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Americans Enlist In Israeli Army; Unmanned Hypersonic Test Flight; Home Explodes In New York; Virtual Tie In New Hampshire; Romney Reaches Out To Miners; Opposing Views on Ryan as VP Pick; Jesse Jackson Jr Treated for Bipolar 2 Disorder; Paul Ryan Stumps in Lakewood, Colorado; Retail Sales Up Slightly in July; Democrats Sounds Alarm on Paul Ryan's Medicare Overhaul

Aired August 14, 2012 - 13:00   ET


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: One hundred twenty-seven Jewish American immigrants arrived in Israel today to enlist in Israel's army.

I'm Suzanne Malveaux. This hour in the CNN NEWSROOM, vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan speaking to voters in Denver, Colorado. We're going to get a -- hear from him. But first, we to want bring you a fascinating story. This is the military's attempt to fly at more than 4,000 miles an hour. So, you probably realize if you have ever flown from New York to London, it's a pretty long flight, about seven hours or so. But this could all change. The Air Force trying out a new aircraft that could take you across the Atlantic in less than an hour. Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr, she is following the developments here. Tell us a little bit about this. This is obviously more than just quick flights to Europe. The military is going to figure out ways of traveling very fast and using it for very specific reasons. Tell us what this technology is for.

BARBARA STARR, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Suzanne, you're right when you call it, of course, technology. It's not an airplane yet. You know, there is that old line from "Star Wars," fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy. Think of it that way. That's what we're talking about here so far. They're testing this today. It's going to fly off a B-52 off the coast of California, and this test vehicle, if you will, it's only sensors on board, no pilot, no passengers, none of that. They're going to test it and see if they can make it fly for 300 seconds, what is that? Five minutes or so, at a speed unbelievably of about mach six, about 4,500 miles per hours. That's what you're talking about.


STARR: If this technology works, what does it really mean? Well, you could turn it into propulsion for a missile, put a missile on target within minutes all I way around the other side of the world. Make a passenger jet that could carry troops to a conflict zone within an hour or so. The whole idea for the military, you can get to the problem faster than the enemy can, that's how you win. For the rest of us, it could turn into pretty fast commercial air travel once, of course, you get off the ground and you're not on one of those holds on the tarmac. MALVEAUX: Good point, Barbara. First of all, tell us a little bit about -- this is not the first time, right? That this wave rider test has actually been carried out, right?

STARR: Right.

MALVEAUX: It's been crashed before?

STARR: I mean, they have tried -- it's called hypersonic technology, and it has been tried before. It is very difficult to achieve. It basically involves an entirely new method of propulsion that involves taking advantage of the oxygen in the atmosphere, so you're not carrying around huge fuel tanks, of course, so it is very advanced. This is just the initial phases. They've done some tests before. They haven't exactly worked out -- the military doesn't really tell us why and what has failed. But they're keeping that -- and they're really hoping today, if they can take this step forward and just make this thing fly for 300 seconds, they will have made a significant advance in seeing if they can make this technology work -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Wow. Do we know -- first of all, do we know when the results are going to come out, if thing has worked, and how much this actually cost us?

STARR: Well, some experts have said the program, because, again, it is not an airplane, is about $141 million right now, and that's par for the course on one of these advanced technology programs when you're in the very initial phases. Who knows when they -- when it works and when they decide to really turn it -- turn it into something.

As for the test results, they will get telemetry, they're get electronic signals back when the flight finally goes today, and it will take them some time to analyze it, the parts that work, the parts that didn't, and figure out where they go from here.

MALVEAUX: All right. We'll get back to you and find out just how it all went. Thank you, Barbara, appreciate it.

I'm going to bring in Chad Myers to help us wrap our heads around this. You and I were talking about this. I mean, you fly planes, you do everything. You understand all of this stuff. So, help us understand what this is because we are talking about something that would actually travel five times the speed of sound.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Make no mistake, the Pentagon is not trying to make another concord, OK? They are not --

MALVEAUX: They said it was a failure.

MYERS: They are not trying to get --

MALVEAUX: People didn't really take to that.

MYERS: Right. But they're not trying to get you to Europe. This is not about flying people, really, you and me. This is about getting people or things, weapons, to places in 10 to 12 minutes. The issue is sometimes when you know you have a target and, you know, the drones find the target, they lock onto the target and say, OK, send a missile. The missile can take 80 minutes or so. By that time, the guy you're trying to get it gone.


MYERS: This could be there in probably less than 10. That's the thing, can we get armaments to places fast enough so that by the time the thing gets there, the guys that we're trying to get is still there.

MALVEAUX: Well, Chad, tell us how this thing works.

MYERS: It is an amazing --

MALVEAUX: There's no moving parts.

MYERS: It' an amazing process. It's trying to make a jet engine, a rocket engine, basically, like the -- like what's on the shuttle without liquid oxygen. We don't have to carry liquid oxygen in this thing, because like you do with the shuttle, because when the shuttle goes up above, there's no oxygen. This thing is grabbing, sucking oxygen from the atmosphere, combining it with the hydrogen that's inside and slamming it out the back. That doesn't happen until the thing is already going mach 4.5. So, rockets have to shoot first. This thing starts to suck in the oxygen. The oxygen goes with the hydrogen, gets thrown out the back in a scramjet, and they get to go mach six. OK, so you see all -- there's not many moving parts, honestly, but it is not about flying you and me anywhere.

MALVEAUX: So, how would this, actually -- if this was successful, and how could you actually develop something like this where it would be practical and the military would be able to use this?

MYERS: We would both be over 100 years old, I think, before we could get on the plane that does this. The military could use it a whole lot sooner than that. This technology is like when the sailor back in the 1800s would be sailing a boat. That sail board couldn't go very fast because it was in its own wake, in its own wave. It could go, maybe, 10 miles per hour. Then, all of a sudden, you put engines on the back of a boat and that boat could get up on plane. That plane could go 50, 60 miles per hour on the water. Our current technology for our planes use the air to fly. This thing is trying to get the air out of the way and literally get up on plane like a power boat does, get out of the way of the air --

MALVEAUX: Got you.

MYERS: -- and slide through it, almost break the air apart at that point rather than use that air to fly. Completely different technology we're going to see now.

MALVEAUX: I love it. But I love the way you explain that, too. MYERS: It's going to go fast. It might break up in space around -- you know, 70,000 feet high, but it's going to go fast.

MALVEAUX: Well ,we'll bring you back to see if this was a success, you and Barbara. Thank you. Appreciate it.

It's a huge discovery, literally what are we talking about here? Check it out. We're talking about a Burmese Python. It weighs in at 165 pounds. The length, 17.5 feet. Found in the Florida everglades, as you may be able to see. There are five researchers that are working side by side and it is still longer than all of them. It was also found with 87 eggs inside. Now, scientists trying to figure out how to stop pythons from taking over the everglades and other areas. The problem is that the snakes have no natural enemies to even out the population. Unbelievable.

Here is what we're working on for this hour.

(voice-over): The presidential election is just 84 days away. And the announcement that Paul Ryan will be Mitt Romney's running mate keeps making waves. We'll hear from Ryan himself, speaking live in Denver this hour.

Democrats say Ryan's Medicare plan will throw seniors under the bus. Republicans say, he is trying to save Medicare. So, who is right? I will talk to strategists on both sides.

Then, what is bipolar disorder II? That's the diagnosis for Chicago Congressman Jesse Jackson Junior. I will talk to a psychologist about it.


MALVEAUX: I want to show you some live pictures here. This is breaking news. This is from Brentwood, New York here. That's on Long Island. Ad these are some pictures from our affiliate -- this is News 12 on Long Island. Several fire departments, they are on the scene of what is a house explosion -- described as a house explosion. They're picking through some of the debris there, and we're trying to determine whether or not there are serious injuries. We have seen some emergency officials taking away somebody on a stretcher from the scene of this house explosion. There were some reports there was a gas smell in the area. The gas company (INAUDIBLE) says that the nearest gas line is several blocks away from this home.

So, we're still uncertain what is going on there. It's not clear if the construction was going on at the time of the explosion but we do know that somebody has been taken away from the scene. As soon as we get more information on that house explosion out of Long Island, we're going to bring that to you.

Presidential candidates and running mates hitting some of the king -- the key swing states, rather. Here is a look at where they are. President Obama continuing his bus trip across Iowa. Just heard from him a little bit -- awhile ago. Mitt Romney campaigning also in Ohio, that's also a battleground state. His running mate, Paul Ryan, is in Colorado. And we'll going to hear from him shortly. Vice president Biden, he is campaigning in Virginia.

President Obama and Mitt Romney, they are locked in a virtual tie. In another battleground state, we're talking about New Hampshire. And a new WMUR granite state poll, the president leads Romney 49 percent to 46 percent. So, that is within the sampling error. So, the results pretty much the same as they were in a similar poll that was conducted back in July.

Mitt Romney says President Obama wants to make America more like Europe. Romney is wrapping up a bus trip through several battleground states today. His running mate, Paul Ryan, he's campaigning in Colorado. We're going to hear from him as well. And just moments ago, Romney said that President Obama has not delivered on his promises.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And he said, you know -- he said, I measure progress by whether more people are getting good jobs. But unfortunately, we got 23 million Americans. You think of that, 23 million Americans out of work or stopped looking for work or way under employed. And then, he also said he had measured progress by whether people were able to have a job that paid for a mortgage. Well, we've had eight and a half million homes foreclosed on and home values down. And in some communities, if the major employers leave, why, there's no market whatsoever for their homes. He also said you could measure America by whether people had incomes going up or incomes going down. Well, guess what's happened in the last three and a half years? The average income of an American family has gone down by $4,000 a year. At the same time, health care costs are up, ,gasoline prices are up, utility bills are up. And as a result of this, the people in this community and in this nation, the middle class Americans, they're having a hard time making ends meet. The president said he would cut the deficit in half. He has doubled it.


MALVEAUX: Jim Acosta, he with the Romney campaign in Beallsville, Ohio. So, Jim, first of all, we hear both sides essentially sharpening their messages here. They're getting more into the specifics. They're talking about the economy here. We know that -- with this Ryan announcement, that the Romney team at least had hoped for somewhat of a bump here. But early poll numbers showing kind of lukewarm. And now, where does that stand? Has it made much of a difference even?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think the Romney campaign believes that they're going to generate some enthusiasm with the Ryan pick, and we are starting to see signs of that. Some of the Romney Ryan events that they have held since naming Paul Ryan as the vice presidential candidate have been a lot bigger and much more robust and enthusiastic than we've seen when Mitt Romney is just out by himself out on the campaign trail. But I have to tell you, Suzanne, one of the debates that we've seen since Mitt Romney tapped Paul Ryan has been on this Medicare issue. And both campaigns have been going back and forth over that subject over the last 24 to 48 hours.

But there is a new debate that is emerging, I have to tell you about, Suzanne. We're just starting to pick up on it. And it may overshadow this Medicare war of words, and that is a war over energy. Mitt Romney here at this coal plant that we're standing in front of right now in eastern Ohio, accused President Obama of waging a war on coal. He just made those comments just a few moments ago.

And then the Obama campaign is sort of firing back. We got some early guidance on what the president is going to say at an event in Iowa. He's going to be touting wind energy. And according to some of the excerpts released by the Obama campaign, the president is going to talk about how Mitt Romney once talked about how you can't put a windmill on top of a car. And then the president, according to these excerpts, is going to go onto say, I would like to see him do that.

Now, it sounds like a reference to the whole Shamist (ph) incident. The incident from a long time ago that Mitt Romney's being criticized for, for when he once strapped his family dog on top of the family car. It sounds like the president is getting very close to the edge of talking about that in this event coming up later on this afternoon.

So there is a new war of words going on, you could say, Suzanne, over a new subject. And that subject is energy.

MALVEAUX: And based on the people that you're talking to there, the voters that are on the ground, do they really care about that? Is that something that they are talking about?

ACOSTA: Well, I've got to tell you, Suzanne, I mean, what we are finding here in coal country is that, yes, they do very much care about the future of this industry. And the people at this plant, at least the few folks that we've talked to, are tending to be more Romney supporters than Obama supporters. The Obama campaign has already tweeted out a video showing Mitt Romney back in the early 2000s going after a coal-fired power plant when he was governor of Massachusetts and making some comments about that plant.

So this is really going back and forth. And it's really kind of a new development in this campaign. And it's sort of -- its -- the volume, I think, is reaching the level of the Medicare debate that we've seen in the last 24 to 48 hours. So it's going to get interesting.

MALVEAUX: Yes, interesting development there. Thank you, Jim. Appreciate it.

Well, protesters, as you know, it's a common sight on the campaign trail. And sometimes even supporters of the candidate, they take advantage of the spotlight. I want you to take a look at this. This is an Obama supporter holding up a sign behind the president. This is at a rally in Iowa. It says "fund PEPFAR." Now, that is the president's emergency plan for AIDS relief. It was actually started under President Bush. Krishna Prabhu says that he still backs President Obama, but he is concerned about AIDS funding. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KRISHNA PRABHU, OBAMA SUPPORTER: I look at the promise that was made versus, you know, what has actually happened.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But you remain a supporter?

PRABHU: I remain a complete supporter because I think Mitt Romney would be even worse, as would Paul Ryan.



PAUL RYAN (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Like I said (ph), you must not be from Iowa.


MALVEAUX: Paul Ryan, he was met by a small group of hecklers during a campaign stop in Iowa. One protester shouted, "stop the war on the middle class." Ryan acknowledged the protesters, but continued on with his speech. Two women who tried to climb onto the platform, they were carried off by police and other officials.

The Democrats say that Paul Ryan's Medicare plan is going to hurt older Americans. Now, Republicans say that this program needs a change. We're going to hear from strategists from both sides.


MALVEAUX: All right. Mitt Romney's decision to pick Paul Ryan as his running mate, either a bold and courageous move or a dangerous decision that spells bad news for the middle class. That, of course, depends on who you are asking. So we're going to ask two of our favorite political players from opposite sides to tell us what they think of the Ryan decision. CNN contributors Donna Brazile and Alex Castellanos, they are with us from Washington. Donna, a Democratic strategist. Alex, a Republican consultant.

So good to see you both here.

First of all, let's talk a little bit about not Republicans or Democrats but independent voters. Obviously who play a very big role in this election. I want to start with you, Alex, because you wrote about swing voters, how they'd be energized because you say in your words, "Romney manned up and got serious." So tell us, what does that mean essentially?

ALEX CASTELLANOS, REPUBLICAN CONSULTANT: Well, that means that instead of picking a safe, political choice, which is what I think all the political strategists, probably including yours truly, have recommended, Mitt Romney picked someone who could help him not make the sale but solve the problem. And that is fix the economy.

Paul Ryan is an expert on that. And so that's, I think a bold move. It's the right move. You know, we say we crave politicians who will put -- who won't look after their own political self interests but will look after our interests. I think Romney's done that. And I think, over time, that may play well.

One of the problems we have, Suzanne, is when you pick a VP two weeks before the convention, you see that candidate through the prism of other people, the news media, what others think of him. We're going to -- at the convention, we're going to see Ryan himself in the debate. We're going to see Ryan himself. He's a very smart guy. He's a problem solver. Not a kind of mean Republican who wants to take things away from people.

MALVEAUX: Donna, let me -- let me have you weigh in here, because the independent voters, they've got a record. Ryan has a record here of promoting what is the so-called beginning of life bill, that legislation where life starts at conception. It's defined that way. He takes a lot of socially conservative issues. How is it that the Obama administration capitalizes off of something like that?

DONNA BRAZILE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, in many ways he's a radical ideolog (ph) on social issues, economic issues. I think he is for Americans who are struggling with every day bills and costs of living. If you take a look at the Ryan budget, which was passed by the House Republicans, it is a radical departure from the way we've done business over the last 50 years. It dramatically cut back on investment programs, like education, like health care, insuring, you know, elderly people and others. It abolishes the children's health program. Something that we all believe is important. It turns it into another kind of tax credit that families might or might not receive.

I think this is a choice that Mitt Romney made, in many ways, because he did not have a defining issue, did not come up with a budget plan. And so he outsourced himself to Paul Ryan to have Paul Ryan's budget as the road map for America's future. The problem is, and Alex, if you look at the details, it doesn't add up. It increases the deficit over the long term. It doesn't bring us to balance. It's pretty much doubling down on tax cuts for the wealthy, while the rest of the country, the rest of Americans, won't have anything to live on.

MALVEAUX: Alex -- Alex, Howard Kurtz writes an interesting article and it's titled, "Is Paul Ryan a Ticking Time Bomb" as Romney's running mate? And he is suggesting here that the more people actually get to know him, particularly reporters, that they've got a lot to dig in when it comes to his record. One of the things that he wants to do is privatize Social Security. I know in covering President Bush that he traveled for eight miles, that was a dismal failure. How does he manage to appeal to the independents and how does he manage to deal with that kind of record?

CASTELLANOS: Well, I think you begin by pointing at the record of the economic extremists who seem to be running the country right now. And I think the challenge for Republicans is going to be to make this a race between austerity and just having more. The Obama team is going to say, look, if you vote for those guys, those Republicans, you're going to end up with less from government. And I think what you're going to hear Republicans say is, wait a minute, if you vote for Republicans, you're going to get more from the economy. You're going to get a growing economy, which you don't have. Now you're going to get more larger -- you know, more jobs, larger paychecks, prosperity. And, by the way, when the economy grows, there will be more government revenue to save programs like Social Security and Medicare. So austerity, I think, is what we have now with Barack Obama.

You know, change from the last 50 years, I think Donna's right about that. That is what Republicans have to offer. Frankly, neither of the last two presidents, whether Republican or Democrats, has changed the way things work in Washington. And look at the state the country is in.

MALVEAUX: Donna --

CASTELLANOS: Somebody's got to change things. And I think that change message is frankly a progressive message that's going to appeal to young people, that's going to appeal to women, that's going to appeal to a lot of people hurting in this economy.

MALVEAUX: All right, Alex, I've got to give Donna some equal time here.

And, Donna, I want to bring this up here because President Obama was great with social media, but you've got this -- this CNN FaceBook election talk meter right now that actually is showing that Paul Ryan essentially is the politician that most people are talking about kind of knocking the president off his perch. How does he get his mojo back? His FaceBook, his social media mojo back?

BRAZILE: Well, you know, Paul Ryan is like sugar on that little sugary gum. It will wear off the more you chew it. The more you chew on his policies, the more you look at his message for America, especially for the middle class.

You know, the problem with the Ryan -- the Romney/Ryan ticket is that it's retro. It's a -- it's a throwback to another era. There's no way you're going to balance the budget and get into fiscal discipline with more and more tax cuts for the few in this country. We need a balanced approach. That's what President Obama and Vice President Biden has offered the country. And that's why we've had 28 or 29 months of conservative job growth. It's not moving fast enough, but if the Republicans would just get off their you know what, we might move a little faster.

MALVEAUX: All right. We've run out of time. I'm going to have you guys both back. We'll be debating much of this in the months to come. Thank you very much, both of you. Donna and Alex, good to see you, as always.

BRAZILE: Thank you.

MALVEAUX: The Mayo Clinic says Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. is responding well to treatment for a bipolar disorder. He's been diagnosed with a less severe form. We're going to talk to a psychologist about what all of this means.


MALVEAUX: An earthquake in Russia -- I am sorry. We got a new script here, a new story.

If you grew up watching TV in the 1970s you probably remember this.





MALVEAUX: That was Arnold Horshack on the show "Welcome Back Kotter." Actor Ron Palillo, who played Horshack, died yesterday morning in Florida. The show also launched the career, of course, of John Travolta. His agent said he had to move to Florida to be closer to his mother. Horshack was 63 years old.

Onto another story, Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr responding well to treatment for bipolar 2 depression. That's the update from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota where Jackson is receiving care. We found out last month that Jackson was suffering from a mood disorder. You might recall that he hadn't been seen on Capitol Hill since May and, for a while, there wasn't a lot of information about where he was. Now we know. And a lot of us don't know much about bipolar 2 disorder.

We are talking to our guest, Xavier Amador, a clinical psychologist. He's the author of "I Am Not Sick, I Don't Need Help." And he has written two books on bipolar disorder. There are two types of this disorder. We're talking bipolar 1 and bipolar 2, which is the less severe of the two.

Tell us about these two different types of depression.

XAVIER AMADOR, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST & AUTHOR: Well, bipolar 1 -- people are used to hearing about man I can depression and you see people in a manic stage where they can be very hyper, speaking a mile a minute spending all their money in the bank account and doing other things that reflect poor judgment. It is certainly a very severe mood episode. And then there is the depressive side. And depression as we all know can be extremely disabling. And depression, the World Health Organization has found to be the second-biggest cause of disability worldwide. So depression is very severe.

Bipolar 2, people say it is the less severe version of bipolar disorder. I wouldn't agree with that characterization because you still get depressed. Depression is life-threatening. It is severe. It is disabling.

However, the manic side is not as severe. That part is in fact true. And a lot of people don't even get diagnosed with bipolar 2 who have it because instead of seeing the manic symptoms -- they're call hypomanics, low-level manic systems. You see somebody who is a high- functioning person, somebody who is working in Congress, working in industry, working well at whatever they do and you miss the signs.


MALVEAUX: Xavier, tell us how this -- how would the Congressman be able to do his job and function? Would he have medication or how does that work where someone has bipolar ii and exhibits these symptoms?

AMADOR: For the majority of people who have it, you do need to be on medication, typically for a lifetime. Not taking medication is a big problem. I have a book called, "I Am Mot Sick, I Don't Need Help," because most people with bipolar disorder, more than half go off their medication because they feel better and they understandably feel like, I don't want to take this anymore.

But someone with this disorder, unless they're in the disabling phase of the disorder, where they're really severely depressed and unable to get out of bed or having thoughts of death or suicide --


AMADOR: -- are able to function. And you would never know.


AMADOR: In fact, it is one of the trickier --


MALVEAUX: Xavier, are you still there?

We lost Xavier. Thank you very much for explaining that to us. That's bipolar 2.

An earthquake in Russia causing seismologists in California to leap up. We'll explain why.

And don't forget you can watch CNN live on your computer while you're at work. Head to


MALVEAUX: We want to go to Lakewood, Colorado, where Paul Ryan is speaking at a high school. Let's step in for this campaign event.


REP. PAUL RYAN, (R), WISCONSIN & VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have such great memories of jumping in our family station wagon in Janesville, Wisconsin, going down I-80 to I-70 and coming out here and enjoying the beautiful Rocky Mountains you have here, busting my back on moguls, fishing for brookies and rainbow, and climbing the great peaks you have. This is one of the most beautiful states in the country. (APPLAUSE)

RYAN: It is an awesome place.


RYAN: You have a big responsibility. And one of the big responsibilities you have, you have to elect Joe Kallas (ph) to Congress.


RYAN: Now, I am so thrilled and excited to join Governor Romney as his running mate on the Republican ticket because we are going to give America the kind of leadership they deserve to get this economy growing and get people back to work.


RYAN: When you take a look back four years ago, we had a really tough economy. Without a doubt, President Obama inherited a difficult situation. Here is the problem. He made it worse.


RYAN: We had seen a failure of leadership, a failure of leadership to get the economy growing, to create jobs, to get our spending and debt and deficit under control.

What Mitt Romney and I are offering, the Romney/Ryan plan for a stronger middle class, is designed to get people back to work. It is designed to create jobs. If we get this economy growing like we know we can, we can create 12 million jobs in four years.


RYAN: We're offering solutions. Among those solutions we're offering, our number one, make sure that we use our own energy because we have our own energy in this country.


RYAN: All of it.


RYAN: You have it all here in Colorado.


RYAN: You know, last week when I was filling my truck up -- which something tells me I won't be putting my gas in my truck any time soon. But last week when I was filling my truck up, it cost 100 bucks. And the only reason it cost 100 buck is because the pump cut me off at $100 because of the gas tank.


RYAN: Enough. We have our own oil and gas. We have nuclear. We have all of the above -- winds, solar, coal. Let's use it. Let's make our energy independence.


RYAN: Let's create jobs. Let's stop sending jobs overseas by buying oil overseas.


RYAN: Now, you have the technology here, the wherewithal here, the oil and gas here. We want to reward that. We should be tapping our resources, which we know we can in an environmentally sensitive way. We want to get the government out of the way.


RYAN: President Obama has done all that he can to make it harder for us to use our energy.

MALVEAUX: That's Paul Ryan out of Lakewood, Colorado, using the issue of energy to make his point as they travel to the key battleground states vying for votes.

People are buying again. Good signs of the economy. We'll take a quick look at those numbers as well.


MALVEAUX: Looks like Americans finally starting to spend more. Found out that retail sales up .8 percent in July.

Doesn't sound like much but, it's the first time in four months, we have seen any kind of rise at all.

Alison Kosik, at the New York Stock Exchange, what does this mean?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is a pretty good jump, Suzanne. I know it doesn't sound that way. It is the biggest increase we have seen since February. When you look at the categories, you see bigger gains where consumers went on their spending spree. They bought sporting goods, hobby items and books and music, up 1.6 percent compared to June. It could be a sign younger people are spending more. And that's followed by online and other non-store retailers, like Home Shopping Network and Avon. And this continues to be a growing trend, more people shopping online more often. One of my favorites as well.

The hope, of course, is the overall jump in spending means the slow down in GDP we saw in the second quarter could be just temporary. Fingers are crossed.

There is also going to be a lot of anticipation, Suzanne, as we head into August to get the retail sales numbers from August because that's getting into the key back-to-school shopping season, the second most important period to retailers after the holidays -- Suzanne?

MALVEAUX: We love the good news. How are markets doing today?

KOSIK: Stocks are holding their own in the plus column. It is one of those low-volume August summer trading days which are kind of quiet here. Besides the good news on retail sales, there is news out of Europe that's keeping stocks in the green, with both France and Germany reporting better than expected economic growth for the second quarter, although, the overall Eurozone economy shrank. Plus, there are earning from Home Depot. This is sign because it also raises forecasts on hopes for continuing improvement in the housing market. California and Florida are among the best performing states last quarter, and that's a good sign for housing and consumer spending. We're watching shares at Home Depot up about 4 percent right now -- Suzanne?

MALVEAUX: Thank you, Alison. Good to have good news there.

Some free money advice as well from the CNN "Help Desk."


KOSIK: Hi, there. Here on the "Help Desk" today, we're talking about credit. With me now, Liz Miller and Doug Flynn.

Liz, listen to your question.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do I get credit if I don't get any credit history?


KOSIK: It really is the backbone for everything, isn't it, credit?

LIZ MILLER, CHARTERED FINANCIAL ANALYST & CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER: It is. Years ago you would go get a Sears credit card and it was the best credit you could build. Today the first thing to do is go to your bank where you have a savings account and build a little bit and if you can't get a straight out credit card they will give you a reserve credit card. You put aside your savings behind that card and when you show a few months that you can use it wisely, then they will start adding credit to it. When you do have the credit card you want to regularly go back to your bank and ask to extend it so that you can show a record of paying it off on your credit report and getting more and more credit you can manage. Ultimately, a car loan is one of the best things you can get to build a wonderful credit rating.

KOSIK: That's what I was going to ask. You sort of have to show through action, don't you? Don't make any late payments, right? DOUG FLYNN, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER: Absolutely not. You don't want to be more than 30 days late and you always want to make sure you can handle the monthly payments. The car loan is absolutely a great way to get started. Something reasonable. You can usually get a car loan. The car dealers want to find a way to get you in that car. Another good thing to do, look at a gas card from any gas company. They usually have a small limit and will give you a chance if you have a card to charge stuff and pay it off, and charge stuff and pay it of, and that's how you build credit.

KOSIK: OK, great advice.

Thank you.

And if you have an issue you want our experts to tackle, upload a 30-second video with your "Help Desk" question to



MALVEAUX: Democrats sounds the alarm about Paul Ryan's plan about the overall of health care. So could this affect you?

Elizabeth Cohen is here to talk more about this.

First, let's be specific. Let's talk about the difference between Paul Ryan's plan when it comes to Medicare and President Obama's. How do they differ?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: President Obama's plan for Medicare is basically the plan that's been around for decades. It's a federal program. You turn 65, you get your health insurance from the federal government. What Ryan wants to do is keep that as an option but the people would have an option of getting a voucher. I hand you a voucher. I'm the government. I hand you a voucher and you can use it to buy a private policy. If you find a nice cheap one, you get some money back because the voucher will be too big. You choose an expensive one, you'll owe more money out of your own pocket. All of that would start in 2023.

MALVEAUX: Tell us about -- some of the critics point to the fact that, under Ryan's plan, they believe it would reopen the so-called donut hole. Explain that.

COHEN: Let me explain the donut hole because people may have forgotten it. We haven't talked about this in a while. It used to be, with Medicare, you would spend a certain about of prescription drugs and Medicare would help you. And after that amount, you were on your own. You would have to spend your own money. Again, once you spent a lot of money, Medicare would help you again. There was this gap where you had to spend your own money. President Obama closed that donut hole so seniors get some assistance in that, what used to be the donut hole.

What's interesting is Romney and Ryan want to reverse Obama-care. They want to get rid of it and repeal. Ryan's proposal doesn't have anything that addresses the donut hole. If he reverses it and doesn't do anything else, that comes back and seniors are left spending that money again. Now, maybe he has something in his head that he wants to do. It's not in the plan that we looked at.

MALVEAUX: Not clear yet.

COHEN: Not clear yet.

MALVEAUX: Talk about Medicaid, because that's another thing a lot that people are talking about. And there are very distinct changes and difference between these two.

COHEN: Obama-care, in addition to rehauling the health insurance system, it hugely expanded Medicaid, biggest expansion ever. And it included all sorts of people, like, for example, we have a woman named Medicaid Marlene. We just named her that. This is a woman who used to make to much money to be on Medicaid, but under Obama-care, she can now get Medicaid. Romney and Ryan want to repeal Obama-care. So under Ryan's plan, we don't know what will happen to her. Under Obama, she gets Medicaid. Under Ryan's plan, we don't know. He wants to give block grants to states.


COHEN: Give them money and say, do Medicaid and you figure out how to make it work and figure out who you want to cover. So maybe a state would cover Marlene or maybe they might not. It would be up to the state that she lives in.

MALVEAUX: A lot of questions still.

All right. Elizabeth, thank you. Appreciate it.

COHEN: Thanks.

MALVEAUX: Did you watch the Olympics? I know I did. We had a lot of company. More eyes glued to the screens than ever any time before.


MALVEAUX: An earthquake in eastern Russia made itself felt in California yesterday. The "Los Angeles Times" says the magnitude 7.7 earthquake caused false-positive reports of earthquakes in several places across the state. The reports were cancelled after a few minutes, but a couple were accidentally reissued.

Wildfires rage in the Pacific Northwest. All together, 62 fires, including 16 new large ones. They are burning today across California, Nevada, Oregon, Idaho and Washington State. A 20-year-old firefighter was killed on duty in Oregon on Monday. Dozens of homes have now been destroyed. North of San Francisco, two separate fires have forced the evacuations of about 500 homes. One of those also threatening a popular nudist resort. The London Olympics making history as the most watched event ever. That's according to the folks at Nielsen, who figure those things out. The numbers showing that more than 219 million Americans watched the games on NBC and its related networks. I watched it too. It was fantastic.

CNN NEWSROOM continues right now with Brooke Baldwin.

Hey, Brooke.