Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Morning Buzz
Morning Folks...

Please pardon our appearance this morning. We are in the process of transitioning from one set of blogger software to another... SOOO while the look may change slighty, the content is still the same...NO worries...

In Raw Politics today...It is Florida Primary day! It was THE STATE in 2000 that decided the Presidency, but will it give us a clue as to who the GOP front runner is? Florida is also "the basket" that Rudy has put ALL his eggs in!!! Rumors have it that he just may drop out if he doesn't win!! So watch Anderson and the CNN political gang tonight for full coverage...

Also, if your Grandpa was a thief and your Daddy was a thief, sorry folks but chances are YOU will be one, TOO! Check out the new study in Crime & Punishment... Plus Mexican officials issued an arrest warrant for Cesar Laurean, he was last seen in that country... And speaking of jail, Chicago authorities arrested Antoin "Tony" Rezko. Rezko was the guy Hillary Clinton claimed Obama was spending a little too much time with... You might recall that Drew Griffin kept him honest for us last week...

PLUS, there is talk that herbal centers in California may start selling Marijuana in vending machines...make sure you have exact change!

Sooo grab your coffee...there are lots of headlines to chew over this morning....

Top Stories

Car bomb blast kills at least 3...
A car bomb exploded Tuesday outside a police station in northern Algeria, killing at least three people and wounding several others, security officials said.

Economists rate chance of recession as a 'coin flip'
There is a 50-50 chance that the U.S. economy will sink into recession this year, but any downturn will likely be short and shallow, according to a survey of economists out Tuesday.

Senate to Offer Own Stimulus Package...
The chairman of the Senate Finance Committee yesterday unveiled a rival plan to stimulate the economy, offering a $500 check to virtually every American--including low-income seniors and rich financiers-- in a direct challenge to the bipartisan deal reached last week by President Bush and House leaders.

Bush's Final State of the Union...
President Bush used his final State of the Union speech Monday to call for a quick shot in the arm for the economy in "a period of uncertainty" and touted last year's progress in the ongoing war in Iraq.

A Defiant Look at What Little Lies Ahead...
Making his seventh and final State of the Union address, President Bush proposed a short list of initiatives Monday that more than anything else underscored the White House's growing realization that his biggest political opponents now are time and an electorate already looking beyond him.

Time running out to solve our problems...
Democratic Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius called for "a new course" for the nation on Monday, saying Americans "have no more patience with divisive politics" and urging President Bush to join "the vast majority of Americans" to make needed change.

Opposition Lawmaker Killed in Kenya...
Gunmen killed an opposition lawmaker in Nairobi early Tuesday, an attack likely to stoke the ethnic fighting that has gripped Kenya since last month's disputed presidential election.

Raw Politics

Florida critical for GOP contenders...
Republicans have battled fiercely for votes in Tuesday's critical Florida primary, as Democrats have largely ignored the state after national leadership said it would not seat Florida's delegates because of a squabble over scheduling.

McCain, Romney Trade 'Liberal' Barb...
Mitt Romney and John McCain accused each other Monday of being liberals, a charge tantamount to blasphemy in the caustic campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.

McCain springs ahead in California...
The Arizona senator is 13 points ahead of his closest rival in a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll released Monday: Thirty-nine percent of likely California Republican primary voters back McCain, while 26 percent support former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

Kennedy Backs Obama With 'Old Politics' Attack...
Senator Edward M. Kennedy implored Americans on Monday "to turn the page on the old politics of misrepresentation and distortion," as he placed the aura of the most prominent Democratic family around Senator Barack Obama's candidacy.

Fla. primary lacks luster of past contests...
As it showed in 2000, Florida is a swing state with the power to make or break a presidency. But its influence during this year's primary season has been mixed: The Democratic contest doesn't count toward the nomination and Republicans stand to lose half their delegates.

Giuliani Seeks to Prove Experts Wrong...
Rudy Giuliani, having bet almost his entire presidential campaign on Florida, hinted for the first time that he may drop out if he doesn't win the state's primary.

Crime & Punishment

New Orleans police officer killed by vagrant...
A vagrant wanted for questioning in a rape overpowered a police officer who was trying to handcuff him, then shot her to death with her own weapon Monday, police said.

For many of USA's inmates, crime runs in the family...
The fates of the three Caston brothers may well have been fixed at their births.

Keeping Them Honest

Rezko put in jail; bail is revoked...
Antoin "Tony" Rezko was roused at daybreak Monday from his Wilmette mansion by federal agents and ordered jailed by a judge who was disturbed that the politically connected businessman concealed a $3.5 million payment from overseas.

Question of Timing on Bush's Push on Earmarks...
President Bush has never shown much distaste for Congressional pork. But in his last year in office, with his party out of power on Capitol Hill, he declared Monday that he had had enough.

An American Builder's Failures in Iraq Are Found to Have Been More Widespread...
Rebuilding failures by one of the most heavily criticized companies working in Iraq, the American construction giant Parsons, were much more widespread than previously disclosed and touched on nearly every aspect of the company's operation in the country, according to a report released Monday by a federal oversight agency.

Ac360 Follow

Mexico issues warrant for Laurean...
Six days after Marine Cpl. Cesar Laurean was tracked to a town in Mexico, a Mexican court issued an arrest warrant Monday for the alleged killer, the U.S. Embassy said.

What you WILL be talking about TODAY

Marijuana vending machines...
A herbal nutrition center will allow patients to get prescription marijuana from a vending machine. Affiliate KCAL reports.

Midlife slump finds people in their 40s down in the dumps...
Middle age makes you miserable, so don't blame your job, your kids, your spouse, your income or lack of it, suggests an international study of 2 million people from 80 nations released today.
Posted By CNN: 5:15 AM ET
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Monday, January 28, 2008
Morning Buzz
Morning Folks...Happy Monday!!!

Obama took South Carolina, McCain and Romney are in a virtual dead heat in Florida...so it looks like we will have to wait until Super Tuesday to get a better sense of who the actual '08 front runners are...Never a dull moment on the campaign trail...

And if you ever want to hire a hit man, I suggest you don't post it on craigslist!!! Check out that story in Crime & Punishment... PLUS, is it possible to arrest the President and Vice President of the United States? Well, the folks of Brattleboro, VT are going to try....hopefully, it won't be before tonight's State Of the Union address...

Sooo grab your coffee, it is time for the Morning Buzz...

Economy, War To Dominate State of Union...
For years, President Bush and his advisers expressed frustration that the White House received little credit for the nation's strong economic performance because of public discontent about the Iraq war. Today, the president is getting little credit for improved security in Iraq, as the public increasingly focuses on a struggling U.S. economy.

Still more rain in sodden California...
Fast-moving thunderstorms brought new waves of rain on Sunday to Southern California, following days of drenching weather and heavy mountain snowfall and raising fears of mudslides and flooding.

US shift seen to Pakistan, Afghanistan...
In a shift with profound implications, the Bush administration is attempting to re-energize its terrorism-fighting war efforts in Afghanistan, the original target of a post-Sept. 11 offensive. The U.S. also is refocusing on Pakistan, where a regenerating al-Qaida is posing fresh threats.

Police, rioters clash in fresh Kenya violence...
Police battled rioters in the west of Kenya on Monday as tribal clashes that left 130 dead over four days spread further across the country.

Iraqi forces positioning for battle with al Qaeda loyalists...
A major movement of Iraqi forces gathered on Sunday in Mosul as a prelude to a planned offensive against Islamic fighters loyal to al Qaeda, an Iraqi government spokesman said.

Hussein was surprised U.S. invaded...
Saddam Hussein let the world think he had weapons of mass destruction to intimidate Iran and prevent the country from attacking Iraq, according to an FBI agent who interviewed the dictator after his 2003 capture.

Chicago church offers sanctuary to 2nd illegal immigrant...
The tiny storefront church that sheltered Elvira Arellano in yearlong defiance of a federal deportation order is poised to give sanctuary to another undocumented immigrant facing deportation, church leaders said Sunday.

Kennedy Chooses Obama, Spurning Bill Clinton Plea...
Senator Edward M. Kennedy, rejecting entreaties from the Clintons and their supporters, is set to endorse Senator Barack Obama’s presidential bid on Monday as part of an effort to lend Kennedy charisma and connections before the 22-state Feb. 5 showdown for the Democratic nomination.

Romney, McCain battle for Fla. votes...
Republican Mitt Romney sought to lock up the Florida primary by refusing to talk Sunday about little else but the economic jitters confronting the nation. His rivals took different tacks toward the same goal as they fanned out across the Sunshine State.

Races Entering Complex Phase Over Delegates...
The presidential campaign is entering a new phase as Democratic and Republican candidates move beyond state-by-state competition and into a potentially protracted scramble for delegates Congressional district by Congressional district.

Obama says SC win turns a page...
Democrat Barack Obama said Sunday that his landslide win in South Carolina's presidential primary marks a turn in political history, showing that a black candidate can appeal to voters of all colors and in all regions.

Super Tuesday looks close for Democrats...
In eight days, on Feb. 5, Obama and his principal rival, New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, face off in the contest dubbed Super Tuesday, the biggest day of presidential primary voting in U.S. history

Top Candidates' Teams Look to the Lawyers...
As the race for the Democratic presidential nomination raged on in South Carolina and across the country this weekend, America's top trial lawyers became the focal point of a different aspect of the campaign at a seaside resort here.

Wanted: Someone to kill my boyfriend's wife...
A US woman was arrested this week after she allegedly tried to hire a hit man to murder her married lover's wife by posting an ad on the popular website craigslist, law enforcement officials said Sunday.

Ohio DNA program flawed...
Ohio's DNA testing program for inmates seeking to prove their innocence is deeply flawed, with police routinely discarding evidence after trials and court-ordered tests never getting done, a newspaper reported Sunday.

The federal agency that regulates the nation's mining industry says it has failed to issue penalties for hundreds of citations issued since 2000, and the problem could extend as far back as 1995.

Calif. needs more firefighting resources...
A panel reviewing last fall's deadly Southern California wildfires called Friday for additional personnel and equipment as a means of responding quickly and with overwhelming force before small blazes spread.

Brattleboro to vote on arresting Bush, Cheney...
Brattleboro residents will vote at town meeting on whether President George Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney should be indicted and arrested for war crimes, perjury or obstruction of justice if they ever step foot in Vermont.
"No Country for Old Men" emerged as the Oscars favorite Sunday by taking top honors for overall cast along with Javier Bardem's supporting-actor prize at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, the lone gathering of A-list stars in an awards season hobbled by the writers strike.

Wild elephant attacks tourist in China...
A wild elephant in southern China picked up an American tourist with its trunk and threw him in the air, causing the man to suffer from fractured ribs and stomach injuries, an official said Monday.
Posted By CNN: 5:17 AM ET
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Saturday, January 26, 2008
Debate lipstick?
Editor's note: Makeup artist Kriss Soterion's been getting some national attention for her work. We asked her to blog about her time with the candidates.

Yup that's right. More than any previous election all eyes are on the lipstick because a women is in the mix.

I couldn't be a happier makeup artist, celebrating my 20th year painting faces! I will never forget the first time I powdered her face (Senator Clinton that is!) at the National Democratic Convention in Boston in '04. She was already made up and just needed a little blotting... I looked into her beautiful blue eyes and dreamed that one day I would have a chance to work my full magic on her.

On June 3, I got my chance using my special techniques, and my own product line, that make women look younger, brighter and more lifted. I went with my intuition that night and custom blended a special lipstick for her, it was not her usual red. After much positive press and interest in "what I did to her that night" I formulated "debate" lipstick, the exact mix (which my beloved CNN crew/woman love to wear).

After last week's Los Angeles Times spread in the style section, a segment on Inside Edition, radio and assorted national press, women all over the country are beginning to wear it too. A portion of proceeds are blessing New Life Home for Women in Manchester, N.H., a women's shelter that is dear to my heart.

As CNN's freelance makeup artist for special events, I have been in a unique situation to makeup up all the candidates for all the debates across the country. I have seen them strive, endure and evolve from behind the scenes, a place where very few venture.

I have the opportunity to touch them with the stroke of my brush, the warmth of my smile, a prayer and a nod for confidence. I connect with them eye to eye. We giggle, meditate, prepare. They are all extraordinary, each and every one of them.

During the debate I sit back stage and watch the monitor, where there is never any sound, and quietly study their faces, waiting for sweat or shine, or a need for more lipstick!

-- Kriss Soterion, CNN Makeup artist

Program note: Anderson Cooper moderates when the Republican candidates for President debate Wednesday, January 30 at 8p ET on CNN.
Posted By CNN: 11:06 AM ET
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Friday, January 25, 2008
Blog from the Back Row
There were supposed to be pictures tonight to give you a view of the control room from the back row. The photos didn't happen because of late word from Chicago that a decomposed body, which could be that of Stacy Peterson, had been found at an industrial site in Chicago. However, If you had gotten those pictures you would have seen:

- our satellites coordinator, Brooke Turnbull, with multiple phones plastered to his ears, making sure that the two late guests and two late phoners actually made air at the top of the show

- our video coordinator, Ashley Corum, frantically cutting new video of investigators at the site that was being fed in from the field

- our line producer, Jenny Blanco, doing rundown aerobics to make sure the hour did not become a 90 minutes show

In the end, Brooke got us the guests, Ashley got us the pics and Jenny got us out on time.

Enjoy the weekend. See you Monday.
Posted By CNN: 11:07 PM ET
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America: The promising
-- Jamie Floyd, 360 Contributor

This morning, as I was walking to the subway -- in a rare moment when I actually looked up from my Blackberry -- I saw a child running towards me, a boy -- he couldn't have been more than 9 or 10 years old. His face was full of joy and expectation, as he ran toward his school, his mother, his friends or whatever it was behind me that caused him to come charging past.

And I smiled; because you see -- this boy was black. A young African-American child on his way to school, unaware of all of the obstacles he will face in this world: An unemployment rate that is higher for black men than any other segment of the population, a life expectancy that is shorter, an appalling incarceration rate and a drop-out rate that is unacceptable.
But I smiled. I smiled because this black child is also growing up in a world of possibility.

For the first time, a black man has a very real chance of becoming president of the United States.

So, I smiled because, even though he likely doesn't know it yet, that little boy has a reason to be joyful today. Even if Barack Obama is not elected president, this black child will grow up knowing that someday -- HE could be.

And that means this is a new and better country -- an America that holds out promise to all of its children.

Posted By Jackie Adams: 7:46 PM ET
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Erica Hill Cometh

Erica Hill
360 Correspondent

Hard to believe this is my last day at Headline News -- and that as of Monday, I will be a full time member of the AC 360 staff.

I am so excited about the move! I knew good things were in store, but when I read Anderson's blog entry from earlier this week and your responses, I really got pumped. You certainly know how to make a girl's day!

Thank you for all of your kind words and wishes. I have a great time doing cut-ins with Anderson every night, and am looking forward to making a bigger contribution to the show. I am joining an incredible team of journalists both in front of and behind the camera, and I know I will learn so much from all of them.

A warning to the 360 team, though: I'm bringing some fun with me. If you subscribe to my daily Prime News newsletter, you know all about the show team's exploits and our many potlucks. I even helped to start a band on my show once (can't imagine why we didn't get a record deal!) There's more to this gal than cut-ins and dramatic animal video!

Thanks again for the warm welcome - I'm looking forward to making the move official.
Posted By CNN: 4:01 PM ET
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Beat 360
Afternoon bloggers!

Ready for today's challenge? For those of you who don't know, we've started something new: 'Beat 360.'

Every day we post a picture, and you provide the caption... Our staff will get in on the action too...

Tune in every night at 10p ET to see if you are our favorite!

Can you beat 360?
Here is today's 'Beat 360' pic:

Here's one or two to get you started:

"Speaking of change... I think she needs one..."

Have fun with it. Make sure to include your name, city, state (or country) so we can post your comment.

Posted By CNNBLOG: 3:38 PM ET
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Testifying from the Grave: Yes, it's pretty rare

Jeffrey Toobin
360 Contributor

Some cases are so fascinating, so legally intriguing, that you have to make sure to pause and remind yourself that they are rooted in human tragedy.

Julie Jensen, a 40-year-old mother of two, was found dead, poisoned to death, in her home in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin.

It turns out that Julie left a note with a neighbor saying that if she were to turn up dead, her husband Mark should be the lead suspect.

So is the note admissible in evidence during her husband's murder trial? Under the traditional rules of hearsay evidence, the answer would be no -- because Mark Jensen's lawyer would have no one to cross-examine about the note.

But the Wisconsin Supreme Court said yes, the letter could be received in evidence, under a novel theory... basically that there is probable cause to believe that Mark Jensen had something to do with Julie Jensen's inability to testify. (Read the Wisconsin Supreme Court's opinion)

It's an interesting legal mystery. CNN's Gary Tuchman went to Wisconsin to cover the story, and Anderson and I will discuss the issue tonight on 360.

Posted By CNN: 2:53 PM ET
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In Davos: The U.S. On a Downhill Slope
David Gergen
360 Contributor
DAVOS, Switzerland (CNN) -- It is unsettling these days to be an American at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

When I first started coming here about 15 years ago, the U.S. was the centerpiece of attention and respect. Especially after the Cold War, we were seen as a benevolent hyper power.

I remember vividly how Larry Summers, then a professor, argued that not since the days of ancient Rome had there been such a large gap between the most powerful society on earth versus the No. 2 -- in economic, political, military and cultural influence. Where there was some definite resentment among some of the leaders on hand, the more general reaction was one of warmth.

One felt extremely proud to be a representative from the USA.

That view actually started to change before George W. Bush took office, as others around the world worried how governable we are. Still, the immediate reaction to 9/11 was an outpouring of support and sympathy -- so strong that the founder of the forum, Klaus Schwab, moved the January 2002 sessions to New York City as a message of world solidarity with the U.S.

Never before or since has the World Economic Forum been held away from Davos.

Iraq brought a change here, just as it did in world opinion. The sessions just before and after the war started, touched off the greatest anger toward the United States that anyone can remember at Davos. It got pretty ugly in some sessions. But the Europeans and others thought there must be a saving grace. Surely, they thought, the president is acting without much public support at home.

How wrong they were.

When Bush swept to a resounding re-election in 2004, the Davos of January, 2005 was one of pretty sullen resignation by delegates from other countries.

By 2006, the mood changed again: ok, if you are not going to lead well in America, we will have to start moving ahead without you. By 2007, China and India suddenly became the center of attention as people spoke in awe of their growth and crowded into sessions on "Whither Asia?"

Now this year, my observation is that people are following the election campaign closely but they are not at all optimistic that the U.S. is going to resume its world leadership role. And there is far more despair here about the U.S. government's foot dragging on climate change than Iraq (fortunately, some U.S. CEOs like Jim Rogers of Duke Energy are much more aggressive in fighting carbon emissions than our government, so that helps in arguing that America may one day soon play a more responsible role on the environment.)

Overall, I would have to say, Asia is seen as the future here while there is a big, big question mark hanging over the U.S.

Does any of this matter? I think it does.

Davos brings together about 2,500 leaders from business, finance, government, the academy, journalism and the like. One can dismiss them as elites, but for better or for worse, elites do play a significant role in shaping the course of events.

If you believe, as I do, that it is critical to the future of the globe that the U.S. become once again a power to whom others turn with respect and for leadership, we need to pull ourselves back up.

We don't need to be the world's only superpower -- we have to respect the right of others to share join leadership -- but it will be a much more threatening world for our kids and grandkids if others rise and we continue on a downhill slope.
Posted By CNN: 2:50 PM ET
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Bill Clinton: Helping or hurting? Or both?

Candy Crowley
Senior Political Correspondent

Sitting in a college chapel in Columbia, South Carolina, in my usual morning role: waiting for HRC. Pondering The Bill Clinton Card.

On the one hand, if somebody's going to go after Obama, shouldn't it be HER, a.k.a. the actual candidate?

When he's the pitbull:

A) She looks like she needs his protection -- circa 1950 -- not so cool for a woman who wants to be commander-in-chief. She is woman. She should roar -- circa 1970.

B) Former presidents are supposed to be elder statesman. BC's off-the-rails pitbull thing is tacky.

C) The spectre of a co-presidency looms. As Joe Biden once said to me, "Can you imagine being vice president with him (BC) in the White House?" Or Secretary of State or National Security Adviser, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

D) BC is so strident vis a vis Obama, party operatives worry BC is doing permanent party damage.

He hurts her.

On the other hand:

A) He's her husband for heaven's sake, acting like a husband. It's not like their marriage is a secret. If she kept him chained to his chair in Chappaqua, THEN what would people say? Besides does anyone doubt she's a tough cookie?

B) When was the last time a former president's wife ran for president? Exactly. New role. New rules.

C) He's got a Democratic party approval rating of 89%; many democrats WANT him to have a big role.

D) Dems so lust for the White House, bygones will be bygones before June.

He helps her.

Pondering at an end.

HRC just took the podium, after cameo appearances from two New York imports -- Rep. Charlie Rangel and former New York Mayor David Dinkins, both African-Americans who said race is not an issue in the campaign, a frequent refrain now from camp Clinton.

Gotta Go listen, leaving you to ponder the Bill Clinton card.
Posted By CNN: 12:03 PM ET
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Morning Buzz
Morning....TGIF!!! This has been a long long week... Another debate last night, another primary tomorrow...Will Obama maintain his 13 point lead in South Carolina like the latest polls predict or will the "Bill factor" propel Hillary to another victory? All is fair in love and war....

GOOD news on the economy...we FINALLY have a deal on the economic stimulus package...let's hope it helps EVERYONE!!! And it definitely pays to tip off the authorities if you have suspicions about terrorism...A Minnesota flight instructor just received $5 MILLION...yes, $5 MILLION for notifying his boss about Zacarias Moussaoui's suspicious behavior...

Grab your coffee...and let's get started...here are your morning headlines...

Bush and House in Accord for $150 Billion Stimulus...
Hoping to give a quick adrenaline shot to the ailing economy, President Bush and House leaders struck a deal on Thursday for a $150 billion fiscal stimulus package, including rebates for most tax filers of up to $600 for individuals, $1,200 for couples and, for families, an additional $300 a child.

Bush speech to have few new ideas...
In a bow to political reality, President Bush's final State of the Union speech will skip bold proposals in favor of ones the country has heard before, a modest approach for a White House that prides itself on big ideas.

Teenager arrested in suicide hijacking plot...
Authorities have charged a teenage boy who said he planned to hijack a commercial jetliner in an attempt to commit suicide, an FBI spokesman told CNN late Thursday.

Troops could go to Pakistan...
U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said Thursday that the United States is "ready, able and willing" to send troops to Pakistan if the government of the South Asian nation is interested.

Flight instructor gets $5 million for catching '20th' hijacker...
A Minnesota flight instructor who notified his bosses of student Zacarias Moussaoui's suspicious behavior received a $5 million reward Thursday from the State Department, two government officials told CNN.

Egypt sealing parts of border with Gaza...
Egyptian soldiers in riot gear formed a human chain Friday along parts of their county's border with Gaza, where tens of thousands of Palestinians have crossed back and forth with little interference for the last two days.

Obama with 13-point lead in South Carolina: poll...
Barack Obama has a 13-point lead on rival Hillary Clinton but his support has eroded slightly on the eve of South Carolina's Democratic presidential primary, according to a Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby poll released on Friday.

Clinton is unworthy?
Republican presidential contenders depicted Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton as weak on Iraq and certain to raise taxes Thursday night, setting aside their own campaign debate squabbles long enough to agree that she is unworthy of the White House.

GOP debate focuses on economy in wake of stimulus plan...
Facing a pivotal primary in Florida next week, the Republican presidential candidates jousted Thursday over who has the best background to deal with the nation's economic slump.

In the South, Echoes of Jackson's Run...
Nearly 25 years of social change, political realignment and demographic shifts separate the presidential candidacies of the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson and Senator Barack Obama. Even so, there are echoes of 1984 as the battle for the Democratic nomination once again roars across the South, focused squarely on African Americans.

Giuliani's Florida Win Appears in Danger...
Rudy Giuliani splurged on Florida, lavishing time and money on a high-risk gamble that the state would vault him to the Republican presidential nomination.

New York Times endorses Clinton, backs McCain over Giuliani...
The New York Times endorsed Arizona Sen. John McCain for the Republican presidential nomination over Rudy Giuliani and the rest of the GOP field, strongly criticizing the former mayor of its home city.

Clinton's Campaign Sees Value in Keeping Former President in Attack Mode...
Advisers to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton say they have concluded that Bill Clinton's aggressive politicking against Senator Barack Obama is resonating with voters, and they intend to keep him on the campaign trail in a major role after the South Carolina primary.

Posing as girl, retired cop nabs prey...
No one will ever confuse Jim Murray with a teenager. His tall frame, broad shoulders and clipped gray hair give him away for the grandfather he is. But the 69-year-old retired police chief of this small Missouri town cuts a credible figure as a 13-year-old girl surfing the Web, looking for friends. He knows all the instant-messaging shorthand, the emoticons

Four California Museums Are Raided...
Federal agents raided a Los Angeles gallery and four museums in Southern California on Thursday, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, as part of a five-year investigation into the smuggling of looted antiquities from Thailand, Myanmar, China and Native American sites.

French Bank Links Lone Futures Trader To $7 Billion Fraud...
For five years, Jerome Kerviel toiled in the back offices of Societe Generale, learning the intricacies of the six-layer security system that France's second-largest bank used to protect its money, investors and customers from fraud, according to bank officials here.

Ledger's masseuse made 4 calls to Olsen...
The woman who discovered a lifeless Heath Ledger spent nine minutes making three calls to Mary-Kate Olsen before she dialed 911 for help, police said Thursday. She called the "Full House" actress a fourth time after paramedics arrived.

Winds of change sweep skid row...
Check-in at the Cecil Hotel had to wait a few minutes because Kerri Torrance, the clerk working the graveyard shift one night in November, had to deal with a heist.

Colorado Lawmaker Censured for Kicking...
In the week leading up to his first day on the job, State Representative Douglas Bruce, a Republican, got into a lengthy dispute with the Democratic speaker of the House over the time of his swearing in.
Posted By CNN: 5:25 AM ET
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Thursday, January 24, 2008
Calculating the Clintons
-- Carl Bernstein, CNN Contributor

The calculated decision that Bill Clinton will lead his wife's attack on Barack Obama -- here and now, and increasingly leading up to the February 5 Super Tuesday primaries -- represents a shift in the fundamental Democratic campaign dynamic, which is unnerving influential Democrats, both in her camp and Obama's.

They fear that the campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination has thus taken on an ugly aspect that is already spinning out of control, and could damage the party's chances in November; strip the former President of his unique position as the Democrats' most popular and influential figure; and -- worst of all -- focus attention not on electing Sen. Hillary Clinton as president, but rather, the less palatable question of the Clintons' -- plural -- restoration to the White House.

The whole question of Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, and their difficult relationship to the truth is now front and center. Or, as one of the Clintons' suppoters put it to me, "The circus is back. Many Democrats may love Bill Clinton -- and they do -- but not many relish the prospect of the circus back on center-stage" in American life.

However, the Clintons believe this course -- with Bill Clinton leading a careful but unrelenting attack on Obama's credibility and credentials -- may be the only way to reduce the chances that Hillary Clinton could get grievously injured in the February 5 Super Tuesday primaries and lose the nomination to Obama.

Editor's note: Carl Bernstein discusses his views with Anderson on tonight's 360 at 10p ET.
Posted By CNN: 8:05 PM ET
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Anderson's View: Heath Ledger coverage
For the last two nights we have reported on actor Heath Ledger. His shocking death is clearly a story a lot of people are interested in, but tonight we will not be reporting more on it. The truth is there is not really anything new to report.

The full results of the various tests done on Mr. Ledger will not be ready for perhaps a few weeks and there is very little new information. I have no doubt other networks will spend a lot of time tonight discussing his death and the various rumors about what might have caused it, but I am not a fan of speculation, so unless there is something really new to discuss we probably won't be covering it anymore anytime soon.

Tonight we are focusing a lot on politics. The battle between Obama and the Clintons continued today, and we will be examining several different aspects of it. I'm curious to hear your thoughts, in particular about the role President Clinton is playing on the campaign trail. Is it appropriate?

Let me know what you think.

--Anderson Cooper
Posted By CNN: 7:30 PM ET
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Why Golf has it backwards

360 contributor and 'In Session' anchor Jami Floyd has the 'Last Word' on why golf has it backwards.
Posted By CNNBLOG: 4:34 PM ET
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BEAT 360
Afternoon bloggers!

Nice job last night - lets do it again today! Ready for today's challenge? For those of you who don't know, we've started something new: 'Beat 360.'

Every day we post a picture, and you provide the caption... Our staff will get in on the action too...

Tune in every night at 10p ET to see if you are our favorite!

Can you beat 360?
Here is today's 'Beat 360' pic:

Here's one or two to get you started:

"Your majesty, you have a call from King Kong..."

LOL, OMG U R 2 funny. I'll C if I can go. TXT U LTR!
(...Where's the bloody 'SEND' button!)

Have fun with it. Make sure to include your name, city, state (or country) so we can post your comment.

Posted By CNNBLOG: 3:36 PM ET
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Obama e-mail smear campaign
We've received many blog comments in the past few weeks mentioning an e-mail about Barack Obama being a Muslim, being anti-Christian, and being anti-American.

We heard you loud an clear.

Check out Candy Crowley's report on the e-mail smear campaign against presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama. We're Keeping Them Honest.

Posted By CNNBLOG: 2:21 PM ET
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Human Growth Hormone is no free ticket to youth
David Mattingly
360 Correspondent

How old do you have to be to worry about looking old? In Beverly Hills, one doctor who specializes in treatments that roll back time tells me he's now getting calls from Hollywood 30-somethings and rap stars seeking injections of human growth hormone (HGH) and illegal steroids.

Everyone knows what steroids did to baseball. Now it seems that performing artists outside of sports are looking for similar ways to enhance performance.

But the Beverly Hills doctor tells me most people don't understand. HGH can help you look and feel better, but you're not going to see results unless you take supplements, eat right and EXERCISE! And HGH can be prescribed legally only to people with an HGH deficiency or with muscles wasted by AIDS.
Program note: Watch David's report tonight on 360 at 10p ET
Posted By CNNBLOG: 1:59 PM ET
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Cruising Carolina: En route to HRC's economic speech
Candy Crowley
360 Correspondent

For starters this is a big state. Wish you could get points for car mileage. Dashboard panel reads "low tire pressure." Is this a problem?

Hurdle one cleared, we found the site with minimal U-turns. We're told HRC and entourage has landed.

The crowd sits.


Major microphone problems here in the pre-show, which is not long enough to fill the gap between when the audience arrives and HRC walks in.

Stunningly, several speakers praising HRC. Now a guy who says he's proud of Bill for sticking up for HRC. Here we go: He intros former governor and former (Clinton) U.S. Education Sec. Dick Riley who will introduce HRC.

Big problem: Riley not here.

The crowd sits.


OK, the Riley introducer is back, was told to re-intro Riley. The plot thickens. Riley still a no show.

The crowd sits.


A woman has shown up -- says she's not prepared but she'll sing Amazing Grace. Fortunately, she has a great voice.
She's gone now.

The crowd sits.


They're totally out of people apparently. The canned music is on.

The crowd sits.


They found another speaker. She's introducing... DICK RILEY.

Good News, Blogees, third time's a charm. Dick Riley is here and guess who's with him? He found HRC. She says she's sorry she's late. She says next week President Bush will give his last state of the union next week.

The crowd claps.


HRC says it's enough to make you burst into song, but she doesn't.
The crowd claps. We are back on track. Gotta listen now.
Posted By CNNBLOG: 12:56 PM ET
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After the Inferno, at Hotel Disaster

Candy Crowley
360 Correspondent

Knowing, dear readers, that you were fraught with worry overnight about our stay at Hotel Disaster, a quick update:

They are back in business here, though one shudders to think what that might mean. ANYWHO, the ship has been (almost) righted, save the elevators which remain out of commission.

Frankly, the inconvenience to us second floor dwellers is minimal, even welcome. After hours of stand-ups, walk-ups must be healthy.

I do fear however for our ace photojournalist Tim Walls, lugger of heavy camera equipment, a 6th floor inhabitant. He looked beleaguered at the morning live shot. But then, maybe, so did we all.

Onward and Upward.
Posted By CNNBLOG: 12:25 PM ET
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Morning Buzz
Morning Folks!!! I think to start the morning out right we ALL need a $20,000 cup of coffee NOW that is what I am talking about... There are lots of headlines to get through today, so you may need a few of the cheaper cups...

In Raw Politics...new Presidential polls out show Hillary still out front across the country. BUT I am NOT sure that Rudy's strategy is paying off...The Washington Post poll shows McCain and Romney leading in Florida...Plus there are NEW details in the death of actor Heath Ledger...And the FDA is NOW requiring "suicide studies?" What is that all about?

AND sorry folks, BUT those were not UFO's flying over Texas...

After decades of inattention to the possible psychiatric side effects of experimental medicines, the Food and Drug Administration is now requiring drug makers to study closely whether patients become suicidal during clinical trials.

The masseuse who discovered Heath Ledger's body made two frantic calls to his latest squeeze, actress Mary-Kate Olsen, before dialing 911 for help, police revealed yesterday.

The events leading up to and immediately following the discovery of Heath Ledger's body in his SoHo apartment:

Deal for Economic Stimulus plan closer?
House Democratic and Republican leaders are looking for imminent agreement with the White House on an emergency package to jolt the economy out of its slump after negotiators on all sides made significant concessions at a late-night bargaining session.

How Low Should the Fed Go When Cutting Rates?
One of the key questions facing Federal Reserve policy makers next week, in the wake of their surprise rate cut Tuesday, is how much lower they should push interest rates to rescue the U.S. economy.
A suicide bomber killed Nineveh province's director of police in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on Thursday, the U.S. military said.

8 police killed in Afghan operation...
At least eight policemen were killed Thursday during an operation by U.S.-led coalition troops in central Afghanistan, which also left several insurgents dead, officials said.

U.S. commander orders plans on Pakistan...
The commander of U.S. forces in Central Asia has launched planning for more extensive use of U.S. troops to train Pakistani armed forces, a senior defense official said Wednesday.

After months of debate over illegal immigration, social issues and the Iraq war, the economy and taxes have emerged as the central focus of the Republican race in Florida.

Super Tuesday won't decide nominations...
Don't look to crown any presidential nominees on Super Tuesday. The race for delegates is so close in both parties that it is mathematically impossible for any candidate to lock up the nomination on Feb. 5, according to an Associated Press analysis of the states in play that day.

Romney Leads in Ill Will Among G.O.P. Candidates...
At the end of the Republican presidential debate in New Hampshire this month, when the Democrats joined the candidates on stage, Mitt Romney found himself momentarily alone as his counterparts mingled, looking around a bit stiffly for a companion.

Obama backer accuses Bill Clinton of suppressing vote...
A prominent supporter of Sen. Barack Obama on Wednesday compared Bill Clinton's appeals for his wife, Sen. Hillary Clinton, in South Carolina to the tactics used by a former Republican strategist that are infamous within Democratic circles.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton maintains a solid lead in her party's presidential race among Democratic voters nationwide, despite a surge in support since late last year for Sen. Barack Obama, a Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll has found.

Ill. ex-cop was ready for dating game...
A former police officer suspected in the disappearance of his wife was ready to take part in a radio competition in which women would vie to date him before station officials canned the idea Wednesday.

The two companies that managed the design and construction of the costly Big Dig project here will pay more than $400 million in an agreement with the government over leaky tunnels and a fatal ceiling collapse.

Cop's big ego stole half my life...
Tim Masters often drank heavily before he was imprisoned for murder in 1999, but he said he's sworn off the stuff in an interview Wednesday, his first full day of freedom in nearly nine years.

UFOs? Nope...
Ten Air Force Reserve F-16 fighter jets were the cause of the lights seen over parts of central Texas earlier this month that many believed to be UFOs, according to an Air Force Reserve news release.

Comic actor John Ritter died on his daughter's 5th birthday in September 2003. The next day, his widow, actress Amy Yasbeck, told the girl that her dad's death was unavoidable.Since then, Yasbeck has come to believe the story she told their daughter Stella was wrong.

Posted By CNN: 5:51 AM ET
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Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Fire on the campaign trail. And I mean fire.

Candy Crowley
Senior Political Correspondent

Editor's note: Candy filed her story for 360 tonight from a van outside her hotel in Irmo, South Carolina, a suburb of Columbia, because there was a fire in her hotel. Afterward, she filed this brief follow-up:

It is weirdly quiet here now at Hotel Disaster.

The good news is the fire trucks are gone.

The bad news: fire and flood restoration services is here.

The elevators are down and the power might go off in the rooms.

Otherwise, we are having a great time.
Posted By CNN: 11:42 PM ET
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Heath Ledger: More answers, and questions

Jason Carroll
360 Correspondent

The scene at 421 Broome street has been eerie.

News cameras and still photographers mobbed the street last night and early this morning, taking pictures of a makeshift shrine in front of Heath Ledger's apartment.

Flowers, candles, letters, and a magazine photo of the actor adorned the sidewalk next to the entrance of the posh four-story loft building, right in front of a high end fashion store.

People would walk by, some stopping to read the cards and letters, some asking us what happened. And everyone had the same question, how did he die?

The autopsy today was "inconclusive," and police have been reluctant to speculate over the cause. But they revealed more details on what happened the day Ledger was found dead.

Police shot down rumors of illegal drug use, but are investigating whether the prescription drugs found nearby had anything to do with his death. And, it may be another two weeks before we have a solid answer on how Ledger died.

Program note: See Jason Carroll's report on 360 at 10p, 11p, and 1a ET
Posted By CNN: 9:48 PM ET
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Heath Ledger: What we need to know

Jami Floyd
"In Session" Anchor/360 Contributor

Yesterday the actor Heath Ledger, most famous for his Oscar-nominated role in "Brokeback Mountain," was found dead in his New York City apartment. He was just 28 years old.

And of course we won't know what killed him until more tests come back... the autopsy was "inconclusive," but here's what we do know: Police are calling it a possible prescription drug overdose. No signs of foul play, and a bottle of sleeping pills reportedly found. No illegal narcotics found in the room, though.

And here's what else we know: prescription drugs are the second most abused drug among teens after pot. Not cocaine, not meth, not heroin, legal drugs prescribed by medical professionals.

So the police may be saying no signs of foul play in Heath Ledger's death, but I want to know, if he overdosed, what the names of the doctors on any little brown bottles found at the scene are. Let's hope Heath's death is not the last word.

Check out more Jami Floyd blogs on 'In Session'

Posted By CNNBLOG: 6:24 PM ET
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Race or Gender: Once more, with feeling...

Randi Kaye
360 Correspondent

Are you voting race or gender in this campaign?

I found out this week that is a loaded question. I did a story for 360 Monday night which focused on black women at a beauty salon in Charleston, South Carolina.

An African-American Democratic analyst had told me black women are struggling with the dilemma of whether to vote race or gender. In other words, Obama or Clinton.

At Anjae's Hair Salon, we interviewed a handful of African American women who told us they are voting the issues, not race or gender. We made it very clear in our report that these women say they are smarter than that. This campaign is about choosing the best candidate on healthcare, education and the economy, we reported.

Well, who would've thought our little discussion at this hair salon would have inspired such a fiery debate about our debate.

My CNN.com story on this topic from Monday generated half a million page views so far. Hosts of The View on ABC bashed us on Tuesday for even raising the question of 'race or gender?' Host Whoopi Goldberg actually said my story made her "pissed off." (WATCH the clip)

I guess we're not alone though.

Did you know Oprah's blog has an e-mail chain titled "Oprah is a traitor" just because she is supporting Obama? That surprises me since our expert told us there is a perception in the black community that race trumps gender, and that some would consider any woman voting for Hillary Clinton a sellout!

Anyway... I just had to share this response with our new friends at the salon down south. They couldn't believe it! They said anyone calling Oprah a traitor is "ignorant."

The salon's owner, Angela Jackson, told me, "we've been dealing with racism and gender all these years. Let's move onto something new. Let's try to get America back to where it needs to be. That's more important to me."

Hairdresser Shanese Jones, whom I also interviewed for our story, told me "it's true we are women, we are black and we don't have any choice. Whoever is the best and has the views that we would like to hear and like to see in the U.S. and see a change that's just what we have to go with." Again, all the ladies reiterated they are voting the ISSUES!!

So what do you think? Do you believe race or gender can really be ignored in this campaign? Do you think white women aren't weighing the fact Hillary Clinton is a woman and letting that play into their decision? What about white men? Or black men?

Are we all kidding ourselves trying to pretend we don't see what we see? I'd love to know what you think.

And be sure to tune into AC360 tonight at 10p ET for another tough look at the race vs. gender debate.
Posted By CNNBLOG: 6:02 PM ET
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Beat 360
Hey there bloggers!

Well here we are, middle of the workweek... happy Wednesday! Ready for today's challenge? For those of you who don't know, we've started something new: 'Beat 360.'

Every day we post a picture, and you provide the caption... Our staff will get in on the action too...

Tune in every night at 10p ET to see if you are our favorite!

Can you beat 360?
Here is today's 'Beat 360' pic:

Here's one or two to get you started:

"Thanks again for the gift, g. but seriously, I think I'm addicted to 'Guitar Hero'... is it weird my hands are shaking?"

"Mister President, alert the Secret Service! These are not my hands."

Have fun with it. Make sure to include your name, city, state (or country) so we can post your comment.

Posted By CNNBLOG: 2:12 PM ET
  83 Comments  | Add a Comment
FEMA's Katrina trailers: The disaster continues

Sean Callebs
360 Correspondent

Maybe it's a lasting tribute to how poorly the federal government was prepared for Hurricane Katrina.

But once again, the infamous FEMA trailers are in the news.

After buying thousands and thousands of trailers that ended up sitting in vacant lots, FEMA wanted to cuts its losses by selling them -- at a big loss.

Well, that plan didn't work out either. Now FEMA's buying them back -- for the same price it paid.. But that's the least of the problem.

There's formaldehyde in the trailers, and people have been getting sick.

That wasn't part of FEMA's disaster planning. But then, as we all know by now, there was so much missing from FEMA's planning.

And now, nearly two and a half years later, taxpayers are still paying the price.
Posted By CNN: 11:37 AM ET
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The U.S. economy and markets -- the Davos View
Editor's note: Andy Serwer is in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum

Andy Serwer
Managing Editor, Fortune Magazine

The urgency here is palpable.

If there was ever a need to have an intelligent truly global debate, it is now.

The issues here are pressing and real-time. Attendees from outside the U.S. are feeling penalized and there is real concern that the U.S. doesn't have the leadership to respond properly and that it may become overly political given the ongoing campaign.

Will protectionism and xenophobia rule the day?

Check out CNN.com's special coverage of the World Economic Forum

Check out Andy Serwer's blogs on Fortune.com
Posted By CNN: 11:08 AM ET
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Morning Buzz
Good Morning...It is Wednesday...We are halfway through the work week!!! It seems everyone is talking about the shocking death of actor Heath Ledger...only 28 years old. An Autopsy is expected today, so hopefully we will get some answers...

On the campaign trail...Obama is leading in the latest polls in South Carolina, but coming under serious attack about his religion...take a look at Raw Politics!!! Are these more dirty politics? Candy Crowley will look at that for us tonight... Thompson is OUT and McCain is raising money in the Big Apple, I wonder how Rudy feels about that?

The missing marine, Cesar Laurean, was spotted in Mexico and a new report out says that President Bush and a number of top officials made FALSE statements about the national security threat after the attacks in 2001...Sooo we are Keeping Them Honest

Plus...everyone should stay home from work today because a new study out says "work-related stress can KILL you" Yikes!!! Sooo grab some coffee and take a look at today's Morning Buzz...

An autopsy was scheduled for Wednesday as family and colleagues mourned the death of Academy Award-nominated actor Heath Ledger.

Heath Ledger, Actor, Is Found Dead at 28...
Heath Ledger, the Australian-born actor whose breakthrough role as a gay cowboy in the 2005 movie "Brokeback Mountain" earned him a nomination for an Academy Award and comparisons to the likes of Marlon Brando, was found dead Tuesday in an apartment in Manhattan with sleeping pills near his body, the police said.

A Rough-Edged Actor Who Carved An Indelible Image...
A young movie star dies and the mind automatically cues up the clip reel and FFs through the footage, even before it occurs to you to simply turn on the television and just watch the actual, endless loop..

Wall Street: Still seeing red...
Wall Street looked set to take another beating Wednesday, as investors reacted to a disappointing outlook from Apple and remained haunted by recession fears.

Worries That the Good Times Were a Mirage...
Until a few months ago, it was accepted wisdom that the American economy functioned far more smoothly than in the past. Economic expansions lasted longer, and recessions were both shorter and milder. Inflation had been tamed. The spreading of financial risk, across institutions and around the world, had reduced the odds of a crisis.

A foot of snow blanketed parts of Michigan and Wisconsin during the night, closing schools Tuesday and causing numerous traffic accidents.
Tens of thousands of people poured out of Gaza into Egypt Wednesday, yanking off coils of barbed wire and blowing holes in concrete walls in a rush to buy food and fuel.

Democrat Barack Obama holds a double-digit lead on rival Hillary Clinton three days before South Carolina's presidential primary, aided by a huge edge among black voters, according to a Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby poll released on Wednesday.

McCain raises money in Giuliani's turf...
Republican presidential hopeful John McCain raised money Tuesday on rival Rudy Giuliani's turf and picked up the endorsement of the former New York mayor's longtime nemesis

Obama battles Muslim rumor...
Democrat Barack Obama stepped up his efforts Tuesday to battle back against e-mails that falsely label him a Muslim, telling an interviewer the ongoing rumors were part of a "systematic political strategy."

Governors endorse presidential candidates...
Twenty-three of the country's governors have endorsed a presidential candidate at a time when their support matters most, lending their names, fundraising and organizing machinery to campaigns desperate for an edge in the primaries.

Longtime patron may be a problem for Obama...
Hillary Rodham Clinton dropped the name of Barack Obama's Chicago patron into the South Carolina debate Monday night, putting front and center a tangled relationship that has the potential to undermine Obama's image as a candidate whose ethical standards are distinctly higher than those of his main opponent.

A cousin of suspected killer Marine Cpl. Cesar Laurean told CNN Tuesday that he saw the wanted man near Guadalajara a week ago.

A study by two nonprofit journalism organizations found that President Bush and top administration officials issued hundreds of false statements about the national security threat from Iraq in the two years following the 2001 terrorist attacks.

Murder conviction tossed; man freed after 9 years in jail...
A Colorado judge Tuesday threw out Tim Masters' 1999 murder conviction after DNA evidence pointed to another suspect, and Masters was freed after spending more than nine years behind bars.

Dozens of bridge victims prepare to sue...
Dozens of victims of last summer's bridge collapse in Minneapolis - from surviving spouses to the parents of children riding on a yellow school bus - have filed preliminary paperwork to sue the state.

How likable are these people?
At a recent debate among the Democratic presidential candidates, Sen. Hillary Clinton was told that some voters didn't find her likable. Sen. Barack Obama retorted that he found her "likable enough" - a seemingly innocuous comment he was forced to defend in a subsequent debate in Las Vegas.

Work-related stress can kill, study finds...
Work really can kill you, according to a study on Wednesday providing the strongest evidence yet of how on-the-job stress raises the risk of heart disease by disrupting the body's internal systems.

Nikol Hasler doesn't recommend the "pull and pray" method of birth control. She says you should not have sex on nature trails because of bugs and Sasquatch. And if you hate your body as a teen, just wait.

Man shoots co-worker while rescuing him from crocodile..
A man who rescued a co-worker from the jaws of a crocodile in northern Australia also accidentally shot him in the process, police said.
Posted By CNN: 5:51 AM ET
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Tuesday, January 22, 2008
A White Man, A Black Man and a Woman Walk Into a Bar...
Jami Floyd
In Session Anchor/360 Contributor

Sounds like the start of a stand up comedy routine. But it's no joke. Because this is our country we're talking about; and the three front runners for the Democratic party nomination really are an African American, a woman and a white "son of the south."

As a black woman, I find it quite amazing that, in a year when many thought the big news would be Hillary's very real chance to become the first female president, Barack has entered the scene to give her a run for her money and for a place in history.

Of course, both candidates do not want you to vote on the basis of race or gender. But there's that third fella -- the one who stands to benefit from all the recent bickering between the front runners: John Edwards.

While the other two square off over "fairy tales" and the relative legacies of Dr. King and Lyndon Johnson, Edwards looks smart -- and substantive. Only a fool would count him out.

How ironic that, after all the excitement about a woman in the White House, or an African American, race and gender politics could make it easier for Edwards to position himself as the democrat's best chance to win back the White House.

Check out more Jami Floyd blogs on "In Session"
Posted By CNN: 5:54 PM ET
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Behind the scenes: Night on the Wedge

Joe Johns
360 Correspondent

Before the Debate
We had a great time preparing for last night's CNN/Congressional Black Caucus debate.

We got questions from all over, but mostly by e-mail. Then a handful of CNN editorial people got together in a conference room of our hotel to decide on the very best questions.

Sunday night the intensity revved up. We pretty much worked from mid-afternoon until 11pm -- had dinner brought in. Then the folks who had to be lucid on TV the next day went to bed. And the rest of the editorial staff stayed at it until about 4 am.

Monday morning, day of the debate, we were back at it -- selecting questions and debating the right way to say them. That went on until early afternoon. It's pretty intense stuff. Nobody said it, but I think the objective is to be clear, relevant, current, precise, provocative, and smart -- without crossing an invisible line that takes the focus off the candidates and puts it on the questioner.

Debate Night
Suzanne Malveaux and I were situated on what we called "The Wedge," a little desk out in the middle of the audience.

You could kind of feel the tension building for this debate because the campaigns of Sens. Clinton and Obama, had been lobbing smoke bombs at each other for days. I don't know what Anderson would say -- he's been a participant in many a political debate -- but from my point of view, the single most important thing is listening despite distractions.

You really have to zero in on what the candidates are saying and you can't zone out. Even though, for example, people in the audience are trying to get your attention. There was a nice lady sitting next to us who tapped me a couple times because she wanted to tell me something about what had just been said on the stage. I'm trying to hear what she's saying -- and I'm leaning over to listen. Then I think, "What am I doing? Sen. Obama's speaking and I'm not listening to him. This is not good."

There are always technical issues that can be distracting. Suzanne had problems with her IFB (earpiece) the first hour and we couldn't really talk because our microphones were open.
It was hard to get the message to the audio people in the control room -- though we quickly figured it out.

There was also concern about fatigue after the first hour, so to avoid that, Matt Hoye, one of the producers from the political unit, brought caffeine drinks that we stashed under the desk.

It got hotter in the room than expected. So, Matt brought me a terry cloth towel in case I started sweating.

The other thing that was interesting, is just how many times the candidates jumped right in and brought up issues that we'd discussed asking them about -- without any prompting.

How did it look to you?
Posted By CNNBLOG: 4:13 PM ET
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Welcome Erica Hill!

As anyone who watches 360 knows, I like Erica Hill a lot. She is smart, funny, quick, and real.

Erica has been doing the 360 Bulletins for a while now, and we've been trying to look for ways to increase her role in the program. It's being announced today that she will join our broadcast full time, and all of us here are really excited about it. (Here is the official press release).

It'll be a couple weeks before Erica starts full time, and I can't wait!

-- Anderson Cooper
Posted By CNN: 3:30 PM ET
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360 folo to Candy's morning Blog

Candy Crowley
Senior Political Correspondent

Dedicated to keeping you up to date, we bring you Senator Obama from a morning conference call:
"I think it's very clear that ya know senator Clinton has - and pres Clinton has been spending the last month attacking me in ways that are not accurate....and at some point it was important for us to answer them."
Must note: Obama is giving an economic speech today.
Posted By CNNBLOG: 2:15 PM ET
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Guns and Poses

Tom Foreman
360 Correspondent

Last night's Republican debate was out of control. Republican? Well, sure, because I'm pretty convinced the Repubs were the biggest winners. Honestly, can you think of anything that would make the GOP happier than that Thunderdome of chainsaw dodge ball that passed for a Democratic discussion of the issues?

It is not that the top Dems did not bring up their dreams, visions, and plans for a greater America. It's just that those moments were drowned out by the cacophony of insults, accusations, and slurs that made the discussion look like a 2:00 in the morning slap fight in a bar.
I know, I know: Primary politics is about getting an edge, grabbing a few extra votes, ripping into your opponent even though he is from the same party.

But those candidates who win presidential elections, (and even more so, those who lose) know that there are limits. If you cut too deeply into your opponents during the primary, you can make your entire party bleed votes to the opposition party later on.

So what do you think: Is the viciousness of the Democratic fight going to drive away those independents and moderates they will need in the general election?

Posted By CNNBLOG: 1:10 PM ET
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Walking away from a nine year long nightmare

Drew Griffin
360 correspondent

When I think of everything I've done in the past nine years, this assignment suddenly becomes much more somber. Tim Masters is expected to walk out of the second floor courtrom here a free man.

He will step into a crisp 19 degree Colorado day, bristling with sunshine and blue skies. It would be a perfectly happy ending to any story-except this one. Masters has been held in a Colorado prison for these past nine years, and it may turn out that incarceration was for nothing.

I reported last week on the fumbling police case that chased a 15 year old boy for twelve years, until finally some scary doodles led to Masters conviction for murder.

I also reported new DNA evidence now points to a completely different person as a suspect in that murder.

Today, I plan to report on what happens when a man, who knows he has committed no crime, suddenly walks away from a nine year long nightmare.

Posted By CNNBLOG: 1:02 PM ET
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Forget black. Was Bill Clinton the first female president?

Roland S. Martin
360 Contributor

Let me be clear: the statement issued by Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winner Toni Morrison that Bill Clinton was the first black president is one of the dumbest and most ridiculous comments ever uttered.

The fact that people actually go around stating that is nonsensical. And some are very serious!

Sure, he was comfortable around black folks, but that somehow gives him a full understanding of what it means to be black in America? Let him try to catch a cab with me and we'll see who is blacker.

But I digress.

Let's assume for a moment that we do look at the policies of President Clinton and accept that he did right by African Americans.

But what about women?

He appointed the first attorney general in Janet Reno. The first female secretary of state was Madeleine Albright. He had a number of female members of his cabinet, including Alexis Herman (Labor) and Hazel O'Leary (Energy).

So why isn't he called America's first female president?

Surely he did a lot for women, was comfortable around them, and enjoyed high approval ratings from women throughout his presidency.

If that's the barometer for calling him the nation's first black president, should he be able to wear a second crown?
Posted By CNN: 12:13 PM ET
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Myrtle Beach to Columbia: Day Two of the Southern Squall

Candy Crowley
Senior Political Correspondent

Hillary Clinton held a press conference in DC this AM. She was asked about last night's -- how to put this? -- scorched earth debate in which she accused Barack Obama of working with a slum lord and liking Ronald Reagan (a minus in the Democratic party). And he accused her of distorting his words (political speak for lying) and for working with Wal-mart (another party minus.

But, Dear Reader, that was so last night.

Today's installment is entitled, "He started it."

This from HRC: "Senator Obama is very frustrated -- the events of the last ten or so days -- particularly the outcome in new hampshire and nevada have apparently convinced him to adopt a different strategy... He clearly came last night looking for fight and he was determined and launched right in. And I thought it was important to set the record straight."

I'm laying odds -- Oh wait, we're not in Vegas any more -- I think that he will think she and her spouse started it on the campaign trail.

In fact, her above mentioned news conference was called to talk about the economy, it went off the rails amid questions about last night. (The fault, dear Brutus, lies not in the stars, but in ourselves...)

Isn't the economy in the dumpster?

Working On It: How many of you out there in cyberville are getting e-mails slamming Obama with numerous false accusations?

Trying to sort it out. Literally. Stay tuned.

Post Script for the Reader who asked if HRC campaign was handing out cool freebies in Nevada. None that we saw, but I did win 25 cents at the airport slots.
Posted By CNN: 11:33 AM ET
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Is Hillary Clinton abandoning South Carolina?

Roland S. Martin
360 Contributor

During last night's CNN-Congressional Black Caucus Institute debate in Myrtle Beach, S.C., Sen. Barack Obama took a shot at Sen. Hillary Clinton, saying he wasn't sure if he was running against her or former president Bill Clinton.

"I'm here. He's not," she shot back.

But is that really the case?

While Obama continues to canvas the Palmetto State today, Clinton has decided to head to Washington, D.C., then California and Arizona.

According to an email from her camp, Clinton "will hold a press availability at the Westin Hotel on Embassy Row in Washington D.C. later this morning.

"She will then travel to California where she participates in a "Solutions for America" town hall in Salinas, Calif., followed by a town hall in Laveen, Ariz.

"On Wednesday, January 23, Hillary attends events in New Jersey. She travels through South Carolina on Thursday, January 24 through Saturday, January 26."

So who is holding down the fort in South Carolina? Bill and their daughter, Chelsea.

No one minds spouses and children campaigning. But don't you think that if Sen. Clinton wants to make the case that she's the one, she needs to be the one going door-to-door? Or does this add more fuel to the fire that it's Bill who is running against Obama?
Posted By CNN: 10:49 AM ET
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Morning Buzz
Good Morning Folks...

Well, the gloves came OFF last night in South Carolina. Who needs the writers guild when you have real drama unfolding at the Democratic Debate... Hillary and Obama went toe to toe, could this be an opening for John Edwards? AND on the GOP Presidential trail...all the talk is of money or lack there of.... Huckabee is scaling back and Rudy is heading back to NYC to raise some more dough...

BUT the big story today is the economy...the Asian Markets continue to plunge...What will happen when the trading bell goes off this morning? ALL eyes are on Wall Street...

PLUS...CNN's Drew Griffin is out in Fort Collins, Colorado where Tim Masters is expected to be released, so check out Crime & Punishment... AND if you are looking to have a baby...you may want to move to Portland, Oregon...

Soooo grab your coffee and take a look at today's headlines...

Asian markets tumble...
Global stock markets extended their shakeout into a second day Tuesday, plunging amid fears that a possible U.S. recession will cause a worldwide economic slowdown.

Awaiting Wall Street's Open, Asia Markets Plunge...
Stock markets across Asia plunged even farther and faster on Tuesday than on Monday--while stock markets in Europe also opened with further losses on Tuesday--as anxious sellers dumped huge numbers of shares on worries that an economic slowdown in the United States could drag down growth around the world.

More Room to Fall...
With the explosive growth in developing countries such as China and India, and a modest revival of business in Europe, economists have begun to suggest that the global economy is no longer so reliant on the United States.

High fuel prices are puzzling...
The middlemen who buy and sell fuel on the wholesale market have seen Los Angeles gasoline prices plunge more than 50 cents in the last two weeks.

Suicide bombing wounds 21 in Iraq...
A suicide bomber blew himself up in front of a high school in Iraq's violent Diyala province Tuesday, wounding 21 people, police said.

Rising health care costs put focus on illegal immigrants...
Juan Perez had stomach pains for a month before deciding to visit a health clinic here that is open Thursday nights so migrant farmworkers don't miss a day working in the fields.

Sparks fly in most contentious debate to date... The gloves came off quickly Monday night as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama traded blows just days before the South Carolina primary, and two weeks before voters in 24 Super Tuesday states weigh in on this wide-open presidential contest.

The Other Clinton Is an Absent Presence...
The clash between Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton Monday night was a debate long waiting to happen, and at the heart of it was the man who was not on stage: former president Bill Clinton.

Huckabee trims costs, press travel...
Battling to stay competitive after his weekend loss in South Carolina, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is taking new steps to save money, including no longer scheduling planes and buses for journalists trying to cover his presidential campaign.

Crossing Mayor Giuliani Often Had a Price...
Rudolph W. Giuliani likens himself to a boxer who never takes a punch without swinging back. As mayor, he made the vengeful roundhouse an instrument of government, clipping anyone who crossed him.

Death penalty for Marine...
Suspected killer Marine Cpl. Cesar Laurean is most likely in Mexico, authorities said, and the prosecutor said he has agreed not to seek the death penalty if Laurean is arrested in that country.

Pamela Smart gunman seeks freedom...
William Flynn depicts himself as a do-gooder, a member of the Jaycees who has a wife and teenage stepdaughter and likes to play softball.

President Bush is unlikely to defy Congress on spending billions of dollars earmarked for pet projects, but he will probably insist that lawmakers provide more justification for such earmarks in the future, administration officials said Monday.

Release likely today as missteps surface...
Fort Collins police missed investigative leads and inconsistencies in the alibi of murder victim Peggy Hettrick's ex-boyfriend, now an alternate suspect in the crime after a new DNA analysis pointed away from Tim Masters, who is set to be released from custody today.

Portland is No. 1 for babies...
FitPregnancy Magazine has listed Portland as the top city in the nation for having a baby.

As Abortion Rate Drops, Use of RU-486 Is on Rise...
Thirty-five years after the Supreme Court's landmark Roe v. Wade decision, a pill that has largely faded from the rancorous public debate over abortion has slowly and quietly begun to transform the experience of ending a pregnancy in the United States.

Finding Meaning in Each Mouthful...
Why do we eat? For sustenance, obviously. Also for pleasure, for social bonding, as a form of conspicuous consumption or an affirmation of identity or, in the case of broccoli, putatively for the antioxidants, but actually to convince God that we don't deserve to get cancer. Each morsel we lift to our lips dribbles symbolism like Russian dressing from a Reuben sandwich.

Posted By CNN: 5:41 AM ET
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Monday, January 21, 2008
Anderson's View: Working Weekends
I hope you had a great weekend. I worked this Saturday, covering the South Carolina Republican primary and the Nevada caucuses.

Sunday I drove to New Haven and saw a play that Anna Deavere Smith has created called "Let Me Down Easy." You may have seen her on the West Wing, but she is a remarkable playwright as well as an actor. She first became known for interviewing people and then weaving those interviews together into monologues she performs on stage. She becomes the people she interviews.

This particular play is about the resiliency and vulnerability of the human body. I went because she had interviewed me in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. I'd sort of forgotten about it, but she has incorporated the interview into the play. It was interesting to see someone being me on stage. She got a lot of my mannerisms correct, and it was a really thought-provoking work.

I looked at my calendar today and realized I will be working every weekend for the next month and a half. I have several "60 Minutes" stories I will be shooting, as well as trips I'm planning for CNN. I don't mind working through the weekend because it is all interesting stuff, and I figure as long as one continues to learn and grow then it doesn't really feel like work.

I'm getting ready to watch the debate tonight. We are doing the post-debate wrap up, and then at 11p ET Soledad O'Brien and I will be doing a special look at race and politics. I'm also prepping for the Republican debate next Wednesday in California. I'm going to be moderating that one, which should be interesting.

If you have any questions you'd want to ask the Republican candidates, let me know.
Posted By CNN: 7:59 PM ET
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The soul of the country, and the high stakes we face

David Gergen
Senior Political Analyst

I am writing this note from Europe so I have not had a chance to hear any of Barack Obama's speech at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta on CNN or on the radio, but I have had a chance to read the text on the Internet. Let me just say:

Obama's speech on Sunday was the finest oratory of this campaign and indeed of almost any campaign I can remember in some 40 years. WATCH an extended excerpt

It was wordy in parts -- especially in the middle -- and it may make no difference in this campaign. The cynics are right on one point: he has to win South Carolina or the speech will probably (sadly) be lost in the midst.

Mario Cuomo and Jesse Jackson both delivered excellent, moving speeches at the Democratic National Convention in 1984 and the Democrats went on to lose in a landslide. Do you remember what either said?

Even so, we should give credit to Obama for lifting the discourse in this campaign to a higher, moral level. Inevitably, candidates and the press become ensnarled in horserace, stylistic concerns, and policy speak. Rarely do they feel they can or should rise slightly above the din. Obama soared.

He reminded us not only of the moral deficits of our times but also, echoing Martin Luther King Jr., made it clear how much our capacity to close those gaps depends upon us coming together as a people. And he helped us to see that our challenges have a significant moral component.

Franklin Roosevelt in one of his most memorable speeches early in his days a the White House proclaimed that the presidency is foremost about moral leadership -- a leadership that clarifies and helps us to make great choices.

I am not saying that this single speech makes Obama the right choice for Democrats. Far from it. Hillary Clinton is fundamentally a person who has cared deeply about the moral life of the country for a long, long while. (So have Republicans like John McCain.) And there are legitimate questions about Obama's experience.

What I am saying is that in the midst of a campaign when we talk more about who will win South Carolina and Florida than we do about the soul of the country, this speech is a welcome event that reminds us of the high stakes we face as a people.
Posted By CNN: 7:16 PM ET
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Beat 360

Afternoon bloggers!

Happy Monday! Hope you had a good weekend. It's going to be a busy night and a full show with the CNN South Carolina Democratic Debate at 8P ET, and our big post-debate show right after... We know we have some loyal 'BEAT 360' fans out there - so we are giving you a web-only treat today.

Ready for today's challenge? For those of you who don't know, we're starting something new: 'Beat 360.'

Every day we'll post a picture, and you provide the caption... Our staff will get in on the action too...

Can you beat 360?
Here is today's 'Beat 360' pic:

Have fun with it. Make sure to include your name, city, state (or country) so we can post your comment.

Posted By CNNBLOG: 3:55 PM ET
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Race or gender: how would you decide?

Randi Kaye
360 Correspondent

At Anjay's Salon in Charleston, the only thing louder than the hair dryer is the chorus of political opinions.

On this day, owner Angela Jackson is outnumbered. She is the only one supporting Sen. Hillary Clinton over Sen. Barack Obama in South Carolina's Democratic primary Saturday.

"When you apply for a job, they ask you, do you have experience? They hire you based on experience. Hillary's been in office how long?" Jackson asks.

Customer Carol Singleton responds, "For me, Hillary, yes, she was a wife of a president, but she was not a president, so she doesn't earn credit for more experience than Obama. To me they're equal."

Stylist Shanese Jones says, "I just feel like it's his time. I think he's ready."

Black women this year never have been more engaged in a political campaign or held such power in determining the Democratic nominee.

Recent polls show black women are expected to make up more than a third of all Democratic voters in South Carolina's primary in five days.

For these women, a unique, and most unexpected dilemma, presents itself: Should they vote their race, or should they vote their gender?

Click here for full story

CNN readers respond angrily to 'race or gender' story
Posted By CNNBLOG: 2:23 PM ET
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Dream come true... Not quite yet

Jami Floyd
"In Session" Anchor/360 Contributor

Today we celebrate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and this year also marks the 40th anniversary of his death. Dr. King had a dream, but has it been realized?

Well, we have the right to vote. And soon a black man may very well be president

But we also have a country that is warehousing black men in prisons with 200,000 black college-age men behind bars. We still have lynchings in this country.

And we have schools that are still segregated despite the law that they not be - schools so poorly funded we're leaving generations of children behind.

Change has come, but it comes slowly. After all, Dr. King was shot and killed not all that long ago for fighting for that change.

I still believe little children will some day live in a world where they are judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

But "some day" is not here. Not yet. And that is the Last Word.

Check out more Jami Floyd blogs on 'In Session'

Posted By CNNBLOG: 1:04 PM ET
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Race, politics and immigration

Gary Tuchman
360 Correspondent

Langer's Delicatessen has been in business in the same building, in the same neighborhood west of downtown Los Angeles for more than 60 years.

The owner, Norm Langer, proudly touts what his signs say the best pastrami sandwiches in the world. Many of his customers are Latin American immigrants, who are normally not considered a prime demographic for pastrami.

But this part of L.A., next to MacArthur Park, is now heavily Latino, particularly Mexican. It's one of countless neighborhoods throughout the United States that have changed dramatically as more and more Latinos move legally, and illegally into this country.

In this neighborhood, many non-Latinos have the same opinion as owner Langer. He tells us, "I think immigration is fine, as long as it's done legally."

But he thinks it's unrealistic to send illegal immigrants back and thinks efforts to bring in legal immigrants should be streamlined. You can easily find people in this neighborhood who would like to see significant efforts made to find illegals and send them home.

Harold Gustchen lives near the delicatessen.

He says he "hates" having so many illegals around, saying their arrival has led to the deterioration of his neighborhood. He also tells us, "It infuriates me that these people come over here and have more freedom then many people in America."

Does racism help power this volatile immigration debate that we've been hearing during this presidential campaign?

Gustchen says, "I'm not racist, but I hate everybody if this is how you're going to be acting."

Many pro-immigrant groups say they hear that view all the time, and claim it does have racist undertones. And they believe some presidential candidates have capitalized on that feeling as they talk about guest workers, border fences, or amnesty programs.

Angelica Salas, the executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles says, "I can see some presidential candidates being extremely disrespectful, extremely irresponsible in discussing immigration."

She doesn't say the candidates themselves are racists, but says, "many of the candidates have used immigration as a wedge issue." She says she believes that leadership in "the anti-immigrant movement is fueling racism and bigotry into the debate."

One such group that some describe as "anti-immigration" strongly disagrees with that characterization. CAPS, or Californians for Population Stabilization, says after decades of mass immigration, their state can no longer absorb all the immigrants and still maintain a decent quality of life for legal residents. The group advocates saying no to amnesties, reducing legal immigration, and not allowing children of illegal immigrants to become citizens like they are today.

Mark Cromer, who is a senior writing fellow with the group, says broad-brush racism charges against groups like his are an unfair smear saying, "I certainly believe the allegation is used to silence opponents of illegal immigration."

CAPS says it has nothing against Latino immigrants; it is against all "illegal immigration."

Indeed, polls show most Americans are against "illegal" immigration.

In Langer's Delicatessen we talked with Latinos and non-Latinos alike who are against it. But there is a wide range of opinion about how to deal with it. Everyone we talked with says racism has no place in the debate. But whether it's happening anyway - is also part of the debate.

Watch Anderson Cooper 360 to see what people are saying about race, politics and immigration. Tonight at 10 p.m. ET.

Posted By CNNBLOG: 11:34 AM ET
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Behind The Scenes Debate Countdown

-- Alyssa Caplan, 360 Booker

Greetings from Myrtle Beach, home of the Palace Theater, usually home to Le Grande Cirque, apparently the number one show in town --which explains why the make up rooms for the candidates look more Bob Fosse than Presidential.

Anderson will be anchoring the show out of NY tonight. But I'm here where the CNN/Congressional Black Caucus Democratic debate is taking place (tonight at 8p ET) to keep an eye on any show needs and make sure that in the post debate sea of 100's of local and national reporters, all of our guests are in front of the right camera at the right time.

If ever I feel stressed out today, I think I'll default to a dream sequence that somehow the make-up artist for tonight gets switched out at the last minute and replaced with some ill-informed bystander, and through some terrible series of miscommunication and unfortunate events, the candidates end up thrust on stage at the last minute in head dresses and boas.

Fortunately, while the candidates continued to campaign across the country, this place has been overrun with scores of special event professionals whose job is to avert such disasters through endless choreography, and who like millions of Americans yesterday had at least one eye on the ball so to speak.

So like the Giants going to the Super Bowl-do you think there are any surprises left out of these candidates? Anything you could hear tonight that would be unexpected or change your mind? Anything you want to hear out of the candidates but haven't yet?

All right - about to leave the hotel and head to the debate venue that is bracing for over 2,400 people tonight. This is early for us late-night 360-ers, but the excitement and energy in the air made sleeping near impossible last night!

Posted By CNNBLOG: 10:58 AM ET
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Morning Buzz
Good Morning...Happy Monday!!! Today, we honor the 79th birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Tonight on CNN, the top three democratic candidates face off in a debate that will no doubt touch on the influence of race upon politics in America. Following the debate, Anderson will host a special post-debate edition of AC360 and then he and Soledad O'Brien explore some of the issues related to race that may impact how America votes. The special is called Race & Politics: America Votes 2008 ... So make sure you tune in...

But first, here are today's headlines...

The top three Democratic presidential candidates face off in a debate Monday night with the hearts and minds of African-American voters on the line, as the nation celebrates the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday Monday.

Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy oversimplified, scholars say...
They are some of the most famous words in American history: "I have a dream ..." And the man who said them has become an icon.

Historians fear MLK's legacy being lost...
Nearly 40 years after the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., some say his legacy is being frozen in a moment in time that ignores the full complexity of the man and his message.

Top Dems to march on S.C. Capitol...
Taking a brief intermission from their sparring, the top three Democratic presidential contenders plan to join thousands of others here Monday morning for a symbolically charged commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr.

Pentagon Weighs Top Iraq General as Chief of NATO...
The Pentagon is considering Gen. David H. Petraeus for the top NATO command later this year, a move that would give the general, the top American commander in Iraq, a high-level post during the next administration but that has raised concerns about the practice of rotating war commanders.

An unusually large share of workers have been out a job for more than six months even as overall unemployment has remained low, a little-noted weakness in the labor market that analysts said threatens to intensify the impact of the unfolding economic downturn.

Midair collision over Corona leaves five dead...
Five people were killed Sunday afternoon when two small planes collided over Corona and debris rained down on a busy commercial strip of auto dealerships, authorities said.

Bus crash in India kills 37...
A bus carrying pilgrims to Hindu shrines in southwestern India careened over the side of a steep hill Sunday night, killing 37 and injuring more than 40 others, police said.

Five hacked to death ahead of mediation mission in Kenya...
Five people were hacked to death in ethnic clashes in Nairobi slums, police said Monday, as mediators prepared a fresh bid to break the deadlock that followed President Mwai Kibaki's re-election.

EXCLUSIVE: Barack vs. Bill: Obama Hits Ex-Prez Over 'Troubling' Attacks...
Sen. Barack Obama says he's ready to confront former President Bill Clinton, calling his advocacy on behalf of his wife's presidential campaign, "troubling."
For the leading candidate in a party where religious conservatives often dominate, Sen. John McCain rarely invokes faith. But after Saturday night, he surely must believe in redemption.

Obama takes on question of faith...
Barack Obama is stepping up his effort to correct the misconception that he's a Muslim now that the presidential campaign has hit the Bible Belt.

GOP presidential race turns to Florida...
The Republican presidential race turned to Florida on Sunday, ever more chaotic and contentious as four candidates began a 10-day sprint to win the state and momentum heading into the de facto national primary next month.

Shut out by GOP, independents may tilt Democratic...
Medea Bern, once a registered Republican, is one of a growing number of California voters who shun party membership and declare themselves independent. In the upcoming presidential election, that makes her the kind of voter all the candidates would like to reach.

After His Loss in Nevada, Edwards Keeps Marching...
It looked like sweet relief for John Edwards that more than 1,700 miles separated him from the Nevada caucuses on Saturday.

Slain Marine was vulnerable...
A slain Marine's image as a woman who struggled with the truth made her vulnerable and may have triggered events that led to her violent death, her mother says.

An investigation of college study abroad programs by the New York attorney general's office has expanded to include 15 colleges and universities, among them Harvard, Brown and Columbia, a senior lawyer in the office says.

DNA points to new killer in '99 case...
New evidence points to a different killer in the case of a Colorado man convicted in the sexual mutilation slaying of a woman when he was a teenager, the special prosecutor named to review the case said Friday.

New England heads to the Super Bowl...
''Now we can look ahead.'' Bill Belichick, a coach of few words, said it all with that sentence after his New England Patriots claimed the AFC championship trophy.

He's taking the New York Giants on yet another road trip...
Oh, brother!Eli, the baby of the Manning quarterback clan, finally has arrived.

Pregnancy Problems Tied to Caffeine...
Too much caffeine during pregnancy may increase the risk of miscarriage, a new study says, and the authors suggest that pregnant women may want to reduce their intake or cut it out entirely.
Posted By CNN: 6:22 AM ET
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Friday, January 18, 2008
The law... now fighting the law

Drew Griffin
360 Correspondent

Not a month goes by when I don't get a letter from a prison with an inmate telling me he is not guilty and asking me to investigate his case. (I have yet to get a letter from a convicted woman.)

Generally, I read the material, take a quick look at any news stories on it, and dismiss the request as just another one of those inmates who can't understand how he got caught. I've learned over the years, not to take most cases seriously because I truly believe most people in prison are where they are supposed to be.

That is not the case with Tim Masters. And ironically, it took a former lead investigator on the case to convince me of that.

Linda Holloway says she helped put an innocent man in prison and is now trying to make things right. Holloway has spent 30 years as a street cop, detective and investigator, and still works with a district attorney in Colorado.

Yet when Holloway took the witness stand in 1999, and was asked if Tim Masters murdered a woman named Peggy Hettrick, she didn't answer the question. Holloway says she knew her answer would be no. But she balked at throwing away years spent investigating Masters as the only suspect.

So Holloway remained silent. And Masters was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

Now Masters is fighting for a new trial, and Holloway has decided she can no longer remain silent.

Meeting on her Colorado ranch, Holloway told me how a small town police department targeted Masters, then just a 15-year-old boy, and never found another suspect. She says they trailed him for 12 years until finally arresting him and convicting him on nothing more than circumstantial evidence and the questionable claims of a psychologist who never even interviewed Masters.

The details are not nearly as interesting as the cop herself. Fighting on the "right side of the law," against friends and colleagues of 30 years, Holloway is speaking up about how the law went wrong. Police split over conviction

Hearings begin Tuesday. The two prosecutors who convicted Masters will have to explain why they allegedly withheld evidence that might could have exonerated their suspect.

If, after that hearing, Tim Masters is released from prison and charges against him are dropped, that might result of one of the strongest pieces of police work that Detective Holloway has ever done.

WATCH Police try to bait teen Masters into murder confession
Posted By CNN: 5:05 PM ET
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Beat 360

Whats up bloggers?!

Happy Friday! We had fun with it yesterday, so lets do it again today.

Ready for today's challenge? For those of you who don't know, we're starting something new: 'Beat 360.'

Every day we'll post a picture, and you provide the caption... Our staff will get in on the action too...

Tune in every night at 10p ET to see if you are our favorite!

Can you beat 360?
Here is today's 'Beat 360' pic:

Here's one to get you started:
"Get your big mitts off me!"

Have fun with it. Make sure to include your name, city, state (or country) so we can post your comment.

Posted By CNNBLOG: 4:24 PM ET
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Race, class and murder.. All in just one case

Jami Floyd
"In Session" Anchor/360 Contributor

The fate of a black trash collector convicted of murdering a well-known white fashion writer now rests with the judge who heard the case, which aired live on In Session (then Court TV) last year.

Barnstable Superior Court Judge Gary Nickerson yesterday heard juror testimony in a rare public hearing to decide whether racial bias tainted the jury's decision.

Judge Nickerson is facing unchartered legal territory as he weighs whether to grant a new trial to Christopher McCowen. Uncharted legal territory but not an uncommon occurrence.

Bias in the jury room is a pervasive problem in our system of justice. The McCowen case simply presents an extreme and terribly clear example.

Whatever the judge decides, his ruling will be appealed to a higher court, prolonging a sad saga that has captivated Cape Cod and beyond since Christa Worthington’s body was found in her Truro home in 2002. If there's even a hint of prejudice in the jury deliberations, McCown should get a new trial.

Check out more Jami Floyd blogs on 'In Session'
Posted By CNN: 3:52 PM ET
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The immigrants ready to vote... on immigration issues

Thelma Gutierrez
360 Correspondent

It was 8:30pm on a bone chilling night in Tucson, Arizona when I walked in to a civics class in the middle of a predominantly Latino neighborhood... a barrio.

There, I met a group of women who had worked as housekeepers and store clerks and babysitters. After a long day at work, they said they looked forward to another two hours of citizenship class to learn our system of government. They fired off answers about how our political process works -- term limits, the role of the Supreme Court and how laws are made.

I asked them if they would vote if they became citizens. They emphatically said yes, especially this year -- why? One woman said it's the first time she has a choice between a woman and an African American.

A top issue? Immigration reform, of course. As I was leaving, one woman explained that as immigrants they felt under assault... and that they realize the only way to change the system is to be a part of it.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service says a record 1.4 million have applied in the past year for naturalization. Now the government has to find a way to process all of them.
Posted By CNN: 2:15 PM ET
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Taunting the tiger.. But who's fault?

Dan Simon
360 Correspondent

For weeks now, many have been wondering whether the victims in the San Francisco zoo tiger attack taunted the big cat. We now have an answer -- at least partially.

Police just released documents indicating that one of the two surviving brothers, Paul Dhaliwal, said they "were waving their hands and yelling at the tiger." This alleged confession came to the father of the victim who died. Dhaliwal also said the three of them were "standing on a railing looking at the tiger."

While this seems to be an acknowledgement that the brothers at least bothered the animal, it would seem the zoo is hardly off the hook. Shouting and yelling at the tiger. Wouldn't you think that kind of behavior happens all the time at zoos?

Indeed, the zoo still has a big problem. The wall of the tiger enclosure was 4 feet below national standard. While the brothers' actions may have contributed to the horrific incident, there is still no precise explanation as to how that tiger escaped.

Perhaps the zoo is hoping for some kind of compromise settlement, or a split verdict if the case ever reaches a verdict. A jury would have the option of saying something like, "the zoo is 80% responsible and the brothers are 20% responsible," or vice versa.

But for now, it looks like the brothers still have the upper hand.
Posted By CNN: 1:56 PM ET
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Blizzard in Carolina.. And there's some weather here, too

Gary Tuchman
360 Correspondent

I'm driving on the interstate to cover a presidential primary. It is snowing like there's no tomorrow. You can no longer see the pavement and it's icy. A huge truck just jack-knifed and is in the median. Visibility is very poor because the snow is blowing right in the windshield. It feels like New Hampshire or Iowa, but it's not. This is South Carolina. What the heck is going on here? Meterologically... and politically!

That was Wednesday night. Now that I'm back in New York, I've come to the conclusion that the Iowa- and New Hampshire-like weather in the heart of Dixie was most appropriate. That's because South Carolina has assumed Iowa and New Hampshire-like significance in the Republican presidential race. Huckabee won Iowa... McCain won New Hampshire... Romney won Wyoming and Michigan.

Basically, it's all been a wash. So South Carolinians could very well be annointing a frontrunner. The story we are putting together for tonight's AC 360 is about the state's evangelical voters. Up to half of all GOP voters here are believed to be evangelical Christians.

To win the Palmetto State, a candidate will have to do well with those voters. You might assume Mike Huckabee has the advantage. But the military culture is an important part of church culture in this state. And many people who feel strongly about that are voting for McCain. Keep your eye on snowy South Carolina!
Posted By CNN: 1:42 PM ET
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Here's what you can bet on in Vegas

Candy Crowley
Senior Political Correspondent

Yet another journey into the portal to the unknown. We don't know what's going to happen in Nevada. But this time we know we don't know what's going on..

Pardon the cliche, but Nevada is a crap shoot. (Can I say that on a mainstream blog?)

Polls show HRC up by 7-9 points but I know how you all feel about polls... And honestly, pardon this next cliche, it's all going to depend on who shows up.

Whenever you ask those in the know what sort of participation they'll get in the caucuses you get this "somewhere between 25-thousand and 125-thousand." HUH?

Then there's all this union muscle out there. Edwards, Clinton and Obama all have help from organized labor out here. Barack Obama has the politically potent Culinary Workers Union but lets briefly note what the unions did for HRC in Iowa. (Just reading in? She lost.)

Anywho, I'm sitting here in a parking lot of a Las Vegas stip mall awaiting an Edwards rally. His campaign is steaming at the media for "portraying the Democratic race as a two-person contest." They are not entirely wrong.

So I do want to say that the Edwards people think he has a real shot here. They also thought that in Iowa where he finished second.

It's early here and hard to be original, sans coffee, so pardon my third cliche: It's a good bet all three will survive Las Vegas to fight it out (again) in South Carolina.

That's John Edwards' birth state, by the way, and only state he won in the 2004 primary race. Pressure's on.
Posted By CNN: 12:11 PM ET
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Morning Buzz
Good Morning...The econoomy is once again dominating the front page of most papers, today... President Bush will lay out HIS recovery plan. The '08 candidates are pounding the pavement on both sides of the country...The Dems placing their bets in Nevada and the Republicans are looking to inch past each other in South Carolina. Will we FINALLY have a GOP front runner after tomorrow's S.C. primary??? And who will folks in Nevada gamble on? Obama? Hillary or John Edwards? The stakes are high in both races....

PLUS...Check out the new details in the Murdered Marine Story AND the Tiger Attack story......AND Lindsay Lohan is about to see dead people, she has a NEW starring role in a morgue and the L.A. cops are cracking down on the Paparazzi...Will Brittany finally have her life back?

So grab your coffee, it is time for the Morning Buzz...TGIF!!!

About 75% of Baghdad's neighborhoods are now secure, a dramatic increase from 8% a year ago when President Bush ordered more troops to the capital, U.S. military figures show.

Bush to lay out economic stimulus ideas...
President Bush is putting together his first public call for an emergency fiscal stimulus bill while negotiations on Capitol Hill focus on rebates for taxpayers and other steps to jump-start the sagging economy.

Bush, Democrats Rush to Roll Out Stimulus Plan...
President Bush and Congress, driven by the worsening economic outlook, a tumbling stock market and Americans' growing sense of financial insecurity, are speeding toward agreement on a package of measures to stimulate the economy.

CIA, Pakistan concur on Bhutto's killer...
The CIA believes that Pakistani Taliban commander Baitullah Mahsud and his associates, some linked to Al Qaeda, were responsible for the assassination last month of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, a U.S. intelligence official said.

Suspect's wife at party the night of Marine's death...
Christina Laurean has told authorities she was attending a Christmas party on the night her husband allegedly killed pregnant Marine Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach, according to police.

Israel closes Gaza border, raids West Bank camp...
The Israeli defense minister has ordered troops to close border crossings that lead to and from the Gaza Strip, a spokesman said Friday

Thousands flee volcanic eruption in Colombia...
A volcano erupted in southwestern Colombia on Thursday night, prompting authorities to order the evacuation of about 8,000 people.

Reacting to criticism by his own party that he is too liberal, Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is highlighting his conservative, evangelical southern credentials to South Carolina primary voters.

Clinton plays gaming card against Obama...
Barack Obama has warned about the dangers of gambling -- that it carries a "moral and social cost" that could "devastate" poor communities. As a state senator in Illinois, he at times opposed plans to expand gambling, worrying that it could be especially harmful to low-income people.

Confederate Flag Takes Center Stage Once Again...
The Republican presidential candidates on Thursday moved to appeal to different types of conservative voters before the South Carolina primary, with Mike Huckabee using colorful language to declare the Confederate flag a states' rights issue and Senator John McCain embracing a supply-side tax cut proposal.

Campaigns scramble for votes in Nevada...
The fight for top-billing in Saturday's Nevada Democratic presidential caucus has become much like its model in Iowa: an hour-by-hour test of who has the best organization.

Southern Blacks Are Split on Clinton vs. Obama...
The People's Voice African-American Weekly News in tiny Roanoke, Ala., has not endorsed a candidate in the state's Democratic presidential primary on Feb. 5--much to the frustration of its publisher, Charlotte A. Clark-Frieson, a Barack Obama supporter.

Romney clashes with reporter...
Mitt Romney scolded a veteran campaign reporter in South Carolina today after being challenged on claims about lobbyists' involvement in the campaign.

Hillary Rodham Clinton may be the spouse running for office, but it is more Bill Clinton who appears to be feeling the heat.

One of the two survivors of the San Francisco Zoo tiger attack that left a 17-year-old dead told the victim's father that the three had yelled and waved at the animal while standing atop the railing of the tiger's exhibit, police said in court documents filed Thursday.

'No-Body Cases' Can, and Do, Go to Trial...
Twelve weeks of combing woods and construction sites on foot and horseback, diving into ponds and canals, and retracing Stacy Peterson's last contact with family and friends have shed little light on the 23-year-old mother of two's whereabouts.

Giuliani Had Ties to Company Trying to Sell Border Technology...
On the presidential campaign trail, former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani often promotes the installation of electronic monitoring devices at the border to stem illegal immigration, without mentioning that until a few months ago, he was partner in a company trying to market such technology.

The nation's fourth-largest coal producer, the Massey Energy Company, was hit Thursday with a $20 million fine, the largest civil penalty ever levied by the federal government for a pollution violation of this type under the Clean Water Act.

Paraplegic man dumped in LA gutter sues hospital...
A mentally ill paraplegic man filed a lawsuit on Thursday against a hospital that dumped him in a gutter on Los Angeles' "Skid Row" -- a case that highlighted the plight of the city's vast homeless population.

Bin Laden son wants to be peace activist...
Omar Osama bin Laden bears a striking resemblance to his notorious father — except for the dreadlocks that dangle halfway down his back. Then there's the black leather biker jacket. The 26-year-old does not renounce his father, al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, but in an interview with The Associated Press, he said there is better way to defend Islam than militancy: Omar wants to be an "ambassador for peace" between Muslims and the West.

Lindsay Lohan is about to see dead people. The 21-year-old actress will soon be working at a morgue as part of her punishment for misdemeanor drunken driving, her attorney, Blair Berk, told a judge Thursday.

Paparazzi are their focus...
As paparazzi become ever more competitive in their quest for the perfect tabloid photo, complaints about their tactics are intensifying.
Posted By CNN: 5:14 AM ET
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Thursday, January 17, 2008
The Face Behind the Name
-- Joe Johns, 360 Correspondent

I used to work in the Carolinas -- Charlotte actually -- which is close enough to the South Carolina state line that I made it down to Columbia, Charleston, and the low country fairly often.

Strom Thurmond was the first Carolina Senator I ever interviewed. I remember meeting him in Florence or somesuch on a hot summer day with gnats flying around our heads, trying to figure out what I thought about him. Back then I don't remember all the excitement about presidential politics.

Now though, Sen. Thurmond is gone and this presidential primary has become a national rite of passage on the road to the White House.

So much gets made of the dirty politics here. But the 30,000 foot view for me is that people here are straight talking, no nonsense. They want to hear the real deal about their politicians.

That may be why things can get so rough here. They don't always buy the blow-dried focus group tested images of politicians that get exported from Washington. Maybe folks in the Carolinas want to know the real person behind the name on ballot.

Reporter's hunch.

Editor's note: WATCH Joe Johns talks to Sen. John McCain about dirty politics
Posted By CNN: 10:47 PM ET
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Get over it!

360 contributor Jami Floyd has the 'Last Word' on the police and O.J. Simpson.
Posted By CNNBLOG: 7:31 PM ET
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Anderson's View: Dirty Politics
It was depressing to hear that John McCain is once again facing phony accusations and slanderous whispers as he campaigns in South Carolina.

I don't support any candidate, so I am not saying this because of any particular affinity for Sen. McCain. I am saying this because more than ever we need to be brought together as a country, as a citizenry, and these kind of tactics are all about creating divisions.

This happened to Sen. McCain back in 2000, and now at least he has the money and experience to aggressively challenge these false rumors and aggressive automated calls which spread untruths, but some people will no doubt believe them.

Tonight, we take an up close look at some of the dirty tricks being used so far in this election season, and Joe Johns has a one-on-one interview with Sen. McCain.

We'll also be looking at the latest on the murder of Maria Lauterbach, and we'll take an up close look at Scientology. See you at 10p ET!

-- Anderson Cooper
Posted By CNN: 5:41 PM ET
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Beat 360
Afternoon bloggers!

Yes, I know, I know... Sorry for posting later than usual, busy day in the newroom. Great captions last night, as always! We're getting good feedback from you with the photos from the campaign trail, so let's try this again:

Ready for today's challenge? For those of you who don't know, we're starting something new: 'Beat 360.'

Every day we'll post a picture, and you provide the caption... Our staff will get in on the action too...

Tune in every night at 10p ET to see if you are our favorite!

Can you beat 360?
Here is today's 'Beat 360' pic:

Here's one to get you started:

"They say Florida is 'RUDY COUNTRY' ...But for how long...?"

Have fun with it. Make sure to include your name, city, state (or country) so we can post your comment.
Posted By CNNBLOG: 2:42 PM ET
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Forget how they'll handle a crisis. How will they prevent one?
--Mona Lisa Mouallem, 360 Associate Producer

Today is President Bush's first day back from his diplomatic tour throughout the Middle East. In these past eight days the president has discussed his vision for Israeli-Palestinian peace, expressed concerns to Saudi Arabia about the rising price of oil, urged the Egyptian government to hold true to the pursuit of democratic goals, and marveled at the economic growth of the UAE.

He also made a stop at a military base in Kuwait to declare that "hope is returning to Iraq."

Whether this was Bush's sprint to the finish in his race for positive legacy, or a sincere effort for change, or both, this diplomatic visit was one of the President's most important ones during his stint in the White House.

It's no secret that the Middle East has been a target of most of the administration's foreign policy decisions, and whether or not you deem these decisions as successful, our country has still paid an expensive public relations price among Arabs.

In a recent Zogby poll, 78% of the Arab respondents described their attitudes towards Washington as "somewhat" or "very" unfavorable.

So it got me thinking: which of the Presidential candidates will be able to bear both the responsibility of damage control and take on the seeds of change planted by the Bush administration in its final hour? And, of course, how will our next President proceed?

I'm a bit in the dark with regards to where these candidates stand on Middle East foreign policy. Seems like the candidates have largely focused on their position on Iraq and how they would react to extreme scenarios - a terrorist attack, for example, or a potential nuclear threat by Iran.

But instead of focusing on how they would respond to acute threats, I'd like to hear more about the candidates' long-term plans for restoring the United States' image in the Arab World.

How do they plan, really, on proceeding with the delicate yet volatile Israeli-Palestinian conflict? What will be their political stance toward Lebanon, a country Bush once declared a symbol of democracy in the Middle East?

How will our next President deal with the millions of Iraqi refugees, the fastest-growing refugee crisis in the world? And how will our new President approach the anti-Arabism and anti-Islamism in America that many of our own Arab-Americans claim they encounter?

Our Arab friends here and abroad are watching the elections closely. It's no secret that our future President will have enormous impact on the region, and it's no secret that our Arab leaders will respond accordingly.

We keep asking our candidates how he or she will act in a time of crisis. Isn't it equally important to ask how they will prevent one?

What do you think?
Posted By CNN: 2:14 PM ET
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It's the recession, stupid

Tom Foreman
360 Correspondent

It's snowing outside my office a few blocks from the Capitol. Big heavy flakes are swirling and I'm thinking about a chilly word: Recession. That's what most of you think we are in now, and trust me, the mere thought of it is sending shivers up the spines of the presidential candidates.

Months ago on AC 360 I was pounding the drum with reports saying that the economy would eventually trump the war as the big issue of this election, and trust me, when all the political experts were ignoring me, I felt like my world was a little icy. But now it has happened.

The continuing slide of the housing market, the crumbling of new housing starts, job worries, health insurance fears, the immigration debate; an avalanche of economic terrors are descending on this election.

And like snowboarders in the backcountry, the candidates are all scrambling to stake out positions before the full force of the deluge hits.

To be fair, all of them had economic positions before the polls shifted this way, and they talked about their ideas a fair amount. But now they are looking into the eyes of thousands of scared voters who are beginning to scrutinize the campaigns' economic plans much more closely.

I've never been convinced that presidents control the economy nearly as much as they think they do. I think they are like little kids standing at a video machine that they've put no money into: because the space ship sometimes goes the way they are pointing, they think they are controlling it.

Still, the president does play a role. So here is the question: What, if anything, do you think the next president should do to reverse what most Americans now believe is already a recession?
Posted By CNN: 2:07 PM ET
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Working the System

Lisa Bloom

360 Contributor

Some commentators have made much of Judge Glass' strong words to O.J. Simpson in court yesterday, but clearly only one thing mattered to O.J.: getting out of jail, which he did, after the brief tongue-lashing. He's free again, as he will be until trial.

How could the judge find he violated a condition of bail and yet spring him? Because he's entitled to bail in this non-capital case. The judge did all that she could do: gave him a stern warning, raised the bail, required him to pay 15% of the new $250,000 amount.

O.J.'s friends - he's always got entourage - came up with the money, and he's home free, again.

As one of the few people who actually read O.J.'s 2007 book, "If I Did It," I cannot help thinking of his vivid description of his long, tortured relationship with Nicole Brown Simpson, his explanation of he did it WHY he did it (hypothetically) - that skirt was too short for his taste on the last day of her life - and HOW he did it (hypothetically) - driving home via a different route than everyone thought.

In my view, the only interpretation of his book is that he is now a confessed double murderer, and yet no jail can hold him. He's a master at playing the system.

Check out more Lisa Bloom blogs on 'In Session'
Posted By CNNBLOG: 1:26 PM ET
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Morning Buzz
Morning Folks!!! It looks like the economy is dominating the headlines this morning....Some say we are headed towards a recession. The Fed Chairman, Ben Bernanke, will be in the hot seat on the Hill today and will hopefully offer a quick fix....

The Presidential hopefuls are pounding the pavement in Nevada and South Carolina, while Rudy remains in Florida...All eyes are on his strategy, will it pay off?

AND O.J. is out!!! Stay tuned for the next chapter in that drama...PLUS scientists are saying they can NOW translate a dog's bark....So grab some "bark...bark" a.k.a. "hot...coffee" and take a look at today's headlines....

Navy copter crash kills three in Texas
Rescue crews found the bodies of three crew members about 2:30 a.m. (3:30 a.m. ET) Thursday, said Ed Mackley, public affairs officer for the Naval Mine and Anti-Submarine Warfare Command.

An Economy's Mixed Message on Suffering...
A wide range of data from the government, private corporations and independent analysts paint a picture of a nation that is already in recession in some states and industries, while much of the nation and big parts of the economy have suffered little.

Bernanke Is Said to Support Stimulus Measures...
Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, has told lawmakers that he can support tax cuts or spending measures to stimulate the economy, even if they increase the budget deficit, provided the measures are quick and temporary.

FDA to declare cold medicines too risky for babies, toddlers...
Parents should not give sniffling babies and toddlers over-the-counter cough and cold medicines--they're too risky for tots so small, the government will declare Thursday.

Ex-lawmaker charged in terror conspiracy...
A former congressman and delegate to the United Nations was indicted on charges of working for an alleged terrorist fundraising ring that sent more than $130,000 to an al-Qaida supporter who has threatened U.S. and international troops in Afghanistan.

FBI: Marine suspect talked of fleeing...
A Marine suspected of killing a pregnant comrade told friends he would flee to Mexico to avoid being convicted of raping her, and investigators said Wednesday they are working with Mexican authorities to track him down.

The battle for the Democratic presidential nomination heads west Saturday with caucuses in Nevada, where unions and a large Hispanic population are heavily expected to influence the results.

Americans revved up--and ready to vote...
Turnout in the opening Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary this month smashed records. By 2-1, those surveyed in a new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll say they're more enthusiastic than usual about voting this year.

McCain Parries a Reprise of '00 Smear Tactics...
Volunteers making telephone calls for Senator John McCain in South Carolina last weekend noticed something odd: Four people contacted said in remarkably similar language that they opposed Mr. McCain for president because of his 1980 divorce from his first wife, Carol, who raised the couple's three children while Mr. McCain was a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

Republicans ponder deadlocked convention...
The Republican presidential race is so unsettled that some party officials are openly talking of a scenario that seemed almost unthinkable until now: the first contested GOP convention in 60 years.

Giuliani tries for Hail Mary in Florida...
Republican Rudy Giuliani challenged political convention in shrugging off early primaries while staking his presidential candidacy on delegate-rich, later-voting states, a strategy that could be a colossal failure or a masterful calculation.

Democrats go deep to court Latino vote...
Hillary Rodham Clinton was sympathetic as, one after another, members of the audience discussed their unhappy dealings with shady home lenders.

O.J. Simpson released..
Former football star O.J. Simpson walked out of jail late Wednesday after posting $250,000 bail.

Cops search car, phones of tiger victims...
San Francisco police on Wednesday searched the cellphones and car of two brothers mauled by a zoo tiger on Christmas day, looking for evidence that they may have provoked the animal, which also killed a friend of the men.

Two Newport High girls, 14, held in beating of 13-year-old...
Two ninth-grade girls at Newport Harbor High have been arrested in connection with the beating of a girl from a nearby intermediate school, a video of which was posted online at MySpace.com and YouTube.com.

Universal health care plans stymied by federal law...
Many of the proposals require employers either to offer health coverage themselves or pay into a public fund to help cover the uninsured.

Town Told to Turn Over Land for Fence...
A federal judge ordered the Texas border city of Eagle Pass to turn over 233 acres temporarily to the federal government so it can build a fence to thwart illegal immigration.

Do more for Katrina victims...
A United Nations official who has toured parts of Louisiana and Mississippi devastated by Hurricane Katrina says the thousands of victims of the storm resemble poor people displaced by natural disasters in other parts of the world.

New tree species found in Madagascar...
A self-destructing palm tree that flowers once every 100 years and then dies has been discovered on the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar, botanists said Thursday.

Scientists develop computer that can 'translate' a dog's bark...
What would a dog say if it could talk? "Stranger", "fight", "walk", "alone", "ball" and "play", according to scientists who have developed a computer programme to translate dog barks.

Abortions Hit Lowest Number Since 1976...
The number of abortions performed in the United States dropped to 1.2 million in 2005 -- the lowest level since 1976, according to a new report.
Posted By CNN: 5:15 AM ET
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Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Front-loading the primaries: it works!
--Julia Weinberg, 360 Associate Producer

Call me an anarchist, but I think this condensed primary schedule is working brilliantly.

For all the fretting we heard this past year over the dangers of front-loading the process -- that it would give a leg up to the wealthier, well-known candidates, preventing the slow ascent of sleeper candidates -- well, so far that's just dead wrong.

Mitt Romney's millions didn't win him the gold in either of the first few contests -- instead we saw a relative unknown with little funding win Iowa, and a veteran candidate whose political tombstone was all but written this past summer, take New Hampshire.

Maybe we weren't giving enough credit to the voters -- who so far have rejected the perceived momentum of the winning candidate coming out of Iowa and now New Hampshire. Now it's looking like this race may go beyond SuperDuper Tuesday, and we're even hearing whispers of the forgotten words, "brokered convention" -- something this country hasn't seen since the 1952!

What do you think: Is this primary schedule too hectic? Is it good for the country? Send us your thoughts!
Posted By CNN: 8:35 PM ET
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Why did the tiger cross the moat?
--David Mattingly, 360 Correspondent

The 911 tapes in the tiger attack at the San Francisco Zoo will probably play a role in future lawsuits but they don't answer a central question in this tragedy: what prompted the Siberian tiger to want to escape its enclosure?

Police found no solid evidence the tiger was being taunted before the attack. But tiger experts continue to say something had to trigger the animal to leap a dry moat and bound over a wall to attack the young men.

A zoo spokesman says employees found a branch and pine cone and a nine-inch rock inside the tiger enclosure that had no reason to be there.

The enclosure's wall was obviously inadequate. The tiger should never have been able to get out. Animal behavior experts add that the tiger shouldn't have wanted to, either.

Only three people knew exactly what happened that day, and one of them did not survive. The other two say they did nothing wrong.
Posted By CNN: 7:13 PM ET
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Anderson's View: Reading the Republicans
I considered going to South Carolina today, but there are a number of things we are working on here that made going difficult. Chances are next week we will take the show on the road again, perhaps this time to Florida or maybe South Carolina.

I've spent most of today re-reading The Reagan Diaries. I am preparing for a republican debate at the Reagan library at the end of this month. I'm not sure what Ronald Reagan would make of the current state of the Republican Party.

After last night's result there is no clear frontrunner, if anything the race seems more open than ever. We'll be looking at that tonight and will talk with Glenn Beck about his take on the Republican Party.

We're also following new developments in the murder of Maria Lauterbach, the pregnant marine, and will examine the 911 tapes from the tiger attack in San Francisco.

See you tonight.
Posted By CNNBLOG: 4:51 PM ET
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What trump card will win the jump ball?

Tom Foreman
360 Correspondent

Here's what I like about this election: None of the rules apply.

For all the endless, and boy do I mean endless, hours of nattering by the supposed political insiders, now almost all of them admit they don't have a clue about what will happen next.

Who will be the nominee for the Democrats? Who for the Republicans? What issue will be the trump card: the war, the economy, immigration?

The "experts" all just shrug now, and spout a lot of platitudes about a changing electorate, and campaign financing, and the early primary schedule, and yadda yadda yadda. In other words they make excuses for being wrong in the first place and try to convince you that their opinions still matter.

Well, they don't.

The truth is, this is turning into an election like most of us have never seen in our lifetimes; the first in ages without a natural heir to the White House; the first ever with what is shaping up to be a national primary contest.

Which brings us to Rudy Giuliani.

Months ago Rudy made it clear that he was embarking on a risky, avant-garde campaign strategy. He was effectively going to concede the early contests, and focus on a big knockout punch in Florida. Conventional wisdom said he was a fool; once the early states anointed a front-runner, Rudy would be abandoned on the beach with a bunch of tattered campaign signs and a red face...not from the sun.

But no front-runner has emerged. Or three have. In any event, suddenly the vote seems headed to Florida with the nomination still up in the air, and Rudy's risky strategy seems to have him perfectly positioned.

It may yet not work. Truth is, for all of his campaigning in alligator alley, voters may or may not give him the nod.

But his strategy, which so many of the political pros called whacky such a short time ago, now doesn't look so farfetched. That's what happened when all the rules get broken.

What do you think? Will the nomination still be a jump ball, when the Republicans hit Florida, and does Rudy have a shot at bringing it down?
Posted By CNN: 4:05 PM ET
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Murdered Marine: Friend challenges official story

Randi Kaye spoke with a friend of the suspect who also knew the murdered Marine.


Randi Kaye
360 Correspondent

I spent a couple hours this morning with a friend of Corporal Cesar Laurean. (WATCH)

This was our first talk with someone who knows him and knows about the relationship he had with the woman he's accused of killing.

I'm not naming the friend to protect her from any possible retaliation, but I thought you'd want to know what she told me. For the purpose of this blog, I'll call her "Lisa."

You probably know Laurean is the U.S. Marine charged with one count of first degree murder in the death of Lance Corporal Maria Lauterbach and her unborn child.

Their charred remains were found last week buried in a fire pit in his backyard. Authorities say they also found blood spatters inside his home.

Lauterbach had accused Laurean of rape and was expected to testify about the allegations in December, the same month she disappeared.

Lisa says she knew Laurean about four years. They worked side by side. She saw him daily. She also knew Lauterbach.

Lisa told me Laurean is a quiet guy, very social. She said everyone liked him and he had a lot of friends.

She also said he's a great father, who talked often about his 18-month-old daughter. Lisa has a daughter the same age and the two discussed sippy cups and diapers.

Hard to believe someone who discusses sippy cups and diapers could be capable of such a brutal murder.

You may recall the Marines came out yesterday and said Lauterbach told them she did not feel threatened by Laurean. Keeping them honest, we asked Lisa about that. She believes that just wasn't true.

Lauterbach had obtained a Military Protective Order prohibiting Laurean from contacting her or coming within 1000 feet.

Lisa says Lauterbach came to her in September, 2007, after the order had expired and wanted help asking for a second one.

Lisa says she typed up the request and sent it to the proper channels. So she says, Lauterbach DID have a current and valid protective order against Laurean when she disappeared, even though Sheriff Ed Brown, the lead investigator, had been telling the media it was expired. The Marines didn't address this question yesterday.

Lisa told me today Lauterbach was afraid of Laurean and that she didn't want to be around him. She says Lauterbach told her the two had had consensual sex before, but that a verbal argument had occurred, and the alleged rape followed.

The rape allegedly took place last spring in Laurean's office at Camp Lejeune. Lauterbach and Laurean had been working side-by-side since December 2006 in the personnel department. Lisa says Lauterbach was moved to another office after she came forward with the allegations.

I asked Lisa about how the Marines handled the rape allegations. She told me, "her staff non-commissioned officer in charge came in and told our commanding officer that there was basically no basis to the allegation, that Laurean was a good marine and that of the two of them, his credibility was significantly higher and there wasn't anything to hold him or charge him on."

A spokesman for the Marines declined to respond in detail, but did tell us this: "Regardless of whether or not something like that was said, her commanding officer took the allegation seriously, was working with NCIS and trial counsel to develop evidence and determine what charges, if any, would be preferred."

Lisa tells me Lauterbach never talked to her about how she got pregnant. Lisa didn't even know she was pregnant until she was in her fifth month. She says the Marines don't require you to divulge who the father is.

When Lauterbach first disappeared, Lisa says she didn't believe she was in danger. She thought it was just an Unauthorized Absence, which is what the Marines say they believed, too.

Lisa told me that Lauterbach had disappeared once before. Lisa says when Laurean was named as the key suspect, even when he was charged with first degree murder, she still couldn't believe he had anything to do with it.

She told me, "it's an incredibly surreal experience for me to see someone I was personally acquainted with and friends with on a wanted poster, I just can't wrap my mind around the fact he would've brutally murdered someone."

When Laurean was first named as a suspect, his wife came forward with a note that she said she'd found at home and that he'd written. It said Lauterbach had taken her own life and he'd buried her in the backyard.

Lisa doesn't buy it. She told me, "If somebody comes to my house and kills themself, I wouldn't bury her in the backyard, I'd call the cops."

Lisa says she isn't sure if Lauterbach knew Laurean was married. He didn't wear a wedding ring or keep a picture of his wife on his desk.

Lisa had met Laurean's wife numerous times, and tells me she is "the jealous type.... she was very interested in putting out, 'this is my husband and no one else is gonna take him from me.' " When asked whether Laurean's wife was a suspect, the sheriff declined to say. Police did say she was the one who directed police toward her husband.

With Laurean on the run, I wondered about his survival skills. Lisa says he'd been trained to type really well, but he could also shoot an M-16, and run really fast. She says she believes he's probably getting help from family or friends. But she says she has not heard from him and doesn't know anyone who has.

Finally, I asked her if Laurean and Lauterbach were on friendly terms, after Lauterbach came forward with the rape allegations. The Marines yesterday said they were and that's why Laurean had not been considered a suspect or a flight risk.

Lisa says Lauterbach tried to stay as far away from him as she could.

These are just some of the highlights. She was a fascinating interview and I hope you tune into 360 tonight to watch the complete interview. I don't think you'll be able to pull yourself away.

Please let me know what you think. And thank you.
Posted By CNN: 12:26 PM ET
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The political ground shifting underfoot

David Gergen
Senior Political Analyst

From about 30,000 feet, here's what the political landscape looks like to me today, just after Michigan and the Democratic debate in Nevada:

-- The terrain for the general election is moving even more strongly in the Democrats' favor. With results in from four states, Republicans have at least four -- arguably five -- candidates bunched together at the top -- each one of whom can win the nomination but no one of whom inspires all the party faithful. That's not a promising scenario for a party whose strength on election day has depended heavily upon an army of excited volunteers. Meanwhile, Democrats are choosing between two candidates, each of whom can win and can also rally the party in November.

-- Despite their strong position, the Democrats could still lose in November, not just on personality but on philosophy. Last night's debate showed plainly that both Barack and Hillary want far more governmental activism in tackling everything from the economy to health care to climate change. The public appears open to more government than in the recent past, but it isn't clear that it has yet come this far. Remember that the only two Democrats who have won the White House since Lyndon Johnson have been two southerners running as moderates, Carter and Clinton -- and neither won 50 percent of the popular vote.

-- Unfortunately, the election campaign so far hasn't yet shown clear evidence that any one of the candidates on either side is fully up to the challenges awaiting in 2009. Several of them would be fine for average times, but we are entering an extraordinary time in the presidency. Hopefully, the weeks ahead will provide a chance to explore more deeply what lies ahead -- and the leadership we so urgently need.

A post-script to last night's Democratic debate: Clinton, Edwards and Obama each told Tim Russert they would enforce laws requiring universities to allow military recruiters on campus. As a long-time advocate of restoring ROTC to major universities, I just want to add that a huge stumbling block now is the "don't ask, don't tell" policy of the military, which is seen at many schools as highly discriminatory against gays and lesbians. If that is amended -- as growing numbers in the military think should happen -- we will have a much better chance of persuading schools to honor service in the armed forces in the ways that they should.
Posted By CNN: 10:38 AM ET
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Morning Buzz
Good morning folks....The GOP political playing field is all even...Huckabee took Iowa, McCain declared victory in New Hampshire and NOW Romney has won Michigan...Soo it is all up to South Carolina to decide who the GOP favorite is....Let the games begin!!! On the Democratic side, Hillary won Michigan, but it was really NO contest....

And in other news, there are new details in the Murdered Marine story, the 911 tapes are out in the SF Zoo Tiger Attack story... Plus, do you think sex in a bathroom stall should be considered "private?" The ACLU does.... SO grab your morning coffee and check out today's headlines....

Posted By CNN: 5:29 AM ET
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Blog from the Back Row
It's a funny thing about control rooms, you can tell immediately when you walk into one if something big is happening. It sounds cliche but there's a certain energy and a certain urgency to a big news moment. In my 13 years in television I have never seen more people in a control room than I did tonight. Our coverage of the Michigan primary packed the front row, the back row, the last row (Yes there is another row behind the back row. It's where the people sit that get the graphics on the air.) and just about every square inch of real estate in between.

Tonight's challenge ... swapping out control room staffs while we were live. The political unit was producing the coverage until 10p and then we took over, literally with one person getting out of a chair and another sitting down, all while we were still on the air. I'm pretty sure we pulled it off seamlessly. And then we did it again at midnight when the Larry King Live folks took over from us.

This will be my last blog until Monday ... I am helping out on another show for a few days.
Posted By CNN: 12:12 AM ET
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Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Show some leadership
--Roland S. Martin, 360 Contributor

Where is Howard Dean? Leaders excel in moments of crisis. Leaders step up when others don't. In this, the chairman of the DNC has failed.

With two strong candidates running for president, the last thing the Democrats wanted was a diversion from real issues. And the race battle between Senators Clinton and Obama served no purpose other than to get the Dems off message, and potentially off the path to beating the GOP in November.

A number of people have told me that they personally emailed and called Dean, pleading with him to step in and end the madness. But he didn't, and shame on him for not doing so.

Let's assume he made some behind the scenes moves. What's more important is what the public sees, and what they needed was to see the chairman the leader of the party, the top dog, calling for unity and an abrupt end to the rancor.

Howie, sorry fella, you blew this one. If you make the mistake again, you might blow the election.
Posted By CNN: 7:10 PM ET
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Can McCain pull this rabbit out of the hat?

Amy Holmes
360 Contributor

If McCain wins Michigan tonight, he will be on his way to putting together a new, post-Reagan primary coalition no one saw coming: moderate Republicans and Independents, with a few Democrats sprinkled in.

Huckabee's dominance among Evangelical voters has allowed McCain to bypass the Evangelical block, stick to his strengths, and court Independents on his terms. Evangelicals are a tricky constituency for McCain (think "agents of intolerance" and McCain/Feingold). Huckabee has so far taken that vulnerability off the table.

If it works -- and that's still a big "if" -- McCain will have turned the rules inside out in a totally new, totally unexpected, and probably once in a lifetime political feat.

Remember when immigration was going to sink him?

Politics. Fascinating sport, ain't it?
Posted By CNN: 5:52 PM ET
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Today's fight over Civil Rights

Jeffrey Toobin
Senior Analyst

At one level, it seems to me, the latest dispute between the Clinton and Obama campaigns can be seen as the political equivalent of a Seinfeld episode -- about nothing.

The controversy involves the relative contributions to civil rights legislation by Lyndon B. Johnson and Martin Luther King, Jr. Clinton cited Johnson, who signed the main laws, as well as King. Obama focused on King, who provided the moral impetus. For America in 2008, it's hard to say how it makes much difference which candidate is right.

On the other hand, Clinton and Obama are tapping into one of the richest historical debates of the last several decades. Two of the finest multi-volume biographies in recent history -- Robert Caro on Johnson, and Taylor Branch on King -- deal with precisely the question the candidates are debating.

The books are very different in tone: Branch is admiring, often reverential, toward King; Caro is critical, sometimes even hostile to LBJ. But they come out close on the responsibility for the civil rights revolution.

Because both biographies are complex, nuanced (and very long), the authors avoid simple answers. But they show a shared responsibility between two giants for the triumphs of that era.

Both King and Johnson were indispensable -- a verdict that, upon reflection, Senators Clinton and Obama will probably come to share.

Posted By CNN: 3:08 PM ET
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Believe... But who do you believe?

Tom Foreman
360 Correspondent

Democrats in South Carolina, especially black Democrats, are facing a test of their beliefs: Do they believe Barack Obama can actuallly become president or not?

That's all it really comes down to. Many African-Americans have made it clear for months that they would like to vote for Obama, but they fear he can not win.

In Iowa and New Hampshire, he attracted more than enough white votes to ease those fears. Hillary Clinton, however, directly and indirectly keeps raising them, saying Obama is the wrong man, with the wrong experience, at the wrong time to be president now.

In other words, in every way, at every stop she is telling voters: do not believe that this man can win....and he is saying just the opposite. So who do you believe?
Posted By CNN: 2:56 PM ET
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Baseball: A Fraud

Gary Tuchman
360 correspondent

As a journalist and a baseball fan, I was curious whether anything substantive would come out of today's House Oversight and Government Reform Committee's hearing on the Mitchell steroid report.

In addition to Senator George Mitchell, the committee members questioned baseball Commissioner Bud Selig and players union executive director Donald Fehr.

I wasn't encouraged on the several occasions when names were mispronounced by committee members, and when some seemed a little hazy about baseball history. Also questions about social responsibilities to Commissioner Selig seemed like a waste of time. (Is there really a chance Selig would say we don't have responsibilities?)

But I do think the committee understood the significance of this: that Major League Baseball is supposed to be different from pro wrestling or roller derby.

Representative Betty McCollum of Minnesota hit the nail on the head when she exclaimed, "Every fan who's bought tickets for the last 20 years has been witness to a fraud."

Let the record reflect there was no clamoring in the committee room to disagree with that.

Posted By CNN: 2:45 PM ET
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Beat 360
Hi bloggers!

Last night rocked, you guys had some great captions! Ready for today's challenge? For those of you that don't know, we're starting something new: 'Beat 360.'

Every day we'll post a picture, and you provide the caption... Our staff will get in on the action too...

Tune in every night at 10p ET to see if you are our favorite!

Can you beat 360?
Here is today's 'Beat 360' pic:

Here's one to get you started:

"Yes I promise I won't let them get rid of 'Tater Tot Fridays'
...Now can you please unlock the gate?"

have fun with it - look forward to reading your comments!
Posted By CNNBLOG: 1:56 PM ET
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You call that the will of God?

David Mattingly
360 Correspondent

A year ago, I reported on the story of Mona Brewer, a former member and employee of Bishop Earl Paulk's Atlanta-area megachurch. Brewer claimed that Paulk used the scriptures to manipulate her into a twisted, 14-year sexual relationship.

In a lawsuit, she alleged that Paulk even had her perform sexual acts with other men, including a visiting minister. All the while, she said that Paulk had her convinced she was serving the will of God.

If a new perjury charge sticks, Paulk could end up serving time.

A district attorney accuses Paulk of lying under oath when he said Brewer was the only woman with whom he ever had an extramarital affair. That claim failed to stand up after a DNA test revealed Paulk was the father of his own nephew.
Posted By CNN: 1:04 PM ET
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Murdered Marine: You call this an investigation?

Randi Kaye
360 Correspondent

Today, Onslow County Sheriff Ed Brown announced he won't be talking to the media anymore, until Corporal Cesar Laurean is caught.

Laurean is the U.S. Marine charged in the brutal murder of fellow Marine Lance Corporal Maria Lauterbach and her unborn child.

He's been on the run since last Friday. Police believe they recovered Lauterbach's charred remains in a fire pit behind Laurean's home over the weekend along with those of her baby.

Sheriff Brown has been holding press conferences daily and doing one-on-one interviews with local and national media.

Now he says it's time to get back to work and we shouldn't expect a word from him until Laurean is behind bars.

I've never heard of holding a press conference to announce you're NOT going to hold press conferences anymore. But nothing in this case has been business as usual.

The Marines knew Maria Lauterbach had accused Cesar Laurean of rape and didn't give the Sheriff his name until January 7th, TWENTY days after she disappeared.

The Marines knew Laurean was forbidden to go near Lauterbach. A military protective order was issued in June 2007. It had expired in September 2007, but the Marines never even told Sheriff Brown about it. He told me he wasn't aware of it until last weekend when his deputies found the paperwork in Lauterbach's car.

Can you imagine?

Turns out there is no protocol in place for the Marines when it comes to sharing information with civil law enforcement.

The Onslow County Sheriff's Department was the lead investigating agency on this case. The Marines didn't have to tell them everything. But they certainly could have.

Would it have saved Lauterbach's life? Tough to say. But it certainly may have prevented this massive manhunt for the key suspect living just a few miles away from the Sheriff's Department this whole time.

Sheriff Brown, no doubt, is frustrated. Last night he said he hadn't realized how many times his investigators had been rebuffed when they tried to talk to the Marines about the Lauterbach case, until he read the full report. So if I were him, I'd probably keep quiet for a while, too...
Posted By CNN: 11:23 AM ET
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Our Congress... out of touch

Drew Griffin
360 Correspondent

They're back. Yes, our elected legislators are back from a nice taxpayer-funded break, ready to tackle the big problems of the day. right?

Home foreclosures? Uh, No.

Gas prices? No.

Job growth, war on terror, alternative energy? No.

Baseball in steroids? Why, yes!

This past year AC360 had me look at earmark spending in Congress. The assignment put me closely to the workings of Congress and how our members spend your money.

In my humble opinion, I have never met a collective group of representatives so out of touch with the people they represent.

Today's hearings on steroids in baseball proves it.
Posted By CNN: 10:35 AM ET
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Has Bill Clinton found his voice?
--Julia Weinberg, 360 Associate Producer

To candidates' wives, Eleanor Roosevelt offered the following pearls of wisdom: "Always be on time. Do as little talking as humanly possible. Lean back in the parade car so everybody can see the president."

Ok, so not all of this holds up today -- the archetypal campaign wife has evolved dramatically. Michelle Obama and Elizabeth Edwards have their own stumping schedules and rock-star rallies. But at the end of the day, it's still all about leaning back for the photo-op, right?

So what about Bill Clinton?

Hillary exalts in her newfound "voice." Will Bill find his again? He was absent from the stage theatrics last Tuesday night, when Hillary won the New Hampshire primary. Certainly no accident.

He's come under fire for calling Obama's claims about his history on Iraq a "fairy tale," and last month for criticizing the media for being too soft on Obama. Not to mention saying he opposed the Iraq war from the start -- critics note he publicly supported the 2002 senate resolution authorizing military action against Iraq.

Bill Clinton draws huge crowds and is a tremendous asset to his wife's campaign, don't get me wrong. But is it just me, or is there something off-putting about seeing an ex-president getting scrappy in a New Hampshire diner?

Former presidents have stayed politically active earlier in our history. In recent memory, however, Americans have grown accustomed to seeing ex-presidents as relatively non-partisan statesmen, international peacekeepers, ribbon-cutters, and authors; not dogfighters.

Yes, the 2008 campaign is all about breaking barriers and challenging political norms. And maybe it's time I give up on my rosy, idealistic notions about the proper role for past residents of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

I'm curious to hear what you think. Is it odd to see an ex-president re-enter the political fray? Do you think Bill Clinton has found his voice on the trail?

Send us your thoughts!
Posted By CNN: 10:29 AM ET
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Morning Buzz
Good Morning ALL!!! I am back. The skiing was fantastic...20 inches of snow is some parts of New England yesterday, I should have stayed in Vermont!!! But it is back to reality and the Morning Buzz... Our web folks made some tweaks to the buzz, what do you think?

Today is another big day in politics...the Michigan Primary. Will McCain pull out a win, again? Or will Romney claim victory in the state he was born in and his father governed??? BUT don't count Huckabee, Giuliani or Thompson out, yet....This race is way too close to call at this point....For the Democrats, Hillary is the ONLY major contender on her party's ballot -- but that doesn't guarantee a victory!!! S000 grab your coffee it is time for the morning buzz...

The ATM card of slain Marine Maria Lauterbach was found in a Durham, North Carolina, bus station over the weekend and the truck of the Marine suspected of killing her was reported in the area, police said Monday.
A snowstorm raced across northern New England Monday after burying parts of Massachusetts, dumping as much as 20 inches of snow in some places and forcing classes to be canceled at hundreds of schools.
Military officials said that about 3,200 Marines are being told to prepare to go to Afghanistan--a move that will boost combat troop levels in time for an expected Taliban offensive this spring.
The Iraqi defense minister said Monday that his nation would not be able to take full responsibility for its internal security until 2012, nor be able on its own to defend Iraq's borders from external threat until at least 2018.

One of Michigan's weirdest and wildest presidential primary seasons ends today with two big concerns...
John McCain has an automatic advantage Tuesday when Michigan votes.
Alternately promising and pleading, Republican Mitt Romney on Monday asked Michigan residents to vote for him in a primary election that could either rejuvenate or mortally wound his presidential campaign.
A demand for change, the issue that drove record-breaking turnout in the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary this month, is echoing nationwide.
As health care generates debate in this year's presidential campaign, about 68 percent of Americans say individuals should be required to have medical insurance, with government help for those who cannot afford it, a survey released on Tuesday found.
Jarvis Jenkins and Kytu Ivory are two black voters with two very different ideas about the racial tensions that have flared between presidential hopefuls Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton has eaten beef tacos in East Los Angeles and sat on the living room couch of a working-class family in a largely Hispanic neighborhood here for 30 televised minutes. At a rally of the culinary workers' union in the shadows of the Strip here one night, Senator Barack Obama pumped his fist and chanted with the crowd, "Si, se puede; si, se puede; si, se puede!" or, "Yes, we can!"

Giuliani says he's an agent of change
Republican Rudy Giuliani declared himself a "change agent" on Monday, saying he brought more change to New York City than any other mayor.
After the trench warfare of Iowa and New Hampshire and the upcoming skirmishes in a handful of states, a very different battle awaits the presidential candidates on Feb. 5: the biggest and most challenging single day in a recent campaign for a party nomination.

Fifth-grader Christopher Rodriguez sat down Thursday at his piano for his weekly lesson, arched his fingers over the keys and began to play.

The federal government sued Monday to gain access to land owned by a Texas city whose mayor has been highly critical of a planned U.S.-Mexico border fence.

Megachurch leader charged with perjury
An 80-year-old leader of a suburban mega church who is at the center of a sex scandal has been charged with lying under oath for saying he had sex outside marriage with only one other woman, court documents show.

In this farming community where nightfall usually brings clear, starry skies, residents are abuzz over reported sightings of what many believe is a UFO.

Britney Spears went to a courthouse Monday but abruptly left amid a swarm of paparazzi without attending a hearing in her child-custody battle with her ex-husband, missing a chance to try to persuade a commissioner to restore her visitation rights to her two little boys.
Posted By CNNBLOG: 12:25 AM ET
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Monday, January 14, 2008
Blog from the Back Row
Ok, so this is really a blog from the front row tonight. I am filling in for Jenny and lining the show so this might be a little short. Fortunately, there wasn't too much drama in the control room. The second half of Randi Kaye's "Murdered Marine" piece was finishing in edit while we were in the prior commercial break. A little blip of the pulse there but the producer of the piece, Diana Miller, has never missed a deadline in the years I've worked with her.

Tonight all the sweating was done several hours before air. Anderson hosted the 8p show of special election coverage so all our normal preshow routines were thrown off. Scripts had to be written in advance, video had to be cut expeditiously, control rooms schedules had to be adjusted, etc. A TV program is like a well oiled machine in that if one engine cog gets removed it takes a lot of effort to keep the car on the road.

A few swerves but no crashes tonight fortunately.
Posted By CNN: 11:16 PM ET
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Behind the Scenes: "Missing Marine"

Behind the scenes with 360 producer Chuck Hadad as he prepares tonight's report on the "Missing Marine."
Posted By CNNBLOG: 6:09 PM ET
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Anderson's View: War Against Women

I've been getting a lot of e-mails today about my piece on 60 Minutes last night. It was a story about what's happening to women in the Democratic Republic of Congo. (Watch Anderson's story from 60 Minutes)

The war that has plagued Congo for much of the last 10 years has been largely ignored by the rest of the world. It's actually the deadliest conflict since World War Two. More than 4 million people have died, and hundreds of thousands of women have been raped.

Most of the rapes are gang rapes, and they are extraordinarily brutal. Many women have had objects inserted into their vaginas -- broken bottles, bayonets, some women have even been shot between the legs.

Some of you may remember I went there last year for CNN. We did several broadcasts from Congo. I went back a couple months ago for CBS and sadly not much of anything has improved. In fact the fighting has resumed and it only seems to be getting worse.

I met one woman named Lucienne M'Maroyhi. She was raped by six soldiers. They made her brother hold a flashlight and watch her being raped. They then tried to get him to rape his sister, but he refused. They stabbed him to death in front of her.

She was held for eight months and raped everyday. She escaped, but her husband abandoned her, and she gave birth to a child -- a child of one of the soldiers who raped her. She named the beautiful little girl "Luck" because she feels lucky to be alive.

Lucienne is now enrolled with an organization called Women for Women, they help survivors of rape around the world. I've gotten a lot of e-mails from viewers asking how they can help. One way is to contact Women for Women. Here is their website: http://www.womenforwomen.org/

and here are some other related links:
International Rescue Committee Aid In Congo

Thank you for all your e-mails. People need to know what's happening in Congo. These women deserve to have their stories known, they want people to understand what they are going through.
Posted By CNN: 4:00 PM ET
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The GOP's 180, and the Democrats' dangerous game

David Gergen

Senior Political Analyst

Someone said last week that people expect campaigns to be filled with straight runways but this one is all hairpin curves. That sure seems right.

I just spoke here in Florida to a group of heavy hitters who are supporting a program called Gentlemen Against Domestic Violence -- a very fine effort. The session was in Naples, one of the most affluent parts of the state where Rudy Giuliani has reportedly raised lots of money.

To my surprise, when I asked for a show of hands, support for Rudy was tepid at best. The room was much more evenly divided between McCain and Romney supporters -- with the sentiment seemingly running toward McCain as the best candidate for the fall. (By the way, they also like their governor, Charlie Crist, as a potential running mate; and they asked about Lieberman and Bloomberg as potential veeps, too). Who would have thunk that after all this effort, Rudy would be starting to drop in a place like Naples? Or that McCain has once again recaptured imaginations?

Meanwhile, I am suprised as well that the Democrats are heading off into treacherous waters over issues of race. Whatever one thinks about the merits of the dispute -- and I do think that Hillary & Co. started it -- the Democrats can ill afford racial divisions.

A friend and top political thinker has argued to me for some years that in New York City politics, the Democrats have a recent pattern of having a strong black and a strong white in their primary fight, that the white candidate often wins but only after a bruising fight that alienates many blacks and then in the general election, lots of blacks sit on their hands -- and a Republican wins. (Or sometimes it can be a Latino vs. an Anglo with similar dangers.)

I am not in a position at the moment to verify every detail but the theory sounds to me exactly right -- and illustrates that the Clinton and Obama campaigns need to bring out a peace pipe soon!
Posted By CNN: 3:55 PM ET
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Hillary: Our Modern LBJ

Amy Holmes

360 Contributor

Does Hillary really want to be making this comparison?

"Dr. King didn't just give speeches. He marched, he organized, he protested, he was gassed, he was beaten, he was jailed," [Hillary Clinton] said, noting King had campaigned for Johnson because he recognized the need to elect a president who could enact civil rights into law. [emphasis mine]

And because MLK had no other choice.

If you wanted to pass civil rights legislation, you had to appeal to the white politicians who held the power, set the agenda and cast the votes. MLK's great genius was to persuade those with power -- LBJ, as well as white fellow citizens -- to enfranchise those without -- America's black citizens.

So, is Hillary saying that, in 2008, Barack Obama should occupy the role of a black moral leader while she takes the reigns of power and handles the "legislative stuff"?

You know, like back in the old days when a black man couldn't be elected president?
Posted By CNN: 2:02 PM ET
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Beat 360
Happy Monday bloggers!

So far it's been great... Thanks for all your clever captions and fun feedback!
Ready for today's challenge? For those of you that don't know, we're starting something new: 'Beat 360.'

Every day we'll post a picture, and you provide the caption... Our staff will get in on the action too...

Tune in every night at 10p ET to see if you are our favorite!

Can you beat 360?
Here is today's 'Beat 360' pic:

Here's one to get you started:

"...And if you turn it this way, we get channels 2, 4 and 11"

OK now, the bird... i mean ball is in your court! have fun with it - look forward to reading your comments!
Posted By CNNBLOG: 12:59 PM ET
  71 Comments  | Add a Comment
Race and Gender: enough already!

Tom Foreman
360 Correspondent

Too much fuss is being made over race and gender in this presidential campaign. As I have traveled the country talking to voters, I have heard not the slightest hesitation from the vast majority over the idea of a female or African American in the oval office.

Maybe that's because people hide their predjudices well. Maybe it's because the most closed minds among us don't talk to reporters like me. Or maybe, just maybe, it's because America as a whole is fair, understanding, and ready to say it is time for the White House to no longer be quite so white, nor quite so much purely a man's castle.

What I have heard from so many voters is a broad sense that they truly believe no one should be blocked from our nation's highest office because of race or gender, but at the same time, they've made this clear, too: We should not elect someone just because that candidate breaks racial or gender tradition either, because wouldn't a decision based on such measures be the very definition of the sexism and racism many hope this election will refute?

What do you think? We'd like to hear.

Posted By CNN: 10:09 AM ET
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Sunday, January 13, 2008
Morning Buzz
Happy Monday morning to you. Your usual morning blogger Jamie Kraft is off skiing, so Ted Fine filling in here. The big snow that was forecast for the New York area hasn't arrived, but still my kids have a 90-minute delayed opening at school. Why is that? President Bush arrives in Saudi Arabia this morning, the Republican Presidential candidates focus on Michigan, and a Marine suspected in killing another Marine is still on the run.

CNN: President Bush used a speech Sunday to gently nudge authoritarian Arab allies to satisfy frustrated desires for democracy in the Mideast, but he saved his harshest criticism for Iran, branding it "the world's leading state-sponsor of terror."
CNN: A city marshal in Shreveport, Louisiana, cast doubt Sunday on reported sightings there of a man charged with murder in the death of a pregnant Marine. Authorities in North Carolina have charged Marine Cpl. Cesar Armando Laurean with murder in the death of a fellow Marine, Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach, 20. She was eight months pregnant when last reported seen.
LA Times: Eager to cement the security gains of last year's troop buildup, the U.S. military has shifted its strategy from the streets to the corridors of power in a high-stakes effort to persuade Iraq's wary Shiite leaders to put thousands of predominantly Sunni men, many of them former insurgents, on the government payroll.
Washington Post: Sen. Hillary Clinton defended her recent remarks on civil rights Sunday, as Sen. Barack Obama weighed in on the controversy for the first time, describing Clinton's earlier comments about the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. as "unfortunate" and "ill-advised."
CNN: The Republican presidential field appears to face a tough general election fight in a new CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll. released Saturday. According to the survey, both of the Democratic front-runners, Sens. Hillary Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois, hold mostly double-digit -- and statistically identical -- advantages over Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani and Mike Huckabee, drawing greater than 50 percent support in each hypothetical matchup.
CNN: Retail sales in 2008 will suffer their weakest pace of growth in six years as Americans struggle with rising unemployment, worsening housing and credit market conditions and rising food and energy costs in the months ahead, according to a new industry forecast released Monday.

SF Chronicle: In the eyes of the law, keeping a caged tiger is like hauling dynamite or storing uranium - an activity so dangerous that even the most careful proprietor is responsible for any injuries to bystanders.

Albany Times Union: The names of R&B music star Mary J. Blige, along with rap artists 50 Cent, Timbaland and Wyclef Jean, and award-winning author and producer Tyler Perry, have emerged in an Albany-based investigation of steroids trafficking that has already rocked the professional sports world, according to confidential sources.

Freed Colombian hostage meets with son
CNN: Colombia's child welfare agency has granted freed hostage Clara Rojas full custody of the 3-year-old son taken from her during her years in a rebel camp in the jungle, the agency's director said Sunday.

'Atonement' takes best drama at Golden Globes
AP: The first Golden Globe of the night went to Cate Blanchett for her supporting role in "I'm Not There" -- and that pretty much said it all about the awards ceremony Sunday that was wiped out by the Hollywood writers strike.
Posted By CNNBLOG: 11:00 PM ET
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Friday, January 11, 2008
Blog from the Back Row
Having too much programming to squeeze into the show, as we did tonight and we do on many nights, is a nice problem to have but it's a problem none-the-less. And after we had finally figured out how to make all the pieces of the puzzle fit ... then came the breaking news about the missing pregnant marine.

With about 30 minutes until air we were trying to add a guest on the alleged murder, but we still weren't sure who we would get and if we did, at what time. We settled on a show Plan A (if we got our guest at the top of the show) and a show Plan B (if we got him a little later in the show) and decided that Plan C would be to make it up as we went along. I think figuring out how to make this all time out was part of Plan D.

In the end we wound up with not one guest but two (Kudos to our producer on the ground Amanda Townsend and reporter Randi Kaye for that.) and that put us at Plan C, make it up as we went along. We did that for the first half of the show. We hope it kept you tuned in.

Solving timing problems is one of the many jobs of our line producer, Jenny Blanco, who sits in the front row alongside the senior producer. She pulled off Plan D and earned her money doing it.

See you Monday night.
Posted By CNN: 9:17 PM ET
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Recession, and what the candidates need to do..
David Gergen
Senior Political Analyst

I am pleased that candidates on both sides have started paying more attention to the growing economic challenges the country is facing -- it's about time. Today's announcements of Bank of America's purchase of Countrywide and of at least an additional $3 billion in write downs from Merrill Lynch, are the latest reminders that we are only at the end of the beginning of the mortgage crisis.

The most immediate problem is clearly the danger of slipping into a recession. Hillary Clinton has been smart to quickly promise a new stimulus package. A good model to draw from would be that of Larry Summers, the former Treasury Secretary, who has proposed an immediate package in the range of $50-75 billion. President Bush is coming forward with his own proposal in the State of the Union in late January -- just a few days before Super Tuesday. The way the candidates respond to the threat of recession and the need for a stimulus package could well play a role in the voting on February 5th.

But the bigger problem is that which awaits the next President upon taking office. Just yesterday, as reported in the Financial Times, Moody's, the credit rating agency, warned that the US is at risk of losing its top-notch AAA credit rating within a decade unless it takes radical action to curb the rising costs of social security and health care. The US has had a AAA rating since 1917 -- its loss would be a serious blow to the US and global economy. Moody's warning echoes that of our Comptroller General, David Walker, who has compared the country's current situation to the dying days of the Roman Empire.

This next four weeks before Super Tuesday, while we still have competitive races in each party, is a critical time for candidates and voters to wrestle must more deeply and candidly on the challenges facing the next President.
Posted By CNN: 9:06 PM ET
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Blog from the Back Row
One of the ideas floated today in a production meeting was to put a camera in the control room. The idea was to bring the viewer into the process of how TV gets on the air. That's not going to happen for now but as a consolation prize I'll do my best to post a nightly blog with a little insider perspective on how the evening's program played out. (I sit in the second row of the control room, what we call the "Back Row", behind the senior producer who is running the show, either Charlie Moore or Ted Fine depending on the night.)

Producing a live TV program can be wildly fun and simoultaneously insanely stressful. Rarely does an entire hour go according to our artfully crafted and meticulously scripted plan. Yet surprisingly, we always figure out a way to make it work and hopefully you the viewer aren't aware of the potential disasters that were avoided, sometimes by only minutes or even seconds, in the process.

Here's an example from last night. We had planned to have John King on at 10:30p to recap the Republican debate from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. However, due to restrictions we could not use any of the footage of the debate until it was over. As we headed into a three minute commercial break at 10:28p we realized that there was no way the debate was going to be over by the time we came out of commercial. So we had the three minutes while we were in commercial to decide what Plan B was and how we were going to make it work. (We decided to move up our report on the missing pregnant Marine but we had to scramble to get that ready too since they weren't expecting to go air until about 10:40p.) It's fun stuff.

See you after the program.
Posted By CNN: 7:46 PM ET
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Behind the Scenes: Eric Volz
Program note: Watch Anderson's interview tonight at 10p ET

When I greeted Eric Volz and his family in the lobby of our CNN offices, it was hard for me to believe it was really Eric. I have been following his story and spending time with his family for 9 months, even traveling to Nicaragua where he was in prison, to talk to witnesses and try to get to the bottom of the murder for which he was convicted.

He was released last month after his conviction was overturned, and he came to New York for an interview with Anderson Cooper, which airs tonight on 360.

I have spent so much time thinking about Eric and his case, looking at photos of him and reading case information, that it was almost eerie for him to be standing in front of me, walking and talking, alive and free.

He was warm and friendly, even joking about how certain things -- like using a computer-- instantly came back to him after his year in jail. Other things are still jarring-- like the cold winter weather here. He talked with Anderson about the daily struggle in prison to stay alive, grieving for his ex-girlfriend (pictured here) while being charged with her murder, and why he still doesn't feel like a free man.

The ordeal that Eric has been through would be terrifying for anyone, but he seems to have emerged still vigorous, and determined to clear his name.

Editor's note: Read more on what Volz told Anderson on CNN.com

-- Brittany Harris, 360 Producer
Posted By CNN: 3:27 PM ET
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Anderson's View: Friday Flight-mare
I'm flying down to Atlanta today, but as I write this I'm sitting on the floor at LaGuardia Airport waiting for an update on my flight. The weather is bad and it seems like all the flights are delayed.

For some reason my airline doesn't think it's necessary to inform passengers about the status of their flights. Is it just me, or has flying become a completely miserable experience? The TSA rules seem arbitrarily enforced, and the airlines are offering less and less and asking more and more.

If you tune in tonight and I'm in New York, you'll know I finally gave up. I plan to do the show from Atlanta tonight, but we'll see.

-- Anderson Cooper
Posted By CNN: 3:14 PM ET
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The contenders, the convicted, and the dead
--Barclay Palmer, 360 Senior Producer

Good afternoon friends...

Tonight we look at how serious issues -- like what exactly to do about the economy and the war -- are threatening to elbow their way into a presidential race in which one side seems to be competing over who can say "change" with more conviction, and another side wrassling over who was first, a year ago, to support the surge in that war...

Which prompts the question, if we're deciding who has the most effective vision for putting our country on track, has each candidate given us a clear vision? Are we there yet? (No.) Are we there yet? (No! Please keep quiet in the back seat.)

We also cover the dramatic turn in the case of the missing pregnant Marine. The local sheriff says she is dead and buried. The suspect is a senior officer at Camp Lejeune who she claimed raped her. But he's missing, and so is her body. Quite a mystery unfolding.

We also tell the tales of two others who've tangled with the law:

1. The now-returned NJ prison escapee, who took a swing at our Jason Carroll, who proved qucker than the handcuffs flying in his face;

2. Eric Volz, the American convicted of murdering his girlfriend in Nicaragua, despite exculpatory evidence, and now returned to American soil.

We welcome your thoughts on any and all.
Posted By CNN: 1:33 PM ET
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Beat 360
What's up bloggers?

OK so we had a great time with this last night, but are you up for today's challenge?

For those of you that didn't see yesterday's blog, we're starting something new: 'Beat 360.'
Every day we'll post a picture, and you provide the caption... Our staff will get in on the action too...

Tune in every night at 10p ET to see if you are our favorite!

Can you beat 360?

Here is today's 'Beat 360' pic:

Here's one to get you started:

"Hey, don't you ever say that about Chuck Norris' running mate!"

OK, its up to you... have fun with it - look forward to reading your comments!
Posted By CNNBLOG: 12:59 PM ET
Whatever happened to the war?

Tom Foreman
360 Correspondent

Whatever happened to the war? For months, it was all the rage on the campaign trail. The Democratic contenders never missed a chance to pound on the Bush administration, rip the Republicans, and remind voters over and over how badly things were going in Iraq. The Republicans, as often as not, staunchly insisted that distant battles and homeland security went hand in hand.

Now, the war is little more than a distant echo in most of the stump speeches.
Here's a theory: Republicans know that the public hates the war and largely blames the GOP for it; so, aside from John McCain, they don't much want to remind anyone that it is going on.

But the war is going much, much better than it was when this campaign began. Fatalities for troops and civilians are way down. Iraqis are opening their shops, their schools, and their neighborhoods. Warring factions are haltingly, slowly beginning to make deals for peace.

And that's why Democrats, with the exception of John Edwrads, are not talking about it much: they fear that if the public pays attention, voters will notice the war has improved dramatically, and suddenly the Republicans might not look so bad.

Plenty can still go wrong in Iraq. Civil war...a resurgent insurgency...interlopers from Iran, Syria, Al Qaeda. The truth is neither party knows what is going to happen there.

It's easy, however, to see what is happening here. On the whole, both parties are shelving the issue...not talking about it...because it contains too many uncertainties that could upset their plans for political power.

Posted By CNNBLOG: 10:56 AM ET
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'Blunt' Force

Jason Carroll
360 Correspondent

After 48 hours of waiting to see Otis Blunt I finally got my chance. And to say our first encounter did not go well would be an understatement.

Blunt had escaped with another inmate from the Union County New Jersey jail three weeks ago-- "Shawshank Redemption" style. For those who haven't seen the movie, it goes like this: Inmate uses makeshift tools to chip a hole from their cell to the outside. Inmate then covers the hole with pictures of scantily clad women to fool the guards. That's what Otis Blunt and his prison mate Jose Espinosa did.

Espinosa was caught earlier this week several blocks from the prison with a hurt foot. Blunt, we learned from a tip, made it to Mexico City. He checked into a rundown motel on January second under an alias... U.S. marshalls caught him there Wednesday. Officials said he'd been holed up there with an unidentified woman.

We went to mexico city with hope of a possible interview with Blunt. It never happened. But I did get a face to face meeting with him. We got a late tip Blunt was scheduled to be on an early flight back to the us the next day so I booked myself on the first flight back. It was early, a little after 6AM and I was sitting at the Aeromexico gate in Mexico City's airport, half asleep.

I saw Blunt flanked by Mexican immigration authorities and a U.S. marshal. I approached cautiously, noticing he was not restrained. The minute I introduced myself, Blunt started shouting, saying "get the 'F' away from me." He was very angry. The U.S. marshall said if Blunt became more agitated they would pull him from the flight. He also said once on U.S. soil, we could ask whatever we wanted and take whatever pictures we needed. So I backed off and waited for the four-hour-plus flight back to JFK airport in New York. Blunt was seated in the back of the plane, seat 30F. U.S. marshals put hand restraints on him for which, I would be thankful later...

Once we landed, the pilot instructed all passengers to remain in their seats. Several U.S. marshals boarded the flight to escort Blunt off. I wanted a chance to ask him so many questions about his escape. As he came up the aisle past my seat, I took out my blackberry, ready to take a quick picture of him on the plane. I was also sitting next to a print photographer from the New York Daily News and we both stood up. I tried to ask Blunt why he gave up. His reply to me, "get that F-ing camera out of my face!" then he took a swing... I took the shot of him with my blackberry camera. It's blurry but i think anyone who see's it will get the picture.

Posted By CNNBLOG: 10:42 AM ET
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Morning Buzz
Morning Folks!!! There are a few NEW details in the Missing Marine story... AND was there voter fraud in the NH Primary? Dennis Kucinich thinks so... AND remember that cute little polar bear that obtained rock star status in Germay?...Can you say Mrs. Knut? Here are your morning headlines....TGIF!!!

Top Stories

Marine is a 'compulsive liar'
It's possible that a pregnant Marine missing since December 14 may have left willingly, perhaps after being upset by a phone call, documents released Thursday by Onslow County authorities show.

Severe storms blast Southeast
Powerful thunderstorms packing heavy rain and high winds pushed across Alabama and Mississippi on Thursday, causing scattered property damage and at least two traffic deaths.

Fed Chief Signals Further Rate Cut
Presenting a bleak picture of a deteriorating national economy, Ben S. Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, strongly suggested on Thursday that the Fed would cut interest rates soon, perhaps by a large amount.

Bush Outlines Mideast Peace Plan
President Bush outlined Thursday in the clearest terms so far the shape of a two-state peace treaty he is hoping to broker between Israel and the Palestinians by the end of his term.

Pakistan rejects call for conditions on U.S. aid
Pakistan rejected on Friday a call by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for President George W. Bush to consider cutting Pakistani aid unless it restores full civil rights and does more to fight terrorism.

Kenya opposition party calls for protests
Kenya's main opposition party called Friday for mass rallies nationwide in the wake of the African Union's failure to resolve a deadly election dispute.

Raw Politics

Contenders at debate scrap for S.C. voter base
In their last televised debate before the nation's first Southern primary, the Republican presidential candidates stressed different approaches their party should take if it expects to keep the White House.

Kucinich seeks NH Dem vote recount
Democrat Dennis Kucinich, who won less than 2 percent of the vote in the New Hampshire primary, said Thursday he wants a recount to ensure that all ballots in his party's contest were counted. The Ohio congressman cited "serious and credible reports, allegations and rumors" about the integrity of Tuesday results.

Calls Grow for Bloomberg to Make Up His Mind
Nearly every day a tiny new development trickles out from the stealth presidential campaign of Michael R. Bloomberg, the billionaire mayor of New York.

Crime & Punishment

Mother charged in grisly deaths of her four children
A mother who is suspected of killing her four children, whose decomposing bodies were found in her home, appeared in court Thursday.

Keepin' Them Honest

Hinn, Hilliard resign ORU regents posts
Two televangelists have resigned their posts as regents at Oral Roberts University, as the debt-ridden school tries to regroup following a spending scandal involving its former president. The university on Thursday also settled with one of three professors who filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the school.

AC360 Folo

Most of $4.5B in Gulf Coast aid unspent
Three-quarters of the billions in federal money earmarked to replace schools, firehouses and other public works after the 2005 Gulf Coast hurricanes still haven't been spent, a sign that key pieces of the region's recovery effort are languishing in red tape.

What YOU will be talking about TODAY

It's a girl: polar bear cub in Germany has star appeal
The German media on Thursday predicted a bright future for a female polar bear cub separated from its disturbed mother at a zoo in Nuremburg.

China blogger beaten to death
Authorities have fired an official in central China after city inspectors reportedly beat to death a man who filmed their confrontation with villagers, China's Xinhua news agency reports.

Posted By CNN: 5:57 AM ET
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Thursday, January 10, 2008
Missing, and maybe a mom...
--Randi Kaye, 360 Correspondent

She's pregnant and missing. But how much should we worry about her?

Marine Maria Lauterbach, 20, disappeared a month ago from her base, Camp LeJeune, in North Carolina.

She could be in danger, but apparently had a few reasons to run, if that's what she did.

She was supposed to testify on base after witnessesing a crime; her mother was putting pressure on her to give up her baby (the father has yet to be identified); and she had made allegations of sexual abuse against a senior officer. She later withdrew the allegations, and may have worried about facing charges of making false statements.

We have been here in Jacksonville all day, talking to investigators and they're on the fence about whether or not she is really in danger or on the run.

She's due to give birth any day now, if she hasn't already.

Her mom says she is bipolar and the military says she has a history of compulsive lying.

Her cellphone was found December 20th right outside the base, her car was discovered this week but had been parked at a nearby restaurant next to the bus station since December 15th, according to the sheriff.

And now Sheriff Ed Brown has demanded the return of a Marine sergeant from California back to North Carolina so he can interview him again. He's a key witness in the case, not a suspect. Sgt. Daniel Durham is the missing marine's roommate and investigators have looked at his laptop. The Sheriff says some of his statements don't match up and he "wants to look him in the eye again."

Also, the sheriff told me he has surveillance tape of a man -- he wouldn't say who --withdrawing money from Lauterbach's bank account 10 days after she disappeared on Christmas Eve.

The sheriff is promising we'll have answers "real soon."

Which way does it sound to you like this might go?

And if she is alive and well, which we all hope, what should happen next?
Posted By CNN: 9:54 PM ET
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Revenge of the Nerds...

Reza Aslan
360 Contributor

John Kerry endorsed Barack Obama today. Actually Kerry pretty much took credit for Obama's candidacy.

"I'm proud to have helped introduce Barack to our nation when I asked him to speak to our national convention," he said, "and there Barack's words and vision burst out."

The media will no doubt frame Kerry's endorsement as evidence that the Democratic establishment is beginning to line up behind Obama. After all, Kerry doesn't just represent the beltway, the beltway practically wraps around his waist.

But the real story here is Kerry's reason for supporting Obama:

"Like [Obama], I also lived abroad as a young man, and I share with him a healthy respect for the advantage of knowing other cultures and countries, not from a book or a briefing, but by personal experience, by gut, by instinct."

First of all, by all means, let's elect another president based on his gut instincts. It worked so well last time.

Secondly, when did "intuition" become all the rage in Washington? After all, it is difficult to imagine a less instinctual politician than John Kerry, a man who needed to do little more than show up and look alive to beat George W. Bush in 2004, but who could only manage one of those requirements (you can guess which one).

Kerry's claim of gut instincts makes me think that the "intuition fad" in Washington may be coming to an end. You always know a fad is over when the class nerd takes it up.
Posted By CNN: 8:31 PM ET
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Beat 360
What's up bloggers?

We're starting something new today, a 'Beat 360'
Every day we'll post a picture, and you provide the caption...
Our staff will get in on the action too...
Tune in every night at 10p ET to see if you are our favorite!

Can you beat 360?

Here is today's 'Beat 360' pic:

Here's some ideas to get you started:

- "There must be some mistake, check under 'Puffin' one more time...
With two f's... Don't worry sweetheart, I have this under control"-

- According to the latest polls, you're 28% in New Hampshire...-

- Do you have a moment for Greenpeace?-

Have fun with it - look forward to reading your comments!
Posted By CNNBLOG: 11:57 AM ET
  103 Comments  | Add a Comment
An Opening for Barack

David Gergen

Senior Political Analyst

If voters here in the San Francisco Bay Area are representative, the race between Hillary and Barack could be extremely close here in California on February 5 -- and could also hold the key to the final outcome. Two nights ago in Oakland, where I spoke, an audience of 3,000 slightly favored her over him; last night in San Mateo, just south of the city, an audience of 2,000 raised their hands about 55-45% in his favor.

Hillary is clearly well-regarded here, especially among women, and her victory on Tuesday night has rehabilitated her candidacy. But it is also obvious that Barack has ignited a passion for his candidacy, too, and that despite his loss, he has an opening that wasn't there before Iowa.

The exit polls in New Hampshire showed that even in defeat, Barack was viewed favorably by over 80 percent of Democrats and that 46% of voters thought he was the candidate most likely to win in November versus 36% who said that about Hillary. And here's where I think he now has an opening: some 28% of the Democratic voters in New Hampshire thought Hillary could unite the country but about half felt the same way about Barack.

What I have sensed in California is that people are hugely eager to find a president who can bring the country together again. They know how essential that is in order to address challenges from Iraq and Iran to health care and climate change. Barack has made the case for change. Hillary has made an effective counter argument that she is the only one experienced enough to know how to change. What I see in California -- and what polls from New Hampshire suggest -- is that Barack now has an opening to argue with great effect: yes, but I am the only one who can bring the unity that actually makes change possible.
Posted By CNN: 8:21 AM ET
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Are voter ID requirements constitutional?

Jami Floyd
360 Contributor

Voting is not just a political issue. It's a legal one. And a constitutional one. That's why the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments yesterday on one of the most controversial voting issues of this century: Voter ID Laws.

In a case brought by the Democratic Party and the NAACP, the Court will decide whether Indiana's requirement that voters show identification at the polls is a violation of the right to vote. The question is whether such laws unfairly suppress the vote. The state argues that the requirement is one of many protections in place to prevent election fraud.

Democrats, however, say the Indiana law, and others like it, have a disproportionate effect on poor communities and among minorities and the elderly. Of course, these are voters who tend to vote for Democrats. Buts its interest in the case doesn't make the party wrong about these wrong-headed requirements.

Of course, we need to be very concerned about fraud. But voter ID requirements are eerily reminiscent of polling taxes and literacy tests and the post-reconstruction requirement that black men, long denied an education in this country, sign their names before voting.

The Court is not likely to see it that way. Yesterday's questioning by the Justices strongly suggests that Indiana will win the day, and that democracy will lose.

Check out Jami's blog In Session:
Posted By CNN: 8:14 AM ET
  6 Comments  | Add a Comment
Morning Buzz
Morning Folks!! Grab your coffee because there a lots of headlines to get through this morning. Is Bill Richardson dropping out? Is Mike Bloomberg jumping in? Will there finally be a peace treaty in the Mideast, President Bush thinks so...AND are we sending more troops to Afghanistan? Can you say "surge?" Here are the headlines from papers across the country...

Top Stories

U.S. may send 3,000 Marines to Afghanistan
The Pentagon is preparing to send at least 3,000 Marines to Afghanistan in April to bolster efforts to hold off another expected Taliban offensive in the spring, military officials said Wednesday.

Bush calls for peace treaty in 2008
President Bush on Thursday predicted that a Mideast peace treaty would be completed by the time he leaves office, but undercut that optimism with harsh criticism of Hamas militants who control part of the land that would form an eventual independent Palestine.

Difficulties Confront Bush as He Arrives in Israel
They share an enthusiasm for sports, fitness and the occasional cigar. They are both unpopular leaders, scarred by terrorism and zealous in their warnings about the threat of Islamic extremism. And yet they profess grand ambitions to accomplish what other leaders have failed to do for decades: make peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Suicide bomb blast kills 25
A suicide bomber, apparently targeting police officers, detonated an explosive outside a court in Lahore Thursday, killing at least 25 people and injuring 39 others, police said.

US airstrikes hit al-Qaeda
U.S. bombers and jet fighters unleashed 40,000 pounds of explosives during a 10-minute airstrike Thursday, flattening what the military called al-Qaeda in Iraq safe havens on the southern outskirts of the capital.

Study Puts Iraqi Death Toll at 151,000
151,000 Iraqis Died in 3 Years After US Invaded, Study by Iraq and UN Health Agency Finds

Raw Politics

Gov. Richardson will drop out
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson will quit the race for the Democratic presidential nomination after fourth-place showings in the campaign's first contests, sources said Wednesday.

Mayor Bloomberg has quietly been conducting polling and doing a highly sophisticated voter analysis in all 50 states as he decides whether to launch an independent presidential campaign, associates said yesterday.

Exhausted candidates roll on
With the presidential campaign thrown into disarray for the second time in a week, the exhausted candidates rolled out of New Hampshire on Wednesday and began scrambling for victories in the handful of states holding votes before the Feb. 5 super primary day.

Race Is Fluid
Americans frustrated by Iowa and New Hampshire's clout in picking their presidents can take some heart: The two states' electoral verdicts settled little.

Women's Support for Clinton Rises in Wake of Perceived Sexism
If the race wasn't about gender already, it certainly is now.

Crime & Punishment

Pregnant Marine missing
A search is under way for a pregnant 20-year-old Marine who has been missing from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, since December 14.

New Jersey escapee nabbed
The second of two men who last month pulled off a daring escape from a county jail in New Jersey was taken into custody Wednesday, authorities told CNN.

Keepin' Them Honest

Congress gets $4,100 pay raise
Congress members in 2008 will receive salaries of $169,300, a boost of $4,100 over the salary they have had since January 2006.

What YOU will be talking about TODAY

Golf Channel anchor suspended
Golf Channel suspended anchor Kelly Tilghman for two weeks on Wednesday for saying last week that young players who wanted to challenge Tiger Woods should "lynch him in a back alley."

Pig's 'green' genes
A cloned pig whose genes were altered to make it glow fluorescent green has passed on the trait to its young, a development that could lead to the future breeding of pigs for human transplant organs, a Chinese university reported.

Posted By CNN: 5:28 AM ET
  5 Comments  | Add a Comment
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
Not the Race Issue Again

Amy Holmes
360 contributor

Okay, so as we all saw last night, the polling was totally wacky when in the lead up to the Hillary/Obama votes. Every pollster and prognosticator got it wrong, including both the Obama and Clinton camps. New Hampshire voters were supposed to give their hearts to Obama.

Instead, they went to Hillary. So, what explains it? I don't know. There are lots of theories floating around out there. But the one that makes the least sense is the racial one. Why? Two simple facts. Women put Hillary across the finishing line. She won 46% of the women's vote, while Obama garnered 34%. Meanwhile, Obama won with men.

Are we to believe that women are more racist than men? That the fairer sex of New Hampshire harbored some deep irrational fear of a black man as president, while their male cohorts did not?

Maybe race played a part. Maybe it goes along with the theory that women voted last night with their emotions and racism was one of them. But as for me, I don't buy it. Let's be secularist liberals and wait for the science.

Posted By CNNBLOG: 5:34 PM ET
  12 Comments  | Add a Comment
A result good for candidates and country

David Gergen
Senior Political Analyst

Whether you like Hillary or Barack -- or John, Rudy or Mike -- we should all welcome the results in New Hampshire for one fundamental reason: they keep these races alive for a while longer.

Only a couple of days ago, especially on the Democratic side, we were in a rush toward coronation. The press and GOP candidates like Romney and McCain were all ready to pronounce Obama the Democratic nominee and intimated he would probably go all the way to the White House. New Hampshire voters said, "Not so fast," and that's a good thing for the candidates and the country.

As magical as Obama has seemed, the truth is that most Americans don't really know him well enough to make a sound judgment. Keeping this race open will allow voters to vet him more fully and to compare and contrast what he offers versus Hillary. We have already seen how much a defeat helped Hillary to reassess who she is and how she is reaching voters. She is a better candidate now because she was humbled in Iowa, and Barack will be a better candidate because he was humbled in New Hampshire. Much the same argument applies to the candidates on the Republican side.

Keeping the race open also gives voters in many other states a chance to shape the final outcome, and that, too, is a good thing. I am here in California and last night when I spoke in Oakland, many in the audience of 3,000 were enthusiastic that now their voices will be heard, too. (By the way, in a show of hands, they were pretty evenly split between Hillary and Barack.)

Finally, the results were good last night because they not only humbled some of the candidates but also humbled the press. All of us in the "commentariat" -- me included -- needed to hear loudly from voters that they are the ones who have the ultimate power in a democracy, not us, and that we need to have a little less certitude and more humility than we sometimes express.
Posted By CNN: 4:08 PM ET
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Anderson's View: Nothing is Written
What a night! I got home around 1 am and couldn't fall asleep. It was incredibly exciting to watch the returns come in, and I hope it was for you at home as well. There is a line in the movie "Lawrence of Arabia," one of my favorite movies, the line is "Nothing is Written."

I once heard the great director Mike Nichols give a speech and he cited that line as one of his favorites as well. Nothing is Written. That is certainly true in the world of politics, and we were shown that again last night. No matter how much the pundits and pollsters predict - Nothing is written.

I remember on the eve of John Kerry's defeat asking some of our analysts, "who is going to win tomorrow?" and they all insisted Kerry. Needless to say he didn't, and that for me was such a reminder that no one really knows what will happen, and anyone who pretends they do is just plain mistaken.

We are all politics tonight, how could you not be? Well, actually I'm guessing our competition won't be, but that's another story. Where does the race go from here? I will be asking a lot of people that question tonight, but I will make sure to point out none of them really know. They may be smart... but politics is politics... and nothing is written.

-- Anderson Cooper
Posted By CNN: 3:37 PM ET
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Here's how to "protect our democracy"

Jami Floyd
360 Contributor

I was one of hundreds of journalists dispatched to Tallahassee to cover the 2000 Bush/Gore Recount. All those dimpled chads and hanging chads and pregnant chads. Now, eight years later it almost seems funny. But it's not.

As we begin yet another presidential election cycle, Americans are still trying to figure out how to get it right -- or at least how to avoid getting it wrong. To that end many states have turned to electronic voting. Problem solved, right? Wrong.

As a witness to the ways in which democracy can elude some voters, I commend any effort to protect the right (and opportunity) to vote. But there are legitimate concerns about electronic voting, including the potential for tampering with the machines, not to mention bugs in their software.

We need a system that will reinspire confidence in our voting process. But as long as private companies use proprietary software that the public cannot examine, there will be questions about the legitimacy of the system.

Technology is not always the best solution to our problems. And the more I learn about electronic voting, the more I support a return to a good old fashioned method: The paper ballot.

Check out Jami's blog
In Session:
Posted By CNN: 11:57 AM ET
  5 Comments  | Add a Comment
Why Hillary won... and it's not what you might think

Candy Crowley
Senior Political Correspondent

New Hampshire re-sets what Iowa did. Why were the polls so off? Ask the pollsters. I suspect it has something to do with late deciders.

Now how did HRC pull it off? Beyond her "new" message (not so new really) and a superior get out the vote effort and a new push for younger female voters..... Pardon me for this sidebar if somebody tells me again it was her near tears episode I will do a Dean scream..... do we really think a bunch of voters made a decision based on her voice breaking? As Bill Clinton says, give me a break. This is a fairy tale. But I digress.

You want to know what really made the difference?

New Hampshire is not Iowa.

Posted By CNN: 10:44 AM ET
  9 Comments  | Add a Comment
Turn this way (fill in the blank) to make history

Randi Kaye
360 Correspondent

Ladies... what happened? Hillary Clinton not only beat Barack Obama in the New Hampshire primary but she took the women's vote back!

Obama had grabbed 50 percent of the votes in Iowa among women 18-29, but in New Hampshire it was a very different story.

Was it because she teared up in the New Hampshire coffee shop?

In her speech last night, she said, "I have found my own voice."

Is that what she needed? Experts on this issue say she needed to be less scripted, more candid, and more approachable.

It seems to be working. Why, suddenly, do you think more women are supporting her?

And looking ahead to South Carolina, an important state for both candidates, black women especially face a tough choice. And whether they choose Obama or Clinton, it will be a historic choice. It would certainly be as historic to elect a woman president as an African American. But many black women are struggling between race and gender, often feeling like a "sell out" if they don't vote Obama's way.

Black voters, particularly women, greatly admire the New York senator and her husband, former President Bill Clinton. But they are torn between affection for the Clinton family and an opportunity to make history by electing Obama.

Which way this thing will go is anyone's guess.

Stay with us for the ride. It's going to be an exciting one.
Posted By CNN: 10:36 AM ET
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What New Hampshire means for Oprah

Amy Holmes
360 Contributor

Showers are great places to think. And it occurred to me while I was taking mine: What does Hillary's win among women mean for Oprah? Her electoral influence and future efforts on behalf of Obama, particularly in South Carolina among white and black female voters? Did Oprah rest on Barack's Iowa laurels?

It may be a small point, but I'm curious to know your thoughts. Readers, please do share!
Posted By CNN: 10:33 AM ET
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Morning Buzz
Good Morning!!! What an exciting finish in the N.H. primary last night. AND that seems to be dominating the headlines this morning... Many had written both John McCain and Hillary Clinton off, but today they are calling them BOTH the "comeback kids." McCain's victory in N.H. was NOT a huge surprise, but how did the polls get it sooo wrong on the Democratic side. Who will stay in? Who will drop out? Hillary, Obama, Romney, Huckabee and McCain are in it, for sure!!! BUT will Edwards, Richardson, Paul and the others drop out? Tough call....Sooo grab your coffee and let the games begin....

Top Stories

Clinton wins back women
Solid support from registered Democrats and women in New Hampshire were crucial Tuesday as Sen. Hillary Clinton rebounded from her third-place finish in last week's Iowa caucuses.

A 'very personal victory' for McCain
Sen. John McCain's victory in New Hampshire's Republican primary Tuesday came with the help of critics of a war he supports and independents who gave him the edge eight years ago, exit polls found.

New Hampshire's Polling Fiasco
There will be a serious, critical look at the final pre-election polls in the Democratic presidential primary in New Hampshire; that is essential. It is simply unprecedented for so many polls to have been so wrong. We need to know why.

Voter turnout in NH sets record
Voters excited about competitive races in both parties set a record for turnout in New Hampshire's primary Tuesday.

Bush in Israel
President Bush opened his first presidential trip to Israel on Wednesday, seeking to build momentum for stalled Mideast peace talks and clear up confusion about whether the United States is serious about confronting Iran about its suspected nuclear ambitions.

Kenya Crisis Worsens
The political mood darkened again in Kenya on Tuesday, with opposition leaders cooling to the idea of negotiations with the government after the president unilaterally made major cabinet appointments, a move that set off riots across the country almost immediately.

Rise Seen in Trafficking of Enhanced Ecstasy
Methamphetamine-laced Ecstasy is flowing across the Canadian border into the United States, according to a warning last week from the federal government to public health and local law enforcement officials.

Raw Politics

Clinton's stunning victory
In a stunning comeback at a do-or-die moment for her campaign, Hillary Clinton pulled out a narrow primary win here Tuesday night that breathed new life into her candidacy and immediately stoked the fiery intensity of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Fresh starts for Clinton, McCain
Powered by women voters and the Democratic faithful, Hillary Rodham Clinton rallied to a surprise victory Tuesday in the New Hampshire presidential primary, echoing the 1992 comeback that launched her husband to the White House.

A Show of Emotion Heard 'Round the World
It was not that Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton teared up. It was all the times she did not.

Crime & Punishment

Escapee Caught Just Six Blocks From the Jail
Law enforcement officers arrested an escaped prisoner Tuesday night, finding him in an apartment just six blocks from the Elizabeth, N.J., jail from which he and another inmate broke out more than three weeks ago, the police said.

CHICAGO Panel backs payouts in 3 police-related cases
The Chicago City Council's Finance Committee voted Tuesday to settle three police-related cases for a total of $1.25 million.

Keepin' Them Honest

Katrina's victims ask for huge checks
Hurricane Katrina's victims have put a price tag on their suffering and it is staggering--including one plaintiff seeking the unlikely sum of $3 quadrillion.

Vets miss out on benefits
Many veterans never receive the federal and state benefits to which they're entitled because they're unaware they qualify for health care, tax breaks and other compensation, local liaisons to former troops say.

Air Force may shrink its F-15 fleet
The Air Force will probably order dozens of its F-15 fighter jets permanently grounded because of crucial structural flaws, significantly reducing the number of planes available to protect the United States, officials said Tuesday.

Ac360 folo

L.A. grand jury issues subpoenas in Web suicide case
In a novel approach, prosecutors are looking at charging a woman who posed as a boy and sent cruel messages to teen with defrauding MySpace.

Suicide prompts Mo. to mull law change
Adults who use the Internet to harass children could be charged with a felony if Missouri lawmakers agree with a proposal made Tuesday by a state panel formed after a taunted teenager's suicide.

What YOU will be talking about TODAY

Pair wheel corpse to store to cash check
Two men wheeled a dead man through the streets in an office chair to a check-cashing store and tried to cash his Social Security check before being arrested on fraud charges, police said.

Dairy linked to 3 deaths
At Whittier Farms dairy, the fifth-generation owners brag of the quality of their Holstein cows and still deliver milk right to your door, in glass bottles. Customers like the products because they are a hormone-free taste of old New England.

Posted By CNN: 5:36 AM ET
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Tonight is Hillary's Night

Amy Holmes
360 Contributor

She finally found her voice. And it's a whole lot more appealing than it's been for weeks. No explicit Republican bashing. Kind words for her Democratic opponents. She took a page out of Obama's playbook and spoke of an America united, and a page out of Edward's playbook to fight for the middle class and against special interests -- Big Oil, pharmaceuticals, etc. And she was surrounded by young people on the stage.

This morning I advised graciousness and humility. Not that she was listening to me, but tonight we heard an inclusive and outward directed message -- refocused on the interests and desires of the voters, not her resume. Did she even mention "change,"strength" or "experience" once?

Side note: I was thinking of Beyonce's big number in Dreamgirls all day, "Listen." Bill said yesterday he couldn't make Hillary younger, taller, or male as if he was her Pygmalion. It made me think of the line, "I'm more than what you made of me."

So, tonight, she said she listened to New Hampshire. And it appears the New Hampshire voters listened back.

Posted By CNN: 12:44 AM ET
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Tuesday, January 08, 2008
It ain't over Hill, Part 2

Amy Holmes
360 Contributor

Patti Solis Doyle and Mark Penn are on their way out. Maggie Williams, Hillary's former chief of staff, is on her way in. So the news is breaking and I'm hearing from a major Clinton fundraiser.

My source tells me donors across the country are spitting mad that they did their part and raised $110 million, but Penn didn't do his and deliver a well managed campaign.

So, now, my source confirms, Clinton supporters are looking to raise $15 million to $20 million dollars, in $1 million dollar increments, to fund a 527 to go after Obama's lead.

Last week, the Iowa loss left the Clintons shocked, dazed, and confused. They had hoped for a second place finish. They didn't get it, and they won't be winning any landslides tonight. But the good news is that after tonight Hillary has a chance to take a breather, refocus, retool and refresh. She has time to pull her loyal supporters close and rally them through to February 5th.

Hillary may be down, but she is definitely not out. Expect more politically thrilling weeks ahead.

Posted By CNN: 8:45 PM ET
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Watch the New Hampshire rip tide

--Candy Crowley, Senior Political Correspondent

50 degrees in New Hampshire in early January? As Barack Obama likes to say, "Something's happening out there."

Warmer means older people may come out in larger numbers: Advantage Clinton, whose support base trends female and older.

'Course warmer also means bigger turnout across the board, including huge numbers of independents, who can vote in either primary: Advantage Obama, whose base (in Iowa anyway) was pretty, well, across the board and independent.

McCain's looking for indies too. Truly, at some of these rallies you can find people deciding between Obama and McCain. I mean, huh? Thus the term "quirky" New Hampshire voters.

Things to watch for tonight: 1) size of indie vote in Republican primary, the more the better for McCain. If it's mostly base Republicans, Romney may get by.

On Democratic side, watch how the registered dems vote. If HRC loses to Obama at the base of the party, she is in deep do-do in NH and beyond. Something's happening out there all right. Just wish we knew what. We will very soon.

Your turn, New Hampshire.
Posted By CNN: 5:51 PM ET
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When the stock market rides like a water slide

Ali Velshi

360 Correspondent

So much for a happy New Year - we've only had 5 trading sessions this year and major markets have done nothing but dive.

Today was supposed to be a quiet day on Wall Street - we were going to let the candidates own the news today. In the end, the Dow dropped about 240 points; NASDAQ and S&P 500 dropped as well.

And another guy says we're going to have a recession. And he's not just ANY guy - he's a Harvard economist who happens to head up the National Bureau of Economic Research.

The NBER is the group charged with telling when we're in a recession. So the guy who's going to tell us when we're in one, says we're headed for one. Merrill Lynch says we're already in one, which puts them in agreement with about 60% of you, according to the most recent CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll.

I could go on, but I don't want to depress you. Needless to say you already know the strains you're under: high gas prices, low home prices, maybe interest rates that are higher than you'd like.

Good news?

The Fed may cut rates again at the end of the month, and the Federal Government may consider cutting taxes. But both of those acts carry risks - which is why I say that they "may."

Experts tell me consumer staples, alternative energy and companies that cater to consumers in other countries are the places to park your money.

In a recession, invest in the things that are likely to do well. But stay diversified - don't put all of your eggs in one basket, no matter how good the basket looks.
Posted By CNN: 4:35 PM ET
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Enough About Them
--Claire Brinberg, 360 Producer

Enough About Them

Let's talk about ME and my feeeeelings, and why I find myself consumed with anxiety as my flight lifts off from New Hampshire.

I'm in a cramped window seat, in the back of a small and noisy prop plane. Behind me, in the very last row, sits Wesley Clark, the retired general who mounted a much-anticipated, but ultimately disappointing run for the White House four years ago.

I remember traveling to Little Rock with Judy Woodruff, my former boss and dear friend, to interview Clark the day before he announced his campaign. It felt like such a big deal...a real moment in history. For a brief time that summer, Clark embodied the dreams of the Democratic party, and dominated the media chatter. He had worldly intelligence... military integrity... charm. He was an outsider, but not a freaky outsider. Just outsidery enough to seem like a refreshing break from the status quo.

And now he's back with me in steerage, on a flight that doesn't even offer a choice of beverage. Just water. Twice the flight attendent scolded him that his bag wasn't properly tucked away.

General Clark reminds me how often we in the media lose touch with reality. We find an ambitious man, make him the vessel for all our hopes and dreams, build him up and watch him fall. We don't know him all that well, but we decide that he counts.

Fred Thompson is this year's Wes Clark.

Clark was in New Hampshire this week to campaign for Senator Hillary Clinton. For a huge swath of 2007, we reporter types were measuring the White House drapes on her behalf. And now we're gleefully zooming-in on her tear ducts.

For most of 2007, I believed Senator Clinton would be the next president. She seemed organized and inevitable...thoroughly prepared for a bruising campaign. I was convinced she'd be the Democratic nominee, much as I was certain that John McCain would not be his party's pick.

But this year booms went bust and busts went boom.

The 2007 campaign was dominated by boomlets and anti-boomlets. The summer boomlets (Fred the Gipper, Rudy Beloved-By-All-Republicans) and anti-boomlets (remember Timid Obambi and Imploding McCain?) feel like a whole 'nother era.

If I've learned anything this year, it's that the only relevant boomlets and anti-boomlets are the ones that happen two weeks before an election. The others just give us talkers stuff to talk about.

On Caucus Thursday, I had no idea how Iowa would vote. On Primary Tuesday, I feel like I've got a better handle on New Hampshire.

But I'm still anxious. 'Cause after tonight the whole game will change. But I have no idea how. That sense of uncertainty is both exciting and unsettling.

When we land, General Clark and I are the last ones off the plane.

"Gotta love the back," I say.

"Keeps you humble," he replies.

Indeed it does.
Posted By CNN: 12:51 PM ET
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A university president's focus is: the bowl games??

Gary Tuchman
360 Correspondent

I enjoy all sports, including college football, and like millions of viewers, I watched LSU win the national championship last night with a 38-24 win over Ohio State. But something seemed a bit awry when I looked at the front page of the Atlanta Journal Constitution this morning, and saw that the president of the University of Georgia is calling for an eight-team college football playoff that will extend the season.

I'm not naive; I know that college sports are a critically important part of the college experience -- and college revenues. I also happen to think the idea is intriguing. But is it perhaps more appropriate for the university's president to leave such statements to his athletic director, and focus his public pronouncements more on ways to make a fine academic university even finer? Most college presidents who have gone on the record are against such a proposal. They fear a lengthened season would negatively impact academics at their schools.

Many Georgia Bulldog fans are still upset (and perhaps rightfully so) that their football team was not selected for the Bowl Championship game. But Georgia President Michael Adams told the Journal Constitution that's not the reason he's reached this conclusion. Instead, he says, "The bowl games this year....They ended up with some really screwy games." Should a college president really be publicly concerned about uncompetitive bowl games?

What do you think?
Posted By CNN: 10:35 AM ET
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Chin Up, Hill. It Ain't Over.

Amy Holmes
360 Contributor

Hillary is expected to lose tonight, possibly by double digits. Meanwhile, at least one top Clinton fundraiser expects major shake-ups in the campaign in the wake of tonight's expected results. (More on that later.)

That may delight political reporters who love blood in the water, but I would caution the Senator that a round of immediate blood letting runs the risk of reinforcing the perception of her as vindictive and ruthless. Instead, unless tonight is close, Hillary should take a deep breath, show some humility and...

1. Show sportsmanship. Like the political athlete she is, she needs to walk up to the net, shake hands and congratulate her opponent. Tonight is an opportunity to show class and grace, admittedly not Clinton strong suits, which she failed to do after Iowa. No spinning, cynical political analysis, or diminishing the results and the efforts of volunteers and supporters who worked hard to deliver a win. Put a hold on those negative ads until after the weekend. Hillary is touting her strength and experience. A strong leader accepts defeat graciously, and...

2. Rallies her team. She needs to remind her supporters, the press, and possibly herself, that there are still 48 states to go. A show of energy, enthusiasm, and optimism (careful -- no Dean screaming), will help reassure her team that she is steady and in charge. As will...

3. Private discussions with her funders and supporters on her plan to win. The Clintons have been in tough spots before. Now is no time to go wobbly. She needs to reassure her supporters that she has the strategy and the will to go the distance.

4. And as hard as it may be for the War Room warrior, Hillary needs to take a pause and enjoy herself out there. Up to now, her campaign has been a joyless grind. Forget the tedious Q and A's. Hillary needs to go back to her well of support, drink deeply, and rejuvenate.

I could add that she should cut her losses in South Carolina. Throw some classic Clinton barbecues, pay respect and pay attention, but focus on the states she can win.

But first she has tonight, and an opportunity to show the human side of her that peeked through yesterday to everyone's great surprise. Grace and humility. Now that would be a real change.
Posted By CNN: 10:27 AM ET
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The winds of change

David Gergen
Senior Political Analyst

As we await the verdict of the voters in New Hampshire, we appear to be at a hinge point in American politics -- one of those rare moments when the course of history begins to shift in a different direction. Is this the fall of the House of Clinton that we are watching? The final splintering of the Reagan coalition? The emergence of a new politics whose contours and ideas are still being defined? It appears that all these things are happening and with unbelievable speed.

I am in the Bay Area of California for a series of lectures. Last night in Marin County, it was clear that the audience of 2,000 was swept up in the excitement, especially Obama's candidacy. If Hillary Clinton loses New Hampshire, I sensed she could slip quickly in California, too.

But they also offered some tempering cautions. They definitely want to know more about who Obama is, what he believes and if he comes into office, who will be coming with him. They were concerned about his security -- a concern that seems justified. They don't want Iowa and New Hampshire to make their decisions for them; they want to make independent judgments.

It's too early to start a coronation, they think, so let the race continue. Still, they sense that the winds of change are blowing -- and they welcome the possibility of a new politics.

We are at a rare moment.
Posted By CNN: 10:21 AM ET
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Morning Buzz
Morning folks!!! Well, the first votes have been cast in the NH primary. The residents of Dixville Notch picked McCain & Obama, Hillary Clinton was shut out....There are lots of political headlines to wrap your arms around today, plus a rare winter tornado and Dr Phil is getting his hand slapped for trying to help Brittany... Soooo grab your coffee, there is a lot to get through this morning...

Top Stories

At least 2 dead in Missouri tornadoes
Severe weather raked southwestern Missouri on Monday night, killing at least two people and leaving a path of destruction across two counties, authorities said.

Rockets fired into Israel from Lebanon
Two Katyusha rockets were fired into northern Israel from Lebanon on Monday night, an Israeli police spokesman said.

Bush to visit an ambivalent Israel
For seven years, President Bush has been a distant defender of Israel, working from Washington to tilt America's policies in the Middle East more firmly behind its longtime ally.

Afghan bomb kills coalition 2 soldiers
A roadside bomb killed two soldiers from the U.S.-led coalition in eastern Afghanistan, and a suicide bomber on a motorcycle attacked a border police patrol in the south, killing a policeman, officials said.

Bush Admits Economy Faces Challenges
President Bush, in a marked shift from his usual upbeat economic assessments, conceded here on Monday that the nation faces "economic challenges" due to rising oil prices, the home mortgage crisis and a weakening job market.

Raw Politics

Obama and McCain get early win
Sen. Barack Obama won seven of the 10 votes cast for Democrats in the first balloting of the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday in the northern hamlet of Dixville Notch, while Sen. John McCain won the Republican balloting.

Little New Hampshire Could Hold Big Significance
A few months ago, New Hampshire's reputation for delivering spellbinding primary elections was in danger. But if trend lines hold, a pair of contested primaries Tuesday will deliver outcomes with potentially enormous significance.

In state where independents rule, GOP losing sway
Kevin Duval, who works behind the counter at Roy's convenience store here, voted for George W. Bush in 2004. The country was at war and he felt he should 'leave the apple cart the way it is." Now, angry over the Iraq war, the economy and Republicans in general, Duval says "it's time for a party change."

Their last bids
Hillary Rodham Clinton choked up. Barack Obama flubbed his lines. Even Chuck Norris, Mike Huckabee's action-star sidekick, was laid low.

Bill can't make Hillary younger
Bill Clinton joked Sunday night he is unable to change some of wife Hillary's chief differences with rival Barack Obama, the latest comments from the former president to cause a stir on the campaign trail.

The Guy With the Bus Is on a Roll
For the moment, at least, the John McCain of yore has returned. The 2008 model Straight Talk Express is a cheap version of the 2000 model, befitting a low-budget operation. But old-time McCainiacs are on board..

2 Hopefuls Share Little but Appeal to Youth
It has the feel and look of a transformative moment, this tidal wave of young voters buoying the disparate campaigns of Senators Barack Obama and John McCain.

Clinton Braces for Second Loss
With Barack Obama strongly favored--even within Hillary Clinton's camp--to win a second straight victory in today's New Hampshire Democratic primary, both rivals are looking to the next battle grounds. But his momentum threatens to swamp her in the next two states as well and shows signs of fracturing her support in the party establishment.

Colin Powell praises Obama
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell praised Barack Obama on the eve of the New Hampshire primary, crediting the Illinois Senator for breaking barriers while running as "an American man" who can represent the entire nation.

Crime & Punishment

Sharpton in Escape Case, but Prosecutor Is 'Upset'
A three-week odyssey appeared to be reaching an end on Monday for one of two men who escaped from a New Jersey county jail here last month, a day after the Rev. Al Sharpton said he had received a request to broker a surrender.

Man charged helped police find hiker's body
The body of a young woman missing since New Year's Day has been found, and the man charged with her disappearance led investigators to her body Monday evening, officials said.

Keepin' them Honest

Problems with farm bill remain
The head of the U.S. Department of Agriculture says lots of work remains to be done before a new five-year farm bill can escape President Bush's veto pen and become law.

A Safety-Net Hospital Falls Into Financial Crisis
Like tens of thousands of Atlantans over the last 115 years --like Gladys Knight, the soul singer, and Vernon Jordan Jr., the presidential confidante; like more than one in three babies born here in the last decade--Ms. Vaughn entered the world at Grady Memorial Hospital, one of the nation's largest safety-net hospitals.

What YOU will be TALKING about TODAY

Dr. Phil criticized
Dr. Phil's public brand of tough love sometimes makes him tough to love, particularly among mental health professionals who are accusing television's self-help guru of making an uncalled-for house call on Britney Spears this week.

NBC pulls plug on Golden Globes broadcast
Hollywood's awards season locomotive was derailed Monday when NBC pulled the plug on its highly rated Golden Globes, choosing not to broadcast on Sunday what promised to be a virtually celebrity-free ceremony.

LSU sends Ohio State to another BCS loss
Les Miles unleashed an ear-piercing whoop, then leaned back and exhaled as if he had been holding his breath all night. "I just had to do that," the LSU coach said. Easy for him to say, now that he has the BCS national championship trophy.

Boy glues hand to bed to avoid school
A 10-year-old Mexican boy dreaded returning to school after Christmas break so much that he glued his hand to his bed. Sandra Palacios spent nearly two hours Monday morning trying to free her son Diego's hand with water, oil and nail polish remover before calling authorities, police chief Jorge Camacho told The Associated Press from outside the northern city of Monterrey.
Posted By CNN: 5:48 AM ET
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Monday, January 07, 2008
Behind the scenes in NH with 360

Behind the scenes and in the car with Anderson Cooper and crew, as he catches up with candidates... and asks who do you think will win?

Let us know:
Posted By CNNBLOG: 8:30 PM ET
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Anderson's interview with Mitt Romney

Check out Anderson's interview with GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney on the campaign trail in New Hampshire.

Let us know what you think:

See the full interview tonight at 10p ET on 360
Posted By CNNBLOG: 8:25 PM ET
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Will Women Vote for Hillary?
-- Randi Kaye, "360" Correspondent

MANCHESTER, New Hampshire - I came to New Hampshire to talk to women. I came to ask them what they think of Hillary Clinton. How they feel about Barack Obama. Which way they plan to vote?

Younger women snubbed Clinton in Iowa, handing Obama 50% of their votes and Clinton just 14%. Could the same thing happen here?

Psychology professor Elizabeth Ossoff from St. Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, has studied women's behavior. She says younger women haven't experienced the same sexism as their grandmothers, so they really don't feel the urgency or the importance of electing a woman president. Ossoff says some women feel more comfortable with women in traditional roles. A president wearing a skirt in the oval office just doesn't sit with them as well as a woman in the kitchen.

I talked with two Salem, N.H., residents today. Karen Guiliano and Allison Mundry were staunch Clinton supporters until Karen decided to vote for Obama. Check out the picture of what she calls her "obama-tible" snowman, displayed proudly in her front yard. She likes his "integrity" and his "transparency." And she likes his push to bring people together.

Professor Ossoff says women are relationship-oriented and like it when everyone gets along, so this plays right into the women's vote. So what if anything can Hillary Clinton do to sway women voters here in New Hampshire? Some suggest she be more candid, more emotional, more spontaneous.

She nearly got emotional at a New Hampshire coffee shop today while talking with undecided voters. How would you advise Mrs. Clinton?
Posted By CNN: 7:52 PM ET
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John Edwards on 'Change'

Check out Anderson's interview with Democratic Presidential candidate John Edwards on the campaign trail in New Hampshire.

Let us know what you think:

See the full interview tonight at 10p ET on 360
Posted By CNNBLOG: 6:45 PM ET
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Pics From The Field: Romney in New Hampshire

Check it out. Anderson talked today with GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney in Salem, New Hampshire... We also got to talk with Democratic Presidential candidate John Edwards...

We'll be airing the Q & A's tonight on 360.
See you tonight.

Posted By CNNBLOG: 4:14 PM ET
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Getting Personal with Hillary
Being in New Hampshire the day before the primary is a bit like visiting an alternate universe. It's unusually warm here today and everywhere you go, it seems, there are campaign events. While the rest of the country may just be starting to pay attention to politics, here it's been a preoccupation for many for months.

I'm sitting in a McDonald's in Salem. Thankfully in this alternate universe McDonald's still tastes exactly the same. I've been going around to various campaign events today, talking to candidates and their supporters.

I ran into Fox News' Sean Hannity about an hour ago. He was on a street corner being hounded by Ron Paul supporters. We chatted amiably as the demonstrators chanted, it was kind of surreal.

Remember the other night, David Gergen said he thought Hillary Clinton should get personal, show herself to be a real person. Well, today at a campaign event she seemed to be trying to do just that. The dynamics of the race have changed so much since Iowa, it's doubtful it will make much of a difference tomorrow, but perhaps it's something we will be seeing and hearing more of as we head to South Carolina.

I'm heading to a Romney event right now. See you tonight live from Manchester.

-- Anderson Cooper
Posted By CNN: 2:53 PM ET
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When candidate rallies look like tailgating parties
David Gergen,
Senior Political Analyst
This past weekend, I attended a Barack Obama rally in New Hampshire -- and it was unlike any I have ever seen over the past 20 years in that state. Typically, an event like this draws at best some 300-400 into a small, crowded hall. Parking is easy and on a good day, you can take in the rallies for three or four candidates.

Not this past Saturday with Obama. It took a half hour to navigate the traffic jam outside the Nashua North High School and finally, we had to park and walk the last half mile. Four years ago, a reporter told me, John Kerry held a rally there and the gym was half full. This time it filled up long before the event started, and there were long lines that had to be redirected into a second hall. Some 2,500 in all!

I don't want to overdraw conclusions. A goodly number came out of curiosity. Obama asked how many were still undecided and about a quarter raised their hands. Two different couples told me after that they are still for Hillary. And Hillary herself drew a big crowd in Nashua on Sunday.

But I also came away convinced that Obama is arousing emotions that we haven't seen for a long, long time. Several of the older folks wistfully told me he brought back memories of Bobby and Jack. A number of young people said he was the first to inspire them. It is not just a matter of changing policy directions or replacing Bush that is moving them. Clearly, he is helping people re-imagine a wholly different kind of politics.

I am not sure if he will make it (though he certainly has momentum that could bring a decisive victory in New Hampshire). And he deserves a lot more scrutiny. We need to know more about who he is down deep and have a better sense of what he would do.

But that this slender, youthful, idealistic black man could stir passions as he does is a remarkable testament to him -- and to the yearning in the country for a better way.
Posted By CNN: 1:00 PM ET
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Pics From The Field: "Obama-itable Snowman"
--Randi Kaye, CNN Correspondent

Check it out. One New Hampshire voter calls it her "Obama-itable" snowman. She made it in her front yard. She tells us she switched it from Hillary to him...
Posted By CNNBLOG: 12:16 PM ET
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The more they talk about "change.."

--Eric Bloom, 360 producer

If you have a chance to see the candidates deliver their stump speeches today you are almost certain to hear them talk about "change."

This election has long been a "change" election and Senator Obama's victory in Iowa confirmed it. Now other candidates are incorporating the message more frequently into their speeches hoping to also ride it to victory. The voters spoke and the campaigns are responding.

I think most Americans would welcome change in Washington. The President's poll numbers have been mired in the low to mid-30s, and the Democratically-led Congress has even lower numbers.

But just how optimistic should we be? In the past we have heard the call for change by presidential candidates only to see a resistant Washington reject such efforts and protect its interests.

So regardless of who you think will win and which party you identify with, do you think the next president can deliver real change? Can the promise of transforming Washington to work more for the average American occur?

If your answer is yes, what's the first thing you would like to see changed? We'd like to know. Thank you.

Posted By CNN: 11:09 AM ET
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Primary Lessons
Winter, 2000: The state of New Hampshire was experiencing its quadrennial stint at the center of the political universe. From Portsmouth to Berlin, Nashua to Hanover and points in between, signs and billboards dotted the roads and highways.

Bush, McCain, Forbes, Gore and Bradley were the names with the most support. I was a sophomore at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, experiencing something that was neither mentioned in the school's brochure nor my tuition bill: The opportunity to cover the presidential primary for WUNH-FM, the student-run radio station. If had any doubts about pursuing a career in journalism, they vanished during those few months.

I had a window into the world of media and politics unlike any I could have imagined. Only in New Hampshire, and I suppose Iowa, could a college student with no real world experience interview candidates for President of the United States. And I like to think I didn't disappoint my loyal listeners -- and by loyal listeners I mean my mother.

Take for instance what was arguably my highest-profile moment -- the time I asked then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush a question so provocative and unprecedented that the pundits still mention it today. "Governor," I said, "what did you think of the debate?" With insightful questions like that I'm surprised CNN didn't hire me on the spot.

There was nowhere else I would have rather been that winter. The candidates, the debates, the crowds -- I was on cloud nine. But before I knew it, it was all over. The votes were cast, the ballots were tallied and John McCain and Al Gore had been declared the winners. McCain's Straight Talk Express was headed to South Carolina, as was the national press corps.

Overnight my journalistic clout had returned to below that of the weekly supermarket circular. It's a funny thing about the New Hampshire primary, at least for the local press. One night it's non-stop action, and the next morning it's done.

So, here's to New Hampshire. For the important role it plays in our electoral process, the education and experience I received on the campaign trail during the 2000 election and the student loans I am still paying off.

-- Jack Gray, 360 Associate Producer
Posted By CNN: 10:55 AM ET
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Hunting for Primary Voters
Program note: Anderson Cooper anchors 360 live from the campaign trail in N.H.
tonight at 10p ET.

MANCHESTER, New Hampshire - My boss has one hard and fast rule about campaign coverage: NO DINERS! And I guess that makes sense. Hounding the breakfast crowd at the local greasy spoon is the ultimate political coverage cliche.

But honestly, in frozen-over cities like Des Moines and Manchester, voters don't exactly roam the streets in packs. They're in their cars, in their homes or in dineresque establishments. But "NOOOO DINERS!" I'm told. Well fine, then.

So we're driving through the snowy landscape, when I spy about a hundred people gathered on a hill with sleds. To you, they'd probably look like parents and kids, sledding. To me, they looked like NEW HAMPSHIRE VOTERS NOT IN A DINER! So up the hill we climbed (no, my boots aren't waterproof; yes, I fell more than once). At the top, we found Republicans, Democrats, Independents, and lots of uncertainty about Tuesday's primary.

New Hampshirites have been deluged with ads, robo calls and mailings for months. The people on the slopes expressed no small degree of frustration. But it was also clear these voters are very tuned-in to the race. Many folks I spoke with have been to see several candidates speak, and stayed home on Saturday night to watch the 4-hour debate marathon.

Some people say New Hampshire's role it to set things straight.... that the primaries here offer the clearest snapshot of the state of the race. Unlike Iowa, the election here is a good old fashioned all-day vote. Nothing like the esoteric caucuses.

Folks here pride themselves on their fierce independent streak. These libertarian Yanks call 'em as they see 'em. And tomorrow, their voices will be heard.

-- Claire Brinberg
360 Producer

Posted By CNN: 10:40 AM ET
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Morning Buzz
Morning Folks!!! IT is MONDAY!!! Only 24 hours until round 2 of the Obama v Hillary match up ...It is looks like Obama is NOW leading in most polls out this morning...Is it due or die for Hillary? There are lots of headlines to chew over in Raw Politics this morning. Also, many folks are cleaning up out west from all the rain and snow....So grab some coffee, it is Morning Buzz time...

Top Stories

Ice slows cleanup in flooded Nev. town
Many residents who fled nearly 300 homes damaged by a canal rupture were able to return, but had to contend with as much as 8 feet of water in places and sheets of ice over yards and streets.

Hiker death
A man charged with kidnapping a missing hiker in Georgia is scheduled to make a court appearance Monday as investigators try to determine whether evidence links him to other crimes.

Bhutto to blame for her assassination
Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's assassination was her own fault, the country's president, Pervez Musharraf, said in an interview on U.S. television.

2 bombings kill at least 7 in Baghdad
A double bombing killed at least seven people and wounded 25 Monday outside the Baghdad office of a government agency that cares for Sunni mosques and shrines, witnesses and a hospital official said. A police officer, however, put the death toll as high as 14

Raw Politics

Obama takes lead
Two days before New Hampshire's Democratic primary, Sen. Barack Obama has opened a double-digit lead over Sen. Hillary Clinton in that state, a new CNN-WMUR poll found Sunday.

Obama up by 13 points
Sen. Barack Obama has opened up a 13 percentage point lead over Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in the battle for votes in Tuesday's New Hampshire primary, according to a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll conducted in the state from Friday through this afternoon. The results were just released.

Clintons fight for primary rebound
With their presidential hopes and political legacy on the line, Hillary Rodham Clinton and her husband battled across New Hampshire on Sunday, fighting to become the comeback couple of the 2008 race.

Candidates Spar
Front-running presidential candidates in both parties sniped at each other Saturday night as they debated three days before Tuesday's first primary.

Retracing Steps, McCain Is Feeling Rejuvenated
Senator John McCain's presidential campaign wheeled out a confetti gun on Saturday in Peterborough to boom a festive end to his 100th town-hall-style meeting. It was the same place he began his New Hampshire primary campaign of 2000.

Bill Clinton Is Finding Less Spark
Is this what it would have been like had Elvis been reduced to playing Reno?

Bloomberg 'o8?
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and a dozen current and former elected officials from both parties arrived in this college town Sunday evening with little fanfare but grand ambitions.

Bruised in Iowa
After candidates who portrayed themselves as agents of change won the Iowa caucuses, Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney--the Democratic and Republican stalwarts defeated there--embraced the lesson, swiftly and drastically changing their campaigning styles.

GOP Doubts
Exploiting a deep well of voter revulsion over partisan gridlock in Washington, Sen. Barack Obama is promising to do something that has not been done in modern U.S. politics: unite a coalition of Democrats, Republicans and independents behind an agenda of sweeping change.

Crime & Punishment

Court Will Hear Lethal Injection Case
Death-row inmates are asking the Supreme Court to order states to use different drugs or tighten their procedures to reduce the risk that prisoners will suffer excruciating pain during their executions.

Authorities find grisly scene in Texas
Deputies responding to a 911 call in this East Texas town found a gruesome scene: a human ear boiling in a pot on a stove top and a hunk of flesh impaled on a fork sitting atop a plate on the kitchen table.

Justice on hold in Ga. murder trial
The case stunned the nation: A man on trial for rape at the Fulton County Courthouse overpowered a sheriff's deputy, took her gun and allegedly went on a killing rampage.

Keepin' Them Honest

Clemens sues accuser
Roger Clemens beat Brian McNamee to court, filing a defamation suit against his former trainer, according to the Houston Chronicle.

What YOU will be talking about TODAY

Spears Released From Hospital
Television's "Dr. Phil" McGraw said Britney Spears was released from a hospital Saturday but still needs psychological help, the syndicated programs "Entertainment Tonight" and "The Insider" reported in a press release.

Posted By CNN: 5:47 AM ET
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Sunday, January 06, 2008
Primary Playoffs
Greetings from New Hampshire, where the final push before Tuesday's primary is reaching a frantic pace. I was here 4 years ago, and thought it was an amazing scene. However, this year is even better. Saturday night, I went to eat dinner with a colleague and saw one of the strangest, but amazing, scenes.

The NFL playoffs were going on and at most bars, the game would be on every TV and the sound as loud as it can go. But at Millie's Tavern, people were watching the ABC/Facebook debate. Only 1 TV in the entire bar/restaurant was on the game and no one was paying attention to it. But the crowd was listening intently to what the candidates were saying and taking notes.

I briefly spoke to a few people there and while most had already decided who they wanted to cast their primary ballot for, they wanted to watch and make sure they made the right decision for them.

-- Kay Jones, 360 Booker/Producer
Posted By CNN: 12:05 PM ET
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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.

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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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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