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November 14th, 2009
08:37 AM ET

Dear President Obama #299: Time to tape up the piggy bank

Reporter's Note: President Obama has spent more money in his first 300 days in office than the last Democratic president, Bill Clinton, spent in eight years. The deficit is now stretching out to somewhere around Jupiter. That has a lot of people worried. I’m writing another letter to the White House, but wondering if I should be looking for a second job instead.

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

There is an old saying, “If you have a problem and money is the solution, you don’t have a problem.” It has it’s limitations, as you might guess. For example, if I enjoy a scrumptious lunch at Big Bobby’s Truck Stop and Wrestling Emporium but don’t have the eight bucks to cover the bill, trust me, I have a problem; especially if Big Bobby is around at the moment. Obviously people, programs, businesses all need a basic level of working cash, but still I’ve long found that saying worth bearing in mind.

Let me tell you a story. Back when Ronald Reagan came into office, a lot of government programs around the country took big budget cuts, and the folks running those programs howled like cats with their tails in the door. Every time I went to cover a story about their troubles, the punch line was the same, “If only we could get more funding, everything would be fine again.” Finally I got tired of ending all my reports with that refrain, and I felt like it was becoming lazy reporting. After all, everyone knew funding was an issue. I didn’t need to tell them yet again.

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November 14th, 2009
08:29 AM ET

50on50: Age = Influence?


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Michael Schulder
CNN Senior Executive Producer

I was ready for my closing argument. The information I gathered from leading trial attorneys for my past two pieces added so much additional weight to the premise that the 18-49 year old audience demo is finished, I was ready to end it right here. But I asked one too many questions.

Age=Influence … Very Often

In case you haven’t been following this series: a 34-year-old trial lawyer acquaintance of mine alerted me to the fact that litigators tend to correlate the age of a juror with his or her potential influence. Generally speaking, the older juror will be the more influential one. That’s who you want on your side. It’s the influencers who we want in our TV and dotcom audience as well. With that knowledge, 18-49 seems so arbitrary.

Voices of Experience

I called my friend Cindy Vreeland about this. She’s the Vice Chair of the Intellectual Property Litigation Practice Group at the top tier law firm WilmerHale. University of Chicago Law School class of 1990. “You’d love to persuade all members of the jury,” says Vreeland. But, in reality, you hope “to persuade the jurors who are interested in the case and have the power to persuade the others.”

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Filed under: Michael Schulder • Opinion