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
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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
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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.

MIKE'S 50-STATE OP
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
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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
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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
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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
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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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ABOUT THE BLOG
A behind the scenes look at "Anderson Cooper 360°" and the stories it covers, written by Anderson Cooper and the show's correspondents and producers.



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