Friday, January 04, 2008
Voice of 360
We have a finalist in our search for the Voice of 360. Ever since NBC hired Michael Douglas to introduce their nightly newscast, we have been auditioning people as well. It's been an epic search, spanning the world, utilizing the full global resources of CNN.

We've auditioned our first announcer: Ozzy Osbourne. If you think Ozzy should get the gig, tell us about it.

If there are other candidates that you think could best the Oz-man, let us know.
Posted By CNN: 10:20 PM ET
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Rudy, off the cliff...
--Jeffrey Toobin, Senior Political Analyst

After the results from Iowa last night, most of the attention has gone, appropriately, to the winners, Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee. But I was also struck by something: the disastrous showing by Rudy Giuliani.

The one-time national frontrunner finished sixth in Iowa, with 4,013 votes, or four percent. Giuliani received less than half as many votes as Ron Paul, who is generally given about as much chance of becoming president as Ron Popeil.

In an interview with CNN last night, Giuliani dismissed his showing, saying he hadn't really campaigned much in Iowa. But that's not exactly true; Rudy made 51 stops in the Hawkeye State -- not as many as Huckabee or Mitt Romney, but a substantial commitment just the same.

Giuliani's strategy, it appears, is to struggle through Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina -- and hope for a big win in Florida on January 29th. But if yesterday is any indication, the only place the Giuliani may be heading is off a cliff.
Posted By CNN: 2:28 PM ET
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Who Will be the One?
We have a finalist in our search for the Voice of 360. Ever since NBC hired Michael Douglas to introduce their nightly newscast, we have been auditioning people as well. It's been an epic search, spanning the world, utilizing the full global resources of CNN.

We haven't picked a winner yet, but tonight you will hear a major celebrity introduce our program. This superstar has been on the scene for decades and has one of the most distinctive voices in the world. We are proud this legend was willing to lend his voice to our broadcast. (That was a hint by the way, it's a he.)

Anybody want to guess who it is?
-- Anderson Cooper
Posted By CNN: 2:11 PM ET
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Anderson's View: The Plot Thickens
Wow, what a night last night, and I'm not talking about Britney Spears' meltdown. This is without a doubt the most interesting election I've ever covered -- smart candidates on both sides of the aisle, motivated voters, and crucial issues.

Some of the speeches last night were great. I thought Barack Obama's speech was very moving, and Mike Huckabee does an amazing job of connecting with an audience. I have no idea what's going to happen in New Hampshire, but everything changed last night, and now the plot thickens.

-- Anderson Cooper
Posted By CNN: 2:03 PM ET
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Iowa, in the rearview mirror
--Candy Crowley, Senior Political Correspondent

Des Moines is very quiet now. The airport by 10am was fairly empty. A lone Richardson (placed 4th) staffer was giving a farewell interview to a local tv station. He says he won't miss the weather.

On to New Hampshire where the politics of hope (Obama) is a lot easier to practice when you're on top and the politics of can't we all just get along (Clinton) will be hard to practice and I suspect the Clintonites will not.

Local radio guy just said, "Now that all the national media is gone, we can act normal again."

Bye Iowa. We are taking our abnormality to the cold of New Hampshire.
Posted By CNN: 12:02 PM ET
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Funny, how you always feel different in the morning..
-Barclay Palmer, 360 Senior Producer

The Iowa Caucus results have changed the game, no question. Newness and idealism won out over experience, even vision.

Suddenly Hillary looks in trouble. Rudy, Mitt and Fred don't look so hot either. And each state election result can build momentum.

Still, yesterday was yesterday. Today is today. And New Hampshire is Tuesday. Then comes South Carolina.

So we have a whole new ball game - still to come.

What do you think? We'd like to know.
Posted By CNN: 11:45 AM ET
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Morning Buzz
Good Morning!!! The people of Iowa have spoken!!! Iowa/Dem: Obama (1), Edwards (2), Clinton (3) -- Iowa/GOP: Huckabee (1), Romney (2), Thompson (3). The casualties? Christopher Dodd and Joe Biden are dropping out. Politics is dominating the headlines across the country, this morning. But many papers are making room for Brittany and Lindsay --they are in trouble again... So grab your coffee and let's all thank GOD it is FRIDAY....




Storms to pound California
Californians braced Thursday for back-to-back weekend storms that could bring more than a foot of rain to mudslide-prone canyons denuded by the fall wildfires, dump several feet of snow in the Sierra Nevada and buffet the state with hurricane-force winds.

Musharraf Says Bhutto Took Excessive Risks
President Pervez Musharraf on Thursday rejected any suggestion that he or any members of the Pakistani military or intelligence agencies played a role in the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, and said it was probably carried out by the same extremists responsible for a number of suicide bombings in recent months.

CIA in 2003 Planned Destruction of Tapes
A key member of Congress disclosed yesterday that the CIA said in February 2003 that it planned to destroy videotapes of harsh interrogations after the agency's inspector general finished probing the episodes, an account that adds detail to recent CIA statements about the circumstances surrounding the tapes' destruction.

Passenger jets get anti-missile devices
Tens of thousands of airline passengers will soon be flying on jets outfitted with anti-missile systems as part of a new government test aimed at thwarting terrorists armed with shoulder-fired projectiles.

Police looking for 61-year-old man seen with missing hiker
Police are looking for a man described as a "person of interest," in the case of a 24-year-old woman who has been missing in the north Georgia mountains since New Year's Day, a Union County Sheriff's spokeswoman told reporters Thursday.





Biden & Dodd call it quits
Delaware Sen Joe Biden and Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd abandoned their bids for the Democratic presidential nomination Thursday night.

Huckabee to victory
Presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee was the big winner in Iowa's GOP caucuses Thursday thanks to big support from two groups of voters: Women and evangelical Christians.

Obama wins Iowa
Sen. Barack Obama's victory Thursday in critical Democratic Iowa caucuses indicate voters saw him as a candidate of change, according to entrance polls.

Obama: A 'defining moment in history'
Young voters and independents flooded gyms and church basements in record numbers Thursday night, delivering a historic and decisive victory in the Iowa caucuses to Sen. Barack Obama, as he vanquished Sen. Hillary Clinton and certified his standing as her principal challenger for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Obama Takes Iowa in a Big Turnout as Clinton Falters; Huckabee Victor
Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, a first-term Democratic senator trying to become the nation's first African-American president, rolled to victory in the Iowa caucuses on Thursday night, lifted by a record turnout of voters who embraced his promise of change.


Crime & Punishment

Zoo opens
It's cold, rainy and windy in the Sunset District today - not a good day to go to the zoo.
But a small crowd of curious residents and tourists gathered at the gates this morning as the San Francisco Zoo reopened, nine days after an escaped tiger killed a San Jose teen and injured two of his friends before police shot it dead.


editors note: David Mattingly-- HOW did that Tiger escape? Tonight on AC360

Keepin' Them Honest

Clemens: Injections were lidocaine, B-12
Roger Clemens admits former trainer Brian McNamee injected him but says it was with the painkiller lidocaine and the vitamin B-12, not any performance-enhancing drugs.

A Drunken Night in Iraq, A Soldier Is Left Behind
The sun had not yet risen in Taji. A young Army soldier lay alone in the dirt. She was alive, but barely. Her ribs had been crushed; her spleen, ruptured. Her right side was marked by the angular tread of a tire.

AC360 folo

15th Dallas County Inmate Since '01 Is Freed by DNA
After nearly 27 years in prison for a rape he did not commit, Charles Chatman walked free on Thursday, the 15th wrongfully convicted prisoner in Dallas County to be exonerated by DNA testing since 2001.

What YOU will be talking about TODAY

Britney Spears taken to hospital
Pop star Britney Spears was taken to hospital for tests to see if she was under the influence of alcohol or drugs and for a psychological evaluation after police were called to her home Thursday night to mediate a custody dispute, a police spokesman said.

Lohan back on track?
Lindsay Lohan rang in the New Year drinking champagne in Italy, her lawyer says, but is "back on track" in terms of sobriety. A video obtained by The Associated Press shows Lohan, who spent much of 2007 in and out of rehab, taking a swig from a champagne bottle while in Capri, Italy.

'Miraculous' Recovery for Man Who Fell 47 Floors
Alcides Moreno plunged 47 stories that morning last month, clinging to his 3-foot-wide window washer's platform as it shot down the dark glass face of an Upper East Side apartment building. His brother Edgar, who had been working with him on the platform, was killed. Somehow, Alcides survived...
Posted By CNN: 5:52 AM ET
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Thursday, January 03, 2008
The Beard Brothers
--Roland S. Martin, 360 Contributor
David Letterman takes the stage amid a line of chorus girls on Wednesday's "Late Show."

Dan Akroyd and John Belushi comprised the Blues Brothers. Wolf Blitzer and yours truly? We're the Beard Brothers. Since we're the only two cats on CNN who are willing to regularly sport a beard, I couldn't help but weigh in on the travesty I witnessed last night from David Letterman and Conan O'Brien.

Both men returned from a writers-inspired hiatus looking like they'd been walking the streets instead of camping out at home. David Letterman's beard rivaled that of Charlton Heston in "The Ten Commandments." And with his red beard, Conan looked like the brother of actor/director Timothy Busfield, known to wear a beard on NBC's long-running show -- and a favorite of mine -- "The West Wing."

Guys, if you're going to wear a beard on the air, please, get it neatly trimmed. My man Wolf's white beard is always smooth and sharp, and my black beard -- with some gray creeping in -- is a bit lower, but still even and proportional. The key is not to look scruffy on the air. It makes you look haggard, and we know women don't fall for the Shaggy D.A. look.

What does Wolf think?

"Their beards need work. A decent start but they need work," he said. "Lots of work. I could give them some advice if they call. I have years of beard experience. My recommendation -- shave."

Dave and Conan, the two of you make more in a week than I'll make in a year, so call in a good barber and let them start trimmin'.

And you don't have to hire the guy who cut John Edwards' "do" for $400.

Please, you're on TV. So set a good example.
Posted By CNN: 7:04 PM ET
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Unless He's in you, you don't have it
--Claire Brinberg, 360 Producer, a.k.a. "360 Caucus Queen"

So I'm back from Des Moines. Just arrived in New York to work on tonight's caucus extravaganza. Was kind of a bummer to leave Iowa on Caucus Day, but honestly, the airport will be a TOTAL ZOO tomorrow morning. According to the Des Moines Register, 2000 rental cars will be returned and the airport will be 50% busier than usual.

I'm way glad to be missing the Great Iowa Exodus of 2008. And it's warmer in New York, if only a little.

So I have no clue what's gonna happen tonight. What do you think?

I've been mainly reporting on the Republicans this week, specifically Mike Huckabee's electric appeal among Iowa evangelicals. The folks I talked to sure do love him. They extol the strength of his character and the depth of his faith. And many seem largely unconcerned with his positions on the issues, though they strongly affirm his credentials on "life" and "marriage".

On New Year's Eve, I was welcomed at a lovely church celebration at Grace Church in West Des Moines. I got into a conversation with Marylys Foster, a Huckabee supporter who told me she was going to caucus for "the guy who's with Christ. I believe that somebody that believes in Christ is truthful."

I asked Ms. Foster which issues she was most concerned with this year, and she launched into an incredibly detailed and well-informed discussion of healthcare and immigration.

"So," I asked her, "Do you know where Huckabee, your candidate, stands on those issues?

"No," she replied.

That's just amazing to me. She's well-versed on the issues, and yet is supporting a candidate whose positions she doesn't know, 'cause she's convinced that as a man of God, Mike Huckabee will make the right decision. She trusts him.

Trust. It's a word we haven't heard a lot this campaign. But again and again, the Iowa Christian conservatives I spoke with invoked it, when asked to explain their support for Huckabee.

Grace Church pastor Bob Deever summed up the thinking thusly: "Anybody who gets into the White House is going to have to learn a lot of things, but one thing you can't learn and be taught is how to be a follower of Christ. Unless He's in you, you don't have it."
Posted By CNN: 4:53 PM ET
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Anderson's View: Iowa and Pizza
I've spent most of today studying up on Iowa caucuses trivia. Woo hoo! Tonight our special coverage starts at 8p ET and we will go all the way through until midnight. I will be talking with our team of analysts all throughout the evening, and we have this really cool new piece of technology that allows me to walk around with a virtual pie chart. It's sort of hard to describe, and I have no idea how it works, but it looks great. John King said it made me look like I was a pizza deliveryman and kept trying to hand me ten bucks, but you can decide for yourself tonight. Speaking of pizza, I'm hungry. I will see you tonight.
-- Anderson Cooper
Track Iowa results yourself and stay up-to-the-second at CNNPolitics.com - your one stop shop for the Iowa caucuses!
Posted By CNN: 4:44 PM ET
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Hate the Caucus
--Roland S. Martin, 360 Contributor

I HATE the Iowa Caucus voting process

That's right, I said it. And someone needs to.

In a normal place, we go to the polls, choose the person we want, punch, pull, or tap, and then go home.

But, no! Not the Iowa Democrats.

First, you must show up by 7 p.m. If you get to your caucus location by 7:01 p.m., you can't vote. Then you have to stand on a side for your candidate. So, Obama supporters go to one corner and then Clinton's folks go elsewhere and so on.

After people go back and forth over their choice, including debating the issues, those candidates that don't get 15% of the vote then are allowed to move to another candidate. That means Edwards may be ahead in the first round, but after the shuffle, he gets overtaken by Clinton.

Then it gets even more stupid.

Instead of the person with the most votes winning, we go to a weighted system. That's right. The caucus location gets a number of delegates based on the LAST presidential election. So one location might have a huge influx of folks showing up, but it won't matter in terms of influence. It won't take effect until FOUR YEARS FROM NOW. How is that fair?

On the Republican side, it's a lot easier.

You still must show up at 7 p.m., but the vote is secret and they only report the vote totals for each candidate.

One last wrinkle...the parties are allowed to solicit for money. That's right. You go there to vote, and you get hit up for money. It's not mandatory, but it sure sullies the process.

I'm also ticked because we are getting reports that 150,000 or so Iowans will vote. That is being greeted enthusiastically, but it's pathetic in a state of 2.9 million people. That means that barely 5% of the state's population will play a crucial role in electing nominees for president.

This is why I'm with many other Americans who are sick of this process and want to see other states vote on the same day. I like the ability of candidates showing up to rallies and town hall meetings to talk with voters, but with so few participants, and these Banana Republic-type rules, this is NOT a way to elect a president.

Yet Iowans don't want it to change because their egos get stroked every four years, and the candidates pour a stupid amount of money into the state. Some $40 million has been spent on advertising, and that doesn't include the housing, food bills and other expenses incurred by the volunteers and staff workers.

Let's pray that this is the last election cycle we will see this mess of a way to "vote."
Posted By CNN: 1:14 PM ET
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What's with Hillary's hypnotic voice?
--Candy Crowley, Senior Political Correspondent

An aside from the campaign trail: in response to the many (not kidding here) inquiries I have gotten re: what's up with Hillary Clinton's bedtime story voice? Why is she like a librarian in slo-mo?

This was most recently evident in her 2-minute final pitch over Iowa airwaves. Or listen to her reminisce as she wraps up her campaign here. She adopted the dulcet tone (sometimes to the level of a whisper) a couple of weeks ago during "The Hillary I Know Campaign," which included guest appearances from her former Sunday school teacher and elementary school chums who regaled audiences with stories of Hillary's days as captain of the school crossing guards.

ANYWHO, the voice, the charming stories are aimed at Clinton's central weakness: likeability. Her campaign says she's warm and funny and caring. A not insignificant number of people think she's shrill, cold and calculating. Don't know if a whispery voice and childhood anecdotes are gonna do the trick here, but on such things campaigns are built.

But btw, last night she was Fighter Hillary, exhorting the crowds here in Iowa.

She's a woman: when she shouts, her pitch gets higher and her voice is hard. People may just have to get over it. Wanna know the truth? No matter how many times you see someone on television, you don't really know who they are. So I say, Let Hillary be Hillary, whoever she is.
Posted By CNN: 1:10 PM ET
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Morning Buzz
Morning...IT is decision day in Iowa!!! SO grab your coffee and head right to Raw Politics. I bring you ALL the politics you need this morning, even a direct link the DES MOINE REGISTER... BUT definitely check out Crime & Punishment before you head out...NEW witnesses in the tiger attack story...The taunting theory continues...Don't miss it!!!

Top Stories

Months of campaigning come down to final hours in Iowa
Mike Huckabee is touring the state with actor Chuck Norris. Hillary Clinton is distributing snow shovels to volunteers. John Edwards is on a 36-hour sprint, forsaking sleep to hold around-the-clock campaign events.

Chilly forecast puts citrus crop at risk
A wintry system that added inches to record snow accumulations in some Northern states sent temperatures plummeting Wednesday in the South, where farmers scrambled to protect their crops.

Kenyan march hit with tear gas
Tear gas and water cannon were fired at opposition supporters gathering for a banned rally in Nairobi as tension mounted in the Kenyan capital following days of brutal post-election violence.







Politics Iowa Style
08 Caucuses down to the wire

8 Questions Iowa Could Answer
The only race that could is in the Democratic Party and only if Hillary Clinton wins a big victory. Iowa has proved resistant to the Clinton brand, and she has struggled there throughout the year. But her final days of campaigning have been solid, and a victory, no matter how narrow, would be a big boost for her.

Iowa first step to next president
Voters in Iowa begin the process of choosing the next president on Thursday, with Democrats Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards in a frantic scramble for the top spot in the campaign's first nominating contest.

Iowa turnout crucial to success
Presidential hopefuls urged their partisans to brave the cold and rally fellow Iowans to the caucuses Thursday, a massive test of organization that held the key to victory in the first contests of the 2008 election season. Capturing the urgency--and biting chill--in the air, Barack Obama implored his people, "Walk quick, talk fast."

Last Pitches Before the First Vote
The presidential candidates made their final appeals to voters Wednesday in the earliest-starting and most expensive campaign in Iowa history, fanning out across the state in search of a victory and crucial momentum headed into a front-loaded primary season.

In Iowa, it doesn't pay to spend big
Money can't buy love--and it might not necessarily decide the Iowa caucuses.

Volunteers toil for votes
Jill Shesol has a big voice for a small person. "Have you signed supporter cards for John?" the petite, 20-year-old Drake University junior bellows to no one in particular as Iowans in bulky coats stream out of a John Edwards for President rally into a cold night. She waves a clipboard holding red, white and blue commitment cards over her head. "Are you going to caucus for John?"

Iraq War Taking Back Seat to Domestic Issues
The Democratic and Republican presidential candidates are navigating a far different set of issues as they approach the Iowa caucuses on Thursday than when they first started campaigning here a year ago, and that is likely to change even more as the campaigns move to New Hampshire and across the country.

Fatigue Factor
It's the groggy, nerve-sizzling season on the trail, and forget the attack ads and last-minute scrapping. Any candidate will attest that the epic fight now is against sleep deprivation, the gaffe-inducing monster that looms over every campaign in its final hours.

Giuliani Keeps Campaign Focus on Terrorism
With the political world focused on Iowa, Rudolph W. Giuliani released a graphic new television advertisement here Wednesday in which scenes of Osama bin Laden firing a rifle segue to the smoking wreckage of the World Trade Center.

Populist Message Gets Louder As Iowa Caucuses Kick Off Race
As Iowans kick off the unusually tight presidential nominating contest tonight, they will offer the first test of whether a populist message can resonate in the 2008 campaign.

In This Farm Town, Gurus Transcend Party Politics
In the run-up to today's caucuses in Iowa, candidates have had to scrutinize the issues that move voters here. In this town, many care less about immigration than meditation.

Crime & Punishment

S.F. Zoo visitor saw 2 victims of tiger attack teasing lions
Two victims of a lethal Christmas Day tiger attack were harassing the big cats at the San Francisco Zoo shortly before a 350-pound feline escaped its enclosure and mauled them, a woman told The Chronicle on Wednesday.

Attorney denies tiger was provoked
A high-profile attorney hired by the two brothers injured in a Christmas Day tiger attack at the zoo here said Wednesday that neither his clients nor the young man who died had provoked the 300-pound Siberian tiger to vault from her enclosure.

Long Island Man Won't Be Tried Again in Murders
The Suffolk County district attorney said on Wednesday that he would not retry Martin H. Tankleff for the 1988 murders of his parents and that he would ask Gov. Eliot Spitzer to appoint a special prosecutor to re investigate the case.

DNA test expected to free Texas inmate
Charles Chatman said throughout his 26 years in prison that he never raped the woman who lived five houses down from him.

Beauty queen charged with torture out on bond
A former Miss Pima County and current University of Arizona law school student has been freed on bond and authorities are searching for an ex-boyfriend accused of helping her kidnap and assault another former boyfriend.

Keepin' Them Honest

Congressional Crackdown on Lobbying
The party sponsored by the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States to celebrate the Senate majority leader, Bill Frist, at the New York Yacht Club was one of the more over-the-top events of the Republican National Convention in 2004, featuring 10 bars and more than a half-dozen special vintage Scotches. The group held a similar soiree that year for Senator Tom Daschle, the minority leader, at the Democratic Convention in Boston.

AC360 folo

Pit bulls from Vick's dogfighting ring go to Utah sanctuary
Twenty-two of the 47 surviving pit bulls seized from suspended NFL star Michael Vick's dogfighting operation headed to a new home in Utah on Wednesday.

What YOU will be talking about TODAY

Spears' lawyers quit
Britney Spears' lawyers in her custody battle with ex-husband Kevin Federline are quitting.

Late-night stars Leno, Letterman return
A Republican, a Democrat and two bearded hosts walked into a TV studio last night...and so did Robin Williams, Bob Saget, Emeril Lagasse, Chingy, Helio Castroneves and three clean-shaven funnymen as the late-night TV universe tried to right itself two months into the writers strike.

Sperm donor wins case over child support
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that a woman who promised a sperm donor he would not have to pay child support cannot renege on the deal.

Tenn. judge resigns over fantasies tape
A Tennessee judge resigned last month after making a recording of fantasies so lurid that when the tape fell into the hands of the police and FBI, they thought they were listening to a torture session and believed it might be linked to a murder case.

Posted By CNN: 5:53 AM ET
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Wednesday, January 02, 2008
Framed for Murder
--Jamie Floyd, 360 contributor

Well the new year is here and I rang it in at a Marty Party.

As in, Martin Tankleff who has spent the last 17 years in prison for a crime he didnt commit. In 1990, Tankleff, then just a teenager, was convicted of the brutal murder of his parents.

After hours of interrogation with no adults other than the investigating officers present and in response to lies told to him about his father's dying words, Marty made something of an admission, which he recanted immediately and the written version of which he never signed.

Now, nearly two decades later, owing to the relentless efforts of former NYPD detective Jay Salpeter and a team of pro bono lawyers headed up by Bruce Barkett, Marty is free.

Salpeter has uncovered evidence that implicates a business partner to the family. What's worse, the evidence indicates the complicity of police in framing Marty.

In a strongly worded opinion, issued just before Christmas, an appellate court ruled that Marty is entitled to a new trial and ordered that he be freed.

The fight for exoneration is not over for this young man, who told me during a prison visit last month that he has yet to grieve for his parents. But for Marty and his supporters, it was a very Happy New Year indeed.
Posted By CNN: 5:34 PM ET
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Iowa: Anderson's View
Much has been said about this long election season that we are in. It started earlier than ever before, and there's more choice in both parties than we've ever seen.

No doubt for people in Iowa and New Hampshire it must feel like this has been going on forever. They've seen endless numbers of commercials and campaign events. But one thing that is good about this election is that I feel like all of us are able to make far more informed choices than perhaps ever before.

No one can say they haven't had an opportunity to find out where the candidates stand on issues, and what kind of people they are. There have been more than enough debates and other chances for people to learn about the contenders.

Tomorrow night the Iowa caucuses take place, and for both republicans and democrats it is anybody's race. With so many undecided voters, the polls can't really tell us that much. Of course, it's not clear those undecided voters will bother to come out on caucus night.

David Gergen gave us his analysis on the blog about the dream scenarios and nightmare scenarios for each candidate. I'm curious to hear who you think will place in the top three and in what order in each party. Who do you think will be celebrating tomorrow night, and who will be licking their wounds?
-- Anderson Cooper
Posted By CNN: 4:27 PM ET
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Step up to the plate
--Roland S. Martin, 360 Contributor

Young folks need to step up to be heard.

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) once told me a pretty funny story about young voters and their demands.

It seems one day a group of hip-hoppers was blasting him, saying if he wanted to be re-elected, he'd better listen to them or they would vote him out.

His reply?

"Y'all don't vote. It's those old ladies in senior citizen homes and the public housing units who keep me in office."

That will always be the case until young voters stop talking a good game and get in the game.

Sen. Barack Obama is banking on young voters, and those disenchanted with politics, to put him over the top in Iowa.

Sen. Hillary Clinton and former Sen. John Edwards are more traditional, leaning on women and labor to trek out in the cold.

If Obama bets right, he's on top. If not, he'll be the latest candidate seduced by the fleeting fancy of the young, only to be left out in the cold when it most counts.

www.rolandsmartin.com
Posted By CNN: 12:34 PM ET
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Iowa newcomers take all?
--Barclay Palmer, 360 Senior Producer

More newcomers than regulars might turn out on caucus day, a Des Moines Register polls finds.

Who'd benefit? The Washington Post says Obama, who's been asking independents to join the fun.

This has been the question in so many elections, and here it is again: will independents make the difference?

And if Iowa's winter weather is especially harsh on Thursday, how will THAT tip the scales?

We'd like to know what you think.
Posted By CNN: 12:29 PM ET
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Twas the Night before Caucus
--David Gergen, CNN Senior Political Analyst

With Iowa polls showing races in both parties neck and neck, each campaign has been thinking up its dream scenario -- and worst nightmare. Here is what they may be thinking:

Hillary's best outcome -- a decisive victory, Edwards 2nd, Obama 3rd.
Hillary's nightmare -- decisive Obama victory, Edwards 2nd, HRC dragging at 3rd.

Obama's dream -- a decisive victory, Edwards 2nd, HRC dragging at 3rd.
His nightmare -- HRC wins decisively, Edwards 2nd, he disappoints at 3rd.

Edward's dream -- decisive win, Obama 2nd, HRC far back at 3rd.
Big danger for him -- coming in 2nd.
His nightmare -- HRC or Obama win, he comes in 3rd.

Romney's dream -- decisive win, Huckabee 2nd, McCain in single digits.
His nightmare -- Huckabee wins, McCain virtually tied with Romney for 2nd.

Huckabee's dream -- decisive win, Romney mired in a deep 2nd, McCain a dismal third. Huckabee's nightmare -- a weak 2nd.

McCain's dream -- A surprise showing anywhere up near the top.
His nightmare -- a distant 3rd in low single digits.

Giuliani's dream -- Huckabee wins big, Romney a distant 2nd, Rudy wins more than McCain.
His nightmare -- Romney wins big, everyone else scattered, he is nearly invisible.

We'd welcome alternative dreams -- and nightmares -- from you!
Posted By CNN: 11:48 AM ET
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Temptation & doing right
--Randi Kaye, 360 Correspondent

Reggie Damone is starting the new year on the right foot.

This fast food worker from Connecticut caught my eye after the AP reported he picked up what he thought was litter on the street.

After finding it was a check for $185,000, he RETURNED it to its rightful owner.

This is a guy who lives on food stamps and works at McDonalds! He took a bus from his home to the bank and returned the check to the niece of the landlord it was made out to. He got $50 for his honest gesture.

Imagine how much rent he could have paid with all that money, but he says he was never even tempted.

Reggie says he rememberd his mom's words, "If you take something, you lose three times that amount, and if you do something good, something good comes back to you."

What would you do? Could you return $185,000 that didn't belong to you, but fell into your lap?
Posted By CNN: 11:27 AM ET
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Republicans for Hillary
--Eric Bloom, 360 Producer

How well Clinton performs in Iowa could have dramatic impact on the Republican race. Here's why:

McCain's campaign comes down to winning New Hampshire, and his biggest advantage over the GOP field is his appeal to independents. McCain and Obama are the two most appealing candidates for independents in New Hampshire, with most polls showing Obama as their first choice.

But if Clinton wins Iowa, some independents might see a vote for Obama as being less meaningful and look at the next best option -- McCain. If independents gravitate toward McCain, he could win New Hampshire.

Another candidate who might benefit is Rudy Giuliani. An early successful strategy was to attack Clinton repeatedly during the debates. One of his strongest arguments was that he was most prepared to beat her. But as the democratic race became muddled, Giuliani's tactic has been undercut.

So if Clinton wins Iowa it could help resurrect Giuliani.
Posted By CNN: 11:21 AM ET
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Bhutto and me....
--Samar Jamali, AC360 Production Assistant


Last Thursday I woke up and saw the wire on my blackberry-- "Benazir Bhutto Urgent" was all the subject said but I knew right away something bad had happened. At around the same time I heard my grandfather's voice on our answering machine-- "Guys, the news is reporting Benazir Bhutto has been assassinated."

Immediately I thought of my other home, Pakistan, and all the hope that had been crushed by Benazir Bhutto's sudden death. I remembered the excitement Bhutto created for me as a young girl in Pakistan- having an intelligent, articulate and beautiful woman as a role model- a symbol of not only female potential, but Pakistani potential.

As details of her death emerge, and are disputed, and I see onscreen the faces of Pakistanis weary of yet another heartache, I hope that some good will come out of all this- but I'm not sure what yet.
Posted By CNN: 10:03 AM ET
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Morning Buzz
Good Morning!!! It is day two of 2008 and 24 hours before the residents of Iowa officially kick off the '08 Presidential election. Who will win Iowa? IT is still way too close to call... There are a few international headlines this morning, but politics seems to be dominating all the major papers, today.... SOOO grab your coffee and take a quick read....


Top Stories

Record snow hits Michigan; New England braces
A fast-moving New Year's Day storm dumped more than a foot of snow on southeastern Michigan, a record blast that made driving hazardous, snarled the flight home for holiday travelers and threatened to do the same in New England.

U.S. Isn't Ready to Accept Pakistan's Initial Findings
United States intelligence analysts are not convinced by the evidence offered so far by Pakistani authorities that a militant linked to Al Qaeda was responsible for Benazir Bhutto's assassination, American officials said Tuesday.

Female suicide bomber attacks checkpoint
A female suicide bomber wearing an explosive vest struck a checkpoint of neighborhood patrol volunteers in Baquba, capital of Iraq's restive Diyala province, killing 10 people and wounding eight on Wednesday, police said.

19 killed as Afghan violence continues
Roadside bombs and military operations in Afghanistan killed 19 people, including 14 Taliban fighters, as the record violence that Afghanistan saw in 2007 continued into the new year, officials said Wednesday.

Bloody violence grips Kenya
Gangs of young men armed with machetes are roaming the streets in Kenya as post-election violence threatens to engulf the country. Horrific attacks are being reported, including the torching of a church where people who had sought refuge were burned alive.

Volcano erupts
A volcano in southern Chile erupted on Tuesday, spewing lava and ash, and forcing the evacuation of about 150 people, officials said.

Raw Politics

GOP base scatters
The long-standing coalition of social, economic and national security conservatives that elevated the Republican Party to political dominance has become so splintered by the presidential primary campaign that some party leaders fear a protracted nomination fight that could hobble the eventual nominee.

Independent Voters May Give Obama Edge
With two days before Iowans go to the polls, significant support for Sen. Barack Obama from political independents has put rival Democratic campaigns on edge, challenging the traditional model of the state's caucuses as a low-turnout exercise dominated by partisan insiders.

New Huckabee ad
For the second time in two weeks, presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee has aired a commercial in which a Christian symbol appears in the background.

Romney takes aim at Huckabee
Republican Mitt Romney sharply criticized rival Mike Huckabee Tuesday for joking in a recent interview that President Bush has not been well versed on foreign affairs.

Edwards Calls for Pullout of Troops
John Edwards says that if elected president he would withdraw the American troops who are training the Iraqi army and police as part of a broader plan to remove virtually all American forces within 10 months.

For Republicans, Contest's Hallmark Is Immigration
The imagery of the mailings is designed to pack a wallop: a Mexican flag fluttering above the Stars and Stripes, the Statue of Liberty presiding over a "Welcome Illegal Aliens" doormat, a Social Security card emblazoned with the name "Juan Doe," a U.S. passport proclaiming, "Only one candidate has a plan to STAMP out illegal immigration."

Huckabee taps 'true believers' in Iowa
Matt Reisetter, an associate church pastor, and Susan Geddes, a home-schooling advocate, have a common goal during Thursday's presidential caucuses.


Crime & Punishment

FBI makes new bid to find 1971 skyjacker
The FBI is making a new stab at identifying mysterious skyjacker Dan Cooper, who bailed out of an airliner in 1971 and vanished, releasing new details that it hopes will jog someone's memory. The man calling himself Dan Cooper, also known as D.B. Cooper, boarded a Northwest flight in Portland for a flight to Seattle on the night of Nov, 24, 1971, and commandeered the plane, claiming he had dynamite.

Students to probe Chandra Levy, Natalee Holloway cases
Criminal justice students at a Georgia college are preparing to undertake their own investigation of the 2001 slaying in Washington of Chandra Levy, the Modesto, Calif., resident whose death tainted a congressman's career.


AC360 folo (updates of stories reported by AC360)

Zoo took TOO long
The two brothers who survived a Christmas Day tiger attack at the San Francisco Zoo that killed their friend were denied help for at least 30 minutes by zoo security who did not take their claims seriously, the brothers' attorney said Tuesday.

A Divide as Wolves Rebound in a Changing West
Sheltered for many years by federal species protection law, the gray wolves of the West are about to step out onto the high wire of life in the real world, when their status as endangered animals formally comes to an end early this year.

Homicides soared in New Orleans in 2007
The bloodiest city in the country in 2006, reeling from crime in its struggle to recover from Hurricane Katrina, got even worse in 2007.

What you WILL be Talking About TODAY

Ski accident snowballs
It started as a generational collision, when a 7-year-old boy skied into a 60-year-old Pennsylvania man on a slope near Vail, Colo.

Fast-food worker finds, returns $185,000
Reggie Damone just wanted to jot down a phone number when he picked up what he thought was litter on a sidewalk this week. But what he found was an envelope containing a $185,000 check.

Mental toll of war hitting female servicemembers
Master Sgt. Cindy Rathbun knew something was wrong three weeks after she arrived in Iraq in September 2006. Her blond hair began "coming out in clumps," she says.
Posted By CNN: 6:20 AM ET
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Tuesday, January 01, 2008
Moving into 2008.....
By the time I left Times Square last night, the party was definitely over. Walking out of the area, couples were arguing, young women were teetering precariously on wobbly heels... all in all, it wasn't a pretty scene. Thankfully, I don't really drink, so I didn't wake up with a hangover today, but I'm sure there are a lot of people who did.

Tonight we are on live and the lead right now is politics. Two days until the Iowa caucuses and the race is anyone's guess. We'll also be looking at some new reports about what may have led that tiger to attack a young man at the San Francisco Zoo. We'll also take a look at the latest developments in Pakistan and recap the highlights from last night with Kathy Griffin.

See you tonight at 10p ET.

-- Anderson Cooper
Posted By CNN: 8:14 PM ET
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From the 360 Control Room
So when they told me I'd be spending New Year's Eve in the control room I wasnt exactly thrilled - I mean I like myjob but the Time Warner Center is not my first choice of locations to ring in the New Year. But then I thought, hey, I'm with my friends, it's dark, there are a lot of tvs and a lot of yelling... plus a champagne toast at midnight - it's probably not all that different from spending the night at a bar.

If you're not familiar, the control room is the center of the show - the director, producers, writers, graphics coordinators and more all gather to make "it" happen. It's my job to make sure we have all the video elements and they're the best we can get. It's a very high stress, fast-paced environment where you have to be prepared for anything to change at any moment.

Last night was a production several months in the making - mostly orchestrated by one of our senior producers, Ted Fine. (I'm sure he thinks I'm trying to earn brownie points now...) During big shows you can also count on a free meal - the drawback to this is when we get dinner delivered you know they expect you to be working hard because there's no excuse to leave the newsroom even to eat.
To prepare for the special we had conference calls every day last week to book satellite trucks and go over locations. Then yesterday we had three more calls throughout the day with all of our reporters in the field and producers in New York to go over the rundown minute by minute. But no matter how much planning goes into a show, the final culmination in the control room frequently involves a lot of screaming and quick-fixing. And of course all that is entirely dependent on the technology actually working...and it failed us a few times early on in the night. I won't rehash any moments, but if you were watching you can probably guess what I mean.

Of course having a host you're not familiar with, especially someone of Kathy Griffin's reputation, is a gamble, but I think everyone was incredibly pleased with Kathy and Anderson's performance. Even as we were giving them wrap cues we didn't really want their banter to end. In our business, it's a testimony to the strength of a segment if the control room is paying attention - well, can testify that more than once we all stopped to just listen and laugh.
What did you think of the show? What did you think of Kathy? If you missed it you'll have an opportunity to watch some highlights tonight!

--Ashley Corum, 360 Control Room AP

Posted By CNN: 5:48 PM ET
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Road to Redemption
--Claire Brinberg, 360 Producer a.k.a. "360 Caucus Queen"

Well I'll tell you this much: New Year's Eve in Des Moines lived up to all its promise, but New Year's Morning in Des Moines is pretty damn miserable. It's extremely cold, and I'm a little tired and a lot grumpy.

The hearty young Iowans I'm traveling with, however, are bright-eyed, enthusiastic and not at all hung over. They're volunteers with Redeem the Vote, a group of evangelical Christians working to register new voters for the caucuses. We're trailing their fancy bus, as they journey from Des Moines to Council Bluffs (and beyond).

Evangelicals comprise about 40% of Republican caucus-goers, making them hugely powerful here. The three college students Redeeming the Vote today are a perfect snapshot of the debate within Iowa's Christian community.

Jason, who was home-schooled, is 100% behind faith-fueled Mike Huckabee. Brandy is torn: she was a Mitt Romney person, but might switch to Huckabee now that he's gained some momentum. And Emily is completely undecided. She tells me she'll figure it out by Tuesday night.

Candidates from both parties have launched an all out crusade to win souls like Emily, Brandy and John's. The effort in these final days is more intense than ever. But evangelical voters have been wavering and unpredictable this year. Politically speaking, the Iowa caucuses will be their ultimate "come to Jesus" moment.
Posted By CNN: 1:15 PM ET
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New Year's Midnight Run
Happy New Year everybody!

I hoped you watched our AC 360 New Year's Eve special last night. For the second year in a row, I ran in the annual Central Park four-mile road race that begins at the stroke of midnight. That for me is a challenge enough. I am an avid in-line skater, but had never run in a race in my life until last year's New Year's event.

What makes this especially challenging for me is to talk coherently on live television while I'm doing the run. But it sure is fun.

More than five thousand runners (many in creative costumes) were in the park hoping to kick off a healthy new year by literally starting the race at the stroke of midnight.

Now, the course record is just shy of 19 minutes. I didn't threaten that mark. I knew going into the race that I wouldn't finish before we went off the air at 12:30pm. I was thinking of skating the race so I could finish by the end of the show, but race organizers were concerned I might steamroll the runners, so we all agreed that was a bad idea.

So I ran...and drumroll please...I finished at 12:49am. Now, my time was actually a bit quicker than 49 minutes because I had to slow down a few times to fiddle around with our microphone and audio gear. But it sure seemed a lot of people were passing me!

Neverthless, it was fun and festive and I want to thank my producer Susan and my camera crew Frank and Brian for hanging with me. I also want to wish all of you a great 2008!

-- Gary Tuchman, National Correspondent
Posted By CNN: 1:06 PM ET
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Morning Buzz
Happy New Year!!!! 2007 ended with Benazir Bhutto topping the headlines and it seems 2008 is beginning much the same way. There are still many questions surrounding her death. BUT there are lots of political headlines to chew over, too. SOOO grab your coffee, it is time for the Morning Buzz....

Top Stories

Doctors Cite Pressure to Keep Silent On Bhutto
Pakistani authorities have pressured the medical personnel who tried to save Benazir Bhutto's life to remain silent about what happened in her final hour and have removed records of her treatment from the facility, according to doctors.

Reward for Bhutto killers' identities
The Pakistani government has offered a reward to anyone who could identify two suspects from last week's killing of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

State Department denies it ignored danger to Bhutto
The State Department denies it ignored security dangers surrounding former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto when she returned to Pakistan.

Kenya: 145 killed since Friday; 33,000 forced from home
Kenyans ventured warily out in search of food on Tuesday after the post election violence that had convulsed the country for four days generally calmed, but many shops remained shuttered and sporadic tribal violence continued.


Raw Politics

CNN poll: Favored candidates in both parties in dead heat
With two days to go until the Iowa caucuses, a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll out Tuesday shows both the Democratic and Republican presidential nomination races tied at the top.

Poll: Obama, Huckabee leading rivals
Presidential contenders rang in the 2008 election year with near-constant campaigning on Monday as a poll showed Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Mike Huckabee leading their rivals with three days remaining before the Iowa caucuses.

What if Iowa settles nothing for the Democrats?
Iowa is packed with presidential candidates and hundreds of campaign aides, advisers and contributors. Twenty-five hundred representatives of news organizations have been granted credentials to cover the caucuses Thursday night, twice as many as in 2004. Rarely has a political event been so intensely anticipated as a decisive moment, at least on the Democratic side. But what if it is not decisive?

Groups spend heavily to sway races
Spurred by a recent Supreme Court decision, independent political groups are using their financial muscle and organizational clout as never before to influence the presidential race, pumping money and troops into early nominating states on behalf of their favored candidates.

Romney attack ads misrepresent facts
Two negative ads recently launched by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who has spent more on advertising than any other candidate, either misrepresent his rival's records or include distortions, according to a CNN analysis of the commercials.

Bloomberg in '08?
Money could smooth the way toward getting on the ballot in all 50 states as an independent candidate

Chelsea Clinton turns down 9-year old
It's one thing for Hillary Clinton's campaign to turn down interview requests for the candidate's daughter, Chelsea. But can't a 9-year old reporter catch a break?

Pelosi's year
Nancy Pelosi crashed through a glass ceiling when she became the first female House speaker a year ago. That turned out to be the easy part.


Crime & Punishment

Hulking boy killer changes justice system
They called him Iron Man, a hulking teenage football player with a baby face and winsome smile who lived with his parents in a small ranch house in the Buttonwoods section of town.

Woman who tried to kill President Ford freed
Sara Jane Moore started the new year Tuesday a free woman more than three decades after a bizarre assassination attempt on President Ford that still baffles even her own attorney.

Keepin' Them Honest

Katrina Recovery Official Leaving Job
The Federal Emergency Management Agency official who for the past two years has led the agency's troubled Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts will retire Thursday.

Some aid for Minn. bridge victims stalled
Within days of the Minneapolis bridge collapse Aug. 1, area charities created a fund to help survivors and quickly raised $1.1 million. Almost five months later, the Minnesota Helps — Bridge Disaster Fund has given out only $104,000 to aid individual families.


AC360 folo (updates on stories covered by AC360)

Calif. school hires photographer to catch Mexican students
Children are more likely to shield their faces than to smile when Daniel Santillan points his camera. Santillan's photos aren't for any picture album or yearbook --they help prove that Mexican youngsters are illegally attending public schools in this California border community.



What YOU will be Talking about Today

Letterman's Return
Robin Williams will be David Letterman's first guest upon the return of his "Late Show" on CBS Wednesday.
Woman Escorted Off Bus For Reading Bible Aloud
A passenger on a Fort Worth bus says the T. Bus Service discriminated against her religion.
Posted By CNN: 6:09 AM ET
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Monday, December 31, 2007
The Bloom, and that Huckleberry rose
--David Gergen, 360 Contributor

Stories in the Washington Post and NYT have set off some buzz among political commentators over whether Mike Bloomberg is going to jump into the presidential race.

In my judgment, any short list of the most able public leaders in the country would have Bloomberg on it. Still, I think he is a long way from deciding about an independent race.

The more immediate question for me is whether the bloom is coming off the Huckleberry rose in Iowa. Polls show that he has slipped back into a dead heat with Romney there.

Ed Rollins, his new campaign director, believes that a series of anti-Huckebee ads by Romney are taking their toll because Huckabee doesn't have the money to answer them effectively on television.

But I suspect that his startling responses to the Bhutto assassination are having a significant impact, too. Rarely have I witnessed a major candidate answer questions about a foreign crisis with such ineptness. As AC asks so often, "What was he thinking?"

Huckabee could wind up doing Romney a big favor. Earlier, Romney was expected to win so easily in Iowa that the press might have written it off. Now, if he beats Huckabee, he can legitimately claim a more important victory.

With a three-way deadlock on the Democratic side, the Thursday caucuses may hold more of a key to the nominations than anyone might have thought a few months ago.

Happy New Year to one and all!
Posted By CNN: 5:06 PM ET
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Cutting It Close
--Claire Brinberg, 360 Producer

I am standing in front of a barbershop in Des Moines, waiting to watch Mike Huckabee get his hair cut. About 30 media types are gathered here for the barbershop stake out. No joke. I'm standing off to the side and feeling a bit sheepish.

But that's the way it's gone with Huckabee today: a cavalcade of photo-ops. He went for a jog this morning, with tv cameras in tow. And now he's minutes away from a quick trim.

In between, was an odd news conference, conveniently held in the hotel where I'm staying.

Standing before more than a hundred reporters, Huckabee announced he's pulling the plug on a tv commercial attacking Mitt Romney. He absolutely, positively won't go on the attack, he said. Just not his style. Not the way he's gonna win. The unaired attack ad, he declared, is going back on the shelf.

But first...Huckabee played the scathing ad on a huge screen for the roomful of reporters. For real. Reporters wondered why Huckabee was screening the commercial at all. The candidate said he wanted to prove it actually existed.

I, for one, would've taken his word for it.
Posted By CNN: 4:12 PM ET
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It takes a village... to get out the vote.
--Candy Crowley, Senior Political Correspondent

The Clinton campaign, counting heavily on first-time caucus-goers who are female and over 50, is doing the following to get them out (in addition to phone-call and door-knocking reminders)

A) dispensing hundreds of snow shovels to clear the walks of, um, mature women who may not have had them shoveled after recent storms (since caucus night looks clear although cold)

B) relying on a "caucus buddy system," having over the past year teamed up (mostly) strangers in precincts who have been in touch with one another. Idea: they encourage each other and ride together to the caucus to make it a social event.

C) providing catering at many caucuses.

As an aside here is direct quote from Clinton strategist on one segment of their target audience: "We even have a category of caucus-goer (and a pretty damn big one) of people from 90 to 110."

While Clintonites offer friends, rides, food and shoveling, the Obama campaign, with a core that is 45 and younger (read: child-bearing age) is offering... yes, babysitting.
Posted By CNN: 2:22 PM ET
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New Year's Eve in Des Moines
--Claire Brinberg, 360 producer

There's a certain species of political junkie known as the Caucus Tourist...a strange creature who emerges from hibernation every four years and instinctively heads to Iowa, armed with long underwear and warm socks.

They don't come here to work; they come here to watch: to get up close and semi-personal with the men (and woman) who would be president and feed off the excitement enveloping this state in the final days leading up to its caucuses.

I'm not exactly a Caucus Tourist. I'm getting paid to be here. But in my down time, I've been racing from high school gym to high school gym, listening to candidates I've up 'til now seen mostly on tape. Let me tell you this much: there's nowhere else I'd rather be right now. Not even close.

It's hard to describe Caucus time in Iowa for people who've never been. This large state turns into a small town. Restaurants bustle with friends from the coasts, all complaining about the cold, the driving conditions, the tardiness of candidates. But everyone's thrilled to be here.

On the trail, you run into people you haven't seen in years. It's like a giant nerds convention: everyone cares about the inside baseball strategey of politics. And everyone speaks the language.

I'm not a big New Year's Eve person, but I am PUMPED for New Year's Eve in Des Moines. A prescient newspaper reporter friend of mine booked us a table about 2 months ago at one of the city's more fabulous restaurants (of which there are more than you'd think, but still not many).

So at about 9p tonight, I'll be sitting at a table of disgruntled New Yorkers (and one token Iowan), trying to pretend we'd rather be back home. Later, we'll ramble through the Skywalk (the overhead heated walkways connecting office buildings and hotels in downtown Des Moines), hitting the impromptu political, uh, parties popping up this year.

You can keep Times Square.
Posted By CNN: 12:20 PM ET
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The Smart Money
--Candy Crowley, Senior Political Correspondent

As someone close to Michael Bloomberg once said, "he didn't get that rich wasting money."

In a contest where Dems are very happy with all their choices and where the bulk of the GOP holds a set of social values different from Bloomberg's, what hole does Bloomberg fill? Where does he find a following big enough to give him a reasonable chance of actually winning the White House?

So, if he doesn't like to waste money....
Posted By CNN: 12:17 PM ET
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Jena 6: The right to competent representation
--Roland S. Martin, 360 Contributor

Here's the headline: Parent of Jena 6 defendant Mychal Bell to sue his attorneys.

Here's the story: Angered by his son's acceptance of a plea bargain, Marcus Jones, the father of Jena 6 defendant Mychal Bell, says he will sue the attorneys involved and will seek their disbarment.

Now here's the back story: I talked to Jones this morning on my radio show and he was angered by the plea bargain, but also by their refusals to put forward motions that he says would have gotten his son released.

Jones says Bell's attorneys, Louis Scott and Carol Powell-Lexing, could have filed appeals regarding the issue of double jeopardy and the failure of police to file a police report in the initial fight involving Justin Barker, but the attorneys never did.

We called both attorneys for comment but couldn't reach them. Jones said he's in favor of his son suing the attorneys. "Daddy, sue them, do whatever you can, get them disbarred, whatever," Jones quoted his son telling him.

Jones also said that Bell's attorneys have refused any outside legal assistance in the case, including Harvard University professor Charles Ogletree. "How in the world do you turn down all that help?" Jones said.

Jones didn't say whether Bell's mother, Melissa, would be a part of the suit. "I want to try to throw the kitchen sink at (Bell's lawyers); any legal action I can take, I want it done," he said.

http://www.rolandsmartin.com/
Posted By CNN: 12:00 PM ET
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What's Your New Year's Resolution?
Program note: Anderson Cooper hosts New Year's Eve Live
tonight at 11p ET on CNN

Ah, New Year's Eve. Here it is once again. I was trying to remember what my New Year's resolution was last year, but the truth is I can barely remember last week, let alone a whole year ago. This year I've resolved to blog much more often. Everyday, actually. We'll see how long this one lasts. What is your New Year's resolution? Did you keep last year's?

As a kid I was never a big fan of New Year's Eve. There always seemed something slightly menacing about the event. New York City streets are packed, people are drunk, it always kind of freaked me out. Then as an adult, I didn't like it much because there was always so much pressure to have a good time, and you can never find a cab to go home in when you realize the party you're at is lame.

Now I really like New Year's Eve because I'm working and Times Square is actually a really fun place to be. When the ball drops, and the confetti descends I like nothing more than silently watching the explosion of euphoria. Frank Sinatra's voice sings New York, New York. People hug each other and cheer. There really is nothing like it.

This year should be especially fun because Kathy Griffin will be joining me live in Times Square. She'll give us her top ten moments of 2007 and who knows what else. Erica Hill and Kiran Chetry will also be in Times Square helping us ring in the New Year. As those of you who've watched before know, we like to show you how the New Year is celebrated around the world and around America. John Zarrella will once again be in Key West, Florida, for the drag queen drop, Kareen Wynter is in Vegas, and Sean Callebs is in New Orleans.

We'll also hear from Miranda Lambert in Atlanta, Widespread Panic is there as well, and Earth, Wind and Fire will be in Vegas. It looks like it may be a cold night, so break out the bubbly, or the cookies and milk, and snuggle up with us tonight starting at 11p ET.

Also we want to hear from you. Send us your resolutions, your party pictures, whatever you want to cnn.com/iparty. We'll show many of them on the air, maybe yours....
-- Anderson Cooper
Posted By CNN: 11:26 AM ET
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Morning Buzz
Folks -- Tonight at 10 pm we have a Tom Foreman year ender special...All the best..and worst: AC360 2007 .... What were the best moves in culture, business, politics, law and entertainment? More important: What were the worst? Tom will wrap them all up with a big red bow in ALL THE BEST, ALL THE WORST; a free-wheeling hour of the sideshow of life... fistfights in legislatures, stupid criminals, smart entrepreneurs, clueless celebrities, and hapless courtroom maneuvers. The program will feature all the year's video highlights and low lights, along with interspersed commentary from a panel of surprising observers. It will be fast, funny, and full of shockingly inappropriate assessments.


Then at 11 pm...IT is New Years Eve LIVE with Anderson Cooper... So ring in 2008 tonight with Anderson!!!!

I will be back in the morning with your regular Morning Buzz. Wishing you ALL a happy and healthy 2008...
Posted By CNN: 8:35 AM ET
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ABOUT THE BLOG
A behind the scenes look at "Anderson Cooper 360°" and the stories it covers, written by Anderson Cooper and the show's correspondents and producers.



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• 03/18/2007 - 03/25/2007
• 03/25/2007 - 04/01/2007
• 04/01/2007 - 04/08/2007
• 04/08/2007 - 04/15/2007
• 04/15/2007 - 04/22/2007
• 04/22/2007 - 04/29/2007
• 04/29/2007 - 05/06/2007
• 05/06/2007 - 05/13/2007
• 05/13/2007 - 05/20/2007
• 05/20/2007 - 05/27/2007
• 05/27/2007 - 06/03/2007
• 06/03/2007 - 06/10/2007
• 06/10/2007 - 06/17/2007
• 06/17/2007 - 06/24/2007
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• 07/01/2007 - 07/08/2007
• 07/08/2007 - 07/15/2007
• 07/15/2007 - 07/22/2007
• 07/22/2007 - 07/29/2007
• 07/29/2007 - 08/05/2007
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• 08/19/2007 - 08/26/2007
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• 10/07/2007 - 10/14/2007
• 10/14/2007 - 10/21/2007
• 10/21/2007 - 10/28/2007
• 10/28/2007 - 11/04/2007
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• 11/18/2007 - 11/25/2007
• 11/25/2007 - 12/02/2007
• 12/02/2007 - 12/09/2007
• 12/09/2007 - 12/16/2007
• 12/16/2007 - 12/23/2007
• 12/23/2007 - 12/30/2007
• 12/30/2007 - 01/06/2008
• 01/06/2008 - 01/13/2008
• 01/13/2008 - 01/20/2008
• 01/20/2008 - 01/27/2008

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