Can

America Online

(AOL)

turn back into an earnings story? Now that we have lost most of the analyst sponsorship in the past few days, we have to think, what can drive this puppy back? (Why do traders call stocks "puppies"?)

How about earnings?

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AOL Far be it from me to say that AOL can ever become an earnings story again. But that's

Pittman's

stock in trade. It is the thing he has never blown. It is the thing he has the best handle on.

So how about this for a scenario? The doubters, that legion of angry analysts and their jealous journalist panjandrums, have to eat crow -- at least for a day or two -- when people realize that AOL's earnings power could make the next leg happen.

As a personal aside, I love the negativity surrounding this name. That's what's needed to restart the engines.

James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At time of publication, his fund was long America Online. His fund often buys and sells securities that are the subject of his columns, both before and after the columns are published, and the positions that his fund takes may change at any time. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. Cramer's writings provide insights into the dynamics of money management and are not a solicitation for transactions. While he cannot provide investment advice or recommendations, he invites you to comment on his column at

jjcletters@thestreet.com.