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tv   The Cycle  MSNBC  October 30, 2012 3:00pm-4:00pm EDT

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a couple of things i want the public tknow they can do. first of all, because, you know, our local law enforcement, our first responders are being swamped, to the extent that everybody can be out there looking out for their neighbors, especially older folks, i think that's really important. if you've got a neighbor nearby and not sure how they handle a power outage, flooding, et cetera, go over and visit them, knock on their door. make sure that they're doing okay. that can make a big difference. the public can be the eyes and ears in terms of identifying unmet needs. second thing. the reason we're here is because the red cross knows what it's doing when it comes to emergency response, and so for people all across the country who have not been affected, now is the time to show the kind of generosity that makes america the greatest nation on earth and a good place to express that generosity is by
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contributing to the red cross. obviously, you can go on their website. the red cross knows what they're doing. they're in close contact with federal, state and local officials. they will make sure that we get the resources to those families as swiftly as possible. again, toipt thank everybody here doing a great job when it comes to the disaster response. the final message i just say is, you know, during the darkness of the storm i think we also saw what's brightest in america. i mean, i think all of us, obviously, have been shocked by the force of mother nature as we watch it on television. at the same time, we've also seen nurses at nyu hospital carrying fragile newborns to safety. we've seen incredibly brave firefighters in queens waist-deep in water battling infernos and rescuing people in boats. one of my favorite stories is
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down in north carolina the coast guard going out to save a sinking ship. they sent a rescue swimmer out, and the rescue swimmer said, hi, i'm dan. i understand you guys need a ride. that kind of spirit of resilience and strength but most importantly looking out for one another. that's why we always bounce back from these kinds of disasters. this is a tough time for a lot of people. millions of folks all across the eastern seaboard, but america's tougher. we're tougher because we pull together. we leave nobody behind. we make sure that we respond as a nation and remind ourselves whenever an american is in need, all of us stand together to make sure that we're providing the help that's necessary. so i just want to thank the incredible response we've seen.
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i want to remind people this is going to take some time. it is not going to be easy for a lot of these communities to recover swiftly, and so it's important that we sustain that spirit of resilience, that we continue to be good neighbors for the duration until everybody is back on their feet. all right? thank you very much, everybody. thank you, red cross. >> that's president obama addressing the red cross thanking first responders just moments ago, and that's where we begin with the breaking news on sandy right now. >> like a bomb hit the town. there's nothing left. >> what were you thinking last night? >> i was actually thinking sooner or later, if the water didn't stop, our houses would be floating away. >> floods, fires, even several feet of snow. sandy has left her stamp on the east coast and spreading the misery to our friends further west. good afternoon ichlt s.e. cupp.
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this hour, the hardest hit spot beginning with the cleanup of the areas still bracing for more. it's a special edition of "the cycle," and here's the latest on what's happening right now. the president just wrap pd up a visit to red cross headquarters in washington where he praised early recovery efforts. we have new video from the national guard looking down to seaside heights, new jersey. clean could take weeks. >> we're talking months it to recover from this. >> the damage is clearly extennive and will not be repaired overnight. >> this is not going to be a short-term situation. this is a long-term recovery reconstruction effort, and that's how we need to think about it. >> i'm steve kornacki. this storm will be remembered for a variety of reasons. the storm surge was historic. record wave heights from the new jersey shore and the long island sound. fema crews are fanned out.
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>> i'm krystal ball. as if the wind and water weren't enough, at least 80 homes were destroyed in a massive fire that broke out in queens at the height of the storm. took 200 firefighters a full 12 hours to fully douse the flames. they had to use boats to rescue more than two dozen trapped. miraculously no one was seriously injured. >> i'm toure. this massive stormed is blamed for the deaths of 29 americans so far, nearly half in new york state. nearly 8.5 million homes and businesses are without power and the largest mass transit system in the nation is out of commission at least until the end of the work. underground is underwater. air travel is tricky at best right now. 15,000 flights have been canceled, and that number is climbing hour by hour. let's bring in chuck todd the on the president's visit to the red cross moments ago. you noted in the first read this morning that the president is
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out looking presidential, doing his job white mitt romney doesn't have anything to do in this moment. how do you read what you see from the two campaigns right now? >> the romney campaign is going back to full-time campaign mode. i think they were in a battleground state today with governor romney but didn't hold a campaign event per se with the relief event that they hold. again, being in ohio obviously has a campaign aspect to it. he's resuming campaigning tomorrow and has a full schedule in florida tomorrow. president plans to tour the disaster areas in new jersey with governor christie tomorrow afternoon, and then i think with that -- there had been some question it was my understanding they were working on this planning. the question was whether new jersey would be ready to receive the security entourage that comes with the president tomorrow or wait until nurse? the fact they're doing it tomorrow indicates the presid t
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president's campaign schedule is likely to resume thursday. >> anyone that predicted romney would campaign is right. >> more on that later, toure. lower manhattan saw a record storm system last night. a picture is worth a thousand words. this tells that story. we had the last high tide of potential concern earlier today. where is the water right now? >> reporter: well, steve, right now the water level is from this point right here, the edge of this water break about six feet below. yesterday that changed pretty quickly. hour by hour it rose by about two feet every three hours and during the high tide it started to crest above this edge right here. little by little as it made its way up this area towards where we're at, we then saw that high tidewater level reach at some levels up to people's chests.
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it was quite high. that treetd was standing upri t upright, and overnight with the high winds it came douvenlt at the moment there's sparse electricity here in the financial district as we've been able to tell. there have been some businesses that now do have lights on and do have some signs working. this, of course, is a concern. the new york stock exchange is closed for two days straight. some of the estimates in terms of damages to businesses, 10 to $30 bill on. add that to the structural damage, it could be the most expensive sdast ner new york history. >> we saw historic flooding in the subways. he agency said they've never had a kreis like this in over 100 years. any sense how long it will take to get the subway moving again? >> that's a big question right now. the army corps of engineers have been brought in to deal with this problem with the subways. those have become flooded.
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the subways aren't operating as you know right now. it could be a day or several days or more than that. this is as they assess the damage at the moment. what happened in new york city in manhattan the subway systems have not been working. people are in the streets, and you could see people now out and about surveying the damage, seeing what they could do. they're, of course, waiting for those subways to start working again to get back to work and start to fix what's damaged so far, steve. >> richard liu in lower manhattan. thanks for that. >> sandy is just about done with us in new york. now she's taking aim at the midwest. chicago airport delays are stacking up. 60-mile-per-hour hours and 25-foot waves from lake michigan are bearing down the on the windy city. we continue to follow the blizzard conditions in parts of west virginia. nbc meteorologist dylan dreyer is back with us strtracking it .
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>> the same storm is bringing snowfall to west virginia, and the wind gusts just to the south coast beaches of lake erie and portions through the great lakes region, we are certainly dealing with wind gusts still on the order of 30 to 40 miles per hour. the waves have been churned out. i'm getting tons of pictures sent in from lake erie especially. it's looking more like an ocean rather than just a great lake. this is a huge storm. we're also talking about those blizzard conditions back across west virginia. winds are now starting to ease a little bit, and the snow we saw across southern ohio is starting to transition back over into some rain. so it is back over to just the mountainous regions of west virginia where we have already picked up nearly 30 inches of snowfall. davis, west virginia is one of those spots that is a jackpot region for snowfall. it's a town full of elderly residents and most of that town
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is without power right now. another 3 to 6 inches is still possible as this storm continues to produce snowfall through west virginia. elsewhere it extends into canada and back to north carolina where we deal with more rain. and this storm system in new york city, even though the high tide cycle gets better with each cycle, as far as flooding is concerned, we have that southerly component of the wind gusting at 30 to it 35 miles per hour. then on top of that we have another high tide this it evening. we will still see flashover as this storm sits across pennsylvania, across new york state, which it will do for another couple of days. on top of that we have tons of power outages as you've heard, but temperatures are going to start dropping. we're going to see high temperatures only in the lower 50s today, mid to upper 50s tomorrow with overnight lows back down into the 30s and 40s. it's going to get awfully chilly in a lot of homes without power right now. >> wow.
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great work yesterday and today. >> thank you. >> flooding, fires, millions without power. as we heard other parts of the country still in the path v sandy. next we go live to the scene dylan was just describing where a storm chaser friend is trapped in west virginia. he sent us this picture. plus, what all this means for the economy and presidential race. we have all the angles of this developing story right here on "the cycle." throughout the show we share some of the stunning images from this storm. these were taken by a producer as she walked into work this morning. the front of a building ripped off by the wind in lower manhattan. [ male announcer ] whe emergency workers everywhere trust duracell...?? duralock power preserve. locks in power for up to 10 years in storage. now...guaranteed. duracell with duralock. trusted everywhere.
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major flooding along the coast, up to 2 feet of snow in parts of west virginia. you're looking at the scene in elkens, west virginia. it's captured by reed timmer. high winds and snow on the edges of superstorm sandy pass over the area. more than 200,000 in west virginia are in the cold and dark without power. early voting has been suspended in six west virginia counties. let's go once again to storm chaser reed timmer trapped in elkens. you were racing toward the scene last time. what's going on now? >> last time we talked we were heads into the storm, and we dieded we couldn't make both happen. we went after the blizzard, and this is one of the most interesting yet insane storms i've ever chased. it had the feel of a hurricane, but yet it was cold enough for
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snow. the snow was also really a very heavy, wet snow. all of trees are drooping down, and power lines are coming down everywhere, trees are snapping. it sounded like shotgun blasts going off. it was a weird night last night. >> i think a lot of people understand why it was an insane storms you've encountered but what makes it the most interesting? >> as a meteorologist it's a huge anomaly. a storm like this has never come together and regarded in u.s. history in the same way. the reason a lot of ingredients have come together relative to the seasonal cycle, it's extremely rare and impossible to come together. they did with sandy, and a hurricane was able to join forces with a mid latitude trough. it created a super nor'easter basically. a blizzard on the backside and a storm surge large ner geographic scope than if it was a hurricane by itself.
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>> thank you so much, reed. >> thank you for having me. >> the economic toll of hurricane sandy could exceed $20 billion, that's with a b with the tally rising every day. major metro areas are closed. u.s. markets are shut down for a second day today. the first time since 1888 that the new york exchanging have been shut down two days in a row because of bad weather. the new york stock exchange will resume trading tomorrow. we have stephanie here to tell us what it means to the economy. two days closed. give us the big picture. >> two days closed is rather extraordinary. we have not seen this since 1888, and there's been much debate over did they need to close it or not? remember the environment that we're in. it is all about investor confidence. even if they felt like that the backup systems would most likely work, there was no one running any of these organizations that believed on sunday night with 100% certainty when they turned those machines on they would be
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working. remember what investors have gone through over the last year. they've gone through the bad ipos, you remember facebook's trading debacle. if simple investors can tolerate -- if you bought at&t stock and it went up and down, you'd be comfortable with that. the exchange you trade on, if that doesn't work that's when investors pick up the pennies and put them under their mattress. it was so important for the nyse and nasdaq to know they could ensure complete confidence in investors. it's a challenging two days having the market shut down, but for one of the first times in history, whether we talk to bank ceos or the heads, it's been about put money second and safety first. tomorrow is very important to have these exchanges open. why? because it's month end. for mutual funds it's year-end. they need to get the trade settled and rebound positions. tomorrow is a big day back in
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the market. >> stephanie, we hear some companies are delays publishing their quarterly reports. explain what's behind that. >> a number of companies simply hold off. why? everyone is not back in their seats with their pencils in hand. the market needs a bit of time to digest all of this. hate to note it, but think about what you've been through in the last few years. so many professional investors lived and worked through the ramifications of september 11th and came back into the markets. those who run these organizations, whether it's corporate america or whether banks are saying, let's get everybody safe and back on their feet and in their seats. this is not about what's the next trade and where do i make money next. many of these banks were all located or are located in zone a and mandatory evacuation zones. these banks simply said we do not need any nonessential employees in our organizations
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until we know they're okay. we're now two days out. tomorrow we're going to see activity resume at the majority of these banks, but still, it will remain essential employees. safety is really first here. >> stephanie, state and local governments had been hammered and forced to make huge budget cuts, police, layoff teachers. how can they absorb the financial impact of this storm? >> this is going to be massive. if you think about new york city and the billions of dollars in estimates in damages, you haven't even factored the infrastructure costs. earlier today at bloomberg television we spoke to a contributor of the churchall group an expert in new york counterterrorism. he said when you think about the cost to the subway system, we can't begin to scratch the surface. we have the oldest subway system in the world, and if you've taken any shot agent bowling green today, city hall, there's water pouring. fumes from chemicals inside. once rescue teams get there and
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to address the situation, we can't begin to assess what the costs are going to be. there's a funny anecdote. yesterday new jersey governor chris christie had a plea to new jersey residents, those who live along the coastline saying you jokers standing in front of your house in army fatigues saying i'm going to weather this storm, i'm not leaving. you better. those jokers who stayed bad that needed rescue could end up with bills. they said earlier today individuals in mandatory evacuation zones who needed to be rescued. they themselves could end up with a bill. these state governments will be severely in debt after they go through their own rescues here, they could say to the individuals you have to foot the bill. we didn't just tell you leave, we urged you to leave. that's new jersey state governor, and new york governor and mayor. >> we're running short on time here. i want to get this question in here. i don't want to see there's an upside or silver lining to this
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because there isn't, but i'm curious on the impact to the economy from this standpoint. look at the damage and repairs necessary. people just need to fix their homes and get them back to where they were before this. you consider the nature of recession we've been in, which there is a lack of consumer nand the on the part of consumers. does this provide some impetus for people to start spending money, for consumers to start spending money in a way that might boost the economy at all? >> are jobs going to be created here? sure. they're on the heels of such disaster. did we see stores like home dep powe and lowe's sell out products like batteries, generators, flashlights? definitely. bear in mind, people are on lockdown. they're not up shopping for days. their gas prices are going up. that hurts their he disposable information. 8 million people out of power right now, they're not out there shopping. could there be a positive effect on some commodities and job
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creations? potential terribly. as far as investigating those there's no one with an idea. here's the next trade out of this. as far as economic rules, think about the further debt this disaster is going to put this country in. we can't yet see a sell ver lining. on the one in the new york area is the storm has gone past us. >> thank you very much. >> thank you. >> from the economic impact to the political implications with just one week left in the race for the white house. yes, we're voting next tuesday, and it's clear what chris christie thinks. >> i don't give a damn about election day. it doesn't matter a lick to me at the moment. i've got much bigger fish to fry than that. time for the "your business" entrepreneur of the week. seth carney works renaissance fairs and haunted houses and nightclubs. he hocks from thiz cart selling bones and other macabre items. he mirror potential customer
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temperaments. for more watch "your business" on sunday mortganings at 7:30 o cnbc.
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we have heavy hearts as you know with all the suffering going on in major parts of our country. a lot of people hurting this morning and last night. the storm goes on. i've had the chance to speak with some of the governors in the aaffects areas, and they've talked about a lot of people having hard times. i appreciate the fact that
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people right here in dayton got up this morning, some went to the grocery store i see and purchased some things that these families will need. i appreciate your generosity. >> that was governor romney this afternoon at a storm relief event in ohio. what can be described as a tone downed campaign event, he collected items for those hit in new jersey. the vice president set out two events in ohio. having ravaged the east coast, sandy is striking the buckeye state. nearly a quarter of homes and businesses are without power from the high winds and snow in the northeast corner of the state. with only a week until election day, romney's plan to stay in ohio and cam faine today. it's close. the latest real clear politics polling average gives the president a less than two--point lead over romney around five or
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six points before the first debate. there are serious concerns about disruptions to election day because of sandy's impact on key states like ohio and virginia. legally he the presidential cam taken could be postponed. states have the power to set their own rules for elections but can't change date for a presidentleal election on their own. it seems unlikely that will happen. in the guest spot today washington course dents for the cleveland plain dealer sabrina eaton. sabrina, i'm sure i don't have to show you, but for our viewers let's put up a picture of the front page of your newspaper today. at the top of the page, hurricane disrupts lives and politics across the east coast. under the fold, presidential campaign stalled. i have to wonder, are ohio voters sort of relieved to have a break in the campaign coverage? are they anxious to get back to politics? >> well, i don't know that ohio voters through the ads that they're getting on television
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are receiving any relief whatsoever. >> you're right. >> and there are a lot of them. i know that ann romney's supposed fto be back in clevelad area on thursday. the president is in springfield, ohio on friday. it's a brief respite we're having. >> sabrina, the president thus far has done a very effective job handling hurricane sandy, even urging this praise from republican governor chris christie. >> he told me that if at any point over the next 48 hours i was not getting something from the federal government that i should call him directly at the white house and he was going to be there. and that i should just not worry about dealing with anybody else, call him. so i appreciate that call from the president. he was very proactive, and i appreciate that type of leadership. >> sabrina, we've talked a lot about hurricane katrina and the xwampl of the most inhe effective possible response by
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fema. i think our memory is a little bit off on exactly how that impacted president bush's approval ratings. in fact, after a high of 90% of approval after 9/11, president bush's approval ratings continued to decline slowly throughout the course of his remain time in office. katrina didn't produce any noticeable rapid decline in his approval ratings, even though the response was seen as quite bungled. my question to you is, given the tight time frame, even if the president did bungle his response in some way, wouldn't there be enough time for ohio voters, for example, to really have that seep in and impact their votes? >> i think there would. i mean, it's a very -- obviously, this is extremely close to election day. i think that the whole image of the president -- president bush flying over the disaster area in louisiana and just kind of looking down out of the airplane versus being there ain person.
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also that "heck of a job brownie" thing that he said, that really came back to haunt him. i think that the president and mitt romney really want to emphasize here their support for the areas that are stricken by this disaster at this time so they won't be seen to be, you know, politically capitalizing -- trying to gain political capital from it and trying to be supportive. >> it should be noted that michael brown, aka, brownie, fells that the president acted too quickly in responding to this crisis. >> he should have let them suffer a little bit more, brownie. i want to talk about the cleveland plane dealer endorsing the president. the cleveland plane dealer as you know has been -- has endorsed the winner in every election since 1964, but to one of those was a board in '76 and in '04 they endorsed no one. this is a bellwether endorsement
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if in a bellwether state. i wonder if you think we should look at an endorsement as influential? will this shift some votes in ohio or a thermometer endorsement? >> we like to think it's a cleveland plain that we're so influential. i'm sure that we are. but, you know, i think that people who read these things, you know, they -- there are other papers in ohio that have endorsed romney. i believe the columbus dispatch and the cincinnati enquirer endorsed him as well. people will read these things, read the arguments that each editorial board makes and make their own decisions better informed for the research that was done by folks at my paper and the other outlook as well. >> thank you. what did you want to get in here? >> i wanted to do a little house hunting here. i don't like to pat myself on
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the pat. that's unseemingly for anybody to do. there's this business and political commentary. you stake out a position. you make a claim. you make a prediction. it's kind of unpopular. maybe it rubs people the wrong way. maybe you're just crazy and you stand your ground and get vindicated. that's sort of how i feel right now. yesterday there was a lot of talk about what is mitt romney going to do with this natural disaster playing out? how can he handle it as a candidate? he has to keep campaigning. i want to let the record speak for itself. i stood my ground. i never wavered and i'm very proud of that. >> out of sensitivity for the millions of americans in the path of the hurricane, we're canceling tonights events with governor romney and president obama. >> the grief he would have taken if he decided to keep campaigning through it. i don't usually like to call out my fellow journalists especially on television.
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>> what we were trying to convey there was i was all over the map on this one. >> absolutely. >> but what i said at the beginning and after -- i said, look, i think you have no choice. we're a week out and we're down in ohio. he needs to find a way to make up the gap. if he really honestly stopping campaigning and president obama gets the spotlight for the next week. what has he done today? disaster relief event was held at the same place for the regularly scheduled political rally that would take place with the same cast of characters on stage with him at the regularly scheduled political rally. he's not making today an explicit pitch. sometimes saying i'm not political is one of it. there's nothing else he can do. i was all over the place yesterday, but i think my instincts were more right than i thought. >> interesting. >> it's a campaign event. >> up next, sandy is making a
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mess of the campaigning in another battleground state, virginia. it's our state of the day, and we'll take a look at the storm's impact on the race there next. this is what it looked like in norfolk, virginia, as the floodwaters rose. begin.
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carried virginia since lbj in 1964. now the political report says early voting is up 19% in the virginia localities mccain won in 2008. early voting could be crucial because look at the current polls. they're dead even. the president and mitt romney are tied at 47.8% in virginia, and it's making it our state of the date. guys, i talked to the gentleman, adam cook, actually running in the congressional district i ran in last time around. he said that the mood is decidedly different from 2008. he describe aid quiet determination on the democratic side. it was a very business-like operation, but there was a sense that people were doing what they needed to do. still, he felt confident that given how close the polls were, the president superior ground game would win out in the en, which according with things in
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virginia. the other thing i point out here is tim kaine has actually surged to a lead in that senate race, the latest "washington post" poll had him up 7 points on george allen. i think there's a reverse coattail effect with ka ni e pulling the president up a little bit. his primary argument against kaine was he was to go close to president. kaine said as a virginian, you always accept up when the president needs your help. number two, i indicated i would work with any president where george allen has made it quite clear he would be unwilling to work with president obama. that message is resonating in virginia and giving the president a bit of a lift there, too. >> i think what's interesting to me is let's put virginia into context of the electoral map and what the significance is next week. if for romney to really have a shot next week when we look at how all the states vote in
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election nature, he has to lay a foundation. take every state and take very right targets by small margins. indiana, romney wins that, done. north carolina, romney will probably do that. it's still dicey. florida even more dicey. colorado, even a little more dicey and even dicey is won by far then in virginia. if romney can put altogether plus mccain, that puts him at 257. you talk about take off ohio, and you're the president of the united states. wisconsin and one of new hampshire, iowa, nevada, you're president of united states. you have a lot of combinations in play for romney. the problem is this. virginia is dead even right now. krystal is right. if obama picks up virginia, it ends things. >> it's dead even right now, but one of the things karen finney pointed out is latinos are underpolled nationwide partly because of a language barrier.
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you don't get an accurate reading and we talked about before in 2010 colorado, harry reid, a lot of latinos there. they trailed sharon engel by three points at the end and he wins. they're not correctly polling latinos and hispanics. virginia is a huge thing. 80% of the state, and a 92% increase since 2000. if you see an irregularity or differentiation from the polling in colorado, virginia, florida and perhaps florida on election night because they didn't correctly poll lati teenotices. >> virginia will come down to the d, democrats. 200,000 defense jobs are on the line with that sequestration looming on the horizon. the president knows that. i think george allen and tim kainen that. george allen has a new ad
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talking about it. >> the defense cuts tim kaine are threatening over 200,000 virginia jobs. the solution is to raise taxes. that will cost even more jobs. >> i think there's making a big deal about this because then it's crucial in the state economy. it will trickle up to the presidential election as well. >> it's a huge deal in virginia. up next, the cleanup efforts. how long does it take to get things back to normal? downed trees and power lines, an all too common scene along the east coast today. this is what it looks like this afternoon not too far away on the upper west side.
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for 12 months today. liberty mutual insurance. responsibility. what's your policy? with a vial and syringe. me, explaining what i was doing at breakfast. and me discovering novolog mix 70/30 flexpen. flexpen is pre-filled with your pre-mix insulin. dial the exact dose. inject by pushing a button. no vials, syringes or coolers to carry. flexpen is insulin delivery my way. novolog mix 70/30 is an insulin used to control high blood sugar in adults with diabetes. do not inject if you do not plan to eat within 15 minutes to avoid low blood sugar. tell your healthcare provider about all medicines you take and all of your medical conditions, including if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
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lights off. over 8 million households still without power this afternoon stretching in north carolina to maine all the way west to michigan. utility companies are working around the clock to get it back up and running. according to local elected of h officials it could be weeks, not days, before full power is restored to everyone. >> during hurricane irene restoration took eight days. for hurricane sandy the full restoration may, in fact, take longer. >> to give you a sense of the impact, check out this comparison of what the normal manhattan skyline liked light lack night.
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how to do it tom cune, the president of the institute. one of the most jarring images is video that made the rounds online about power stations at 14th streit and fdr highway exploding and lighting up the sky in this explosion. all of the lights around it going out. i like at that. i used to live icouple of blocks from there. i know power is still out in my neighborhood. i say that means we're kind of screws for a long time here. is that what that picture suggests to you? >> well, the picture might suggest that. that particular incident wasn't as serious as some of the other situations they have in lower manhattan, which is that water has gotten into the underground equipment. you have to clean out the equipment and get the water out. it's a very, very difficult task. we're facing so many disaster. water issues with the wind issues where trees have come
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down on power lines and poles, the snow out west. i think we've had everything but the locusts. >> wow. >> let's talk about the grid for a second, though. when you look at all the problems we're having here, this is a wide swath of the country affected. is it something where you look at our grid and say this should not be happening, we can do "x" and "y" to improve it or is it the sort of thing where sometimes something freakish happens and we have to live with long-term power outages. >> we have seen storm after storm come and mother nature is still going to be there. we're spending a tremendous amount of money on the grid. $80 billion overall on the electric system, $23 billion a year on the grid itself and installing smart grid equipment and a lot of other things, but when trees come down on power lines and poles and you've got to -- you've got water into electric systems, water is the enemy of electricity, you're
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still always going to have issues to deal with. >> tom, it seemed like every time there's a storm or maybe some cyber threat or a national security crisis, we talk about doing something about the national grid, and then, of course, that conversation goes away, swallowed up by the news cycle and my sense is that this comes at a politically inconvenient time, we're going to go back to talking about the election inevitably over the next week. so if not now, when? when do we fix the national grid? do you expect that conversation to go away like it usually does? >> no, i don't expect it to go away. everybody understands the importance of electricity to the economy and everyone's lives. it is certainly so essential, but we, again, we are investing $23 billion a year in the distribution grid, constantly upgrading it and modernizing it and we appreciate the support of local regulators as well as federal officials in carrying
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out that mission. we're going to have to continue doing it. >> tom, how would you assess the state of our national grid? i mean what sort of improvements could be made? what sort of investment would be required to really get it to the best possible condition? >> well, we have -- believe it or not -- the best electric grid in the world right now, and it is far superior to other parts of the world, but, again, electricity is so essential. we need to continue to improve things. we need to continue to improve our response and recovery to storms. right now we have more than 50,000 people, an army of people in here to help restore power. but the magnitude of the task is huge. this is the biggest hurricane, the biggest storm we've ever had. it's affected more than 8 million people and that number is going to continue to rise as the storm continues. >> all right. tom, thanks so much for joining us. up next, how the four of us
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roend orode out the storm together. and the sun is finally peeking through in new york city. that's a photo uploaded to instagram of a full rainbow over the skyline. we've all had those moments. when you lost the thing you can't believe you lost. when what you just bought, just broke. or when you have a little trouble a long way from home... as an american express cardmember you can expect some help. but what you might not expect, is you can get all this with a prepaid card. spends like cash. feels like membership. [ male announcer ] you start your day... love you, too. ...thinking about what's important to you -- your family... ...the mortgage... the kids' college tuition. [ cellphone ringing ] but life insurance? [ horn honking ] life is unpredictable. that's why at fidelity life
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if you told me that a week out from the presidential election my mind would be on anything other than battleground polls, i'd have called you crazy, but here we are and to borrow a phrase from governor chris christie, i couldn't give a damn less. today my mind is on my friends in new york and new jersey, my neighbors, my family, all who are dealing with the mess left by hurricane sandy. thinking about my friends who
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made it out of town with their 10-day-old baby before their street flooded, thinking about my friends whose family business in brooklyn was hit hard. their warehouse utterly destroyed. and i'm thinking about the dozens of families in queens whose homes were burned to the ground in a fire. the election as the president said will take care of itself. we will return to breathless speculation about the fates of president obama and mitt romney. we'll talk about voters in ohio and colorado and florida, about jobless numbers and turnout and down ballot races, and i can guarantee that over the course of the next week my cycle co-hosts and i will argue more than once about who is up and who is done and about what the voters will decide on november 6th and why. but last night just for a night we gathered for a meal, our very nervous and generous bosses stuck us in a hotel to' sure we'd be safe and at work today, and it gave us a much-needed occasion to spend time together as a family. not talking about politics,
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boring campaign trail speeches and the stupid things that senate candidates say. steve and toure, krystal and her husband and daughter, me and my fiance all hunkered down to ride out the storm. we laughed about running into some colleagues from another network. we gossiped about work. we talked about kids and family, and the only argument we had was over steve's repeated trips to the buffet to carb load on potatoes. he sure can put it away. >> seven plates. >> it was nice to put politics aside and learn how toure met his wife at a lenny kravitz concert. he wants you to know he does not like lenny kravitz. i had the greatest conversation with a 5-year-old who will be a mermaid for halloween if weather permits. she would very much like a baby sister. >> i'm working on it. >> we had it pretty good compared to many who were waiting out a storm that they knew would wreak havoc on their homes. as much as we love our jobs and relish the blood sport that is election politics, it was also
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so nice to have an unexpected break from it all. i know that thousands are cleaning up after the storm and many folks will not be able to pivot off of sandy and back to normalcy for a long while. we're thinking about all of you, but for all the talk of an october surprise, for me it was the gentle but much-needed reminder that politics, yes, even a presidential election, is not the most important thing. family is. >> hear, hear. >> okay. that does it for "the cycle." martin, it's all yours. >> s.e., you failed to mention the three bottles of burgundy you drank as well. >> that did not happen. >> it's tuesday, october 30th, and the eastern half of america cleans up from hurricane sandy as we enter the final week of the race for 2012. ♪ >> the level of devastation at

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