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February 4th, 2008
05:10 PM ET

Does race matter?

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The LA Times’ endorsement of Barack Obama does not come as a surprise. Obama’s meteoric rise in California’s more progressive suburbs – and among Hollywood’s more progressive celebrities – was always a given. For many in the Golden State, particularly younger voters, Obama is this year’s Howard Dean, except with an actual shot at the nomination.

But what is surprising is the rationale my hometown paper gives for ultimately choosing Obama over Hillary:

“No public relations campaign could do more than Obama's mere presence in the White House to defuse anti-American passion around the world,” the editors of the Times write.

I’ve already written about the lunacy of this argument in the Washington Post noting that the people of the Muslim world could not give a damn about the color of the American President’s skin (or, for that matter, the President’s gender). They care only about one thing: what the next President will do to fix the mess George W. Bush has put us in. In this regard, the Times admits there is little that separates Obama from Clinton save “a sense of aspiration.”

I agree with the Times that Obama is a wonderful orator. I get goose bumps when I hear him talk about coming together as one country to fix Washington.

Except that it’s not Washington’s fault the economy is in shambles. It’s the Republicans' fault. It’s not Washington’s fault that Iraq is ablaze and Afghanistan is lost. It’s the Republicans' fault. So maybe a little partisanship is not such a bad thing right now.
Maybe a little of what the Times calls “withering political fire” would actually be good for the country. I know I wouldn’t mind giving the Republicans a taste of their own medicine.

But even so, if we are electing a President based on his or her bipartisanship, it’s hard to think of a candidate who has done more work across the aisle than Clinton. Yet, that’s not what the Times is talking about. In the end, it’s not so much Obama’s abilities that matter, but his life story.

Borrowing Clinton’s own sound bite, the Times argues that, “Clinton is an essay, solid and reasoned; Obama is a poem, lyric and filled with possibility.”

The Times prefers the poem. In any other election year I would agree. But maybe a little prose – something boring but competent – is exactly what we need right now.

-Reza Aslan, 360° Contributor


Filed under: Raw Politics • Reza Aslan
February 4th, 2008
03:39 PM ET

It's not Wesley Snipes; It's your safety

NEW YORK — Wesley Snipes gambled last week and he won. The actor had been charged with eight counts of federal tax evasion and fraud. He decided not to testify. In fact, the defense opted not to put on any evidence at all. And last week, I called that a big gamble.

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Jami Floyd almost always has the Last Word.

But now we know it paid off. Snipes was acquitted of the five felony counts against him, convicted of only three lesser charges. And instead of 16 years in prison, he faces a possible three and likely won’t go there at all.

But here’s why this case matters. It’s not about Mr. Snipes or his celebrity. At bottom, it’s about our taxes. And simply put, we don’t like to pay them.

You want health care? You want public schools for our children? How about a military that can defend our democracy at home and abroad? You like those roads you drive on? Those bridges and tunnels? You want firefighters to put out your fires, police to protect you? Even trash men to pick up your trash?

Then you need to pay your taxes. And that’s the Last Word.

– Jami Floyd, “In Session” Anchor/360° ContributorRead more Jami Floyd blogs on “In Session”


Filed under: Jami Floyd
February 4th, 2008
03:34 PM ET

Beat 360

Afternoon Bloggers!

How was your weekend? Catch the game? Just veg out? Regret it's Monday already? Well I hope you rested up, because tomorrow is a big day! ‘Super Tuesday’ is less than 24 hours away… but right now, its time for Beat 360!

For those of you who don’t know, we’ve started something new — Beat 360°.

Everyday 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 of the day:

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Here is one to get you started:

"Chuck Norris thinks I’m still too old for the job?!? Forget what my 95-year-old mom has to say about it… Ben here thinks Chuck can ‘go fly a kite!’"

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

– David Reisner, 360° Digital Producer


Filed under: Beat 360°
February 4th, 2008
03:22 PM ET

McCain: Operating behind enemy lines

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Usually, operating behind enemy lines is a sign of strength. John McCain sure hopes so.
"I believe we have every good shot at carrying the state of Massachusetts tomorrow and winning this state and sweeping the East," the Arizona senator said Monday as he campaigned in Mitt Romney's backyard – at a rally at Boston's historic Faneuil Hall.

McCain sees a big Super Tuesday in the offing. But even some allies are a little nervous at a schedule that had McCain spending most of his day in three moderate GOP states: Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York. McCain has a big lead in the latter two, and even his own top aides concede Massachusetts is a long shot.

So why not more in the South. Or in the Mountain West.

We put the question to McCain in Boston: "Senator, where is the line between confident and cocky?"

McCain noted that he had campaigned in Missouri the other day, as well as Alabama and some other Super Tuesday battlegrounds. But the did note his superstitions, and did repeated his assertion from last week that he believed he would all but mathematically clinch the nomination Tuesday night.

"You hop around the country. You try to get to as many places as you can," McCain said. "But I am trying to be very careful about ...I've seen more than one election go against what the polls show before. And we are guardedly confident we think we can win but that is why we are campaigning hard right up literally until the polls close."

Up to the end includes a hastily scheduled final day trip to California, where Romney also was adding last-minute stops to court voters in Tuesday's most delegate-rich state.


Filed under: John McCain • Mitt Romney • Raw Politics
February 4th, 2008
02:42 PM ET

Anderson's View: Super Bowl of Politics

I spent the weekend shooting a story for 60 Minutes, and got back to New York last night just in time to hear people yelling out their windows when the Giants won.

Not being much of a sports fan I initially thought some buildings were on fire, but then realized it must be the game.  I’m sorry I missed it.

Tonight’s show is, of course, all about politics.  It’s interesting in this election last week already seems like ages ago.  It was Wednesday that I moderated the Republican debate at the Reagan library, but that feels like ancient history.

Tonight we are going to show you all the last minute efforts by the campaigns to get out the vote.  We have correspondents with each candidate, and we really want to give you a sense of the excitement of the campaign trail.  We will be showing you a number of live events, as well as what’s been taking place behind the scenes all day.

So let's hear them - last minute predictions.  Will the GOP race end tomorrow night?  Who will be the nominee?  What about the democratic race?

Let us know what you think, and we’ll see you tonight at 10p ET.

- Anderson Cooper 


Filed under: Anderson Cooper • Raw Politics
February 4th, 2008
12:30 PM ET

Why Super Tuesday is like Christmas morning

Candy Crowley

CNN’s senior political correspondent Candy Crowley frequently blogs from the campaign trail for AC360°.

Blogees-
I am so excited!! Angelina is having twins.
Kidding. Just seeing if you're awake.

Despite the fact that I tried to gargle with my face lotion this morning, I am awake now in the STL airport en route NYC to catch up with HRC.  Apologies to the reader who hates initials. I just liked the cadence of that.

So completely jazzed. It's the eve of Super Tuesday.... like Christmas for political junkies. We have no idea what we're going to get but we know it'll be really good.

No clue what we'll unwrap on the Democratic side. If we are to believe the polls (there she goes again with those dang polls) then Obama is on the move nationally which probably means something in a primary/caucus day with almost half the states involved.

Also, he's been on a bit of a roll thru the headlines lately (Caroline and Teddy Kennedy endorsements. Needs-no-last-name Oprah pops up in LA and brings her gal pal, California First Lady aka Mrs. Schwarzenegger aka Maria Shriver on board for Obama.   (Aside: Mr. Schwarzenegger aka Governor of California endorsed GOP frontrunner John McCain. Don’t we all just wanna sit around the dinner table chez Schwarzenegger and discuss politics?) Also a Los Angeles Times endorsement for Obama.  I know you don’t give a whit about endorsements, but it kept him in the news in a positive way, unless you hate Oprah or the LA Times.

Back on topic- the other hand today is that there are so many states it may tilt the terrain toward Clinton. There's a  difference between spending a year in Iowa showing voters who u are and 10 days trying to court voters in almost 2 dozen states. (Also American Samoa–just to give them a shout out) SO, the point is, Democrats know Clinton better. 

Also, she's been on the national scene longer than Obama , is married to you know who, and is strongest among traditional  dems, so she has better access to get- out-the-vote apparatus. And she leads in most state polls, which is the last time I mention polls for the next two minutes.

Know what I want for Christmas? As close to a tie as we can get... I always wanted Christmas to last more than a day.

Polls.
Kidding just seeing if you got this far.

 – Candy Crowley, CNN Senior Political Correspondent


Filed under: Candy Crowley • Raw Politics
February 4th, 2008
12:15 PM ET

From Super Bowl to Super Tuesday

We are in mourning here this morning in Boston.

The Patriots went in with the experienced, superior team but give credit where it is due: the Giants, featuring a host of Super Bowl rookies, simply outplayed them.

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David Gergen is a political contributor for Anderson Cooper 360°.
Question: Will that same dynamic play out in the Democratic primaries tomorrow night?

Obama supporters can rightly take heart from his polling surge, pulling close in many key states like California, New Jersey, Connecticut and Missouri. Some weekend polls even have him inching ahead in California.

If all the votes were cast tomorrow in California, Obama would have a very good chance of capturing the biggest prize of all. Unfortunately for him, Californians may have already cast as many as half the ballots. They received absentee ballots in the mail just after Hillary won New Hampshire as she was riding high on a wave of positive coverage and held a sizable lead in California. Moreover, many of those who vote early are women and older folks, two of her strongholds.

This early voting will probably tilt heavily her way and may overwhelm Obama's late surge.  For Obama, the question thus becomes whether he can generate a powerful wave of voters to come to the polls tomorrow, tipping it his way. He has done it before in Iowa and South Carolina, can he do it again?   

The bottom line as I see it: these weekend polls are certainly good news for Obama - and reflect clear vulnerabilities in the Clinton candidacy - but she still goes in as a strong favorite.

Then again, so did the Patriots. 

– David Gergen, 360° Political Contributor


Filed under: Barack Obama • David Gergen • Hillary Clinton • Raw Politics
February 4th, 2008
10:20 AM ET

Reading Voters' Minds

How many times have you said one thing and really felt another?

Well guess what? Voters do it all the time and may not even be aware of it.

Randi Kaye

It’s referred to as the “Unspoken Truth” and a cutting edge market research firm called Lucid Systems has figured out how to tap into it.

We teamed up with Lucid and gathered eight undecided voters. They let us hook them up to all these gadgets that measure the sweat on their skin and the micro muscles in their face where they frown.

Botox users don’t quality for this test because they can’t frown!

Several times, the voters told us they felt one way but their brain images showed something else.

We showed them both recent California debates and found in one case, a voter told us he liked Mike Huckabee’s stand for the common man but on our graphs his brain flatlined, which meant he wasn’t moved at all.

Another surprise: our group told us they did not like Hillary Clinton’s opening statement, but their brains showed a very positive response.

How does this happen? Lucid taps into the emotional reaction below the level of conscious awareness, which is really what determines our likes and dislikes. So when voters tells pollsters they feel one way, and their brain shows another, it’s not a lie, but an inarticulated truth they may not even be aware of.

It’s really fascinating stuff and you’ll get to see a lot more of it tonight on AC360. You can see for yourself why this new technology could change elections in the future.

Let me know what you think.

– Randi Kaye, 360° Correspondent


Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Mike Huckabee • Randi Kaye • Raw Politics
February 4th, 2008
06:58 AM ET

Morning Buzz

Morning Folks....The Morning Buzz is baaaack!!! AND soooo are the GIANTS! WOW!!! What a game last night!! What a win!! What an upset!!! Ok..Ok.. There is other news out there today, too...

Tomorrow is Super Tuesday...voters coast to coast will cast their vote and maybe, just maybe, we will have a clear front runner on both sides of this election... So check out Raw Politics for the latest... AND keep scrolling down to Crime & Punishment, there is new info in the Natalee Holloway murder.... PLUS folks aren't just talking about the Giant WIN this morning, but those crazy commercials, too....

SOOO grab your coffee and let's get started... 

Top Stories
Giants upset Patriots to win Super Bowl XLII...
The New York Giants won Super Bowl XLII with a last-minute touchdown, upsetting the New England Patriots' hopes of becoming the first team since 1972 to complete a National Football League season undefeated.

Stunning Victory...
Plaxico Burress had caught what became the winning touchdown pass, but all the anticipation born of improbability had to remain corked for 35 more seconds.

Explosion at Israeli Shopping Center...
A suicide bomber detonated explosives in a shopping mall in the southern Israeli town of Dimona on Monday morning, killing at least one person and wounding 11 others, police said.

Coalition forces killed nine...
Coalition forces killed nine Iraqi civilians and wounded three others near the town of Iskandariya, a U.S. military spokeswoman told CNN Monday.

Bhutto autobiography...
In an autobiography being published after her assassination, Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto said she was warned that four suicide bomber squads would try to kill her, one led by Osama bin Laden's 16-year-old son.

One survivor...
The police confirmed Sunday that one woman survived an apparent robbery gone wrong at a suburban Chicago shopping center that left five others dead.

Raw Politics
Super Tuesday stumping begins....
The remaining contenders for the presidency kicked off their final maneuvers for Super Tuesday, fine-tuning their closing messages in appearances on the Sunday talk shows and fanning out across the nation for an exhaustive list of last-minute campaign stops.

All tied up...
The Democratic presidential race has become a cliffhanger as a new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll on Sunday showed Barack Obama wiping out Hillary Rodham Clinton's double-digit national lead just before coast-to-coast contests on Tuesday.

Another Kennedy enforces Obama...
California first lady Maria Shriver on Sunday endorsed Sen. Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination for president, becoming the latest member of the Kennedy clan to line up behind the senator from Illinois.

Candidates scrambling from coast to coast...
Republican presidential candidates jousted over conservative purity Sunday as they raced across the South, the Midwest and New England in a late scramble before the Super Tuesday contests that could settle the party nomination.

It's the economy stupid, again...
An economic downturn at election time almost always spells disaster for the political party that holds the White House. But the slowdown this year could add an especially cruel twist for the Republican presidential nominee.

Oprah is back...
Offering women a permission slip to desert the candidacy of Hillary Rodham Clinton in favor of Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey said Sunday they should not feel guilty if they preferred him over her.

Crime & Punishment
Holloway body dumped...
An investigative judge said Sunday that sufficient reason exists to reopen the inquiry against Joran van der Sloot, a suspect in the 2005 disappearance of Alabama teenager Natalee Holloway from the island of Aruba

Keeping Them Honest
Landmark military spending...
As Congress and the public focus on more than $600 billion already approved in supplemental budgets to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and for counterterrorism operations, the Bush administration has with little notice approached a landmark in military spending.

Clemens talks, again...
Roger Clemens arrives here for his own Super Tuesday this week, a showdown with his former trainer in closed-door testimony to Congressional lawyers.

AC360 follow
Fugitive caught...
A high school dropout who stole the identity of a missing South Carolina woman and used it to gain admission to two Ivy League colleges has been arrested, police said Sunday.

What YOU will be talking about TODAY
Super Bowl Ads...
The Patriots' streak was broken, but Anheuser-Busch's was not.In the high-stakes world of Super Bowl advertising, it aired the best-liked Super Bowl ad for a record 10th-consecutive year, according to results of USA TODAY'S exclusive Super Bowl Ad Meter real-time consumer focus group testing.

Mayor kidnaps dog?
A small-town mayor accused of secretly keeping her neighbors' dog after telling them the pet died has resigned, and a judge is set to decide custody of the Shih Tzu.