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CNN NEWSROOM

Private Hiring Jumps; Misery Mounting in Hoboken; Battered Belmar Under Water; The Threat from Dirty Water; Countdown To Election Day; After Sandy, First Trip Home; Battle for Ohio; Romney Campaigns in Virginia; Time Releases Three Covers

Aired November 1, 2012 - 14:00   ET

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


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Brooke Baldwin. Good to be with you all here on this Thursday.

Important jobs news with just five days to go here before the election. This is a new report -- it's released today -- which indicates the U.S. employers, they are hiring in bigger numbers than expected. Now let me be clear. This information we're getting today, this is not coming from that all-important government jobs report. That doesn't come out until tomorrow. So today's numbers come from this firm called ADP. They process payroll. So let's go straight to Alison Kosik here for this.

And, Alison, what more do we know about this report?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: OK, what this report does, Brooke, is it pretty much surveys how many jobs that private employers have added. So it means all those industries that are outside of the government arena. And what it said this time around for October is that 158,000 jobs were added. And it came in better than expected. Seeing good job gains in business services and construction.

We also got a second report today on jobs showing that unemployment claims fell by 9,000 last week. So, look, two decent pieces of news from the labor market. But the reality is, Brooke, that analysts say these numbers, they may not have a huge impact on how people decide to vote next week because what really matters for many voters is, you know, what's going on with your own economy, what's going on in your own life. Do you have a job? Does your spouse have a job? And, you know, people are more likely to vote about their own situation.

Brooke.

BALDWIN: But back to these numbers in this report. What is the possibility, Alison, that these numbers here, the additional 158,000 jobs added, that that might perhaps be foreshadowing to what we get in this all important jobs report tomorrow?

KOSIK: Well, the reality is, ADP has missed on this occasion many times. It's kind of meant to be an appetizer. As you said, the official Labor Department report, it comes out Friday. And what it does is it counts both jobs in the private and public sectors. The expectation there, it's not as rosy as ADP. Economists surveyed by CNN Money, they said that they expect a gain of 125,000 positions last month.

But you know what? Even with those gains, we're at this point where we're hardly adding enough to keep up with population growth, much less bring down the unemployment rate in a significant fashion. And, you know what, with days before the election, though, both sides, you can bet that they're going to find something to talk about in this report. You know, President Obama could say it's better than the 800,000 jobs we were losing when he took office. Romney, he can come out and say the unemployment rate is too high. And, guess what, both would be right.

Brooke.

BALDWIN: We'll get the numbers and the spin tomorrow.

KOSIK: Yes.

BALDWIN: Alison Kosik, thank you.

Now to day three of recovery in the Northeast. Sandy has been absorbed by another weather system now, but the superstorm has really redefined what waterfront means here in both New Jersey and New York. Sandy created this new inlet in Mantoloking, New Jersey, cutting this barrier island now into two. Our affiliate, New 12 New Jersey, spoke with a homeowner, not of the island -- of the home in the rush of all this water, but of the home that was next door.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): There's nothing. I mean right now it's -- there's -- it's just water where the house would be. There's not even sand where the house was. There's waves (ph) where the house was. I think there's nothing for us to go back to, to sift through, whether it's three days or three weeks, you know, all we would be looking at would be a sand pile.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: And since this video was taken there, crews have already built up a road so trucks can at least pass by. And it's just one example of how Sandy has really reworked this landscape here in New Jersey.

The satellite view shows Seaside Heights, New Jersey. We've talked a lot about some of those amusement park rides. Right, the roller coaster, the merry-go-round. We have pictures here of before and after. Before and then the after pictures here. Just devastation.

But for all of this, you hear survivors thankful for their lives. Sandy's death toll now stands at 81 in the U.S. One hundred and fifty total. And there is concern that that number could rise from new problems like gas leaks.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KELLIE WALTER, LIVES IN TOMS RIVER, NEW JERSEY: And you had to be careful because you could hear the gas leaks. It's a shh sound and you could smell -- it's really strong.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Speaking of gasoline, you seeing these lines? Car after car after car. People in line. This is New York, New Jersey. Meanwhile, 7,000 people in nine states spent the night in shelters. And at this hour, 4.8 million customers still have no power.

Look at this video. This is pretty incredible. This is the time lapse video. It shows the moment the lights went out. You see blackness. Manhattan on the right side of your screen. Brooklyn on the left.

The president seizing on the positive signs, though, of progress here. Like some subways -- let me say that again, some subways in New York's waterlogged system, they are up and running once again. Late this morning in Wisconsin, the president spoke of really just being inspired after seeing the devastation firsthand just yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When disaster strikes, we see America at its best. All the petty differences that consume us in normal times all seem to melt away. There are no Democrats or Republicans during a storm. They're just fellow Americans.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: The president there today in Wisconsin.

I do have some heartbreaking news. Just absolutely heartbreaking here that's just come into us in the news room. We have now learned crews have located the bodies of two boys, two and four years old. The water swept them right out of their mother's arms on Staten Island. So, hearts, prayers going out to families really up and down the east coast here.

And across the Hudson River, in the city of Hoboken, most people are still without power. Many of them trapped in their homes because of all this floodwater. Meteorologist Bob van Dillen with our sister network, HLN, is there for us.

And, Bob, tell me what it looks like right now.

BOB VAN DILLEN, METEOROLOGIST: Thanks a lot, Brooke.

Obviously with power being out, the biggest concern is people getting the information that they need. And we're right here in front of city hall. I want to show you what they've done. That's a wipe board right there that says important information. Number one thing, PSE&G estimate total power restoration in seven to 10 days. That's the sign, the bullet point that everybody comes over and sees and says, ugh, you've got to be kidding me. It's almost deflating.

Some of the other ones that are good, though, tap water is safe to drink. That's the best one. They also tell you phone charging stations, where you can go for that. Now, if you go look over towards the left a little bit farther, you'll notice that the National Guard is still there. Now that's the good news. Also good news is, they've changed their operations. Now they're not doing any high water rescues. Remember yesterday at this time they were taking boatloads of people off of these trucks and moving them to shelters. Right now it's just plain old distribution of supplies. Somebody needs supplies, they walk up to them, they tell them where they are. The National Guard takes their stuff and brings it on down to them, which is good.

The water here is totally receded, but the biggest problem, obviously, no power and it's going to get cold over the next couple of days. And people without having heat, that's going to be very uncomfortable.

Brooke.

BALDWIN: Bob van Dillen, thank you.

That white erase board reminds us of Japan and the earthquake and tsunami there. It was a similar system.

Also in New Jersey, they call him St. Michael in Belmar. For the past two days, Michael Irwin (ph) has used his boat here to take his neighbors to and from their waterlogged homes 12 hours a day. He's a surfer, he's a kayaker and a former Boy Scout. Neighbors are absolutely grateful that he is willing to pitch in and help. Michael's own home is filled with six feet of water.

Just to give you some perspective here. Belmar, it's a tight knit coastal community. Popular vacation spot. It was Governor Chris Christie's -- actually his first stop on that tour of his demolished state. And CNN International anchor Jim Clancy is live for me now in Belmar, New Jersey.

And, Jim, I know tourism is huge, huge for folks where you are. How will people move forward? Tell me what it looks like today.

JIM CLANCY, ANCHOR, CNN INTERNATIONAL: Well, you know, the way that this community of Belmar is going to move forward -- remember it's a very small community, about 6,000 people year around, 60,000 in the summertime. Perhaps even more on the weekends. The only way that these people can move forward or the business community can move forward, tourism can move forward is to get this water out of here, Brooke.

You know, you look at this scene and you say, well, these waters will recede. No, they won't. not in Belmar they won't because the town is something of a bowl. There are two lakes, natural lakes, of mixed salt water, fresh water there. They have to pump all that water out. Before we get off that shot, Brooke, you'll be interested to know, Bruce Springsteen used to go jogging down this street, right where you see the water on the right-hand side, down to the beach every morning.

BALDWIN: Where we see the kayaker.

CLANCY: Yes. And we have met the kayaker that you were talking about. And seen him at work today. But I can tell you, right now, out on the beach, they're really at work. And what they're trying to do is to pump the two inland lakes that they have in this town, pump them out to the sea, back to where they came from. And they're doing that with huge pumps. Some of them that were deployed after Katrina. They're pumping right now I think 700,000 gallons an hour. They hope later -- by later today they'll be pumping some 2 million gallons an hour. They're attacking this right now. At the same time, they try to push the debris out of their city.

Brooke.

BALDWIN: Any idea, Jim, how long that will take, that process of pumping it out?

CLANCY: No. I don't really know how long it will take.

BALDWIN: No.

CLANCY: Because, you know, they're going to pump basements out. There's a high school near here. They're pumping that basement out. Their gymnasium. And that's going to go back into it. So all the water's going to come out of the homes into those lakes, even as those lakes are being emptied. And they're going to empty them all the way down to the bottom.

It's certainly going to be a process. A week long process. But at the same time, the long term outlook is here to rebuild and rebuild by Memorial Day, before the beginning of summer 2013. And they know that's even a tall order. May seem like, well, that's seven months away, eight months away. No, there's so much work here to be done in rebuilding, it's going to take every bit of that.

BALDWIN: It's a goal. It's a goal to bring people back.

Jim Clancy in Belmar. Jim, thank you.

In streets and neighborhoods, the standing floodwaters full of gasoline and chemicals and raw sewage. Coming up next, the serious health dangers folks there are facing.

Plus, the candidates back on the trail today and we're now hearing their strategies for those final days of campaigning.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: As all these pictures, all these different videos continue to come in to us here at CNN of these flooded streets, flooded homes, like this one, I just want to remind you, that water we're all looking at, that contains millions of gallons of raw sewage. Folks, waste, chemicals. One man trapped today in Hoboken, New Jersey, describes the water flooding his apartment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): When you see the water up close and you kind of go up to it, you can kind of tell it's not, you know, your average lake water. There's kind of some oil ripples in it. You can kind of tell it's really contaminated. It definitely has an odor to it. So you definitely want to stay as far away as possible, especially with all the live wires that they say are going on inside of it. Just kind of really a booby trap.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Let me show you something else. Baltimore, Maryland. Pictures from the sky. Sewage treatment facility as it spewed untreated sewage here. This is into the Chesapeake Bay in Connecticut. These are the plants which were hit with power outages during Sandy. Each one spilling raw sewage into waterways connecting the northeast.

We have to talk about the water. And let's do so with Elizabeth Cohen and Chad Myers.

Guys, good to see you.

Elizabeth, I mean just hearing that person talking about wading through this water, not your average lake water, how toxic are we talking?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know that -- it sort of reminds me of the days following Katrina, actually.

BALDWIN: Yes.

COHEN: And you want to avoid the water if you can. Because it's not only sewage, but -- which you can see, right, but also dissolved industrial toxic compounds. I mean you really want to stay away from it if you can.

BALDWIN: I want to get back to you --

COHEN: And you certainly don't want to drink it. OK, to state the obvious.

BALDWIN: Well, let me -- let me talk to you, Chad, because when you hear from the mayor of New York, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, he says the city's drinking water is safe, yet we're seeing this stuff spilling into major waterways like the Hudson, like the East River.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Right.

BALDWIN: How did the plants fail?

MYERS: They were inundated with water. They got flooded and the water went in to the plants. You know, all you see are those big rings, you know. That's where the sewage is always treated. And some of it is partially treated, but so much of it was untreated. And the water that comes into New York City comes from miles away.

BALDWIN: OK.

MYERS: Fifty, 100 miles away, up from the Catskills. Down big aqua ducts. You know, so that's why the mayor says the city water is safe. I'm still telling everybody that I talk to that if you have a stove that works, boil it.

BALDWIN: Boil the water.

MYERS: It just doesn't matter. There are cracks, there are seams, there are other places that things can go. When you have this much sewage in the regular water all around you, you just want to have that kind of precaution.

BALDWIN: But then you have the people who are trying to salvage what they have. They're trying to live through this. They have their clothes. Their clothes are soaked in this sewage-filled water. And some of them are cleaning them with peroxide. Is that good enough?

COHEN: Well, for anything that has touched floodwaters and the floodwaters have gone away, is whether it's clothes or anything, you want to remember that it's still not clean, right, because even though it might be dry, it's still not clean.

BALDWIN: So then what do you do?

COHEN: So peroxide is one thing that you can disinfect with.

BALDWIN: So that is, in fact, OK (ph)?

COHEN: Right, there are some -- right, there are some other things that you can do. But you want to be really careful. Just because it's dry doesn't mean that it's clean. It still needs to be disinfected. And, for example, if floodwaters came in contact with even packaged food, get rid of the food because you don't know what may have seeped in there. So even through there's packaging and even though it's dry now, if it had contact with floodwaters, get rid of it.

BALDWIN: Don't take the chance.

COHEN: No. Not worth it.

BALDWIN: You know, I was just talking to Jim Clancy in Belmar, New Jersey, he was talking about how everyone's coming together, which is so wonderful to see, but you have all this water. They're pumping it out, but it could take -- I mean I asked him how long it would take. He, you know, he can't answer. He was honest. When you have this kind of stagnant water for days, dare I say weeks. What happens then?

COHEN: I mean you certainly hear about things like cholera or typhoid in other countries. We really haven't had that problem here. But again, with this stagnant water, you just want to stay away from it.

MYERS: Yes.

COHEN: It's just -- you know, the longer it sits, the more things that can grow in it. And who knows what was there from the beginning. But the bottom line is, you just want to stay away from it.

BALDWIN: OK.

MYERS: The sun has some disinfecting qualities to it. When the sun hits it, the UVs and all that. But it's just not enough to take -- yes, you just take your precautions.

BALDWIN: Just -- I so feel for everyone out there so much. Elizabeth, Chad, thank you both.

MYERS: You're welcome.

BALDWIN: Now to this. We have to talk politics here. Hello. Five days away from the election. New polls suggest President Obama with an advantage in several swing states. So in these final few days of campaigning, is time running out for Mitt Romney? Plus, why he won't be returning to Florida.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Here we go. Five days left until the election and the president is back today on the campaign trail. He took off Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to tend to Hurricane Sandy and, of course, its aftermath. But here he is kicking off his sprint to the finish with an airport rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin. And after lauding the sense of unity he witnessed after Sandy, the president mocked Mitt Romney's claim to be the candidate of change.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, let me tell you, Wisconsin, we know what change looks like. And what the governor's offering sure ain't change. Giving more power back to the biggest banks isn't change. Leaving millions without health insurance isn't change. Another $5 trillion tax cut that favors the wealthy isn't change. Turning Medicare in to a voucher is a change, but we don't want that change.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: President Obama again today. First campaign stop in Wisconsin.

Mitt Romney is blitzing Virginia today. In fact, we do expect to hear from Romney very, very shortly. We will dip into that live.

But first, I just want to show you where these campaigns are headed from now until next Tuesday, Election Day. Keep in mind, this is all subject to change. But for now, Mitt Romney is planning to visit Ohio, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Iowa and Colorado. Nothing scheduled in Florida yet. But we are still awaiting clarity on Romney's plans for Sunday.

As for the president. President Obama has rallies planned between now and Election Day in Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, Virginia, New Hampshire, Florida and Colorado.

Gloria Borger, she is our chief political analyst.

Looking at all those maps here, I'm out of breath just running through all these, you know, different states he'll be visiting. What do the maps tell you and what do you make -- and, again, things could change. What do you make of the fact that Romney won't be heading to Florida?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, on the Florida point, I was on a conference call with a few of his top advisers yesterday and they say they feel very good about Florida. So one of the things you can look at and say, well, if he doesn't go back there -- and don't forget, he was there just yesterday. He was there over the weekend. So if he doesn't go back there, that may show a sense of optimism on the side of the Romney camp. Because, don't forget, they really need Florida, just like they need Ohio if they're going to win this election.

But if you look at those two maps generally, Brooke, they're almost the same. They're going to the same battleground states because it's that same handful of states that are so close right now, you know, that they both need to keep visiting and visiting and visiting again.

BALDWIN: Yes.

BORGER: And, of course, I don't need to mention the fact that the president's going to be in Ohio, what, three times in three days? What does that tell you?

BALDWIN: Because Ohio's just kind of important, I'm hearing. Just kind of.

BORGER: Kind of important, supposedly.

BALDWIN: Mitt Romney -- Mitt Romney, his new litany is that America needs a new course. He was in Roanoke, Virginia, this morning. Take a lock.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Do you want four more years like the last four years? I mean, do you want four more years where 23 million Americans are struggling to have a good job? Do you want four more years where earnings are going down every year? Do you want four more years of trillion dollar deficits in Washington?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: So that's Mitt Romney in Roanoke, Virginia, today.

Gloria, let's just look at the latest swing state polling. NBC/"Wall Street Journal"/Marist College, they are showing Iowa, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, they are all leaning toward Obama. We showed another poll yesterday showing the president still leading Ohio -- back to Ohio -- by five points. Point-blank, Gloria Borger, five days left, is time running out for Mitt Romney?

BORGER: Sure. It's -- there's five days left. And if you look out those polls, while most of them are within the margin of error, he's on the -- he would like to have it flipped the other way. Having said that, time's also running out for the president. Look, this is a tight race. It's tighter than a lot of people ever expected. It's come down to those handful of states. And what it -- what it really comes down to is getting the voters to the polls, Brooke. That's why there's such an emphasis on early voting because you can actually bus your voters, who you know are going to vote for you, and get them to vote early.

But it's a matter of intensity and enthusiasm. And, you know, when you talk to the Romney people, they're complaining that these polls are based on the turnout of 2008. That wouldn't be the same enthusiasm this time on the Democratic side. You talk to the Democrats and they say they've been adjusted. So, you know, my head is exploding with all of their different analysis of kind of these polls. But for both of these candidates, there's not a lot of time left and they have to get their voters out and persuade those last remaining independent voters in the suburbs, particularly women for Mitt Romney, suburban women, to get out there and support them.

BALDWIN: Hopefully as many people as possible can get out and vote considering the fact that we're talking electricity issues.

BORGER: That's right. That's right.

BALDWIN: And that's five days away. And we've just had a little bit of a hurricane.

BORGER: I think so.

BALDWIN: Gloria Borger, thank you very much. That is a whole other conversation.

Back to Sandy, though. You know, for some folks today, they're going home for the first time since the superstorm hit their neighborhoods. You are about to hear their emotional reactions after seeing what's left.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Hours ago a number of people, evacuated people, hopped on shuttle buses in New Jersey. They were likely frightened, nervous. These are buses that will be -- that would be taking them back to get a first glimpse at their homes on New Jersey's barrier islands. Superstorm Sandy may have devoured their homes entirely. Before Sandy hit, they evacuated inland to Beach Haven West and Sandy absolutely, by the looks of these pictures, slammed Beach Haven West very, very hard. And now they've got to see what Sandy did to their homes.

Mike Galanos, with our sister network HLN, hopped on the phone with me from Beach Haven West, New Jersey.

And, Mike, in talking to these people before they go home, hopefully they have a home to go home to, what were they telling you?

MIKE GALANOS, HLN ANCHOR (via telephone): Yes, you kind of nailed it, Brooke. The emotions were all over the place. I was standing with 200 or 300 people roughly. And, you know, they were sipping coffee and just kind of coming together. I mean people who'd lived near each other but had never talked were now talking. And there was an excitement. There was an anxiousness. A real pit in their stomach as to what are we going to see. So I had a chance, our crew, we had a chance to walk in as they were walking in so basically look and see what's left of their home, their life. It was very emotional. Brooke, I got to tell you.

I walked in with a mom and a son, just the son's lived his whole life there. Probably in his early 20s and they were trying to keep a good, strong attitude, but it was like, water line probably four and a half feet and it was like -- I probably -- this is what happened.

The water rushed in to the home, picked everything up, moved it around and then dropped it. It couldn't get in the front door, a dresser in front of the front door, refrigerator on the side.

Christina was a wonderful woman and tried to maintain a strength and a quick story just how, you know, we do what we can to cope in a situation like that, Brooke. She was quick to smile and there was this Philadelphia Eagles thing, like a toy and it wouldn't shut up.

So she's trying to salvage anything of note and every then and now and she looked over and say that's got to go and picked it up and looked at it and goes, the Eagles won't win the Super Bowl ever anyway and everybody laughs.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: So a sense of humor amidst all this. I marvel at peoples just resilience and covering these natural disasters, going back to the homes, so much have been lost. How bad overall, Mike, in Beach Haven West, how bad were they hit?

GALANOS: You know, we had a chance and people flagged us down and you want to see some damage? Come in here and we go in there and everybody was -- at least four feet of water.

And back to Christina, you know, from the laughter to the tears, you know, after that and her son was like, mom, we'll probably have to demolish the place. She is like, no. No, we're not.

I know you spend your life here, but we're going to be OK and we're OK and that's what is most important and then the tears started to flow but just devastation. You know, you look on the outside and a lot of houses look OK in the outside, but it's the inside.

And the smell and the mold are starting and everything and it's like for a mom and a son, it's their life and just devastation in front of them. They look at you and go, what are we going to do next?

BALDWIN: This is just the beginning for so many families just like the woman you're talking about and I'm sure we're covering it throughout with them. We will be along their sides. Mike Galanos, thank you so much for sharing her story.

You know, Ohio, being called the mother of all battleground states. Back to politics here, folks there, they are straight up tired. They are sick of the ads. They are sick of the commercials, the campaigning. Martin Savidge shows us what they are sick of the most.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BALDWIN: You have heard me say this before. Ohio is shaping up to be the mother of all battleground states. Mitt Romney will be there tomorrow. President Obama actually plans to stop in Ohio each day until the election.

There are the ads, virtually nonstop. We're going to talk about that with a certain Cleveland native. CNN's Martin Savidge on the other side of this report all about this all-out assault on the buckeye state. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: See that house with the flag right there? That is the house I grew up in.

(voice-over): And not only grew up in Cleveland, I covered the city as a reporter for 11 years.

(on camera): Here's my high school. We were the Rocky River Pirates.

(voice-over): I keep in touch and people say ever since Ohio became --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The battleground of the battleground states.

SAVIDGE: -- Cleveland hasn't been the same.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Read my plan. Compare it to Governor Romney's.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Unemployment above 8 percent for 40 straight months.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mitt Romney would have let us go under.

SAVIDGE: I called my buddy, Pat.

(on camera): What is it like?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (via telephone): Man, it's crazy. It's nuts.

SAVIDGE: Yes.

(voice-over): I heard the same thing from another friend.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome to Ohio.

SAVIDGE: Michael owns Michael's restaurant. That's me hanging above his cash register.

(on camera): That must be about 15 years old if not older.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You still look the same.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): I sat down with some customers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think they have just gone overboard.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I got so tired of them and they're constantly bombarding you.

SAVIDGE: People here feel like they're at the end of a campaign fire hose getting blasted.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You just can't trust this guy. You raised his own taxpayer funded salary.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A crisis with no end in sight.

SAVIDGE: Just listen to the frustrated calls to WJMI morning radio host.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was either two or three-minute break and started off with seven political commercials in a row.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Finally caused me to make up my mine. I'm voting independent.

SAVIDGE: It all got me wondering. Is it really as bad as people are saying? Michael Franz of the Media Project has been counting the political ads on TV in northeast Ohio and he says, yes. I reached him in Maine.

MICHAEL FRANZ, CO-DIRECTOR, WESLEYAN MEDIA PROJECT (via telephone): Voter in Cleveland decided to watch every single ad in three weeks they would have to sit down in front of the TV for four and a half straight days to watch them back to back to back.

SAVIDGE: But one campaign's trash talking commercial is a local station's treasure. Media consultant, Tracy Smuts says they're making a killing.

TRACY SMUTS, PRESIDENT, CAPSTONE MEDIA: This election, we're at an all-time high for Cleveland. We have never seen this kind of political money in this market.

SAVIDGE: According to those monitoring the money, the political ad spending in the Cleveland Akron TV market alone is fast approaching a staggering $100 million. Compare that to just $36 million 4 years ago.

(on camera): I used to work there. This is what I want you to see. Propublica.org has been following the campaign spending on TV ads. Cleveland, the number one market in the country currently and look at this, they even list the contracts. This one, "Obama for America," $425,250 just one deal.

(voice-over): And experts say with just days left, it's only going to get worse. He's been working in the TV Department of BNB Appliance for 30 years. But it's the last 30 days that have just about done him in.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I'm Mitt Romney and I approved this message.

SAVIDGE (on camera): I imagine you really can't wait until Election Day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll be thrilled when it's over.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Full disclosure, I should say like the TV stations I, too, benefit from Ohio's swing state status. After all, it brought me home.

(on camera): Hi, mom. Guess who this is.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BALDWIN: Martin Savidge, that's a great piece. Taking us down memory lane and what a way to make it personal. You were talking to us specifically about Cleveland, Akron and that market inundated by the campaigns.

What about other parts of the state? There are those 18 electoral votes up for grabs in Ohio. Who else could grab those?

SAVIDGE: Well, I mean all of the state right now is, as you say, up for grabs. This race is just too close to call. Democrats, the Obama campaign, they are going to be watching voting as it takes place on Election Day right here in Cuyahoga County.

Because if they get a heavy turnout, Democrats believe if they 65 percent of the votes, say, in Cuyahoga County then the president should wrap up the state of Ohio in his favor.

Mitt Romney and his people, of course, are going to be looking elsewhere. They are going to be looking in the rural areas of Ohio. If you see, say, not a big turnout in the cities, but a big turnout in the rural areas, then it could turn out to be a very good day for Mitt Romney.

So they'll be watching who's voting and what part of the state throughout the day before they actually see the tallies come in -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Martin Savidge for us in Cleveland. Martin, hope you got some quality time with Mrs. Savidge, Mama Savidge. We appreciate it. Thank you.

All these talk about five days before Election Day, want to take you straight to Virginia just outside of Richmond. Mitt Romney speaking. Quickly before we eaves drop here, let's me let you know there's a heckler a moment ago chanting climate change caused Sandy. They were taken out. Now with that, here's Mitt Romney.

ROMNEY: -- America will come roaring back if we do what we have done from the very beginning of the country, which is to unleash the freedom and the freedoms of the American people and let them pursue their dreams so my plan is based on five key steps to get the economy going. You know what they are, number one, take full advantage of the oil, coal, gasoline and renewables. This is -- this is kind of our economy's ace in the hole right now because someone discovered not just how to drill in to the earth, but then horizontally.

And tap in to pockets of oil and gas so we have more than we thought we had and by virtue of that technology we can have North America energy independence within eight years. That means jobs.

That means jobs here in the energy sector as well as in manufacturing. Manufacturing uses a lot of energy. And energy here will be abundant and inexpensive and so manufacturing's going to come back.

By the way, energy jobs and manufacturing jobs, they create hospitality jobs and restaurant jobs, a lot of jobs. This is a big plus for us and taking full advantage of it is going to get us working again. That's number one.

Number two -- number two, just a little background. We're the most productive nation of any major nation on earth. Productive means this. It means when you add up the things that are made in America, including all of the service that is are sold in America.

You add them up and divide them by the workers in the workforce, the output per person is more so trade is good for us and opening up new markets for trade, selling the goods particularly in Latin America, it's a huge, growing market, growing middle class.

We could expand there. I want to make trade work for America opening the markets and I also want to make sure that if nations cheat, if nations steal jobs by not playing by the rules, we hold them accountable. That's what I'll do with China. We'll make trade work for America.

BALDWIN: Mitt Romney honing in on really these are the closing arguments, folks. Five days until Election Day. Mitt Romney says he can take the nation on a different course. He wants your vote next Tuesday.

His final stop as we're learning here in New Hampshire. New Hampshire on Monday, the eve of Election Day and there's four electoral votes up for grabs. Mitt Romney there.

I want to let you know we are just getting some news in here and situation in Toms River, New Jersey. We're going to hear from Michael Holmes was apparently standing by with the mayor with some news there. That is after the break.

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BALDWIN: We want to take you straight to New Jersey, to Toms River, New Jersey. We are getting some new information in on the situation there and the aftermath of the Sandy.

I want to get to Michael Holmes standing by for me. Michael, before you talk about this interview, before really your interview with the mayor, what's happening where you are?

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. We just got back an hour or so ago from going over to the barrier islands for the second day in a row and this time we had the police take us to those iconic amusement parks known to millions of Americans who spent their summers there.

I can tell you, Brooke, the pictures are just horrifying. The casino pier, it's roller coaster dumped out to sea, still largely intact, bizarrely. We're also down at the fun time pier, which is also well- known to so many people around the United States, particularly in the northeast.

That has been utterly destroyed on the seaside front. Just an extraordinary amount of damage, entire businesses have gone. We have talked to one of the business owners out there and he was telling us, you know, he grew up there. Had a business there for 20 years and we're standing on the sand and he said, my business was above us.

It's all gone now. The amount of cost that could be involved in this is staggering. I want to have a quick word with Thomas Kelaher, who was mayor of the area. And sir, thanks for being with us.

MAYOR THOMAS KELAHER, TOMS RIVER, NEW JERSEY: Thank you.

HOLMES: First of all, your reaction to the sort of damage that we are talking about.

KELAHER: Well, I think that this hurricane has been to Katrina of Toms River. I've been over at the beach. We have six miles of beach there and particularly that area, it's absolutely devastated.

Pictures in the paper from helicopters, showed the houses off their foundations. Blown apart and I'm sure they're all going to have to be torn down and destroyed.

And that's going to present some real logistics problems aside of hardship of people that can't go back.

HOLMES: You had a message for people who want to get back there and basically the island's sealed off now. People can't go in.

KELAHER: The island at the base of the bridge is sealed off. Nobody can go until further notice. It's dangerous. Gas leaks all over. Power's off and I just heard governor's message today that the gas companies turned off the gas through Seaside south and no more gas over there.

But people who have been damaged no matter where they are, if they know they have property damage, most important thing to do right away is register with FEMA to start making themselves eligible for the benefits and help FEMA is going to do.

The other problem we have, most concerned of safety of people. We have people in shelters. That's not the best accommodations. Temporary status but there are people in our shelters who are not going to be able to go back to the beach and working diligently to accommodate them.

BALDWIN: Michael?

HOLMES: Won't be back for a long time. Yes, Brooke?

BALDWIN: Let me pass a question on to the mayor if you don't mind. Is he concerned about the lack of gasoline and what is his advice to people? Is he concerned that people can't get it?

HOLMES: That's a very good question, Brooke. I can tell you we ran in to that problem last night. Brooke Baldwin is asking you about gasoline and cueing up for it here.

KELAHER: They are all in cues. The problem is only gas stations are functioning with power. Jersey Central Power and Light Company told me earlier today that they made Route 37 a priority for restoration of power.

For that reason to get the gas stations up and running, get the restaurants open so people can go and also to get the traffic lights functioning to relieve the police officers who have had to man those pumps.

HOLMES: That's one of the big problems, Brooke, of course, is infrastructure. So much is damaged by all of this. We got gas last night nearly midnight and had to cue for it and lines down the street.

BALDWIN: Michael Holmes in Toms River. Michael, thank the mayor for us, as well. Thank you so much. Just absolutely devastating I know for so many people there.

HOLMES: Will do.

BALDWIN: On top of all of this, the election, one columnist suggests whichever candidate wins the election next week it won't be much of a celebration at all. We'll ask why, next.

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BALDWIN: We have just days to go until an important presidential election and a killer storm absolutely disrupting the northeast. "Time" magazine is releasing not one, not two, three separate covers all at the same time.

The first one will be delivered in the northeast as you can see here, lessons here from the storm focusing on Sandy, the destruction. The other two, they really just zero in on "Time" magazine's 2012 election coverage.

You have to look closely to notice the difference here, both of them, the diagrams. One has Obama on the top here. The other has Romney's red circle on the top. Two views, one election.

I want to bring in "Time" magazine's White House correspondent Michael Scherer and he is joining us once again from Washington. So Michael, welcome back. MICHAEL SCHERER, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, "TIME": Thank you, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Let me just talk about this. We've just learned here that the candidates will be making and of course, subject to change making their final stops on Monday before the election, president in Iowa, Mitt Romney in New Hampshire. Do you see these stops as significant here, in terms of, you know, popular or electoral significance or merely symbolic?

SCHERER: Well, no. All stops matter at this point in the campaign. What's notable is they are exactly the same states these candidates keep going back to time and time again. It's an incredibly narrow number of states given historical precedence.

You go back to 1960s. A majority of states would be swing states in the country, majority of states would be in play and right now looking we're looking at eight, maybe nine states, maybe seven states that is are in play at this point and these guys going back to them over and over again.

BALDWIN: You know, one of the articles I read in the election "Time" magazine here is Joe Klein and wrote a piece on the closing arguments of the campaigns writing, quote, "It does seem hard to imagine a national celebration of either a Romney or Obama victory." Why is that?

SCHERER: Yes, I actually agree with Joe on that.

BALDWIN: Why?

SCHERER: There are a couple of reasons. One, I mean, celebrations among partisans, but really either one wins, coming out of this election in to deadlock. There's not going to be a situation, which one party has control over Congress.

You have a very nasty fight in negotiations to come over the next three or four months. Unlike in 2008 when one party came out with control of Congress and the presidency, able to try to do big things, it just not going to happen here whoever wins.

And second reason is this campaign has really been about mostly small things. It's been incredibly tailored specific campaign about taking apart the other guy and shoring up the base. It hasn't been about big ideas.

Hasn't been real substantive policy debates and we don't really have from either candidate a very clear vision of what the future will be like.

Both guys are telling us that, you know, things will be better if you elect me and fund this and not fund that. But there's not really a vision for the country, you know, beyond the next three months.

BALDWIN: OK, Mike Scherer, "Time" magazine, Mike, thank you so much.

SCHERER: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Want to take you back to the devastation that is Sandy. What about Staten Island, well, here you go, brand video from Staten Island where folks are absolutely begging for help.

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