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Obama to Hold First News Conference; Rahm Emanuel's Return to the White House; McCain Campaign In-fighting: Aides Trash Palin; Obama Puts Team Together

Aired November 7, 2008 - 07:00   ET


KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: Coming up now on 7:00 here in New York. We begin with the Most Politics in the Morning. And with just 74 days until he's sworn in, President-Elect Barack Obama is getting down to business. In fact, today, he meets with his top economic advisors. Then at 2:30 Eastern, he'll hold his first news conference since winning the election. He may also announce more appointments. You can see the news conference, live, right here on CNN and on
Well, Democrats are inching closer to a filibuster-proof majority of 60 seats in the Senate. They have 57 after Oregon's Republican incumbent Gordon Smith conceded defeat to Democrat Jeff Merkley. Three Senate races remain undecided. GOP incumbents are trying to hang on in Alaska, in Georgia, and in Minnesota where comedian Al Franken is now losing by just about 200 votes. That means there's going to be an automatic recount in that state.

Factory workers across North America bracing for more disastrous news right now. In just moments, Ford is expected to announce billions more in losses and more job cuts. General Motors is expected to follow with similar bad news this morning. Both companies saying that factory production needs to reflect declining sales, and this is the worse financial crisis since the Great Depression.

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: President-Elect Barack Obama is moving quickly to address the financial crisis. It was issue number one in the voting booth, and it is a problem that cannot wait for the transition in power.

Our Suzanne Malveaux for live for us this morning in Chicago. Suzanne, it's a big day for the president-elect. He's got lots of economic meetings to head, then he meets the press this afternoon.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It is a big day for Barack Obama and likely he's going to get some pretty sobering news when he takes a look at those job numbers as well as the report card of GM and Ford. But Barack Obama essentially is trying to convince voters, trying to convince the American people that he is taking this economic crisis seriously. That is why he's meeting with his economic team this morning and then later taking some questions from us.


MALVEAUX (voice-over): From campaign mode to power mode, Barack Obama's transition is happening at lightning speed. This morning he sits down with his economic team to address the global financial crisis. Yesterday, he was behind closed doors, the country's top intelligence official, to get his first presidential daily brief, a detailed assessment of all dangers threatening the U.S.

He also returned calls to nine world leaders including those from England, Japan, France, Israel and South Korea. Obama's top priority now, to select his cabinet.

REP. RAHM EMANUEL (D), ILLINOIS: Hey, guys, how's everybody doing?

MALVEAUX: His pick for chief of staff, Illinois Congressman Rahm Emanuel.

EMANUEL: I made a series of phone calls to both Democrat and Republican leaders to reach out. They said I don't know how to reach (INAUDIBLE). I've received a lot of calls not only from Democratic colleagues but Republican colleagues who could not have been nicer.

MALVEAUX: The former Clinton White House strategist is widely credited with helping the Democrats seize control of Congress two years ago. He's a Washington insider who Obama says knows how to get things done. Some Republicans worry Emanuel will set a partisan tone.

KEVIN MADDEN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: The big question is going to be whether on not Barack -- whether or not Barack Obama can sort of reign in some of the partisan instincts that Rahm Emanuel have when he's trying to forge bipartisan coalitions.

MALVEAUX: Also very likely to follow Obama to Washington his closest associates. Top campaign strategist David Axelrod as his national adviser and communications director Robert Gibbs as the likely press secretary.


MALVEAUX: And, John, I'm also told the top priority is, of course, to get his economic team that will be following him to Washington in place. Some of the people that he's actually going to be meeting with this morning are possible picks for treasury secretary, including the former Fed chair, Paul Volcker, as well as former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers -- John.

ROBERTS: And, of course, anybody who's familiar with the program entourage will know that this tenacity runs in the Emanuel family. His brother Ari Emanuel was the role model for the character of Ari Gold in "Entourage." So it's a history of tough family here, isn't it?

MALVEAUX: There are three brothers, all very competitive, all very accomplished, and all pretty colorful in their personalities, John.

ROBERTS: Yes. We should also mention to that Ari Emanuel actually represented Jeremy Piven for a while.

All right. Suzanne Malveaux for us this morning. Thanks, Suzanne.

And join the best political team on television for Barack Obama's first news conference as president-elect live on CNN, 2:30 Eastern time and on

CHETRY: Senator Hillary Clinton made her first public appearance since Barack Obama was elected president, and she praised his choice for chief of staff who was one of her husband's closest aides.


SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: President-Elect Obama made an excellent choice. Rahm Emanuel understands both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. He understands the private sector, where he was very successful for a number of years. He gets things done. You know, Rahm is determined and effective, and I think he will serve President- Elect Obama and our country very well.


CHETRY: So here's a closer look now at the man who helped shape the Obama administration from CNN's Susan Roesgen.


REP. RAHM EMANUEL (D), ILLINOIS: I'm very fortunate that my parents are alive to see that whatever choice I make --

SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's not a side of Rahm Emanuel most people see. This is a guy who's at the top of his game as a Washington power player, someone who knows how to throw an elbow to get ahead. Here he is in the Clinton White House defending his boss during the Monica Lewinsky scandal.


RAHM EMANUEL, PRES. CLINTON'S SENIOR ADVISER: The president of the United States is doing his job focusing on the American people and their future, and that's where his energy and time is going.


ROESGEN: Described affectionately as an attack dog, Emanuel started as a political fund raiser. First for Mayor Richard Daley here in Chicago then for Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton running for president. That led to Emanuel's role as a senior adviser in the Clinton White House. And the legendary stories that may or may not be true. Like the one about his getting so angry he stabbed a dinner table with a steak knife. And then there's the one about his sending an enemy a dead fish. The kinds of stories Hollywood couldn't resist.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got to narrow it down to the guy we want.


ROESGEN: The deputy White House chief of staff in the "West Wing" series is said to be based on Emanuel.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop plopping your guns and put them through.


ROESGEN: And the HBO series "Entourage," the character of the Hollywood agent, Ari Gold, is said to be based on Ari Emanuel, Rahm's powerful brother. So what is Rahm Emanuel really like? We asked his rabbi?

RABBI ASHER LOPATIN, ANSHE SHALON SYNAGOGUE: He is committed to America, committed to his Judaism, and committed to the people around him, and very popular in the synagogue. People like him. He's a really good man, good man.

ROESGEN: In 2002, Rahm Emanuel ran for office himself and became an Illinois congressman. Now so powerful that he could be in position to succeed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. But the pull of something greater will take him back to the White House. The legend continues.

Susan Roesgen, CNN, Chicago.


CHETRY: And Barack Obama will have new job numbers to digest with his economic team today and by all accounts they are expected to be quite dreadful. In fact, maybe more than 200,000 people unemployed in just a single month.

Christine Romans joins us now live and unfortunately this is a trend that we've seen that's just continuing.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: It is, and the Obama brain trust as they're calling it, the business trust will be trying to find solutions for the president-elect and his team to try to -- you know, Washington doesn't create jobs. Washington creates the policies that help the economy, and the private sector creates jobs.

And so, this team right now meeting today includes some big names, you know, Paul Volcker, Warren Buffett, Larry Summers. A lot of business names too. Time Warner, Xerox. A lot of different companies are advising the president-elect as well.

So there's a big team here trying to figure out what the solution will be. And they're going to -- they've got a lot to chew over. They've got a two-day Dow loss that was dreadful, the biggest decline after an election ever. And two days of a Dow loss that percentage wise is the biggest since 1987.

They've got stocks this year that are down more than 30 percent for the Dow, the Nasdaq and the S&P. And they've got this jobs number today. You know, you don't even have to see the number from the Labor Department to get a pretty good sense that it's going to be ugly; 200,000 jobs expected to be lost.

Across the country, this is playing out in a lot of different ways. You know, you have places like, you know, Rhode Island and Michigan that have eight percent plus unemployment rates. Places like South Dakota and Wyoming, green states there, are the states with the best kind of job situation. You know, South Dakota and Wyoming have a three percent unemployment. Some of those orange states are kind of average.

So you can see where you live and where you're watching us this morning and what the job situation looks like to you. And this is going to continue into next year.

Now, the most important thing for you to know is, are you vulnerable to a pink slip? If you work in an industry that's related to autos, that's related to retail, anything that touches the consumer, the housing market, the service industries for the consumer travel, restaurants, they're going to see some jobs loss there.

CHETRY: In fact, we're just getting this wire crossing about Ford announcing they're going to be cutting another 10 percent of their salaried workforce in North America, trying to weather this economic downturn.

ROMANS: Yes. All of the automakers have had some trouble. What's going to be a good discussion for the president-elect and his team is whether there should be some sort of infrastructure works program to get highly skilled manufacturing workers, hundreds of thousands of them into jobs.

The criticism of that is that it takes so long to get bridge building projects started and road building projects started. But the feeling among many economists is we're going to have a long time of a weak jobs market and that you don't have to worry about the lag time because those people have got to be put back to work. So that's going to be something I'm sure that's on the agenda. What kind of infrastructure spending is this administration and Washington going to try to do, and what kind of an effect could it have?

CHETRY: All right. Christine, thanks.


ROBERTS: Well, the election may be over but the fighting certainly isn't. And it's not bickering between Republicans and Democrats, but between Camp Palin and Camp McCain. Plus, why one McCain aide says Sarah Palin needs a geography lesson.

Nine and a half minutes after the hour.



CONAN O'BRIEN, HOST, "LATE NIGHT WITH CONAN O'BRIEN": Sources from the McCain campaign are starting to talk, and they said, today this is the news, that when they were prepping Sarah Palin for the debates they found out that she thought Africa was a country not a continent. Now to be fair to Sarah Palin, it is hard to see Africa from Alaska. (END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: Welcome back to the "Most News in the Morning." It was bad enough when McCain aides called Sarah Palin a "diva" who was going rogue. But with the election over, it's really getting nasty out there with former McCain aides circulating harsh rumors about Governor Palin now.

Our Alina Cho looking into all of that for us this morning. She joins us now.

Good morning, Alina.

ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, John. It's getting ugly out there. As our colleague Dana Bash said last night, now that the selection is over it's all out nuclear war inside the McCain campaign. And look at (INAUDIBLE) aimed squarely at Sarah Palin. That includes the latest wild charges by anonymous McCain aides that Palin didn't know that Africa was a continent. Here's how a McCain-Palin spokesperson responded to John King on "LARRY KING LIVE" last night.


MEG STAPLETON, MCCAIN-PALIN CAMPAIGN SPOKESWOMAN: That is very upsetting and I think that's probably the most upsetting to those of us around her, those of us who know her experience, those of us who know that she's bringing a natural gas pipeline to this state.

She certainly does know that Africa is a continent. Those who are creating these anonymous allegations perhaps walked in and out of meetings, perhaps are taking things out of context, perhaps are spinning things and are completely making things up at this point.

But, John, if you speak to those around her and her foreign policy advisers and those who worked and prepped her, they felt and continue to say that her questions were serious, that her questions were well thought out, very detailed and went far beyond what continents exist or who is within NAFTA.

I mean, that is just absolutely so far out of the realm it almost doesn't deserve responding to except that it's taken on and gone to such a degree that we find ourselves out here saying that, of course, she knows that Africa is a continent and it's absolutely a false allegation that exists out there.


CHO: All right. And Palin responded by saying she would not comment on gossip and went on to say that the rumors were being spread by "small, evidently bitter people." And then there's this.

"Newsweek" is now reporting that Palin's highly publicized shopping spree was much more extensive than previously reported. One aide told the magazine she spent tens of thousands of dollars more than the reported 150,000. And get this, the 20 to 40,000 went toward clothes for her husband. An angry aide called the shopping spree "Wasilla Hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus from coast-to-coast" and that the truth would eventually come out.

One top McCain aide who was just asked by reporters whether he was happy with Palin would not answer the question. All he would say, John, is that there would be time for post-mortems a bit later.

ROBERTS: Oh, there's a whole lot of finger pointing going on and they're probably will be for some weeks to come.

CHO: Yes. I think the blame game is just beginning.

ROBERTS: Alina Cho, thanks very much for that. Good to see you this morning.

Still ahead, we're going to chat with one of "Newsweek's" reporters, Katie Connolly. She followed the McCain/Palin campaign for more than a year. She reported the details about this political bickering, and we'll have her on about 40 minutes from now here on AMERICAN MORNING.

CHETRY: Well, the man who once called himself "the Jesus Christ of Italian politics" leads our political ticker this morning. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is certainly no stranger to controversy and he's now under fire for making a joke about President- Elect Barack Obama's skin color to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.


SILVIO BERLUSCONI, ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER (through translator): Obama has everything needed in order to reach an agreement. He's young, handsome and even tanned. So I think this will lead to a good cooperation.


CHETRY: Berlusconi said that the remark was all in fun adding, "God save us from imbeciles. How can you take such a great compliment negatively?"

Meanwhile, prosecutors have decided not to bring charges against former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer. You may recall that he resigned in disgrace for being known as "client nine" with the high end prostitution service. The U.S. attorney's office couldn't find any instance where Spitzer misused public or campaign fund.

And this year, Election Day was a day of first. Barack Obama will be America's first black president. And the tiny town of Silverton, Oregon, elected the country's first openly transgendered mayor. Stu Rasmussen, who also served as Silverton's mayor n the late 1990s, says he is a heterosexual male but likes to look like a female.

And to the state of New Hampshire with its own political first as well. For the first time in history, a state will have a female majority in its Senate. After Tuesday's election results when the state meets -- when the state's new Senate meets, there will be 13 female senators and 11 male senators.

For more up-to-the minute political news head to ROBERTS: Well, first, it was Sarah Palin and now the first dog has gone rogue, putting the White House press corps on notice. Take a look at this.

Yes. A reporter from the Reuters news agency wanted to pet the president's pooch, Barney, but instead got a trip to the White House doctor's office.


JON DECKER, REUTERS REPORTER: I just wanted to pet Barney. My mom has a Scottish terrier. I wanted to pet Barney and unfortunately he was not in the mood to be petted.

The White House physician, Dr. Tubb, bandaged me up and made certain that my finger is taken care of. But for now, I have to make certain that I continue to bandage this, wash it daily and take antibiotics for the next few days.


ROBERTS: Don't stick your finger in the dog's mouth. Oh, look at that. Ferocious. Maybe Barney blames the press corps for his master's low approval ratings or perhaps he's just mad about being a lame duck dog.

CHETRY: The little ones are the nasty ones. They'll get you.

ROBERTS: You know, Barney doesn't (INAUDIBLE).

CHETRY: You don't see a huge Labrador biting anyone.

ROBERTS: I pet that dog a dozen times, and it just --

CHETRY: Maybe he let -- maybe the dog whisperer (ph). Maybe there's a way with the dog.

ROBERTS: Some things upset him. Really.

Four feet of snow in early November. A violent winter blast, cars buried, drivers blinded and stranded. The extreme weather and where it's moving right now.

Campaign report card. What do Karl Rove and Joe Lieberman have in common? A look at some of the big winners and losers from the hard fought campaign.

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


CHETRY: Welcome back to AMERICAN MORNING on this Friday. You know, Rob said it's a weatherman's dream. You start with a blizzard and you end with a hurricane. A lot to talk about today.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. You know, and if we can work it out that nobody gets hurt then everybody wins.

CHETRY: It's a horror casting dream, right? It's not -- you're not wishing that upon me.

ROBERTS: A hurricane blizzard. Now that would be (INAUDIBLE).

MARCIANO: Yes. You know, that's one for the movies for sure. But check out some of these video, guys.

We've got some serious things happening across parts of South Dakota. Rapid City, they're trying to clear the streets here. About a foot of snow in this part of the state, southwest corner of it. They had to close I-80 and 90 actually in parts of Nebraska and South Dakota. And Mount Rushmore at times closed because of all of this big time snow.

So, early November snowstorm. This certainly is unusual but not unheard of. Check out some of these numbers. Forty-five, over 45 inches in Deadwood. Yes, that's where the HBO series was filmed in the Black Hills there. Spearfish, South Dakota, 19 inches. Rapid City, 13.2 inches.

That coupled with winds of over 80 miles an hour in Rapid City. That will definitely shut some things down including Mount Rushmore. The boys up there made a (INAUDIBLE) but probably getting their (INAUDIBLE) for sure.

There's your low. It's moving slowly to the east. Snow on the back side, rain on the front side. Some severe weather all the way down to the south. Last hour we showed you parts of Oklahoma getting some tornado damage in through Missouri as well. Probably not so much today but severe weather will be a threat across part of the southeast.

A quick check on what's going on with Hurricane Paloma. We're still in hurricane season. Winds of 80 miles an hour. It's got -- it's about 85 miles from Grand Cayman. It will scooting against Cuba as potentially a Category 3. We think it will strengthen to a Category 2, maybe to a three, and then weaken as it hits Cuba.

This is a rare event. But typically this time of the year, they will form in this area and the times that we've had major hurricanes in the Caribbean almost all of them have hit Cuba. So they've got the brunt as you mentioned, John, of this hurricane season and looks like they got one more left to bear.

CHETRY: All right. Rob, thanks. It's great to see you.

MARCIANO: Good to see you, guys.

ROBERTS: Memo to the president.


JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SENIOR PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: In the range of problems facing the new president, where does Pakistan rank?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In terms of foreign policy, it's number one.


ROBERTS: Jamie McIntyre on the urgency of dealing with a key ally where here some see a potential disaster in the making.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have about six months to get our collective acts together.


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


CHETRY: Welcome back to the "Most News in the Morning." President- Elect Barack Obama puts the first piece of his administration together. He named Illinois Congressman Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff, and he could start announcing his cabinet as early as today.

Joining me now is John Avlon, contributor to, and Patricia Murphy, editor for Thanks to both of you for being with us.

So we have this Republican, I mean we have this -- well the Republicans aren't thrilled about it. But, John, you talked about the appeal to independents.


CHETRY: The post-partisanship that Barack Obama really was able to inspire with during the campaign. And then he picks Rahm Emanuel who some say is very partisan, a fierce partisan. Does that send the wrong message?

AVLON: I don't think it does necessarily. I think for every good cop you need a bad cop, and you need to balance realism and idealism. But for those folks who are concerned about Rahm Emanuel's credentials on that, look back at the Senate and congressional candidates he picked on '06 and '08. Centrist like John Tester, Bob Casey from Pennsylvania, a pro-life Democrat, a lot of Iraq war vets. Those are pretty centrist picks that helped transform the Democratic party and turned it to a new majority. So he clearly understands that dynamic.

CHETRY: Patricia, I want to ask you about the fact that we talked about this a little bit before that President Bush, you know, had a very diverse cabinet or surrounded himself with a lot of diverse people. Is there pressure for Barack Obama to make sure that the face of his cabinet and his administration seems to be representative of all people?

PATRICIA MURPHY, EDITOR, CITIZENJANEPOLITICS.COM: There is. And the reason that there is is because he's created this expectation that he will be appointing Republicans to his cabinet. He, in fact, said that he would. And there going to need to be some high level appointments. It won't be enough to do as George Bush did to put Norman Mineta in the secretary of Transportation. That wasn't particularly that reached across the aisle. So Obama has created this expectation that it will be a bipartisan cabinet, and I expect that it will be.

CHETRY: What about women, Latinos?

MURPHY: Yes. He'll certainly need women and I'm sure that there will be African-Americans, Latinos because that is the coalition that put him where he is. And he has a lot to thank them for and certainly they want to see some of them represented in that cabinet.

CHETRY: John, I want to ask you about Republicans. They've come out in recent days saying that there needs to be a new face for the Republican Party. In fact, Jeb Bush, I thought this was a pretty surprising quote from the Florida governor. He said, "I would suggest that conservatives need to do the math of the new demographics of the United States. We can't be anti-Hispanic, anti-young person, anti- many things and be surprised when we don't win elections."

Is that too harsh?

AVLON: No. That's exactly right. Look, the younger, more urban, more diverse, more educated the community, the more likely it was to vote Democrat. And that's a problem. Parties need to appeal to the future not the past.

And you know, there's a problem that I think symbolized by something I brought in today. A McCain emergency telegram that I got in the mail.

Now, there's a couple of problems with this.

CHETRY: Don't put your address on.

AVLON: There's a couple of problems with this. Telegrams don't exist anymore. You can't give or receive, and this is sort of the instant messaging of the horse and buggy era. So it indicates that either the Republican Party is reusing its old tricks or it's aiming for a demographic that gave and received telegrams a decade ago. Either way, it's about appealing to the past and not for the future.

MURPHY: It's also still close.

AVLON: Because I'm an independent. I don't participate.

CHETRY: I want to ask you about Sarah Palin. We were talking about John McCain a second ago. But you know, there is a lot of this nasty in-fighting that's now going public. We're learning different things.

One source involved in prepping her for her interviews and debates said she had not paid attention to a single policy debate that's gone on in the country for ten years. Then there's others who love her and say that she has a photographic memory and that she's brilliant. What is her future now that we've seen some of this dirty laundry really dragged out there? MURPHY: She is going to have a bright future because when she goes out to these events, she was the one drawing the crowds. It wasn't John McCain. And if the McCain campaign is surprised that she doesn't know that Africa is a continent not a country, why were they vetting her. I consider this 100 percent their fault. If they're not happy with the pick, they are the ones who made it.

Now when you talk about enlarging that tent of Republicans, women have to be in there. You also cannot pick a woman to be vice president and then savage her when it's not successful.

CHETRY: All right. They're going to have a lot of thinking to do. Back to the drawing boards I guess you could say. John Avlon and Patricia Murphy, great to see you as always.

MURPHY: Thank you. Nice to see you.

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN, ANCHOR: 30 minutes after the hour. And here are this morning's top stories. More than 2,000 demonstrators filling the streets of Los Angeles protesting the state's new ban on gay marriage that passed on election night. The protest caused major traffic problems. Hundreds of police officers were called to clear the streets.

The fate of Brian Nichols who is now in the hands of a jury. They will continue deliberations later on this morning. He's accused killing three people during a shooting rampage in Atlanta in 2005. And a fourth person later he faces the death penalty if convicted. The defense has not disputed that Nichols was the gunman but instead focused on his mental state.

48 shopping days left now l Christmas which means a lot more price cuts from Wal-mart. The retail giant says it will introduce new rounds of price cuts every week until Christmas as part of what Wal- Mart is calling Operation Main Street. You can even get a text message telling you about the price cuts.

Unless you have been sleeping under a rock for the past three days you know Barack Obama won the presidential election. But he was far from the only winner on election day. Carol Costello joins me now with a looking at the winners and a few losers as well.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, John, there were losers, big time. And there were surprised winners. I asked some of our many political analysts to weigh in. and here's what I came up with. Let's start with the winner shall we?

Number one, internet donors. The little guy won. Their cash even in amounts as small as five to ten dollars added up beating out big traditional donors in electing Barack Obama. Get this, more than three million people donated to Barack Obama's campaign and in the process they helped to change the landscape of presidential fundraising.

Winner number two, women. I know what you're thinking but consider this. This year both presidential candidates had to take women voters very seriously. Hillary Clinton did not make to it the White House but her candidacy forced politicians to take notice that the big part of the reason Republicans chose Sarah Palin. And who could forget Barack Obama actively kissing up to women after Clinton left the stage. Also this election proved once and for all women do not think with one brain and we don't back candidates just because they are female. Three women proved that. Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill, Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius and the Arizona Governor. They endorsed Barack Obama way back in January. Support that ended up being crucial to his campaign.

Winners number three, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. Who would have thought it. Their approval ratings are in the toilet yet they expanded their base in the House and Senate. Wow. Next test getting their members behind them and cutting out the partisan rhetoric so a bill can actually become law in less than three centuries.

Now for the losers. Topping the loser list, Senator Joe Lieberman. His political future with Democrats on the line. He could lose his chairmanship of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. Democrats quite upset with him because he broke party ranks and threw his support behind John McCain and then he criticized Barack Obama on national television during the Republican convention. For the moment he awaits his fate.

Losers number two, gay and lesbian couples. This election day was a big ouch for them. California, Arizona, Florida all passed laws banning same sex marriage which left 16,000 California gay couples wondering if their recent marriages will still be considered valid under state law. Also in Arkansas voters passed an initiative banning gay couples from adopting children.

Losers number three. Karl Rove, 527 and the swift boaters, the politics of personal destruction did not resonate this time around. Voters really did get sick of the attacks. They had bigger issues on their mind like you know losing their homes. Could it be the end of negative campaigning? I don't think so.

One more thing, John. We must mention Hillary Clinton. Because she's both winner and loser. She lost the primary but she gained stature. She was an unlikely hit with blue collar male voters and she's no longer tied to Bill Clinton's apron strings. She is a power in her own right. So there you have it.

ROBERTS: You know the big question is as you said is what happens to Joe Lieberman. Because he's kind of a guy without a home. A lot of Democrats want to get rid of him. And the Republican party is not exactly rushing to embrace him either.

COSTELLO: No but you know if you want to unify the nation shouldn't the Democrats give him a break. Wouldn't that send out a nice signal out to America?

ROBERTS: Not in the zero-sum game that is Washington, D.C., it wouldn't.

COSTELLO: I guess not. ROBERTS: Carol, thanks so much.

COSTELLO: I'm just naive. Sure.

ROBERTS: Thanks, Carol.

CHETRY: We're hopeful either way, Carol.

Well Pakistan thinks the U.S. is responsible for a missile strike that killed nine people. It happened earlier today in the northern part of the country, right near the Afghan border. The U.S. embassy in Pakistan had no comment and even though it's supposed to in a U.S. ally, foreign policy experts are warning President-elect Obama to keep a close eye on Pakistan. CNN correspondent Jamie McIntyre has the latest in our CNN's special series, "Memo to the President."


JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SENIOR PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Mr. President, there's a reason Pakistan was the first stop for General David Petraeus after taking over the U.S. Central command. It's health is crucial to turning the tide in Afghanistan and Pakistan's newly elected government is fuming about CIA air strikes in its ungoverned tribal areas. Recently, General Petraeus admitted to CNN he got an earful in that first meeting with Pakistan's leaders.

GEN. DAVID PETRAUS, U.S. CENTCOM COMMANDER: We got certain messages with each of those, with whom we talked today, and some of those are very clear and we have to take those on board.

MCINTYRE: Pakistan said its desire to remain a U.S. ally was severely undercut by the Bush's administration for former dictator Pervez Musharraf. It handed Al Qaeda and the Taliban a winning argument.

HASSAN HAQQANI, PAKISTAN AMBASSADOR TO THE U.S.: The jihadist group in Pakistan were able to make the argument that fighting the jihadist is essentially an American war and Pakistan is just being America's lackey.

MCINTYRE: In the range of problems facing the new president where does Pakistan land?

HARLAN ULLMAN, ATLANTIC COUNCIL: In terms of foreign policy it's number one.

MCINTYRE: Harlan Ullman is a military thinker who coined the phrase shock and awe. Now Ullman is focused on Pakistan where he sees potential disaster.

ULLMAN: You could see partition, you could see civil war, you can see a failed state. My view is we have about six months to get our collective acts together.

MCINTYRE: Ullman advises stopping and then better coordinating American cross border attacks. But the more immediate problem he suggests is Pakistan's precarious economy. ULLMAN: They cut its food subsidies and it's energy subsidies to reduce it's budget deficit as a result you got people starving. You got riots and corruption.

MCINTYRE: Ullman says an immediate investment of about $10 billion, a tiny fraction of the trillion dollar U.S. financial bailout could go a long way to shore up a key ally.


MCINTYRE; So, Kiran, the president-elect has already started to get calls from world leaders and the U.S. intelligence committee has put together a list of all the foreign leaders and what they are going to want from the U.S.. When it come to Pakistan they're going to have their handout for more money and perhaps a little more understanding. Kiran.

CHETRY: Jamie McIntyre for us this morning at the Pentagon. Thanks. Well, you know on Monday our "Memo the President" series continues with so many things to pay for. Will Barack Obama end up raising taxes on everyone? And for more on our special series head to


CHETRY (voice-over): Ground breakers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can almost feel the expectation.

CHETRY: The hidden pressures of being a pioneer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can be first but not the best. And the group you that you sort of represent is going to be set even further back.

CHETRY: We'll talk to some members of a very elite club. You're matching "the most news in the morning."



ROBERTS: 41 minutes after the hour. Famous for being first with his history making win this week. President-elect Barack Obama becomes arguably the highest profile member of a very elite club but the honor usually comes with it's own obstacle. AMERICAN MORNING's Jason Carroll joins us now with more on that. Good morning to you.

JASON CARROL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Obstacles only these people would know about. We tracked down a few of these famous firsts to get their unique perspective and to see what advice they would have for the president-elect.


CARROLL (voice-over): They are history's ground breakers, pioneers in politics, the arts, sports, in a word firsts. RACHEL ROBINSON, JACKIE ROBINSON'S WIDOW: There's a kind of a first experience, the experience of being the first. Whether it's being celebrated by some and opposed by others.

CARROLL: Rachel Robinson is Jackie Robinson's widow as the first African-American to integrate Major league baseball. He overcame years of racial taunts and abuse because he knew African-Americans were counting on it.

ROBINSON: You could almost feel their expectation. Then you began to note it's not just for me it's for them. It's for us.

CARROLL: Muriel Seabert also knows about meeting expectations.

MURIEL SEABERT: 1365 men in me.

CARROLL: In 1967 Seabert became the first woman to own a seat on the New York Stock Exchange, the now 76-year-old's advice to President- elect Obama, know your limitation.

I know I was pushing myself. And I was lucky that my physical stamina -

CARROLL: Is still around.

SEABERT: Is still around and looking good and I'm not complaining.

CARROLL: Democratic congressman Keith Ellison made history last year. He became the country's first Muslim congressman.

REP. KEITH ELLISON, FIRST MUSLIM CONGRESSMAN: Remember, you can be first and not be the best, actually not do a good job and then that group that you sort of represent is going to be set even further back.

CARROLL: Failed as a first and risk setting back all you represent. But not for Guion Bluford.


CARROLL: The first African-American astronaut in space.

BLUFORD: I tried to do the very best I can. I think about Barack Obama and he's sort of in the same situation.


CARROLL: A lot of pressure there. Obama has been referred to as the Jackie Robinson of politics. When we asked Robinson's widow about that comparison she said both men are men of commitment and that something she believes you must have to succeed at being first at anything.

ROBERTS: I mean, it really is an incredible step for this nation but let's hope that within the next few weeks, as opposed to being know as America's first black president that he'll just be a president that happens to be black.

CARROLL: Let's hope so.

ROBERTS: Jason, good piece. Thanks this morning. 43 1/2 minutes after the hour.


CHETRY (voice-over): The first daughters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of the negatives of the White House is that it's very much a fish bowl.

CHETRY: It may have a swimming pool and it's own bowling alley but life in the White House isn't always easy for kids.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's something that Sasha will say and something Malia will say or do and they will be remembered for the rest of their life.

CHETRY: The pressure of living in the political spotlight. You're watching "the most news in the morning."



CHETRY: Welcome back to "the most news in the morning." Health care reform was one of the biggest campaign promises of President-elect Barack Obama. Now the question is, can he deliver? To answer the question we're "Paging Dr. Gupta" this morning. He's at the CNN Center in Atlanta. You've been talking to a lot of medical experts out there. And I'm sure they've seen the system first hand and what needs to change. They think it's a realistic notion.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know if I had to describe in a word I would say enthusiastic is the way that these top medical experts are describing. The idea - the chance of having meaningful health care reform. But there's also the sense that many of the ideas that are being put forward have been discussed for decades. The real question is can he translate some of these words into action?


GUPTA (voice-over): President-elect Barack Obama promised to make health care reform a priority in his first 100 days. His goal make insurance available for everyone who wants it.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENT-ELECT: No one will be turned away because of pre-existing condition or illness. If you have children they will be covered too. If you change jobs, this insurance will go with you. And if you can afford this insurance you'll receive a tax credit to help pay for it.

GUPTA: He wants the same health insurance that's available to government employees also available every citizen. The estimated cost up to $65 billion a year. President-elect Obama says the money will come from rolling back President Bush's tax cuts. The average family will save about $2,500 a year. The idea, more people in the pool will drive premiums down.

KAREN IGNAGNI, CEO, AMERICA'S HEALTH INSURANCE PLANS: The concept that now President-elect Obama has advanced is a very important one. Having all Americans in the system does play an important role in making coverage available as efficiently as possible.

GUPTA: Other medical experts are cautiously optimistic.

DAN SMITH, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY: He has put forward some big ideas about healthcare and I think that obviously the devil will be in the details.

GUPTA: Some of those other details include requiring doctors and health care facilities to switch to electronic medical records and the safe re-importation of drugs from developed countries.

OBAMA: We'll tell the pharmaceutical countries thanks but no thanks for overpriced drugs. Drugs that cost twice as much here as they do in Europe, and Canada and Mexico.

GUPTA: So how soon will you be able to order your next batch of meds from Canada? The FDA cautioned that may not happen any time soon. They tell CNN most imported drugs are not FDA approved and have not been shown to be safe regardless of what country they come from.

Obama will also push for insurance coverage of preventive care with a focus on wellness as opposed to just managing sickness. Also increases funding for cancer and stem cell research.

IGNAGNI: That is a very tall order from where we are today. Now the question is turning the proposals that were made during the campaign into legislative proposals and specifics.


GUPTA: And that is the million dollar question, Kiran. You know, he has to in just a couple of months after inaugural to decide if he can actually get some of these things done in 2009. Many of these changes if any of them will likely happen until 2010. Kiran.

CHETRY: Another interesting thing you mentioned is that Obama's plan allows any American to sign up for the exact same insurance that he himself has. So when and where could people enroll?

GUPTA: Well as far as who the people are qualifying, people who are unhappy with their current insurance, people who can't afford private insurance, people who are uninsured. As far as specifically how they're going to do it, I think that's still being worked out. What we've heard is that we've investigated this and maybe as simple as checking a box in your tax form, signing up at the Department of Motor Vehicles, or even doing it online. But the criteria probably is going to still develop over the next several months. CHETRY: All right. Sanjay, thanks so much.

GUPTA: Thank you.

CHETRY: 50 minutes after the hour.


ROBERTS (voice-over): Breaking news, a critical jobs report coming in minutes.

ALI VELSHI, CNN, SENIOR BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: The estimate is another 200,000 jobs.

ROBERTS: Wall Street already on the ropes. Can it handle another blow?

And issue number one becomes job one. President-elect Obama holding his first news conference. Will economic relief get lost in transition? You're watching the most news in the morning.



ROBERTS: 54 minutes after the hour. Welcome back to the most news in the morning. Now that the election is over, things are getting really nasty between the McCain and Palin camps. Some unnamed McCain advisers reportedly dishing out dirt on Palin, blaming her for their candidate's loss at the polls, even going so far to say that Palin didn't know that Africa was a continent. And last night on CNN's "Larry King Live," with John King filling in for Larry, a long time Palin aide fired back at the allegations.


MEG STAPLETON, SPOKESPERSON FOR MCCAIN-PALIN: Those who are creating these anonymous allegations, perhaps walked in and out of meetings, perhaps are taking things out of context, perhaps are spinning things and or completely making things up at this point.


ROBERTS: Well both sides seem to be publicly denying any riff. But that's not how "Newsweek" magazine's behind the scenes election team tells it in its special election project. Reporter Katie Connolly followed John McCain's campaign for more than a year and she joins me now from Washington to talk more about it. Good morning, Katie.


ROBERTS: How bad were things between the McCain and Palin camps? We see them trying to paper it over in public. Even she recently said hey things were great. But what was it really like behind the scenes?

CONNOLLY: You know from what I understand initially the relationship between Sarah Palin and Senator McCain was really quite good. They enjoyed each other's company but as the campaign progressed, it was no secret that they didn't really know each other particularly well. And towards the end of the campaign, they were really only speaking about once a week. She became far more assertive in some of her social views, as well, which don't exactly match John McCain's social views. And to the extent that she didn't want to appear on stage with people, Republican candidates. People like John Sununu and (Jed Bradley) Who didn't agree with her on some of these views. And she refused to acknowledge them when they were on stage with her.

ROBERTS: But what about this idea that we hear from these unnamed sources in the McCain camp that she really was unprepared and that a lot of the negative things that were said about her were, in fact, true.

CONNOLLY: I mean, I do get the sense that she was quite unprepared. But one of the things that was a source of frustration for McCain aides was that she began to resist their preparation efforts. That she didn't want to engage with them after the whole Charlie Gibson interview. She refused to be prepared properly for her Katie Couric interview. And that obviously had quite disastrous results for her.

ROBERTS: But what about OK then the flip side of that coin is this idea that she felt that she was mishandled. That they were trying to control her too much, that they trying to make her into somebody else. You know her people single out Nicole Wallace and Steve Schmitt as being people who just didn't know how to handle her properly.

CONNOLLY: You know I'm not without sympathy for her here. It's an enormous thing to go from being a governor of a state that's quite remote to being thrust on the national stage. You know she was probably exposed to a whole range of very tight handling that she'd never been exposed to before. And I'm sure that's very difficult. But the thing about Sarah Palin is part of her appeal is that she's headstrong. She's a maverick. She's all these things, and when you pick a maverick to go on your ticket, she's going to do some things that are kind of mavericky, right?. She's not going to do what she's told. And she's not going to appreciate being told what to do 24/7. So in some ways, it should have been a little bit anticipated that she wasn't going to take direction the way some other candidates might want to.

ROBERTS: Yes. It really is the job though of the vice presidential running mate to do what they're told, to get out there and just you know faithfully articulate the message and attack the opposition. That's traditionally what the role has been.

CONNOLLY: Yes. Well, and she certainly played her role in attacking the opposition. I don't think there's any doubt about that.

ROBERTS: You know some of your reporting, we hear more about the clothing flap that erupted in the last week in the campaign. According to "Newsweek" magazine, this went far beyond $150,000?

CONNOLLY: Yes, what I've heard from a couple of reliable sources within the campaign is that they found out late last week, so a few days before the election that the spending was a lot more significant than was originally reported and that she perhaps spent between $20,000 and $40,000 on clothes for her husband, that she perhaps spent between $20,000 and $35,000 clothing for her children and that she actually spent a lot more than she owned up to. And I think this also is the deepest frustration for them was that after she went on stage and said publicly that she was, you know, denounced the clothes, said they were brought to her room and that she didn't ask for them, that up to a week after that point she was still ordering clothes and still having them brought to her. And I think that people were very frustrated by learning that quite late in the piece.

ROBERTS: So all of this is coming Katie from anonymous sources. You know, if things are these bad and if people feel this strongly about it, why don't they go on the record? Why are they staying anonymous?

CONNOLLY: You know I think what we're seeing is at the end of the campaign, people were very exhausted and they are exasperated and now are venting. And they were venting to me because they knew my project wasn't going to be aired until after the election. And I'm not sure that people want to drag this out. I think they want to leave it in the past and I don't think that they want to - I know that the narrative has become that Palin is a scapegoat. I don't think they were scapegoating her, I think that people knew in a very bad Republican environment. I think they knew they were facing strong head winds. And at the end of the campaign they were expressing some frustration and I think that's kind of to be expected.

ROBERTS: As a White House correspondent myself, I use plenty of unnamed sources. But it'll be good to see some of these people go on the record for a change when they're saying things like these.

CONNOLLY: It would make our jobs a lot easier.

ROBERTS: All right. Katie Connolly for us this morning. Katie, good to see you. Thanks so much.

CONNOLLY: Thank you, John.