Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Saturday Morning News

U.S. Government Planning on Buying Stock in U.S. Banks: Will that Help Calm the Markets?; Possible Merger Between General Motors and Chrysler; President Bush Hosting G-7 Ministers; McCain and Obama Head-to-Head in Campaign Ads

Aired October 11, 2008 - 07:00   ET


T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you all. From the CNN Center, on this Saturday morning, we want to get this off to a good start. I'm T.J. Holmes. Hey, there.

HOLMES: Good morning.

NGUYEN: Good morning, everybody. Thanks for starting your day with us.

Boy, what a week it's been.


NGUYEN: I'm talking about a rollercoaster ride on Wall Street; things have been up and down. But, we understand the U.S. may be investing in U.S. banks. So, that may provide some kind of calm with the markets. We'll see how that works.

HOLMES: All right. And also, we've got some merger talks to talk about this morning. GM and Chrysler...

NGUYEN: Right.

HOLMES: The "big three" in Detroit. It could become the "big two," possibly.

We expect President Bush to be talking about the economy this morning. A lot of stuff is going on about the economy. We'll be talking about it a lot.

There it is -- gorgeous picture of the White House this morning. But the president, we're expecting him after his meeting with some of the G-7 finance ministers this morning to come out, about 8:05 is when we're expecting him and to give us some more comments about the economy.

NGUYEN: Yes, all about the economy. So, are you worried about your jobs? Are you wondering, hey, where can I go and find one? Is there a "help wanted" sign up anywhere? Well, we're going to show you where they're actually hiring and some of the best jobs to get in on right now.

HOLMES: And also, one other thing, I guess it's not going too well in your campaign if you go to your own rally and you get booed.

NGUYEN: Yes, that's not a good sign.

HOLMES: Not a good sign probably, but this happened to John McCain. You may have heard about it already. If not, we will tell you exactly what happened here.

But let's get started here on the economy. The financial crisis here and abroad, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson says the government is now working on a plan to buy stock in U.S. banks. And then, the U.S. would then get ownership stake in those banks. Now, this comes as finance ministers from the world's top economies agreed to work to stabilize markets and restore the flow of credit. This group known as the G-7 met in Washington, and meeting again this morning.

NGUYEN: And there are published reports about a possible merger between embattled General Motors and Chrysler as T.J. just mentioned.

So, let's get some details, though, first on that plan to stabilize the nation's banks. Well, the treasury secretary says it's aimed at unfreezing credit.

CNN's senior business correspondent, Ali Velshi is following it for us.


ALI VELSHI, CNN SENIOR BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson made a dramatic announcement that the treasury will, in fact, start buying the stock of certain troubled banks in the United States. The idea here is it would use some of the $700 billion authorized in the bailout package to invest directly in banks, not just give them loans, but actually get stock in return.

The thinking behind this is if it were to prop up those banks and actually help those banks become profitable, treasury would have a real investment in it. They wouldn't just get the interest payments that they would get from a loan; they'd actually get the return on investment if the company were to become profitable. They'd have an ownership stake.

No details as to how the government would dispose of that ownership. But the idea it's meant to shore up confidence. And by providing those banks with the liquidity they need to make loans to the public, those banks will continue to prosper or will start to prosper.

Now, the treasury secretary did announce earlier this week that no investments of any sort or no expenditures from that $700 billion will be made before the next several weeks. So, we're looking at probably the end of October at the earliest. But initial reaction to this is that it would probably be a good way to recapitalize some of these banks that are caught in the credit freeze.

Now, that caps a really terrible week on Wall Street, in fact, the worst week in history in terms of a point loss and a percentage loss, an almost 19 percent loss on the Dow just this week alone. But there are a number of investors who say that the range in which the Dow traded a day (ph), a 1,000-point range, by the way, is where we might be starting to see a bottom to this market. A bottom means a place where investors, professional investors start to move in, thinking that stocks are cheap, and will be a good investment over a period of years.

We started to see buyers coming into this market. So, even though it was the eighth day of losses, the 128-point loss in the end, is seen largely as a positive sign.

Ali Velshi, CNN, New York.


HOLMES: Well, U.S. automakers, no doubt, feeling that credit crunch. The "New York Times" now reporting that late last night, General Motors, Chrysler's parent company, they are in merger talks. So, there's going to be a merger between General Motors as well as Chrysler. Now, those discussions have apparently been going on for a month now. Some officials are being quoted as there's about a 50-50 chance of that merger taking place.

Well, the economy -- pretty tough times right now and not a lot of good news out there for you but a bit of a silver lining here, all the -- along with the market, the gas and oil prices are taking a dive as well. But for the most part, that is a good thing for you and I.

AAA reporting that you're paying an average of $3.29 a gallon for regular this morning. That's another 6-cent drop overnight. Oil also plunged almost $9 yesterday to less than $78 a barrel. Some experts think prices will come down even more.

NGUYEN: Well, just about 10 minutes from now, President Bush is hosting the G-7 ministers and the heads of several finance institutions. We do expect a statement from him just about an hour from now. And we're going to bring that to you live.

In the meantime, though, our Elaine Quijano is at the White House bright and early.

So, as we wait for the statement, Elaine, what are you expecting out of that announcement -- any policy decisions?

ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: You know, we're not sure at this point. A senior administration official said, "Look, it's not likely that there's going to be any announcements out of this meeting." But he said, "Look, you never know." Certainly, President Bush is trying to demonstrate here that it's not just the United States that's committed to tackling the global financial crisis, but the international community, in particular, as you noted, the Group of Seven industrialized nations, are committed to working together to try to handle this crisis.

Now, this is coming after, of course, President Bush yesterday in the Rose Garden made remarks on the financial situation as well. The president is talking about that massive $700 billion financial rescue plan, saying, "Look, it is aggressive and it is big enough to work, but it's going to take sometime."

Also, as we heard Ali Velshi outlined just a short time ago, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson yesterday talking about the administration moving ahead with a plan to not only buy troubled assets from banks, but also to buy stock in banks as well, basically, making the government part owners. The idea being that injecting fresh capital would make those banks more likely to lend and help free up some of the frozen credit out there which has been really the core of this problem.

Now, Secretary Paulson will be at this meeting today, along with other top administration officials, including the president's chief of staff, Josh Bolten; his national security adviser, Stephen Hadley; and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

But, again, the bottom line here, President Bush is holding this rare Saturday session, Betty, again, to try and demonstrate that it is not just the United States that is trying to deal with the situation -- but really, partners around the world are trying to figure out a coordinated way to try and cooperate on this issue as well -- Betty.

NGUYEN: I think everybody is working overtime to try to calm these markets.

All right, Elaine, thank you for that.

And, we want to know how the economy has affected you and your family. E-mail us at A little bit later this morning, we'll share some of these responses with you.

In the meantime, though, we'll get a preview of another important financial gathering today in Washington. CNN business correspondent Maggie Lake is at the International Monetary Fund headquarters in the nation's capital and we're going to talk with her in about 20 minutes.

HOLMES: GOP vice presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, abused her power, and she violated ethics laws by trying to get her former brother-in-law fired. That is the findings from an investigation panel in Alaska. This investigation started when former Public Safety commissioner, Walt Monegan, claimed he was wrongly laid off because he refused to fire Palin's ex-brother-in-law from the state police.

Well, in firing Monegan, the panel concluded that Palin did not break any laws. But, it did find that she violated state ethics codes in allowing him to be pressured. We'll have more that in just a second.

But first, listen now to the reaction from Palin's spokeswoman.


MEG STAPLETON, MCCAIN-PALIN CAMPAIGN SPOKESWOMAN: The rest of today's report illustrates what we've known all along, that this was a partisan-led inquiry run by Obama supporters. That Palins were justified in their concern regarding trooper Wooten, given his violent and rogue behavior. Lacking evidence for the original Monegan allegation, they seriously overreached, making a tortured argument to find fault without basis in law or fact.

The governor continues to look forward to cooperating with the personnel board later this month and continuing her conversation with the American people regarding the important issues facing the country.


HOLMES: The panel found that Monegan was fired for reasons other than his refusal to cooperate, but it says that because Palin's husband, Todd, was actually using the governor's office and its resources to pressure Monegan and that the governor didn't do anything to stop him, that that, in fact, violated state ethics laws. It prohibits public officials from using power for personal gain. The panel does not recommend sanctions or a criminal investigation.

Well, they say it's just a typo. This absentee ballot went up out to about 300 voters in upper state New York. Take a look there -- you notice anything, who's that candidate? Barack Osama? Yes, that's what happens. Barack Obama's name was misspelled, one letter off and that's what you have. Both Republican and Democratic election officials are apologizing for what they call a terrible mistake. Voters who complained about the ballots will get new ones.


COREY ELLIS, RESIDENT: We're definitely confident that the mistake will be corrected. It's an unfortunate mistake and that this campaign will continue to move forward.


HOLMES: The Obama campaign released this statement saying, "We're glad officials are working to correct this error and we assume it won't happen again." Let's hope not.

NGUYEN: Yes. Well, speaking of politics, you know the crowd at a McCain rally...


NGUYEN: ... got a little hot under the collar, shall we say, and is a little too much for the candidate.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R-AZ) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And we want to fight. And I will fight. But we will be respectful. I admire Senator Obama and his accomplishments. I will respect him. And I want...


MCCAIN: No, no -- I want everyone to be respectful. And let's make sure we are.


HOLMES: You know, that is one of the few nice things we've heard out there on the campaign trail. And he got booed. Being respectful to his opponent and he got booed. Can you believe that?

But, we're going to showing here a second, a new ad is coming out from Barack Obama. And it says they expect more attacks from the McCain camp, and not so much of the nice talk we just heard, actually.

NGUYEN: Barack Obama.

HOLMES: Stay here.


HOLMES: Well, you may have seen this week, if not, we're about to show some of it to you -- some raw anger on display at McCain rallies this week. And our Dana Bash now reports, the senator, Senator McCain, trying to cool things down a bit by of all things, defending his rival.


DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After a week of escalating anti-Obama rhetoric from supporters at his events, John McCain suddenly tried to turn the temperature down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We would like you to remain a true American hero, we want you to fight.

MCCAIN: I will fight. But we will be respectful. I admire Senator Obama and his accomplishments. I will respect him. And I want...


MCCAIN: No, no -- I want everyone to be respectful.

BASH: Nothing like getting booed at your own event and it didn't stop there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can't trust Obama. I have read about him and he's not -- he's not -- he's a -- he's a -- he's an Arab. He is not...

MCCAIN: No, ma'am.


MCCAIN: No, ma'am. No, ma'am. He's a -- he's a decent family man, citizen, that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're scared. We're scared of an Obama presidency. I'm concerned about, you know, someone that cohorts with domestic terrorists such as Ayers.

MCCAIN: I want to be president of the United States, and obviously, I do not want Senator Obama to be. But I have to tell you -- I have to tell you, he is a decent person and a person that you do not have to be scared as president of the United States. Now...

BASH: But McCain may be trying to put the genie back in the bottle. Ever since last weekend, when Sarah Palin first accused Barack Obama of palling around with terrorist, referring to 1960s radical, William Ayers, rowdy crowds have called Obama...


BASH: ... and worse. And now McCain has released this new TV ad on Ayers.


NARRATOR: When convenient, he worked with terrorist Bill Ayers. When discovered, he lied.


BASH: Yet, he doesn't talk about Ayers unless asked, and then insists it's about Obama's rhetoric versus reality.

MCCAIN: Senator Obama said that Mr. Ayers was a guy in the neighborhood, when in reality, Senator Obama's political career was launched in Mr. Ayers' living room.

BASH: And while McCain may now be trying to tamp down on over- the-top rage against Obama, he's still careful not to extinguish enthusiasm he needs to win.

MCCAIN: I don't mean that has to reduce your ferocity.

BASH (on camera): The boiling emotions this week present McCain with a dramatic balancing act. He's trailing and needs every ounce of energy he can get, but clearly sees a risk in not stopping those he believes are crossing the line.

Dana Bash, CNN, Lakeville, Minnesota.


HOLMES: And while John McCain is digging up Barack Obama's connections with Bill Ayers, Obama is firing back at McCain for his tax plan, is the latest talk (ph) involving negative ads.

We want to head now live to Washington with Mr. Positivity, Paul Steinhauser. He's part of the best political team on television.

Paul, good to see you here. It's something there. We saw that rally where McCain actually said some nice things about his opponent and he was actually booed at his own rally for saying something nice about Obama. But, you look at these ads that go right back to the negativity, nothing positive there.

PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN DEPUTY POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes, you got it. You know, Obama, actually, is, T.J., running some positive ads but he's definitely also running attack ads, as well as John McCain. He's got a new one out there where he kind of tries to marry the foreclosure crisis, the bad economic times, to a plan that John McCain announced the other day at the debate -- a mortgage plan.

So, take a listen to this ad.


NARRATOR: On Tuesday, an announcement...

MCCAIN: I would order the secretary of the treasury to immediately buy up the bad home loan mortgages in America.

NARRATOR: On Wednesday, the details: "McCain would shift the burden from lenders to taxpayers."


STEINHAUSER: And what Obama doesn't say here in this ad, T.J., though, is that he voted for that same $700 billion plan that McCain did as well. So -- well, this ad is an attack ad, and maybe, doesn't give all the truth.

Obama yesterday, he was in Ohio, he had two campaign events. And he was reacting to a lot of what you saw there in Dana Bash's piece, to the angry attacks by audience members and also to attacks by the McCain campaign against Barack Obama. They don't think that strategy is working. The Obama campaign doesn't think it's working at all.

Take a listen to what he had to say.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D-IL) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So, in the last couple of days, we've seen a barrage of nasty insinuations and attacks. I'm sure we'll see a lot more of that over the next 25 days. We know what's coming. We know what they're going to do.

But here's the thing, Ohio. They can try to turn the page on talking about the economy, they can try to deny the record of the last eight years, they can run misleading ads, they can pursue the politics of "anything goes," but it's not going to work. Not this time. The American people don't intend to be hoodwinked this time.


STEINHAUSER: I think the Obama campaign, T.J., is pretty happy right now. They're not taking anything for granted but, I think, they're happy in the place, the situation they are with 24 days to go.

HOLMES: Yes, and a lot of the logic behind them being so happy is because a lot of the polls, we (ph) kind of seeing a trend suddenly on some of the battleground states where Obama was making inroads. Well, in the latest polls we have -- has McCain been able to stop the bleeding? Any indication of that?

STEINHAUSER: Not really. Take a look at this brand new CNN poll of polls -- nationally -- this is something we put together late last night: 49 percent for Obama, 41 percent for McCain, with 10 percent of Americans still undecided. This is an average of the latest national polls. And look at those numbers, October 7th to 9th.

So, most of these polls are taken after the last presidential debate. This is a little wider lead for Obama than we saw earlier in the week. And, you know, it's a situation where McCain needs to make up some ground, he's got 24 days, T.J.

HOLMES: All right. And one debate left which we will see next week -- we assume you will be there, is that right, Paul?

STEINHAUSER: Yes, I will be there.

HOLMES: All right. Paul, good to see you this morning. We'll check in with you again.

Well, on the schedule today for the Democrats, Barack Obama, he's hosting rallies this morning, all morning -- really -- in Philly. In a few hours his running mate, Joe Biden delivers this week's Democratic radio address.

Meantime, John McCain in Davenport, Iowa, he has a rally there this afternoon. And his running mate, Sarah Palin, also in Philly. She has a rally this morning and tonight. She will drop the puck at the home opener between the Flyers and the New York Rangers.

Also this afternoon, you can join the best political team on television. Learn about the candidate's plans and you can hear it straight from them. Tune in for "BALLOT BOWL" today, 2:00 o'clock Eastern -- Betty.

NGUYEN: Well, you know, T.J., the truth squad is out and about, finding out more about what the candidates are actually saying about this mortgage mess. We bring you Josh Levs in because...


NGUYEN: ... one is saying one thing, the other is saying another. How do you sort it all out? Who's telling the truth?

LEVS: You know, the truth squad has been busy. We have been busy.

NGUYEN: Yes, working overtime.

LEVS: Yes. Well, these guys are giving us lots to work on. You know, that's right.

Here's the deal, we got John McCain saying about refinancing (ph) small businesses and Barack Obama's statement about burdening taxpayers. Who's right? Verdict is coming up.


NGUYEN: OK. So, we talked about it, here it is -- Barack Obama going after John McCain's plan for the mortgage crisis, saying that it adds to the burden on taxpayers.

HOLMES: OK. Is that true?

NGUYEN: Well, that's what we're trying to find out.


HOLMES: All right.

Josh Levs, a member of CNN's truth squad here. They have been busy. I'd just love to see the verdict at the end. So, let us know about this, Josh.

LEVS: Yes, you really like that. All right. And I'll tell you, this one, CNN actually has a role inside the ad. Let's take a look at it.


NARRATOR: On Tuesday, an announcement...

MCCAIN: I would order the secretary of the treasury to immediately buy up the bad home loan mortgages in America.

NARRATOR: On Wednesday, the details: "McCain would shift the burden from lenders to taxpayers," guaranteeing a loss of taxpayer money. Who wins? The same lenders that caused the crisis in the first place.


LEVS: OK. So, would McCain's plan shift the burden from lenders to taxpayers? And you saw it in that ad, the Obama campaign is showing this article here from, which says "McCain mortgage fix burdens taxpayers." Let me explain to you what it's all about.

We have a graphic here we're going to start with. Under McCain's plan, the government would buy up some troubled mortgages at their full value. And that means that the lenders would not take a loss. The government would then renegotiate those mortgages so that eligible homeowners would pay rates based on their home's current reduced value.

Now, McCain previously supported a plan under which the government would renegotiate with lenders. And what that meant was that they would have taken a loss. But his economic adviser said McCain now believes that would take too long and that, in order, to move quickly, the government should pay the entire value of the loan and get the process. And, you know what? We checked with the McCain campaign and they're acknowledging straight to us that in the end, McCain's new plan does mean an additional burden on taxpayers. They're paying more than they would have otherwise.

So here you go, the verdict, T.J., our verdict on this is true. The plan would shift the burden to taxpayers instead of lenders. And again, McCain's argument for that is that something needs to be done quickly. So, in the end, have taxpayers pay the whole thing right now.

Obviously, we're hearing complaints from both sides, from some liberals and conservatives who don't like it that way. There you go. You got your verdict on that.

And coming up in just a few minutes, we're going to take a look at the truth squad from the other side, an attack coming from McCain against Obama.

NGUYEN: All right.

HOLMES: We don't see "true" often.


LEVS: Yes, we don't see that one too often.

HOLMES: All right.

LEVS: It's pretty rare these days.

HOLMES: All right. We see you shortly, Josh.

NGUYEN: Thanks, Josh.

LEVS: Thanks.

NGUYEN: We now the White House is getting ready to remove North Korea from a "terrorism black list," according to the "Associated Press." Diplomats briefed on the matter say it's meant to save a stalled accord aimed at getting North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program. Now, if the nation refuses to allow inspections of its nuclear facilities, it would go back on the State Department's state sponsors of terrorism list.

And North Korea has revealed several pictures of Kim Jong-il. The health of the reclusive leader has been questioned in recent weeks because he hasn't appeared at events he would normally attend. North Korea Television broadcasts these photos on Saturday and they said Kim visited a woman's artillery unit, but did not say when.

HOLMES: All right. Well, we know we have the Group of Seven industrialized nations meeting in Washington, talking about the economy. There's another group, the International Monetary Fund that keeping an eye on things, as well, trying to come up with a response on the global credit crunch. NGUYEN: Yes. And CNN International's business reporter, Maggie Lake, will be reporting live from outside of the IMF headquarters. Stay tuned for that.


NGUYEN: Welcome back, everybody, on this Saturday morning. I'm Betty Nguyen.

HOLMES: And hello to you all. I'm T.J. Holmes.

We're talking a lot about the economy this morning. And that is the focus in Washington today, fixing the nation and the globe's financial problems. A big order, and it's getting all the attention, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson says the government is working on a plan to buy stock in financial institutions. And that money would come from that $700 billion bailout rescue plan.

Finance ministers from around the world as well, they are meeting in Washington, they're part of the Group of Seven industrialized nations. Also meeting in Washington today, another group that keeps an eye on the global economy -- the International Monetary Fund.

NGUYEN: Also called the IMF. And what it does is oversee the world's financial systems. It offers financial and technical assistance.

So, let's see what it has to offer in the way of financial fix- ups for all of this. CNN's business correspondent, Maggie Lake, is at the IMF headquarters in Washington.

Maggie, what do you expect to hear?

MAGGIE LAKE, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Betty, it's very quiet right now. But soon, finance officials from around the world are going to be gathering once again to have discussions to try to come to some sort of solution to stabilize the financial system. Henry Paulson, the U.S. Treasury secretary, is expected here later. Finance ministers who are right now meeting with President Bush at the White House will also be making their way with their country's delegation.

I cannot remember a time when there was so much focus on this meeting. They have been annually, and usually, they're very bureaucratic. This year, all eyes are on these officials and the pressures building to try to come up with a plan of action.

Now, late Friday, they released another press statement saying that they are dedicated to working together in a coordinated fashion to stabilize the system. But it was very vague and very short on concrete action. And that is very disappointing to analysts and investors I was talking to.

I came down from New York late last night. And someone said, you know, the time for talk is over. We need to see action. They need to overwhelm the system and get ahead of this problem. And there's a feeling that they haven't done that yet.

So, when the markets open again, they're going to want -- on Monday, they're going to want to see some action. The meetings are taking place today. Hopefully, investors are hoping we hear some sort of word. Particularly, they want to hear government getting behind bank-to-bank lending, standing behind them, saying they'll guarantee it, because, of course, those credit markets are frozen.

Again, very early, but as the day progresses, hopefully we'll hear some statement of action -- Betty.

NGUYEN: I want to hear something concrete come out of this. A lot of people are talking, but what indeed are they doing is the real question.

OK, thank you, Maggie. We do appreciate that.

So, do you need a little guidance on all this financial fury and the big $700 billion bailout? Well, CNN's business correspondent, Ali Velshi and Christine Romans are your guide. "YOUR MONEY" airs today at 1:00 Eastern and tomorrow afternoon at 3:00.

HOLMES: Well, the economic crunch right now is putting a lot pressure, a lot of new pressure on small businesses. John McCain, however, says that Barack Obama wants to add even more pressure those businesses.

NGUYEN: Yes, we've heard that, time and time again. But the question is -- is it true? So, Josh Levs is here with the CNN truth squad to give us the verdict on this one.

LEVS: Yes, you guys might not be as happy with the verdict on this one. Let's take a look. First of all, let's look at what John McCain is saying right here. I mean, what he's doing right now, he's zeroing in specifically on Barack Obama's healthcare plan and one specific part of it.

Here's what he said.


MCCAIN: Under his plan, he will fine employer who don't offer health insurance to put their employees in government healthcare. He'll fine 'em. You know what that does? That costs jobs -- that cost jobs for small business people in America.


LEVS: Is that true? Would it do that?

Well, let's go to a graphic to give you some basics here. Obama's healthcare plan requires employers to offer meaningful coverage or else contribute to a national fund to help people who can't afford healthcare pay for it. Now, that contribution will come from payroll tax, which really more like a tax than it is a fine. In fact, John McCain on his own Web site calls it a tax and not a fine. And Obama says small businesses are actually exempt from this. So, when we look at McCain's specific attack here, our verdict on this one today is false. Because if you look at how it breaks down, will Obama's healthcare plan fine small businesses, the verdict there is false.

And you can get more details right here on the screen behind me., just click on fact-check at the top. We're zooming on the verdict really quickly. We've got false because McCain is calling the plan's payment a fine, that's at odds with his own Web site, which calls it a tax. Also, Obama's campaign says small businesses with would be exempt from the plan.

You know what? I want to tell you, guys -- fact check online is getting some incredible traffic. Millions of millions of hits and we are loving that.

And another thing you can do if you go to Web site today do that -- also, send us an e-mail. We want to hear from you, about the economy and how it's affecting you. How has the economy affected you?

Go there right now, because you know what? Starting in a matter of minutes, I think, early next hour, we're going to start sharing some of these on the air, some of your stories, especially if something's impacted you in the last couple weeks.

How has the economy affected? Include your name and you know what I always like to say, the city you live in -- be respectful and be brief. We're going to share something here. So, see you guys, I'm sorry I don't have two trues for you in a row, I know that would be a special day if that actually happened. But today, one each for you.

HOLMES: It's hard to find, too, out there these days.


LEVS: (INAUDIBLE) it is. Yes.

NGUYEN: Unfortunately, it is. But people, you know, they do want to know who is telling the truth. So, it's important that you're doing what you're doing. And I see why we have so much traffic on it.

LEVS: Yes, right.

NGUYEN: Of course, we're getting close to crunch time.

LEVS: Yes.

HOLMES: Yes. All right. Josh...

NGUYEN: Josh, you know, you're going to want to listen to this story.

Listen to this -- when you thought it was safe, just when you thought it was safe to vote, she is back. Yes, Paris Hilton has released another parody about the race for the White House, and this time, she has teamed up with a former president, or at least an actor who played one on TV.


PARIS HILTON, CELEBRITY: Sorry to drag you into the kitchen, but I need a quiet place to seek the advice of one of our greatest fake presidents.

MARTIN SHEEN, ACTOR: During my fake presidency, the kitchen was always my favorite spot to solve the great fake issues of our times.

HILTON: Running for fake president is a little daunting.

SHEEN: I've got to tell you, though, Paris, you know, being a fake president is a lot harder today than it was when I was a fake president.

HILTON: Nowadays, sound bites, not sound policy determines our country's course. I plan to bring a safe and balanced approach to these real problems. For example, FoPo.

SHEEN: What is FoPo?

HILTON: Foreign policy, silly.

SHEEN: Of course, I should have known that one.

HILTON: If you're looking for victory in Iraq? Haven't we already found it? Iraq has a democratic government that's asking for us to leave. It seems that we've done our job and we should bring our troops home safely.

SHEEN: Loves it, it makes perfect sense. But what about the economy?

HILTON: Well, this is the biggest depression since "The Notebook." How about help to people losing their homes? Maybe lower inflated interest rates so it's not impossible for them to pay their mortgage. I know it's not as much money for the banks, but it's better than no money at all. Just ask M.C. Hammer.


LEVS: I love that.

HOLMES: She's going to be on "BALLOT BOWL" later.

REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: The greatest impression since the notebook?


LEVS: Hey, guys, do you think we could have Paris Hilton moderate the last debate? NGUYEN: Oh, my goodness.

LEVS: That would make me happy. We better (INAUDIBLE) she's giving us a run for our money in our industry here.

HOLMES: You know what? I know that nobody takes her seriously really, but that is supposed to be a serious message in there, Betty and Reynolds. And that is...

NGUYEN: Was it fopo?

WOLF: What is it?

NGUYEN: What was it?

HOLMES: Seriously, I speak Hilton-talk.

NGUYEN: OK, break it down for us.

HOLMES: What she's doing is just making a joke out of a lot of the news coverage, the sound bytes and a lot of people getting information from celebrity's endorsements, saying take your time, go out there and learn for yourself, don't listen to any of us. You need to be doing your homework. That is the positive message.

NGUYEN: Even on issue as fopo. OK. Great, thank you, T.J.

WOLF: Something tells me Paris has never done homework, though. I'm just saying this. She doesn't have to, she's a lady.

NGUYEN: Of course, she's watched "The Notebook" a little bit. Is that right?

WOLF: There you go. Absolutely. I love Paris (ph).

HOLMES: What's going on, Reynolds? Good morning to you, sir.

WOLF: Well, we got a lot of things to talk about. We've got things falling from the skies above. We're talking about some heavy snow. We're talking about land-falling hurricane in parts of Baja, California.


WOLF: Even an earthquake. We're going to get things started with some earth-rattling news. We had a 6.0 earthquake that was detected near San Juan, Puerto Rico. Some calls have been made. So far, things are OK at the time being. But any time you wake up in the morning and the earth is shaking? You don't need coffee. You know that's not to get things going.

NGUYEN: Maybe that's a sign not such a good day ahead.

WOLF: Absolutely. Let me show you something very pretty now. Let's switch gears a little bit and show some incredible footage that we had out of near Tahoe, easy for me to say. You know, that's a rest area, this is not far from Truckee, California. Beautiful spot and the snow is going to begin to fall a few feet possible. In the high sierra, I'll tell you what? This is just going to be the very beginning of things to come for parts of the high sierra, beautiful part of the world. And snow is just a dream come true for many skiers.

But I'll tell you what? In some parts of the country it is going to be, certainly, some rough stuff, especially in parts of the northern plains. We'll get to that coming up in just a few moments.

Now, let's show you again a few other things we're going to be dealing with today. In terms of a line of precipitation, in terms of some heavy precipitation especially in parts of Baja, California, here is Norbert, this is a major hurricane and is getting close to shore, expect to make landfall possibly within the next couple of hours.

And the latest path we have from the National Hurricane Center brings the storm right into parts of say, Baja, California, across the gulf of California and then moving into portions of Mexico, possibly affecting some of the Four Corners. And the number one way it's going to affect parts of the Four Corners, potentially some flooding in parts of, say, west Texas, back into the Rio Grande Valley and even into New Mexico.

We also have an area of low pressure that's going to be settled right over parts of the Rockies. And this is going to be a tremendous machine. What this area of low pressure is going to do is draw a lot of that moisture from Norbert, bring some heavy rain, as I mentioned, Texas and New Mexico, but a lot of cool air aloft is going to come into parts of the central and northern Rockies. And very quickly, this is going to be a big snow-maker. Some light scattered showers for Great Falls back into Billings.

But what we're going to see later this afternoon and into the evening, and into Monday, we're going to see the potential of one to two feet in some places. But in the highest elevations, especially near Jackson Hole, three to four feet of snow. Winter? Just around the corner. But already the snow is getting heavy.

Let's send it back to you guys at the desk.

NGUYEN: All right. Thank you, Reynolds.

WOLF: You bet.

HOLMES: Well, we're talking about this economy and we know a lot of people are losing their jobs. So, is there any career out there that is safe? Maybe news anchors?

NGUYEN: Well, I'm saying yes, because besides our spots, there are some other "help wanted" signs out. Stay tuned. We'll show what they are.


HOLMES: You know, these pictures don't need me to say a word right now, really. They tell a story of the week we've had on Wall Street. You can see a lot of these traders, a lot of these investors, shock and disbelief really on their faces as they dealt with the mess, the rollercoaster that we saw last week. But just some of the pictures to share with you of the week that was.

NGUYEN: Well, speaking of the economy, you know a new CNN poll found six out of 10 Americans believe we are headed for a depression. And a lot of people are worried about job security right now. So, we're curious as well. What jobs are bulletproof in this economy? Are there any?

Jennifer Merritt, the "Wall Street Journal's" career editor joins us now from New York.

And, Jennifer, thanks for being with us.

Let me start with this -- a manpower survey lists these jobs as the most safe for white-collar workers. We want to put up a graphic and they include engineers, technicians, sales reps, accountants. But, when you look at this, and you look at students coming out of college and those who are still in college, few of them are actually choosing these fields. So, why do you think that is, if these are supposed to be safe?

JENNIFER MERRITT, WALL STREET JOURNAL: You know, that's right. Actually, a lot of people felt that those jobs are being offshored, and so, they weren't looking specifically into those careers. So, some people have shied away from them. They haven't seen them as stable careers. But in reality, they are. There continues to be a demand for those kinds of workers.

NGUYEN: And again, looking at the graphic on there, you have sales reps. A lot of times when companies are starting to downsize, those are some of the first jobs to go.

MERRITT: You know, definitely those are some of the jobs that go. And certainly not all of these jobs will continue to be strong for the next couple of years, but over the next 10 years, they definitely are expected to be. If you look at accountant, accounting firms are even hosting programs to retrain people in other parts of business to fill those jobs.

NGUYEN: And that list as we look at it one more time, what's the average wage?

MERRITT: You know, a lot of those jobs, for entry-level are going to pay anywhere from maybe $40,000 to $60,000 depending on how much you bring to the table. And sales reps' jobs obviously are a little bit more on commission, though.

NGUYEN: OK. And let's look at blue collar jobs. We were looking at the white collar jobs. But the blue collar jobs include machinists, machine operators, skilled workers, mechanics, laborers and production operators. We see this all the time. Skilled workers, what do you mean by that? MERRITT: You know, a skilled worker is someone who can work in the trades, someone who has gotten a vocational degree, maybe perhaps in construction, perhaps in welding, perhaps in some, a field like that. And so, those are in demand. And there are plenty of programs that are inexpensive at community college that can teach you these skilled trades. And you can go out and find a job.

NGUYEN: And the average wage?

MERRITT: You know, some of them are still a little bit lower- paying, but certainly for not having to have a college degree, typically, maybe $12 to $15 an hour. And for some of these machinist jobs, you could be looking at $20 or more an hour.

NGUYEN: And they're safe because you're always going to need someone to build and to do these different things that really just keep us running.

MERRITT: You always need somebody to fix things. You always need someone to service machines, et cetera.

NGUYEN: All right. One more thing that's not on your list -- health care. A lot of labor statistics show the industry is one of the fastest-growing careers. Why didn't it make your list?

MERRITT: You know, actually, everyone is getting older. And healthcare is growing in a variety of ways. In everything from geriatric care all the way down to nurse's assistance. And we're all getting older, we all need healthcare, even in a down economy, we all get sick. So those fields are growing. And then certain parts of the country, they're growing more than others.

So certainly in the south, in the southwest, in certain parts of the west, those jobs are continuing to grow. And I don't expect to see a downturn in that.

NGUYEN: So, the good news is, there are jobs out there, you just have to look for the right one?

MERRITT: Absolutely. And you have to be careful and think about where you want to be.

NGUYEN: OK. Jennifer Merritt with the "Wall Street Journal," we do appreciate your time today. A little bit of a silver lining as we look at the stocks this week and they did go on a rollercoaster ride. If you have a 401(k) -- it was downsized. I don't really need to tell you that.

But there are growing fears that we're headed for a crisis, kind of like the 1930s, you know, the depression. Join us for a conversation about that this morning at 10:00 Eastern.

In the meantime, though, as most serious credit crisis, well has some advice for you, some answers, in fact. Check out our special report, "America's Money Crisis," that's at HOLMES: Well, everybody wants to make more money. There may be an easy way to do so.


HOLMES: We should move to New York. I know it doesn't sound like a good idea but...

NGUYEN: What? The cost of living is awfully high there.

HOLMES: But the Giants are 4-0. It's tied to a winning football team.

NGUYEN: Really?

HOLMES: Yes. If your team is doing well, you're making more money. We got the stats that prove it.

And our sports analyst, there he is, Rick Horrow, I don't know what he's...

NGUYEN: No money in his wallet, only plastic.

RICK HORROW, CNN SPORTS BUSINESS ANALYST: There's nothing in here. I'm sorry.

HOLMES: Nothing in there. We're going to get into it with him and see if our pro baseball, pro basketball, the same thing applies. So, Rick, we'll see you in a second, buddy.

HORROW: Yes, sir.


HOLMES: All right. A winning team in your town means your salary could soar. That's according to a new study from two university professors. Yes, they took time to study this thing. They found that in cities with successful NFL teams, income of the people went up.

Sports business analyst, Rick Horrow, is live with us to explain this to us. Atlanta right now is 2-3, the Falcons. So, our salaries are kind of stagnant right now. But tell us, Rick, really? This applies?

HORROW: Well, yes, it applies, but look how bad the economy is to begin with.


HORROW: You don't need me to tell you that. But there have been 93 naming deals done in the past 15 years, and nine of the companies have gone bankrupt over 30 percent, their stocks have gone down 40 percent, and that was before last week. So we need some help.

Now, the study is from Xavier and Missouri academic group, and they say, because of increased productivity, we're all happier when we win and because of increased spending, that was before last week, that a 10-win team can increase your per capita income $160. And if you're just a generally winning team, it's about $100.

Did you hear that Detroit and Houston, you haven't won an NFL game yet...


HORROW: So, you better win for a lot of reasons.

HOLMES: Now, back to the bankruptcy thing and the naming deals, what happens when a company goes bankrupt and their name is plastered on the outside of a stadium or what -- I mean, how do you handle that?

HORROW: Bankruptcy like anything else. You got to get your money out, creditors, there is a big committee, the lawyers make a lot of money.


HORROW: But as far as resell, Wachovia Center, where the Sixers and the Flyers play, they've got the "W" up there, but is it Wells Fargo? Is it going to be Citigroup? They put up big screens to have highlights for the plays, I think it's because they need to change the name around all the time.

HOLMES: All right. But back to not just -- you know, it's good for a city to have a team that's winning.


HOLMES: Like you said, you feel good about yourself. It's just -- everybody is happy and walking around hugging and just brings some camaraderie to a city. Something you all have in common.

HORROW: Camaraderie and attaboy (ph) is good stuff, but reality when you get to the level of the playoffs now, Super Bowl, for example, championship series, World Series -- we're in that in baseball now, we got four teams left -- $100 million of economic impact for a week of these championship series. Everybody watches that city, it's on television.

Tampa Bay, they didn't play well last night, obviously, they're 0-1, but impact, $100 million or so, they're looking for a new $500 million stadium. This may help them get it, 30 percent increase in attendance. No matter what, it does make you feel better. It doesn't put money in your pocket, necessarily, other than that study, but it makes you feel a little better.

HOLMES: It makes you feel better and I was just corrected here that the Falcons here in Atlanta are actually 3-2, not 2-3, and I feel better already.

HORROW: Yes, you got one stat and, you know, you're off by 100 percent. HOLMES: I'm off, but I feel better knowing we have a winning team in town.


HOLMES: We see all the time, throughout history, we always see politics and sports merge. We're going to see it again. This evening, right, what kind of scene are we going to see up there in Philadelphia?

HORROW: Well, we're going to see a lot more between now and November 4th, I can guarantee you. You've heard of that phrase "political football," this is political puck. Sarah Palin, the ultimate self-professed "hockey mom" is dropping the puck at the Philadelphia Flyer home game in Wachovia Center in Philly. And remember, we've had Alonzo Mourning, at World Center (ph) in Georgetown, appearing at an Obama rally.

Politicians use sports athletes for a lot of purposes. That's not new, contributions have been up, we'll talk about that between now and election time. Maybe the owner of the Washington Capitals Ted Leonsis said it best, because he said, "I've given to Republicans, I've given to Democrats, I own the building in Washington, both sides are coming to my building and I'm not sure who's going to be president, but I want the president to be a Capitals fan, and not be offset at me. So, I'm giving to both." He got the right answer.

HOLMES: You know, it's a good point. And another note there, Romeo Crennel, the head coach of the Cleveland Browns told his players now, some who have gone to these rallies, "Don't talk about politics in the locker room." They think it will be decisive. He's told them to shut up, it's too divisive these days, that he doesn't want his players talking about it in the locker room.

HORROW: How about shut up and concentrate on winning and figuring out your defense...

HOLMES: How is that?

HORROW: ... and figuring how to stop players.


HORROW: Tiger Woods, by the way, says he doesn't want to talk about this stuff because he thinks it's all too complicated. So shut up and play.

HOLMES: All right. Well, we're going to have you shut up and get on out of here right now, Rick.


HOLMES: Good to see you, buddy, as always, enjoy the rest of the weekend, buddy.

HORROW: Thank you for the warm note, I'll see you next week. HOLMES: All right.

NGUYEN: I like how you ended that with, buddy. Yes, right.

OK. So, Philadelphia has Rocky Balboa.

HOLMES: Of course.

NGUYEN: Syracuse, New York has Reggie Dunlop.

HOLMES: Who now?

NGUYEN: Yes. Paul Newman played a fictional hockey player in the 1977 movie "Slap Shot," and Newman is being honored, as you well know, with a video tribute before tonight's Minor League Game at the Syracuse War Memorial. Part of the movie was shot there.

Let's take you now to the White House, though, and the president as he is speaking.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I just had a productive discussion with finance ministers of America's partners in the G-7 -- Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, and Japan.

I'm pleased to be with the Prime Minister Juncker of Luxembourg, who is the president of the Eurogroup of countries, Managing Director Strauss-Kahn of the International Monetary Fund, President Zoellick of the World Bank, Chairman Draghi of the Financial Stability Forum. Thank you all for coming.

I appreciate the spirit and common purpose that these leaders have brought to Washington. We recognize that the turmoil in the financial markets is affecting all our citizens. Citizens are rightly concerned about the crisis. And we understand that in dealing with the financial crisis, we're really helping people be able to have a better future themselves.

In my country, it is important for our citizens to have understood that which affects Wall Street affects Main Street, as well. And all of us recognize that this is a serious global crisis, and therefore, requires a serious global response, for the good of our people. We resolve to continue our strong efforts to return our economies to the path of stability and long-term growth.

The United States has a special role to play in leading the response to this crisis. That's why I convened this morning's meeting here at the White House and it is why our government will continue using all of the tools at our disposal to resolve this crisis. At our meeting, Secretary Paulson and I described the bold actions the United States has taken over the past few weeks.

To help solve frozen markets, the Federal Reserve has taken unprecedented measures to boost liquidity. Securities and Exchange Commission has cracked down on abusive practices in the markets. Federal agencies have significantly expanded the amount of money insured in bank and credit union accounts.

My administration worked with the Congress to pass legislation authorizing the government to recapitalize banks by purchasing troubled assets or providing insurance or purchasing equity and financial institutions.

These extraordinary efforts are being implemented as quickly and as effectively as possible. The benefits will not be realized overnight. But as these actions take effect, they will help restore stability to our markets and confidence to our financial institutions.

I'm pleased that other G-7 countries are taking strong measures. Finance ministers and central bankers have acted to provide new liquidity to markets, strengthen financial institutions, protect citizen savings, and ensure fairness and integrity in the financial markets.

As our nations confront challenges unique to our individual financial systems, we must continue to work collaboratively and assure that our actions are coordinated. Joint interest rate cut earlier this week was a good example of effective cooperation. Yesterday, G-7 finance ministers and central bankers agreed to a plan of action.

The G-7 nations have pledged to take decisive action to support systemically important financial institutions and prevent their failure, provide robust protection for retail bank deposits, and ensure financial institutions are able to raise needed capital. We've agreed to implement strong measures to unfreeze credit, insure access to liquidity and help us restart the secondary markets for mortgages and other assets.

We've all agreed that the actions that we take should protect our taxpayers. And we agree that we ought to work with other nations, such as those that will be represented this afternoon in the G-20 forum.

As our nations carry out this plan, we must ensure the actions of one country do not contradict or undermine the actions of another. In our interconnected world, no nation will gain by driving down the fortunes of another. We're in this together. We will come through it together.

I'm confident that the world's major economies can overcome the challenges we face. There have been moments of crisis in the past when powerful nations turned their energies against each other, or sought to wall themselves off from the world. This time is different. The leaders gathered in Washington this weekend are all working toward the same goals.

We will stand together in addressing this threat to our prosperity. We will do what it takes to resolve this crisis. And the world's economy will emerge stronger as a result. Thank you very much.

NGUYEN: You've been listening to the President live from the Rose Garden today as he stands there with members of the G-7 industrialized nations. And as he mentioned, serious global crisis is something that we are all facing and that requires serious global response.

He went on to say that they will do what it takes to bring confidence to the markets. It's not only the president working overtime on this but we understand Wall Street is, as well because the markets have been on a roller coaster.

We'll have much more on this coming up right here on CNN.

Good morning, everybody, from CNN Center in Atlanta, this is "CNN SATURDAY MORNING." And what a day already.

I'm Betty Nguyen.

HOLMES: Yes, and we're just an hour in here so far on this show.

Good morning to you all, I'm T.J. Holmes, glad you could be here and talking about the economy a lot this morning. A lot is happening today. And nobody's really taking the weekend off.

A lot of developments, you've just heard President Bush making a statement from the White House after meeting with those G-7 finance ministers. We'll be talking about that this morning.

Also the fed making some moves, also the Federal government and the Treasury Department making some moves. Also --

BETTY: The International Monetary Fund making some move.

HOLMES: Everybody's involved, and we're talking about a merger possibly, another big economic, GM and Chrysler.

So all that stuff going on a lot of important economic issue we'll giving to you.

NGUYEN: But in the meantime, a lot of us still feeling it in our pocketbooks, especially when you go put gas in your vehicle. But just imagine you're filling up, you're dreading paying that $50, $60, sometimes $100 at the pump. Someone steps in and says you know what I'll do you a favor, but you have to pay it forward. We'll explain coming up.

HOLMES: Yes, where is that gas station?

All right, well, like we said, nobody really taking a weekend off in Washington. The economy on the minds of a lot of big finance ministers who are in town. They're gathered there to work on this worldwide what's now called a global crisis.

NGUYEN: Yes. One move was revealed yesterday by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. He says Treasury will not just loan money to troubled banks but actually buy stocks in them.

The money would come from the $700 billion bailout rescue bill and the government would have a real investment, if the bank becomes profitable. Now, there are no details, though, on how the government would dispose of its ownership.

It has been just a really terrible week on Wall Street. I can't say it enough. I mean up and down, a roller coaster week. Listen to some of the turmoil and the reaction to yesterday's trading.

All right, we're hoping for a little more reaction than just the bell ringing. But look, look at the number, negative 678, that's all we have to show you folks. It was the worst week ever in terms of point loss and percentage losses. The DOW dropped almost 19 percent at the close of trading yesterday.

And if you're wondering, the previous record loss was just over 16 percent. That was back in the summer of 1933. This is the first time since the Great Depression that the government has moved to take equity ownership in banks.

Business correspondent Stephanie Elam joins us from New York.

So Stephanie, let's talk first about the statement that the President just made. This is a global economic crisis.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it is really a big deal, Betty. And the thing, this is when you know things are just really crazy. If you take a look at the fact that we heard from Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson last night, on a press conference on a Friday night and then the President coming out on a Saturday morning, then you know things are really going haywire.

I want to take a listen to something that President Bush just said to just let you know what he sees as a group effort here.


HENRY PAULSON, TREASURY SECRETARY: We finalized an aggressive action plan to address the turmoil --

BUSH: We've all agreed that the actions we take should protect our taxpayers. And we agree that we ought to work with other nations such as those that will be represented this afternoon in the G-20 forum. As our nations carry out this plan, we must ensure the actions of one country do not contradict or undermine the actions of another.

In our interconnected world, no nation will gain by driving down the fortunes of another. We're in this together. We will come through it together.


ELAM: So as you can see, the President coming out and saying that this will be a global effort to try to make things better to soothe investors' fears, which obviously based on what we've seen in the last week, Betty, have just been full of jitters.

NGUYEN: Yes, and a lot of people talking about the Treasury Secretary and this idea to invest in the banking system here and how, in fact, he is planning to do that. Can you give us some more insight on it?

ELAM: Yes, basically Paulson said the idea would be to develop a standard program to use quote, "taxpayer money more efficiently and have it go farther." Now, he also said that the Treasury is working to unveil the plan as quickly as possible to help ease those jitters about the financial crisis.

And clearly, when you take a look at the crisis on what's been going on, nerves are short for investors. The good news is that the wild week on Wall Street has finally come to an end. Yesterday was especially erratic. Right off the bat the DOW slid nearly 700 points before rebounding, rising by more than 300 points in the final hour of trading, but still the DOW can not hold on and ended down for the day.

But if you take a look at the whole week and look at those numbers, the DOW losing 18 percent. NASDAQ, actually gained fractionally yesterday, still the losses for the week total nearly $2.5 trillion, and for the week, the DOW lost 1,874 points. That is the worst weekly decline ever on both a point and percentage basis.

And over the last eight days, the DOW has lost 22 percent, NASDAQ shed nearly 300 points despite ending its seven-day losing streak Friday, and the S&P500 lost 200 points for the week.

So obviously, going into this week, people are hoping that what's happening over the weekend, Betty, will make it easier on Monday.

NGUYEN: All right, let's just very quickly as we look at those numbers, my goodness. I mean we're seeing territory that we have not seen in decades. So could this be the sign of the beginning of the bottom here?

ELAM: We have been hearing talk about that, perhaps this is showing signs that we may be getting to the bottom. Also, one other thing to point out about this, Betty is, yesterday when you saw that -- I'm calling it pinball because I'm tired of saying, roller coaster. After that pinball reaction we saw yesterday on the markets, it did show that some people were still coming back and buying. We did get into positive territory.

NGUYEN: Just for a little bit and there was applause.

ELAM: You are right, there was applause, but it actually came back in the final hour of trading, there was another rebound in the positive territory. We were down about 120 some points yesterday on the DOW.

NGUYEN: Not bad compared to where it started, yes.

ELAM: Not bad at all but that shows you that there are people out there who are looking to take advantage of these cheap prices for stocks and are buying. So we can take some hope in that, right now.

NGUYEN: Yes, because besides the price, I mean these are still some very strong companies that are going at some really discounted rates. ELAM: It's just and it's an unprecedented time and everyone's feeling the effects of it.

NGUYEN: All right Stephanie, we do appreciate it thank you.

ELAM: Sure.

HOLMES: Well, could the big three in Detroit become the big two? U.S. automakers feeling the credit crunch these days. A lot of people can't even get a loan to buy a car. Well, the "New York Times" is now reporting that General Motors and Chrysler's parent company are in merger talks. Those discussions reported by the "New York Times" have been going on for about a month now.

Well, with all this bad economic news, a bit of a silver lining here, gas and oil prices have been taking a dive along with the market. That's a good thing for a lot of people, certainly those of us who have to fill up.

AAA reports you're paying an average of $3.29 for a gallon for regular this morning, that's a 6 cent drop overnight. Oil plunged almost $9 yesterday to less than $78 a barrel. Some experts think the prices will come down even more.

Well, we want to know how the economy is affecting you and your family. We'd like to see your e-mail, give us some responses here, we'll read some of those a little later. But send them to us there at Again that's

Well, Sarah Palin abused her power and violated ethics laws. That is the finding from an investigation that is just wrapping up, an investigation panel that was in Alaska.

This started when former Public Safety Commissioner Walter Monegan claimed he was wrongfully fired because he refused to fire Palin's ex-brother-in-law from the state police.

Well, in firing Monegan, that's not what the panel said Palin did anything wrong in doing that. What it found is that she violated state ethics codes by allowing him to be pressured. We'll talk about that more in just a second. But first, let's listen to the reaction from Palin's spokeswoman.


STAPLETON: The rest of today's report illustrates what we've known all along; this was a partisan led inquiry run by Obama supporters. The Palins were justified in their concern regarding Trooper Wooten, given his violent and rogue behavior.

Lacking evidence for the original Monegan allegation, they seriously overreached making a tortured argument to find fault without basis in law or fact. The Governor continues to look forward to cooperating with the Personnel Board later this month and continuing her conversation with American people regarding the important issues facing the country. (END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: OK, the panel did find that Monegan was fired for reasons other than his refusal to cooperate. But it says that Todd Palin actually was using the Office of the government and its resources to actually pressure him to get the ex-brother-in-law fired and because Sarah Palin the governor did not stop her husband from doing what he was doing, that violated state ethics laws.

Now, it prohibits public officials for using power for personal gain. The panel does not recommend sanctions for a criminal investigation.

Meanwhile, Sarah Palin still campaigning, though, she's out there, she's in Pennsylvania today, a rally in Johnstown this morning. Tonight, she's in Philadelphia where she drops the puck at the home opener between the fliers and the New York Rangers.

Meanwhile, John McCain in Davenport, Iowa and he's hosting a rally there this afternoon.

On the Democratic side, Barack Obama already on the move this morning in Philadelphia, he has four separate rallies planned across that one city alone, Pennsylvania, certainly a key battleground state in attracting a lot of campaign attention this weekend.

Tomorrow Bill and Hillary Clinton are expected to join Obama's running mate Joe Biden in Scranton.

NGUYEN: OK, now T.J. and we've heard a lot about the economy, Iraq, Afghanistan, all of these issues from the presidential candidates.

HOLMES: All right, but some voters would like to hear a little something else. They'd like to hear a lot more on something they're not hearing enough about, health care.


HOLMES: Well, this election year, we paid a lot of attention to the economy, the war in Iraq and rightfully so. But almost seems like the issue of health care is not even on the radar sometimes, yet millions of Americans are fighting an impossible diagnosis; a long- term disease and costly medical bills that break the bank. The scenario that Steve Diekhoff wants to avoid but might not be able to.


HOLMES: At 45-years-old, Steve Diekhoff bought his dream house and he looked forward to nights just like this with his two teenage daughters, Elena and Alice.

STEVE DIEKHOFF, ALS PATIENT: We can solve a lot of disease for $700 billion.

HOLMES: Life seemed close to perfect, even though Dick as his friends called him was worried. Two years ago he started getting some odd cramping in his left hand. Doctors were baffled until August of this year when his walk seemed off.

DIEKHOFF: First when he told me I had Lou Gehrig disease, I didn't know exactly what it was. I know it wasn't good.

HOLMES: The first place he went was to the ALS Web site and he's been staring at these words ever since, "the average life expectancy with ALS is two to five years."

A dad first and foremost, his thoughts raced to Elena and Alice.

DIEKHOFF: The thing that's been most important to me in life is being a daddy. I always used to say when my time is to go, I just want one word on my headstone and that's daddy.

HOLMES: Dick wants to leave his daughters wonderful memories, strong values, and financial security. But the road ahead looks costly.

DIEKHOFF: I have heard that it can be up to $200,000 a year, you know, for the last couple of years.

HOLMES: Dick admits he cares more now about the presidential election than he did three months ago. And no doubt, Barack Obama and John McCain have very different views about health care; views that are obvious during this last presidential debate.

MCCAIN: I think it's a responsibility.

OBAMA: I think it should be a right.

HOLMES: Obama wants to require larger employers to provide health care coverage. He also supports spending more on government- sponsored programs for those who can't afford coverage.

McCain wants to stimulate the free economy by offering a $2,500 tax break for individual health insurance policies or a $5,000 tax credit for families. But the plans of both candidates could be blown out of the water by the current financial crisis.

DIEKHOFF: There was a lot of people out of work right now, what would happen if I would have gotten laid off this year?


HOLMES: Well, if you didn't know, health care costs are projected to increase by almost 6 percent next year. You can join us at 10:00 a.m., we'll have a special discussion about this, talk with a representative of the National Coalition on Health Care. And like we said, a lot of other issues right now are seemed to be trumping health care, but still health care is important on the minds of a lot of us.

NGUYEN: Well, it's a really good piece and it shows how it really hits home for a lot of people. And they want answers as we get closer to the election. In the meantime, something else is getting a little closer to shoreline. And that is called Norbert. Not to be confused with Norbit.

WOLF: And you know you want to say Norbit don't you?

NGUYEN: Yes you do, we were talking about it all the morning long.

WOLF: Yes, this storm is a major hurricane, it is moving right along the actually Baja, California. And it's going to be moving to the Gulf of California and it could affect parts of Mexico and maybe even parts of the four corners. We'll not only be dealing with this tropical system, we're also dealing with the potential of some very heavy snowfall.

We'll show you how much coming up in a few moments.

Let's start off right now and take you right to the weather computer and we're going to show you just the track of this storm system as you see it again. It continues to intensify, getting much closer to shore.

It actually not only gained a little bit of forward speed, but it did intensify a bit going from a Cat two to a Cat three storm just over the past hour. So it is going to bring some heavy rainfall into Baja, California now.

And we had to -- there'll be some potentials of mud slides, storm surge not too significant in many locations and once it crosses that land, it's going to weaken a little bit. Should possibly stay about the same as it gets into the Gulf of California and then once it moves inland into Mexico, it's going to be away from its primary power source that warm water and then it should become just a big rainmaker.

And we're talking about some heavy rainfall. Not only for those I mentioned for parts of Mexico, but into the four corners.

But something else I want you to watch as we make our way into Saturday and Sunday. A lot of these moisture is going to get pulled up part to the north, and the reason why is because of an area of low pressure that is centered right over parts of the Rockies. The area of low pressure is going to pull the moisture in from the south. And the same time it's going to also tap into a lot of cold air from the north.

It's going to be the combination that's going to bring some rain, and some potential flooding over the four corners, also some heavy snowfall as you make your way back into Montana, back into those central Rockies, maybe even towards Billings where I'd say north of Billings a potential 1 feet to 2 feet of snow.

But the highest elevations, we're talking about near Jackson Hall you could see maybe 3 feet to 4 feet of snow.

And then, take a look at this video. These as the storm system was a little bit part of back out to the west over the Sierra, brought some heavy snow right along parts of say Tahoe, this is compliments of KXTV, apart from Castle Peak you see the signs right there.

And I'll tell you this morning, they are going to wake up with conditions there that will be OK; Partly cloudy, but still plenty of snow on the ground near Tahoe and Truckee. Should be a long winter for them. But that's not a bad thing, great skiing out there, and no question.

All right that is the latest we've got for you. Let's send it back to you at the news desk.

NGUYEN: Boy, that's a lot already. OK, thanks, Reynolds.

WOLF: You bet.

HOLMES: A state Supreme Court says it is unconstitutional to ban same-sex marriage.

NGUYEN: So when gay and lesbian couples will be able to tie the knot legally in Connecticut? We'll have the answer on that.


NGUYEN: The Connecticut Supreme Court says a ban on same sex marriage is unconstitutional.

HOLMES: And that decision means the gay and lesbian couples in that state could be married as soon as the end of this month.

Davis now from our affiliate station WT.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: The same sex couples from around the state involved in this case arrived to applause. More than four years ago they were all denied a marriage license by the deputy town clerk at Madison town hall.

The case was first heard in New Haven Superior Court and 17 months ago was finally heard in the state's highest court which ruled in their favor today by a vote of 4-3. The case is named for Beth Kerrigan and Jodie Mark of West Hartford.

BETH KERRIGAN, SAME-SEX MARRIAGE ADVOCATE: Words can't express our absolute sense of enjoy and gratitude to the justices who made our life that more special.

JEFFREY BUSCH, SAME-SEX MARRIAGE ADVOCATE: We have been together for almost 20 years, and today it feels like our world has changed due to the simplest of things, marriage.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All rise, please.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: The decision by the high court sends the case back to New Haven Superior Court on October 28th and requires the lower court to make an official start date for same sex marriages.

MIKE LAWLOR, CONNECTICUT STATE HOUSE: Whatever the court in new haven decrees on that day, that's what the law, that's what's going to happen in terms of access to marriage. Supreme Court could not have been any clearer on that. So what specific day in November or December it's going to be is up to the court.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Then sometime early next year, the general assembly will have to quickly enact or amend the existing Civil Unions Law so that everybody is the same.

ANDREW MCDONALD, CONNECTICUT STATE SENATE: The fact is that we will have to create a transition for people who are in civil unions so that they can enjoy that same status.


HOLMES: Well, the White House is well timing it on this particular ruling. It released a statement saying President Bush has always believed that marriage is a sacred institution between a man and a woman.

NGUYEN: This is an interesting story here, a death row inmate in Ohio who says he is too overweight to be executed has taken his plea all the way to the Supreme Court. Richard Cooey murdered two college students back in 1986.

HOLMES: He's scheduled now to die by lethal injection on Tuesday. His lawyers have argued that prison food and being confined have made him quote "morbidly obese." They also say his migraine medication will dull the anesthetic used during executions and that amounts to cruel and unusual punishment.

So, yes, an interesting story there we'll keep an eye on.

We'll turn to Illinois, Cook County, in particular, where the sheriff has come to the rescue for some folks.

NGUYEN: Yes, he's a hero to renters but a thorn in the side of some banks.


HOLMES: Well, more than 40,000 evictions are expected this year in Cook County, Illinois. That would be an all-time high, but the sheriff there, he's saying wait a minute.


SHERIFF THOMAS DART, COOK COUNTY, ILLINOIS: This is an example of where the banking industry has not done any of the work they should do. It's a piece of paper to them, and these poor people are seeing everything they own put out in the street.

And they've done absolutely nothing wrong. They've paid their bills, paid them on time. And here we are with a battery ram at their front door going to throw them out. This stuff has gotten insane and we're going to stop it.


HOLMES: Well, the landlord of this building here, you've been looking at, allegedly took the renters' money and left the country leading to foreclosure. The sheriff there, he says the courts or the legislature needs to protect honest tenant.

A noble gesture here but the sheriff could end up in contempt of court.

NGUYEN: Really?

HOLMES: We'll see how that one plays out but he's trying to do the noble thing.

NGUYEN: In this economy, a lot of us could use a little bit of help. I love this story.

Imagine this, how surprised some gas customers in Oregon were when a stranger named Dave walked up to them and then offered them to pay their tab. Yes, all of the gas they just put in their tank.

Dave as he's called says he recently came into some money and decided to help others, but there is a catch.


DAVE: Do something nice for somebody else. You know, do what you can in your budget for somebody else.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know what, you're doing a good thing tonight, I really appreciate that.

DAVE: No problem, man.


NGUYEN: That's his only request, pay it forward. Station attendants estimate Dave's already spent about $2,000 filling up the tanks of strangers. Maybe we'll find out if the strangers ever did pay it forward.

HOLMES: After the show today, I'm going to give you a full tank of gas in your car.

NGUYEN: That would be great, except I already have a full tank.

HOLMES: You know that offer doesn't come around that often.

NGUYEN: You knew, didn't you?

HOLMES: This morning we're inviting you to tell us how the economy is affecting you. Josh Levs will be getting those responses at

LEVS: Yes. Have you guys ever paid it forward at a toll or something? Do you ever do that?

HOLMES: Actually I have done that before.

LEVS: I like that, if I don't have change, I always give them a full dollar like use it for the person behind me.

HOLMES: Oh, wow, that extra 50 cents. That's really out there. Wow, Josh.

LEVS: Issue number one, every little penny counts, right?

Here's the deal, we're getting your e-mails, we're getting a lot of them fast. This one I'll show you a few of them. We've pulled up some posts from a woman and put them on this fancy system on the document right here. Let's take a look.

Joe from Florida, "I recently lost my job and I'm extremely worried about finding another job which pays enough to cover my bills. I don't want to lose my home."

Then here, Brittany Richards from Tempe, Arizona, "I work in a casino, it's like a ghost town on Friday night."

Next, Darrell Etcher, "My budget tells me it's time to cut back on smoking so I did." Good for you Darrell.

Next, Erin in Highland, Indiana, "Almost all of our weekends are spent at home cutting out trips to the store and save gas and we've cut out going out for meals. Every bit is helping."

Let's end with this one here. Let's go here to Aaron, "It seems that my stock and retirement going down the tubes along with the closure of my office was more than my marriage could bear. Now I have to figure out how pick up the pieces of what's left of my life with my nine-year old daughter." Heartbreaking.

Finally, Kimberly Banks down here, "I've been without a job since January and her company's downsizing. Unemployment ran out."

These are the kinds of things we're hearing. Keep them coming,

And guys, we're going to keep sharing more of these stories throughout the morning, as people tell us how issue No. 1 is hitting them.

NGUYEN: Oh yes, it is tough out there. There's the question again: how has the economy affected you? E-mail us,

In the meantime, folks are trying to solve this problem. In fact, world leaders intend to tackle the global financial crisis. We're going to have more on that in just a bit.

HOLMES: Yes, a lot going on in Washington this weekend. But first, "HOUSE CALL" with Dr. Sanjay Gupta starts right now.