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March 19th, 2008
06:59 AM ET

Morning Buzz

Morning....Today we enter the 6th year of the Iraq war. Five years ago...the administration predicted it would cost between $50 to $60 billion to oust Saddam Hussein..Today, the cost topples $600 billion AND the cost of US Military lives nears 4000...McCain was in Baghdad earlier this week making the case to "stay the course...the surge is working." Obama, after delivering what critics call an impressive speech on "race," hits the campaign trail in North Carolina to talk about his plan for Iraq. AND guess who is along for the ride? Anderson Cooper will be with him every step of the way!  TONIGHT on AC360 you can see Anderson's EXCLUSIVE interview with Obama and get a an ALL-ACCESS pass to the Presidential contender....

In other news...floods swept  through parts of Arkansas and Texas. John Murtha endorsed Hillary Clinton. Clinton will be in Michigan today pushing for a primary do-over. AND check out What YOU will be talking about TODAY...the most competitive program for medical residents to get into nowadays is PLASTIC SURGERY...says a lot about our society... ANYWAY grab your morning coffee and lets get to it...

Top Stories
Rains lead to flooding in Arkansas, Missouri & Texas...
Torrential rains chased hundreds of people from their flooded homes and deluged roads in the nation's midsection Tuesday, killing at least two people in Missouri and sweeping a teen down a drainage pipe near Dallas, Texas.

Female suicide bomber kills 3 in Baghdad...
Iraqi police say a woman suicide bomber  has killed three people and wounded 12 in an attack near a bus terminal northeast of Baghdad.

Shock & Awe: Five years later...
For a majority of Americans, today marks the fifth anniversary of the start of an Iraq war that was not worth fighting, one that has cost thousands of lives and more than half a trillion dollars. For the Bush administration, however, it is the first anniversary of an Iraq strategy that it believes has finally started to succeed.

Cost of the war...
At the outset of the Iraq war, the Bush administration predicted that it would cost $50 billion to $60 billion to oust Saddam Hussein, restore order and install a new government.

Issue #1...
The Federal Reserve reduced short-term interest rates for the sixth time in six months on Tuesday, capping an extraordinary series of measures it has taken to stabilize financial markets. The cut was smaller than investors had been expecting, though, and exposed some signs of a split among policy makers.

Raw Politics
Clinton heads to Michigan to push for primary do-over...
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton scheduled a last-minute trip to Detroit this morning to try to salvage a Michigan Democratic primary do-over that earlier Tuesday was all but pronounced dead in the Legislature.

Murtha endorses Clinton...
Rep. John Murtha, a former Marine and Vietnam War veteran who has become one of Congress' most outspoken critics of the Iraq war, on Tuesday endorsed Sen. Hillary Clinton for president, saying she is "the candidate that will forge a consensus on health care, education, the economy and the war in Iraq."

Obama urges ALL to help heal racial divide...
Sen. Barack Obama in a speech Tuesday addressed the controversy surrounding his former minister, using it as an opportunity to challenge Americans to take a closer look at race relations.

Obama speaks...
After making what many political analysts are calling the most important speech of his political career, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., sat down for an exclusive interview with "Nightline's" Terry Moran to further discuss the delicate issue of race in America. Obama explained to ABC News why this was the right moment for him to give such a politically risky speech.

Program note: Anderson's exclusive interview with Obama airs tonight at 10 pm

Crime & Punishment
Jump in homocides in LA...
Los Angeles Police Department officials, alarmed by the continued rise in the homicide rate this year, sought Tuesday to debunk the notion that racial animosity has been at the heart of many of the killings.

Reporters apologize to McCanns...
Two British newspapers apologized Wednesday to the parents of missing Madeleine McCann for suggesting the couple was responsible for the death of their daughter.

Keeping Them Honest
Rezko jury hears tales of bribes & drugs...
The government's star witness in the corruption trial of Antoin "Tony" Rezko took the stand Tuesday and in just 48 minutes laid out a stunning personal tale of bribery, treachery, rampant drug abuse and a precipitous fall from grace.

What YOU will be talking about TODAY
For med students, appearance matters...
March Madness has a different meaning for Thomas Hocker and Meena Singh, a married couple in their final year at the Harvard Medical School, who are waiting to learn Thursday if they have been accepted into their residency programs of choice.

Report out on Tiger escape...
An organization that accredits zoos says the San Francisco Zoo had an "impressive" response to a tiger escape on Christmas Day but could have done more initially, according to a report the zoo released Tuesday.

soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Mark Barry

    Bush is going to say in his speech today at the Pentagon that establishing a democracy in Iraq is a vital step in defeating terrorism. Then why don't we establish a democracy by force in Saudi Arabia? I have yet to see one so-called news organization in this country muster the guts to ask Bush this question. Is it because we already know the answer and are in collusion with the administration?

    After the next terrorist attack in this country, let's remind ourselves of what the hundreds of billions of dollars and 4000 lives was for?

    March 19, 2008 at 9:46 am |
  2. Mischelle from Illinois

    SOME ONE at CNN- ANYONE???
    When interviewing either Mr. Obama or his supporters or serrogates, could someone PLEASE ask: If Mr. Obama feels that it is so important to address these issues, why would he have squandered the opportunity to address this WHILE HE ATTENDED THAT CHURCH? Does it make sense to wait until "the issue was forced out" or could he have affected REAL change and had more of a positive impact on race relations if he started right 'in his own backyard' so to speak? Why wait until his candidacy was at stake to even address the issue himself, why not STAND UP to the Reverend who spoke such hateful words long ago? ( if this was truely important to Mr. Obama. )

    March 19, 2008 at 9:39 am |
  3. Michael, NC

    AGH! The one time Obama (or anyone for that matter) comes to NC, it's a closed event, invite only. It is also one of the less brought up topics that I find HUGE. No bueno, no bueno. I trust we will get some great coverage from Anderson though, as usual.

    March 19, 2008 at 9:22 am |
  4. deb in az

    again sen obama and his team play the race card.............first wth bill c and then against the black super delegates and then geraldine f........this man compares his grandmother who helped raise him to this nut of a minster.........i hope she wasnt listening to this speach yesterday... one day he never heard any of this and now he was there.........this minster was part of his team untill last week.......20 years to figure out this minster and what his message is........how long to figure out what to do as president.......it is an uncomfortable feeling knowing that if sen obama wins the presidency that ministers like this have acess to the oval office.......

    March 19, 2008 at 8:43 am |
  5. Cindy

    It's hard to believe that it has been 5 years since we invaded Iraq to supposedly rid it of WMD's. So many people have died and really for what? We say we are giving them a democracy but it really doesn't seem that they want it. I mean they can't even get their government up and running properly or their soldiers trained enough to take over. Are we supposed to stay their forever? It seems that is what they are hoping for!

    Whatever the case I still think that the media needs to pay more attention to Iraq everyday and not just on the anniversaries or what ever. Our men and women over there deserve that. They are paying the ultimate price while we are here going on with our lives like nothing is happening. We need to be reminded every day that there are wars going on and that we shouldn't forget that. We have too easy of a mentality of out of sight out of mind.

    Cynthia, Covington, Ga.

    March 19, 2008 at 8:39 am |
  6. Mark, VA

    Obama gave a good speech and brought up a lot of societies' challenges. But let that not deflect from the real issue that "forced" him to give the speech; his relationship with Rev. Wright and his lack of response to such hateful rhetoric. Obama can speak very, very well. He is very, very eloquent. Let's step back and take a breath. He has presented himself as a new candidate/politician. He has proven otherwise. He has been touting his judgment to trump Clinton or McCain's experience, but he just fell down on that. So, what is left? A young inexperience "politician" running for the most important job in the world. I no longer have the same regard to him that I once did. Shame on him for fooling me once, but shame on me if I let him fool me twice. I want a redo on my vote and I bet I am not the only voter or delegate that feels the same.

    March 19, 2008 at 8:30 am |