It's been a long road to redemption for Ted Haggard - and now a new speed bump is looming.
Not so long ago, Haggard was fondly known as Pastor Ted to his congregation in Colorado Springs. He was the popular founder of the New Life Church and a spiritual superstar in the conservative Christian community; in 2005 Time magazine named him one of the Top 25 most influential evangelicals in America.
His rising star crashed in November 2006, when a male prostitute went public about his alleged trysts with Haggard.
Flash forward to January 2009. Haggard is making the media rounds, heavily promoting an HBO documentary that premieres this Thursday. (Alexandra Pelosi, the daughter of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, is the director.) The film traces Haggard's time in exile and his attempts to rebuild his life. Not to mention his curious characterizations of his sexuality.
Enter stage left: an unexpected fly in the ointment. In recent days, a former church volunteer at New Life has gone public with his story. His name is Grant Haas, and he says Haggard performed a sex act in front of him and sent him illicit text messages. Turns out that Haas and the megachurch reached a settlement years ago that included a confidentiality agreement. Some would call it hush money. Church officials don't see it that way. At any rate, Haas is talking and we're listening. Tomorrow we'll hear his side of the story.. in his own words.
We'll also have full coverage of tomorrow's House vote on President Obama's $825-billion economic stimulus measure.. plus all the other news of the day.
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I don't know about you, but if I was asking for $825 billion dollars I'd work up a really good sales pitch. President Obama is trying to just that in Washington. His chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, invited some Republican lawmakers over to the White House for more talks on the stimulus plan. Hmmm.. talks or arm-twisting? How I would love to be a fly on the wall in that room. Earlier today, Pres. Obama was even over on Capitol Hill meeting with Republicans. The House is expected to vote on the stimulus plan tomorrow. Keep in mind, he doesn't need full support from the GOP. There are enough Democrats to get the bill passed. But Mr. Obama pledged to work with everyone on Capitol Hill. And, so far, it seems he's keeping to that promise.
Do you think Pres. Obama will get more support from the GOP on this plan or is it a lost cause? Sound off below.
Tonight we'll also have more on Pres. Obama's interview with Al-Arabiya TV. The two main points made in that interview: The Obama administration is offering a "hand of friendship to the Muslim world and it's also going to hunt down terrorists who target Americans. How is the message being received in the Arab world? We'll have a 360 Dispatch from CNN's Nic Robertson.
And, in California, a mother has given birth to octuplets. Eight babies – six boys, two girls. A surprise for the proud parents. They were expecting seven babies. The entire delivery lasted just five minutes, but involved 46 doctors and nurses. This is only the second known time in the U.S. that a mother has delivered eight babies. Ten years ago in Texas a couple had octuplets. Sadly, one of the babies passed away. These babies are doing well, according to doctors. And, when they make it home in about 10 weeks, the new parents will have their hands full. 160 tiny fingers and toes to take care of 24 hours a day. And, when you consider the average baby goes through 2,788 diapers in a year, multiply that by eight and we're talking about 22,304 diapers. Umm.. you may want to see if you can work out a deal with Pampers. That's a lot of diaper shopping. We wish Mom and Dad the best!!
Join us at 10pm ET for these stories and more.
Arsalan Iftikhar | BIO
Echoing a key theme of his inauguration speech, President Barack Obama, during his first interview with an Arab news channel, told the Muslim world that he holds a world view based on the following principle:
“…You will be judged on what you've built, not what you've destroyed….”
After viewing the Al-Arabiya interview several times, some key quotes (fittingly) in bold:
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U.S. President Barack Obama after meeting with Republicans in the House of Representatives at the U.S. Capitol January 27, 2009 in Washington, DC. (Getty Images)
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Program Note: Tune in for Nic Robertson's full report on the reaction to President Obama's interview with Al-Arabiya tonight on AC360 at 10pm ET.
Prince Turki Al-Faisal of Saudi Arabia speaks to CNN's Nic Robertson about the perception of President Obama and reflects on President Bush's relationship with Israel. Tune in for Nic Robertson's full report tonight.
Arab Affairs Editor
It's not the first interview Al-Arabiya has landed with an American president. As a matter of fact, since its launch in 2003, Al-Arabiya has interviewed George W. Bush on several occasions. But this one is different… President Barack Obama’s first official interview with any TV network. It is also his personal message to the more than one billion Muslims around the world - one fifth of the world’s population - and he chose Al-Arabiya as his vehicle to deliver it.
So, Al-Arabiya has a scoop and it wants the world to know it. The Dubai-based network owned by Saudi businessmen landed the interview with President Obama and it's wasting no time to brag about it..
CNN Supervising Producer
Amusing moment in today’s Senate Armed Services committee, Gates admitted that his procrastination on key decisions came back to bite him when he ended up staying on.
“As I focused on the wars these past two years, I ended up punting a number of procurement decisions that I believed would be more appropriately handled by my successor and a new administration. Well, as luck would have it, I am now the receiver of those punts – and in this game there are no fair catches,” Gates noted.
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AC360 Contributor and Anchor of In Session
As a criminal defense attorney, I am all about the presumption of innocence. That’s what my show, Best Defense, is all about. But what Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who appeared on today’s show, doesn’t seem to fully appreciate — or doesn’t want to admit — is that the impeachment proceeding in the Senate of his home state of Illinois is not a criminal trial.
Sure they call it a “trial.” But it is not a trial, not in the truest sense of the word, the sense that matters: The constitutional sense. The various principals the governor has been touting during his two day media tour, including today, in response to my questions — such as the right to a fair and speedy trial and the right to confront the witnesses against you — are Sixth Amendment requirements and they attach only in criminal cases.
So, when the governor is tried, which I predict he will be, in federal court, he certainly will be entitled to all the protections afforded by the Sixth Amendment; and he will be entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty of criminal wrongdoing. But this current proceeding, this so called impeachment trial, well this is purely political. And, if he is anything, Rod Blagojevich is a political animal. If he knows nothing else, he should know that.