February 15th, 2008
07:49 PM ET

Lebron James on 360°

Lebron James, the NBA All-Star from Cleveland, came to New Orleans to play a game and hoped to help this city in a small way. He did more than that, as the Lebron James Foundation opened up a new playground and basketball court. The kids were excited, and parents and family members were thrilled, that he took the time to see them. To them, he truly is “King James.”


One-on-one with NBA star Lebron James- Helping out New Orleans through the Lebron James Foundation

In a city that is still recovering from the effects of Hurricane Katrina, opening a playground is just a small part of the rebuilding efforts. James told me he didn't do this because he has to, he did it because he wants to. And that's what he'll be doing Friday at the NBA Day of Service when NBA All Stars, including “King James”, work on rebuilding projects throughout the New Orleans area.

Lebron also appeared Thursday night on 360° in our “Voice of 360°” contest. Did you see him? We’ll debut another announcer candidate next week.

– Kay Jones, 360° Guest Producer

Filed under: Lebron James • Voice of 360°
February 15th, 2008
06:53 PM ET

Soledad O'Brien: Conversation on Race

I'm standing around with some other moms after drop-off at my boys' school.  We have a few minutes, it's a relatively warm morning, and it's the day after the most recent primary – which means we are talking politics.

They always ask me who's going to win, knowing full well that I've got no clue, and I'd never even hazard a guess. 

Our conversation quickly turns to race:  One of the moms is Cuban-American – and a big Obama supporter.  Her father, she tells me, is not supporting Obama.  "It's racist" she insists. "He's an older man, who will never ever vote for a black man.  Won't happen." 

This is a curious conversation for me.  I'm black and Latino (my mom is Cuban, and now a naturalized citizen) and this isn't the first time I've heard this.  Especially now as the Latino vote is so critical.


February 15th, 2008
05:58 PM ET

Afternoon Buzz

Hello, bloggers. This afternoon, we’re learning new details about the gunman who killed 5 students at Northern Illinois University before taking his own life.  Police say he was an award-winning student 175 miles away at the University of Illinois.  But back in 2006, when he was a graduate student at NIU he wrote in a paper that he was interested in “peace and social justice”. Peace? 

On the campaign trail, Barack Obama attacks Hillary Clinton for her ties to lobbyists.  While in an Ohio courtroom, an ex-cop has been found guilty of killing his pregnant lover.  He had told the jury it was an accident. They didn’t buy it. 

Sticking with the Crime & punishment beat, a Hayward, California a man has been arrested for allegedly making more than 27,000 calls to 911.  Yikes! 

While, father south in Bakersfield firefighters had to free a 4 year old who got her head stuck in a steering wheel. And Trekkies, you’ll have to wait for a little longer to see where the crew of the Starship Enterprise is boldly going next.  Grab your afternoon soda. Here are the headlines. Let’s us know what you think.  

Top Stories  
Campus shooter led criminal justice group 
Snow shuts down parts of San Diego County   

Raw Politics 
Obama knocks Clinton for ties to lobbyists  
Fatigue, Stress on the campaign trail  
Chelsea Clinton in the media glare  

Crime & Punishment 
Ex-cop murdered pregnant lover  
Man makes 27,000 calls to 911  

What YOU will be talking about TONIGHT  
Girl’s head stuck in steering wheel 
‘Star Trek’ release pushed back to 2009   

February 15th, 2008
05:08 PM ET

What’s in a category? Why Race and Gender Matter

Program note:  Jane Junn is a guest on Friday's 360° special “Uncovering America: Race, Gender and Politics” at 10p ET

The political space of presidential politics in the U.S. has until the 2008 election been uninhabited by women and minorities.  Frontrunners have always been white men; they are the default category we commonly expect to be represented by American politicians. Today, however, the presence of a black man and a white woman competing for the Democratic Party nomination raise anew the questions: What’s in a category and why do Americans continue to rely on these categories?

Race as a moving target
Let’s start with racial categories in the United States.  Political analysts today talk about black voters, Latino voters, Asian voters, white voters.  How and why do these categorical distinctions make sense?  On the face of things, it seems easy to distinguish and classify by race.  Cameras pan across crowds at candidate rallies searching for people who can readily be identified as something other than the default category.

But things get more complicated if we dig a little deeper than skin color and phenotypic markers.  Racial classification, particularly for contemporary immigrants from Latin America and Asia is like trying to hit a moving target.  New Americans from countries as diverse as Thailand and China to Peru and Mexico get lumped into the categories of Asian American and Latino.  Yet new immigration is continually altering the make-up of these two communities.


Filed under: Race Gender & Politics
February 15th, 2008
12:47 PM ET

Can Obama Win Texas?

Hillary Clinton may be making the same mistake that Rudy Giuliani when he  retreated from Iowa, New Hampshire, and all of the other early contests, only to find that a solid month of losing elections is very bad PR.

Hillary was in El Paso as the results rolled in from her defeats on Chesapeake last Tuesday. Obama was in Madison, Wisc., where the primary on Tuesday could help him expand his meager delegate lead.


Leslie Sanchez book- Los Republicanos: Why Hispanics and Republicans need each other

Clinton is counting on a Texas victory on the backs of the 24 percent of the Democratic primary vote in Texas that is Hispanic (according to the 2004 numbers, anyway). Her belief is that those Hispanics, for whatever their reasons, will be reluctant to vote for Obama.
But to win with those votes is a much greater challenge than to win with California Hispanics, for example, because the Texas Latino vote is spread out through a hundred little towns in South Texas, not concentrated in any one major city.

In Texas, it's the African-American vote that is much more concentrated. It can be more easily mobilized for Obama in Houston and Dallas. He can top it off with a strong showing among the rural, working-class blacks in Deep East Texas.

In fact, Bill Clinton is now campaigning in Texarkana, Tyler, Longview, and Nacogdoches in order to counteract Obama's perceived strength there.  The college students (the ones who vote, anyway) and the latte liberals in Austin will go overwhelmingly for Obama.

In short, Hillary can't take Texas for granted just because she's done so well so far among Hispanics. The losses she is racking up right now could mean trouble for her on March 4- not only in Texas but in Ohio as well.

– Leslie Sanchez, Founder and CEO, Impacto Group LLC

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

February 15th, 2008
11:51 AM ET

Some voters say sexism less offensive than racism

The simple fact that either Hillary Clinton, a white woman, or Barack Obama, a black man, will likely be the Democratic nominee for president is fueling a nationwide debate about how sexism and racism may shape this campaign.

At a tea party with members of Columbus, Ohio's Junior League we posed the question: Is overt sexism more acceptable than overt racism?


Signs like this one are fueling debate on sexism and racism in the Democratic campaign.

Voter Babette Feibel told us, "Sexism of the nature Hillary Clinton is experiencing has been around as kind of an acceptable joke for years. As far as racism, it's definitely not politically correct or acceptable."

Hillary Clinton has had to deal with plenty. At a rally, hecklers yelled to her to iron their shirts. Radio host Rush Limbaugh told listeners, "Will this country want to actually watch a woman get older before their eyes on a daily basis?"

MSNBC's Chris Mathews suggested "the reason she's a U.S. senator, the reason she's a candidate for president, the reason she may be a front-runner is her husband messed around."

Hillary Clinton's hairdos, ankles and even her cleavage have sparked discussion...

Read more of Randi Kaye's story

Filed under: Race Gender & Politics • Randi Kaye
February 15th, 2008
10:55 AM ET

Race, Gender & Politics: Immigration reform

The Reverend Samuel Rodriguez is young, energetic.  As President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference with ties to some 18 thousand Latino Evangelical Churches,  he is also very influential.  That may be bad news for Republican Senator John McCain. 


Hispanic Christians are, says Rodriguez, concerned with immigration reform. It is, he told us, their top-tier issue. And the Republican Party dropped the ball, says the California Pastor: "I would never have imagined that in my lifetime certain states in certain communities because of my last name and the color of my skin I would have to prove my citizenship in order to get healthcare, in order to get an apartment, in order to lease anything.  Even if I have some sort of driving incident I would have to prove my citizenship.  That's America's post-immigration debacle.  Who's responsible? The Republican Party.  Who will pay in the 2008 elections? The Republican Party."

It is not what I expected to hear from a conservative, from an Evangelical Christian. But Rodriguez says he never expected to hear what he's heard: "rhetoric and demagoguery" from the Republican Party on immigration reform. The demagoguery, he says, hurt all Republican candidates, even one like McCain who tried to find common ground on immigration. McCain supported a bipartisan immigration reform bill that failed to pass. Rodriguez said that may not be enough to sway Hispanics: "Will Latinos be able to look at John McCain and say we're gonna support the party because of you and in spite of your party! That's the question that will be answered Nov. 4th."


February 15th, 2008
10:04 AM ET

Campaign Splits Sisters

Rep. Loretta Sanchez and Rep. Linda Sanchez are sisters who represent nearby districts in California.  It’s no small feat that they’re in congress together.  It’s the first time ever that sisters are serving at the same time.


Two sisters who are California Democratic congresswomen support different presidential candidates

These two accomplished women aren’t from a well-established political family.  They are first-generation Americans, children of immigrants from Mexico.  So we thought it was interesting when we learned they support different candidates for the Democratic nomination.

Loretta, the older sister, supports Sen. Clinton; Linda supports Sen. Obama.   When Jason Carroll sat down with them to discuss issues facing Latina women and why they support different candidates, we found out that these two sisters are like any other family with political differences.  Even the Kennedys are split.

And when you see Jason's report on Friday's 360° special “Uncovering America: Race, Gender and Politics,” they may remind you of your own family discussions.

– Laura Dolan, CNN Producer

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

Filed under: Race Gender & Politics
February 15th, 2008
07:06 AM ET

Morning Buzz

Morning Folks!!! A tragic story still unfolding at Northern Illinois University. The Chicago papers are reporting now a 7th student has died and the gunman has still NOT identified. Take a look at Top Stories for the latest...

In Raw Politics...Obama took the day off yesterday to celebrate Valentine's day, so Hillary took advantage of the air time and began the attacks....AND Mitt Romney endorsed John McCain. I didn't think they liked each other, go figure!!! BUT make sure you tune into AC360 TONIGHT...Anderson hosts a special Uncovering America: Race, Gender & Politics...

PLUS...gorillas in LOVE...is it What YOU will be talking about TODAY...TGIF!!!

Top Stories
7th person dies in NIU shooting...
A seventh person has died in the shooting, according to DeKalb County Coroner Dennis J. Miller. In addition, he released the identities of four of the victims: Daniel Parmenter, 20, of Westchester; Catalina Garcia, 20, of Cicero; Ryanne Mace, 19, of Carpentersville; and Julianna Gehant, 32, of Meridan.

Professor witness to shooting tells his story...
Northern Illinois University grad student Joseph Peterson was about ten minutes from finishing a geology class he was teaching, lecturing from a stage. Suddenly, a tall white man dressed in dark clothing appeared about 40 feet away from him.

Former student kills five...
A gunman dressed in black stepped from behind a curtain at the front of a large lecture hall at Northern Illinois University on Thursday and shot 21 people, five of them fatally, then shot and killed himself, said university president John Peters.

Al Qaeda recruiting females for suicide missions...
Al Qaeda in Iraq is recruiting female patients at Baghdad's two psychiatric hospitals for suicide missions–with the help of hospital staff–according to the U.S. military.

U.S attempt to shoot down satellite...
The military will try to shoot down a crippled spy satellite in the next two weeks, senior officials said Thursday. The officials laid out a high-tech plan to intercept the satellite over the Pacific just before it tumbles uncontrollably to Earth carrying toxic fuel.

Major immigrant smuggling ring busted...
In a case highlighting this city’s prominent role in the smuggling of illegal immigrants across the border, the authorities conducted a series of raids on Thursday, arresting what they said were the leaders of a ring that helped transport hundreds of people to way stations in Phoenix.

Bush & Congress in spy bill standoff...
With a deadline looming, President Bush and congressional Democrats are locked in a standoff over the government's authority to spy on foreign phone calls and e-mails that pass through the United States.

Raw Politics
Clinton sharpens attacks...
Sen. Hillary Clinton on Thursday sharpened her attacks on Democratic rival Sen. Barack Obama as she faces what even her supporters admit are must-win situations in Texas and Ohio in the weeks ahead.

John McCain on Larry King Live...
Republican presidential front-runner Sen. John McCain on Thursday defended his statement that U.S. troops could spend "maybe 100" years in Iraq - saying he was referring to a military presence similar to what the nation already has in places like Japan, Germany and South Korea.

The man behind the Obama message...
Sen. Barack Obama strode into a hotel ballroom filled with expectation one recent Tuesday and declared that his quest for the Oval Office, which "began as a whisper in Springfield, has swelled to a chorus of millions calling for change."

More signs of Clinton trouble...
In a fresh sign of trouble for Hillary Rodham Clinton, one of the former first lady's congressional black supporters intends to vote for Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention, and a second, more prominent lawmaker is openly discussing a possible switch.

Limbaugh no let up on McCain...
Rush Limbaugh took his show on the road this week, forsaking his main broadcast studio in Palm Beach, Fla., for one in Midtown Manhattan. But the change of scenery did nothing to dampen the Republican-on-Republican smackdown he has been waging from afar against Senator John McCain, the party’s likely presidential nominee, whom Mr. Limbaugh considers too moderate.

Crime & Punishment
Man questioned in therapist shooting...
NYPD investigators on Thursday questioned a man in Pennsylvania in the slaying of a psychologist hacked to death in her office with a meat cleaver, law enforcement officials said.

Keeping Them Honest
Accidental suicides...
There have been at least three accidental drug overdoses and four suicides among soldiers in special units the Army set up last summer to help war-wounded troops, officials said late Thursday.

F.D.A brokes its own rules...
The Food and Drug Administration violated its own policies when it approved for sale a crucial blood-thinning drug without first inspecting a Chinese plant which, along with a plant in Wisconsin, made the drug’s active pharmaceutical ingredient.

What YOU will be talking about TODAY
Gorillas in a trist...
Leah and George aren't star-crossed lovers caught in mid-tryst. They're western gorillas in Nouabale-Ndoki National Park in the Republic of Congo, observed by primatologists whose interest is far more scientific than it is prurient.