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The AC360 Weekly Buzz: Whitney Houston, Mitt Romney, Syria, Haley Barbour, Valentine's Day
Photo credit: Getty Images
February 16th, 2012
06:30 PM ET

The AC360 Weekly Buzz: Whitney Houston, Mitt Romney, Syria, Haley Barbour, Valentine's Day

What everyone’s talking about:

The world lost a musical icon last Saturday when Whitney Houston, 48, was found dead in her suite at the Beverly Hilton. Her funeral will be televised this coming Saturday from her church in Newark, New Jersey. Anderson spoke to Houston’s pastor and friend, Marvin Winans, who’s coping with the loss; he’ll be delivering her eulogy. Earlier in the week, Houston’s close friend Kelly Price told Anderson that the singer was “happy, celebratory” when they performed together at a club two days before Houston’s death. Price said she saw her friend drinking champagne – although not excessively. But, a source said Houston was drinking heavily at the Beverly Hilton on two mornings last week; she ordered her drinks before 10 a.m. from the lobby bar and in the pool area. Houston’s cause of death has been “deferred”, as stated on her death certificate, but the prescription pills found in her hotel room are now the focus of the investigation. In light of the tragic news, Anderson spoke to HLN’s Dr. Drew and CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta about the growing epidemic of dangerous prescription drug combinations, especially when used with alcohol.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad announced a constitutional referendum on Wednesday, set to take place February 26. While his government hailed it as an important reform initiative, the city of Homs and other towns continued to be pummeled by shelling. On Thursday at least 70 people were killed, according to a Syrian activist group. CNN’s Arwa Damon spoke to Anderson on Wednesday from the embattled city of Homs. She witnessed the despair and violence described by the Syrian activists we’ve spoken to over the past couple weeks.

We’ve repeatedly asked former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour to come on our show to talk about the controversial pardons he gave to convicted murderers and criminals as he left office. He declined, so CNN’s Ed Lavandera tracked him down and tried to get some answers.

And while you may have been celebrating Valentine’s Day with your significant other, see why cupid’s holiday landed on our RidicuList!

Today’s Scoop:

General Motors reported its largest annual profit in history this morning, two years after the company emerged from bankruptcy, thanks to a federal bailout – a bailout former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney did not support. But in a speech today in Michigan the Republican presidential candidate said he was “delighted” the industry was profitable again. We’re Keeping Them Honest tonight at 8 and 10 p.m. ET.

Also join us tonight as we continue our special coverage on Whitney Houston. AC360’s Gary Tuchman has an inside look from friends in Houston’s hometown, Newark, NJ, and we’ll hear what her high school principal and others who have known her since childhood are saying.

Plus, find out which recent endorsement of a GOP presidential candidate made its way to our RidicuList!

A look ahead:

Did you know that approximately 60% of all cargo enters the United States on passenger jets, but not all of it is screened? Tomorrow Anderson talks to CNN’s Nic Robertson about his investigation into how Al Qaeda’s top bomb maker converted laser printers to bombs. They were discovered only during the planes’ layovers after having already completed several legs of their journey.

Randi Kaye profiled Newt Gingrich’s wife Callista Gingrich and spoke exclusively with her best friend for new details about Mrs. Gingrich’s life and personality. Next in our series on the wives of Republican presidential candidates, Randi looks at Ann Romney, the woman behind the former Massachusetts governor.

Buzz-winning story:

Check out this truly heart-warming story about a music teacher in Gaza who will stop at nothing, including travel bans imposed by Israel and Hamas, to give her students a chance to perform at a national competition in Jerusalem.

Follow Deena Sami on Twitter.

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soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. C R Ellis

    Thank you for your continued coverage of the dangers and prevalence of prescription drug crisis that is storming our nation. It' s not just celebrities, but our children, parents, neighbors and friends we lose to the terrible disease of addiction. Kudos to Dr DRew for relentlessly hammering home the point and to you for providing extended coverage. America needs to wake up to this epidemic. As I write this Amercia's drug companies are preparing to flood the marketplace with prescription opiates that make Oxycontin look like child's play. Yes, Whitney Houston was a junkie, but one of oh so many. Her story is everyone's story, fame aside.

    February 16, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
  2. Eric

    4 straight days with Whitney Houston as the lead story? And a half hour of coverage? Enough already!! There is so much more going on!

    February 16, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
  3. John Durko

    Accidently sent the early post to early.... the important part of Mr Romney's recent op-ed is...

    My view at the time — and I set it out plainly in an op-ed in the New York Times — was that "the American auto industry is vital to our national interest as an employer and as a hub for manufacturing." Instead of a bailout, I favored "managed bankruptcy" as the way forward.

    Managed bankruptcy may sound like a death knell. But in fact, it is a way for a troubled company to restructure itself rapidly, entering and leaving the courtroom sometimes in weeks or months instead of years, and then returning to profitable operation.

    In the case of Chrysler and GM, that was precisely what the companies needed. Both were saddled with an accumulation of labor, pension, and real estate costs that made them unsustainable. Health and retirement benefits alone amounted to an extra $2,000 baked into the price of every car they produced.

    Full disclosure...I cant vote in this country (I am a permanent resident) but if I could I would probably support the president...he has done a pretty good job with the exception of pushing through the health care reform when he had a majority and could have handled entitlemetns....that cost him in 2010.... and the Keystone pipeline decision was proof enen smart folks can get it wrong....Canada is a long time friend (1812 was a long time ago) and oil from up north doesnt need to traverse the straight of Hormuz...just saying! 8-)

    February 16, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
  4. LC Waldmann

    Stop with Whitney coverage already! Please!! It's not important, it's not interesting and it's a waste of time and talent!

    February 16, 2012 at 8:22 pm |