February 11th, 2008
11:41 PM ET

Blog from the Back Row

I remember reading a study not too long ago that said multi-tasking was, contrary to popular belief, inefficient. I didn't believe it then but I do now.

In theory, tonight I was moderating the blog and "back rowing" the show. "Back Rowing" can include:

  • previewing the upcoming copy Anderson is about to read
  • making sure all guests are in the chair and checked in (w/microphone & ifb working)
  • helping call video elements during guest segments
  • keeping an eye on prompter to make sure it's on the page Anderson reads next
  • timing out the blocks for show replay

In practice, my control room contribution was reduced to hitting the clock. (I do think I timed out the blocks correctly!)

Fortunately, things rolled out pretty smoothly with little assistance from me. Everyone else was on their game and our wonderful director, Renee Cullen, is back from the road (where she has been directing the live debate coverage for the past several months). So the chaos was kept to a minimum, which was nice since we had a guest in the control room watching the show from behind the scenes, Miss Teen USA Katie Blair.

This live blogging is really great and thanks for your participation (the sheer volume of responses is amazing) but I think I'm going to have to choose between being blog moderator and back row guy ... I've reached my multi-tasking limit!

Maybe I'm just a single-tasker!

– Sean Yates, Sr. Producer, AC360

Filed under: Behind The Scenes
February 11th, 2008
08:52 PM ET

Tom Foreman: Superdelegates to the rescue! (Or not...)

If you want to figure out why this superdelegate issue is so upsetting to some Democrats, you just have to take it down to the numbers.

About 3,377,000 people have voted in the states that hold Democratic primaries so far. These are voters who, unlike those in the caucus states, we can clearly count. And their votes have produced the results from which 339 delegates will effectively take their marching orders…most going to the convention to vote for Clinton or Obama.

That means, nationwide, each delegate represents the collective will of almost 10,000 voters.

And this is the part that gets people riled. Since a superdelegate gets a vote with just as much punch as a regular delegate, that means a superdelegate has the voting power of 10,000 people.

But the superdelegate does not necessarily even have to consider what any other voter wants.

Some party leaders say that’s fine: The super delegates are deeply invested in and committed to the success of their party. They can broker a deal if the race is too tight, and avoid a nasty convention battle that could leave the party in shambles.

The supers were, after all, put into place to keep the party in line with its principles; to avoid populists movements that lead to candidates in the general election who did not represent Democratic ideals.

But some voters fear the supers can also swing the race unfairly.

Look at the delegate count already, they say. More super delegates came out early to support Clinton than Obama. With their help, she is winning in the delegate count. Without them, she is behind and Obama is winning.

The harshest critics say that’s the worst kind of politics: a party machine like the old days of Tammany Hall, where the deals are made in secret and the voters’ will does not even matter. One person, one vote is not the way the nominee is chosen, even though thousands…maybe millions of Democrats went into this election thinking it was.

Some say the supers can solve it by simply mirroring the vote in their home states. Maybe. But the super delegates are inching ever closer to being the “deciders” in the Democratic race.

It’s in the numbers. So what will you do, if the nominee is ultimately decided by the party VIP’s and not directly by the voters?

–Tom Foreman, 360 Correspondent

Filed under: Democrats • Raw Politics • Tom Foreman
February 11th, 2008
08:28 PM ET

Blog from the Anchor Desk 2/11/08

Get ready for Week Two of live blogging from the anchor desk.On 360° tonight: Raw Politics, Superdelegates, Mike Huckabee and Michelle Obama.

Again, please keep your comments focused on the content and context of the live program. We’ll start posting at 10p ET and close the blog to comments at 11p ET.

Filed under: Anderson Cooper • Behind The Scenes • Live Blog
February 11th, 2008
06:25 PM ET

For Democrats, Will Psychology Overwhelm Math?

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

Everyone expected that he would win Louisiana and probably Washington but she had a fighting chance in Nebraska and was widely seen as the frontrunner in Maine. Instead, he had blow outs in all four:

Washington 68-31

Louisiana 57-36

Nebraska 68-32

Maine 59-40

(And in the Virgin Islands, it was 92-8.)

A sweep of that magnitude, coming across the country, suggests that something big is stirring in the electorate. Perhaps the momentum that Obama was building up just before Super Tuesday has kept on growing. Perhaps that YouTube “Yes We Can” clip, which now has over 3 million views, has had a contagious effect. Clearly, Obama is connecting well in front of large crowds and on television, as we saw with his Richmond speech on Saturday night.

We will get a better handle on what is happening tomorrow in the Potomac primaries. The Clinton folks have long thought they were very competitive in Virginia - indeed, not long ago, it appeared safely in her camp. If Obama can win big there, along with Maryland and the District, the effect could be electrifying for his campaign. Certainly, the media narrative will change, recognizing that he has seized the momentum.

Can Clinton reverse the thrust on March 4 in Ohio and Texas? She has stopped his surges twice before - in New Hampshire and on Super Tuesday. Both of those were near-death experiences for her campaign. So, she has shown she is resilient, full of fight, and capable of a comeback. With Maggie Williams now given full responsibility as campaign manager - an excellent choice - she could well gather her forces once again.

But as Rudy Giuliani found, it is highly dangerous for a candidate to wait... and wait... until a campaign reaches more favorable terrain. March 4 may be a long way off when measured by the emotions of a campaign. My sense is that she has made a big mistake in not contesting these intervening contests more vigorously. Yes, the delegate numbers can still work for her in the end, but psychology often trumps math in political campaigns - and right now, Obama is sparking enormous psychic energy. Let's see what happens tomorrow!

-David Gergen, Senior Political Analyst

Filed under: David Gergen • Raw Politics
February 11th, 2008
06:07 PM ET

The Asian-American primary vote: What’s behind the numbers

In our California exit polling on Super Tuesday, Hillary Clinton received 71 percent of Asian-American support in the Democratic primary; Barack Obama only 25 percent. That’s an almost three-to-one margin that frankly caught many of us off guard.


Stories like this are challenging. Asian-Americans are certainly not a monolithic group. Many have been here for generations; others have just arrived in the United States. They are from many different countries; In the U.S., there are more than a million people with roots in each of these countries: China, the Phillipines, India, Korea, Japan, and Vietnam.

With that in mind, we talked with Asian-Americans in Seattle’s Chinatown and other parts of the city. We picked Seattle because Washington caucuses were held last week, and the state has one of the largest Asian-American populations in the country. And what we found after talking to scores of people was that their responses backed up our exit polling. But why?

Political scientists of different stripes tell us many Asian-Americans, as well as Latinos who have arrived here in recent decades, are often more comfortable with what is familiar - just like many other Americans. Many of these recent arrivals fared well and remember the Clinton White House fondly. And that is a major reason Hillary Clinton has done well in this polling.

In addition, we heard something from a small minority of this minority; that they are “comfortable” with a Caucasian politician. This is NOT unique to Asian-Americans. We hear similar sentiments from people in all ethnic groups. But it is something that could have affected a portion of this vote.

There are some who have blogged on the Internet that, in reporting a story on all this for AC360 last Friday, I was trying to infer that Asian-Americans are fearful of change or African-Americans. Some seem to feel that I am being disrespectful. I would never do that. Unfortunately, there is a lack of political coverage when it comes to the Asian-American vote, a constituency that is growing more influential in this country as the years go on. I hope that as we do more stories on this constituency, there is less controversy about stories of this type. In that spirit, we will be updating this story in a special AC360 program we are doing this Friday night called “Uncovering America: Race, Gender, and Politics.” We hope you will watch.

-Gary Tuchman, 360 Correspondent

Filed under: Gary Tuchman • Raw Politics
February 11th, 2008
05:25 PM ET

Afternoon Buzz

Hello, bloggers.
I hope you’re having a great afternoon. It’s time to get you caught up on some of the headlines.
On the campaign trail, Senator Barack Obama is aiming for more victories in tomorrow’s “Potomac Primaries”. While, Senator Hillary Clinton hopes for a rebound after shaking up her campaign staff. The democratic race could all come down to the superdelegates. Super, what? Check the link below for details.

There’s a big chill in many parts of the U.S.  One city is setting a new extreme low.  Bundle up.

In Crime & Punishment, the search is on for some Van Gogh & Monet paintings worth millions.

And, check out the wild stories in “What you will be talking about tonight”.Since it’s so chilly, grab that coffee, tea or hot chocolate and read the Afternoon Buzz. Let us know what you think of the headlines.   

Raw Politics  
Obama on a roll heading into “Potomac Primaries 
Without Superdelegates Clinton Trails  
Huckabee marches on despite the odds Top Stories  
Brrr… U.S. city hits a record 40 below
Wildfires in Virginia, Carolinas  
U.S. seeks death penalty for 9/11 suspects   
Crime & Punishment

Mistrial in baby in microwave case 
Van Gogh, Monet paintings stolen in $163M heist 
Ex- cop: “I didn’t mean to hurt her”  
What YOU will be TALKING about TONIGHT  
Sex Offender wins $10 million lottery 
Burglar passes out in victim’s home    
Mummy Found in Renter’s Bathtub  

February 11th, 2008
03:35 PM ET

The 2008 Must-Have Voter: Independents

Remember “Soccer Moms”? What about “Nascar Dads”? Or how about “Reagan Democrats” or “Security Moms”?

Every presidential election there is a new group of voters who candidates, the media and we pundits anoint the “must-have” voter for any candidate hoping to make it to the White House.

If you were to compare presidential politics to the equally fickle field of fashion (bear with me—I am going somewhere with this), a candidate’s traditional base, whether it’s unions for Democratic candidates or evangelicals for Republicans, might be it’s little black dress (so to speak): The fashion staple that they will always need to anchor the rest of their wardrobe and is supposed to never go out of style. But every couple of years a new “must-have” trend or accessory comes along that may not seem to fit in with the rest of the closet, but certainly livens things up while hanging there. Eventually though, like MC Hammer pants or jelly sandals (remember those?) one trend goes out of style, replaced by another “must-have”

This election cycle, Independent voters have emerged as one of the “must-have” accessories for any candidate planning a walk down the general election runway. The rise in the number of voters registering as Independents is not limited to one particular racial or ethnic group, which is part of what makes the growing Independent voter movement so interesting and potentially powerful.

In Senators John McCain and Barack Obama you would be hard-pressed to find two candidates who have so little in common. One is a Democrat. One is a Republican. One is older. One is younger. One is black. One is white. One has been in the Senate for two decades. One is in his first term. One opposes the War in Iraq. One does not. One exudes heroism, while the other exudes hope. And yet somehow, some way these two completely different candidates have both sparked the interest and support of Independent voters, whose ability to influence elections has grown increasingly over the years.

In the next couple of weeks as the race for delegates continues on the Democratic side and the race for reconciliation between evangelicals and McCain continues on the Republican side, the million dollar question will be which party will be able to find a balance between the staples in their closets, and this new must-have accessory whose votes both parties will need to secure if they want to win in November.

– Kelli Goff, Political Commentator


Filed under: Raw Politics
February 11th, 2008
02:33 PM ET

Beat 360

Afternoon Bloggers, How was your weekend? Too short right? Did a bit of relaxing, but didn't get everything you wanted to get done? Well, sorry to bother you with one more thing, but its time for a little Beat 360.

Everyday we post a picture — and you provide the caption. Our staff will get in on the action too.

Tune in every night at 10p ET to see if you are our favorite! Can you beat 360°? Here is today’s “Beat 360°” pic of the day:ALT TEXT

Here is one to get you started:

"For other chart-topping Mike Huckabee hits, check out 'NOW THAT'S WHAT I CALL POLITICS (VOL 4)' – in stores now!" 

Have fun with it. Make sure to include your name, city, state (or country) so we can post your comment.

– David Reisner, 360° Digital Producer

Filed under: Beat 360°
February 11th, 2008
02:03 PM ET

Clinton, Obama navigating the water of black politics

Obama should skip Tavis Smiley's State of the Black Union forum


Roland S. Martin is a nationally syndicated columnist, Chicago-based radio host, and frequent contributor to the AC360° Blog.

Sen. Barack Obama took a lot of heat last year from participants in Tavis Smiley's State of the Black Union annual confab, which was held in Virginia. To be fair, he was a little busy that day...announcing HE WAS RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT!

Some of the folks there were beside themselves, and frankly, were childish about it, even saying that he should have put off his presidential announcement to be there.

Now, almost a year later, he is faced with a similar dilemma.


Filed under: Raw Politics • Roland S. Martin
February 11th, 2008
06:48 AM ET

Morning Buzz

Morning Folks....Happy Monday!!!  A few more victories for Obama and Huckabee over the weekend on the Raw Politics front...NOW it is onto Maryland, Virginia and DC. Is the former Democratic front-runner now the underdog? AND if McCain is the assumed nominee, why is Huckabee still pulling in votes?  PLUS we are keeping the Bush budget honest, this morning...Sooo grab your coffee and take a look at today's headlines...

Top Stories
Future of U.S. troops in Iraq...
A pause in the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq after the current reduction is completed in July "makes sense," Defense Secretary Robert Gates told reporters in Baghdad Monday.

Death penalty for 9-11 roles...
Military prosecutors have decided to seek the death penalty for six GITMO detainees who are to be charged with central roles in the Sept. 11 terror attacks, government officials who have been briefed on the charges said Sunday.

Iraq War planning buried...
The Army is accustomed to protecting classified information. But when it comes to the planning for the Iraq war, even an unclassified assessment can acquire the status of a state secret.

Get out of Iraq to boost economy...
The heck with Congress' big stimulus bill. The way to get the country out of recession — and most people think we're in one — is to get the country out of Iraq, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll.

New problems in the market...
A widening array of financial-market problems threatens to trigger a new phase in the global credit crunch, extending it beyond the risky mortgages that have cost banks and investors more than $100 billion in losses and helped push the U.S. economy toward recession.

Paintings stolen...
Works by Paul Cezanne, Edgar Degas, Claude Monet and Vincent van Gogh were stolen from an art foundation's gallery in Zurich, Switzerland, according to Bernd Quellenberg, a spokesman for the Kunsthaus, a major art museum in Zurich.

Raw Politics
Obama wins Maine...
With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Obama was leading Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York 59 percent to 40 percent. At stake are 24 delegates to August's Democratic national convention in Denver.

Huckabee wins again...
Just as Senator John McCain appeared poised to become the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, he was reminded over the weekend that many Republican voters still have not climbed aboard his bandwagon.

Clinton staff shakeup...
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton has replaced her campaign manager with a longtime adviser, Maggie Williams, the campaign announced Sunday.

DC, Maryland blitz...
Democratic presidential hopefuls Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton, their family members and surrogates swept through the Washington region yesterday, appearing in packed churches, schools and retirement communities in a blitz of activity two days before the high-stakes "Potomac Primary" in Virgina, Maryland and the District.

 Crime & Punishment
D.C. Police are watching...
D.C. police are now watching live images from dozens of surveillance cameras posted in high-crime parts of the city, hoping to respond faster to shootings, robberies and other offenses and catch suspects before they get away.

Keeping them Honest
Bush earmarks...
President Bush often denounces the propensity of Congress to earmark money for pet projects. But in his new budget, Mr. Bush has requested money for thousands of similar projects.

Clemens doping denials...
A lawyer for Brian McNamee believes the Justice Department will open a criminal investigation into Roger Clemens' denials of doping.

What YOU will be talking about TODAY
And the Grammy goes too...
Winehouse, the troubled singer and songwriter who was let out of rehab to perform via satellite at the 50th annual Grammy Awards Sunday night, took home awards in five of the six categories in which she was nominated, including three of the big four general categories: record of the year, song of the year (both for "Rehab") and best new artist.