As always, please keep your comments focused on the content and context of the live program. We’ll start posting at 10p ET and close the blog to comments at 11p ET.
His three thumping victories yesterday sure gave Sen. Barack Obama the momentum he has has been looking for – perhaps enough to break open the races. But it also did something else: it showed that he is a far better executive than any of his rivals have been willing to concede.
One of the important arguments of this campaign is that if you want charisma, vote for Obama, but if you want competence, vote for Clinton. Well, that notion has just been demolished.
Sen. Clinton remains the candidate with the best grasp of policy; no one can beat her on that score. But in the management and execution of her campaign, she has a clear case of political malpractice on her hands. Her campaign has overspent and underperformed week after week. She said in New Hampshire that she had found her voice, but she still hasn't found her message.
And how can one possibly explain how they knew they were coming into a challenging set of primaries after February 5, but did nothing to prepare other than to offer a lame excuse: Wait for March 4? Why didn't they fight places like Nebraska, Maine, and Virginia to a draw? No wonder she is shaking up her staff.
It was nearly impossible to turn away from today’s hearing on Capitol Hill and the “he said/he said” between star pitcher Roger Clemens and his former trainer, Brian McNamee.
Clearly someone is lying… but that’s not the biggest question here. For many Americans, who’s telling the truth comes in a distant second to why Congress is spending so much time worrying about alleged steroid use in professional sports.
Bob David responded to Gary Tuchman’s blog earlier today asking why the government was involved to begin with, saying: “Our tax dollars could be used for greater things.”
John in Ohio asked “Is this really the most pressing issue in America? The war in Iraq, People losing their homes, The economy on the edge seem more important.”
So why is Congress so concerned with steroids? And what do they say to those questioning whether this is the best way to spend their time in Washington? I’ll have those answers for you tonight.
– Erica Hill, 360° Correspondent
Program note: Erica joins 360° from New York tonight – her new home at CNN. We are all very excited!
We’ve been getting a lot of questions and comments e-mailed to us about the live show blogging, so I thought I’d try to answer some of them now.
Yes, there is a moderator posting comments, and it’s not me. There’s no way during a live program that I could do that. Who is the moderator? It changes, but it’s usually a producer sitting in the control room. I am reading everything that gets posted to the blog (sometimes I have to read it very fast, but I do read it.) I am always writing my own responses. No one writes those for me.
I know some of you are disappointed because your comments haven’t been posted, let alone answered. The truth is we get so many comments every night, the producer simply gets overwhelmed and doesn’t have time to post them all. The process is very straightforward and – like on the television program – there is no hidden agenda. If your comment does not get posted, it’s likely because there are so many great comments to moderate.
Some bloggers have suggested we do this without moderating the comments. The sad truth is that there are people who abuse that privilege. You’d cringe at some of the comments we get. They do nothing to add to the great dialogue we’ve got going. There are also a number of deranged people out there (you know who you are) and it’s better for all involved if they do not have access to the discussion.
All week long, we will be talking about the health of the president. This weekend, we will present "The First Patient" a special about this topic.
I am curious to know how important you think it is for the health of the patient to be divulged. It has always seemed amazing to me that we aren't given more information about the physical and mental health of our candidates. It is arguably one of the toughest and most important jobs in the world.
No question, the information we get today is better than in elections past. John F. Kennedy denied he had Addison's disease throughout his campaign, even though he was officially diagnosed and treated for it. Franklin D. Roosevelt was essentially a dying man when he ran for his fourth term, even though most voters didn't realize it at the time. Roosevelt's doctors didn't even tell him he was suffering from congestive heart failure.
In 1992, you may remember that Paul Tsongas was the first cancer survivor to run for office. What was not known at the time was that Tsongas had a recurrence a year before the campaign. His cancer was back again before he would've been inaugurated. So, what do we deserve to know and when should we know it?
Tsongas for his part actually asked then-president Bill Clinton to create a commission that would require all candidates to release all of their medical records. That never happened.
Last month, Sen. John McCain's campaign released a summary of his records. His staff has promised to release his full medical records should he receive the Republican nomination.
That's important because the 71 year old McCain was diagnosed more than once with malignant skin cancer and would be the oldest president in our history.
As governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee weighed more than 280 pounds when he was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes five years ago. Through diet and exercise, the 52-year-old Huckabee is now 110 pounds lighter and symptom free.
Sen. Hillary Clinton is 60. So far, she hasn't reported any health problems.
Sen. Barack Obama, 46, was a smoker, a habit that cuts an average of 11 years off life expectancy. Obama has told us he has quit smoking and he can often be seen chewing Nicorette gum.
Does the health of the candidate matter to you and would you vote differently based on that information?
– Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Chief Medical Correspondent
Program note: Watch "The First Patient" Saturday and Sunday at 8p and 11p ET
Editor's Note: Medical news is a popular but sensitive subject rooted in science. We receive many comments on this blog each day; not all are posted. Our hope is that much will be learned from the sharing of useful information and personal experiences based on the medical and health topics of the blog. We encourage you to focus your comments on those medical and health topics and we appreciate your input.
So let’s talk baseball, and not just the Mitchell report. Not just steroids. Not just the question of who is telling the truth, or who's not, or why.
I want to talk about one very small sliver of what's gone down on Capitol Hill: the autographs. ‘Cause when Roger Clemens showed up to answer to Congress, he was met by a long line of fans, asking him to sign baseballs, T-shirts, even napkins. But these weren’t just any fans. These were congressional staffers.
Now, I'm not saying Roger Clemens is guilty of anything. But I am saying that the people who are looking to answer that question ought to at least give an appearance of impartiality.
But, no. Instead they were like schoolchildren. But they’re not children. They’re our humble servants, paid with our tax dollars to get to the bottom of this.
They've violated our trust. That’s a swing and a miss for Congress. Let’s hope their game improves in the home stretch.
And that’s the Last Word.
– Jami Floyd, “In Session” Anchor/360° Contributor
It’s kind of like jury duty, only without the aggravation, idle time and annoying conversations with people you really don’t want to talk to (don’t get me started).
We’re choosing you to serve as jurors on our Roger Clemens trial. The instructions are simple enough: Who is telling the truth? Roger Clemens or his former trainer, Brian McNamee.
From my perspective, both appeared credible enough in front of the senate committee today. Both vigorously defended their claims, McNamee says he gave Clemens steroids, Clemens denies it.
But who do you believe? Before we our legal eagle Jeffrey Toobin, we want to know your opinion.
So let’s have it.
– Gabriel Falcon, 360° Writer
In the office today, we’re all talking about these numbers:
All of these projections come from a fascinating new study on immigration growth from the Pew Research Center. LINK TO PEW STUDY
You can’t help but think about all of this in the dynamic context of today’s race for the White House. Coincidentally, we are writing, shooting and producing a special for air Friday: "Uncovering America: Race, Gender and Politics.”
This is not new territory for us. We aired a similar special after the South Carolina primary. It triggered an explosive response. Instantly, we received hundreds of thousands of e-mails. The ‘incoming’ finally stopped at just over 500,000.
Lots of you had lots to say about how race and gender of a candidate might – or might not – affect how you vote. And many of you resented being lumped into an ethnic voting block: The Black vote. The Female vote. The Latino vote.
Roger Clemens is spinning himself a web of complications as he testifies before Congress about his alleged steroid use. He has said his former trainer is a liar when he says he injected Clemens more than 20 times with steroids and human growth hormones.
But here's what's also come out today. Clemens acknowledges McNamee's testimony that he injected Clemen's wife Debbie with HGH in 2003. But Clemens says his wife never told him, and that he was mad at McNamee when he found out.
But he did not fire McNamee, and also did not call a doctor when his wife complained of circulation problems. Clemens said they decided a doctor call wasn't necessary, but those suspicious of Clemens say the pitcher couldn't blow his cover since he too used such substances.
But perhaps most problematic for Clemens is one of his best friends Andy Pettite. The well liked Yankee pitcher has acknowledged that he was injected by McNamee with HGH and says Clemens discussed his own HGH use in 1999 or 2000. Clemens said during the hearing that Pettite "misheard" and "misremembered" the conversation.
The court of public opinion may or may not believe McNamee, but trying to cast Pettitte has someone who misunderstood such a conversation will be much harder for those loyal to Clemens. We'll have much more of this often riveting showdown on tonight's AC360°.
– Gary Tuchamn, 360° Correspondent