February 7th, 2008
01:16 PM ET

Obama un-tested by big league press?


Is the press being too soft on Senator Barak Obama? That is certainly the view of former Clinton White House press secretary Dee Dee Myers. And she has certainly seen what a rough press can look like.
As campaign spokesperson and then White House Press secretary for Bill Clinton in his first administration, Myers told me the media was relentless in its coverage of the Clintons.  And she is seeing the same style of reporting now that it is Hillary Clinton’s turn as the candidate.

"I think that the Clintons, both Bill and Hillary Clinton, bring out the worst in people covering them,” she told CNN. “A lot of questions get asked, and there's a lot of energy in finding unflattering information, or taking information that might not be unflattering and make it look unflattering. That's always been true of the Clintons."

Myers calls it a “gotcha culture” that surrounds the Clinton’s. Something she says, at least so far, Barak Obama has been able to avoid

Why? “Because the press likes Obama.” She said in an interview taped last night in Washington. “They don't like Hillary. Are we rolling?” She laughed.

Myers doesn’t have much sympathy for the Clintons. She says the scandals and scandalous headlines of the last Clinton administration have lead democrats into a Clinton fatigue, ready for a new face. And she says Senator Obama certainly is the charismatic new face that voters and donors are flocking too.

But is Senator Obama ready for the big leagues when and if the press does decide to take him on, Clinton-style? Maybe, says Myers. Maybe not. She points out that the former controversial first lady is used to getting lots of fast balls, high and tight, she says.

As for Senator Obama:

"He's gone from rookie ball to triple A,” Myers says. “He hasn't seen the big league stuff yet. He's a fast learner, he's doing really well. But you know he hasn't been where she's been."

– Drew Griffin, 360° Correspondent

Filed under: Barack Obama • Hillary Clinton • Raw Politics
February 7th, 2008
10:24 AM ET

One town devastated by disaster, looking for help


The destruction left by this week's tornadoes certainly looks like a FEMA-sized job. 

The mayor of Lafayette, TN, seemed overwhelmed when I spoke to him yesterday.  He and the rest of the city's leaders had been up all night trying to coordinate rescue efforts after the deadly tornado. 

The mayor explained that they were able to clear the roads and get the gas turned off in the damaged areas.  But he wasn't sure what to do next. 

He wondered where were the people left homeless going to live?  How were local authorities going to dispose of all the debris?

The answers to these questions might need to come from an agency that's better equipped than this small town of 4,000 people.

-David Mattingly, 360° Correspondent

Filed under: David Mattingly
February 7th, 2008
07:07 AM ET

Morning Buzz

Morning Folks!!! In your Top Stories today...residents across Arkansas and Tennessee clean up after a string of deadly tornadoes...How will FEMA reacts to the disaster? All eyes are on them... AND A couple stranded for days in the snow were found ALIVE...pretty amazing!!!

In Raw Politics today...Can John McCain win over conservatives? We will see today when one of the largest conservative groups gather in Washington... AND Hillary and Obama look toward the Virginia primary to widen the gap....

AND crime in NOLA isn't going away...check out Crime & Punishment. PLUS the Britney Spears story continues down a tragic path...Randi Kaye will have that story tonight on AC360.  Sooo grab your coffee and lets get started.... 

Top Stories
Utah couple rescued...
A husband and wife who were stranded in heavy snow for 12 days were rescued in Utah when a snowplow driver happened upon them on a little-traveled canyon road, authorities said.

Tornadoes kill dozens...
Tornadoes and storms in the mid-South have killed 54 people since Tuesday evening in the deadliest tornado outbreak in the United States in more than 20 years.

All eyes on FEMA...
Local and state officials warned Wednesday that they would not tolerate a slow response from the federal government after the deadliest wave of tornadoes in a decade killed at least 55 people across the South, 31 of them in Tennessee alone.

Rice in Afghanistan...
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and British Foreign Secretary David Miliband arrived in Afghanistan on an unannounced visit Thursday, carrying a joint message of support and prodding to Afghan officials.

Secret talks with the Taliban?
Two Pakistani officials said Thursday that their government held secret talks with Taliban fighters and tribal elders near the Afghan border before a cease-fire just announced by the militants.

Al-Qaeda training kids?
The Sunni insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq is training boys as young as 10 to kidnap and kill, U.S. and Iraqi officials asserted Wednesday, showing propaganda videos seized from suspected insurgent hideouts that depict masked boys wielding guns and kicking down doors.

Speakers at academy make false claims...
The Air Force Academy was criticized by Muslim and religious freedom organizations for playing host on Wednesday to three speakers who critics say are evangelical Christians falsely claiming to be former Muslim terrorists.

Babies & H.I.V
Researchers have identified another way that babies can be infected with H.I.V.–through food pre-chewed by an infected parent or caretaker.

Stimulus bill dies...
By a single vote, Senate Republicans on Wednesday blocked an expansive fiscal stimulus package championed by Democrats, as partisan rancor engulfed the effort to inject a quick burst of spending into the slowing economy.

Raw Politics
Clinton California victory...
Clinton's victory–a romp compared with some of the predictions just before election day–rested on the twin pillars of women and Latinos, groups that overlapped in the person of voters like Hernandez

Dems are in for the long haul...
With no breakout winner in Tuesday's Democratic primaries, Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama on Wednesday began fortifying for a drawn-out nomination fight, with Mrs. Clinton disclosing that she had lent her campaign $5 million while Mr. Obama raised $3 million online in a single day and rejected calls for more debates.

The next battleground...
Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, digging in for a delegate-by-delegate fight for the Democratic presidential nomination, returned to Washington yesterday with plans to make Tuesday's Virginia  primary a major battleground.

McCain didn't close the deal...
John McCain's strong showing in the February 5 primaries wasn’t enough to close the deal.  He could have done it by winning enough delegates to be the prohibitive favorite or -conversely–by Mitt Romney making so poor a showing that he would be unwilling to fight on. 

5 key questions about John McCain..
The Arizona senator will try to amass the 1,191 delegates he needs to become the GOP presidential nominee by winning primaries and caucuses while waiting for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney to conclude that remaining in the race is expensively hopeless or hopelessly expensive.

Keeping Them Honest
3 firms charged in tainted pet food scandal...
A Las Vegas food import company, two Chinese businesses and the companies' top executives were indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury in connection with their parts in a tainted-pet food scandal last year that sickened or killed thousands of dogs and cats.

Bribing Congressman?
A judge refused Wednesday to toss out an indictment against a Louisiana congressman accused of taking bribes, rejecting the argument that the indictment unconstitutionally infringed on his privileges as a congressman.

Crime & Punishment
Crime Wave grips NOLA...
The crime wave that hit New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina shows little sign of abating, more than two years after city officials said taming the outbreak was among their top priorities.

What YOU will be talking about TODAY
Spears' life at risk?
Pop star Britney Spears is an "adult child in the throes of a mental health crisis" whose "life is presently at risk," her parents said Wednesday night after the singer was released from a hospital.

Uncle drops child from fire...
Kamil Kaplan faced a horrifying decision as flames engulfed his apartment building: Does he drop his 9-month-old nephew four stories to a policeman or hope the baby boy survives the suffocating smoke?

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