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December 7th, 2010
09:57 PM ET

Remembering Elizabeth Edwards: Join the Live Chat

Tonight the life and death of Elizabeth Edwards, who died today of cancer. She lived with the disease in the public eye, as a political spouse and the mother of young children - and she set quite an example. Plus, politicians against repealing 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' say there's not enough time to even vote on it. Is their clock accurate? We're keeping them honest.

Want more details on what covering? Read EVENING BUZZ

Scroll down to join the live chat during the program. It's your chance to share your thoughts on tonight's headlines. Keep in mind, you have a better chance of having your comment get past our moderators if you follow our rules.

Here are some of them:

1) Keep it short (we don't have time to read a "book")
2) Don't write in ALL CAPS (there's no need to yell)
3) Use your real name (first name only is fine)
4) No links
5) Watch your language (keep it G-rated; PG at worst - and that includes $#&*)


Filed under: Live Blog
December 7th, 2010
08:31 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Elizabeth Edwards dies after long battle with cancer

Elizabeth Edwards, the estranged wife of former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, died Tuesday after a lengthy battle with cancer.
Elizabeth Edwards, the estranged wife of former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, died Tuesday after a lengthy battle with cancer.

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Elizabeth Edwards, the estranged wife of former presidential candidate John Edwards, died today after a long battle with breast cancer. She was 61.

Tonight on 360°, we'll look back at her life. You'll hear from family friend John Moylan, who is Mr. Edwards former campaign adviser. Anderson will also talk with Larry King who interviewed Elizabeth Edwards many times.

Edwards died at her family home in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, according to a statement released by the family.

"Today we have lost the comfort of Elizabeth's presence but she remains the heart of this family," the statement said. "We love her and will never know anyone more inspiring or full of life."

Edwards was a mother, author and supporter of her husband through his two failed presidential runs. She also had to deal with his extramarital affair with former campaign videographer Rielle Hunter. Eventually he admitted he fathered a child with Hunter, after vehemently denying the allegation for months.

Just yesterday, the Edwards family released a statement saying that she wouldn't undergo any more cancer treatments because it would be unproductive.

Tonight we're also ‘Keeping Them Honest’ in Washington on the compromise reached by Pres. Obama and Republicans to extend Bush-era tax cuts for wealthy Americans for two more years. It was a major concession by Mr. Obama. As part of the deal, Republicans agreed to give Americans the option to file for extended federal unemployment benefits.

"It's not perfect," Pres. Obama said in an afternoon news conference, but "we cannont play politics at a time when the American people are looking for us to solve problems."

The overall cost of the deal is between $600 and $800 billion dollars over two years, according to CNN estimates.

Keeping them honest, remember all those promises of cutting the deficit? Well, analysts say this could very well increase the deficit. Pres. Obama has vowed to reign in debt and Republicans campaigned on the platform, as well.

Yes, the GOP also vowed to extend the Bush-era tax cuts. So much for those other promises.

Republicans are supporting the deal, while liberal Democrats are blasting it. We'll talk this all over with our political panel.

And on a lighter note, see why the Balloon Boy is back in the headlines and why we just had to add him to our 'Ridiculist.'

Join us for more on these and tonight's other big stories at 10 p.m. ET on CNN. See you then


Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
December 7th, 2010
07:59 PM ET
December 7th, 2010
06:45 PM ET

Video: A look back at Elizabeth Edwards' cancer fight

Editor's Note: Elizabeth Edwards, 61, passed away today at home in North Carolina after her 6-year battle with cancer.


Filed under: 360° Radar
December 7th, 2010
05:01 PM ET

Tax cut deal and surprise stimulus – the cost


FROM CNN MONEY: There is no official cost estimate for the compromise proposal. These numbers are ballpark estimates based on analysis of similar proposals.

Jeanne Sahadi
Senior Writer, CNN Money

The compromise on the Bush tax cuts announced Monday night between President Obama and Republicans could cost between $700 billion and $800 billion if ultimately signed into law as is - no sure thing given opposition from many Democrats.

About half of the measures in the announced package might be considered new short-term stimulus, meaning they may add to the deficits for two more years, but could help maintain the economic recovery and help spur economic activity and job creation.

Of course, there is some disagreement over just how stimulative some of the measures will be.

Many economists, for instance, don't consider an extension of the Bush tax cuts stimulus, because it merely keeps current rates in place. But letting taxes go higher, they say, could impede growth.

Several other measures announced Monday do count as stimulus, including a break on how much is deducted from workers' paychecks for Social Security and tax incentives that could encourage businesses to step up their investment.

Deficit hawks have been saying that a short-term run-up in debt is acceptable if it is paired with a serious long-term deficit-reduction plan.

Read more...


Filed under: 360° Radar • Economy • President Barack Obama • Taxes
December 7th, 2010
04:06 PM ET

Tax deal amounts to second stimulus

Ed Henry
CNN Senior White House Correspondent

The metaphorical ink is still barely dry on the long, flowery press release President Obama sent out last Friday reacting to the drastic budget cuts proposed by the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform that he appointed.

"Jobs and growth are our most urgent need," the President said Friday. "But if we want an America that can compete for the jobs of tomorrow, we simply cannot allow our nation to be dragged down by our debt. We must correct our fiscal course."

What a difference three days make. On Monday Obama signed off on a tax deal that independent budget analysts I've spoken to - including Stan Collender of Qorvis Communications - believe will add as much as $900 billion to the national debt. That expense would be higher than the $814 billion Obama stimulus package from 2009 and could basically cost as much as a second stimulus package.

"Yes, absolutely," Collender said when I asked whether this will be a second stimulus package by another name. "Whether it will have as much of an impact [as the first stimulus] is another question," because of the fact that the tax deal largely keeps existing policy in place, rather than creating many new tax cuts to spark the economy.

But Collender's point was that even if this second package is not very stimulative (the Bush era tax cuts will stay in place rather than create new spending), it will cost taxpayers about the same or maybe more than the first stimulus due to the inclusion of items such as the social security tax holiday and estate tax exemption.

It's no wonder then that even while the president acknowledged there will need to be "hard choices" about government spending in the days ahead when he addressed reporters on Monday, he essentially said that difficult conversation will wait for another day down the road because the bipartisan tax deal was too good to resist.

"It's the right thing to do for jobs," Obama said. "It's the right thing to do for the middle class. It is the right thing to do for business. And it's the right thing to do for our economy. It offers us an opportunity that we need to seize."

Read more...


Filed under: Ed Henry • President Barack Obama • Raw Politics • Taxes
December 7th, 2010
04:05 PM ET

Pastor, accused of sexual coercion, agrees to mediation

In the past, Bishop Eddie Long has denied allegations that he sexually coerced four young men at his church, but recently agreed to undergo mediation with them.
In the past, Bishop Eddie Long has denied allegations that he sexually coerced four young men at his church, but recently agreed to undergo mediation with them.

Editor's Note: Bishop Eddie Long, the Atlanta pastor accused of multiple counts of sexual coercion has agreed with his accusers to avoid a trial and instead undergo mediation. Read background on the accusations and Bishop Long's pulpit defense below. Watch AC360° tonight at 10p ET to hear what mediation means for Bishop Long's proclaimed innocence and for his accusers.

Ashley Hayes
CNN

November 2 – In responses to four suits accusing him of coercing young men into sexual relationships, prominent Georgia pastor Eddie Long denies the claims and asks that the suits be dismissed.

"The plaintiff's claims of sexual misconduct are not true," each of the four responses filed by Long's attorneys says. The responses, each about 30 pages, offer a point-by-point response to each of the allegations and claims in the lawsuits. The documents were posted on the website of CNN affiliate WSB.

Four members of Long's New Birth Missionary Baptist Church - Anthony Flagg, 21; Maurice Robinson, 20; Jamal Parris, 23; and Spencer LeGrande, 22 - filed suit against Long and the 25,000-member megachurch in September, claiming he used his position as their spiritual counselor to pressure them into sexual relationships.

The suits allege that the relationships, which began when the men were in their teens, lasted over many months. According to the lawsuits, Long traveled with the young men to locations in the United States and abroad, sharing a room and engaging in sexual contact with them, including massaging, masturbation or oral sex. The suits also claim Long provided the youths with gifts including cars and money.

Long, one of his attorneys and a church spokesman have already publicly denied the allegations. In the responses filed Monday in DeKalb County, Georgia, Long's attorneys maintain the pastor was attempting to be a father figure to the youths, providing them with financial assistance and encouragement and helping them navigate their troubles.

Long has "been successful at building a ministry at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church that places a special emphasis on outreach to men, reinforcing to men the importance of partnering with a ministry that will grow them spiritually and will help them develop the life skills needed to become successful in the workplace and teach them how to become entrepreneurs and leaders," the court documents said.

"Bishop Long admits that he mentors many young men from challenged backgrounds, who have often been without the benefit of a male role model," according to the documents. "The mentor/mentee relationship between Bishop Long as mentor and the mentee is firmly grounded on expressed promises of honesty and truthfulness."

Read more...


Filed under: 360° Radar
December 7th, 2010
03:00 PM ET

White House seeks Democrats' backing for tax deal

CNN Wire Staff

The White House was fighting Tuesday to persuade Democrats to support a compromise on taxes that President Barack Obama and Republican leaders have reached.

The overall compromise will cost between $600 and $800 billion over two years, according to CNN estimates.

At the heart of the deal: an extension of the Bush-era tax cuts for two more years, which would keep income tax rates at their current levels for everyone, as Republicans have advocated. Obama and other Democrats had argued that tax rates should stay the same for most people but rise for people earning more than $200,000 a year and families making $250,000 or more a year.

The deal Obama and Republicans have struck also includes a one-year cut in payroll taxes, from 6.2% to 4.2% on a worker's first $106,800 of wages. If implemented, it would mean that someone earning $50,000 a year would pay $1,000 less in Social Security contributions next year. Someone earning $100,000 would pay $2,000 less. The payroll tax rate would go back up to 6.2% in 2012.

Agreeing to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans represented a major concession for Obama. In a concession to Democrats, Republican negotiators agreed to leave in place for 13 months the option to file for extended federal unemployment benefits. That will not, however, affect how long someone can collect unemployment benefits - the maximum will remain 99 weeks in states hardest hit by job loss.

"It's not perfect," Obama said in revealing the compromise, but "we cannot play politics at a time when the American people are looking for us to solve problems."

Several Democrats have said they have reservations about the deal. One reason: It would cost hundreds of billions of dollars.

Read more...


Filed under: Democrats • President Barack Obama • Raw Politics • Republicans • Taxes
December 7th, 2010
02:43 PM ET

Beat 360° 12/7/2010

Ready for today's Beat 360°? Everyday we post a picture 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:

U.S. President Barack Obama addresses the nation yesterday at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building adjacent to the White House in Washington, DC. (Photo by Roger L. Wollenberg-Pool/Getty Images)

Update:
Staff Winner:
Kiss those campaign promises goodbye. — Joey

Viewer Winner:
What do you mean it looks like I'm just blowing smoke? — Susan from Novato, California

Have fun with it. We're looking forward to your captions! Make sure to include your name, city, state (or country) so we can post your comment.

___________________________________________________________________________Beat 360° Challengeb


Filed under: Beat 360° • T1
December 7th, 2010
12:20 PM ET

Opinion: Who's to blame for damage from WikiLeaks?

Editor's note:Gen. Michael V. Hayden was appointed by President George W. Bush as CIA director in 2006 and served until February 2009. The opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of Michael V. Hayden.

Michael V. Hayden
Special to CNN

As the dust begins to settle on "Wiki Dump III," some realities seem to be settling into the popular discourse and the public consciousness.

For example, it appears that American diplomats, like their military counterparts, are a dedicated and hard-working lot. Their reporting is well-written, incisive and occasionally even humorous.

What our government says to itself privately seems remarkably consistent with what it says to others (and to us) publicly.

If anything, the private conversations of diplomats and security professionals paint a world even more dangerous than the one we usually allow ourselves to describe publicly. And there seems to be more consistency with this American worldview on the part of our friends and allies than is generally admitted. Quite an exposé

Now what will this and the previous dumps cost us? With a certainty approaching 1.0, it will cost us sources. Some described in previous releases will be killed. Others, like those who described the inner workings of the formation of the German government, will simply refuse to talk to Americans.

It will cost us cooperation with potential partners. How much purchase will any future American promise of confidentiality or discretion have for someone who might consider cooperating with us?

Read more...


Filed under: 360° Radar • Opinion
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