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Obama, Romney Campaigning Again; Romney Event This Hour In Virginia; ADP: 158,000 Jobs Added In October; Bellevue Hospital Patients Now Evacuated; Sandy Destroys Seaside Heights; Most Buses Running in NYC; Early Voting Frenzy; Romney Jeep Ad Outrageous

Aired November 1, 2012 - 10:00   ET


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: The next hour of CNN NEWSROOM begins right now.

Parts of the northeast battered by Superstorm Sandy, they're now starting on the long journey toward recovery.

Back on the trail, both campaigns put their focus on the election with key stops in battleground states today.

And just five days until the election, some good news about the economy that could possibly help President Obama. NEWSROOM starts now.

Good morning. Thank you so much for being with me. I'm Carol Costello. Five days, only five more days until the presidential election and both candidates now back on the campaign trail.

On the right side of your screen, a live picture of Mitt Romney's event, he's in Roanoke, Virginia, and on the left, President Obama. He's taking off -- actually, President Obama is on the top. He's holding a campaign event in Wisconsin, in Green Bay.

Both men have suspended campaign events because of Superstorm Sandy. Jim Acosta is at the Romney event and White House correspondent, Brianna Keilar, is waiting for the president to arrive in Green Bay.

So Jim let's start with you. Yesterday Romney toned down the rhetoric in deference to the storm. What about today?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we'll have to see, Carol. Mitt Romney will be out here in just a few moments. We're inside a private business in the Roanoke area of Southwest Virginia.

But I can tell you so far, it is already starting to look like a pre- Sandy political rally for the GOP nominee. Just a few moments ago on one of the screens behind me, they were showing an updated biographical video of Mitt Romney.

That is something that the campaign has been showing or had been showing before the storm struck the northeast. And yesterday at his campaign events, up on these screens behind us at various events, they would only be showing a pitch to donate money to the Red Cross. There is a difference there. I think that might be a sign of things to come. But Carol, all day yesterday, as you mentioned, Mitt Romney did tone things down. He did not attack the president directly once.

He simply tried to weave in his pitch for change in Washington. And to basically tone down -- really just talking about how the economy might improve under a Romney administration. So perhaps we'll see a little bit of that today.

But perhaps also some more of the rhetoric that we were accustomed to before the storm struck. He's going to be in Virginia throughout the day today, a few stops in Virginia and tomorrow Wisconsin and Ohio.

And as you know, Carol, the days are starting tick now, starting to wind down as we get close to Election Day. It's going to be a very, very hectic schedule -- Carol.

COSTELLO: I can only imagine. So let's head to Brianna Keilar now. Brianna, President Obama toured storm damage yesterday with the New Jersey governor and Romney surrogate, Chris Christie. It was sort of a love fest. Will Obama try to squeeze some political mileage out of that in Wisconsin today?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, if you ask the campaign that, Carol, they would tell you absolutely not. It's not about politics when it comes to the storm and his response to it.

But the fact is, any observer will tell you, it certainly gave President Obama a chance to flex his presidential muscles and do it in a way that I think a lot of people would say was effective at a time when Mitt Romney was really trying to continue with some momentum.

So what we do know is that things are going to start to get back to normal a little bit politically here in Green Bay. I've heard from a campaign source that President Obama will be talking about the storm off the top of his remarks here, which will be in the 11:00 a.m. Eastern hour.

But then he's also going to be making his case for why he should be re-elected. So that's going to be some of the political stuff, obviously, that we've been used to hearing before this storm.

It's important here in Wisconsin, because while the president has consistently had a little bit of a lead here, it's not terribly comfortable. The one poll we saw today, "The Wall Street Journal" and NBC News poll shows he's got a three-point lead here in Wisconsin.

But the Obama campaign will point to a Marquette poll, a local poll that came out yesterday, showing him with an eight-point lead. The truth is, maybe somewhere in between there and so the Obama campaign may be trying to shore up support here in Wisconsin and get these 10 electoral votes -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Brianna Keilar reporting live from Green Bay, Wisconsin. As Brianna said the president expected to speak at 11:00 a.m. Eastern. That's in about an hour. When the president begins speaking, we'll take his remarks live. And, of course, Governor Romney was scheduled to speak at the top of this hour, 10:00 Eastern. He's running a little bit late. But when Mitt Romney takes to the podium, we'll also take his remarks live.

We're also diving deeper into the key battleground states. Coming up, early voting under way in Florida. Find out what that means for the candidates.

All right, some encouraging economic news for you this morning. Private payrolls added 158,000 jobs added in October. That's according to payroll processor, ADP. Alison Kosik is at the New York Stock Exchange to tell us what it means. Good morning.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Carol. So this is the kind of report that the market doesn't necessarily swear by. It's more of an appetizer to the big jobs report coming out on Friday.

But what ADP did say is that private employers added 158,000 jobs in October. That came in better than expected. It wound up being a good indication of what could happen Friday, which will actually be coming out before the opening bell.

We have gotten word that the government jobs report will, in fact, come out, because there was some speculation that the Labor Department -- was thinking about delaying it because of Hurricane Sandy.

But clearly wasn't the most ideal thing, considering the election is just a few days away, probably would have brought out some conspiracy theorists. But the expectation for the government jobs rate is anywhere from 105,000 jobs to 130,000.

But you know what? The reality is even with those gains, we're still at the point where we're only adding enough to barely keep up with population growth.

And that figure -- these kinds of figures even in the triple digits, they're not really going to bring down unemployment in a significant way, which, by the way, unemployment is expected to edge up to 7.9 percent tomorrow.

But, look, this number is going to be closely watched because it is a last jobs report before the election. But analysts say -- you know what, it's not going to have a huge impact on how people decide they're going to vote -- Carol.

COSTELLO: I think you're probably right about that. Alison Kosik reporting live from the New York Stock Exchange.

Now to New York where people are reeling, still reeling from Superstorm Sandy. The last of the patients are now evacuated from Bellevue Hospital. That's one of the largest hospitals in the entire country.

National Guard troops lined the stairwells to usher out more than 700 patients. They were forced to evacuate after the storm knocked out power and flooding damaged the generators. The generators also failed.

The soldiers, they call themselves, quote, "a human bucket brigade." I'll just call them life-savers. On to the New Jersey shore town, Seaside Heights was destroyed by Superstorm Sandy, washing away some of the state's most iconic attractions. The destruction personally touched Governor Chris Christie.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R) NEW JERSEY: We'll rebuild it. No question on my mind, we'll rebuild it. But for those of us who are my age, it won't be the same. It will be different.


COSTELLO: Yes. They will rebuild, but it will indeed be different. So how does a town start again after being nearly wiped out? I want to bring in Seaside Heights Mayor Bill Akers. Welcome, Mayor Akers.

MAYOR BILL AKERS, SEASIDE HEIGHTS, NEW JERSEY (via telephone): Thank you very much for having me.

COSTELLO: We're grateful you took some time out of your morning to be with us. First of all, give us an update about your town.

AKERS: Right now, we're blessed. We're getting portapotties in, some portable hot showers that we will have by noon today. We have crews in from many other states to work on our electricity.

We've got some bad news last night. The bridge coming into town was deemed unsafe, but the extent of which I can't tell you at this time. So that's one of the main bridges coming into Seaside Heights, down Route 35 towards Point Pleasant, it's -- looks like a -- they were cut off from that end.

I don't know what they're going to do there, whether it's -- they're going to have to build a bridge to connect us with Point Pleasant again. You connect down the 35 going north from Seaside Heights.

COSTELLO: You sound so --

AKERS: We have a meeting going on that I'm going to jump to in a minute that we're going to do a final door-to-door with anybody that's left here. Part of the process will also be animal control. We'll be able to take any animals left behind. Our main thing because as we try to restore services to the town, we've had many gas leaks, a lot of them have been capped.

But we've got to turn on services slowly but surely. We don't have water pressure that if, in fact, anything was to combust, we could handle it. There is no pressure right now.

COSTELLO: There are so many decisions you have to make as a public official. We're taking a look at this iconic amusement park, and it's so bizarre to see some of the rides now in the ocean, off the Jersey Shore. And when you look at these iconic things, in your area, and you think to yourself, "Can we possibly rebuild?", do you answer yourself yes?

AKERS: It's mind-boggling. It honestly is mind-boggling. I would have to -- I'm 100 percent sure we're going to rebuild. But what it's going to be, I don't know at this point. I mean, the planning stage is going to be one of the most crucial stages.

Once we really can get a final assessment, we're getting visual pictures from the overhead, the extent of the damage underneath with foundations, piers, and the integrity of our streets. We've had a problem with sinkholes throughout the county. Once we can get a final, real good assessment, then we can start the planning stages and see -- and then we're going to -- we're going to rebuild. There is no question in my mind, we'll rebuild.

COSTELLO: But, you know, some critics say that some of those homes that were destroyed by Sandy should not be rebuilt. Some of those neighborhoods should not be replaced. Maybe this amusement park should not be what it was before. Are those critics right?

AKERS: I don't -- I guess maybe one of the good things, I've been cut off from so much that I don't have to listen to that. I know that what's important to the people of Seaside Heights is going to be foremost in my mind. And there are millions of people around the country that have been affected by this that I promise you want to see Seaside Heights rebuilt. Part of the charm was the small little cottages, and the landscape was unmistakable -- you knew where you were. Visual recognition was instantaneous in your mind when you saw it flash through the screen.

COSTELLO: Mayor, I'm going to let you get to your meeting. Our prayers are with you and thank you so much for taking the time out to join us this morning.

AKERS: Thank you and take care.

COSTELLO: Getting around New York City is still a nightmare. LaGuardia Airport hit hard by Sandy. Opened just a few hours ago, but it has limited service. There is also limited service at some other New York airports.

This morning, a few subway lines back up and running, but trains will stay away from Lower Manhattan, where the power is still out. Buses are packed with many people waiting for hours and hours in line to get on a bus. And then there are the traffic gridlocks. Streets are packed. Mayor Michael Bloomberg says all cars coming into Manhattan must have at least three people inside.

Rob Marciano live on the Brooklyn Bridge. Any traffic to speak of there, Rob?

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You know, not terrible. Not terrible at the moment. So we'll show you that in a second. Of course, the subways, as you mentioned, downtown or south of 34th Street, they're shut down.

So a number of them converged here at city hall before the 5 and 6 at the J. So people are frustrated with that. But you know what? There are some signs of life. People are going to get in their coffee and doughnuts. Some of the trucks are out.

A lot of municipal buildings down here, courts down here, the Board of Ed is down here so a number of spots where the city basically runs down here. And they are still without power. That's still expected to be the case so at least until tomorrow, maybe the next day.

So tells us Con-Ed and of course, the outer lying areas could be as much as another week or two. You mentioned the buses running limitedly. But the further north you go, pushing and shoving, as well.

I'm going to show you a little bit in the sun, this may not look too great, but there is the Brooklyn Bridge. Traffic moving OK, thanks to the carpooling, but a lot of foot traffic, as well. We caught up with a few pedestrians. Here's what they had to say about their commute.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everybody is trying to get in and get back to the normal thing.

MARCIANO: Do you normally walk over the Brooklyn Bridge to go to work?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I don't, but this morning I thought that was my best bet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Normally, our train 35 minutes door-to-door. So I'm expecting a two-hour walk, but it's a beautiful day out.

MARCIANO: So you're OK with the walk today?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely. I'm worried about getting home. That's a long day at work. Hopefully trains and buses start working. We'll do it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Started off walking the bridge. I hope to find a bus on the other side and then the subway at midtown. That's the plan. I don't know how long it will take, but that's the plan.


MARCIANO: A crisp but sunny day today. So for the most part, people excited to get out and walk, you know, a bit of a novelty. That may change as temperatures drop over the weekend, not only for people walking the bridge, but for people without power that don't have any heat.

So survival skills may be put to the test here going forward. Day three now of no power, and, you know, older people, more mobile people who live higher up, Carol, that is a struggle to get down and up those stairs to get supplies.

So that's where we're going to start to see people really start to -- I wouldn't say panic, but nerves are certainly frayed, for sure.

COSTELLO: I've got to tell you, my home is in Baltimore, and when the sun finally came out yesterday, I just ran outside. I just wanted to feel the sun again. So just the fact that the sun is out in New York City, it must be kind of uplifting.

MARCIANO: It is. People in good spirits again today and a lot of people coming over from Brooklyn, at least some of them, actually have power. So it's easier to be smiling in that respect.

But, again, the longer we go into this power outage, and the colder the temperatures get and the more we get into this, OK, this little adventure of not having to go to work and being without power is over.

Now it's really become an inconvenience, and eventually for the weaker, it's a matter of survival so a more serious situation. So the pressure certainly is on Con-Ed, but it is what it is. In the underwater infrastructure, it's been flooded and compromised. That takes a while to dry out and to fix it -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Rob Marciano reporting live from New York City this morning.

For more information about how you can help those affected by Sandy, check out

Both campaigns have a lot of resources on the battleground state of Florida where early voting is already under way. Find out if that could tip the election one way or the other.


COSTELLO: Florida has 29 electoral votes. It's one of the biggest battleground states, as you know. And five days from the election, voting early has turned into quite the frenzy. Here is CNN's John Zarrella.


JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Call it the Florida frenzy that gets people on their feet and singing.

Some camped out just to say they could be first in the door. You would think it was an after-Christmas sale.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have got sleeping bags in case it gets cold. We've got a blanket.

ZARRELLA: Some came by bus from churches and long lines not a deterrent.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We waited hundreds of years to get here. So what is three or four hours? ZARRELLA: This is early voting in Florida. Democrats make an appoint to turn out big numbers in early voting, and they usually outnumber Republicans. And if you want to avoid the long lines on Election Day, well, you stand in long lines now.

Wait up to five hours in some places. This may be the product of some residual, subliminal, long-lasting after effect from the 2000 election fiasco here. Remember, 537 votes.

Bottom line, people here believe every vote counts although there are some who just don't trust this early voting stuff. And simply won't do it.

DAVID STRINGFIELD, FLORIDA VOTER: I always have felt that voting on the day of the election. My vote would really be counted. And I've heard of other scenarios in which people have voted early and their vote doesn't get counted.

ZARRELLA: State election officials say about 9 million of Florida's 19 million people will vote in this election, roughly 40 percent of them before Election Day either by early voting or absentee ballot.

While early voting is Democratic Party strength, Republicans traditionally do very well in absentee ballot. In Miami-Dade County, of the quarter million ballots mailed out, 130,000 have been returned, sorted by precincts, and in some cases, if there is no signature --


CRISTINA WHITE, MIAMI DADE COUNTY DEPUTY SUPERVISOR OF ELECTIONS: The returns an absentee ballots have been somewhere between 5,000 and 8,000 a day.

ZARRELLA: While all this is going on behind the scenes, workers at phone banks for both parties --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you mail in your absentee ballot?

ZARRELLA: -- are urging voters to get out there. Because both parties know, once again in Florida, this election could be -- too close to call.


COSTELLO: That was John Zarrella reporting. We're going to take you now to Roanoke, Virginia where as you can see now, the presidential candidate, Republican Mitt Romney is speaking.


MITT ROMNEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: This election will have enormous consequences. I want to thank Ricky Scaggs for entertaining you before we got here. He has done quite a job.

He has been traveling with us around the country and helping us at events. It's just marvelous to have folks from the entertainment community out there singing and performing to make sure people are coming and listening to our message.

Just a note also about the tragedies of the last several days, as you know, the extraordinary storm that hit a great part of the Atlantic coast did not hit as hard here as it might have. But across other parts of the country, it hit very hard.

A lot of people lost their lives. A lot of families have been devastated. A lot of homes have been lost and property lost, and our hearts go out to the people who are suffering. Please make sure, if you have an extra dollar or more than that, to send it along to the Red Cross or Salvation Army or some other relief effort to make sure we show the world and our neighbors how much we care. We love those in need.

There are other things you can do this morning besides come listen to a couple political folks. And you're here, I believe, because you recognize this is an election of consequence. The choice that gets made on November 6th will not just set the course for four years, but in fact will have an impact on America for many years to come, for a generation, at least.

This is a very critical time to decide what America is going to be. What kind of life you're going to live in your homes and in your families. I happen to believe that the choice you make will have enormous consequence for a senior who perhaps needing the care of a specialist.

If he or she makes a call to the doctor and if Obama care is installed and the president is re-elected, when making that call, you're most likely going to have the receptionist come back and say sorry, we're not making any more Medicare patients because the president is cutting Medicare to pay for Obama care.

And for people in their 40s and 50s, these are supposed to be your high-earning years. Does it feel like that right now? There are too many people having a hard time making ends meet. The median income in America has dropped by $4,300 over the last four years.

So now you're earning $4,300 a year less than you were four years ago and gasoline prices? They've gone up $2,000 per family. And that health insurance cost, they've gone up $2,500 a family. Middle-income people in America have really been squeezed.

And so people recognize this is an election that will make a real difference. Now, the president's proposal in a setting like this is to continue on the same road. He has the campaign slogan, which is forward. I saw the signs out front. Forward. I think forewarned is a better word.

I mean, do you want four more years like the last four years? I mean, do you want four more years where 23 million Americans are struggling to have a good job? Do you want four more years where earnings are going down every year?

Do you want four more years of trillion-dollar deficits in Washington? How about four more years of gridlock in Washington? There's no question in my view that we really can't have four more years like the last four years.

I know that the Obama folks are chanting four more years, but our chant is this, five more days, five more days. You know, we're going to have to -- we're going to have to come up with a better slogan tomorrow, or a different one, at least.

Now, I know the president has been trying to figure out some way to suggest he's got some new ideas. Because with all these people out of work, with 3 million more women in poverty today than when he took office, with 15 more million people on food stamps than when he took office, he's got to find something to suggest it's going to be better over the next four years.

And so we came up with an idea last week, which is he's going to create the department of business. I don't think adding a new chair in his cabinet will help add millions of jobs on Main Street. I mean, unfortunately, what you you're seeing before your eyes is a campaign that keeps on shrinking and shrinking to smaller things.

And he's talking about how he's going to save Big Bird and then playing silly word games with my last name and then -- or first and then attacking me day in and day out. Attacking me doesn't make an agenda, doesn't get people back to work.

We don't need the secretary of business to understand business. We need a president who understands business, and I do. This isn't the time for small measures. This is a time for greatness. This is a time for big change, for real change.

And that's why this as your next senator said, from day one, he's going make changes, I'm going to make real changes, I'm going get this economy going from day one we're making changes. Let me tell you some of the things we're going to do. We've got five critical things I want to do to get this economy going.

And the governor mentioned one of them and that is energy. I want to take full advantage of our oil, our coal, our gas, our nuclear, our renewables. And I know -- that you know, when we have more plentiful energy, and we can have north American energy independence within eight years.

What that means, of course, is lower prices at the pump and lower costs for fuel at your home. It also means jobs. And that's the reason I mention it because it's not only jobs in the energy sector, coal and gas and oil.

But it's also jobs in manufacturing, like right here because there's a lot of energy used in the lumber products arena, and making fiberglass and assembling these products and manufacturing them. When energy costs are lower, then we're able to create more manufacturing jobs.

And that's why it's so critical. We have this ace in the hole, this energy. And the president has been stalling on this for the last four years. And I won't stall. We're going to unleash the power of our energy resources and get America working again. Number two, we're going to open more trade. Trade works for us. We're a very productive people. We make more stuff per person in America than almost any other nation on earth, more than any of the other large nations.

And because of our productivity, opening up new markets for us to sell goods to creates jobs and higher income. So I want to open up more markets, particularly in Latin America, where we have natural language advantages, time zone advantages. Latin America's economy is almost as big as China's.

So I want to open up more trade. But by the way, if nations cheat and China has not played by the rules, they're going have to be held accountable. We can't let them steal jobs through unfair trade practices.

Number three. Number three is good training for people who need training and by the way, we also need to have great schools for the coming generation. Look, our schools have fallen off from the very top, and now they're in the bottom third or bottom quarter. That's unacceptable. It's time for us to make sure we put our kids and their parents and the teachers first and the teachers' union is going to have to go behind.

Number four. Number four we've really got to do something to create jobs that -- that may not be immediately connected in people's minds with jobs. And that relates to the federal budget and the deficit.

You see, if you're an entrepreneur who's thinking about starting a business like the Marvin family did in the early 1900s, or if you're a big company thinking of expanding, you have to ask yourself, is America on the road to Greece? Are we on the road to economic crisis, as you're seeing in Europe and Italy and Spain and other parts of the world?

If we keep on spending, $1 trillion more than we take in, America is going to be, in fact, in that kind of circumstance down the road. And so we're going to have to make sure that people who would think about investing here are inclined to do so, because we're able to deal with our great challenges fiscally. And so that means I'm going to do something that's been spoken about for years, but hasn't been done. And that is, I'm going to cut federal spending, I'm going to cap it and finally get us on track to a balanced budget.

And number five. And number five. We have to champion small business. We have to help small businesses grow and thrive. That's where jobs come from.

And -- and there are a couple ways to do that. One, we've got to make sure the regulators understand their job is not just to catch bad guys, but also to encourage the good guys. We need regulation, but they need to be up to date and regulators have to see businesses like this as their friends, and encourage them and support them.

And by the way, we can't tax them to death. I was with a -- I was with a business person in -- in St. Louis, four employees in the electronics business. He said that he and his son calculated how much money they -- they send to the government every year out of their business. And he put down how much for the federal income tax and then the federal payroll tax and then the state income tax and then real estate tax and then gasoline tax. And it was over half of what they made.

And he said, think about this. You start a business your chance of success is not even as good as 50-50. Most small businesses won't make it. So it's a risky thing to do. And then if you're successful, the government wants more than half of what you make. And so a lot of people decide not to build businesses. Today we're at the lowest level of new business start-ups in 30 years.

So I want to change this dynamic and make business recognize they have a friend in Washington, not a foe. And I believe if we do that, we do those five things and get those five done, we're going create 12 million new jobs and more take-home pay.

Now, by the way, the governor also mentioned something about my record as -- as governor in terms of reaching across the aisle. Recognize, to get those five things done and to get America strong again, we have to stop the dividing and the attacking and the demonizing. We've got to reach across the aisle, bring in good Democrats with good Republicans and finally do the people's business and put the politics behind. I will do that.

They're very -- look, they're very different futures in mind. When people think about this election, when you've talk to your friends about who they're going to vote for, and I want you to do that, find at least one person who voted for Barack Obama and -- and convince them to come vote for me instead. And for George Allen, as well and when you go through that, you can answer these questions and say, look, if the President is re-elected, we're going to have $20 trillion in debt at the end of four years. And America is going to be closer to the economic crisis that you're seeing in Europe.

If I'm elected, we're going to get America finally on track to a balanced budget. If the President's re-elected, you're going to cut Medicare by $716 billion to pay for Obamacare. If I'm -- if I'm re- elected -- excuse me, if I'm elected -- I guess, let me -- let me strike that. When I'm elected -- we're -- we're going to restore that funding to Medicare and also we're going to repeal and replace Obamacare so your premiums don't go up by $2,500 a year.

If the President is re-elected, I don't care how much he talks about liking all of the above when it comes to energy. Because I know what he means by all of the above. He means all of the energy that comes from above the ground, all right? Wind and solar. I like wind and solar, too, but I also like the energy that comes from below the ground. Oil, coal and gas, and we'll get it under my administration.

I can also tell you this. If the President were to be re-elected, you're going to see high levels of unemployment continue. And stalled wage growth, if any wage growth at all just like we have seen over the last four years. We know something about the past we've seen what his policies have produced. The only way to get this economy going is the kind of bold change I've described, real change from day one, with those five steps, that will get this economy going, create jobs, rising take-home pay. We'll have a very different future when I get elected with your help.

Now, I want you to know, I'm confident about the future. I'm optimistic. I think our future is going to be brighter than the past. I know we've had a glorious past as a nation, I know we're going through tough times right now. Sometimes we tend to think what we're in is going to always be the way it will be. But you know what, it's going to change. We need real change. For real change, we're going to have to take a different course. And I think that's what Americans are going to do on November 6th.

And I believe that one of the things that will drive this country forward is the character and heart of the American people. That's where my confidence comes from. We're a -- we're patriotic, hard- working, innovative, creative, risk-taking, business-starting, education-seeking people. It's who we are. And I -- I have throughout my life seen some of the great qualities of the human spirit in the American people that I've come to know. There are some stories I -- I love to tell that describe something about the American heart.

I was a leader in the Boy Scouts of America some years ago. And -- and -- and I was in a court of honor. A court of honor is where we give out Eagle Scout awards and other awards to Boy Scouts. And -- and I was at a table -- a formica table at the end of the gymnasium, at the end of the table next to the American flag. And the person who was speaking at the --at the microphone was the Scout Master from Monument, Colorado.

And he said their scout troop wanted to have a special flag. So they bought an American flag, gold tassels around it they send it off to flown above the capital. And then when it came home, they said hey, I wonder if we could have it go up on the space shuttle so they contacted NASA. NASA agreed. He said you can't imagine the pride of our boys watching from their classrooms, seeing the space shuttle "Challenger" launch in the TV screen. And then they saw it explode on the TV.

And he said he called NASA a couple of weeks later and said, have you found any remnant of our flag. And they hadn't. He said he called every week month after month, still nothing. And then he was reading an article in the paper about some of the debris from the "Challenger" disaster, and it mentioned a flag. And so he called NASA and they said, in fact, we have a presentation to make to your boys. NASA came out and presented them with a plastic container. And he said, we opened it up and there was our flag in perfect condition.

And -- and he said that's it on the flagpole next to Mr. Romney here at the other table. And I -- and I reached over to grab the flag and pulled it out. And it was as if electricity was running through my arm. Because I thought of the people in our space program who've taken risk, put themselves in harm's way, for learning, for pioneering, for knowledge, for us, for their fellow citizens. Think of the men and women in our military, as the Governor indicated, who serve our nation and put themselves in harm's way for us. There is a -- there is a verse in one of our national hymns I -- I enjoy most. It's the -- the hymn is "America the beautiful." And the verse says "Oh beautiful for heroes proved in liberating strife who more themselves their country love and mercy more than life." Thanks to our veterans and all those that serve.

Thank you also -- thank you also to people of America's national character that -- that serve in other ways. That serve in ways to -- to exemplifies something about our American spirit. And that is that we live for things bigger than ourselves.

It seems to be part of our national character. We're not entirely focused on us. We're focused on things around us. We care about our families, our churches and synagogues, we care about our communities, our schools, our country. It's part of what America is.

I've seen it in so many ways. My sister is a hero to me. They say that to be a hero, you don't have to be larger than life, just larger than yourself. My sister has eight children. She's now in -- in her 70s, her husband passed away a few years ago. Her seven oldest children are all married with kids of their own. Her eighth child is Down Syndrome. Jeffrey is now 43. And I've watched Lynn throughout those 43 years do everything in her power to give them a fulfilled and abundant life. She is a hero. Because she gives of herself to someone else she loves.

I think of a -- I think of all the single moms -- the single moms across America. Yes. Who are -- in many cases, struggling, scraping by a bit. To make sure they have enough money to put a good meal on the table at the end of the day for their kids. I think of all of the dads and moms working two jobs right now, to make sure that -- that their kids will be able to have the kind of clothes the other kids at school have, so they won't stand out.

Think of all of the parents this Christmas who after all these tough years, four very difficult years, are saying we can't exchange gifts with one another. We're instead going to make sure we can give enough to our kids for a great Christmas for them. It's part of who we are as a people. We have very full hearts.

There was a TV show some -- some years ago, you may have seen, with a fictional football team and when this football team would leave the locker room to go out on the field they would touch a sign on the doorway and it said "Full heart" -- it said this. "Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose."

This November, I know you people in this room have very clear eyes. You know the consequence of what this election means. You have full hearts, and we can't lose. We need you, Virginia. We've got to take back America. I'm counting on you. George is counting on you. Let's make sure we keep America the hope of the earth. Thank you so very much.

(END LIVE FEED) COSTELLO: All right. You just heard the Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, talking to a raucous crowd in Roanoke, Virginia.

We're going to analyze his speech on the other side of the break. As you know President Obama also has a campaign appearance in Green Bay, Wisconsin that will start at the top of the hour.

We'll be back with much more in the NEWSROOM.


COSTELLO: All right.

We just heard Mitt Romney give a rousing speech in Roanoke, Virginia. Now let's analyze a little bit of what he said. We have our CNN contributors here, Democratic strategist Maria Cardona and Ana Navarro, a Republican strategist. Welcome to you both.



COSTELLO: I must say Ana, it was an uplifting speech. Mitt Romney certainly played the optimist.

NAVARRO: Yes, he's gotten the hang of this. I think these last speeches have been -- have really hit the mark. They've got the crowd up on their feet. They've got the crowd enthusiastic.

It's exactly what he needs to do these last few days of the campaign. Get his base enthused. Get them out to work. It's all about the ground game right now. We're only five days away. And -- but who is counting?

COSTELLO: Oh, I am, believe me.

Maria, it was an optimistic speech, but there was not much new. Perhaps the only new thing was the criticism of Mr. Obama's idea to create a secretary of business.

CARDONA: Yes, I agree, Carol. And I agree with Ana. It was an optimistic speech and he is so much better now at personalizing his speeches.

The problem is, there is a big dissonance, Carol, between what he's actually saying and what his policies would actually do. I was glad to hear that he mentioned veterans, which he completely ignored and turned his back on during the convention speech. But he also really praised our men and women at NASA, he also did that in his convention speech.

But if you look at what his budget and Paul Ryan's budget would do, it would absolutely decimate NASA. He also had a great story about a woman with -- a heart-wrenching story about a woman with a kid with Down Syndrome. Guess what? If he repealed Obama care, that child will be in danger, because they will no longer be able to get insurance coverage because of that pre-existing condition.

And single moms, yes, his heart goes out to single moms, but he also wants to take away their free preventative care and single moms need it more than anybody else. So those are the policies that really don't jive with his positive words. That's what the Obama campaign is going to point out.

COSTELLO: OK, Ana, care to rebut?

NAVARRO: Look, you know what -- I think most of us are still reeling from Sandy. We have been in these last two or three days staying away from these kind of attacks. I'm not sure Maria got the memo, but I did. And you know, I think that the tone that both Mitt Romney and President Obama have taken -- as they resumed campaigning is one of offering their proposals, offering their ideas.

And by the way, Carol, you're not going to get anything new. You don't get new ideas five days out, six days out. You know, it's not the time to be trying anything new. So we're basically going to hear the same stump speeches from President Obama and Mitt Romney between now and November 6th until our ears bleed. That's the way we've got know it's coming -- right?


CARDONA: Thank you, Carol. I want to be very clear. I want to be very clear that what I talked about was certainly not an attack. I was simply pointing out the dissonance and the fact that what his words are saying don't jive with what his policies would actually do.

NAVARRO: My friend, if it sounds like an attack and looks like an attack, it's an attack.


CARDONA: It's not an attack.

COSTELLO: OK. Well, let's center -- let's center on Sandy for just a minute, because Ana, you brought it up. Mitt Romney began his speech by saying please make a donation to the Red Cross. He made absolutely no mention of FEMA. And just yesterday his campaign put out this message that he supports help that the government might provide to storm victims. So why not mention that statement in his speech today?

NAVARRO: Again, Carol, because you're not going to get him to say anything that is controversial. I think he has clarified somewhat the statements he made about FEMA in that debate. And I can tell you, as somebody from Florida who has seen FEMA in action, I've survived many a hurricane here and so have most Floridians. I've lived here for 32 years.

The coordination that the federal government provides and the resources that they provide are essential in an emergency and in a crisis like this. And I think that, you know -- that it's something that he's understood. It seems to me he's no longer talking about privatizing FEMA, which is a good thing. As a Floridian, it's something that I certainly appreciate.

COSTELLO: Well, Maria, do you think he means it?

CARDONA: Well, I think what -- I think what he means to do is to say anything that will get him elected. And he understands that what he said during the primary season about FEMA right after this horrific storm that has affected millions of people in terms of privatizing FEMA, is hurting him.

And so, of course, he's going to walk it back. But I think all voters know now that this is somebody who will say and do anything to get elected. He's clearly walked back a lot of his extreme positions. We have seen that in the last several weeks, because he knows that if he holds to those extreme positions, which he had to embrace during the primary, in order to get nominated, that it will hurt him with independent voters.

So, again, the dissonance between what he is saying now, what he has said in the past, and what his policies will actually do is something that voters are going to continue to hear about from the Obama campaign and their surrogates as they should.

COSTELLO: Maria Cardona, Ana Navarro, thanks so much.

CARDONA: Thank you, Carol.

COSTELLO: We're going to take a quick break and then we'll head to Ohio. We'll be back.


COSTELLO: The closer we get to the election, the more the truth seems to be stretched. In one particular ad, it's getting a lot of criticism from many different kinds of entities. First, listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Obama took GM and Chrysler into bankruptcy. And sold Chrysler to Italians who are going to build Jeeps in China.


COSTELLO: Really? After all that federal bailout money, it's China that will get all the jobs? Right away, the White House unleashed its attack dogs.


JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They're running the most scurrilous ad in Ohio. They assert that President Obama forced Chrysler into bankruptcy so the Italians could take over Chrysler and ship Jeep manufacturing to China. That's what the ad says. That's what the ad said. It's an outrageous lie. (END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: John Avlon is a CNN contributor who also serves as a senior political columnist for "Newsweek" and "The Daily Beast". He joins us now Youngstown, Ohio.

John, I know you've done a lot of reporting on this issue. Is the ad inaccurate?

JOHN AVLON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: The ad is inaccurate, but it really is resonating here in Ohio, and not in a good way for the Romney campaign. A lot of voters I've spoken to, they've heard about the ad, they've seen it and they understand it's an attempt to muddy the waters and play fast and loose with the facts. That's not helping the Romney campaign.

Voters I've spoken to say he didn't need to do this. Why did they do this late in the game?

We also spoke to Ohio's senators, Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown about the ad. And here's what they said, Carol.


SEN. SHERROD BROWN, (D) OHIO: I say it's the most disingenuous ad I've seen. They know better. They know that the auto rescue worked. They understand that 800,000 Ohioans are connected directly or indirectly to the auto rescue. They know that Governor Romney and my opponent's opposition to the auto rescue hurts them at the polls so they're trying to cloud the issue. And it's pretty outrageous.


SEN. ROB PORTMAN, (R) OHIO: It's fair game to the extent it's reported in the media. And that's all he said that there have been reports this could happen.

The bigger issue for me is what I talked about today which is who has the best policies to be sure we can continue to manufacture here in America.


AVLON: So both campaigns -- surrogates fighting over this ad. But the squabbling itself is a distraction. And, again, voters here saying that they're not sure why the Romney campaign decided to double down on this. Auto industry so important to voters here in Ohio and Michigan. And this ad seems to have caused a distraction more than an asset.

COSTELLO: Well, and the auto manufacturers, they're not very happy with this ad, either, because even they say it's not true.

AVLON: That's right, Carol. And if you're looking for a tie-breaker between spinning surrogates on both sides, listen to the automakers. GM weighed with a very uncharacteristically strong statement about this ad. Calling it "Campaign politics at its cynical worst." That's pretty strong language from an auto manufacturer who tries to stay out of politics down the stretch. So that's an attempt to clarify. And that's something that's resonating here.

COSTELLO: All right, John Avlon reporting live from Youngstown, Ohio this morning. And that does it for me. I'm Carol Costello. Thank you so much for watching today. NEWSROOM continues after a break with Ashleigh Banfield.