Return to Transcripts main page


Your Economy, Your Vote; Paychecks and Politics; The Bailout Battle; Where It Matters Most; Fiscal Cliffhanger

Aired November 3, 2012 - 13:00   ET


ALI VELSHI, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. Welcome to a special live edition of YOUR MONEY." I'm Ali Velshi, coming you to live from Columbus, Ohio. In just three days, this is the state that will likely decide the presidential election.

Now Governor Romney knows that only too well that no Republican has won the White House without winning Ohio and the race right now in Ohio is close to a dead heat. Let's look at the two latest polls. First, our own CNN/ORC poll of likely voters shows President Obama with a three-point lead. Now that is inside the statistical margin of error. So that's about as close as it can get. And NBC/"Wall Street Journal"/Marist poll gives the president a six-point lead in Ohio. A little better for Obama but still very close.

Now Obama may be the top prize for the candidates right now but there are other important battleground states. And we will take you there over the course of the next hour in a way that only CNN can.

John Avlon and I have traveled more than 180 miles on CNN's battleground bus tour as the race for the White House reaches its conclusion and no matter where I go, the economy is the most important issue in this election. I've been traveling with John Avlon. He joins me now as well, as does my good friend Christine Romans, the host of "YOUR BOTTOM LINE," she joins me from New York, CNN national political correspondent Jim Acosta from Dubuque, Iowa, where Governor Romney has just landed, CNN White House correspondent Brianna Keilar is in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, traveling with President Obama.

Let's start here in Ohio. The state has a very complex economy. Here's some of what we've been hearing from voters on this trip.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just a lot of depressed areas. A lot of joblessness.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I need a job next year but just looking around at the unemployment rate, it's so scary to me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The last four years has not been very good for our small business.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With the debt crisis, our country has, that burden is going to be on us in the future.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All of the skills I had are obsolete now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because I'm not up at the White House. I don't see rich people all the time. But I see a lot of poor people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shut down, closed, reduced wages, ship the jobs overseas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We lost 55,000, 60,000 factories.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're probably never have the things that we did 30, 40 years ago.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got to balance the budget. We keep spending more and more. Somewhere along the line it's going to come back and haunt us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They didn't plan for us, and now we have to clean up the mess that they made.


VELSHI: John Avlon joins me now. We -- we've been on that bus from Florida through North Carolina, through Virginia, through -- and into Ohio. The economy is the number one concern. But once you get into Ohio, you're touching a lot of those concerns. In the eastern side of the state where we were, natural gas was an issue because they've got fracking. But now this auto and manufacturing stuff is playing. Mitt Romney ran this ad about the auto companies taking bailout money, manufacturing in China, not working for him so well.

JOHN AVLON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Not working for them. We were in Toledo last night and you could just tell, talking to people on the street in Toledo, that they've taken offense from that ad. That's where that jeep plant is.

VELSHI: Right.

AVLON: And folks have been calling Jeep, and saying, is it true? I heard this president -- you know, this ad, presidential ad. You know, is my job in danger? Not true. Execs from Chrysler and GM down -- came down hard on the Romney campaign for it.


AVLON: Calling it the most cynical kind of campaign politics. So at least in that area and every area here matters, you could tell that that particular campaign gamut backfired big time.

VELSHI: But he is still -- Mitt Romney is still competitive in Ohio.

AVLON: Yes. Absolutely. Look, this is a mainstream Republican state, Ali. There's a reason no Republicans won the White House not winning Ohio. There is a deep Republican tradition in this state. The fact that it's an Obama firewall is actually what's remarkable right now in this election.


AVLON: This is a state that Mitt Romney could do well. He should do well. But running -- Obama campaign's core strategy of appealing to middle class voters, working class whites here in this state in terms of reaching out to unions, not only makes a big difference when it comes to ground game and that critical early voting.

VELSHI: Right.

AVLON: Mitt Romney has had a real problem connecting to those folks. That ad didn't help.

VELSHI: Who is he leading with in Ohio?

AVLON: President Obama is leading with women. He's leading with centrist business by almost 20 points. Losing independents by two points, losing white men by a considerable margin. Leading with folks who make under $50,000 a year. So again these national themes, these national divisions in the electorate are evident here in Ohio.

VELSHI: Are find out here. OK. When you say independents and centrists, you're describing them as two separate things. A lot of our viewers will think independents means centrists.

AVLON: And in the past, they have. But one of the fascinating things about this election, Ali, the impact of the Tea Party on independent voters who are now the largest segment of the electorate, it's moved them slightly to the right. So you see independents edging towards Mitt Romney. But President Obama has had a decided edge among moderates.


AVLON: Self-described centrist. Fascinating new division in the electorate that we're seeing playing out.

VELSHI: OK. Stay here. We're going to talk more about this.

Brianna Keilar is in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The president will be there later today.

Brianna, three days out. This is the final chance for the president to make his case to voters. What's his final message going to be?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: He's countering, Ali, Mitt Romney's message where he is talking about being the candidate of real change. We've been hearing President Obama say that's not true. President Obama saying that he is the candidate of change, admitting that the -- the change has been slow going as far as improvement to the economy. But still urging voters to have patience with him.

Remember, yesterday with those jobs numbers out, he pointed to private sector gains, trying to show that things are heading in the right direction. The other thing he's trying to say to voters you know me. You may not agree with me all of the time. But you know I am a man of my word. And that you know what you're going to get. Obviously, the insinuation being that with Mitt Romney, voters don't.

And then the other thing, and this is very important especially here in Wisconsin, especially where you are in Ohio, talking about the auto bailout and how that has affected obviously in Ohio, one of eight jobs tied to the auto industry. Here in Wisconsin, a lot of jobs tied to the auto supply industry. And he has, I guess you could say, a somewhat easier time on his economic message because you look at a number of battleground states and this is true here in Wisconsin and also Ohio, unemployment here, significantly lower than the national average, 7.3 percent in Wisconsin, 7.0 percent in Ohio where you are. So that auto bailout message seems to be resonating a little more in these places, Ali.

VELSHI: And there are a lot of people, a lot of conservatives, a lot of Republican supporters in both of the states that we're in right now who say these states have Republican governors. So who do you give the credit to for the lower unemployment? The president or the Republican governors?

Brianna, stay there. We'll get right back to you.

Jim Acosta, three days to go. Mitt Romney spending time in Iowa today, a state with one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country. Now job creation isn't an issue in Iowa. What is the issue? What is it that they're voting on?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ali, I think -- I think Iowa is a part of a battleground mass strategy. If you can't win Ohio and you were talking about that just a few moments ago with Brianna and with John Avlon, then you need Iowa. Then you need Wisconsin. Then you might need Pennsylvania which explains why Mitt Romney is going to be heading there tomorrow.

And just getting back to this auto bailout issue, I talked to a top Republican source last night at this event in southern Ohio where they were kicking off this swing state blitz with all of these different surrogates for the GOP nominee, and they feel like they have been working hard to mitigate that issue, pointing out that, you know, while, yes, Mitt Romney did oppose the auto bailout, he would have supported financing for those companies coming out of bankruptcy.

You know, obviously there is this question of whether or not those companies would have been intact coming out of bankruptcy. And even being in a position that federal financing would have helped at that point. But they have been trying to point out in ads that have been very controversial, no question about it, that while these companies have been bailed out, they have been creating jobs in China.

And I talked to this one Republican source who said hey, wait a minute, why aren't these Jeeps, why aren't these cars being made in Ohio and then sold over in China? So that is part of the message that they've been trying to say with respect to that issue.

And when it comes to Pennsylvania, Ali, you know, they look at Pennsylvania and say, hey, you know, there are some of the same demographic advantages potentially for Mitt Romney in that state. You get outside of the urban areas like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, you've got a huge chunk of Pennsylvania in the middle. Chockfull of rural voters. And you don't have the baggage of the auto bailout.

So that is -- that is partly the reason why they're looking at Pennsylvania in the hopes that if Ohio doesn't work, Pennsylvania might.

VELSHI: You know -- I was going to ask you about Pennsylvania, obviously, because that was a bit of a surprise that the Republicans have been taken another turn back into there. So it does come down to Philadelphia and Pittsburgh which tend to be overwhelmingly blue versus the rest of the country. Very interesting that the Romney campaign has taken a turn there. Latest polling shows President Obama up four points.

Jim, stay where you are. We'll get back to you.

Christine, I want to ask you about something that Jim said because it is -- it is such a hot button in this state, this idea that American companies are making vehicles in China. Why don't they just make them in America, and ship them over? This shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the entire auto industry.

For decades and decades and decades American auto companies have made cars in the countries or the regions in which they sell them. And I want to remind Americans, when they buy Toyotas and they buy Hondas and Hyundais, and they buy Nissans in America that are assembled here, back home somebody says, why are you shipping our jobs to America?

So it really shows a fundamental, fundamental misunderstanding by the Romney camp to try and get under people's nails about jobs and cars being made elsewhere. Jeep has made very clear that they will make Chinese (INAUDIBLE) and maybe Jeeps in China for the Chinese audience. General Motors does the same thing, Christine. This is not news.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, HOST, CNN'S YOUR BOTTOM LINE: You know, this shows you, Ali, that auto making and making things is in the DNA of modern America. It also shows you that you if you can make a message, spin a web ad, spin a TV ad, based on the fears of manufacturing and auto manufacturing in particular, it resonates in America because it's what we've defined ourselves by for the -- you know, since World War II, quite frankly.

VELSHI: Right.

ROMANS: So it's a message that clearly the Romney campaign thinks is going to work for them. Otherwise, they wouldn't be doing it. You know, and look, this whole idea of -- about Detroit and the bailout, this is -- this has been something that has been torturous for both campaigns from the very beginning. And it's not something that anybody wanted.

Remember, the financial crisis happened -- the financial crisis happened and the auto bailout happened, you know, started by President Bush but also pushed and followed through by President Obama. This is something that fundamentally bothers a lot of people. That the might American auto industry almost went out of business. And that's something that really plays in these ads.

VELSHI: Right.

ROMANS: That's why they're doing it.

VELSHI: Christine, we're going to speak to Steve Rattner, who was the auto czar who says Mitt Romney is simply not telling the truth. And -- the language that Steve Rattner uses is a lot nicer than the language I've been hearing in Ohio about those ads. I've heard disgusting, I've heard offensive, this is not helping Mitt Romney in this state.

Stay where you are, Christine, I'm coming back to you as well.

President Obama is trying to save his job but has he done enough to save yours? That's the big question with the jobs report that just came out. We'll be right back with a special live edition of YOUR MONEY from Ohio.


VELSHI: Despite the spin you may have heard, there is no doubt that Friday's jobs report is positive. That doesn't mean that it's the best thing you've ever seen. It doesn't mean that the 171,000 jobs that were added in October was the right number. But it is not negative.

The candidates need to convince voters that they can create jobs. It's not enough. So which one is going to do better?


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Companies hired more workers in October than at any time in the last eight months.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Unemployment is higher today than when Barack Obama took office.


VELSHI: All right. If voters believe that job creation is moving in the right direction, President Obama could win. If they believe that it's not improving fast enough, Mitt Romney could win.

I want to bring Christine Romans back in with a look at the final jobs report before Tuesday's election.

Christine, you have done everyone a real service by breaking this down and showing people what this means. I have said for 10 years, please be careful with that unemployment number. It doesn't tell you the full story. Sometimes it goes down when people lose jobs. Sometimes it goes up when people gain jobs which is what happened on Friday.

Please, Christine, please do what you do and let our viewers understand why the nonsense that is out there is utterly nonsense. I don't think this is enough. I don't think we should have a 7.9 percent unemployment rate. But there is so much misinformation out there. It's really unnerving.

ROMANS: Well, first, before I give you all these numbers, let me say you could have an unemployment rate tick up, up to 7.9 percent and that can be good thing because that means more people who have been discouraged, had been on the side lines, are looking around saying hey, I know somebody who got a job. I'm going to try again, too. So that can be what happens. And many economists are telling me that's probably what happened in the month of October.

We know the economy added 171,000 jobs in October. The Bureau of Labor Statistics revised numbers, Ali, also for August and September. That adds another 84,000 jobs. That means the economy has added 194,000 jobs net-net since the president took office. That number may be higher once you get preliminary revisions and they're made final early next year.

The BLS estimates that's it undercounted jobs in 2011, remember, by 389,000. That would mean the economy has added more than half a million jobs since the president took office. But you won't hear the Romney campaign talking about that because they're focused on that unemployment rate. It stood at 7.8 percent in September. The same as when the president took office. It ticked up to that 7.9 percent in October. High unemployment never a good sign. Except when it is a good sign because Americans who don't have jobs need to be in the labor force, actively looking for work in order to be counted as unemployed.

The size of the labor force, Ali, increased by 578,000 in October. That's a sign that the economy is improving enough, Ali, for Americans to start looking for work again.

VELSHI: Right.

ROMANS: As more people come into the labor market, Ali, it will start to drive up the unemployment rate.

VELSHI: Christine, thank you for that. I also want to point people to Christine, go to her Twitter.

Christine, please tweet out the explanation of how the unemployment rate is calculated. You have a such great explanation of that yesterday and I think it's really important.


VELSHI: These are two surveys. There is the household survey and the establishment survey. The household survey provides the unemployment rate.


VELSHI: The percentage. The establishment survey provides the number of jobs created. You have such a good explanation. Everybody needs to hear that. So thank you, Christine. Stay there.

I want to bring in Harvard economist, Ken Rogoff. He's the former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund. One of the world's leading authorities on financial crisis.

Ken, let's now put aside the conspiracy theories and the nonsense about whether it's good or bad. We know it is positive. But, but it's not enough. Everybody agrees it's not enough. A lot of people say 250,000 a month of work we're going to need to truly recover, but 171,000 is positive.

We know you call it crisis. But can you call this a recovery?

KEN ROGOFF, ECONOMICS PROFESSOR, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: Well, we're still -- it's still a very tepid recovery and to put things in perspective, I mean, 250,000 jobs a month, that's still going to take you years and years to get back to normal. So this was a good month as Christine said, not just because of the jobs that were recorded for October, but revisions saying, hey, there were more jobs in the last couple of months.

But I think both candidates, I would hope, whoever wins, is going to show us something better over the next four years. But it is not easy after a financial crisis like this.

VELSHI: Right.

ROGOFF: I don't think it's going to be possible to get galloping growth quickly.

VELSHI: Ken, let me ask you this. The reason I picked that 250,000 number, because different economists say different things. But both campaigns, the Romney campaign says it a lot. The Obama campaign agrees, say they can create 12 million jobs in four years. That's three million a year. That is 250,000 jobs, ironically, a month. Eighty thousand more than we're seeing.

Now -- and they both assume, by my calculations, they assume a 4 percent GDP growth. We're at 2 percent. Now increasingly, surrogates from both campaigns have told me they can do it with a 3 percent GDP rate, which is what we might actually see next year.

Now former congressman, you know him, Vin Webber says that fiscal and government restraint is the key. Listen to what he said.


VIN WEBER, ROMNEY POLICY ADVISOR: We're not seeing any element of that from this administration. No fiscal restraint. And only higher taxes on capital as well as on labor. That's a bad mix.


VELSHI: So that's the answer that the Republicans are putting forward. Fiscal and government restraint will kick up your GDP growth to the extent that you will create more jobs.

Ken, do you buy that?

ROGOFF: Well, I -- looks to me like their plan is to cut taxes, as Reagan -- W. Bush did, and hope that you got really fast growth. I think the deficit would go up a lot for a while. We would get growth. But I'm not sure it would be anything like we saw under Reagan. Because there is so much debt out there. There is so many headwinds. There's Europe, the administration I would guess would do less on cutting taxes if at all and probably raise spending.

That's really where the difference is between the two. One of them wants a smaller government. One of them sees the government doing more things. That's a big difference.

VELSHI: You know more than I do. Quick answer, do you think either of them will get the 12 million jobs in four years that they're promising?

ROGOFF: It would be a very good outcome if either of them did that. I think it's a long shot, frankly.

VELSHI: Your answer is smarter than mine. I said I'd wear a dress for a week if it happens. So you're in less danger.

Ken Rogoff, always a pleasure to see you. Thanks very much for being with us.

Let's get back to Ohio. Let's get back to the auto bailout. President Obama bailed out the auto industry. Mitt Romney says those bailed-out auto companies are using that money to ship jobs to China. We'll get to the bottom of what really happened with the auto bailout next on a special live edition of YOUR MONEY from Ohio.


VELSHI: The auto industry is back at the center of the presidential race in Ohio. President Obama says Mitt Romney is stirring up worker fears but the Romney camp says the president mishandled the auto bailout.

Back with the facts in 90 seconds.


VELSHI: I'm Ali Velshi. We're live in Ohio, a state where manufacturing is key. A big portion of that manufacturing is autos. One in eight jobs in Ohio connected to the auto industry. I want to drill down on something I spoke to Christine about earlier.

There are 76,000 people in Ohio employed in auto and auto parts manufacturing. Only Michigan has more. But that number would be much smaller if the U.S. government hadn't bailed out the automakers.

Let me just say that again. The number would be much smaller if they hadn't bailed out the automakers.

The center for -- Automotive Research, a nonpartisan group, found that between 2009 and 2010, the bailout saved 1.5 million jobs across the U.S., it preserved nearly $$100 billion in personal income and ultimately saved the government nearly $29 billion in what would have been lost revenue. It did still cost the government money, though.

Here's why it matters. Both presidential candidates has spent millions of dollars campaigning in this state. President Obama leads Mitt Romney, barely. In a race this tight the auto bailout could swing the vote.

Now a survey conducted by Ohio newspaper organization finds that 29 percent of likely voters are more likely to vote for Obama because of the auto bailout. That's compared to 21 percent who say they are less likely to vote for him as a result.

Mitt Romney has tried to cut into the president's support with this ad.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Obama took GM and Chrysler into bankruptcy. And sold Chrysler to Italians who are going to build Jeeps in China. Mitt Romney will fight for every American job.


VELSHI: Now there seemed to have been some calculation that the Romney campaign made that they would somehow benefit from this ad, that the -- the Jeep was taking jobs from the United States, moving them to China to build Jeeps there. Chrysler's CEO says it's simply not true. He writes on the company's blog, quote, "Jeep production will not be moved from the United States to China. Jeep assembly lines will remain in operation in the United States and will constitute the backbone of the brand. It is inaccurate to suggest anything different."

The man President Obama pictured to be the czar who would save the auto industry is Stephen Rattner. I asked him how he responds to those ads.


VELSHI: Stephen, good to see you. How do you respond to this ad? I'm here in Ohio where these Jeeps are made. They've said that what Mitt Romney has said is wrong. Tell me what you know about this.

STEVE RATTNER, FORMER HEAD, PRESIDENT'S AUTO TALK FORCE: I think both Chrysler and General Motors actually have responded more forcefully than I have ever seen a company respond in 30 years in the business in terms of the adamancy that they expressed about it. The facts are essentially what Mr. Marchionne said. It makes good business sense for Jeep to begin to produce Jeeps in China for the local Chinese market.

Those are Jeeps that are not going to really get -- could not be realistically exported from the U.S. They need to be built close to the home market, just like every other automaker does. And General Motors has huge operations in China, Ford does, the Asian companies, the German companies. It's good business sense. So there are no jobs being moved. VELSHI: All right. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says the auto bailout, while it has given the government some money because of tax revenues it didn't lose, will end up costing taxpayers $20 billion compared to the $18 billion profit that came out of the banking bailout, our of the rest of TARP. Is there a chance that taxpayers could get their money back from this auto bailout?

RATTNER: There is a chance but it's unlikely. And I and the president and Larry Summers and Tim Geithner were very clear from the beginning with the American people through the press that we did not expect to get all the money back. First, there was $17 billion that went into General Motors and Chrysler at the end of 2008 as bridge loans. Companies were not prepared to go through the kind of restructuring that we undertook. That money will never come back. So that's most of the amount that you just cited.

The point I would make is that if at the end of the day the American taxpayer loses $5 billion, $10 billion, even $20 billion on this auto rescue, and saved the 1.4 million jobs that you referred to a little bit earlier, that's a very good trade for the American taxpayer. That's what government is here to do. To use its resources, prudently, carefully, surgically to achieve a great benefit.

VELSHI: Now a lot of Americans still disapprove, though, about -- just 44 percent of Americans actually approve of the auto bailout. That is according to a Gallup poll.

Why is it, if the point you make is that we saved a lot of jobs, why is it that so many Americans, do you think, are unconvinced that this was the right thing to do and that it was a waste of money?

RATTNER: Actually, Ali, when the president made those decisions, the percentage of Americans who approved it was down in the 20s. I think some polls were even lower. Look, I get the fact that the American public hates bailouts. I hate bailouts. But what I think the people who not yet -- who have not yet come onboard don't fully appreciate is the enormous economic devastation that would have occurred largely in Michigan and Ohio and the Midwest but all across the country as those 1.4 million jobs disappear.

So I think the public has come a long way in terms of appreciating all us on here and in fact we'll see on Tuesday whether the voters of Ohio appreciate what was done.

VELSHI: It's unusual but this is one of those things where both President Obama and Mitt Romney say absolutely opposite things. President Obama says that Mitt Romney was not prepared to do or did not support what President Obama did with you. Mitt Romney says that you guys did largely what he was suggesting you do. What the auto industry.

Tell me what your perspective is on this.

RATTNER: The basic fundamental difference between the two is that Mitt Romney says he would have not used any federal money to help these companies except possibly on their way out of bankruptcy. The problem with that approach is that there would have been no out of bankruptcy. They never would have left bankruptcy. These companies had no cash. They could not afford to pay their suppliers. They could not afford to pay the workers. They could not afford to keep their lights on.

If we had not provided the money we provided in the spring of 2009 before they went in bankruptcy and during the bankruptcy, they would have never come out of bankruptcy.

VELSHI: All right. Stephen Rattner, you would know. You were the auto czar. You were involved in it. Good to see you again, Stephen. Thank you.

RATTNER: Thank you, Ali.


VELSHI: With three days to go before election day, the battle for the battleground states, like Ohio, is raging. We'll check in with our reporters across the country right after this. You're watching a live edition of YOUR MONEY from Ohio.


ANN ROMNEY, MITT ROMNEY'S WIFE: We've been in so many of your community --

VELSHI: You're watching Ann Romney.

Welcome back to a special edition of -- YOUR MONEY live from Columbus. That's Dubuque, Iowa, you're looking at. Mitt Romney has just landed there. And he'd come off a plane and Ann Romney is speaking at the podium. We're going to drop into that in just a moment when Mitt Romney starts speaking. In the meantime, we'll keep a very close eye on that. I want to bring you back to Iowa for a moment. That's where I am right now because Iowa -- I'm sorry, Ohio. That's where I am.

Ohio made decide this election along with a handful of other swing states. CNN has reporters across the country in the key battleground states. Poppy Harlow is in Ohio. John Zarrella is in in Florida. Kyung Lah is in Colorado.

Let me show you just how different these states are when it comes to jobs, which is the most important of the economic issues. And as you know, the economy is the most important issue out here.

Let's look at Nevada. It has the highest unemployment rate of the so- called tossup states, 11.8 percent. Colorado's much closer to the national average. It's at 8 percent. The national average is 7.9 percent. Here in Iowa, it's much lower, 7 percent. Florida, much higher, 8.7 percent. But Iowa has one of the lowest jobless rates in the country, it has for some time, 5.2 percent. They actually have a problem finding workers.

Let's go back to Dubuque, Iowa, where Mitt Romney is speaking. M. ROMNEY: I know most of you here have decided who you're voting for in three more days.


But you have some neighbors who haven't made up their minds yet. And so I want to make sure that I give you all the arguments you need to make sure that you convince some of them to come over and vote for our team.

Paul Ryan and I want to make sure this country gets back on the right track. We want to bring real change to America.


So some folks that are putting aside the demands of daily life and focusing on this campaign, and they want to know what the future is going to hold depending upon who becomes the next president, who's going to affect their life and their family's life and who is going to affect the country in the way that will make the greatest difference.

You go back and remind them that words are cheap. You can say whatever you want to say in a campaign. But what you can achieve, results, those are earned. Those can't be faked. And you see, four years ago you could remind them that candidate Obama made a number of promises. And then you can go and look at those promises and say how well they do on those? He said, for instance, he was going to be a post-partisan president. He's been most partisan in dividing --

VELSHI: We're going to keep an eye on Mitt Romney's speech in Dubuque, Iowa.

CNN's Poppy Harlow is Des Moines, Iowa.

Poppy, that seems like a good problem to have that -- in Des Moines and in other parts of Iowa, but even in Des Moines, the unemployment rate is very low. They can't find workers. But that's also not ideal for them.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. No, it's not. And in fact, Ali, I want to show you, this is the front page of the "Des Moines Register" today, the big paper here. It says "Iowa's shrinking jobless rate is deceiving." A big issue here is finding those skilled workers. One of the business owners that I spoke with during my week here said, I can't find the right people to fill the jobs. So those top line numbers here are good for the president, 5.2 percent unemployment.

Housing prices that all but surpassed this state's strong farming sector. But the people here really care about one big picture thing, Ali. And that's the deficit. They hate the government spending. And they're looking at the future. What's ahead for their kids?

One of the guys that I talked to here in Iowa that really sums it up is Chad Morarend. Take a listen to him.


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, they're going bankrupt. And it's going to be us.


HARLOW: He is one that is in line with that, line that we hear from Romney so much that we are on a path to Greece, and Ali, you and I both think, you know, that's a bit deceiving. But he does think that our future is in question when it comes to spending.

And we'll tell you the jobs issue here is also lower paying jobs, more part-time work than full-time work people tell me here. They're having a hard time --


HARLOW: -- even though that 5.2 percent looks better than the rest of the country.

VELSHI: Which is just yet another reason why the percentage unemployment rate never tells the full story. It looks great in Iowa. But there are still lots of issues around.

HARLOW: Right.

VELSHI: I'm hearing the same thing in Ohio, by the way, people who, while jobs are their main issue, they are concerned about the deficit. They're also concerned about the quality of jobs and the wages they get and benefits.


VELSHI: Poppy, thanks very much for that.

Poppy Harlow in Des Moines, Iowa.

CNN's John Zarella is in Plantation, Florida, surrounded by long lines of early voters.

John, we were in Florida earlier on this battleground trip. Housing, obviously, a big issue. The value of housing. But what you are hearing? What's the big issue -- big issue that you're hearing from voters there?

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Ali, it's funny. You were mentioning the big lines. It's about a two hour wait right now from where I'm standing to getting into vote. It was four hours earlier this morning. So a lot of people exercising their right on the last day of early voting.

And, you know, I was chit-chatting with some of the people here. And as you mentioned, jobs is a big issue for everyone. Health care has come up and many people saying right off the bat big issue for them. And women's rights. Those are the three things that I've heard the most from all the people here. The jobs, the health care, and women's rights from the people I've just kind of talked with in line.

You mentioned housing. That's huge because of all of the foreclosures in the state, particularly in the single family housing industry, that has been hit very, very hard. So many foreclosed existing properties out there, hard to get much construction going in that sector.

And you know, just a couple of hours up the road from here at Kennedy Space Center, yesterday they retired the last of the three space shuttles, Atlantis, putting an end to the space shuttle program. It is over. At United Space Alliance alone, 4,000 skilled workers laid off. So the aerospace industry, the space industry, very hard hit. And so jobs there are very critical.

And, of course, overall in the state the whole construction industry that has not recovered at all -- Ali?

VELSHI: Right. Right. We're seeing pockets of recovery in Florida. Pockets of home price increases. But still a long way to go.

John, thank you very much.

Busy day for Mitt Romney. The last event of the day will be in Englewood, Colorado, tonight. And that's where CNN's Kyung Lah is.

Kyung, what is -- what you are hearing? What matters folks to -- matters most to folks in Colorado and what's Romney's plan to win them over?

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Romney is going to stop here, Governor Romney is going to stop here, and he's going to be speaking at that amphitheater behind me a little later today. And he is going to make the case that he's been making over the last two weeks, that it is about jobs and that he is the person who is going to make jobs more secured over the next four years.

And he's got a dwindling number of people who are going to be listening to him because in this would will listen to him because in this state -- we're just getting this figure from the secretary of state's office -- 1.6 million people have already voted. Now they are expecting by Tuesday 85 percent of the voters will have already voted. So Romney's case now is to try to energize the people who are left. And it is the number one issue here. It is all about jobs -- Ali.

VELSHI: Kyung, thanks very much. We'll be checking in with you later in the day as Mitt Romney heads to Colorado.

Now the U.S., the U.S. is headed back into a recession at the end of the year. If leaders in Washington don't act. Neither candidate has a plan to fix the thing that is most serious right now. Neither politician wants to tell us what it is if they had one. We'll tell you more after that the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) VELSHI: Nearly every household in America could face a $3500 tax hit on average if your elected leaders don't act and act fast. Why aren't your presidential candidates talking about it? I'll tell you why in 90 seconds.


VELSHI: Well, it's the largest and most immediate problem that the next president will face and neither candidate is saying anything about the fiscal cliff. That combination of $7 trillion in tax hikes and spending cuts that's set to hit at the end of the year, starting at the end of the year. Their prescription is a debt reduction -- a number of CEOs, more than 80 CEOs have gotten together and called for a debt reduction plan that roughly follows the Simpsons-Bowles -- Simpson-Bowles plan that reduces spending, increases tax revenues. They backed the bipartisan Bowles-Simpson plan as a framework or a starting point for negotiations.

Norm Ornstein is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. He's the co-author of the book "Even Worse than It Looks."

Norm, we talked about this last week. We know that you held the Tea Party responsible for standing in the way of any plan that President Obama put forward. So would a Mitt Romney win break up that deadlock and represent a new Republican Party that could actually get things done?

NORM ORNSTEIN, RESIDENT SCHOLAR, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE: You know, Ali, I was bemused by David Brooks' column in the "New York Times" which blamed the House Republicans appropriately --

VELSHI: All right. I don't --

ORNSTEIN: -- for intransigents.

VELSHI: I don't hear Norm Ornstein. I'm just going to check with my control room if we've got Norm Ornstein or Bob Pozen.

ORNSTEIN: I'm here.

VELSHI: All right. I don't hear -- I don't anybody.

All right. We're going to --


VELSHI: I'm going to have to stop you for a second. I'm going to have to take a quick break because we do not -- I've lost your audio out there. So we are going to -- stay with us. You've got a live edition of YOUR MONEY here in Columbus, Ohio. We're going to get this fixed up and be back to you in a second with Bob Pozen and Norm Ornstein about what to do about the fiscal cliff. Stay with us.


VELSHI: Sorry about that, folks. We had a bit of a technical problem. I'm in Columbus, Ohio. This is the final stop of the CNN Election Express battleground bus tour.

Norm Ornstein is standing by. We're going to talk to him in a second about the fiscal cliff. You've seen my frustration for this 2,000 miles where these presidential candidates are not talking about Barack Obama, mentioned it in the last debate, very serious problem.

What's the best prescription for getting this solved? Who is going to do it? Barack Obama or Mitt Romney?

AVLON: Well, you know, this is one of the key debates. Mitt Romney has really pivoted back to the center, beginning with the debate, saying, look, I'm the guy that can bring bipartisan leadership back to the United States. President Obama tried and failed. President Obama's point has been look, the Republicans haven't been working with me. If I'm reelected they will be forced to. We have the fiscal --

VELSHI: Why would they be forced to?

AVLON: Well, because here's the -- it's actually a larger interesting argument. The Republican Party embraced the strategy of obstruction, using filibusters in an unprecedented amount to try to sort of obstruct President Obama from day one. And it has worked to some extent. Except when it comes to solving problems. So what a lot of political scientists believe is that if President Obama is reelected and Republicans keep control of the House that therefore that status quo would create a real urgency during the lame duck session to not take the country over the fiscal cliff, whereas if one party gets a big ideological victory, or what they interpret as that --


AVLON: -- they'll want to go over the cliff and see if they can roll in the new rule -- in the new year.

Here's what's important, Ali. We've talked to all these swing voters. You get the sense of frustration.

VELSHI: Right.

AVLON: About the hyperpartisanship.

VELSHI: Right.

AVLON: About the division, and dysfunction, and real frustration about the deficit and debt, too. That's one issue that Republicans have an edge on. The question is, can we get a balanced bipartisan plan like 80 CEOs have called for?

VELSHI: Right.

AVLON: That's going to require both sides to give. Right now that sense of being able to give a little bit has been missing from the --


VELSHI: Let's talk about what happens if Mitt Romney wins. AVLON: Yes.

VELSHI: About the fiscal cliff.

AVLON: Well, look, this becomes really interesting. Harry Reid, Senate majority leader, Democrat, said just the other day that he would not work with a President Romney if he was elected. That that bipartisanship -- that Mitt Romney is talking about would not be achieved. In effect, what he would do is do what the Republicans have done to President Obama.

Look, politics falls the line of physics. Every action creates an equal and opposite reaction.

VELSHI: Right.

AVLON: That's what's being promised by the Democrats. That cycle of incitement that spirals on.

VELSHI: All right. Well, I hope it gets solved.

Coming up next, we'll talk more about the fiscal cliff and why these politicians are not talking about it the way we are. We'll talk with some really smart people about it. Not that you're not.

YOUR MONEY live from Ohio.


VELSHI: Norm Ornstein is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and the co-author of the book, "Even Worse Than It Looks."

Norm, I introduced you and then I didn't hear you talking. I thought maybe you were mad at me or something.

ORNSTEIN: I was talking. And --

VELSHI: Well, we got you back.

ORNSTEIN: Yes, good, so the question you asked, Ali, was why are people not talking about the fiscal cliff and what would happen if Mitt Romney got elected?


ORNSTEIN: And let me say, you know, I was bemused by David Brooks' logic in a recent column where he said, as John Avlon did, that the House Republicans' intransigence was is a critical part of this along with the filibusters in the Senate, and it wouldn't be any different under Obama, but under Romney, of course, they'd go along even though they've still got this right-wing challenges and primaries.

And I just think that's false.

VELSHI: Right. ORNSTEIN: I think if you've got a package like the one that's being worked out in the Senate where you could get 75 senators for it.


ORNSTEIN: A Simpson-Bowles type package, 90 percent plus of the House Republicans have signed on to the Grover Norquist no taxes pledge. There's no way half of them would violate that pledge.


ORNSTEIN: And no way the Democrats would measure up. So there's no deal under Romney. It's more likely to happen, although it's still dicey, under Obama.

VELSHI: That's sort of -- yes, and John was sort of saying the same thing.


VELSHI: Bob Pozen -- let's bring Bob in. He's a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School. He's a former chairman of MFS Investment management but he also served as the secretary of economic affairs for Mitt Romney when he was the governor of Massachusetts.

Bob, let's pick this conversation up. If Mitt Romney wins next week's election, how is he going to deal with the intransigence that comes from those members of the Republican Party that did sign -- that did sign Grover Norquist's pledge to not see taxes raised under any circumstances.

Even Mitt Romney, may reach across the aisle, compromising Mitt Romney, may not be able to penetrate that.

BOB POZEN, FORMER CHAIRMAN, MFS INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT: There are three key points there. First is whoever's elected president, I believe Congress is going over the cliff. There's not enough goodwill on either side to reach an agreement. They'll try but they won't make it.

Second of all, they will reach a compromise at the end of February because that's when we get to the point when Congress has to vote on increasing the debt ceiling. And there are enough Congress people who are scared of that vote and will not vote for an increase in the debt ceiling unless there is some fundamental reform.

And the third thing is, the key to all economic growth is productivity. And that's why I have recently written a book called "Extreme Productivity Boosts Your Results." If we don't increase productivity, all this other stuff is really a side show.

VELSHI: Yes, but you know that's an interesting point, Bob. You're having a conversation about stuff that's real and that matters. We're dealing with a Congress that's intransigent largely for political reasons. Why do we think Congress is going to behave differently? POZEN: I don't think they're going to behave differently until the end of the year because they aren't forced to. They can delay the fiscal cliff for two months. They can play some games. But they cannot delay the debt ceiling. If we default at the end of February on our debt ceiling, that's a huge disaster.


POZEN: So that's the forcing issue, and that's what I see the compromise being resolved, whoever is president.

VELSHI: Norm, we got less than a minute left in the show. Whoever becomes president while they're busy thinking about the transition if there's a transition or they're busy thinking about the inauguration and the new term, they've got to put their mind to this.

Does this become sort of headline news starting the week after the election?

ORNSTEIN: I think it becomes headline news starting the day after the election, assuming we have a resolution of the election, but I think the key here is how the markets react.

VELSHI: Right.

ORNSTEIN: We hadn't gotten much reaction leading right up to the debt limit debacle the last time which was generated deliberately by House Republican leaders.

VELSHI: Right.

ORNSTEIN: Now that you've got the business community involved and they were largely AWOL the last time we had a crisis, and if we see a substantial market reaction just as we had with TARP after House Republicans voted it down the first time in late 2008, we may get a reaction, but I think Bob is right. It may take until getting close to February.

VELSHI: OK, I hope you guys are -- I hope you're right that eventually they will get something done. But thanks to both of you. Bob Pozen and Norm Ornstein.

And Norm, I forgive you for not speaking to me earlier when I -- when I introduced you. No, it was our technical problem.

ORNSTEIN: (INAUDIBLE) is all I can say.

VELSHI: All right, guys.

ORNSTEIN: Just like Anderson Cooper.

VELSHI: There you go.

Listen, that's it for this special live edition of YOUR MONEY. Thank you for joining us. Find me on Facebook, at, tweet me me, my handle is @alivelshi. You know we've been doing it, that I read all those messages and I am ready to debate. Thank you for watching.

"CNN NEWSROOM" is up next.