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American Morning

Stock Futures Trading Limited; Candidates Sharpens Attacks; McCain Launches Ad Attacking Obama's Readiness; Obama Visits Ailing Grandmother; Billionaire Abandon Attempt to Break a Sailing Record? A Look at the Electoral Map

Aired October 24, 2008 - 07:00   ET


KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: 7:00 right on the nose here on the East Coast. Breaking right now, stocks around the world taking staggering losses. In fact Dow futures down 550 points in pre-market trading.
Meantime, there are trading restrictions now in effect just minutes ago because of the huge drop in both the Dow and the S&P 500. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei lost almost 10 percent. It comes a day after former Fed chief Alan Greenspan said the U.S. was "in the midst of a credit tsunami."

Also happening now, OPEC says it's cutting oil production by 1.5 million barrels per day. Been looking for ways to curb the historic drop in oil prices. This morning crude down more than $3 a barrel.

And proof that mind over matter really does work. Doctors, half of doctors in a survey said they regularly treat patients with placebos and many improve simply because they expect to. That raises some ethical questions, of course, since the American Medical Association recommends that doctors be honest with their patients. To think they would just do that without the recommendation.

Also the World Series is tied in a game apiece. The Tampa Bay Rays beating the Philadelphia Phillies, 4-2 in game two. The Rays came up big with lots of small balls scoring runs on two ground balls and a squeeze, a safety squeeze. The series goes to Philly for game three tomorrow.

Well, after months and months of campaigning, we're now inside 11 days until Election Day and the clock is winding down. Some sharp words on the campaign trail from all four candidates on both major tickets. Let's listen.


SEN. JOE BIDEN (D), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If it looks like a duck, if it quacks like a duck, it's a duck. Well, ladies and gentlemen, John McCain is quacking like George Bush. Sarah Palin is quacking like George Bush.

GOV. SARAH PALIN (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Biden said that he would be honored to run on the ticket with McCain because that way the country would be better off if McCain were elected. Now at least Joe and I have found some common ground finally. SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: We need to win Florida on November 4th and with your help we're going to win Florida. We're going to win.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I know some of you are cynical out there. I know many of you are fed up with politics. I understand you're disappointed, even angry with your leaders. You got every right to be.

But despite all this, I ask of you what's been asked of Americans throughout our history. I ask that you believe. Believe in yourself. Believe in each other. Believe in the future we can build together.


ROBERTS: Now we are everywhere where the election could be decided. CNN has got reporters covering the battleground states coast-to-coast. Today voters in those key swing states could start seeing a brand new attack ad on Barack Obama. The McCain campaign using Joe Biden's own words against the Democratic ticket to turn the focus back on foreign policy.


NARRATOR: Listen to Joe Biden talking about what electing Barack Obama will mean.

SEN. JOE BIDEN (D), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Mark my words, it will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama. The world is looking. We're going to have an international crisis to test the mettle of this guy. I guarantee you it's going to happen.

NARRATOR: It doesn't have to happen. Vote McCain.


ROBERTS: Our Dana Bash now is standing by live in Denver. Dana, you know, you never want to be the running mate who gives the other party a talking point here. Joe Biden seems to have done that. Where exactly is this ad airing?

DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, the McCain campaign says that it's going to air in Nevada, a dozen battleground states. That they're going to rotate this into the ad that they already have up. But it's a good question because, you know, we have learned especially with controversial ads like this, you never really know if they're going to air them or if they're just going to rely on us to air these ads for them.

ROBERTS: Certainly not. But you know with so much focus on the economy, with this looking like it's going to be another disastrous day on Wall Street as well, people wondering if they can put food on the table, whether or not they are going to hang on to their jobs, can this strategy work?

BASH: We know -- look, I mean, the reality is that they understand inside the McCain campaign that the economy is dominating. But they think, if, if, if they can change the conversation like they have this morning with you and me back to national security, back to Barack Obama's experience then it's a political no brainer.

The minute that Joe Biden said this last weekend, McCain campaign aides said that they thought that this was a gift for them. Why? Because they said Joe Biden is making the argument that McCain has been trying to make in various different forms pretty unsuccessfully if you believe the polls for months.

And so, what they say is look, if we can make this ad, if we can make an impact with this ad, and we can move even just a few undecided voters or those in battleground states like this one who aren't thinking they're going to vote for Obama but they're not quite sure, if they can give them pause, then it's certainly worth trying.

ROBERTS: Things still pretty close there in Colorado, within four or five points?

BASH: That's right. I mean, it's really neck and neck here in Colorado. And as you well know, Colorado has been at least for the past dozen years or so, this has been a red state. You and I covered George Bush. We didn't set foot in this state. He didn't campaign here. But John McCain is really fighting for his life in this state and that's one of the reasons why he's here and he is going to continue to stay here and in other red states where he's playing pretty hard defense.

ROBERTS: All right. Dana Bash for us this morning from Denver. Dana, thanks so much for that.

CHETRY: Well, right now, Barack Obama is far away from the campaign trail. He's at the side of his sick grandmother in Hawaii.

Suzanne Malveaux joins us live on the phone this morning from Honolulu with more on what Barack Obama is doing on his small break off the campaign trail.

Hey, Suzanne.

ON THE PHONE: SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning, Kiran. Obama arrived here in Honolulu. It's about 7:25 local time and he went directly to his grandmother's house. We got a sense of their relationship and doing a documentary with the Obamas a couple of months ago, and she really is the rock of the family.

She's 85 years old. Her name is Madelyn Dunham. And since Obama, when he was young, he was abandoned by his father and he was away from his mother for long stretches. It really was his grandparents who largely raised him here in Honolulu as a teenager, and, you know, they grew up in a modest apartment building. She still lives there and that's where he is visiting today.

And I wanted -- I want you to get a sense of really what she means. This is a sound from him accepting the Democratic nomination and what he said about her and then, his sister as well, Maya, how she explains their relationship and how they grew up.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you to my grandmother who helped raise me and is sitting in Hawaii somewhere right now because she can't travel, but who poured everything she had into me and who helped to make me the man I am today. Tonight is for her.

MAYA SOETORO, BARACK OBAMA'S SISTER: A relative lives in the same apartment that she's been renting for nearly 40 years, 950 square feet. That is our family estate. When he becomes president, I hope they put a little, you know, historical plaque up there.


CHETRY: That was, again, his sister Maya. When is Senator Obama expected back on the campaign trail, Suzanne?

MALVEAUX: Well, he's going to be here today. But tomorrow is when he leaves. And he's going to be hitting the campaign trail hard, as you can imagine. He's going to be going to three western states that all went to President Bush back in 2004. He's heading to Nevada. He's heading to Colorado.

And, of course, Michelle has stepped in today. She's in Ohio making at least two different stops. So the campaign will continue in earnest. But you know, at the same time, Barack Obama very close with grandmother and he certainly wants to see her during this critical time.

CHETRY: Suzanne Malveaux for us in Honolulu by phone this morning. Thanks.

ROBERTS: Well it may come as no surprise this year's election will be the most expensive in history. But it's not just Barack Obama's massive war chest. Here's more on that in an "AM EXTRA."

The nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, our friends predicts that this year's election will cost $5.3 billion. That includes both of the presidential campaigns and all the congressional contests. The presidential battle alone, the price tag close to $2.4 billion. Overall campaign spending is on track to double the amount raised in 2004 and triple the year 2000.

Of course, the big payoff happens in just 11 days. Watch history unfold with the best political team on television. November 4th, election night in America, right here on CNN.

CHETRY: And breaking news from Wall Street. Dow futures falling 550 points. We're going to find out what's going on today and what you need to know for your money.

It's eight minutes after the hour.

CHETRY: Taxi cab confessions. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Most of the people that said Obama, Obama is the one.



CHETRY: Zain Verjee hits the streets of the nation's capital to find out what cabbies are hearing about the campaign.


VERJEE: What should the taxi drivers tell the candidates?


CHETRY: You're watching the "Most News in the Morning."


ROBERTS: Eleven minutes after the hour. We got breaking news on the economic front. Christine Romans "Minding Your Business" this morning and things not looking good.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: No. We have -- it's called limit down and that's when S&P futures and Dow futures are locked as low as the exchanges will let them go.

The Dow down about 550 points. It can't go any lower now until the market opens at 9:30 Eastern time. So down 550 points for the Dow.

Sometimes every now and then, you look it's down 548. So that means it's bouncing up a little bit. So it doesn't mean they've closed the futures markets. It just means they don't allow them to fall any more. And it's called locked limit down. And that's a sign of an awful lot of selling in those futures contracts and that selling coming on the heels of big losses overseas.

The Nikkei down more than nine percent. The Nikkei now gosh, major, major declines there. They're looking at major Asian companies that have been warning about their earnings or reporting weak results over in the U.K. We have the British economy actually shrinking for the first time in 16 years. And keep in mind, when you have economies shrinking especially big economies like the U.K., it sparks those fears of a global recession.

What's it going to look like? How long is it going to last? When does it start? Has it already started? What does it mean for you, for me, for companies, for our jobs and for our investments? So that's why futures are so unnerved this morning.

ROBERTS: Lakshman Achuthan, who joins us live here this morning, thinks that we've been in a global recession for a while now. ROMANS: Yes. And he's not alone. I mean, I think about 70 percent of economists say that something has already started here. We might not know until that's officially declared after it's done.

But you have two things here. You have a lack of confidence in the credit markets, and you also have this economy that is very weak that people are really starting to feel. We've seen the layoffs again and again.

You know, my advice for today is there's no reason for anybody to panic after we've already seen a 30 some percent decline in stocks. I mean, this is something to sit back and watch and we'll see if there's some buying that mitigates these losses later on.

ROBERTS: Fingers crossed.

ROMANS: That's right.

ROBERTS: Christine, thanks for that.

Just 11 days now until Election Day. Eleven days to win over voters in the remaining battleground states. But which ones are still in play? The magic map tells the story coming up.

And live from a racing yacht in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. As storms rage around him, billionaire Richard Branson calls into AMERICAN MORNING and he could have a major announcement today. Will he have to abandon his attempt to break a sailing record?

You're watching the "Most News in the Morning."


ROBERTS: Sixteen and a half minutes after the hour. This just in to CNN. Breaking news about billionaire Richard Branson's attempt to sail across the Atlantic in record time. He joins us now via satellite phone live from his racing yacht out, the Virgin Money, out there in the Atlantic Ocean.

Sir Richard, you've been at this for a couple of days now. What's the status of your attempt to break the record?

VOICE OF RICHARD BRANSON, LIVE FROM YACHT IN ATLANTIC OCEAN: Probably not good. When I spoke with you yesterday, I mentioned that we were encountering 40-foot waves and four (INAUDIBLE). And today we had a monster wave hit us back -- hit us from behind and it took one of our life rafts. And fortunately, everybody was harnessed in and so nobody went with it.

And then the storm blew out at sea and it ripped the main sail. And what we've been trying to do is mend the main sail. We've got the most fantastic sailors on board (INAUDIBLE) anything but they haven't been out to mend part of the main sail. So finally, we decided to abandon it on this occasion and just fight another day.

ROBERTS: Oh, my goodness. That's too bad. Yes, you were trying to break the record which was set back in 2003 of six days, 17 hours and 52 minutes.

So where will you head now? Will you turn south? Will you turn back? Where will you go?

BRANSON: We're heading right to the Bermuda Triangle as we speak. And we're heading out to Saint George's in Bermuda.


BRANSON: So we'll be there I think about 5:00 tonight.

ROBERTS: All right.

BRANSON: And then get the boat mended. If we can get away, again, with this season which ends in about two, three weeks time we'll do it. If not, we'll get the boat ready for another attempt in the spring of next year. I mean, we've (INAUDIBLE).


BRANSON: Lancelot, you know, we got fantastic sailors on board. That means we got people like Mike Sanderson who has been (INAUDIBLE) British America.

ROBERTS: Correct.

BRANSON: That means we got three gold medals for Great Britain in the Olympics.


BRANSON: So, they've done -- they've done the best they can in pretty horrendous circumstances.

ROBERTS: Yes. And Sanderson, the one who --

BRANSON: We call him Lancelot.

ROBERTS: Right. Sanderson, of course, the one who set the record back in 2003.

Well, Sir Richard, thanks for being with us. I'm sorry that it didn't work out this time. Maybe next time. And certainly that boat knows its way to Bermuda. It won the Newport to Bermuda race. It's first outing.

Good luck next time. And stay safe.

As you know, the race --

All right. Good to talk to you.

As you know, the race to the White House runs straight through the battleground states but which ones are really still in play? We'll break it down for you at the magic map. The last of the battleground states. Now 19 minutes after the hour.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's get right to the mega map. Great! OK, one thing we're going to look at is, we want to look at Pennsylvania. Let's have a look at that.

Have a really good look at Harrisburg. Getting really close to that. Fantastic. Let's go back a little bit. Back a little bit more. Back a little bit more.

And let's go over to Idaho. Let's take a look at that. Let's take a really close look at it. And really, really close. Really, really close. Excellent.

Let's go back to the map. Now the country can be moved up and down like so. Also, don't forget we can also shrink it so you put it in your pocket if you need to.


ROBERTS: Oh, well, we don't quite have a mega wall that "Saturday Night Live" does. And frankly, I think they're crossing the line a little bit here. But you know, we can also shrink this and put it in our pocket if we want.

Hey, we want to tell you a little bit about where we are with some of the latest polling and where we are with the electoral college map. We will take a close look at Pennsylvania. Let's bring it out. Let's bring it out here.

Take a look at the latest polls there. Here we go.

Senator Obama leading John McCain 10 points there in the poll of polls between October 16th and 20th. That's the story in the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll. Ten points now. That figure was 13. But Senator Obama still with a comfortable lead there.

Latest data comes to us from the state of Ohio here and, of course, they had some early voting there in Westchester. Latest poll of polls here in the state of Ohio. Senator Obama now with a seven- point lead there. That's up three points from our last survey which was just a couple of days ago.

Also got some numbers here for Virginia as well. Let's take a look at that. 51-43. It's a little less than Senator Obama was before. He was 10 points out. Now, he's only eight points out.

Let's take a look also at Florida here. Down in the Sunshine State. Latest polling has got Senator Obama still with a three-point lead there.

So what does it all mean for the electoral map? Let's go there and we'll take a quick look. All right.

So John McCain needs to win all of the states that were in the red column in 2004. Currently, Barack Obama with 277 electoral college votes to John McCain's 174. So he needs to turn Ohio red. He's got to put North Carolina back in the red column as well as Florida, Missouri, Colorado and Nevada. And that still only gets him to 261. So what does he have to do from there?

All he's got to try to pull back a state from Senator Obama. If he pulls back say, Pennsylvania, put that in the win column, that takes him over the line with 282 electoral college votes. If he pulls back the state of Virginia with 13 electoral college votes, that gets him over the line as well.

But those two states, according to our latest polls may be gone. So he's got to go for an alternate strategy. If he pulls back New Mexico let's say out there on the west, that brings him within four. If he could turn back New Hampshire, that would put him right on the line, 270.

So a big strategy here for John McCain to try to win back those states. But at the moment, they're all looking like this. They're all looking blue. If the election were to be held today, those states with the exception of Missouri, would all go blue.

Colorado just wants to be a little finicky there this morning, and that would give Senator Obama 353 electoral college votes. That would be an absolute landslide. Not to say that that's going to happen, but that's where the projections are at this very moment based on the latest polls -- Kiran.

CHETRY: Love your magic wall. It's still my favorite one. Thanks, John.

Well, the "Time" magazine columnist who just scored an exclusive interview with Barack Obama. What he says Obama told him about making gut decisions on the campaign trail, the Reverend Wright, plus Obama's relationship with General David Petraeus.

You're watching the "Most News in the Morning."


CHETRY: Welcome back to AMERICAN MORNING. "Time" magazine columnist Joe Klein sat down for an exclusive interview with Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. The interview was in the November 3rd issue of "Time" which hits newsstands today. And Joe Klein joins me now.

Thanks for being with us.


CHETRY: Very interesting. You had a chance to really ask him a lot of different questions. And one of the things that a lot of people have been talking about on the campaign trail is the negativity. And John McCain this morning has a just released ad that's going to be running in some of the key battleground states using Barack Obama's own running mate against him. Let's take a look.


NARRATOR: Listen to Joe Biden talking about what electing Barack Obama will mean.

SEN. JOE BIDEN (D), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Mark my words, it will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama. The world is looking. We're going to have an international crisis to test the mettle of this guy. I guarantee you it's going to happen.

NARRATOR: It doesn't have to happen. Vote McCain.


CHETRY: This has been successful in past elections. Are we done with the politics of fear working, or does it still work?

KLEIN: Well, first of all, that was a really dumb thing for Joe Biden to say. Second of all, I think that whoever the next president is going to be is going to be tested. And I think people understand that.

And right now, people are not so much focused on foreign policy but on economic policy. I mean, the news this morning that the Dow is about to plummet again I think is far more in the front of people's minds and they're looking, you know, if you watch the debates, you watch those squiggly lines that CNN has had in the debates, whenever Obama talked about a positive plan, what he wanted to do about energy or health care and so on, the lines would go up. And that impulse is a lot stronger than the impulse to be scared about what's going to happen in an international crisis.

CHETRY: When you had him sit-down and talk to him, what sense did you get about how he makes decisions? If he does become the next president, he's going to inherit an incredible, incredible problem with what's going on in our financial and economic markets right now. How -- did he give you a window into his decision making?

KLEIN: Right. Well, you know, we know that this guy is very rational and deliberative and judicious and maybe almost even academic. I asked him how do you make gut decisions.

You know, a lot of decisions that a candidate has to make, you know, are spur of the moment. And he gave me two or three that he had made. You know, he decided with Reverend Wright, for example, when reverend -- those videotapes came out about, you know, the hate-filled sermons that Reverend Wright was giving, was delivering.

Obama decided to make a big speech rather than taking it down and do damage control, just cutting the guy loose. Eventually, he had to cut the guy loose. But he decided to use it as what he called a teachable moment to talk to the American people in an adult way about race. But the most interesting one was with General Petraeus in July. Petraeus knew that Obama was in favor of a timetable for withdrawing troops. Petraeus wasn't at that point in favor of a timetable, and so he really made a pitch for maximum flexibility.

Now, in those sorts of situations, you know, a lot of politicians would have just said to Petraeus, very interesting, I'll take your views under advice.

CHETRY: Right.

KLEIN: But Obama went right back into him and said look, I understand that that's your perspective. If I'm going to be commander in chief, I have to look at the big picture. And I don't agree with you about this.

So that was a gut decision that he made to really have an honest conversation with Petraeus.

CHETRY: You know you've covered a lot of political campaigns and a lot of presidential elections. The McCain campaign has been arguing that he basically is a victim of the mainstream press cheering-leading for Barack Obama, wanting Barack Obama to win.

And, in fact, the Project for Excellence in Journalism say that there is more negative coverage of McCain than Obama by 57 percent of the articles and coverage has been on McCain and 29 for Obama.

Do you think that there is -- there is more negative coverage of McCain and do you think that the mainstream media wants Barack Obama to win?

KLEIN: Well, you know, I think McCain did that the old-fashioned way. He earned it. You know, if you look at the -- what his campaign has been putting out it's been almost all attacks about Obama.

You know, he hasn't emphasized, you know, his economic plans, he hasn't emphasized a lot of, you know, energy plans and things like that. It's always been stuff like the attacks on Bill Ayers, you know, and Obama's relationship with him.

If you're going to run a campaign like that you're going to get negative coverage. If you're going to pick as vice president someone who is clearly not ready to be vice president, you're going to get negative coverage.

You know, I've been accused of being in the tank to Obama, I was accused of being in the tank to McCain. I just try and call it as I see it and I know folks here do, too.

CHETRY: All right. Well, you have a very interesting article. It hits newsstands today.

Joe Klein, great to see you. Thanks for being with us.

KLEIN: Good to be here. ROBERTS: 31 1/2 minutes after the hour. And breaking right now, Dow futures down about 550 points this morning forcing trading restrictions before the markets even open.

Stocks around the world are taking staggering losses as well. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei lost almost 10 percent. It comes a day after former Fed chief, Alan Greenspan, said the U.S. was in the midst of a credit tsunami.

Throw the bums out. That appears to be the way that most voters feel about Congress. With 11 days left until the election, a new national CNN poll shows 58 percent of voters think that most members of Congress do not deserve to be reelected.

Most of the anger is directed at Republicans rather than Democrats who have controlled Capitol Hill for the past two years.

With just 11 days left until the election everyone has an opinion on the candidates. And if you really want to get an earful, well, all you have to do is get in the back seat of a cab. Our Zain Verjee is in the nation's capital this morning with street talk from the taxi pundits.

Zain, are the cabbies heading right, left or they just go and straight down the middle or even in circles on the issues here?

ZAIN VERJEE, CNN STATE DEPARTMENT CORRESPONDENT: They're going straight toward the White House, John. You know the debates are over, the campaign is almost over, but the national conversation is just moving full speed ahead.


VERJEE (on camera): Taxi.

(Voice over): D.C. cabbies, that United Nations of political pundits, is speeding towards the finish line of campaign 2008.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm from Washington, D.C.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm from Sierra Leone. I'm now a U.S. citizen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was born and raised on Capitol Hill.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I'm from Somalia.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm from the city of Washington, D.C.

VERJEE: As the incumbent prepares an exit, the cabbies are ready for the next act.

(On camera): With all the stops and goes and left and right turns, it's now just a short sprint to the White House.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Most of the people they said Obama. Obama is the one. He has his ups and downs but he has more ups than downs.

VERJEE: The tuned in cabbies talked up McCain.

(On camera): Do you think that McCain has the kind of experience that a lot of people say that they want?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. I believe it -- and I believe it's a lot of hidden votes.

VERJEE: Do you think that the temperament of the candidates matter here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, of course. Of course, that's -- like McCain, he has short tempered. Sometimes he just, you know, goes off.

VERJEE: Are you worried about any last-minute surprises?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Republicans are behind right now but I believe that they might have a bombshell.

VERJEE (voice over): And the cabbies are watching the meter and the gas gauge.

(On camera): Shouldn't they be talking about Joe the taxi driver?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of course. They should be talking about Joe the taxi driver. But I'm talking, you know?

VERJEE: Well, what would Joe the taxi driver tell the candidates?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, what we would tell the candidates is, first of all, gas prices are killing us right now. That is our biggest concern.

VERJEE: Do you think McCain would be more sensitive to -- the issues of seniors?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because he's a senior.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Last thing I always tell my passengers, the guy who they're for, let's make sure we vote.

VERJEE: How do you tell John McCain or Barack Obama how to get to the White House?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, by now both of them should know how get to the White House.


VERJEE: Well, the road to the White House has been bumpy, John, but the cabbies are saying it's just a little bit longer and we'll have a new president -- John?

ROBERTS: To get to the White House, they're going to do is, you know, go north on 15th Street and turn left at New York Avenue.

Hey, do cabbies seem excited for Election Day?

VERJEE: Some of them, yes. They did, John. Some of them were very excited, really looking forward to casting their vote. But others were saying we just can't wait until it's all over. It's just gone on too long. So, it was mixed, but, you know, they'll -- they definitely enjoyed talking about it.

ROBERTS: There are a lot of people who feel that way, Zain. I would suspect the candidates are among them as well.

Zain Verjee this morning, so good to see you. Thanks, Zain.

VERJEE: You too, John.

ROBERTS: 35 1/2 minutes now after the hour.


CHETRY (voice over): Campus confusion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a lot of questions arising about, you know, who is right, who is wrong.

CHETRY: Students warn they could lose scholarships and other benefits for simply trying to vote.

HEATHER SMITH, ROCK THE VOTE: We are making it harder for students to get registered.

CHETRY: You're watching the most news in the morning.



ROBERTS: First, it was Colin Powell, now another former member of President Bush's team is endorsing Barack Obama.

Scott McClellan who served as White House press secretary and then wrote a tell-all book wrote the news to CNN during a taping of the comedian D.L. Hughley's new talk show.

Here's what he said.


D.L. HUGHLEY, HOST, "D.L. HUGHLEY BREAKS THE NEWS": Well, you haven't endorsed anybody. You haven't endorsed anybody. And it's McCain and it's Obama. You know, and I'm -- on a new show. And your endorsement would probably mean a lot. But -- and don't look at the fact that I'm black or nothing like -- no pressure.

Endorse somebody, damn it. Endorse someone.


SCOTT MCCLELLAN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: From the very beginning I've said I'm going to support the candidate that has the best chance of changing the way Washington works and get things done.

I will be voting for Barack Obama.



ROBERTS: You can see the entire interview and the premier of the new show, "D.L. HUGHLEY BREAKS THE NEWS," Saturday night here at 10:00 Eastern on CNN.

And Hughley will be our guest coming up this morning, a little less than hour from now at 8:24.

CHETRY: Well, again and again, we hear about the importance of the youth vote in this election. But no matter how passionate young people are it means nothing if they don't actually show up to vote.

In our special "Count the Vote" series, Kate Bolduan shows us voter registration rules that could confuse kids and maybe, in some cases, even scare them away.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, Kiran, young people could mean the difference between which presidential candidate wins this November.

In Virginia nearly 40 percent of newly registered voters are under age 25. But despite the big numbers some fear confusing registration rules are holding young voters back.


BOLDUAN (voice over): It caused an uproar on the Virginia Tech campus. Confusion over whether students who register in this swing state could suffer consequences. Whispers of voter intimidation.

At issue, a murky state law about voter residency. Students were warned by the Montgomery County, Virginia Registrar they could lose insurance, scholarships and tax status, all because they are establishing independent residency from their parents in order to vote here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So I don't pass. They search my residency. (INAUDIBLE) I was dependent with my parents like... UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of students aren't sure about what's going on on campus and there's a lot of questions arising about, you know, who is right and who is wrong.

BOLDUAN (on camera): Typical? In an election year?


BOLDUAN (voice over): Randall Wertz, the county registrar, put out the warning but says he was only trying to help. He's been arguing for years Virginia needs to clarify the rules.

WERTZ: These are issues that are actually mentioned in the code that have to be considered to determine residency. And so, the registrars all across the state are having differing interpretations of that.

BOLDUAN: The confusion isn't just in Virginia. According to the New Voters Project, a non-partisan group tracking this issue, states like South Carolina, Tennessee, Arizona and Indiana have also faced problems with student voter registration.

Heather Smith is the executive director of Rock the Vote.

SMITH: The fact of the matter is we're confusing in an already confusing process. We are making it harder for students to get registered and involved in the political campaign this fall.

BOLDUAN: Adding to the problem is the flood of new voter registration across the country.

WERTZ: This is -- all came in one day.

BOLDUAN: Randall Wertz says in his county alone overall registration has jumped more than 20 percent since 2006.


BOLDUAN: No one can predict that this confusion will affect turnout November 4th but election officials and analysts agree registration rules in Virginia and other states need to be cleared up so college students don't face the same problems next time around.

John? Kiran?

CHETRY: And you can -- thanks, Kate, by the way. You can find more of our special "Count the Vote" online series. Go to

Also, if you have some concerns about any possible voter irregularities in your state, tell us about it. You can call us at 877-goCNN-08., 877-46266-08.

ROBERTS: Former Federal Reserve chairman, Alan Greenspan, shocked many by saying that he was wrong about the market. He said it was like watching a baseball go between your legs at the World Series -- $10 trillion baseball. Ron Paul is with us to weigh in on that big mistake, Greenspan's so-called tsunami. That's ahead.

And what really drives voters when they make their picks. The science behind who you want and who you don't want in the White House and why it's just like buying a car.

It's coming up on 43 minutes after the hour.



JACK NICHOLSON, ACTOR: You want answer.

TOM CRUISE, ACTOR: I think I'm entitled.

NICHOLSON: You want answers.

CRUISE: I want the truth.

NICHOLSON: You can't handle the truth.


ROBERTS: Well, guess what? Here at CNN we can handle the truth and we want you to handle it as well.

Welcome back to the most news in the morning. The truth squad is back and now it's Joe Biden's turn. Truth squad's own Alina Cho is here this morning.

How are you?

ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're going to run that Jack Nicholson clip every day from now until the election. So great.

ROBERTS: I also love the clip from "Liar, Liar" where Jim Carrey says...

CHO: Yes, you're right.

ROBERTS: ..."The Truth will set you free."

CHO: We're going to rotate back and forth between the two.

Good morning, John, good morning, everybody. You know in the past President Bush has said he is against any sort of timetable to bring home U.S. troops from Iraq. He has said it will give the insurgents an edge if they know when American troops are leaving.

Now, on the campaign trail, Joe Biden is saying the president agrees with the Democrats, Barack Obama, in particular, to bring the troops home in a timely manner.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) SEN. JOE BIDEN (D), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Finally, after six years, George Bush is now backing the plan that Barack Obama suggested which is to set a timeline for withdrawal from Iraq, turn over responsibility to the Iraqis.

Ladies and gentlemen, that's the agreement we're negotiating now.

CHO (voice over): Biden is right. For years the Bush administration said it wouldn't set artificial timelines. But this summer brought big changes. Work began on a status of forces agreement with Iraq and the administration started talking about a general time horizon.

DANA PERINO, WHITE HOUSE SPOKESWOMAN: That we would work on an aspirational date for when our troops could -- when we would feel comfortable for our troops to be able to come home.

CHO: A draft of the agreement obtained by CNN ties troop draw downs to the improved performance of Iraqi security forces but says U.S. troops should withdraw from cities and villages by the end of next July and from Iraqi territories by the end of 2011.

Obama's plan calls for a 16-month phase draw down which would have troops home by the summer of 2010.

So did Biden get this one right?

BIDEN: George Bush is now backing the plan that Barack Obama suggested to set a timeline for withdrawal from Iraq.


BIDEN: All right and the truth squad verdict on this one is -- drum roll. Misleading. We've changed it to the -- whose politics, do you think...

ROBERTS: You know -- you know they were practicing with the sound effect and it got -- I guess it got worn out. People (INAUDIBLE) so and so, now I'll give it to you. No.

Misleading, right?

CHO: Thank you very much. And misleading is slightly different, but anyway, I should mention the Bush administration is calling for a timetable.

ROBERTS: There it is.

CHO: There we have it. You know it's...

ROBERTS: Better late than never, I always say.

CHO: But, the draw down is tied to a timetable, of course, security improvements in Iraq, rather. Obama is calling for a withdrawal of troops in 16 months regardless. And one more thing, John, I can handle the truth. ROBERTS: I appreciate that about you. Alina, thanks so much.

Forty-eight minutes now after the hour.


CHETRY (voice over): Mind games.

RICHARD LAU, POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR: Number one is that they want to make a good decision. Number two is that they want to make an easy decision.

CHETRY: Two candidates and four ways to make up your mine. An expert on decision making explains why we vote the way we do.

LAU: They'll say that's it, but I made my decision and now let's go on with other things.

CHETRY: You're watching the most news in the morning.



CHETRY: So how do you really decide who to vote for? Is it the issues or is it the character or is it something else?

Our Miles O'Brien finds out that it's kind of like buying a car.

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN CHIEF TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: John and Kiran, you may wonder what voting and buying a new car have in common. You're about to find out.


O'BRIEN (voice over): By now you've thought a lot about who to vote for, but have you ever considered how you make your decision?

Rick Lau has, and he says voters are conflicted with two competing goals.

LAU: Number one is that they want to make a good decision. Number two is that they want to make an easy decision.

O'BRIEN: Lau is a political science professor who's written a book on this. He says the real problem is we're all drowning in a sea of information.

LAU: And so that means that people have to find shortcuts and have to find different ways of simplifying the choices for them.

O'BRIEN: Law says there are four types of deciders. He calls them rational, confirmatory, fast and frugal and intuitive, and we're not just talking about voting.

LAU: We do it when we're buying cars, we do it when we're picking spouses.

O'BRIEN (on camera): So let's say, for a moment, I'm the rational guy, and I need to buy a new car. Well, long before I ever got here to the car dealership, I spent days poring over research on the Internet. I looked at Edmond's, I got my "Consumer Reports" here. I got a briefcase full of research on this whole thing.

I am a regular car-buying smarty pants.

LAU: Almost no one was up to that ideal.

O'BRIEN: If I was a confirmatory decision maker, I'd be at this dealership because I just love jeeps. I don't know which model I want just yet, but I would never consider driving anything else.

LAU: This is someone who first and foremost is a party voter, who has strong party identification.

O'BRIEN: If I was fast and frugal, I would want this to be over with as quickly as possible so I might latch on to just one criteria, say gas mileage.

LAU: They'll say, that's it, I've made my decision, and now let's go on with other things in life.

O'BRIEN: Now let's say I'm an intuitive decision maker. I might have seen a Dodge like this in my neighbor's driveway and decided I needed one or read about a deal in the paper. Either way, I'm easily influenced and impulsive.

(Voice over): So now you can decide how you decide, but before you start feeling guilty about being a slacker, consider this -- Lau found those smarty pants rational voters were only happy with their choice half the time.

For us shortcut lovers, he found 70 percent of us were content with our choice. Thank you very much.


O'BRIEN: So I guess we might be wiser than we think or maybe we're just not paying attention. John and Kiran?


ROBERTS (voice over): Life on the attack. Once on the sidelines.

LESLIE SANCHEZ, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: The stabilizer, the encourager, the nurturer.

ROBERTS: Cindy McCain's rough new role.

CINDY MCCAIN, SEN. JOHN MCCAIN'S WIFE: A man who has distorted and lied about my husband's record.

ROBERTS: Plus D.L. Hughley on his very first CNN show, "D.L. HUGHLEY BREAKS THE NEWS." He breaks big news already.

You're watching the most news in the morning.



ROBERTS: Fifty-five minutes after the hour. Former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan on Capitol Hill yesterday said he did not see the economic crisis coming. A lot of economists say that his policies were at least partly responsible for the big housing bubble that went kaboom and has now left us reeling with credit crunches and with the Dow Jones Industrial Average expected to go down yet again today.

Here to talk more about this, Congressman Ron Paul, former presidential candidate, joins us this morning from his home in Clute, Texas.

Good to see you this morning, Congressman. Yesterday up there...


ROBERTS: Up there on the Hill, Alan Greenspan basically saying oops, I missed this one, sorry about it, but he was optimistic for the future.

Let's listen to what he said.


ALAN GREENSPAN, FORMER FEDERAL RESERVE CHIEF: This crisis will pass, and America will re-emerge with a far sounder financial system.


ROBERTS: Congressman Paul, do you even listen to him anymore?

PAUL: I have to because somebody like you might ask me a question about him.

No, I don't really listen in the sense that I'm going to get a lot of new information. I used to listen to him when he was writing back in the '60s because he agreed with free market economics and no respect for the Federal Reserve.

Lately, though, I mean, he's been part of -- and right now he's really gotten bad because what he was saying yesterday was that the only place where he might have made a mistake is he didn't advocate more regulations.

Well, if you're a true free market person it isn't the lack of regulations. Trying to regulate and improve on the conditions that the government creates. I mean we created this problem. The Federal Reserve created this. The Community Reinvestment Act created it. The FDIC created it. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac created it. It was all seen there but now he says if we could have only had more regulations...


PAUL: ... we could have salvaged this clogged system.

ROBERTS: Well, you believe that markets can be or should be self-regulating?

PAUL: Well, to a degree, but the government does have a responsibility to deal with fraud, but the monetary system is fraudulent. Instead of perpetuating fraud in the monetary system they should be dealing with real fraud.

But just regulating prices -- that's what they're doing now, they're trying to regulate prices and set prices for these assets that hasn't -- have no value. So, no, that's not the kind of regulation we want, but there is certainly a role for regulations.

We should be regulating the Federal Reserve System is what we really ought to be regulating.

ROBERTS: Well, regardless of what we talk about this morning, the Dow is going to go off a cliff again today so let me turn to politics if I could.

A lot of people have said, particularly because of the economy, this is a bad year to be a Republican. John McCain behind in the national polls, seems to be behind in the battleground states as well. He's got a long and difficult road if he hopes to win the oval office.

If Republicans really take a beating, Congressman Paul, on November the 4th, where does that leave the Republican brand?

PAUL: Well, I think they're in big trouble, but I think I mentioned that a year or so ago, that they've sort of lost their way. No, it's going to be a lot worse, but you have to say that the markets aren't being reassured about the obvious victory that's going to occur.

Then they said, oh, my, you know, we're going to have Obama and a Democratic Congress stronger than ever so things are going to get a lot better. They haven't discounted that yet.

The country is in a mess regardless, but I think the Republican Party really in a mess because...

ROBERTS: I mean, I mean how...

PAUL: ... they'll probably lose a fair amount of seats again.

ROBERTS: How bad a blow could it be and how long might it take the party to rebuild?

PAUL: You know, I was first elected -- I first ran in 1974, and I think there were about 145 members of Congress, Republicans, then. It took 20 years. So that is the case. But, you know, I think it's secondary to what the Congress is doing.

If both parties have bad ideas, it doesn't matter a whole lot. Right now...

ROBERTS: And I wanted to ask you about...

PAUL: ... I think both parties follow those ideas.

ROBERTS: You're on the boll lot in a couple of states. You're on the ballot in Louisiana. You're also in the ballot in Montana, and in Montana you were polling 4 percent there.

That's exactly the difference between Senator McCain and Barack Obama with Barack Obama on top. I mean you could be the spoiler here and take Montana away from Senator McCain, and I know that some Republicans, friendly to you, say hey, get off the ballot in Montana. You tried, you couldn't.

How are you going to feel if because of you McCain loses Montana?

PAUL: Well, I think it will be a pretty far stretch if McCain loses the election that they're going to blame me. I haven't been campaigning in Montana. People who are supporting out there are spontaneous. They're enthusiastic. They don't like either candidate.

So I don't think the person whose name they picked is the one that does the spoiling. I think there's something else that is wrong. Maybe it's the flawed policies of both candidates.

ROBERTS: Congressman Paul, it's always good to see you. Thanks for joining us. We'll check back with you again soon.

PAUL: Thank you. Good to be with you.