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Ballot Bowl 2008

Campaign Happenings; Preparing for the Next Debate; Bill Clinton Campaigns for Obama

Aired October 04, 2008 - 14:00   ET


ED HENRY, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to CNN's BALLOT BOWL. I'm Ed Henry in Carson, California, where Governor Sarah Palin will be holding a rally in a few hours. You can see a lot of people already gathered behind me with just 31 days now until Election Day. That's right, 31 days. This is your chance to hear directly from the candidates in their own words. Sometimes it's live, sometimes it's on tape. But it's always, always unfiltered. Joining me over the course of the next two hours will be my co-anchor Jim Acosta, he's in Newport News, Virginia, where Senator Barack Obama has already been having a rally of his own. Jim, when we got these assignments I thought I'd have the better deal in southern California. It's always sunny, but it's looking like rain today Jim?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN ANCHOR: I'm sorry to hear that Ed. Actually, the sun is out here in the tidewater area of Virginia. And Barack Obama is coming to this state hopeful that he can capture the commonwealth coming up here in the November election. If a democrat is campaigning in Virginia this late into the general election campaign Ed, the democrat is doing pretty well. We just talked to David Axelrod a few moments ago, the strategist for the Obama campaign and they say they're taking nothing for granted. But feeling pretty good about where things stand right now. As you mentioned, Barack Obama did just have an event here a few moments ago. Had a big crowd here in Newport News, right on the James River in the tidewater area. He opened up a new line of attack against John McCain. Something that we're going to be seeing in the coming days heading into Tuesday's presidential debate on health care. Barack Obama calling John McCain's plan on health care radical. Let's go to the senator from Illinois right now talking about health care and John McCain's plan on that issue.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I know you've been seeing a lot of ads, you've been getting a lot of calls, you've been reading a lot about this election in the newspaper. But being here today to talk to you about health care, that's what I'm going to talk about today, the health care crisis. This isn't politics for me. This is personal. I'm thinking today about my mother. She died of ovarian cancer at the age of 53. She fought valiantly. She endured the pain and chemotherapy with grace and good humor. But I'll never forget how she spent her final months of her life. At a time when she should have been focused on getting well, at a time when she should have been taking stock of her life and taking comfort from her family, she was lying in a hospital bed fighting with her insurance company because they didn't want to cover her treatment. They claimed that her cancer was a pre-existing condition, so maybe they didn't have to pay. So I know something about the heartbreak caused not just by a loved one being sick, but by our broken health care system. I know something about the anxiety of families hanging on by a thread as premiums have doubled these past eight years. They're going into debt, more than half of all personal bankruptcies caused in part by medical bills. I know about the frustration of nearly 40 percent of small business owners who can no longer afford to insure their employees. Folks who work day and night but have to lay people off or shut their doors for good because of rising health care costs. I know the outrage we all feel about 45 million Americans who don't have health insurance. Kids who can't see a doctor when they're sick. Parents cutting their pills in half and praying for the best. Folks who wind up in the emergency room in the middle of the night because they've got nowhere else to turn.

I know this is not who we are. This is not who we are as Americans. We're not a country where young women I met should have to work the night shift after a full day of college and still not be able to pay the medical bills for her sister who's ill. That's not right. That's not who we are. America's not a country where I should be meeting a man who had to file for bankruptcy after he had a stroke because he faced nearly $200,000 in medical costs that he couldn't afford and his insurance company didn't cover. That's not right. That's not who we are. Not only is it not right, it ain't right. We aren't a country that rewards hard work and perseverance with debt and with worry. We've never been a country that lets major challenges go unsolved and unaddressed. And we are tired of watching as year after year, candidates offer up detailed health care plans with great fan fare and promise only to see them crushed under the weight of Washington politics and drug and insurance lobbying once the campaign is over. That is not who we are. That is not who we have to be. Enough is enough. It is time for us to change.


ACOSTA: So there you have it. Barack Obama not only talking about the issue of health care but also talking about the economy. We heard Ed just a few moments ago during this rally today, Barack Obama saying once again as he said yesterday in Pennsylvania, that this bailout plan, in his mind, is only the beginning. That more needs to be done for Main Street, not just Wall Street, some of the rhetoric coming out of the Obama campaign. I understand now that you have more on the bailout package that was passed and signed by the president yesterday. I should note while we're talking about President Bush, I should mention that right behind me here in the tidewater is the aircraft carrier the George H.W. Bush. A different Mr. Bush his presence being felt here in the tidewater area of Virginia.

HENRY: You're right Jim, a major moment in George W. Bush's presidency yesterday, signing that $700 billion bailout it's being watched closely obviously by our viewers all around the country. Especially here in California, we're in Carson just outside Los Angeles. Morning's "Los Angeles Times" talking about how the governor of the state Arnold Schwarzenegger is talking about needing a $7 billion loan on top of the bailout that's already out there for the whole country, a 7 billion emergency loan for the state of California to pay teachers, to pay law enforcement. That they're really in a crisis here. That's why we hear the candidates talking so much about this as you noted Barack Obama and John McCain. They both had comments obviously about this bailout bill. What was interesting is how both of them were very careful yesterday in not trying to say that this is a panacea. They both basically used the same metaphor that they just hope this stops the bleeding in the short term. Here's John McCain in Flagstaff, Arizona and here's Barack Obama in Pennsylvania.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I commend the House of Representatives for coming together to pass the economic rescue bill today. I'm glad I suspended my campaign and went back to Washington to help bring house republicans to the table. I believe that the taxpayer protections that have been added have significantly improved the bill. This rescue bill isn't perfect. It's an outrage that it's even necessary. But we have to stop the damage to our economy done by corrupt and incompetent practices on Wall Street and in Washington. The action congress took today is a tourniquet. It's not a permanent solution. Our economy I still hurting and hurting badly. Further action is needed and it shouldn't take a crisis to get this country to act. And this congress to act in a bipartisan fashion. Washington is still on the wrong track. We face a stark choice in this election, we can go backward with job-killing tax hikes, same old broken partisanship and out-of-control spending as Senator Obama would have us do, or we can bring real reform to Washington. My focus is to reform Washington and put government back on the side of working families with tax relief, modern job training, energy independence, more affordable health care and policies that get spending under control. That's how we're going to get America moving again, and that's exactly what I'm going to do.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Two things are important now -- number one, that the administration uses the authority that's been given wisely. So we have to make sure that Secretary Paulson and others are structuring the purchase of these -- the purchase of these troubled assets in a way that protects taxpayers. That's very important. The second thing we have to do is we've got to make sure that homeowners are benefiting. The treasurer has authority to work with the modification of mortgages to prevent foreclosure. He's supposed to come up with plans to do that. I want those plans on tap quick so that we start getting some relief to homeowners out in neighborhoods. And the final thing is understanding that even if this rescue package works exactly as it should, it's only the beginning, it's not the end because we still have 150,000 new people who have lost their jobs this month. 750,000 since the beginning of this year. We still have a health care system that's broken. We're still overly reliant on oil from the middle east. And so we've still got these structural problems, the fundamentals of the economy aren't sound and we're going to have to do a lot of work moving forward. So if we can stop the bleeding with this package, implement it effectively and then move forward to deal with the broader problems on Main Street, then hopefully we can start getting our economy back on track.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP) HENRY: Now those comments the cap to an extraordinary week in American politics. The fight back and forth over this bailout bill started on Monday obviously when the House failed to pass it. Things were sort of in chaos on Capitol Hill. John McCain was thinking a lot of political capital on that bailout bill. He had suspended his campaign, went back to Washington. Was lobbying his fellow republicans who initially were not on board. By Wednesday the senate was voting on it and both Barack Obama and John McCain came off the campaign trail to vote. They both voted for it in the senate but you could tell in those comments, they were both being very careful Jim, because they both realize that right now the public is still deeply skeptical of this bailout package, it's largely viewed as a bailout of fat cats on Wall Street. Still a lot of concerns and questions about whether it's really going to help people on Main Street. Jim?

ACOSTA: That is right Ed.

"The New York Times" reporting this morning on this bailout plan, pointing out that Henry Paulson, the treasury secretary, has brought along former Goldman Sachs executives to help him orchestrate just how this bailout plan is going to That information is going to raise concerns out in the general public about how this bailout plan is going to be implemented. Obviously that kind of information is going to raise concerns out in the general public about exactly what is going on with this bailout package. But the bailout plan is not the only topic out on the campaign trail for Barack Obama and John McCain. The vice presidential debate from Thursday, who would have thought that a vice presidential debate would garner this much attention from the general public, but it certainly has. It had a lot of people watching on Thursday night. People anxious to see just how Joe Biden and Sarah Palin handled one another. By most estimates, both of those candidates did well in Thursday night's exchange. But if these candidates out there, Barack Obama and John McCain, can agree on one thing, it is that they're running mates won Thursday night's debate. Here is a sample of what Barack Obama and John McCain had to say about what happened on Thursday night.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I was so proud of Joe. America, I think, saw clearly why I felt he'd be such a great vice president, especially during these difficult, challenging times. So we are very, very proud of Joe. He is going to be outstanding. You know, there are a lot of noteworthy moments in that debate last night. But there's one that sticks out this morning. It's when Senator Palin said to Joe Biden, or Governor Palin said to Joe Biden, that our plan to get our economy out of the ditch was somehow a job- killing plan. That's what she said. I wonder if she turned on the news this morning, because it was just reported that America has experienced its ninth straight month of job loss.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: How about Sarah Palin last night, huh? How about her? How about the job she did? Come here. Look at this. Viva la Barracuda. Thank you. You know, I almost felt a little sorry last night for my old friend, Joe Biden. She did a magnificent job and she's the news for the big spending smooth talking me-first country second crowd in Washington and Wall Street that we've got a message. We've got a message, Sarah Palin and I, and that's change is coming, change is coming to Washington and to Wall Street.


ACOSTA: And we want to remind our viewers that coming up on Tuesday night on CNN, you can watch the next presidential debate, yes, there is another debate coming up on Tuesday night. And you'll be able to watch it right here on CNN. Barack Obama and John McCain will go at it once again in a town hall format, which should be very interesting to watch. I'll toss it back to my colleague Ed, who I understand has a guest with him.

HENRY: That's right, Jim. Sarah Palin, you can hear the crowd gathering already. She's going to be appearing at this rally here in Carson, California shortly. And appearing her will be the actor, Jon Voight. A lot of people talking about that debate, nearly 70 million people watching the debate. How do you think Sarah Palin did?

JON VOIGHT, ACTOR: She was wonderful in the debate. My deepest concern, you know. Let me just say -- can I say something honestly about the debate? The thing that concerned me about the debate, all these people, 70 to 80 million people watching this debate, and I found so many things that I found Joe Biden said that were - that I recognized as out-right lies. So I'm saying, isn't anybody on this? And of course, we're talking to CNN and I know where you guys stand. And I'm saying, guys, we've got to not have a partisan press. We've got to have real journalism here. And it's a sad event for me to witness this.

HENRY: Let me ask you, you mentioned republicans are pointing out that there were a lot of things that Joe Biden said that were not true. One thing that Sarah Palin stressed was that Barack Obama has voted 94 times to raise taxes. When you peel that back that's not exactly true.

VOIGHT: Of course, you're going to give me that side of it.

HENRY: I want to give you --

VOIGHT: Absolutely the truth. But the larger things for me which struck me was this whole thing -- the thing about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and talking about how the democrats -- he's saying that the democrats wanted regulations. The democrats did not want regulations. That was the whole thing about this big fight between Barney Franks and Bill O'Reilly yesterday.

HENRY: Let me ask you, you mentioned the economy, an important issue, without going back and forth. Let's just talk broadly. How do you think the economy, the financial crisis is affecting the campaign trail. (INAUDIBLE) Barack Obama.

VOIGHT: Let me just say this, look, if you checked Barack Obama -- I'm going to just say this and it'll get rid of it. Check Barack Obama's record, what he did in the -- with the William Ayers, with his alliance with Alinsky, Sol Alinsky, tactics and philosophy. With his work with ACORN, know all that stuff before you ask a question like that. Let's get off this for a second and let's just talk about something else because after all I'm an actor here, I have these -- we're going to have a nice little cheerleading section for Sarah, who I'm crazy about. And I'm not really the fellow that should be talking about this. But the real journalists should be getting into this thing.

HENRY: The issue number one for Americans right now is the economy. That's why I asked about it. Last thing, on Tuesday, what does John McCain need to say in the second presidential debate? What do you expect him to do?

VOIGHT: You see, you're asking me all these questions. You think that I'm the fellow that I should be answering these kinds of questions?

HENRY: What are you doing here with Sarah Palin then? I thought you were ready.

VOIGHT: I'm ready to talk to you. But let me just say this, John McCain will handle himself just fine, just as Sarah Palin handled herself just fine. And it's not for me to coach them. But I'll be tuning in and I'll be rooting for my fellow. But a lot of this stuff has to be on the board. What I would like to see done is that these things are handled in the press, that the press put partisanship aside. It's become a partisan press. And this is almost criminal because it doesn't allow people to make an informed vote.

HENRY: Thank you for your opinions. We appreciate it Jon Voight. You heard the take from Jon Voight, he clearly thinks that Sarah Palin did very well in that vice presidential debate, thank you sir. But next on BALLOT BOWL, our next plight is to get with the viewers all around the country, what did they think? We're going to be checking in with our senior political analyst Bill Schneider. He's going to give us an idea of what Americans all across the country thought about the debate.


GOV. SARAH PALIN, (R) VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, I think a good barometer here, is when you try to figure out, has this been a good time or a bad time in America's economy, is go to a kid's soccer game on Saturday and turn to any parent there on the sideline and ask them, how are you feeling about the economy? And I'll betcha, you're going to hear some fear in that parent's voice. Fear regarding the few investments that some of us have in the stock market, did we just take a major hit with those investments? Fear about how are we going to afford to send our kids to college, a fear as small business owners, perhaps how we're going to borrow any money to increase inventory or hire more people.

SEN. JOE BIDEN, (D) VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It was two Mondays ago John McCain said at 9:00 in the morning that the fundamentals of the economy were strong. Two weeks before that, he said, we've made great economic progress under George Bush's policies. 9:00, the economy was strong. 11:00 that same day two Mondays ago, John McCain said we have an economic crisis. That doesn't make John McCain a bad guy but it does point out he's out of touch. The folks on the sidelines knew that two months ago.


HENRY: Now welcome back to CNN's BALLOT BOWL. I'm Ed Henry in Carson, California. We're expecting Governor Sarah Palin who you saw a moment ago there, will be here at a rally this afternoon. A lot of supporters of the McCain Palin ticket already gathering behind me, you can hear some of them. Nearly 70 million people watched that first and only vice presidential debate this past Thursday night, many of them on CNN right here. And I want to bring in our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider, who's been digging into the numbers, taking a close look and going behind the numbers to see what did Americans all across the country think about this debate. Bill, bottom line, who do they think won the debate?

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Ed, we interviewed people immediately after the debate, before the spin, before the media analysis, before the influence of other people telling people who they thought won, so immediately after the debate, there was one contest between Biden and Palin that was the one on the stage. Who did the better job in the debate? Was it Biden or Palin. The answer? 51 percent said Joe Biden. 36 percent said Sarah Palin. So the answer was, viewers, before they got anyone's influence, thought Joe Biden won the debate. But there was also a second contest. It was Sarah Palin versus expected. Did she do better than expected or worse than expected? We asked that, too. And the viewers, 84 percent of them thought Sarah Palin did better than expected. So that one she won. She did better than she was expected to do, but not better than Joe Biden. Ed?

HENRY: Interesting, Bill. Obviously expectations play a big part in all of these polls, all the analysis. She had low expectations going in. And as you say, it seemed like the public felt she did better than expected. What about the issue though of qualifications to be vice president? We've heard all these charges and countercharges between the campaigns about whether Sarah Palin really is qualified to be vice president and to be a heartbeat away from the presidency. You've been looking at the numbers. What are the American people saying?

SCHNEIDER: Well, they had doubts about Sarah Palin going in and they had doubts coming out, not so many doubts about Joe Biden. When we asked people, do you think Joe Biden is qualified to serve as president? The word here is president. He's running for vice president. But the constitution says the qualifications for vice president shall be the same as those for president. So it's relevant to say is he qualified to be president? 87 percent of the debate- watchers thought Joe Biden is indeed qualified to be president. What about Sarah Palin? Not so much. A majority of people immediately after the debate, 53 percent said she is really not qualified to be president of the United States. And that number really did not change very much during the course of the debate. By the way, they found her more likable than Joe Biden. And on many grounds, they liked her because they thought she was in touch with ordinary Americans, but in the end, they were not impressed with her qualifications to serve as president if that need should arise. Ed?

HENRY: Very interesting, Bill. Obviously we always talk though about how people tend to vote about the top of the ticket, what they think about the presidential candidates, not the vice presidential candidates. You're already in Nashville, Tennessee. On Tuesday night on CNN, we'll be seeing the second of the presidential debates, the second of three presidential debates. Thank you for joining us from there. You're already there on the scene. People will be enjoying your coverage all this coming week. And tonight, if you have not yet seen this vice presidential debate that Bill was just analyzing, you get a chance to see it again tonight on CNN, 9:00 p.m. eastern time. John King our chief national correspondent and the rest of the best political team on television will be showing you the debate, picking it apart, going through all of the key analysis. You're not going to want to miss that.

When we come back on BALLOT BOWL, you'll also going to get a chance once again to hear from both presidential candidates unfiltered in their own words. Barack Obama and John McCain on issue number one, the economy.


ACOSTA: Welcome back to BALLOT BOWL '08. I'm Jim Acosta in Newport News, Virginia. Ironically standing in front of yes the aircraft carrier "George H.W. Bush," we're just a few feet from where Barack Obama held a rally here in the tidewater area of Virginia earlier today. And just as President George H.W. Bush had to deal with the economy and how that issued really crippled him in his run for reelection against Bill Clinton. Barack Obama is seizing on this issue to try to win this election in the fall against John McCain. And yesterday in Abington, Pennsylvania we were following the Obama campaign as Barack Obama was standing in the middle of a high school football field in that very influential section of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, right outside Philadelphia, key swing area of that state. And Barack Obama was using the economy as a political football to essentially launch a new blitz of attacks on John McCain and Sarah Palin on the issue of the economy. Here's Barack Obama from yesterday in Abington, Pennsylvania.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Despite my opponent's best efforts to make you think otherwise, this failed philosophy is what John McCain has embraced for the last 26 years in Washington. He's now going around saying; I'm going to crack down on Wall Street. I'm going to really get tough on these folks. But the truth is, for 26 years in Washington, he's been saying I'm all for deregulation. For 26 years, he's said, the market is always king. For 26 years, he has said that we should cut taxes for those at the top. He hasn't been getting tough on CEO's. He hasn't been getting tough on Wall Street. So suddenly a crisis comes and the polls change and suddenly he's out there talking like Jesse Jackson. Come on. It shows how out of touch he really is. How else could he offer $200 billion in tax cuts for big corporations at a time like this? If you look at his proposals, not his rhetoric but his proposals, he is proposing $200 billion more in tax cuts for the wealthiest corporations out there. How else if he wasn't out of touch, could he propose giving the average fortune 500 CEO a $700,000 tax cut at a time when millions of Americans -- when you are struggling to pay your bills? How else could he come up with an economic plan that leaves out more than 100 million middle class taxpayers from any relief whatsoever? I'm not sure he doesn't care. I just don't think he gets it. Well, I do get it. And I think you get it. And that's why we're going to win this election so that Washington finally gets it.


HENRY: Barack Obama beating the economy like a drum there in Abington, Pennsylvania knowing all too well that Americans vote with their pocketbooks and depending on how the economy is doing, that can very much tell how the election could play out in a general election campaign in a presidential race. Coming up on "Ballot Bowl" here on CNN, you're going to hear from the vice presidential candidates, not at the debate, but post -debate. On Friday we heard from both Joe Biden and Sarah Palin out on the campaign trail. But one of these two candidates was sending off a son to Iraq yesterday. You will hear about that coming up after break. This is "Ballot Bowl" on CNN.


HENRY: Welcome back to "Ballot Bowl" on CNN. I'm Ed Henry in Carson, California, where Governor Sarah Palin will be having a rally in a couple of hours. There are a lot of people already gathered behind me cheering her on. A lot of them coming up to us saying they thought she did a great job in the first and only vice presidential debate this past Thursday evening. Expectations very low going into that debate, just as they were before her republican national convention speech, likewise there, her supporters coming out of the convention felt like she knocked it out of the park. It was interesting, after the debate, she went to speak to some supporters. She talked about what it was like to debate Joe Biden. She was speaking to the supporters in St. Louis and she also touted the republican ticket as a team of mavericks.


SARAH PALIN, VICE-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (R): They had told me that Senator Biden was a very skilled debater and now I know what they meant. He was tough, but...


PALIN: Well, now I know what they meant, though. He did his very, very best to convince all of us that two of the most liberal members of the senate belong in the White House, but that was a tough sell. And especially in this time of crisis in our country, that would have been a tough sell. But as I explained to Senator Biden, John McCain is the only man in this race who will solve our economic problems and not exploit them.


PALIN: John McCain is the maverick who has always put his country first. 22 years wearing his country's uniform, 5 1/2 years as a P.O.W., he knows what it takes to overcome challenges. He's the only man in this race who has a plan that will put our economy back on track and he's going to do it for you. He's going to get rid of the greed and the corruption on Wall Street and he's going to help out main street. You notice, too, that John McCain is the only man in this race who talks about the wars in America is in the midst of fighting and John McCain is the only one not afraid to use the word "victory." America, you know. You know, especially here in St. Louis, that is the kind of leadership that we need today. We need that in Washington, and that's the kind of man that we need as our next commander in chief.

From now until Election Day, you're going to hear our opponents still going on and on about how they have plans to fight for you, but you know that there is only one man in this campaign who has ever really fought for you. And that man has courage. He has the courage, he has the conviction, he has the skill to go on fighting for you. And that man is John McCain.


HENRY: Now, that was Sarah Palin in St. Louis after the first and only vice presidential debate this week, sounding very confident about her performance. But I can tell you, yesterday with another crowd of supporters in Colorado and then she was in Texas, she was saying that things were tough, it was tense that she wanted to take a deep breath after that debate. 90 minutes, mano-a-mano with Joe Biden. It was obviously tough for someone who's relatively new in terms of the national stage. And as I bring in my colleague, Jim Acosta, he's in Newport News, Virginia. Much different, a big contrast from Joe Biden. He's been on the national stage for 35, 36 years now, Jim.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDANT: That's right. And, Ed, as you know, Sarah Palin has Jon Voight's seal of approval so it is good that she has that. Joe Biden, you're right, is a creature of Washington. Sometimes a creature of YouTube, as we know, he does shoot from the lip from time to time. But Joe Biden from all accounts show a lot of restraint during Thursday's presidential debate. He wasn't really out bragging about his performance on Friday. He was really doing something decidedly non-political. He was seeing his son off, Beau Biden, who is in the army national guard in Delaware. He was seeing his son off to Iraq at a ceremony yesterday, Joe Biden talked about this and he even relayed some remarks that his son gave to him- some advice that his son gave to him before Joe Biden went out there. Apparently Beau Biden said to his father, dad, keep it short, we're in formation. So here is Joe Biden yesterday talking to the army national guard in Delaware.

(BEING VIDEO CLIP) JOE BIDEN, VICE-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (D): I've come here many times before as a Delawarean, as a United States senator. But today, I come as you prepare to deploy as a father, a father who got some sage advice from his son this morning. Dad, keep it short, we're in formation. I always listen to my general. So let me simply say, like all of the family members that are here today gathered on this green, my heart is full of love and pride. My wife, Jill, and I and our whole family, like every family member here, have hearts full of love and pride.

We take comfort in the knowledge that you are the best-trained, best-prepared group of citizen soldiers our country and this state has ever sent into harm's way. You have a proud tradition in this guard unit, in this guard. of tracing the history of the guard back over 350 years. Never before has a Delaware guard unit been deployed that is better qualified. You are the best demonstration of both our nation's greatness and equally as importantly, our people's goodness. As you serve and look out for your brothers and sisters in arms, your families here at home, I promise you, will look out for one another. So let me simply say, thank you. Thank you for answering the call of your country. Thank you for doing what brave women and men have always done in uniform and always do. So stand strong, stand together, serve honorably, come home to your families that love you. May God bless you and may he protect you.


HENRY: So there you have it, Joe Biden talking at a ceremony yesterday in front of the army national guard there in his home state, seeing his son off to Iraq who's been deployed with that unit there in Delaware. If you like watching Joe Biden and Sarah Palin mixing it up, you don't want to miss what is on CNN later tonight at 9:00 eastern. We'll have a replay of the vice presidential debate, a debate replay with our very own John King who will go over the debate that was held on Thursday night and offer some insights and analysis on that match-up between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin. That's coming up tonight at 9:00 eastern on CNN.

And coming up after a break here on "Ballot Bowl" on CNN, you're going to want to stay tuned because we're going to have more on the financial mess and the candidates mixing it up over who's to blame for this meltdown on Wall Street. That's coming up after a break. This is "Ballot Bowl" on CNN.


HENRY: Welcome back to CNN's "Ballot Bowl." I'm Ed Henry in Carson, California. We're expecting Governor Sarah Palin here after a big week for her, the first and only vice presidential debate. She's going to be addressing a rally here in California. This is also a big, big week on the economy, on the financial crisis. That $700 billion bailout bill, what a wild week it was. And it started for John McCain on Monday in Columbus, Ohio. He had a lot riding for the fate of this bail out bill. He had suspended his campaign last weekend to say he wanted to go back to Washington, help push this through. And on Monday, his first event when he got back on the trail was in Columbus and he was talking very confident, sounded very confident about the bill passing later that day in the House of Representatives. So much so that he was even mocking the democrat, Barack Obama.


JOHN McCAIN, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (R): When a financial crisis threaten the economic security of all Americans, I laid out principles to protect hard-working Americans. And I believe that inaction was not an option. I put my campaign on hold for a couple of days last week to fight for


MCCAIN: I put it on hold last week to fight for a rescue plan that puts you and your economic security and your family and working Americans first. That's why I want them to be first. I fought for a plan that protected taxpayers, homeowners, consumers and small business owners. I went to Washington last week to make sure that the taxpayers of Ohio and across this great country were not left footing the bill for mistakes made in Wall Street and evil and greed in Washington. You know, remarkably some people have criticized my decision to put my country first, but I'll never be a president who sits on the sidelines when this country faces a crisis. I'll never do that.


MCCAIN: I know that many of you have noticed it's not my style to simply phone it in. I'm a Teddy Roosevelt republican. I believe our leaders belong in the arena, in the arena when our country faces a challenge, not on the road in a campaign. I've never been afraid of stepping in to solve problems for the American people, and I'm not going to stop now. You know, it's a matter of record, Senator Obama took a very different approach to the crisis our country faced. At first he didn't want to get involved. And then he was monitoring the situation. That's not leadership. That's watching from the sidelines.


HENRY: Now John McCain paid a little bit of a political price after those comments. Shortly thereafter the House of Representatives actually sunk, briefly, the bailout bill. It went down against the odds, left a lot of republican and democratic leaders embarrassed about not getting the votes through. But over the course of the week, it finally came back and the Senate passed, the United States Senate Wednesday evening with votes of support from both John McCain and Barack Obama and then of course passed yesterday in the house, finally and was signed into law by President Bush. The outcome, actually the impact of this bailout bill, how it will affect the U.S. Economy, though, still hanging in the balance.

When we come back, we're going to shift gears a little bit and talk about Bill Clinton, the former President of the United States. He was back on the campaign trail this week in the key state of Florida. Does he still have any hard feelings about that tough democratic primary season or is he ready to help Barack Obama win the white house? We'll find out after this break.


WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITCAL ANALYST: I'm Bill Schneider in Nashville for CNN "Ballot Bowl." What credentials does Barack Obama have for managing the economy? Bill Clinton answered that question in Florida last week. Clinton's answer? He has a lot of "my" people. Let's listen.


BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Here's why you ought to be for Barack Obama. Number one, he's got the right philosophy. He knows you have to grow an economy from the ground up, not from the top down. Number two; he's got better answers, better answers for the economy, for energy, for health care, for education. He knows what it will take to get this country back on track. I have carefully read everything these candidates have put out. And I'm telling you, it matters because the history is this -- notwithstanding what people think about us politicians, the truth is virtually every person elected president does his and someday I hope, her, very best - very best. Every president does his very best to keep the commitments made in the campaign. You need to know what they stand for. Obama's answers are better. Number three; he's got better understanding, better advisers and better instincts on this economic stuff. We just -- all of us have been involved and been through a very harrowing period these last few days, as you know. When all this happened, it was a matter that was unprecedented in the lifetimes of the people who were dealing with it. What did Barack Obama do? First of all, he got his advisers on the phone. Then he called all mine, then he called some more and you know what he said? Tell me what the problem is and how to fix it and don't bother me with the politics. Let's do the right thing and we'll sell to it America. He's got a better philosophy. He's got better answers. He's got a better understanding and better advisers on these complex economic matters. He's got a better vice presidential partner.


SCHNEIDER: Our next play in the "Ballot Bowl," more of the candidates' unfiltered talking about the passage of that big financial bailout bill. Stay tuned.