January 29th, 2008
03:23 PM ET

Hillary Clinton's non-interview

A lot of people have asked us why we interviewed Sen. Barack Obama and not Sen. Hillary Clinton last night?  Well, that's not what we planned.  We were supposed to have both.


We’ve gotten a lot of questions on the blog and in our viewer comments about what happened last night when Sen. Hillary Clinton cancelled on us at the last minute.  One of the most popular comments is why don’t we ask her back.  The truth is we have.

It is a constant communication process with several members of her press team as well as several members of our staff that happens on a daily basis.  We have requested to speak to her, as well as most of the other candidates, almost every day.

Yesterday afternoon, her people told us she would do the interview.  But when 
Anderson was supposed to do the interview, she wasn’t there.  The bottom line is that Sen. Clinton bailed on Anderson with no explanation.

It’s true.  And it happens. This is not the first, nor will it be the last, time a candidate has agreed to do an interview and it has fallen through for various reasons.  It is unfortunate for us, the viewer and Anderson.

But to put to rest the question of have we asked her back:  Rest assured we have. And now it’s up to her and her people to make sure that interview will happen.

- Kay Jones, 360˚ Guest Producer  

Filed under: AC360° Staff • Hillary Clinton • Raw Politics
January 29th, 2008
01:48 PM ET

Michigan, Florida must accept blame for having no delegates

I made my position clear earlier that I'm not a fan of our current system of allowing Iowa and New Hampshire dominate the early voting process for president.


As a result, a ton of state officials lost their minds and orchestrated this stampede of moving up their primaries in order 'to be heard.' Based on previous elections, the general consensus was that we would have a nominee after the Feb. 5 'Super Tuesday,' so if you were holding a vote after, you're screwed.
So, legislators in Michigan and Florida decided to put pressure on the two political parties and voted to move their date up, and both governors signed it into law. In Florida, it was a Republican-led effort, which Democrats silent, but pleased at the changes. In Michigan, Democrats took the lead, and the GOP was in agreement.
But the political parties said, in the words of Whitney Houston, 'Hell to the no!' As a result, the Dems stripped Michigan of all delegates; the GOP took half.
Now folks in both states are hot and bothered, and they have an advocate in Sen. Hillary Clinton, who now says she wants their delegates seated at the convention in Denver.
Never mind the fact that their predicament was by their own doing. In fact, with the race on both sides being all over the place, had Florida and Michigan stayed put, they would have MORE power in deciding the nominee.
So folks in Michigan and Florida, blame yourself for your woes. YOUR elected representatives approved the changes. YOUR governors signed the bill into law, so if you are looking to assign blame, don't look to the Democratic and Republican National Committees.
Look in the mirror.

– Roland S. Martin, 360° Contributor

Filed under: Raw Politics
January 29th, 2008
01:35 PM ET

Campaigning where it counts ... or not

Blogees... post Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina, I've found a warm place. Just landed in Miami to cover a piece of theater.

Candy Crowley

CNN's senior political correspondent Candy Crowley frequently blogs from the campaign trail for AC360°.

HRC is having a victory rally in Davie, Florida. No, polls haven't closed yet, but she's beating Barack Obama 2-1 in those other kind of polls, so planning on a win doesn't seem like too audacious a hope. (Little political joke there)

The catch is, because of a Democratic party kerfuffle way too dreary to go into, there are ZERO democratic delegates at stake. Also, no Democrat campaigned in Florida.

(Asterisk: HRC did show up for fundraisers pronouncing herself so happy to be in the wonderful state and Obama ran some cable ads, which kinda spilled over and got aired in Florida. Both campaigns have explanations for why this is NOT campaigning - also too dreary to expound on).

But to the point, why would HRC use up precious pre-Feb. 5th time in a state with no delegates? She says Floridian voices should be heard. Hmmm. Surely they should but, as an added bennie, maybe she'd like a headline of her own to slow Obama's mo and drown out all those other voices chatting about his over-the-top South Carolina victory and his endorsement trifecta from Ted, Caroline and Patrick Kennedy.

Obama folks harumphing this Clinton visit is all too cute by half. Still, if it works, we'll call it good strategy. Whatever happens, I'll call it warm weather for 24 hours.

Oh, did I mention Republicans are here, too? Car rental bus here too bumpy to Blackberry on that.

– Candy Crowley, CNN Senior Political Correspondent

Filed under: Barack Obama • Candy Crowley • Hillary Clinton • Raw Politics
January 29th, 2008
12:40 PM ET

Missed Opportunities

Last night on AC 360, my sense was that we were witnessing a pair of lost opportunities for George W. Bush and Hillary Clinton.
    The President could have seized upon his final State of the Union to present a vision of the America he hopes to see in the future - the America to which his years in office have been pointed.  FDR most famously did that in 1944, in his twilight year, painting a picture of a more humane and just society. Years later, LBJ made that vision an animating force for building a Great Society.  That's what great presidents do - they try to bend history by creating a vision that others pursue.   

David Gergen

David Gergen is a political contributor for Anderson Cooper 360°.

    Or Bush could have grappled seriously with our troubled economic condition, using the bully pulpit to help the country understand how we got into this mess and what it will take over time to get out.  Certainly, the evening cried out for a greater sense of economic urgency and reassurance that the White House fully appreciates and is on top of the problem.  After all, his government had just announced the biggest drop in housing starts in more than four decades; the head of the International Monetary Fund for the first time in 23 years has called for nations across the world to loosen their budgets, a sure sign of deepening concern; and the respected John Thain, new head of Merrill, has just warned that the subprime mess will spread into credit card and consumer loans.  Bush could and should have wrapped himself around this problem and conveyed a sense that the White House is absolutely determined to guide us safely through the storm. 
    Sorry, folks, we didn't get either.  Instead he marched through a long laundry list of issues, rattling them off by the numbers.  Unless I missed it, there was not a single phrase or idea that captured one's imagination.  And stylistically, it didn't hold together.  Winston Churchill famously remarked of a speech once, "Pray, take it back to the kitchen; this pudding has no theme."  Just so.  It was hardly surprising that before Anderson was half way into his show last night, his guests like Mitt Romney, John McCain and Barack Obama were looking right past the Bush speech toward Florida and Super Tuesday. 
    The other missed opportunity came from Hillary Clinton, when she pulled out of her promised interview with Anderson with no explanation from her camp.  From Saturday night through Monday night, Obama completely dominated the airwaves with his win in South Carolina and the Kennedy endorsement.  Mrs. Clinton has been virtually invisible, in effect ceding lots and lots of free air time to her rival.  She continues to hold commanding heights against him in California, New York, etc., but she can't be sure he will remain far behind if he gets up a head up steam.  That's why it seemed so clear that she would come onto last night's show and change the conversation away from S.C. and Kennedy.  She could have done that by going full blast after the Bush economic performance - this is a subject she knows extremely well, better it seems than Obama, and she could have thrust herself forward as the person best suited to protect Americans hard-pressed to pay their bills. 
    We will see what today brings from her - she could yet issue a full-throated assault on Bushonomics and put forward her own plans.  But if the best she musters is a fly-in to Florida tonight after the voting, for a celebration the press will tend to scoff at, she will leave yet another day open to Obama's forward charge. 
    As Anderson would say, what are they thinking? 

– David Gergen, 360° Contributor

Filed under: David Gergen • Raw Politics
January 29th, 2008
12:05 PM ET

Behind the scenes: GOP Debate time-lapse


Check it out bloggers – here is a time-lapse video we put together showing the construction underway for CNN's California Republican Presidential debate set .
Let us know what you think!

A friendly reminder: Catch CNN's final 2 debates before Super Tuesday!

  January 30, 8p ET: The Reagan Library Republican Presidential Debate
  January 31, 8p ET: Democratic Presidential Primary Debate

– David Reisner, 360° Digital Producer

Filed under: AC360° Staff • Behind The Scenes • Raw Politics
January 29th, 2008
09:45 AM ET

Hillary, oh, Hillary, where art thou?

For a moment there, I really did forget that the name, “Sen. Hillary Clinton,” was on the ballot in South Carolina. I thought that I missed the biggest story of the century when Congress changed the U.S. Constitution to allow a president to serve more than two terms!
I know former President Bill Clinton supports his wife, but he’s not the candidate. She is.


And as the one sitting at the top of the organizational chart, she’s the one in charge; the buck stops with her; and she need to assert herself and, in the words of South Carolina Congressman Jim Clyburn, tell her husband “to just chill out.”
What is so strong about Clinton is that she is as good a strategist as Karl Rove, also known as “the brain” of President George W. Bush. Coming out of Iowa, she knew that she had a major problem and immediately changed her strategy. She took more questions and tossed the stump speech; reached out to young voters; showed compassion; and in her own words, found her voice.
That “voice” continued to be strong in Nevada, which she also won. But then when South Carolina rolled around, it’s as if her voice left and Bill became the talker in the family.
And he talked. And talked. And talked. And talked. But it wasn’t her voice that left. She left!
She didn’t spend the entire week in South Carolina, and that meant her husband was the focus of the headlines.
Clinton can’t say on one hand that she’s the one running, and we keep hearing from him.
She does an amazing job in the debates of articulating her views. Sen. Clinton, your husband’s a great guy, but you’re the one running. You’re the one we have to make a choice about. America gave him two terms. If you don’t take your voice – and your campaign back – you may not get your own shot at the job.
– Roland S. Martin, 360° Contributor

Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Raw Politics • Top Stories
January 29th, 2008
09:35 AM ET

Rudy's run

Rudy Giuliani could be nearing the end. He has explicitly said the Florida primary is critical to his presidential campaign. Well, polls show he's in third or fourth place. Polls as we know, are occasionally wrong, but it's not looking good for the man who for months was at the top of the GOP national poll.


We spent time with him last week. I had covered him on and off when he was the mayor of New York City, and the confidence and swagger I saw back then was virtually gone. In it's place was a somewhat subdued man who did not exhude the energy I am used to seeing from him. He seemed a bit ill at ease at a gathering of hundreds of Cuban Americans in Little Havana.

About 10 little children with signs gathered to greet him. He shook their hands like they were adults; he just didn't seem quite sure what to do. When he took the stage, he started talking rapidly without a translator; most of the Spanish speaking crowd hadn't a clue what he was saying. Finally, a translator stood next to the former Mayor and the crowd perked up and was quite exhuberant. The translator however had a tough time keeping up with Giuliani's telltale rapid New York english.

If he loses Florida soundly, it's hard to imagine Giuliani continuing on through Super Tuesday and risking embarrasment in his home of New York. But he said in Florida he's in the race to stay. We'll see if the results lead to some reassessment.

– Gary Tuchman, 360° Correspondent

Filed under: Raw Politics
January 29th, 2008
05:15 AM ET

Morning Buzz

Morning Folks...


Hope you're enjoying our new blog. We're all transitioning but we'll be bringing you more photos, videos and updates from AC360º contributors throughout the day! SOOO while the look may change slighty, the content is still the same...NO worries...


In Raw Politics today...It is Florida Primary day! It was THE STATE in 2000 that decided the Presidency, but will it give us a clue as to who the GOP front runner is? Florida is also "the basket" that Rudy has put ALL his eggs in!!! Rumors have it that he just may drop out if he doesn't win!! So watch Anderson and the CNN political gang tonight for full coverage...


Also, if your grandpa was a thief and your daddy was a thief, sorry folks but chances are YOU will be one, too! Check out the new study in Crime & Punishment. Plus, Mexican officials issued an arrest warrant for Cesar Laurean, he was last seen in that country... And speaking of jail, Chicago authorities arrested Antoin "Tony" Rezko. Rezko was the guy Hillary Clinton claimed Obama was spending a little too much time with... You might recall that Drew Griffin kept him honest for us last week...


PLUS, there is talk that herbal centers in California may start selling marijuana in vending machines...make sure you have exact change!


Sooo grab your coffee...there are lots of headlines to chew over this morning.



Top Stories

Car bomb blast kills at least 3...

A car bomb exploded Tuesday outside a police station in northern Algeria, killing at least three people and wounding several others, security officials said.


Economists rate chance of recession as a 'coin flip'

There is a 50-50 chance that the U.S. economy will sink into recession this year, but any downturn will likely be short and shallow, according to a survey of economists out Tuesday.


Senate to Offer Own Stimulus Package...

The chairman of the Senate Finance Committee yesterday unveiled a rival plan to stimulate the economy, offering a $500 check to virtually every American–including low-income seniors and rich financiers– in a direct challenge to the bipartisan deal reached last week by President Bush and House leaders.


Bush's Final State of the Union...

President Bush used his final State of the Union speech Monday to call for a quick shot in the arm for the economy in "a period of uncertainty" and touted last year's progress in the ongoing war in Iraq.


A Defiant Look at What Little Lies Ahead...

Making his seventh and final State of the Union address, President Bush proposed a short list of initiatives Monday that more than anything else underscored the White House's growing realization that his biggest political opponents now are time and an electorate already looking beyond him.


Time running out to solve our problems...

Democratic Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius called for "a new course" for the nation on Monday, saying Americans "have no more patience with divisive politics" and urging President Bush to join "the vast majority of Americans" to make needed change.


Opposition Lawmaker Killed in Kenya...

Gunmen killed an opposition lawmaker in Nairobi early Tuesday, an attack likely to stoke the ethnic fighting that has gripped Kenya since last month's disputed presidential election.


Raw Politics


Florida critical for GOP contenders...

Republicans have battled fiercely for votes in Tuesday's critical Florida primary, as Democrats have largely ignored the state after national leadership said it would not seat Florida's delegates because of a squabble over scheduling.


McCain, Romney Trade 'Liberal' Barb...

Mitt Romney and John McCain accused each other Monday of being liberals, a charge tantamount to blasphemy in the caustic campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.


McCain springs ahead in California...

The Arizona senator is 13 points ahead of his closest rival in a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll released Monday: Thirty-nine percent of likely California Republican primary voters back McCain, while 26 percent support former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.


Kennedy Backs Obama With 'Old Politics' Attack...

Senator Edward M. Kennedy implored Americans on Monday "to turn the page on the old politics of misrepresentation and distortion," as he placed the aura of the most prominent Democratic family around Senator Barack Obama's candidacy.


Fla. primary lacks luster of past contests...

As it showed in 2000, Florida is a swing state with the power to make or break a presidency. But its influence during this year's primary season has been mixed: The Democratic contest doesn't count toward the nomination and Republicans stand to lose half their delegates.


Giuliani Seeks to Prove Experts Wrong...

Rudy Giuliani, having bet almost his entire presidential campaign on Florida, hinted for the first time that he may drop out if he doesn't win the state's primary.



Crime & Punishment

New Orleans police officer killed by vagrant...

A vagrant wanted for questioning in a rape overpowered a police officer who was trying to handcuff him, then shot her to death with her own weapon Monday, police said.


For many of USA's inmates, crime runs in the family...

The fates of the three Caston brothers may well have been fixed at their births.



Keeping Them Honest

Rezko put in jail; bail is revoked...

Antoin "Tony" Rezko was roused at daybreak Monday from his Wilmette mansion by federal agents and ordered jailed by a judge who was disturbed that the politically connected businessman concealed a $3.5 million payment from overseas.


Question of Timing on Bush's Push on Earmarks...

President Bush has never shown much distaste for Congressional pork. But in his last year in office, with his party out of power on Capitol Hill, he declared Monday that he had had enough.


An American Builder's Failures in Iraq Are Found to Have Been More Widespread...

Rebuilding failures by one of the most heavily criticized companies working in Iraq, the American construction giant Parsons, were much more widespread than previously disclosed and touched on nearly every aspect of the company's operation in the country, according to a report released Monday by a federal oversight agency.


AC360º Follow


Mexico issues warrant for Laurean...

Six days after Marine Cpl. Cesar Laurean was tracked to a town in Mexico, a Mexican court issued an arrest warrant Monday for the alleged killer, the U.S. Embassy said. The provisional warrant authorizes Mexican police to follow leads and to arrest the 21-year-old Laurean - who's accused of killing pregnant Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach and burying her in the back yard of his North Carolina home.


What You WILL Be Talking About TODAY

Marijuana vending machines...

A herbal nutrition center will allow patients to get prescription marijuana from a vending machine. Affiliate KCAL reports.


Midlife slump finds people in their 40s down in the dumps...

Middle age makes you miserable, so don't blame your job, your kids, your spouse, your income or lack of it, suggests an international study of 2 million people from 80 nations released today.

January 29th, 2008
12:26 AM ET

Blog from the Back Row

Tonight it felt like we were herding cats in the control room.We had a plan. We did. I can prove it. Scribbled in the margin of my rundown I had written "HRC 10:30p", "McCain 10:35p","Obama 10:40p" and "Romney 10:45p".And yet here's how it worked out on air:

  • Hillary Clinton cancelled on us at the last minute after we had confirmed and reconfirmed multiple times throughout the day. (We're still trying to figure out what happened?)
  • We spoke with Mitt Romney first at 10:36p, even though we were scheduled to interview him last at 10:45p.
  • We spoke with Barack Obama at 10:47p.
  • We spoke with John McCain at 10:55p.

None-the-less, we did have three out of the top four candidates for president on our air, (And we should have had all four!) for extended interviews. Given the importance of tomorrow's Florida primary and with Super Tuesday a little more than a week away, it was certainly worth the madness of building a show on the fly.(Still no control room pictures but I think given the above circumstances, that's understandable.)