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American Morning

Bush and President-elect Obama to Meet in Oval Office; Obama's Ambitious Agenda; White House Going Wired; AIG Gets More Money

Aired November 10, 2008 - 07:00   ET


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: We're just coming up now on the top of the hour. And here are this morning's top stories. A larger bailout deal for troubled insurance giant, AIG. It will receive an additional $40 billion from the government in return for partial ownership. That money will come from the recently passed $700 billion bailout package.
Stock futures are trading up right now after a rally in Asia. They're up just shy of 200 points. Earlier today, China announced a $586 billion economic stimulus package. That news send the Shanghai Index up more than 7 percent and carried over to Japan where the Nikkei added nearly six percent. And that boost for China's economy is giving a jolt to, guess what? Yes, oil prices. In early trading, oil up nearly $3 a barrel to around $64 a barrel. Traders expect the stimulus plan to increase the demand for oil. But I did see gasoline for $2.09 a gallon yesterday.


ROBERTS: For the "Most Politics in the Morning," there is now 71 days until the transfer of power. President-elect Barack Obama heads to the White House today. He's going to meet with President Bush in the Oval Office for the very first time, also get a little tour of the White House.

Our White House correspondent Elaine Quijano joins us now. This is going to be quite an interesting meeting today.

And how broad will the agenda be, Elaine?

ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's expected to be very broad. As you know, a lot on the agenda today. This meeting between the president and the president-elect will be historic, symbolic, but also quite substantive with the economy, national security and two wars all pressing issues.


QUIJANO (voice-over): Democrat Barack Obama and Republican George Bush will come together today for the start of a time-honored tradition of American democracy, the transfer of presidential power. This year it is steeped in history, the first transition post 9/11. The first African-American president-elect.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It will be a stirring sight to watch President Obama, his wife Michelle and their beautiful girls step through the doors of the White House. I know millions of Americans will be overcome with pride at this inspiring moment that so many have waited so long.

QUIJANO: Just as George Bush did with Bill Clinton in December of 2000.

BUSH: I am humbled and honored, and I can't thank the president enough for his hospitality. He didn't need to do this.

QUIJANO: The incoming president will have a chance to seek advice from his predecessor.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENT-ELECT: I'm going to go in there with a spirit of bipartisanship.

QUIJANO: This time as President Bush sits down with President- elect Obama in the Oval Office, the two will have a full agenda.

BUSH: We face economic challenges that will not pause to let a new president settle in. We're in a struggle against violent extremists determined to attack us. And they would like nothing more than to exploit this period of change to harm the American people.

QUIJANO: The two leaders will also have the delicate task of balancing decision making and consultation in the coming weeks.

OBAMA: The United States has only one government and one president at a time. And until January 20th of next year, that government is the current administration.


QUIJANO: Now today's meeting will also allow the current and future first ladies to meet as their spouses confer in the Oval Office. Laura Bush and Michelle Obama will have a chance to meet privately and take a tour of the residence. It will be a chance for Mrs. Obama to get a closer look at the place that will become home for the Obama family -- John.

ROBERTS: Elaine Quijano at the White House.

Elaine, by the way, we're going to have an opportunity to delve more into these national security issues. Fran Townsend, President Bush's former Homeland Security adviser, is going to join us at 45 minutes after the hour.

Thanks for that, Elaine.

And stick with CNN for full coverage of the meeting between President Bush and President-elect Obama. That will be at 2:00 p.m. Eastern time with Kyra Phillips on "CNN NEWSROOM."

COSTELLO: You heard Elaine say it, Barack Obama hopes to hit the ground running on January 20th. Aides say he's already working on an ambitious agenda for when he takes over. But some in Washington are warning about trying to do too much too fast.

Jim Acosta is live in Washington. He has more. Hey, Jim.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Carol. There's a phrase buzzing around Washington, the big bang, referring to the Obama transition team's plans to move aggressively on what could be big changes for the country.


ACOSTA (voice-over): Buckle up. Barack Obama's new team is dropping hints it will move fast on what would be a historically massive agenda with plans to take on the economy, health care, energy and education. Those issues all linked, says Obama's transition co- chair, John Podesta.

JOHN PODESTA, OBAMA TRANSITION TEAM CO-CHAIR: So these are all core, if you will, economic questions and they need to be tackled together and I think he'll have a program and a strategy to move aggressively across all those fronts.

ACOSTA: Nearly the same message is coming from Obama's chief allies in the Congress.

REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D), MAJORITY WHIP: We are in crisis mode. We've got educational crisis. We've got health care crisis. We've got financial crisis. We've got consumer protection problems. These things must be managed.

ACOSTA: That has some in Washington sounding a familiar alarm bell. Overreach.

DAVID BROOKS, "NEW YORK TIMES": You're going to tell me you're going to solve an incredibly difficult economic crisis at the same time you're going to raise, reorganizing 14 percent of the American economy, health care, I think that would be a gigantic overreach.

ACOSTA: But one Democratic leader, the number two in the House, Steny Hoyer, is downplaying expectations, saying, obviously, we're not going to do health care in the first month or two.

Democrats have seen his movie before. Bill Clinton got elected on pocketbook issues only to get mired in a non-economic controversy over gays in the military. Republicans say they're determined to stop Democrats from overplaying their hand this time.

REP. ERIC CANTOR (R), VIRGINIA: But there is going to be, I think, a willingness to try and get things done. But at the end of the day, I think you will see a Republican Party in Congress serving as a check and a balance against Mr. Obama's power and Speaker Pelosi's power.


ACOSTA: Obama's new team features top insiders from the Clinton administration who remember the perils of overreach well, so unless they're suffering from presidential amnesia, Democrats are confident they've learned their lesson -- Carol.

COSTELLO: That's always possible. You know, Obama when he held his first press conference on Friday, he seemed to say he's going to take it slow. It will take a couple of years, don't expect too much. Am I wrong?

ACOSTA: Well, there is that buzz phrase moving around Washington, the big bang. And there are two schools of thought on this.

Yes, there's been a lot of advice and counsel saying go slow, but at the same time, there are members of this transition team and there is word leaking out of this process that's going on that they think that they have a historic moment here to seize the moment and move quickly on a lot of these items. You know, there is some talk that sometimes delaying gratification means postponing it forever. You never get there.

So you know, looking back at some of the historic moments when presidents have moved fast like FDR, the Obama transition team is looking at that as perhaps a model for what's to come, Carol.

COSTELLO: We'll see. That's January 20th.

ACOSTA: We'll see. That's it.

COSTELLO: Jim Acosta, live in Washington. Thanks.

ROBERTS: We just had the first election for the YouTube generation and now a lot of talk that YouTube and social networking sites could change the presidency.

Alina Cho has been looking into this. She's here for us now. He's already rolled out a new White House presence online. And do we have a YouTube snowman on there?

ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Not yet. Not as far as I can see. It's called We're going to tell you about that in just a minute.

As you know, John, you know, FDR had his fireside chats on the radio. JFK used TV to bring Camelot to the masses. And now, some are calling Barack Obama the first wired president.

There's little debate that Obama's use of the Internet changed the game in politics so to speak, from YouTube to social networking to fund-raising, for example. Obama had four times as many friends as John McCain on MySpace.

Listen to this, nearly three million supporters on Facebook. He raised huge amounts of money online. That's been widely reported. And he also put together a massive database of e-mail addresses, some 10 million people.

Part of the reason the Internet campaign was so successful, well, simply put, more people are using it. A Pew poll found that 46 percent of American used the Internet, e-mail or text to get information or share news about the election. Now compare that to the 39 percent who watch cable news regularly, 34 percent who read newspapers daily, and just 20 percent who watch network news nightly.

Obama's transition team, as I mentioned, launched a new Web site. It's called It happened within 24 hours of the election. So how might this help President-elect Obama?

We went to the experts behind That's a Web site that tracked the online operations of the campaigns.


ANDREW RASEIJ, FOUNDER, TECHPRESIDENT.COM: He now has his own special interest. He has a group of people that he can go to and ask them to participate in helping him pass his legislative agenda. I think the days of just a Saturday morning radio address and an occasional press conference as the way the president speaks to the American public are over, and I wouldn't be surprised if Barack Obama starts doing a weekly YouTube video and also fireside chats for the 21st century by allowing people to filter up questions to him that he might answer.


CHO: Well, it would make sense. He posted some 2,000 videos on So what will you find on, the transition Web site?

Well, it's still new so a little thin on content. But you can share your own story or your vision for an Obama presidency. There's an application for that. You can even apply for a job, John. Polish up your resumes. And so far, only one listing under upcoming events, that would be the inauguration on January 20th.

But this is what happens when you've got a BlackBerry addict for a president-elect. You know, he has said that he is going to promise a five-day sort of online comment period before he signs any non- emergency legislation. And he's planning on appointing a chief technology officer. So look out for that as well.

ROBERTS: I tell you, there's enough that the president has to do and now here's a whole bunch more, right?

CHO: Yes. And just because it's not so early to look ahead to 2012, we could be looking at another $1 billion Obama campaign for the re-election. So --

ROBERTS: It's too early for a lot of people to be looking forward to 2012.

CHO: Never too early.

ROBERTS: Thanks, Alina. Carol?

COSTELLO: That's right, Alina. It is never too early to plan ahead.

Let's talk about tickets to Barack Obama's inauguration. They're hot. So much so scalpers are selling them online for get this, as much as 20,000 bucks.

Here's a helpful hint. About a quarter of a million tickets will be given to members of Congress and to the Senate. They're supposed to give them to their constituents for free. For information on how to get some tickets, go to

And it will be all smiles when President-elect Barack Obama pays President Bush a visit later today. Just what can the two accomplish though after Obama spent the last 22 months bashing the current president?

It's 10 minutes after the hour.

Transition trouble, the intelligence community sends up red flags why they're worried about the first passing of power since the attacks on September 11th.

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


COSTELLO: Take a look at this. It's a candlelight vigil in Hong Kong. Hundreds gathering to mourn massive losses to their investments. That's outside of Lehman Brothers offices. In addition to mourning, many have filed lawsuits claiming they were duped by Lehman.

ROBERTS: That's a real outpouring of emotion there, isn't it?

COSTELLO: And where's my money?


Bailout news making big business headlines this morning. Billions more of your dollars going to Wall Street.

Christine Romans has been tracking it all for us. This is -- it's a brand new bailout deal for AIG. The government (INAUDIBLE) put the old one, did this and said, here's the new one for you.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: That's absolutely right. A new AIG bailout, and this -- part of it coming from that $700 billion bailout that Congress passed with so much controversy just weeks ago.

What does it look like? What is this new deal? It's worth about $150 billion altogether. The government is going to buy a $40 billion direct stake, preferred shares in AIG, major changes to the initial bailout from September, including they're taking that $85 billion bridge loan and reducing it to $60 billion and then cutting the interest rate dramatically. Treasury also demanding some limits on pay here, freezing the bonus pool for the top 70 executives. The Treasury -- the government is going to buy billions of AIG's troubled mortgage-backed securities and also will spend $30 billion to backstop its credit default swap agreements.

What this means is they've taken that old deal. They've put it all back together again. Ed Liddy, the CEO of AIG, says that this is going to allow them to, you know, get on the road to recovery. The government says they hope they're going to be able to get their money back. If you're an optimist, you say that the government and private sector are moving very quickly to a very fluid situation. They're finding new and creative ways to stem the crisis. If you're a pessimist, you say, they're flying blind with billions of dollars of our money.

COSTELLO: And there's no middle there?

ROMANS: History is going to decide which one, but they're changing this very, very quickly. The government says that it's focusing on getting the money back for taxpayers. Those are preferred shares so if something terrible were to happen to AIG, then, you know, the government would be paid back first.

The government, it's our money.

ROBERTS: Right. Christine, thanks so much for that.

COSTELLO: Well, he campaigned on a promise to help cut taxes but now that Barack Obama has been elected president, can he deliver? And what happens if he doesn't? It's our memo to the president.

ROBERTS: Transition to power, overturning President Bush's executive orders. Barack Obama looks to make big changes fast.

What to expect? Our panel weighs in.

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


COSTELLO: And welcome back to the "Most News in the Morning." We're shaking it up. There's a look at some of those top videos right now on You know, there's nothing like a good implosion (ph) (INAUDIBLE).

Holiday Inn Hotel in Dallas implodes. The hotel was turned into dust and rubble to make way for a new development of condos and office buildings.

Also, a British pilot flying so low blinded by a sudden stroke. A military plane just happened to be in the area. The pilot was able to fly alongside the distressed plane and actually helped talk the blinded pilot down to a safe landing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He did then come in and then level the wings there. You're now pointing at the runway, and all the time as well, asking him is he able to see the runway. And so many times he just said, "no, not yet, sir," and he was only maybe a quarter of a mile from the end of the runway when he said, "I can see it."


COSTELLO: Wow is right. There he goes, a safe landing. Amazing.

And check out this amazing video. Unruly monks get into a massive brawl inside of a church in Jerusalem. Armenian and Greek Orthodox monks started arguing at the holy site. And as you can see, it turned into a full scale brawl. It had to be broken up by the police. Two monks were under -- no, it's not often, Rob, you see monks fighting monks typically.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: One more reasons why the rules of Monk Dom should maybe be relaxed so that they Can, you know, participate in finer pleasure. What? Maybe they would be less apt.

COSTELLO: If I knew more about -- but I thought monks were supposed to be peaceful.

ROBERTS: That gives the Taiwanese parliament a run for its money.


MARCIANO: Usually the video is coming out of Taiwan, isn't it? Hey, guys.


MARCIANO: Hey, big doings in Wisconsin this week.


MARCIANO: On Wednesday, it is Snowplow Appreciation Day. I know that's a big holiday for you in Wisconsin.

COSTELLO: That's why we got the monks.

MARCIANO: Send the monks out here to shovel the snow. They had a little bit of snow across Wisconsin, not a whole lot, but certainly enough to get you in the spirit of the season. Not only is Wednesday Snowplow Appreciation Day but this entire week is winter weather awareness week and both perfect timing for that.

All right. Speaking of timing, Colorado, a couple of ski resorts opened over the weekend. Breckenridge and Keystone managed to do it. A big doings at Breckenridge, they opened up Peak Eight which isn't something they haven't done in quite a while and they're doing that because they're gearing up for the mountain detour which should be there the weekend before Christmas. All right. Lake-effect snows today across parts of upstate New York. You could see several inches up to a foot in spots. Lake- effect snow warnings in effect lee (ph) of Ontario and lee (ph) of Erie as well.

As far as what's going on with -- data highest (ph), by the way, 36 degrees in Minneapolis, 43 degrees in Chicago. It will be 51 in New York. So seasonably chilly across much of the United States.

Here's Paloma. Was a Category Four hurricane before it hit Cuba as a Category Three. It's really getting sheared apart here, just a remnant low, so that pretty much is done. Hopefully that will be the last hurricane we see this season.

Now we mentioned the last hour, this is the only time we've seen five major hurricanes in consecutive months. July -- what's the next one, John, help me out.


MARCIANO: August, thank you. September, October...

ROBERTS: I thought maybe it was a trick question.

MARCIANO: ... November. No, trust me. That's what we call brain flatulence.

COSTELLO: That took so long.

MARCIANO: And I thank you for your help.

COSTELLO: He's just so amazed that there were five major hurricanes in each month.

MARCIANO: It's a big deal. It's a big deal.

ROBERTS: But as you said, we'll be happy to see this. Thanks, Rob.

MARCIANO: All right.

COSTELLO: Thank you, Rob.

It is 23 minutes after the hour.

ROBERTS: Drowning in debt.


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Can Democrats deliver on those promises?

REP. STENY HOYER (D), MARYLAND: Democrats are certainly going to try, but Democrats also have to manage expectation.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROBERTS: The campaign trail runs up against reality. Brianna Keilar with a memo to the president about keeping his trillion dollar promises while facing trillions in debt.

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



GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIFORNIA: I have made it very clear that now since the election is over and the people have chosen Obama, that I will be 100 percent behind this man.


ROBERTS: It might even help him do some squats as well now. California Governor Schwarzenegger on President-elect Barack Obama's win and as a leading Republican married to a member of the Democratic Kennedy clan, Schwarzenegger said that this election for him was personal.


SCHWARZENEGGER: Luckily, I can get back into the bedroom, so that's the big advantage.


ROBERTS: Well, in just a few hours, President-elect Barack Obama who spent two years bashing President Bush will meet him at the White House. But behind the smiles and handshakes, may friction over Obama's plan to reverse many of the president's policies rear its head?

Joining me now, Democratic strategist Lisa Caputo and Republican strategist and CNN contributor Ed Rollins.

Good morning to both of you.



ROBERTS: So, Ed, you know, taking into consideration, two years of bashing President Bush very publicly, how do you expect today's meeting to go?

ROLLINS: I think it will be very cordial. I mean, if today we're talking about this, this is the first time Obama has been in the Oval Office.

ROBERTS: He's been to the White House.

ROLLINS: He's been to the White House a couple of times and, you know, it's kind of -- it's the real passage. You know, you go through the election, what have you, but all of a sudden, it's real. You see that office, that's where you're going to sit for the next four years or eight years. It becomes very, very serious. And I think to a certainly extent, President Bush certainly will expect him to undo a lot of stuff that he's done. And that does never feels good, but that's the reality of it.

ROBERTS: Let's talk about that in just a second and a lot of symbolism today as well. The two of them will walk down the Colonnade at the White House, which is a very ceremonial area. But, Ed, Barack Obama, as we said, has been at the White House a couple of times before. And he was there in 2004 at a breakfast meeting which he writes about it in his book "The Audacity of Hope" in which he said about President Bush, "As I watched my mostly Republican Senate colleagues hang on his every word, I Wall Street reminded of the dangerous isolation that power can bring."

Lisa, not exactly a warm relationship between these two?

CAPUTO: I don't know that it's not a warm relationship. I think Barack Obama is being very realistic. You know, he's observing a sitting U.S. president and what can happen to somebody in power and he's very mindful not to get isolated. And I think that's a good thing. I think he's going into this with his --

ROBERTS: But you've been there, though.

CAPUTO: I have.

ROBERTS: Can you prevent that from happening?

CAPUTO: It's hard, I will say. But if you keep your wits about you and you're able to see the forest through the trees, I think you can absolutely keep your head on the right way.

I will say it is such an extraordinary time to go to the White House for the first visit. I was with then incoming First Lady Hillary Clinton and I was the only staffer with her when we arrived on the South Lawn. And it's this extraordinary feeling.

I turned to her and I said, oh my God, I have a sweaty palms. And you get out and you're greeted by the sitting president and first lady and the press corps are going crazy and you're overwhelmed. I think that's what will happen today with the Obama family.

ROBERTS: I remember the first time that I set foot in there as a lowly White House correspondent and it was pretty overwhelming, too.

Let's talk about this idea of executive orders, Ed, and what Obama might do in his first few days, talking about John Podesta, at least was giving an indication that he might overturn the stem cell research, ban, drilling for gas and oil in Utah. Does he have to be careful here not to overreach?

ROLLINS: No. I think the bottomline is, he can, by executive order, you can do a lot and you do it very quickly and sort of the euphoria of the inauguration and what have you? Just put your stamp on the administration very quickly, you know, rather than trying it with legislation, do it by executive order, get it done.

This is a president who's going to have to be very aggressive in his agenda, and I think the reality is the country wants that.

ROBERTS: Yes. And, Lisa, what kind of a signal do you think he's going to send with the selection of his cabinet. We haven't heard any, you know, other than cabinet level appointment Rahm Emanuel to chief of staff, haven't heard yet any members of the cabinet? How do you think he's going to go here? Will he pick independents? Will he pick Republicans?

CAPUTO: I think he'll be very methodical. He's taking his time, and I know there's a lot of speculation out there. He's been very thoughtful about his economic team. He's put together I think a very robust economic advisory team.

I think that he is also taking the counsel of people who've been in the White House before, who've been working with him on policy whether it's Jim Steinberg on national security issues, Greg Craig on foreign policy issues, Carol Browner on environmental issues, and John Podesta.

I think you can't underestimate what John Podesta has brought to the table in this transition. And as Ed said, the notion of overturning some of the policies by executive order I think is the wisdom of John Podesta being brought to bear in this transition and that's important. And the Obama team is to be congratulated for handling this transition I think very, very well so far.

ROBERTS: Folks, thanks for joining us this morning. Looking forward to this afternoon as well.

CNN is going to bring you live coverage of today's meeting between President Bush and Barack Obama at the White House. It all starts at 2:00 p.m. Eastern with Kyra Phillips right here on CNN -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Thirty minutes past the hour. Here are this morning's top stories.

The U.S. military reportedly carried out more than a dozen secret attacks against terror groups over the past four years, that's according to this morning's "The New York Times." The strikes carried out in Syria, Pakistan and other countries were authorized by then Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. So far neither the White House or the Defense Department are commenting on the report.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid insisting that President-elect Barack Obama will keep his promise to end the war. In a CNN exclusive interview Reid who expressed his frustration in wanting to bring the troops home said it will happen even if generals on the ground convince Obama more time is needed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. HARRY REID (D), MAJORITY LEADER: Senator Obama has said the troops are coming home and they are coming home. It's just a question of how fast they come home. There will be a timeline. The Iraqis have a budget surplus, we don't. We can't spend $5,000 a second on that war. We've got to focus where the real problems are and that's in Afghanistan today.


COSTELLO: And new evidence this morning you may be able to slash your risk of a heart attack or stroke by half if you take cholesterol lowering drugs. A study of almost 18,000 people worldwide found that those given a cholesterol lowering statin cut their risk of cardiovascular disease even if their cholesterol was normal. Experts say widely prescribing statins could prevent 50,000 deaths a year, but critics charge its wide use would cost the U.S. more than $9 billion a year.

71 days until the transfer of power. President-elect Barack Obama campaigned on some bold promises. Now that he's been elected president, can he make good without raising your taxes? And with President Bush's tax cut set to expire in a little over a year.

Here's CNN's Brianna Keilar with the latest in our series "Memo to the President."


KEILAR: Mr. President on the campaign trail you made trillion dollar promises, tax cuts for the middle class, health care reform, a renewable energy revolution, but now keeping those promises depends on Congress.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), HOUSE SPEAKER: The house will be in order.

KEILAR: On your fellow Democrats like Steny Hoyer, the number two democrat in the House. Can Democrats deliver on those promises?

REP. STENY HOYER (D) MAJORITY LEADER: The Democrats are certainly going to try. But Democrats also have to manage expectations.

KEILAR: The problem, not enough money especially after that $700 billion Wall Street bailout and the national debt quickly approaching 11 trillion. Democrats have will have to again break their rule that every new program needs to be paid for.

HOYER: Everybody understands, conservatives, moderates, liberals, Republican economists, Democratic economists understand that in the short-term confronted with an economic crisis, that you try to stimulate the economy. And you do that by deficit spending.

KEILAR: The good news, the checkbook is open because Congress wants to put money in Americans' pockets with that big tax cut you promised. Well I think the danger in not delivering on the tax cut is that Democrats lose seats in the 2010 midterm congressional elections, voters have to take it out on somebody, they can't take it out on Obama initially. So they'll take it out on Democrats.

KEILAR: But corralling votes here might not be easy. A lot of the newly elected Democrats are conservative, tight fisted with taxpayer money.

May of these new seats they picked up in the House and Senate are in areas that generally vote Republican which means this is not a San Francisco Democrat.


KEILAR: Another road block, predictions are the economy won't be getting better any time soon and that threatens President-elect Obama's huge promise of health care reform. If it happens at all it's more likely to come in small incremental stages and not one sweeping an expensive one, Carol.

COSTELLO: You say that Brianna but you also say the checkbook is open for spending, but for how long?

KEILAR: Well, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said 12 to 24 months and the plan is to offset that spending down the line. That said we spoke with some experts who said the window would be much shorter, that yes there would be room for things like green, energy infrastructure, things that create jobs that the Congress would have to quickly tighten its belt more quickly than we heard Steny Hoyer say.

COSTELLO: Brianna Keilar live in Washington, thank you.

Coming up tomorrow, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, their leaders are thorns in the America's side. So how will President-elect Obama deal with them, isolation or will he open up the lines of communication? For more on our special series head to

ROBERTS: And with the election now over, nation of Islam minister Louis Farrakhan now breaking his silence on President-elect Barack Obama's speaking to a packed mosque on the South Side of Chicago this morning. The 75-year-old minister spoke of Barack Obama's vision to guide the nation and stressed that his supporters have a responsibility to stay engaged and help Obama's presidency.


MINISTER LOUIS FARRAKHAN, NATION OF ISLAM: I believe President- elect Obama is going to have to get everyone involved because the job of helping him is not just with his cabinet or Congress, the job of helping this nation out of its condition is a responsibility that everyone has something to do about.

Farrakhan went on to say that he avoided talking about Obama because he didn't want any of his comments to potentially hurt Obama's campaign.

Outrage over a newspaper's coverage or lack thereof at the presidential election. A small newspaper in Supulpa, Oklahoma didn't even report that Barack Obama won the election in its Wednesday edition. The paper had a one paragraph story indicating the local county voted for McCain.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not only national but this is local. And this is our president. He's president of Supulpa also.

DARREN SUMNER, "DAILY HERALD" PUBLISHER: I think that's just blatant racism, if McCain had won, I'm sure he would be all over the paper.

And I'm sure they read about it and watched it on TV or got on the Internet and followed it as many people did and knew complete coverage several hours before we were going to go to press.


ROBERTS: The publisher said the "Supulpa Daily Herald" is first and foremost a local paper. By the way, The Creek County where Supulpa is located, went for McCain 70-30 over Obama.

COSTELLO: That's something else.

Well the public just can't get enough news about the new president-elect. Now Barack Obama's books are selling out. Here's more on the A.M. Extra. This past weekend, Obama books "The Audacity of Hope" and "Dreams of my father" both hit numbers one and two on and Sales about other books about the President-elect have also surged.

The government's $700 billion bailout is changing shape. The money was supposed to go to struggling banks and financial firms, but that was then. Hear what the government wants to do with your tax dollars now.

And security alert. Potential terrorist threats during this transition. Former Homeland Security Adviser Fran Townsend joins us shortly. It's 37 minutes after the hour.


ROBERTS: 48 1/2 minutes after the hour now. And billions of your dollars now going to Wall Street this morning. Christine Romans tracking it all for us. She's got the breaking news.

Good morning.

ROMANS: Pump it, right? Pump the taxpayer money into Wall Street and the businesses. That's what we have been doing. AIG getting a new and improved all told about $150 billion bailout from the government. You know back in September, we heard about at $85 billion. And then they needed $37 billion more. And then we learned that AIG was paying high interest rates on some of that. And so, they were borrowing at a different program at lower interest rates and paying back the government with its own money. It just gets better and better, right.

$150 billion will include $40 billion direct stake into AIG so that's taxpayer money among other things going to take a stake in AIG. The CEO of the company in a press release saying indeed they think this sends a signal that the company is back on the road to recovery, the press release accompanying a quarterly profit report that showed $25 billion loss in the quarter and the government says it hopes to get its money back. Here's some good news this morning on stock futures. They are higher.

ROBERTS: Do tell.

ROMANS: Yes, Asian markets sharply higher. European markets higher. There's some euphoria in stocks right now because of a huge massive Chinese stimulus to its economy that comes out to be half a trillion dollars. $586 billion they're pumping into all kinds of their own industries and that's providing some support. The idea that around the world you've got governments doing everything they can to try to ease this economic pain and to save the financial system.

Shanghai stocks up more than six percent. Japan up 5.8 percent. Hong Kong up 3.5 percent. And Dow futures up I think about 185 points right now. It can be wild and erratic, of course before that.

ROBERTS: we'll see how long it lasts.

ROMANS: Yes, we will. But at least there is a reason you know in Europe and Asia where they were happy an what they saw from the Chinese government.

ROBERTS: But none of this feel good stuff lasts. That's the problem.

ROMANS: You know nothing lasts around here, It's because like everything is built on sand, where everything is changing and shifting underneath us, the very way the bailout looks, who's getting the bailout, you know how much it's costing, the terms of the bailout.

COSTELLO: Don't you wonder, once Barack Obama takes office that the whole bailout plan may change again and probably will.

ROMANS: Well Congress has already passed it.

COSTELLO: But you can change it as we just saw with AIG.

ROMANS: How many times have we seen a change and change again. I mean where this started this was about taking toxic assets off the books of the banks. And it has changed and changed and changed again. And now you have under that $700 billion bailout they're actually buying a stake in an insurance company. So everything is changed. And I think it puts a lot of pressure on policy makers about a bailout of Detroit, too. Any kind of company or industry that's -

COSTELLO: You have no excuses not to help now. ROMANS: A lot of our money is out there to try to help things out.

ROBERTS: Christine, thanks.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

COSTELLO: Barack Obama's presidency is already historic, but he's facing huge challenges ahead. Can his transition team strikes fast. It's 43 minutes after the hour.

Transition troubles. The intelligence community sends up red flags. Why they're worried about the first passing of power since the attacks on September 11th. You're watching the most news in the morning.



GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're in a struggle against violent extremists determined to attack us. They would like nothing more than to exploit this period of change to harm the American people.


COSTELLO: That was President Bush on Thursday warning about the vulnerability of a terrorist attack during the transition of power. So just how serious is that threat? Frances Townsend at the CNN National Security contributor and served as a Homeland Security Adviser to President Bush. Good morning, Fran.


COSTELLO: You know when you hear the president say that and you know that worry in an economic crisis right now, it's easy to think that wow, somebody could attack us and it could be dangerous. How concerned should we be?

TOWNSEND: Well you know we should remind our viewers both the President and Secretary Chertoff have said there's no information about an imminent threat to this country. That said, we would be remiss if we didn't take note of you know the '93 World Trade Center attack was first year of President Bill Clinton's term. The tragedy of September 11th, first year of George W. Bush's term, Prime Minister Gordon Brown in London in the first 72 hours of the Glasgow bombings and there are others.

And so we understand this history, these facts. And so I think what the administration is trying to say is that we can't do this alone. We must be mindful. We've seen recent threats against our embassy in Jakarta last week and in an attack against our embassy in Yemen. So it's a threat, it's a potential threat against not only the United States but our interests around the world. COSTELLO: Where, specifically, will the threats come from for Barack Obama and his first term?

TOWNSEND: Oh, well, I think there's no doubt that the most pressing threat that he faces is from the tribal areas of Pakistan. We've seen increasing U.S. and coalition force activity in that region, we've seen lots of threats including the 2006 airplane bombing threat out of London which had its ties back there. So he's got to be concerned and I'm sure they are, planning for what is their policy going to be to deal with that, not only the tribal areas but Pakistan and Afghanistan as well.

COSTELLO: Fran, this Jihadist group supposedly with ties to Al Qaeda said that came out and said that terrorists are overjoyed that Barack Obama won the presidency. What should we make of that?

TOWNSEND: You know, Carol, I really don't make much of it. Frankly, I think it didn't matter who got elected, Al Qaeda was still going to be a threat to this country. And if Al Qaeda was going to make a statement, a serious statement, it would have come from Bin Laden or Zawahiri, the number one or number two of Al Qaeda not on some blog by you know from you unknown jihadist.

COSTELLO: So looking towards the future, some say it would be smart of Barack Obama to keep some of the security people in the Bush administration. For example Defense Secretary Gates. Is that a good idea to keep Gates in place?

TOWNSEND: You know I think everyone on both sides of the aisle have tremendous respect for what Bob Gates has done in the Department of Defense, but I think anybody will tell you Carol the single most important quality in any cabinet secretary or staff member of the president is that that person enjoys the trust and confidence of the president. So first and foremost, we have to be sure that those people that are appointed or are asked to remain enjoy President-elect Obama's confidence.

COSTELLO: So maybe not. Keeping - I know. Homeland security, I have to ask you, what is your prediction? Who will he appoint to that role?

TOWNSEND: Well there are some very good names on the list. Former Senator Gary Hart who co-chaired the Hart-Ruddman commission on terrorist threats to this nation before September 11th and really predicted in many ways the threat we were going to face. NYPD, New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly who has done a terrific job up in New York.

And we should remind our viewers, he was an undersecretary of treasury in the Clinton administration where he was responsible for customs and secret service which are now part of DHS, incredibly well qualified. Police Commissioner Bill Branton in Los Angeles, very competent and qualified and would do a terrific job so there's a lot of good names on the list and I expect after economic appointments, this will be high on the President-elect's agenda to appoint.

COSTELLO: I'm sure. Fran Townsend, thanks for joining us this morning. We appreciate it. It's 50 minutes after the hour.

ROBERTS: The biggest guest in town. Before you pay up to sit down at inauguration day --




ROBERTS: Scalpers try to make a buck.




ROBERTS: With your free ticket to history.

And a soldier's story. The tough, hard-hitting documentary about a wounded soldier's struggle to recover. The film's director, Phil Donahue, live, on the "Most News in the Morning."


ROBERTS: That's a new Will.I.Am song. It is a new day. Done that song and put a new video to it as well to celebrate Barack Obama's historic victory. Welcome back to the most news in the morning. 71 days now until Barack Obama enters the White House. And already Obama's transition team laying out an aggressive agenda. What are some of the pitfalls that Obama must avoid? And what does he need to say to the American people as he undertakes some difficult decisions? Civil rights pioneer and transition adviser to President Clinton, Vernon Jordan is the author of a new book entitled "Make it Plain, Standing up and Speaking Up." He joins us now from Washington. Mr. Jordan, it's good to see you this morning.


ROBERTS: You described Barack Obama's ascendancy to president- elect is like springtime is here in America but as we know in politics, spring can quickly turn to winter if you make a misstep. As the person who chaired President Clinton's transition team back in 1992, what suggestions would you have to Senator Obama here to make sure that things go smoothly and he doesn't run into trouble right at the outset?

JORDAN: Well, the notion that a transition is going to run perfectly is a little naive. Certainly there are going to be problems but I think that up until now it has gone very smoothly. He has a three-person board led by John Podesta. I have no warnings except to try to be as confidential and as quick as possible in the selection of people. ROBERTS: One of the things I was wondering about, Mr. Jordan is does he have to look at the transition in a more pragmatic form rather than ideological one?

JORDAN: Well, politics at its base is pragmatic. And as we have seen in these last - last year, and in addition to being idealistic, Barack Obama is a pragmatic guy.

ROBERTS: So when he looks at - as John Podesta was saying, overturning some of these executive orders that President Bush put into effect, what does he need to say to the American people when he says look, I might be turning back this idea of stem cell research, drilling in Utah, I remember the first executive order of President Bush signed was eliminating federal funding for family planning organizations that also gave abortion counseling. What's he need to say to the American people if he overturns some of what President Bush puts into place?

JORDAN: Well he will be honest and direct. Keep in mind, John, this election was about change. And Barack Obama, the president- elect, and Joe Biden are about change. So I think that the American people voted last Tuesday for change. And so he will explain it. I believe they will accept it.

ROBERTS: Let's talk about the overall effectiveness. In your new book which is a collection of speeches that you have given over the years, there's one speech that you highlight here to Urban League in 1981, and I'd like to pull a little excerpt from it. You said "we are sick and tired of hard-working black people having to apologize for sharing the American dream of a different standard of living, of being put in a guilt trip for trying to make it. We will not allow ourselves to be held hostage to other people's ideas about what our proper place is. We know that if you are black in America, you are in trouble. You are not safe. You are always in danger of losing the little that you have. Contrast what you said there at the beginning of the Reagan presidency with where we are in America right now and where we may go in the next couple of years in an Obama presidency.

JORDAN: Well, as you have seen on this channel, you have seen people, not just black people, but all Americans cheering and crying and happy for this moment that the eight years that we have experienced has gone, there's going to be something new going on with Barack Obama and Joe Biden. So I think that if you look at the turnout and in this time of doom and gloom, the turnout was positive. People wanted to have something to say in this election about the direction of the country. That's a good thing.

ROBERTS: Right. Ralph Ellison in the famous 1952 book, "The Invisible Man," said "I'm man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids. I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, because people refuse to see me." We heard from other African-American commentators that perhaps African-Americans are no longer invisible in this country. Desmond Tutu writes in "the Washington Post" today "if a dark skinned person can become the leader of the world's most powerful nations, what is to stop children everywhere from aiming for the stars?" Is there a top-down effect? Does a rising tide lift all votes? In one of your previous speeches you had said that it doesn't lift your boat when it is on dry dock. What about now?

JORDAN: Well, the rise in tide lifts those boats in the water. And I think that the Obama-Biden presidency and vice presidency will be to get to people into the water.

ROBERTS: Very good. Vernon Jordan, it's good to be with you this morning. Thanks for joining us.

JORDAN: Thank you.

ROBERTS: All right. Take care.

JORDAN: All right.

COSTELLO: It's 58 minutes, well it's two minutes to the top of the hour. Here's are this morning's top stories. Is Mr. Obama welcome to the White House? The President-elect and his wife, Michelle, will get the grand tour today from President Bush and First Lady. The private meeting between the incoming and outgoing presidents is a tradition that goes back decades. Laura Bush and Michelle Obama will also meet privately.

Governor Sarah Palin is blaming the Bush administration for her and John McCain's failed presidential bid. In an interview with an Anchorage TV station the Alaska governor said the Republican ticket reminded voters of wars and record deficits that took place during the last eight years. Palin though said she loved her time in the national spotlight and is not ruling out a run for president or vice president in 2012.

How does AIG spell relief? F-E-D. The troubled insurance giant getting a new bailout deal from the government. This time it will get an additional $40 billion in exchange for partial government ownership. That money will come from the $700 billion bailout package which, of course, comes from you and me.

It is Black Monday for 9,500 DHL employees in the United States. Most are expected at the shipping company's hub in Wilmington, Ohio. DHL's German parent company is ordering the job cuts to help offset fuel costs and more than $1.5 billion loss for the year.