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Tension on McCain-Palin Ticket?; Faith and the Presidential Campaign; Lawsuit Challenges Use of Elephants in Circuses

Aired October 23, 2008 - 19:00:00   ET


JANE VELEZ MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, are the wheels coming off the Straight Talk Express? McCain and Palin meet up for a media interview. And the mood between them is described as tense. So is McCain`s campaign crumbling? Could it be Palin`s fault? I wonder what Senator McCain thinks.

Then whose side is the almighty on?

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: We`ve got a righteous wind at our backs.

VELEZ MITCHELL: Does showcasing your spirituality really work? Or is this just the standard pandering to the pious?

And Palin and the "it" factor. She may not make it to Washington, but maybe Hollywood will come calling. Hmm. Palling with Palin? Maybe a game show. You betcha. "Hockey Talk." I see plenty of potential. But does she really have "it"?

You think you`ve got issues? We`ve got more.


VELEZ MITCHELL: You betcha. Hello, everyone. I`m Jane Velez- Mitchell. And we`ve got a lot of issues to cover, so let`s get straight to it.

Here is my main issue tonight. The McCain campaign makes a point of saying it represents the working class. You know, Joe the plumber, Rose the teacher, Tito the builder, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Yet, there is a massive disconnect between the actual lives of the two Republicans on the ticket and working-class Americans.

McCain apparently owns eight houses and is married to one of the wealthier women in America. She`s estimated to be worth about $100 million. Sarah Palin was supposed to be McCain`s connection, as they say, to the working class. She has reached out to small-town, blue-collar America and has even said that she feels comfortable in a crowd that is wearing construction boots. The only problem is, now we`re finding out she`s wearing designer boots.

If you tell America, "Hey, I`m just your average hockey mom," isn`t it hypocritical to get dolled up in high fashion to the tune of $150,000 in clothes and accessories from high-end stores?

Now, to be fair, there`s plenty of people who say Obama is an arugula- eating elitist. But still, you know, speaking of food, for example, I`m a vegetarian. If you caught me eating a steak, wouldn`t you be justified in saying, "Hey, you hypocrite, you are not who you say you are"? So is this kind of behavior alienating voters?

New poll suggests the McCain campaign beginning to falter, with Obama up by eight points. Now, the two names on the top of the ticket may be blaming each other. McCain and Palin appeared in a joint interview, side by side, and afterwards, NBC`s Chuck Todd commented on what he found to be odd behavior.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Senator Biden said, what if Sarah or I -- and said, "Oh, my God. It would have been terrible." Can you imagine?

CHUCK TODD, NBC CORRESPONDENT: I couldn`t see chemistry between John McCain and Sarah Palin. It was -- I felt as if we grabbed two people and said, "Here, sit next to each other. We`re going to conduct an interview."

You do wonder, is John McCain starting to blame her for things, blaming himself? Is she blaming him? You know, you just wonder, what`s going on inside their heads? Are they upset how the other has treated them? And is that why her numbers are low? But whatever it is, it`s a negative vibe that you get in that room.


VELEZ MITCHELL: A negative vibe. What is going on inside the Republican ticket?

Here to debate all this, we have a very fired-up, very feisty panel. Steven Hayes from "The Weekly Standard" and author of "Cheney: The Untold Story of America`s Most Powerful and Controversial Vice President." Greg Palast, writer from the "Rolling Stone," and Jim Geraghty, who writes the "Campaign Spot" blog on "The National Review" online.

Greg Palast, when things go wrong, people look for something or someone to blame. Do you get a sense that McCain is blaming Palin?

GREG PALAST, WRITER, "ROLLING STONE": Well, yes. But on the other hand, she didn`t tell him to pick "Nanette of the North." So come on.


PALAST: Yes. I mean, they`re worried about negative publicity. But he`s complaining about it. But on the other hand, he made the pick. You know, you pick a candidate who thinks that we ought to defend Georgia, because that`s where Otis Redding is sitting on the dock of the bay. You`ve got a problem here, buddy. You`re going to get negative publicity when you make a negative pick.

VELEZ MITCHELL: All right. Well, let`s get the Republican perspective on this. Do you think, Steve Hayes, that there is bickering inside the McCain camp? And are they trying to put the blame on Sarah?

STEVE HAYES, "THE WEEKLY STANDARD": Well, I`m not sure they`re trying to put the blame on Sarah. I think there is infighting inside the McCain campaign, just as there`s infighting inside virtually every campaign, especially in the last two weeks of a presidential election.

And look, Chuck Todd is my former boss. He`s a friend. If he says that it was tense in the room, I think we can confirm that it was tense in the room. But I`ve seen them at the same time doing events together. I was in Strongville, Ohio, together with them together a little over a week ago. And I actually was struck by the fact that I thought they had really amazing chemistry between them, for people who had not known each other very well before the election.

So I think, you know, it could have just been a bad day. Maybe the day I saw them it was just a good day.

VELEZ MITCHELL: Well, Jim Geraghty of "The National Review," sometimes it is like looking at a married couple. "Oh, yes, they`re doing great." And others are like, "No, they`re not doing great." It`s like that.

JIM GERAGHTY, "NATIONAL REVIEW" ONLINE: Is there a question in there?

VELEZ MITCHELL: Yes. I`m saying, do you do this is in somebody`s head, some media analyst, or is it real? Are they blaming Sarah Palin, or is this something that is a media creation and it`s fine and dandy and all happy, happy, happy inside the Republican ranks right now.

GERAGHTY: We`re doing an entire conversation about the interpretation of their mood from Chuck Todd, number cruncher of NBC?

VELEZ MITCHELL: No. Let`s go right to a lightning rod. Palin is a lightning rod right now because of Outfit-gate. The girls on "The View" were having a field day with the news of Palin`s $150,000 wardrobe, for example.


JOY BEHAR, CO-HOST, ABC`S "THE VIEW": She seems to be enjoying the role, because she was -- usually, she shoots her clothing. Now she`s actually buying it.

Joe the plumber, the Wal-Mart mom.


BEHAR: Really, I don`t think Joe the plumber wears Manolo Blahniks.


VELEZ MITCHELL: Where exactly did the RNC spend that 150 grand? Let`s take a look: 49 grand at Saks, 75 grand at Nieman Marcus, or Needless Markup, as it is sometimes jokingly referred to, and then there was a $2,500 Valentino jacket that we had to deal with.

So, you know, here`s what I`m talking about, Jim Geraghty. We had, obviously, a scandal when we found out John Edwards had a $400 hair cut. This is a $150,000 wardrobe. It`s creating a lot of bad press. Is that putting a negative focus on Sarah Palin within the McCain camp saying, "Hey, you know, she`s our problem." That`s basically what I`m asking.

GERAGHTY: You`re basically -- the lead-in to this basically was suggesting that somehow she loses her authenticity because she`s wearing Nieman Marcus. If you put me into clothes of Joe the plumber, that doesn`t necessarily mean I can fix a pipe. You know, we like to say clothes make the person.

But it doesn`t change your values or where you`re from or what you stand for. The other thing I`ve noticed is that women definitely get judged on their appearance a heck of a lot more than men do. And if you need further evidence of that, I`m on this program.

VELEZ MITCHELL: Well, let me say this. I agree with you that sometimes there`s an element of sexism in all of this. I think the fact that she`s an attractive woman is certainly a very big consideration.

You remember the teacher sex scandal where Debra Lafave got all this media attention because she`s gorgeous. There were plenty of unattractive teachers who were accused of similar crimes who didn`t get any media attention because they were chunky and they wore glasses.

So I do agree with you there, that there may be an element of sexism. But getting back to you, Jim Geraghty from the "National Review," I think what I`m trying to get to is the disconnect between the words and the actions. I mean, here`s a woman, Sarah Palin who says she`s a maverick. And yet she is surrounded. She`s going up against Washington. She`s surrounded by veterans of the Bush White House who are controlling her every move.

So there again, some people are saying, "Look, she`s talking maverick, but she`s controlled by the people who ran this entire country for the last eight years."

GERAGHTY: No one around Sarah Palin up in Alaska had ever run a national campaign. So I`m curious as to, you know, should she be going out and hiring maverick campaign advisers? Should she be going -- I don`t even know if they`re in the yellow pages under that listing.

VELEZ MITCHELL: Well, I mean, she`s got people who come from the Bush White House. And yet, she`s saying she`s the one who`s going to clean up the mess at the Bush White House. And the mess left by the Bush White House. So that`s where the disconnect.

Let`s bring Greg Palast in from "Rolling Stone." What do you think? You know, is this just beating up on Sarah? Or are there legitimate concerns about the discrepancy between what she says and how she lives her life?

PALAST: Well, first of all, she didn`t pick out the clothes. She`s actually kind of the Julia Roberts of the campaign. "Pretty Woman." They`re kind of gussying up her so they can put her out on the street, you know. So that`s what`s going on here. Basically, what they did is they found a Barbie doll. Now they`ve got to dress it up. They`re in a panic. They`ve got a -- look, you know, the moose -- the moose dressing jibe didn`t work anymore.

Plus, to these people, $150,000 at Nieman Marcus, big deal. You`ve got John McCain saying, "I`m not a rich man," and he`s worth $135 million. So for him, 150,000 bucks on a shopping spree, that`s like, you know, a weekend for me at Target.

VELEZ MITCHELL: And Steve Hayes, to the point that Jim was making, perhaps there is some media bias. A new poll shows 57 percent of news stories on McCain since the convention have been negative. Only 29 percent on Obama. Are we beating up unfairly on the McCain/Palin ticket?

HAYES: Well, yes. I mean, if the question is, is there a media bias, and is there a media bias in this campaign? Of course there is. I mean, you have countless examples.

I mean, you look at right when Sarah Palin was named, and "The New York Times" ran a story that, in its fourth paragraph had Todd Palin`s DUIs from 1986 and an erroneous report about his and her belonging to the Alaska Independence Party. It`s ridiculous, first of all, that we would even be talking about what Todd Palin was doing in 1986. I`ve not read any articles, especially in "The New York Times," about what Joe Biden`s wife was doing at that point.

VELEZ MITCHELL: Yes. And I think, you know, it goes back and forth. There was a point when we had the whole Reverend Wright scandal, where a lot of people felt the media was ganging up on Obama.

And you know, it`s hard to tell. It all depends on what glasses you`re wearing. Republican, Democrat, conservative or liberal.

Thank you, both. Thank you, all, gentlemen. Hang in there.

Sometimes it can help when we have faith in our leaders. But is it necessary for our leaders to preach their faith? And even if the majority of Americans don`t think Sarah Palin is ready to lead the country, her recent "Saturday Night Live" cameo proved she`s got the chops to thrive on camera. Could an Obama political victory actually be the best outcome for this conservative "it" girl?


VELEZ MITCHELL: We`ve got a strict separation of church and state in this country, but that never stopped the politicians. They`re always looking for a little assist from upstairs.

Sarah Palin went so far as to suggest that just maybe God was favoring the GOP when she spoke to evangelical leader James Dobson on his radio show yesterday.


GOV. SARAH PALIN (R-AK), VICE-PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: To me, it motivates us, make us work that much harder. And it also strengthens my faith, because I`m going to know at the end of the day, putting this in God`s hands, that the right thing for America will be done, at the end of the day on November 4.


VELEZ MITCHELL: But guess what? The Democrats are also hoping for some divine intervention.


OBAMA: I feel like we`ve got a righteous wind at our backs here. But we`re going to have to work. We`re going to have to struggle. We`re going to have to fight for every single one of those 13 days to move this country in a new direction.


VELEZ MITCHELL: OK. Here`s my issue. I don`t think politicians should be wearing their so-called spirituality on their sleeve, especially when they`re seeking the highest office in America. I believe that how you express your faith in a higher power is, for the most part, a private matter. For me, these invocations of God fall under the category of spiritual materialism, which is basically using professed spirituality for personal gain.

And even though eight out of ten Americans say they believe in God, I`m willing to bet the majority of us would rather leave God at home and in our spirits on election day.

Joining me now to talk all this out, Steven Hayes from "The Weekly Standard"; Greg Palast, writer at "Rolling Stone"; and Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League.

Bill, let`s start with you. Sarah Palin has energized the evangelical Christians. She had them at "You betcha." Why does she feel the need to continue to court them by going on Dobson`s show?

BILL DONOHUE, CATHOLIC LEAGUE: I think James Dobson is a great man. I wish she`d go on there every day. Quite frankly, there`s a hypersensitivity here which makes me wonder what`s going on.

Take a look at what Lincoln said, John Adams, you know, Washington about religion. In 1994, Bill Clinton said, and I quote, "Our ministry is to do the work of God here on earth."

This hypersensitivity, I think, if you rub it a little bit, there`s a bias here. That bias is a secular bias. I am much more concerned about Joe Biden, Joe the theologian, who last week said the Catholic church had been wrestling with the subject of abortion for 2,000 years, which, of course, is a flat out-and-out lie.

VELEZ MITCHELL: Well, it`s true, Greg Palast, that sometimes religion oversteps with certain issues, particularly abortion and gay marriage. So are we seeing that dynamic in this election?

PALAST: Well, you know, I wouldn`t want the lord as my campaign manager. I remember when Pat Robertson said the Lord told him to run for president. And even with that high authority behind his campaign strategy, he got slaughtered.

Apparently, the Lord told George Bush to go into Iraq. Talk about a killer in the polls. What a disaster.

These guys try to wear it, just like flag lapel pins. Come on, guys. Let`s get off it. Let`s all agree you all believe in something higher, and you believe that you are the highest.

VELEZ MITCHELL: All right. Well, you know, we can spread this around. Everybody is at fault here, I believe. I want you to look at this from Obama`s primary campaign.

This was a campaign brochure for the state of Kentucky. There we see Obama larger than life, messiah like, with a huge, and I mean a huge cross behind him. And this is a campaign brochure.

So let me ask Steve Hayes. I mean, is this type of imagery telling voters, "Hey, you know, me and the guy upstairs, we`re really close"? I mean, it`s not subtle. You think he`s cloaking himself in religion here?

GERAGHTY: Well, sure. I mean, I think some of the imagery goes over the top. But basically, I don`t have any problem with politicians who want to talk about their faith. If they`re faithful people, why shouldn`t they -- why should they not talk about their faith? Why shouldn`t they tell us what they believe and why they believe it? You know, we spend a lot of time here in the media and in Washington, D.C., talking about how inauthentic politicians are.

If politicians are genuinely faithful people, and if their faith drives their decisions or drives their thinking or helps inform their positions on their views, I think it`s entirely appropriate for politicians to be telling the voters that. And voters like you who don`t like it can vote accordingly.

VELEZ MITCHELL: But Bill Donahue of the Catholic League, what about the point that Greg Palast just made, is that Bush was invoking God for some of his decisions, and those decisions are decisions that a lot of people feel got us into some big trouble?

DONAHUE: Well, I mean, it`s ludicrous to think that George Bush was sitting there and had a direct pipeline to Jesus Christ, for example, and Christ told us to go into Iraq.

I mean, let`s get real here. What is at stake is this. I agree with Steve. First of all, it`s a matter of freedom of speech. Now, if there`s a veneer of authenticity to what the person is saying, then that`s up to the voters to decide. If they think the person is an out-and-out phony, then of course, the voters will take care of that.

But what I don`t like is the idea, just the implication that somehow freedom of speech and freedom of religion have been put on the back burner because secularists in our society have become increasingly militant.

VELEZ MITCHELL: No, but I think it`s when somebody is operating on their gut and feel that they have a special connection with a higher authority, and that therefore, they know better and they don`t necessarily have to listen to opposing views, that they don`t have to necessarily read the details and the fine print, because they`ve got a connection with the big guy upstairs. So they know what`s right. That`s when we can get into trouble.

Greg, I think that was the point you were trying to make.

PALAST: Exactly. In other words, instead Bush was listening to his gut, he was listening to his heavenly telephone and not listening to Colin Powell and not listening to the generals and not listening to the electorate.

You know, we want people to connect with the rest of us. You know, we can go to Mt. Sinai after you retire. But at the moment, when you`re running this country, I would like you to get some good financial advice from, say, Warren Buffett and let`s keep the Lord out of the finances.


PALAST: ... talks about -- about foreclosures.

VELEZ MITCHELL: Bill, jump in.

GERAGHTY: There was no surprise that George W. Bush was a person of faith. He ran as a person of faith in 19 -- in 2000. People voted for him anyway. He was elected president. If that`s the way that he makes decisions, that`s the way he make decisions. He didn`t keep it a secret from anybody. And in fact, he ran again in 2004 and won the election.

VELEZ MITCHELL: I think that`s what I`m saying. That maybe that`s a red flag or an alarm bell.

GERAGHTY: Well, then don`t vote for him. Then don`t vote for him.

DONOHUE: You know where this all began? When Bush was asked the question when he ran in 2000 who your favorite philosopher was. Had he said Karl Marx, the same people in "The New York Times" who criticized him, because he has the audacity to say Jesus Christ, would have been applauding.

I mean, the militant secularists in this country, those books are selling very well, including some movies, these people have to be told that this is basically a religious country founded on Judeo-Christian principles.

VELEZ MITCHELL: What about separation of church and state.

DONOHUE: Separation of church and state means the fact that the government cannot encroach on religion. It does not mean that religion doesn`t have a right and clergymen and women don`t have a right to express themselves in the public square.

VELEZ MITCHELL: All right. Sir, we`re going to give you the final word on that one. Good conversation all around. Bill, Steve and Greg, thanks so much.

Now elephant in the political circuits are taking their beatings this week. We`re going to be talking about real elephants next. Should we still have elephants in the circus? And how exactly are they treated? That issue heads to the really big tent. We`re talking the courtroom.


VELEZ MITCHELL: The circus is coming to town, folks, but it`s headed straight to court next Monday. We will see a landmark legal battle that could determine whether circus elephants remain part of the act.

A herd, and I mean a herd, of animal protection groups suing Ringling Brothers, charging the elephant performers are subjected to abusive training methods and other allegations.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And then the elephant`s back leg chained to the front leg of the elephant behind them. It`s a very short chain. So they can barely move, let alone walk.


VELEZ MITCHELL: Ringling Brothers vehemently denies the allegations and gave us this statement. Quote, "Animal special interest groups are distorting the facts by making false allegations about the treatment of Ringling Brothers elephants as part of a long-running crusade to eliminate animals from circuses, zoos and wildlife parks. Ringling Brothers will show during the trial that its elephants are healthy, alert and thriving, and it intends to debunk the misinformation that has been spread by those who do not own or know how to care for an elephant."

Joining me now, Tracy Silverman, attorney for the Animal Welfare Institute, one of the groups suing.

Tracy, let`s come right to the chase. Describe what you claim is the worst stuff done to these animals.

TRACY SILVERMAN, ATTORNEY, ANIMAL WELFARE INSTITUTE: Sure, Jane. The worst abuse that I`ve seen committed currently to these animals, and that these animals have been enduring for decades, at the hands of Ringling Brothers and its parent company, FELD Entertainment, is the bull hook. Use of the bull hook and the continuous chaining of these animals.

VELEZ MITCHELL: What is the bull hook? Because Ringling Brothers says they don`t use a bull hook. They say they use a guide, which is akin to a dog leash.

SILVERMAN: That`s a funny thing to hear. A bull hook is a two- to three-inch sharp stick. Essentially, it`s a club with a sharp metal point on the end. And this weapon is used to hit the elephants, to beat the elephants, all in the name of entertainment so that these elephants will be controlled. They`re trained this way so that they`ll perform unnatural acts.

VELEZ MITCHELL: Now Ringling claims they spend 60 grand every year caring for these animals, and they`ve also opened a center for elephant conservation. Your response to that?

SILVERMAN: What I can tell you, Jane, if you went to the Center for Elephant Conservation, you would see these elephants that are on chains and that are standing on concrete. If Ringling Brothers was really interested in conserving the Asian elephant, they would be reintroducing the species back into the wild.

But instead, their Center for Elephant Conservation is standing as a breeding ground for these elephants. They`re all going into the circus so that Ringling Brothers can make a profit off these elephants.

VELEZ MITCHELL: Well, you know what? We certainly will invite both sides to come on and debate this issue. We want to hear both sides, and we know this is going to court on Monday. It`s going to be a big deal.

By the way, PETA -- this is just in to our studios. PETA has just announced it will buy an animatronic elephant for Ringling Brothers Circus if they decide to retire the real ones. And reports are that they have approximately 50 elephants at this point.

Thank you, Tracy, so much. We`re going to be watching that trial.

Now, here is my issue. First of all, full disclosure. I am an animal lover. When I`m not doing this, which is TV, I`m working to get people to spay and neuter their dogs and cats and adopt animals from shelters instead of buying them. I regularly speak out on behalf of all the innocent creatures who, let`s face it, animals cannot speak for themselves. They cannot defend themselves.

Leaving this particular lawsuit aside -- this is going to be decided in court. We don`t know the facts yet. My issue with animals in general is this. I feel it`s completely unnatural. I feel animals should not be forced to literally jump through hoops for human entertainment. With all the amazing Cirque du Soleil-style acting today, it`s not necessary. This is the 21st century. It is time to change our definition of entertainment.

Back in a minute.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: You have Alan Greenspan calling this economic crisis a "once in a century credit tsunami." That`s scary.

Here`s my issue. A tsunami is basically a tidal wave that crashes down and destroys everything in its path. It strikes me that the experts who were discussing this are making the crisis worse by inspiring panic with their words. And that the media is piling on with its own hysteria, essentially creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.

So much of the market is psychological. It is about confidence. How can anybody have any confidence with the former fed chairman calling this a financial tsunami?

But look. I`m not an economist. So let`s bring in the expert, Ali Velshi, CNN senior business correspondent. Ali, what do you think? Are we whipping ourselves into an irrational frenzy?

ALI VELSHI, CNN SENIOR BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: You know, Jane, you bring up a really good point. We`ve really to try and manage the idea that this is urgent and particularly with less than two weeks to go to an election, Americans have to understand how urgent it is so they can choose between the two candidates and their economic policies.

On the other hand, panic doesn`t help anybody. The problem here, Jane, is that there were some of us saying more than a year ago that we were headed to recession. And you had the administration and the current fed chair saying, no, no, it is all good. And then this spring they were saying the same thing. And finally, they acted too late to try and get us out of it.

So part of the urgency is understand how serious this is. Take the evasive action. It is a business cycle. We always come out of it. The credit freeze is melting.

The problem we have to look, Jane, at right now is the fear that Americans continue to lose jobs. Just this week, we`ve seen more than 8,500 layoffs announced. We`ve lost 750,000 jobs this year. That`s the serious part.

You don`t to have to get a mortgage every week. You don`t have to get credit all the time. You do have to work every day.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: How true is that? True that, as they say. Of course, one of the sayings on the street is that the smart money buys in when there is blood on the streets which is true now. Is smart money buying in?

VELSHI: Yes. And what you`re seeing in this market is a combination of days like yesterday where people who were already in the market are rushing to sell out because the market went up a little bit so they`re trying to sell out and the market goes down like it did yesterday.

Then today you see the Dow up again because you have got portfolio managers, professional investors saying these companies are a steal. Let`s buy in.

And you know what you`re going to see. You`re going to see this probably for months. What I`m hoping you`ll see, as this market develops a floor, is a slow uptake. But it`s still going to be like and you have to have a strong stomach for it or you going to not look at your investments.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And how about cherry picking? Look at the price- earnings ratios and find those deals in there. I`ll bet you that`s what that smart money is doing. Picking it up.

VELSHI: You know, we talk about the market as a monolith but it`s not. It`s a bunch of companies and the stock price, the price of a stock is a multiple of how much that company earned in a given year divided by the number of stocks out there.

So there is actually a calculation out there that says roughly across the market, it is 15 times what a company earned last year. So that`s what the stock price should be.

There are a lot of stocks creating way below that if those companies are healthy and they have some cash on hand; that`s not a bad time to buy. It`s also not a bad time to buy in the mutual funds where professionals are doing the same thing.

Every crash or drop that we`ve seen like this in history has resulted in the market returning anywhere from two months to a year later.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Of course you always hear about these 95-year-old ladies who bought $15 worth of stock back in the `30s and never sold it and now they die and they`re multi, multimillionaires. That`s because they forgot about it and just withstood the gyrations of the market. And it just eventually went back up.

VELSHI: If you`re 95 right now you might think about adjusting your portfolio. But one of these days, Jane, I`m going to bring to you a chart of what the Dow has done over 75 years. You cannot even see these blips that we`re talking about. We think of it as a massive crash, it really is a blip in time.

If you`re young enough to withstand this, honestly, you`re just going to give yourself stress by watching this market. What you do need to do is control your debt, control your spending and try to hang on to your job because that`s the biggest concern right now.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, Ali. This was like a therapy session for me. Thank you so much for that.


I don`t want to inspire panic. But let`s face it. The economy is in the toilet right now. So let`s fast forward past Election Day. What will our economy look like with a President Obama and what it will look like with a President McCain?

That`s the issue Americans want to figure out and they`re having a really tough time doing it since both candidates are so busy ripping up each other`s economic plan instead of really focusing on their own with specificity.

Joining me now, Liz Chadderdon, Democratic strategist and president of the Chadderdon Group; and Chris Wilson, Republican strategist and CEO of Wilson Research Strategies.

Okay, guys. We`ve all heard the debates and the rhetoric and frankly our heads are spinning. You sort of walk away with it with Socialist, Bush clone.

But it`s not that simple is it?

Chris, what specifically would McCain do about the mortgage meltdown?

CHRIS WILSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, the main thing here, and getting back to one of Ali`s comments is you need to keep your job. I think what we need is someone who`s going to take an approach to the economy that allows people to keep their jobs.

And there`s a very simple rule of economic. One is if you want to limit something, you tax it. If you want it to grow then you cut taxes on it. I think that is really the key difference here. If we want to grow people`s ability to buy homes, if we want to grow their ability to pay up their mortgage, they would then need to keep their jobs. By doing that, we need to make sure that they`re paying less taxes, not more.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I hate to jump in but I wanted to know specifically, what is McCain going to do about the mortgage meltdown? In other words, somebody is sitting there. They`re behind on their mortgage by four payments and they`re watching this show right now. And they`re saying, what is McCain going to do to help me avoid foreclosure and being put out on the street with my luggage on the front lawn?

WILSON: Well, the proposal that McCain submitted a couple of week ago was to do a similar type of program, similar to the bailout program that was passed a few weeks ago for Wall Street for Main Street America, that goes in and buys up these mortgages and allows people to stay in their homes. Allows them to get back on their feet and allows them to continue to earn and be able to get to the point where they can handle it themselves.

I think that is, again, key difference. Obama came in afterwards with a kind of "me, too" which was smart of him because it is a smart program and I think it is one that McCain has the ability and the relationships to get done.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right Liz. What will Obama specifically do? Again? Rhetoric, let`s throw it out the window for a second. Specifics. Mortgage foreclosure. Somebody is losing their home. What is Obama going to do?

LIZ CHADDERDON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, actually, Jane, Chris is right. Senator Obama has embraced the plan that Senator McCain embraced first although it is not necessarily Senator McCain`s plan. There were a lot of senators and Congressmen on the Hill both Democrats and Republicans who said what we really need to do is get this bailout package to the people. Let`s not give all the money to the banks. Let`s figure out a way to get rid of the middle man and get that money straight to home own who are facing foreclosure.

I think that`s actually what Senator Obama would rather see happen with that $700 billion. Why are we bailing out Wall Street? Why are we bailing out the banks that got us into this mess? Let get that money directly into the hands of the homeowners.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I agree. Let`s take all that money and simply buy all these mortgages up and then refinance them at better interest rates, and instead of them having balloon mortgages, they can have 30-year mortgages and let these stay in their home.

It seems so simple. And yet it is too much information. Everybody is talking complex ideas. And a very simple possible solution doesn`t seem to be discussed in a way that people can absorb it and understand. Okay, this is what`s going to happen.

And then there are taxes. McCain is on the campaign trail going after Obama for raising taxes.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Raising taxes makes a bad economy much worse. Keeping taxes low creates jobs, keeps money in your hands and strengthens our economy. Senator Obama wants to raise taxes in a bad economy. I will never do that.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Attack, attack, Obama is no better. He is attacking McCain basically saying McCain`s plan is just another eight years of Bush. Listen.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: John McCain strongly defended the Bush policy of lavishing tax cuts on corporations including those that ship American jobs overseas. More tax cuts for jobs outsourcing. That`s what Senator McCain proposed as his answer to outsourcing. He said that`s "simple fundamental economics." Well, Indiana, my opponent may call it fundamental economics but we know that`s just another name for Wall Street first, Main Street last.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, on and on.

But let`s take a look now at what people really care about, the job cuts in some of the key battleground states since January. This map is shopping. Look at North Carolina; lost 36,000 jobs. Florida lost 37,000 jobs. Ohio lost 43,000 jobs.

Chris, how is McCain going to change that when as Obama has very often pointed out he voted with Bush 90 percent of the time?

WILSON: Well, in terms of votes, there are so many. Those voting figures are just really, they`re silly. Because whenever you look at the policy moving forward, it is not all that applicable and you have to look at the difference in approaches they both have towards what they`re going to do with the economy.

That is really why Joe the plumber has become this political pop culture figure.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Joe the plumber.

WILSON: What he did is allowed the people to understand overnight --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tito the builder. Please, we`re not in the third grade.

WILSON: No, we`re not but what you do have to do is --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Politics aside, I find that offensive.

WILSON: The economy is a difficult concept to understand for a lot of people. What that exchange did is it put into a concept that was easy to grasp for most Americans that you increase taxes on a small business, it cost jobs.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Liz, I`ll give you the last word.

CHADDERDON: Well, I think the bottom line is what kind of taxes are we talking about? Are we talking about cutting personal income taxes on Middle America or are we talking about raising taxes on corporations just like Senator Obama said who ship our jobs overseas? That`s what Senator Obama wants to end. He doesn`t want to raise the taxes on Joe the plumber. He wants to raise the taxes on Enron and Exxon.


CHADDERDON: Come on. But wait a minute. I do want to say this.

I think it is fascinating that Democrats are playing hard in Florida and Ohio and North Carolina. We stand a huge chance of winning those states and it`s because of these job losses.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Obviously, we cannot solve all this tonight. But please, let`s stop with the third grade talk on both sides of the aisle.

Thank you both. You are fabulous. Chris, Liz, right there

Sarah Palin, there is a reason we keep talking and talking and talking about her. And I hate to say it is not her political acumen; it is her charisma. Could this newfound "it" girl status lead to a role on the small screen if her current bid for the vice presidency fails?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Clothes make the man, right? But what about the woman? Enter Sarah Palin who`s new wardrobe as we mentioned yesterday is worth three time the average American`s annual salary. This story is headed into day two. So could Sarah Palin be headed for a wardrobe malfunction?

CNN`s Jeanne Moos takes a look.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sarah Palin before, Sarah Palin after. After what? After her new $150,000 wardrobe.

They spent $75,000 at Neiman Marcus in one trip then $50,000 at Saks.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My gosh. That`s great, I`ll run for VP.

MOOS: Not since her days of evening gown competition has Sarah Palin`s wardrobe gotten this much scrutiny. The Website Politico broke the story. Left-wing blogs were gleeful, providing slide shows intended to accent high heels while politicians and TV anchors went out of their way not to seem well heeled.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have on old jeans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I get my clothes at Dillard`s.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you pay for that suit?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I pay for my own.

MOOS: The Republican National Committee said it used donated money, not taxpayer funds to buy Palin`s clothes.

BARBARA WALTERS, HOST, "THE VIEW": $4,716 on hair and makeup.

JOY BEHAR, HOST "THE VIEW": And that`s just lipstick for the pig.

MOOS: On the view, they laughed about it, fought about it.

ELIZABETH HASSELBECK, HOST "THE VIEW": Are you looking into Joe Biden`s supposed botox shots?

BEHAR: I don`t think Joe the plumber wears Manolo Blahniks.

MOOS: But Sarah the shopper didn`t shock celebrity stylist Robert Bernie (ph).

ROBERT BERNIE, CELEBRITY STYLIST: Oh, I think it`s easy to spend $150,000 in one fell swoop.

MOOS: A single designer suit can cost $3,000 to $6,000. An agent who handles TV news talent told us clothing allowances are often built into contracts.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But never anything close to this. It was in the $10,000 to $15,000 range.

MOOS: Even seven-year-old Piper Palin was seen carrying a $790 Louie Vuitton bag, maybe her mother`s.

The Obamas have so far avoided embarrassing expenses. Michelle wore a $148 dress on "The View." And though he landed on GQ, Barack Obama insists his suits are well worn.

OBAMA: I basically buy five of the same suit. And then I patch them up.

MOOS: By the way, Saturday Night Live wouldn`t reveal how much it spends outfitting Tina Fey in matching Palin garb.

The McCain campaign says Governor Palin`s clothes will eventually be donated to charity. A Sarah Palin used suit. It would be a memento.

She could save herself some money playing the Sarah Palin dress-up web game. Accessories include hockey helmet and gun.

Next time they chant, drill, baby, drill, fashionistas can chant, shop, baby, shop.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And in today`s "New York Post," columnist Liz Smith said of the Alaska governor, if she loses, "Palin can be a reality TV host or a talk show biggie set up by Fox." Liz smith also quoted Saturday Night Live honcho Lauren Michaels who spent time with Sarah Palin saying, "She connects with people. Whatever it means to be a star, she is."

So if she doesn`t become vice president, what exactly could be in the cards for Lady Sarah? If anybody can make an intelligent prediction, it is our next guest. Ken Baker, E Executive news editor.

Ken, let`s play psychic. Less say the election`s over, Obama won, what does Palin do next? Does she have a future in show biz?

KEN BAKER, E, EXECUTIVE NEWS EDITOR: I haven`t talked to any of the honchos here at E. But let`s face it, she`s fashionable, she knows a lot about the pop culture obviously or she`s learned a lot of pop culture in the last few weeks. And she`s pretty good looking. She`s good on camera. I think she should work at E, of course.


BAKER: But honestly, she has tons of personality. She has the charisma. She has that star quality, as you said. She clearly could do a number of things. She could host a show.

This is what is interesting. People in the political world say she doesn`t have any substance. She is very superficial. She is all personality. That sounds like most of us out here in Hollywood.

So she`s welcome to come out. We could totally find work for her. She can host "Who Wants to be a Millionaire." She can do just about anything out here.

And if it requires memorizing anything, it is okay. We have a teleprompter. In fact, Jane, I`m reading a teleprompter right now. I am not --


BAKER: This is totally scripted.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think you`re absolutely right. I mean, as far as Hollywood goes, she is a heavyweight on many, many levels.

But let`s talk about one little tiny glitch here. Her gubernatorial term expires in 2010. If she were to take advantage of this, she would have to resign, or she could actually do a reality show while she`s still the governor.

Imagine that. That would be fantastic, wouldn`t it? You see her juggling all her kids, her pregnant teenager, running the state of Alaska, that`s a hit right there.

BAKER: I really like how you`ve thought this through. In fact, speaking of work you should come work at the development department here at E Networks.

But really, though, I think that there is something there. People just can`t seem to get enough of her. I`ll tell you this right now. EOnline which is our Website, it`s the number one searched term; Sarah Palin. If you Google -- Google, it`s the same thing.

She is a huge celebrity right now. She is for all intents and purposes in our pop culture, the single biggest female celebrity, perhaps the biggest celebrity if you just go by the popularity of what people want to know.

What is interesting, if you look back a couple months ago, right before the Democratic convention, John McCain came out with that ad. He was sort of trying to paint Obama as being something of a celebrity. And here he is. He was comparing him to Paris Hilton and Britney --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now look at this.

BAKER: Yes. Now Sarah Palin is bigger than Paris Hilton or Britney Spears.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And you know Ken, you and I have both dealt with celebrities. So we understand the concept of charisma. When these people walk in a room, this people who have this special charisma, it is palpable. It`s like they`re vibrating at a higher level.

I remember covering the Jackson trial, reporters who detested Jackson -- if he made eye contact with them they would get all like, "he made eye contact with me." They`d get all out of control about it because he has that charisma.

BAKER: Yes, she definitely has it. What`s interesting is this whole fashion controversy, the whole FashionGate that`s going right now, that`s a plus for everyone out here. That means she can work the red carpet. She can be on the red carpet. She can cover the red carpet and she`s learned a lot about designers and she knows her game.

VELEZ-MITCHEL: I see her own line. She`s got her own clothing line.

Thank you Ken so much. Good to see you.

Did you hear that? I think I heard my phone ringing. I really hope it`s not one of those robocalls. I`m certainly not the only one who hates those. We`re going to have some nasty details for you up next.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: If you`re in one of the election battleground states your phone may be ringing off the hook. Robocalls are the campaign`s newest weapon. Both John McCain and Barack Obama are making use of them.

CNN`s Carol Costello has some truly mind-numbing details.


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It sounds like a bad B-movie. The attack of the killer robocalls, but for voters that`s exactly what it feels like.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Really annoying.

COSTELLO: feels your pain. It`s goal is to stop robocalls now, but with two weeks to go, forget it.

SHAUN DAKIN, STOPPOLITICALCALLS.ORG: It`s essentially the spam of this election cycle. They`ve become so cheap, they`ve become so ubiquitous at every level so every race so if you particularly live in a battleground state, our members are reporting getting 10 to 15 calls a day. That`s only going to increase.

Dakin says the McCain camp has launched 12 different robocall campaigns in the past month and a half including linking Barack Obama to `60s radical William Ayers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello, I`m calling for John McCain and the RNC because you need to know that Barack Obama has worked closely with domestic terrorist Bill Ayers.

COSTELLO: That attack robocall is in part why you should expect more Robocalls. It`s actually sparked a robocall war on and off the phone.

SEN. JOE BIDEN, (D) VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: John, stop your ads. Bring down those robocalls.

COSTELLO: Even some Republicans echo Joe Biden. The co-chair of McCain`s main campaign, Senator Susan Collins says these kinds of calls should stop immediately.

Don`t bet on it.

MCCAIN: That robocall is absolutely accurate and by the way, senator Obama campaign is running robocalls as we speak.

COSTELLO: says the Obama camp is doing that, launching at least four robocall campaigns in the last month and the Wisconsin Democratic Party has also joined in, creating this robocall attacking McCain`s attack robocall.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I live in Green Bay and like you I`ve been getting sleazy phone calls and mail from John McCain and his supporters.

COSTELLO: Expect to hear that one a lot if you live in a swing state and the only way to avoid it, don`t answer your phone.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Great advice, don`t answer your phone.

There`re two kind of conversations, the kind that happens on TV and the other kind everywhere else.

I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell and I`m just trying to keep it real. Thanks for being part of this. Please come back. Tomorrow we`re going to have some more real issues for you.