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Presidential Campaign Enters Final Weekend; Devastation from Hurricane Sandy; Interview with Bill Gross

Aired November 3, 2012 - 06:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Total, total devastation.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our hearts go out to the families who have lost loved ones.

MITT ROMNEY, GOP PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: We come together in times of trial, and this is one of those times.

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I cannot thank the president enough for his personal concern.

MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, NEW YORK CITY: Make no mistake about it, this was a devastating storm.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are going to die. You don't understand. You've got to get your trucks here on this corner.

ROMNEY: The question of this election comes down to this. Do you want more of the same or do you want real change?

OBAMA: Have you heard him? He's going around saying I'm the candidate of change. Except when you look at the policies, they're the same ones that didn't work.

ROMNEY: Ohio, you're probably going to decide the next president of the United States.

OBAMA: You may have noticed that everybody is paying a lot of attention to Ohio.


RANDI KAYE, CNN ANCHOR: They sure are.

It is Saturday, November 3rd. Good morning, everyone. I'm Randi Kaye.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. Thanks for starting your morning with us.

KAYE: The emphasis on the election took a back seat this week to the suffering brought on by superstorm Sandy. Both candidates put those talking points in their back pockets for a few days as we watched the devastation along the eastern seaboard. But now with just three days left, the candidates are back on the trail with those talking points at the ready. We will have much more on damage from Sandy and recovery throughout the morning. We also have our correspondents spread out throughout the battleground states to bring you the latest on the election and the final push for both candidates.

BLACKWELL: But let's step away from the map and let's get to the message for a moment. CNN political editor Paul Steinhauser is live in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Paul, it's been really a flurry of activity and travel for President Obama and Governor Romney. What is their message for these final three days?

PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: Victor, it's interesting, both of them have the same message, and that is change. They're both saying it in very, very different ways, but you're hearing a lot about change from Mitt Romney and from President Obama as they crisscross the campaign trail in these final days. Both of them were talking about that message yesterday, last night in Ohio. Take a listen.


ROMNEY: The president says that, you know, it has to be this way. I say it has to change. He says, he's got excuses for us. I say, in fact, no, I have got a plan for us. He says that we need to settle for where we are with this high unemployment and high debt and low wage growth. I say this, Americans don't settle.

OBAMA: Now, Governor Romney is a very talented salesman. And in this campaign, he's tried as hard as he can to repackage these bad ideas and offer them up as change. He says suddenly, now suddenly he's the candidate of change. But, we know what change looks like. And what he's trying to sell, that ain't it.


STEINHAUSER: You're going to hear a lot more of that between now and Tuesday, election day, of course. As both campaigns, both candidates try to reach out to that very, very small sliver of undecided voters or uncommitted voters, and just as importantly as they try to reach out to their own supporters to make sure they get to the voting stations. Victor?

BLACKWELL: The mantra of real estate is location, location, location. Works for politics, too. How is that playing out with the campaigns?

STEINHAUSER: Oh, yes, it is so important right now. You know, we have about eight battleground states we consider at CNN on the map. Take a look at this. This is where the candidates were in their final four days, yesterday through Tuesday. Let's start with President Obama. And where he goes tells you a lot about where he thinks -- where he thinks he can win. Ohio, Ohio, Ohio. Look at that. The final four days, the president is there each day. He was there yesterday, he is back there today, tomorrow and Monday.

Also, Iowa. Two stops in Iowa. Very important state. He's going to end his campaign Monday night in Iowa. Of course, that was the state that gave him his first victory back in the Iowa caucuses in 2008. Launched him towards the White House.

Let's go to Mitt Romney and where is he? Well, Ohio is so important as well for Mitt Romney. No Republican has won the White House without winning Ohio in modern times. Two stops in Virginia. But look at the East Coast there. Pennsylvania, where I am, Mitt Romney coming here tomorrow to Pennsylvania. Paul Ryan is coming here today. That's why we're here. Listen, Mitt Romney thinks that they can grab Pennsylvania away from the Democrats, a state the Republicans haven't won since 1988. Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right, Paul Steinhauser, in the Pennsylvania state capital, Harrisburg. Paul, thanks. Randi.

KAYE: And we have new numbers now on where things stand in Florida. Take a look here. This NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll shows President Obama with a lead. It's a two-point lead over Mitt Romney. Florida is the biggest of all the expected swing states, with 29 electoral votes.

BLACKWELL: On the campaign trail in Ohio, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani offered a scathing critique of the president and said President Obama should resign. It happened at a rally for Mitt Romney yesterday. Mr. Giuliani slammed the administration on a lot of topics. Unemployment, Benghazi, others.


RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER NYC MAYOR: They're real excited today because unemployment didn't go back to 8 percent. It's 7.9 percent. They should be ashamed of themselves! The greatest country on earth, the greatest country in the history of the world, and our growth is at 1.2 percent. He should resign!


KAYE: The founder and CEO of News Corp, Rupert Murdoch, is also sounding off on the election via Twitter. He blasted New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for praising President Obama as the two leaders toured the storm-damaged state this week. Murdoch tweeted this. "Now, Christie, while thanking Obama, must re-declare for Romney or take blame for the next four dire years." That is his quote.

And as the candidates make their final push, Anderson Cooper is taking a closer look at where they are focusing their attention and whether the battleground states hold any surprises. "America's choice 2012, countdown to election day." That airs tomorrow night at 8:00 Eastern.

And now to the latest on superstorm Sandy. After much criticism, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg canceled the New York City marathon for the first time in its 42-year history. It was set to take place, as you know, tomorrow. Bloomberg insisted the race would not have required diverting resources from the recovery effort throughout the area, but he said it was clear the marathon had become controversial and divisive.

BLACKWELL: The race typically attracts 47,000 runners from all over the world, plus 12,000 volunteers and more than 2 million spectators. Now, critics said it just wasn't right to use generators for the marathon when some people had not had food and power for days.

Well, the lights are starting to come on for some families in the northeast, but not fast enough for others. Five days after the storm, more than 2.5 million customers are without power across 15 states and D.C. It could be at least another week before power is fully restored, and the cold weather is not helping matters.

National Guard troops are helping to clear debris so crews can get back to putting that power back on. They're also helping in the search for survivors and delivering food to those in need. 7,400 Army and Air National Guard soldiers and airmen from nine states have responded to this storm.

KAYE: I was in the New York area covering the storm this week for Anderson Cooper's show, and it was -- it was something to see up close and personal there. And of course, it is far from over, sadly, for the millions affected by it. But along the New Jersey coast, actually, there is a ticking time bomb. We'll show you what they still have to fear in that area.


KAYE: The heartache is growing for families across the northeast as Sandy claims more lives.

BLACKWELL: According to the latest numbers, the storm is now blamed for 106 deaths in the U.S. New York state was hit with the worst with 48 of those deaths, 22 people died in New Jersey. Now, overall, the storm has killed 175 people when you include the numbers from Canada and the Caribbean.

KAYE: The superstorm left entire communities devastated, homes broken in half or completely washed away. I had the chance to see some of it firsthand this week, traveling along the New Jersey coast. I saw heartbreaking damage and found a danger still lurking.


KAYE (voice-over): For days, this part of the New Jersey coast has been a ticking time bomb. Natural gas lines, broken during superstorm Sandy, have been spewing gas. We took a boat ride on Barnegat Bay to see the threat for ourselves. The damage truly unimaginable.

(on camera): We came out here in search of the natural gas leaks, but you can see there is plenty of damage here, as well. Just take a look at this house here in the distance. This is in the town of Manaloking, you can see it's completely collapsed there, completely falling apart, practically broken in half. And then if you can just swing over here, look at this one, this house used to be over there on land, now it's sitting in the middle of the water.

People up and down the coast have been anxiously waiting, wondering if their neighborhood might explode. Here in Barnegat Bay, we came across another house, you see it there behind me, it is split in two. You see it on the top there, that blue one. And you can smell right here in this area as we were getting closer to that home, you could smell the gas in the air. It was getting stronger and stronger as we got closer to it. Already, the gas company says that they have responded to 1,300 gas leaks, and they have cleared all of them, but here you can still smell it in the air.

(voice-over): Resident Rob Williams checked on his house and snapped this photo of a gas crew working to plug the leaks. Look closely. They are digging for gas lines in the sand, where a house had been washed away. Williams said the gas crews were overwhelmed.

(on camera): The gas company says they didn't even know how bad the problem was, because they could only survey the damage by air. But once they were able to get closer in a boat like we are today, they were able to see just how dangerous it was. They, too, smelled the gas, and they, too, realized they had a real problem on their hands.

(voice-over): The gas leaks forced the mayor of Manaloking to shut the town down today. And by this afternoon, New Jersey Natural Gas began venting the system, purging the gas lines from Point Pleasant Beach to Seaside Park, as well as Long Beach Island. Turning it all off may make it safer for about 28,000 customers, but they are sure to be without natural gas for some time.


KAYE: So the good news is, Victor, is that they did get all the natural gas off. The company did confirm that for me, but the problem is they were trying to save the system, they didn't want to have to rebuild it. And I guess in getting all the gas out of the system, they actually have to flood it with water, which destroys the pipes, and this could cost millions of dollars, not to mention the 28,000 people who are now without natural gas. But it's going to cost millions to try and rebuild entire systems.

BLACKWELL: Very expensive cleanup. Now, when I knew that story was coming, I was fully prepared to see water inside homes. I was not prepared to see homes in the water. I mean, you're on a boat, did you hit anything there?

KAYE: Actually, we were all -- the eyes for our boat, the driver of the boat, because he said, I need your help because there is so much stuff in the water. And we actually, believe it or not, we drove over a home in the water. There was a home underneath. You could see it on his radar. We actually drove over a home.

BLACKWELL: That is unbelievable.

KAYE: Yes, it was -- so they actually sunk to the bottom. It was really bad.

BLACKWELL: Imagine coming back and you find out your home is not here.

KAYE: Yes, and you don't see it.

BLACKWELL: It is down there somewhere.

KAYE: Exactly. That's the situation for at least one homeowner. So it was pretty shocking.

But our Miguel Marquez, by the way, heads to Vegas after the break for a deep dive into one key factor in Tuesday's election.



So goes Nevada!


KAYE: We'll see what he found in Sin City and if he had a soft landing. Wow.


KAYE: Welcome back. 18 minutes past the hour now. And we are just three days away from election day. Hard to believe. Right?

BLACKWELL: I know, (inaudible).

KAYE: It's coming up pretty fast. Millions, though, have already voted, but many more will be lining up on Tuesday to make their choices.

BLACKWELL: And these last three days are going to be wild for both campaigns. So let's take a moment to just break down the numbers and show you just how wild. We're going to start with eight. That is the number of states that President Obama, Governor Romney will be stopping in over the next three days. And that's not counting the surrogates.

KAYE: When you throw in the surrogates, we turn the knobs all the way to 11. That's how many campaign events we'll be seeing in Ohio alone. And here's a favorite of mine, No. 3. That's how many Obama events Bruce Springsteen, the Boss, is playing on the final day of the campaign.

Sky-high unemployment, falling home prices, widespread foreclosures. Nevada was dealt a pretty bad hand when it comes to the economy, but the state and its six electoral votes is still one of the most important battlegrounds in Tuesday's election. The result could hinge on whether voters are betting on a strong economic recovery. Our Miguel Marquez headed to Las Vegas for a unique perspective on the Nevada vote.


MARQUEZ: Here we are top of the Stratosphere in Vegas, baby. About 70 percent of the votes in this state are right here, in Clark County. As this county goes, so goes Nevada!

In a city that fell harder and faster than just about any place in the country.

This better be a very close election. The Stratosphere, like all Vegas, suffered the worst of the recession.

At some point, you had to make a decision. Either go big or stay home, shut down.


MARQUEZ: The Vegas landmark sunk more than $20 million into upgrades, including a new restaurant, oh and that sky jump thing. Most importantly, more than 100 new jobs.

Do you think Las Vegas is through the worst of it?

HOBSON: It feels like it. You know, I mean, I drive to work every day and I see stuff going on that I haven't seen for a little while.

MARQUEZ: Things like construction and homes being built in the place that once had the nation's highest foreclosure rate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There you go, yes.

MARQUEZ: Chef Rick Gifens (ph) charts Vegas' decline and rise by a sort of entree index.

At the low point of the recession, how many dinners were you doing and how many are you doing now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were doing as low as 250 a night, 250 to 400. Now we're doing between 450 and 700 a night.

MARQUEZ: Oh, wow.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Big, big recovery.

LOUIE ANDERSON, COMEDIAN: This is an important state, you know, Clark County especially.

MARQUEZ: Comedy icon and Clark County voter Louie Anderson, who does four shows a week at the Palace Station.

ANDERSON: How do you spell Ron Paul?

MARQUEZ: Says the city is struggling back, but he knows just how torn the country is torn.

ANDERSON: I think it's hard to be excited about Obama if you have not worked. And I love Obama. I understand the appeal of Romney in this situation.

MARQUEZ: Like voters everywhere, he is tired of the campaign. ANDERSON: Obama has been here more than Celine Dion has.

MARQUEZ: But hopeful that results, not politics, tops the agenda come January.

ANDERSON: If we are going to have the great country we had once, this is not going to be a Democrat or a Republican thing. This is going to be an every single American thing.

MARQUEZ: Louie Anderson, a very funny guy, but also pretty serious in that moment. Recovery here across Nevada is spotty at best. The best number, though, that we have heard while here is that the price of houses has gone up by 1 percent in the last month. It's the first time that number has risen since 2007.

Miguel Marquez, CNN, Las Vegas.


KAYE: And we'll know after Tuesday whether Nevada's tough economy becomes a factor in the presidential race. Victor?

BLACKWELL: Well, just as nail biting as the presidential election, the balance of power of Congress is also one to watch this election season, specifically the Senate. Right now, Democrats hold the majority in the Senate, but they don't hold it by much, 51 seats to 47 seats for Republicans. There are two independents, who usually caucus with the Democrats. This election, there are 33 seats up for grabs, and the Democrats are fighting to keep most of them.

Now, this morning, a look at the, some of the closely contested races that could tip the scale either way. All right, let's go to, first, Massachusetts. With a hotly contested race between Republican Scott Brown and his Democratic challenger, Elizabeth Warren. Senator Brown is popular here, but so is President Obama. Now, the president's popularity in Mitt Romney's home state may be enough. Just maybe enough to tip the scales.

Let's go to Indiana. The race between Republican Richard Mourdock and Democratic Representative Joe Donnelly seemed like it was going to the GOP, until this happened.


SENATORIAL CANDIDATE RICHARD MOURDOCK, R-IND.: Life is a gift from God, and I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.


BLACKWELL: Well, you know Mourdock's abortion comments sparked national outrage, and a new poll out shows that it may be costing him some support, because Donnelly now has a double-digit lead over him in the Republican-leaning state, actually.

Let's go to Pennsylvania, where Democratic Senator Bob Casey found the need to campaign a little harder. Tom Smith started closing the gap against the Democratic incumbent, and actually the National Republican Senatorial Committee just dumped $500,000 into Smith's campaign.

Let's go to Wisconsin now. It's known as Tommy versus Tammy. Former Governor, Republican Tommy Thompson is neck and neck with Democratic Representative Tammy Baldwin. Paul Ryan's state is historically lean Democratic, and currently Baldwin's lead is only within just the margin of error. If she's elected, Tammy Baldwin would be the nation's first openly gay senator.

In Missouri, Republican Todd Akin -- you know the name -- is staying in the Senate race. His campaign was thought to be doomed after he made these comments about pregnancies that result from rape.


SENATORIAL CANDIDATE TODD AKIN, R-MO.: It seems to me, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, that is really rare. If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.


BLACKWELL: Now, Republican leaders, everyone from Mitt Romney to Reince Priebus, all of the establishment pretty much urged Akin to drop out. He refused. He's hoping to take the seat held by Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill. The polls show him gaining on her, and that led to a last-minute infusion of cash for his campaign. A lot of races to watch very closely, and you can believe we'll be doing that right here for you. Randi.

KAYE: Men and women dressed in camouflage in an area that looks like a war zone. This is not overseas, folks, this is New Jersey, looking for survivors in the rubble left behind by Sandy.


BLACKWELL: It is 6:29 here in the east. That makes it 3:29 out west. They do not call this EARLY START for nothing.


BLACKWELL: It is early. Welcome back. I'm Victor Blackwell.

KAYE: And I'm Randi Kaye. Thanks for starting your day with us, nice and early. Here are five stories that we're watching this morning. We are in the home stretch, just three days left until the election, and in the final weekend of campaigning, President Obama and Mitt Romney are hitting the trails hard in those pivotal battleground states. Romney speaking just a couple of hours from now in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. And the president will take the stage around noon in Dubuque, Iowa.

BLACKWELL: As you head to the polls, you may see officials from the Justice Department; 780 federal monitors are being dispatched to enforce federal voting rights laws. The group will be in 51 jurisdictions, in 23 states on Tuesday. And if you want to file a voting rights complaint, you can contact your local attorney general's office.

We got the final employment report before the election, and results were mixed. 171,000 jobs added in the month of October, but the unemployment rate ticked up marginally to 7.9 percent. And in a tight presidential race, the candidates each gave their own take. Governor Romney called the numbers, a quote, "sad reminder of the state of our economy." President Obama said we had, quote, "made real progress, but still have further to go."

KAYE: There are reports now that at least 22 million gallons of gas are headed to the northeast to help relieve shortages following superstorm Sandy. It's made for some long lines as residents wait hours to gas up their cars and get fuel for generators. To cut down on wait times, 12 New Jersey counties will go to a rationing system. That starts at noon today. On odd number days, only customers whose license plates end in an odd number can buy gas, and then same goes for the even days.

And New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has canceled the New York marathon for the first time in its 42 years. People were outraged by his earlier decision to go on with the race in the aftermath of Sandy. He insisted it wouldn't divert resources from storm recovery, but said in a statement that the race had become controversial and divisive.

And people on the New Jersey shore certainly need some support. John Saaddy lives along the shore, and he shot this cell phone video of the aftermath. Take a look.


JOHN SAADDY, NEW JERSEY RESIDENT: That's the boardwalk two blocks in on Central Avenue. And that's where the boardwalk was on the ocean.


KAYE: And John is on the phone with us this morning. He's a business owner in Seaside Heights, New Jersey, and lives in Toms River. John, I was in your area this week. I'm so sorry for what you all are dealing with there. Are the conditions any better now this morning for you?

SAADDY: They're mixed. They're mixed. We are really happy with the response from the governor with the electrical department. We had people from Alabama, Atlanta, three tractor trailer loads of telephone poles went over Thursday. I mean, that response has been outstanding. However, it's been a little slow, I would say, in the search for door- to-door to help some of these people. That has been a little bit of an embarrassment for the government.

KAYE: Right after the storm actually happened, though, and came through there, you took in five local families. A lot of people had nowhere to go. Where are those people now? Are they still with you, and what made you decide to take them in?

SAADDY: Well, they're going to be with me a long time. There is nowhere for them to go over there. And these are the volunteer firemen from Seaside Heights family mostly. We have a police officer and some other emergency personnel here. But they literally have no place to go.

KAYE: As I said, I was up there, and I'm curious because I did this boat tour, and I took a look to try and find some of this natural gas that, as you know, was spewing from the system there. I know it was -- you were spelling it in your area. Where I was in Manaloking, they managed to shut that down. What is the situation there in your area, because I know that you've called the state police to tell them about it.

SAADDY: They finally had to. It was really money versus lives. To shut the system down, it turns out that seawater would have seeped into the system, and the whole main line would have had to have been replaced, which would have taken six, seven, eight months and $100 million. So what happened finally is they realized, I mean, after four days of everybody screaming -- the governor, again, a late call -- shut the system down, the main line down.

However, that caused an enormous amount of problems now. No one in that island there in the houses that are OK are going to have heat. Now, you know what happens when you have no heat. All the water (inaudible) into these houses. I mean, just one disaster is going to turn into another.

KAYE: Yes, there's like 28,000 people, from what I understand, without access to natural gas. Do you think they were putting lives at risk, though? In order -- I know this was their last resort in order to shut the system down, but you think they were trying to hold on to the system and try not to shut it down?

SAADDY: No. In my opinion, they had to weigh that cost versus a life of a fireman, and, unfortunately, in New Jersey, in my opinion, we weigh life by how much you make in New Jersey. And that comes down in the court systems. They really come down your income when you die as what you're worth.

KAYE: I want to ask you about this popular nightclub along the shore, the Bamboo Bar that you own. We all know it's a favorite of the cast of MTV's "Jersey Shore." How is the bar doing?

SAADDY: Bamboo, I own Bamboo and Karma, they are two clubs, and they are both fairly well. We had flooding in, minor flooding. I mean, I would be able to get back up and operating in a month.

However, with no utilities, no water, no gas, again, the summer of next year is in jeopardy for the Jersey shore. And more importantly than anything, it's government regulation. Forget it. If anybody had ever had to deal with the DEP and CATHRA (ph) and the building departments in New Jersey, it takes you two years to get a dock (ph) after (inaudible) studies. So nobody -- all I see is it seems to be a boon for Florida, because all the wealthy people I know are going to take their money and run.

KAYE: Listen, I hope things do improve for you there. It is really a terrible situation, and so difficult even just getting around and surviving day-to-day. John Saaddy, thank you so much.

SAADDY: You're very welcome.

BLACKWELL: All right, so I know this sounds like a stretch, but stay with me here. What does the hit TV show "Breaking Bad," about a family running a meth lab, have in common with the U.S. debt crisis? Well, bond king Bill Gross made the comparison. And he'll explain, next.


KAYE: Good morning, Washington. Take a look there. You have got to take a look at this. Get in front of your TV and look at that Capitol building right there. Just beautiful, busy day. Busy week certainly ahead in Washington. So, let's get back to politics now and the final rush to election day. A state that we weren't paying much attention to is now back in the spotlight. We're talking about Pennsylvania. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will be there this weekend. Jill Biden and Bill Clinton will be making stops for President Obama, not to mention all the money being spent on a last-minute blitz. The latest poll we have out of Pennsylvania shows a tight race, three points, well within the margin of error, but can Romney win it? John McCain made a final push like this on the Sunday before the election back in 2008. He lost. It was the same plan and the same result for George W. Bush in 2004, Bob Dole in 1996, and George H.W. Bush back in 1992.

All right, let's check out Florida now, and that's where we find long, long lines. Some people waited in line for as many as five hours this week to cast their early vote. Today is the last day there for early voting. We'll take you live to Florida next hour. So how close is the race there? Well, take a look. This NBC News Wall Street Journal Marist poll shows President Obama with a slim lead, 49-47.

BLACKWELL: Well, as we've told you, we now had the final look at the job market before Tuesday's big election, and both campaigns are finding some talking points to drive home their closing arguments. Here it is. Unemployment ticked up to 7.9 percent, while the economy added 171,000 jobs in October. That's more than most expected. Earlier, I spoke with Bill Gross, who runs the world's biggest mutual fund, PIMCO, if these numbers are enough to move voters and enough to move the markets.


BILL GROSS, CO-FOUNDER, PIMCO: I'm not sure it is, Victor. Actually, the election may hinge more on the length of gas lines in New York and New Jersey on Monday as opposed to the number of jobs announced on Friday. But in any case, you know, the 200,000 number in terms of job creation is sufficient going forward to certainly level the unemployment rate, and, ultimately, over time, to produce a lower unemployment rate. It's a positive for the Democrats and the Obama administration, at least short term.

We know that the election is about the economy. It is about, you know, two different visions in terms of an Obama plan that basically suggests raising taxes on the wealthy, you know, to lower the deficit, or the Romney plan that suggests tax reform that ultimately will produce higher growth.

You know, I'm not so sure that either one of those plans have been detailed specifically so that voters understand, but, nonetheless, that's what Tuesday is all about.

BLACKWELL: Earlier this week, Bill, you spoke to CNBC, and you sounded a little, let's say, jaded about the election. Let's listen to what you said and then we'll talk about it on the other side.


GROSS: We spent $5 billion on this election for what? To prove that it's a government of the super PAC, by the super PAC, for the super PAC? To prove that basically no matter who wins that we'll be at this point four years from now in the future. Let's look going forward to something different as opposed to this red and blue state theology that basically is the same.


BLACKWELL: Does it matter which candidates wins then, or do you think we're headed for a fiscal cliff off this fiscal cliff either way?

GROSS: Well, I think so. And I do think, although there are differences between Romney and Obama in terms of their policies, I do think both of them, you know, are subject to, as I mentioned, super PAC money, to the best government that money can buy. And going forward, we should examine something different from the standpoint of policies and from the standpoint of government that allows U.S. voters a significant choice.

BLACKWELL: I want to talk about this really interesting op-ed you wrote for the Washington Post. You compared the U.S. debt crisis to crystal meth addiction. You said, quote, "hooked on the temporary high of tax cuts and increased entitlements over the past several decades, the nation's capital is approaching the end of the line traveled by most addicts, reform or suffer the consequences." Explain this. Is this part of the new normal that you predicted after the '08 financial crisis?

GROSS: Well, it is. And it suggests that the U.S. faces a, you know, a fiscal cliff decision over the next few months that is perhaps $200 to $300 billion deep, but a grand canyon over the next few years that is over $1 trillion wide. And that piece in the Washington Post suggested that our CBO, our Congressional Budget Office, have conservatively estimated that the U.S. has a fiscal gap of 8 percent of GDP, which is an amount totaling $1.2 trillion that has to be closed over the next few years, either via higher taxes or lower expenditures going forward to keep our debt from escalating into the Spanish and Italian and Greek area that, you know, is reminiscent of crystal meth, an addiction.

BLACKWELL: Bill Gross, PIMCO founder, thank you very much.

GROSS: You're welcome.


KAYE: Five days after Sandy slammed into the northeast, and some people still cannot get into their homes.

BLACKWELL: With mountains of sand, houses ripped apart and gas leaks, some areas look like, really, war zones. We'll show you one neighborhood like that.


BLACKWELL: Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Sting, Jon Bon Jovi, Christina Aguilera, Aerosmith, May J. Blige, a lot of stars showed up last night to help raise money for victims of superstorm Sandy. Now, NBC hosted the benefit concert. It aired live on all its networks. We don't know yet how much money was raised for the Red Cross relief efforts, but CNN is also extending a hand to the survivors of Sandy. Visit to learn more.

Well, as the day breaks, the search for survivors and victims of superstorm Sandy will continue.

KAYE: So far we know that that 900-mile storm has killed at least 106 people in the U.S. CNN's Jim Clancy followed the National Guard as they went door-to-door in a search and discovery mission in New Jersey.


JIM CLANCY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A sometimes forceful systematic search for survivors. Dozens of members of the U.S. Army and Air Force National Guard joined members of the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office to probe seemingly abandoned homes on Long Beach Island's Holgate community. In distress situations, they forcibly opened homes to call out for survivors. The prosecutors are on hand because they have jurisdiction if any bodies are uncovered. But in most cases, it was a straightforward call to ask if anyone was inside.


MASTER SGT RONNIE ESQUICHE, U.S. ARMY NATIONAL GUARD: This part of the mission is search and rescue. Pretty much nobody has been here. So what we've been doing is trying to see if any residents that had stayed over during the hurricane survived. That's basically what we're looking for here, any survivors.

CLANCY: Homes already ripped open by superstorm Sandy were searched inside and out, while these guard teams from New Jersey kept a sharp lookout for signs of life anywhere around the home, trying to ensure no one would be overlooked. Devastating waves broke on these beaches, ripping away huge amounts of sand that was then carried across the island, leaving two- or three-story homes perched dangerously atop their now shallow pilings.

Today some of those dunes are six feet high, making road access impossible. Not waiting for those road to be cleared, the Coast Guard joined in this search and rescue mission, ferrying the search parties to the far southern end of the island.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: National Guard, anybody home?

CLANCY: Their work almost done, the search teams mark each house and each street with red tape to document which homes have been checked. They found some residents, but none wanting to leave. Like Carl Clarke, who rode out the storm and still refuses to leave, but thinks it's a good idea to keep the island closed for now.

CARL CLARKE, HOLGATE, NJ RESIDENT: That is a good thing, in my opinion. You know, we have to restore this infrastructure. We can't have everybody back yet. I'll stay here, I'll look after our home and our neighbor's home, watch out for, you know, looting, anybody that doesn't belong here.

CLANCY: Carl and the residents who are not on the island can rest assured that the 100 plus National Guard troops marching through freshly plowed sand drifts are also on the lookout for everyone.


BLACKWELL: Jim Clancy joins us live now, and Carl Clarke and his decision to stay back, he's now seen what has happened with this town. What did you learn from him about moving forward and all the work that it will take to rebuild this area of Long Island?

CLANCY: Well, you know, there's a tremendous amount of infrastructure. Carl does not want to leave because Carl says, you know, if I leave, I can't get back. Like many residents, he's worried about his stuff, his place, his space. And he loves it. He loves it out on the island, as so many people that live here year round do.

And so there is a sense among all of them, that, all right, we're going to give this city a chance here. There's people I just saw turn around, a guy trying to get out to the island, and the police turned him around. He didn't have permission to be out here. Probably a resident, wanted to check on his home. Maybe next Wednesday they'll get to do that. In the meantime, by keeping everybody off the island, the can move in these -- and literally, they are like snow plows -- they are earth movers, and they're pushing this sand off of the roads that you saw there in that report.

There's drifts six feet high in some places. It's impossible for people to travel in some places. So, give them a chance to go in, to work on the infrastructure, check the gas lines, check the electrical lines, make the repairs that are needed, determine which homes may have to come down, because they're so dangerously damaged by this superstorm. There's a lot of work to be done. It is going to take several days. They think if we can do it upfront, keep everybody off the island, that's going to be better for everyone.

But, you know what, I mean, obviously, there is a lot of people that say, no, my house, I want to be there. So there's a debate, no doubt about it.

BLACKWELL: So much work to do. Jim Clancy, live with us this morning, thank you very much.

Now, for more information about Sandy and what you can do to help those affected, check out

Three days and counting until election day, and we are covering all the battlegrounds for you.

KAYE: Next hour, we'll take you to three of those battlegrounds. Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. We'll see the strategy on both sides as each side looks for an advantage.


BLACKWELL: Well, New York City has a new tourist attraction.

KAYE: Of sorts. A remnant of superstorm Sandy is still dangling high over the city, and crowds are lining up to see it. Here is CNN's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There's a new addition to New York's skyline, making it hard to resist looking up.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's amazing it hasn't fallen down yet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It seems to just be dangling in the wind.

MOOS: The crane that has pedestrians craning their necks was caught on camera during its partial collapse, like a modern-day Sword of Damocles, hanging over Manhattan's 57th Street. It had newscasters riveted.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's so eerie that this is happening.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They are afraid that when that crane goes, it could be bouncing off of other buildings around here.

MOOS: Destined to be the tallest residential apartment building in New York City, with $90 million penthouses, it now has the air of infamy. Police have closed off the streets below as engineers figure out when the weather makes it safe to strap the drooping boom to the building.

Cathy Step and her husband were in a hotel room across from the crane as she talked on the phone.

CATHY STEP: I was telling my mom I was safe, and at that minute, I heard the crane go over. Crunch. I said, honey, you better look out the window.

MOOS: The Steps were evacuated to another hotel.

Donald Trump has a view of the crane out his window. He's even with it, and he told CNBC it was left at too upright an angle. DONALD TRUMP: And they didn't die it down. That crane was not tied down.

BLOOMBERG: They're not supposed to be tethered. That's quite the contrary. They are supposed to be free and weathervane.

TRUMP: Somebody made a big mistake.

BLOOMBERG: It's conceivable that nobody did anything wrong whatsoever, and it was not even a malfunction. It was just a strange gust of wind.

MOOS: That turned into a strange gale of notoriety for a swaying mass of metal that even has a tabloid nickname -- hurry up and get that HurriCrane out of there.

Jeanne Moos, CNN.

STEP: Crack.

MOOS: New York.


KAYE: The Hurri Crane. Even as we've been up there, though, it's true, everybody is taking pictures, and there's traffic everywhere.

BLACKWELL: I'm sure it has a Twitter handle somewhere.

KAYE: Somewhere.

BLACKWELL: HurriCrane somebody. If they haven't, it's happening. Thanks for starting your morning with us.

KAYE: We have got much more ahead on "CNN SATURDAY MORNING", which starts right now.