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Obama Inherits a Crisis; Palin's Meteoric Rise; What's Next for Palin; Transition to Power

Aired November 6, 2008 - 07:00   ET


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: The incoming president will receive his first top-secret intelligence briefing today. Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell and a team of CIA officers will help handle the duties during the transitional period.
Another small step out of Iraq as the man who promised to end the war gets ready to take over. Senior military officials tell CNN that two brigades are going home this month. One of them will not be replaced. That will mean a reduction of about 3,000 troops. There are currently about 150,000 U.S. military personnel still in Iraq.

CHETRY: And of course Barack Obama ran on ending the war in Iraq, shifting resources to Afghanistan and finding Osama bin Laden. And he won on the failing economy, promising middle-class tax relief and "jobs, baby, jobs," all while tying his opponent to eight years of President Bush.

But now, lawmakers are already nudging the incoming president to move fast on other issues like health care for children. Obama has about 2-1/2 months to figure out his top priorities and what will define his first 100 days. Over the next two hours and the next final weeks, we're going to be going in depth the campaign promises and whether or not they're going to be met and how the next president can change America.

Well, a new wave of financial trouble could be on the way. October's job numbers are due out tomorrow and they are not expected by economic analysts to be good. Exit polls show that two-thirds of voters said the economy was their number one issue and many put their confidence on Barack Obama to turn things around.

AMERICAN MORNING's Jim Acosta joins us now with more on that.

Hi, Jim.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Kiran. We've heard a lot of post-mortems. It's sort of been like CSI John McCain, and a lot of people have said there was no October surprise in this campaign and that helped Barack Obama. And that is true. That's because the surprise came in September.


ACOSTA (voice-over): Every presidential campaign has its turning points. A big one came on September 15th when the investment firm Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy. The nation's financial market started tanking, and John McCain made a costly blunder.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I think still the fundamentals of our economy are strong.

ACOSTA: Barack Obama pounced.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENT-ELECT: Senator McCain what economy are your talking about?

ACOSTA: Some analysts say McCain quickly stumbled again when he announced he was suspending his campaign to head to Washington to help hammer out a bailout agreement.


NARRATOR: McCain has been erratic.


ACOSTA: Democrats called McCain erratic. Economist Josh Bivens says the damage was done.

JOSH BIVENS, ECONOMIC POLICY INSTITUTE: If what people are looking for was a real change in economic direction and I think that's what they were looking for, I think he cemented himself as the guy who is not as likely to bring that change as Obama.

ACOSTA: All the while, analysts say, Obama was projecting stability.

OBAMA: Presidents are going to have to deal with more than one thing at a time.

KIRON SKINNER, HOOVER INSTITUTION: Much of the economy includes not just good economic policy, but a sense that a leader is in control. And Senator Obama seemed in control. And I believe that reassures voters.

ACOSTA: Now this president-elect noted for his discipline faces an economy that seems out of control.

BIVENS: We are down about a million private sector jobs since January of this year. I think those job losses are going to continue probably for another year. We'll have rising unemployment. He's going to inherit an economy firmly in recession.

ACOSTA: His campaign economic team has begun dropping hints of a coming Obama agenda. Obama adviser and former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, recently called for a new infusion of taxpayer dollars into the economy saying our economy needs a large fiscal stimulus that generates substantial economic demand.

SKINNER: He's got to begin to build a kind of shadow government for the next couple of months. You can't wait until January 20th.

(END VIDEOTAPE) ACOSTA: And now the reality. Obama's plans to raise taxes on the wealthy will face resistance from the right. Any proposed spending cuts to help reduce the deficit could alienate the left. Obama has shown he can run a campaign. Running the country is a whole different story -- Kiran.

CHETRY: Yes. And another interesting factor is the agenda of the Democratic-led Congress...

ACOSTA: That's right.

CHETRY: ... who has so long been stymied by the back and forth.

ACOSTA: That's right.

CHETRY: And now they feel like they want things like children's health care and embryonic stem cell research. That's going to land on his lap too.

ACOSTA: As Will Rogers once said, "I do not belong to an organized party I'm a Democrat." The Democrats are going to find out what it's like to govern here very soon, and they're going to be a lot of competing agendas up on Capitol Hill. And it's interesting to see Barack Obama reaching out to people like Rahm Emanuel, John Podesta. These are veterans from the Clinton White House. These are guys who know how to use their elbows.

This is not exactly a team from the new kind of politics. This is the new kind of team from the old style Chicago politics, and Barack Obama is showing that he wants to take charge in Washington despite those big majorities up on Capitol Hill.

CHETRY: We'll have to see how that all plays out.

But good piece. Thanks, Jim.

ACOSTA: You bet.

CHETRY: Good to see you.



JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Well, after 21 months of a long 24-hour day seven day a week campaign almost constant travel, now the hard work begins. There's going to be no rest for the weary there in Chicago.

Our Suzanne Malveaux is in Chicago for us this morning to talk about the transition process here. And what does Barack Obama have to do in the next nine or ten weeks, and how many people does he have in mind already for the things that he needs to get done?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, John he absolutely has a lot of things that he's got to do and they're wasting no time in actually addressing some of that. Obviously, who is going to be on his team is critically important.

John Podesta, the former chief of staff of President Clinton, is the guy who is leading his transition team. They have been sitting down. They've already started talking about names, possibilities.

The number one priority is his own chief of staff. They are talking to Illinois Representative Rahm Emanuel. He's really considered to be a natural in this position. He's largely credited for bringing the Democrats back in power in 2006. He's able to raise a lot of money, and he really has been a close adviser to Obama over the last couple of years and, obviously, both of them, same home state of Illinois.

The other important thing here is the treasury secretary. He has reassured voters that this is his number one priority, that he is going to help us get out of this financial mess.

Some of the people they're taking a look at are those who are on his economic team already. Larry Summers. He is a former treasury secretary under President Clinton. He also was the former president of Harvard University, very close to Obama.

Timothy Geithner. He's president of the Federal Reserve Bank in New York. He has been instrumental since the financial crisis since this meltdown began and actually trying to figure out what to do in the bailout plan on Wall Street.

Some other names coming up, Paul Volcker, the former Fed chair from previous administration, as well as New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine, who used to be with Goldman Sachs and obviously a close adviser to Obama -- John.

ROBERTS: What's the thinking on secretary of state, Suzanne? I know that Richard Holbrooke has spent an awful lot of time with them. But, you know, Colin Powell said that he might be open to a position in the new administration?

MALVEAUX: We heard Senator John Kerry is a possibility and even some other folks. If he decided to go the Republican side, Senator Chuck Hagel being another name that's come up. But these are -- all these names that are just being thrown around, a lot of buzz here, John, but clearly they're just really in the beginning stages of trying to whittle down that list.

ROBERTS: Be interesting to see Colin Powell make a return trip to the State Department. Maybe be able to do some of the things he wasn't able to under the Bush administration.

Suzanne Malveaux for us in Chicago. Thanks very much, Suzanne.

Six minutes after the hour.

Barack Obama's historic victory didn't seem to matter much on Wall Street. Stocks fell sharply yesterday. We'll tell you why, and we'll have a look at what's in store for the market today.

Memo to the president. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: It's really important to hit the ground running.


ROBERTS: The expectations game. A look at Barack Obama's most important task and what's on his agenda in the first hundred days.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They don't think that he's merely going to be president. They think that he's been elected to save the earth.


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



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, it was my fault. I walked by the newsstand and I didn't buy it, when I went to the train figuring I'd get it later. This is my reward. One hour wait and it's still not here.


CHETRY: New Yorkers really know how to put things, don't they?

Reports of the death of print may have been greatly exaggerated. All across the country people lining up for hours to buy their local newspapers, hoping for a keepsake from Barack Obama's historic victory.

Some papers like the "New York Times" had already increased production and it still ran out. Many newspapers printed hundreds of thousands of extra copies, and I think the "New York Times," by the way, saying that they're going to do that again today because they sold out again. Demand is still there, so they're going to keep printing.

ROBERTS: What was it we are saying on election morning, "It ain't New York if you're not standing in line."

CHETRY: Yes. Exactly. But for the paper that's a rarity.

Meanwhile, we have Christine Romans with us this morning. She's talking to us about the job numbers and what we're looking ahead to today. What is that sound?

ROBERTS: Feedback.



CHETRY: No, you're being broadcast out loud in the studio.

ROBERTS: (INAUDIBLE) voices out in the studio.

ROMANS: I know. I can hear it now. It's still coming out.

CHETRY: The voice of Christine Romans.

ROMANS: I'll keep talking. Well, hopefully our technical issues will resolve themselves.

The job situation is not going to resolve itself, however, before the president-elect takes office in January. Almost every economist expects major job losses to continue. It's going to be tough. It's going to be tough for the president to create new jobs, but you can expect some big plans and awful lot of unsolicited advice from Wall Street strategists and economists who are already trying to tell the president and his team, which has yet to be named, what they'd like to see.

A lot of folks talking about big infrastructure spending program. People are talking about some of the things that the president-elect has already said he wants to do to try to -- to try to ease the pain. So let's talk about some of those things.

He had said during the campaign, one of his campaign promises, is that he'd like a tax credit for businesses that create jobs, a $3,000 tax credit for every new job companies create. A 90-day moratorium on foreclosures.

He wants to temporarily eliminate taxes on unemployment insurance, and he wants to allow early 401(k) and IRA withdrawals so the people who may have lost their job can may be tap into some of their retirement spending to try to help them ease through.

Now the markets have been pretty rocky this morning in terms of Asian markets and also the Dow futures. Yesterday we saw some big losses across the board -- the Dow, the Nasdaq and the S&P.

This is, I'm told by market strategists and people on Wall Street, less a judgment call on the new administration and more just like look, we got a lot of problems in this economy and we have to work through them and nothing is going to change overnight. And we don't know how deep it is and we're hearing a lot of things from companies about layoffs. GlaxoSmithKline laying off a thousand people.

We know the bank layoffs have begun this week. A lot of people just this week in New York being told that, you know, clean out the desk. So, these are the realities that we're dealing with now that the election euphoria is behind us.

ROBERTS: Yes. Attention was sort of diverted for a few days there.

ROMANS: Right.

ROBERTS: So now it's like, oh, yes, the economy.

Christine, thanks so much.

Eleven and a half minutes after the hour.

She went from unknown governor to defeated vice presidential candidate in about ten weeks time. So what is next for Sarah Palin? We still call her governor but could we soon call her senator?

And in this economy, it's a problem that we wish we all had. Barack Obama's campaign has got extra cash to spend and a ton of it. We'll tell you how they can spend it.


ROBERTS: Fourteen and a half minutes after the hour. Welcome back to the "Most Politics in the Morning."

Barack Obama's meteoric rise in American politics almost pales in comparison to another candidate, Sarah Palin. Within weeks, she went from being a relatively unknown governor to drawing record breaking ratings with her debate against Joe Biden. And her appearances on "Saturday Night Live." Now, she is looking back at time on the campaign trail and ahead to her political future.


GOV. SARAH PALIN (R), ALASKA: It's been a wonderful, wonderful campaign. And it has really shown me that Americans have so much more in common and like than we do have differences as we all seek good opportunities for our families, for our children, for America's future. Surely we need to find some common ground here as we progress this nation because, again, it was shown to me every single day across this nation in this campaign that Americans want to work together.

They expect a lot more from their elected officials in terms of being able to work together. So I learned that and it was confirmed in me. It's what we do up there in Alaska and working together bipartisan, non-partisan efforts to progress. We need to do that on a national level too.


PALIN: Just still wish that there had been more hours in the days so we could have gotten out and about even more so across these wonderful communities that we were able to stop in. Wish we could have been even more aggressive in terms of the stops that we could have made and talked to more Americans and get that message out about what John McCain has to offer.

And, though this chapter is closed now in the campaign, John McCain still has so much to offer this country, and he as a leader now in the Senate, he is a uniter. I think that you're going to see him in a leadership role being able to work with the president-elect. And in this transition period, that's going to be a very crucial time to show that ability to unite America. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE)

PALIN: You know, seems like it's so -- 2012, we'll be enrolling him in kindergarten. She'll be heading to what? About fifth grade, sixth grade by then. Those are my thoughts. At this point is 2012 seems a long way off today.

Just very interested to get back to work in my governor's office in Anchorage and Juneau and, you know, making sure that Alaskans know that they're going to well taken care of.


ROBERTS: You know, I said appearances on "Saturday Night Live," but she only made one, right? It was Tina Fey who made the rest.

What about Sarah Palin's future, though, after the meteoric rise that she experienced in American politics? She's still governor of Alaska, but what might happen after that? We'll take a look at that, coming up here.

CHETRY: Thousands protesting after the vote is counted, not the presidential race but the fight over a ban on gay marriage in the state of California erupting in the streets of L.A. We're going to go there live just ahead at 17 minutes after the hour.



GOV. SARAH PALIN (R), ALASKA: I see my role as the governor of Alaska allowing our nation to become energy secure, again, understanding the importance of energy security. It's a national security issue. It's an energy and economic independence issue that we need to be working on.


CHETRY: Sarah Palin back home in Alaska now, but not before talking to reporters in Arizona. She still is, of course, Alaska's governor. But a lot of people are saying she has a different future. What's next for her?

The speculation is swirling. Is it possible we'll see a senator Sarah Palin? Or will she make a run at the White House in 2012?

Our Carol Costello is looking into it for us this morning. And even John McCain said in his concession speech, he said that she has a bright future with the party.


I mean, look, anything is possible in the world of politics. But let's face it, not many Republicans can attract 25,000 people. And if Palin can turn charisma into cash for the party, could she run? You betcha. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Governor Sarah Palin.

COSTELLO (voice-over): In just ten weeks, a blink of the political eye...

GOV. SARAH PALIN (R), ALASKA: A hockey mom --

COSTELLO: ... she has moved from obscurity to cultural icon.


KATIE COURIC, ANCHOR, "CBS EVENING NEWS": Specific examples in his 26 years.


COSTELLO: To defeated candidate.


PALIN: I'll try to find you some and I'll bring him to you.


COSTELLO: Now what? Wither Sarah Palin? She was no shrinking violet when it came to selling herself on the stump, and America noticed.


TINA FEY, COMEDIENNE, PLAYING SARAH PALIN: OK. Listen up everybody, I'm going rogue right now. So keep your voices down.

Available now. We got a bunch of these t-shirts.


COSTELLO: Analysts say it is possible. And on Tuesday, Palin did not nix the idea of a presidential run in 2012 saying that as Alaska's governor she is a uniter.

PALIN: You know, if there is a role in national politics it won't be so much partisan.

COSTELLO: And observers say if Palin can broaden her appeal beyond conservative Republicans she'd be hard to ignore in 2012. The real challenge for Palin is to maintain her star appeal, something tough to do for losing VP candidates.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In 2004 who is John Kerry's running mate?




COSTELLO: Edwards. It's John Edwards. There is one sure way Palin can avoid Edwards' fate and remain on the national stage. Here's the deal.

If Senator Ted Stevens is reelected but forced out of office because of his felony convictions, although it might be challenged in court, Palin as Alaska's governor could try appointing herself as interim senator.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's possible, right?

JOHN AVLON, REGISTERED INDEPENDENT: Sounds like the beginning of a Victorian novel. Yes. Like, you know, there's such a thing as entirely possible and presumably that time in Washington would be stature raising (ph) and give her more experience in national and international policy which has been where she's really been weak.


COSTELLO: And you know, there are all sorts of rumors going around that she's going to be this radio talk show. In fact, the most fun rumor going around, Kiran, is that she's going to be part of a reality show with her family, sort of like the Osbournes. Instead of Ozzy Osbourne it would be the first dude in the lead role.

But most analysts don't think that will happen. They think Sarah Palin wants to go back to Alaska, do the governor thing, maybe run for the Senate and then come back on the national stage. She seems very interested in it, although she's not really saying it.

CHETRY: Right. And what's she going to say a couple of days after the election? It would certainly been unseemly.

But in terms of future stars for the GOP, where are they looking in terms of how they want to expand the party and they had a drubbing this time around? And I'm sure they are looking to find these bright stars for the future.

COSTELLO: Well, the brightest star they have is Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisiana. And, of course, Mitt Romney is still out there. But neither of those men can attract the people that Sarah Palin can attract. I mean, she can attract 25,000 people. And if that translate into cash for the Republican Party, she will be very hard to ignore whether they want her or not.

CHETRY: Very, very interesting. Carol, thanks.


ROBERTS: Memo to the new president. What voters want. What should be Barack Obama's top priority going into office? Today tackling the economy and maybe delivering on that tax cut early.

Twenty-three and a half minutes now after the hour.

Assessing the threat during the transition.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those who wish us harm realize this is a period for us when we're stilled adjusting to making decisions and understanding and so on.


ROBERTS: President-elect Obama gets his first intel briefing as Homeland Security keeps watch.

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


ROBERTS: We're back with the "Most Politics in the Morning."

The transition of power is already underway. Has been actually for some weeks now as Barack Obama is set to start naming people to his White House staff now. Obama may name Illinois Congressman Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff.

This morning for a look at how power changes hands between presidents, we're joined by Mack McLarty. He was first chief of staff for President Bill Clinton.

Mack, it's good to see you this morning. You had the opportunity to work pretty closely with Rahm Emanuel. What's your assessment of him as a chief of staff for Barack Obama?

MACK MCLARTY, FMR. WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: I think he'd be an excellent choice, John. And it looks like, indeed, president-elect Obama may choose him.

I think Rahm's probably only reservation is he's very dedicated as a father and husband. Does have young children. But he's experienced. He's smart. He has good common sense.

He knows the legislative process, and he's close to president-elect Obama. I think he would be a superb choice.

ROBERTS: Some problems though in the early going at the White House there. Hillary Clinton tried to have him fired. You had to demote him. Some people have said that he might not have the right temperament for Barack Obama.

He's very direct. He's a little bit volatile or at least was in the past and a fierce partisan.

MCLARTY: Rahm has high energy, and he is direct. He's a tough-minded pragmatist. But I think he can find a center ground. And of course, a few years have passed since that campaign in 1992 which he was a part of with James Carville and Paul Begala and others. So I think the years have been good to him in that regard. I think the high energy directness will serve him well. Rahm like a lot of us made mistakes, but I think he quickly corrected them. I was a strong supporter of his, and I think we made the right decision. Certainly retained him in the White House.

He was an asset then. He because more of an asset particularly on the crime bill, "Welfare to Work," and other important initiatives.

ROBERTS: Mack, I don't want to spend all of our time talking about Rahm Emanuel. I'd like to move on to a couple of other things. You and I had an opportunity with former Governor John Sununu to talk at length about this at a conference in Washington. This particular transition extraordinarily critical because it's the first post 9/11 one. What are the aspects of this that make it so critical?

MCLARTY: John, there's two aspects. All transitions are important. The passing of power from one party or one candidate to another is a hallmark of our democracy and democracies around the world. But fundamentally, the most sacred responsibility of any president is the security of the American people and, of course, the tragic events, the horrific events of 9/11 underscore that. So the transition is important in terms of security.

I think there are strong measures underway to make that a seamless orderly transition. I give President Bush and his White House chief of staff, Josh Bolten, a lot of credit for their focus on this. I think John Podesta leading the transition effort for president-elect Obama is very focused on it as well.

ROBERTS: Mack --

MCLARTY: Secondly -- but secondly, John, you got the financial crisis and that's the other important transition and I think that's already underway with Secretary Paulson. So both of them are important, John.

ROBERTS: Mack, you're actually advising the president's transition council, President Bush's transition council. We talked about this idea of who should be in the cabinet, names like Larry Summers have been vetted about for treasury secretary, perhaps John Kerry, or Richard Holbrooke as secretary of state. If you were in charge, who would you pick for your cabinet?

MCLARTY: Well, I would be recommending as chief of staff or whatever position it might be. John, I think the bottom line is there is a lot of truly talented people that president-elect Obama can consider for his cabinet and ultimately make decisions to ask them to join the cabinet.

I think he will also choose some Republicans as well. I think the names you listed were Democrats. But I think in terms of secretary of state, secretary of treasury, National Security Council, chief of staff, I think there's a broad range of talented people. I think people are inspired about this election. It's historic.

In terms of who he might select, I don't know, don't have any inside information. But I think he will lean towards experience, people of proven ability and I think he will move promptly.

ROBERTS: We'll certainly start to find out very quickly. Perhaps Rahm Emanuel's announcement this morning and then over to the coming weeks we'll get a lot of names coming out.

Mack McLarty, it's always good to see you. Thanks for being with us this morning.

MCLARTY: John, my pleasure. Thank you.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN, ANCHOR: It's 7:30 here in New York. Happening right now 50 days in a row of gas prices falling. Down to now $2.34 a gallon on average according to AAA. Prices have not been that low since February of 2007. Dow futures are sinking right now in fact, taking a look they are down 105 points. Stocks suffer their biggest ever loss after a presidential election yesterday. Dow down nearly 500 points over fears of a long recession.

And we're just finding out about a cyber attack that targeted both presidential campaigns. "Newsweek" reports both the Obama and McCain campaigns were targeted for a sophisticated cyber attack by an unknown foreign entity and that Obama's experts initially suspected Russian or Chinese hackers. The Feds reportedly told the campaign the attack was intended to find out information about policies useful in possible negotiations with the future administration.

And the election is over. The celebrations are dying down. And now it's time to focus on the work ahead. And it could be a crucial first 100 days in office for the new president. So what will be the top priorities? CNN's Elaine Quijano begins our series, "Memo to the President."


ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Mr. President, Americans want the broken economy fixed first. Maybe a good time for that promised tax cut. If that goes well, experts say, keeping other promises on energy alternatives and getting health care for millions more will be easier.

STUART ROTHENBERG, ROTHENBERG POLITICAL REPORT: In Washington, winning leads to winning and losing breeds losing.

QUIJANO: But setting priorities means navigating treacherous waters.

ROTHENBERG: Between now and inauguration every group in the country is going to lay down their marker as to what they think should be done, what they need, what they want and how they got him elected.

QUIJANO: And in the first 100 days a president's agenda can easily get derailed especially if he or she provokes a fight with Congress.

BILL CLINTON, FMR. U.S. PRESIDENT: This compromises not everything I would have hoped for or -

QUIJANO: In 1993 Bill Clinton set out to undo the ban on gays in the military.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Bill Clinton was enormously talented. He came in with some uncertainty about where to go each week, each month. There was a certain amount of flailing. It's really important to hit the ground running as a president if you want to accomplish a lot.

QUIJANO: Democratic expectations are running high.

ROTHENBERG: They don't think he's going to be merely president they think that he's been elected savior.

GERGEN: Barack Obama has to avoid the pitfalls of being - of dilly dallying of being uncertain where he's going to go. I must say about Barack Obama, he's one of the most strategic and disciplined political leaders we've had in a long time.


QUIJANO (on-camera): But Kiran, foreign policy crisis has a way of knocking all those presidential plans off track and on the domestic front, analysts say even as this honeymoon phase continues the expectations and list of demands are soaring. Kiran.

QUIJANO: Elaine Quijano for us at the White House. Yes, it's a long road ahead that's for sure. Thanks a lot.

ROBERTS: The transition to power is well underway this morning. President-elect Obama gets his first full intelligence briefing today. He's going to be receiving the same information that President Bush gets every day. Our justice department correspondent Kelli Arena tells us what Obama can expect. She's here now. Kelli.

KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE DEPARTMENT CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John. Good morning, Kiran. You know, a high level intelligence official tells me that it is one of the most sobering events that the president-elect will deal with. No matter how prepared you think you are, it's simply overwhelming.


ARENA (voice-over): It's called the presidential daily brief or PDB. It contains the most classified information about covert activity, U.S. military operations, and threats facing the United States.

FRANCES TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: He will begin to see not only the threat but also the respond. And he will have to begin to make decisions about what will his policy be.

ARENA: It will be a sobering experience for the president-elect. He'll be able to see top secret satellite photos, hear what the nation's spies are reporting and he'll get the latest intelligence from the world's hot spots. What's happening with the insurgency in Iraq. How sick is North Korea's leader Kim Jong Il. What's the status of the hunt for terrorists in Pakistan? The sooner he hears it, the better. VICE ADMIRAL MIKE MCCONNELL (RET.), NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE DIRECTOR: Those who wish us harm realize this is a period for us when we're still adjusting to making decisions and understanding.

ARENA: McConnell points out the first and second attacks on the World Trade Center happened during the first years of the Clinton and Bush administration. The fact that has not escaped the president-elect or his number two.

VICE-PRESIDENT ELECT JOE BIDEN, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Mark my words, it will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy.

ARENA: Officials stress there's no intelligence to suggest that any attack is imminent but they remain on guard.

MICHAEL CHERTOFF, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: We have to put into effect some additional measures to just make sure we're really scrubbing all the intelligence, we're looking very carefully at anything that might be a vulnerability.

ARENA: A smooth transition also calls for the fast placement of a new national security team.


ARENA: Experts say the president-elect needs to get that team in place as soon as possible. So he's prepared for the many challenges that he will face on day one. John, Kiran.

CHETRY: Kelli Arena for us. Thanks.

Well, dramatic reaction to the decision by California voter to ban same sex marriage in California. Last night a rally against the vote took place in west Los Angeles and today at least three legal challenges are now pending in court. Tuesday, voters approved proposition 8 by 52 percent, meaning the marriages of up to 18,000 same sex couples are now in limbo.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Anywhere between 45 and 77 percent on yes on AIDS donations came from Mormons.

I don't want to you come in to my state and dictate to me and all the people of California how we're going to live our lives.


CHETRY: Thousands opposing the ban protested through the streets of Los Angeles last night holding up signs and placards, waving gay pride flags. The crowds poured through heavy traffic, in fact, trapping people in their cars in some cases. These impromptu rallies forced the L.A.P.D. to declare a city wide tactical alert and many people were arrested. CNN's Los Angeles bureau was actually the sight for a sit in at one point. As many as a thousand Proposition 8 protesters descending on our Sunset Boulevard doorstep for about half an hour. Legal challenges against Prop 8 as we said have already started. Gay rights groups and the A.C.L.U. filing papers with California Supreme Court. Our Thelma Gutierrez is up early for us. She's right outside of our Los Angeles bureau where hundreds of our protesters gathered last night. And so as I understand it, they are still counting some of these absentee ballots. They do think that they pass this. Yet any type of decision on gay marriage in California is far from resolved today.

THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, absolutely, Kiran. This has been an emotional roller coaster for so many gay couples who have been waiting to get married and those who have already gotten married this summer. Now, it is quiet right now. But last night this was a very emotionally charged demonstration. It began in west Hollywood where 2,500 people gathered to protest Proposition 8 which defines marriage as a legal union between a man and a woman. The demonstration then became a march. When L.A.P.D. said about 1,000 people took to the streets. You could see from aerial views that they actually crowded the cars. They swarm those cars, they stopped traffic and several hundred then gathered right here in front of the CNN building on Sunset Boulevard.

They started out peacefully, chanting, carrying signs and then one of the protesters jumped on top of a patrol car and that's when things got pretty tense between police and protesters. Other protesters jumped the skirmish lines and then they were detained very quickly by police, carrying batons but otherwise police say that things were relatively peaceful in the grand scheme of things, Kiran.

CHETRY: All right. And again, as we said where does it go from here in terms of how this is decided? We know these three lawsuits have been filed. But it still seems up in the air who has the jurisdiction to make any decisions.

GUTIERREZ: Yes, absolutely, Kiran. One thing I can tell you is that yesterday, as of yesterday, the L.A. County registrars office has stopped issuing same sex marriage licenses. Now in San Francisco, by contrast, Mayor Gavin Newsome said that he will continue issuing same sex marriage licenses until he is stopped.

CHETRY: Thelma Gutierrez for us this morning in Los Angeles. Thanks so much.

ROBERTS: Well, election day was a disappointing one for the GOP. So what is next for republicans? Who will lead the party? We'll ask former presidential candidate Ron Paul ahead on AMERICAN MORNING. 39 minutes now after the hour.


ROBERTS: A rare look now behind the scenes of the Obama campaign. "Time" photographer Callie Shell spent two years on trail with Barack Obama. She's had exclusive up close access and captured some incredible moments some that may never happen again given his presidential status. Here she is explaining some of her favorite snapshots.


CALLIE SHELL, DIGITAL JOURNALIST, "TIME": This man speaks at rallies and women would start crying and teenagers and college kids are jumping up and screaming and it's not a concert and it's not Kid Rock. And he powered people. As the rallies kept growing and the numbers go down you realize this is different and finally, maybe, in our country we might vote for a black president. And I mean it's not to make the whole election about that. You know, it wasn't. It's more than he's black. It's his words. It's what people believed in. I mean, there were tons of people I think at these rallies that didn't see black or white they just felt empowered to heard his words.


ROBERTS: Callie Shell's photos can be seen in the new issue of "Time." It's on sale today.

CHETRY: History through the eyes of children. A group of sixth and seventh grade students grabbed internet fame about rapping about the election. Their feelings about Obama's victory now in their own words.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It feels so amazing that we have a voice and people, people are listening to us.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was so excited about this election because it's a unique election that will go down in history.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm so excited that this is the first black president. It's just great to me. I love it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can't let anybody tell you can do this or that because if Barack Obama can become the first African-American president that means I can too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is just a history making moment it. Hope we'll see beyond race and see beyond the color of someone's skin and see what's on the inside, what's in their heart and we won't judge people and I think that the American people did a great job of that now because as you can see Barack Obama is our new president.


ROBERTS: Given that one young boy who choked up about that whole idea. I mean it really kind of says it all.

CHETRY: It makes you choke up just to see it.

ROBERTS: It's a much different nation than it was just two days ago.

CHETRY: And I still marvel -

ROBERTS: That is such a great thing.

CHETRY: The wisdom of these sixth and seventh graders. Amazing.

ROBERTS: The whole rap thing too, the video was great.

CHETRY: Very creative.


ROBERTS (voice-over): Global challenges.

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

ROBERTS: The expectations game as the president-elect prepares to confront the demands of the world. You're watching "the most news in the morning."




ROBERTS: Welcome back to the most hygiene in the morning. This next story is probably going to want you to make you wash your hands, especially if you're a women. A new study finds that more women have more types of bacteria on their hands than men do. We're "Paging our Dr. Gupta" this morning. CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, he's in Atlanta this morning. Sanjay, you think it would be the other way around, after all we men are the slobs, right?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Well kudos for your music selection as well, John. You know, there have been previous studies that show women do wash their hands more often than men. And this study is not necessarily talking about cleanliness but as you pointed out different types of bacteria, much more common. Many more different types of bacteria on women's hands as compared to men's hands. And this was a probably the nugget out of this new study that came out of this particular journal. 40 percent more species of bacteria on their hands as compared to men. Now lots of different possible reasons as no why this is. A couple of the ones that I thought were probably the most pertinent were that the sweat on men's hands tend to be more acidic and that makes it less hospitable to bacteria. That could be one possible reason. It could be just hormonal changes as well. Women's hormones may make their hands a little bit more hospitable to bacteria. That's why they have different types of bacteria.

John, it was certainly an interesting study. They actually used the same DNA technology they used for the human genome project to look at the different types of bacteria on one's hands and they found lots of interesting things. One of the things that I thought was interesting was that overall 100 times more strains of bacteria than previously thought. A lot more bacteria overall on our hands than we have ever recognized. Also, there's 13 percent of bacteria only were common to all persons hands. So there's a lot of varieties of bacteria out there. 17 percent even between hands, between your left and right hands. Only 17 percent of the bacteria were in common. So even though it's your same body they're getting a lot more different types of bacteria in one hand versus the other.

John, we finally figured out one percent of the total bacteria that exists in the world so we're nowhere near close to (inaudible) all out, John.

ROBERTS: So what if you're really good at washing your hands. And I know as a surgeon, you're very good at washing your hands. Does that make a difference?

GUPTA: Six minuets. It reduces the overall number of bacteria. This is a good way of thinking about it, but not the types. There are still you know up to 4700 different types of bacteria probably on my hands and your hands right now. Kiran, probably even has even more than that.

ROBERTS: Well, I'll be sure -

GUPTA: Well, in thought. The elbow this morning.

ROBERTS: I'll be sure to keep that in mind the next time I shake her hand. Doc, always good to see so you this morning. Always fascinating.

CHETRY: Look, all right. I'm wiping them down as we speak. And I'm also thinking, first of all, let's just go back to the fist pump and then we'll never have to worry about it.

ROBERTS: There you go. Brilliant.

50 minutes after the hour.


CHETRY (voice-over): On ice.

GOV. SARAH PALIN (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't know what's going to happen in 2012.

CHETRY: Governor Sarah Palin heads back to Alaska. Whether she could be back to save a party.

And, oh, what a feeling.

OPRAH WINFREY, TV HOST: It feels like anything is now possible.

CHETRY: One of Barack Obama's first and most famous supporters. Could Obama have done it out Oprah? On the most news in the morning.




WINFREY: If I kept my mouth shut and supported Barack Obama as a private citizen. And today though the election is over and I'm unleashed!


CHETRY: Oprah just a little fired up, would you say? Newspapers across the country also reprinting yesterday's edition declaring Barack Obama the nation's first black president after they sold out of all of those papers. This is an example of people waiting in line for hours to get their hands on a copy. Both in "New York Times" and the "Chicago Tribune" say they are now producing hundreds of thousands of extra copies so that people can get them. Crowds of people waiting in line for many hours, as we said, even in the rain. Some are asking for as much as $600 for a copy of the "Times" on ebay. Here's a deal for you. One seller giving ten copies for $850. There you go, a bargain.

The focus now though is the transition of power as Barack Obama begins to select his staff and cabinet position. And as these election night images from Harlem suggests that you're about to see, Obama's win was felt a lot like a personal victory for many black voters. Joining us now about how Obama can keep that excitement alive and what this means for the future of black leaders, NAACP president Ben Jealous, great to have you with us this morning. By the way, you are now the youngest president of the NAACP in its 100-plus year history.


CHETRY: 99 years. Congratulations.

JEALOUS: Thank you.

CHETRY: You know not long ago Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of the date when his children would be judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. Did that day happen yesterday?

JEALOUS: Certainly for the country, absolutely. Absolutely. At the same time, of course, there were folks who chose not to vote for this guy. But for very superficial reasons. I think that's clear based on comments that we heard over the last two years. But as a whole, yes, we did a great thing, took a big step forward.

CHETRY: And the amazing thing is when it came to African-American voters, Barack Obama did get 96 percent -


CHETRY: -- of the black vote, but he also got the highest percentage of the white vote from a democrat in the past 12 years. I mean, does it show that things are certainly changing?

JEALOUS: It shows you that Ross Perot isn't running this time, right? I mean, part of it, there wasn't that third candidate who drew away part of it. The black vote actually wasn't that much higher than say Kerry got or Gore got. But the turnout was much higher. I think that's what - and the reality is that people were very excited. People waiting for 232 years to have the opportunity to have a multi- racial race. And the reality that the next president will stand on steps built by slaves, surrounded by his family that descends from slaves is huge, it's huge. It's just a huge breath of relief or, you know, 40 million black people in this country.

CHETRY: You know we've also seen the rise like you but many others of young African-American leaders. We have Barack Obama. We have Duvall Patrick in Massachusetts. We have Illinois Congressman who is friend of our show, Jesse Jackson Jr. It's almost like a torch has been passed, if you will, an old guard, new guard. What has it changed for civil rights and what does it change for black leadership to see this new, young, energized and in some cases bi-racial leaders?

JEALOUS: Sure. We have a tradition of calling that in our churches, in our communities, we say that you lead when you're called to lead. So we've actually had young leaders for a very long time. You think about Dr. King or Malcolm x, who are all dead before they were 40 and accomplished a lot. Black is also an inclusive definition. It always has been. White has been sort of the, you know, you have to be pure white. Black has been if you have one drop of African descent, you're black. Those are the laws of this country, that is the reality and the legacy. So those issues are perhaps aren't as big in our community.

CHETRY: This is interesting. "Miami Herald" said some leaders say that the political success of a few blacks can not be allowed to overshadow the disadvantages of millions of others who suffer because of their race. Talk a little bit about African-American leaders, both locally and nationally and at the state level versus those leaders within the community, community organizers, et cetera. Is it enough or is it a huge of a milestone as we're making it to have a black person in the White House?

JEALOUS: I think what is huge is we have a black former community organizer, former civil rights lawyer who is in the White House. You know, there's a model of creating leadership in our community and the oldest really is taking people who have led, you know who have washed feet, if you will, you know, who have gotten right down and lifting them up to represent what they know. And so this is the best example of that. But it's an old tradition and I think it will serve the entire country well.

CHETRY: Well it's great to talk to you this morning. Ben Jealous, the president and CEO of the NAACP. Thanks for being with us this morning.

JEALOUS: Thank you. A real pleasure.