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Countdown to Election Day; Cholera Outbreak in Haiti

Aired October 24, 2010 - 08:00   ET


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: We are counting down the midterm elections. Only nine days to go. Both sides, Republicans and Democrats, are hauling out their star players to get you to the polls. But is that going to work, and for which party?

T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Also, it was the controversy so many people were talking about last week. The NPR newsman Juan Williams who was fired from NPR after saying he gets nervous when he sees fellow airline passengers in Muslim garb. But is he the only one that feels that way?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It scares me to think that I walk into an airplane or anyplace, an airport, and strike fear into people's hearts.


HOLMES: This comment here. Yes, it was a very interesting debate, Suzanne, that a lot of people are starting to have now. Is he the only one that feels that way? Is this a matter of bigotry? Could this be some kind of wake up call? Could this also be a teachable moment as they often said?

MALVEAUX: And I think (INAUDIBLE) is weighing on that.

Well, from the CNN Center, this is CNN SATURDAY MORNING. Nice to be here.

HOLMES: It's Sunday. But that's OK.

MALVEAUX: Oh, Sunday. I missed a day.

HOLMES: I know. You want to stick around.

MALVEAUX: You feel great, huh?

HOLMES: You were hoping it was still Saturday, I know. Just kidding.

MALVEAUX: I'll be back here Monday, I'm sure.

HOLMES: This is Suzanne Malveaux, of course, here with us on this weekend. I'm T.J. Holmes. Glad you could be here with us. It's 8:00 here in Atlanta, Georgia, where we sit; 7:00 a.m. in Memphis, Tennessee; 5:00 a.m. in Los Angeles, California. Wherever you are, we're glad you're here.

And over the next 90 minutes, the stage is set for the World Series.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a dream come true. We're waiting for this. I can't imagine a better outcome. Go Giants.


HOLMES: Go Giants. Yes, San Francisco, the little team that could. They beat the Phillies, 3-2 in game six for the National League Championship Series. So, the Giants will face the Rangers in the World Series. It's not exactly the match-up that people thought we'd see and quite frankly, a lot of people wanted to see the Yankees versus the Phillies. Sorry.

But Texas and San Francisco, good story, good World Series. We've got that coming up for you.

Also this:


MALVEAUX: Whooping it up in the black church. We're going to look at the power of the old style ministry as one minister says, whooping is like gravy. As the minister says whooping is like gravy.


HOLMES: Yes. Now, it can be so entertaining. Something I'll miss the whole lesson. They've just whooping it up so much. But we'll get into that. It's fun story you want to see.

Also, the midterms, we are nine days away now. We have been telling you for quite some time just how important these midterms are. Republicans are trying to take back control of Congress, Democrats trying to keep it. The White House is putting it all out there on the line right now.

Take a look here. Break down the House, potentially the biggest payoff for Republicans. Right now, the Democrats have a 77-seat advantage, 256 to 179. In the Senate, as many as six seats are considered toss-ups. Republicans need 10 to take back control there.

Congressional race is so important, a huge number, 45 considered toss-ups. Republicans need 39 to take control of the House. Some analysts think they'll get that and more.

Thirteen governors' races also will be decided on November 2nd. Actually, we've got some 37 governors races that are up for grabs right now. There are 37 governorships that are up for grabs right now in a ton of different states. Very critical as well -- you may not be hearing about those, but those are important right now as well.

MALVEAUX: And the president, of course, is very much aware of what's at stake, and he only has nine days to turn the momentum in his direction. And the calendar is a constant reminder. I want you to take a look at this. The Democratic wave that swept him into office in 2008 threatens to turn into a Republican riptide that could drown his administration in the midterm elections.

Now, the president needs young voters in particular to come out again in large numbers. So at a rally at University of Minnesota yesterday, he laid it out on the line. He said, telling the crowd, "I need you to keep fighting."


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It looks like they're kind of fired up.


OBAMA: And I need you fired up, because in just 10 day, you have the chance not just to set the direction of the state, but also help to determine the direction of this country, not just for the next two years but the next five years, the next 10 years, the next 20 years. And just like you did in 2008, you have the chance to defy the conventional wisdom.


MALVEAUX: Well, the president has a very busy week this week. He has several more campaign events that are going to be coming up. But he's also going to be taking time -- yes, that's right -- to appear with comedian Jon Stewart, a little sparing there.

On Monday, he's in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. He's going to be talking about the economy and also attending a congressional fundraiser.

On Wednesday, he makes remarks at a violence against women event at the White House. And then later tapes an interview for "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart.

Now, Friday, he's going to be talking about the economy again in an appearance in the Washington area.

And on Saturday, he's campaigning for Democrats in Philadelphia, Bridgeport, Connecticut, and Chicago.

A very busy week for the president. Obviously, a lot at stake when it comes to the midterm elections. He's going to be weighing in trying to take the presidential podium and his star to get people out to the polls. HOLMES: You have heard all kinds of nasty rhetoric and the back- and-forth during this campaign season. Well, listen now to one Republican senator, John Thune, was likening the president -- in the Republican address this morning, likening the president to a failed science project. Take a listen.


SEN. JOHN THUNE (R), SOUTH DAKOTA: President Obama has been running around the country trying to re-elect Democrat members of Congress. But if the conversations I've had with voters are any indication, the president should spend less time campaigning to save the jobs of Democrats in Congress and more time trying to create jobs for the American people.

One of the Democrats' main responsibilities over the past two years was to improve the economy. Instead, they decided to try an experiment to grow government, raise taxes, and take over health care. The Obama experiment has failed.

SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: Friends, the president is now telling us that we're not thinking straight because of all the fear and frustration that Americans have. He claims facts, science, and arguments aren't winning the day because we're not thinking straight, quote/unquote.

Well, you know, Mr. President, you've got it right on one point there. We are afraid knowing that your economic policies are driving us off a cliff.


MALVEAUX: Well, off a cliff, some may see that as the perfect visual for the Florida race, the Senate race in Florida November 2nd. There are going to be two candidates who are going to know that feeling of falling off a cliff.

Right now, it is a three-way race: The Democrat Kendrick Meek on the left, Republican Marco Rubio in the center, and Governor Charlie Crist running as an independent. Now, the three are going to debate on CNN at 9:00 a.m. Eastern. That is right after this programming. You want to stick around and see that.

CNN senior political editor, Mark Preston, he is live in Tampa to cover this debate.

Mark, let's start off, though, with Florida. I mean, you are in a critically important place there, obviously a swing state. The president has been there many, many times. What do we see in Florida now? How important is that race that we had mentioned for the Senate seat?

MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL EDITOR: Well, Suzanne, of course, Florida, a very important state. Always seems to be every election cycle, it comes to the forefront. Let's just talk about this Senate debate. You have a three-way race: Marco Rubio, the Republican, Charlie Crist, the independent, who is the former Republican, and, of course, Kendrick Meek, the Democrat.

Right now, if you were to look at polling, even CNN's polling shows that Marco Rubio has a double-digit lead heading into November 2nd. However, a lot can happen in a week and we'll see some fireworks I expect in less that an hour here on CNN when the three men take the stage in debate.

In addition to that, we have a governor's race down here, a very close contest between Alex Sink, the Democrat, and Rick Scott, the Republican.

And, of course, we talk about the Republicans taking back the House of Representatives. Well, there's about four, five, six seats here in Florida that Republicans think that they can take back. And, of course, that would be critical because they need 39 seats to take back control of the House, Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: What do we -- how do we gain this? What are the odds here?

PRESTON: Well, let's just take it chamber by chamber. House of Representatives, a very good odds that Republicans will take that back. Even Democrats were conceding to me about a month ago that they were going to lose 30 seats. Well, that playing field just keeps expanding and expanding.

And we're seeing Democrats like John Dingell and Barney Frank, folks who always won, never had tough re-elections, were asking Bill Clinton to come in and campaign on their behalf.

So, when you see Democrats like that asking for hope, you know that Democrats are in trouble.

In the Senate, it's going to be a tough road for them to get to because the fact is, they need to pick up 10 seats. Here in Florida, Marco Rubio, the Republican, looks like he'll hold onto the seat. But, again, 10 seats is kind of a tough road for Republicans to march toward November 2nd.

When we talk about governors, looks like they can now, the Republicans can pick up, Suzanne, between six and eight seats.

So, heading into November 2nd, it's not a question if Republicans have a good night. The question is: how big of a night will they have, Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: All right. Mark, thanks so much. We'll be watching that debate coming up at 9:00. Thanks.

HOLMES: Well, we're going to turn away from politics here now to go to a developing story in Haiti -- a cholera outbreak there that has killed more 200 people. Now, some serious concerns that the thing could get worse, could spread. They were trying to contain it to a certain area that's north of the capital of Port-au-Prince. However, we don't know exactly if that has been a success, those efforts.

CNN's Paula Newton is near the capital for us on the phone.

Paula, update us certainly. But I know, a big concern was trying to keep this from spreading to Port-au-Prince. Has that been the case?

PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): T.J., the big concern now is that there are five confirmed cases of cholera within the capital of Port-au-Prince. But the U.N. says that these are people that came from the region originally affected. Medicines, doctors are now rushing to that region. The scenes described at the hospital, T.J., though, were still chaotic. You have people just dying within hours, in the open air, still waiting for care.

They are hoping to be able to turn around that situation in the next couple of days. The problem, though, is if this infection reaches on the Port-au-Prince, they're still struggling with the aftermath of the earthquake, that the consequences in there will be disastrous -- T.J.

HOLMES: All right. Paula Newton with the update for us from Port-au-Prince, near Port-au-Prince in Haiti -- we appreciate you. Thank you so much.

MALVEAUX: NPR fires Juan Williams after he makes contentious remarks about Muslims, sparking a big debate about bigotry.


HOLMES: Have you been to a church? Have you heard this before? That's an art form in some churches. Are you able to whoop it up? More importantly, can you do it, too? Find out, ahead.

Stick around. It's 11 minutes past the hour on this CNN SUNDAY MORNING.



HOLMES: Well, you're a D.C. lady. You take it.

MALVEAUX: Well, this is the nation's capital. And I'm headed back home soon. This is my favorite. I love this song.

Hello. Good morning.

HOLMES: You hear that around D.C.?

MALVEAUX: Yes, we do.

HOLMES: Really?

MALVEAUX: Yes, we do. Absolutely.

Do you think you're the only one who jams around here?

HOLMES: Well, I cover a lot of D.C. stories. Not a lot of jamming.

MALVEAUX: Oh, no. You're missing out. I'm telling you. We jam in D.C.

HOLMES: All right. They were jamming, one of our iReporters at least.

I was pretty excited about this video here. This is an iReporter out of India excited about a hail.

MALVEAUX: It's dime-size pellets of hail. It fell yesterday morning in Indian state of Punjab and it was fascinating for him. You can hear him, the iReport, he's remarking. It's the first time he ever saw hail. And so, we're glad he was able to take it and share it with all of us.

Well, we were also watching as well a severe weather watch around the world. In Asia, there's a typhoon called Megi that is still making a mess of a lot of things.

HOLMES: And then we've got Richard on the other hand, the hurricane that could intensify.

Bonnie Schneider, where do you want to start? A lot going on here, a typhoon, a hurricane --

BONNIE SCHNEIDER, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Let's start with Richard, which is actually a tropical storm. It's almost a hurricane.


HOLMES: All right.

SCHNEIDER: Probably will be soon.

Take a look at what's going on with Tropical Storm Richard. Right now, the maximum winds are at about 70 miles per hour. Remember, a hurricane winds have to climb to 74 in order for it to be a hurricane, so very, very close. The storm track takes it onshore into Guatemala, certainly affecting Honduras.

But then watch what happens as it emerges over at the Bay of Campeche in the coming days. It actually weakens and dissipates as it advances towards Mexico.

So, unfortunately, for this part of Central America, we are going to see torrential downpours and the threat for mudslides with this system as it works its way from the west-northwest, slowly moving, slowing is bad for these storms, at about 10 miles per hour.

I want to show you what's happening in the U.S. mainland. Let's take a look. As the Northeast and Midwest, it is a soggy Sunday morning, all the way from Minneapolis to Milwaukee and into Chicago. More rain headed in that direction.

And it looks like it's snowing into northern New England, but actually, the pink stuff there isn't hitting the ground. We'll get plenty of snow in Vermont soon enough. We actually did in Killington (ph) with the nor'easter recently.

We're looking at some wet weather across the Northeast. You can see sunshine through much of the nation's midsection to the Rockies. That's where we have 65 degrees.

And finally, for those of you that are flying today -- and I know many of you are on a busy Sunday -- here's a look ahead to the delays that. The big Pacific storms will bring rain in San Francisco, and that could slow you down up to an hour. Also, in Minneapolis, you saw the rain moving in. So, watch out for delays.

No delays right now, Suzanne and T.J. So, so far, so good. But there's also a little bit of nasty weather on a Sunday, you know ,when everybody's trying to get back from the weekend.

HOLMES: And it never cooperates quite, does it, Bonnie? We appreciate you as always. Thanks, Bonnie.


MALVEAUX: Thanks, Bonnie.

Well, this is really a compelling story. Imagine living in a society that compelled you to raise your daughter as a son.

HOLMES: And we'll show you exactly where this is happening and why.

Sixteen minutes past the hour. Stay here.


HOLMES: At 18 minutes past the hour now.

A lot of people -- maybe you have or you have, though -- but a lot of people haven't been in black churches. Black churches have a lot of good energy, known for it, and oftentimes, the pastor is responsible for that. The preacher up there is responsible for all the good energy.

And the techniques -- some people might just think they're yelling, they're screaming. It's something called whooping that's going on up there.

MALVEAUX: And they got a lot of folks in the black churches across the country standing, praising, and actually whooping. Take a listen.


DEWEY SMITH, JR., PASTOR (whooping): I don't know what Derrell (ph) did, I don't know what Conley did, can I say what I did? I came to Jesus. I found in him a resting place --

It's called whooping. My name is Dewey Smith, Jr. And I'm the pastor/teacher of the Greater Travelers Rest Baptist Church in Decatur, Georgia.

Whooping is delivering and celebrating the message in a musical style. It's a calling response type of synergy and it's really jazz. It's almost an improvisation between the pulpit, the synergy and the energy between the pulpit and the pew.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm up when I get here. It's a great experience. It's exhilarating. The pastor does -- he does whoop but he teaches first. And I think that's important, that you get the meat of the message, and that's the teaching part before you get down to the climax.

SMITH: I think the most important thing is the message, because sometimes my sermonic approach is, good meat makes its own gravy. Whooping is like icing on the cake. It's like what just a salsa or Heinz 57 for a steak -- you know, it's not necessary but sometimes gravy augment -- assists in a particular issue.


HOLMES: That was great analogy.

MALVEAUX: I love that analogy. It makes sense. You understand it.

HOLMES: And no matter, he's talking about the message, but it can get your attention quite frankly. You can be sitting in church. I know, I've done this, I'll admit it. You know, you might be dozing off a little bit and as soon as you hear -- all right, that was time to be paying attention.

MALVEAUX: What was that?


MALVEAUX: It does get your attention.

HOLMES: It is absolutely entertaining, and not everybody can do this. Clearly he can.

All right. Here we are. Twenty past the hour. We've got you about ready to go to church or you got to doze -- maybe you don't have to go to church if you are now.

MALVEAUX: I feel fulfilled.

HOLMES: You're OK?

MALVEAUX: This Sunday show has fulfilled. I feel like I have it.

HOLMES: That's our goal here. MALVEAUX: Thanks, T.J.

Well, we're also following politics and it's been one of the hot potatoes of the midterm elections.

HOLMES: Yes, campaign money that's coming from third parties. Some even would say its mysterious third party. A closer look is coming your way next.

It's 21 past the hour.



HOLMES: Twenty-three minutes past the hour now.

It appears Democrats have a new talking point against Republicans, calling them more now than just the party of no. Now, the big topic is third party spending. That's fresh now, fresh issue on the campaign trail. Both the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the president blasted the unprecedented amounts of money being spent by nonprofit groups on behalf of Republican candidates. They did this while stumping for fellow Democrats last night in Minneapolis.

MALVEAUX: On the final days before midterm elections, millions of dollars are going into advertisements by all sorts of groups pushing their agendas. And analysts say the totals could be in the billions.

Now, Josh Levs is here to take look at all of this because this is really unprecedented, what we see in this campaign.

JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And, you know, look, you follow politics closely, it's interesting to hear some of Democrats as we were just hearing from T.J. complaining about the Republicans side gains the money. And it is true. I'll tell you about this. I mean, there's a lot of Republican money that's opened up for third-party groups this year, but the Democrats have some as well, and we're seeing third party ads all over the place.

In fact, because it's the midterm, you know, many of these ads are targeting specific states. What I want to do is start off with one that got a lot of attention in recent days.


NARRATOR: This November, we need to send a message to all politicians: if they didn't keep their promise on immigration reform, then they can't count on our vote. Democratic leaders must pay for their broken promises and betrayals. If we just go on supporting them again this November, they will keep playing games with our future and taking our vote for granted.

Don't vote this November.


LEVS: Those are the words that really got people talking, "Don't vote." Now, this ad was also made in Spanish. It sparked controversy after it aired a few times on the radio. It was slotted to air on Univision, but the Spanish language TV network pulled it.

The group behind it is Latinos for Reform. I spoke with the head of the group, Robert De Posada. He told that they are made up of about 10 people. It was actually, in the end, a pretty small ad buy. But it's the latest in the part of a big phenomenon, concerning third- party groups getting money for ads this year.

CNN's consultant on political advertising, Evan Tracey, explained.


EVAN TRACEY, CAMPAIGN MEDIA ANALYSIS GROUP: It's a roll reversal from the past two elections. Clearly, Republican money had been on the sidelines in 2006. They weren't happy with the way things were going. In 2008, obviously, they weren't happy with John McCain who had bee n trying to put these groups out of business. And you had Democrats really energized and motivated.

This year, because of things like there's no single payer in the health care bill, the cap-and-trade bill didn't pass, you really didn't see any Democratic money come into the process, but you're starting to see it now. I think the president had been really -- has been really hitting on this issue and he's probably gotten some of that Democratic money off the sidelines and back into these races.


LEVS: And there are some -- I mean, there are some third-party ads pushing for Democrats as well. The ad we looked at earlier partly focused of voters in Nevada.

So, we'll go with this. I want you to see a little clip of this ad pushing for Harry Reid in Nevada. Take a look here.


NARRATOR: High school was 46 miles away. They said going would be impossible, so he walked and hitched his way. Forty-six every Monday, 46 back come Friday.


LEVS: It phrases Harry Reid as someone who can do what seems impossible. It's from And just like most of the groups behind these ads, that's a group that calls itself nonpartisan. But in this case, it's weighing in for one candidate.

We've been hearing from you all, all morning. The conversation continues on Facebook and Twitter. We're hearing from you about whether you think these third party ads will influence your vote and your thoughts on them in general.

So far, T.J. and Suzanne, a lot of people are weighing in, saying that they're actually trying to vote against. It turns them off to certain candidates when they see a lot of third-party ads about them.

But we'll see. We'll get a sense of how this plays out. And just like you said, tons of money this year running around in that system. And if it works, if it shows that it works, then we can expect a lot more of that if the following elections.

HOLMES: All right, Josh. We appreciate it.

MALVEAUX: Thanks, Josh.

HOLMES: Thanks so much.

We're coming on the bottom of the hour here now.

He's been talked a lot about this week -- Juan Williams used to host the show "Talk of the Nation" on NPR. He is the talk of the nation right about now. He was fired Wednesday after he expressed comments that some of listeners perceived as bigoted against Muslims. But does his comment expressed broader views of the broader populace?

Stay with us.


MALVEAUX: A broadcaster who is paid to talk lost his job last week for a controversial statement that he made.

HOLMES: And we're talking about NPR that fired Juan Williams after saying he gets nervous when he sees fellow airline passengers dressed in Muslim garb.

This controversy got people talking. You might be surprised now who says it's also a valuable opportunity.

Our Susan Candiotti reports.


SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The news analyst Juan Williams talked about feeling nervous when flying with someone dressed in Muslim clothing, people weighed in.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's a natural fear obviously with everything that's going on over the past decade. But, I don't know, it's not my personal belief. But I'm not going to be afraid of anything like that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He spoke for a lot of people, but I think a lot of people are wrong.

CANDIOTTI: How do Juan Williams' views figure in the general climate about Islam? (on camera): A recent Pew Research Center Poll shows favorable opinions of Islam have been going down over the past five years, from 41 percent in 2005 to about 30 percent now.

(voice-over): At an open house in a mosque on Long Island, New York, this Muslim worshipper admits it hurts to know some make assumptions about her.

SEEMI AHMED, MUSLIM PEACE COALITION: It scares me to think that I walk into an airplane or -- or anyplace, and airports and strike fear into people's hearts. That's not a very nice feeling.

CANDIOTTI (on camera): If you have fear, does that mean the same thing as being bigoted?

ATHAR SUHAIL, MUSLIM CENTER OF LONG ISLAND: Yes, it is. Yes, it is. But -- because I believe this fear is based upon lack of knowledge.

CANDIOTTI (voice over): To overcome a lack of knowledge, this Bay Shore, New York mosque joined a growing number of mosques nationwide inviting neighbors to spend some time with them, not only listening to sermons but breaking bread.

This woman accepted the invitation and wishes even more would.

MIRIAM FLYNN, VISITOR: They think they had to want to educate themselves. And I think that's one of the biggest problems is that people don't and people think that they know it all, people think that they understand and they're not open minded.

CANDIOTTI: One Muslim group spokesman said Williams' comments were not bigotry but a wakeup call to Muslims to break a stereotype.

IBRAHIM RAMEY, MUSLIM AMERICAN SOCIETY: He just voiced an opinion that a lot of people have. And I think in that context we should regard the remarks as -- as food for dialogue and not fuel for anger and -- and more hostility between different segments of the society.

CANDIOTTI: This meeting called one more step in that direction.

Susan Candiotti, CNN, New York.


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Well, there's a political battle that is brewing in Florida. The state Senate candidates there are preparing to face off in Sunday's debate. Candy Crowley tells us what to expect. That's coming up next.


T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: And it's 34 minutes past the hour now. Welcome back, everybody. I'm T.J. Holmes. MALVEAUX: I'm Suzanne Malveaux. It's 8:30 a.m. Eastern, 30 minutes until the CNN Florida Senate Debate. It's a very special "STATE OF THE UNION".

HOLMES: Yes, always my favorite part of the morning. We get a chance to talk to Candy Crowley. But Candy this morning has some of her friends with her this morning. You've got a big crowd already. Please remind our viewers what you've got going this morning, big morning for "STATE OF THE UNION".

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN HOST, "STATE OF THE UNION": And just a really great race simply because it -- it sort of shows the fracture within the Republican Party. What you have here is the governor of Florida, Crist who said -- who ran first for the Republican primary and then it began to run away with Marco Rubio, the other Republican. So Crist dropped out of the race, became an independent. He's now still running for the senate. Marco Rubio is the Republican, and Kendrick Meek the Democrats.

So it -- it just brings together the kind of Tea Party aspect because Marco Rubio was supported by a Tea Party enthusiast early on though he's tried to become a little more removed from it in recent weeks.

So, you know, we've got a great thing, a great race here in Florida and something I think it's because we're so close to the end, I think you'll see some fireworks because the last we saw in the St. Petersburg Times poll this morning, Rubio was ahead by 15 points. That's -- that's huge. They -- basically the two folks trailing have what -- eight days to figure out how to close that gap. And usually what you do when you're running behind at this late date you should go after the front runner so I expect that the target will be on Marco Rubio's back.

MALVEAUX: And Candy, explain to our viewers why Florida is so important. We know it's a swing state - very important presidential elections. But why should people be paying attention this morning to Florida?

CROWLEY: Well, first of all because this is one of the seats, really, that Republicans have to hold onto. Second of all, I think when you look at Florida, it's always -- at least in the past since 2000 has been one of those states that we really look at to kind of watch trends. And I think, third, this state has been just blasted by bad economic times. They rank in the top five of unemployment -- unemployment here is nearly 12 percent.

They are -- one of the states with the highest number of mortgage foreclosures so they're -- they're really kind of the petri dish here for bad economic times.

So it has a lot of kind of national implications but also sort of becomes the substitute for what's going on in the nation as a whole.

HOLMES: All right.

Candy Crowley, we are just about 22 minutes away from a special "STATE OF THE UNION."

Candy, thank you. It's good to see you. I know, you've got a little more prepping to do and you're ready for that debate.

CROWLEY: Thanks good to see you.

HOLMES: But good luck. And I promise you we will be watching Candy Crowley again.


HOLMES: She's coming your way: a special "STATE OF THE UNION" at the top of the hour, the Florida Senate debate and three candidates and our Candy Crowley. Again, you can see that at the top of the hour right here -- and only right here on CNN.

MALVEAUX: But first, if you want to see what life is like behind the scenes of the White House, well, just check out some of the pictures that were just posted to the White House Flcker Page and for our own pick behind the scenes you could also check out where our team of producers post their unique perspectives.


MALVEAUX: Checking our top stories, the two remaining American hikers detained in Iran will stand trial next month. The country's official news agency is reporting that Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer will appear in court on November 6th.

Now, you may remember that the third hiker Sarah Shourd was released on humanitarian grounds. That happened last month. Iran says that the three crossed the Iranian border in July of 2009.

Well, singing star, Celine Dion, she's the proud mother of twin boys this morning. Congratulations to her. They have not been named yet but the babies came into the world. They were born weighing five pounds 10 ounces and five pounds, four ounces. They were delivered by Caesarian Section at St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, it's a dream come true. We waited so long for this I can't imagine a better outcome. Go Giants.


MALVEAUX: And baseball fans in San Francisco are celebrating the Giants' National League championship win over the Philadelphia Phillies yesterday. The Giants will now face the Texas Rangers in the World Series.


HOLMES: Well, it's 42 minutes past the hour, in our "Faces to Face" this morning, preachers known for teaching the scripture and saving sinners and trying to heal the sick, this morning though, as a part of our "Black in America" series, we introduce you to one member of the clergies whose quest is to cure you from the almighty debt. The story now from our Soledad O'Brien.


REVEREND DEFOREST SOARIES, FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH: Live within your means. People that don't manage their money wisely are not managing our lives wisely.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN SPECIAL UNIT CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Soaries is the senior pastor at First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Central New Jersey, and he's on a crusade. He thinks black America has a new enemy.

(on camera): Is debt a bigger problem than racism?

SOARIES: Yes. Debt is a bigger problem that racism.

O'BRIEN: You didn't even hesitate?

SOARIES: There's no question to me that debt is a bigger problem than racism.

O'BRIEN (voice over): It's a provocative theory but Soaries stands by his claim.

SOARIES: One out of five of us has no bank accounts. We still do pay day loans, we still do rent-to-own, but you see we'll drive shiny cars and we'll wear designer clothes and we have all of the appearances of doing well but we won't admit that we're broke.

Being in debt is slavery; when I'm paying last month's bills with next month's check -- that's slavery. When I'm writing a check hoping that it doesn't bounce or when I pull out my credit card praying that it's not rejected, then I'm living in financial bondage.

O'BRIEN: It's a problem exacerbated in today's economy, the worst since the depression. Long time church members Doug and Mary Jeffries feel like they're living in financial bondage. They refinanced their home twice and are now on the verge of foreclosure. They've turned to their pastor for help.

DOUG JEFFRIES, MEMBER, FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH: One day I just broke down. We were at a funeral at the church and then Soaries in his inimitable style pulls up and you know, "What's up, man? How are you doing?

And I said, I said, Pastor, I'm not doing so well today."

He said, "Well, what's going on?"

That's when I just had to tell him what the deal was.

MARY JEFFRIES, MEMBER, FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH: Douglas kind of convinced me that he was going to ask anyway. And I said, well, ok, but I was reluctant.

O'BRIEN: Was it embarrassing?

M. JEFFRIES: Oh, yes, quite.

O'BRIEN: Why help Doug and Mary Jeffries? Super nice people in a way they make enough money. They could just move to another place.

SOARIES: You can't assume that a person's middle income and has problems is less impacted by their problems than a person with lower income that has problems.


HOLMES: You can see more about that, Reverend as he battles against debt. That's tonight -- a very special replay of "BLACK IN AMERICA: ALMIGHTY DEBT" tonight 8:00 Eastern right here on CNN.

Now, financial assistance from a church, not really anything new but in the past, most of them have been about donations to those in need. Now a lot of churches are reaching out here now, offering classes in financial literacy.

Joining me this morning, a pleasure to have senior pastor at Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church, the Reverend Raphael Warnock -- good to see you.


HOLMES: Now you heard the pastor in that piece there talking about debt being worse than racism. Do you agree with that? And what does that mean exactly, do you think?

WARNOCK: Well, you really can't separate the two. They're inextricably connected. It's interesting that Dr. King when he came to our nation's capital as he described the legacy of slavery and segregation, he said that America had written the Negro, he said, a check that had come back marked insufficient end funds. So this relationship between freedom and financial prosperity is inextricably connected.

We have to agitate and challenge institutions to change their behavior. Most of the subprime loans are targeted toward African- Americans. At the same time we have to challenge people to change their personal behavior. This is why we're building the financial center.

HOLMES: Which is it more so? We're talking about systematic hurdles that get in the way and keep minorities, black people, Latinos down in some way in this debt. Or is it a matter of personal responsibility and financial literacy?

WARNOCK: I really think it's both ends. Racism is reinforced and calcified at every level of society. Blacks still are the ones who were targeted for these subprime loans. We saw the largest loss of wealth among blacks in the last eight years, largely as a result of these subprime loans in modern U.S. history. So we have to address that.

But at the same time there are some things that people can do and that's why we're building a financial center at Ebenezer Baptist Church to help people understand money.

HOLMES: A lot of people might not -- it might trigger initially. But you're now a senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist here in downtown Atlanta where Reverend Dr. Martin King Jr. used to preach.

WARNOCK: That's right.

HOLMES: Now a lot of people might hear building a financial center there, they might not, quite frankly, make a lot of sense to them, but there is no more perfect place, quite frankly, to put it.

WARNOCK: That's right. We were very fortunate. About a year ago I connected with a young man by the name of John Hope Brian; he ran something called "Operation Hope". They have these Hope Banking Centers, about nine of them in metropolitan cities across the United States. This will be the first one in a church.

So as people come to Hope Ebenezer, to our Ebenezer financial center, which will be housed in a community center named after daddy king, we, quite frankly -- you know, I'm a Baptist preacher. We want them to have a conversion experience. We want to convert them from renters to homeowners, convert them from being check cashing customers to banking customers, convert some of these poor credit scores.

HOLMES: And we know how churches can play a hand in educating other parishioners. But at the same time, on kind of another plane how does faith -- how does one's faith factor into their finances?

WARNOCK: Well, faith is very important. I have to tell you I'm really seeing it in my church and as I move through the community. People are under a lot of stress these days, and their faith holds them. At the same time we've got to connect inspiration to information.

HOLMES: All right. Well, Reverend Warnock, we appreciate you coming by. What's the lesson this morning -- I know you have a good (INAUDIBLE) where you preach. What are you preaching about?

WARNOCK: I'm going to talk about the love of God. And I thought I'd come by and see you. I hope to see you in church soon.

HOLMES: See, this is what we're going to start doing on Sundays, bring a pastor to me every Sunday right here on CNN SUNDAY MORNING.

Good to see you as always. Thanks for coming by.

WARNOCK: Bless you.

HOLMES: Thanks for coming by -- Suzanne. MALVEAUX: In Afghanistan there is a heavy social pressure to have a son, so what happens if you don't? Well, for some families it means masquerading your daughters as sons. That's straight up next.


HOLMES: We are just about eight minutes away from a special "STATE OF THE UNION" with Candy Crowley. She is going to be moderating the Florida senate debate -- three candidates, Crist, Meek, and Rubio going at it. Just about eight days until Election Day. She told us just a moment ago, here live, she expects some fireworks.

But right now Rubio is ahead in the polls and the only way the other two can make any headway is to possibly start some fireworks here. So you will see them, the top of the hour, Candy Crowley and a special debate, the special "STATE OF THE UNION".

We turn to Afghanistan here now, where women have been fighting for equality. And at times it can be a desperate and losing battle.

MALVEAUX: So some families are going through extreme measures to level the playing field. I want you to take a look at this picture. The boy that you see there, he's actually a 6-year-old girl. Her family masquerades her as a boy.

Now here to tell us why -- our Nadia Bilchik. Thank you so much. This is a disturbing fascinating story that you are covering, and tell us what is going on. Why is this happening?

NADIA BILCHIK, CNN EDITORIAL PRODUCER: So in Afghanistan you have an ancient custom known as (INAUDIBLE) which is dressing little girls up as boys so that a family can say we have a boy. And there are a couple of reasons they do this. They do it for economic reasons because boys can go off and work. They do this for social reasons so that the child can play outside, wear pants and they can tell people we now have a boy.

In fact, the little girl that you are looking at, his name is Mehran (ph), real name is Manash (ph); her/his mother is a member of parliament and I want you to listen to what she had to say about what it is and why she's doing this.

She says when you don't have a son in Afghanistan, it's like a big missing in your life, like you lost the most important point of your life. Everybody feels sad for you. So she had two older girls and then had a third daughter, this little one whose name is Manash, called Mehran. And as a member of parliament her constituents felt bad so she decided -- her and her husband -- to turn the youngest daughter into a little boy, which is not uncommon.

MALVEAUX: And the thing I don't understand is people in the Afghan society, they all know when they're looking at this little girl dressed as a boy, they know that that is a girl, but they're treating the girl as a boy because --

BILCHIK: Close friends and relatives will know that she's really a girl. But when she goes out into the street or goes shopping for the family or escorts the other girls, people don't know up till puberty. And therein lies the problem. At puberty they have to turn back into a girl, so look at the problems that brings.

But it's not an uncommon custom. In the article that the "New York Times" had, they can't say exactly how many but they believe the practice dates back to as early as the 1900s. There's a picture of a young boy/girl protecting a harem.

MALVEAUX: What's the psychological impact of these girls who, when they go through puberty now have to identify as being women?

BILCHIK: well, I want to show you this picture of a woman who's now in her 50s. But she was a (INAUDIBLE) until she was about 20. So can you imagine that kind of gender confusion? An she said at 20 she was then forced to marry. Now, you would not think of defying your parents when it came to being forced to marry. And suddenly having dressed as a boy and wearing pants she now has trip over her burka.

She said -- this particular woman -- that she was very lucky she married a good man. She said they only went through a bit of conflict once. When he tried to hit her, she hit him back and that was the end of that.

But she looks back at those years very fondly being a man. She said it was so much easier to live as a man in Afghanistan.

HOLMES: Fascinating and a shame at the same time.

BILCHIK: Do you know that 100 million girls are said in India and China to be the victims of gendercide (ph).

HOLMES: Well, we appreciate you bringing these things to light the times. We don't think about them; a lot of people may not know about it.

Nadia, we appreciate you as always.

Quick break here folks. We're right back.

MALVEAUX: Thank you.

BILCHIK: Thank you.


HOLMES: All right. We're standing by. You see, we're just seconds away from Candy Crowley. But we appreciate you.

I know you're heading back in that direction as part of our political team here as well. But, of course, Candy has the senate debate, Florida debate.

MALVEAUX: Very special "STATE OF THE UNION" with Candy. We're going to see those three competitors where we expect some fireworks to happen at least. Candy says there's a lot at stake here obviously with Florida being a swing state. Everybody's watching very closely.

HOLMES: Yes. The two guys that are behind the polls have to make a move. We will see if they do. We will see it right now.

We're handing this thing over to Candy Crowley and STATE OF THE UNION, the Florida senate debate right now.