Entering the 2012 general election campaign, President Obama is taking policy positions that, Keeping Them Honest, could be argued are purely for political posture. Sometimes, if it will win favor in the polls, it's savvy to propose a bill that might fail. Sometimes, this is especially true when you know your adversaries will have to shoot it down.
Two examples in our KTH segment tonight: taxes, and gas prices. Is President Obama playing politics? Or, is he doing what any leader does when faced with lawmakers who just won't listen? You decide.
Congressional correspondent, Dana Bash, updates Anderson on the latest news from the Congressional hearings in Washington, where the General Services Administration is being scrutinized for wasteful spending.
Anderson interviews Dr. Otis Brawley, from the American Cancer Society, about Warren Buffett's diagnosis of stage one prostate cancer.
Courtney Stodden goes to the grocery store on a quest for sexy... veggies. And it takes her critics straight onto the RidicuList.
Reporter's Note: I write to President Obama every day.
Dear Mr. President,
Watching the space shuttle get carried over DC on the back of that plane this morning was exciting. It was fascinating just to look at the way it has been scarred and battered by all those trips beyond the atmosphere, and I can't wait to see it at the Smithsonian’s Air and Space facility out by Dulles airport. But I have to tell you, I’m not ready.
I’m not ready yet to admit that we are no longer a space faring nation. Oh sure, you can tell me about how we’re going to hitch rides with the Russians, and how sometime in the future we’ll have a new rocket system of our own for leaping away from the earth. But all of that feels kind of like science fiction now: like something that might happen someday if we’re lucky, if we can afford it, if political leaders like the idea, if private industry gets involved, if the Chinese don’t punk us so badly by beating us to Mars that we just give up, if, if, if...
Often I read history, and you know what has always puzzled me? The Portugese. In the 15th and 16th centuries, they were unbeatable on the high seas. Portugese ships and explorers were masters of the universe (at least as we knew it), constantly sailing away on bold, brave, exciting quests to find new lands, new trade routes, new wonders with which to enrich their kingdom and dazzle the world. And yet, the Portugese let it all slip away.
I suppose that is what troubles me most: not that we may find parts of our space program in need of revamping, but rather that somehow this feels like a retreat from greatness in general. It's as if we’re growing too timid, too safety-conscious– too afraid of losing, and so never entering the race.
I’ve said it before: Space matters. If we want to have the best economy, the strongest nation, the most educated and successful society– not just for our good, but for the good of the planet– we need to nurture the best scientists, the best engineers, and the best mathematicians. Nothing does that quite like a robust, growing space program. Sure it is expensive, but the returns far outweigh the costs, in terms of technology, consumer goods, discoveries, communications, and so forth. Of course it is dangerous, but so is driving to work. And yes, the future is uncertain, but that is why they call it exploration.
Anyway, if you want to go see the shuttle when it is finally set up at the museum, give me a call. But please don’t be offended if I pass. Like I said, I’m not yet ready to accept that America has backed away from the final frontier, because for me, it’s like we’re running away from the future.
Keeping Them Honest tonight, violence continues in Syria— in spite of promises by the Assad regime to stop killing its own people. The massacres continue even as U.N observers have begun arriving in the country to assess the so-called ceasefire. AC360 has new video that appears to show these observers out in the streets of Dara’a today. We also have video that purports to show government sniper fire— on the same day, in the same city.
Last night, we spoke with U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Susan Rice. She said this about the Assad regime: “They have lied to the international community. They have lied to their own people. And the biggest fabricator of the facts is Assad himself.”
To confirm Ambassador Rice’s statements, tonight we’ll show our interview with a Syrian activist named Zaidoun. During a visit into Homs on Saturday to have a look at the ceasefire for himself, he was almost killed by a government artillery shell. As an eyewitness to the regime’s continuing campaign of bloodshed, he tells Anderson what is really going on. Here's a preview of his story. Tune into AC360, tonight at 8 and 10p.m. ET.
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Anderson Cooper talks with Richard Quest about a photo of Pippa Middleton causing trouble with French authorities.
Reporter's Note: President Obama gets a letter from me every day.
Dear Mr. President,
Seems like an awful lot of news is cranking for a Monday; hearings on government spending, crime stories, new polls, debates about how many hours we work, and possibly a little Secret Service cavorting with prostitutes thrown in for good measure! (Note: the first word is “secret”... they might want to work on that part.)
There is going to be so much to talk about this week, but I have to delay it all on this Monday for two reasons. First, to talk about the Boston Marathon. I have a niece and nephew running today, along with one of my best and oldest friends (who has been in that race every year for at least 25 years) and I just can’t imagine how bad the heat has been. I saw the times for the winners and they are, by comparison to past years, so slow I just know the temperatures are eating everyone alive. Anyway, I am wishing them all the best, because 26.2 miles is a long way to go even on a cool day.
Second, I wanted to tell you about my own race. Saturday, as I previously mentioned to you, I arose about 4 a.m. to drive over to Bull Run in Virginia for the annual Bull Run Run. I’d never taken part before, and despite having run one ultra marathon five months ago (the 55 mile Stone Mill race in Maryland) I honestly had no idea what I was getting into. Driving up in the dark, down a winding, remote country road, I would have thought myself lost if not for GPS. But eventually I reached a buzz of activity in the woods: folks with flashlights telling me where to park, race officials checking us in and handing out numbers... At 6:30, we took off– 327 runners with 50 miles of woods, rocks, and hills ahead of us.
The first 16 miles or so were fairly uneventful. Pretty much creekside flats with a nice broad trail and the odd scattering of bluebells for which the race is renowned. Then it got nasty. I won’t say the race website is deceptive– but, well, it conveniently fails to mention that the final 34 miles will involve enough hills to choke a mountain goat. Seriously. By 30 miles my legs were throbbing; by 40 they were screaming bloody murder. Still, the aid stations were first rate, the race volunteers unfailingly cheerful and encouraging, and it was all enough to carry me to the finish line after about 12 hours of running and, admittedly, some walking.
Anyway, it was a wonderful day in the woods. Wish you’d been there, and considering how things went with your security folks, maybe you do too. Ha! Hope all is well.
Ronald Kessler, who helped break the Secret Service scandal, points blame at the agency’s leadership.