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CONNECT THE WORLD

Connect The World U.S. Election Special; New York City Cancels Iconic Marathon

Aired November 2, 2012 - 16:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Tonight on Connect the World, U.S. election special.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Companies hired more workers in October than at any time in the last eight months.

MITT ROMNEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Unemployment is higher today than when Barack Obama took office. Think of that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: It's the final stretch in the race for the White House. And the gloves are off.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN London this is Connect the World with Becky Anderson.

ANDERSON: The world's most powerful nation is gearing up for a choice that will affect all of us. Joining me over the next 60 minutes a wealth of CNN's top talent from across the United States to break down the latest U.S. jobs numbers. Assess the political impact of the devastating super storm and show you why it's here in these swing state battlegrounds that this 2012 election will be won or lost.

A very warm welcome to London and this special edition of Connect the World.

For months, even years of campaigning have come down to the final four days, but as both candidates in overdrive trying to sway the very last undecided voters in the U.S. presidential election.

Barack Obama is spending the entire day in Ohio and for good reason as we'll explain in just a moment.

Republican challenger Mitt Romney also in Ohio this hour. Earlier the former governor campaigned in the battleground state of Wisconsin.

Well, no issue is more important to Americans than the economy. So both candidates seizing on a brand new jobs report not surprisingly, giving it their own spin. We've got CNN's top business minds to help us break down the numbers for you tonight and tell us how they could affect this forthcoming election.

Chief business correspondent Ali Velshi in Ohio tonight, and Richard Quest, host of Quest Means Business, is at CNN Center.

Ali, let's start with you. When you crunch these numbers, what do you make of them?

ALI VELHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's good. We were expecting 125,000 jobs, we got 171,000. More importantly for the last two months the numbers were revised higher. So we are now in the vicinity of the type of growth that America needs. We need about 200,000 to 250,000 jobs a month to start feeling good about things.

Now, as you said, the unemployment rate ticked up. We expected that to happen as well. From 7.8 percent to 7.9 percent. There are lots of statistical and mathematical reasons why that happens. These are two different surveys, but I've maintained for some time that the jobs created number is more important.

That said, we have a number of swing states. I'm in the most important of them right now. Ohio, where this election is going to be decided. And in those states it depends how headline writers at newspapers write the lead. Is it that an uptick in the unemployment rate, or is it an uptick in hiring?

Bottom line, this could have hurt President Obama if the number - the number of jobs created was not strong. It is strong. So he gets to - he gets to maintain his edge for the next few days. In the swing states, he has a small edge, but statistically insignificant, because of the margin of error.

So bottom line is it's a tight race. There are very few independents. And Barack Obama has a bit more of an advantage as a result of this jobs number than Mitt Romney has in criticizing him for it.

ANDERSON: Thank you, Ali.

Richard, a keen measure, of course, like unemployment is inevitably been a proxy for the state of the economy in this election. We've been watching it ahead as we've been moving towards the election. What's your sense of how these numbers then will play out? Do you think they'll really affect the vote at this point?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, I don't think it affects it in any gamechanging way. What it does do is confirm the trend that was already there. Things are getting better, but very slowly.

Now if you're not - if you're not sort of on the president's side, if you're a Romney supporter, this is merely grist to your mill that things are too slow too long. If you're on the president's side it's grist to your mill that things are getting better and it's a recovery from a very low edge.

Now that much can be said so far.

To your core question, Becky, does it actually change people's minds? I suspect not. They've known for some time that unemployment is coming down. There will be blips on the road. They've known for some time it's going to be slow - painfully slow. But here is one more important thing, I think, when you look around and underneath the numbers. The reason - the reason the unemployment rate ticked up to 7.9 was that more people are looking for work. They've seen better consumer confidence numbers, they see things getting better, so some of those people who had written themselves off, one (inaudible) went into the numbers, they are now back looking for jobs.

ANDERSON: But tick up it did, of course. Unemployment today higher than when Obama took office - hold on. And if we needed reminding, I know you're going to talk about this, but if we needed reminding, have a listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: He said he was going to focus on creating jobs. Instead, he focused on Obamacare which killed jobs. He said he was going to cut the federal deficit in half and then he doubled it. He said he was going to lower the unemployment rate, down to 5.2 percent right now. Today we learn that it's actually 7.9 percent. And that's 9 million jobs short of what he promised.

Unemployment is higher today than when Barack Obama took office. Think of that. Unemployment today is higher than on the day Barack Obama took office.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: And that is what we will hear over this weekend and Monday and indeed Tuesday when people are out there voting. That is Romney's message, of course.

You make a very good point, though, there are more people going back into the market because one assumes at this point they feel that there is more opportunity out there. But if they feel that, they have to be those jobs out there. And 171,000 in a country as big as the States isn't enough employment growth, is it, to look at good growth going forward, and I'm talking about economic growth going forward. You look at 250,000 plus.

QUEST: Oh, 300,000, absolutely.

And you're absolutely right. That's the problem. That is it. It's not enough.

But here's the point, that 7.9 percent has come down from 2009 when it was 10 percent. It has slowly and systematically come down. EuroZone unemployment is over 11.5 percent. That puts it into a bit of a context.

I fear and feel that what the American people are going to look at this and say is that the - it's a trend, but is it a trend that is sufficient to give the president the credit rather than a trend that is sufficient to say we need to change horses in midstream.

At the moment - and one other important point, which of course I just remembered, those consumer confidence numbers that we saw earlier in the week is at a four year high. They may have taken a dent as a result of the storm, but fundamentally people are feeling better.

Now whether or not and how much Obama can play that card to his greatest advantage, we'll find out between now and Tuesday.

ANDERSON: And it's going to be really important to find out in which states they are feeling more optimistic, because of course the swing states are what are so important this election. You're going to come back to me.

QUEST: I am.

ANDERSON: So stay where you are. Ali, we thank you very much indeed. I know you've got other things to do this evening. So we're going to let you go.

Mr. Quest, stay there.

You may be wondering, viewers, why swing states are so important in this election. Take a look at this map. These states in blue will almost certainly go for President Obama, the states in red for Mitt Romney. The ones in yellow are a tossup and could tip the balance. That is why the campaigns are focused so heavily there. All of the swing states in Ohio - of all of them, Ohio could be the most crucial.

A new poll just out shows the race still neck and neck there. 50 percent of likely voters favoring President Obama, 47 percent supporting Mitt Romney, that is within the statistical margin of error.

Let's bring in our chief U.S. correspondent John King who is in West Chester, Ohio. We've got asset out in Ohio tonight, and rightly so.

When you look at these - this poll and indeed when you consider the job numbers that we've seen out today. What is your sense, what are you hearing, what do we think at this point in the state of Ohio?

JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, what's interesting - it'll be interesting to see if this new jobs report impacts the race either way in the sense that if you look at our polling most Americans, more than 9 in 10 say they've already made up their minds. So the impact could be limited just because people have been so locked into this election for so long.

But Ohio is one of the states where the unemployment rate is a little better than when President Obama took office. And the auto bailout - his decision to help the United States auto companies - Chrysler and General Motors to avoid bankruptcy and go through a more managed bankruptcy, this helps the president in this state, because second to Michigan, Ohio is huge when it comes to the U.S. domestic auto industry.

So the president gets a bit of an edge in this state, a bit of a boost, because this is one of the swing states where the economy is a little better. If you go to Colorado or Florida or Nevada, the economy is a little worse, so in those states it's tougher sledding for the president.

But Ohio is fascinating just because of the history. Number one, since 1964, the winner of this state has become the president of the United States. So it's a good bellwether state tracking the winners. Also, no Republican has ever been elected president of the United States without winning the state of Ohio.

So Mitt Romney, looking at our poll, yes it's statistical tie, but yet another poll showing the president with probably the tiniest of leads, Becky. If you're Mitt Romney you're looking at that, he's here in this state today along with President Obama, both will be back in the final four days as well. The Romney campaign can give you a mathematical scenario where they can reach 270 in that electoral college count without Ohio, but it's not a very probable scenario. So this state is likely to be the state that decides who is the next president of the United States.

ANDERSON: Remarkable stuff, John King.

Do stick with CNN. You'll see John across the weekend and right through next week. The election of course Tuesday.

Americans facing a stark choice, then, on Tuesday between two very different paths for the future. Both candidates share their vision with us writing exclusive op-eds for CNN. President Obama saying at CNN.com, "it's time to finish what we've started - to educate our kids, train our workers, create new jobs, new energy, and new opportunity to make sure that no matter who you are this is a country where you can make it if you try."

Well, at CNN.com Romney's op-ed included this, "we've been mired in an economic slowdown that left millions of our fellow citizens unemployed. The consequences and dreams shattered, lives disrupted, plans deferred and hopes dimmed can be found all around us. The problems we need to overcome now are not bigger than we are. We can defeat them."

You can reach those op-eds and read them full at CNN.com.

Well, all day, I've been asking you to tweet me what you think the best vision for America is going forward. And here are just a few of the things that you had to say. Luke Baker in Bloomington, Indiana said, "my vision, well everyone is equal and politicians no longer need to discuss rights for special interest groups because they already have them."

And Ben tonight in San Francisco tweeting, "my vision for America is one sustainable on renewable and clean energy and an economy based on that energy, there is no clean coal."

Wherever you are in the world, I want to know what your vision for America or of America is. Be sure to tweet me @BeckyCNN. Let us know where you are writing from.

We're going to go through some of those tweets as we move through this special edition of Connect the World here on CNN on the U.S. election. We're live from London.

Still to come, we're going to look at President Obama's response to superstorm Sandy and how it's won praise from one of his fiercest critics. That coming up after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Frustrated drivers wait in line in New Jersey desperate to get their hands on a rare necessity - fuel. Four days after Superstorm Sandy hit the east coast of America, just under 3.5 million people are still without power, forcing businesses and filling stations to close.

Well, with just days to go until America decides, you're watching a special edition of Connect the World here on CNN on the U.S. election.

I'm Becky Anderson in London. Welcome back.

A story just in to CNN that we are following for you, officials in New York are in meetings as we speak to determine whether the New York City Marathon will take place as scheduled on Sunday. It's a very divisive issue, this. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said that he supports having the race saying that the city needs a reason to cheer after the devastation from the week's storm. Critics say it will divert much needed resources from communities that are still struggling to recover. We'll be bringing you the details from that meeting as they become available.

Stick with us here at CNN.

Well, 97 people are now known to have died in the U.S. as a result of that storm, around half of those were from New York State. One of the worst hit areas was Staten Island where Brian Todd has been listening to one homeowner's harrowing tale.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If you can't imagine what it's like to suffer through a massive storm, listen to Nick Camerada.

NICK CAMERADA, NEW YORK: The water was so high. It was up to this part of the door. I couldn't get into the door. I went around the side of the house. And I stood on a box that was floating. And I went through a window to get back in the house with my family.

TODD: Taking us through his house on Staten Island, the retired UPS truck driver says he and his family scrambled to an upper floor away from water he was sure would keep rising.

CAMERADA: Absolutely. We thought we were going to lose our lives. TODD: Camerada, his wife and four sons survived. Just about all of their first floor didn't.

(on camera): Then just as Nick and his family were recovering from the shell shock of the storm and the flooding and trying to assess all of this damage, he took another body blow.

(voice-over): He leads us to his side yard, where he had set up a small engine repair business and a trailer full of tools he'd need for his new profession.

CAMERADA: Last night, they were banging on doors. Anybody home? If you're not home, if we don't get a response from you, we're going to break your door down just to see if you're OK. They were all looters.

I yelled out my window on a few occasions until I was exhausted tired. I wake up this morning, pushed my shed open and went through all my tools. I got nothing. Every tool that was hanging that was worth anything, all my air tools, there's nothing in the drawers but handprints.

TODD (on camera): Could these have been people who you knew, Nick?

CAMERADA: It's sad to say they're neighborhood guys.

(CROSSTALK)

TODD: So they knew you? You knew them?

CAMERADA: Yes, I knew one of them.

TODD (voice-over): Camerada owns a house next door that was ruined by the flood. The tenant, Jeanne Valitutto, says she lost another home to a fire two years ago.

JEANNE VALITUTTO, NEW YORK: I can't even explain what did I do that the same thing happened to me twice. I feel like, why me?

TODD: A tenant, an owner, his family left with so very little except...

CAMERADA: My kids are alive. My wife is alive. We can move on.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Brian Todd reporting for you.

According to a recent poll, nearly eight out of 10 voters believe that President Obama's response to superstorm Sandy has been good or excellent. The poll conducted on Tuesday evening by the Washington Post and ABC f0ound just 8 percent disapproved of Obama's handling of the disaster.

In comparison, only 44 percent had something positive to say about Mitt Romney's response. One in five people polled criticized his response as not so good, or poor.

These things of course matter with just a few days to go before this election. CNN's chief political correspondent Candy Crowley joining me now from Washington.

And Candy, interestingly, that poll taken Tuesday.

As frustration sets in for many people in the states that were hit the worst, I wonder whether that poll might have changed slightly. How do you think it's going to play out, this storm, in the election?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm not sure at this point in the election - and remember it's next Tuesday, so we don't have long to go - that this is going to have a major impact on these polls. These polls have been pretty much where they are right now, which is very, very close for some time. Not much has moved them. The first debate moved them for Mitt Romney and after that they've pretty much stayed as they are.

I think the problem with the storm is that people - most people have already made up their minds. And so when you see the person, let's - if you're an Obama supporter and you see the president being president, you think that's wonderful and you think he did a great job. If you're not inclined to support the president you probably have some complaints.

Within the states that we're talking about - New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, to a certain extent Maryland - all four of those states are very, very democratic. That's not going to change. So that doesn't change the presidential mix.

So I'm not sure that Sandy, the storm, has - is going to have that much influence on Tuesday's elections.

ANDERSON: So I wonder what will? I mean, we've always known that the economy would be front and center when it came to this election. What we couldn't have known was that, for example, the murder of a U.S. ambassador in Libya would become such - would certainly play such a big part in the narrative around this election as I say, for example.

What do you think is going to make the difference? What's a key point here for voters?

CROWLEY: Really, the key point right now is that I think both of these candidates understand that what they need to do to win is to get all those people who say they're going to vote for them to actually go and vote if they haven't already. We have lots of early voting here. But this is what both these campaigns are focused on.

When you watch where the president is going, where you watch where Mitt Romney is going, what you see are two people trying to rev up the folks that already with them. There's such a miniscule number of folks that are not decided here. This is now become about turning out the folks that are going to vote for you. So it is about knocking on doors. It is about calling people on phones. It's about going to those polls to find out who has voted and who hasn't, identify who would vote for you and going and - vote for your candidate and going and finding them and getting them the polls. It is just - it is now all kind of footwork and phone work.

ANDERSON: Fascinating. Candy, it's going to be - going to be good in the next four days and a fascinating Tuesday. We thank you very much indeed for joining us.

Stick with CNN for our coverage. That's a lady you're going to see front and center as the election unfolds.

An update on a story that we have been following, I promised to bring you the details on this. Officials in New York have in the past couple of minutes decided to cancel the city's famous marathon which would have taken place as scheduled on Sunday.

Now it's been a very divisive issue as I said, Mayor Michael Bloomberg had said that he supports having the race, saying as far as he was concerned that the city needs a reason to cheer. Critics, though, said that it would divert much needed resources from communities still struggling to recover.

Well, in the end those voices won out the iconic New York City Marathon scheduled for Sunday has now been canceled. If you're watching and you were going to take part, well put your shoes away. It ain't happening.

You're watching a U.S. election special live from London on Connect the World. Coming up, want to know what decides a U.S. election? Well, a big part of that answer lies in a number of key states, and there are not very many of them, we're going to explain why up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think Romney has a very good shot of getting Ohio.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Personally I think they're going to swing towards Obama, be more liberal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One day I think it's going to go for Romney, another day I think it's going to go for Obama.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: And that's why this is a Connect the World special on the U.S. election. Live from London. Welcome back. I'm Becky Anderson.

You've just heard from two voters in Ohio, one of the states getting a lot of attention from the candidates in the last four days before the U.S. election.

Let's go to our map to see why, shall we?

President Obama can rest easy with the states in Blue, for example - Obomney (ph) - Romney, with those across here you see right across the middle in red. It's these eight yellow states, and I point out just there, that really matter.

Both campaigns have spent millions, millions of dollars here just to get one winning point potentially. We heard from John King in Ohio earlier on in this hour.

Obama won there in 2008 with 52 percent of the vote. Go back four years, Bush winning there with 51 percent. That's what makes them swing states.

Virginia, for example, went Democrat in 2008 with 53 percent. Look back to 2004, Bush with 54 percent.

The same out here in Colorado. Out west it was Mr. Obama's first stop post Sandy. And it's one of the states where we will be going in just a few minutes.

Richard Quest is still with us. He's been steaming his way through some of those states that are swing states - by train, traveling the railroad through America. He's met voters from both sides of the track and heard the issues that matter to them. He joins me now from CNN Center.

I have to wait for the choo-choo. I'm so sorry, I screwed that up. You've spoken with a wide range of voters on this American Quest trip right through the heart of America. What do they really care about, Richard?

QUEST: They care about the economy. Even on those areas like in the west where they, say, for example gun control might be an issue or abortion - pro life, pro choice. The real core issue is the economy. And whether or not you give Barack Obama credit for having resuscitated a moribund, a dead economy, or whether like the Republicans say, you believe he should be criticized for not having done more.

But here's the point, and this is the one thing that has struck me most - and I have covered a lot of elections, every election here since '84, I think on this election I've never seen - yes, you've got undecideds and you've got independents and you've got those inside, but everybody is engaged. There's a seriousness to their views. They know the issues, Becky, facing the U.S. or deficits, debt, economic, unemployment, perhaps some of the worst times any of them have seen, and that's why what I do see is an electorate that is interested.

ANDERSON: Are they going to go out and vote?

QUEST: Ah, well, in some places like Colorado where we were, the undecideds are not apathetic and yes they will. In other places like Ohio they say that the undecideds won't vote. And if they do vote, there's a direct difference of opinion. Some say - research shows both ways. But what's different again about this election is there's been so much early voting. In places like Colorado, in places like Wisconsin, in places like Ohio, even the president himself has voted. He's already cast the ballot.

The pictures you're looking at there of the Civil War reenactment, what you heard from these people was a deep unease, a malaise, a worry. They want their children to have a better economic life than they had, and with this now early voting, everything that's being said may be academic, because the cake -- or at least many of the ingredients of the cake --

ANDERSON: Sure.

QUEST: -- have already been mixed.

ANDERSON: Yes, and -- which is almost unique, I would suggest --

QUEST: Yes.

ANDERSON: -- around the world.

QUEST: Yes, absolutely.

ANDERSON: And Richard, I thank you for that. Do stay with me.

QUEST: Yes.

ANDERSON: We're going to take a very short break at this point. That was part of what Richard filmed in his trip across the States. Of course, you can find the rest online at cnn.com.

You're watching a CONNECT THE WORLD special on the US elections. Still to come tonight, we're going to have the latest world news headlines for you, and we're going to go live to two of the key swing states that could help tip the balance for Romney or Obama with those who haven't yet voted. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: A warm welcome to our viewers across Europe and around the world. You're watching a CONNECT THE WORLD special on the US election. I'm Becky Anderson. Let's get you to our colleagues in the US for some breaking news out of New York this evening.

MICHELLE OBAMA, US FIRST LADY: -- governors and mayors and our outstanding first responders to make sure that everything folks need is right there, and they do their job, so -- I know that we all will come together, because that's what we do in crisis.

(CROWD CHEERS)

M. OBAMA: We come together to help our citizens. So, even in light of all this excitement and election, we can't forget when people are struggling, we have to have our focus and our priorities straight, right?

(CROWD CHEERS)

M. OBAMA: So, with that, I have to also thank Brandon for that. Whoa. That introduction.

(CROWD CHEERS)

M. OBAMA: Brandon. Oh, he is working so hard. He's going to be working on election day, and I hope you'll be at -- right there with him.

(CROWD CHEERS)

M. OBAMA: And I also want to thank the president, Dr. Miller, and his wife Nicolette.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: All right, the first lady of the United States weighing in on the storm, as well. The breaking news we've been following, the mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, has canceled the New York Marathon for this Sunday saying, "We would not want a cloud to hang over the race or its participants, so we have decided to cancel it."

We're standing by for a news conference from City Hall in New York with much more on what's going on. A lot of other news we're following as well. Remember, only four days until the presidential election.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: CNN's new poll in Ohio shows President Obama with a 50 to 47 percent lead over Mitt Romney, but that's within the poll's sampling error. I'm joined, now, by our Chief National Correspondent John King, he's in Cincinnati, and our chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley, the anchor of CNN's "State of the Union."

What are they saying on the ground, as far as Ohio is concerned? It looks really close, John.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It looks really close, Wolf, and when you visit the campaign teams out here, guess what? It feels really close. That's why the president's here all day today.

Governor Romney is here tonight with some stars of the Republican Party. Local Republicans think they'll have 35,000 people at that rally tonight, that's in the southwest corner of Ohio.

What they say is that both candidates right now are keeping their bases pretty strong. If you look at the Cleveland area, the president runs strong. If you look across the industrial part of the northern part of the state, you see evidence the auto bailout is helping the president.

Down here in the Cincinnati area, southwest Ohio, Governor Romney is ahead in the polls, and that's significant. Barack Obama carried Hamilton County, where I am, four years ago. If Hamilton County is blue on election day, the president will win Ohio and most likely be reelected. At the moment, the Romney team thinks it can hold onto this state -- to this part of the state.

So, it is to stay feisty, fight-it-all-out intensity, try to generate turnout, and that's what all the campaigns are looking for. The Romney campaign says it considers that a dead heat and it believes it can make up the intensity on election day.

BLITZER: Candy, are you hearing echoes of 2000 when Florida went for George W. Bush by 537 votes out of millions cast?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I am, because how - - you can't ever get that out of your head because it was just such a surprise. And I can tell you, it's not whether I hear them, it's whether both these campaigns hear them.

The -- one of the things I was listening to James Baker the other day, who of course was the lead lawyer for the then candidate Bush in 2000 --

ANDERSON: And we're going to break away from -- we're going to break away from my colleagues at CNN US to go to another colleague who is actually on Miller's Island, Staten Island -- or Miller's Field, Staten Island, for what is a breaking news story this hour. The iconic New York Marathon, scheduled Sunday, this weekend, has been canceled post Super Storm Sandy.

Deb Feyerick's on the line for you. Deb, what do we know at this point? What are the details?

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Well, Becky, the mayor did decide to cancel the New York City Marathon. There was amazing outrage here on Staten Island that, given how hard Hurricane Sandy hit and how many people have lost everything, that the city would actually go ahead with this particular marathon.

ANDERSON: Sure.

FEYERICK: The New York City mayor had initially said that it was a way to move on, it was to give New Yorkers something to cheer about, but for hundreds of thousands of people here on Staten Island, they really saw it as a slap in the face and a diversion of resources.

Think about it. The Verrazano Bridge, where the race begins, that would have had to have been closed down for 24 hours. That means that it would have cut off a supply route of first responders and other resources that they need.

ANDERSON: Sure.

FEYERICK: Also, the marathon had planned to bus in the runners. And many people here are saying, well, why don't you bus in volunteers who can help us clean the debris out of our homes that have been destroyed?

So, there was really a sense, Becky, that it was just -- it was insensitive. Some of the choice words that were used were "disgraceful," "slap in the face," "disgusting." You have people who are queuing up to try to get gas rations here on Staten Island. People are without food.

The National Guard has been handing out -- has been setting up these distribution centers where people can come and get the food. But really, the actually presence of first responders and FEMA has not been very visible in the streets.

And so people just thought, look, right now what we need are extra hands and to pull even one police officer to stand along the route to protect the runners was one too many, Becky.

ANDERSON: Yes, interesting. I'm getting some tweets on this just as you and I speak. One's just come in: "New York City Marathon sounds like the last thing our EMS-stroke-ER friends need in @NewYorkCity." And I guess that's just mirroring exactly what you said.

Just describe for our viewers, those who might not be aware of this iconic event, just the history to the New York Marathon, because this is an enormous event that the city is incredibly proud of, isn't it?

FEYERICK: Oh, absolutely. And listen. You always have every singe year, you have millions of New Yorkers who come out and cheer these runners who come from all over the world, and they spend weeks and months practicing for this, and you have people who are lining the route and cheering and handing out water. It's just one of these magnificent things.

And then, they start here in Staten Island, they go through all five boroughs: Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and then into Manhattan. When they cross into Manhattan, people are cheering. Many people said, how are they even going to go through Central Park, because there's been such an issue with tree branches falling, that was a very big risk.

And so, a lot of folks here were shaking their heads saying with everything that the city has suffered with, there was downtown Manhattan having absolutely no power, with hundreds of thousands of people who have been sitting in the dark since Monday, they just could not understand, no matter how great this race, how it could be taking place.

And one man pointed out, rightly, he said, look, even after 9/11, they postponed the World Series. It wasn't the right time to have it.

Now, we're hearing that the mayor has used the word "canceled." Whether that means it's going to be rescheduled. But to hear some of the organizers from the New York City Marathon talking about it and how it was going to focus on recovery.

A lot of folks who lost their homes and who are staying in hotels, they're being told they had to leave just so that they could accommodate the runners. One hotel out here, the Hilton Gardens, basically said, "I'm sorry, the runners can sleep outside for all I care. We're going to house the people who have lost their homes."

ANDERSON: Yes. All right.

FEYERICK: So, it's really -- it is a magnificent race, but the decision, many people feel that it was the right thing to do to cancel, Becky.

ANDERSON: Deb, stay with me. I want to get our viewers just a look at the marathon by the numbers, as it were, because the cancellation of this event is extraordinary. Organizers expected some 45,000 runners for this Sunday's race. In past years, the event has drawn about 2.5 million spectators.

Now, according to the "New York Times," in a typical year, about 1,000 full-time police officers and 500 auxiliary officers are stationed along the race course. Fewer were expected this year, due to the storm. Organizers also do hire private security.

The event brings the city a financial boost of $340 million, nigh on a half a billion dollars, there. Race organizers and sponsors are donating $2.5 million to relief efforts.

Let me just read you what I've just received from Mayor Bloomberg's office. This is the statement: "The marathon has been an integral part of New York City's life for 40 years and is an event tens of thousands of New Yorkers participate in and millions more watch.

"While holding the race would not require," he says, "diverting resources from the recovery effort, it is now clear that it has become the source of controversy and division. The marathon has always brought our city together and inspired us with stories of courage and determination." He goes on to say, "We would not want a cloud to hang over the race or its participants, so we have decided to cancel it."

The breaking news story this hour is that the New York Marathon this weekend, scheduled for this weekend, is now canceled. It's just deemed too divisive an event when so many people are struggling just to recover from what has been an almighty storm that has devastated, wrecked so many people's lives.

We're going to take a very short break here on CNN. I'm Becky Anderson, this is CONNECT THE WORLD. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDRSON: Right. Some breaking news coming into CNN this hour. Officials in New York have decided to cancel the city's famous marathon, which would have taken place as scheduled on Sunday.

The 26.2-mile course typically passes through New York's five boroughs. It does not include lower Manhattan, where heavy flooding, of course, left many neighborhoods in the dark earlier this week.

The race was scheduled to begin Sunday morning on Staten Island. Runners were to cross the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge into Brooklyn and run through Queens. From there, they would have crossed the 59th Bridge -- 59th Street Bridge, of course, into Manhattan and the Bronx.

It's a very divisive issue, this. Mayor Michael Bloomberg had said that he supported having the race, saying that the city needs a reason to cheer. Critics had said it would divert much-needed resources from communities still struggling to recover.

Well, in the end, those voices won out. The iconic New York City Marathon, scheduled for Sunday, has been canceled.

All right. You're watching a US Election special on CONNECT THE WORLD this evening. We are now just days away from the US choosing the country's next president and fame -- playing an enormous part in determining the winner, eight crucial battleground states.

Now, this evening the past hour here on CNN, we've been in Ohio and we're going to move on to a number of these states, where this battle will be played out. So, there are states that safe Republican and safe Democratic, of course. What about these yellow swing states?

That's what we're talking about, the 2012 election effectively comes down to the voters in these yellow areas on the map. Let's take you to two of them, now. Ted Rowlands is in Racine in Wisconsin and Kyung Lah is in Denver, Colorado.

Ted, let's start with you. No Republican has won in Wisconsin since Reagan, but what could swing it, as it were, for Romney?

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think turnout, Becky, clearly. And one thing -- what the Republicans have going for them here in Wisconsin is a very strong ground gain that was established in the very bitter recall election that we had earlier this year with the local governor here in Wisconsin, Scott Walker.

What that did was, first of all, it split the state in half. You've got Democrats and Republicans and both are pretty firm in -- on their side. The key is, who's going to get more people out? Now, typically, Democrats have much stronger ground gains at this point, frankly. Republicans vote more reliably.

But here in Wisconsin, it's very unique because of this recall election and all of the emotion surrounding it, both sides have huge ground gains. They will be out in force over the weekend. Folks are coming up from Illinois to help. The president, in return for their help, they're getting a possible pass to the election party in Chicago.

And then in Wisconsin here, they have all of these folks that help keep Scott Walker in office, they're going to be working throughout the weekend. They're going to work all -- every single hour, they say, daytime hour from now until Tuesday, except during the Green Bay Packer football game here in Wisconsin, Becky.

If you call someone or knock on their door during that game, you will lose the vote. So, both sides are going to let those three hours go by, but the rest of it, they're going to be pounding the pavement.

ANDERSON: Oh! Three our four hours? I went to a game last weekend in Arizona, it took nearly four -- all right, I get it, though. Good point. All right, Ted, thanks for that.

Kyung, Colorado's looking like it could be very, very close. What's the issue there that voters care about most?

KYUNG LAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, I can sum it up in one word: it is jobs. Now, the unemployment rate here in this state in America's west is just at about the national rate, it's 8 percent here. Nationally, it's 7.9 percent, as we saw from the jobs report.

But if you talk to people, they'll say jobs, absolutely. But then, there are number of issues, depending on which demographic you're talking to. And I say "demographic" because it's vitally important here in this state.

A third registered people -- voters are Democrats, a third are Republican, and a third are independent. This state has swung traditionally to the right, to the Republicans. But this went to Barack Obama. It also went to Bill Clinton.

So, what is the difference this time? It is really about personally how are those independents, those registered independents, feeling about the future, about the next four years and their job security?

Now, if you talk to the suburban women, who -- they're a critical voting block here. If those women feel that, OK, Mitt Romney's going to be the one, then you overwhelmingly hear that they say they're going to vote Republican. But just as many of them will say they believe that the president will still do the job.

What I can tell you is that there is a bit less enthusiasm from both candidates, because it has been so bitter. One woman described it to me -- she already voted, because early voting has been taking place here, 1.5 million people have already voted.

This woman said when she voted for the president, she did so, but she held her nose, because she's not that enthusiastic about it. And we do, Becky, see that enthusiasm gap --

ANDERSON: Sure.

LAH: -- in a number of spots across the state.

ANDERSON: To the two of you, we thank you very much, indeed, for joining us. Two more swing states, fascinating stuff.

Let's get back to Richard Quest, who's at CNN Center for you tonight. He's been talking to us throughout this special about the election, but I want your final word on that in just a moment.

Richard, you used to live in New York. You are well aware of just how important and iconic a moment that New York Marathon is every year, and divisive issue this year, we know, of course. Michael Bloomberg wanted it to continue Sunday. It's canceled. Your reaction?

QUEST: I am gobsmacked, to use that quaint, northern English phrase, that they every thought they were going to actually run it in the first place. I'm getting e-mails and texts from my friends who still live in New York along the lines of, "No power, no heat, the weather's getting cold, and the shops are all either closed or empty or we're having difficulty."

Now you tell me, in that scenario, what were they even thinking trying -- I could understand if they did a launch -- a token. We will choose a hundred people to run the race just to do it.

But the idea that they were ever going to be able to launch a full- scale, 45,000 people, largest marathon in the world, across all five boroughs of New York City through Central Park over the bridges, I mean it was -- it's almost inconceivable.

ANDERSON: Yes, all right. I'm going to get some tweets on this, as well. M. Bluejay writing to me simply this, Richard, and I guess you'll agree with this: "Good decision by the authorities." Another one coming to me tonight: "NYC Marathon sounds like the last thing our EMS-stroke-ER friends need in @NewYorkCity."

And I fundamentally agree with you. It seems to be absolutely the right decision, though it was Mayor Michael Bloomberg, it seemed, who was behind the decision to keep going. As I said, a very divisive issue --

(CROSSTALK)

QUEST: I think --

ANDERSON: He will say --

QUEST: Yes, I think -- I --

ANDERSON: Let me just say this. He will tell you that nearly half a billion dollars --

QUEST: Yes!

ANDERSON: -- is brought into the city as a result of all that.

QUEST: Yes, but the -- no, no, no. Half a billion shmillion. In the grand scheme of things, that's not even relevant. A half a billion. I applaud the mayor, in a sense, for floating the balloon. Yes, you float the balloon and you see what happens, and you see how people respond to it. I don't see anything wrong with that.

And he has got a valid point about the idea of getting people back to normal. But it's -- it's just the size and the scale --

ANDERSON: Yes.

QUEST: I have covered to the -- I haven't run it. I've covered the New York Marathon at least four or five times, and it's very, very big event.

ANDERSON: And what about this tweet? "Put all the runners on treadmills to generate electricity and power up. The city's devastated and in need of help." Good point, one of the tweets coming into me here tonight, as well.

Richard, you've been asking our colleagues what time they think the election will be called Tuesday. I haven't heard you tell our viewers what time you think it's going to be called. I'm going for 1:38 AM Eastern Time. You?

QUEST: Well, oh -- hang on -- clever, tricky -- 10, 11, 12, 1 -- tricky. You've taken the West Coast closing. I am going for midnight- fifteen Eastern.

ANDERSON: Eastern?

QUEST: Eastern.

ANDERSON: All right. You are way too early.

(CROSSTALK)

QUEST: Midnight -- midnight --

ANDERSON: You're having a laugh!

QUEST: Midnight-fifteen --

ANDERSON: So close!

QUEST: Midnight-fifteen --

ANDERSON: If it was 60-40, maybe --

QUEST: No, no, you're wrong! Because --

ANDERSON: But we're talking 49-51!

QUEST: Because we will have an indication from those early states and --

(LAUGHTER)

QUEST: -- the gut feeling is, once the ball is rolling -- midnight- fifteen Eastern.

ANDERSON: Yes.

QUEST: Tweet -- let's take some Twitter thoughts.

ANDERSON: Listen, any of you watching, make sure you stay up to 1:38 AM Eastern. Keep the kettles on, keep the electricity on wherever you're watching. Richard Quest, I thank you very much.

QUEST: Thank you.

ANDERSON: My dear. I'm Becky Anderson, thank you for watching this CONNECT THE WORLD special on the US elections. Stay with CNN for full coverage over the next few days as we bring you the American presidential election on Tuesday. From London, good-bye.

END