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This just in... Sen. Barack Obama is leaving the campaign trail for a couple of days this week to visit his ailing grandmother in Hawaii.
Here's the statement we just received from an Obama spokesman:
"Senator Obama's grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, has always been one of the most important people in his life. Along with his mother and his grandfather, she raised him in Hawaii from the time he was born until the moment he left for college. As he said at the Democratic Convention, she poured everything she had into him.
Recently, his Grandmother has become ill, and in the last few weeks, her health has deteriorated to the point where her situation is very serious. It is for that reason that Senator Obama has decided to change his schedule on Thursday and Friday so that he can see her and spend some time with her. He will be returning the the campaign trail on Saturday."
We'll have the latest on this announcement tonight on 360.
And, did you see Gov. Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live over the weekend?
Do you think Palin's appearance helped or hurt the campaign?
We're taking an up close look.
We're also looking at the "S" word mentioned a lot by Palin and a couple times by John McCain on the trail.
For all you Sesame Street fans: In this case, "S" is for socialism. The McCain-Palin ticket is attacking Obama's tax plan as socialist.
"There are hints of socialism in there and that's why I don't fault or discredit Joe the plumber for bringing that up asking if that is socialism," said Palin recently.
Do you think the accusation is fair?
We've got the raw politics.
And, we're unveiling the seventh name to our 10 most wanted list: Culprits of the Collapse.
All that and more tonight on 360°.
Hope you can join us at 10pm ET.
Closing arguments in the Stevens trial…and other stories on our radar:
ON THE TRAIL: Sen. McCain spends the day in Pennsylvania with rallies in Bensalem, Harrisburg, and Moon Township. Sen. Obama is in Florida with an event in Lake Worth and a rally in Miami. Gov. Palin has rallies in Reno and Henderson, NV and Sen. Biden has a rally in Greeley, CO.
CULPRITS OF THE COLLAPSE: Who’s next on the top ten most wanted list? Here’s a hint: these mortgage giants were able to borrow money at below market rates and make risky investments because of their government backing.
TED STEVENS TRIAL: Prosecutors finished grilling Ted Stevens, the Republican senator charged with breaking Senate ethics rules by failing to disclose hundreds of thousands of dollars in gifts and renovations on his home in Alaska. He was the last witness for the defense. Closing arguments are expected Tuesday.
WHITE HOUSE SUMMIT ON INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT: President George W. Bush will deliver the keynote address at the summit which will discuss country ownership, good governance, results-based programs and accountability, and the importance of economic growth.
HEALTH OF THE NATION: The American Medical Association holds a media briefing on the health of the nation at the National Press Club.
REGIONAL AND STATE EMPLOYMENT REPORT: Released by the Department of Labor and the Bureau of Labor Statistics at 10:00AM ET.
AC360° Senior Producer
Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama because he's black. At least, Rush Limbaugh, Pat Buchanan and George Will have all said that is the reason - or a reason.
Will many Americans write off the endorsement because they think the same? A bunch of other generals and secretaries of state have endorsed McCain, after all. And, who cares about endorsements anyway?
So here's a different question - will Powell's endorsement backfire?
Will some people miss or ignore Powell's argument that the McCain/Palin campaign has gone too far with references to "terrorists" etc., and decide Powell's endorsement only proves that this election really is about race - and protecting the interests of your own race - no matter how much the elite liberal media doth protest that it isn't or shouldn't be?
I'm not saying Powell was wrong to speak. To the contrary.
I'm just asking, with all the talk about race out there - and whether the McCain/Palin campaign is using code to bring it up – or not – and whether Obama can seal the deal with white voters - or not – is it more about race than some of us think... or would like?
What's your view?
Steely-eyed Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who formerly headed the CIA, is known as a tough leader - but he’s also known to get emotional when talking about wounded troops. When it comes to the responsibility of sending men and women to war, he takes it to heart. Gates choked up at the Pentagon today while speaking to wounded warriors and their families, particularly upon recounting his visits to Army hospitals.
Ready for today's Beat 360°?
Everyday we post a picture – and you provide the caption and our staff will join in too.
Tune in tonight at 10pm to see if you are our favorite!
Here is the 'Beat 360°’ pic:
Sen. Barack Obama campaigning in Florida today.
Have fun with it. We're looking forward to your captions!
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When you win ‘Beat 360°’ not only do you get on-air prime-time name recognition (complete with bragging rights over all your friends, family, and jealous competitors), but you get a “I Won the Beat 360° Challenge” T-shirt!
Good luck to all!
Editor's note: David Brody will be on AC360° tonight at 10p ET to talk about the conflicting views of Sarah Palin among conservatism's elites and Joe six-packs. Below is an excerpt from his recent interview with Sarah Palin.
Senior National Correspondent, CBN News
In an exclusive one-on-one interview with The Brody File, vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin says she would have no problem using the "palling around with terrorist" line again when describing Barack Obama's relationship with Bill Ayers.
I interviewed Gov. Palin this weekend for 20 minutes in Lancaster, Pa. My full report can be seen Tuesday on The 700 Club. Check The Brody File for other clips regarding her faith, media scrutiny and much more.
Brody: Are you okay with the "pal around with terrorist line?" Or you want to rein that back a little?
Palin: No I would say it again, I would say it again because again it, it, according to the information that we have, the association that he's had with Bill Ayers wasn't just one or two time sitting on a board together where, No, there's been quite a few associations and events and meetings and discussion and emails and calls and to not disavow that too, I think is troubling.
Program Note: CNN Heroes received nearly four thousand submissions from 75 countries. A Blue Ribbon Panel selected the Top 10 CNN Heroes for the year, and over 1 million of you voted for your CNN HERO OF THE YEAR
WATCH CNN HEROES: AN ALL-STAR TRIBUTE
A Global Celebration: Thanksgiving Night at 9p ET
Nominated Maria Ruiz | HER STORY
After visiting Maria and her family in January, I was struck by their simple way of life and priority of serving others…they had no thought for themselves. Maria’s husband worked two jobs to support their work in Mexico. They have gone without health care and other things that we take for granted. Maria, on her own, had created this feeding center where she fed 1200 children per day. I wouldn’t even attempt something like that unless I knew I had the right support and that I would be successful…Maria just knew there was a need and went to fill it without listening to the fact that what she wanted to do was just about impossible. Maria and her family changed the way I look at my life.
I submitted her name to the CNN Heroes because I wanted more people to hear her story. I hoped that more people would be inspired to make a difference with what they have, where they are. That is what Maria did. She did not wait until she had all the answers; she stepped forward and met needs. We can all do that in the corners that we live…we simply need to open our eyes, our ears and hands.
People like Maria are giving their all, everyday and giving everything from what little they may have.
So who is to blame for this financial fiasco?
That’s the question we’ve begun investigating.
We’ve put together a list of the Ten Most Wanted: Culprits of the Collapse.
#4 on our list: Former Countrywide Financial CEO Angelo Mozilo. CNN's David Mattingly reports.
Kyung Lah | BIO
The town of Oppama is about as far away from Main Street, USA as you can get. Virtually nothing here resembles anything American, except for a lone McDonald’s on the corner. But stop and talk to 78-year-old fish-shop owner Kohei Ishiwata and he’ll wax poetic about the US credit crunch.
“They made fake money out of thin air!” Ishiwata exclaims, in between slicing up thick chunks of fresh sushi.
Step next door to Yuji Fujita’s vegetable shop and he’ll teach you a thing or two about trickle down economics, Japan-style. “I hope the US economy improves. They’re a big influence for us,” he says, his 20-month-old son sleeping in the corner of the grocery store that’s been in the family for three generations.
The influence is everywhere on Oppama’s main street, which relies on the robust appetite of Main Street, USA. Oppama is home to a major Nissan plant. It’s the area’s primary employer and every part of life here is connected to the automaker.