February 18th, 2008
11:30 PM ET

Meeting Jessica Baty, girlfriend of NIU shooter Steven Kazmierczak

When we finally reached Jessica Baty by phone, she was so upset she could barely talk with me.  But she did agree to meet for an interview, and said we could come to her parents’ home about an hour away. On the drive, we didn’t know if she would actually do the interview. She told me her family was against it. 

When my producer and I got to her house, Jessica was sobbing. She made it clear, though, that she wanted to do the interview. We spent two hours with Jessica and her family. It was one of the toughest interviews I’ve ever done. I kept thinking no matter what happens, this young woman will never be the same.

She answered all our questions, and shared personal photos. During the interview, other reporters were knocking on her door – some were even knocking on her windows.  In fact, as we were wrapping up, we noticed two were actually right outside her back door. Jessica told us she wasn’t going to talk to anyone else. This would be her only interview. 

We left with the feeling that she had an amazing story to tell – but one with no answers.

 – Abbie Boudreau, Special Investigations Unit

Filed under: Crime & Punishment
February 18th, 2008
11:11 PM ET

Plagiarism or shared ideals – Where’s the beef?


Today, courtesy YouTube we find that a short passage in Obama's Saturday night speech is almost verbatim something Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said during his campaign when he was accused of being all about "words," as HRC is now saying about Obama.  Herewith enough of it to give you the gist: 

“Don't tell me words don't matter. I have a dream. Just words. We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal. Just words. We have nothing to fear but fear itself. Just words.” (Barack Obama, 2008)

- vs.–

“I hear it a lot from her staff is that all I have to offer is words. Just words. We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal. Just words. Just words. We have nothing to fear but fear itself. Just words.” (Deval Patrick, 2006)

The Clinton campaign says it's plagiarism and it "calls into question the premise of his (Obama's) campaign."

Gov. Patrick says it's fine with him; he and Obama are buds, and swap ideas and they talked about this phrasing a while back.

His campaign says HRC uses Obama's lines all the time like, "Fire it up! Ready to Go!"

OMG, bloggees.  My head hurts.  Aren't voters worried about their jobs?

A final brain droplet... I don't know about the Wisconsin Primary tomorrow. Could be a big surprise. Could be no surprise. And that's why you have me, for in-depth analysis.

 – Candy Crowley, Senior Political Correspondent

Filed under: Barack Obama • Candy Crowley • Hillary Clinton • Raw Politics
February 18th, 2008
05:38 PM ET

Voice of 360° – Round 3

Program note: The latest Voice of 360° debutes Thursday night at 10p ET.

Yo Bloggers!

Ever since NBC hired Michael Douglas to introduce their nightly newscast, we’ve had a little competition of our own.  Auditions have been underway over the past few months…

You’ve heard the ‘Oz-man’, Ozzy Osbourne give it a go
(if you haven’t, check it out here)…

You've heard Fran Drescher introduce the program
(if you haven't, check it out here)...

Guess what? We’ve got another one to share!
DING DING DING! its time for round 3:


Let’s hear from you on this one! What do you think? Who do you think it is? Who else should we audition?

– David Reisner, 360° Digital Producer

Filed under: Voice of 360°
February 18th, 2008
05:11 PM ET

Afternoon Buzz

Happy President’s Day! We have a lot of headlines this afternoon.  And, we’re trying to keep with a holiday theme.  See what’s new in the race for the White House. While in crime & punishment, a lot of people are taking about the long-lost clue regarding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.  But a D.A. says the clue is likely fake.And, on this President’s Day get some tips for a better life from George. That’s George Washington.  Grab your afternoon soda and enjoy the headlines. Let us know your thoughts.Raw Politics 
Poll shows dead heat in Dems race 
Bush 41 supports McCain  
Top Stories  
Sources: Satellite-shootdown attempt days away 
Blast rocks Texas oil refinery 
U.S. recognizes independent Kosovo   

Crime & Punishment  
Minister admits killing; flock forgives him 
D.A.: Long-lost clue to JFK death probably a fake 
What YOU will be TALKING about TONIGHT  
Heidi Klum wants to help Britney Spears  
Tips from Washington’s self-help manual

February 18th, 2008
05:05 PM ET

Just the quiet before the storm

Editor's note: Jason Rae is a Democratic superdelegate from Wisconsin. Rae has been courted by both campaigns and agreed to blog for 360° about his experiences. He was a guest on 360° last week (WATCH JASON ON 360°and will make another appearance Monday night. 


Things are quiet on the ground here in Wisconsin, at least in Milwaukee.  Senator Clinton and Senator Obama were both in town over the weekend, holding countless events. Because of the snow, Senator Clinton even spent a little extra time in the city until her plane was allowed to fly. Now the candidates have departed the city, and things seem to be back to normal. But this is just a slight reprieve. It’s the quiet before the storm.

Students are spending time focused on their studies today, hurrying between classes at the Marquette campus. That’s today. Tomorrow, we are going to see students lined up and down the street handing out fliers, holding signs, and getting out the vote. Election Day is like a holiday to me. I love seeing people, especially young people, getting involved in the process. While today may be quiet, tomorrow is sure going to be a sight to see.

– Jason Rae, Democratic Superdelegate

Filed under: Jason Rae • Raw Politics
February 18th, 2008
04:59 PM ET

Jeffrey Toobin: Politicians Steal too

T.S. Eliot is said to have observed, “Good poets borrow, great poets steal.”

All writers build on the work of their predecessors, and politicians do it most of all.  Is there one challenger for any office who has not said, “It’s time for a change”?  Is there one candidate for president who hasn’t promised “to get this country moving again”?  And who thinks politicians write their own speeches anyway?  That’s why the job of speechwriter exists.

And yet there is something a little creepy about a candidate who borrows too closely from the words of others.   The most famous example of controversial borrowing came in 1988, when Joe Biden said in a speech:

“I was thinking as I was coming over here, why is it that Joe Biden is the first in his family ever to go to a university? Why is it that my wife who is sitting out there in the audience is the first in her family to ever go to college? Is it because our fathers and mothers were not bright? Is it because I'm the first Biden in a thousand generations to get a college and a graduate degree that I was smarter than the rest? .... Those same people who read poetry and wrote poetry and taught me to sing verse? Is it that they didn't work very hard, my ancestors who worked in the coal mines of Northeast Pennsylvania and would come up after 12 hours and play football for four hours?”


Filed under: Barack Obama • Jeffrey Toobin • Raw Politics
February 18th, 2008
03:54 PM ET

Pakistan, Terrorism and Monday’s election


Supporters of the Pakistan People's Party cheer during a campaign rally in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

Pakistan is in many ways the central front of the war on terror. US officials say that both the Taliban and al Qaeda are headquartered there. Al Qaeda directed the 2005 attacks on London’s transportation system which killed 52 commuters from Pakistan. The unsuccessful 2006 plot to bring down ten American airliners with liquid explosives in the United Kingdom was hatched in Pakistan, and the alleged terrorists who planned to attack an American air force base in Germany last year trained in Pakistan.

Now the violence from the al Qaeda and Taliban militants is blowing back into Pakistan itself. In 2006 there were a handful of suicide attacks there. Last year there were 60 suicide bombings, mostly directed against Pakistani soldiers, policeman and government officials. The most prominent victim of the attacks was, of course, Pakistan’s most popular politician, Benazir Bhutto. Director of National Intelligence, Mike McConnell, testified earlier this month that suicide attacks in 2007 had killed nearly 900 Pakistani forces and civilians, and another 500 deaths were caused by armed clashes with the militants. McConnell pointed out that “in 2007, Pakistanis’ losses [at the hands of the militants] exceeded the cumulative total of all the years between 2001 and 2006.”


Filed under: Pakistan • Peter Bergen • Terrorism
February 18th, 2008
03:40 PM ET

University Shooter's Girlfriend: 'I couldn't believe it'

Program note: Tonight on 360°, CNN Special Investigations Unit Correspondent Abbie Boudreau has the second part of her exclusive interview with the girlfriend of Northern Illinois University shooter Steven Kazmierczak.


Jessica Baty said her boyfriend, Steven Kazmierczak, gave no warning of the shooting rampage at NIU.

WONDER LAKE, Illinois –
The girlfriend of the gunman who killed five people and then himself at Northern Illinois University last Thursday told CNN there was "no indication he was planning something."

"He wasn't erratic. He wasn't delusional. He was Steve; he was normal," Jessica Baty tearfully said in an exclusive interview.

Baty, 28, said she dated Steven Kazmierczak off and on for two years and had most recently been living with him.


Filed under: School Shooting
February 18th, 2008
03:13 PM ET

Beat 360° 2/18/08

Happy President's Day!

Me? Oh I'm here working... news doesnt take holidays.
You? Oh you're off? how great! I'm jealous and happy for you at the same time... 
haha, no its ok, you rest up – enjoy that 'extended weekend!' Can you help us out with something (with alllll that free time you have today)? It's time for 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:


Here's one to get you started:

Oh me? I’m here for an ‘Economic booster’... a ‘shot in the arm’ to fend off recession…
It comes out to about $152 billion, not sure what my co-pay is going to be.

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 18th, 2008
11:53 AM ET

"Have an awesome President's Day"

I went for brunch with some friends over the weekend. The food was OK... and the conversation covered everything from the 2008 election to the latest reality TV show disasters… But the most interesting moment came when it was time to split the bill…


As we were digging into our pockets to find what we owed, one of my friends held up a twenty…

“Look at that… Andrew Jackson… of all the presidents, he has the BEST hair!”

I quickly scanned every bill I had in my wallet –      2 ‘Washington's’, a ‘Lincoln’, and ‘Jackson…’ She had a point – He’s pretty hard to beat. 

To all our surprise, splitting the bill worked out – nobody had to put in ‘extra’ and we walked outside to go our separate ways. Before we split up, I said to one friend:

“If I don’t see you tomorrow, have an awesome President’s Day!”

She laughed, I continued…

“Who are you going to be tomorrow?” 

She seemed puzzled… I figured I’d explain

“You know, who are you going to be? I’m going in to work tomorrow as Abraham Lincoln”
Bloggers, I have to be honest with you… I couldn’t do it – maybe it’s because I couldn’t find a good top-hat and beard in time for today, maybe it’s because I was afraid security would haul me out of the building… but nonetheless, it got me thinking – Who is my favorite president? 

So on this President’s Day, I throw the question your way…
Who is your favorite president?

– David Reisner, 360° Digital Producer

Filed under: AC360° Staff • President's Day
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