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American Morning

Asian Markets Gain Ground; Candidates Talking Economy Again; Run for Your Life

Aired October 28, 2008 - 08:00   ET


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: It's a minute and a half past the top of the hour. And here's your top stories this morning.
Asian markets soared while you were asleep. Japan's Nikkei gained more than 6 percent. Hong Kong surged more than 14 percent. Meantime, the Fed meets today kicking off a two-day meeting which could result in another rate cut.

The Secret Service now says two men threatening to kill dozens of black people, including Senator Barack Obama, did not have a formal plan to do it.

Federal authorities describe them as skin heads and said they had planned to rob a gun store and target a predominantly black high school. They were arrested six days ago and now face a detention hearing Thursday in Memphis.

A makeshift memorial continues to grow outside the Chicago home where Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson's mother and brother were killed. The body of Hudson's 7-year-old nephew was found in an SUV yesterday.

All three victims were shot to death. Police say the killings are domestic-related.

Election Day now just one week away. Seven days and a handful of hours until the first polls close after the more than a year of campaigning. It seemed like this final stretch would never get here.

Today the focus is on Pennsylvania with both candidates stumping in that battleground state. With the clock winding down, more sharp words in the campaign trail. Both Barack Obama and John McCain made "ISSUE #1" the economy the top priority yesterday in their attacks on each other.

Here's what the candidates said.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The choice in this election isn't between tax cuts and no tax cuts, it's about whether you believe we should only reward wealth or whether we should also reward the workers and workers who create wealth.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Senator Obama's running to be redistributionist and chief, I'm running to be commander in chief. Senator Obama's running to spread the wealth, I'm running to create more wealth.

Senator Obama -- Senator Obama is running to push the -- punish the successful, I'm running to make everyone successful.

OBAMA: We cannot afford to slow down or sit back. We cannot let up for one day or one minute, or one second in this last week. Not now. Not when there's so much at stake.

MCCAIN: America is worth fighting for. Nothing is inevitable here. We never give up and we never quit. We never hide from history, we make history. Let's go out and win this election in Pennsylvania.


ROBERTS: You can just feel the energy starting to build here in these final seven days. We are everywhere where the election could be decided. CNN has got reporters covering battleground states coast to coast, traveling with the candidates, and covering the issues that matter to you.

Senator Barack Obama trying to close the deal with voters today, driving home his message of change.

CNN's Suzanne Malveaux joins us now from Chester, Pennsylvania, just a little bit southwest of Philadelphia, where Obama begins his day with a rally.

You know, we've been talking about this this morning, Suzanne, that Barack Obama's --he's got a double-digit lead there, 51 to 41. So why is he there? And why is John McCain still there?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, you talked about the energy and the excitement of the campaign. I have to tell you there are people who've been waiting in the dark and the rain here for this outdoor rally. So, obviously, a lot of supporters coming out.

Very good question. But we heard from the governor, Ed Rendell, just last week of the state who said, come back, come back, do not take this state for granted that McCain/Palin essentially have camped out here.

Actually, McCain, 90 miles away, he's going to be campaigning in the same state today. So, obviously, they do not want to take anything for granted. So Barack Obama is presenting what he is calling his closing arguments.


MALVEAUX (voice over): In the final week of the campaign, the closer.

OBAMA: The change we need isn't just about new programs and policies. It's about a new attitude. It's about new politics, a politics that calls on our better angels instead of encouraging our better instincts.

MALVEAUX: His simple message a call for change has been the consistent thread weaving all themes together.

OBAMA: Fired up.

CROWD: Fired up.

OBAMA: Ready to go.

CROWD: Ready to go.

OBAMA: Fired up.

CROWD: Fired up.

MALVEAUX: That's months ago. This is now.

CROWD: Yes, we can. Yes, we can.

OBAMA: Yes, we can.

MALVEAUX: Obama's battle cry of "yes, we can" is now more specific. It's vote for me and in one week you can fill in the blank.

OBAMA: In one week, we can choose hope over fear and unity over division. The promise of change over the power of the status quo. In one week, we can come together as one nation.

MALVEAUX: Obama's appeal to many new voters, especially the young and disenfranchised, has been the idea that this is not just a campaign, but a movement.

OBAMA: That's what's been lost these last eight years, our common sense of purpose, our sense of higher purpose. That's what we need to restore right now. That's one of the reasons I'm running for president of the United States of America.

MALVEAUX: Obama's purpose has also been to consistently link John McCain to President Bush and his failed policies, most recently regarding the economy.

OBAMA: We have tried it John McCain's way. We have tried it George Bush's way. And deep down, deep down, Senator McCain knows that, which is why his campaign said that if we keep talking about the economy, we're going to lose.

MALVEAUX: It's a formula that seems to be working, delivered in Ohio, the one state McCain needs to win the White House.


MALVEAUX: John, it's also a state that has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, second only to Michigan. So, obviously, people there, voters paying very close attention to Barack Obama's economic plan as well as his broad vision of change and of hope and Barack Obama here in Pennsylvania simply trying to shore up the lead that he has, trying not take anything for granted. But he is going to be heading to Virginia, obviously, a very competitive red state, Republican-leaning state, and that's where he also feels he needs to spend a bit of time -- John?

ROBERTS: Suzanne, earlier this morning we were talking about a new poll from Survey USA that shows an -- in heavily Democratic areas in the northeast of Pennsylvania and southwest around Scranton and Pittsburgh, things are actually closer than they are statewide, and that represents a substantial portion of the population.

Is that what the Obama campaign is worried about here in the keystone state?

MALVEAUX: Well, absolutely. I mean conventional wisdom is those rural areas, suburban areas, are going to go more so for John McCain and then the urban areas for Barack Obama.

We've seen that in the past, just the way the state is divvied up. But they do feel hopeful. You've had Senator Hillary Clinton, you've had Ed Rendell, you've had even the mayor of Philadelphia, big Hillary Clinton supporters coming out for Barack Obama, really campaigning very hard.

That is certainly the hope that they can at least take away some of those support that McCain is going to get in those critical rural areas -- John?

ROBERTS: Suzanne Malveaux, for us this morning in Chester, Pennsylvania.

Suzanne, thanks so much.

CHETRY: Meanwhile, polls continue to show an uphill climb for John McCain in the final stretch of this race.

CNN's Dana Bash is with the McCain camp in Quakertown, Pennsylvania for us this morning.

And Dana, McCain's making a huge push for voters in this state. Can he still pull out a win?

DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is very, very tough for McCain to pull out a win. You were just -- you just heard that from Suzanne Malveaux.

Obviously, all of the public polls do show Barack Obama with a double- digit lead here. But the bottom line is, the McCain campaign understands the way the math -- with the math is, he's going to lose some red states, some of those states that George Bush won in 2004.

So he's got to pick up a blue one. That's what Pennsylvania is. And it is a very large electoral price, 21 electoral votes. That's why he is spending so much time in this state. Really trying to push. He is going to hook back up with Sarah Palin here.

You know they do insist, Kiran, behind the scenes that their polling shows that it's tighter than the public polls show and that that tax message they've been pushing really has helped with some of those voters that he needs in these states, those rural voters that Suzanne was talking about and blue-collar voters.

But, you know, in these areas, these areas around Philadelphia, you know, Barack Obama definitely looks like he's doing better than John McCain and these used to be traditionally Republican areas -- Kiran?

CHETRY: And we're also hearing a new line from McCain as he tries to separate himself from President Bush and Obama at the same time. Let's take a quick listen.


MCCAIN: This is the fundamental difference between Senator Obama and me. We both disagree with President Bush on economic policy. The difference is, he thinks taxes have been too low and I think spending has been too high.


CHETRY: So he is trying to walk that fine line saying we both disagree with President Bush, but here's where I disagree and here's where he does. Is that going to catch on with seven days left?

BASH: That is such a good question, because, you know what, all along we talked to McCain aids and they say that the fundamental challenge is convincing voters that John McCain isn't George Bush and convincing voters that Barack Obama is too risky.

And because -- and they say that these undecided voters pretty much -- they know they don't want four more years of Bush but they weren't sure about Barack Obama. So there you see, finally, McCain has kind of a line that is a bit of a twofer.

That is the question, Kiran, whether or not it is going to work at this point. He's trying a lot harder on the stump and in television ads to separate himself from George Bush, trying a lot hard to say, you know, to use that old traditional line, especially with the economy, Barack Obama is a liberal, he's going to raise your taxes.

But again, the question from Republicans you talk to inside and some outside -- I should say outside and some inside the campaign, why wasn't this being pushed long ago, establishing this narrative? Whether or not it's too late, that is the big question -- Kiran.

CHETRY: All right, Dana Bash in a rainy Quakertown, Pennsylvania for us this morning. Thanks.

And in just a week, November 4th, in fact, join the best political team on television for election night in America. CNN, the place to be as history unfolds.

ROBERTS: I hope you're sitting down this morning, because good news on the economy could be just around the corner. Gasoline prices, the housing market, positive economic signs to tell you about ahead. You're going to want to stick around for this.


ROBERTS (voice over): Fighting on the battlefield but losing at the ballot box.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's disenfranchising our military and, frankly, I think it's very unpatriotic.

ROBERTS: The efforts to make sure the absentee ballots of men and the women on the front lines are counted.

You're watching the most news in the morning.




DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, "THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN": Do you like autumn in New York City? Oh boy. Got the falling leaves, the falling stocks, the falling brokers. It's a lovely...


CHETRY: Welcome back to the most news in the morning.

Well, it may not seem like it, but there are some good economic signs this morning. It's AMEX here. Let's take a look.

A drop in demand sent oil prices tumbling. In fact, the lowest since May of last year. Gas prices also neared a 19-month low and according to AAA, the average cost of a gallon of gas has now fallen this morning, it's down to $2.63.

Did we see something that we weren't supposed to see?

ROBERTS: No. No. The magic wall couldn't handle good news so it...


ROBERTS: Decided to just turn off and go black. Here we are.

CHETRY: It is face of good news. There are some potentially hopeful signs in the housing market, as well. Sales of new homes rose 2.7 percent as home prices fell according to the Commerce Department.

There you have it. Short and sweet.

ROBERTS: And we want to welcome Christine Romans in this morning. Minding Your Business" with more on this good news.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, the futures are indicated higher this morning. You know we had kind of a rough month, right? So the futures are looking up a little bit today.

But a lot of people talking about solutions, new interesting solutions to the home foreclosure problem, as well. And get this, a faith-based push in California to stop home foreclosures.

Our cameras were there last night. Hundreds of parishioners and clergy from Bay Area churches packing a town hall meeting at the Holy Rosary Parish Hall demanding relief from the housing crisis that has ravaged California.

They want mortgages modified so people can afford them. There are prayers, testimony and promises from lenders that they understand the urgency of this problem.

A Bank of America official said that the bank had identified 450,000 mortgages eligible for modification, 150,000 of those in California alone.


MICHAEL GROSS, BANK OF AMERICA: For those families that we have identified that are eligible for the modification programs that we have agreed to, the foreclosure process if it was started, has been stopped until we go through this process.


ROMANS: And they like that cheers for stopping the foreclosure process. Bank of America now owns Countrywide. Of course, that was the most prolific mortgage lender during the boom.

Now some 1,000 congregations nationwide have kicked off this national faith-based campaign to pressure lenders into modifying those loans to keep people in the pews from losing their homes.

You know it's been tough to modify those loans, because in some cases, they've been sliced and diced and sold as securities all over the place. So finding the actual owner of the -- of the loan has been difficult. So that's been a problem.

And also it's been a problem because, frankly, sometimes they're trying to modify these loans and people still can't afford the modified terms. So they've had to go through. That's been the problem with sort of mass modifications of some of these loans.

But at least faith-based approach, interesting.

ROBERTS: It's great.

ROMANS: Get the churches together and saying, look, this is affecting our community, we're going to start to take a real leadership role on this.

ROBERTS: And you know, and say, I'm coming away from this business report in such a good mood, such an optimistic frame of mind that, heck, I'm going to do it, I'm going splurge today. ROMANS: What are you going to do?

ROBERTS: I'm going to pick up a pack of gum that I've had my eye on for the last week.

ROMANS: Oh fantastic, John.

ROBERTS: Thanks, Christine.

ROMANS: A big ticket purchase from John Roberts.

ROBERTS: Sarah Palin likes to call herself a maverick. She uses her record as governor as proof. But is she the reformer that she says she is? We're checking her record in Alaska. The "Truth Squad" is on the case this morning.


CHETRY (voice over): Closing arguments.

OBAMA: John McCain has stood with this president every step of the way.

CHETRY: How will the last-minute smears affect undecided voters? Our experts weigh in.

MCCAIN: Senator Obama's running to be redistributionist and chief, I'm running to be commander in chief.

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

ANNOUNCER: "Minding Your Business" brought to you by...



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is it with you people? You think not getting caught in a lie is the same thing as telling the truth?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. It's simple economics.

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.

JIM CARREY, ACTOR: And the truth shall set you free.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CHETRY: Well, Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin says she has a long record of cutting needless government spending. So does she? Well, we put Alina Cho and the "Truth Squad' on the case.

How do you like your new intro there? The truth shall set you free.

ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I (INAUDIBLE) so much. Yes. Let's take a queue from Jim Carrey on that one, "Liar, Liar."

Good morning, Kiran. Good morning, everybody. You know it's a common Republican argument, Democrats like to tax and spend, Republicans don't. So Sarah Palin, out on the campaign trail is pointing out what she says are the facts about her record as Alaska's governor.


GOV. SARAH PALIN (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I had to take on the good old boy network and I've got the scars to prove that. And I put the veto pen to nearly half billion dollars in wasteful spending.

ALINO (voice over): A half billion dollars? We put our pen to paper to see if what Governor Sarah Palin told supporters in Virginia yesterday was true.

The government spokeswoman cited reports in the "Anchorage Daily News" which covers Palin's administration. The paper does report about $499 million in capital spending cuts Governor Palin made for fiscal years 2008 and 2009.

That includes $231 million in construction projects, and $268 million in spending that had been approved for state legislators for hometown projects. The paper said Palin received generally positive feedback from voters.

So do the facts back up the statement?

PALIN: I put the veto pen to nearly half a billion dollars in wasteful spending.


CHO: And the "Truth Squad" verdict on this one is -- that was loud -- true. In fact, the "Anchorage Daily News" reports the hometown project cuts worked out to about 10 percent of the spending that state legislators approved.

As always, we're watching both sides every day until the election, maybe beyond, Karen. I know you're hoping we'll keep the "Truth Squad" thing beyond the election. We just may.

CHETRY: That's right, because as long as there's politics, there's need to sort through some of the rhetoric, right?

CHO: No.

CHETRY: Alina, thank you. CHO: You bet.


ROBERTS (voice over): Gender politics.

ELISABETH HASSELBECK, HOST, "THE VIEW": Instead of the issues, they are focused, fixated on her wardrobe. This is deliberately sexist.

ROBERTS: Instead of the issues, they are fixated on the governor's wardrobe. Does the image in the campaign mirror reflect a double standard for men and women?

You're watching the most news in the morning.



ROBERTS: Welcome back to the most politics in the morning. Just one week now until Election Day. John McCain and Barack Obama campaigning in the battleground state of Pennsylvania.

Obama has an 8-point lead in the latest CNN national poll of polls, 51 to 43 percent. So how did they win over the critical swing voters in the campaign's final days?

Joining us now, John Avlon, registered independent and contributor to, and Patricia Murphy. She is the editor of

So Barack Obama up there on the stump in a lot of these key states making what he calls his closing argument. Was in Canton, Ohio, yesterday. He's going to be in Chester, Pennsylvania this morning.

John, does his closing argument sound an awful lot like his opening argument?

JOHN AVLON, AUTHOR, "INDEPENDENT NATION": It does and it should. This is exactly what he should be sounding. He should be sounding presidential and post partisan, talking about uniting the country, not moving it left or right, but forward.

It's that inspirational message that got him into this game and it's the message that will get him across the finish line.

ROBERTS: And you think?

PATRICIA MURPHY, EDITOR, CITIZENJANEPOLITICS.COM: I totally agree. When I started covering this race way back in Iowa and New Hampshire, on to North Carolina, kind of...

ROBERTS: Kind of seems so long ago, doesn't it?

MURPHY: I know. More than a year ago that I started covering the race and I would ask voters at Barack Obama rallies. He was already getting huge crowds. Like, what are you doing here? Most people don't even know who this is.

And voter after voter says I remember his convention speech in 2004. I remember him saying we're not a red America or a blue America. That's why I'm here. So I think that he started with that argument, that's why he is where he is today and I think that's why he is so strong in the polls right now.

ROBERTS: So John McCain is out there trying to whack away at Barack Obama's support. He's kind of like Robin Williams doing the golf thing in that HBO special, "no whacking away there."

He's just trying to do -- simply trying to (INAUDIBLE) -- he's trying to paint him as a socialist, you know...

AVLON: Right.

ROBERTS: ... talking about this redistribution of wealth. Is that the argument that independent voters will buy, John, or is it...


ROBERTS: ... this idea of the potential consequences of one party domination of politics in Washington?

AVLON: That's what the argument he should be making for independents and undecided. The first thing, trying to go negative and playing better -- politics, that's inconsistent with John McCain's honorable record, it's divisive, it's destructive, and it's not what independents want.

What independents -- will respond to is saying, look, Barack Obama may be talented, charismatic individual, but do you really want to give Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi the keys to the car?

Will -- Democratic economic policies compound the problems or solve them? And John McCain can make a credible case that you can trust me to be an honest broker in Washington and balance out those liberal excesses.

ROBERTS: Patricia, I looked up an interesting statistics from the 2004 election. Let's put it up on the screen here. It was exit polls of when people made up their minds in who they voted for.

If you made up your mind in the final three days of the campaign you voted for John Kerry over George Bush, 53 to 44 percent. And look at that, 9 percent of people waited until the very end.

If you made up your mind earlier, it was 91 of people, they went for George Bush.

Do you think that we're going to see similar patterns in this year's election? The people who wait until the final weekend will break for the Democrat.

MURPHY: What -- I actually don't know about that. I think that people tend to break for the person who is going to maybe answer what are their problems that are outstanding. And I think that right now people who are still undecided are still making up their mind about Barack Obama.

I don't think that -- I think they've made up their mind about George Bush. If John McCain can...

ROBERTS: You mean -- OK.

MURPHY: Do you know what I mean? So -- I think that they are still weighing Barack Obama and kind of who is this man? Do I trust him to be the president? I think that they will -- if McCain can distance himself from Bush as a part of his final argument, I think that that's going to be his best argument.

ROBERTS: And what about John McCain? Is he the same guy that he was back in 2000? Do people really know who he is now?

AVLON: I think too many independents feel that he isn't. I think the John McCain of 2000 had a clear vision that was perfectly suited for this election. But I think part of the problem is he's been surrounded by a lot of the Bush-Cheney-Rove crowd that believes in this play-to-the-base campaign.

That is totally contrary to his appeal in the first place. And that has hurt him with independents and has led him down a negative road. You know hate and fear may be a cheap and easy recruiting tool, but it's divisive, it's destructive and it's not what independents want.

ROBERTS: Seven days left go. Independents are going to play a huge role in this campaign. We'll get you back and then wait until the marathon the day after...

AVLON: That's it.

ROBERTS: Looking for to it.

MURPHY: Thank you.


CHETRY: It's 8:30 on the nose here on the East Coast. A look at the top stories this morning. Asian markets soared while you were asleep. Japan's Nikkei gaining more than six percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng surged more than 14 percent and the Fed meets today, as well, kicking off a two-day meeting which could result in a rate cut, oil also at a 17-month low as demand drops. Gas prices falling again now $2.63 a gallon nationwide.

Ohio's inspector general is investigating why state computers were used to find personal information about Joe the plumber. Investigators are checking when these computers were illegally accessed. The state's job and family services director confirmed that she approved a check on Joe Wurzelbacher's child support payment status. But she says there was no political motive that check.

To the most politics in the morning in just seven days as we said until the election, a new sense of urgency out there on the campaign trail as both Barack Obama and John McCain sharpen their rhetoric. And we want to let you hear from both candidates as they try to seal the deal with the voters. First, here's Barack Obama on the economy.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It should ensure a shot at success. Not just for those with money and power and influence, but for every single American who is willing to work. That's how we create not just more millionaires or more billionaires, but how we create more middle class families. That's how we make sure businesses have customers that can afford their products or services. That's how we've always grown the American economy from the bottom up. John McCain calls it socialism, I call it opportunity, and there's nothing more American than that.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Senator Obama's approach is to radically increase spending and then raise taxes to pay for it. Today, he claims that he'll only tax the rich. But we've seen in the past that he's willing to support taxes that hit people squarely in the middle class. And with $1 trillion in new spending the most likely outcome is that everyone who pays taxes will be paying for his spending.


ROBERTS: While Michelle Obama is staying clear of the high-priced wardrobe stories that are surrounding Sarah Palin, stopping by the "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," the potential first lady was asked about what she was wearing.


JAY LENO, "THE TONIGHT SHOW" HOST: I want to ask you about your wardrobe. I'm guessing about $60,000? $60,000 or $70,000 for that outfit?

MICHELLE OBAMA, WIFE OF SEN. BARACK OBAMA: Actually, this is a J. Crew ensemble.

LENO: Really.


ROBERTS: And Michelle Obama said in her family the policy has always been to spend their own money on clothes. And what the candidates and their spouses are wearing remains a hot topic after it was revealed that the republican party shelled out $150,000 last month for Sarah Palin's wardrobe. But is the coverage on all this fair? CNN's Jason Carroll joins me now with a look at all of this. Good morning.

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, the story that just keeps giving. Does the campaign watchers say when it comes to dressing Sarah Palin, it's not just about the clothes.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) CARROLL (voice-over): Only minutes into Monday's episode of "The View," another controversy concerning Governor Sarah Palin.

ELIZABETH HASSELBECK, CO-HOST, "THE VIEW": I thought that the attacks on her clothing through the media had been deliberately sexist.

CARROLL: Palin's estimated $150,000 wardrobe paid for by the GOP. Worthy of criticism? Or a sexist charge lobbied at a woman running for vice president?

JOY BEHAR, CO-HOST "THE VIEW": She has the right to say I don't want to wear those clothes because I'm presenting myself as this Wal-mart hockey mom.

BARBARA WALTERS, CO-HOST, "THE VIEW": One of the first things you brought up were her clothes. Enough already.

HASSELBECK: I wanted it to end.

CARROLL: So co-host Elizabeth Hasselbeck brought it up at a Palin rally.

HASSELBECK: Instead of the issues, they are focused, fixated on her wardrobe. This is deliberately sexist.

CARROLL: Some Palin supporters say it's a no win situation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some people see hypocrisy in the fact that the way that she's campaigning on working class values and that she happens to wear nice outfits. But in the same token, If she would have went in the republican national convention, some kind of off the rack suit, I think she would have been hammered similarly as hard.

CARROLL: But that type of criticism crosses party lines. There was plenty of ink dedicated to Senator Hillary Clinton's pantsuits.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is significant that women still in 2008 are being talked about not just for what they're saying and for the issues that they stand for, but because of how they look.

CARROLL: Men too. As democratic presidential contender John Edwards was after he spent hundreds on a haircut. Palin says most of the clothes in question will be returned or go to charity.

GOV. SARAH PALIN (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Those clothes are not my property. I'm not taking them with me. I'm back to wearing my own clothes from my favorite consignment shop in Anchorage, Alaska.


CARROLL: And one thing that political pundit seemed to agree on, if Sarah Palin wanted the story to go away, she didn't do herself any favors by continuing to talk about it.

ROBERTS: And that of course brings up the rift in the campaign here between the Palin camp and the McCain camp. The McCain camp didn't want her to say anything but she went out there and she felt compelled to.

CARROLL: Right. Going off message there.

ROBERTS: Got to defend yourself, I guess. Jason, thanks so much for that.

CARROLL: All right.

CHETRY: Well, what if you voted and then it wasn't counted? Vote trouble for our troops overseas. It's the journey from the battlefield to the ballot box and why for some troops casting their votes, they're not going to count.

And Barack Obama's new commercial is aimed at religious voters, but can he make inroads with evangelicals or does McCain have those voters sewn up? It's 35 minutes after the hour.



SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Faith doesn't mean that you don't have doubts. You need to embrace Christ precisely because you have sins to wash away because you're human and need an ally in this difficult journey.


CHETRY: That was a radio spot called "source of hope." It was put out by a political action committee endorsing Barack Obama. Listeners are going to hear ads like this in key battleground states. But can they help them connect with evangelical voters? Joining me now is David Brody, a CNN contributor and also the senior national correspondent for the Christian Broadcasting Network. David, good to see you this morning. So this is really a push by the Obama camp to say just because you are a religious voter or part of the evangelicals, you can still pick me. Is that going to work?

DAVID BRODY, SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CHRISTIAN BROADCASTING NETWORK: To a degree, it may. I mean, he's not going to get the pro life and pro traditional marriage evangelicals as bulk. We know this. I mean, that's been pretty much defined already. And Palin has clearly helped McCain in that regard. But he's going to look at main line Protestants, Catholics, some of these other groups, United Methodist. You know, independent voters who may be willing to broaden the argument out rather than just the life and the marriage issues.

Kiran, what's really interesting here is this isn't so much about the metrics of evangelicals. What this is about is that the Obama campaign and folks like the Matthew 25 network who have done a fantastic job of being able to craft and really share the Obama narrative with the country and they've done this through faith forms early on. You know, Kiran, if you go back over a year ago, into November-October of '07 leading up to Iowa, these faith forums where they were actually the religious outreach team of Barack Obama's campaign were in these states talking up Barack Obama's faith, family, and how it relates to his public policy positions. They've been doing this for a very long time

CHETRY: Now, I want to ask you about this because are we seeing the end of what we have seen before, which is that one candidate has a lock on what they call the evangelical vote. I mean, for example, in 2004, President George W. Bush captured 78 percent of the white evangelical born again vote over John Kerry. Is this the end of that type of lock on that vote?

BRODY: Well, I think it's an up in the air question. And when I say that, what I mean by that is that there is a broadening of the landscape. And that is putting the evangelical movement really at a cross roads right now, Kiran. And folks, the conservative evangelical groups, the Family Research Council, some of these other groups are really trying to kind of figure things out in terms of you know, where they go from here. Because they want to keep the focus on the life and the marriage issues but then you have others that are really broadening out to climate change and others. And it has resonated because Kiran, they have a candidate this time around, Barack Obama who has the "Jesus' story to tell." And that has been able to propel some of this talk.

CHETRY: Listen to this. "USA Today" has an article out today talking about conservative Christian groups' focus on the family actions sending out these mailings where they paint this dire picture of what the country would look like in 2012 with Barack Obama as president. They talk about "terrorist strikes on four American cities, Russia rolling into Eastern Europe, Israel hit by a nuclear bomb, gay marriage in every state, the end of the Boy Scout." Is this the politics of fear that we've talked about before? Is that going to seven days out make a difference among people who are still undecided and religious about Barack Obama?

BRODY: You know, I think it's probably going to have an effect. You know, you're calling it the politics of fear. I think for a lot of people they call it the politics of reality. Because within the evangelical group, this conservative bunch of evangelicals, you know, they really are concerned about where the country would go under Barack Obama. And so when you play that source of hope commercial that the Matthew 25 network put out, you know, there's a lot of folks where it resonates with people. But with the conservative evangelical movement, that's scary stuff for them. I mean, you know, to hear Barack Obama go on Christian radio and talk about his faith, they believe that that is just something that they cannot - they don't agree with. And they've got real problems with. So, you know, it's a real crossroads moment right now. Kiran.

CHETRY: It'll be very fascinating to watch one week out how this all shakes out. David Brody, great to see you. CNN contributor and also senior correspondent with the Christian Broadcasting Network. Thanks.

BRODY: Thanks, Kiran.


ROBERTS (voice-over): Fighting on the battlefield but losing at the ballot box. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's disenfranchising our military and frankly I think it's very unpatriotic.

ROBERTS: The efforts to make sure the absentee ballots of men and women on the frontlines are counted.

You're watching the most news in the morning.



ROBERTS: It's 45 and a half minutes after the hour. Troops fighting overseas may lose their voice in this election. Technicalities are threatening to disqualify up to half of the ballots of troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our Carol Costello joins me now from Washington. Carol, this sounds like it could be a huge problem.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I know, you know, it's crazy. As one congressman told me, you think we would have had this figured out by now, but no.


COSTELLO (voice-over): They risk their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet their votes for America's president often does not count.

ROSEMARY RODRIGUEZ, U.S. ELECTION ASSISTANCE COMMISSION: It's disheartening. OK. And these are the voters that are in some cases preserving our liberties and out there with their lives on the line.

COSTELLO: Rodriguez works for the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, a non-partisan group. In the last general election, as best as she can determine, only about 30 percent of overseas military ballots were actually returned and counted.

LT. MELISSA COX BOSEE, U.S. NAVY (RETIRED): It's disenfranchising our military and frankly I think it's very unpatriotic.

COSTELLO: One reason why so many military votes are not counted, every state has its own rules for absentee voting and they can change in the middle of an election cycle. For example, in Virginia, a federal write-in ballot required a witness's signature and address. But for soldiers overseas that proved confusing because there is no box provided for a witness's address.


COSTELLO: Rokey Suleman, the Fairfax County Virginia registrar initially said he would have to discard 63 votes because voters neglected to list a witness address.

SULEMAN: These ballots that aren't being met I can't accept as valid ballots at this point. If the law changes, I welcome the review of the law. I think this law is horrible. COSTELLO: Late Monday, Virginia's attorney general agreed saying all county registrars can now ignore that part of the law. A bigger problem, the U.S. mail. It may be able to deliver your mail through rain, sleet and snow, but not a battlefield. Congressman Kevin McCarthy said absentee ballots mailed from war zones are not getting to county registrars fast enough to be legally counted.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R), CALIFORNIA: With all the modernization we have we should be able to move the ballots, track them at the same time, bring the modernization of the technology that we have today to make sure our heroes across this world get treated fairly.


COSTELLO: Congressman McCarthy of California said he's pushing a bill through Congress that will address those issues but it will be too late for election 2008. He suspects more than half of our troops voting absentee will be voting in vain. John.

ROBERTS: And that is a real shame. Carol Costello for us this morning. Carol, thanks so much for that.

If you have concerns about possible voting irregularities in your state, we want to know about it. You can call us toll free here at CNN 1-877-gocnn-08. That's 1-877-462-6608.

CHETRY: Well, CNN NEWSROOM is minutes away. Heidi Collins at the CNN Center with a look at what's ahead. Good morning, Heidi.

HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Kiran. That's right. Here's a check of what we're working on in the newsroom today. One week to go. And today live coverage of candidate rallies, plus a look at where they stand on health care. It's an issue we'll be looking at all morning long.

And the stock surge, world markets move higher. Will Wall Street build on the momentum?

And chained to her home. A woman facing foreclosure will not give up her fight. We'll give you the very latest and get started at the top of the hour right here on CNN. Kiran.

CHETRY: Heidi, thanks.


CHETRY (voice-over): Running for your life. How hitting the track could tack years on to your life. Dr. Sanjay Gupta tells us why it's never too late to start. You're watching the most news in the morning.


CHETRY: Well, we discussed aging, everyone wants to know, what's the secret to a long, healthy life? Now, more than 20 years of research is telling us running may be the key. CNN chief medical correspondent and "Time magazine" columnist, Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us now with more. Congratulations. That's a new thing we added to your title, Sanjay. Now, in your column you write about the importance of not only living longer, but having a better quality of life in those golden years. So this study showed that running can do both?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you know, this is a study that I've been following for sometime. Fascinating. Over 20 years worth of data about runners, specifically. But to your point, Kiran, we would want to live our lives like incandescent light bulbs, burn brightly our entire life and then suddenly go out, not like a fluorescent bulb where there's a lot of flickering in the end. How do you sort of stave off a lot of disabilities, especially in the golden years?

Well, this study followed runners for over two decades. Now when this study started, people were concerned that runners would need knee replacements and have all sorts of disabilities earlier because they ran. What the study found was in fact, the exact opposite was true. Running did a lot of things for these runners over the period of two decades. First of all they lived longer on average. Twice the number of non-runners died during this time period as compared to runners. Also the runners did not have any increase in injuries overall across the spectrum, such as knee problems requiring knee replacements, things like that.

The biggest thing for me was this idea that you could delay the onset of disabilities. On average people delayed the onset of critical disabilities by 12 to 16 years. So these runners got a significant reward for the running and talking about staving off disabilities, for example, not needing a cane as early in life or being able to button your shirts because your motor strength and motor skills remain better. These were some of the benefits from this sort of exercise. Kiran.

CHETRY: That's amazing. Now what qualifies as running? I guess, you could say, what do the numbers have to be on the treadmill for it to be considered a run?

GUPTA: Well, anyone can be a runner. No matter the age, no matter the experience. About 30 minutes a day on average is what you want. You want to define some goals early on. You want to listen to your body, but as far as speed or distance, that really doesn't matter that much. I will give you one piece of advice, which a lot of people have disagreed upon in the past but I think has become more common is the idea of stretching after you run. Long and lean. Let those muscles warm up a bit, stretch them out. That can help stave off some injuries as well.

CHETRY: You also gave us an assignment, John and myself. It was this quiz that you were supposed to take on the website, You guys at home can do it as well. It's pretty fascinating. John's going to live to be 96, at least, either that or he say he'll keel over on November 6th. We'll have to see which one. And it says I'll live to 98. I could have raised my life expectancy by four years if I didn't eat as much fast food, I'm embarrassed to say. But anyway, what do you think about this real age calculator where you take into account your medical histories and your habits and see how long you're going to live?

GUPTA: I think it's a pretty good calculator. We did a whole documentary about this. Thomas Pearls who is my friend, he came up with this particular calculator. There are several of them out there. But you answer all of these questions. I did much worse than you guys. I'll just admit that. I only live to 81 at least according to this calculator. But the good news is it gives you lots of tips on how you can increase your life span. Floss every day, you add a year, cut out sweets, you add three years. Things like that. Kiran, if you cut out that fast food, you can add four years to your life. Taking that 100 mark. That's not a bad idea.

CHETRY: How about it. And you're right and genetics obviously does have a lot to do with it. Because they ask you about your family history as well. But I know your problem, you need more sleep and to work less.

GUPTA: Good advice, doctor, I'll take you up on that.

CHETRY: All right. Sanjay, great to see you. Thanks.

GUPTA: All right. See you.


ROBERTS (voice-over): Warm up acts.

PETER MUNOZ: I am Peter Munoz but you can call me Peter the builder.

ROBERTS: Jeanne Moos looks at the most unusual cast of characters in charge of pumping up the crowds for the politicians.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just a few more weary days and no more George Bush!

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


ROBERTS: So you're running for president and you're giving it your all. What do you do when the lights go out? Or your microphone doesn't work? It's the most news in the morning with Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Will the fake Sarah Palin please raise her pom-pom? There she was chanting his name.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: John McCain. John McCain.

MOOS: Basking in his praise behind his back.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: She's a great reformer and a great person.

And thank you for your support of Sarah Palin, as well. I'm very grateful of that.

MOOS: The mystery look alike Sarah even chanted her name. Hey, sometimes folks don't believe you're the real thing even when you are. For instance, when Barack Obama was dialing for votes.

OBAMA: Doesn't it sound like me?

MOOS: At an Obama rally, the microphone died, at a McCain rally the lights kept going on and off on Senator Lindsey Graham.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM: Well, Joe the plumber -

MOOS: It's Joe the electrician they need.

MCCAIN: I think the lighting is brought to you courtesy of the Democratic National Committee.

OBAMA: Somebody from the McCain campaign kicked our plug out of the socket.

MOOS: The warm-up acts at these rallies seem to be getting wackier.

PTER MUNOZ: I am Peter Munoz, but you can call me Peter the builder.

MOOS: For the democrats there was Cecil, the president of the United Mine Workers.

CECIL ROBERTS, PRES., UNITED MINES WORKERS OF AMERICA: Just a few more weary days and no more George Bush!

MOOS: Not to mention Senator Robert Byrd answering his own question wrong, though the crowd got it right.

SEN. ROBERT BYRD (D), WEST VIRGINIA: The next president, who is he?


BYRD: Joe Biden.

MOOS: The rally chants also seem to be getting odder from I am Joe.


MOOS: To bless your heart.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bless your heart. Bless your heart.

MOOS: To vote McCain, use your brain.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Vote McCain, use your brain!

PALIN: You bet you. That's good.

MOOS: Not so good was what happened to a hockey player on this carpet just before Sarah Palin dropped the puck for a St. Louis-Los Angeles game. Goalie Manny Legace slipped on the carpet, hurt his hip and had to leave the game.

MOOS (on-camera): Now we've all heard that Senator Biden is long winded but now we have visual proof, thanks to a cub reporter with a tired arm.

MOOS (voice-over): Fifth-grader Damon (Weaver) asked Biden what a vice president does. As the senator went on and on, Damon's arm sagged.

SEN. JOE BIDEN (D), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When the president comes up with an idea...

MOOS: Sometimes weighing a candidate's words can be heavy lifting.

Jeannie Moos, CNN...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Biden is now my home boy.

MOOS: ... New York.


CHETRY: Sometimes the question does go on and on. All right, well -- or the answer, rather.

Thanks so much for joining us on this AMERICAN MORNING. We will see you back here tomorrow.

ROBERTS: Sometimes the questions do, as well.

CHETRY: Sure do.

ROBERTS: Right now here's "CNN NEWSROOM" with Heidi Collins.