Jim Cramer's 'Mad Money' Recap: Rough and Getting Rougher

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NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- It's rough out there and only getting rougher, Jim Cramer warned his "Mad Money" viewers Monday as the markets sank again on fears the debt ceiling debate won't be resolved by the Oct. 17 deadline.

Cramer told viewers not to pay too much attention to the deadline itself because the actual date our country will stop paying its bills could be as late as Halloween. Instead, investors need to pay attention to the high-yielding dividend stocks, those that offer some protection against a looming rescission, which could indeed be ahead if our country defaults.

Make no mistake about it, not paying our debt will upset many foreign investors, said Cramer, not the least of which are the Japanese, who own an estimated $1.2 trillion of U.S. debt. Sure, the Treasury Department could focus on paying only our bonds and little else, but that would surely send our economy into a hard recession.

That's why Cramer focused on high-yielding stocks including Dominion Resources ( D), Con Ed ( ED) and Southern Company ( SO), all of which have a long history of paying dividends during hard times.

Cramer also gave the nod to drug maker Pfizer ( PFE), Campbell Soup ( CPB) and Altria ( MO), three more high-yielding go-to names during threats of recession.

Finally, Cramer likes Verizon ( VZ), which has a strong cash flow to pay its big yield, and Ventas ( VTR), which is seeing its shares down 3% for the year, creating a lot of value.

Cramer said any of the recession-resistant growth stocks with great yields would make an excellent addition to your portfolio as the market sinks lower through the end of this month.

Executive Decision: Paul Raines

In the "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer sat down with Paul Raines, CEO of GameStop ( GME), the video game retailer that delivered a five-cents-a-share earnings beat when it last reported with huge upside guidance, as new Xbox and PlayStation consoles are just around the corner.

Raines said the video game business has always been cyclical in nature, which is why GameStop's investments over the past few years have been so important -- they've allowed the chain to be ready for this next big cycle. He said the PlayStation and Xbox product launches will be the biggest in the industry's history, and GameStop is ready.

Raines said GameStop offers customers a knowledgeable staff, will accept trade-ins for old games and products and has a rewards program to reward loyalty. In addition, the company has bought back $1.2 billion of its own shares and made investments into companies including SimplyMac, a Apple ( AAPL) reseller that serves smaller markets where there are no Apple stores.

Cramer told viewers to open their eyes to GameStop, which should be having a phenomenal fourth quarter and beyond.

Food for Thought

There have been a lot of hot restaurant initial public offerings this year, but should investors be looking into stocks like Noodles & Company ( NDLS) or Potbelly ( PBPB) as the market sinks from a government-induced recession? Cramer said he's been a big fan of Noodles since it popped 104% on its IPO, and Potbelly, which shot up 120% on its opening day. But with both stocks now trading over 80 times earnings, it's time to re-evaluate.

Both Noodles and Potbelly are typical regional to national stories, Cramer explained, with both companies having fewer than 400 locations but the opportunity to open thousands across the country. Among the two, however, Cramer said Noodles outperforms on almost every metric. Noodles has more runway for growth, better same-store sales growth at 4.4% versus just 2.3% for Potbelly, and better margins.

Cramer said Noodles also has the superior concept because noodle dishes have far fewer competitors than Potbelly's sandwiches.

But with both companies' shares trading at more than twice their growth rate, have shares gotten too hot to handle? Cramer said he's ready to declare victory and ring the register on Potbelly, but in the case of Noodles, which has so much opportunity ahead, he would only take profits now and consider buying shares back as the market falls later this month.

Lightning Round

In the Lightning Round, Cramer was bullish on Netflix ( NFLX), Celgene ( CELG), Unum Group ( UNM), Chart Industries ( GTLS), SolarCity ( SCTY), Magnum Hunter Resources ( MHR), Flowserve ( FLS), Norwegian Cruise Line ( NCLH) and Cooper Companies ( COO).

Cramer was bearish on Orexigen Therapeutics ( OREX), Yingli Green Energy ( YGE), Carnival ( CCL) and Iamgold ( IAG).

Executive Decision: Tom Jorden

In his second "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer sat down with Tom Jorden, chairman, president and CEO of Cimarex Energy ( XEC), an oil and gas driller with over 100,000 acres in the lucrative Delaware Basin, part of the larger Permian Basin in Texas and Oklahoma.

Jorden said the Delaware Basin is a "wonderful place to be" because the region is very forgiving and flush with potential. He said Cimarex first bought into the region in 2005 and has been fortunate to be in the right place at the right time with a great team of people with great ideas.

Turning to the broader picture, Jorden called the oil shale renaissance in America an amazing story that's been built by small companies through innovation, technology and entrepreneurship. He said not every company has been successful, but only in America is there a combination of property laws, technology and innovation to make such a revolution possible.

When asked what's been driving the industry forward, Jorden said the price of oil has helped unlock the potential of oil shales and has greatly impacted upon the energy security of our country. He said just a few decades ago oil companies drilled right through the shale fields, but now they're providing hundreds of years worth of energy.

Cramer said that Cimarex remains one of his favorite oil shale drillers.

No Huddle Offense

In his "No Huddle Offense" segment, Cramer pondered just where the markets could go if Washington were to compromise. He said the economy was just getting back on its feet before the markets began to worry about this latest crisis, and there's little reason to think that it couldn't continue if Washington just got out of the way.

But on the other hand, if our government does default on its debt, Cramer said it could be Lehman Brothers times ten, as the global economy would then be forced to reset their expectations accordingly as our government goes into total chaos.

To watch replays of Cramer's video segments, visit the Mad Money page on CNBC.

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-- Written by Scott Rutt in Washington, D.C.

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At the time of publication, Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS had a position in AAPL.

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