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Hiring Picks Up In October; New Yorkers Clamor For Food & Gas; Nor'Easter May Hit Storm Zone; Subway Stations Need Big Repairs

Aired November 2, 2012 - 12:00   ET


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Suzanne Malveaux.

The numbers are in from the most anticipated jobs report of the year. This is the final report before the presidential election on Tuesday. It shows the economy added 171,000 jobs last month. The unemployment rate ticked up to 7.9 percent. Here's what President Obama said about these numbers this morning in Ohio.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today, our businesses have created nearly 5.5 million new jobs. And this morning we learned that companies hired more workers in October than at any time in the last eight months.


MALVEAUX: I want to talk about the economics and the politics of the report with our chief business correspondent, Ali Velshi, and CNN contributor John Avlon. They are in the battleground state of Ohio, checking out what the voters have to say about all of this.

So, Ali, I want to start off with you, because you're our economic numbers guy here.


MALVEAUX: We looked at this and the economists surveyed by CNN Money, they were expecting 125,000 jobs. So this number was higher at 117,000.


MALVEAUX: So you've got figures in August and September also higher than we thought. What does this say about the overall growth and the health of the economy and the recovery?

VELSHI: So you and I have talked about this before. I like the job creation or jobs loss numbers, the establishment survey, more than I like the unemployment number. And, by the way, I feel the same way about it when it's low and when it's high.

This splits both ways. If you are Mitt Romney, you get to say, wow, well the unemployment rate has gone higher and it's still too high. If you're Barack Obama, you could add on another month. I guess it's 30 -- I don't know how many months now it is -- of private sector unemployment -- private sector employment growth.

What it says to you, when you see numbers like 171,000, we believe that 250,000 is the kind of number you have to see to really get the economy going. So this one splits right down the middle. So we're in Ohio, a state that's split down the middle, undecideds split down the middle, and a jobs report that splits down the middle.

MALVEAUX: Do people feel this? Do they feel the recovery, do you think, the folks you talk to?

VELSHI: What do you think, John? I mean it's --

JOHN AVLON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I mean, you know, I think people do have the sense that things are getting better. They're out of the trough.


AVLON: Here in Toledo, four years ago the unemployment rate was 12.6. Now it's actually lower than the national average, around 7.5. There is a sense that things are getting better.

We were just talking to the mayor of Toledo, Mayor Bell. He was saying that the auto bailout had a big impact. But people understand that the recovery is slow. It's not as fast as they would like. We hear that a lot.

VELSHI: And we're in Toledo, where there's a Jeep plant. We were in Youngstown yesterday, where it's the big GM Lordstown plant. Ohioans are really attached to the auto industry and they definitely feel a lot of relief. There is three shifts going on at these plants. They were down to one in some cases and some of these plants were down to being shuttered. So we are definitely sensing that people feel things are a little bit better. The question, Suzanne, is, who do they credit for that?

MALVEAUX: Yes. And the other thing, too, is, of course, we've got spin from both sides. We've already heard from the president saying, look, this is evidence that this is 32 straight months of private sector growth.

VELSHI: That's the number, yes.

MALVEAUX: But you've got Mitt Romney on the other side saying, you know, it's a sad reminder that the economy is at a virtual standstill. That's his own words. So beyond the spin here, what do you think voters are hearing when they hear this number today? And does it even change their perception at all of how the economy is doing? To either one of you.

AVLON: Look, Suzanne, you know, the top line uptick is not great news for the Obama campaign. I mean it is still a slight uptick.

VELSHI: This is a 7.8 to 7.9, yes. AVLON: And that's the bottom line, sort of the top line number that people pay attention to. But I don't think it does distract from the larger point, which is, yes, the economy's improving. We've come a long way since the trough. But it's still not improving as folks would like, and that's pretty much the argument --

VELSHI: And, remember, look at the numbers we saw this week. The consumer confidence number. Weird, but consumer confidence is the highest level it's been since February of 2008. So, the economic numbers tell you a slightly more tepid story. Americans are actually feeling better about the economy and that definitely plays to Barack Obama.

AVLON: And, Suzanne, you do hear that. In these Ohio towns, these cities that will determine the next president, there is this sense of, you know, we're coming out of it. We've been through the worst. You know, there's a sense of optimism about the future, but a real sense of, it's not happening as fast as we'd like. And they get that. And that's the argument Mitt Romney's been trying to make.

MALVEAUX: All right. So it sounds like they are listening to both sides of the argument there. John, Ali, good to see you guys both.


MALVEAUX: We'll touch in back with you in a little bit.

AVLON: You too.

MALVEAUX: The borough president in New York's Staten Island, he is furious because the island's residents were not told until it was too late about how to get emergency food, shelters, and tools. Trucks full of supplies and FEMA disaster teams, they're now on the ground in Staten Island. Many people there say that is all that they have got. Our Brian Todd, he is hearing their stories today. Watching help arrive. All these folks.

Brian, first of all, tell us about the supplies, about the crews and the complaints here. It seems like this is a very difficult situation for folks.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is very difficult, Suzanne. Still very difficult. And, you know, yesterday when we came here, this place was like a war zone. It looked like a shelled out just bombed out neighborhood. There were scenes like this behind me are all over the place.

And make no mistake, it is still a very devastated scene. But you do get a sense that all this morning that this neighborhood is coming back to life. People all over the streets here. You've got a family digging out there, just trying to dig out some of the remnants of the debris from their home. This church has had to just put everything out on the street that was in its basement. They used this stove, this refrigerator, the chairs here to feed people on Sundays. That's all shot because the basement was flooded. But there is relief on the ground. City dump trucks over here to my right, your left. Our photojournalist, Chris Turner (ph), will show you one down there. There have been dump trucks, forklifts, bulldozers coming all through this neighborhood clearing debris. Sanitation trucks coming in here. National Guardsmen on the ground.

But, you know what, again, still a very profound sense of loss, a very profound sense that there is a long, long way to go for this neighborhood and a sense of anger still that the relief was kind of just taking way too long to get here. A few residents who we spoke to yesterday basically bore that out. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some stuff came up into the gate where the water. Came up and knocked things down. Some things down. I have a couple of cats. They're surviving.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not without any funds. No. Without funds, I'll probably have to walk away from my home. I'll probably have to walk away from my home.


TODD: Just real heartbreak in this neighborhood still as people try to pick up the pieces. And those two ladies and other residents here were complaining that the relief agencies have taken too long to get here. The borough president was very, very angry that -- he was especially angry at the Red Cross, that it took at least two days for people to get on the ground. But the Red Cross, we're told, is around here. FEMA. We see a FEMA bus down the street. They're here now doing everything they can, Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: And, Brian, we know that about half of these storm deaths in New York happened right where you are. How are people coping with that?

TODD: Yes. They're still shell shocked. They're walking around just kind of trying to inquire about neighbors who might be hurt, neighbors who may be still missing. You know, one local guy told me here, he said, you know, their -- the police and others are going around checking some of the houses where there's debris and -- that's been unloaded. He said, they should check the houses where there's no debris in front, because that may signal that nobody's either come or maybe people didn't get out of the houses. A pretty good point to make. So there's still just a lot of uncertainty in this neighborhood about who may have gotten out and who may not have.

MALVEAUX: All right, Brian Todd, thank you very much. We appreciate it.

And we want to welcome our viewers around the world, CNN International, who are joining us to walk this newscast. Clearly this is something that the whole world is watching as people try to cope and recover from this super storm. An unprecedented hurricane and superstorm that hit the northeast coast. And there is also something else that is coming to the people of New Jersey and New York that's quite unbelievable here and it's the last thing they need, more bad weather. Very cold weather. There is now a winter storm that is coming.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're going to die, if we get killed with the weather. We're going to die. We're going to freeze.


MALVEAUX: Want to bring in Chad Myers.

Chad, people around the world still very captivated about what is happening on the East Coast. And I almost, when I first read this report, could not believe it. It was like, is this really -- really, is this going to happen here, more bad weather?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You know, without Sandy, this storm that we're going to talk about is not a storm. It's not a big deal. But you have millions of people without power. You have millions of people with half of a roof gone, windows shattered, half of the side of their house gone, trying to survive, live in their house. And all of a sudden you get wind and rain -- not hurricane winds, 30 miles per hour. You get wind and rain and maybe even into upstate some snow. Temperatures in the 30s. Without power. No heat. Where, how does (INAUDIBLE), where do they go? How do these people survive? And that's what that lady right there -- that sound bite that she was just talking about, we're going to freeze. And, yes, that's certainly a possibility.

Let me walk you through this storm. Here's what's set up. Still very cold in the northeast right now because the jet stream goes up and then down. When the jet stream goes down, that allows all the cold air to spill in from the north. When the jet stream goes up, like that, that allows sometimes a low pressure system to come over the top and then back down and go up as a coastal low. If it's been up there for long enough, you call it a nor'easter.

This isn't setting up like a classic bomb, but it's still significant for the people that live there because of the lack of power, because of the lack of heat. I know they have natural gas there, but you can't turn on your furnace if you don't have a fan to blow that heat around. The furnace simply will not turn on.

This is the European model. And we've used this model really extensively for the past couple of weeks, especially with Sandy. It did a fantastic job predicting where Sandy was going to go. The European model predicting a coastal low, 30, maybe 40 miles per hour, off the coast. Not a hurricane. Not a tropical system. Not an eye. But a storm that comes from the deep, deep south, runs up the Atlantic coast, and then brings wind onshore here to Boston, New York and all the way down to D.C. and maybe even the potential for some snow to the west. The other problem, when this goes by, the winds come like this. So what does that do? It grabs more cold air. More cold air that will bring the low temperatures down into the 30s. Philadelphia, 32 by Tuesday. Seaside Heights, where half the houses are knocked down the first couple of rows from the ocean, 30 for morning lows. Below freezing and no heat and people trying to recover.


MALVEAUX: Chad, when do we think this is going to happen?

MYERS: It happens on Wednesday afternoon.

MALVEAUX: Wednesday afternoon.



MYERS: It could even be -- there could even be a piece of -- a small piece comes out on Monday, but the main storm looks like it approaches the northeast on Wednesday.

MALVEAUX: All right. So people have a little bit of time to get ready for this.

MYERS: Yes, they do. Correct.

MALVEAUX: There is a warning that this is coming. So people will have a couple of days to really hunker down and try to figure this out. Thank you, Chad. Really appreciate it.

MYERS: You're welcome.

MALVEAUX: You've got one storm that is gone. You've got another that might be coming. The East Coast still digging out.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We just got here and we just went into the backyard and we've got somebody's kayak in our backyard. Somebody's refrigerator in our backyard. Our entire deck -- you can come this way -- has been lifted.



MALVEAUX: We're going to have more on the continuing crisis.


MALVEAUX: With four days till the election, the economy and a handful of swing states could sway the outcome of the presidential race.

In Iowa the unemployment rate is 5.2 percent. It's much lower than the national average of 7.9 percent. But the economy is still causing problems for the president as Poppy Harlow explains.


KEVIN HARBERTS, CEO, KRYTON ENGINEERED METALS: We basically started this in a little 24-by-24, rundown garage.


How is business?


HARLOW: You see, Kevin Harberts has watched business at his metal company business fall and fall, down 20 percent this year.

HARBERTS: Mid-2012, it started slowing down and it's been a downward trend ever since probably May.

HARLOW: But his Iowa isn't the Iowa the economic numbers illustrate, largely spared by the housing crisis, reaping the benefits of a strong farming sector, and unemployment well below the national average.

HARBERTS: I realize here we're not bad in Iowa, but our customer base is not basically in Iowa.

HARLOW: It matters how California looks. It matters how Nevada looks. It matters how Virginia looks.


SUE DVORSKY, CHAIRWOMAN, IOWA DEMOCRATIC PARTY: It is difficult for Mitt Romney to say this economy is in freefall. It is not.

HARLOW: Sue Dvorsky heads Iowa's Democratic Party.

The unemployment rates here is pretty darn good, 5.2 percent, one of the lowest in the country. The president won here by 10 percentage points in the last election.

My question to you, Sue, why can't he lock it down right now? It's neck and neck.

DVORSKY: It is. You know, though, we actually feel like we are locking it down. We have been lock it down for two years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think he is selling something, to be honest with you. I don't think it's been locked down.

HARLOW: We found plenty of Iowans that aren't convinced by either campaign.

CHAD MORAREND, ROMNEY SUPPORTER: Fiscally I just don't see how we can sustain ourselves. I mean, Europe right now, I mean, these big huge great empires, countries and all that, that they're going bankrupt. And it's going to be us.

HARLOW: Orthodontist Chad Morarend plans to vote for Romney, but didn't think his math adds up to erase the deficit.

MORAREND: I don't think either side honestly really has the plan for going ahead. It becomes kind of the lesser of two evils.

HARLOW: Back at Kryton Metals, Kevin Harberts says he can't plan a 2013 budget and certainly can't hire.

HARBERTS: Our customers are -- they're just slow. They're just not ordering.

HARLOW: He says, like him, they're frozen, waiting to see who wins the election and whether we fall off the fiscal cliff.

HARBERTS: I need some reassurance that we're going to take care of our debt problem, that we're going to help small business.

HARLOW: He says he'll vote for Romney, but acknowledges there's little the next president can do without Congress, and it pains him.

HARBERTS: So, this is my dream. I mean, I have everything invested in this company, and so, you know, my name's on the line with the banks, so I've got to make it happen. My people are counting on me.

HARLOW: The economic numbers in Iowa tell a good story for the president, but plenty of people here worry about the bigger picture and neither campaign can take this state's six, critical electoral votes for granted.


MALVEAUX: Poppy Harlow is joining us from Cedar Falls, Iowa.

Poppy, it struck me in your reporting there that people are very pessimistic about their futures and very, very concerned and they look at both candidates' economic plans. They don't really seem to be all that enthused about either one.

HARLOW: I think you're reading it exactly right. I mean, we've been here for a week on the road, Suzanne, from town to town. I have not heard one person that is incredibly enthusiastic about either candidate.

You certainly have supporters on both sides, but they're not enthusiastic about the economic plans. You heard the man in the piece saying, look, I'm going to vote for Romney, but I don't think his math adds up when it comes to the deficit.

They're really concerned about the big picture here, the long-term deficit, what it means for their kids.

At the same time, I did meet Obama supporters here who do like his plan, especially when it comes to investing in education, in training. They like ObamaCare. They say our economy is not where it needs to be, but we are going to stick with the president to move forward because we like his thinking. Interestingly, the man you saw in the piece, Kevin Harberts, told me, I wish there was a viable third party candidate because I'm not really sold on either of these guys.

MALVEAUX: Wow, that's very telling. Poppy, thank you. Appreciate it.


MALVEAUX: Today, both candidates are offering their vision for America. This is in exclusive opinion articles for on our worldwide website.

President Obama who just spoke in Ohio a short while ago right on today saying, "I believe America's prosperity was built on the strength of our middle class. We don't succeed when a few at the top do well while everyone else struggles to get by. We're better off when everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules."

The man who wants his job, of course, former Massachusetts governor, Mitt Romney, spoke in Wisconsin. That was just a short time ago. He is also on, his opinion piece.

Romney wrote about bipartisanship. He says, "I am offering a contrast to what we're seeing in Washington today. We've watched as one party has pushed through its agenda without compromising with the other party. We've watched gridlock and petty conflict dominate while the most important issues confronting the nation, like chronic high unemployment, go unaddressed. The bickering has to end and it will end. I will end it. I will reach across the aisle to solve America's problems. "

You can read their complete opinions by logging onto our website. Just go to

And then go to my Facebook page. Tell me who you think has the most compelling vision for America's vision. We want to hear from you. We're going to actually read back some of your responses. That is

Vice President Joe Biden back in the battleground state of Wisconsin. You could say that he is stumping on the opposition's home court. Janesville, Wisconsin, that is Paul Ryan's hometown just about 20 minutes north of Beloit where Biden's rally takes place there at the Illinois border.

You're looking at live pictures where the vice president is going to be speaking shortly. Biden's visit comes just today after the president's trip to Green Bay and here's why. Look at this.

Take a look at the latest CNN Poll of Polls for Wisconsin. Of likely voters, President Obama leads with 51 percent. Mitt Romney has 44 percent. This is an average of several polls.

Now, one man, he was so desperate for gas in New York, he reportedly pulled a gun in waiting line -- waiting in the line there. You can see it. We're going to show you just how desperate this situation has become.


MALVEAUX: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is trying to get gas into his state as quickly as possible. Why? Because Superstorm Sandy has shut down many gas stations in New York as well as New Jersey, leaving folks waiting in line for hours.

Now, Cuomo says he has signed an executive order to waive the tax-and- registration requirements on fuel tankers.

Susan Candiotti joins us be phone from New York and, Susan, unbelievable when we see the pictures and we hear the stories now because you've got lines that are stretching for miles at some of these stations.

You've got some folks who have just absolutely had it, and now you've got a story about a driver in New York arrested after allegedly pulling out a gun on another driver. Tell us what happened.

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Suzanne, it's remarkable. That's right. That happened in Queens, the borough of Queens, New York.

Police arrested a man who allegedly cut line in the gas line and pulled a gun on a customer who had challenged him about cutting into the line. That's when police moved in and arrested this guy.

You have to imagine there are occasional dust-ups that we have seen, short tempers in these very long lines, both yesterday and today. Occasionally, people get frustrated, but overall, I've noticed the people that we have seen anyway being remarkably cool.

And we're talking about people who were stuck in their car for four hours at a time, sometimes the lines going back two miles.

We just arrived on the scene of another location, a gas station in New Jersey where the lines -- just looked at the odometer -- go back about close to five miles, so you can you imagine what that is like.

MALVEAUX: Yeah and, Susan, we're actually looking at some pictures of folks who are lined up, just walking along in a line there with the tanks in their hands and they -- I understand they wait for hours, and then sometimes what happens is they get to the front of the line and they're told there's no gas left.

So, are stations -- are they actually rationing this out, limiting the amount that they'll sell in one day or do they just sell until they run out?

CANDIOTTI: You know, it really depends on the situation, Suzanne. They're putting out as much as they have as soon as they get it.

When we were at -- for example, when they ran out at one station where we were yesterday, the lines did disappear, but then they quickly reform as the rumor goes out that they are going to be getting more gas.

And, in fact, in two more hours, this one gas station -- it was a Hess station -- got another supply and the lines were back longer than they were the first time. So, as soon as they get it, they're selling it out.

MALVEAUX: And how do they know? Like, how do people find out whether or not there's gas at that gas station or not when they know, OK, two hours, now we have gas again, and everybody just kind of, you know, descends on the station?

CANDIOTTI: In a lot of cases, it's through social media. It's through Twitter. It's through Facebook. It's through word of mouth.

I ran into one man who said that he is just driving around with the limited gas he has. He stopped at 25 different gas stations looking around for one that was open and, when he stopped by ours to find out, he was in that dead zone where they didn't have any at that time.

But to a large degree, you're watching the local news. You're monitoring social media. You're listening to the radio stations who are often telling you where you can find it.

MALVEAUX: And, Susan, finally, just real quickly here, do they have any sense of how long this is going to go on?

CANDIOTTI: There isn't any. The hope is that it will start to ease up over the weekend now that the ports of New York and New Jersey are able to lift some of the restricts -- lift the restrictions on fuel barges and ships coming in, so they can offload their fuel supplies, sometimes bringing it in on another barge to get it to land when the piers are damaged and shipping it out to locations so they can get it on the road to bring it back into the hardest hit areas.

MALVEAUX: All right, Susan Candiotti, thank you so much.

We have good news here. When a storm of this size hits, neighbors, they try to get through it together. They rally together and it has been the case this week, as well.

You've got some New Yorkers who have power, and what are they doing? They're putting out the electrical outlets from their homes -- you can see it there -- so people can charge their cell phones, communicate with each other.

There are other folks who are even riding stationary bike to generate cell power. That's pretty cool, some phone power.

And doctors are offering free medical care in other places and some New York restaurants are even putting out tables of free food.

"Time" magazine making two cases now for who the next president should be, one for President Obama, one for Mitt Romney. We're going to take a look at the arguments for each candidate with just four days to go. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: In the run-up to Tuesday's election, there are now some new endorsements. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has come out for President Obama. He cites, in part, the president's commitment to fighting climate change. The issue is front and center in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

"The Economist" in London also backs President Obama, although the endorsement is lukewarm. It ends this way: "For all his shortcomings, Mr. Obama has dragged America's economy back from the brink of disaster and has made a decent fist of foreign policy." So, this newspaper would stick with the devil it knows and re-elect him.

"Time" magazine chose not to go the traditional route. Instead the 89-year-old weekly published two opinion pieces, each making the case for one of the candidates. Also, printed three front-covers this week.

Yeah, you can pick up three. One focuses on the Superstorm. The others illustrate the presidential race, so you can see it here.

Michael Crowley is "Time's" deputy chief -- Washington bureau chief and, Michael, first of all, it's really interesting. It's very unique. We've seen a lot of newspapers and magazines go one way or the other.

Why did "Time" decide to go this route with basically two endorsements?

MICHAEL CROWLEY, DEPUTY WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, "TIME" MAGAZINE: Well, look, you know, voters have been bombarded in the closing weeks of this campaign with negative ads, you know, Big Bird, Benghazi, issues that may be important, but are narrow.

So, here's an opportunity to zoom back, go back to first principles. What are the cases for the two candidates fundamentally? And I think it's really useful to zoom out and get the big-picture take on, you know, pro and con

We've been nibbled to death in the closing weeks with these little bite-sized attacks. What are the big picture questions here?

MALVEAUX: Michael, I've read both them. They're both really interesting reads here. What is your take-away in terms of the major differences between the two candidates?

CROWLEY: Well, look, I think the fundamental choice here and the pieces -- the very good pieces in the new issue get at this, are, number one, tackling the long-term debt crisis in this country. Do you do it with a balance of higher taxes on wealthier households, which is what President Obama wants, or do you do it almost basically entirely by cutting spending, which is what Mitt Romney wants, number one?

Number two, healthcare, should there be a larger expanded government role to insure that everyone has health care or not? Do you have much more private sector-oriented solution, which would allow some people not to have health care, which is what Mitt Romney wants when he wants to repeal ObamaCare?

And both pieces really get at that very basic choice. I think those are the two central things here. How are we going to pay for a reduction in our debt in terms of our tax code, and number two, our health care system, which is both a matter of insuring people and also -- it's also a debt question?

MALVEAUX: Michael, is there any way to measure who picks up which copy in terms of who supports -- who gets more support this go-round?

CROWLEY: You know, I don't know the answer to that question. It's a great one, but, look, you know, we're proud because, you know, doing two different issues is complicated enough to begin with.

We have a third one now because of this storm that came along, and particularly for readers in the Northeast. We wanted to make sure that we were speaking to what is on their mind, what they're interested in.

So, I don't know how you measure it, but three different covers, I think, might be a first for us and we're proud of it.

MALVEAUX: You've got everybody covered, I imagine.

We mentioned the Bloomberg endorsement, "The Economist," as well. Do you think that endorsements are still relevant? I mean, do you think that you have an obligation to your viewers being the kind of respected magazine that you are to put out and educate, take a position on which candidate you support?

CROWLEY: Well, I don't know that "Time" institutionally has done that. I have not been there for a terribly long time, but I'm not aware that in past years the magazine has done an institutional endorsement. We tend not to run institutional editorials like some of the other publications you mentioned. For instance, "The Economist" is a very opinion-based editorial magazine.

I think that we're providing readers with a real service here by saying, here's the -- a really good case for each candidate. Read them both. If you're not decided yet, you can make up your minds.

To some degree, I think it's nice to let people have that freedom to choose, but that I think we met an important responsibility there by presenting really strong cases on both sides which I think we succeeded in doing. They're two really good pieces.

Rich Lowery on "National Review" wrote one and E.J. Dionne of "The Washington Post" wrote another. Smart pieces, probably the best case you could make for each guy.

MALVEAUX: Yeah, really fascinating reads. I've read them and all three of your covers and they're all very good. Appreciate your time and thanks again. We'll check in back after the election. CROWLEY: Thanks for having me.

MALVEAUX: OK, we're teaming up with Facebook to ask you which candidate is making a better case for their vision of America? Check out my page to vote, We're going to show you the results in the next hour.


MALVEAUX: Key battleground that both campaigns want to win badly is Nevada. Six electoral votes are up for grabs. A recent poll from the American Research Group shows the president with a razor thin lead. We're talking 49 percent to 47 percent.

Miguel Marquez shows us that while the candidates are betting on Nevada, the voters are betting on an economic recovery.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Here we are, top of The Stratosphere in Vegas, baby. About 70 percent of the votes in the state are right here in Clark County. As this county goes, so goes Nevada! Ah!

In a city that fell harder and faster than just about any place in the country.

This better be a very close election.

The Stratosphere, like all Vegas, suffered the worst of the recession.

At some point, you had to make a decision, either go big or stay home and shut down.


MARQUEZ: The Vegas landmark sunk more than $20 million into upgrades, including a new restaurant, and, oh, and that sky-jump thing, most importantly, more than 100 new jobs.

Do you think Las Vegas is through the worst of it?

HOBSON: It feels like it. You know, I mean, I drive to work every day and I see stuff going on that I haven't seen for a little while.

MARQUEZ: Things like construction and homes being built in a place that once had the nation's highest foreclosure rate.


MARQUEZ: Chef Rick Giffen charts Vegas's decline and rise by a sort of entree index.

At the low point of the recession, how many dinners were you doing and how many are you doing now?

GIFFEN: We were doing as little 250 a night, 250-to-400. Now, we're doing between 450 and 700 a night.

MARQUEZ: Oh, wow.

GIFFEN: Yeah, a big, big, big recovery.

LOUIE ANDERSON, COMEDIAN: This is an important state. You know, Clark County, especially.

MARQUEZ: Comedy icon and Clark County voter, Louie Anderson, who does four shows a week at the Palace Station ...

ANDERSON: How do you spell Ron Paul?

MARQUEZ: ... says the city is struggling back, but he knows just how torn the country is.

ANDERSON: I think it's hard to be excited about Obama if you have not worked and I love Obama. I understand the appeal of Romney in this situation.

MARQUEZ: Like voters everywhere, he is tired of the campaign.

ANDERSON: Obama has been here more than Celine Dion has.

MARQUEZ: But hopeful that results, not politics, tops the agenda come January.

ANDERSON: If we're going to have the great country we had once, this is not going to be a Democrat or a Republican thing. This is going to be an every single American thing.


MALVEAUX: Miguel Marquez is joining us from Vegas.

Miguel, first of all, you know how on do Vegas. You got the show in there, dinner, the whole bit. We love it. You're jumping off of buildings.

MARQUEZ: We do not mess around.

MALVEAUX: Oh, no, no, no.

But, you know, in all seriousness here, it's Nevada. It's had one of the worst unemployment rates in the country, right? So, today it stands at 11.8 percent. That's actually down from what it was just a year ago, right, 13.6 percent?

Tell us about this turnaround. Do you think it's going to make enough of a difference for the president?

MARQUEZ: Yeah, I think I just lost you. I hope you have me, but it is a terrible unemployment rate here in Clark County. It's even higher, 12.3 percent.

What people hope for more than anything is that the recovery is real. The best number I have heard so far, though, is that in the last month housing prices here have actually gone up by 1 percent. That's the biggest rise they've had, the only rise they've had, since 2007.


MALVEAUX: All right. Miguel, good to see you. Thank you.

They're like the veins of New York City. We're talking about all those subway lines. We're going to show you how much work is actually left to be done to get those repaired.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At one point the water was up where we're standing here because you can tell where the steps are rusted.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, at this very level.


MALVEAUX: We're going to have more on the mess this storm has left behind.


MALVEAUX: Superstorm Sandy brought down New York's subway system. The entire network, more than 200 miles of it, shut down. Now, dozens of stations have now reopened, but trains still aren't running below 34th Street or between Brooklyn and Manhattan. Jason Carroll, he caught up with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's infrastructure chief to talk about what it's going to take to get the whole subway system up and running again.


JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What is it exactly that you'll be doing down here? Because this is in an area clearly where you're working now. I mean it's --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, the station complex itself will require a significant rehabilitation due to the damage from the storm, the infrastructure. The electrical systems, the fair collection systems, the lighting systems, the stairways, the ventilation systems, the elevators, the escalators, they're all pretty much ruined from the water damage, from the surge damage.

Just follow my same footsteps.

Believe it or not, these timbers washed in from the ocean or the bay. Wherever they came from.

CARROLL: This did right here? This timber right here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of this. Absolutely.

CARROLL: So this washed in from somewhere.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of this debris that you see washed in from the tidal surge.

CARROLL: It's incredible to think that this was a subway station. It doesn't look anything like a subway station now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, it was beautiful. It was one of our newest subway stations.

CARROLL: So were you able to -- obviously you were able to pump out a lot of the water from this -- where we are right now, because it's dry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's dry to this level. But we'll take a quick look over there at the stairway that goes down to the 109 terminal station and you'll see -- you'll see -- you'll see the level of water where it stands today.

CARROLL: This water here -- I mean this is -- this is toxic, correct?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That I could not tell you if it was toxic in any sense.

CARROLL: I mean it certainly looks um --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's sea water for the most part.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The bay rose over the sea wall and flooded the station.

CARROLL: At one point the water was up where we're standing here --


CARROLL: Because you can tell where the steps are rusted?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. At this very level, the water, it's about -- we've pumped out about 15 feet so far.

CARROLL: OK. So you've pumped 15 feet out. Fifteen feet you've already pumped?


CARROLL: Wow. OK. And a lot more to go to 25 feet down of water -- additional water --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right. Additional water still lies in place.

CARROLL: When do you think this particular subway station will be up and totally running again? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I couldn't tell you. I really couldn't tell you. I don't have -- I don't have the skills or expertise to really estimate it.

CARROLL: If you had to guess?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would say months.

CARROLL: Months?



MALVEAUX: Months. That was Jason Carroll in New York in the subway system.

Not everybody is happy about Mayor Bloomberg's decision to green light the annual New York City Marathon. That's happening this weekend. So many New Yorkers, they believe the city should focus its energy and its resources on recovery and cleanup, while others agree with the mayor that the city has to go on and the race, it's going to be good for business. The storm knocked out power in heavily damaged buildings in each of New York's five boroughs.

Well, the race, it is set for Sunday. Local politicians, even some runners, they are calling on the mayor to postpone this marathon. We are actually waiting to hear from the mayor, Mayor Bloomberg, any minute now. He is going to be having a press conference, giving an update on everything that is taking place in his city, recovery efforts. We are going to bring that to you live. You're seeing live pictures there. He will go to the podium and answer questions and provide as much information as possible about where the city stands now.

It is the final countdown in the battleground state that could decide the next president. We're waiting to hear from President Obama. He is in Ohio.


MALVEAUX: Economic damage from Superstorm Sandy much more than first predicted. It is now expected to cost anywhere from $30 billion to $50 billion. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's office is capturing images of some of the damage. They're posting them on Instagram. Pictures include shots of subways filled with water. The governor is getting a briefing from emergency crews as well and a boat lying across rail lines.

David Letterman told his jokes with a lights out last night. It was a sign of respect for the folks on the East Coast who still don't have power. We're going to hear his punch line.


MALVEAUX: Late night comedian David Letterman went dark, literally, last night to show his solidarity with the millions of Superstorm Sandy victims who still don't have any power. Take a look.


DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, "LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN": Yes, you've got to have three people or more in a car to get into New York City. Earlier today, one New Yorker was stopped for driving alone. Turns out he had bodies in the trunk.


MALVEAUX: OK. Kind of weird.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, he's going to be speaking soon about, of course, the recovery efforts. You see the live event that is taking place there as people wait for him to approach the microphones, take some questions from reporters. And one of the hot issues, of course, whether or not the New York City Marathon is going to be affected by all of this. Very controversial.

The mayor is pushing to move it forward. He wants to have it happen on Sunday as it's scheduled, as planned. Some folks think that's a pretty bad idea, that resources should all go to trying to repair the city and a lot of folks who are suffering, really suffering right now. We're going to bring that to you as soon as it begins.

Also waiting for President Obama to speak in Ohio. The race there extremely tight. CNN's latest poll of polls showing the president leading Mitt Romney by just three points. Romney arrives later in Ohio today. The president also expected to take the stage in just a minute. This is Springfield, Ohio. And that is where we will bring that to you live as soon as it starts.

Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Suzanne Malveaux.