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July 19th, 2011
11:52 PM ET

Crime & Punishment: 'Clark Rockefeller,' quick change artist

Editor's note: Tune in to AC360° Monday night beginning at 10pm ET for the next profile in this week's series about notorious con men.

(CNN) - They say pictures do not lie, but there are dozens, hundreds, or maybe even thousands of pictures of the man called Clark Rockefeller, and police say they all lied - because the smiling man in the photos was not whom he claimed to be.

"Well, he's a man who built his life on fiction!," says Mark Seal, author of The Man in the Rockefeller Suit: The Astonishing Rise and Spectacular Fall of a Serial Imposter. Seal has had a long interest in con men posing as people they are not, but this case captivated him like no other. "He didn't just do this with one name or one persona," Seal says. "He did it repeatedly, time after time after time after time, in increasing grandiosity and in increasingly intelligent, learned, successful circles. That's what makes him different."

Indeed, unlike low-level grifters who latch onto unsuspecting working-class folks for a quick rip-off, then scurry away into the darkness, authorities say "Clark Rockefeller" was playing fast and loose with the rich and powerful across the country. His camouflage was often his brashness. The fact that he openly went to the most popular spots, courted headlines, and kept company with so many movers and shakers seems to have convinced many of those who were taken in, that he couldn't possibly be hiding anything.
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Filed under: Crime & Punishment
July 19th, 2011
11:48 PM ET

AC360 Follow: Ex-nuclear plant operator speaks out

Editor's note: Michael Friedlander speaks with CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta about the status of the troubled nuclear plant in Japan.

Related: Japan bans beef shipment from Fukushima


Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow
July 19th, 2011
11:43 PM ET

Video: Murdoch in the hot seat

Editor's note: CNN's Jeff Toobin and Richard Quest discuss the U.K. phone-hacking with Vicky Ward of Vanity Fair.

Related: Murdoch, Brooks defend handling of phone-hacking scandal


Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow
GOP Debt Plan Approved By House, Pres. Obama Praises Different Proposal: Join the Live Chat
July 19th, 2011
09:45 PM ET

GOP Debt Plan Approved By House, Pres. Obama Praises Different Proposal: Join the Live Chat

We have breaking news from Capitol Hill. The House has passed the "cut, cap and balance" deficit reduction plan backed by tea party conservatives but dismissed by President Barack Obama, who offered strong praise for another proposal put together by a bipartisan group of senators. We'll have the Raw Politics. Plus, Japan blocks the sale of meat from farms near the crippled nuclear power plant. And, we begin a new series 'Con Men.' We'll look at imposter Clark Rockefeller and what police say are his web of lies.

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
July 19th, 2011
08:46 PM ET

House passes GOP debt measure; Obama praises compromise plan

Washington (CNN) - The U.S. House on Tuesday night passed the "cut, cap and balance" deficit reduction plan backed by tea party conservatives but dismissed by President Barack Obama, who offered strong praise for another proposal put together by a bipartisan group of senators.

The so-called Gang of Six plan - drafted by three Democratic and three Republican senators - presents a possible compromise to Obama and congressional leaders as they approach a deadline for a deal on cutting federal deficits in order to gain Republican support for raising the federal debt ceiling to avoid an unprecedented default.

It would cut the nation's debt by about $3.7 trillion over the next 10 years - similar to the president's call for roughly $4 trillion in savings.

Obama called the plan by the Gang of Six senators "broadly consistent" with his own approach to the current debt ceiling crisis because it mixes tax changes, entitlement reforms and spending reductions.

However, the top two Democrats in the Senate said they don't think there is enough time before the government needs to borrow more money on August 2nd to pass the comprehensive Gang of Six plan.

Meanwhile, the Republican-led House of Representatives voted 234-190 to pass the "cut, cap and balance" plan that would impose strict caps on all future federal spending while making it significantly tougher to raise taxes - the solution favored by hard-line conservatives.

The vote was almost completely on party lines for the measure that included the requirement that Congress pass a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution before agreeing to extend the federal debt ceiling..

Obama has said he would veto such a measure, and Senate Democrats are expected to kill it. On Tuesday, the president said legislators "don't have any more time to engage in symbolic gestures" with time running out to raise the debt ceiling in order to avoid default.

"We have a Democratic president and administration that is prepared to sign a tough package that includes both spending cuts (and) modifications to Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare that would strengthen those systems and allow them to move forward, and would include a revenue component," Obama added. "We now have a bipartisan group of senators who agree with that balanced approach. And we've got the American people who agree with that balanced approach."

Obama also refused to rule out the fallback plan proposed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, that would raise the debt ceiling up to $2.5 trillion through the 2012 election.

If Congress fails to raise the current $14.3 trillion debt ceiling by August 2, Americans could face rising interest rates, a declining dollar and increasingly jittery financial markets, among other things.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow
Beat 360° 7/19/11
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), right, speaks, while Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), left, and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), center, stand behind him, during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol, on July 19, 2011 in Washington, DC. House Republicans introduced a cut, cap and balance plan would raise the debt ceiling $2.4 trillion, but only after significant spending cuts, and a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced federal budget. (Photo credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
July 19th, 2011
07:47 PM ET

Beat 360° 7/19/11

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!

Beat 360° Challenge


Filed under: 360° Radar
July 19th, 2011
06:30 PM ET

Letters to the President: #911 'A deal?'

Reporter's Note: The process of producing a deal on this whole debt ceiling mess continues unabated here in DC - as does my campaign to send a letter every single day to the White House.

Dear Mr. President,

I hesitate to say congratulations amid all this kerfuffle over the so called “Gang of Six” deficit reduction plan, only because I know how quickly things that are seemingly “done” in Washington can become “undone.” Kind of like when you pull a pan of brownies out of the oven to cool only to find that they are all gooey in the middle. Although, to be honest, I kind of like them that way…but I digress.

My point is I realize that having the recipe for a solution is not the same as having the finished dish on the table ready to serve, especially not in D.C.

Related: Obama dismisses GOP debt measure, praises compromise plan

Still, to continue the analogy, the kitchen has been stone cold for days on this issue, so even the faint aroma of an agreement cooking is intriguing. Of course all of us on the outside are seeing only general notions of what may be in this deal, but it looks like a mix of what your party needs, what the Republicans need, and in the end the kind of arrangement that will make people on the far left and far right unhappy. Equally unhappy? That, we don’t know.
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Filed under: Letters to the President • Opinion • President Barack Obama • T1
July 19th, 2011
04:55 PM ET

Text 360°: Phone-hacking scandal threatens Murdoch's media empire

Tonight on AC360°, CNN's Richard Quest and Jeffrey Toobin will be joined by Vicky Ward, a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, for a discussion of the legal and other issues raised by the phone-hacking scandal that brought down The News of the World and now threatens more of Rupert Murdoch's media empire.

Do you have a question for Quest, Toobin, or Ward about the liabilities Murdoch or News Corp. might face as a result of the scandal and investigations taking place on both sides of the Atlantic?

Related: Murdoch, Brooks defend handling of phone-hacking scandal

Send us a text message with your question. Please include your name and where you live. Text AC360 (or 22360), and you might hear it on air!


Filed under: Text 360
Protester attacks Rupert Murdoch at hearing
Rupert Murdoch was attacked by a man apparently carrying a plate full of light blue shaving foam, but seems to be unhurt.
July 19th, 2011
03:30 PM ET

Protester attacks Rupert Murdoch at hearing

London (CNN) - A man tossed light-blue shaving cream at media magnate Rupert Murdoch during a parliamentary hearing Tuesday.

"You naughty billionaire," the man said, according to the British Press Association, as he hit Murdoch with the foam.

Murdoch appeared stunned but unharmed.

Murdoch's wife, Wendi Deng, who was seated behind him, leaped to her feet and smashed the attacker's hand with her own, pictures from the scene showed.

A police officer arrested the protester, identified by the British Press Association as a man known by the name "Jonnie Marbles" on the social networking service Twitter. CNN wasn't able to independently verify the man's identity.

Police said only that the man was 26 years old, according to the press association.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow
July 19th, 2011
02:00 PM ET

London's top cops defend themselves in phone-hacking scandal

London (CNN) - London's outgoing police commissioner denied Tuesday that he put pressure on the Guardian newspaper in 2009 to drop its investigation into the News of the World phone-hacking scandal.

Commissioner Paul Stephenson said he was relying on assurances from his deputy - Assistant Commissioner John Yates - that there was nothing new in a series of 2009 Guardian articles detailing a phone-hacking scandal that was significantly more expansive than had been previously reported.

"They seemed to disagree," Stephenson said of the newspaper's editors. "So it seemed entirely appropriate ... that I meet with them and actually represent to them what I was being told, and that is that this was nothing new, and I had no reason to doubt the first inquiry," he said.

Stephenson and Yates both testified Tuesday before Parliament, on a day that also saw testimony from media baron Rupert Murdoch before another parliamentary committee. Rupert's News International subsidiary and its now-defunct News of the World newspaper are at the heart of the scandal, which has rocked the country's political, media and law enforcement establishments.

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