February 14th, 2008
09:17 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 2/14/08

Anderson is in New Orleans tonight.  He'll handle the breaking news.  A former student at Northern Illinois University killed 5 students and then himself today.  The university president just gave an update. We'll start with that.  He'll also bring us an update on progress on the gulf coast.  

But Anderson will not be live blogging tonight.  Erica Hill picks up the challenge from New York.

As always, 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: Live Blog
February 14th, 2008
05:46 PM ET

Afternoon Buzz

Hi, bloggers.

We have a breaking story this afternoon. A report of several people shot at Northern Illinois University. It’s developing right now.
Stay with CNN for the latest.  Tonight, Anderson is planning on reporting from St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana.  We want to update you on the ongoing clean-up effort after Hurricane Katrina. It just so happens today the CDC confirmed many of the FEMA trailers given to hurricane victims are toxic. That’s not what you want to hear from the federal government that’s supposed to help you. 
This afternoon on the campaign trail, two former foes are joining forces. Ex-candidate Mitt Romney is endorsing John McCain. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton is sharpening her attacks against rival Barack Obama  (Where’s the love this Valentine’s Day? I know. There is none on the campaign trail).   

And the Pentagon has a plan that would make Dr. Evil smile.  Military leaders may shoot down a wayward satellite.  Grab your afternoon soda. Here are the headlines:

Top Stories  
Report: Several people shot at Northern Illinois University  
FEMA moving people out of toxic trailers 

Raw Politics  
Romney backs McCain 
Clinton sharpens attacks on Obama  
Crime & Punishment  
Friend questioned in therapist’s slasher killing  
Cops: Teen calls 911 on drunk driving Dad    

What YOU will be TALKING about TONIGHT 
Pentagon may shoot down satellite   
Pilot: Toy plane buzzed aircraft  

February 14th, 2008
05:07 PM ET

Last word: Valentine's Day


360° Contributor and In Session Anchor Jami Floyd has the Last Word on Valentine's Day.

Read more Jami Floyd blogs on “In Session”

Filed under: In Session • Jami Floyd
February 14th, 2008
04:47 PM ET

Celebrating Valentine's Day, politician style


Did you know that bills come to the house even when you're not there?

If you get enough of them from the same place, the bills turn red?  Even if the thermostat is set at SIXTY DEGREES, the gas bill is still gi-normous? Catalogues never die, they just get a different cover?

OK, so much for my 36 hours at home.
It's Valentine's Day and I nominate John McCain and Mitt Romney as best couple. That nasty little spat at the California debate is history now. The later, endorsed the former.

Kind of in a lull here in Chicago where we came following Barack Obama.  He's celebrating Valentine's Day more traditionally by taking his wife to dinner.  Or maybe he's going to court John Edwards.  (Hillary Clinton snuck down chez Edwards when we weren't looking, and Obama would also like a stealth trip but now we're onto the game.)

Obama's people suggest it's not going to happen today, but sometimes... hope you are sitting down... campaigns are not wholly truthful.

Anyway, short of staking out every restaraunt in Chicago or setting up a tent outside Edwards' North Carolina home, I'll just keep pestering them.  Favor? If any of you spot Obama on a plane today, alert the media.


Filed under: Candy Crowley • Raw Politics
February 14th, 2008
04:29 PM ET

Beat 360 2/14/08

Happy Valentine's day Bloggers!
Gosh, and you thought I wouldnt remember!
Well listen, I didnt know what you'd like this year... Chocolates and flowers are so typical... so I decided.... to get you this guy:

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:

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 14th, 2008
04:08 PM ET

Sexism, Racism and Classism – will they define the national ballot?


Faye Wattleton, President, Center for the Advancement of Women

The diverse cast of characters in the 2008 presidential election will not alone transform our nation.  However, it has brought us to the intersection of sexism, racism and classism, which has taken underlying tensions, just beneath the surface, to the center of our national dialogue.  The question is whether the end result leaves us further separated or united as the “one-America” Sen. Barack Obama describes.

Such conversations about these touchstone sensitivities haven’t been heard in recent memory.  In newspapers, TV shows, at water coolers and dinner tables, Americans are discussing what role gender, race and class will play in the Democratic nomination and, increasingly likely, in electing our next president.  There are dangers and landmines.

Bill Clinton neatly packaged three centuries of racial tensions in his sentence, referring to Jesse Jackson’s victory in the 1994 South Caroline primary.  Switching with Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama has emerged as the “establishment candidate.”  How the discussions unfold will determine whether Americans’ attitudes will evolve toward the diversity of a truly multicultural society.


Hopefully, this historic moment, in our democracy, will not be squandered on the altar of political ambition, and that the day will dawn when gender, race and class will give way to clarity on issues to be addressed by the nation and the capability to fulfill those promises as defining characteristics in selecting our leaders.

– Faye Wattleton, President, Center for the Advancement of Women

Program note:  “Uncovering America: Race, Gender and Politics” airs Friday on 360° at 10p ET

Filed under: Race Gender & Politics
February 14th, 2008
02:31 PM ET

Hispanic voters and black candidates: it's not what you might think

I've noticed some issues with news coverage of demographic voting patterns in Texas.

First, Hispanics make up 36% of the population in Texas, yet are 20% of all registered voters. We need to get a better sense of what percentage Hispanics will make up among Democratic voters and in potential turnout.


Some reporting suggests that Hispanic voters don't trust black elected officials in Texas and never have. But if you look at the record, you'll find that's not necessarily so. For instance, when Tony Sanchez ran as governor of the state in 2002, yes, he got 87% of the Hispanic vote. But in South Texas, he beat Rick Perry by only 52% to 46% percent, and that's an Hispanic stronghold.

When Ron Kirk ran for U.S. Senate in 2002, he won 74% of South Texas. In fact, he was in a runoff with Victor Morales, a San Antonio schoolteacher who ran strongly against Phil Gramm for the U.S. Senate seat in the previous election, and beat him 59.7% to 40.3%. The mayoral elections of Ron Kirk in Dallas and Lee Brown in Houston, both African Americans, showed significant Latino support, and Texas hasn't had the Latino clashes that we've seen in California.

Lastly, Texas is an open primary. The state is seen as Bush country, but in this primary, independents will be major, as well as potential GOP crossover.

Just some thoughts about my native state...also known as God's Country.

-Roland S. Martin, 360° Contributor
Program note:  “Uncovering America: Race, Gender and Politics” airs Friday on 360° at 10p ET

February 14th, 2008
01:25 PM ET

Let's get beyond "transcending race" in politics

If I hear one more commentator say that Barack Obama "transcends race," I may do violence to my TV.


Isn't the only implication of this statement that being African-American is a lowly status, which must be overcome?  Isn't that why we never hear of white candidates transcending their race - because no one sees anything for Clinton or McCain to rise above?
"Transcend," according to Merriam Webster, means "1 a: to rise above or go beyond the limits of b: to triumph over the negative or restrictive aspects of: overcome."

There's only one possible interpretation when someone says Obama transcends race:  that being African-American is a limiting, restrictive, negative state of being that he must break out of to have any shot at success.  It's like calling African-Americans "articulate" - the back-handed compliment that implies that it's such a surprise when they can form sentences!

As my biracial teenagers point out to me, Obama's little-discussed biracial status may explain why he seems equally comfortable with both blacks and whites.  Those who grow up with family of two or more races are uniquely positioned to truly connect with people of different colors, without squeamishness or stereotypes.  Obama's approach to others is not based on the color of their skin; isn't it time for pundits' approach to him to transcend racial bias?

– Lisa Bloom, “In Session” Anchor/360° Contributor

Read more Lisa Bloom blogs on “In Session”

Program note:  “Uncovering America: Race, Gender and Politics” airs Friday on 360° at 10p ET

Filed under: Lisa Bloom • Race Gender & Politics
February 14th, 2008
09:47 AM ET

Race, Gender and Politics: The part that makes us cringe

Erica Hill

Race, Gender and Politics… talk about a powder keg looking for a match! Why is this topic so explosive? Probably because it makes us face the part of ourselves we don’t always like to acknowledge: the part that makes you cringe, the one that does sometimes judge people by their appearance, not the content of their character.

There’s that old saying, “stereotypes exist for a reason”, and while there is some truth to it, I wonder if it hasn’t become an excuse. If we don’t stop using those stereotypes, how are we as a country going to move forward?

I was on my way back to my desk this afternoon when I ran into a former guest from my show on Headline News. After the initial catching-up, we started talking about this very topic. He’s a PR mastermind who helps people shape their public persona – this man knows stereotypes. What did he think about all the hype? He thinks there’s a lot of hope in the younger generation.


Think back to before you became that jaded adult, back to when you liked people because they were nice to you, shared toys on the playground, made you smile… back to when you didn’t really notice what they looked like, just how they made you feel. Now imagine you stayed that way as you got older, “wiser” (or not). He says this next generation just may make it happen…that they’re more accepting, less judgmental. Maybe it’s because we’re an increasingly mixed society, maybe it’s because they don’t like being pigeon-holed, maybe it’s because they get what some of their parents and grandparents may have forgotten: there’s more to people than what you see.

Until then, I’m curious to see how many people are honestly comfortable moving beyond the stereotypes. This isn’t student council president we’re voting for – it’s the President of the United States. If ever there was a time to vote for a person based on what they can do – not what they look like – this is it.

– Erica Hill, 360° Correspondent

Program note: Erica joins 360° from New York tonight – her new home at CNN. We are all very excited!

Filed under: Erica Hill • Race Gender & Politics
February 14th, 2008
07:01 AM ET

Morning Buzz

Morning Folks!!! Happy Thursday...Did you watch Roger Clemens on the hill yesterday...it was must see TV. Check out the re-cap in Top Stories. Someone was lying yesterday and we may never know who... 

Things are quiet in Raw Politics today, there is lots of chatter about Hillary losing support, but I wouldn't count her out just yet...  AND many people are talking about the other woman on the trail...Michelle Obama.

PLUS there is just a bizarre story of a man, in a wheelchair, taken into custody and the arresting officer did NOT believe he was handicapped, so she dumped him on the floor - JUST OUTRAGEOUS!!!  AND it is Valentines Day...so scroll down and find out "why we flirt."  

Top Stories
Earthquake in Greece...
A strong earthquake struck southern Greece just after midday Thursday, the U.S. Geological Survey reported on its Web site.The 6.7 magnitude quake was centered about 140 miles (230 km) southwest of the capital, Athens, and was located about 12 miles offshore.

Senator Craig - "you discredited the chamber"
The Senate Ethics Committee issued a "letter of admonition" to Sen. Larry Craig on Wednesday in connection with his arrest in a Minneapolis airport sex sting last year.

Steroid showdown...
Legendary baseball pitcher Roger Clemens faced the trainer who has accused him of using steroids and human growth hormone and repeatedly denied the charges during a contentious congressional hearing yesterday that left lawmakers deeply divided about whom to believe and uncertain whether Clemens should face a federal investigation for possible perjury.

Don't under-estimate OBL...
Michael Scheuer is a worried man—and an angry one. He's worried by what he regards as the United States's failure to devise a successful strategy against Osama bin Laden and angered by what he sees as the political timidity behind that failure.

3 kids taken at gunpoint...
Police say the children were taken Wednesday from their foster parents by the children's parents in the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant in Carson, Calif.

Raw Politics
Obama under fire...
Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama, moving into front-runner status following a week of eight straight wins, is facing a new rival, exchanging fire with John McCain, the presumptive GOP nominee.

Michelle Obama takes to the trail...
There is no confusing Michelle Obama for her husband on the campaign trail.

Suddenly everyone is a political expert...
They sound like seasoned political pundits, dissecting delegate counts, comparing speaking styles, conjuring dream tickets and eagerly anticipating the conventions.

Clinton's edge with women slips...
Hillary Clinton's crushing losses in Maryland and Virginia highlight an erosion in what had been solid advantages among women, whites and older and working-class voters. While this week's results can be explained by those states' relatively large numbers of blacks and well-educated residents — who tend to be Barack Obama supporters — her presidential campaign could be doomed if the trends continue.

Keeping Them Honest
Candidates and earmarks...
Senator Hillary Clinton helped secure more than $340 million worth of home-state projects in last year's spending bills, placing her among the top 10 Senate recipients of what are commonly known as earmarks, according to a new study by a nonpartisan budget watchdog group.

Editors note: Joe Johns will report on earmarks for AC360 tonight

Crime & Punishment
Mom exonerated after 13 years...
A woman who spent 13 years in prison after being convicted of strangling her 13-year-old daughter has been exonerated by forensic evidence showing she died of a cocaine overdose, a prosecutor in the case said Wednesday.
Jury deliberates in ex-cop trial...
Bobby Cutts Jr. admits he killed his pregnant lover and dumped her body. But jurors have to decide whether the former police officer deliberately strangled her, or, as he testified, accidentally killed her with an elbow to the neck.

What YOU will be talking about TODAY
Dumped from his wheelchair...
The Hillsborough County, Florida, sheriff on Wednesday offered a personal apology to a disabled man who was dumped onto the floor from his wheelchair while in deputies' custody.
Firefighters try to rescue cat...
It was the stereotypical firefighters-try-to-rescue-cat story, but with a twist. Firefighters from the South Florida city of Weston spent a sopping hour in pouring rain Tuesday trying to extract a kitten squeezed in the undercarriage of a stranger's Volvo.
Why we flirt...
Contrary to widespread belief, only two very specific types of people flirt: those who are single and those who are married. Single people flirt because, well, they're single and therefore nobody is really contractually obliged to talk to them, sleep with them or scratch that difficult-to-reach part of the back. But married people, they're a tougher puzzle.