Tuesday, December 11, 2007
The 360° Family
Ice storms in Iowa
--Candy Crowley
Interested in reports about raw nerve endings inside the Clinton campaign.. from the king of campaigns--bill clinton re: his wife's campaign. Somebody who talks to him every day tells me it's a press-created story and BC is the "calmest person around" cuz he knows ups and downs of campaigns.
Dunno -- u gotta consider the source, but this guy has never led me astray. more calls later--worth noting - clintonites pushing hard on the "untested unelectable" theme vis a vis barack. Ice storms, and a heated campaign. Cool.

Repeat Offenders
--David Mattingly

Joe Arpaio likes being known as America's Toughest Sheriff. He once gave me a tour of his jail in Phoenix. Inmates slept in un-airconditioned tents, ate bland bologna sandwiches, wore prison stripes circa 1800 and pink underwear. Their only break from the drudgery of the jail was to work on a chain gang. Every inmate I spoke to had something bad to say about Arpaio and his jail. I wonder what it says about Arizona's criminal element when there seems to be so many repeat offenders?

Lennon's Hair
--David Mattingly

In 1964 I was as caught up in Beatlemania as any five year old could be. That's the year I got my first transistor radio and there was a Beatles song playing every ten minutes. My favorite was "She Loves You" because the choruses of 'yeah-yeah-yeahs' were very easy for a kindergartener to sing along to. They were the soundtrack to my childhood but would I ever spend money on a lock of John's hair?--No way. To me, the greatest piece of Fab Four memorabilia will always be their music.

Drew Peterson's holiday spirit
--Lisa Bloom

Ah, it's the season for holiday giving. Who gets our charitable donations this year? The local homeless shelter? Global famine relief? No, wait, here’s a new one: how about Drew Peterson’s defense fund, just set up online at DefendDrew.com? You've got to wonder whether the money is, uh, trickling in to support the ex-cop who's left in his wake a string of women who claim they were harassed, stalked and abused, and one dead wife and one missing. And now more details come to light of his threatening poor Stacy before she disappeared. Reminds me of the sad fact that the most dangerous time for abused women is when they leave, which is why so many stay.

How to win
--Roland Martin

With the GOP field prepping for their last debate, they better be careful not to go negative on Mike Huckabee.

He's played the affable guy so well, he'll just brush off the criticism.

What they must also do is get off the abortion-illegal immigration-Iraq focus. Go bread-and-butter. Deal with the housing crisis. Hit high college tuition. Otherwise, Huckabee will come out of the debate with that goofy grin...and a likely victory in Iowa.

A Governor's Record in the Spotlight
--John King

You hear it in every campaign: governors get elected president, not senators.

And recent history suggests it's a saying with merit: Jimmy Carter was a former governor, as was Ronald Reagan. Bill Clinton in 1992; George W. Bush in 2000.

The theory goes that, like presidents, governors are chief executives - they run an administration that has to set tax and spending levels and make tough decisions. Plus, senators and members of Congress cast hundreds of votes and little things tucked into big bills can cause headaches. Not to mention being for something before being against it.

It is a trail now being walked by Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney in the Republican nomination battle. Both say they are stronger candidates for the GOP because of their experience as governors.

But there is a flip side; their records are front and center in their resume as candidates - and in the critiques of their rivals.

And that can be tough going. Remember Michael Dukakis in 1988? The Massachusetts governor left the Democratic convention well ahead in the polls. But Republicans called his judgment into question by, among other things, raising a case in which he furloughed a convicted killer who, once released, committed heinous crimes.

Statehouse records are fair game, both Huckabee and Romney readily concede, though both also suggest their critics are being selective in what they choose to highlight of criticize, or taking some decisions out of context.

At the moment, the Huckabee record is more in the spotlight because of his rise in the polls.

His role in the parole of a convicted rapist who once released raped and killed a woman. And, an area being highlighted in a new Romney attack ad, Huckabee's support for state-subsidized college aid for children of illegal immigrants.

Huckabee labels the Romney ad desperate. Yet he also says he DID support such aid, and to this day believes it is the right thing to do - even though he also concedes his position may hurt him among conservatives who fiercely oppose any government aid that benefits those in the country illegally.

Look for this and other items in the Romney and Huckabee records to be debating topics in Iowa today, and over the final three weeks of the hotly contested race here.

As Ronald Reagan might put it: Here we go again.

Late Night on the Campaign Trail
--Candy Crowley

Well, dear readers, I'm sure you would tire of my Minneapolis airport saga, as I try to make it to Iowa. I have. But somehow when I write you it makes me feel that I am not alone here at gate C-23.

Yes, I have abandoned A-5. After striking out twice as a lowly standby, the place lost its charm. The two attempts were punctuated by a wild cab ride to no place and back, a familiar trip to me. I survived without the cab driver committing me, or my producers killing me.

Now, here's the exciting part -- drumroll, please -- a new place for me: 9-B. Yes, I am finally seated on an actual plane. As Pastor Huckabee, perhaps the next President of The United States, might say, Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition...(but don't tell the TSA)

What it takes to win
--David Gergen

CNN's new poll showing Mike Huckabee surging into a deadheat with Rudy Giuliani nationwide, consistent with today's national poll in the New York Times, confirms that the Republican race has become the most volatile and unpredictable in modern times.

Traditionally, Republicans like to nominate the party's heir apparent. And they like brand names: a Bush or a Dole has been somewhere on the GOP ticket in every presidential election since 1976!

But this year there is no heir apparent, no one with a brand name. So it's been topsy turvey right from the start, McCain, Thompson, and Giuliani have all seen their numbers cascade downward. Will Huckabee be next? There is no rational way to know.

So what about a completely irrational answer like this: not since Eisenhower have Republicans nominated anyone with more than two syllables in his name, and he went by Ike. So, if he can convince people to call him Mike, well, maybe he is okay.

Who'll win in Iowa?
--Candy Crowley

Somebody in Reagan airport today asked me, "Who is going to win Iowa?" Here's what I told him:

-I was at a big student rally for Barack Obama where he was introduced by a young guy named Josh. Josh said he's going to drive from South Dakota to Iowa January 3rd to caucus for Obama. Both Obama and Hillary Clinton are banking on student turn-out in Iowa. I got to thinking, what are the chances a college student, on winter break, two days after New Year's, is actually going to bother? What are the chances a lot of them will?

-I met a woman in Des Moines, who said she intends to caucus for Obama because she wanted to "slow down Hillary." In the general election, she says she'll vote for the Republican candidate. She hopes it will be Rudy Giuliani.

-I talked to an on-the-ground-in-Iowa politico of many years' standing, who says if it's really crummy weather caucus night, it will favor John Edwards because he has the most support from faithful caucus goers.

And that's why we say: nobody really knows who's going to win in Iowa.

Immigrants in Iowa
--Gary Tuchman

I'll be reporting tonight on 360 from the small town of Marshalltown, Iowa. Ten years ago, there were virtually no Mexicans living here. Now, about one out of every five residents is from Mexico, and many of them are illegal immigrants.

The numbers are even more dramatic in the schools. Two out of every five students are from Mexico.

The adults have come there for jobs that in many cases are unskilled and some say would otherwise go unfilled, such as postions in meatpacking plants. But their arrival in Marshalltown and other small Iowa towns has created tension among many long-time residents who say their "way of life" is changing.

But all indications are the Mexican population will keep growing unless there is a substantial change in this country's immigration policies.

I talked to one illegal immigrant who has been arrested and is fighting deportation. He told me he shouldn't have to leave because he is a "North American," and "this is the land of the free." That might sound like a brazen view, but it's not an uncommon one among illegal immigrants.

Oprah: the answer
--Amy Holmes

Could the Queen of All Media actually hurt her Prince? New NYTimes/CBS poll surprising answer: "Yes."

I may be the only one, but I actually didn't like her speech in Iowa . A lot of heavy handed, messianic idealism that not only didn't resonate, but didn't soar. Interesting that the sound bites the next day were more about Oprah saying she was nervous and making jokes about the weather.

And one line in her speech that deserves further investigation: her claim that she voted for as many Republicans as Democrats. Really? Who and why? I'm genuinely shocked and genuinely curious.

Also: Jeanne Assam, the Colorado church security guard. What a hero.

Joe Horn, the Texas neighbor who shot two burglars. After hearing the 9-11 tape: what a nut.

Justice on Crack
--Jami Floyd

When I started law school 20 years ago (shocking, ain't it!?), federal judges were just beginning to chafe under the constraints of new federal sentencing guidelines and the mandatory minimums that forced them to hand down harsh sentences. And as I began to practice criminal law, cutting my teeth on drug cases, it became clear that injustice would result, particularly in cases involving crack cocaine. Fast forward: the Supreme Court hands down two opinions -- and some discretion to judges. In so doing, the Court increased the chances that justice will result in future cases. Now the evolution of crack sentencing continues, with the U.S. Sentencing Commission voting to make retroactive the more lenient penalties it instituted earlier this year. With that vote, the Commission has taken yet another step toward bringing sanity to the nation's drug laws.

Those Mysterious Deaths
--Lisa Bloom

Drew Peterson: as the bodies of water around his suburban Chicago home freeze, the noose seems to be tightening around his neck. If he didn't kill his fourth wife, why does he seem so happy about her disappearance? Why does he make jokes about posing for Playgirl and dance jigs for reporters? Not at all surprising that the pastor reports he confessed he killed third wife too. No wonder Stacey wanted out.

Daniel Smith: this was once such a big story, and now the inquest into the death of Anna Nicole's son is almost an afterthought. Why was he taking methadone? Who gave it to him? Was it the same person who gave it to his mother?

When good police work goes bad
--Randi Kaye

How much money do you think U.S. cities pay out for questionable behavior by police officers? Or by any employee? And should taxpayers foot the bill?

Take the case of former Chicago police Captain John Burge. You'll see his story on 360 tonight.

He and his associates have been accused of torturing more than 100 men to get confessions - most of them black men.

Now it looks like the city will settle tomorrow with four of the men - at a cost of 20 million dollars. There are dozens more men waiting. Should taxpayers really have to pay the price for employees who mess up?

Burge has never been charged with a crime but was found liable in a civil trial for torture.

Keeping Them Honest: The First Ladies Library
--Drew Griffin

In 1850, then First Lady Abigail Fillmore sent a note to Congress asking for $2,000. Mrs. Fillmore had moved into the White House with her husband, Vice President Millard Fillmore, after the death of President Zachary Taylor. Abigail, a teacher and librarian, was stunned to find no books. The White House library shelves were pretty much empty. Not even a Bible, so the story goes.

Abbie wouldn't stand for this, so she sent that note asking Congress for money to buy books.

Why am I telling you this? Because 157 years later you are about to buy those same books again, only this time the price is $130,000. It's all part of our never-ending quest to track down the treasures being doled out by Congress in the form of "earmarks."

One more tidbit: The books bought will be housed in downtown Canton, Ohio at the National First Ladies' Library. I never heard of it either. But the local Congressman's wife founded the library, the local Congressman's daughter got a job at the library, and at the request of that local Congressman, you are about to buy $130,000 dollars in old books so the library can fill a few more shelves.

What makes Condi tick?
--Jami Floyd

I believe that people are motivated to greatness largely by the experiences of their childhood. This was the central (if unintended) lesson of Bill Clinton's memoir, My Life. Now, there is a new biography of Condoleeza Rice that apparently teaches the same thing.

Many people often talk about this most successful of black women -- what inspires her, or more precisely, what inspires her to be so very conservative? Of course, African Americans are free to practice politics as we please; we are not a monolith. But lets face it: That Condi is black makes her neo-con mission all the more intriguing.

On NPR's Morning Edition, Steve Insky interviewed Elisabeth Bumiller of The New York Times who has written a new biography about Rice, a woman notoriously circumspect about her personal life and reflections. Rice grew up in the segregated Birmingham of the 1960s, a city at the heart of the civil rights struggle. She knew personally one of the four little girls killed in the Birmingham church bombing in 1963.

Elisabeth suggests that the Secretary's mission overseas is largely motivated by her painful experiences as a girl, by a belief in equality for all people and a desire to "spread democracy" in the world. Of course, some criticize the Secretary of State and her boss, President Bush, for a mission gone awry. But to understand Condoleeza Rice and what motivates her privately will help to inform the debate about her public choices.

Hurricane season's over, or is it?
--Gary Tuchman

Tropical weather is again in the news despite the hurricane season officially ending a week and a half ago. That's because of two things that have happened to start this work week. The first is the formation of subtropical Storm Olga in the Caribbean.

And the second is NEXT season's projections by hurricane forecaster William Gray. Gray and his team at Colorado State University have predicted an active hurricane season in 2008, with seven Atlantic hurricanes, including three major ones.

Now, we should point out that Gray's predictions have exceeded the actual number of hurricanes over the last two years. And that has been a welcome relief to all of us, after the record year of 2005 which included Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma.

But over the past nine years, his team has correctly predicted seven times whether the year would be above or below average. And that fact makes Gray's long range prediction rather ominous. He says this active hurricane cycle is expected to continue for as long as the next twenty years.
Posted By CNN: 11:23 AM ET
I think the weather is pretty crazy and very hard to predict nowadays! I mean it is supposed to be 77 here today in Hotlanta...and it's December!! What's up with that!?

I hope Gray's predictions don't come to pass! 3 major hurricanes is a scarey thought no matter where they hit!

Cynthia, Covington, Ga.
Posted By Cindy : 11:37 AM ET
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