Tonight, the economy and the election. The average price of gasoline is more than four dollars a gallon nationwide, the job market is sagging and the housing market is tanking. How will that play out on the campaign trail? Sen. Hillary Clinton says she’s in it to win it for Obama. What role will she play in the election? We’ll talk all that over with the best political team on television.
Anderson is in Rwanda tonight working on the next installment of planet in peril. He and his crew have been climbing and trekking in search of the mountain gorilla, one of the world's most majestic and most endangered species. The Rwanda government, with limited resources of its own, is working to save the gorillas by encouraging eco-tourism. Anderson is going to have a report tonight but for a sneak peek take a look at his post and Neil Hallsworth, the photojournalist with Anderson, blogged as well.
And be sure to check out our live web camera from the 360° studio. Tonight you’ll see Campbell Brown and Erica Hill behind the scenes on the set. We’ll turn the camera on at 945p ET and turn it off at 11p ET. LINK TO THE BLOG CAMERA
We’ll start posting comments to this blog at 10p ET and stop at 11p ET.
Program note: watch Candy Crowley’s story on Sen. Hillary Clinton, her women supporters and history on Monday’s AC360° at 10p ET.
CNN Senior Political Correspondent
I’m in withdrawal. I leapt out of bed twice last night thinking I was about to miss the plane. I woke up this morning and didn’t recognize my bedroom. My re-inherited cat seems really really annoyed I’m in his house and when I tried to get into my office computer the following message appeared:
Would you like to set your home page to "Cannot Find Server”?
Something about that appeals to me. I’m thinking of saying yes.
So, here we are. It’s over. (or starting, but today I prefer to think of it as over) He’s campaigning in North Carolina/Missouri. McCain is fundraising. She is vacationing. Her voters are either angry, resigned, defiant or in denial. Multi-stages of grief. They will not feel the same in November. Some still won’t vote for him but they won’t feel the same.
CNN Chief National Correspondent
Obama in reliably Republican North Carolina on Monday?
McCain in “blue state” Pennsylvania on Wednesday?
It’s proof the campaign is in a “feeling out” phase, with each campaign testing to see if it can redraw the traditional Electoral College map.
For Obama, that means looking to see if he can compete in places that were solid George W. Bush states in both 2000 and 2004; Virginia, North Carolina, and Georgia are a few he hopes to target.
And for McCain, testing to see whether Obama’s problems with blue-collar whites will carry over into the general election means exploring his chances in places like Pennsylvania and Michigan, two big electoral prizes that are critical to any Democratic strategy for victory.
CNN Senior Photojournalist
Today I’m covered in mud, wet and frankly….exhausted. I just trekked for over 3 hours up a mountain to see the critically endangered mountain gorillas. It was special sight – the gorillas we saw are known as a “research group” – they’ve never been seen by tourists, and very rarely by anyone but the scientists who study them.
Our journey started with an hour-long drive up an endlessly rutted and muddy road. At one point we got stuck and everyone had to get out and help push…except me! (I was filming – call it the benefits of being a photographer!) We finally broke free, drove 15 more minutes, then the hard part began….
The trek starts uphill and doesn’t change – 1 hour of fast hiking, following the park rangers. We finally catch a rest at the entrance to the park and our head researcher Veronica explains the gorillas are not used to people and may charge us, maybe even grab the camera. PIP executive producer Charlie Moore asks how we get the camera from the gorillas if they get their hands on it, but the answer is less than comforting: “if it feels like the gorilla’s pulling hard then let it go,” but “you’re welcome to try and rip it back if you care to give it a go.” I’m not sure I want to be the first CNN Photojournalist to have their camera smashed by a 400-pound gorilla (note: we do have a history with this sort of thing: PIP producer Mary Anne Fox had to request a new BlackBerry after it was crushed by the foot of an elephant).
AC 360° Writer
Senator Ted Kennedy is back home on Cape Cod. Today he left Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina, a week after surgery on his brain tumor. Doctors say the next step for Kennedy is chemotherapy and radiation at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
360° writers do a lot reading on the stories of the day. We call it reading-in. (I know… such a fancy name. Ha!) We read CNN & AP wires, the e-mails we get from crews in the field, the newspapers, the magazines, the blogs, etc. We read a lot.
And, while reading-in, I came across something interesting about Kennedy...
With gas over $4 a gallon, everyone is looking for ways to cope. American Airlines just announced they are raising the price of domestic flights by $20 round trip. (And this is only a few short weeks since they started charging $15 for the first piece of checked luggage.)
But could it be more eco-friendly to take a commercial airliner than to drive?
It all comes down to miles per gallon per person – not something we tend to think about when deciding between a coupe and a minivan. And although an airliner may only get 2.4 gallons per nautical mile, that’s split among all the passengers. It can actually be greener to fly than to drive long distances.
Cheaper may be another story, particularly as airlines pile on the fees.
You can read how Miles O’Brien crunched the numbers and also read some tips he got about squeezing every mile out of your gas tank here.
I'm not exactly sure what time it is. I'm still kind of jet lagged and two days of gnawing on ambien to sleep hasn't really helped me adjust to the time change.
We had a really cool day today, hiking to see a group of mountain gorillas in Rwanda that have never been visited by tourists. About half of Rwanda's endangered mountain gorillas are visited each day by tourists who pay as much as $500 per person to sit with the gorillas for one hour. It's an amazing experience, one I've done about seven or eight times over the last twenty years or so.
The other half of the gorillas are studied by scientists, and are not habituated to tourists. Today we visited the "Pablo group" named after the male silver back who used to control the group of about 40 or so gorillas. Pablo, however, is no longer the dominant male silver back. He has been replaced, though he is still allowed to be part of this group.
AC360° Associate Producer
As a firm believer in the theory that misery loves company, I suppose I should take comfort in the fact that millions of other East Coast residents are also sweating through their shirts today. Yet, despite this knowledge, I’m still cranky. My neighbors are cranky. Even my dog is cranky. When I asked her if she wanted to go for a walk this morning, she didn’t even get up off the floor, she just gave me the finger. I didn’t even know dogs could do that.
I’m not tremendously well versed on Global Warming. I believe that it exists and tell myself that if I ever move out of Manhattan and buy a car it will be a hybrid. I bought some of those energy saving light bulbs but – I’ll be honest – they made me look like Herman Munster so I replaced them with regular ones. I realize that I am part of the problem.
This heat wave is hitting the East Coast while Anderson and the Planet in Peril team travel overseas to document environmental battle lines. The irony is not lost on me. When one thinks of global environmental emergencies, one tends to think of far off rain forests and jungles. And while those are are indeed in peril, so are our cities and towns, our cul-de-sacs and apartment buildings. Our elderly neighbors, those without the money to afford air conditioning – they, too, are in peril as temperatures rise. Don’t take my word for it. I’m not even a genuine environmentalist; I’m just an angry, sweaty person.
It's time for 'Beat 360°!'
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Here is the 'Beat 360°' pic of the day: Sen. Barack Obama goes for a bike ride in Chicago yesterday.
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Morning folks...Happy Monday...
Hillary Clinton's campaign officially ended on Saturday....her job now? To focus on making sure her supporters back Sen. Barack Obama's bid. As Clinton closed her campaign Saturday, she urged the cheering crowd of thousands to support Obama in his run for the White House, saying she and supporters should "take our energy, our passion and our strength and do all we can to help elect Barack Obama ... I ask all of you to join me in working as hard for Barack Obama as you have for me." Candy Crowley will bring us up to speed on Hillary's good-bye and check in on Obama has he campaigns in North Carolina....
BUT what about BILL?