transition materials. We're preparing career employees throughout the administration to take on added responsibilities to help prevent any disruption to the essential functions of the federal government.

Taken together, these measures represent an unprecedented effort to ensure that the executive branch is prepared to fulfill its responsibilities at all times. As we carry out this transition, I know that you will continue to conduct yourselves with the decency and professionalism you have shown throughout my time in office.

Successful transition is just one of the many important tasks remaining in our last 75 days. To help address the global financial crisis, the secretary of Treasury is working endless hours. And I will host an international summit here in Washington on November the 15th. This will be an historic meeting. And I'm confident you will work hard to help make it a success.

We'll also keep urging Congress to approve America's free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea. And we will continue to protect this homeland by defeating the terrorists and extremists abroad so we do not have to face them here at home.

(APPLAUSE)

As January 20th draws near, some of you may be anxious about finding a new job or a new place to live. I know how you feel. But between now and then we must keep our attention on the task at hand because the American people expect no less.

Earlier this year, I promised that I would sprint to the finish. I am keeping that promise and I know I have given some of you a good workout along the way.

As we head into the final stretch, I ask you to remain focused on the goals ahead. I will be honored to stand with you at the finish line.

May God bless you.

(APPLAUSE)

HARRIS: You know, why don't we -- it's such a nice moment there, the south lawn of the White House. Maybe we can just sort of stay with the pictures, ramp the music up a little bit, and let's watch this.

(MUSIC)

HARRIS: Just a couple of thoughts here as we linger on these pictures just a moment here. You know, lots of briefings the president mentioned over the next couple weeks between members of President-Elect Obama's team and President Bush's outgoing team.

I'm just thinking here, quite a moment to come to anticipate when we see that first image, that first picture of the president-elect and President Bush together working on the transition. And that can come as early as next week.

President Bush thanking the employees, the members of his executive staff, at the south lawn at the White House.

A quick break. We're back in a moment with more CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HARRIS: All right. The economy, issue #1 for the new Democratic White House. No doubt a top priority at your house.

CNN Personal Finance Editor Gerri Willis is here.

Gerri, good to see you.

GERRI WILLIS, CNN PERSONAL FINANCE EDITOR: Hey, Tony.

HARRIS: Hey, if you would, Gerri, give us some smart moves to make right now.

WILLIS: Well, you know, let's talk about your 401(k) for just a second.

HARRIS: Beautiful.

WILLIS: You want to keep contributing to your retirement account. Getting out when the market is trading lower, that's a big mistake, because you can't really call the turn in the market. What's more, if you're buying when the market is down, you're getting cheaper prices for what you're buying. So it's important to keep on investing.

Look, I know some 63 percent of Americans completely stopped contributing to their retirement plans in recent weeks. But it's a big mistakes. Unless you've got great big, huge, financial problems, keep putting the money in.

HARRIS: Well, what if you have had some big losses in your portfolio? What do you do then?

WILLIS: Well, I've got to tell you, there is an upside to this. You may be able to use those losses to cut your tax bill.

Capital losses securities sold for less than the original purchase price can be used to offset capital gains on your tax return as long as the sale occurs in a taxable account, that means not part of an IRA or 401(k). Now, if your portfolio was devastated, you'll be able to cut taxable income. So you can take up to $3,000 against income as well -- Tony.

HARRIS: Nice. What should we be thinking about if we have IRAs?

WILLIS: Well, you know, a lot of people are looking for an opportunity to switch out of a conventional IRA into a Roth IRA because they don't want to pay taxes when they retire on that money. Now is the time to do it because, guess what? You've got lots of losses, you won't be paying a lot of gains on that -- or you won't be paying a lot of taxes, that is, on that money. So now is the time to convert to a Roth if you have an old-fashioned kind of IRA -- Tony.

HARRIS: Well, what do you say to people right now who are struggling putting food on the table and really don't have the dollars to invest right now, Gerri?

WILLIS: Well, there are a lot of people out there where the questions are entirely different. Now is the time to try to cut out what you can from your monthly budget. It's not always easy, but in some cases it's the only way to make ends meet.

There are some places you can go online to get free budgeting tools if you have access to the Web. To track your spending, go to quicken.intuit.com. Look, if you don't have a computer, track your expenses on a piece of paper for a few weeks. You may be surprised to find where that money goes. So it's important to keep your eye on the bottom line at all times -- Tony.

HARRIS: Outstanding. All right, Gerri. Have a great day.

Tomorrow, let's talk about "OPEN HOUSE," in addition to all the viewer e-mail that you get. All right?.

WILLIS: We will. See you then.

HARRIS: All right, Gerri. Thank you.

Let's get a check of the markets now.

New York Stock Exchange, let's see, two hours into the trading day. And where are we?

Well, what is this? What's going on here? As you can see, the Dow is down 262 points after steep declines yesterday. We need to figure out what's going on here. We're talking about jobs. It's the big driver on the markets and will be for the next few days as we get a report tomorrow and the ripple effect of that in the weeks to come.

We will get a market check in just a couple of minutes with Stephanie Elam right here in the NEWSROOM.

And as the most serious credit crisis in decades rocks your finances, CNNMoney.com has some advice and some answers for you. Check out our special report, "America's Money Crisis." That's at CNNMoney.com.

Outrage over a ballot issue.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: Equal rights! Equal rights! Equal rights! Equal rights!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARRIS: Thousands of people take to the streets to protest.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HARRIS: OK. Taking it to the streets of Los Angeles, overnight. More than a thousand protesters voicing outrage after California residents voted to ban same-sex marriage. Gently, gently tapping on the window pane there. Careful, the passage of Proposition 8 is seen as a crushing defeat for gay rights activists. Tuesday's vote now means the marriages of about 18,000 same-sex couples are now in limbo. Live now to Los Angeles. And our Thelma Gutierrez.

So, Thelma, what's next in the fight over same-sex marriage? Good to see you, by the way.

THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Tony. I can tell you a lot has been happening within the last 24 hours. Three separate groups have so far filed papers with the California Supreme Court, asking for an injunction to try to stop this initiative from the taking place.

Also, the Los Angeles County Registrar's Office just announced it will suspend issuing any same-sex marriage licenses. So, any people who have taken out those marriage licenses prior to Tuesday, will now not be able to get married and have it legally recognized within Los Angeles County. However, in San Francisco, the Mayor Gavin Newsom says that he will continue marrying people and issuing these licenses until he's stopped.

Well, all of this has prompted a lot of emotional uproar and upheaval over this issue. And last night there were protests in several cities. In, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Sacramento. Right here in Hollywood, there were a thousand people who took to the streets. They marched through the streets. As you look at some of those aerial shots, you can see that they're actually stopping traffic. They were blocking people from getting out of their cars. And one protester actually jumped on one of the patrol cars.

Things got a little bit tense, Tony. And the police stepped in. They had batons, they quickly had to put these people down. Things were rather peaceful, they say, when you take a look at some of that video, it does look pretty rowdy. But, they say that overall, they took four people into custody and there were no injuries.

HARRIS: Hey Thelma, I'm looking at some more video from last night. And there's some tapping on the window panes of a door there. I understand that there was a point in which there was some protesters in front of our Los Angeles bureau.

Are these the pictures that I'm looking at here?

GUTIERREZ: Yes. Exactly, Tony. In fact, I looked at them also. We're standing right outside of the bureau, right on Sunset Boulevard.

And that's where about 500 protesters gathered for a sit-in overnight. And they were actually gathered at the door. They were tapping lightly on the window. But they were chanting. They had signs out here. Again, police said that they were peaceful, though. Four people taken into custody. No injuries, though. Not too bad.

HARRIS: All right. Thelma, if you would, keep us posted on the twists and turns with issue in Los Angeles, and throughout California.

Thelma Gutierrez for us, in Los Angeles.

President-elect Barack Obama takes office in exactly -- let's see here, two months and two weeks. He is busy putting his White House team together. A few names starting to leak out a bit. Live now to CNN's Suzanne Malveaux in her new home, Chicago.

Suzanne, good to see you. You know, most of the conversation so far surrounds the chief of staff and treasury positions. What's the latest?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: You're right. I guess it is my new home for a little bit at least in the next two months or so.

Yes. I mean, Barack Obama's wasting no time in really assembling his team together, his transition team. It's led by John Podesta. He's the former chief of staff under Bill Clinton. They have been working together. And of course, the first job that they want to fill is his own chief of staff. One of the names on the top of a very short list, Illinois Representative Rahm Emanuel.

People say this is a good fit, it makes sense. He's a close adviser to Obama. He is widely credited for bringing the Democrats back into power in 2006. And he is talking about this position and he's grappling with whether or not -- you know, he has young children. Whether or not he's going to make the move. He even talked to our affiliate last night. Take a listen. Here is what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. RAHM EMANUEL (D), ILLINOIS: I'm honored. I appreciate all this. I have a lot to weigh. A, the basis of public service, which is what I've given my life to. A career choice. But most importantly, what I want to do -- most importantly, what I want to do as a parent.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: As you know, Tony, he's a former Clinton aide, as well. So, he has quite a bit of experience in Washington, experience at the White House. So that is what he is weighing at this time. And an announcement could come as early as today. Whether or not that all works out.

And of course, the other job, treasury secretary. Barack Obama says it's going to be his number one priority to fix this economic mess that we're in. So, there's a short list developing on that position as well. Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers being one of them. He used to be the president of Harvard University. He is already on Obama's economic time.

Another person they're looking at Timothy Geitner. He is the president of the Federal Reserve Bank in New York. And he has been instrumental in taking a look at the bailout plan. This situation that has unfolded since September.

Another person, the former Fed Reserve chair Paul Volcker. He is again, another member of Barack Obama's economic team. So, they talk on a regular basis. And then someone else, New Jersey governor Jon Corzine. He used to be one of the execs at Goldman Sachs. So he has a lot of experience on the financial front.

And Tony, another position, someone that we're all familiar with seeing, the question is who's going to be talking to us, the press secretary.

HARRIS: That's right.

MALVEAUX: Well, Robert Gibbs is somebody who we've seen a lot of as the communications director. He's done a lot of television. We've seen him. We're all very familiar with him. He is one of the people that looks like a very strong possibility for that position.

HARRIS: Let me take you back to the White House for just a moment here, Suzanne. Now, we want to show everyone these pictures from just a short time ago.

That's a building you know very well. The South Lawn of the White House. The president just a short time ago greeting the executive office team and encouraging them to do everything they can to make this transition period as smooth as possible. The president here leaving the stage to actually shake hands and take pictures. I felt like I was at the Coldplay concert again last night for all of the cameras and folks taking pictures with the president.

I just wanted to ask you, is the president-elect at this point in time to your knowledge, starting to get security briefings? The president indicated that that was going to happen if it hasn't already happened. It started to happen, it was going to happen shortly.

MALVEAUX: Sure. Today is a very big day for Barack Obama. He gets the presidential daily brief. And that is something that comes from the highest levels of the intelligence community, all the agencies. They have this compilation of information.

He is going to understand and know in very real terms, all the details about the threat level regarding the United States, the spy activity that occurs overseas, everything that involves our own security, risk management, all those type of things goes into that daily brief. And today is the first day that he's going get a real close look at that. That's very significant.

We also heard from President Bush earlier who said that Barack Obama, he's going to sit down with him. They're going to talk about the threat levels. They're going to talk about Iraq. They're going to talk about the financial crisis early next week.

So, this is a group that is moving very quickly. And the interesting thing that President Bush said is that this is Democracy. Is that you've got this smooth transition. That they want this to work as smoothly as possible, so everybody is certainly on board to try to make that happen, Tony.

HARRIS: Suzanne Malveaux, for us in Chicago.

Suzanne, great to see you. Thank you.

Probably the biggest issue facing Barack Obama when he steps into the Oval Office is the nation's troubled economy. But what about global issues? State Department correspondent Zain Verjee is in New York.

Zain, great to see you. What's likely to to the President- elect's agenda? What's on his global agenda?

ZAIN VERJEE, CNN STATE DEPARTMENT CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's a really long list, Tony. I mean, you've got the global financial crisis. There's Iran, there's Iraq. There's a current negotiations with North Korea. There's dealing with Syria, dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Afghanistan, Pakistan.

And the President-elect cannot go 50 directions all at once. He's going to have to prioritize. But the thing is, is that global expectations of the President-elect are sky high and the president's going to have to decide how to divide his attention.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: The new dawn of American leadership is at hand. VERJEE (voice-over): The President-elect set the bar high.

OBAMA: To those who would tear the world down, we will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security, we support you.

VERJEE: The world shared in America's historic moment. But now has great expectations. Nicholas Burns is a former undersecretary of state.

NICHOLAS BURNS, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: We have to be engaged. We have to kind of win back the confidence of some people around the world who've lost confidence clearly in American leadership.

VERJEE: The world wants the U.S. to fix the global financial crisis. And for Barack Obama to deliver on campaign pledges. To withdraw from Iraq, to confront terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan. And to fight global warming.

BURNS: I fear that perhaps the international expectations of what can realistically be accomplished will be too high.

VERJEE: As he rides a wave of global good will, the President- elect will have to reduce those expectations and prioritize.

Already, Russia's President Medvedev has agreed to the Obama election by blasting the U.S. on the Georgia conflict, blaming it for the financial crisis and threatening to deploy Russian missiles against the U.S. missile defense shield.

Candidate Obama promised to make Mid East peace a priority on day one. Israelis and Palestinians are looking to the U.S. to lead them out of the deadlock.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VERJEE: The challenge for the new president will also be how to protect U.S. interests and at the same time be OK with upsetting U.S. allies -- Tony.

HARRIS: All right. Our State Department correspondent -- boy that's the truth -- Zain Verjee, for us.

Zain, thank you.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, telephoned Barack Obama to congratulate him. She made the call just before taking off for the Middle East to work on the peace process. But don't expect any breakthroughs from Rice's trip. She and the White House say a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, now seems highly unlikely.

Bailing out the big three American car companies. Could it happen?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HARRIS: The big three automakers are heading to Capitol Hill today. Will the struggling companies get the money they say they need? Stephanie Elam is at the New York Stock Exchange with the details.

Stephanie, good to see you. OK, let's talk about this.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Tony. The auto industry, we all know this, it's bleeding money and it's bleeding jobs. So, at 4:00 p.m. Eastern time today, the heads of GM, Ford, Chrysler and the United Auto Workers Union are set to meet with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The topic of conversation is said to be government funding. Now, the government did previously announce a $25 billion loan to the auto industry. But, that's specifically for fuel efficient vehicles and some of the money could go to Asian car makers that have plants in the United States -- Tony.

HARRIS: Well Stephanie, what happens if the automakers don't get any of the additional help they're asking the government for?

ELAM: Well, if you ask GM about it, a GM executive says the next 100 days are critical. Analysts say more job cuts will be on the way. And without federal aid, a GM take over of Chrysler is likely to fall through, as well.

Now, earlier in the week we learned that auto industries' October sales were the worst in 25 years. And tomorrow GM and Ford are both expected to post billions of dollars in quarterly losses, and maybe announce more factory closures. Yes, so it's definitely bad news.

And today, Asian rival Toyota said its annual profits may fall for the first time in seven years. That really paints a picture for you when it's spreading over to the Asian car makers, as well. Toyota's shares are plunging about 17 percent. Ford is off 9 percent. GM is off more than 15 percent. So, that just shows you just how rough it is.

Let's take a look at the overall numbers as far as the stock market is concerned. The Dow off 244 points, 8,894 there. NASDAQ off more than two and a third percent right now, as well, Tony. So, obviously people are waiting to see what happens with the job report tomorrow.

HARRIS: It's going to be pretty bad, isn't it?

ELAM: It's probably not going to be good. Some people estimate it will be losses of about 200,000, for just October alone. So, rough time.

HARRIS: All right. Stephanie, thank you. See you next hour?

ELAM: Sure. Sounds good.

(WEATHER REPORT)

This historic election recorded by you. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOEL VETSCH, MCCAIN SUPPORTER: I'm beginning to become excited at the prospect of our first African-American president and what it means for the country. And for the minorities for our country. What it represents, really. The achievement, the ultimate achievement of the dream that all men are equal.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARRIS: Whew. OK. A referendum to ban gay marriage has a lot of Californians taking to the streets. We were showing you some of the pictures a little earlier. Why don't we do this. Take a trip down to CNN.com's iReport desk and check in to Tyson's Corner, there. Tyson Wheatley joining us.

Hey Tyson, we showed some of these pictures earlier of folks jumping on police cars. That's never a real good idea and tapping on the windows outside of the Los Angeles bureau of CNN.

What's the view from some of our iReporters?

TYSON WHEATLEY, PRODUCER, CNN.COM: Well, you know, as you know, Tony, last night, as soon as it became apparent that Proposition 8 was going to pass, you know, thousands of gay rights supporters took to the streets of Los Angeles.

HARRIS: Whoa. Look at these pictures.

WHEATLEY: Yes. It's pretty incredible. One of our iReporters, Matt Hartman, he was right in the middle of the action. You can hear people chanting there. You know, really capturing the drama, demonstrators venting their frustrations and also some cheering as like passing cars were honking in support.

For the most part, a very peaceful protest. But you know, I think there were some arrests according to West Hollywood police. Three arrests, and no injuries I believe. But, definitely an emotional response.

HARRIS: Yes.

WHEATLEY: In fact, Tony, this issue right now, on iReport.com is actually generating an emotional and passionate response.

I want to show you actually another video we got in. And this actually comes from one of our Obama supporters. Her name is Maggie Cassella. In her opinion, this was a very historic election, especially for civil rights. But in her mind today, because of the passage of Proposition 8, it's making it very bittersweet.

Let's go ahead and listen to what she has to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MAGGIE CASSELLA, IREPORTER: I would just like somebody to talk to, an African-American gay person from California. Or, any gay person from California. And ask them, what it feels like to have your rights to be a equal citizen taken away, concurrent with this great day in history.

My guess is, it doesn't actually feel so great. After all, civil rights are still rights, I don't care what anybody says. And it just seems ironic to me that on such a historic day for one civil rights movement, another civil rights movement had to get a metaphoric nether regions, if you know what I'm saying.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHEATLEY: All right. And, Tony, so that's just one opinion. Obviously, a very passionate response. You know -- but what we're not hearing to be frank on ireport.com right now, is sort of the people who did vote for Proposition 8. And you know, there were similar ballot initiatives passed in Arizona and Florida. What we really want to hear today, is from the people who did vote in support.

And we want to know, you know, from your point of view, why did you support this? So obviously, a really heated discussion going on now. And that's really what we want to hear more of today, on ireport.com.

HARRIS: All right. Tyson, appreciate it. See you tomorrow, sir. Thank you.

WHEATLEY: Take care, Tony.

HARRIS: All right, You, too.

Is this the beginning of the post-racial era? And what does that mean anyway? We ask, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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