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October 21st, 2008
10:02 PM ET

ON THE RADAR: Wednesday

Lisa Ort
AC360° Producer

Verdict watch…and other stories on our radar:

ON THE TRAIL: Sen. John McCain starts the day in Manchester, NH where he’ll hold a rally and be interviewed by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.  He’ll meet up with Gov. Palin for rallies in Green and Cincinnati, OH.  Sen. Barack Obama begins his day in Richmond, VA with a press conference and a rally and then moved on to a rally in Leesburg, VA.  Sen. Biden has events in Colorado Springs and Pueblo, 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.

SEN. TED STEVENS: There could be a verdict in the case against Sen. Ted Stevens. Stevens, 84, has been fighting a seven-count indictment accusing him of filing false statements on mandatory financial disclosure forms. The jury is scheduled to begin deliberating Wednesday.

PRESIDENT BUSH MEETS WITH LIBERIAN PRESIDENT: President George W. Bush is scheduled to meet with Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf at the White House.

CREDIT RATING AGENCIES HEARING: The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee holds a hearing on "The Breakdown of Credit Rating Agencies," focusing on the role of the credit rating agencies in the financial excesses on Wall St.


Filed under: 360° Radar
October 21st, 2008
09:37 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 10/21/08

For what’s in the program take a look at tonight’s Evening Buzz.

Don’t forget to watch Erica Hill’s webcast during the commercials.  LINK TO WEBCAST

And take a look at Anderson and Erica on our live web camera from the 360° studio. We’ll turn the camera on at 945p ET and turn it off at 11p ET. LINK TO THE BLOG CAMERA

Wondering why some comments are posted while others aren’t?  Here’s a post that may help: LINK TO COMMENTS POST

We’ll start posting comments at 10p ET and stop at 11p ET.


Filed under: Live Blog
October 21st, 2008
09:26 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Palin's Travel Trouble?

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer
 
It's 14 days and counting until the election. Two weeks from tonight chances are you'll be glued to your TV (watching CNN, of course) looking for election results.

Tonight a story has surfaced that has the McCain-Palin ticket on the defensive.

The Associated Press is reporting Gov. Sarah Palin charged the state for her children to travel with her, including to events where they were not invited, and later amended expense reports to specify that they were on official business.

The AP says the charges included costs for hotel and commercial flights for three daughters to join Palin to watch their father in a snowmobile race, and a trip to New York, where the governor attended a five-hour conference and stayed with 17-year-old Bristol for five days and four nights in a luxury hotel.

In all, the AP says Palin has charged the state $21,012 for her three daughters' 64 one-way and 12 round-trip commercial flights since she took office in December 2006.

We reached out to the McCain-Palin campaign for a response and got this e-mail just moments ago from a spokesman:

"Like spouses and children of Governors across the nation, Alaska's First Family make public appearances, attend events, and perform ceremonial duties in their role as the family of Alaska's Governor. When members of the First Family participate in events, the state provides for travel to and from those events. Governor Palin refuses per diem payments for her children, which the state allowed for and initially provided until she ordered the per diem payments to stop.

Overlooked is the fact that Gov. Palin Saved The State over $400,000 Dollars In Travel Expenses In Comparison To Previous Governor. "Palin spent about $114,900 travelling in 2007, versus the $516,600 Murkowski spent the year before..." (Kyle Hopkins, "State Paid Per Diem While Palin Stayed In Wasilla Home," Anchorage Daily News, 9/10/08)

The Palins do not require an apartment in Anchorage that the previous governor required and as a result saved the state $19,800 over her 22 months in office.

The Palins pay for travel that is strictly personal in nature. For example, when Track comes home on leave from the military, the Palins pay for those travel arrangements.

Governor Palin is committed to the highest standards of ethics and has significantly reduced the costs associated with the First Family. She eliminated the Governor's cook, slashed her security detail, and saved the state tens of millions of dollars by selling the luxury jet her predecessor purchased.

For example, by Downsizing The House Expenditures For The Governor's Mansion, Gov. Palin Saved Taxpayers $96,133. The Governor's Mansion Expenditures Decreased From $342,616 Under Gov Murkowski's Last Full Fiscal Year To $246,483 In Gov. Palins First Full Fiscal Year In Office."

We'll be digging deeper on this developing story tonight on 360.
Hope you can join us.


Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
October 21st, 2008
08:50 PM ET

John McCain and an Army of Joes

Byron York
National Review

Tito Munoz was ready to rock when John McCain showed here up at the Connaughton Community Plaza in Woodbridge, Virginia Saturday afternoon. Dressed in a yellow hard hat covered with McCain-Palin stickers, wearing an orange high-visibility vest, Munoz carried a hand-lettered sign that said CONSTRUCTION WORKER FOR McCAIN. He got a coveted spot in the bleachers directly behind McCain, where he could be seen in the camera shot along with the guy holding the sign that said PHIL THE BRICK LAYER and the woman with the ROSE THE TEACHER banner. He cheered a lot.

Everybody was playing on the Joe-the-Plumber theme. McCain spent a lot of time on it in his stump speech, using the now-famous Joe Wurzelbacher of Toledo, Ohio, as a stand-in for “small businessmen and women all over America [who] want to keep their earnings and not give it to the government.” McCain added that Obama’s response to Wurzelbacher — the assertion that it would be best to “spread the wealth around” — made Joe the Plumber “the only person to get a real answer out of Sen. Obama.”

Read more...


Filed under: Joe the Plumber • John McCain
October 21st, 2008
08:01 PM ET

The Right’s class war

Supporters at Sarah Palin's 'Road to Victory Rally' in Lancaster, Pennsylvania on Saturday.

Supporters at Sarah Palin's 'Road to Victory Rally' in Lancaster, Pennsylvania on Saturday.

John Heilemann
New York Magazine

For a man who has just been, in his eyes, excommunicated from both a magazine and a movement founded by his father half a century ago, Chris Buckley, son of the sainted William F., is doing a creditable job of keeping his upper lip stiff. “I’m still sort of getting my apostate act down,” Buckley says with a chuckle when I phone him a few days after the unpleasantness unfolded. “I’m reading Apostasy for Dummies.” The apostasy in question is, of course, his endorsement of Barack Obama, which provoked such a torrent of outrage and abuse from the right that Buckley felt it only proper to offer to quit his column at National Review—an offer that was taken up, to his great surprise, “rather briskly,” as he puts it. “I guess it shows, be careful to whom you tender your resignation, because they just might accept it!”

Buckley’s good humor does nothing to conceal his melancholy and bewilderment at this turn of events. “I was really quite amazed by the reaction, and I think it shows just how bloody calcified the political discourse has become, and tribalist, and snarling,” he tells me. “I want to say that it’s a tempest in a teapot, but there seems to be something going on here, and maybe this has accidentally tapped into it.”

If the Buckley affair were an isolated incident, such talk would be easy to dismiss as self-flattery—but it isn’t. With the prospect of defeat for John McCain growing more likely every day, the GOP destined to see its numbers reduced in both the House and Senate, and the Republican brand debased to the point of bankruptcy, the conservative intelligentsia is factionalized and feuding, criminating and recriminating, in a way that few of its members can recall in their political lifetimes. Populists attack Establishmentarians. Neocons assail theocons. And virtually everyone has something harsh to say about the party’s standard-bearer. Election Day may still be two weeks away, but already the idea-merchants of the right have formed a circular firing squad.

Read more...


Filed under: Christopher Buckley • Raw Politics
October 21st, 2008
08:01 PM ET

Erica’s News Note: State of the Union

Erica Hill | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

A man returns a pair of shoes after finding the same pair somewhere else at a better price (sounds like me!), but later notices a racial slur on his receipt. At first, I thought a salesperson had scrawled the hateful word on the back of his receipt. But then I watched the story and realized that nasty word was an option in the store’s computer. Why on earth would a code for a racial slur be on ANY computer, especially the one tied to a cash register? To get the full picture, you need to watch the story.

__________

Just how close is this country to a repeat of the Great Depression? A little too close for my comfort.

__________

The uncertain economy is one of the leading factors behind the findings in a new CNN poll - results that offer a jarring snapshot of the USA.

The bad news: 75 percent of Americans say things are going badly in this country, according to a new CNN poll. Americans are angry, scared and stressed to the max – though I probably didn’t need to tell you that. "Americans tend to downplay the amount of fear they have when facing tough times,” says CNN polling director Keating Holland. “The fact that more than six in 10 say that they are scared shows how bad things are getting."

FULL POST


Filed under: Erica Hill • Erica's News Note
October 21st, 2008
07:56 PM ET

Reagan adviser can't support McCain/Palin

Former Reagan adviser Ken Adelman discusses why he cannot support Sen. McCain and will be voting for Sen. Obama.


Filed under: Barack Obama • John McCain • Raw Politics • Sarah Palin
October 21st, 2008
06:46 PM ET

Iraqis want their country back

A U.S. soldier of 101st Airborne Division carries a dog before putting it in an army vehicle leaving Inshon patrol base in Youssifiyah, Iraq, as U.S troops handed over the camp to the Iraqi army Monday

A U.S. soldier of 101st Airborne Division carries a dog before putting it in an army vehicle leaving Inshon patrol base in Youssifiyah, Iraq, as U.S troops handed over the camp to the Iraqi army Monday

Phil Black
CNN Baghdad Correspondent

The Iraqi people want their country back. Not part of it. Not most of it. All of it. And Iraq's politicians know this. The feeling is summed up in one word they've been using an awful lot lately: Sovereignty.

And it's why Iraq's Cabinet has now unanimously rejected what was supposed to be the final draft of a new security deal with the United States. It's called a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA).

Iraqi ministers say they have a list of changes that need to be made so the agreement can be "acceptable on a national level". In other words, so it can pass the Iraqi Parliament.

FULL POST


Filed under: 360° Radar • Iraq
October 21st, 2008
06:45 PM ET

26 Photoshops for Jeffrey Toobin to look at instead of working

Adam Frucci
Blogger on Gizmodo.com

For this week's Photoshop Contest, we focused on new Friend of Giz Jeffrey Toobin, brilliant CNN legal analyst and fellow work-avoider. After busting him not once, but twice surfing the internet on his laptop while on-air during a presidential debate, we decided to give him some more fun stuff to read on the internet when he's supposed to be working by making him the focus of some Photoshoppery. Hit the jump for the top three winners and then the rest of the best in our Gallery of Champions. Oh, and Toobs: it's all in good fun. Nothing but love.

Read More...


Filed under: Jeffrey Toobin • Raw Politics
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