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QUEST MEANS BUSINESS

Last Campaign Day in America; What Wall Street Wants; Wall Street Waits for Election Impact; Greek Austerity Vote Looms; Accusations of Police Brutality in Greece; Athens Market Up, Other European Indices Down; Euro, Pound Falling; Eye on Namibia: Protecting Fish Stocks

Aired November 5, 2012 - 14:00   ET

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


RICHARD QUEST, HOST: Coming out swinging. The presidential candidates attack the battleground states in the last day of campaigning.

In Greece, the politicians push for austerity. The public is preparing to strike.

And elite engineering for all. Caterham and Renault race to make F1 technology affordable.

I'm Richard Quest, the start of an important week, and I mean business.

Good evening. The campaign trail ends here after years of planning, months of campaigning, and the US presidential candidates have only a few hours left. They are stating their case across the country, or at least in those crucial parts. Barack Obama and Mitt Romney thereafter will be the spectators as the voting gets underway.

The president is taking in three different swing states. I'll show you them in a moment or three. He's currently tied at 49 percent with Mitt Romney in CNN's latest opinion poll of likely voters. Mr. Romney (sic) told his supporters in Wisconsin the job is not yet complete.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When I say, Wisconsin, that I know what real change looks like, you've got cause to believe me, because you've seen me fight for it, and you've seen me deliver it. You've seen the scars on me to prove it.

(APPLAUSE, LAUGHTER)

OBAMA: You've seen the gray hair on my head --

(LAUGHTER)

OBAMA: -- to show you what it means to fight for change. And you've been there with me. And after all we've been through together, we can't give up now.

CROWD: No!

OBAMA: Because we've got more change to do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

QUEST: Mitt Romney's schedule includes more than 13 hours of campaigning in several swing states. His advisors say the final day is focused on those last few undecided voters. He told crowds in Florida they were on the verge of a new era.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), US PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is such a critical time. It's so much more than just our moment. It's America's moment of renewal and purpose and optimism. We've journeyed far and wide in this campaign. And now, we're almost home. One final push is going to get us there.

(CROWD CHEERS)

ROMNEY: We've know -- we've known many long days, also short nights, and now we're close. The door to a brighter future is open. It's waiting for us. I need your vote. I need your help.

(CROWD CHEERS)

ROMNEY: Walk with me. Tomorrow we begin a new tomorrow.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

QUEST: So, he says "walk with me." Well, walk me.

(RINGS BELL)

QUEST: It's been a hectic final day. I'm going to show you on the CNN super screen. So, let's start with the president. The president began his day in Madison, Wisconsin. He has Air Force One. He loves to run after he gets off the plane.

After Madison, Wisconsin, he went to Columbus, Ohio. He's there just about now. There is a rally with Bruce Springsteen that will be performing there, as well. The president and Springsteen will be spending a lot of the day together.

After Columbus, Ohio, it's Des Monies, Iowa, for another late-night rally. This time, he's going to be, I think, with Jay-Z and Bruce Springsteen. So, the president is there. Six electoral college votes there, and the president will end his day in Chicago, Illinois. That's his home state. He voted there on October the 25th. He's already done early voting, but that's where he will spend the night.

Mitt Romney -- zoom in there -- and you will see, he starts his day in the very tight race in Florida, 29 electoral college votes are up for grabs. He goes on to two cities in Virginia, Lynchburg and Fairfax. It's an indication of how keen he is to wrap up those 13 electoral college votes that he's going to two places.

And then, also to Columbus, Ohio. He's not with Springsteen. He's on his own. But Mr. Romney ends his day with Kid Rock in Manchester, New Hampshire at a rally with his wife, as well, late tonight. Four electoral college votes.

He will then return to Boston, Massachusetts, where he will spend the night. And we now know that Romney will vote in Boston, that's now classed as his home state, tomorrow during election day itself.

So, that's the way they have been going backwards and forwards across the country today, and moving -- trying to solidify their support in those key states.

Madison, Wisconsin -- or at least Wisconsin -- with its ten electoral college votes has been very much in play. Ted Rowlands, our correspondent, is in Wisconsin for us today. He -- Ted? Why -- which way is it leaning, and is it really that close in Wisconsin this close to election day?

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's leaning towards the president and in his favor. All the recent polls over the last week have the president up a few percentage points. One actually has him up 8 percentage points.

But the Romney-Ryan camp here on the ground in Wisconsin say that they do think they have an ace in the hole. And what they have here in Wisconsin, which they don't have in other swing states, in other states around the country, is a very strong ground game.

The reason they have it is because Wisconsin, over the last year, went through a very bitter recall election for the Wisconsin governor, here --

QUEST: Right.

ROWLANDS: -- Scott Walker, who's a Republican. During that process, they were able to galvanize their voters. Their turnout was outstanding. They won the recall, Walker kept his seat, and they say that they have in place something that Democrats usually have in other states, and that is a ground game, and they think they can make it up.

We'll have to wait and see. They think they will win that turnout vote, and that's --

QUEST: All right.

ROWLANDS: -- that's the key here at this point. There's very few undecideds at this point. It's who shows up to the polls. So they think they have an edge in terms of that ground game.

QUEST: Ten electoral college votes is important for either candidate at this tight race. Which candidate needs Wisconsin more, if you factor in who may or may not get Florida, Ohio, Virginia, New Hampshire, elsewhere? It's late in the election day when it takes place, but which of the two really needs it most?

ROWLANDS: Well, I think it's clear that the person that needs Wisconsin is the one that loses Ohio, and it -- I think that the Romney folks do believe that if they lose Ohio, they absolutely need Wisconsin, and they'd have to pull off a miracle and Iowa and possibly Colorado. So, there's a lot of concentration here in Wisconsin.

Romney was here on Friday for an event, Paul Ryan is from this state. He has been in and out pretty much every week, and he'll be here again tonight. But the president is not giving up anything. He was here, as you said, in Madison this morning.

And what they're doing to help their ground game, they're inviting people from Illinois to come up and help get out the vote in Wisconsin today and tomorrow and, in return, for anyone who comes up from Illinois, those folks get a ticket to the election night party in Chicago, so we've had lots of people from Illinois coming up. They want to go to the party in Chicago, so they're helping out the effort here.

QUEST: Ted Rowlands, who is -- it looks chilly, there. Is it cold?

ROWLANDS: It is a bit -- is a bit chilly, and it's been raining, and they're saying there could be some snow in some parts of the state tomorrow morning. But I grew up in this state. A little snow, a little rain's not going to keep people at home, Richard. Wisconsinites are tough.

QUEST: Hardy midwestern stock. Ted Rowlands.

ROWLANDS: Arr!

QUEST: Arr! Ooh. It's all a bit much for this time, for a Monday before election day. Ted Rowlands, who's doing duties and good service in the cold of the midwest, one of those states. Ten electoral college votes.

Both candidates have nailed their colors when it comes to the financial sector. You'll remember we had Dodd-Frank. We've also had Obama, who's led various attacks on Wall Street. Mitt Romney comes from Wall Street, from Bain Capital.

So, in -- and of course, Wall Street has done rather well under the Obama years. Factor it all in, and you end up with Maggie Lake with this report on what Wall Street wants when it's time for change.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

OBAMA: I did not run for office to be helping out a bunch of fat cat bankers on Wall Street.

MAGGIE LAKE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was tough talk like this which made Wall Street go cold on President Obama. Wall Street had embraced Barack Obama's promise of change four years ago.

JAKE BERNSTEIN, PROPUBLICS: They liked his inspirational story, and they felt comfortable because they knew the people around him. So, there was a bit of a lover affair.

OBAMA: America --

(CROWD CHEERS)

OBAMA: -- this is our moment.

LAKE: But then, candidate Obama became President Obama. With the economic crisis deepening and outrage over bank bonuses exploding, Wall Street found itself in the crosshairs of the White House.

OBAMA: Folks on Wall Street, who are asking for help, to show some restraint and show some discipline and show some sense of responsibility. Who in their right mind, when your company is going bust, decides we're going to be paying a whole bunch of bonuses to people?

LAKE: This campaign season, a chastened Wall Street is still giving money to Obama, but it's down dramatically. Rival Mitt Romney, on the other hand, is really raking in the cash from bankers. His top contributors gave more than $18 million in donations.

BERNSTEIN: Romney's probably a more natural fit for Wall Street. He's a private equity guy, he can speak their language.

LAKE: And a guy who delivers a business-friendly message.

ROMNEY: I want to help small businesses grow and thrive. I know how to make that happen. I spent my life in the private sector.

LAKE: One businessman switching sides, publisher and real estate executive Mort Zuckerman.

MORT ZUCKERMAN, BOSTON PROPERTIES: The attitude of the business community towards the administration is one of almost universal not only disdain but hostility.

LAKE: Zuckerman voted for Obama and advised the Obama economic team early on. He calls it a distressing experience.

ZUCKERMAN: I was astonished at how little they understood and their policies were, frankly, based on instinct, and their instinct was hostile to business.

LAKE: Other high-profile business figures, like former Chrysler chairman Lee Iacocca, have come out against Obama. And in a new survey, 54 percent of executives say Mitt Romney is the best candidate for economic growth.

While some insist he's hostile to business, Obama's supporters say he's being unfairly vilified and point out that corporate profits have soared. The Dow Jones Industrials and S&P 500 are both up more than 55 percent since the president took office. The NASDAQ up 100 percent. And as for Wall Street reform --

BERNSTEIN: It wasn't particularly punitive. We didn't break up the banks.

LAKE: But try telling that to Obama opponent.

ZUCKERMAN: The one thing he could do that would restore the confidence in the business community is to withdraw from his race for the presidency.

LAKE: Tough words from business leaders banking on a brand-new candidate.

Maggie Lake, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

QUEST: Now to the markets that are open and doing business.

(RINGS BELL)

QUEST: They are in New York. The Dow Jones Industrials -- be still my beating heart. Just down 11 points. 13,000 is looking a little dodgy, which of course -- we've had a couple of rocky sessions. But by and large, the market: watch, wait, see. There are too many unknowns ahead of the election.

Coming up in a moment, American Quest. Today, I swap the train for the San Francisco cable car. I spend a day with a man who arrived via segregated carriages on the train and made it to the mayor. Willie Brown tells me race still maters in American politics.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(TRAIN WHISTLE)

WILLIE BROWN, FORMER MAYOR OF SAN FRANCISCO: It is an issue, and it has to be an issue, literally, because it's an issue in America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

QUEST: After the break, Greece prepares to protest again. Police brutality provides another pressure point. We are in Athens for the report. QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

QUEST: Now, it's a crucial week for Greece as lawmakers scramble to unlock vital bailout funds. They have to do a deal amongst themselves before they can unlock the billions from the troika. Millions of workers are also set to walk off the job saying they can't take any more cuts.

Join me at the CNN super screen again, and you'll see exactly how the week falls out. We start, of course, on Monday with the coalition presenting austerity packages to Parliament today. Now, it's a $17 billion package. The prime minister, Samaras, says it will be the last crucial -- he says it's the last of the salary, job, and pension cuts.

On the 6th, the unions' 48-hour general strike. They say they'll make -- these cuts that Samaras is talking about will make the situation worse, so they're going on a full-scale, all-throttle strike. So, that's today and tomorrow.

On Wednesday, as you move forward, vote on austerity. Now, when Parliament gets to grips with the austerity, it's likely to pass, but the razor-thin majority will reflect just how difficult it is to continue asking Parliament for these cut. Some New Democracy members have vowed to fight against it.

And if we move way forward to the Sunday, the 11th, when the budget vote's expected, the approval, the austerity package, crucial to unlocking the money, all that will come together by the 11th.

The protests planned in Athens this week are part of an enduring campaign of unrest by disaffected Greeks. If we take a look and we think about what has happened in Greece over the past few months, tension has boiled over into violence on many occasions, and now, some protesters are accusing the police of brutality. In Athens, our correspondent Matthew Chance has been investigating.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's a familiar scene in austerity-hit Greece: riot police confronting often violent protests, the air thick with tension and teargas.

Amid the chaos, one officer lashes out with his baton. Knocked senseless, the man lies bleeding on the ground, the casual victim, caught on camera, of what human rights groups say is a growing problem of police brutality in Greece.

But it's in police custody where the most disturbing accounts of alleged abuse are emerging. We spoke to a group of 15 protesters who say they were beaten and arrested during an anti-fascist protest in September. They asked not to be identified for fear of reprisals.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Before they were slapping us, they spat on us. They were burning us -- some of us -- with a lighter in our hands, and they used us as ashtrays with their cigarettes.

CHANCE: Some told us they were denied water and medical attention. A second group alleged they were all stripped, made to bend over, then photographed.

Greek authorities deny any abuse took place, with the country's Minister of Public Order telling Parliament they'll release forensic evidence proving it.

And in a statement to CNN, the Greek police said this: "There was no use of force against anyone. The Greek police examine and investigate in depth ever single report regarding the use of violence by police officers and take disciplinary action where warranted."

CHANCE (on camera): They said angry protests like this one all across Greece, the police are so often accused of using heavy-handed tactics. But it's not just isolated incidents that are causing worry. Human rights activists say they're increasingly concerned that there is a systemic policy of the police in dealing with these types of situations with very, very brutal tactics.

DORA OIKONOMOU, AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: I want to save her life.

CHANCE (voice-over): Groups like Amnesty International documenting alleged cases in Greece of police abuse.

OIKONOMOU: That's an abuse quite widespread, especially during the past four years. It's something that we see very, very often. During the past two years, the new austerity measures that were being placed on Greece, we've had many demonstrations, and almost in every demonstration that takes place, right after we have many complaints by victims of police violence.

CHANCE: But it's not just during public unrest that Greek police are accused of rights abuse. These images caused uproar in Greek social media earlier this year. They appear to show police officers detaining a man in the street at night.

(MEN SHOUTING IN GREEK)

CHANCE: After the video surfaced, police say they were launching an internal inquiry. And while they promised CNN an update, they haven't yet replied to our e-mails and phone calls about the tape.

But human rights groups say neither the police nor the government seem to accept the scale of the problems, that police violence in Greece has become a common, even acceptable form of crowd control.

Matthew Chance, CNN, Athens.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

QUEST: Athens' main stock index was the top performer in Europe today. Soaring bank shares had it rising more than 3 percent. We shouldn't get too excited by that. It has fallen more than 10, 15 percent in recent weeks, so it's just clawing back a smidgeon of what it's lost.

It was a different picture elsewhere, look at the numbers. All the other three markets, the London, Frankfurt, and Paris, they were amongst the worst performers.

In banking shares, HSBC was down 1.3 percent after HSBC revealed it net -- lost -- its net profit in Q3 was just half of what it was last year, set aside more than a billion dollars this quarter, mostly related to those involvement in money-laundering and to provide compensation for missold loan insurance.

So, now, to the -- today's Currency Conundrum. The Federal Reserve in New York in Liberty Street sits on a triple-tiered vault, which extends deep into the bedrock of Manhattan. What fraction of the world's gold is stored at the Fed in New York? A tenth? A fifth? Or a quarter? Oh, I love this one. I don't think it's a quarter, but a tenth or a fifth or a quarter.

The rates. The euro and the pound are falling a third of a percent. On Monday, a euro buys just under $1.29. Those are the rates --

(RINGS BELL)

QUEST: This is the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

QUEST: This week, we're focusing on Namibia, taking a close look at the country's economy and the industries it relies upon.

On CNN's Eye On series, we'll take a look at the country's famous diamond industry, its appeal to travelers who want to see the world's oldest desert, and feel they're on the very edge of the Earth, a well as brewing business and its German influences. We'll also see how black farmers are faring as they look for their own piece of land in the post- apartheid period.

Let's start today, though, with Robyn Curnow's report, which explores how Namibia is trying to protect its fish stocks and make the industry a source of work for its vast pool of unemployed.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROBYN CURNOW, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Trawled in the deep, cold fishing grounds off the coast of Namibia, horse mackerel, caught and frozen onboard ship. Landed, boxed, and ready in the port of Walvis Bay, a source of affordable protein for Africa.

CALIE, JACOBS, MD, ERONGO MARINE: We've made our calculations that we feed about 8 million people daily with Namibian horse mackerel.

CURNOW: Calie Jacobs manages Erongo Fisheries, one of three players in the horse mackerel trade in Walvis Bay.

JACOBS: The fishing industry is apparently the third-biggest earner of revenue in terms of the gross domestic product of Namibia.

CURNOW: A few decades ago, stocks were so depleted by overfishing that many feared they would never recover. But the industry's been nursed back to health.

JACOBS: The Namibia resource is probably one of the best-protected in the world at this point in time. We're here -- were you hear that most of the other fisheries are being over exploited or maybe in trouble, and the Nubian resource and management of the resource is doing very well.

CURNOW: Which means that instead of being at sea, trawlers are often in port.

CURNOW (on camera): These boats here in Walvis Bay Harbor are tied up, because the fishing grounds out there are closed for a month. The fish are spawning, and both governments and local fishermen want the stocks to be replenished.

CURNOW (voice-over): Limiting the fishing season helps preserve stocks, but leads to another problem. For example, with the valuable pilchard industry.

PIETER GREEF, MD, ELOSHA FISHING: Because the pilchard is seasonal, for instance, this year we start catching close to the very end of April, and by the end of July, we'll be finished. So, for the rest of the year, we're sitting with this huge infrastructure of capital investments that is unutilized, and therefore, we have to do something to get that up and running.

CURNOW: So, Pieter Greef's pilchard cannery brings in frozen pilchards with the help of a South African company, Oceana.

GREEF: They source for us frozen cutlets in the Moroccan market, which we import from there, and which we're putting through a process in our cannery, where we can the product and export, again, to South Africa.

So, Greef is able to keep his factory open and his workforce employed for more than just a few months a year.

GREEF: I think our biggest challenge in this country is job creation. With frozen pilchards that we can here, the process we employ 280 people on a 24-hour cycle, 140 people per shift. It's not new employment, it is employees that currently work for us, but at least they work for longer periods during the year, and thereby they can earn some more money.

CURNOW: Another company, Merlus, processes, packages, and exports deepwater hake. The government requires that fish caught in Namibian waters should be landed and processed in Namibia, adding value to the local economy. So, fish destined for Spain is packaged in Walvis Bay.

TOMAS KJELGAARD, MD, MERLUS SEAFOOD: We will create jobs here. It's very, very important for the government, because there's a lot of unemployed young people here in the media. That's why we have to create jobs here.

CURNOW: Merlus largely employs local high school graduates as a way to target youth unemployment.

KJELGAARD: Young people only with grade 12, and they're typically here for 3, 4, 5 years. And save money so they can go on further in studying. Sometimes they are 18, 19 years old when they come here, and then they leave three or four years later and ready for education.

CURNOW: Unemployment estimates vary widely, but most surveys suggest at least one third of Namibians are out of work.

GREEF: We can also see it when we open the cannery again for the frozen pilchards, they're really in need of work, and they're standing in long queues outside of the gates and that is -- that is sad not to employ them all.

CURNOW: The fishing and canning industries can employ some, but only if the fish in Namibia's waters don't become a dwindling resource.

Robyn Curnow, CNN, Walvis Bay, Namibia.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

QUEST: Now, for more information on the stories we're bringing you this week from Namibia, go to cnn.com/eyeon.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

QUEST: Hello, I'm Richard Quest. There's more QUEST MEANS BUSINESS in a moment. This is CNN and, on this network, the news always comes first.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUEST (voice-over): Not surprisingly, the U.S. presidential candidates are making their final pitches in the last full day before voting gets underway. Both Romney and Obama are criss-crossing the Midwest, even going as far south as Florida. It's battleground states like Ohio that are receiving the attention. Both men are going to Ohio today.

And CNN confirmed moments ago that Mitt Romney will be in Ohio and Pennsylvania on Election Day. National polls show an extraordinarily tight race. CNN has the Republican and the Democrat next and neck.

Intense clashes are erupting in Syria's Idlib province. A video posted online appear to show fires and rubble in the streets of Kafr Nabal. One opposition group says at least 130 people have been killed across the country today; another is reporting a suicide blast at a military checkpoint that killed 50 soldiers in Hama province.

New York attorney general says he is investigating reports of excessive price rises in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Eric Schneiderman says he's received hundreds of complaints about price gouging since the storm last week. Most of the complaints relate to the cost of gasoline.

The French President Francois Hollande is under increasing pressure to reform his country's flagging economy. Both the IMF and separate government commissions report are urging him to slash employment costs to improve competitiveness. The IMF says France must act now or risk falling further behind its European peers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(MUSIC PLAYING)

QUEST: The presidential campaigns are drawing to a close and so, too, is "American Quest." Today I reach my final destination on the California Zephyr. I'm in San Francisco. Now it would take a voting catastrophe for Barack Obama to lose the Golden State. It hasn't voted Republican in a presidential election since 1988.

Still, the president will have to work for it hard, and anyway, what happens in California is often a trend of the way the rest of the country's thinking.

This week and today I'm in the Golden State for "American Quest."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(MUSIC PLAYING)

QUEST (voice-over): We have traveled for a week and we crossed the Sierra Nevada Mountains to California. The Zephyr keeps giving us grand views of America. For me, it's the last moments to enjoy life on the rails before we arrive at San Francisco.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

QUEST (voice-over): If I'm visiting the city on the bay, then there's no finer person to show me around than Willie Brown.

WILLIE BROWN, FORMER MAYOR, SAN FRANCISCO: (Inaudible), how are you?

QUEST (voice-over): The man is a political living legend. Fifteen years speaker of the California Assembly, eight years mayor of San Francisco, ending in 2004.

BROWN: Hey, what's happening?

QUEST (voice-over): What could be better than riding the cable cars with the former Mr. Mayor?

BROWN: You know me, I'm alive. You know.

How are you?

I came here same way you got here. I got here by train.

But in 1951.

QUEST: And you didn't have a comfortable sleeper car.

BROWN: Not only that, it was still a segregated train.

QUEST (voice-over): From segregated railways to mayor of the city.

The American dream in reality. Willie Brown talks about race as the election issue from which others shy away.

BROWN: The race is a very major issue. Major because we don't want to talk about it. Major because we want to ignore it. Major because where it is in existence.

QUEST: But you say it is?

BROWN: it is an issue and it has to be an issue literally because it's an issue in America.

QUEST (voice-over): An issue in this election, along with the issue front and center, the wallet.

BROWN: The crucial issue in California has been and continues to be the economy. We are in California very much concerned about the high unemployment rate. Our local governments are all in tatters over the absence of money in their respective budgets. And we are obviously at the state level in dire need of assistance.

QUEST (voice-over): The state's not the only thing needing help.

Our trolley's just made an emergency stop. And we have to walk.

BROWN: We want a refund!

QUEST (voice-over): A walk with the former mayor on Nob Hill.

QUEST: What needs to be done in America today?

BROWN: Once the election is over, regardless of party, regardless of who won, the issues must be resolved within the framework of building a consensus of support from all sides. That hasn't happened in America in a long time.

QUEST: And you --

BROWN: Not since the Clinton administration.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

QUEST (voice-over): Willie Brown continues to walk me 'round his city. And eventually we reach Le Central, where he regularly stops for lunch.

BROWN: That's in my younger days.

QUEST (voice-over): And the mayor's picture has pride of place in the restaurant.

QUEST: Is this election a good one, a bad one or an indifferent one after all the elections that you've seen in your life?

BROWN: The only good elections are the ones that I win.

(LAUGHTER)

QUEST (voice-over): This race is so tight, winning this election won't be easy for either man. What I've found in this American quest, voters in large numbers are undecided. Unhappy with Obama, unconvinced about Romney. These United States are divided.

Our train journey crossed America. The challenge for whoever wins, like the railways did a century ago, can that man bring America together?

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

QUEST: "American Quest." Once every four years, you really get a chance to see this country like no other.

And the leadership transition takes place this week. China's changing of the guard is next.

And later in this program, a racing car at a reasonable price. (Inaudible) told I can afford one.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUEST (voice-over): I was completely and utterly wrong.

Earlier I asked, how much of the world's gold is stored inside the Fed's reserve vaults in New York? The answer is a quarter. Wow. I didn't nowhere near that. Not all of it is owned by the U.S. government. When the bank opened in September 1924, the lowest vault level was the deepest basement in Manhattan, 25 meters below sea level, 15 meters below sea level.

So this week, the world's two largest economies are facing a change at the top. While the U.S. election plays out for the world to see. China's leadership transition is happening very much behind closed doors.

The Communist Party's top officials will meet in Beijing this Thursday for the 18th party congress. They'll decide who will make up the small team under the leader in waging Xi Jinping and who will steer the country through the next decade, which team will be put in place.

From Beijing, our senior international correspondent Stan Grant looks at the transition process and why this time 'round it's been anything but smooth sailing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(MUSIC PLAYING)

STAN GRANT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The congress takes place every five years. There are more than 2,200 delegates. They come from right across China. They represent the regions and the provinces.

They also are drawn from the People's Liberation Army state or in enterprises and financial institutions. It's their job to set the course, to set the agenda for the party, to review where the party is at, and of course all importantly, this year, to select the new leadership.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

GRANT: The Communist Party is a very secretive organization. And the way that it operates is often very opaque. They don't like surprises; they don't like mishaps. This entire leadership change, the congress, been very, very carefully scripted, very carefully planned. Now there are not going to be any surprises.

We know what is going to happen here. We know about the change of leadership. We know who is likely to be appointed to these positions. Very unlikely that we are going to see any shocks.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

GRANT: Xi Jinping is still a bit of a mystery. No one really knows exactly what type of leader he's going to be. He's been quite cautious with his public comments. Over the past year, we have seen a little bit more of him.

He's traveled widely and met with world leaders. He is someone who is known as a princeling, someone who is the son of a revolutionary hero. So he's very much steeped in the lore and the history of the Communist Party. He is a son of the Communist Party.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

GRANT: Every day when you open a Chinese newspaper or turn on Chinese television, you see the leadership. You see President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao. And over the past year or so, we've seen a lot more of Xi Jinping as well, out meeting people, greeting world leaders, traveling widely.

Very interesting: for a period of the year, he vanished. He disappeared for more than two weeks. There was speculation about his health, maybe he had a stroke, maybe he had a heart attack. Some even suggested that he'd gone on strike. There has still been no answer to that. It's very much a mystery as to what Xi Jinping is all about.

But people here are very, very aware of him, and not just because of his political profile, but he's also married to a woman who, during the 1980s, was a very popular folk singer in China.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

GRANT: This has not been smooth at all. Who would have predicted at the beginning of the year that we would have seen so much upheaval at a time of leadership transition? Bo Xilai, a man once touted as himself a potential future president of China, has been purged from the party. His wife is in jail for murdering a British business associate. Bo himself is now awaiting trial.

Remember Chen Guangcheng? He was the blind activist who escaped house arrest, brought worldwide attention and fled to the United States. On top of that, the economy is slowing; the gap between rich and poor is getting wider and there is more social unrest, all of this playing out at a time when they go through a generational change at the top of the Communist Party.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

QUEST: Stan Grant in Beijing. And we will obviously -- no sooner have we finished with the U.S. presidential election than it will be swiftly onto the change in leadership in China later this week. And we'll have full coverage of that as well.

It's going to be a very busy week.

Tom Sater's at the World Weather Center.

I need to know at this early hour, I'm hearing reports of nor'easters. I'm hearing questions about the weather on Election Day. Now surely your models are telling you something by now.

TOM SATER, AMS METEOROLOGIST: They are. In fact it's been an interesting week. The models have been handling this coming nor'easter to the Eastern Seaboard for a week. One day after they were slammed by superstorm Sandy.

And would you believe that at 1:19 in the morning in north central New Jersey, a 2.0 earthquake? It was shallow, it was weak but scientists around the world studying the effects of landfalling hurricanes and super typhoons and to see if there's any earthquakes, it's just ironic, I believe. Cloud cover moved into the area, keeping the temperature on the mild size.

Freeze warnings were in effect, but it insulated the area. They're still going to see a drop in the numbers to come. It's almost unbearable to think of the cold without the heat, of course, that they can generate. We had a storm system south of Alaska and that energy is now making its way -- here it is in the middle of the country.

It's going to drop down in for Election Day for the swing states of Florida, maybe into North Carolina. We're telling voters there to try to vote early. But look at the cold. This is the storm track Richard was talking about in our computer models.

This is Election Day forecast and this is what we're watching. We will not know the exact path until it's offshore and really forms a deep area of low pressure. It's unlike tropical systems, where we know there's a storm and we can start to track them. But we can look at the environment.

First let's look at some snow, Wisconsin; that'll be interesting. I think they're pretty much used to light snow. Shouldn't be a big factor. Record warmth of 38 degrees out of in Los Angeles. But here's our system we're watching, and this is critical.

This could undo a week's worth of power crew work. Some areas that have had their power restored could get it knocked out again. It'll undo cleanup efforts because this is an unprotected shoreline now for kilometer after kilometer, no longer are there dunes. There are no longer highly constructed seawalls. That'll push water in.

This is just one of the models. But I want to show you the European model, what a handle this has had on the environment for two weeks. This is the one that grabbed Sandy within just a few kilometers of landfall. This is snow on the back edge, and it could be a good -- maybe a half a meter in some areas that had the meter of snowfall. That'll knock out power.

But the big story, I think, will be the winds with this. Trees that have been weakened by Sandy are barely hanging in there. The water table is high. Any additional rainfall which could have, you know, several centimeters -- I mean, we could see possibly, you know, 200 millimeters in an isolated case. Most likely about 100 millimeters --

(CROSSTALK)

QUEST: Hang on, hang on. Are you being -- are you being alarmist here?

SATER: I would hope I wouldn't be. But I think if you're in a darkened street in Manhattan and, Richard, a car is coming at you with your headlights out, do you want to know? I would want to know. What we'd like to see is that automobile turn off an avenue or two before it gets to us. But this is going to down power lines and that's the last thing they want to see.

QUEST: Oh, well, on that cheerful note, Tom, thank you very much as always.

Tom Sater joining us from the World Weather Center. I'll be back with more in just a moment. QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, good evening.

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QUEST: A racing car for the recession, that's all I know (inaudible) want to create. The British and French car makers are set to revive Renault's Alpine sports car and to sell it for what they call a reasonable price. It will be manufactured in northern France, which is a boon for the country's struggling car industry.

Now the car makers claim their Formula 1 offerings will be more affordable than their rivals. It is worth mentioning, of course, the Caterham's (inaudible) released Formula 1 vehicle. It does actually carry the CNN logo as part of a sponsorship deal.

Caterham's chairman, Tony Fernandes told Jim Boulden that even Boulden would be able to pick up a couple.

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TONY FERNANDES, CHAIRMAN, CATERHAM: We want to make cars (inaudible) Formula 1 really to make sports cars and other cars. We tried with Lotus. That kind of went belly up. We bought Caterham. I thought it was crazy to go into it after (inaudible) Renault was supplying us engines in the F1 team, they were looking up for a partner for their Alpine car. And it was marriage made in heaven.

JIM BOULDEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And how many of these cars do you expect to sell to the public, then? Because they're going to be high- performance cars. I assume they'll be very niche.

FERNANDES: No, not at all. I think that's what we bring from our (inaudible) experience is that we want to make cars -- if you look at Formula 1 right now, there are two cars that are on the grid that are available for sale: Ferrari and McLaren. I think we have the ability to make cars that are more mass. We're doing exactly what we do (inaudible) AirAsia.

We're not going right down to the AirAsia market, but we're saying, you know, we have affordable luxury. We'll be able -- you'll be able to see a car on the -- in F1 and be able to buy it at a reasonable price.

BOULDEN: When you say reasonable price, can you give us a little bit of an estimate there?

FERNANDES: Trust me; the numbers we're talking about and judging from the reaction from our friends in market, we'll be in a very nice sweet spot. You'll be able to buy a few, Jim.

BOULDEN: Oh, OK. Well, one of the things we see constructors (ph) coming and going very quickly, rapidly these days in Formula 1. Does this show your commitment to Formula 1 as the owner of Caterham?

FERNANDES: I mean, I've peaked (ph) two businesses, which have generally been destroyers of capital, airlines and cars. But we've done it differently and we think we have a wonderful marketing tool in F1 that can give us an ability to build a brand around the world quickly at a fairly low cost.

So, yes, our commitment to Formula 1 is very much there.

BOULDEN: What's most successful to you, is -- and what you want to invest in? Is it football, Formula 1 or your airline? Because they're very different businesses, in fact.

FERNANDES: Well, now, the airline is my 9-to-5 job. We have a fantastic airline. It's growing leaps and bounds. It's going to have record profits again this year. That's my job.

The car business is going to be -- with the F1 is going to be something that will surprise many, many people. I think today many people are amazed that a small company like Caterham can do a joint venture with Renault.

You know, we know what spotting niche is. We know what spotting opportunity is. And we see a fantastic opportunity in Asia, especially, and Europe with these cars. And football has been a fantastic branding platform for all the businesses we're involved in. Plus the ability to build something at QPR and make money out of it is there. We -- hopefully we get some results in.

BOULDEN: And all three businesses in your mind doing well, despite the sort of global turmoil? Or do you see us coming out of the end of the financial turmoil, as it were?

FERNANDES: I mean, I think, you know, if you can build businesses in a financial turmoil, financial turmoils (sic) don't last forever. But I also believe that financial turmoils (sic) give new boys such as us a wonderful opportunity.

I started AirAsia three days after 9/11 -- not the best time in the world to start an airline with two planes, carrying 200,000 passengers. Now we have 40 million passengers and 115 planes. So, you know, we're good at spotting opportunities. We -- it may or may not work, but we'll give it our best shot. We love what we do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

QUEST: The only thing you can think of a better phrase -- it may not work; we'll give it the best shot. We love what we do.

I'll have a "Profitable Moment" after the break.

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QUEST: Four thousand kilometers, seven U.S. states, tonight's "Profitable Moment," "American Quest" started in Obama country, right in the heart of Chicago. We moved by train, the California Zephyr, to Bloomfield, Iowa, a swing state, where we met and heard those who weren't entirely sure that Obama deserved a second term.

From Bloomfield further out west to Colorado and Granby, there this is classic, classic independents, undecideds who are not apathetic and will vote.

After that, it was Utah and the Mormons, and then California out west to San Francisco.

So what did I learn as I traveled the United States? It's really rather simple: at the end of the day, America is a divided country. But more than that, those qualities that enabled government and governing to continue well have now gone.

The ability to have compromise, which is so crucial for leaders, is now not seen as a strength; it's seen as a weakness and seen as something upon which you beat your opposite. The Americans go to the polls tomorrow.

And that's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS for tonight. I thank you for your time and attention. And as always, whatever you're up to in the hours ahead, I hope it's profitable. Headlines next.

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QUEST (voice-over): The headlines: the presidential candidates in America are making their final pitches. Barack Obama started in Wisconsin. He'll go to Ohio and Iowa.

Republican rival Mitt Romney is down in Florida, going to Virginia. He'll also go to Ohio and New Hampshire. He'll be back in Ohio and Pennsylvania on Election Day.

Intense clashes are erupting in Syria's Idlib province. A video posted online appear to show fires and rubble in the streets of Kafr Nabal. One opposition group says at least 130 people have been killed across the country today; another is reporting a suicide blast at a military checkpoint that killed 50 soldiers in Hama province.

New York's attorney general says he is investigating reports of excessive price rises in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Mr. Schneiderman says he's received hundreds of complaints of price gouging, most relating to the cost of gasoline.

And, finally, the French President Francois Hollande is under increasing pressure to reform the economy after two separate reports are urging him to slash employment costs.

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QUEST: You're up to date. Now, to New York, "AMANPOUR" is live.

END