October 14th, 2008
08:15 AM ET

The passion of Sarah Palin

CNN's Gary Tuchman reports on a toned-down Sarah Palin campaigning for the NASCAR vote in Richmond.
CNN's Gary Tuchman reports on a toned-down Sarah Palin campaigning for the NASCAR vote in Richmond.

Gary Tuchman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Sarah Palin has something in common with Barack Obama; whether she (or he) like it or not. They inspire similar passion at their rallies.

While John McCain and Joe Biden are more workmanlike, the passion at Palin's rallies are similar to what we've seen for many months at Obama's. Her high national approval numbers have slipped, but that seems to only make many fans even more supportive.

I spent part of the day in the midst of a crowd of thousands at a Palin rally at the Richmond Virginia International Raceway. Most of her supporters were excited and very happy. But many also told me they were agitated at people like me because of "mainstream media bias."

I told all who wanted to listen our main obligation is to tell both sides of the story. They didn't all agree; but they still talked to me. And in my business, we certainly regard that as an encouraging sign.

Filed under: Barack Obama • Gary Tuchman • Joe Biden • John McCain • Raw Politics • Sarah Palin
October 14th, 2008
08:10 AM ET

Morning Buzz: Insert Aretha-Rescue Me!

Penny Manis
AC360 Senior Producer

Good morning everyone! If I could insert sound effects into this blog, I’d have Aretha Franklin blaring this morning- seems fitting given that we are hearing about the Bush Administration’s plan to use $250 billion to rescue credit markets which includes taking equity stakes in financial institutions. (This money comes from the $700 billion dollar bailout we’ve heard so much about.)

We’re hearing details about this plan today as President Bush, Secretary Paulson, Fed Chairman Bernanke make these announcements in the 8am hour.

This news comes on the heels of a huge rally yesterday which continued throughout global markets overnight, and Dow Futures is up this morning too. Last week ended up as the Dow’s worst ever. We saw a 22 percent decline, wiping out $2.4 trillion in market value. Ouch. Yesterday’s bounce translates into the largest gain ever recorded, it recovers half the paper value lost last week.

Ali Velshi tried to take the day off yesterday after working day and night for weeks on end for us, but the markets wouldn’t let him, though it was nice to pull him into work for ‘good breaking news’ on the financial front, for a change. You can be sure he’ll follow all this again for us today, and tell us if this is a turning point, or a blip.

On the political front, Senator Obama outlined his economic ideas yesterday. Fear about the economy has benefited the democratic ticket, so you can be sure he will keep addressing this crisis. Not only is it legitimately the main voter concern in these elections, but it is also allowing him to remain on cruise control. Right now he has a projected 264 electoral votes, compared to 174 for Senator John McCain. 100 votes still remain in toss-up states, and each needs 270 ultimately to win the Election.

John McCain will unveil new economic ideas of his own today. Candy Crowley, Ed Henry, and our other political correspondents will follow this closely tonight. And don’t forget tomorrow Obama and McCain will meet for their 3rd and final debate in New York at Hofstra University.

Gary Tuchman is following Sarah Palin around this week, and focusing on the folks who are turning up at her rallies to see how they feel about the elections. He will do the same next week at Joe Biden’s events.

Last but not least, Tom Foreman offers us the latest report we are calling 10 Most Wanted: Culprits of the Collapse. We are ‘naming names’ and figuring out which folks created policies that may have contributed to this financial mess! See you at 10pet!

Filed under: The Buzz
October 14th, 2008
08:00 AM ET

Incredible winds fuel California fires

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/13/art.socal.fires.jpg caption="A firefighter stands by as two mobile homes go up in flames early Monday morning, north of Los Angeles. Intense Santa Ana winds swept into Southern California Monday and whipped up a 3,700-acre wildfire, burning mobile homes and industrial buildings and forcing the evacuation of eight patients from a nearby hospital."]Ted Rowlands | Bio
CNN Los Angeles Correspondent

Firefighters say a man and his dog died under a homemade shelter trying to ride out one of the wind-driven fires burning in Southern California.

He died overnight when the Santa Ana winds kicked into full gear.

I've covered a lot of fires, many with more devastating consequences, but I've never seen winds like this. Usually only hurricane winds are strong enough to knock us off the air. But our truck, which is "rated" to withstand 65-mile-per-hour winds lost its ability to transmit because of winds hitting 70 miles per hour.

Firefighters are having a terrible time, too. When the gusts are up, the helicopters and planes have been grounded.

This fire hasn't killed anyone else so far, besides the man and his dog, though it has destroyed about a dozen homes and about 3500 acres, mostly in the Angeles National Forest.

A second blaze nearby has destroyed 750 acres, and forced evacuations.

Forecasters expect the winds to get even more intense overnight, meaning the worst may be yet to come.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Ted Rowlands • Weather
October 14th, 2008
07:55 AM ET

How one trader toppled a banking giant

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/13/art.vert.jerome.kerviel.jpg caption="Jerome Kerviel, the trader accused of causing massive losses at French bank Societe Generale, leaves La Sante prison in Paris, Tuesday, March, 18, 2008." width=292 height=320]James B. Stewart
The New Yorker

On Monday, January 21, 2008, concerns about deteriorating economic conditions in the United States caused a precipitous fall in the Asian markets. Investors in Hong Kong and Tokyo besieged brokerage firms. Markets in the United States happened to be closed, for the Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday, but U.S. stock-futures trading in foreign markets showed a sharp decline. In the press, the day was dubbed “Black Monday.”

Fears of a worldwide financial collapse were so intense that the U.S. Federal Reserve held an extraordinary emergency meeting. Before trading began in New York that Tuesday, the Fed announced a three-quarter-point cut in the federal funds rate, the largest in more than two decades. The news initially caused U.S. markets to drop, but they soon stabilized.

Two days later, representatives of Société Générale, whose innovative and sophisticated trading operations had made it one of the world’s most admired financial institutions, asked that trading in its stock be halted. The bank had discovered that one of its traders had taken “massive fraudulent directional positions in 2007 and 2008,” and that he had concealed them “through a scheme of elaborate fictitious transactions.” The bank incurred a net loss of 4.9 billion euros—said to be the largest trading fraud in banking history.

The trader, a thirty-one-year-old Breton named Jérôme Kerviel, became an instant and notorious celebrity. Because so little was known about him, speculation abounded: that he might be at risk of suicide; that he had abandoned his apartment in Neuilly-sur-Seine, an affluent Paris suburb close to Société Générale’s headquarters, and might have fled; that the police had discovered a Koran in his apartment, which suggested possible terrorist links.

Most baffling was the question of motive. There was no evidence that Kerviel had stolen anything, and he had none of the trappings of wealth. When the police went to his home, they found a sparsely furnished one-bedroom apartment; he didn’t own a country house, or even a car. In interviews with the French police and a court-appointed psychologist, Kerviel claimed that his primary concern was to benefit the bank.

Editor's Note: Look for the entire article in the October 20, 2008 issue of "The New Yorker" on newsstands or on their website.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Bailout Turmoil • Economy • Global 360° • James B. Stewart
October 14th, 2008
06:30 AM ET

Party like it’s 1929!

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/13/art.nyse.up900.jpg]Susan Lisovicz | Bio
CNN Financial Correspondent

Maybe we can finally go back to drinking gin and doing the Charleston. After all, too many market reports that included words like “crash” and “Great Depression,” the bulls stampeded back onto Wall Street and partied like it was 1929.

Did things really change that much since the worst week ever for the Dow Industrials? Well, yes - and no. European leaders said they would guarantee bank debt in another unprecedented effort to free up frozen credit markets. Great Britain said it would spend tens of billions to bail out three of its major banks. The Federal Reserve said it would make available unlimited amounts of money to support three European central banks. “They brought out the heavy artillery,“ said one analyst. And we haven’t even heard from the U.S. Treasury Department and the billions more it’s going to throw down.

But that’s only part of the story. “It was the buying opportunity of a lifetime,” said one trader. So, after dipping below 8,000 on its eighth consecutive sell off Friday… the Dow rocketed well over 9300 Monday. The only fear in the marketplace on this day was the fear of being left out. Morgan Stanley shares soared 87%. But it was still only $18 a share… a third of its 52-week high. G.M. jumped 33%. It’s trading at $6.50, where it was oh, about half a century ago.

So, bottoms up. But given the economy’s shape, there’s a lot of debate as to whether this signifies the market’s bottom.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Bailout Turmoil • Economy • Susan Lisovicz
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