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Michael Rowland joins Lateline -

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LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: And for the latest on Wall Street I'm joined by ABC correspondent Michael
Rowland in New York.

Michael, what are you seeing in pre-market trade?

MICHAEL ROWLAND, NORTH AMERICA CORRESPONDENT: We're seeing the Dow Jones industrial futures, Leigh,
up 74 points; now that's essentially flat.

But, hey, it's rise in such a skittish uncertain environment. And it could be some testament to the
fact that investors are pretty optimistic about what might unfold in Washington at that crisis
meeting at the White House involving George Bush and the men who want to succeed him in the Oval

We're also seeing continuing uncertainty in the market about just what the Government is going to
pay for these so-called toxic debt instruments; the $US700 billion it's going to spend on
un-clogging that clogged financial system.

There's a bit of market uncertainty about that, and that is feeding into financial stocks.

And there's also a very interesting development which happened late yesterday; there's been so much
uncertainty, so much anxiety in the market that there's been this rush to so-called safe haven
investments like gold and ten-year treasury bills.

So much so that those treasury bills were so popular yesterday that the yield fell to zero, which
means that investors are so nervous about the financial system, that they're willing to park money
in these bills for no return.

LEIGH SALES: Michael we also saw yesterday some investment in, I guess, some of the less safe
areas, when the big investor Warren Buffet bought some shares in Goldman Sachs.

How have the markets responded to that, and can we expect to see any other investors with deep
pockets follow his lead?

MICHAEL ROWLAND: Investors are always looking for an opportunity at moment of market crisis; we saw
that, of course, with the very optimistic move by Warne Buffett on Goldman Sachs.

And the move the day before from Japan's largest bank to buy an up 20 per cent stake in Morgan

There is sign of ... there is interest in those two remaining investment banks, and certainly
investment banks turned commercial banks now given the crisis on Wall Street.

Both banks are still looking desperately for sources of capital. People like Warren Buffett are
more than happy to oblige that. The shares in Goldman Sachs as a result rocketed in trade

And interestingly Mr Buffett, the so-called 'sage of Omaha', whose word, whose every utterance is
watched closely on Wall Street, was expressing confidence yesterday that there would be some
solution to this crisis.

But he also warned, in the same sort of apocalyptic terms that we heard from George W Bush, that if
this doesn't work and the $700 billion rescue package falls over, then in his words the market
would be 'killed'.

LEIGH SALES: Michael just a bit more on that, the politics of it all. What impact is President
Bush's speech likely to have had on the Congress, does it look, this morning your time, like there
are the numbers to get the package through?

MICHAEL ROWLAND: As we go to air Leigh there are indications from senior Democrats, including
Barney Frank Democratic Congressman, the chair of the house banking committee, who's deeply
involved in the negotiations, that some sort of package will be finalised, possibly as early as
today, and possibly straight after the meeting overnight at the White House.

There are ... there's very clear signs that the President's speech, the strong words he used, have
convinced some of the wavering Republican Congressmen to come on board.

So that's obviously augers well for the package. But it remains to be seen just what wheeling and
dealing is involved on Capitol Hill as to the final make-up of this package.

And most crucially here in New York for the markets, how quickly the passage will pass through

LEIGH SALES: We heard Mark Simpkin say in his package before that John McCain's announcement that
he was spending campaigning to help with the crisis made him seem engaged and proactive and

But it's also quite a risky move for McCain, isn't it?

MICHAEL ROWLAND: It is, it is, and I think ... and certainly he is showing all the attributes, but
it does smack of desperation a bit.

There's yet another poll out showing Barack Obama opening up another, fairly sizeable lead over the
veteran Senator.

John McCain knows if the election is fought on the economy, he'll lose. So just as with his choice
of Sarah Palin as his vice presidential candidate, this is a bold move designed to put a floor
under his poll ratings to induce some more voter support.

But if it does ... if this package does fall over, and if he is seen as being too opportunistic and
playing too much politics, and certainly if he doesn't appear and front ... and stand behind what
is looking like an empty podium opposite Barack Obama at the debate Friday night, then he will
certainly pay a fairly heavy political price.

LEIGH SALES: Okay, so those are the risks for him. What are the risks for Obama, as he responds to
the crisis and to John McCain's announcement?

MICHAEL ROWLAND: Barack Obama can be in a bit of danger because his response to John McCain's
announcement yesterday was seen as too cautious.

As you know Leigh, Barack Obama has been criticised throughout the election campaign for not being
bold, for not being aggressive, for being far too cautious, not being willing to go out on a
political limb to advance the Democratic cause, and take the fight to John McCain.

But equally, if the debate takes place tomorrow, and say for argument's sake there's doubt over the
package, Barack Obama could find himself in some trouble for being seen to be also be playing
politics at a time of national crisis.

So it cuts both ways, but Leigh, the politics are so dynamic that they're revolving literally on
the hour.

So it's very hard to see how the respective positions of both the Democratic and Republic nominees
will be at the end of what's shaping up here in New York and Washington as a very critical day.

LEIGH SALES: And as you say, a great deal of the focus is on them and what is going to happen with
them in the coming days. But there's also another figure, and that's the actual President at the

As we know, George Bush, as we know he's very unpopular in the opinion polls with the American
public. But often at times of crisis, Americans rally around the President. How are they responding
to him at this time of crisis?

MICHAEL ROWLAND: Well, there are signs that according to some of the talk radio shows that I have
had a few minutes to listen to this morning, that voters are happy that George Bush is showing that
he's got a grip on the situation.

But you're absolutely right. I mean, people don't really care, to put it bluntly, what George W
Bush says.

Sure he's the President; sure they've got to tolerate him at the moment to get the package through.
But they're far more interested in what both John McCain and Barack Obama say about how they'd deal
with the crisis as President.

The focus is at the White House meeting, not so much the guy sitting in the big chair, but the two
guys opposite the desk to him trying to take his job in November.

LEIGH SALES: Michael Rowland in New York, thanks for your insights.