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The week began with President Barack Obama’s inauguration. From the oath to the balls, we took a look at highlights of the 57th Presidential Inauguration. One part of the ceremony featured Richard Blanco, the first Latin American and openly gay man to deliver the inaugural poem. President Obama gave a speech that left many talking afterwards about his agenda for the next four years – Paul Begala, Margaret Hoover, Alex Castellanos and Van Jones discussed the politics of the address. But politics aside, one of the most talked about moments of the night was when First Lady Michelle Obama stepped out in a red chiffon and velvet Jason Wu gown – the second Wu design she’s worn for an inaugural ball. Anderson spoke to the humble Wu who said he’s not a celebrity, just a “dressmaker.”
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified before Congress on Wednesday on the Benghazi, Libya attack that killed four Americans on September 11, 2012. The hearing was tense with many fiery exchanges. CNN’s Fran Townsend called it “a waste of time.”
Monday marked one month since the tragic shooting spree in Newtown, Connecticut. Two of the community’s religious leaders spoke with Anderson about how the town is coping. Noah Pozner’s older sister shared how her family’s keeping her little brother’s memory alive and Catherine Hubbard’s mother says she’s taking it day-by-day. Meanwhile, support for the community continues to arrive from around the world in the form of letters and toys. CNN’s Gary Tuchman has the story.
The Newtown shooting sparked a national debate about gun violence, mental health and school safety. Anderson reports on how the victims’ families are mobilizing and calling for legislative changes. The NRA suggested the use of armed security guards at schools going forward; Mark Kelly, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford’s husband does not believe that is the answer. An avid second amendment supporter, Kelly believes that addressing background checks and mental health issues are key.
The fiscal cliff deadline is 27 days away, and the talks have yielded no progress. In a CNN/ORC poll taken a few weeks ago, 67% said they thought officials in Washington would behave like “spoiled children” during negotiations. Neither Republicans nor Democrats seem to be willing to compromise on the deal. Instead they’re pointing fingers, and getting nowhere. We’re Keeping Them Honest.
There are signs that the Syrian government may be preparing to unleash chemical weapons on their own people, according to a U.S. official. CNN’s Arwa Damon is currently in Syria and says civilians have no way to protect themselves from that kind of attack if it happens. Fran Townsend and Bob Baer also believe that the country’s chemical weapons are “deadly serious.” Anderson also spoke to Sen. John McCain who believes that the international community needs to take out Assad and secure the chemical weapons.
It’s been more than two months since four Americans were killed in the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, yet questions remain about how the incident was handled. And there have been mixed messages about who chose to omit al Qaeda from Amb. Susan Rice’s talking points when she appeared on Sunday talk shows on September 16. We’re Keeping Them Honest. CNN’s Fran Townsend and Reuel Marc Gerecht discuss the controversy.
With the fiscal cliff deadline looming, a leading conservative newspaper and GOP lawmaker Tom Cole are backing President Obama on tax hikes for those earning more than $250,000. But House Speaker John Boehner and other top Republicans vehemently oppose the plan and are downplaying the fact that voters who re-elected Pres. Obama also back tax hikes. Keeping them honest, can a compromise be found within these competing factions? What might it look like? Republican Sen. Rand Paul tells Wolf Blitzer what his version of a compromise looks like.
Michael Ferguson is one of four men suing a New Jersey counseling center they say defrauded them. All four underwent controversial therapy intended to change their sexuality from gay to straight. Ferguson spoke to Wolf Blitzer about his experience with the group, Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing, and the “very strange” interventions he endured.
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The scandal surrounding David Petraeus’ affair and resignation has become more complicated with each passing day. Jill Kelley described herself as “honorary consul general” in a 911 call, but former CIA officer Bob Baer says one thing is certain: She shouldn’t get diplomatic immunity. CNN’s Drew Griffin found records on Kelley’s financial and legal troubles, and information about a charity she started with her husband that doesn’t have records of any donations.
President Obama urged lawmakers today to pass tax hikes for the wealthy in his first public comments since winning Tuesday’s vote. However, House Speaker John Boehner said raising tax rates will “slow down our ability to create the jobs everyone says they want” in a news conference today. With less than a week since Tuesday’s election, the conversation about the fiscal cliff sounds a lot like last year’s and both parties seem unwilling to compromise. We’re Keeping Them Honest. Anderson spoke with outgoing Republican Senator Olympia Snowe, a moderate who’s tired of the infighting and says Congress is obligated to solve problems. CNN’s David Gergen, Gloria Borger, and Mark McKinnon discuss the consequences of the partisan gridlock and what Washington needs to do to avoid another recession.
Anderson also looked at what’s next for the Republican party post-elections. CNN’s Alex Castellanos, Ari Fleischer, Erick Erickson, and Republican Strategist Kristen Soltis discuss what lessons the GOP can learn from Mitt Romney’s loss and the party’s message going forward. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham says his party is going in the wrong direction and its main hurdle is immigration reform. And on the party’s extreme right, CNN’s Gary Tuchman looked at the future of the Tea Party following the 2012 elections. Plus, CNN’s Ari Fleischer and Van Jones talk about the party’s losses during the recent election and how both major parties can learn from the tea party’s strengths and weaknesses.
A Tunisian man is in custody and suspected of having ties to the attack on the U.S. Consualate in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens. Anderson spoke to CNN’s Intelligence Correspondent Suzanne Kelly about what authorities know about the suspect, and when the U.S. will be permitted to interrogate him. Fran Townsend and Bob Baer also weighed in on new e-mail evidence showing how quickly the State Department knew the assault was a terror attack. They also discussed the suspected involvement of an al-Qaeda in Iraq-affiliated group. And Senator John McCain criticized the State Department’s handling of the situation saying the U.S. media was given facts before members of Congress.
President Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney went head-to-head in their final presidential debate this week. Their back-and-forth about military spending and the needs of the U.S. Navy fueled accusations from both sides. Richard Danzig, President Clinton’s Secretary of the Navy and CNN’s Fareed Zakaria debunk claims about the U.S. Navy’s size and costs. Also CNN’s Gary Tuchman spoke to body language expert Janine Driver about the candidates’ body language during the debate and how it could be perceived by voters.
Mitt Romney is tightening the race between him and President Obama, according to several national and state polls released this week. The Romney campaign was thrilled to see the spike, but do both campaigns only accept good numbers and dismiss the bad as irrelevant when they don’t favor their candidate? We're Keeping Them Honest. Also, CNN's Gary Tuchman spent time on the trail with GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan and he spoke with his supporters who said they distrust the polls and the media.
Sean Smith was one of four Americans killed during the attack on U.S. buildings in Benghazi, Libya last month. He was killed in the consulate compound. Anderson spoke to his mother, Pat Smith, who says she "begged" for answers about the assault and how Sean died. She says she hasn’t received any details, which were promised to her by Pres. Obama, Secretary of State Clinton, and Vice President Biden. The State Department responded to CNN and maintains it has been in contact with victims' families.
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A photographer that accompanied Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the U.N. General Assembly has applied for asylum to the United States. “He's perceived as not being a supporter, or being an opponent of the Iranian regime… somebody who has betrayed the regime and who can no longer be trusted by them, said Paul O’Dwyer, the photographer’s attorney. CNN’s Deb Feyerick has the story.
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney continues to double down on his claim that President Obama has dropped the welfare work requirement and insists that his TV ads are “spot on.” However, FactCheck.org’s Managing Editor Lori Robertson argues his claims are “not true.” We’re Keeping Them Honest.
While President Obama had a strong message for Iran and the Muslim world in his U.N. address on Tuesday, he did not hold any official bilateral meetings during his visit to New York. This makes him the first president in recent memory who did not meet with world leaders during the U.N. General Assembly. Republicans are critical, but the administration explained why they think it’s a non-issue. Anderson spoke with CNN’s David Gergen and Fareed Zakaria on the importance of a president’s personal relationships with foreign heads of state.
Extreme skier Glen Plake tells Anderson his traumatic experience surviving an avalanche that killed at least eight people on Mt. Manaslu, the world’s eight heighest peak. Plake also talked about his missing comrades and their passion for life.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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